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The Brave at Heart [Completed]



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Old August 20th, 2007, 1:57 am
marauderfan  Female.gif marauderfan is offline
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The Brave at Heart [Completed]

Hi!!! Welcome to my first fanfic, I hope you enjoy it! This is a sort of coming of age story about a few Slytherins and their unlikely friendship with the Marauders during their last two years at Hogwarts.

Disclaimer: I am not J.K. Rowling. I don't own Harry Potter or any of the characters in the series. (Though I wish Sirius was mine ) I'm only borrowing some characters for a while.

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Chapter 1: Reflections and Responsibility


I walked onto the Hogwarts Express from Platform Nine-and-Three-Quarters at the King’s Cross station. I was about to begin my first year at a prestigious wizarding school, and I felt both excited and nervous, for I had no idea what this year would have in store for me. As a shy eleven year old, I was a bit scared to leave home – I had never been away from my family much before.

I didn’t know anyone around me, since my seventeen-year-old brother Nathan had gone off in search of his friends. I wandered around on the train for a moment, but soon found an empty compartment, hoisted my suitcase up and sat down. I was joined by a tall dark-haired girl, who introduced herself as Charlotte Avery. We bonded quickly; we were both from pure blood families that shared similar views. My father had always insisted that pure-bloods were better than any others with magic in their blood. He had told me make sure I was sorted into Slytherin, where there were certain to be no Mudbloods, which he said were the worst insult to wizard-kind. I didn’t know anything about the other houses, except that Nathan had said Slytherin was the best of all of them, so I was hoping for Slytherin. Charlotte also wished to become a Slytherin, all her family had been there.

Soon, a short girl with shoulder-length straight blonde hair pushed open our compartment door. “I’ve been searching all over, everywhere else is full. Can I sit with you?”

“Sure!” said Charlotte. “Is this your first year as well?”

“Yeah, you too? I’m nervous!” she admitted. “I’ve got no idea what House I’ll be in, I’m hoping for Gryffindor! Most of my family have been Gryffindors. Well, my mum’s side of the family, anyway – my dad is a Muggle. Ravenclaw might be nice, I don’t know. What do you think? I’m Amanda, by the way. My aunt was a Ravenclaw, and she liked it. Ravenclaws are so smart and everything though, I don’t think I’d ever make it in there.”

Charlotte and I exchanged glances. If we had to endure the entire train ride of her talking, I would die. She didn’t seem to want to shut up, and didn’t even give us time to answer her questions.

“I know a lot of people who were Hufflepuffs too! They’re all really nice, really loyal friends, you know, but I’ve heard loads about them that’s not too nice, don’t you think? Have you heard some of the things people say about Hufflepuffs being a lot of stupid people? I would hate to have that reputation. But it’s not even true! It’s horrible… well then there’s Slytherin too. I’m pretty sure I won’t end up there. I don’t know what I would do if I was in Slytherin, because everyone says all the evil wizards seem to come from there.”

Her speech thus concluded, we sat in an awkward silence. I was too shy to say anything and just cleared my throat to break the quiet. Charlotte smirked. The girl, Amanda, just looked at us. She sensed the discomfort of the situation. “Well, not every Slytherin is evil,” she said quickly, “of course not, I didn’t mean that…”

We were suddenly interrupted by two other kids – a stringy, pallid boy who had long greasy black hair, and a pretty auburn-haired girl with bright green eyes. “Can we join you?” asked the girl tentatively. “There were some idiots teasing us in our other compartment.”

“Sure,” Amanda said, glad to change the topic. “I’m Amanda.”

“Hi, I’m Charlotte,” Charlotte chimed in, moving over on the seat to make room for the newcomers.

“I’m Melanie," I said.

“I’m Lily,” said the girl as she sat down, “and this is Severus. We’re both first years.”

“Nice to meet you,” said Amanda. “I’m so excited for this year. I’ve been looking forward to going to Hogwarts ever since I first heard about it.”

“Me too,” said Severus.

“My brother is so jealous,” said Charlotte. “He’s a year younger than me, and he wants to go too, but he has to wait until next year!” She laughed.

Lily looked uncomfortable. Amanda noticed and asked her, “What’s wrong? Aren’t you looking forward to Hogwarts?”

“Well,” she said hesitantly, “I am excited. But… my family are all Muggles, and my older sister hates me now since I’m going.”

“I’m so sorry,” said Amanda quietly. “I’m sure she doesn’t hate you though, she’ll get over it soon enough. When you go back home for Christmas, you’ll see how much she missed you.”

Lily smiled. “I hope you’re right, I don’t want her to hate me.”

Eventually the conversation turned where I had hoped it wouldn’t, but it was unavoidable: Severus asked us, “So what house are you hoping for?”

I didn’t respond; I wished I knew more about the other houses and I didn’t want to sound stupid. Amanda was looking uneasily from me to Charlotte. Charlotte answered that she wanted to be in Slytherin, and Severus looked pleased. “Wouldn’t it be great if we were all in Slytherin?” he asked.

“Yeah, that would be so fun!” Charlotte agreed. “I hope we are.”

As the food trolley came by, Amanda and I bought a few pastries and candies while Charlotte got out her Daily Prophet newspaper from her bag. I offered some sweets to everyone, and as I gave Charlotte a Pumpkin Pasty, I saw the front cover of the Prophet. It was a large picture of a strange, ugly snakelike man with a caption saying “Lord Voldemort Strikes Again.”

“Who’s Lord Voldemort?” asked Lily as Charlotte set the paper in her lap, folded with that article on top. I put Charlotte’s Pumpkin Pasty on the photo of Voldemort’s nasty-looking face, and he scowled as he got crumbs in his eyes.

“He’s this new Dark wizard,” she responded, picking up her pastry. “I’ve never heard of him before. But apparently he just killed someone. A Muggle.”

“That’s awful!” cried Lily.

“Maybe it was an awful Muggle,” said Severus indifferently.

“I think I’ve heard of him,” I said. “My father says Voldemort is doing the Wizarding world a favor with whatever he’s doing, but I don’t really know much about him.”

“How is killing a favor?” Amanda asked, snatching the paper. She scanned it, and her expression became darker with each line she read. “This is horrible. He’s tortured several people, and he…” she broke off, glancing at Lily.

“What?” Lily asked nervously.

“He’s trying to establish a pureblood society or something…” said Amanda, a pained expression on her face. “He hates Muggles… wants all the – the Muggle-borns gone—”

Of course my father would like this new wizard; my father hated Mudbloods. But I was talking with a Mudblood right now, and she seemed like a wonderful person.

“That’s not really possible though, is it?” asked Severus. “There aren’t that many purebloods left anymore.”

“I don’t know why he should care,” said Amanda. “A wizard is a wizard, no matter what their heritage. Right?”

I fiddled with my sleeve. A thought had come to me – What if my father was wrong? I had always had trouble accepting some of his ideas, which all revolved around purebloods being the best kind of wizard, but I had eventually given in to all of them so he wouldn’t shout at me and beat me. But starting today I was away from him… I had to learn how to think on my own. And after hearing of the extremes to which Lord Voldemort was taking his pureblood obsession, I wasn’t sure I wanted to believe my father anymore.

“Right,” I agreed. Severus nodded, though he wasn’t looking at us. Charlotte looked contemplative, but said nothing.

“Who likes Exploding Snap?” Amanda asked suddenly, and pulled out some cards. “Let’s put this discussion behind us, this is way too intense to deal with before we’ve even got to school! Anyone want to play?” She smiled.

I was awed at her ability to totally lighten the mood. After a few rounds of Exploding Snap and lots of random chatter (mostly brought on by Amanda), we were feeling much better, and even I was almost talkative. I secretly hoped that whatever happened, my new friends and I would all end up in the same house, no matter which house it was.





After the train ride, and a chilly trip in boats across the lake, we walked up a staircase and entered a great hall with hundreds of floating candles. Nathan had told me that the ceiling was enchanted to look exactly like the sky outside. It was beautiful, although I was slightly afraid I would get hot wax dripped on my head from the candles, so I kept glancing up uneasily. The older students were already seated; everyone except the first years. We were ushered into a line, all of us terrified. A hat was placed on an old rickety stool in the front of the enormous Great Hall. It sang about the four Houses… Gryffindor for the brave, Hufflepuff for the loyal and just, Ravenclaw for the witty and creative, Slytherin for the ambitious and cunning. When it finished, a severe-looking woman with a thin, serious face stood near the first years and called out names. “Avery, Charlotte,” she said. Charlotte gracefully walked up and put the hat on her head.

“SLYTHERIN!” it shouted. She smiled at me, left the hat on the stool, and calmly joined the cheering Slytherins at their table.

“Black, Sirius.” An extremely handsome dark-haired boy walked up. I heard Amanda sigh behind me.

“GRYFFINDOR!” bellowed the Sorting Hat.

“I want to be a Gryffindor,” said Amanda. I looked at her, bemused. “No, honestly, I’ve always wanted to.”

I looked over at the Gryffindor table, where Sirius Black was now seated. I knew of his family; the Blacks were well-respected purebloods. A very Slytherin family, my father had always said, implying the deepest compliments. Now I had just seen one sorted as a Gryffindor, and he looked thrilled. I wouldn’t have expected that.

The line of first years grew steadily smaller. Lily Evans was also placed in Gryffindor. I didn’t know what I wanted now – two of my friends were already in different Houses. My stomach leapt into my throat as I heard “Hastings, Melanie.” I wobbled up to the Sorting hat, and slipped it on my head, where it sank down and covered my eyes.

“Ah…” said the hat, “you’re very loyal… And I see that you certainly have courage, so maybe Gryffindor… yes, I think that seems perfect… but you have determination as well, and a desire to prove yourself. Gryffindor or Slytherin? Hmm… let me see.”

I suddenly got very worried. What was the hat talking about? I wasn’t brave, I was the exact opposite! What if I got put in Gryffindor and then I couldn’t handle it? What if I had to face some task that I wasn’t brave enough to do because I really shouldn’t be a Gryffindor? “Slytherin,” I told the hat uncertainly; I didn’t know anything about the others.

“Slytherin? Are you sure? You would be a great Gryffindor… Okay then. Remember that many great wizards and witches have come out of each of the houses… and for you, it’s SLYTHERIN!”

My family would be horrified if I were sorted anywhere else. But was I happy with it? I still had to figure that out. I realized with a jolt that if my family liked Slytherin, that probably meant there was something wrong with it. Why had I just gone with what I was familiar with and not let the hat decide? And what did the hat mean with those last statements? I was so deep in thought and frustrated at my impulsive decision to ask for Slytherin that I forgot to take the hat off my head as I began to walk over to the Slytherin table. As I heard laughter ringing out all around me, I set the hat back on the stool and ran back red-faced to join the Slytherins. I sat next to Charlotte, who had thankfully stopped laughing by the time I sat down. My brother was at the other end of the table, sitting by a boy with long blonde hair. Nathan gave me a thumbs-up sign as I sat with the Slytherins, although I could tell he had been laughing too.

But the Sorting went on, and I hoped people weren’t looking at me anymore. Soon, after two new Gryffindors were announced (Remus Lupin and Mary Macdonald), we heard “Macintosh, Amanda.” Amanda took one last glance at the Gryffindor table, more specifically, at Sirius Black, and then walked shakily up to the stool. She sat there for a long time.

“She’s probably telling it about all of her family members,” Charlotte whispered to me, giggling. The laughter was wiped off her face, though, when the hat called, “SLYTHERIN!” But her face didn’t even compare to Amanda’s shocked expression.


The Slytherin common room was a dungeon, but it was comfortable and cozy. There were some green lights, sofas, and a fireplace, and far away at the opposite end of the rectangular room were two staircases, separated by a bizarre portrait of a man in a spotted suit who told me to brush my hair when I first walked past him. I wondered if some wax from the candles had dripped into it.

The girls’ staircase was on the right; I walked up and found a beautiful green carpeted dormitory. The window opened right out at ground level near the shore of the lake. Shortly the other girls came up to the room, and one of my roommates was Charlotte. Only four girls were in the room and there were five beds, however, and I realized the person missing must be Amanda. I went back down to the common room and found her sitting behind a sofa, crying. I felt badly for her so despite my shyness, I sat down beside her.

After a few moments’ silence, she turned to face me. “Why?” she asked. “Why would it put me in Slytherin? No one else at Hogwarts even likes Slytherins! I just don’t understand. I mean, my mother is a pureblood, but that shouldn’t have anything to do with it. And she isn’t like most purebloods! Sh—she cares about others! I’m not meant to be a Slytherin, they’re obsessed over blood and everything. I’m a half-blood, I’m not… not…” She broke off, sobbing uncontrollably into her hands.

I patted her shoulder and said, “It’ll be okay.” She clearly didn’t believe me. “Look, I’m starting out awful too… I think that everything I believe in has just been turned around, after talking to Lily and reading that thing about Voldemort. I don’t know whether I should be in this house either.” I was pretty sure that wasn’t exactly comforting, and I was surprised I had even admitted such a thing. “Do you think all Slytherins are really obsessed about being pureblood?”

“From what I’ve heard, it sounds like that,” she said dejectedly, sniffling.

“Well, you said on the train that all your relatives were Ravenclaws and Gryffindors, maybe they’re just biased?” I shrugged. “Charlotte and Severus seem really nice, and they both got sorted into Slytherin…”

She scowled at me. “I don’t agree with anything Slytherin stands for. They all hate Muggle-borns… who are just like any other wizard or witch, how can it matter if there’s no other magic in their family? Some Muggle-borns are even more talented than purebloods. And you shouldn’t call them Mudbloods.”

“That’s what that Voldemort guy stands for, not Slytherin,” I said. “You’re a Slytherin because you have ambition and you’re clever, and stuff like that. You’ll do great things and go far in life. That’s what it means.”

She looked unconvinced, but much calmer. “Look,” I said, “there’s nothing we can do about it now, unless you want to move to Beauxbatons in France.” She smiled weakly. “But really, we’ve only been here a day. I know we’ll have a great time at Hogwarts… And really, your house doesn’t determine who you are. I’m sure not all Slytherins are the way you said they are.”

She sighed. “I guess I shouldn’t be so worked up over it, but… it was so unexpected. I really thought I’d be sorted somewhere better.”

"There is nothing wrong with being a Slytherin.” I said it more to assure myself than her, but I hoped it would help console her as well.

She didn’t know what to say. I didn’t even know where that had come from. I hoped it was right. I just gave her a hug, and led her to the staircase. “Thank you,” she said softly.

“For what?”

“For listening to me.” She paused, and sniffed. “There’s something different about you, I can tell.” She smiled suddenly, her blue eyes still full of tears. “Different in a good way, of course.”


One of the first things I noticed was how correct Amanda was in her assumption of how the four houses got along. No sooner than the first week of classes, after we’d learned only a mere handful of little spells, first-year Gryffindors James Potter and Sirius Black had already figured out some hexes and tested them out on Amanda, Charlotte, Severus and me on our way to dinner one day. They had made little clouds which followed behind us in the air, spelling out the words “Kick me, I’m a Slytherin.”

James and Sirius thought this was hilarious and followed us, re-casting the spell when it wore off. Severus attempted to retaliate with a Jelly-Legs Jinx, but he hadn’t quite figured it out yet. The Slytherins were the main target for almost all pranks, particularly from those two Gryffindors, who soon established quite a reputation for themselves even as first years, and they, along with two others, could often be found getting in trouble together or testing out new hexes on Slytherins (these activities often went together).

Amanda told them one day to stop, because as she said, we were different. We were Slytherins, but, she promised, we weren’t like the rest, if they’d only give us a chance. We didn’t care about blood purity, why couldn’t they just be nice to us? But James and Sirius only laughed at us, and Severus seemed uncomfortable with what Amanda had said, like he was trying to deny it all; he only seemed interested in getting one curse up on James and Sirius.

I never tried to get back at the Gryffindors much, I usually just hoped they’d stop. And it never happened. We were like target practice, just because we were Slytherins. Some way to start out…


*****

I walked onto the Hogwarts Express from the station with my best friends Amanda and Charlotte. The summer had just ended and we were on our way back to school for our sixth year. I had had a completely boring time with my family over the holidays, and was excited to return to school. I hated being so secretive all the time at home – I didn’t want to slip up that I had entirely changed my way of thinking and had discarded my father’s pureblood nonsense. Throughout five years, I had become much more outgoing, open-minded, and confident – at least at Hogwarts I was. But I still couldn’t stand up to my family; I was afraid of what would happen if they found out the truth about me.

My friends and I caught up on our news and watched the familiar scenery pass. I remembered my first ride in the train years ago and how much had changed since then. And how even though the three of us had trouble getting along in the first few minutes of our first year, we had been able to see past that. I was excited for the coming year; Hogwarts was my home and I always enjoyed returning.

After we had shared stories of our summer, our conversation turned to more random topics. As we were discussing the many perfections of Italian food, two other sixth-years entered our compartment. It was Sirius Black and James Potter, two of the biggest troublemakers in school, and also two of the brightest students. They were also both blessed with very good looks. Needless to say, they were rather popular. James had his arms crossed and a smirk on his face, and Sirius was leaning against the doorway looking very carefree, his shaggy dark hair falling into his eyes. Upon seeing the boys, I noticed Mandy blush slightly. I knew this was a bad sign – it meant she liked one of them, in which case she would either just sit there the whole time with a tomato-red face, or she would talk up a storm.

“What do you want?” asked Charlotte without looking up.

“We just came by to talk, is there something wrong with that?” asked James lazily.

I scowled. “Yes, there is. You never talk to us, except for when you’ve made a mess somewhere and you’re trying to avoid getting caught. Who did you hex this time?"

“Prefects will be coming by any time now,” said Charlotte cheerfully.

But Mandy did not see things as we did. She just saw this as an opportunity for flirting, and grinned at the boys. “Hey guys, come join us. I think I have some chocolate frogs or something.” She waved her hand at me as if to make me scoot over to make room for the newcomers. But I wasn’t about to. And those were my chocolate frogs, not hers.

Sirius sat down beside me and James sat next to Mandy. Charlotte, on my other side, continued staring out the window. “So,” Sirius began, taking one of my chocolate frogs and unwrapping it. “I was thinking—”

“Really? That’s new, I didn’t realize you ever did that,” I interrupted.

“Hey, look who it is,” said Mandy, nudging James’s elbow and looking at the door of our compartment. Lily Evans, a Gryffindor Prefect, was walking by, shaking her head in disgust. James ruffled his already messy black hair, opened the door and flirted unashamedly with Lily, as usual.

“Evans,” he said. “You look even lovelier than you did last June.”

And, as per usual, Lily was far from impressed. “And you are just the same as you were then, Potter. We haven’t even been on the train five minutes and I’ve heard that already you’ve hexed Severus and made his hair bubbly. And Selma Yaxley didn’t grow that beard herself.”

I suppressed a laugh. There had always been intense rivalry between any members of Slytherin and Gryffindor House. I'd had to go through a phase as the butt of jokes due to James and Sirius a few years ago, but that had worn off eventually. There was still rivalry, but they didn’t hate us. But with Snape it was different. Severus Snape was James and Sirius’s arch-enemy. There had been mutual hatred between them ever since the first day of school, and ever since then they had been jinxing each other incessantly.

“Well, they’re Slytherins, and they were in the way,” said Sirius. “Snivellus particularly, he walked past our compartment and you could tell he hadn’t washed his hair in weeks, so we just thought we’d help out with a bit of shampoo…”

“Get out of here,” I said, shoving Sirius aside angrily. “If Slytherins are just in your way, why did you come into our compartment?”

“And for heaven’s sake, leave the girls alone too!” Lily continued. “I can see you two are up to something. Have you for some reason got it into your huge head that every Slytherin is out to get you? Are you in there just to bother them because they’re Slytherins?”

“Of course not, what makes you think we would do that? We’re just talking!” James grinned. “Would you like to join us?”

Lily sighed heavily, then turned away from James. “Hi Mandy, Melanie, Charlotte,” she said, in an entirely different, much softer tone of voice. “Good summer?”

“Great,” said Mandy.

“Wonderful until these gits came along just now,” I quipped, gesturing to James and Sirius.

Lily grinned. “Well, nice to see you.” She gave James one last scowl, then shut the door, and after walking away a few paces, kindly stopped to help a first-year up who had tripped. As she walked out of sight I glanced at James, whose eyes were still on Lily’s retreating form. He had had a crush on her ever since I could remember, but in five years he had never once managed to impress Lily. This was because he tended to show off whenever she was around, which only annoyed her.

As if that wasn’t enough, James’s continuous pranks on Snape throughout the past five years had counted against him as well – at least until recently. Lily and Severus had been close for years; they’d known each other since before Hogwarts. Snape was really into the Dark Arts, which Mandy and I had discovered rather early on in our friendship, and by the end of first year we had begun to distrust him. But Lily, who saw the good in everyone, still trusted him despite his growing interest in the Dark Arts. Lily had been furious every time James hexed Snape. But then by the end of last year, Snape’s Dark Arts infatuation had gone too far for Lily, and when he angrily called her a Mudblood, she finally gave up on their friendship. Our group we’d formed on the Hogwarts Express hadn’t lasted long; Charlotte was the only one of us still on good terms with Snape, and that was only because her younger brother Lester was a good friend of Snape’s.

After a few minutes of idle chatter with the boys, they left to rejoin their friends, and I was not surprised to see the floor crawling with enormous ants just after they left… of course the boys hadn’t been here just to talk. We managed to get rid of the ants and then spent a good ten minutes jumping in paranoia anytime anything tickled our arms.

“Well that was a blast,” said Charlotte. I was relieved they had gone but Mandy was still pouting that the boys had left.

“Oh come on,” I told her, “you’ll have plenty of time to flirt when we get to school.”

“I wasn’t…” she sputtered, and turned red.

She was blushing again; she definitely liked one of them. She had never been good at hiding things like that. I laughed and said, “So I take it your new crush is Sirius Black, then? Again? I swear you liked him for at least three months last year… and third year too, come to think of it. So much for being over him.”

Mandy had liked practically every boy in our year at one point or another, and her crush had been Sirius multiple times. I, on the other hand, had liked him for a grand total of five minutes in first year, until I noticed that he walked around acting like he owned the school, and now I thought nothing of him. I wouldn’t deny he was attractive, but he was also arrogant and rather a berk. I couldn’t understand why Mandy and practically all the other girls at school continued to have such a high opinion of him.

“So, Char, you’ve been quiet,” Mandy said, ignoring me.

“Yeah,” I added, “what were you saying before those idiots came in here?”


At dinner in the Great Hall we marveled at how small the incoming first years were. And to think that we had once been so little and so scared. As usual, Mandy and I cheered for the new Slytherins, although this was mainly for show – I personally was never that happy about people getting sorted into Slytherin. I had always felt like I didn’t belong, and felt very little attachment to my house.

The first week of school passed by slowly, as everyone readjusted to homework and stress. On Sunday afternoon, I was sitting on my bed, attempting to diminish the mountain of homework next to me, while most people were outside enjoying the autumn leaves. The grounds were covered with perfect, crisp yellow and red leaves. “Well,” I thought to myself, “I’ll be able to go out there in a week…” I was so frustrated that I failed to notice my writing becoming darker and more forceful, and I exclaimed when my quill punctured the parchment.

Mandy looked up. “What’s wrong?”

“Everything about this horrible Potions essay is wrong,” I replied. “I don’t know any of this. Have you started yours?”

“Oh… um, I just finished,” she said.

I sighed. “I can’t think anymore. I’m going to get some food, you coming?”

Mandy grinned. We went down to the kitchens, talked with the house-elves there and they happily gave us some nice big cinnamon rolls, my favorite. After a while we left and walked around outside eating the cinnamon rolls. It was so relaxing out there, I just wanted to stay there forever, but I knew I couldn’t. Procrastinating really wasn’t a good way to start out the year.


*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Thanks so much for reading! Ok, so it's kind of a weird place to leave it off, I know. Anyway, please leave feedback and tell me what you think!


__________________


Captain of the HMS Arts & Crafts, co-founder of Annie Is My Homegirl, Proud member of the IBP and KEBA

Last edited by marauderfan; May 20th, 2013 at 3:17 am.
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  #2  
Old August 24th, 2007, 12:29 am
marauderfan  Female.gif marauderfan is offline
Second Year
 
Joined: 4132 days
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Re: The Brave at Heart

And here's the rest of chapter 1. I'd like to give a HUGE thank you to Lowrie and nobi_fawkes who left feedback!

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“Mel?”

I looked up, startled from my daydreaming. “Sorry,” I said lamely. I looked back down at my Potions essay I had started earlier in the afternoon before our walk outside, and noted the little amount of progress.

“You went into a stupor or something,” said Mandy, “you’ve been sitting there staring at nothing for ten minutes.”

You do that all the time, when you’re thinking about Sirius Black,” I retorted.

“I never said I liked him. And he has a girlfriend.”

“That never stopped you liking anyone,” I said, and laughed. “Honestly, I don’t know what you see in him, he’s such an arrogant git.”

Well, to be truthful, I knew exactly what she saw. Sirius and James were the best looking guys at Hogwarts. James had been after Lily Evans for so long, so most girls had given up on him as a lost cause. But many girls were just dying to get their hands on Sirius. He’d had quite a few girlfriends, though none of them had lasted long; it seemed he just wasn’t the type for a serious relationship, he just wanted someone to snog when he got bored. It was kind of like how Mandy was about her frequent crushes and boyfriends, actually.

Mandy was a wonderful person, but I wished she’d set her sights on someone a bit more realistic – Sirius would never go for someone like her. All of his previous girlfriends had been very popular and social – and not Slytherin. He’d never go out with a Slytherin; he rarely even talked to us.

“Whatever,” she said. I knew she liked him, even if she refused to admit it this time. It was even more obvious when she turned the topic rapidly. “Potions.”

“Oh, I love potions,” I said sardonically. “About as much as you love Si—” She threw a handful of Bertie Bott’s beans at me.

“Do you need help?” she asked, changing the topic again. She walked over to my bed and sat down, picking up some of the beans. ‘Yes, you do. Boomslang skin, silly, not Bomfrang. Where did that come from?” She started correcting my essay while eating the jellybeans.

“Hey, those are mine,” I whined. “You threw them at me. And that one’s toast flavor.”

“Do you want help or not?”

Ever since our very first day at Hogwarts, Mandy and I had become remarkably close. We formed a tight friendship despite the awkward first train ride, and now we told each other everything, helped each other with homework, and got in trouble together. Charlotte was one of our closest friends as well, but she tended to have more Slytherin views than the two of us. But that never stopped us three being best friends.

Mandy and I were pretty much alone in our very un-Slytherin way of thinking. And to think I could have been a Gryffindor, if I hadn’t asked for Slytherin! It was something I constantly regretted – although, as Mandy had pointed out many times to me, how was I to know then as an impressionable eleven-year-old not to listen to what my family had advised me?

I jumped back to reality. Mandy had just finished my Potions essay, and was looking at me with a funny expression.

“I bet you have a secret crush you’re not telling me about,” she stated excitedly. “That’s why you’re staring off into space.”

“No,” I said truthfully.

“Is it Sirius?” she asked, completely ignoring that I had said “no” to her previous question.

“If I said yes, you would probably kill me,” I teased.

“You didn’t say no… you’re avoiding my question…”

“It’s not Sirius.”

She looked relieved. “Russell?” she guessed.

“No, no, I’ve told you so many times, I’m not boy-crazy like you.”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about. Is it Remus Lupin?”

I sighed resignedly. “Keep guessing, girl, you’ve got a long way to go.”

“Severus Snape,” she teased.

“Urgh, you disgust me.”

Mandy laughed, and played with my quill.

“Right, potions,” I said, reluctantly looking at my stack of papers on my bed that seemed to proclaim a death sentence.

“It’s done, remember? Here, Transfiguration. We can work on this together.” She got a stack of parchment off her bedside table, and a quill and ink. “Turning a table into a tortoise… first we have to make sure we can do it, then we write about it.” She flicked her wand and conjured a small table.

“I’ll try it,” I said. “Okay… um, I think it’s…this,” I waved my wand floppily, and we were immediately faced with a particularly vicious snapping turtle.

“This will take a long time,” sighed Mandy, setting down her quill.

I looked at the snapping turtle, which was currently attacking my slippers. “We should get rid of that.”

-----

I had had a grand total of three hours sleep last night, when I stumbled into Potions the next morning. Mandy was already there, half-asleep. Charlotte was poking her periodically, trying to make sure she stayed awake. We were joined by Russell Thatcher, our fellow sixth year Slytherin. He seemed awake, as did most people in the class. “How did everyone finish their homework?” I asked Charlotte. “We’ve had tons this week!”

“Still as efficient as usual about getting things done, I see,” she said. “I know you definitely have your priorities straight…”

“Don’t even go there,” I mumbled.

“You did fine with it last year,” Russell mentioned. “And this year we don’t have O.W.L.s, so you’ll live. It’s just getting used to the first week that’s hard.”

“Mmhmm.”

The class quieted down as the Potions master entered the room jovially. Professor Slughorn, a plump, short man with a walrus mustache, was one of the teachers I most disliked, as he tended to pick favorites who were either brilliant at his subject or knew important, famous people. He was also Head of Slytherin House; I often wondered why we didn’t get someone nicer. Unaware of the silence caused by the teacher’s arrival, Lily Evans was still scolding James for something and hadn’t noticed Slughorn.

“He’s a prefect!” she said fiercely. “I can’t believe you—”

“Lily, dear?” asked Slughorn, still smiling, and Lily sent one more menacing look at James, then turned around in her seat to face the front.

“Right then, I’ll collect your essays on the Polyjuice Potion,” said Slughorn. “Miss Macintosh?”

“Um, three,” Mandy muttered. Some people laughed. “What?” she asked, raising her head. “Oh…”

Slughorn smiled and said, “Today we will be making the Draught of Living Death. You know what this is for, of course? Lily?”

She hadn’t even had her hand raised, but I knew Slughorn would call on either her or Snape. “It is a very powerful potion that puts the drinker into a deep sleep,” she recited.

“Precisely; ten points to Gryffindor. Well, the ingredients are in the back cabinet, and instructions are in your book on page ten.”

At the end of that particularly awful class I told Mandy, “Next time sleep is a bigger priority than homework.” She nodded. Her potion was blue and frothy; mine looked like cement and tar and smelled just about as wonderful. I had even had to sacrifice some of my hair to the potion, although the ingredients definitely did not require hair. A few brown curls had slipped into the potion, which hardened, so I was forced to cut off a chunk of my hair.

“This is going to be a long week,” Mandy said. “A week of… Living Death.”

Professor Slughorn dismissed class, then said, “Mr. Black, Mr. Snape, Miss Evans, Miss Macintosh, I’d like a word with you.”

Mandy turned around and smirked at me. I raised an eyebrow, and watched amusedly as Mandy and Sirius approached the front, Mandy turning pinker in the face with every step she took, eventually settling on crimson as she stood right next to Sirius. Lily was standing behind them, as far away as she could stand from Slughorn without him noticing, and edging away from Snape when he kept trying to stand right next to her.

I hovered near my table, pretending to collect my things, watching and listening to the conversation. Professor Slughorn was commending them on some work they had done earlier in the week. Lily and Snape were Slughorn’s favourite students, as they were two of the best; as such, he always called on them in class, and they could do no wrong in his eyes. Sirius caused a bit too much trouble, but despite the fact that he had probably never opened a textbook in his life, he was somehow still a brilliant student. Mandy was staring at Sirius, a stupid grin fixed on her face.

I stifled a laugh. Mandy was a good student, and generally the most rational person I had ever met, but she was the complete opposite when she was around boys. And mention anything about the guy she liked – at this point Sirius Black – and her face would turn scarlet and she would start mumbling nonsense.

Eventually Slughorn finished rambling and the three turned to leave. Sirius glanced at Mandy, giving her a weird look, then turned to pick up his bag, facing me. I was picking up my ink bottle for the twelfth time, desperately trying to keep a straight face, but to no avail. I burst out laughing, then rolled my eyes, gesturing to Mandy. Sirius smiled, shaking his head slowly, collected his bag and left quickly.

“Mandy, you are HOPELESS!” I whispered as she floated back to me, still in a trance, the same silly smile disgracing her features. I grabbed her by the arm. “You’re acting like a twelve-year-old. So what was Slughorn talking to you about?”

“Potions,” she muttered dreamily.

“You’re so perceptive,” I laughed, dragging her forcefully toward the door. "Let's go before Slughorn thinks you inhaled some potion that's making you crazy."

Mandy rolled her eyes at me.

"And guess what," I reminded her, "there are Quidditch tryouts next Wednesday! You should try out this year!”

I had tried out last year, but they hadn’t let me on. It seemed that our Captain, seventh-year Roger Simms, only wanted his friends on the team rather than people with ability. But I was going to go for it again, and convince Mandy to do it with me. I just had to get my act together and become more organized… and hope Mandy didn't see Sirius all day so maybe she'd be sane.


*~*~*~*~*~*~*

I hope you liked it, Thank you for reading! Please leave feedback... because by interpreting the portents in the crystal ball, I foresee you clicking this Feedback link.


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Last edited by marauderfan; August 17th, 2012 at 1:29 am.
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  #3  
Old August 31st, 2007, 4:49 am
marauderfan  Female.gif marauderfan is offline
Second Year
 
Joined: 4132 days
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Age: 27
Posts: 258
Re: The Brave at Heart

Well, I was going to post this yesterday but I had to help out with Sophomore orientation as a peer mentor. Yesterday was the one-year anniversary of when I first posted this story... Oh look, I'm getting all sentimental I guess I'll let you get on with the chapter then!


*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Chapter 2: Mischief and Malice


Of course, Mandy had finished all of her homework by the time Quidditch tryouts began; I still had a stack the size of the Astronomy Tower. But I was going to be at the tryouts no matter what. I was going to go for the position of Beater, just like last year. When I had played games of Quidditch at home with my brother and his friends, they had always made me a Beater because none of them liked doing it. But I liked it, and Nathan had always said I was good at it. I wasn’t the strongest hitter, but I had great aim.

Mandy had said I was amazing too, last year when she saw me practicing for the tryouts, but tonight was not one of those times. I was behind the castle practicing for the tryouts, but I was exhausted from lack of sleep, and kept hitting the rocks I was using as Bludgers off in random directions. Mandy passed by at one point, and teased, “You have to do better than that if you want to be Captain next year…” She knew I had always been hoping to make it on the team, and become Captain next year so I could make a difference in the horrible way the team was led. So far, it wasn’t looking like that was possible.

“Oh shut up,” I snapped. “Watch out, I might hit a Bludger at you.”

After dinner I couldn’t concentrate on anything until the tryouts began. Half an hour before they were scheduled to start I walked down to the pitch with my Cleansweep Five broomstick, Mandy following with one of the school’s old brooms. We practiced with the actual Bludgers and bats, which were down on the field with Simms already, and I soon felt ready to go.

After the new team members had been chosen for the three Chaser positions, it had started to get dark, and the last two tryouts remaining were Beaters and Seeker. Three people other than myself were striving for the two Beater positions. Stephan Flint, a seventh year, was first, and he was good. But then came fifth years Richard Nott and Edgar Bulstrode, and I personally thought their existence was an embarrassment to Slytherin House.

I was next. I hit the Bludgers exactly where I wanted them to go, and it thrilled me to know that I could still perform well despite being tired and nervous. I knew I had done better than Nott and Bulstrode, but whether or not Simms would do anything about it was a different story.

“Our new Beaters are Flint and Nott,” announced Simms with a sneer. “Seekers come on down.”

I watched the Seeker tryouts with little interest until Mandy got up there. She did remarkably well catching the Snitch amidst the Bludgers and Quaffle and the several other players that were flying around her. I was proud of her, and thought that if Simms chose Bernard Warrington instead of Mandy, then he was an idiot. Of course, I already knew he was an idiot, but I could still hope, right?

“Warrington’s our new Seeker, everyone!” Idiot. I rolled my eyes, and when Mandy came back I told her she had done a good job despite what Simms said. Warrington’s tryout had been rubbish, but Simms failed to see that. But at least we had tried.

After the failed tryouts I went back to poring over my immense piles of work in the common room. After what seemed like hours of writing, I practiced some nonverbal spells for Defense Against the Dark Arts, but was unable to do much. I slumped onto the floor, parchment flying everywhere, and scooted over to the fire. How would I get through all of this?

I heard a sound behind me, but when I turned around there was nothing. Suddenly Mandy materialized out of her Invisibility Cloak, smiling. “You look tired. Want to go take a break?” Mandy had had her Invisibility Cloak ever since I could remember. Frequently we would make night-time voyages through the castle, whether to the kitchens, or just taking a walk to get our minds off stress.

“I was about to die,” I said. “Of course I do!”

We walked on up several staircases, and were nonchalantly prowling a seventh-floor corridor near a painting of a fat lady in a pink dress, when we ran into something else invisible. Our invisibility cloak slipped and revealed my head, and Mandy ended up sprawled on her back on the floor. I gasped as I discovered that in front of us were the heads of James Potter and Sirius Black, both of them looking shocked and noticeably shifty-eyed. Apparently, one of them had a cloak as well, and we had bumped right into them. Upon recognizing these two, Mandy promptly said “Hi” very loudly, blushed, stood up, and forcefully pulled our cloak over us again. Then, rather awkwardly, we both continued our separate ways. James must have thought we were gone, because we heard him quietly say a password to the portrait, which swung forward to reveal a hole in the wall. Now we knew the location and the password to Gryffindor’s common room! This was a definite opportunity for retaliating mischief, something I had long wanted to do.

Not that the school needed any more mischief; James, Sirius, and their best friends Remus Lupin and Peter Pettigrew were a very close group known as the Marauders. They were Hogwarts’ lead troublemakers, infamous for their tricks played on the school, especially on Slytherins. But now we had a chance to get back at them. Mandy and I decided we wouldn’t let that chance pass by.

We hadn’t officially planned anything out, but two days later, when we went down to the Great Hall for breakfast, Mandy looked uncharacteristically smug. “What did you do?” I asked suspiciously. “Did you go over to Gryffindor Tower…?” I scanned the Gryffindor table. Nothing seemed odd, although Sirius wasn’t sitting by his girlfriend; in fact the latter was nowhere to be seen. Suddenly it dawned on me. “Kristen isn’t there. You were playing tricks on her, weren’t you? I thought we were only going to do something to the Marauders. Oh no, what did you do to her?”

She didn’t need to respond. At that moment, a group of chattering girls came in, surrounding a girl with green hair, whose face was hidden in her hands. Mandy giggled and watched excitedly. Kristen walked to the Gryffindor table, where Sirius saw her hair and laughed. They got into an argument, and I noticed that Mandy was even more pleased. My guess was that Kristen thought Sirius had done it. In the end, Sirius’s hair had been turned purple and he was sitting next to her anyway.

Mandy’s gleeful smile dropped off her face, and I turned to her and said, “You were trying to make them break up! You’re horrible! She never did anything to you. Although I have to say that was pretty lame.”

Classes seemed incredibly long that day. In our first class, Transfiguration, Mandy and I came up with a delightful scheme to play a trick on the Marauders. I convinced Mandy that we had no need to prank anyone but the idiots who pranked Slytherins. During class we formed a plan, and every class seemed to last forever as we waited with anticipation for the night.

Late that night, after we had finished our work (however distractedly it was done), we snuck into the Gryffindor common room and hung Slytherin banners everywhere, then up into the boys’ dormitory and carefully Levitated all the beds up so they were touching the ceiling. Mandy cast another charm that would hold the beds up there till morning. They might figure out who had done it, but they couldn’t prove it.

The next day at breakfast, we had found the Great Hall transformed into a Great Barn with four long hay bales instead of tables. There appeared to be a cow munching on the Slytherin hay bale. So the Marauders had woken up early, and gotten away with something else… I just hoped they had all hit their heads on the ceiling when they woke up, and had trouble getting the beds down.

Mandy and I decided we needed to do much better. This obviously had not made enough of an impression. During the day, Mandy, Charlotte and decided to form our own group: the Anti-Marauders. We discussed our ideas secretly until late in the night. Over the next week we showed what we could do. Our pranks equaled the intensity of the Marauders’, only with Gryffindor as the target of our pranks. And, nobody had yet caught the devious culprits. Hogwarts was constantly going to be subjected to mischief now, and already this week Filch, the caretaker, had been noticeably more grouchy.


*~*~*~*~*~*~*

My arms were aching as Mandy and I walked through the hall on our way to Charms some time later. I was carrying numerous books, each with unfinished homework crammed inside, and my bag was slung over my shoulder. We came up to a corner and as we turned left, I tripped over Mandy’s foot. I landed on my knees, and dropped my books and bag with a loud, resounding THUD. Quills and ink bottles scattered from my bag. Looking up, I was startled to see a crowd of students surrounding two boys in the center. Everyone turned to look at me.

I was about to run away, mortified, when I noticed again the students in the center. Elliott Jasper, a fifth-year Slytherin who was always picking on younger students, was now pointing his wand at a cowering second-year Gryffindor. This happened quite often, and I hated it, because it reminded me of my father when he got angry at me for being a disappointment. Usually I tried to stay out of fights that weren’t my business, but thanks to my smart mouth I’d sometimes find myself involved anyway. This time, I’d already made such an entrance that people were staring at me, and then the kid looked at me too, pleading silently for help with wide, terrified eyes.

My embarrassment was replaced with anger when I saw Jasper threatening that kid. I rushed into the circle, shoving a few kids out of the way, and stood between the two boys. Whispers erupted everywhere around me in the crowd. I gently pushed the trembling Gryffindor out of the way, and advanced on Elliott, pointing my wand at him. “Stop this right now!” I shouted, acting much braver than I felt. “You’re three years older than he is; I thought you’d know better.”

“Are you standing up for the Mudblood, Hastings?” he sneered. “You’re a Slytherin! And in case you hadn’t noticed, you aren’t a prefect and this is none of your business. You can just leave, and pick up the stuff you dropped very gracefully over there.”

There were some snickers in the crowd, but I ignored them.

“I’m standing up for what’s right, and picking on a Muggle-born isn’t right.” I gave him a death glare.

“Defending what’s right? This is right! Scum like that,” he pointed his wand menacingly at the Gryffindor, “shouldn’t be allowed in the school! You should know that. But, maybe you’re just… not good enough to be a Slytherin.” I could hear the horrible empty silence of the crowd surrounding us, and the footsteps of even more observers arriving.

“Listen,” I said coldly. “This is not—”

He continued relentlessly. “You wouldn’t fit in with any of the other houses, so you randomly got dumped in Slytherin. What a disgrace to our House! I’ve heard that you try brainwashing the younger kids to make them more like you. But you don’t fit in anywhere, Hastings.” he finished with an awful sneer.

He didn’t know how true that was, how much those words hurt. But I didn’t show it. I even managed to keep holding my wand just as steadily. “I am not brainwashing anyone, I just try to get people to treat others fairly. I’m trying to make sure none of them turn out like you. Just so you know, next time you’re planning to be nasty, pick on someone your own size. You’re three years older than he is and you’re almost a foot taller. That only proves you’re a coward, Jasper.”

I put my wand away and pushed my way right out of the crowd, knelt down to pick up my quills and ink bottles, which were still lying on the floor, and found myself face to face with the Marauders. They were all looking down at me curiously. Oh, no, not now, I thought. I really didn’t want to be teased, or to talk to anyone right now, not even Mandy, wherever she was; I was too angry.

“What are you looking at?” I asked, flustered. I was still kneeling on the ground, collecting my books.

“Didn’t expect that from you, Hastings,” said James with a mild look of surprise on his face. Peter looked like he was in awe of me, but his face just usually looked like that.

“I’m full of surprises,” I said expressionlessly. “Run along now, you don’t want people to think you’re willingly talking to a Slytherin.”

Sirius looked thoughtful and said, “I think it’s pretty clear now that you’re not a typical, foul, blood-purity-obsessed, nasty Slytherin.”

“Okay, congratulations, that only took you five years to realize,” I said. “And was that a compliment or an insult? I really can’t tell.” So maybe they were coming to see me in a different light now, but honestly all I wanted was for them to get out of my way so I could leave. I had a class to get to. Although, they had the same class, but seemed to be in no hurry.

I looked down again, and thrust my belongings haphazardly into my bag. “Excuse me, I have to get to Charms,” I said quickly. I stood up and tried to leave, but I felt a hand grab my shoulder. “What,” I demanded.

It was Remus Lupin. He was holding out my copy of Advanced Potion-Making. “You dropped this.”

I snorted. “I dropped a lot of stuff,” I said bluntly, probably the stupidest thing I could have said on the occasion, but I couldn’t think of anything else. I laughed in spite of myself.

Remus laughed. “You know, Sirius really didn’t mean to offend you,” he said, handing me the book. I looked over at Sirius, and the expression on his face upon hearing Remus’s words indicated that he probably had meant to offend me. Remus continued, "I’m sure all of Gryffindor would thank you for defending a Gryffindor instead of going along with someone from your own house. At least you know that you won’t get pranks played on you by other Gryffindors.”

I sighed. I was sure none of Gryffindor was going to be lining up to thank me anytime soon, but I felt calmer for some reason. But a thought struck me. “Other Gryffindors, you say? I see you’re keeping yourselves out of this…” I raised my eyebrows.

“Anyway, thanks so much,” said Peter, cleverly changing the subject.

“Don’t mention it,” I said, smiling slightly, and hoping that none of the afternoon’s events, especially my dramatic entrance, would be mentioned. Which I was sure would happen anyway. I looked back at where there had previously been a mob of students, and everyone had left by now. Mandy was standing behind me, waiting patiently, staring at someone who was in front of me. No surprise there. I could see Elliott at the other end of the hall, probably thinking of some vicious plot to make me look stupid. I turned back to the Marauders. Sirius was staring down the hall with a slight frown, Peter looked relieved that I hadn’t punched him, Remus was smiling slightly, and James had just run off, presumably after Lily.

“I should get going,” I said, and turned to leave, then realized I had left Mandy there in the presence of Sirius. Not good. I whirled back around and grabbed Mandy’s arm, although she had already started talking to him about some completely random thing. I caught Sirius’s eye and we exchanged a glance that clearly said how pathetic we both thought Mandy was. I grinned and walked away with Mandy.

By that evening, life had returned to normal. People had stopped talking about that episode in the hallway, the Marauders were back to largely ignoring us, and the rest of the week passed by as usual, except for the announcement of an upcoming event. Posted on boards around the school were notices declaring a Hogsmeade weekend in the beginning of October. Everyone was excited for it, and I heard it talked about all over the school.

Most Hogsmeade trips so far, Mandy, Charlotte and I had stayed as a group. Occasionally Mandy wasn’t with us because she’d have a date, and Charlotte and I would walk around on our own, but Mandy was single for the time being. But as we were eating dinner that night, Russell asked Mandy, and she agreed immediately.

As we were walking up to our dormitories afterwards, I told Mandy, “Finally! You better not keep talking about Sirius now.”

“I won’t,” she said. “You weirdo. What makes you think I like Sirius? Oh, it’s going to be so different this time! It’s always been you, me, and Charlotte together.”

“Well, I’m sure you’ll have a great time!” I said. “And guess what, only a week after that trip, is the first Quidditch match! Slytherin versus Ravenclaw!”

“So who are you going with?”

“What? Er…” There was no way I was going with a date. “Myself?”

“No, you can’t do that. Since you can’t go with me and Charlotte… wait, does she have a date?”

“Ask her,” I said, dreading whatever horrible scheme Mandy was planning. When she got that glint in her eyes, nothing would turn out well.

“If she doesn’t you can go with her; if she does, I’ll set you up with someone.”

“Oh wonderful,” I said sardonically, as we pushed open the door to our dormitory.

“Stop that, you’ll have a great time. I’ll make sure it’s someone you’ll like, I know I can. I’m good with people.”

I snorted. “Most people,” I corrected. “I don’t think drooling and staring counts as—ow!” She hit me with her elbow.

“Hey, I do not… You go on like that and I’ll tell the world you have a crush on Professor Alvers.”

“Eww!” I exclaimed, laughing. “I don’t think you could have picked a more revolting person! Well, no one would believe you, anyway.” Professor Alvers was our new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher; we got a new one every year for some reason. Alvers was short and had thick eyebrows, and his round head was mostly bald, but the hair he did have was long and straggly. He also didn’t seem to know his subject very well.

Mandy turned to Charlotte, who was sitting on her bed writing a letter home. “Charlotte, are you going to Hogsmeade with anyone?”

“Yeah, with Andrew,” she said. My jaw dropped. This was a pretty amazing piece of news coming from the girl who usually told guys who asked her out that they should take a long walk off a short pier. Sweet girl, she was. But maybe she actually liked Andrew. “He asked me just ten minutes ago!” Charlotte continued. “Sorry, I feel bad leaving you guys… unless you’re going with someone?”

“Russell,” Mandy replied.

“Oh that’s great! He’s nice, you’ll have a wonderful time! And what about you, Mel?”

“Um…” I said helpfully.

“Did I hear something about Professor Alvers?” she asked, fighting back giggles. I threw a pillow at her.

Mandy grinned. “I’m going to find someone for her to go with.”

“No,” I interrupted, “I’m, well, I think I have to… shop for a new broomstick. I need a new one, you see. I’ll just go alone, I don’t need help deciding which one. Maybe I could get a new quill…”

“All day?” said Mandy, smirking. “Well, great, all you need is someone to shop with… you’ll find out.” She sat on Charlotte’s bed and the two of them began plotting in whispers and every once in a while glancing at me.

“Oh please,” I said, “Let’s talk about something else, something interesting? Slytherin versus Ravenclaw in two weeks, do you think we’ll win?”

“You’re not going alone.”

I was fighting a losing battle with my friends, so I started my homework. This was really more of a war, and my homework won; I fell asleep, parchment strewn all over my bed and the floor.


*~*~*~*~*~*~*

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Last edited by marauderfan; April 13th, 2013 at 5:27 am.
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  #4  
Old September 23rd, 2007, 7:49 am
marauderfan  Female.gif marauderfan is offline
Second Year
 
Joined: 4132 days
Location: Beyond the veil
Age: 27
Posts: 258
Re: The Brave at Heart

Ok, I would really have liked to work more with this post, but its been a long time since I posted and I decided to do that rather than write this abominable lab report for school. So it's kind of short, but anyway, here is the post.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Chapter 3: A Trip to Hogsmeade


On Monday, people were already starting to lose concentration from their studies, looking forward to Saturday’s trip. Charlotte decided it was time for the Anti-Marauders to strike again. During lunch Mandy set off a Dungbomb as a diversion, while Charlotte and I charmed a wall to suck in all its passersby so that people would stick to the wall. Students passed this wall after exiting the Great Hall, so after lunch on the way to our next class, we discovered thirty students, Filch’s abominable cat Mrs. Norris, and Professor Flitwick stuck to the Black Hole Wall. It lasted ten minutes, and it was fabulously entertaining to watch people get stuck. Filch hunted for the Marauders, eagerly awaiting the opportunity to punish them, but they were all stuck to the wall. Class started late as a result of the mishap, so we got extra homework.

After a long week during which not a lot got done, Saturday eventually arrived, and we lined up in the hall to have our names checked off by a wheezing, scowling Filch. We all had to be extremely serious otherwise Filch would think something suspicious was up, and the person laughing would be held back until Filch made sure the person wasn’t actually having fun. So of course a common thing to do in line was to try to make others laugh.

As Filch looked for my name on the list, Mandy tickled me. I snorted with suppressed laughter, and as Filch glared at me I managed to turn it into a bad cough. Mandy pounded me on the back, turning red with her effort not to laugh at my feeble attempt not to laugh. Filch evidently suspected us both of something, as he told us to wait while he wheezed at the rest of the students in line behind us. We were last out of the castle.

“Now I’ve lost Russell,” said Mandy.

“Your own fault for making me laugh,” I said, “Bye, have fun,” and turned right into Zonko’s. I felt a hand grasp my arm.

“Nooo… remember?” said Mandy, grinning. “Come with me…” she steered me to the Three Broomsticks. “In there,” she said and pushed me through the door.

It was warm inside, and I was glad to be out of the chilly wind. It was very crowded inside. I turned around to ask Mandy where I was supposed to go, but she had already left. Of course, just like Mandy, she had played a trick on me. There wasn’t anyone here who didn’t already have a date.

I put my hand on the door handle, ready to go back outside, but it was cold and I had nowhere else to go, so I decided to stay and bought myself a butterbeer. Since all the tables were full, I moved through the crowd and stood leaning against the window, my face pressed against the foggy glass. Few students were outside, and from what I could see of other shops, they looked packed with people. Even if I decided to leave the Three Broomsticks, I wouldn’t be able to get inside anywhere. I turned back around to face the shop, and saw Remus Lupin leaning against the wall a few feet away from me.

“Hi,” I said glumly. “I didn’t see you there.”

“That’s because I just got here. There aren’t any tables…”

“Well of course not, everyone here has a date. You’d think it was Valentine’s Day or something.”

“Not everyone,” he said. “I don’t. And… well, did you come alone?” he asked, apparently noticing I wasn’t holding hands with anyone.

I laughed. “My friend set me up with someone, who didn’t show up. Either that or my friend was playing a trick on me.”

“Same here. Friends tend to do that, don’t they…”

A thought struck me. Not many people were here alone. Could it be… “Ummm, so you know Amanda Macintosh?” I asked.

“Not very well, why? Is she the one who sent you in here?”

“Yeah... Well, do you think that our friends set us up? Mandy could have talked to your friend, they could have talked behind our backs or something, I don’t know…”

“You’re really hoping you actually did have a date then, huh?” he teased. “It’s possible. Sirius refused to let me go alone, so maybe he talked to Mandy to see if—”

“No,” I interrupted. “Are you kidding? Mandy talk to Sirius? She’s never been able to say one word of sense in his presence. It’s supposed to be a secret that she likes him, she insists she doesn’t, but it’s so obvious you must have noticed anyway. And why would Sirius talk to a Slytherin in the first place?”

“I’m sure he doesn’t hate all Slytherins.”

I raised an eyebrow. “Says the person who has helped play tricks on Slytherins his entire time at Hogwarts…”

“Who, me?”

“Yes,” I replied bluntly. “Good observation.”

It came out in more of a harsh tone than I expected. I leaned my head against the window and sighed. My hand formed a tight fist around the end of my Slytherin-colors scarf, and pulled it off from around my neck. Everyone had a grudge against me before they even knew me, just because of my House. The school really needed more unity.

Remus must have realized it was starting to get awkward, and he said, “Do you want to come into Honeydukes with me?”

Maybe he was different, maybe he judged a person on their personality rather than their scarf colors. He seemed more sensitive than the rest of the Marauders, but I didn’t really know any of them extremely well. At this suggestion though, I couldn’t resist teasing him.

I narrowed my eyes. “You want to go with a Slytherin?” I said. “That would definitely ruin your reputation.”

“Good point, I’ll just stand alone by this window for the rest of the day,” he said. “That’s much better, don’t you think?”

I laughed. “How about Zonko’s?” I suggested. “It’s more fun in there.”

“You planning to wreak some havoc around the school?” he asked as we walked outside. “You don’t seem like the mischievous type.”

“That’s because I’m good at hiding it. I don’t get caught.”

“Caught? I’ve never seen you doing anything you could get in trouble for.”

“The point is to not be seen. You have a lot to learn, Lupin. You and the rest of the Marauders. That’s why you always end up in detention.”

“That’s usually James and Sirius. I’m a prefect. Which reminds me, I could take away points for that speech you made just then. I could also take points from Slytherin next time something funny happens around the school, because I can say you’re behind it.”

“Threats, now? You’re just jealous because I’ve never been caught. And so one of the infamous Marauders is a prefect? Well that’s pointless…”

We walked into Zonko’s, where it was crowded as usual. “I am not jealous. If you’re not caught, your pranks must have been so basic, like setting off a Dungbomb—”

“Oh, do you really want to know?” I said. “Don’t you remember waking up with your beds practically on the ceiling a few weeks ago? And soon after that when the Great Hall’s magic ceiling actually rained on everyone? Or, more recently, the wall that people kept getting stuck to? I believe you were caught there… Certainly you remember all those pranks you didn’t do but kept getting in trouble for them. Courtesy of the Anti-Marauders.” I grinned.

Well, there goes our secretness, I thought. Thanks to me.

My annoyance with myself was alleviated when I saw Remus’s face. He was looking at me with a stunned expression. “That was you?” he asked, disbelieving. “Wow.”

“With some other Slytherins, yes. Go ahead, prefect, give me a detention. It was well worth it.” I picked up a Fanged Frisbee, and examined it nonchalantly.

Remus walked with me through the shop, and we talked about other entertaining ways to make Filch angry, including pranks, loud singing, and chasing Mrs. Norris in an Invisibility Cloak. As we paid for our purchases, Remus said, “We should have an Annoy Filch championship. Whoever does the best pranks and doesn’t get caught wins.” He had a mischievous glint in his eyes that I had never seen before.

“Whoever made you prefect must have been insane! I’ve never seen you act like this before.”

“Dumbledore is not insane, Hastings. So are you chickening out?” He grinned.

“No,” I said hesitantly. I had a feeling one group would have the cleverer tricks, and the other would evade capture by Filch. It was hopeless, really. “Okay, we’ll do it. But really, Remus, you of all people, suggesting this? Your friends have had a bad influence on you. Oh, you wait till Dumbledore finds out what the prefect has been up to…”

“Hopefully he won’t find out it was me,” he said.

I snorted. “He’ll know.”

“So I guess the competition is on, then! I wasn’t expecting you to actually agree.”

“Oh, thanks a ton. Who’s going to be the judge? We need someone neutral.”

“How about Filch? The more he grumbles and scowls and stomps around, the better the prank.”

”He’s going to get so angry, we’ll have to lock him up in a closet to ensure that he doesn’t torture any students.”

“Good idea, that would be excellent. So, you and your group – first of all, you need a better name – have the first prank. We’ll be waiting anxiously to see it tomorrow.” He raised his eyebrows.

“What’s wrong with our name?” I asked. “It’s perfect.”

“Not creative enough.”

“You just don’t like the fact that it makes you the target. But don’t worry, all tricks are on Filch for this.”


*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Tell me what you liked, what you didn't like, or anything. Just please leave something here in the land of bliss and rainbows aka the feedback thread!! Thank you for reading, and infinite thanks to everyone who has left feedback so far!!


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Last edited by marauderfan; June 8th, 2012 at 8:25 am.
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  #5  
Old July 29th, 2008, 5:24 am
marauderfan  Female.gif marauderfan is offline
Second Year
 
Joined: 4132 days
Location: Beyond the veil
Age: 27
Posts: 258
Re: The Brave at Heart

Well, I'm not even going to pretend I have a good excuse for ignoring this story for a year. I was busy, and when I wasn't, I was too lazy. That's it. The sad thing is that I've had a lot of it written for a while but never bothered to post it and forgot about it. But now I'm back to finish this... so if you still want to read, I'll keep posting!

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Chapter 4: A Trick for Hogwarts

We spent the day wandering through all the shops of Hogsmeade, staying out of the cold wind as much as possible. We were talking about Professor McGonagall’s most recent Transfiguration assignment when I suddenly realized how late it was.

“Not that I dislike your company, but we should be heading back,” I said.

“Right,” he realized, and started to walk back to the castle. “Well this was fun, thanks for joining me.”

“No problem. Hey by the way, you’ll be supporting Slytherin in the Quidditch match on Saturday, right?”

“Um, I don’t… I mean, yes, of course.”

“That’s what I thought! I knew you would,” I said, even though I thought he wouldn’t and I knew he didn’t mean it. “Here, you can wear this wonderful Slytherin scarf.” I took off my scarf and threw it around his neck. “There, that’s perfect.” He gave me a funny look.

We reached the castle and went our separate directions. Remus went up the stairs toward Gryffindor Tower; I went down to the Slytherin dungeon. When I opened the door I nearly ran into a couple snogging – it was Mandy and Russell. Awkwardly I tried to sneak around them, but Mandy turned and withdrew herself, her cheeks slightly pink.

“Er, hi,” I said, backing out through the door again. “Sorry. Um, I was just going to leave, anyway. I left my – um, my scarf outside, I’ll go and get it, see you later—” I closed the door, which turned back into a bare stretch of stone wall. Now what?

I started to walk back out the way I had come, but the door opened again. “Hi,” said Mandy. “I want to talk to you. I was waiting for you to get back.”

“Oh, I bet,” I said sarcastically. “What about Russell? You can’t just—”

“He went upstairs, it’s fine, he doesn’t care. So…”

“Well,” I said, “you… obviously had a great time.”

“Yeah. What about you? How was your date?”

“Oh… I couldn’t find who you were talking about,” I said.

“What?” asked Mandy, surprised.

“Hey, it’s not my fault you just left. So yeah, I went around alone,” I lied, “bought myself a new quill and stuff, you want to see?” I tried to maintain a straight face, eager to see Mandy’s reaction.

“You didn’t! Not after everything I set up?” She looked shocked.

I laughed. “Well, I met Remus Lupin in the Three Broomsticks, and—”

“So you did find him,” Mandy said, beaming.

“But – wait, who did you organize that with? Remus said Sirius organized his date. I knew you didn’t talk to Sirius…”

“No, I talked with Lily. I guess Sirius mentioned to her that he wanted to set up a date for Remus because Remus was still upset over his girlfriend breaking up with him last spring. Lily said Sirius thought she should arrange it because according to him, girls are better at setting up things like blind dates. Lily and Sirius aren’t great friends, but she agreed because she and Remus are friends – they’re both prefects, you know – and Lily mentioned to me—”

“I don’t remember you talking secretly, where was I?” I asked.

“It was one of those silly Slug Club meetings that Slughorn makes us go to. Those are really boring, we both try to get out of going to them, but we always end up stuck there.”

“I see,” I said. Then suddenly I remembered my conversation in Hogsmeade. “Listen, we have to do a prank on Filch tomorrow.”

“What? Hey, I wasn’t done. You interrupted me, I was asking you about your date! So what happened? What did you do?”

“Not much, we just walked around. He’s much friendlier than I’ve ever given him credit for. And then we organised an Annoy Filch contest. Us versus the Marauders. We have to do something by tomorrow!”

Mandy grinned. “Well, you’ll have to finish telling me all about your date later. But since the Anti-Marauders have been called to duty, let’s find Charlotte!”


------------

We found Charlotte in the dormitory, playing Exploding Snap with Alanna Travers, another of our roommates. “Char, put that away,” I said, “We have some scheming to do.”

Alanna looked up at our mischievous faces, then to Charlotte, and raised her eyebrows. Charlotte grinned and said, “How wonderful, you can be our new recruit!”

“I don’t know,” she said evasively. “Well actually anything you three are planning, I don’t think I want to be a part of it. You’re going to get in trouble…”

“All right, suit yourself,” said Charlotte. “Oh, by the way, you never heard a word of this.”

“Oh, I won’t tell,” she said. “Be careful, I don’t want Slytherin losing a hundred points because of you.”

“Fear not, my fair friend,” said Mandy with a grin. “We’re experts.”

We all sat on my bed and closed the hangings. I told them the situation. Mandy got distracted and asked me what Remus and I had talked about, to which my reply was simply “Locking Filch in a closet.”

“Brilliant!” said Charlotte excitedly. “Oh, if we could only pull that off, it would beat anything the Marauders do.”

“Yeah, but how are we going to manage that?” I whispered, laughing. “Look, we were joking! I didn’t think you would seriously—” I broke off, and tried a different tactic. “He would see us.”

“Not if we have my Invisibility Cloak,” said Mandy.

“We can’t lock Filch in a closet! Honestly, I would love to… is it possible? We should do it if we could! But the professors wouldn’t let us have meals or anything until someone confessed. I guess that wouldn’t work. We could steal all his chains and torture devices he has for students, you know how he loves those; or put something else of his in the closet…”

“Mrs. Norris,” said Charlotte.

I realized how great this would be if we managed it. The other professors wouldn’t be that angry about Filch’s stupid cat. We soon had an excellent plan formed. At dinner we were forced to pause our scheming, but immediately after we finished we sprinted right back down to our plans. “Everyone knows what they’re going to do?” I said. “Let’s review the plan.”

In the morning, Charlotte and Mandy would sneak out in the cloak and go Mrs.-Norris-hunting. We had persuaded Peeves, the poltergeist, to hide in a closet. Normally he didn’t do what people asked him to do, but when we told him we’d be creating a large amount of mischief with his help, he was easily convinced, because creating messes was his purpose for being. Mrs. Norris always seemed to skulk around where something was being uncharacteristically noisy, and Peeves in a closet was bound to be noisy. When Mrs. Norris approached the closet, Charlotte and Mandy would then open the door quickly and push, or kick, Mrs. Norris into the closet, and perhaps with their excellent Transfiguration skills they would transfigure her into something bizarre. Peeves would zoom out of the closet and probably wreak havoc in the area. I would be on the other side of the school, on another floor, setting off Dungbombs and Stinkpellets to attract Filch. Then we would all quickly leave the area. It was expertly planned.

------------

None of us got much sleep that night. As we saw the horizon growing lighter with pink streaks, Charlotte and Mandy left in the Invisibility Cloak, and I got a bag of Dungbombs. I headed for the sixth floor while the others crept into a first floor hallway, to make sure Peeves was in the closet. I reached the end of my corridor, and set off a dozen Dungbombs. I listened for footsteps for a few moments, then decided it was a bad idea for me to be hanging around, especially since I didn’t have the cloak. I slunk around to a tapestry and was about to push through it to the shortcut, when something burst out from behind it.

It was Filch.

He was cursing in rage, and luckily he was looking down. I was also not in front of him; I was a little off to his left. I leapt into the tapestry the moment I saw him emerge, hoping he hadn’t seen me and wouldn’t turn back around. My heart was thumping so loudly I was certain he could hear it echoing in the cavernous hallway. But it seemed he was only focused on the Dungbombs at the end of the hall, hoping to catch the culprit in action. Well, he nearly had, I thought, and I almost laughed. I heard Filch’s footsteps receding, and I remembered I should leave. I felt rooted to the spot, my heart still hammering. I managed to move, eventually, although it took me a long time because I kept stopping and listening, and every small noise made me jump in paranoia.

I finally came out near the common room, and I saw a throng of students leaving it just as I arrived. I joined them. They walked into a long hallway on the first floor where a crowd had already assembled around a small closet that was making odd sounds. A vase was smashed next to it.

I felt a tap on my shoulder. I turned around to face Mandy and Charlotte, both of whom were smiling. I felt relieved. At least their part had gone well. “Wow, what happened, Mel?” asked Mandy. “You look pale.”

“Filch…” I whispered. “I barely escaped.”

“Oh, no,” said Charlotte. “But you made it, so great work! Peeves dropped that vase. It was on that little table over there. It started wailing, all the pieces did, which brought all the students here. What a weird vase, I can’t think why anyone would want something that noisy. And… oh, here he comes!”

We could hear someone stomping and swearing all the way down the stairs. The gathered students looked up in eager anticipation. Filch appeared, his eyes bulging and his mouth twisted in a grimace. He spotted the students surrounding the closet, and grabbed the door handle. It was locked.

“We used Colloportus on it,” Mandy whispered. “Filch is a Squib, I think, so he won’t be able to open it.”

Filch was glaring back at all the students. “What did you do, you miscreants?” He pointed his finger at two third-year Hufflepuffs who had just been laughing loudly. They immediately stopped. Filch turned his gaze to other students, examining their faces so he could try to spot the guilty one. He pounded on the door and all of a sudden he went through it. The door seemed to have just swallowed him.

“What did you do?” I whispered. “I thought we were only going to—”

“We changed the plans,” said Charlotte. “Don’t worry. Look, we got Filch stuck inside a closet! And he has no way of knowing who did it!”

I was so glad they had managed it. Our original plan had worked out after all. The noise and confusion continued, and we wondered if Filch had discovered his beautiful cat was inside the closet with him. He continued swearing and banging on the door. In a few minutes Professor McGonagall showed up, her mouth in a thin line, and said “Alohomora.” She whipped open the door and Filch tumbled out, followed by a thin gray sheep with lamplike eyes, bleating loudly. A roar of laughter erupted when the Hogwarts students recognized the noisy sheep as Mrs. Norris. Filch let out a horrible shriek and howled. I was laughing so hard, tears came to my eyes. “That was brilliant!” I told my friends. “If only you two could get extra points for Transfiguration!”

Filch continued to stare around at everyone, his eyes popping out of his head, trying once again to find the guilty person. Professor McGonagall was looking suspiciously at James, Sirius, Remus, and Peter, whom I was pleased to see laughing hysterically. We had pulled off an amazing prank, and gotten away with it. It would be a good day.

It wasn’t so great for Filch, though. After the sheep had been returned to its original, repulsive state as Mrs. Norris, Filch was still in a nasty temper. He tried to punish a first-year for sneezing in the hall. Another student was berated for tripping; Filch said the spilled ink was vandalism of the floor and that the scattered parchment cluttered the hall, which could be dangerous. I purposely avoided Filch as much as possible, lest he discover my guilty conscience.

Throughout the day, my lack of sleep from prank planning became evident. I almost fell asleep in Ancient Runes, which was my favorite class! I was tremendously glad I didn’t have Divination anymore, or I would certainly have fallen asleep in the perfumed, stuffy room. Somehow I managed to stay awake, but my notes in class became scrawled and messy. I also got extra homework for being somewhat vacant in class. But I didn’t care today. Today was perfect.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Thank you so much for reading and sticking with me, I really appreciate it!
Feedback is always welcome!


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Last edited by marauderfan; April 14th, 2013 at 2:56 am.
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  #6  
Old August 4th, 2008, 6:24 am
marauderfan  Female.gif marauderfan is offline
Second Year
 
Joined: 4132 days
Location: Beyond the veil
Age: 27
Posts: 258
Re: The Brave at Heart

Here's the next post, as promised. This chapter doesn't feel like it's up to standard, but maybe that's just me. Anyway without further ado I present you Chapter 5.

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Chapter 5: Curses and Cheers


After Potions, Remus joined me on our way out of class. “That was marvellous,” he said, smiling. “And you obviously didn’t get caught…”

“Yeah, I almost did, though. I ran into Filch. So will we see your stuff tomorrow morning? Where will it be?”

“You’ll see,” he said. “You know, it actually took a lot of convincing to get the others to join, which I wasn’t expecting. I think they were just against having a friendly competition with Slytherins. But you know how they are with pranks, it’s like second nature; I think the opportunity to create a mess for the entire school won out after all.” He glanced off to the side. “Speaking of which, I should probably stop James and Sirius before they get too carried away.”

I looked over. Snape’s head was twice its normal size and his arms had grown feathers. I couldn’t help laughing. “It never ends, does it,” I said.

“Well, they’ve gotten much better since last year.”

“Really?” I asked. “I hadn’t noticed. It feels like every day they’ve got a new hex to practice on Slytherins. I personally think they’ve gotten worse since last year.”

“Well you know, they think it’s their calling in life to put Slytherins in their place.” He smiled apologetically.

“They just thrive on being the center of attention. And I don’t know why you’re saying ‘they,’ because… well, I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but you’re a Marauder. You’re in on it all just as much as they are.” I laughed.

Remus rolled his eyes. “That’s true, but at least I talk to you. I keep telling James and Sirius you’re not that bad. I think they believe me, but they don’t let on about it because they just like hexing Slytherins.”

“Well that’s wonderful. I guess it’ll stop by the time we’ve left Hogwarts. Unless they decide to stalk us after Hogwarts?”

“You never know,” he said. I laughed.

Remus ended up just standing by as James and Sirius finished with Snape, but I wasn’t bothered. It wasn’t like Snape didn’t deserve it. Many Slytherins thought James and Sirius tormented Snape for no reason, but I knew differently; I had seen Snape turn from my friend into a foe. Snape could often be found in Slytherin’s common room, thinking of horrible things to do to James and Sirius; I guess he had never been caught at it. I knew he was capable of a lot of spells though, some of which he had made up. I was pretty glad I wasn’t part of that eternal feud, because Snape had come up with some cruel spells.

Snape spied me standing next to Remus. “You’re joining them now, are you?” he asked, a cold look in his dark eyes. Well, Snape and I hadn’t been on particularly friendly terms for years, but it was certainly over now, if he thought I was friends with the Marauders. I looked away and pretended I hadn’t heard him. What was I still doing here anyway?

“She’s just standing here,” said Remus. “Does she need to ask your permission before she stands next to someone? Sorry if you don’t approve.”

Snape’s lip curled. He pulled out his wand again, then looked up at something down the hall, sighed, and put it away again. He gave us all one more menacing look before he slunk off with Calvin Mulciber and Lester Avery, Charlotte’s brother, just as Professor McGonagall walked by. Snape wouldn’t dare jinx a fellow student in front of a teacher, particularly one as unforgiving as her.

The action now over, Sirius turned to face me. “So I hear you went on a date with Remus here,” he said, a very calculating expression on his haughty features, as if he were trying to assess whether I was good enough for his friend. I would normally have been content to walk off without talking to him, but he was regarding me in a way that felt like a challenge, like he was daring me to argue.

“Yeah. Your idea, if I heard correctly. Didn’t know you were a matchmaker as well as a troublemaker.”

Sirius raised his eyebrows. “Well, Evans did the work, I just suggested it. And to be honest, I thought she’d have the sense to pick someone a bit more—” He trailed off, and coughed. Peter giggled, looking between Sirius and me eagerly. “Anyway, I’ve got things to do…” Sirius claimed.

“A bit more what?” I insisted. “You mean you were expecting a Gryffindor, and you’re disappointed Lily didn’t choose someone else.”

“Calm down,” said Remus, putting his hands up between us. “This isn’t worth fighting about.”

“No,” I agreed, looking down at my feet again. “Thanks Remus, I’ll see you later, I’m going to the library.”

I walked to the library to get some work done. I sat down at an empty table and spread my books and parchment out in front of me. I had barely been working five minutes when I heard someone approach my table. It was Elliott Jasper, and with him were Eugene Montague and Regulus Black, fourth-year Slytherins who spent a lot of time with him.

Regulus was Sirius’s brother. The two of them looked very similar, but they could not have been more different people. They acted like they didn’t know each other. And while Sirius was the charming, rebellious Gryffindor, Regulus was as Slytherin as you could be. Apparently the only thing they had in common was that they both disliked me. So now that I’d just had a quarrel with one Black, along came another to ruin my day. I tried to go back to working, but Elliott stood right up against my table. He had a horrible sneer on his face; his two minions looked bored.

“What, Jasper?” I demanded. “Can’t you see I’m working?”

“You can… take a break,” he said slowly, still smirking. “You’ve obviously been working so hard.” Behind his crossed arms, I could see his wand in his hand, ready.

“Careful, Jasper,” I said icily. “No hexing in the library. Madam Pince is right there, you idiot, so whatever you’re thinking is stupid. You’ll lose points for Slytherin.”

“She’s currently dealing with an escaped book from the Restricted Section.”

“And I suppose you had nothing to do with that,” I said sarcastically.

“So,” he said, drawing his wand, “Are you ready to be defeated? You’re going to learn, Hastings, that you do not try to humiliate me in public.”

I suddenly found myself helplessly hanging upside down in the air by one foot. I hurriedly pinned my arms to my sides so my robes wouldn’t fly over my head. I could hear Elliott laughing, and I’m sure my face was red in fury. I looked at Eugene and Regulus. Both were laughing now, and Eugene had his hand in his pocket, as if he were about to pull out a wand. “What is this, three on one?” I exclaimed. “By the way I wasn’t trying to humiliate you. But were you embarrassed, Jasper? Poor baby. Well, news flash, it was the truth! You’re a coward!”

“No less than you, who’s afraid to duel with a fifth year.”

“There’s three of you! And I’m upside down in the air, that’s not fair!”

Accio wand.” My wand flew out of my pocket and into Elliott’s outstretched hand. He turned to his friends. “Sounds like Pince is coming, let’s go.”

Mobilicorpus,” said Eugene, and I felt myself drifting out of the library, still floating upside down. They moved me into the hall outside the library. I was running through my options. I could scream, which would alert staff, but it would also attract more students. Bad idea. I couldn’t say “leave me alone” or anything, or Elliott would accuse me of being a coward. I couldn’t do much without a wand, either.

I felt myself falling, and I landed on the floor in a crumpled heap. Regulus and Eugene were both sending curses at me now, and I was dancing uncontrollably, then slammed into the wall, then in the Body-Bind curse, and I couldn’t do anything about it. It was all I could do to hold in my tears. Now I was up in the air again; I heard laughter all around, and could see students approaching the entire time, from all the houses, watching the Slytherins attack another Slytherin. Someone, do something! I thought hysterically.

Almost as if they read my mind, I heard two students come running up behind me. “Put her down!” I heard a girl’s voice shriek. A male voice shouted “Reg!” I turned my head and recognized Lily Evans, and behind her was Sirius Black, who was now yelling at Regulus.

Lily turned around and said coldly, “You filthy hypocrite, Sirius, you do this all the time. This is what you did to Severus after OWL’s. And remember ten minutes ago? You can’t blame Regulus, you’re the example he has to look up to!”

For the first time, Sirius looked affronted, and almost sorry, as if he had just thought about the fact that his attacks on Snape might be wrong.

I heard Lily’s voice again. “Jasper, I told you to let her down! Now! You’re disobeying a prefect.” I could hear the intense anger in her voice. I landed hard on the ground, and stayed there, not wanting to move and see the eyes of a hundred students. “Come with me,” Lily said icily to Elliott. “I’m sure Slughorn would love to have a chat with you and give you a detention.” She marched off, Elliott, Eugene, and Regulus following. The best I could do was to stick out my foot and make Elliott trip over it. Some people laughed, Elliott hurried away cursing, and I put my head back down on the floor.

I didn’t hear any other students moving away, though. How was I ever going to leave with everyone watching? What would they say? I was mortified. I had just been defeated by a fifth-year, in front of the entire school.

“Are you okay, Hastings?” I heard Sirius’s voice, and felt a hand touch my shoulder. I shook it off forcefully. I looked up, and saw Sirius standing next to me, and around us remained a crowd of onlookers. I made the huge mistake of making eye contact with a few students in the front row, but I saw concern in their eyes. It was the first time a Hufflepuff, Gryffindor, or Ravenclaw had ever looked at me like that before. It was almost… sympathy. Was the stupid hostile rivalry between Slytherins and the other houses finally coming to an end?

“Hastings?”

I looked back at Sirius. “I’m fine,” I said as confidently as I could, and stood up, brushing the dust off my robes. Thankfully, people began to leave now that the action was over. Sirius was still standing there, scowling. “Why all the sudden concern for me?” I asked edgily.

“I’m not concerned,” said Sirius.

“Thanks, that makes me feel loads better,” I said sarcastically. “Your brother’s got some really lovely friends.”

Sirius sighed. “Yeah. Feel free to punch him in the face next time you see him. Tell him it’s from me.”

“You know I can’t do that, Black, or I’ll end up in the air again. Or detention. If you want him to change, you should set a better example for him. You heard Lily, stop hexing Snape. You’re always at each other’s throats!”

“Snivelly? Well what if he starts it?”

“Ignore him. Half the time it’s you starting it, and you know that. Just don’t attack without reason.”

“He exists, isn’t that a reason?” he asked, with a teasing smile.

The stupid berk, didn’t he hear one word I said? “No! Everyone exists, are you planning to hex everyone?”

“Are you defending Snivellus?” His teasing smile had vanished, replaced with suspicion.

“Look, I dislike Snape as much as the next person. But give it a rest. It only keeps getting worse.”

“I can’t if he calls my friends Mudbloods.”

“I understand, he’s not nice to anyone. I used to be his friend, but now he only hangs around with people who love the Dark Arts. But you don’t see me in detention for attacking him, do you?” Well, I had, but only once…

“Actually I remember one time after you hexed Mulciber, just out of the blue. It was great.”

That had indeed been great. It wasn’t entirely out of the blue; Mulciber had been making some rude comments about half-bloods and Muggle-borns one time during fourth year, and Mandy had been upset, as she was a half-blood. Mulciber’s arms were soon covered with angry boils, but unfortunately I hadn’t been as subtle as I thought; McGonagall had walked out of a room just at that moment and had been none too impressed with me. Sirius and James were impressed though – they’d been walking nearby, and seen the whole thing. That was around the time they made a distinction in the Slytherins they hexed, and for the most part stopped making my life hell. They’d still never seek my company, but they started acting somewhat friendlier to me.

“Shut it,” I snapped. “I was trying to make a point, but you’re just too thick to get it, I see.”

“No, I think it’s you who doesn’t understand. Snivellus – and Jasper – they both have a bad influence on Regulus. And people like Jasper will just keep doing stuff like that unless people stand up to them.”

“It’s not just Snape with the bad influence on Regulus.”

“Are you telling me you’re not even going to get Jasper back for this? You’re just going to keep running away?”

“Why do you care?” I said. “He’ll get what’s coming to him. It’s best if I don’t go looking for a fight with him, because that never goes well. I fight back when I get provoked, but I don’t like starting things if I can avoid it, because it’ll never end. I mean, I’d love to transfigure him into a tablecloth or something, but it’s just not worth it.”

Or a rug, I mused; the kind that’s old and gross and has dirt and stains on it from who-knows-how-long-ago, and gets stomped on a lot.

“I’m not the dense one now, am I?” said Sirius. “You can’t Transfigure something without a wand, and he still has your wand. You’ll have to go after him for it. Hey, you have a reason…”

“I have to go to the library to get my stuff,” I said, excusing myself from this lame conversation and turning around. I pulled open the door, and saw that the library was packed with people. No! I wasn’t ready to face people just yet. I hurried to my table, which still had my books spread on it, and froze when I heard scattered applause. I looked up, bewildered, and saw a few Gryffindors and Hufflepuffs clapping, and looking at me. I glanced behind me, and saw Sirius entering the library. Perhaps they were clapping for him. I grabbed my Potions book and stuffed it in my bag, ignoring the people around me, but I was sure my face was crimson.

I was startled when a Hufflepuff boy, maybe third year, came up to me and said “Great job standing up to Jasper!”

I wasn’t sure I had heard him right; I had just made a fool out of myself in front of half the school. Maybe he was talking to Sirius. That foul git, he was basking in the spotlight, some of which was spilling on to me, when I was trying to avoid all humans for the next week. Anywhere Sirius went, attention came with it. Why couldn’t he go away?

A fifth year said, “Jasper’s a real b******, way to bring him down after that. Literally.” There was some laughing.

“I—I didn’t!” I stuttered. I was so embarrassed. What were they talking about?

Sirius, behind me, apparently was lacking the attention he loved. “Your actions certainly, um… raised you in our eyes.” More laughing. Yeah, thanks for reminding the entire audience that I’d just been dangling above the floor, with my robes falling over my head, and my underwear showing.

“What are you talking about?” I pleaded. “That was so embarrassing, and you’re all acting as if I just saved a puppy from a fire. Maybe you missed what was happening, but basically Elliott Jasper made me look like a loser, not a hero.”

“No one’s forgotten when you stood up for Liam when Jasper was bullying him,” a girl said. “You made Jasper look stupid then, so he sees you as a threat. It’s nice to know there are Slytherins speaking up for Muggle-borns. And anyone willing to stand up to Jasper is a friend of mine!”

“Er…” I couldn’t quite grasp her obscure logic. But people must have thought that because Sirius, one of the most popular boys in the school, thought it was worth bothering to talk to me, I must be all right.

The girl smiled. “Basically what I’m trying to say is don’t let it get you down – we’ve all been there too.”

“Thanks,” I managed to say. As much as I wanted to get out of the spotlight, I was enjoying the feeling of finally being accepted. Kind of a weird way for that to happen, though. I didn’t know what to say, and my eyes got teary. I felt like hugging someone. The closest person to me was the third-year Hufflepuff, who would probably freak out if I randomly hugged him. Well, there was also Sirius, but he was an arrogant prat, and even though I was thankful he’d shown up and been nice to me, I was still a bit upset about what he’d said earlier. I turned to face him, but James had just walked into the library so the two of them had started to walk out the door already.

This had been such a weird day. It started with disaster at almost being caught, elation upon the results of our prank, humiliation during Jasper’s one-sided fight, and now relief. It had been such a long day, I just wanted to go to sleep. “I have to go,” I said, and left the library.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Thanks for reading!!! I love you all! And so does the Feedback Thread


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Last edited by marauderfan; April 12th, 2013 at 7:37 am.
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  #7  
Old August 11th, 2008, 6:47 am
marauderfan  Female.gif marauderfan is offline
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Re: The Brave at Heart

I'm sorry it's taken so long - I leave for college in 3 days so I've been packing like crazy! Here is the next chapter

*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Chapter 6: A Message and a Mess


I woke up to a loud fizzling bang. I opened my eyes and sat up immediately. Something was smoldering at the foot of my bed, and the hangings were open. I turned to my roommates for an explanation, but they were all laughing. “What is this?” I demanded.

Mandy spoke up. “An owl was at the window this morning; we let it in and it tried to peck at you to wake you up, but it couldn’t get through the bed hangings, so it went after us instead.”

“So while Alanna was fending it off,” continued Charlotte, “Mandy and I set up a game of Exploding Snap on your bed. It ended with a nice BOOM to wake you up!”

“You two are so weird. Why didn’t you just open the curtains? Or take the letter?”

“We tried to get the letter, but the owl attacked us when we got near it,” said Mandy.

“Ummm… so why didn’t it just come with the rest of the owls later? At breakfast?”

“Do I look like an encyclopedia?” said Mandy sarcastically. “How am I supposed to know? Maybe it’s something important. Or just a confused owl. Alanna!” She looked over her shoulder at Alanna, who was sitting unenthusiastically on the edge of her bed, hands in her tousled white-blonde hair. The owl, which had finally settled down, was perched on the window sill, clicking its beak impatiently. Alanna stood up and walked toward the owl, which bit Alanna’s finger and flew toward my bed. I carefully took the letter from its leg and the owl soared dizzily out the open window.

“Someone close that bloody window,” I said, “it’s freezing in here!” I unrolled the bit of parchment, while Charlotte removed the Exploding Snap game from my bed. Mandy jumped on my bed to try and read the letter over my shoulder.

“Who’s it from?” she asked.

I recognized the perfect handwriting at once. It was from my older brother. “Nathan,” I told Mandy, who slid off my bed to let me read the letter. I hadn’t talked to Nathan in a long time.

Melanie,
How’s school going? You haven’t written for a while. Hope everything is great at school. I’m busy with my Ministry job, of course, but I’m enjoying it a lot. Dad’s been telling me I spend too much time at work. He says the Dark Lord is gaining power and I should be focusing on more important matters than the Department of Magical Law Enforcement, because things are changing... Well, you know, he’s always like that. Do you like my new owl? She’s new, her name is Bellona. She gets lost sometimes, hope she got there all right!
Write soon

Love,
Nathan


It was true; with all my assignments, I had completely forgotten to write to my brother. I smiled, glad he was still maintaining correspondence. Then all of a sudden six words stood out like lightning. The Dark Lord is gaining power. My smile faded. So Voldemort was becoming even more powerful than before? The only way he could do that was with even more followers. What if my father, or Nathan, had been recruited to become a Death Eater, a servant of Voldemort? After all, he did say ‘The Dark Lord.’ I wasn’t going to respond right away, I had to ponder this. I dressed quickly, grabbed the letter and headed for the door.

“Wait,” said Mandy. “Where are you going?” She glanced anxiously at my expression. “Do you want to talk?”

I looked behind her and saw my other roommates still chatting and laughing. “Um, I don’t know…”

“Let’s go for a walk,” suggested Mandy, linking her arm through mine and leading me out of the dormitory.

This early in the morning, no one stopped us. We walked out onto the castle grounds, the brisk wind whipping my hair around, chilling my face. I pulled my jacket a little tighter around myself, and sighed slowly. I watched the little white cloud of my breath linger in the cold air a few moments before dissipating. I wished I had my scarf, but it was currently residing in the Gryffindor boys’ dormitory, and one of them had probably put a stupid charm on it in case they ever felt like giving it back.

“So what happened?” Mandy asked cautiously. I handed her the crumpled parchment in my fist and said nothing. I slipped my hands in my coat pockets and looked resolutely at the frosty grass I was walking on. We continued in silence as Mandy read the letter, until she said, “So?”

“Read what my father has to say. There’s something fishy about it.” Mandy looked at the letter again. I said, “It says The Dark Lord. Do you think he could have… become a Death Eater? And he’s telling Nathan there’s more important things than work, even though Nathan works with the law enforcement? Nathan’s job is pretty important, especially with all the Dark stuff that keeps happening nowadays! Maybe my father is a Death Eater, and is trying to recruit Nathan!”

“I suppose,” said Mandy. “I mean, your family has always been… sort of…” she trailed off. I nodded. “But, I don’t think so. You and Nathan have always been really close, you know he would never become a Death Eater. And as for your father… I don’t know, I just don’t think he would. He wasn’t before, I don’t know why he would join now. He agrees with the cause, I know, but I don’t think he is the type to actually do anything about it. And remember, he’s always referred to Voldemort as The Dark Lord, hasn’t he? So why are you so suspicious now? And your mother’s nice, she’s a half-blood anyway, so no need to worry about her. Kind of makes me wonder why your dad married her, since he’s so set on pureblood supremacy…”

“But... why? It’s so weird,” I said, more to myself than to Mandy. “Well, maybe I shouldn’t be getting so upset about it, I guess. You’re right, he started calling him the Dark Lord a while ago. But what if he did just join… And what about Nathan?”

“You can write back and—”

“Oh yeah, I’ll say, ‘Dear Nathan, Are you working for Voldemort? Love, Melanie.’ Yup, a good letter, right there.” I said sardonically.

“Something a little more subtle, maybe…”

I sighed. “What would I do? If I discovered that my family were Death Eaters. I would be kicked out of the school; they don’t want a Death Eater’s daughter here… Mandy, be honest, do you think anyone in my family is working for Voldemort?”

Mandy was the only person I dared mention Voldemort’s name to. It had started to become taboo to say the name; instead people referred to him as ‘You-Know-Who,’ and there were people like my father who called him ‘The Dark Lord’, but I had started calling Voldemort by his real name almost as soon as I started school, in a way just to spite him and my pureblood family and everything they stood for. Mandy also soon began calling him by his name, and as far as I knew, we were the only ones who did so.

“It’s hard to say,” she admitted, “but no. I don’t think they are. Don’t spend time worrying about it. Write to Nathan as if nothing happened though, see if he seems different. Oooh, tell him how many muggle-born friends you have. See how he reacts to that!”

I forced a laugh. Mandy was trying her best to cheer me up. Well, I would at least find out when I went home for Christmas. It was a long time until then, but the weather certainly didn’t indicate that. I looked at the lake, which already had a thin layer of ice forming near its banks. The middle was still rippling with the frigid wind.

“Let’s go inside,” said Mandy. “I’m cold. Plus, we have to see the Marauders’ prank. I wonder if everyone else is awake yet.”

I felt better after getting my worries out. I walked with Mandy into the Great Hall in better spirits. The first thing I noticed was how dark it seemed. The windows were entirely covered with a thick layer of green vines. As I watched, the vines lengthened and spread immensely. It was like it had been sped up about 100 times faster than normal. There were lots of flowers, too. The whole Hall smelled like them. I noticed a lot of lilies scattered along the Gryffindor table. That must have been James’ idea – as if he thought that she would approve of their behaviour more if he did that – but she would probably just continue thinking James an arrogant git. I glanced at the other tables, which were each covered with their individual flower type, and winding around the Slytherin table was some prickly thing that must have been poisonous. Apart from the lethal-looking Slytherin vine, everything looked almost pretty. Which was nice, but what kind of prank was that?

Mandy and I stayed there for a few moments, taking in our surroundings. I looked up, and immediately a huge clump of flowers fell from the ceiling and landed on Mandy and I. They spewed out pollen everywhere, causing me to sneeze. Mandy picked up some flowers, but then held them at arm’s length in case they exploded or anything. “Come on, let’s go,” I said after she had examined them a bit, and we headed towards the door, the ever-increasing vines tangling around the doorway threatening to trip us. As soon as we got into the corridor, Mandy shoved her flowers into my hand, and bent down to tie her shoe. I looked around as I waited for her, and was surprised when I saw the Marauders standing in a clump about five feet away from us.

“Well, look who it is,” I said.

Mandy looked up. “Ha! Caught in the act! Not so good as you thought you were, huh?” She laughed, and stood up.

They turned around to face us, surprise evident in their faces as well.

“So, this is your lame attempt at a prank?” I asked. “Flowers?”

“You’re calling this lame?” asked James. “If you’re not aware, Filch is allergic to most of those flowers, and you may have noticed that the vines grow extremely fast.”

“How do you know what flowers Filch is allergic to?” asked Mandy with a smirk. “You’re making this up.”

“No, he’s not,” I said archly, “he really does know Filch’s flower preferences. Because he gives flowers to Filch all the time.”

“Well, of course. You don’t?” James played along. “That’s quite rude of you.”

“So if you’ll notice,” said Sirius, “our prank just keeps getting better! Wait till an hour from now.” He laughed. “And it’s much better than yours because everyone goes to the Great Hall in the morning, but not everyone stops by the broom closets.”

Yeah, well, he’d probably know – he’d have spent enough time in broom closets with various girls through the years, as a broom closet afforded a bit of privacy making it an ideal place for a snog.

“So what do you think?” Remus asked. “We have made this entire room unusable for the day, and yours just affected a closet.”

“Fascinating, but I still think we won,” I said.

“That is still to be determined,” said Remus, smirking.

“So why are you all just hanging around?” Mandy asked. “Are you waiting for Filch to come by? That’s stupid, he’ll catch you.”

“That’s none of your business, is it?” said Sirius. He had a mischievous glint in his eyes, like always.

“Fine,” I said, and spun around to leave, but a vine had curled out of the Great Hall and wound itself around my ankle, and I tripped, scattering Mandy’s stupid flowers all over Sirius’s feet. Why did I always end up on the floor?

“Sorry,” I muttered irritably as I stood up, kicking a few of the flowers aside.

“It’s all right, I understand you can’t help falling for me,” said Sirius, grinning at his own cleverness. “But you know, you could have just given the flowers to me, you didn’t have to bow down at my feet.”

I snorted. “You idiot, I would never give you flowers unless they were poison oak.”

I left the flowers on the floor; Mandy could pick them up if she really wanted them. All I wanted was to get away from that vicious vine in the Great Hall as soon as possible, which had also made breakfast an impossible task in the Great Hall. I would probably go to the kitchens instead. But when I turned around to tell Mandy, I saw Filch instead.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*

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Last edited by marauderfan; April 3rd, 2013 at 6:58 am.
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  #8  
Old August 25th, 2008, 8:56 pm
marauderfan  Female.gif marauderfan is offline
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Joined: 4132 days
Location: Beyond the veil
Age: 27
Posts: 258
Re: The Brave at Heart

I'm sorry it's taken so long! It's still pretty crazy here with orientation week and things and getting settled at college. Anyway, I finally got a chance to post! So here is chapter 7, I hope you enjoy! Some fun stuff and action this time!

*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Chapter 7: Deception and Detention

I gasped. I glanced over at Mandy, who was staring wide-eyed, mouth hanging open. Filch had a hideous grin on his face; he looked insane. Well, more insane than usual, that is. He cackled upon seeing our faces and looked down at his mangy cat, Mrs. Norris. “Excellent, my sweet, we caught them,” he said in that creepy voice he always used when talking to his cat.

I whirled around, to see what the Marauders were doing now that they had been caught. I was astounded. They were nowhere to be seen. How could they have got away so fast? Unless… had they brought their Invisibility Cloak with them, just in case? They had probably thrown it on just as they glimpsed Filch, but he hadn’t seen them because they had been near the wall and Mandy and I were in the doorway in front of him.

I swung my arm out, and waved it around, to see if it hit something solid. I moved farther out into the corridor, waving my arms out in front of me like a zombie, until Filch Filch growled, “This way!”

Continuing to glare behind me at where I thought the Marauders were, I shouted “You’ll get payback for this! I know you’re there!”

“She’s delusional, too,” Filch said to Mrs. Norris. He returned to his usual cantankerous tone for students. “Come with me, someday you’ll learn to follow the rules.”

“You are SO not getting away with this!” I yelled once more down the empty corridor, and marched off in the other direction, behind Filch. Mandy walked alongside me, fuming.

“Where did they go?” she asked.

“I’m guessing they were right there the whole time,” I muttered, “in the Invisibility Cloak.”

Filch dragged us along until we came to his office, where he looked lovingly at the chains and manacles in a corner, which he had in case he was ever allowed to use them on students, something he’d probably always wanted to do. He then opened a drawer of a cabinet and eagerly got out a card and began writing all over it. and he eagerly got out a card and began writing all over it. “You need a detention, definitely,” he said. “Crime: wreaking havoc, damaging the school property…” He still had the same leering expression. “How about 8:00 tonight. You’ll go to the Trophy Room, and shine up every single trophy. Without magic, of course.”

“We didn’t—” Mandy began, but was cut off by Filch.

“What’s that?” he demanded, his eyes bugging out again, and pointing at Mandy’s pocket. A bit of parchment was sticking out. Mandy clapped her hand over her pocket and stole a glance at me. It was my letter.

“If you must know, it’s a letter from my brother,” I said, calmly. I sounded a lot calmer than I felt, because I certainly didn’t want Filch reading any of that Dark Lord stuff.

“It’s a piece of evidence of your conspiring, it is. You’re lying!” He reached out a hand to take it.

“It’s not!” insisted Mandy. “We had nothing to do with—”

“All right, sorry,” I lied, “we did it, we’ll serve our detention at 8:00, can we go now?” The sooner we left, the better.

Filch looked at his collection of manacles again, muttering to himself about how we’d be expelled, and then dismissed us.

“We won’t be expelled,” Mandy whispered to me. “The Marauders are still in school, and I’m sure they know this office like the back of their hand by now.”

We ran back to the Great Hall corridor to see if anyone was there. People had to be awake by now. All we saw, however, was Professors McGonagall and Flitwick standing inside, getting rid of all the invasive vines. A few students were clustered in the doorway, but not many.

Suddenly I laughed aloud. The results of the Annoy Filch Championship had been entirely the opposite of what I had anticipated. Our prank had received all the attention, and the Marauders’ hadn’t – it was being removed (with difficulty), and most students hadn’t seen it yet. And, the Marauders had escaped Filch while the Anti-Marauders got caught. It was certainly not what I expected would happen.

Breakfast would probably be delayed, so Mandy and I headed back to the common room. I wondered what Charlotte would think when she learned of our mishap.



The tale of us getting caught spread like wildfire – partially due to Filch muttering gleefully about it all day, and partly due to the Marauders, I was certain. Charlotte had thought it was awful, and I knew she felt bad for us, but was glad it wasn’t her. In the hallway between classes, Mandy and I were often stopped by random people from every House who wanted to find out what other pranks we had done. I got very annoyed of the attention after a while. We did notice that the Marauders avoided us as much as was humanly possible.

Mandy and I walked to our seats on the far side of the Transfiguration classroom, and at every chance possible we glared across the room at James, Sirius, Remus, and Peter. Of course, they never happened to be looking.

My work that day was abysmal (as usual), while Mandy’s was still great even though we were more focused on glaring. Transfiguration was Mandy’s best subject, despite the situation. She had successfully turned her rabbit into a vase, although mine had turned into a sea anemone that was drooping and slimily oozing all over the table. Mandy tried to help me but wasn’t having any luck – my focus was elsewhere. I noticed the Marauders weren’t doing so well either, which made me somewhat happier.

The class period seemed endless, and Professor McGonagall asked me a few questions in front of the class, but my answers were horrible since I hadn’t been listening much.

After class, Mandy and I stormed out into the hallway where James, Sirius, Remus, and Peter had quickly vanished. They were walking very fast and we hurried to catch up with them. We ran around them and then stopped, whirling around to face them.

“Thanks loads for that,” said Mandy to the four of them. “It was really sweet of you to disappear and let us get caught for your stupid prank.”

James grinned. “Yeah, all right, glad you enjoyed it,” he said airily. “We sure did.”

“My favourite bit was you swinging your arm like you thought you’d find us that way,” said Sirius. “It was a great show for us.” He raised his arm and flopped it around in what I assumed was some imitation of myself. He had that arrogant expression on his face again – like he was just so confident in his own charm that he could get away with saying anything.

Not this time, though. I always let stuff slide by without bothering about it, but this was just the straw that broke the dragon’s back, and I wasn’t going to take this anymore. Mandy opened her mouth to say something, but I went up and slapped Sirius hard across the face.

Sirius touched his hand to his cheek, where a red mark was beginning to appear. “Ouch,” he muttered. I staggered back, shocked at what I’d done. I had just slapped Sirius Black. No one did that. I was pretty sure all the girls of Hogwarts would be after me now, to scold me for putting a blemish on the otherwise perfect face they loved to stare at. And Sirius – well, he’d probably never speak to me again. Not that I’d really care.

Sirius recovered quickly and smirked. “Just couldn’t keep your hands off me, could you Hastings?”

If my expression could possibly become more malicious, it did then. I held up my hand again, poised for another strike. He pushed it away, but stepped back. Sirius was trying to provoke me, and I was fuming. It was not a good combination. I slowly lowered my hand, and glanced at Mandy, whose sensible side, it seemed, had finally gotten control of her. She wasn’t grinning sheepishly at Sirius, she was standing with crossed arms, and scowling.

I made eye contact with Remus for only an instant, then he looked down. His eyes showed a bit of regret and remorse. James was looking from me to Sirius to Remus, eyebrows raised and amusement evident on his face. Peter was staring at us in awe.

After a moment I got tired of all the looking, and turned on my heel and followed Mandy, walking much faster than usual.



I flopped down on the sofa in the Slytherin common room. “They make me so angry!” I said to no one in particular. Mandy sat down beside me, half-smiling. “Hey I was proud of you,” I mentioned, changing the topic, “you didn’t turn any funny colors this time.”

Mandy chose to ignore this last comment and instead responded to my first. “Don’t let them make you angry, we probably would have done the same thing.”

“What?”

“If we had the invisibility cloak, and we saw Filch but he didn’t see us, we probably would have let him catch the marauders.”

“Okay…”

“Stop worrying, Melanie. The detention won’t be that bad, either. We’ll make it a party. Bring in some music or something while we clean the trophies.”

“Great,” I said, still in a monotone.

Mandy sighed. “Come on, stop sulking, it’s not that bad. The Marauders have had detention millions of times. And guess what? We won the Annoy Filch Contest. We made him the angriest. After their prank, Filch has been quite cheerful today since he caught us!”

“You’re too sensible for your own good, you know that?” I laughed. She always managed to cheer me up.




We were passing the time in detention with Mandy’s radio, which was blasting out music by a Muggle group called The Who. Shining up all the trophies was taking ages, but it wasn’t nearly as bad as I had expected. Filch wasn’t there, he had left after making sure we came; so we were relatively free to do whatever we wanted while we cleaned the trophies.

As Mandy and I were singing along to a song called “The Seeker,” which, as it was by a Muggle band, was unfortunately not about Quidditch, we heard the door creak loudly. Mandy turned the music down, because if it was Filch he would probably yell at us for having too much fun. Instead, when I turned around, I saw Remus Lupin standing in the doorway.

“What are you doing here?” I asked.

“I felt bad for leaving you out in the hall for Filch to find, so… I don’t know, I guess I just needed to say I’m sorry.”

I smiled. “Thanks, no worries,” I said. “Since you’re here though, you can help us clean these trophies.” I thrust a rag and a particularly grimy silver trophy into his hand.

He rolled his eyes and started scrubbing the trophy, leaning against the wall.

“So, Remus,” said Mandy, “where are your cohorts?”

“They’re playing chess, I believe,” he said. “James and Sirius are. Last I checked, Peter was doing his homework, although I doubt he’s getting anything done with all the excitement in the common room.”

“Well,” I said, “when you see them, tell them they’re really in for it now. You’re not going to get away with this morning’s trick… well, you might, because you’re helping us in our detention. Which really should have been your detention anyway. Consider this your payback, the others still have it coming to them. Oh, and by the way, you lose. Filch seemed really happy today because he caught us. So the Anti-Marauders annoyed Filch the most. We win.”

Remus laughed. “Yeah, I guess.” He finished cleaning the trophy and set it down. “Thanks for the entertainment, but I should go.”

”Hey…” I said, scowling.

“You don’t want Filch catching me in here, do you?”

I raised one eyebrow. “That was a stupid question, Remus, after what happened this morning. If you stay in here doing this detention with us, like you should be, no harm will come to you. You leave, and you become a target again. Your choice,” I said nonchalantly and picked up my rag again.

“Threats?” he asked, amused.

“Yep.” I laughed.

Remus considered for a moment, then said, “Oh, fine,” and sat on the floor with Mandy and I. Mandy cranked the music again, and we continued polishing the trophies.




It was nearly eleven o’ clock. We were almost done; there were just a few more trophies on one last shelf. I was currently shining up one silver trophy to perfection. It was so shiny now it was a perfect mirror. Reflected on it I could see a tired, frowning face surrounded by a wild mess of brown curly hair. The several hours spent cleaning trophies in the room hadn’t helped it much either. Behind the reflection of my face I saw another appear.

“Hi Remus,” I said.

“It will only be about fifteen more minutes,” said Remus. “Don’t fall asleep yet, look, we’re almost done!”

He walked over to the shelf, and I turned to Mandy, who was still scrubbing away faithfully at an old tarnished silver figurine. “It seems like it’s been five hours,” she said.

“Three,” Remus stated.

“Let’s just leave. This has been the stupidest detention ever.”

“How would you know?” I laughed. “You hardly come here often. You know what? I want a cinnamon roll. I think I’ll Transfigure this vase thingy here—”

“Filch will be overjoyed when he discovers you ate a trophy,” said Mandy coolly.

“You’re right. Don’t worry… even if I attempted to, it wouldn’t be anything close to resembling a cinnamon roll.”

“Don’t be so hard on yourself. You’re brilliant at Charms, you know.”

“Okay then, Queen of Transfiguration, you should turn Filch into a hedgehog. I bet you could, you’re one of the best in our year at Transfiguration.”

I heard Remus chuckle quietly behind us. “What?” I asked.

“Oh, um, I… this trophy reminds me of something.”

I was unconvinced, but let it go. I was too tired to care; personally I thought Remus wasn’t actually thinking about trophies. Maybe we’d just inadvertently given him an idea for the Marauders to pull a new prank on Filch.

I turned back to my discussion with Mandy. “Anyway, we should stop by the kitchens on the way back from here. Oh! Did I tell you what Alanna said the other day about when Professor—”

I was cut off by a loud shriek from Mandy. She was looking directly behind me, eyes wide open, hands covering her mouth, the figurine fallen by her side. I followed her gaze and saw Remus lying on the floor, on his back, motionless. His eyes were open, but he was completely still.

Mandy and I walked cautiously over to where Remus was sprawled. His arm was stiff, and I saw that his right hand was clutched around something golden and blue. I reached out to take a look at it, but Mandy frantically said, “No! Don’t touch it! It could be that’s how he got this way!”

I walked around to Remus’s right side and sat down again. I lifted his right arm and carefully attempted to pry his fingers off the object. “Don’t worry, Mandy, I’m just looking,” I said. I soon realized the object was a wrist watch, very antique and very beautiful. It had a thin gold band studded with sapphires. The face had intricately designed numbers and hands, which had probably not worked for centuries. I wondered why it had been hidden in the furthest corner of the trophy room, and whom it had once belonged to. I wanted to take it out of Remus’s hand, but it would probably only end up with me being unconscious. Oh, yeah, that was another thing. Why did the school have a device that made students unconscious?

I laid Remus’s arm back on the floor. “What do we do?” I asked Mandy. She was still staring at his hand.

“What IS that thing? What did it do to him?”

“We have to go to Madam Pomfrey,” I said. The school matron would know what to do. Even though she was young and had just got the position a few years ago, we had seen that she was very capable.

“Only one of us should,” said Mandy, standing up. “You stay with him, I’ll go.” She paused when she saw my eyes dart over to the watch again. “On second thought, Melanie, maybe I should stay.”

“Okay.” I stood up and banged the door open, and ran down the hall, not bothering to be quiet. I sprinted to the hospital wing and burst in. “M – Madam Pomfrey,” I panted. “Help!”

A few moments later she appeared out of a room in the back, looking drowsy and grumpy. Her hair was messily sticking out everywhere. “What is it?” she asked kindly, and I was surprised she sounded so sincere after just having been noisily woken up.

“Remus,” I said, still getting my breath back. Madam Pomfrey’s eyes widened slightly. “In the trophy room, come on!”

I ran back, Madam Pomfrey close behind me. I bashed the wooden door against the wall again when I raced into the trophy room, where Remus was still lying, Mandy kneeling over him. “Madam Pomfrey!” she blurted. “Look, I have no idea what happened but it has something to do with that wristwatch! He’s all stiff! He was fine until—”

Madam Pomfrey cut her off. “Let me see.” She took out her wand and started waving it and muttering, trying to determine what was wrong. After a while she said, “You ladies run up and tell Dumbledore. I’ll take care of this.”

Mandy and I hurried out of the room and up to a corridor with a large stone gargoyle on the wall. It led to Dumbledore’s office, but I had no idea how to get in.

“I don’t know the password!” I said. I looked to Mandy, who shrugged her shoulders, obviously having no idea either. I pounded on the wall as hard as I could, and shouted, “It’s important!”

We waited but there was no response. Suddenly I had an idea. It might wake up the entire school, but it was necessary. “Sonorus,” I said, pointing my wand at my throat. Then I resumed my pounding on the wall. “Professor Dumbledore!” I shouted, my voice amplified several times. “Help!”

After a few moments the wall section split in two, opening to reveal a spiral staircase that was slowly revolving downward. The headmaster, Dumbledore, stepped off the staircase and into the hall. The normal twinkle was gone from his blue eyes, and he looked stern. “What is it?”

“There’s a…” I began, but stopped when I realized my voice was still magnified, echoing loudly in the corridor. I suppressed a sheepish smile and performed the countercharm. “Quietus.”

Mandy took over for me. “A cursed watch, I think, in the trophy room. Remus Lupin touched it, and, well, he’s unconscious right now…”

“Madam Pomfrey is in there,” I said.

Dumbledore followed us back to the trophy room. Remus was sitting up, leaning against the wall. The watch was on the floor, a filthy rag lying on top of it.

“He was fine once I got that out of his hand,” said Madam Pomfrey, pointing to the watch.

“Thank you, Poppy,” said Dumbledore. “Do you have any idea how this happened?”

“Well, as you probably suspected, I think it’s been cursed, but I don’t know what it’s doing here. A thing like that in a school…”

I walked over to the watch, picked it up in the disgusting rag, and set it atop a small low shelf. Dumbledore pushed his half-moon glasses up on the bridge of his crooked nose, and bent over to examine the artifact. “Do you have any ideas where this might have come from?” he inquired.

Mandy and I looked at each other, and at Madam Pomfrey, then at Remus who was still sitting on the floor. I couldn’t even begin to guess. Mandy apparently could, though.

“Could it have once belonged to Ravenclaw? The colors, those are Ravenclaw colors.”

“Possibly,” said Dumbledore. “Although there are no known artifacts that belonged to Ravenclaw, I suppose we could have just found one… but do you think Rowena Ravenclaw’s own watch would be in a dusty trophy room?”

I was about to mention that the trophy room was not dusty anymore, it was spotless since we had just spent three hours cleaning it, but I decided that it wasn’t the time for jokes.

“Why would something like that be in the school anyway?” said Mandy. “Maybe it was recently put there, intended for someone to touch it? I don’t know who would have done that, though… none of Voldemort’s followers could have broken into the castle… Although we really don’t know how long it’s been there.”

“I should have made you a prefect, I like the way you’re thinking,” said Dumbledore, the twinkle returning to his eyes. Mandy beamed. “Well, I’ll take this and speculate,” he finished, wrapping the artifact in the rag. “Mr. Lupin, will you be fine?”

“Yes sir,” Remus answered. “I feel perfectly normal now.”

Dumbledore smiled slightly. “I’m glad. It looks like it wasn’t too severe, but I’ll still have a look at the watch.” He turned to Mandy and I. “You two don’t have to finish your detention, I’m sure Mr. Filch will understand. I’ll tell him.”

“Thank you, sir,” I said.

Dumbledore left; Madam Pomfrey fussed over Remus one last time and then also turned and walked out the door. I sank down on the floor and leaned against the low shelf across from Remus. “Eventful night,” said Mandy, also sitting down.

“You could say that,” Remus replied, laughing.

“Are you sure you’re all right?” I asked, worried.

“Yes. I don’t know what happened, it just made me fall asleep or something. Don’t worry about it.”

“Must have been a very deep sleep, because you got all stiff and your eyes were open too,” I said.

“I’m glad you’re all right,” said Mandy.

“Right then, let’s get out of this awful room,” said Remus. He stood up, and offered a hand to both Mandy and me. We all left the trophy room together, leaving the rags and few last trophies on the floor. “You know, it’s all your fault,” Remus teased. “If you hadn’t made me stay, this wouldn’t have happened.”

“It’s Filch’s fault. Look what detentions do to you!” I exclaimed.

“No, nothing would have happened to you, Remus, but it would have been either me or Melanie,” said Mandy, addressing Remus. “Probably Mel, she messes around with everything.”

“Oh, thanks, Miss I-Never-Mess-Around-But-I-Play-Tricks-On-Sirius’s-Girlfriend.”

Remus raised an eyebrow. “So that was also you?”

“That was all Mandy, I assure you.”

Mandy slapped me lightly. “Thanks a lot, Mel,” she whispered. “That was supposed to be a secret…”

“Never stayed much of a secret since you acted like a fool whenever you got anywhere near him,” I said.

Mandy glared. “Remus, you never heard any of that, by the way.”

“Heard what?” Remus asked, looking up at the ceiling, smiling. “I didn’t hear anything.”

We parted in the hallway where Remus left for the Gryffindor common room and Mandy and I went down to the Slytherin room. I fell asleep immediately upon reaching our room.


*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Thanks for reading!!! Feedback, sil vous plait?


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Last edited by marauderfan; April 3rd, 2013 at 7:00 am.
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  #9  
Old September 6th, 2008, 5:00 pm
marauderfan  Female.gif marauderfan is offline
Second Year
 
Joined: 4132 days
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Age: 27
Posts: 258
Re: The Brave at Heart

Thanks to everyone who has left feedback! It really means a lot to me. And now I present chapter 8, it's kind of short, but I guess that makes up for last time, haha. Hope you enjoy!

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Chapter 8: Quidditch Through the Rages

The dormitory was noisy when I woke up on Saturday. I opened one eye, not wanting to move, and something large and soft landed on my face. “Time to wake up!” I heard. “Saturday! Quidditch! That ringing a bell?”

“Mmmph,” I said to my pillow.

The pillow lifted off my face and I saw Mandy standing there looking down at me. “Morning, sleepyhead. Get up.”

“Yes, Mum,” I grumbled. Was it already Saturday? My brain was still fuzzy.

“It’s going to be a nice day,” said Mandy. “We don’t have Potions…”

“Of course not, it’s Saturday,” I said, finally sitting up. Charlotte walked over to the window. “Yeah, nice day,” she echoed Mandy sarcastically. I looked up. It was gray and overcast, but at least it wasn’t raining. I finally dragged myself out of bed, ready to face the day. My not-yet-started Potions homework wouldn’t matter yet, after all.

“Where are Alanna and Rachel?” I asked, referring to our roommates.

“They went down to breakfast already,” said Charlotte. “I’m about to go, too, now hurry up!”

I was ushered into the Great Hall by my friends, and we were surprised to see that no one from the Slytherin Quidditch team was at the table. Perhaps they had just left for the pitch early. While we sat there eating our breakfast, we were interrupted when a crowd of people showed up, asking what had happened last night. “I heard about that cursed trophy or whatever,” said one Gryffindor, “I already asked Remus, but he says he doesn’t remember it, and that he was asleep for most of it.”

I started to tell the story, occasionally pausing to shovel food into my mouth, when Mandy would continue talking. We reached the part about Remus finding the watch, and when I glanced up briefly, I saw Severus Snape and he seemed somewhat alarmed. He wasn’t looking at Mandy and me, but I could tell he was listening in on our story. Suspicious… I continued, and when I said that we had found Remus lying on the floor, I saw Snape smirk. I wondered if he knew anything about it.

Mandy had to take over for me, since I kept pausing and thinking. The crowd was growing still larger and we had to keep repeating. But the more we tried to evade questions, the more people pestered us. For the moment, we were very popular all of a sudden, and I was half expecting Sirius and James to show up and sit with us, trying to get some attention lavished on themselves as well.

Charlotte saved us, however, when she announced, “You all better let these ladies go. We want to watch the Quidditch match as much as you, and there’s no way we’ll get good seats if we can’t leave here. Go back to your tables. You can hear the story later.” Some kids looked affronted, but gradually the crowd behind us dispersed.

It wasn’t quiet for long, however. Roger Simms came racing in, followed by five of the other team members, all dressed in their Quidditch robes, but Stephan Flint was missing. Simms scanned the table, and then asked someone, “Where’s Bulstrode? Flint is in the hospital wing, he just broke his arm! We need a replacement!”

“Edgar?” the person replied. “Oh, he’s in the hospital wing too, you probably didn’t even recognize him. He somehow turned himself into a toad about a week ago and no one knows how. Even Madam Pomfrey has never seen anything like—”

“WHAT?” roared Simms. “We are short a Beater, and it’s ten minutes before the game! Do you know how to play Quidditch?”

Simms’ friend just stared at him, open-mouthed. I suddenly thought of something that could help. Simms would hate it, but it was the best he could hope for in the situation.

“Simms!” I called, standing up. “I’ll play Beater.”

“You?” he sneered. “You’re too weak to play Beater. I’ll bet you don’t even know how to hold the bat.”

“Of course I do,” I said as patiently as I could, while resisting the urge to punch him. “You can’t play with a Beater missing, what other choice have you got?”

Simms grunted. “Fine,” he said after a moment. “But you better do well, and if Slytherin loses I’ll know it’s because of you.”

I turned around, trying to hide the huge grin that was spreading across my face. I was going to play on the Quidditch team! It may have been only as a replacement, but I was still excited.

“You’d better go,” said Mandy. “Good luck! You’ll be amazing!”

“I need my broomstick!” I realized, and sprinted out of the hall and all the way down to get my Cleansweep out of my dormitory. When I went back to the Great Hall, the team had left, and I continued running until I reached the Quidditch pitch.

“There’s extra robes in there,” said Andrew Derrick, one of the Chasers, as he pointed towards the changing rooms. “Meet us out here in five minutes. You haven’t even trained with us yet, you better be listening when Roger talks tactics.” He left.

As I found a set of emerald Quidditch robes in my size and a Beater’s bat lying on the floor, I thought about what Derrick had said. I hadn’t trained with the team at all. My initial excitement was wearing away into anxiety – what if I did horribly?

Before we went out onto the pitch, our Captain, Roger Simms, gave us a last-minute lecture on strategies. It was hardly a motivating speech. My insides were squirming with nervousness, but my brain felt very slow as Roger droned on. It didn’t look like anyone else on the team was interested in what he was saying, or perhaps they’d heard it many times before, because they all looked sleepy. I had no idea why Simms had ever been made Captain; he wasn’t very smart, and apparently didn’t notice that no one was paying attention. He was a fine Keeper, though, mainly just because of his size, I thought. Whenever I had watched matches, Simms had done a good job of blocking the hoops, being very tall and stocky.

Finally we emerged onto the field, the cold brisk air instantly clearing my mind. Cheers erupted from a green-and-silver-clad quarter of the stands when we filed out. Ravenclaw’s blue team received more noisy encouragement, as almost three-fourths of the school applauded for Luke Wilcox and his other Ravenclaws.

“Captains shake hands,” a loud voice rang out. I looked up to see today’s commentator, Mary Macdonald, a Gryffindor sixth year.

Roger and Luke shook hands, Roger sneering and Luke’s piercing blue eyes giving Roger a death glare. It appeared that someone had been trying to crush someone else’s fingers.

Madam Hooch blew her whistle and I mounted my broom and soared into the air, bat in hand. The wind whipped through my hair, and I felt wonderful. I was finally on the Quidditch team. A trunk opened on the field, and four balls shot into the sky. I chased a Bludger and hit it at a Ravenclaw Chaser, who had the Quaffle.

“Braddock has the Quaffle, he dodges a Bludger from Hastings, who is substituting for Flint. I heard that Flint broke his arm when he fell off a moving staircase this morning!” Some people in the crowd laughed. “Braddock passes the Quaffle to Mason, she’s going for the goal – she shoots – oh no, Slytherin Captain Simms blocks it… Now Derrick of Slytherin has the Quaffle, he passes to Corlon, who’s now heading towards the goal. Ravenclaw Beater Howard Lund intercepts with a Bludger! Slytherin Beater Nott just hit Mason with his bat. That’s a foul! Penalty to Ravenclaw!”

What an idiot – I would have bet that he had never played Quidditch in his life before Simms stupidly let him on the team. I was rather annoyed with everyone on the team. They all seemed to be using dirty tactics, and I knew it would probably lose us the game. And then I would be blamed for it.

“Wright of Ravenclaw has the Quaffle now; Hastings hits a Bludger at him, Wright swerves and drops the Quaffle. Hastings is really good, I wonder why Simms didn’t let her on the team. He looks really angry right now.”

I tried not to laugh. I was grateful for Mary’s sense of humor to lift my spirits. And Slytherin was winning (although admittedly, I didn’t know how many of those points we actually deserved).

Luke Wilcox was a Chaser for Ravenclaw, I saw him sneaking around, expecting a pass. I hit a Bludger at him, but he saw it at the last second. He darted left, and collided with Nott. Nott flipped sideways off his broom, managing to hang on with his hands. He swung his feet, and accidentally kicked a Ravenclaw.

“CHEATING!!!” yelled Mary into the megaphone. “Oh, Derrick scores again – this must be his fifth so far. Corlon has the Quaffle now, he scores. D*** it! Sixty-forty to Slytherin.”

“Macdonald!” barked Professor McGonagall, and reached out to take the megaphone.

“Sorry Professor,” said Mary. “Earle and Warrington are racing for the Snitch! This is it! Oh… looks like they were both faking.”

The game progressed, and several times I dearly wished to smack Roger over the head with my bat. He was being an idiot, and yelled at us no matter what we did. Instead, I kept focused on the Bludgers, and I felt that even with no practice, I was doing much better than in any of the games I had used to play with my brother and his friends.

We were nearly tied with Ravenclaw, and Luke Wilcox had the Quaffle and was steadily zooming towards the goal hoops. Just as I was about to hit another Bludger at him, he saw me and grinned, and it suddenly dawned on me how cute he was. I smiled back sheepishly. Then, frustrated at my inability to focus, I snapped back to reality and swung wildly at the Bludger, but it wasn’t there anymore.

When Simms called a short time out to berate us more on strategies, it took all my energy to concentrate on what he was saying. I felt that I had started playing a lot worse ever since I had noticed Luke. I resolved to think about it no more, because this was likely the only chance I would have to play a Quidditch match.

“All right, back to the game, everyone!” Simms directed. “Stop talking! Move! You, Hastings! Concentrate, you’re doing terribly!”

I had a burning desire to prove Simms wrong. No matter what, I would concentrate on those Bludgers. At the first opportunity I had, I struck it with tremendous force at Luke just as he was preparing to throw the Quaffle. The Bludger rocketed forward and hit him in the head. There was a dull sound and Luke fell sideways off his broom. I gasped, horrified. What if I had really hurt him? I leaned over, and saw the other Bludger coming at me, but I realized too late. I veered off to the left and felt something slam into my back, another stabbing pain in my head. I was falling… and everything went black.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Hope you liked it, now join me in the land where dreams come true (aka the Feedback Thread!!)


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Last edited by marauderfan; April 3rd, 2013 at 7:01 am.
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  #10  
Old October 6th, 2008, 4:49 pm
marauderfan  Female.gif marauderfan is offline
Second Year
 
Joined: 4132 days
Location: Beyond the veil
Age: 27
Posts: 258
Re: The Brave at Heart

All right folks, it's time for Chapter 9!!! Thank you to everyone who left feedback! I love you all!

*~*~*~*~*~*~*


Chapter 9: Truth and Truce

I woke up in the hospital wing. My head and back ached a lot, and it took me several moments to realize why I was there. Some way to end the Quidditch match, I thought bitterly. It had been my one shot at showing I wasn’t completely awful – and I had fallen off my broom. I turned with difficulty onto my side, and saw two cards, a vase of flowers, and a package on the table next to my bed. I grinned and lifted the cards and package off the table. Before I laid back down to read the cards, I looked briefly at the slip of paper stuck in the flower blossoms. “Get well soon – with love from Mandy and Charlotte.

I smiled and leaned back against the pillows, setting the package down next to me. One card was from Mandy, and one from Charlotte. I then opened the package. Inside it I found a card, and underneath several layers of tissue paper was my scarf! I picked up the card, and a bar of Honeydukes’ chocolate fell from inside it. The note read,

I hope you feel better soon. The chocolate should help. This is your scarf, I did wear it to the match – until James and Sirius noticed it, that is. They weren’t too happy about it and tried to put a spell on it, so be careful when you pick it up, I’m not sure what will happen. Nothing happened when I put it in the box, but I would still be careful if I were you.

I hope you get well soon,
Remus


I grinned again. Honeydukes chocolate… Remus sure knew his remedies. I broke off a piece and ate it, savoring the delicious taste, and then looked in the box again. I lifted my scarf out, and it was perfectly fine for about five seconds, and then I gasped. It had shot out a large firework and then the scarf turned red and gold. As it emitted a loud bang, Madam Pomfrey bustled out of the back room looking frazzled. She noticed I was awake, fed me a disgusting potion, set the package on the floor, and went over to a bed across the room where Luke Wilcox was still sleeping. I tried to ignore the heaps of gifts and cards on his table, and instead looked at his face. Then my sensible side wondered why I was looking at him at all, and I turned back to face my cards.

Madam Pomfrey turned around again and asked what the loud noise was. I gestured to the package on the floor and tried not to grimace at the aftertaste of the horrible potion.

“Well, what happened?” she asked again.

“Just a prank box,” I replied. “No damage.”

She frowned and retreated back to the other room, muttering, “This is a hospital wing, what are they thinking, children these days…”

I lay there for several more moments before I dropped off to sleep again.




I woke up several hours later and the hospital wing was much darker. Long shadows were thrown across the floor by the various empty beds near the window.

Luke was already awake, halfway through his stack of get-well-soon gifts. I wasn’t bold enough to say anything to him, so I just laid my head back down on my pillow and stared at the ceiling. I recalled the crazy events of this past week. It had felt so long. It seemed strange to think that only a week ago I had gone to Hogsmeade with Remus and arranged the Annoy Filch Contest.

Suddenly I remembered the Marauders’ prank in the contest. We still hadn’t got our revenge on them yet. I messed around with some ideas, then sighed as I watched the time tick by on the large grandfather clock.

It reminded me of the watch we had found in the trophy room. What was it? Had it really once belonged to Rowena Ravenclaw? I wanted to find out the story behind it. I sat upright, and had swung one leg out of bed when Madam Pomfrey came around the corner and said, “Just where do you think you’re going so quickly, dear?”

“Um… I felt better,” I explained lamely, “and thought I needed to get going.”

“You won’t miss any classes, it’s Sunday,” she assured. “It’s nearly dinner time, nothing much is happening out there.”

“It’s Sunday?

“Yes.”

“Well, I feel fine! Can’t I go? And if it’s dinner time…”

“You’ve got a nasty bruise still, and you nearly broke your arm! You got hit by a Bludger, and then sailed right into the Quidditch hoops. You need to rest for a while!”

I sighed heavily. My tactic wasn’t working. “I want to find out what happened with that… thing, in the trophy room!” I glanced over at Luke to make sure he wasn’t listening, but of course, I saw him watching the whole scene with a puzzled expression.

Madam Pomfrey scowled. “I’m sure Dumbledore can handle it. Now you need to rest.” She picked up the bottle of nasty potion she had left on the bedside table, and gave me some more. I made a face and swallowed the medicine, and Madam Pomfrey checked on Luke quickly and disappeared into the back room again. When the hospital wing was quiet once more, Luke asked, “What were you talking about?”

I had expected this, but still had no idea what to say. I was more excited that I had the chance to talk to him. I was hoping to not mess it up. But I still had to answer his question. “Um, something I found. Listen, I’m sorry about that Bludger, I saw it hit you and—”

He laughed. “You have pretty good aim.”

“I’m so sorry, I didn’t mean to…”

“Don’t worry about it, I’m fine now. I could probably leave if it weren’t for…” he tilted his head in the direction of Madam Pomfrey.

“Yeah,” I laughed.

“So why were you in such a hurry to leave?” he tried again.

I sighed. “You know the story, I’m sure you’ve heard it, about the trophy room and the watch?”

“Yeah, I heard a little about it,” he said. “Something about it being cursed and made Remus Lupin unconscious?”

“Pretty much. Well I wanted to find out what was up with that. I was going to ask Dumbledore.”

“Can I come with you?”

Now this I had not expected. Part of me wanted to say yes, so I could have more time to talk to Luke. But the sensible part of me wanted to say no because it wasn’t his business at all.

Instead I just said, “Why?”

“Well, I want to get out of here, but that’s not the only reason,” he said, grinning. “Remus is a good friend of mine, we’re both prefects, you know, and I want to make sure nothing bad happened to him. And, you’re still supposedly hurt… it would be a good idea for someone to accompany you, don’t you think?” He winked.

I giggled. Does he like me too? “Remus is fine,” I said.

“But, still.”

“Okay.”

“I can go?”

“Sure… you know we can’t leave until way later, though…”

I was so amazed I had carried on an entire conversation without sounding completely stupid even once. Maybe I didn’t have a problem like Mandy. I hoped I didn’t, anyway.

Later on that evening I begged Madam Pomfrey to release us, and with Luke’s help this time she reluctantly consented. We raced out the doors, sprinted down the hall and were close to Dumbledore’s office when I realized I still didn’t know the password.

I stopped a few feet away from the office. “What’s wrong?” Luke asked.

I was about to respond when Mandy and Remus came around the corner together. “Hey, we were just coming to talk to you!” exclaimed Mandy.

“Well, we escaped early,” I said, and she laughed. “Now we’ve come to talk to Dumbledore to find out about the watch. I bet you anything it’s Ravenclaw’s,” I added.

“Duh, only because I suggested that,” she said jokingly. “Wait, we still don’t know the password!”

“We do,” said Luke matter-of-factly, glancing at Remus. “Prefects have such a high status...” he teased.

“Rubbish,” I said dismissively.

“Ice Mice,” Remus told the gargoyle. The wall split into two behind it and revealed the revolving staircase. We rode up and reached a door with a griffin shaped brass knocker. Luke knocked on the door and some idle chatter from inside subsided. Dumbledore opened the door and looked only mildly surprised to see us there.

“Come in,” he said, and we all filed inside the room. There was no one that he could have been talking to – the room was empty apart from a number of odd silver instruments on spindly legs that rattled and puffed smoke occasionally.

We sat down and I asked, distracted, “Who were you talking to?”

One of the many portraits on the wall laughed, and I realized it was probably they whom Dumbledore had been talking with. As I stared at the portraits, Dumbledore said, “I see, you have figured that out. But surely that’s not why you came here?”

Mandy asked, “Did you find out what was going on with that wrist watch?”

“Was it Ravenclaw’s?” I added.

Dumbledore smiled slightly and put his fingertips together. “I thought so at first. But now I think it’s most likely that it did not belong to Ravenclaw.”

“Whose was it, then?” asked Luke.

“Why was it cursed?” said Mandy.

“What was it doing in there?” Remus wondered.

“Be patient, I will answer all your questions eventually. Now, I’m not sure if it’s wise to be telling you all about this, since there is so much mere speculation involved.” He looked over his half-moon glasses at our eager faces, and continued, “I will tell you some of what I’ve figured out. But I myself am not sure.

“So first you asked whose it was. I have no idea, but I don’t think that is quite so important. It is in Ravenclaw’s colours, although I don’t believe it actually belonged to Rowena Ravenclaw. Now, why it was cursed... It was apparently just so people wouldn’t touch it, and if they did they wouldn’t remember doing so later. Is that correct, Remus?”

“Yes, sir, Madam Pomfrey told me afterwards what had happened. I didn’t really remember at the time. But I do now… it looked like it had been put there for someone to see it, it was right there in the front.”

“So wait,” I said, perplexed, “it had curses on it so that no one touched it, but it was right up front? How does that make sense?”

“Unless…” said Mandy softly, frowning with concentration, “it was put there for one person to find, but only that one person, and if anyone else touched it, this happened…”

I was confused, but apparently I was the only one. “Oh, I see what you mean,” said Luke. “Do you think there’s a Death Eater inside the school who left it out for You-Know-Who to find?”

We all stared at him, then at Dumbledore. If Luke was right…

“Wouldn’t people notice if Voldemort just appeared in Hogwarts?” I pointed out. Luke gasped as I said the name.

“But it says in Past and Present of Hogwarts that you can’t Apparate,” said Mandy, “there are special spells on the castle… and that’s up-to-date information, the book was written last year.”

“I’m sure he could find other ways in,” said Remus.

“You don’t think one of the students here is a Death Eater, do you?” I asked.

“Could be just a spy,” said Luke, “or, helping out…”

We all turned to Dumbledore again, who had been silently watching the conversation with interest. “Very good thinking, all of you. It’s highly likely something like that happened, because the watch hadn’t been there until recently. Filch had never seen it there before.”

“Yeah, but how often does he look?” Mandy muttered.

“What would Voldemort… sorry… You-Know-Who, want with an old wrist watch?” I asked.

“Don’t be afraid to say the name, any of you. Fear of his name is just what he wants. And I’m not sure what exactly makes him so interested in the watch, although I would imagine it’s worth quite a lot. Remember, most of this is just speculation, we’re not sure about any of it.”

There was a moment of silence, then I said, “Well, even if that’s not quite right, it means the school isn’t safe anymore, doesn’t it?”

Dumbledore’s face was very serious. “It does mean that. It has been growing steadily more unsafe for a while now. Times are dangerous.” He looked at our somber faces and added, “You shouldn’t go around acting like that, though. You should enjoy the time you have at school, but be prepared for the unexpected.” We nodded.

“And… I don’t think it would be wise to discuss around school what we have just discussed – after all, we can’t be certain what is really going on, and there’s no need to get people worried unnecessarily. The school will know of the dangers it faces, in due time. Hogwarts is still one of the safest places there is.”

“We can’t tell anyone?” asked Remus.

Dumbledore paused. “You may tell people you completely trust not to spread the story around everywhere. I think it would be wise to have some responsible students aware of it. I just don’t think the entire school needs to worry. That’s all for now – it’s time for you all to be in bed now…”

As we went down the staircase, I mentioned to Mandy, “Guess that means we aren’t telling Charlotte.” She was the gossip queen of Slytherin.

We all walked as a group, quietly discussing the implications of the conversation we had just had. Luke eventually split off to go on his way to the Ravenclaw common room, and a bit later Remus, Mandy and I passed the other Marauders on their way to the library, and Remus joined them. I continued walking for about two steps until I realized Mandy had joined Remus and the other Marauders on their way into the library.

I ran and caught up with them. James and Sirius stared at us as I reached Mandy’s side, perplexed that we were hanging around. I was a little confused too, but I had only been following Mandy. Mandy started talking to Remus, and he answered as if this was nothing out of the ordinary, but I felt uncomfortable being here. Remus and Mandy seemed to be the only two really keen on us all becoming friends. The boys were funny sometimes (all right, a lot of the time), and smart, but they let it go to their heads, particularly James and Sirius. Peter never really bothered anyone if the others weren’t egging him on. But the three of them didn't seem too thrilled to have us around.

Remus sat at a table, and Mandy joined him. The rest of us just kind of stood there, not sure what was happening. “Why are they hanging around?” Sirius asked Remus bluntly.

Mandy asked the boys if they wanted to hear Dumbledore’s ideas about the wristwatch, and Remus pointed out that Mandy and I had been there too for the wristwatch incident and that he trusted us. So the others sat down, and Remus, Mandy and I told the other Marauders what had transpired in the meeting with Dumbledore, after making them swear not to tell anyone. We speculated on who the Death Eater might be, and James suggested Snape.

“It just might be!” I realized. I remembered the look I had seen on his face when I told the story of the watch at the Slytherin table at breakfast. Snape had looked alarmed – maybe it hadn’t gone the way he planned. But then, he had been sort of happy when he heard that it had got Remus…

“I just want to hex him into oblivion for this,” said James.

“You hex him into oblivion every day,” said Remus impassively.

“James, I’m totally with you on that, once we find out it was him,” I said.

“I just realized something,” said Peter. “Why are we rivals? It seems stupid, since we’re friends… or, well, we are friends, aren’t we?” he finished awkwardly.

Well, they talked to us, which was something, but I wouldn’t go as far as to say we were friends.

“Aren’t you friends with Snivellus?” asked James, ignoring Peter.

“We used to be,” said Mandy. “But not anymore. It was before we really knew him.”

I chuckled at the look on James’s face, and then turning to Peter, I laughed out loud, he looked so confused. But I knew he had a point. Maybe our days as rivals were over. After all, we were now all in on a huge secret together, and we did have a lot in common – at least where pranks were concerned.

Peter brought up his idea again, as it seemed no one had heard him the first time, suggesting the end of our rivalry.

“I dunno,” said Sirius skeptically. “I kind of like it the way it is, to be honest. What you’re suggesting, Wormtail, means that we could no longer play pranks on these Slytherins.”

I rolled my eyes. Mandy said, “You’re right Sirius… and you know, I think the only reason Peter wants this peace between us is because you want to avoid having to suffer what you deserve.”

“Yeah,” I said, and turned to them. “We still haven’t forgotten about you hiding under the Invisibility Cloak and letting Filch catch us, so watch out. Revenge will be sweet,” I concluded dramatically.

“Well, look what happened last time because of rivalry,” said Remus. “I ended up unconscious.”

“That’s true,” said Peter.

“So you’re calling a truce?” asked Mandy.

“I think they are,” James laughed, indicating Remus and Peter.

“It’s all right if you don’t want to,” I said airily. “I don’t think we really need to be allied with Marauders. What a disgrace that would be.”

“Very funny,” Remus said, rolling his eyes.

Eventually we decided we would try to be friendly to one another. It really didn’t change anything except that maybe we’d agreed to jinx each other in the hallways less.

As Mandy and I departed for the Slytherin common room on the first floor, she then turned to me and said, “Wait till you see how Charlotte takes it,” she laughed. “She won’t have a clue.”

“Yeah.” We got on a staircase and it suddenly disconnected at the bottom and started moving to connect somewhere else. “Urgh, I hate when they do this.”

“It keeps life interesting,” said Mandy brightly. “Otherwise we’d get back to the common room faster and you’d have to start your homework sooner.”

“Oh yeah, I guess that’s true…” We waited for the staircase to stop moving and got off, a floor below where it usually ended, and walked back to the common room.


*~*~*~*~*~*~*

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Last edited by marauderfan; April 12th, 2013 at 6:20 am.
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  #11  
Old December 7th, 2008, 8:11 pm
marauderfan  Female.gif marauderfan is offline
Second Year
 
Joined: 4132 days
Location: Beyond the veil
Age: 27
Posts: 258
Re: The Brave at Heart

I'm so sorry it's taken so long... In about two weeks I'll be able to post a lot more, though! For now, here's chapter 10!

*~*~*~*~*~*~*


Chapter 10: Changes

We were queued up for Defence Against the Dark Arts directly ahead of the Marauders. Remus, Mandy, and I were joking around, ignored for the most part by Remus’s friends, who were having their own conversation just behind us. I didn’t think they were paying us any attention at all, until one point when I had just said something to Remus and then heard Sirius laughing behind us in the queue.

I turned around, and Sirius abruptly stopped laughing. “Since when do Slytherins have a sense of humour?” he asked. “I thought you all appreciated humour as much as a bag of dried flobberworms.”

“You hit the nail on the head,” I said, attempting to not crack a smile. “I hate fun.”

Sirius looked at me pensively for a moment, then decided to play along. “Yeah, fun’s pretty rubbish, isn’t it?” he said. “Quite overrated.”

“What have you done to him?” James asked me. “I don’t want you corrupting him with your fun-hating ways.”

Me, corrupting him?” I laughed. "That’s a good one.”

“I don’t know what you mean,” said Sirius innocently. Peter snorted with laughter, ruining whatever illusion Sirius was going for, as Professor Alvers put an end to our conversation by arriving and letting the queue in for class.

Before long, though, I felt like we were actually becoming friends. Sort of. We never made any plans together, as friends do – it was just that we kept appearing in the same place at the same time, and then enjoying it. They had plenty of other friends, but they still made time for us, which I figured meant something. And after a few weeks I started to see James, Sirius, and Peter as my friends, rather than just Remus’s friends. Even Sirius was not as bad as I had used to think. He wasn’t that arrogant when I actually talked to him – that was just part of how he joked around.

A couple of weeks later I could be found sitting on my bed with the hangings closed, trying to shut out the noise from downstairs. Severus Snape, Evan Rosier, and Elliott Jasper had been picking on me again, and the common room was full of howling laughter. Like usual, I had done little but run away from them. Mandy had come upstairs shortly after I did, but I didn’t want to talk to her just yet. Charlotte was still downstairs.

As I sat there sulking, an idea struck me… I now had good friends in Gryffindor House – I could just leave the Slytherin room if I got tired of dealing with the people there.

“Come on,” I told Mandy as I opened the hangings suddenly. I walked out of the dormitory, down the stairs, and into the common room. Mandy gave me a questioning look, but I just pushed past all the people in the common room and left.

“Are we going to the Gryffindor room?” asked Mandy excitedly.

“Yeah… Because I don’t want to listen to the idiots in here laugh at me, and you want to stare at Sirius.”

“Oh, shut up,” she mumbled.

I smiled and we approached the portrait of the fat lady in the pink dress. “Blueberry muffin,” I said, and her picture swung out to reveal the portrait hole. Mandy and I walked inside.

The Gryffindor room had a much better atmosphere than ours. Gryffindor Tower was one of the tallest in the school, so the view outside was beautiful. The windows were very tall and framed by long red curtains, and all around the room were lots of comfortable old chairs and a crackling fire. It seemed ten times more cheery than the Slytherin room.

Lily Evans was sitting at a table working with a blonde girl with a round face I knew only by sight. James and Remus were playing wizard chess at a table near the fire; James was losing horribly because he had an eye on Lily the entire time. Sirius was stretched out on a couch with an open book over his face, presumably sleeping. Peter was sitting nearby trying to vanish Remus’s chess pieces so James could have a chance at winning, but Peter hadn’t quite mastered the Vanishing Charm yet so several of the pawns were disfigured.

“Hi,” I said, flopping into a chair. Mandy sat in a chair next to mine.

“Hey,” said Remus, looking up from the chess board. “All right?”

“I’m just… sick of all the other Slytherins.”

“How’d you get in?” asked James. “This room is for Gryffindors.”

“This room is for people who know the Gryffindor password,” I corrected him. “And we know what it is.”

James frowned. Remus shook his head, and said, “Well, you’re definitely welcome to join us anytime they’re…” He shrugged. “Checkmate,” he added.

James turned back to face the game and groaned, pushing the remaining pieces aside. “Who wants to work on Transfiguration with me? Evans, you look like you need a partner,” he said, and moved over toward her table, ruffling his already messy black hair.

Lily scowled. “I’m helping Alice study, this is important information and it’s probably all going to be in her N.E.W.T.s.”

“N.E.W.T.s?” asked James incredulously. “It’s only November!”

“Yes Potter,” Lily said with irritation in her voice, “some people care about their grades and actually do their work, rather than messing around. Now if you will excuse me, I believe I was busy before you interrupted.” She glared at him, her green eyes flashing dangerously. James held his hands up in defeat and turned back to us, noticing that we had been watching. He sighed, and smiled uncertainly.

“Oh well,” he said. “I've got no reason to work on Transfiguration now, who’s up for something fun instead?”

“What about your work?” Remus asked. “We’re all working, so you’re not going to miss anything if you do your work now too.”

James appeared to consider this. “All right, Mum,” he said resignedly as he dug his book out of his bag. “Where’s Padfoot?”

“What?” I asked, confused. They would sometimes refer to each other by nicknames and I still hadn’t quite got who was who yet.

“Sirius,” said James. “Sorry. Oh, he’s over there… sleeping, the idiot.”

“I’ll get him,” I said, and stood up. I walked over to the couch and lifted the book off Sirius’s face. He still didn’t open his eyes, so I whacked him on the side of the head with his book.

“Hey…” he said grumpily, “you’re interrupting my… studying…”

“Studying,” I repeated, skeptically. “Right...”

“What do you want?”

“Come work on Transfiguration with us.”

“Nah,” said Sirius. “I don’t feel like studying.”

“Of course, since you’ve already spent the past few hours studying, you must know it all by now, right?”

“Yep,” he said, grinning, and laid back down.

“If you know it all, you can test us.” I grabbed his arm and dragged him off the sofa.

We walked back to the table, where Remus and James were listening to Peter excitedly telling them he had managed to vanish a chess piece. However, I saw a piece on the floor, and James was attempting to hide a smile, and I laughed.

I ignored the scowl on Mandy’s face when I returned with Sirius, and the six of us set to work on Transfiguration. We all got to talking and enjoying ourselves, and I appreciated Gryffindor friendliness. Within these two weeks I already felt that this group and this common room were more of a home to me than Slytherin ever had been or would be.

My Transfiguration work gradually improved quite a lot; all four of the Marauders were very skilled in it, despite how little they said they studied. Peter was a bit behind the other three, but he was still better than I was. And it didn’t help that Mandy kept recounting the story of the time I had turned my table into a snapping turtle.

“Moving on, please!” I said. “Something I can do, for once. Charms, anyone? Ancient Runes?”

“None of us are taking Ancient Runes,” said James. “I think Evans is, though,” and he turned around so fast in his chair that I heard his neck crick. “Evans!”

Lily sighed. “What, Potter,” she asked, rolling her eyes.

“You sure you don’t want to come sit with us? Melanie’s in Ancient Runes, you two can work together on it.”

“Weren’t you listening the first time? I’m working with Alice!” She sounded exasperated. “Sorry, Melanie, it’s nothing against you… We can work on that later if you want…”

“Lay off, Prongs,” Sirius muttered to James.

I nodded. “I’ll be fine with this rune stuff, trust me.”

“Potions, everyone,” said Mandy brightly. “Something we’re all rubbish at!” She set her book on the table with a thud.

As we all moved on to Potions, James took one last glance at Lily, who seemed flustered and her auburn hair was coming out of its neat ponytail. Sirius followed James’s eye and said, “Are you ever going to give up on her, mate?”

“Never,” said James firmly. “Some day, Padfoot, when you fall in love, you’ll understand.”

Sirius faked a girly swoon and then said to James, laughing, “I doubt I’m ever going to ‘fall in love’.”

As he said it he looked up briefly and his eyes met mine. I turned away quickly and pretended I hadn’t just been listening in on their conversation about their love lives.

I felt bad for both James and Lily at the same time. Lily had been constantly annoyed or asked out by James Potter at least three times a week since fourth year, and he tended to act like a prick around her. James had been rejected countless times and never got more than a glare from Lily, whom he genuinely cared about.

I looked at Mandy, who was slightly red in the face but persistently tackling her Potions essay. She and Remus both had something written down – I had nothing. As silence descended upon our group, I started writing on my blank parchment.

Soon we finished, and with perfect timing because it was time for dinner. All six of us packed away our books, stood up and prepared to leave. I slung my bag over my shoulder and started to leave the common room.

“Wait,” said Lily, calling me back. “Did you want to work on Ancient Runes with me later?” I walked back over to Lily’s table, where she and her friend were cleaning up the various parchments, quills, textbooks, and a few gum wrappers. Mandy waited for me.

“Sure,” I agreed, “that sounds good, how about after dinner?”

“Sounds good. So… I hear you’re now one of Potter’s friends?” she added uncertainly.

“Yeah, I suppose. I’m not allowed to be friends with him and you at the same time?”

“Well…”

“I know you don’t like him,” said Mandy. “But Melanie isn’t James. She’s not going to be asking you out every five minutes, so I’d say it’s safe to be friends with her.”

We all laughed. “That wasn’t the issue,” Lily said. “I was actually just surprised; maybe Potter isn’t as much of a bigot as I thought he was. He’s just never been particularly kind to Slytherins in the past.”

“We’ve always had rivalry, just a sort of friendly one,” I said. “The whole group of them really – they’ve never been that cruel to us. I think they reserved that for Snape and his cronies.” I paused, seeing Lily tense up. “I’m sorry, I know you two used to be close…”

“Severus is part of the past for me,” said Lily. “He’s chosen his way, and I don’t care anymore.”

“You two are Slytherins?” asked Lily’s friend Alice, eyeing Mandy and me.

“Oh, I completely forgot,” said Lily. “This is Alice Murray. She’s a seventh year. Alice, this is Melanie Hastings and Mandy Macintosh, they’re Slytherins in my year.”

“Hi,” we all said. Alice looked slightly confused as to why there were Slytherins hanging around in the Gryffindor common room, but didn’t say anything.

Mandy seemed to notice, and told Alice, “We met on the train in first year, and Lily and I know each other from Slug Club,” she paused to make a face.

Alice laughed. “Yes, I’ve heard plenty of stories about that…”

“Shall we go down to dinner?” Mandy asked.

We left through the portrait hole and went down on our way to the Great Hall. At the entrance Mandy and I paused. I looked over at the Slytherin table and really didn’t feel like going over there.

“Come on, join us over here,” said Lily, and we all walked to the Gryffindor table.

Dinner was the most enjoyable it had been in a long time. Lily was one of the most popular girls at Hogwarts, and all of her friends who sat with us at dinner were equally friendly to us. Afterwards I worked on Ancient Runes with Lily, and then I was ready to face the Slytherin common room again. I walked straight through it and up to my dormitory, where I collapsed on my bed.

“So…” said Mandy, who was sitting on her bed.

“So.”

“What?”

“I don’t know… you said ‘so’.”

Mandy sighed. “I’m just thinking.”

“About what?” I asked, although I thought I already knew the answer.

“Nothing.”

“Right.”

Mandy was silent.

“You have a boyfriend. I suppose you’ve been way too focused on Sirius to notice that?”

“I can’t exactly stay away from Sirius, now that we’re friends with the Marauders…”

“Mandy, what do you like about him? Is it just looks? Because if that’s the case… well, I really hate to say this… but maybe you should try something different, maybe you actually should talk to him more, to try and see what he’s really like, and then you can decide whether you still like him.”

Mandy shrugged, but I figured she would probably try. I knew I would likely regret telling her this, because I had just essentially advised that she spend more time in Sirius’s presence.

“I’m just trying to help you.”

“Recently I’ve tried ignoring him, which has worked well. Sometimes. I don’t know. I’m tired of this.”

“Of what?”

Everything,” said Mandy dramatically, sighing and leaning back on her bed again.

I got out my wand and started practicing Transfiguration again. I pointed my wand at a piece of parchment on the floor and attempted to vanish it, but sparks flew out of my wand and hit Mandy’s small mirror on her bedside table, cracking it.

I looked up at Mandy, stuttering an apology, but she didn’t seem concerned. She just grinned and said, “Seven years bad luck!”

I laughed. “I give up.”

“You’ll get better.”

“Peter is better than me.”

“You’re better than he is at Charms and Defense Against the Dark Arts, and probably loads of other stuff too. Relax.”

Charlotte entered the dormitory at that point. “Another deep discussion, ladies?” she inquired.

“Nah,” said Mandy.

“Scheming against the Marauders?”

“No, we already told you—”

“Yeah, okay… I still don’t get why you're spending time with them. Right after they got you two caught… I don’t trust them.”

“Neither do I, Charlotte, and I’m sure they don’t trust us either,” I reasoned.

“Anything new downstairs, or is everyone still acting like idiots?” asked Mandy.

“Idiots for the most part…” said Charlotte. “Oh, did you hear? Remember Lucius Malfoy?”

“Of course I know him, he’s one of Nathan’s best friends.”

“Well, he proposed to Narcissa Black! She left Hogwarts a couple of years ago, do you remember her? I got this long letter from her today. And she said yes! How exciting, she’s going to be married!”

“That’s fascinating, Char, but I’m tired,” I said. “I’m going to bed.”



The next morning I walked into Transfiguration and took my normal seat next to Mandy. The Marauders came in late to class, though. I figured they had been off playing some prank. However, during class when we were practicing a new spell, we had time to talk to them.

Mandy was talking with Sirius, so I moved over next to James, since he was the next closest. “So what were—” I broke off. James had a huge gash on his arm and several more on his face. “What happened?” I gasped. I noticed similar scratches on Sirius; Peter seemed very tired, and Remus looked ill.

“Oh… um, just fancied a stroll in the Forbidden Forest.” He grinned.

“All four of you?”

“Yeah.”

That’s why you were late to class?”

“No.”

“I see… well, what was it like?” I asked.

“Oh, well… forbidden, dark, you know. Lots of trees, animals with claws.”

I raised an eyebrow. “I always knew you were all weird, but I thought you’d have more sense than that. That’s your idea of a fun pastime? Be careful, I’ve heard there are werewolves in there!”

He laughed. “I’ll keep my eyes open for that. If we do happen to see one, I’m sure we’ll be careful.” Peter giggled and then looked back at his snail. I looked up to see McGonagall glancing in our direction, and turned around to face my table again before she could tell me off for not paying attention in class.

Sirius and James mastered the spell very soon, winning ten points each for Gryffindor, and spent a good amount of time after that talking, and occasionally distracting Mandy when she was getting close to turning her snail into a saucer. By the end of class she was quite frustrated with the both of them, and during the last five minutes of class when we both finally mastered the spell, she even called Sirius an arrogant prat, something I had known he was for ages, but that seemed to have been lost on Mandy.

As we gathered our stuff, I raised my eyebrows at Mandy and asked, “Really?”

“He was showing off a lot.”

“And…? You’ve never noticed this before?”

“Not really… you know. Well, I still like him, but, you were right. I guess I know more of what he’s like now.”

“It’s progress, at least. I hope Russell hasn’t noticed anything.”


*~*~*~*~*~*~*

I would really appreciate feedback! Thanks for reading!


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Captain of the HMS Arts & Crafts, co-founder of Annie Is My Homegirl, Proud member of the IBP and KEBA

Last edited by marauderfan; April 12th, 2013 at 6:14 am.
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  #12  
Old February 1st, 2009, 11:41 pm
marauderfan  Female.gif marauderfan is offline
Second Year
 
Joined: 4132 days
Location: Beyond the veil
Age: 27
Posts: 258
Re: The Brave at Heart

So I know I said 2 weeks. Then my computer crashed for a while... I'm sorry! I bet you get tired of reading that. Do people actually read this random stuff I write at the top here anyway? On with the story, then... hope you enjoy!

*~*~*~*~*~*~*


Chapter 11: Silence, Skirmishes, and Special Events


Silencio!

The raven in front of me continued to open and close its beak, but emitted no sound. I grinned, satisfied, and looked up.

“Wow,” said Mandy. “That was your first attempt, Mel!”

“Yeah, I guess,” I said.

Across the room, Peter’s raven was flying around his head; he was ducking and waving his hands helplessly at it, and the other Marauders were laughing loudly. All of them still had noisy birds perched on their table – they hadn’t made any progress either with the Silencing Charm.

I turned back to Mandy, who was having trouble as well. “Don’t wave your wand so gracefully, it’s more like – this,” I Silenced her raven as well.

“Excellent, Miss Hastings! Ten points to Slytherin!” exclaimed Professor Flitwick, a short tiny wizard who had to stand on a stack of books to see the class properly. He waved his wand at Mandy’s raven to lift the charm and have her try it again.

Mandy grinned at me, then went back to attempting the Silencing Charm on her raven.

“Aaugh! This is so hard…” she muttered as the raven squawked deafeningly. She made a face and pointed her wand at the raven. “I need help!”

She had the wand motion closer this time, but just when I thought she would get it, Sirius strolled over to our table and grinned mischievously. “I know how it’s done. Allow me,” he said, and Mandy dropped her wand and gladly moved aside. Sirius muttered something, pointing his wand at Mandy’s raven, and all of a sudden, it turned orange, and its cawing was magnified ten times.

“Did you mean to do that?” Mandy inquired.

“Yep,” said Sirius. “Don’t know if you’ll be able to fix it though…” He laughed.

“You lousy git!” said Mandy, talking loudly over the raven’s magnified noise. “Go away!”

Well, if that was how Sirius was going to be… “Allow me,” I said, smirking. “Silencio.” I pointed my wand directly at Sirius.

His eyes got wide. “Hey, wha—” he began, but couldn’t finish. He continued to open and close his mouth for a moment.

“You look like a fish, Sirius,” I said coolly. “Now go away and leave Mandy alone.”

James, Remus, and Peter had been watching and were all howling with laughter. Lily looked up, probably thinking some foul trick had been played during class, and saw Sirius silently mouthing like an idiot. She laughed as well and raised her eyebrows at me in surprise.

I turned back to face Sirius and said, “That ought to keep you quiet for a while, Sirius. I wonder if you can handle it.”

Professor Flitwick noticed the disturbance in the classroom and made sure Sirius went back to his own seat. Many students were now unfocused, and I felt slightly guilty, but the git had interrupted Mandy’s best attempt and only made it harder for her. Now she had an extremely noisy raven which I was sure wouldn’t be any easier. We tried to put it back to normal, but all to no avail. Eventually I traded ravens with Mandy, silenced the loud orange raven with considerable difficulty, and the classroom became much quieter.



After class, as I walked out the door with Mandy, Lily Evans ran up behind me. “That was great! It really did us all a favor,” she laughed. “In fact, I loved your idea and did the same thing later on in class when Potter asked me out again.”

“Great! That should teach him.”

Lily rolled her eyes. “Unfortunately, I don’t think it will… Oh well,” her face brightened, “it was hilarious to see the expression on his face! I caught him by surprise.”

“Yeah, I—” I started, but suddenly I found myself hanging upside down in the air by one ankle. My bag slipped down onto the floor. I pinned my arms to my sides frantically, holding up my robes, but one leg was still half exposed. Looking around wildly, I saw Sirius smirking complacently.

“SIRIUS!” yelled Lily angrily. “This is what I’ve been talking about! You have a problem when someone else does this, but you think it’s fine to use it yourself?!”

I was fuming, but remembered my wand was still in my pocket. Carefully I reached my hand inside my robes, pulled out my wand, pointed it at Sirius, and performed a color-changing charm on him.

Sirius looked at his hands, then at Lily, and then both of them glanced up at me – Lily half-smiling, Sirius shocked.

“You’re green!” said Mandy.

“Let me down,” I growled at Sirius, “or we’ll both end up in detention.”

“Detention’s not that bad, I go there all the time.”

“I don’t want to spend a detention with you.”

Sirius faked a very hurt look and then sighed. I swung back down onto the floor.

Remus left the classroom at that moment and spotted us. “So much for that Marauder alliance then, huh, Padfoot?” He raised an eyebrow.

“This was because she used a silencing charm on me! She started it!” he said defensively.

“Oh, that’s mature,” said Lily. “Blaming it on her…” she sighed discontentedly.

“Come on,” I said to Mandy and Lily. We started to leave.

“Hey! There’s no need to get worked up over it! It was just a bit of fun!” Sirius said after us.

I turned around, continuing to walk backwards. “Maybe you shouldn’t get so worked up over a simple silencing charm, and stop being such a hypocrite! Have a nice afternoon,” I said frostily, and we turned the corner.

“Really, Sirius,” I heard Remus admonish Sirius far behind us. “She’s right. What was that about?”



Mandy and I did our homework in the Slytherin common room, although we ate dinner with the Gryffindors again, at Lily’s request. We sat far away from the Marauders, which worked well for all of us.

As we ate, I started wondering why we had ever made the truce with the Marauders. It clearly wasn’t working out. Well, at least Mandy was starting to get over Sirius. It seemed that way, at least. And Remus was becoming a close friend of ours, and even James seemed to be much nicer than I had thought. Peter had never been too much of a problem to us. So, after all, the only problem was Sirius.

There really wasn’t a reasonable excuse to end our friendship though, and besides, it was because of them that we’d met so many friends in Gryffindor. We would just have to wait and see how everything turned out.

“Ugh, Potter and Sirius are looking over here again,” said Lily, turning so she was facing the other end of the table.

“Sirius?” asked Mandy. “But, he…” She looked up, puzzled, and both boys immediately looked down and began shoveling food in their mouths. Lily rolled her eyes.

“All ready for the Ancient Runes test tomorrow?” I asked, changing the topic.

“Yeah, I think so,” said Lily. “Professor Trynn said it was going to be hard, though. I hope I do well, I’ve studied a lot for that one.”

“It’s so hard these days finding time for all the studying. I’m just glad O.W.L. year is over with. Next year will be awful, though, with N.E.W.T.s, and even with all that I still want to be on the Quidditch team. I hope we have a better Captain next year…”

“I know, I’ll still have prefect duties.”

“No one’s died yet of too much work, so I’d say you’ll be fine,” said Mandy. “Well, dinner is over, we should go back to our common room.”

“I’ll see you two later,” said Lily, waving. As many of the students stood up and left, Mandy and I found Charlotte.

“You should have joined us,” said Mandy.

“I was with Rachel and Alanna.”

“Okay. Well, you should join us again next time we go to the Gryffindor room, you’ve only come with us a few times.”

“I’ve told you, I don’t trust the Marauders,” said Charlotte.

“We weren’t actually with them, we were sitting with Lily Evans and a few others.”

“That’s great, but I don’t know that many Gryffindors. Anyway… Viper,” she said the password to our common room, and we walked inside. It was the sixth password we’d had in a row that was a type of snake.



Several days later, in mid-November, we finally consented to go back to the Gryffindor room to study with the Marauders. I was working on an essay with James and Sirius, and Mandy was sitting with us as well, but she had finished her homework. It didn’t help that she kept asking Sirius random questions about a different essay.

“Mandy, go talk to Lily, or Alice, or Remus, or Peter, or someone,” I finally said, after Mandy remarked loudly that she liked Sirius’s new quill.

“Oi! Moony!” Sirius called. I still hadn’t managed to grasp which nickname referred to whom yet. Remus looked up. “Have you started the Herbology thing yet? I think Mandy wants to help you with it.”

Mandy pouted. “You can stay if you want,” said James, “but I don’t know if we would be paying much attention. We’ve got to get this done, sorry.”

I nudged Mandy. “Oh, go on, he doesn’t bite,” I said. James and Sirius laughed a bit louder than seemed necessary. Mandy smiled, rolling her eyes, and walked across the room to join Remus and Lily at their table. She came back in only a few seconds, though.

“You never said it was your birthday!” she exclaimed. “Happy birthday, Sirius!”

He grinned. “Thanks.” And then, noticing Mandy was still lingering at our table, he added, “Look, I’ll come join you over there once we finish.”

And so, when we finished about an hour later, Sirius put his and James’s books away in their dormitory and came back carrying a stack of colored party hats. James, in the meanwhile, left the common room, saying he would be back later. Sirius handed a particularly repulsive yellow and pink striped glittery party hat to Remus, who politely refused it.

“Hey,” Sirius protested, “Prongs and I spent a while trying to fix this nice hat for you.”

“It’s not my birthday. Where’s yours, eh?”

Peter looked up from his seat near the table where he was reading. “You can always just make one for him, too.”

“Where’s James at?” I asked.

“He should be back soon,” said Sirius casually. And sure enough, in about five minutes, James came through the common room door with a bag full of Honeydukes sweets, which he threw around the common room, telling everyone the occasion. I wondered how James had managed to get all this. But I put that out of my mind as I enjoyed the celebration. A group of third-year girls came up to Sirius, blushing and giggling madly, to congratulate him on turning seventeen. I laughed to myself, remembering Mandy had once been very similar. She kind of still was.

We had a wonderful evening – and I was pleased to see that Remus and Mandy made an even more horrible party hat for Sirius, which was lavender and had unicorns frolicking on it. After a while of festivities, I realized we had to be back in our common room before curfew, so Mandy and I left.


The rest of November passed by like normal. The Slytherin Quidditch team kept practicing for their upcoming match against Gryffindor, which was to be in January. James, as Quidditch captain for Gryffindor, kept reminding us how excellent his team was and how badly Slytherin would be squashed, but otherwise we got on well. Together we pulled a few remarkable pranks on the entire school, but it was difficult because the Marauders wished to play tricks on Slytherin, and we wouldn’t allow it.

Even Charlotte sometimes joined us when we went to join the Gryffindors, but not often. It seemed that she was facing a dilemma on whether to remain closer to Mandy and me, or to her younger brother – who was one of Snape’s good friends; and she couldn’t easily be both.

One day in late November after I had made a complete fool out of myself in Transfiguration with my lack of skill, whereas James and Sirius had perfect transfigured teapots on their tables, Professor McGonagall announced an upcoming event which had not happened in a while.

“The Yule Ball,” she said, “will take place on Christmas day. It has a rather interesting history; it used to be a traditional part of the Triwizard Tournament, which, as some of you may know, was discontinued long ago because of the death toll. However, the Yule Ball is the only component that remains, although it’s not the same as it was in the past, when other wizarding schools would participate. As there will not be another for four years, I suggest if you feel like going, you stay at Hogwarts for the holidays.”

She looked as if she was most displeased with the thought of a ball at Hogwarts, but a buzz of discussion broke out in the room immediately. As the bell rang, many girls moved out of their seats to discuss this exciting prospect, carelessly leaving ink bottles and quills on the tables as they moved in packs out of the room. I made sure to collect all my stuff, and as Charlotte and Mandy and I left the room, the only thing in our minds was the Yule Ball.

Mandy would likely be going with Russell, but Charlotte and I were single for the time being. Charlotte started telling us all possible candidates of boys she wanted to go with. I was secretly hoping Luke would ask me, but I knew there was no chance of it happening.

As we walked through the halls we noticed that everyone was moving in groups – the news of the Yule Ball was the most exciting thing that had happened recently, and everyone seemed to need to discuss it. And as the week went on, people became increasingly apathetic about their studies; in Charms and Potions especially, we were not even expected to be paying attention as the 25th of December drew nearer. In Transfiguration, however, we were expected to remain focused until the last day. Professor McGonagall was not impressed with most people’s lousy work in her classroom.

One day about a week before the Yule Ball, the Marauders and the Anti-Marauders were sitting together at a table in the Gryffindor common room. We were discussing the Yule Ball, like nearly everyone else. The only ones who didn’t have a date were me, James, Remus, and Peter. James had asked Lily, but she refused to go with him and instead accepted a random Ravenclaw. Charlotte was going with Stephan Flint, one of the Beaters on the Slytherin Quidditch team.

“I’m getting kind of tired of this Yule Ball stuff,” James declared, yawning.

“Only because Lily won’t go with you,” said Peter.

“Hey,” said James defensively, “I’m pretty sure you don’t have a date either, Wormtail.”

“Yes, I do,” Peter said. “I asked her yesterday, my friend Sarah, she’s a fifth-year Hufflepuff.”

“Nice. You going, Moony?” asked Sirius.

“I don’t even like dancing,” said Remus dismissively.

“That’s a lame excuse,” said Mandy. “Don’t tell me half of the Marauders are considering not going to the Yule Ball? It’ll be no fun.”

“Oh come on, you have to go,” I said. “Both of you. Honestly, just go and ask someone. Right now. What have you got to lose?”

“Fine then,” said James, smirking. “Melanie, do you want to go to the Yule Ball with me?”

“What?” I sputtered. “I meant – why are you – seriously?” I laughed.

James laughed. “I’m serious.”

Really?” interjected Sirius. “You’re Sirius? I thought I was!”

“Shut up, Sirius.” I turned back to face James and paused. The truth was, I had been waiting so long for Luke to ask me, but with only a week until the dance, I had to accept that he would not be asking me. I needed to just forget about him, I couldn’t keep waiting.

“Sure, I’ll go with you,” I said.

“Great.”

I laughed. “What are people going to think of you now? One of the people most responsible for playing tricks on Slytherins and now you’re going to the ball with one. I can’t believe I’m going with a Gryffindor.”

“Life is full of surprises.”

“It would appear so.”

We looked at Remus, since he was now the only one of us who had no plans for the Yule Ball. “Your turn, you have to ask someone now,” said Mandy.

However, Remus was much more shy than James and Sirius, and instead just sat there. “I don’t know,” he shrugged. “Maybe later.”

Sirius looked around. “Ask Estelle, she’s standing over by the portrait hole. You know her pretty well, so it wouldn’t be weird.”

“Where’s that Gryffindor spirit?” James nudged Remus, who laughed.

“Oh, all right.” He got up, walked over to the girl, and they began talking. After a few seconds I realized how awkward it was for us to be staring, so I tapped Mandy on the shoulder and we tried to divert the boys from watching Remus, but they seemed to want to be awkward instead. It turned out fine though; Remus didn’t see them and came back a few minutes later, smiling. “I guess that wasn’t too bad.”

“Success!” said James, laughing and giving Remus the thumbs-up.

“Now you can’t say that you’re tired of the Yule Ball stuff, right?” Mandy teased.

“Thank goodness that’s all settled,” I said. “I was also sort of tired of worrying about it.”

“Now all we have to do is wait until Christmas,” said Charlotte.


*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Thanks for reading! Please let me know what you think! Feedback


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Last edited by marauderfan; December 10th, 2012 at 8:02 am.
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  #13  
Old February 13th, 2009, 12:27 am
marauderfan  Female.gif marauderfan is offline
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Joined: 4132 days
Location: Beyond the veil
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Re: The Brave at Heart

First off, this chapter is sort of long. This part has given me a bit of trouble and I can't seem to get it perfectly the way I want, but if I wait any longer I'll just find more things wrong with it. I hope it's up to standard, and I'm sorry about how long it is!

*~*~*~*~*~*~*


Chapter 12: The Yule Ball


Three days later, right before Herbology, which Slytherin had with Ravenclaw, Luke Wilcox approached me outside the greenhouse. “Melanie,” he called. He had just come running down the hill carrying several books, parchment and a quill. “Hi, I had something to ask you…”

Mandy, who had been walking next to me, stopped, and then walked into the greenhouse alone. Luke accidentally dropped his quill as he tried to put it into his bag.

“All right,” I said, trying to conceal a silly grin that had spread across my face when Luke stopped next to me. “Here’s your quill.”

“Thanks. Er… so, the Yule Ball is really soon,” he stated, fumbling with his quill and books. I sighed agitatedly, knowing what was coming next. Really? Did he have to do this now? He cleared his throat. “I was wondering if you wanted to go with me?” He looked up at me.

I didn’t know what to say. I had waited so long for Luke to ask me, and now he chose to do so only a few days before the dance! I was annoyed with him for taking so long, but I felt awful knowing that I would have to turn him down. Even though I wanted to go with Luke, James had asked me first and I had already said I’d go with him. Technically I could just talk to James and tell him I’d changed my mind, but I’d feel bad about it.

I sighed. “I’m so sorry, Luke,” I told him reluctantly. “Someone else asked me already, and I’m going with him…”

Luke looked back down and focused on the quill he was still spinning in his hands. “Oh, okay,” he said, and turned to go into Herbology.

“Wait!” I called. Luke stopped and turned to face me. I carried on, not sure of what I was going to say. “I want to go with you, but…I can’t…” I couldn’t find the words to finish my thought, and shrugged helplessly. Luke continued on toward the greenhouse.

I couldn’t believe it. I stood there for a few moments with my mouth open, staring off into space. I was frustrated at the whole situation, trying to find a way it would work out, before I realized class was about to start and hurried inside.

I walked in to class and stood next to Mandy, not speaking to Luke at all. Mandy looked up, as if to ask me what he had said, but she soon turned back to face the front of the class. I was thankful she hadn’t asked me any questions; I wasn’t really in a mood to talk. After about five minutes though, I had calmed down enough and told Mandy, “Luke just asked me to the Yule Ball.”

She picked up a pot full of dirt and poisonous seedlings and began digging in it. “Is he the one you like? I knew there was someone you weren’t telling me about.”

I didn’t respond, and continued tracing patterns of dirt on the table.

“I’m sorry, Mel. Bad timing, huh? If only he had asked you a few days ago.”

“Yeah.”

“I think you’ll have a great time with James. Just try to forget about Luke.”

“That’s hard.”

Mandy laughed. “That’s what I say every time you tell me to just forget about someone. Now do you believe me?”

“I guess.”

“What’s up with Charlotte? She’s been sitting there for fifteen minutes and not moving.”

“I dunno. Ask her.”

“Not right now, Professor Sheridan is looking. Help me dig up these plants, they have to sit in this red potion for six minutes before we can replant them.”



We left class entirely covered in dirt, sweat, and Dr. Zoff’s Poison-Removing Potion. It had been an intense class. After a long time washing our hands and arms, we finally felt clean enough to go to lunch, but it had started a while ago. As Mandy and I passed the Gryffindor table, James called out to us to join them, but he and Sirius and Peter and numerous other Gryffindors were currently in the middle of a food fight. We declined their offer, laughing, and turned to go over to our table.

A piece of broccoli hit me on the shoulder. I turned around to make a face at them, and kept walking.

“You know,” Mandy said, “even though they can be annoying sometimes, they are pretty awesome. I really meant what I said before – the Yule Ball will be great with James.” She paused. “I know you’d rather go with Luke, but you don’t even really know him. That wouldn’t be as fun. I think it’s better for you the way it is, to be honest.”

She was totally right, as usual. I would enjoy it more with someone I knew, I wouldn’t constantly have to be worrying about what he thought of me. I pushed the thought of Luke out of my mind, and Mandy and I sat at our table next to Charlotte.

“Why did I ever sign up to continue with Herbology?” Charlotte asked us. “It seems like every day we work with poisonous things, and they always end up getting on me.”

“Didn’t you hear Sheridan? She said the ones we did today aren’t poisonous unless you eat them, Char,” said Mandy, helping herself to some potatoes.

“Is that why you were just sitting there during Herbology?” I teased. “Because you ate a poisonous plant?”

Charlotte didn’t say anything, and stared intently at the meat dish.

“Wait, I was kidding, you didn’t actually eat them, did you?” I asked suspiciously. After a moment of silence, in which I realized there was something she wasn’t telling us, I repeated, “Did you?”

Mandy looked up from her potatoes, trying to suppress laughter. “Charlotte!” she giggled.

Charlotte sighed. “Fine. Yes. Warrington dared me to, and he said he would pay me ten Galleons if I did, so I ate one and then I couldn’t move for an hour.”

Mandy and I roared with laughter.

“And the worst part,” Charlotte continued vehemently, “is that he didn’t even pay me after that! What a liar. I’m going to kill him.”

“Ah, ah,” said a voice from behind us, “you don’t want people to hear you saying that, Avery.” We turned around to see Snape standing behind us, sneering. “They’ll avoid you more than usual.”

“Go away, Snape. No one asked you to eavesdrop.” Mandy snapped.

“Tell me,” he continued, “how are you three liking the Gryffindor common room these days? I hear you go there all the time because no one likes you here.”

I smirked. “Actually, we just leave the Slytherin common room when you’re there, because you make it smell bad. Leave us alone and go wash your hair.”

“Oh, I’m leaving, all right. I don’t want to be seen talking to you. And watch out for the broccoli, Avery, it might be poisonous.” He walked away.

Charlotte swore. She started to get up and leave, but we pulled her back. “You can’t let him ruin your day,” said Mandy.

“It was already ruined. I want to drop Herbology.”

I laughed. “You have to admit it was funny, though.”

“Yeah, you have to stay here because the last thing you ate was those plants,” said Mandy, moving the potato bowl towards Charlotte. “You need lunch. Potatoes?”



When school let out for the holidays, very few people went home, which was unusual. Normally when we left for Christmas there were about twelve people who stayed; this year almost everyone fourth year and above stayed. It was wonderful being at school with my friends and not having any work to do; although we had been assigned homework over the holidays, there was plenty of other time to do it.

The morning of December 25th, I woke to find a pile of gifts near the foot of my bed. Surprisingly, I was the first in my dormitory to wake up. I woke everyone else up by yelling, “It’s Christmas! Time to get up! Presents!”

Alanna opened her bed hangings to throw a pillow at me and then went back to sleep. Rachel didn’t even respond. Mandy and Charlotte, however, got up and we all reached for our presents.

I had received a new set of quills from Mandy, and some Chocolate Frogs and Bertie Botts Every Flavor Beans from Charlotte. I picked up the next present, which was from James, Sirius, Remus and Peter. It was shaped like a book, which was odd – why would they, of all people, ever have had their hands on a book? The Marauders, who bragged about how little they studied? I unwrapped it, and sure enough, it was a book, entitled “How To Stay On Your Broom.” It was full of Quidditch strategies and broomcare tips and all sorts of things that would probably come in handy. I laughed – they had given me something useful and made fun of me at the same time. I tossed the wrapping paper on the floor, where it promptly exploded.

It turned out that they had given Mandy something similar, because I heard an explosion coming from where she was sitting as well. Alanna and Rachel started yelling at us to be quiet. I looked up.

“The Marauders gave me this stupid firework that blew up when I touched it!” Mandy told me, laughing.

Remembering the gift they had given me when I was in the hospital wing, I wondered whether they had ever given any gift that did not explode.

“Was that all?”

“No, there’s also some chocolate and some stuff from Zonko’s.”

“Awesome.”

“By the way, thanks for the Sneakoscope! I’ve heard of these before, they’re supposed to light up and spin when someone you can’t trust is around?”

Charlotte laughed. “Yeah. I bet it’ll light up all the time we’re near the Marauders, now we’ll know when they’re lying to us!”

The last present I opened was a wool hat from my family. It was green and silver with serpents embroidered on it. I left it in its box and got ready to go up to breakfast.

We walked up to the Great Hall to find twelve trees set up, sparkling as if it had just snowed. There were fairies on top of the trees. It was absolutely stunning.

The food was spectacular, as always. Even though it was still relatively early in the morning, I was impatient for it to be eight o’clock in the evening. Mandy and Charlotte and I visited the Gryffindor common room after breakfast, where we played Gobstones and chess with the Marauders and ate delicious sweets from Honeydukes, which one of them had received as a Christmas gift.

That afternoon Mandy, Charlotte and I went sledding on the hills near the frozen lake. We all got extremely cold and wet, but it was a great time. At about half past five o’clock we left to go inside and get ready for the Yule Ball.

We walked down to our dormitory, where out the window we could see a snow fight raging. We closed the curtains and began preparing for the dance. I let Mandy do my hair, since I considered it unmanageable, and was planning to just leave it alone. She put it up with a few ringlets hanging down. Charlotte and Mandy both curled their hair, and then we got out our dress robes. Mine were purple, Mandy’s were silver, and Charlotte’s were a light turquoise.

Alanna and Rachel came into the room at about six o’clock, and all of us got into an excited discussion about the dance and who was going with whom, what group might be providing the music, and various other topics. It took us a while to get everything done, but eventually all five of us were ready.

We headed down to the common room together, where the other four found their Slytherin dates, and I walked to the other end of the room and out into the hall, where I found James waiting for me.

“How did you know where our common room is?” I asked, surprised.

“Well, you know where ours is,” said James.

“You showed us. We never showed you ours.”

“I just know these things.” He grinned. “You look great, by the way.”

“Thanks, so do you.”

“Should we go up to the Great Hall, then?” He offered me his arm gallantly.

I took it, laughing. “Sure.”

All the long House tables had been replaced by a number of smaller tables for the Christmas feast. James and I sat down at a table and were soon joined by Remus and Estelle, and a few other people I didn’t know. The feast was excellent – the best part was that to get food, we just had to tell our plates what we wanted and it would appear.

The enchanted ceiling of the Hall showed a clear sky sprinkled with bright stars. The room was filled with talking and laughter, and it was altogether a wonderful atmosphere as we ate our dinner. It was very enjoyable, and a great opportunity to talk to people I didn’t ordinarily spend much time with. As dinner ended, the raised platform at the end of the hall where the staff table usually was became a stage, and the small tables cleared away to the side. The Wayfaring Warlocks, one of my favorite Wizarding bands, took the stage and began to play.

James and I made our way out onto the dance floor, among all the other couples. The first song was pretty fast, a great way to start out the dancing. We danced and talked, and I was really enjoying myself despite all the drama leading up to the dance. At one point we passed by Luke and I tried to ignore him, but he was looking right at me so I gave him an apologetic smile and turned away.

After a while James and I went back to the tables to sit down and rest. He spotted some fellow Gryffindor Quidditch team members and told me he was going to join them for a little while, if it was all right.

“That’s great, I’ll see you later.” I smiled and walked towards a different table, where I saw Mandy sitting with Russell, Charlotte, and Stephan Flint. Mandy waved at me, and I sat down by her.

“Hey,” I said brightly. “I’m not interrupting anything, am I?”

“No, not at all!” Russell answered, smiling. “Have you been enjoying the dance so far?”

“Yes, it’s been fantastic! How about you, what do you think?”

“It’s definitely been fun. Who did you come with?”

“James Potter.” Russell stared at me blankly, and on Flint’s face was a disgusted expression. “Excuse me?” I asked Flint defensively.

“You could have picked anyone, why Potter?” he spat. “He’s a Gryffindor, he’s arrogant, he’s rude to every Slytherin in this school, and just a horrible person in general.”

“He’s a Gryffindor, yes, and there are some Slytherins he has disagreements with. But that’s normal for anyone. He is not a horrible person. Why do you have so much against him?”

“Stop,” said Mandy, reaching her hand out between us and trying to stop what she sensed as the start of a heated disagreement. “Stephan, she’s allowed to talk with whomever she wants, don’t insult her taste in friends. Mel, don’t get so worked up.”

“Well I’m sorry I came over here,” I said huffily, starting to stand up, and glaring daggers at Flint.

Mandy stood up too. “Wait, I haven’t had a chance to talk to you since before the dance!” She turned to face Russell. “We’ll be right back.” She grabbed my wrist and led me over to a more secluded table.

“Melanie, I’m so sorry about him.”

“It’s not your fault. I hate Flint. Why on earth did Charlotte go with him?”

“Calm down,” she began, putting her hand on my arm. “He’s actually not that bad. I talked with him for a while, since we were sitting at the same table for dinner. I think he snapped at you because he’s just jealous of how much attention James gets on the Gryffindor Quidditch team, and how every girl in the school is in love with him – those who aren’t in love with Sirius, that is – and I think he just dislikes James because of how easy he makes it look.”

“I guess that’s understandable,” I confessed after a bit. “Actually to be completely honest I think part of the reason I hate Flint is because I’m jealous… he’s on the Quidditch team, in what should have been my spot. But mainly just because he’s such a prick.”

“It’s okay. Jealousy is only natural; it’s human.”

“Spare me the philosophy, Mandy.”

She laughed. “You definitely should be on the Quidditch team, though. You’ll make it next year, there’s no question about it. And Flint will even have left Hogwarts by then. But I promise, Flint’s not as bad as he came off just then.”

“Okay.”

Mandy smiled. “I’m sorry.”

I sighed. “Don’t worry about it. How are you liking the dance?”

“I love it. I’m having so much fun. We’re going to have to talk all about it afterwards.” She grinned. “But right now I think I see James looking for you.” She pointed behind me.

“All right. Have a good time for the rest of the dance! I’ll probably see you on the dance floor at some point.”

“Great!” We got up and she went back to join her table, and I walked off after James.

As I approached him, Lily and her partner Lewis Ackerley emerged from the crowd, heading towards the tables by the window. James, rather than walking towards me, diverted off to the table where they were sitting. I caught up to him before he got there, and grabbed his wrist, leading him away back into the crowd. “You can’t make it that obvious. Give her a break.”

He laughed it off. “What makes you think I was going to talk to her?”

“James, I know you better than that.” I led him back onto the dance floor and we started dancing again. I was having such a great time, despite my argument with Flint, and the fact that every time I turned my head Luke seemed to be there, dancing with Elsie Ritter, a very pretty and popular Hufflepuff in our year. Why did Luke need to be right there? Did he know how much that annoyed me?

We gradually moved further away from Luke, but after a while we got tired of dancing. “Let’s go sit down for a bit,” James suggested, and we walked toward a table far away from where Lily and her date were still sitting. We began discussing Quidditch, which thankfully got my mind off the topic of people I didn’t want to see.

As we were sitting at the table and talking, Sirius bounded up to us, having just left the dance floor. “Enjoying yourselves?” he interrupted.

“Hey, Padfoot,” said James, smiling. “How’s it going?”

“Great! Why are you just sitting here?” He turned to me. “Come dance.”

“What?”

Sirius grinned, grabbing my hands and pulling me off the chair. “What about your girlfriend? Where is she?” I protested, as he put one hand on my waist and marched me onto the dance floor as if we were doing a rather awkward tango. I shot a confused look at James, who was laughing.

“She left for a while, I think she was tired,” said Sirius.

“Well I don’t want to dance with you,” I said, trying to prise his hands off of me.

“Sure you do.”

“What are we doing? This song isn’t a tango.”

“Would you have preferred a slow song?” He smirked.

“Yes. Then your girlfriend would get jealous and she’d come separate us, and I wouldn’t have to dance with you.”

He laughed. “Well you already are. There’s no point arguing.”

I scowled.

“Come on, it’s Christmas.”

This was so unlike Sirius, trying to get me, of all people, to dance with him. “What is this all about?” I asked suspiciously, narrowing my eyes. “Who put you up to this? You never go out of your way to talk to me.”

Sirius shrugged. “Well, I decided you’re not as horrible as I originally thought.”

I shook my head, baffled. “You need to work on your people skills.”

“So, is that a yes?”

“Okay – one dance.” I said, laughing. “And if you hex me—”

“I wouldn’t do that,” he said with an air of innocence.

I scoffed. “Yes you would.”

“You don’t give me very much credit.”

“For good reasons.”

“You look nice.”

“What?” I didn’t know how to respond. Not only was his comment completely unexpected considering the conversation we had just been having, but it was probably the only nice thing he had ever said to me. “Um… thank you?” I hadn’t meant it to come out as a question, but it did.

He laughed, clearly delighting in making me feel awkward. “Is purple your favorite color?”

“Well, no, actually my favorite color is orange, but I wasn’t about to come to the Yule Ball wearing orange.”

“Why not?” He grinned.

“You’re an idiot.”

“That’s not a good reason.”

I raised an eyebrow. “Does it matter? Do I even need a reason? Maybe I just felt like wearing purple.”

“Look,” he said suddenly, pointing over towards the side of the Great Hall where the tables were. James and Lily were standing by one of the tables bickering loudly. Lily had her hands on her hips, her green eyes glinting fiercely, and James kept ruffling his hair. We weren’t close enough to hear most of it, but Lily looked rather annoyed, and the expression on James’s face indicated things weren’t going as he’d planned. Clearly James hadn’t listened to me when I advised him not to bother Lily. But then again I hadn’t really expected him to.

I giggled. “They argue like a married couple, don’t they.”

“You think so too?” Sirius asked, laughing. “I wonder how long it will take for Lily to see that James is perfect for her.”

Surprised, I asked, “Did James pay you to say that? I’ve never heard you say anything quite so sappy.” I laughed. “Especially since less than two months ago, you were telling James to give up on Lily.”

“What?”

“When we were…” I suddenly remembered that I had been eavesdropping when I heard that conversation, and tried to think of something else to talk about.

“If you mean when we were working in the common room that one time a while ago… You shouldn’t have been listening to that, it was none of your business.”

“You were loud. I couldn’t help it, we were at the same table.”

“Do you always listen to other people’s conversations?”

“Do you always talk about things you don’t want people to hear when you’re surrounded by people who will hear?”

Thankfully, the song ended a moment later, sparing us from having to continue the present conversation. We left the floor and went back to the tables, where James and Lily were still arguing.

“Still at it?” Sirius teased them. “I guess there’s nothing like a nice good argument for Christmas.”

They stopped. “I was just saying hello,” said James, and turned back to Lily. “You sure you don’t want to dance? It’s not like I’m even asking you to go out with me. Although if you wanted to, I wouldn’t say no.”

Lily sighed in exasperation. “Back to this again? Potter, I said no. I didn’t come to the dance with you, so stop asking me! You should stop ignoring your date, too.” She raised her eyebrows triumphantly, turned around, and began to walk away.

“What, are you jealous?” James asked, casually throwing his arm around my shoulders. I shrugged him off hesitantly; I didn’t want to make either of them angry at me, and I certainly didn’t want to get involved in any of this. I simply stood there and looked away, pretending I hadn’t heard any of it.

“No!” Lily exclaimed, turning around again. “I am not jealous! You’re just too arrogant to see otherwise. Not everyone is madly in love with you, Potter. You are an egotistical, conceited git.”

“Come on,” Sirius urged her. “Even Melanie and I danced and we hate each other.”

“Not you too!” she cried in annoyance.

“So you hate me?” I asked Sirius, interrupting his attempt to get Lily to dance with James, but at this point Lily shot a scathing look at James, Sirius and me, and then walked off. Great, now she was angry with me and I hadn’t even done anything to her.

“Well you hate me too so we’re even,” Sirius responded.

“I never said I hated you, I just strongly dislike you. If you hate me, why did you ask me to dance?”

“Why not?” He shrugged.

I scowled and looked over at James, who excused himself from the situation and came over to me. “Let’s go.”

“Well that didn’t turn out very well, did it?” he said as we walked out into the hallway.

“Because Lily wasn’t jealous like you had hoped?” I giggled.

James frowned. “You aren’t helping.”

I was unsettled to see this sensitive side of James, I was used to the invincible, confident, tough Quidditch captain and troublemaker James – the only side of him that he ever displayed to anyone. He was good at pretending otherwise, but it was clear to me how much it frustrated him that he couldn’t get Lily to like him, after all these years. I wasn’t quite sure what to say. “I’m sorry.”

“I’ll live,” he said. “She’s right, anyway. I was being a git. She’s happy with Ackerley, I should be happy for her... Come on, let’s just go back and dance and forget all this. We’re here to have fun, remember?”

We walked back in past Lily and Lewis, who James didn’t even look at, and Sirius, who was watching me with a look of annoyance as a girl followed him hopefully. Luke, Flint, and everyone else I wanted to avoid were nowhere in sight as James and I went back onto the dance floor and danced the night away.


*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Feed me!!


__________________


Captain of the HMS Arts & Crafts, co-founder of Annie Is My Homegirl, Proud member of the IBP and KEBA

Last edited by marauderfan; April 3rd, 2013 at 7:05 am.
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  #14  
Old July 17th, 2010, 7:05 am
marauderfan  Female.gif marauderfan is offline
Second Year
 
Joined: 4132 days
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Re: The Brave at Heart

Wooohoooo... a year and a half since last time. That's cool...


*~*~*~*~*~*~*


Chapter 13: Mandy’s Lonely Hearts Club Band


After the Yule Ball it seemed that Lily was avoiding me. Not that we ever spent an extraordinary amount of time together anyway, but I noticed that she wouldn’t make eye contact with me whenever we passed each other in the Great Hall on our way to meals the next few days. This was quite unusual coming from such a nice person as Lily, and I figured it might possibly have something to do with my date pestering her at the Yule Ball. I wanted to stop and talk to her, but she always seemed to be in a hurry and I couldn’t get the chance.

As Charlotte and I were eating lunch two days or so after Christmas, and discussing the Yule Ball for the ten thousandth time, she informed me of a particularly juicy piece of gossip. “Guess what I found out today? I’m glad Mandy’s not here to hear it, although I guess she’ll find out soon enough, anyway - I heard that Sirius and Kristen broke up.”

I was not at all surprised to hear this; after all, Sirius was the most ridiculous flirt I knew, and it was only a matter of time. “When did they break up?” I asked.

“About ten minutes ago.”

Ten minutes??” I laughed. She knew the latest gossip before it even happened. It was like she had a sixth sense for it. “Charlotte, you know that when you’re old, you’re going to be one of those nosy, completely mental old ladies who spies on her neighbors with binoculars?”

She grinned. “Maybe I’ll just be so great at Divination, I’ll be a Seer and I’ll know what my neighbors are doing without having to spy on them.”

“Right, you’ll just sit in your rocking chair and crochet sweaters for your eleven cats, and occasionally stare into a crystal ball to interpret your neighbors’ future. You take stalking to a whole new level, but in a very subtle way. Well, your life will be great. I’m jealous.”

“Brilliant,” she replied. “I’ve always dreamed of having such an interesting life. Too bad you won’t be so lucky, you’ll be sitting around all day staring at old boring texts, trying to translate rubbish, like you do now.”

“Hey! It’s not rubbish! If it is, what’s Divination?” I laughed. “And I’m sure there are plenty of jobs that somehow relate to Ancient Runes! Or Charms. Those are the only things I’m good at, so there’d better be something.”

“Good luck,” she said sarcastically. “Well, there’s probably Ministry stuff. I don’t know. But let’s not talk about jobs and stuff yet, it’s depressing. Even after career advice last year, I still have no idea.”

“Well that’s because Slughorn was in charge of us, of course he wasn’t any help.” Things like last year’s career advice sessions made me wish I was in Gryffindor, because their Head of House, Professor McGonagall, would have helped me infinitely more than Slughorn. She may lack a sense of humor and be crazy about discipline, but she was brilliant and would know how to guide a fifteen-year-old through the mess of career options. Unfortunately, I had been stuck at a table listening to Slughorn prattle on about how his second cousin’s neighbor’s ex-wife played for the Caerphilly Catapults. Granted, they were my favourite Quidditch team, but I didn’t care who Slughorn knew. That wouldn’t help me with my future.

“Ugh, tell me about it,” Charlotte said darkly. “He offered me some food and asked me if I was related to Vincent Avery, who invented a hair-thickening potion and some jinx that makes you cross-eyed if you hear someone say ‘kneazle.’ I told him I wasn’t, because I’m not – how embarrassing would that be, he sounds like a complete nutter – and then Slughorn said ‘oh, that’s a shame’ and talked about someone he knew who invented a potion in our textbook. The only advice he gave was that he had connections if I wanted to be a Healer. Can you imagine me, a Healer?” She snorted.

“So useful, I know,” I said. “I have no idea what I want to do either, so many things sound interesting. Curse-breaker maybe… or there’s always crazy cat-owning lady.” I grinned.

“I wish that was a real career,” she mused. “Anyway, what were we talking about before? Oh yeah… let’s not tell Mandy about Sirius and give ourselves a little peace and quiet until she finds out herself.”

“Tell me what about Sirius? What am I finding out?” asked a voice from behind us. Mandy had chosen that moment to join us. She sat down next to Charlotte, grabbed a sandwich and took a huge bite. Charlotte rolled her eyes. I shoveled food into my mouth so I wouldn’t have to be the one to tell Mandy.

“Er, Sirius and Kristen broke up…” Charlotte finally said. I guess she knew it was pointless to keep it from her; it wouldn’t have lasted long.

Mandy’s eyebrows shot up. “Rrrulllly?” she asked through a mouthful of sandwich. She swallowed, and said rather quickly, “No, I don’t mean it that way, I promise.” She coughed. “I just think it’s interesting. That soon after the Yule Ball? That’s too bad…” Charlotte and I shared a look, stifling giggles. Mandy certainly didn’t look as if she felt it was “too bad.” She looked at the two of us, and asked “What are you laughing at?”

I started eating my green beans again. Charlotte kicked me under the table and said, “Oh, nothing.” Mandy raised one eyebrow. Then she turned to face me with the same expression, as if demanding an answer.

Finally, I said, “I believe you told me you thought Sirius was a prick when you worked with him in Transfiguration that one time?”

“I believe you are dating Russell?” Charlotte smirked at Mandy.

Mandy sighed. “Yes, yes…” She looked down the table at Russell, who waved at us. Mandy smiled back at him, then turned to face her food again. “Although,” she continued hesitantly, “I’m not sure how much longer that’s going to last.” Charlotte looked up intently. “It’s, just, not really working out.”

Charlotte snorted. “I hope this idea of yours isn’t just because of… recent events.”

“Really, it isn’t. I promise,” Mandy said seriously. “But Russell and I have been like this for a little while anyway.”

“You’ve been dating for less than three months.”

“Well, whatever. It wasn’t going to last forever. But… I don’t know. I don’t want to break up with him during the holidays… But the Slug Club thing is on New Year’s Eve… I haven’t asked him to that yet,” she said absent-mindedly. “He is going to be bored out of his mind… I wish I could get out of it.”

“What Slug Club thing?” Charlotte asked.

“Oh. Slughorn usually has those Christmas parties, you know, and this year it’s a New Years party, because there was the Yule Ball and all that.”

“Why didn’t he have it before Christmas?” I asked.

“No one would have paid attention to him, everyone was obsessing over the Yule Ball weeks in advance and I guess he knew people would be preoccupied.”

“But not everyone will be here for New Years,” I reasoned. “A lot of people went home yesterday.”

“Lucky them.”

“Some people must like going to Slug Club stuff, otherwise there’d be no one there, right?” Charlotte observed.

“They probably just can’t avoid going,” said Mandy. “Really, he just talks about famous people he knows, or asks us about famous people we know, or tells everyone there about our Potions talents. He’s convinced that I’m good at potions, for some reason.”

“Maybe because you are,” said Charlotte.

“Don’t worry about it, Mandy, you’ve gone to a million of these things before. If it is as bad as you say, there must be others who don’t want to be there either.”

Mandy said nothing and continued to eat her sandwich. Even though she complained about Slug Club, how bad could it be? I wasn’t a fan of Slughorn myself, and Slug Club meetings did sound a bit like last year’s Career Advice sessions, but going to these meetings and things meant talking to him for like ten seconds, and the rest of the time to mingle with others. But I’d never been, so perhaps it really was bad. I had no idea.



Two days later, Charlotte informed me that she had seen Mandy and Russell arguing in the hallway, so we decided that as her best friends it was our duty to find out what had happened. We went up to the dormitory, and found her sitting on her bed with the hangings open, calmly practicing Charms. A few small birds fluttered around. “Hi,” she said.

“What happened?” I asked.

She looked at both of us, then back at her birds. “Russell and I broke up.” Charlotte and I glanced at each other. Given what Mandy had said earlier, we had thought it might be something like that.

“Are you okay?” Charlotte asked. I could tell she really wanted to ask if it had anything to do with Sirius, but she didn’t mention it.

“Yeah… I think we’re both better off this way, anyway. It was easier when we were just friends. We’re going to stay friends.”

“That’s good. How is he dealing with it?” I asked.

“Pretty well I imagine, he broke up with me, not the other way around, so it wasn’t like a surprise or anything.”

Charlotte and I were both surprised, and Charlotte’s inner gossip lover surfaced. “He broke up with you? Okay. Mel and I were thinking you broke up with him because you heard that Sirius was single. But we weren’t going to mention it.”

“Charlotte!” I said, laughing and slapping her arm.

Mandy started laughing as well. “No! What does it take to convince you two?”

“It is strange though,” said Charlotte. “Two breakups within two days. You and Russell and Sirius and Kristen could form ‘Mandy’s Lonely Hearts Club Band,’ and pine about your losses together,” she teased.

“You can sing songs about how lonely you are. Or about each other,” I suggested.

“I promise, I’m fine!” Mandy laughed. “You lot are so nice to me after my breakup.” She rolled her eyes, and set down her wand. “Didn’t your mothers ever tell you what to do when your friend breaks up with someone? You get ice cream for them! I’d like chocolate, thanks. Don’t forget to put sprinkles and pecans on it. Also,” she added as an afterthought, “I don’t know about Sirius or Kristen but I’m pretty sure Russell never listens to Muggle music, so I doubt he’d get the reference. So much for that.”

“But I bet she’d still write songs about Sirius,” Charlotte whispered to me.




Since Slughorn’s party was in three days and Mandy and Russell had just broken up, Mandy asked me if I wanted to know what a Slug Club party was like. “I don’t necessarily have to bring a date,” she told me. “Just a guest, it doesn’t matter. And you said Slughorn’s little gatherings can’t be that bad. Well now you can see for yourself.”

I agreed to go with her. What else was there to do? He usually had the Christmas party right before classes ended for Christmas, but since it was for New Year’s this time, and the school was much more deserted, there was nothing else I would have been doing that evening.

The party was in Slughorn’s office. It was decorated very nicely; there were lots of colored hangings on the walls, and lamps on the sides bathed the room in a golden glow. Fairies fluttered by the lights and on the ceiling. The room was rather crowded; there were lots of students, some other professors, and house-elves carrying trays of food. I even saw two people in a corner whom I was sure were on the Chudley Cannons, one of the worst and unluckiest professional Quidditch teams in existence.

Slughorn was nearby, and he approached us and said “Miss Macintosh, what a pleasure to see you here. And you, Miss Hastings,” he added as an afterthought when he saw me. “Have you met Florence Filburn yet?” he asked Mandy, gesturing to one of the Chudley Cannons people in the corner.

“Er, no, not yet,” she said, and the two of us followed Slughorn and were introduced to Florence Filburn. She didn’t have a whole lot to say, which I figured was understandable – if the Chudley Cannons were a better team, she might have wanted to say more. Soon Mandy and I excused ourselves. We each got a goblet of mead and set off to mingle with the other students there.

Mandy stopped to talk to someone and I walked on until I ran into Lily Evans. I had guessed she might be there, as she was talented at Potions and thus one of Slughorn’s favourite students. She looked less than thrilled to see me, but I greeted her anyway as if nothing was wrong. “Happy new year, Lily,” I said.

“Hi Melanie, happy new year.”

After an awkward pause in which it seemed she couldn’t decide whether to keep walking or stop and talk with me, I said, “If you’ve been avoiding me because of what happened at the Yule Ball, I’m really sorry… I didn’t go with James just so he’d run off and annoy you. I actually tried to tell him at one point not to bother you, but you know…”

“It’s all right,” she said, giving me a half-smile.

“Didn’t you go home for the holidays?” I asked. I thought I had remembered her going home the day after the Yule Ball.

“Yeah. I just got back this morning actually. I figured I may as well get here a day or two before term starts up again…” She looked around. “Do you think it’s too early to leave the party?”

“Why, are you bored already?”

She shrugged, laughing. “These things are all the same. But what do you think of it? Is this your first Slug Club party?”

“Yeah, it is. It’s fine really, it’s not as boring as Mandy always says they are.”

“That’s what I thought about the first one too. But like I said, they’re all the same. Sometimes he does invite interesting people though. In the beginning of the year the author of one of our Ancient Runes books was there. And that guy from the Wayfaring Warlocks who’s here today was at the last Slug Club event too. I’m pretty sure he just secretly lives at Hogwarts, since they played for the Yule Ball too—”

“Wait, which guy?” I interrupted, looking around. I didn’t really care about meeting Florence Filburn, especially because she was just one of the Chudley Cannons, but I would love to meet any member of the Wayfaring Warlocks!

“Oh, I don’t know his name, the singer…”

“Are you serious?” I asked. “Damian Tremlett is here?” I craned my neck to look over people’s heads and see if I could find him.

“Yeah, he was over there somewhere a few minutes ago… are you a big fan?” She laughed.

“Er, you could say that,” I said. I glanced around nonchalantly for a scrap of parchment lying around on a table, but found none. Maybe I could run back to my dormitory and get a quill and bit of parchment and come back in time to find Damian Tremlett and get his autograph…

“Well, I think I’m going to go… Good luck finding him,” said Lily.

“All right… it was good to see you,” I said distractedly. I started to head for the door as well.

At that point Mandy found me. “There you are. Guess who I found? Hey, where are you going?” she asked.

“I’m going back to the room to get some things.”

She snorted. “Some things? That’s really not vague at all.”

“I’m going to get paper and a quill because Damian Tremlett is here and I want his autograph,” I said very quickly.

Mandy laughed. “I just met him!” she exclaimed as she followed me towards the door. “Should I go back and warn him that a crazed fan is coming to meet him?”

“I’m not crazy… Whatever, you’ll just be jealous when I have his autograph and you don’t!”

“Poor Luke, he has some serious competition. I’ll tell him that he should grow his hair long and learn how to sing,” teased Mandy, grinning.

“Oh, shut up.” Honestly, Luke didn’t need to do anything to catch my attention, he already had it. Whether or not I needed to do something differently was another story, though.

I left Slughorn’s office and ran all the way to the Slytherin common room. As I approached the bare wall which concealed the door, I noticed a first-year Slytherin boy sitting on the floor, leaning against the wall, his bag of textbooks next to him. He stood up when I skidded to a stop, and looked very relieved I was here, which was sort of odd because I didn’t know him.

“Hi,” he said timidly. “The password’s just been switched, and I forgot it already,” he said.

“Oh. How long have you been waiting here?” I asked, out of breath from running.

“About fifteen minutes… everyone’s at home, so no one’s come by to let me in.”

“I’m sorry,” I told him. “The password is ‘pureblood.’ The world’s dumbest password, isn’t it?”

“Er, I guess,” he said, as the wall opened to form a doorway.

“It is a stupid password. Salazar Slytherin was a bit mental, he wanted Hogwarts to be only pureblood students, but if it were, there’d be about thirty people here.”

“Calvin Mulciber told me that the –”

“Whatever he said, don’t listen to him, he’s an a***. And he likes to play around with Dark Magic like it’s something harmless from Zonko’s.”

“He knows a lot about the Dark Arts,” the kid admitted.

“Yeah…” I said. I reminded myself to check on the kid later and make sure he didn’t spend too much time with people like Mulciber who would brainwash him into the same pureblood and Dark Arts fascination and love of power that had captured much of Slytherin house.

I suddenly remembered why I’d run all the way back here in the first place. Rather than going up the stairs to my dormitory for paper, I ripped a corner off a page on the notice board. “Do you have a quill?” I asked the first-year. “Can I borrow it and return it to you later?”

“Erm, sure,” he said, taking a quill out of his bag and looking rather confused. I realized he probably had no idea who I was, and I still hadn’t introduced myself. The poor kid, he seemed shy and I’d probably scared him or something.

“Thanks. I’m Melanie, by the way.”

“Hi… I’m Mark,” he said as I spun around towards the door.

“Okay. I’ll see you later!” With the quill and the scrap of paper clutched in my hand, I dashed out the door and back to the party.

I noticed Damian Tremlett almost immediately when I walked back into the room, and I started making my way through the various groups of people chatting. Someone else was talking to him at the moment, so I waited and talked to Monica Turpin, a Ravenclaw girl in my Astronomy class. It turned out that she was also waiting to get an autograph.

After Tremlett was available again, Monica and I both moved over and introduced ourselves and got autographs. I told him how much I loved the Wayfaring Warlocks. Then there was a bit of an awkward pause, during which Monica and I looked at each other and realized that other than that, we didn’t really know what to say. I would have loved to ask him something, but I didn’t know what. I was sure we had come across as extremely silly to him, but fortunately he showed no annoyance at this and was very friendly. We both thanked him, then someone else came up to talk to him and we stepped away.

That was definitely the highlight of the evening. The rest of the party was fun, and after a while it started clearing out and I found Mandy again. I showed her the autograph and told her, “Whatever you say, I don’t think Slug Club parties are boring. And maybe even Slughorn is a little cooler than I thought he was.”



Classes started back up again shortly, which was nice as the castle was beginning to seem empty after people went home following the Yule Ball. It was especially exciting because there was a sign on the notice board in our common room stating that Apparition lessons would be starting in February for anyone who would be seventeen by the 31st of August. All the sixth years were thrilled – I personally had been looking forward to it ever since Nathan started showing off at home the summer after he took his test by Apparating near me all the time to startle me.

This great start to the term was better still when a fresh layer of snow fell during the first week, so of course snowball fights raged all over the grounds and snowmen were everywhere. Mandy, Charlotte, Alanna, and I were building a snowman that weekend when we were interrupted by enormous snowballs being pelted at us from afar, by magic – there was no way anyone could throw a snowball that large. It seemed to be several people doing this; I saw more snowballs of the same size over by the lake, attacking Edgar Bulstrode and another fifth-year Slytherin, who were charming a snowman to walk like a zombie.

Suddenly, a large snowbank near us formed into a lion, which roared and jumped at us. I instantly knew who must be doing this – and sure enough, I spotted Remus and Sirius behind a tree, in a fit of laughter as I ducked from the lion leaping around. Then the lion fell apart, turning back into a pile of snow, which collapsed on top of me. As I struggled out of the snow pile, Remus and Sirius got up and left, still laughing.

Charlotte drew out her wand and created a snow serpent that chased after them, and once I had freed myself from the heap of snow I ran after them as well. I caught up and grabbed my wand, pointed it at a nearby tree, and cried, “Mobiliarbus!” Since the tree was firmly planted there and couldn’t move, as a potted plant would have done, the top of the tree simply rocked back and forth and showered Remus and Sirius with snow.

After a moment I heard Remus’s voice say, “Merlin, you certainly have it in for us. We were just peacefully enjoying the snowy day and you had to come by and dump snow on us.”

“Well you know, we were just peacefully building a snowman, when you attacked me with a snow lion…”

“Don’t take it personally,” said Sirius. “It wasn’t just you, we were throwing snowballs at all Slytherins we found.”

“Oh thanks, that makes it so much better.”

Just then Mandy came running up to us, closely followed by Charlotte, Alanna, and the snowman, which they had turned into a snow troll in my absence. All of them were carrying snowballs. “Snowball fight!” cried Mandy, and unleashed her armada of snowballs. People from other houses showed up out of nowhere to join in, and it was a blast.

At one point, when it had seemed the snow fight was calming down a bit, someone behind me grabbed the back of my jacket and stuffed snow in. I gasped as I felt the freezing snow on my neck and in my jacket. I turned around to see Sirius beside himself with laughter. I ran at him and pushed him down in the snow, but he grabbed on to me as he fell and pulled me into the snow as well. We rolled over in the snow a couple times, and I ended up lying on my back, and Sirius was on top of me.

“Get off me!” I said, and I squirmed to push him away but he had already got up quickly, looking rather embarrassed – a rare expression for him.

I started to laugh. “Are you blushing?” I asked incredulously as I sat up. For once it seemed it was me who had him in the awkward situation rather than the other way around.

But it didn’t last long; if he had blushed at all he recovered quickly and responded, “Oh yes, Hastings. It’s because I’m madly in love with you. The cold has nothing to do with it.” Then he shook the snow out of his hair like a dog shaking off water. And now it was my turn to be embarrassed again.

Sirius stood up and offered me a hand, but I scowled and got up by myself. “Turning me down when I just confessed my love for you?” he teased, grinning. “I’m so hurt.”

“Well, life’s tough,” I said. I noticed that some of the others had stopped throwing snow and were watching Sirius and me with interest. When I looked back at Sirius, we just stood there uncomfortably for a few seconds until I turned to leave. The snow fight picked back up again, although I didn’t feel like participating much anymore, so I walked past Sirius and continued towards the castle.

I came across Mark, the first-year whose quill I had borrowed, in the common room again. He was in a chair by the fireplace; he and a couple of other first-years were all bent over a thick book I recognized as A History of Magic, one of my least favorite books in the world. I ran up to my dormitory, threw my coat and gloves onto my bed, and found Mark’s quill on my bedside table next to the autographed paper.

“Here’s your quill,” I said when I brought it back down to him. “I’m sorry it took forever for me to get it back to you.”

“That’s okay,” he mumbled, taking back the quill.

“Aren’t you the girl who loves Mudbloods?” a dark-haired girl next to him asked suddenly. “I think I saw you fighting with Elliott Jasper earlier this year.”

“Hmm,” I said evasively. “Well, we’re not the best of friends, I don’t know what he’s said about me behind my back. But I don’t have a problem with Muggle-borns.”

The girl scowled. Mark looked back at his textbook, and then at the blank piece of parchment in his other hand. “Hey, do you know anything about goblin rebellions?” he asked hopefully.

“There was one in 1613,” I said uncertainly. I had never paid attention in History of Magic, mostly due to the fact that the professor could make even the most attentive student fall asleep with his boring lectures. I had been so glad to drop the class last year. “No… maybe it was 1712? I’d love to help, but I’m probably the wrong person to ask. I nearly failed my History of Magic O.W.L.”

He turned back to his textbook and blank parchment with a groan. “I’m going to fail the class before I even make it to O.W.L.s,” he said.

“No one does well in that class, you’re not the only one. Don’t worry, you’ll never need to know any of that information again anyway. Just write really big and you won’t have to write as much.”

“That’s not helpful,” said the dark-haired girl with a patronizing look.

“Yeah… Sorry I’m not much help. If you ever have trouble with Charms though, I’d be glad to help.” I took out my wand and demonstrated by practicing a little of what I had just learned in Charms this week, sending a perfect fountain of water at the back of Elliott Jasper’s head. He turned around, furious, and I looked up at the ceiling casually, one hand up as if trying to tell if it was raining. “Well I’d better go,” I said, as Jasper stood up. “Things to do… Good luck on your essays.” I sprinted up the girls’ staircase before Jasper had the chance to do anything.



The following week, tensions between Gryffindor and Slytherin were slightly higher than usual because this coming weekend Gryffindor would face Slytherin on the Quidditch pitch. The Marauders reverted to old habits a little, and didn’t have much to say to me other than brag about Gryffindor’s team, or make somewhat snide remarks about my spectacular fall from my broom in the last match and ask if I’d be on the team again and try out the same stunts.

As such, Mandy, Charlotte and I decided it would be best if we waited until after the match to work with them or visit them. Charlotte worked on her homework in the common room with Stephan Flint, which I found irritating. I sometimes avoided working with Charlotte just to stay away from what would surely have been a prickly situation with Flint.

One evening, Mandy and I were sitting in chairs by the fire, doing our homework. Charlotte and Flint were working nearby; close enough for me to talk to Charlotte if I wanted to, but far enough away for me to be okay with Flint being there. During a lull in our conversation, I heard them discussing Quidditch. Flint had the gall to tell Charlotte that he’d rather have played Keeper, which only made me more annoyed that he was a Beater on the team and I wasn’t.

“It's going to be a great game,” said Mandy, who had been listening too. “I hope we win, I’m tired of the Marauders being such gits.”

“I don’t think a Slytherin victory is going to stop them being gits, but it’d be nice,” I said, labelling a constellation on my star chart.

“You should practice for Quidditch again this week,” said Mandy. “What if something happens? You never know, you might play in the match again…”

“That’s very unlikely to happen, Mandy. You saw how I played last time…”

“Yeah, but you don’t usually fall off your broom. They thought you were great until then.” She finished writing a sentence, set down her quill, and closed her textbook. “Could you give this book back to Charlotte?” she asked.

“You do it.”

“I just spell-checked your essay.”

“Oh, okay,” I said, picking up the book. I carried it over to where Charlotte and Flint were sitting.

“My neighbor’s kids try to play Quidditch in their yard,” Charlotte was saying. “They’re only three years old and have toy brooms that go about a foot off the ground. It’s so cute.”

“Yeah, that’s just like Marcus… my nephew, I’m sure he will be great at Quidditch. Even though he’s really young - he's about two - I’m going to train him to be as good a Quidditch player as I am.”

“Then you won’t need to teach him much, will you?” I scoffed.

“Shut up, you want to be on the team, don’t you?” Charlotte hissed quietly. I didn’t quite know what she was getting at – how would being nice to Flint help me get on the team? That was Simms’s business and the team had been chosen months ago. I handed the book back to Charlotte, said nothing to Flint and walked back to my chair.

After a Transfiguration lesson that week, in which we had been learning human Transfiguration, I stepped out into the hall to witness a great commotion. Roger Simms, our Quidditch captain, was standing among a crowd of people, spinning around and confused; his head had been turned into a large beet. I instantly suspected James and Sirius – it would be just like them to do something like that to Slytherin’s Captain a few days before the game. But to my surprise, they exited the classroom right after me; they hadn’t been out in the hall at all yet.

They howled with laughter when they saw the fate of our Captain. “Good luck to Slytherin on Saturday,” said James with relish. “I do wonder how your Keeper will block anything. I could probably score goals with my eyes closed.”

I pushed by them and caught up to Charlotte and Mandy up ahead in the throng of people. Charlotte looked very smug.

“Were you out there when it happened? Did you see it? I’m going to kill whatever Gryffindor just sabotaged Slytherin’s team!” I cried.

“They probably helped, actually,” said Mandy. “You know Simms is no good anyway.”

A thought occurred to me, as I recalled Mandy and Charlotte’s fantastic Transfiguration accomplishments the time they’d turned Mrs. Norris into a sheep. “Er, you didn’t… have anything to do with that, did you?” I said tentatively.

Charlotte turned to me, putting on a show of concern I could easily see through. “Oh, Melanie, he just happened to get in the way of my wand… it was a complete accident! I have no idea how it happened!”

She and Mandy giggled, but I said indignantly, “But Gryffindor will flatten us if we don’t have a Keeper!”

“There are plenty of capable players in Slytherin if Simms would bother to look,” said Charlotte loftily. “Someone will take his place. The team will be fine.”

I hoped she knew what she was doing, and as much as I disliked Simms, I thought it was a stupid thing to have done. Simms had to go to the hospital wing for the week, and by Wednesday his head looked less like a beet, although there were still leaves growing from the top of his head, which was still red, and Madam Pomfrey would not let him leave.

On Thursday I was approached by Stephan Flint, who told me he’d be playing Keeper for Saturday’s match. “Charlotte has told me that despite our last match, you are a respectable Beater,” he said, though I could hear the disdain in his voice. I’d have bet ten Galleons Charlotte put him up to this, and if it weren’t for her talking with him so often in the beginning of the week, he’d never come up and talk to me. “Do you think you can play Beater on Saturday? And I mean play well; not like last time. You’d have to practice tomorrow and Friday with the team for several hours, and we’ll have to change all our tactics. You’d better practice outside of the team practice too.”

“Yes,” I said. “I’m so sorry about last match… It won’t happen again. I want Slytherin to beat Gryffindor just as much as you do.”

He studied me, scowling. “I’m not doing this because I like you at all. I just know that Bulstrode is the only reserve Beater and his tryout was rubbish.”

Despite the snub, I smiled. He thought I was a good player, he just didn’t want to tell me so because he disliked me. “When is practice tonight?”

“At seven. Don’t be late.”

So that night I had Quidditch practice, for the first time in my life. With me as a new member, the team would have to play a bit differently to what they were used to with Flint as Beater and Simms as Keeper. I had never been more nervous; I was more nervous than I had been during our last game, in fact. Last time they’d had no other option but to use me as a Beater, but now if I didn’t do well with the team, they might replace me before the match. I swung my Cleansweep over my shoulder and hoped for the best.


*~*~*~*~*~*~*


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Last edited by marauderfan; April 3rd, 2013 at 7:08 am.
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  #15  
Old August 7th, 2010, 8:43 am
marauderfan  Female.gif marauderfan is offline
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Joined: 4132 days
Location: Beyond the veil
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Re: The Brave at Heart

First of all, I'd like to say a HUGE thank you to Melissa_Potter for her wonderful review! I'm pretty sure this post would have taken about a week longer if I hadn't been motivated to write! I'm not sure whether I like this post, but here goes!


*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Chapter 14: Flying Together, Falling Apart

I ran out to the shed in the back yard, and grabbed Nathan’s new Nimbus 1000 broom. It was an amazing broom; it had just been released a few months ago, and it was the best broom I’d ever seen. I had an old Shooting Star that didn’t go very fast – Father was always afraid I’d hurt myself. He said there was no need for a seven-year-old to have a racing broom. Holding tightly to the Nimbus, I soared up in the air.

“Get down from my broom!” I heard Nathan call below me as he ran out of the house. “I’m going to play Quidditch with my friends, I need my Nimbus!”

I sighed and flew down to the ground, and scowled when I handed Nathan his broom. “I want to play Quidditch too,” I said. I saw Lucius Malfoy and several of Nathan’s other friends coming outside the house with their brooms.

“Well you can’t.” He started to walk off with his broom. “Let’s go, guys,” he said to his friends. I remained standing there with my arms crossed.

As they approached Nathan, I heard one of them say to him, “Hey, there are only five of us, including you. Our teams will be uneven.”

“I can play!” I exclaimed, running after them.

“No, go back inside,” said Nathan.

One of Nathan’s friends turned to him as they walked. “What’s wrong Nathan, don’t want to play Quidditch with your little sister? Why not?” He laughed. They walked past me down the hill to an open bit of field. I marched off moodily and got my Shooting Star, and flew aimlessly around the yard. I kept watching them from a distance as I flew.

After a few minutes, they stopped playing and appeared to be arguing. I came back down and walked a little closer, but far enough away that it didn’t seem like I was trying to spy on them or anything. Then Nathan flew down and walked over to where I was standing.

“Er – so, you can play if you want to,” he said. “We don’t have even numbers and it’s not really working.”

“Really?” I was so excited. “Yes! I want to be on Lucius’s team.” Lucius had the best hair of any of Nathan’s friends – it was blonde and shoulder length, and looked perfect. I was really jealous of it.

“No, if you’re going to play, you’re on my team and you’re a Beater,” said Nathan.

“I don’t have a bat.”

“Use a log or something.”

“Are you sure this is a good idea?” asked another of Nathan’s friends as he came back with me. “We were doing fine, we don’t need a six-year-old on our team.”

“Seven!” I said indignantly, picking up a thick stick I would use as a bat.

“It’s fine, Gawain,” Nathan said to his friend. “She knows how to fly. But if have a problem with it, you can switch to the other team. Jack, you’re on my team now with me and Melanie.”

Jack and Gawain switched places, although Jack didn’t look too happy, but once I successfully hit a ball at Gawain and he had to swerve and couldn’t score a goal, Jack seemed much happier, and Gawain was quite surprised. After a while, I was rather enjoying being a Beater.

At the end of the game, Jack congratulated me. “You were pretty good,” he admitted. “You should play Quidditch when you start at Hogwarts.”

“Great job, sis,” said Nathan, smiling as he and his friends walked back to the house. I skipped back to the broom shed with my Shooting Star and decided I’d definitely be a Beater, and maybe even eventually Captain of my house Quidditch team at Hogwarts.


“Eat something,” said Mandy. I looked at the piece of toast on my plate. I wasn’t very hungry, but I knew I should eat, so I took a bite. The Quidditch match was today, and I felt nervousness and a strong desire to prove myself, after the fiasco of our last match. I had been thinking back to my first real Quidditch game nearly ten years ago in which I’d had to prove myself, when I was seven and playing on a team of thirteen-year-old boys, and I’d done remarkably well then. Maybe this game would be like that one.

After all, the Slytherin Quidditch team had warmed up to me a little after my first practice with them Thursday night. It was a very good practice, and boded well for today’s game. Friday had been much more difficult, as it was snowing, but I thought the team was working together well. Flint seemed to be a better captain than Simms.

“Oh, Merlin, look at them,” said Charlotte.

I looked up from the toast I’d been blankly staring at. On the other side of the Great Hall, the Gryffindor Quidditch team, led by James, had leapt up on the table and were parading down the length of the table, holding their brooms high in the air and yelling. The Gryffindors seated at the table were clapping and cheering, except Lily and another prefect, who looked disgusted with the team’s behaviour. Professor McGonagall stood up from the staff table immediately, an enraged expression on her face. She hurried down to the Gryffindor table just as James and the rest of the team jumped off the table.

Although this display was a bit over the top, they had every right to be confident. Gryffindor had won every game since James became Captain last year. They’d had the Quidditch Cup last year as well. Slytherin had lost quite impressively to Gryffindor last year, and I hoped it wouldn’t happen this time, but Gryffindor were an extremely strong team.

I saw Flint stand up at the other end of the table, and he signaled to us to get up and head towards the Quidditch pitch. I picked up my broomstick and my half-eaten toast and joined the six other Slytherin Quidditch players as we left the Great Hall to a chorus of cheers from the Slytherins still finishing their breakfast.


It was very cold out and there were at least eight inches of snow on the field, but thankfully it was not currently snowing. We walked down to the field, changed into our green Quidditch robes, and listened to Flint discuss strategies – since he was taking over Simms’ position as Keeper, he decided he’d be Captain for the match as well. I hated listening to Flint, but this time I hung onto his every word because it mattered and I wanted to do the best I could in this game. This was it.

“Here comes Gryffindor, led by Captain James Potter!” I heard the commentator’s voice say. It was Mary Macdonald again; why they had let a Gryffindor commentate for a game in which Gryffindor’s team was playing was beyond me. Loud cheers filled the stands. Then I heard “And Slytherin!” followed by a considerably lower volume of cheers. We walked out onto the field.

“Captains shake hands,” said Madam Hooch. Flint and James shook each other’s hands, though each looked like they might be trying to inflict pain on the other. But this generally happened in all games, especially when Slytherin was involved.

“Slytherin Captain Simms is injured this game, so Stephan Flint is taking over for him as Captain and as Keeper for this match!” Macdonald’s voice rang out. “And in Flint’s place as Beater is Melanie Hastings, who played last time as a substitute.” I was grateful she didn’t add “and fell off her broom.”

“And they’re off! Gryffindor Chaser James Potter has the Quaffle, and he’s heading for the goal hoops! He dodges a Bludger from Slytherin Beater Nott! Potter passes to Kirke, who scores! Ten-zero to Gryffindor!” The stands erupted in cheers. “Now Slytherin Chaser Corlon has the Quaffle! Here comes Derrick, Corlon passes to Derrick – ouch! that must’ve hurt - he’s just been hit by a Bludger from Jones. Kirke has the Quaffle again, passes to Potter, now Kirke again, Slytherin Beater Hastings does a great Bludger Backbeat at Kirke – that’s a backhanded swing, really difficult to do it well, but she does! Kirke drops the Quaffle… but it’s okay! Robins catches it! – he shoots, augh, Slytherin Keeper Flint blocks it. Derrick with the Quaffle now… Potter takes it! He scores! Twenty-zero to Gryffindor! And wait – Gryffindor Seeker Cadwallader might have seen the Snitch! He’s speeding off toward the ground! There goes Warrington after him, they’re really picking up speed…”

I couldn’t believe they’d seen it this early in the game. Slytherin had zero points and Gryffindor’s Seeker was already much closer to the Snitch, which would have gotten Gryffindor a hundred and fifty points. I saw a Bludger and swung my bat at it with all my might, towards Cadwallader.

“Cadwallader’s almost there – look out! He dodges a Bludger from Hastings… but now the Snitch is gone. Warrington’s just plowed into the ground…”

It seemed our Seeker had just been watching Gryffindor’s Seeker, and forgotten to stop when Cadwallader swerved. Warrington got off the ground and back on his broom, though he looked to be in considerable pain. If he had to race against Cadwallader again, he’d probably lose unless he was already miles ahead. After our Seeker’s mishap, Slytherin’s team got a bit nastier. Richard Nott actually hit Kirke with his bat, and Flint grabbed Robins’s broom as Robins tried to score. “Penalty! Slytherins are cheating!”

Slytherin was getting farther and farther behind – soon the score was eighty to twenty with Gryffindor in the lead. After the fourth foul on Gryffindor, I lost it and started screaming at Flint. “Stop cheating! And you’re the Captain for this match, so tell everyone else that too! If we play fair, Gryffindor won’t get all these penalty shots! That’s why we’re losing!”

He shouted at me to shut up and continue playing, but apart from one more foul on Robins, the blatant cheating stopped. Slytherin started doing much better. Soon it was eighty to fifty, Gryffindor leading… ninety to seventy… then we were tied. It seemed that we had a chance at winning. I chased every Bludger I saw, as fast as I could, and hit them with so much force that I thought my arms would soon fall off.

Richard Nott, the other Beater who I really disliked, cheered as a Bludger I hit prevented James from scoring. Branstone made a spectacular goal from halfway across the field. Corlon scored right under the Gryffindor Keeper’s nose. The Slytherin section of the stands was going wild. And then – Warrington was speeding towards the Slytherin hoops, Cadwallader right behind him. I temporarily lost focus on the Bludgers and just watched the Seekers. Warrington’s arm was out – he’d gotten the Snitch! Slytherin had won!

I heard Mary Macdonald curse into the magical megaphone, but more than that I heard the roar of Slytherins clapping and cheering, my teammates screaming with joy, a jumble of congratulations. I wasn’t really sure what was happening around me, but I felt arms around my shoulders; as we landed back on the ground, we were all gathered together around Warrington in a huge group hug. I had tears in my eyes; I was so proud of Slytherin for once. Slytherin had just beat Gryffindor for the first time in years. Maybe we wouldn’t win the Quidditch cup, but we had just won a game and I had helped to do it.

The Slytherin common room was full of celebration when we walked in. Even Snape was thrilled and gave me a high-five; he was glad to see James’s team lose. The party lasted until well into the night, and I could not remember another instance when I’d been so happy spending so much time with my fellow Slytherins.



The only thing negatively impacted by Slytherin’s victory was Mandy’s and my friendship with the Marauders. I was sure it was temporary though; it was just because James was disappointed about losing to Slytherin. But every time I passed James and Sirius in the hallway, it was almost like we were in third year again – they’d cast Slipping Jinxes on me so I found myself constantly slipping as if there were water on the floor. I grew quite tired of falling on my backside every time I walked past the Gryffindor table in the Great Hall, and hoped they’d get over Gryffindor’s loss soon.

And sure enough, after about a week, it had calmed down and we were able to talk to them again without fearing we’d sprout extra ears or slip on the floor. Of course, there always was that small chance – it tended to happen when your friends were the biggest troublemakers in the school.

One evening, Mandy and I were walking along the seventh-floor corridor towards the Gryffindor common room. We heard a loud group of people coming from the opposite direction, and soon enough, James, Sirius, Remus and Peter came around a corner laughing, their arms around each other’s shoulders. James had a large folded piece of parchment that he was tucking into his robes with his free hand, and as he did so he dropped several wrapped packages from Honeydukes. Remus was carrying a large bag from Zonko’s. James stopped to pick up the things he’d dropped, and the others kept walking. “Blueberry muffin!” said Peter to the Fat Lady, and tripped spectacularly into the portrait hole.

I laughed. “Er, hi,” I said to Remus and Sirius as they approached to follow Peter into the room.

“Hey there beautiful,” said Sirius loudly and reached his hand out to ruffle my hair.

“I – what?” I asked, ducking away from Sirius’s hand. “Were you in Hogsmeade? How did you get there?”

“We flew on dragons,” he said casually, and turned to go into the portrait hole. I caught a strong whiff of firewhisky, and rolled my eyes.

Behind them, James stood up, carrying his Honeydukes purchases, and hurried to catch up to them. He was singing a Hobgoblins song and making up his own lyrics, as it was obvious he couldn’t remember the real ones. “Hi!” he said enthusiastically when he saw us. “Chocolate?” He handed Mandy one of the wrapped packages from Honeydukes, and practically skipped into the portrait hole. The portrait shut behind him.

Mandy and I turned to look at each other wordlessly. For several moments we just stood there comprehending the weirdness that had just happened. Then we burst out laughing.

“Well, I’m sure they’d be fun to talk to tonight,” I said. “I wonder if they brought any firewhisky back?”

Mandy laughed. “I hope not, they definitely don’t need any more… Do you want some of this chocolate?”

“Sure,” I said. She broke off a piece, handed half of it to me, and we stood there in the corridor, eating the chocolate.

After a little while, I wondered aloud, “Why are we still here?”

“I dunno… Let’s go in. Blueberry muffin.”

The portrait swung forward to reveal, as we had expected, a lot of noise and confusion and laughter. Peter was passed out on a sofa. James, Remus and Sirius were apparently practicing human Transfiguration on each other, although since they were drunk it wasn’t working out properly. Sirius had the head of a cat, James’s hair was so long he was tripping on it and he had another nose on his wrist, and Remus was waving his hands in front of his face, unable to open his eyes. Some girls were playing chess by the window, but it seemed they had quite forgotten their game and had been watching the commotion in the room for a while. Their neglected chess pieces were fighting. I couldn’t decide whether I wanted to leave again or keep watching.

“What’s that new one we learned yesterday?” asked James.

Sirius meowed.

“Is that you, Padfoot?” asked Remus. “Being a cat doesn’t suit you. Where’s my wand?”

“It’s on the floor,” said James. “And yeah, I agree Sirius isn’t a good cat…” He turned to point his wand at Sirius. “Densaugeo! Now you can be a saber-tooth tiger! That’s better than a cat, right?” And as we watched, Sirius’s front teeth grew longer so he did indeed resemble a saber-tooth tiger.

“A tiger is a cat,” said Remus.

Sirius pointed his wand at James, who sprouted another nose on his arm.

“Let’s go,” I told Mandy, giggling. We pushed the portrait open and headed out, laughing the whole way as we walked back to Slytherin’s common room.

The next morning, we saw them coming into the Great Hall for breakfast just as we were leaving. They had managed to undo all the hexes and bad Transfiguration from the previous night. We stopped to talk to them, but they still refused to tell us how they had got to Hogsmeade. Although, Mandy reasoned as we walked to the library, we should have expected it – if we couldn’t get the information out of them when they were drunk, they’d certainly never tell us when sober.



The last week of January passed by quickly with the exciting prospect of Apparition lessons beginning on the first Saturday of February. And finally February arrived. On Thursday evening, Mandy and I were returning from the library when we saw James, Sirius, and Peter standing in a group about ten feet ahead of us. We were about to approach them when James pulled something shiny out of his bag and the three of them disappeared.

They were under an Invisibility Cloak, and definitely up to something. I looked at Mandy, who was grinning and had just fished out her own Invisibility Cloak from her bag.

“Okay,” I agreed, and ducked under it. “How do you intend to follow someone invisible?” I whispered.

“They were facing that way,” she said, pointing. “Let’s go, maybe we’ll hear them. It’d be like that time when we heard them say the Gryffindor common room password in the hallway!”

“Yeah, that was right after we ran straight into them. Let’s not do that again.”

“I just saw someone’s heel under their Invisibility Cloak,” whispered Mandy. “We’re going the right way.”

We followed them to the entrance hall. “I bet they’re just going outside,” I told Mandy.

“Let’s get to the door before they do and freak them out by opening it, it’ll look like no one’s there.”

We hurried ahead of them and Mandy opened the large door. There was no response from the three hidden Marauders. Before I could stop her, Mandy leapt out of the cloak, “Surprise,” she said. “Where do you think you’re going this time of night?”

Sirius appeared out of the cloak a few feet from us, and he looked furious. James and Peter stepped out after him, and they both looked angry as well.

“Just a joke,” said Mandy, looking anxious at seeing the anger in our friends’ faces. “It was Mel’s idea, really – we saw you and thought we’d just give you a surprise…” She reached out towards me and pulled the cloak off of me too.

“It was not my idea,” I hissed.

“Why are you following us around?” Sirius demanded, pointing his wand at the two of us. “Wondering what we’re up to? Thought it’d be a bit of fun to spy on us?”

“Are you trying to get us expelled too?” asked James.

“Wouldn’t be the first time a Slytherin has done that,” said Peter.

“No, we just… I’m sorry, we didn’t mean anything by it!” I pleaded. “We didn’t know you’d get so upset, we just thought it’d be a joke!” Where was Remus? He’d be able to calm his friends down and stop an argument from escalating. But he was missing.

“We’re leaving,” said Mandy, giving up. “Carry on doing whatever you were doing. Sorry we interrupted your little secret meeting.” We started walking away and after we’d turned the corner, Mandy threw the Invisibility Cloak over us again in case we ran into Mrs. Norris or someone else unpleasant who’d punish us for being out after curfew.

On Friday, Mandy and I had put this altercation behind us, and we walked into Potions discussing Apparition, which was to begin tomorrow, but had to abandon this lively discussion when, in class, we were given the difficult task of inventing an antidote for a blended poison.

After flipping through the pages of Advanced Potion-Making twice without seeing anything useful, I began glancing around at what others were doing to get ideas. Behind me off to the right was the table where the Marauders usually sat. Remus was not there, but the other three looked very tired and ill, and were covered in scratches again. Sirius had a gash on his face but he seemed unconcerned, the same usual haughty expression on his face as if nothing was out of the ordinary. But when he saw me looking, he glared at me and then looked away.

I mentioned this to Mandy, and she looked back at their table. “I don’t know, I guess they’re still angry at us. It looks like they went into the Forbidden Forest, too. This isn’t the first time that’s happened, either – they just go into and run into all sorts of things out there. I hope they’re all right… But you should be working on your antidote, not looking around. It’s already been fifteen minutes and there’s nothing in your cauldron.”

“I don’t understand Golpalott’s Third Law! Are you supposed to put in all the separate antidotes and then something else, or invent a new antidote entirely?”

“It says in the chapter,” she said distractedly, pouring a vial of something red into her cauldron, where the potion turned a gold color. “Er… the sum of the combined antidotes is… more than the separate ones – oh no, too much frog blood…”

Rather than starting my potion, which was sure to be a disaster, I kept looking around. Charlotte was eyeing Russell’s cauldron as she poured something into her own, but since she wasn’t watching, she poured it all over the table. That wasn’t too unusual… I looked back at the Marauders. I was concerned for them, but it was also possible that this wasn’t that big a deal for them, if they did this a lot. After all, we'd never really paid much attention to them in previous years, because they didn’t have all the same classes as we did until after OWL’s at the end of last year. But I still wondered why they would do something like this on a regular basis – they didn’t seem to get much out of it except injuries and a lack of sleep. I watched them for a while, but eventually decided I needed to be working on my potion.

At the end of class, my potion was just as awful as usual. I couldn’t even try to copy Mandy because she had a different poison than I did. Slughorn came by to inspect my antidote and had to lean away, gagging – it was hissing and thick grey smoke billowed out from the cauldron. I cleaned up in a hurry, haphazardly throwing things in my bag, and chased after the Marauders, who were already walking towards the door. I really wanted to ask Remus; I figured he would be most likely to tell me what was happening, as he hadn’t been responsible for most of the post-Quidditch jinxing, but he was the only one not in class.

“What happened?” I asked Peter as the rest of the class began packing away their potion ingredients and cauldrons. “You look awful… are you okay?” He looked uncomfortable and shrugged. I realized this was probably not the time to ask him anything – and anyway, I’d probably be the last person he would tell, as it had nothing to do with me. “Sorry – never mind…”

Less than a second later, I heard Sirius’s voice behind me. “Thought you’d pry into other people’s business, didn’t you, Hastings?” he said viciously. “You Slytherins are all the same. Do you enjoy sneaking around and following us?”

“N – no, I was just concerned…” I said, bewildered. I had no idea what had prompted these accusations, unless for some reason they were still upset about us following them last night – but that had just been a joke. He gave me a scathing look, shoved by me, and swept out of the room and down the hall.

I felt a tap on my shoulder as I walked through the doorway. I turned around reluctantly, expecting it to be James with something else nasty to say, but it was Mandy and she looked as alarmed as I felt. “What is going on with them?” she whispered. “Why are they still making a big deal out of us following them last night? It was a joke!”

“And Sirius – I mean he’s done silly little hexes on me before, but he’s never been that rude to me… I just wanted to see if they were okay, I didn’t know they’d take it like that!”

“Yeah… I think we should just leave them alone for a while.”


The next day, we went down to the Great Hall in the morning for our Apparition lessons. The usual long tables had been removed; the hall looked much larger without them. After about ten minutes of milling around and waiting for everyone to show up, we heard a somewhat wheezy voice greet us and we all looked up.

“Good morning,” said a slight man in the front of the Hall, who looked like he’d just been caught in a windstorm. He was pale and had very light colored hair and eyebrows, which stood out against his dark Ministry robes. The Heads of House were assembled next to him. “My name is Wilkie Twycross,” continued the man, “and I will be instructing you in Apparition for the next twelve weeks, by which point many of you will be able to take your Apparition Tests.

“Normally, one cannot Apparate within Hogwarts, but for the purposes of this course, the enchantments have been lifted for an hour inside this Hall only. Now if everyone could please find a place where you each have five feet of space around you.”

There was a lot of noise as people tried to find a space, and the Heads of House had to separate people and find places for them, as left to our own devices we could not all find places near our friends.

Twycross waved his wand and wooden hoops appeared in front of everyone in the hall. “Apparition has three components: Destination, Determination, Deliberation! These are the three D’s which you must remember! You must concentrate upon your desired destination. You will be trying to Apparate into the hoop in front of you. Everyone focus on your destination now.”

I stared at the hoop. Twycross continued about being determined, and turning on the spot with deliberation. How exactly did that work? Was it just thinking while spinning that enabled people to Apparate?

“On the count of three, now… One… two…three!”

I spun around and simply found myself facing the other direction; I hadn’t gone anywhere. Mandy was waving her arms around wildly to stay standing up. Several people had fallen over. One boy fell into his hoop and thought he had actually Apparated.

We had to try again several times, but Twycross’s instructions seemed useless. At the end of the hour, all that had happened for me was a strong feeling of dizziness from spinning around so much. No one had managed to Apparate, and it seemed like a waste of an hour.

“Well that was thrilling,” said Charlotte as we left. “Why were we looking forward to this again?”

“I don’t know. I always imagined it being much more fun,” I agreed.

“I always imagined not having to puke afterwards.”

“At least we don’t have to do it again until next Saturday. And we have Hogsmeade to look forward to after Apparition!”

“But you’d better not be thinking about it during Apparition,” chided Mandy, “or you won’t be sufficiently Determined. Deliberation! Destination!” she cried, raising her fist in the air as she listed each one, with the air of one leading a rally. Charlotte and I laughed. “Only eleven more weeks to go, unless we fail the test!”



The Marauders’ odd behaviour towards us lasted for several days. It was like they’d stopped trusting us – although when I thought about it, I didn’t know how much they’d really trusted us in the first place. For the most part, they ignored us. I decided Mandy was right – we should just leave them alone.

I had no idea what had happened, or whether I’d done something wrong, but regardless, it seemed unlikely that we’d end up spending much time with them again. We went back to hanging around with people we’d spent much of our time with before we’d gotten to know the Marauders.

One evening, Mandy, Charlotte and I were having dinner with Russell Thatcher and Hector Branstone, a Chaser on our Quidditch team; he was one of Russell’s friends and someone I’d only recently started talking to since I’d never had much to do with him before the Quidditch game. I actually spent more time with him now than with Russell. I thought things with Russell were rather awkward now after his and Mandy’s relationship. But other than that, it was just like before we’d ever been friends with the Marauders.

I was looking over at the Gryffindor table and saw them laughing. “I don’t know why you’re so concerned about them,” said Russell as he helped himself to some steak and kidney pie. “Yeah, they’re funny, when they’re not hexing you in the hallway… but you have other friends.”

“I know, and we only really got to know them this year… but I do miss them,” said Mandy.

“We never had a lot in common with them except a mutual love of irritating Filch,” said Charlotte. “But that was a lot of fun.”

“Wasn’t it just a few weeks ago that you couldn’t walk within ten feet of them because they’d jinx you?” Russell asked.

“They were just jealous Slytherin won the Quidditch match,” I said reasonably.

“As they should have been,” said Hector. “That was the best game Slytherin has played in a while! We were fantastic. When Simms found out, after he got out of the hospital wing, he was really happy, but then he got angry at us, I guess because we won when he wasn’t there…”

We reminisced about the Quidditch match for a little while, and then Mandy stood up to leave. At the same time, I saw the Marauders get up from the Gryffindor table and leave the Great Hall. “I’m going to the library, if any of you want to come with me,” said Mandy.

Charlotte and Hector both expressed interest in going to the library to work on Divination. I thought I’d go as well, but after seeing the Marauders leave, and having talked about them at dinner, I decided to visit them. After all, it looked like they’d been in a good mood at dinner, and I wanted to apologize for anything I might have said that had made them turn their backs on us. So I told Mandy I’d see her at the library in a few minutes.

I walked up to the seventh floor. In the hall containing the entrance to Gryffindor’s common room, I began to wonder whether this was a good idea. But as long as I was here now, I may as well visit… “Blueberry muffin,” I told the Fat Lady. The portrait did not swing off the wall to reveal the doorway though – the password must have changed. “Er… chocolate chip muffin?” What kind of passwords did the Gryffindor common room usually have anyway? Maybe they were the opposite of Slytherin’s passwords. “Muggle-born? Godric? Lion?”

Nothing happened. I was about to turn around and leave when the portrait swung out and I heard Sirius’s voice coming from inside. “Have you got your mirror? I don’t want to sit there just sorting mouse brains for five hours.”

“Yeah I have it… That’s what you’re doing? Sorting mouse brains?”

“I don’t know. That’s the worst detention I’ve ever had and I’d bet this one will be worse…”

“Well yesterday’s wasn’t bad—”

“Is anyone coming out, or am I just going to wait here?” asked the Fat Lady irritably. “You’re not going in, you didn’t have the password,” she said to me.

Sirius stepped out of the portrait hole, his bag over his shoulder. He scowled when he saw me, and slammed the portrait shut. “Coming to spy on us again?” he asked, and sped off down the hallway.

“I came to visit!” I shouted after him. “I used to do that, remember, before you became such an a***!” I waited there for a few more seconds, hoping James would come out and explain to me, but nothing happened. I turned around and headed to the library. Maybe he was right, and I had been too nosy…

Mandy, Charlotte, and Hector Branstone were sitting at a table with quite a few stacks of textbooks. Charlotte looked bored as she leafed through Divination books and threw them onto a pile, and Mandy was absorbed in The Standard Book of Spells, Grade Six. Hector was writing a long essay, glancing now and then at a book with odd, ethereal illustrations.

“Hi,” I said glumly, sitting down in an empty seat.

“Hi Melanie,” said Charlotte. “Hector, did you find anything useful in that book? These are all rubbish.”

“All of Divination is rubbish,” I teased.

“You just wait, I’ll predict the most gruesome death for you, and then you’ll wish you hadn’t said that.”

“Can’t wait!” I got a quill and ink bottle out of my bag.

Hector finished writing his sentence and then picked up his book, which was called Advanced Seeing for the Untrained Inner Eye. “This one? Yeah, it was sort of helpful…” He ripped a page out, which he set down by his parchment again, and handed the rest of the book to Charlotte. There was a shriek behind us, and Madam Pince, the librarian, stepped out from behind a bookshelf, her eyes wide. She swooped upon our table like a vulture.

“Look what you have done to that book!” she hissed, pointing a clawlike finger at the page on the table and then at the book in Charlotte’s hands. Charlotte merely stared back at her. Madam Pince circumnavigated the table, peering at all the books as if to make sure none of them had met the same fate.

“You have desecrated – befouled – ruined a library book!”

“We’ll put the page back in,” said Hector. “It just takes a quick Reparo—” Madam Pince looked at us again threateningly, and then disappeared behind another bookshelf.

No sooner had they started to work again – I hadn’t even got out my parchment yet – and we heard laughing coming from a table concealed by some bookshelves, followed by a girl’s voice crying “Stop!”

We looked up, but the disturbance seemed to have ceased. Then we saw Lester Avery, Charlotte’s brother, coming from around the shelf. When he saw Charlotte, he ducked back behind the shelf.

“What are you doing, Lester?” she asked suspiciously. There was no answer. It was stupid of him to hide, because obviously she’d seen him, and this just made it look like he was up to something. She scowled and picked up her Divination book again, but then we heard the voices from behind the bookshelves again.

“I thought you were going to go, Avery?” a voice whispered. “Or did you come back to watch the Mudblood? Imperio!

There was a loud crash. “You idiot, someone will hear you,” said another voice, and then all I could hear was a faint buzzing.

“Do you hear that buzzing?” I asked my tablemates.

“Yeah…” said Charlotte. She stood up and walked around the bookshelf. I followed instantly. There at a table was Lester Avery, Calvin Mulciber, Evan Rosier, and a Hufflepuff girl who kept running into the bookshelves. Severus Snape was sitting in a chair to the side of the table, poring over his old, marked-up copy of Advanced Potion-Making.

“Lester!” Charlotte cried indignantly. “You’re using the Imperius Curse on someone? I heard that, you know. It’s illegal.”

He said something back, but we couldn’t hear him – only the buzzing. Mulciber laughed. Snape looked up from his book and flicked his wand, and the buzzing stopped. “Well. How nice of you to butt in.” Then he resumed watching the Hufflepuff girl, and then back to his book.

“I was just saying,” said Lester, “I don’t know what you heard, but I didn’t do anything. She seems to be really tired… bet it’s all the studying for her O.W.L.s, maybe she hasn’t slept in a few days—”

“People don’t run into walls like this when they’re tired,” I said as another shower of books cascaded off the shelf. “You take that curse off her!”

Mulciber looked up at me insolently. “You want to be next?” he sneered. I wished Mark were here to see this – then maybe he wouldn’t idolize Mulciber so much.

“You have a problem with this, but you don’t seem to mind when your little Gryffindor friends do it,” said Snape frostily.

“They don’t use Dark Magic!” I said hotly. “They would never do anything like this!”

“Oh, is that right?” Snape suddenly looked very menacing. “I don’t think you know half of what they do.”

Hector showed up behind my shoulder. “It’ll only be a matter of time before Madam Pince sees this,” he told us. “You know she’s probably lurking around here right now.”

“Oh, she can’t hear us… just some buzzing,” said Lester.

“Run along now, before we practice the Cruciatus Curse,” said Mulciber. He laughed.

I was appalled, and drew out my wand. “You’ve been practicing the Cruciatus—

“Well, we certainly will if you keep hanging around.”

“Lester, you shouldn’t be doing this,” Charlotte insisted. She stood over him, and as she was rather tall, she looked scary. But Lester stood up too, and he was a couple of inches taller than she was. Charlotte continued, “I don’t think Mum will be pleased when I tell her that you’re using Unforgivable Curses on other students.”

“Bet she will.” Lester pointed his wand at the girl, who instantly stopped running into the shelves, and looked around terrified at the knot of Slytherins surrounding her and the books all over the floor. She rubbed her face in pain and dashed away, and I thought I heard a sob as she went. Mulciber, Snape, and Lester all turned back to their textbooks, and Charlotte, Hector and I walked back to our table. Although I still had yet to get out parchment, I decided I was done with my essay for the night.

Apparently Charlotte had had enough as well. “He doesn’t know what he’s getting into,” she muttered. “Sometimes I’m really proud to have him as a brother, and then sometimes he’s…” She shoved the ripped copy of Advanced Seeing for the Untrained Inner Eye into her bag forcefully.

“What happened?” said Mandy, finally looking up from her book. “Did you make that girl run out crying?”

“Didn’t you hear?” I asked. “You didn’t hear what they were saying?”

“Of course she didn’t,” said Charlotte, “Snape said he’d done some buzzing charm.” She turned to Mandy. “My brother and his friends thought it would be amusing to try out the Imperius Curse on someone.”

“Was he with Mulciber?” asked Mandy darkly. “I heard him saying something about making someone carve up the ice and jump into the frozen lake last week.”

“Yeah. Well I can’t get anything done, I’m just going to go to sleep.” She hoisted her bag over her shoulder and started to walk out. I threw my quill in my bag and followed.

We walked in near silence down the stairs. “The Cruciatus Curse,” she muttered as we neard the Slytherin dungeon.

“Maybe he’ll grow out of it… And I think it’s Mulciber that’s the worst, not Lester.”

“Yeah… maybe.”

“Forget predicting my death,” I said, “you should predict a horrible one for Mulciber instead.”


*~*~*~*~*~*~*



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Last edited by marauderfan; February 13th, 2013 at 6:26 pm.
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  #16  
Old January 31st, 2011, 12:01 am
marauderfan  Female.gif marauderfan is offline
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Re: The Brave at Heart

Okay! Here I am again. The chapter title is pretty appropriate considering last post was in August This was a really hard chapter to write and took forever! Thanks again to Melissa_Potter - I'd probably not have started the chapter yet if you hadn't pushed me along!


*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Chapter 15: About Time

Nothing noteworthy happened during our second Apparition class. Everyone was just as terrible as last week, although it seemed that possibly fewer people fell over. At least we had Hogsmeade to look forward to – so that afternoon, Mandy, Charlotte and I headed to Hogsmeade together.

After the three of us had been sitting at a table in the Three Broomsticks for a while, Luke Wilcox walked by our table. He glanced at us briefly, and paused for half a second, but didn’t stop to talk to me. Out of the corner of my eyes I saw him at the counter talking to Madam Rosmerta, and then he walked past our table again with a butterbeer. When he was out of sight I turned back and pretended I’d been paying attention to what Charlotte was saying about Narcissa Black and Lucius Malfoy’s wedding plans. But then I saw Luke wander by a third time. I glanced up. He was walking up to Madam Rosmerta again.

Was he taking several trips to get butterbeer and food, just to walk past our table?

No, that would be ridiculous.

But then what was he doing? I decided to take matters into my own hands.

“I’m going to get another butterbeer,” I said suddenly to Mandy and Charlotte.

“Of course you are,” said Mandy, rolling her eyes. “We can see who’s over there, you know.”

I walked up to the counter and stopped a few feet away from Luke. Madam Rosmerta handed Luke a pastry, and I ordered a butterbeer. I noticed that Luke lingered around the counter after getting his food, so I turned to face him as I waited for Madam Rosmerta to get my butterbeer. “Hi, Luke.”

“Oh, hi Melanie…” He looked slightly uncomfortable.

I felt the same; I didn’t really have anything to say to him other than hello. Nothing had really happened since the last time we had talked, except the beginning of Apparition lessons, which would not be an ideal conversation topic if he hated Apparition as much as I did. And we never really talked about much other than classes. “Er… so are you having a good time?” I asked.

“Yeah, how about you?”

“Yeah…”

There were another few seconds of silence in which I felt awkward and considered that maybe I shouldn’t have come up here, and then Madam Rosmerta returned with a butterbeer. I set some coins on the counter, thanked her, and stepped back from the counter a bit. Luke followed. “I never told you - great job in the Quidditch match last month, by the way,” he said.

“Thanks… I’m so surprised how it turned out actually, considering our Captain was in the hospital wing and I’ve never really practiced much with the team.”

“Well I think you did great. I’m so glad Slytherin won.”

“You are?”

“Yeah,” he said, and I raised my eyebrows. Luke laughed, and continued, “It means Ravenclaw has a better shot at the Cup. But I’m happy for you too.”

“I knew there was a reason you were glad,” I said, smiling. “You have a good team. I guess we’ll see how it turns out in your other games… If Slytherin doesn’t win, it’d be nice if Ravenclaw won the Cup this year.”

“I’d love that. Gryffindor has had it for too many years.”

“Too true.” I laughed.

“So what are your plans for the rest of the afternoon in Hogsmeade?” I asked in what I hoped was an offhand tone.

“I don’t know.” He shrugged. “My friend who I came with sort of wanted to go back to Hogwarts, he hasn’t finished his Arithmancy work for Monday and it’ll probably take him ten hours.”

“Arithmancy sounds tough.”

“It is. It’s difficult, but I actually like it a lot… Anyway, what about you, what are you doing after this?”

“I don’t know either.” I glanced back at the table where I had been sitting; Mandy and Charlotte immediately looked out the window. They had clearly been watching us.

“Well, do you want to walk around town for a little while before heading back?”

“Yes, I’d love to!” I said, grinning.

“Great!” he said. “I’m going to go get my stuff from my table over there, I’ll meet you by the door in a few minutes?”

“Sounds good,” I answered. We both walked back to our tables.

Charlotte and Mandy were watching me with interest as I approached. I picked up my cloak from where it was draped over the back of the wooden chair. “Hey, Luke and I are going to go, if that’s okay…?”

They smiled. “That’s fine,” said Mandy. “Have fun!”

“I’m sorry to ditch you… I’ll see you when we get back to the castle!”

I put on my cloak and headed for the door. Luke was still at his table, talking to his friend, who looked like he was getting ready to leave as well. Nearly all the tables in the room were full; the Three Broomsticks was one of the most popular places in Hogsmeade, especially on cold days such as today. Standing by the counter were Sirius and James, with half-full tankards of butterbeer, entertaining Madam Rosmerta with a joke.

Luke showed up then, and we walked together out into the snow and down the street. “How about here,” suggested Luke, pointing at a small teashop. “I’ve heard it’s nice, have you ever been to Madam Puddifoot’s?”

I shook my head, and we turned to go into the teashop. We took three steps into Madam Puddifoot’s, but when we saw the sickeningly cute Valentine’s Day decorations of confetti and cherubs, we looked at each other uncomfortably and immediately turned back around and left.

“Never mind,” he said, brushing a heart-shaped piece of confetti from his shoulder. “I knew they decorated a lot for Christmas, but I had no idea they were so fond of Valentine’s Day too…”

I laughed. “It’s all right though, there are plenty of other places we can go.”

“How about Honeydukes or Zonko’s… or Dervish and Banges, they sometimes have fun stuff there.”

We browsed through Zonko’s first and I was about to buy a large bag of Dungbombs, but Luke looked most unimpressed. “Those aren’t allowed…”

“Are you going to confiscate them from me?” I asked, grinning.

“It doesn’t look good for me as a prefect to see you buy Dungbombs and not do anything about it.”

“Then close your eyes and you won’t see.”

He took the bag out of my hands and set it back on the shelf. “How about we go to Honeydukes and I buy you some Fizzing Whizbees instead.”

I recalled vaguely that my Hogsmeade trip with Remus had been more fun; even though he was a prefect as well, he had had no problem with me buying Whizzing Worms and Nose-Biting Teacups and other things Filch had specifically banned. But I pushed this thought out of my mind – after all, I’d wanted to go with Luke for ages. We headed to Honeydukes and the rest of the afternoon passed wonderfully. Although we did not discuss the Yule Ball, I felt that the awkwardness that had arisen between us surrounding the dance was now dissipated.

As we were wandering through Dervish and Banges, observing all the weird magical instruments and discussing our favorite places to travel during the summers, Luke pointed out that the sun was getting low and we should probably head back.

We started back up the High Street, through the thin layer of slush. As we walked our hands brushed, and the second time it happened I lightly took hold of his hand. He turned to look at me, a slight smile on his face. “My hand was cold,” I explained with an air of nonchalance.

He laughed. “Mine too.”

We got back to the castle at the end of the wonderful afternoon and lingered in the doorway talking; we were in no hurry to end the afternoon. Eventually we decided we should probably get going, off to our separate common rooms, and my heart thumped wildly as Luke leaned in to kiss me – but then we heard a loud shriek of delight and we jumped apart immediately. Peeves the Poltergeist had just drifted in out of nowhere, and began to throw bits of chalk at us while making smacking noises with his lips.

“Cut it out!” cried Luke, picking up one of the pieces of chalk and throwing it back at him. Peeves did a somersault in midair and zoomed away, cackling obnoxiously. Although he was gone, he had definitely ruined the moment; Luke and I hesitated a bit longer in the doorway, and then simply said goodbye and parted.

When I got back to the Slytherin common room, the encounter with Peeves had done nothing to diminish my feeling of elation from the afternoon in Hogsmeade with Luke (although I was frustrated that Peeves had interrupted us, I knew we’d have another chance). Mandy and Charlotte were sitting on a sofa in the common room and the moment I walked in they eagerly bombarded me with questions, which I dutifully answered until we went up to dinner.


After dinner we set to work by the fire in the common room. I was halfway through studying my Potions notes when I saw Calvin Mulciber get up across the room and walk away from the table where he had been sitting. Left there was Mark and his usual group of first-year friends. I set my Potions notes and Advanced Potion-Making down on the sofa next to me, stood up and walked over to Mark’s group. The dark-haired girl who had indicated she disliked me last time greeted me with a scowl, but Mark said hello. The others didn’t look up.

“How’s History of Magic?” I asked them.

“It’s okay,” answered Mark. “My goblin rebellion paper was rubbish, but at least it’s done.” He glanced shrewdly at Mulciber’s back across the room, then asked me, “Are you here to tell me not to listen to Mulciber again?”

I was caught off-guard at his astuteness, but forced a laugh. “Er, no, I was just saying hi. I’m letting you make up your own mind about Mulciber, although since you mention him, I did witness him putting the Imperius Curse on a Hufflepuff girl last week…”

“Really? That’s awful,” Mark whispered, and turned to look at where Mulciber had gone, then back at his friends.

The dark-haired girl said, “He was just here helping us with our Defense Against the Dark Arts work. How do we know you’re not lying?”

“Why would I lie to you? I’m telling you, I saw it. I know he may be smart and is able to help you with your work and everything, but you want to watch out for him.”

The girl rolled her eyes. One of the other kids in the group looked up from his parchment and said to the others, “I told you I didn’t like him.”

While Mark and his friends discussed whether or not they believed Mulciber had actually used the Imperius Curse, I was consoled by the fact that at least it seemed they disapproved of using that curse – which meant, hopefully, that they were less likely to become like Mulciber.



The rest of February passed by with a lot of rain and dismal weather, but it was a very happy month for me. Luke and I were dating – not that it meant a lot to be dating at Hogwarts, since there were very few Hogsmeade weekends – it really just meant that we worked together during Herbology and ate lunch together sometimes. Regardless, I was delighted.

I also found that I cared very little about the Marauders anymore. Although I did miss them, their friendship was now essentially a thing of my past; I’d given up on them. A few times we’d have a short superficial conversation in the queue outside a class or something, but it wasn’t quite the same as it had been. As Russell had told me weeks before, I had other friends. And as time went on, I decided the Marauders had probably never cared that much for a group of Slytherin girls anyway.

I was on my way to Charms one day during the first week of March, alone for once because Charlotte had had to go back to get her homework and Mandy had stopped by the restroom. I turned a corner and exclaimed as I received an unwelcome shock – it felt like I had stuck my head into a bucket of ice water. I had inadvertently walked right through a ghost, who was wearing a doublet, a plumed hat, and a ruff. He was the Gryffindor House ghost, whom I was fairly sure was called Nearly Headless Nick (although he did not look headless, or even nearly headless, to me).

I didn’t know if ghosts were sensitive about people accidentally walking through them; I had never really talked with a ghost before. There were quite a few ghosts around Hogwarts, but the only ghosts I knew were Professor Binns, who taught the dreadful History of Magic class, and Moaning Myrtle, who haunted a second-floor girls’ toilet and cried if you talked to her. Then of course there was the resident Slytherin House ghost, the Bloody Baron, whom practically everyone avoided, students and ghosts alike; I had never spoken to him in my life. So I had no idea how Nearly Headless Nick would react. “Er, hello… I’m really sorry about that,” I said awkwardly.

“It’s all right,” he said, “one of the things you have to get used to if you’re a ghost.”

“Does that happen a lot?” I asked.

“Oh, every once in a while. However, I died four hundred and eighty-four years ago, so those few times every so often do add up over the years…”

“How did you die, if you don’t mind me asking?”

“I was beheaded, most carelessly and incompetently.” He sighed wistfully. “They didn’t do it properly, and my head is still attached.” He pulled on his left ear, and his head fell onto his shoulder, connected by a little bit of his neck. I gasped.

He pushed his head back onto his neck, smiling wryly, and I got the feeling that he rather enjoyed doing this to see people’s reactions.

“I’m sorry, that’s awful,” I said. I wasn’t really sure what else to say; I’d never had a conversation quite like this before.

“Yes, isn’t it? I’ve always wished they had just finished the job.”

“Of course…” I said absentmindedly. “It was, er, nice to meet you, but I’ve got to go to class.”

“Certainly. You aren’t a Gryffindor, are you?” he asked conversationally. “I don’t think I’ve seen you much before. What house are you in?”

“No, I’m not a Gryffindor. I have to go! Bye!” I ran down the rest of the hallway leaving him rather confused, slowed down, realized I was late for class, and continued running. When I got to class Mandy and Charlotte were both just arriving.

“What took you so long?” asked Charlotte as she pushed the classroom door open. “I thought you’d have been here ages ago, I had to go all the way back to the room to get my essay because I left it on the—”

“Class has started, girls,” said Professor Flitwick. He looked for a moment as if he were considering taking points from Slytherin for our tardiness, but decided against it. I supposed this was because we hadn’t actually interrupted anything – the classroom was as noisy as ever, as the class was very much about practical application of charms. “We’re practicing the Hover Charm.”

Mandy and I attempted making each other hover nonverbally, and I couldn’t see why we had to use this charm rather than the easier Levitation Charm we’d learned in first year. I was also still not very good at nonverbal magic, which we were supposed to be using, and so I resorted to whispering the incantations. Other people, such as the Hufflepuffs at the table to our left, succeeded with nonverbal incantations but ended up dropping their partners.

Over at the Marauders’ table, Remus grabbed onto the desk to keep from falling over after Peter’s hover charm. James and Sirius laughed. I was startled out of watching them when I lifted off the ground. I looked at Mandy in surprise but she was writing something down.

“Oh – sorry!” said Charlotte, looking over at me from across the table, and I landed back on the ground.

Elsie Ritter, the Hufflepuff girl Charlotte was working with, congratulated her. “You got the charm nonverbally!”

“Yeah, but on the wrong person, that was supposed to be you.”

Peter looked over and grinned at us. “I just did that to James too, about five minutes ago. This charm is hard.”

I laughed. “Yeah, it is.” I turned back to face Mandy and practice the charm on her. But I didn’t make much progress; Charms class was usually somewhat chaotic with objects flying all over the classroom or noises everywhere, and today was no exception. Hector Branstone sailed across the room, shouting at his partner Andrew Derrick, his fellow Chaser on the Slytherin Quidditch team. “Wrong charm, you idiot!” he laughed.

Derrick looked at his wand, puzzled. “I’m using the right charm, I guess I have the wand motion wrong.” He looked down at a paper of notes, and then exclaimed when his eyebrows suddenly grew six inches, extending to his chin, and obscured his view.

I heard some laughter and turned around, and sure enough, James was pointing his wand at Hector, and Sirius was pointing his wand at Derrick.

“Potter! Black!” squeaked Flitwick from the front of the room. Upon hearing who had caused his eyebrow growth, Derrick brushed his long eyebrows out of the way, and muttered something while pointing his wand back at Sirius, and Sirius sprouted horns.

“Derrick!” cried Flitwick. “This is a classroom, not a zoo! You three will all be back here Saturday night for detention.”

“Professor,” said Sirius between fits of laughter, “I already have plans that night… Detention with McGonagall.”

“You can come on Sunday then.”

I watched in amusement as Derrick cut off the long curtain of thick eyebrow hair, but Sirius was unable to remove his horns.

“That’s a good look, Pads,” said James, looking at Sirius’s horns. “You should keep them, I’m sure it will attract the ladies.”

“Oh definitely,” he laughed. He turned to Remus. “What do you think?” He struck a ridiculous pose.

“Stunning. You’ve never looked better.”

“Madam Pomfrey could probably fix it in half a second, she’s seen much worse,” said Peter.

“Well I know that,” said Sirius, “but I’m guessing Flitwick’s not going to let me leave right now, class is only half over.”

Snape, across the classroom, muttered something and a dark shape shot from the end of his wand towards James, who wasn’t looking. Sensing that this could be nothing good coming from Snape, who tended to prefer using more painful jinxes than Derrick, I whispered “Lepidopterus” under my breath, and both Snape and Evan Rosier sitting next to him, were engulfed in a cloud of large butterflies. Nor was I the only one to have done anything; James had very quick reflexes and the instant he’d seen Snape, had made steam come out of Snape’s ears and nostrils.

Flitwick was distressed that his classroom kept getting out of control, and gave Snape and Rosier detentions too. I grinned; he hadn’t noticed me, and Rosier had gotten detention although he hadn’t even done anything. Now that class had quieted down a bit, Mandy and I went back to practicing the nonverbal Hover Charm, and by the end of class I could easily do the charm if I whispered the incantation, but still struggled to do it nonverbally. Mandy and I had accidentally dropped each other several times, so we were somewhat sore from falling, but we left the class in good spirits.

The Marauders left just before Mandy, Charlotte and me. As they turned the corner out the door I could hear Peter saying, “That was bold jinxing them during class, Prongs. You were just asking for detention.”

“There’s no harm in a bit of friendly jinxing,” said James. “I even saw Branstone laughing too, it was all good fun. And did you see Hastings do that butterfly one at Snivellus? I’m sure it was her, though Flitwick didn’t catch her.”

“Really?” asked Sirius. “I would say it was nice of her, but now it means we have detention with Snivellus.”

Peter laughed. “Rosier got a detention too, when he didn’t do anything.”

“Yeah, but I’ll bet he was thinking about it,” said James.

“And I was being nice, actually,” said Sirius. “I considered the Nose-Hair Lengthening Jinx for Derrick, but decided on the eyebrow one instead.”

“How thoughtful of you,” said Remus, but he smiled.

Sirius split off from the group and said, “I’ll catch up with you guys later, I’m going to stop by the hospital wing.”

“Oh, you decided not to keep the horns then? Shame…”

After having listened to the four of them joke around the entire hour in Charms, and hearing what sounded like them being impressed with my spell during Charms, I essentially forgot our friendship had languished in the past month, so I wolf-whistled after Sirius as he walked by. He turned around with a sort of amused smirk on his face.

“Love the new style. I think it’ll really catch on,” I said.

“I thought you’d like it. And you know I did it just to impress you. Looks like it worked!”

I snorted and rolled my eyes. As he turned back around and continued walking I looked over at Mandy, who was regarding me with a suspicious, calculating expression.

“Why are you looking at me like that?” I asked.

Before she could answer, Remus greeted us, and as they had stopped walking, James and Peter turned around as well.

“Oh – you’re talking to us again, are you?” said Charlotte brusquely, and took two more steps as if she planned to just keep walking and ignore them, but stopped when we didn’t follow.

Remus sighed. “Yeah, that’s what I wanted to talk about... We’re really sorry about that. It wasn’t anything personal, though.”

“Er, okay,” said Mandy. She looked about as confused as I felt. It wasn’t much of an explanation of why they had simply stopped talking to us. “Is that it then – you’ve all just decided you’re done avoiding us?”

“We weren’t avoiding you,” said Sirius airily.

“Yes you were,” I said. I didn’t really want to bring this up again, now that they appeared to be speaking to us again, but it had bothered me for too long. “You accused us of spying on you. That one time when you caught us following you – we weren’t spying, we just thought it’d be a good joke. I’m really sorry, we had no idea you’d take it that way. We just thought we were your friends. Were we wrong?”

“I realise that,” said Remus placatingly. “I think we just blew that out of proportion. But I know you didn’t mean anything by it.”

I hardly thought we’d be able to just pick up our friendship where it left off, but I said, “That’s all right, I’m glad everything’s okay…”

They all seemed very keen to move on from the subject. “Well it was great to see you again,” said James. “I would say I’d see you later today, but the Gryffindor Quidditch team has practice after dinner so we can win the Quidditch Cup again this year.”

“Better practice hard, because your team didn’t do so well against Slytherin…” I said with a grin.

“True, but neither of our Beaters fall off their brooms…”

“Shut up.”

They laughed. “We’ll see you around,” said Remus, and the three of them continued down the hall.

“Have a good Quidditch practice, James,” called Mandy.

“Traitor,” I said to her under my breath.

“I’m just being friendly,” she responded. “You know I don’t actually want Gryffindor to do well.”



As part of his prefect duties Luke and the other Ravenclaw prefect had to patrol the corridors. Luke and I had been in the library together, and were standing in the hallway talking before he left for patrol. With less than a minute until curfew, Luke finally said, “I guess I have to go… You should probably head back to your common room so no one else catches you out after curfew.”

“I’m going to be late, Luke,” I said with a show of mock concern. “Does that mean you’re going to take points from Slytherin?”

“Hmm… let me think about it.”

I kissed him and we temporarily forgot about the curfew for several more minutes. Finally he pulled away and said, “No, I don’t think I’m going to take points from Slytherin.” He grinned. “But I have to go, I’ll see you tomorrow!”

I giggled and went off down the hall towards the Slytherin common room. James and Sirius were walking towards me, headed the other direction.

“Oooo, Melanie has a boyfriend,” said Sirius in an obnoxious voice as they passed by.

“Is that a problem?” I raised an eyebrow.

“Not at all,” said Sirius, grinning. “I just didn’t see you as someone who went for the boring prefect type with a weird nose, that’s all.”

“He is not boring, and he doesn’t have a weird nose. How can you even say prefects are boring, when one of your best friends is a prefect?”

“I didn’t say all prefects were boring.”

“Ohh… okay.” I rolled my eyes. “And what are you two doing out after curfew?”

“Putting Dungbombs outside the Slytherin common room,” said James matter-of-factly. “You might not want to go down that hallway!” He and Sirius laughed.

“I have to, we’re supposed to be back in our common rooms now!” I cried indignantly. This just made them laugh more.

“Run along before your prefect boyfriend finds out you’ve been breaking the rules!”

“Good night!” said James cheerfully.

“Ugh,” I growled, and went on my way. They could be so irritating. But that was something I’d gladly put up with to have them back. Of course, I felt a bit less fond of them when I got to the hallway where the common room was, and nearly gagged because it smelled so foul. I didn’t count, but there must have been sixty Dungbombs down there. But whatever I had tried to convince myself over the past few weeks, telling myself that I didn’t miss the Marauders, I had missed them. They kept life interesting.

The only thing I wondered, as I walked up the stairs from the common room into the dormitory and gazed out the window at the lake, was something that had occurred to me during the hiatus. I felt that they’d never have come back to talk to us if they didn’t care about us; but they were so popular, they had no need to be friendly with Slytherins, their ultimate rivals. Did the Marauders feel at all the same way as I did – did they actually regard us as friends? Or were we just a group of Slytherins they kept around when it was convenient for them?


*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Thanks for reading!!! Thoughts?


__________________


Captain of the HMS Arts & Crafts, co-founder of Annie Is My Homegirl, Proud member of the IBP and KEBA

Last edited by marauderfan; December 8th, 2012 at 7:58 am.
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  #17  
Old March 24th, 2011, 4:38 am
marauderfan  Female.gif marauderfan is offline
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Joined: 4132 days
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Re: The Brave at Heart

Okay... here's the next one! I kind of hurried to finish this one and get it posted before I go, so hopefully it doesn't seem too rushed. There are a lot of birthdays in this one. Enjoy!

*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Chapter 16: Accomplishments and Birthdays

Saturday brought our fifth Apparition lesson. By the end of the last week’s class quite a few people had managed to Apparate successfully; I knew James and Sirius had both accomplished it, as had Luke, Mandy, and a handful of others. A couple of people had Splinched themselves – they had Apparated into their hoops but left a foot or an arm behind. Then there were people who hadn’t gotten anywhere. That group included me, and I wouldn’t have been so annoyed if many of the people I knew hadn’t already managed it. At least Charlotte and I could still gripe about Apparition together and vilify Twycross for making Apparition sound so simple. Whenever I saw the Marauders, Peter and I usually ended up having similarly brutal conversations about “Twit-cross”, as Peter was just as frustrated as I was.

So that first Saturday in March, I found myself back in the Great Hall, looking up at the grey clouds on the enchanted ceiling. I wished it were sunny – I thought maybe if it were sunny I’d be more likely to manage Apparition. It was as if the heavens were frowning upon me, saying “Sorry… not today!”

Twycross wheezed some more about Destination and Distraction and Distress (or maybe that was just how I felt), and then we were to try again. And so again, I heard a few loud cracks and found myself outside my hoop facing backwards, and I could see a few people had Apparated into their hoops. There was some cheering and high-fiving, and I grumpily turned around to face my hoop again.

Mandy, beside me, stepped out of her hoop in delight. “Don’t worry, Mel, you’ll get it… Eighty-third time’s the charm, right?” I rolled my eyes. “No, really,” she continued, “it looked like you almost had it.”

“How do you almost have it?” I asked crossly. “Did I half-disappear?”

“Twirl with more deliberation,” she suggested. What did that even mean?

Maybe it wasn’t working because I was so annoyed. I tried to clear my mind of all my frustration, but that made me more frustrated because I couldn’t do it. I closed my eyes. I was determined to Apparate this time. I turned with deliberation, visualized the hoop in my mind – and suddenly felt like I was suffocating. Pressure pushed in on me from all directions as if I were in a tube – had I fainted? Had I actually died of frustration?

All of a sudden the feeling went away, and I was standing three feet away.

“What happened?” I asked. I looked around. “Did that work?”

“You did it!” cried Mandy. “Sort of. You’re not in the hoop, but you moved, look!”

I was half impressed with myself, half confused, and felt sort of sick. Why did people even bother Apparating when it was so uncomfortable? Was I always going to feel like I was suffocating? Maybe I’d just use Floo Powder whenever I wanted to travel long distances – that was much easier. Sure, you got ashes all over yourself from traveling through the fireplace, and came out somewhat dizzy, but it was better than Apparition.

I wasn’t able to Apparate again for the rest of the lesson, but I wasn’t as bothered about it anymore; after all, I’d managed it once (sort of), and that was really enough for one day.

I left the Great Hall with Luke, who congratulated me on my almost-Apparition. “Even though you didn’t go where you wanted, you still moved – that’s the hardest part!”

“Thanks… Still, I prefer flying on a broomstick. I even prefer Floo Powder, and that’s saying something.”

“I hate Floo Powder,” Luke laughed. “But I agree with you about flying. I’d choose a broomstick over Apparition any day… well, except a rainy day, maybe. Broomsticks and rain aren’t a fun combination.” His last comment hinted to me that Luke was still not over the fact that Ravenclaw’s Quidditch team had lost to Hufflepuff by a mere ten points in last week’s game, which had been during a rainstorm.

“Don’t worry about that, I think your team can still—” I began, but stopped short when Peeves dropped a wastepaper basket on us, and whooshed away blowing raspberries. This was something like the tenth time Peeves had disturbed us in the hallway. There was just nowhere you could hide from him.

“I’m pretty sure he’s out to get us,” said Luke, massaging his head where the wastepaper basket had struck him.

“He’s out to get everyone,” I corrected. “At least he’s not following us this time.”



As Mandy and I no longer knew the Gryffindor common room password and the Marauders had not told us the new one, we did not see them as often as we had used to. It had always been us who went to go see the Marauders, never the other way around. The truth was, you’d be more likely to find them voluntarily jumping into the lake in winter than walking down to have a chat with Slytherins in our dungeon common room. But I couldn’t blame them; I myself didn’t really enjoy spending time in the common room.

I’d see them in the hallway every now and then, or in the classes we had together. On Thursday morning the following week, I saw Remus and Peter walking just a bit ahead of us on our way to Transfiguration. Since it was Remus’s birthday, I ran to catch up with them.

“Hey!” I said. “Happy birthday, Remus!” I handed him a box of Chocolate Cauldrons. “Sorry it’s not much, I should have got you more, since it’s your seventeenth and all… I can’t buy Firewhisky yet though, I’m still sixteen.”

“Thank you! It’s the thought that counts,” said Remus, taking the Cauldrons. “And to be honest, I don’t really want to have a huge birthday bash anyway… it’s not really my sort of thing. James will make up for it when he has his birthday in a few weeks, I’m sure.”

“You’re still going to have a cake, aren’t you?” asked Peter.

“Maybe.”

“Where are your cohorts today?” I asked.

“Eh, somewhere…” said Remus evasively. “They said they were coming to class, but I think they found something and wanted to have some fun first. I don’t know if—”

“Excuse us! Watch out!” came a voice from behind us. We turned around; James was soaring through the air, standing on two brooms: one under each foot. Sirius had somehow gotten hold of a pair of Muggle roller skates, and was racing James through the hallway. People jumped out of the way in front of them to avoid being hit in the head by James or knocked down by Sirius, who it seemed hadn’t quite figured out how to skate. James leapt off the brooms as he reached the classroom, but Sirius was unable to brake and crashed into a nearby suit of armor.

“Smooth, Padfoot,” James laughed as Sirius tried to stand up again in the roller skates. “I win.”

Professor McGonagall poked her head out of the doorway, evidently trying to find the source of the clattering noises. Her eyes narrowed as she spotted James with two broomsticks and Sirius pulling the suit of armor back up off the floor. Sirius noticed McGonagall and said, “There was a strong wind in the hallway, Professor, that’s why this fell down.” McGonagall was unconvinced, possibly due to the fact that Sirius was still wearing his roller skates, and both of them got detention for the following night.

“I’m just glad she didn’t give us the detention tonight,” Sirius told Remus as everyone filed into the classroom. “We have to be there for your birthday party.”

“I appreciate it, but I told you guys I don’t need a big party with a hundred people in the common room. We can just have some cake up in the dormitory or something.”

“Chocolate cake,” suggested Peter.

“Don’t you want firewhisky?” asked Sirius.

“Okay Moony, we don’t have to if you don’t want to, it’s your day,” said James. “I know I will for my birthday, which is in less than three weeks!”

“Or vanilla, with chocolate icing…” Peter continued.




I had planned to meet Luke for dinner at the Ravenclaw table. Normally on these occasions, although they were never actually a big deal, I would tend to dress more carefully than usual. This time, however, I was more worried about my Defence Against the Dark Arts essay than about how I looked. As I walked by the mirror in our dormitory without glancing at my reflection, Charlotte walked in, and raised an eyebrow critically. “Please don’t tell me you’re planning to set foot outside this room wearing that, it’s hideous.” I examined my jumper in the mirror. It wasn’t that bad…

“You look like my grandma,” Charlotte continued as she collected some books from her trunk. “Go with the yellow one. Don’t look at me like that, I’m sure you’d rather it was me telling you this than Luke… Just trying to help.” She grinned and walked out the door.

I was sure Luke would never tell me I looked like his grandmother, but I switched to the yellow shirt anyway. When I walked up to dinner, I met Luke in the Great Hall and we walked over to the Ravenclaw table. We discussed random things, but it seemed both of us had our minds on something else. Neither of us really cared that the discussion was going nowhere. Luke wondered if there was another Hogsmeade weekend coming up. I rambled about my chance encounter with a house-elf outside the kitchens at the beginning of the week.

“Sorry I’m acting so… vacant,” he said. “I’ve just got so much going on this week. I actually had to cancel our Quidditch practice yesterday. Cecil Braddock yelled at me for about an hour because of it. Of course, he’s a fourth year, so he has loads of time. But I’m the Captain.”

“Yeah, I know the feeling,” I said. “Sort of. I’m with you in the feeling of too much work, but I haven’t got Quidditch going on too…”

After dinner I walked into the common room and found Mandy and Charlotte sitting in the most comfortable chairs by the fire, surrounded by textbooks and a few crumpled pieces of parchment. “How was dinner?” asked Charlotte.

“Eh, it was fine, I guess,” I said. It had been rather boring, but not every day could be an exciting day.

“What are you doing now?” asked Mandy. “Did you want to visit Gryffindor tower?”

“I’m probably going to just do homework. I think Remus just wanted a quiet sort of celebration with the other Marauders, so we can visit tomorrow.” It was a rather funny thought; I would never ordinarily put the word ‘quiet’ and ‘Marauders’ in the same sentence. For some reason I had envisioned that mostly all they did involved wild mayhem, but this could hardly be the case. They had real lives too, they couldn’t always be entertainers.

“All right. Well, we’ve saved a seat for you,” said Mandy, lifting The Standard Book of Spells: Grade Six off a chair.

“Thanks,” I said. “I’m just going to go get my books and stuff.”

When I had collected everything I needed to write my essay from the dormitory, I went back to join Mandy and Charlotte at the table by the fire, and began writing my Defense Against the Dark Arts essay about how to deal with dementors. Not that it really mattered what I wrote, because Professor Alvers gave practically everyone Outstanding’s – seeing as he knew nothing himself, any information we wrote about in our homework was a bit of a novelty to him.

“It’s a bit hard to write about it if we can’t even do the Patronus Charm yet,” said Mandy after a while, looking at her nearly complete roll of parchment.

“Looks like you did fine, though,” I said. “Your essay is five times as long as mine and I’m starting to run out of things to say.”

I glanced over at Charlotte, who had not even started her essay and was poking her wand at her parchment to fold it into various shapes.

I laughed and turned back to my essay, but luckily was saved from having to think about it any more when Alanna ran down the stairs, several pieces of parchment and a quill in one hand, a thick book in the other, and ink smudges on her face. “Have you finished the Defense paper?” she asked breathlessly. “I just realized it’s due tomorrow and I haven’t started and we have so much other work to do!” She tossed her parchment scrolls and heavy book on our table, making the table shake, and turned to a second year girl nearby who had managed to get one of the comfortable chairs. “Excuse me, I need to sit there. I’m a sixth year and a prefect and I’m about to die.” The girl scowled and left with her book.

I laughed. “That’s really not helping the second-years’ image of us… remember how terrified we were of sixth-years when we were twelve?”

“It had to be done,” insisted Alanna, dragging the now-vacated chair over next to Mandy’s. “She’ll understand when she’s our age, and then she’ll probably do the same thing. Right now she doesn’t have half as much work as we do, and since we’ll probably be sitting here until three in the morning, I need to be comfortable.”

“I don’t know about you, but I’m not staying here until then,” I said. “If I have to go to sleep before I finish, so be it.”

“So has anyone started the Transfiguration paper?” she asked us. “I was working on it but that one’s not due until next week.”

“I don’t think so,” said Mandy, turning a page of her book. “We’re working on the dementor essay for Alvers now. Well, Melanie and I are. I’m not sure what Charlotte is doing.”

Charlotte raised an eyebrow. “I’ll have you know I am very busy over here.” She gave her folded parchment one last prod, and it soared into the air, in the shape of a magnificent phoenix. It flew around the room and then caught fire.

“Very realistic,” I said, grinning.

Charlotte scowled at the few ashes floating down. “D***it, now I need to start over.”

“You had written almost nothing, so don’t be too upset,” I reasoned. “I don’t really want to work on mine either, do you want to see if we can make a Patronus instead?”

While Mandy helped Alanna with her essay, Charlotte and I set to work practicing the Patronus Charm, a ridiculously complicated charm that supposedly would drive off a dementor, if done properly. So far, all I had managed in class was an indistinct, possibly four-legged shape that disappeared after a few seconds. Charlotte’s was just a wisp of smoke.

“Okay,” said Charlotte, holding notes about the Patronus Charm in one hand, and her wand in the other. “You need to think of a happy memory, and say Expecto Patronum.”

“I know that. But if it’s that easy, we should have been able to do it during class. Is it just any happy memory?”

“No idea. I would guess it needs to be a really happy one, because it has to be the opposite of a dementor, which likes fear and despair and stuff.”

“All right, I’m going to try… Expecto Patronum!” I said, thinking of my first date with Luke. Nothing happened. I scowled at my wand, as if it was its fault.

“Are you implying I’m a dementor?” asked Charlotte. “Point your wand at someone else.”

“Sorry, I wasn’t paying attention to where I was pointing it.”

“Maybe that’s the problem – you have to be focused.”

I rolled my eyes. “Fine then, since you’re so smart, you show me.”

She held up her hands. “I’m just reading the notes. You know I can’t even come close to making a Patronus.”

“Yes you can, Charlotte. Let’s keep practicing. You just need to focus.” I smirked.

We kept practicing, and I could tell we were getting better. The indistinct silvery shapes we produced had more of a shape, and lingered for a bit longer than they had used to.

I thought of the first Christmas I had spent at Mandy’s house with her family, in second year, and cried, “Expecto Patronum!” I watched in awe as a silvery-white horse shot out of the end of my wand, galloped around the room, and then faded away. “Did you see that?” I asked Charlotte as it disappeared. “I did it! That was a Patronus!”

“Well what do you want, a trophy?” asked Charlotte. “I mean, it’s great, but let’s see you do that when there’s a real dementor standing in front of you.”

“Thanks,” I said dryly, “I’m lucky to have supportive friends like you.”

She laughed. “If you want, I can pretend to be a dementor so it’ll be just like the real thing.”

“Actually, you’d be scarier.”

“Thanks, I’m lucky to have friends like you,” she said, mimicking me. “Expecto Patronum!” Something silver soared out of her wand, and it was not as shapeless as before, but before we could have a good look at it, it disappeared.

“This is just like Apparition,” she said critically, staring at where her Patronus had vanished. “Why am I bothering?”

“No it’s not, this is more fun, and it doesn’t end in feeling like you’re suffocating. You’re so close, Charlotte, really! Try just once more!”

She tried again twice and it finally worked: A silver fox leapt around above our heads. Charlotte’s face lit up with a wide grin, something that was kind of rare for her – she usually did not show such excitement about anything except gossip. She was able to keep her Patronus from disappearing, so I cast my horse Patronus at it, and they chased each other over the table where Mandy and Alanna were working.

“Will you cut that out?” Alanna laughed, waving the animals away from her essay.

As Charlotte and I looked down from the Patronuses, they disappeared. I sat down at the table with Mandy and Alanna. “How are the essays going?”

“I finished my dementor essay,” said Mandy. “You two should be able to finish yours in about five minutes, since you can write all about the Patronus now. I saw those, they were fantastic!”

“Oh you just had to remind us about that essay,” I said.

“Hey, you can’t complain, Mel,” said Charlotte, dragging her chair back to the table. “At least still you have an essay, you didn’t burn yours up.”

I started writing more details about the Patronus. I had written a few sentences when Mandy asked conversationally, “Are you going to take those extra classes in Hogsmeade for the Apparition exam?”

“I think I will,” said Charlotte. “Merlin knows I’m awful at Apparition so far. I haven’t even managed it once.”

“I’m not going to be seventeen by the test date in April,” I said glumly. “It’s like two days before my birthday, so I’ll have to wait until the next test.”

“I might,” said Alanna. “Only if that Ravenclaw Mudblood doesn’t go. She was the first person to Apparate during the regular lessons, I couldn’t believe it! And she just went on and on about it for an hour.”

“You were expecting to beat her to it just because she’s Muggle-born?” I asked somewhat rudely, but I felt my rudeness was justified by how idiotic her comment was. Charlotte gave me an exasperated look clearly telling me ‘you’re starting this argument again?’

“Well…” said Alanna haltingly, “I mean, I’m a pureblood…”

“My dad is a Muggle,” Mandy interrupted, “and I’ve never felt that’s hurt my ability to do magic.”

“Your mother is a pureblood, though. Come on, Charlotte, back me up here!”

Charlotte sighed. “I don’t want to discuss this again. You always argue over this, but it’s not that big a deal. It doesn’t matter in the long run.”

“It doesn’t matter?” I asked. “I disagree…”

“What I mean is the big picture,” said Charlotte. “We’re all against You-Know-Who, and that’s what matters.”

“Voldemort hates Muggle-borns,” said Mandy. “He doesn’t think they should go to Hogwarts.”

“You’re looking at this in a very black-and-white way,” said Alanna. “Of course I don’t want to go around killing all the Mudbloods in school,” she said. I cleared my throat and scowled at her use of the word ‘Mudblood’. She continued, “I have no problem with Mud- er, Muggle-borns, going to Hogwarts… I’m just not really friends with any. Come on, you don’t think I’d support anything he does, do you?”

“Well, I’ve heard he’s immortal,” said Charlotte. “As much as I hate him, I’d love to have that power…”

I raised my eyebrows, and glanced at Mandy, who had an anxious expression on her face as she looked between Alanna and Charlotte. Charlotte saw this and snorted. “Don’t look at me like that. I’m not going to run off and join the Death Eaters. I just think it’d be nice to be immortal, that’s all. That’s not that weird…”

“Maybe Voldemort made a deal with the Devil,” suggested Mandy, “he can be immortal and powerful in exchange for having the ugliest face on the planet.”

“There you go, maybe it’s not even worth it,” said Charlotte, laughing. She got out another piece of parchment and began writing her essay.



Luckily, we all finished without having to stay up until three in the morning, so in Potions the next morning my Memory Potion was average instead of horrid. At the end of class, as I threw Advanced Potion-Making into my bag and Mandy was gathering up the last remaining debris from the desk, the Marauders walked by our table.

“This is your Memory Potion?” asked Sirius obnoxiously, peering into the cauldron on my desk and wrinkling his nose.

“Obviously it is, that’s what we made today… unless you already forgot?”

“Of course I didn’t forget, my potion was amazing and now I have a fantastic memory. I just meant yours looked kind of… interesting.”

“You tried your own potion in class?” Mandy asked, raising an eyebrow.

“All I had to do was just look at it and my memory was improved instantly,” he said with a grin.

“That’s impressive. You must have had a lot of Firewhisky last night,” I said. “Sure you don’t want any of this potion before I vanish it?”

Remus laughed. “That’s not too bad of an idea, Padfoot, you might want to take her up on it.”

Sirius punched him on the shoulder jokingly. “Let’s get out of here.” He walked to catch up with James, who had gotten distracted talking to Lily. I vanished my potion and Mandy and I talked with Remus and Peter on our way out of the classroom, where we caught up with James and Sirius again.

“You should come to Gryffindor tower later this evening,” said Remus, “because these two idiots will be in detention and otherwise Peter and I will just have to study.”

“Yeah, that’s pretty awful,” interrupted Sirius. “Who wants to study on a Friday afternoon? I’d rather go to detention.”

“Luckily for you, that’s what you have to do,” said Remus.

“We can’t get in, the password’s been changed,” I said to Remus. “What’s the new one?”

Sirius raised his eyebrows in mock indignation. “That’s top secret, for Gryffindor ears only.”

“Obviously we can’t just give secret information out to the enemy,” James agreed.

“Enemy?” said Mandy. “I thought we were friends? It’s not like we’ve never been up there before.”

“It’s ‘frabjous’,” said Remus quietly as we walked into the Great Hall for lunch. “See you later,” he added as Mandy, Charlotte and I split off towards the Slytherin table.



When Mandy and I finally headed over to visit the Gryffindors while they were studying, James and Sirius had apparently finished their detentions already. When they had said they would be studying, it was perhaps an overstatement. Remus was lying down in the window seat reading, Peter was playing wizard chess with a fifth-year I didn’t know, and James was talking loudly with several members of the Quidditch team. Sirius was across the room, his lips practically glued to those of Persephone Winchester, Gryffindor’s fifth-year prefect.

I looked over at Mandy, whose eyes were narrowed as she spotted Sirius and Persephone. “Er… all right, never mind,” I said. “We’ll come back and visit later.”



The next couple of weeks were nothing out of the ordinary, except the practice sessions for Apparition started for the people who would be taking their tests in April, which included Mandy and Charlotte. Other than that, life went on as normal; it rained a lot as spring came around the corner, we went to classes, Mandy saw Persephone and Sirius together in the hallway twice and talked about it a lot.

The last Saturday in March, James came up to talk to Mandy, Charlotte and me as we were leaving breakfast. “I don’t know if you know, but tomorrow is my birthday!” he exclaimed. How would we not know? He’d been talking about it for over a month. He continued, “There’s going to be some festivities in the Gryffindor common room tomorrow night, and you’re invited. Consider yourselves very lucky and special, because I’ve never invited Slytherins. There will be Firewhisky. See you there!” He bounded off down the hall.

“I’m not going if that Winchester girl is there,” said Mandy. “She… has an annoying voice, and I don’t want to hear it.”

I snorted. “Yeah, that’s why she bothers you.”

Charlotte rolled her eyes. “Mandy, she’s a Gryffindor, so she’s probably going to be there. Don’t pass up an opportunity for fun and Firewhisky because some girl may or may not be in the room.”

So on Sunday night we all went over to the Gryffindor common room with high hopes. The Marauders always knew how to throw a party; I’d heard stories of post-Quidditch-match victory celebrations. And we were not disappointed: There were streamers and balloons all over their common room, and on the tables were heaps of food from Honeydukes. They had indeed even managed to get Firewhisky, as promised; how they had gotten all these things without a Hogsmeade trip was beyond me.

James was by the window telling a story, surrounded by a small crowd. He was quite the entertainer, and thoroughly enjoying himself. I decided to wait until a bit later in the evening to wish James a happy birthday, because he seemed too occupied at the moment, so Mandy and I found Remus and talked to him. I asked him how they’d managed to get so much stuff from Hogsmeade, but he refused to tell. After a short while, Lily Evans came up to join us.

“Hey Lily, I didn’t know you’d show up, that was nice of you to join us,” said Remus. “I’m sure James appreciates it.”

She rolled her eyes, but she was smiling. “Yeah, I figured since it’s his birthday I’d be nice…” She turned to Mandy and me. “It’s good to see you two here! How are you?”

“Great!” said Mandy. “It’s spring, I’ve finished my homework, there are no Slug Club meetings in the near future, and I’m at a birthday party. Nothing could possibly get me down now. How about yourself?”

Lily laughed. “Good, thanks. Potter sure does know how to throw a party, I’ll give him that.”

“Just wait, the best part is still to come,” said Remus.

“What’s that, Potter asking me out again?” asked Lily sarcastically. I snorted. Lily had been dating Lewis Ackerley since the Yule Ball, but I wouldn’t put it past James to ask her out anyway.

“No, you’ll see. It’ll be fun… and colorful.”

Mandy greeted someone walking through the portrait hole and went off to chat with her, so I talked with Remus and Lily a bit longer and then wandered around mingling, until I found Sirius, who was sitting with his legs up on a table, his chair leaning back at a precarious angle. He had something in his hand and was prodding it with his wand, making it click.

“Shouldn’t you be up there in the center of attention with James, making a fool of yourself like always?” I asked him.

He ignored my question and put the object into his pocket. “We haven’t seen you for a while, Hastings! Has Mr. Prefect replaced us?” He put his hands behind his head and leaned his chair back even more. If he fell all the way backward, I would do nothing but laugh at him.

I rolled my eyes. “It’s not my fault you haven’t seen me, you’ve been too occupied with Persephone. You keep going on about me dating a prefect, but Persephone is a prefect too, you know.”

“No need to get worked up over it.”

“I wasn’t worked up—”

“Well sorry, I didn’t know it would bother you,” he said, grinning.

“The only thing that bothered me is the fact that you’re a hypocrite.”

“Oh, I see…” said Sirius, a smirk on his face.

I scowled. “What is that supposed to mean? And stop smirking at me.”

He just laughed, which irritated me. Then he leaned forward and set his chair back on the ground, and said, “Well, it’s time to sing.” He stood up and announced, “Everyone! It’s time to sing ‘Happy Birthday’ to James!” The room was soon filled with the sounds of many people singing slightly off-key, and Sirius pulled the thing out of his pocket and began adjusting it again, and I saw that it was one of Zonko’s new Indoor Fireworks. When people finished singing, Sirius threw the firework into the air and it let out a bang and various fantastic shimmering colors of light, but no smoke.

Eventually the crowd dispersed around the room. I noticed James talking with Lily by the window; she didn’t seem too exasperated with him at the moment, which was nice. Mandy came back and found me again, and we joined Remus, Sirius, and Peter by the sofa, where they were sorting through an entire bag of fireworks. It looked like it was going to be a fun night.



As if there hadn’t been enough seventeenth birthdays in the past few weeks, Mandy’s was two days later. Charlotte and I woke her up early and gave her presents and watched her open all the gifts while she still wasn’t quite awake. The most spectacular of the presents was a beautiful watch from her family; it was gold with stars that circled around the face, a traditional gift for a wizard or witch turning seventeen.

“Don’t forget, the best present of all!” said Alanna as she slid out of bed, having decided that she would be unable to sleep in any more due to us making so much noise. “No Potions on Tuesdays!”

“Fantastic,” said Mandy. “That’s a much better present than being woken up at six o’clock. Mel and Charlotte, you two are like little kids on Christmas.”


*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Okay - it's up! And I won't have a computer again until May, so that's when I'll be back. Thanks for reading! Feedback is always appreciated here!


__________________


Captain of the HMS Arts & Crafts, co-founder of Annie Is My Homegirl, Proud member of the IBP and KEBA

Last edited by marauderfan; July 1st, 2012 at 8:17 am.
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  #18  
Old June 4th, 2011, 6:39 am
marauderfan  Female.gif marauderfan is offline
Second Year
 
Joined: 4132 days
Location: Beyond the veil
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Re: The Brave at Heart

All right, I'm back.... This is kind of a long, filler-y chapter (but I've written some of the next one and it should be more interesting! )

*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Chapter 17: New Faces and New Places

At breakfast one day at the end of March I received a letter from Nathan, asking how I was doing and whether I’d be coming home for Easter, since I had stayed at Hogwarts for Christmas. It was nice to see that his owl had finally stopped getting lost. But again this letter, like most I had gotten since the one in October, gave no more indication of Nathan’s and my father’s loyalties.

I had already made plans with Mandy to stay with her for Easter, although I had not discussed it yet with my family. I only ever wrote to Nathan, not my parents – so they didn’t know yet, although I figured they probably wouldn’t care. I had visited Mandy for half of two previous Easter holidays. I felt like more a part of Mandy’s family than my own. Mandy was an only child and her parents loved having me over and almost treated me like a second daughter. And her parents were interesting – especially her father, who was a Muggle and loved everything to do with magic.

After class that morning I wrote back to Nathan.

Dear Nathan,
Thanks for your letter, it’s great to hear from you again! I was actually planning to stay with my friend Mandy for Easter, I’m sorry! Although even if I was coming home, I probably wouldn’t even see you that much because you’d be working every day anyway. But I’ll be home for summer again and we can play Quidditch with the neighbours and I can amaze you with how much better I’ve gotten. Hope work is treating you well, can’t wait to see you this summer!
Love,
Melanie


As I put down my quill, I decided it would probably be a good idea to ask my parents if I could actually stay at Mandy’s for Easter. I wrote them a quick letter, tied it together with Nathan’s, and set off for the Owlery which was at the top of the West Tower.

The Owlery was a drafty, circular stone room whose floor was covered in straw, occasional owl pellets and feathers. After I opened the door, I whistled for Aquilo, my tawny owl, and he fluttered down from one of the highest rafters. I tied the thick scroll on to his leg, and he took off out the large open window. When he left I stayed for a few more minutes staring out the window watching him go.

Life was relatively normal the rest of the day, but the next day brought absurdity at its best. It was April Fool’s Day, and everyone had to watch out in the halls because tricks abounded. I was unfortunately half-asleep as I walked up to the Great Hall that morning for breakfast. I met up with Remus, who informed me that Potions was meeting outside today to collect ingredients for our potion. Lily backed him up on it - and she wasn’t the type to play practical jokes, but I wasn’t even thinking of that as I didn’t remember what day it was. When I walked outside, my shoes were turned to stone by a fifth-year Gryffindor I didn’t know, who then hurried inside laughing.

I groaned as I finally realized what day it was, and it dawned on me that under no circumstances would it make sense for Potions to be outside. Unfortunately, I couldn’t figure out how to fix my shoes, and I couldn’t walk in them, so I got my feet out and left my shoes there as little stone statues outside. The ground was muddy so I took off my socks too before going back inside. As I approached the Potions dungeon, I saw the Marauders hurrying into the classroom, evidently having just created a disaster somewhere else. “All right Hastings?” asked Sirius, grinning as he saw me running down the hall barefoot and carrying my socks.

It was better than being late for Transfiguration, I supposed, but I still lost Slytherin a few points for coming to class late and without shoes. I rushed over to my table and rummaged around in my bag for Advanced Potion-Making while Slughorn talked about the potion we were to be making today. When I had finally got the book out and turned it to the right page, everyone was up again collecting ingredients from the cabinet. I walked over and got in line behind Remus, who asked me, “Why were you late? Something hold you up?” He grinned, and I punched his arm.

“I can’t believe I fell for that. I couldn’t remember what day it was!” I griped.

“How did you lose your shoes?”

“I don’t want to talk about it,” I laughed.

After class I went back outside to try and fix my shoes again, was unsuccessful, and shortly after I came back inside, I ran into Professor McGonagall, who took away more points from Slytherin for my running around barefoot and tracking muddy footprints all over the entrance hall. The only bright side to this was that since she was the Transfiguration professor, she was able to fix my shoes – although rather begrudgingly, and after warning me to be more careful with them.



I walked into the bathroom and was about to go into a stall when a cheery voice stopped me. “Hastings!”
I turned around. In front of the mirror was Vanessa Saltz, a Ravenclaw girl with perfectly straight long blonde hair, a perfect figure, and what would have been a beautiful face if she didn’t have such an obviously fake smile plastered on it when she turned away from the mirror to face me. “Looking forward to the Easter holidays?”

I had no idea where this was leading – I had never spoken to her, and here she was making very contrived small talk. I figured I was in for something unpleasant though; Charlotte had mentioned her a few times as someone she strongly disliked. “Er… I suppose so…” I said. “Are you?”

“Aren’t you going to miss your boyfriend? How long have you been dating?” she asked, turning back to face the mirror and continue applying her make-up, and occasionally looking up at my reflection in the mirror.

“Just under two months. Do you know him?”

“I saw your game against Ravenclaw in the beginning of the year,” she interrupted. “And the way you fell off your broom… Is that why you’re dating Luke, to try and steal some Quidditch tactics from him? It’s okay, you can tell me.”

“No, it’s because we like each other,” I said, nonplussed. This girl was like a female version of Elliott Jasper, only more stupid. “I’m not even on the Quidditch team.”

“You mean you like him. I don’t think he’s ever mentioned you… I don’t mean to be rude, but I don’t think he’s really into you.”

“Well I know him better than you do, so forgive me for not being shocked that he doesn’t talk with you about his relationships.”

Vanessa gave me a patronizing glance in the mirror. “All right, if you say so. But I’m a Ravenclaw just like him, so I actually spend more time with him than you do… Even so, just look at it objectively. No Ravenclaw would actually want to date a Slytherin when there are so many beautiful girls in Ravenclaw!” She flicked her hair behind her shoulder, and I just stared at her, open-mouthed. Real people behaved this way?

I abruptly turned around to leave and find a different bathroom so I wouldn’t have to keep talking to her, but unfortunately she had just finished fixing her make-up and followed me out. Luckily, I saw Charlotte and Hector nearby walking down the hall towards us. I looked back at Vanessa. “Er… okay. Why are you saying this rubbish to me again? I don’t think I’ve ever even spoken to you. Are you normally this mean, or is this an April Fool’s joke?”

“I just wanted to help you out,” she said sweetly. “Someone had to let you know. It’ll help you – let’s just say you don’t have a very good reputation in Ravenclaw!”

“Oh, and why is that?” asked Charlotte, having just met up with us and glaring at Vanessa. “Who starts these rumours to ruin other people’s reputation? Wouldn’t be you, would it?”

“Why would I do that?” She laughed.

I continued walking without bothering to answer. There was no point in talking to her. I wasn’t particularly angered by the things she said – she was just making up rubbish and I knew it.

“Who the hell does she think she is?” Hector asked loudly, still well within earshot of Vanessa. “What a troll.”

Charlotte responded, “She is one of the rudest people I have ever had the misfortune to know. Her life’s purpose is to make other people’s lives hell and to spread hurtful lies about everyone. She’s quite a gossip, but rather than just passing interesting true things around, as I do, she makes things up. The problem is that sometimes what she shares is actually true – so you never know if what you’re hearing is real, and people believe her. I got into a fight with her in third year, I don’t know if you remember; I had just left Divination and she was telling false stories about me so I gave her a little taste of her own medicine and told everyone that her life goal is to be a little lying, conniving strumpet just like her mother.”

Hector and I burst out laughing. “From what I can tell, she’s doing a great job of it so far,” said Hector. “So what was she trying to attack you for, Melanie?”

“I have no idea,” I said. “She was attempting to convince me that Luke isn’t actually interested in me. Maybe she likes him and she’s jealous or something… I don’t know. It was a very weird interaction.”

Charlotte shook her head. “From what I can tell she’s nice if you get on her good side or treat her like she’s a queen. Unfortunately, being Slytherins, we are already on her bad side. Sorry Mel – I don’t think you’ve seen the last of her, she’ll probably be after you now. I reckon she didn’t like you much.”



On Sunday almost everyone I knew was in Hogsmeade taking practice sessions for the upcoming Apparition Test, which would be after the Easter holidays. I walked to the library alone with my half-completed diagrams of the odd-looking rare Mimbulus mimbletonia and Screechsnap bushes for Herbology.

I walked up to a bookshelf and withdrew several books with useful diagrams and explanations. As I looked for a table, I heard Vanessa Saltz’s voice behind me. “Hastings!” it called.

I turned around, and there she was, surrounded by a group of her friends with equally fake smiles.

“Go away,” I said, before she could say anything else. “I don’t want to talk with you, and I know you don’t like me, so let’s spare ourselves the misery of talking to each other.”

She raised her eyebrows. “Why are you being so rude? I just wanted to say hello.” Her friends giggled.

I turned around and began to walk away. At the table nearest me, sitting alone, was the curly-haired blonde Hufflepuff with whom Mulciber had tried the Imperius Curse about a month ago. She looked down at her textbook as soon as I met her eyes.

I walked over to her table and she turned in her chair so she was no longer facing me, pulling the textbook up in front of her face. “Are you hiding from me?” I asked accusingly, still irritated from talking to Vanessa. “I haven’t done anything to you.”

She didn’t answer, and resolutely held Olde and Forgotten Bewitchments and Charmes in front of her as if it would make her disappear.

“Just so you know,” I said, “I didn’t use the Imperius Curse on you. That was Calvin Mulciber, and I was only there because I tried to get him to stop.”

She finally set down her book and looked at me. “I believe you.”

“What?” I was startled. “Really?”

“Of course, why should I not?” she asked quietly. “You weren’t lying, were you?”

“No… I just thought you would need a lot more convincing. I am a Slytherin after all. I didn’t think you’d trust me.”

“I know not all Slytherins are the same. And you’re talking to me nicely and not calling me ‘Mudblood’, so you seem all right to me.” I was thankful for her to be so accepting and trusting of me even though there was no logical reason for her to believe me. “Aren’t you a sixth year?” she asked. “Why aren’t you in Hogsmeade taking Apparition lessons?”

“I can’t take the test, it’s before I turn seventeen. So I’m here, drawing and discussing a Mimbulus mimbletonia for Herbology while everyone else Apparates all over Hogsmeade… Do you mind if I sit down?”

“Not at all,” she said, and slid aside some large tomes to make a space for me. We introduced ourselves as I got out my parchment, quill and ink – her name was Althea Seward, and she was Muggle-born. Her parents had considered not sending her to Hogwarts when she had gotten her letter because they were so uncomfortable and shocked by the fact that magic existed, but had eventually relented and were now proud of having a witch for a daughter. “And they considered not sending me back again when I told them about You-Know-Who. They were concerned I wouldn’t be safe at school. But I said Hogwarts is very safe.”

“Wow,” I said. “I can’t imagine what it was like finding out about the wizarding world from a letter!” I’d heard a similar story from Lily Evans on the Hogwarts Express first year, but she’d had a very different reaction from her parents; they had been thrilled rather than cautious. But either way, I’d grown up in the wizarding world, wanting to go to Hogwarts. It was just unreal to me, the idea of knowing nothing about it until the letter. “I wonder if there are any people whose parents actually don’t let them go at all… You’d find out the wizarding world exists but then never get to learn about it!”

“Yeah. I’m glad that didn’t happen to me.” She looked at the book in front of her as if just realizing it was there. “Oh, I’m sorry… this has been fun, but I need to get back to work. O.W.L.s are in less than two months… Sorry!”

“That’s all right,” I said, and began to label my Screechsnap diagram.

“Do you think I’d be allowed to practice in the library? Just quiet things like the Colour-Changing Charm… do you think it’d be all right?”

“I’m sure it’s fine,” I said. I looked up facts about Screechsnap and she practiced the Colour-Changing Charm on a book, but wasn’t getting very far – it only changed to a lighter shade of its original brown. I suggested starting with smaller things like quills, which worked well for her, until she’d mastered that and moved onto the book again.

At this point, Madam Pince, the librarian, saw the now yellow book and ordered us out of the library, saying she’d had enough of me ruining books. I had never ruined a book, but I supposed she remembered the time Hector had ripped a page out of a Divination book.

We started to walk away, but after Madam Pince had gone, Althea and I simply went to a different table. She immediately spread her books and parchment over the table again; I, being far less motivated than she was, decided I was actually done for the day. I bid Althea good-bye, wishing her good luck studying for her O.W.L.s, and went to check out Native Assyrian Plants and Vociferous Vegetation.

As I collected my books after checking them out, I heard Remus’s voice calling my name. I turned around, and the four Marauders were walking towards me. “Hey,” said Remus. “What are you up to? We just got back from the Apparition session.”

I looked at my textbooks – all I’d actually done that day was draw and label a Screechsnap plant. “Herbology,” I said. I turned to Sirius and James. “What are you doing in the library? I thought you avoided this place like spattergroit.”

“Got lost,” said Sirius, grinning.

Remus laughed. “I wanted to check out a few books, and we had all come in from Hogsmeade together, the library was on the way back so they came along.”

“How was Apparition today?”

“You didn’t miss much,” said James. “Splinching, falling over, the usual.” He had a very satisfied expression on his face, and didn’t seem like he was paying much attention to what he was saying.

“It must have really been some Apparition lesson – you’re grinning like an idiot,” I said.

“What?” said James.

“I don’t think I’m any more prepared for the Apparition Test than I was before,” said Peter.

“That’s all right, at least you can take the test in April,” I said.

Remus laughed, and then accurately sensing my feelings on the issue, said, “Think of it this way – you have extra time before you take it, so you will pass with flying colours whereas the rest of us who are taking it early have every possibility of failing it because we’re not prepared.”

“Thanks,” I laughed, rolling my eyes. “You always know the right thing to say… even though there isn’t a speck of truth in what you just said. Of course you’ll pass.”

We started walking out of the library together. It had been a long time since I’d played tricks on the Marauders, so as we turned to go our separate ways I nonverbally cast an invisible wall directly in front of them, and continued walking. I was very satisfied with myself, because I usually couldn’t do nonverbal magic. I heard a thud, and some swearing, and Sirius’s voice saying “Hastings!”

I turned around, trying to look innocent and puzzled, and not too impressed with myself. “What happened?” I asked in a voice that sounded too surprised. “Did you all lose your balance?”

“Yeah, funny, isn’t it? All of us at the same time, and you were right behind us,” said James as he stood up. “What a strange coincidence.”

“That was a pretty cool bit of magic, though,” said Remus, reaching out at where the invisible wall had been.

“You’re supposed to be on our side!” Sirius told him, and before I could get away he had cast a Slipping Jinx on me. I fell over and slid a few feet.

“Well that was uncalled for,” I said as I got up, trying not to laugh. “All that just because I was innocently standing nearby when you all ran into a wall.” I picked up my bag from where it had fallen on the floor.

“What’s going on here?” asked Professor McGonagall’s voice. “Not fighting in the corridors, I hope?”

“Not at all, of course not,” I said, wondering how much she had seen before she arrived. “We were just saying goodbye.” I looked over at the Marauders, silently willing them to agree, and Peter nodded.

“Yeah, nothing is going on,” he said, stepping on James’s foot.

“Good,” said McGonagall, although she looked suspicious and waited for us all to leave before she continued walking.

I ran into my fellow Slytherins on the way back to the common room, and as they were going to dinner I joined them, still carrying my bag.

“News from today!” said Charlotte. “Guess what – Lily Evans and Lewis Ackerley broke up just after the Apparition session. He had been cheating on her! She caught him sneaking off with some other girl right after the session. Pretty stupid, really – I have no idea how Lewis and the other girl thought they would get back inside the castle even if they did successfully get away and into the town.”

“Poor Lily, that’s terrible,” I said.

“She didn’t actually seem that upset; she just dumped him immediately and went on her way. I think Lewis felt terrible… he should have known not to mess with Lily. She can be scary if you get on the wrong side of her.” That much was true – James got on the wrong side of her just about every time he talked to her, and usually got a fiery response. This bit of information certainly explained why James had been so pleased when I’d run into him in the library.

Mandy turned to me. “Whatever did you do without us? Did you miss us? Merlin forbid, you did your homework,” she said, eyeing my bag.

“No, I didn’t miss you at all. I replaced you with a new friend.”

“Vanessa Saltz?” asked Charlotte.

“No, although I did run into her again. What did I do to deserve that?”

“Yeah I noticed she wasn’t in Hogsmeade,” said Charlotte. “My first thought was that she was too stupid to Apparate, or had filled her brain with so much rubbish about people that she couldn’t remember the practice session dates… but I suppose it could have been because she’s too young…”



I got a letter back from Nathan the next day at breakfast.

Hey Melanie,
Mum and Dad are okay with you staying at your friend’s place. Remember before you get all high and mighty about your Quidditch skills, I taught you how to play Quidditch when you were about 4, so you could say it’s all really because of me. Have a good Easter holiday!
Nathan


I laughed at his letter. I missed him, and actually found myself almost wanting to go home. I really just wanted a bit of time away from Hogwarts - since I had stayed at Hogwarts for Christmas, this was the first time this year I’d be away from Hogwarts for a significant amount of time.

As such, because I was looking forward to the end of the week, that week seemed to drag on endlessly. As it neared the Saturday we’d be allowed to leave, I was increasingly less inclined to do any work, being already in the mindset of the holidays. Mandy, on the other hand, was more motivated than ever because she didn’t want to have any work to do over break.

I usually worked on assignments with Mandy, so as a compromise we alternated between frenzied study sessions in the library, and lolling out in the grass outside where it was finally getting sunny and warm. A few days that week I saw the Slytherin Quidditch team practicing, and that was usually the cue for us to go inside again and not think about how much fun they were having.

On Saturday afternoon, Mandy and I set off for Hogsmeade, where she had arranged to meet her mother. As we walked down the High Street, we found her waiting down by the post office, and as we came up to meet her she hugged Mandy tightly, and then me. Mandy looked just like her mother, but a little shorter and her hair was a lighter shade of blonde.

We got into the car – a Muggle car, but it had been expanded by magic so it was very comfortable. Mrs. Macintosh started it by magic and left it to its own devices while we drove home, asking us about our term at school. The journey passed pleasantly, and eventually we reached the long gravel driveway to the house, which was a perfect white house with a gabled roof, a large front porch surrounded by a garden, and expansive lawn. There was a bushy tree in the front yard that was just now in bloom. As the car pulled in, her golden retriever Chester ran up to greet us. Mandy opened the car door and Chester jumped in as we giggled and petted him. He was a very adorable, but stupid dog.

We took our trunks in and carried them upstairs. After I dropped off my things in the guest room, I went over to Mandy’s room. It was much the same as the last time I had seen it – decorated with both Muggle and wizard decorations. An old, cracked Sneakoscope sat atop an otherwise very neat bookshelf. On the wall was a large Chudley Cannons poster (the worst Quidditch team of all time, but Mandy wouldn’t hear a word against them), and a Muggle poster in psychedelic colours that read “Yes” at the top and pictured five Muggles with guitars and keyboards; as in all Muggle photos, the people were not moving, and I still had never really got used to things like that.

Mandy was my source for Muggle pop culture. All my Muggle music taste came from what Mandy introduced me to. The two of us had even tried to sneak out of Hogwarts one day at the beginning of fourth year to attend a Grateful Dead concert in London, but unfortunately, Slughorn didn’t believe that Mandy and I both had “family emergencies” that required us to be away from Hogwarts for the night. In retrospect, we should have said one of us was just going as moral support to the other’s family emergency.

She had also introduced me to the movies, which was like watching a large photograph for a couple of hours but more interesting and it told a story. Muggles could really think of some ingenious things! The best part about going to the movies was pretending to be Muggles for a few hours: using Muggle money, and talking about Muggle things like electricity, football, and platform shoes. And Mandy had convinced me to read some Muggle literature, which I enjoyed. Mr. Macintosh was always amused when we got overly excited about things like these, and loved our enthusiasm for them – but it went both ways, because I thought his constant amazement at magic was pretty entertaining.

I had always wondered if Mr. Macintosh were jealous of Mandy and Mrs. Macintosh’s ability to do magic, but it never seemed that he was; he was supportive of it and loved to learn about it. Tom Macintosh was really a lot like a big kid.

When we came back downstairs, Mrs Macintosh had started baking bread, and Mandy and I went to help in the kitchen. Mandy remembered that she could use magic at home now that she was seventeen, and was thrilled. It went a lot quicker that way, but she had to keep waiting for me to mix things by hand since I couldn’t do magic away from Hogwarts yet, as my birthday was not for another week and a half.

We remained in the kitchen talking with Mrs. Macintosh while the bread baked, and a while later after we had taken it out, Mr. Macintosh got home from work. He worked for the Muggle newspaper and Mrs. Macintosh worked for the Daily Prophet, which I thought was cute. When he came in he hugged Mandy and me in greeting and then asked us about how our year was going at Hogwarts. He was delighted when Mandy informed him that she was allowed to do magic at home now.

Mandy pointed her wand at a large knife and then at the bread cooling on the counter, and the knife started slicing the bread – rather sloppily, cutting some thick slices and some so thin that they crumbled apart, until Mrs. Macintosh took over the slicing and cut it into perfect, even slices. Mandy then said “Evanesco,” and vanished a mess on the counter.

“That’s the greatest thing since self-slicing bread,” said Mr. Macintosh, impressed. When Mandy continued to show off by turning the lights on and off and I could not join in the fun, I contented myself with examining the toaster, which was really a fascinating contraption.

Because Mandy’s mother was a witch and her father was a Muggle, the house had quite a few Muggle appliances powered by electricity. The house worked nicely for both wizards and Muggles, and I’d always found interesting things whenever I came to visit.

“Don’t lean over that when you’ve got the lever down, you’ll catch your hair on fire,” said Mandy. I leaned back and popped the toaster lever up again.

“Can you put out a fire with magic?” asked Mr. Macintosh excitedly.

“Yes, but I’m not going to catch myself on fire just so Mandy can show you,” I said, grinning.



We passed the break very enjoyably, and since the weather was nice almost every day we spent a lot of time outside sitting under the big tree in the front yard. We also devoted a day to browsing Muggle shops in the city. Mr. Macintosh even convinced us to spend one day on a long bike ride, which I found terrifying at first, being supported by just a narrow metal frame on wheels and no magic! But Mr. Macintosh was patient with us, and we did fine, and ended the day without too many scrapes! I was certain Mandy had used a Balancing Charm on her bike though, because I fell quite a few more times than she did.

Halfway through the week, when Mandy and I were just sitting in her room, an owl flew in through her open window. I paid it little attention, thinking it was delivering a letter to Mandy, but it flapped over to me. I untied the letter from its leg and it took off again towards the window.

“Oooh, who is that from?” asked Mandy with interest, looking up.

I opened the letter. “It’s from Luke,” I said, recognizing the handwriting. He wrote about how much he missed me, how he was waiting to get back to Hogwarts to see me again, and how with me not there to distract him, he’d been doing nothing but homework, and hoped I was having a good time. It was cute, but kind of boring.

I felt like I should write back, but I didn’t really want to. I’d had a great break, done no work, and actually hadn’t even thought about him very much. There was just nothing to say – we’d only been apart a few days and I hadn’t done anything worth writing about, except maybe the bike ride, which he would probably laugh at.

“Are you going to write back?” asked Mandy, noticing that I’d tossed Luke’s letter on the floor and was inspecting the record player instead.

“Erm… maybe later.”

“Don’t you miss him?” she asked. “After all that pining over him you did this past term, I’d think you would be a better girlfriend!”

“I wasn’t pining,” I laughed, but I didn’t answer her question – I had just realized that I didn’t really miss him. And then I started to overthink the situation, and our entire relationship. I had never argued with Luke. And he was funny, smart, a good listener, good at Quidditch, and not to mention handsome – in other words, the perfect guy. He was so perfect that I almost felt he was too perfect. As I thought about it, I was unsettled to realize my feelings for him were not what they had been; I was almost… bored… with our perfect relationship.

No, that couldn’t be possible; before we were together I had spent so long thinking about him and wondering if he liked me… now that we were together it should stay this way, right?

But I couldn’t help feeling that our relationship wasn’t everything I hoped it would be. Maybe since we’d only been dating for about two months, it was too early to tell… maybe it would get better.

“Mandy, when you were dating Ethan, did you get bored of him?” I blurted out. Mandy would be able to help me sort through my boy problems a lot easier than I could myself; she’d had many more boyfriends than I had. And I’d noticed through the years that she was much better at analyzing other people’s relationships than her own – maybe she had already figured out what was going on with Luke’s and my relationship.

“Er… I suppose… that’s why I dumped him.”

“But you liked him for months before he asked you out, how long did it take before you got bored of him?”

“Well, a few weeks, but you have to remember that this was when we were fourteen. No relationship lasts long when you’re that age.”

“You stayed with him longer than a few weeks though.”

“Right, but it wasn’t really a relationship, by that point we were just together out of habit. What can I say, he was my first boyfriend.” She paused. “Are you bored of Luke or something?”

“No… well, maybe… I don’t know! I’m so confused. I like him a lot, and it’s not like there’s someone else, but I just…” I shrugged, unable to put my feelings into words.

She smiled knowingly. “That’s something only you can figure out.”



The last day of break we both spent doing all the work we had put off during the rest of the week. It had been a nice time off, and I was ready to go back to Hogwarts. We went back at the end of the week in Mandy’s family’s expanded Muggle car, and were dropped off in Hogsmeade.

Back at the castle, I found Luke pretty quickly. I saw him from a distance down the hall and he grinned and started walking over to me. I thought briefly about my conversation with Mandy over the Easter holidays as I approached him, but pushed my doubts out of my mind. After all, I wasn’t interested in anyone else, and I was happy with him, so I ran to greet him.


*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Thank you for reading!

Feedback is always appreciated!


__________________


Captain of the HMS Arts & Crafts, co-founder of Annie Is My Homegirl, Proud member of the IBP and KEBA

Last edited by marauderfan; December 8th, 2012 at 8:19 am.
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  #19  
Old June 10th, 2011, 9:03 pm
marauderfan  Female.gif marauderfan is offline
Second Year
 
Joined: 4132 days
Location: Beyond the veil
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Re: The Brave at Heart

All right – this must be a record time between posts! This chapter was a lot of fun to write, but it got out of control, so I had to cut it off or it could have gone on for another six pages at least! Hope you enjoy!

*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Chapter 18: What Friends Are For

Hogwarts welcomed us back from the Easter holidays with a week of beautiful, sunny weather. The Apparition Test was on Wednesday for those who were old enough to take it, and afternoon classes that day were incredibly dull with so few students there; we didn’t cover anything new, and it felt like a waste of time.

On Thursday night, Mandy, determined to get me back for the early wakeup Charlotte and I had inflicted upon her for her own birthday, informed me that she would wake me up at four in the morning the next day; thankfully, this did not happen.

I woke at a normal time on the 22nd, and opened my presents before heading down to breakfast. I had received a lovely necklace from Charlotte, a small lunascope from Mandy, a collection of Chocolate Frogs, Peppermint Toads, and Fudge Tadpoles from Luke, and a new deck of Exploding Snap cards (the very frequent explosions were finally wearing down my old deck), a Nose-Biting Teacup, and various Honeydukes’ items from Remus, James, Sirius and Peter. The gift I got from my parents was a stunning gold watch with stars circling the face; it was beautiful, and the best gift I could ever remember getting from my family. I put it on immediately and got ready to go to breakfast.

After breakfast we unfortunately still had to go to Potions… I couldn’t get everything I wanted for my birthday.

It was two days after the Apparition Test and because nearly a third of the people who took it had failed, Slughorn decided that we should make ‘something amusing’ in class to cheer us up, and gave us the hour to make whatever potion we liked. I stared at him, dumbfounded – how could I ever create a remotely good potion if we didn’t even have instructions on what to make? There was a greater chance of me accidentally exploding the entire Potions dungeon than inventing my own good potion.

Mandy had already started her potion. I had no idea what it was, but it smelled nice. I rifled through Advanced Potion-Making for some ideas and came across the Giggling Potion, which didn’t look too difficult, so I decided I might have a good chance with it.

Halfway through class I looked over at Charlotte’s potion. She was making a Chuckling Potion, which I hoped would be similar enough to mine that I could compare mine to hers every so often, but hers was now a clear purple colour instead of the odd green sludgy mixture I had in my cauldron. Perhaps they weren’t supposed to be similar anyway…

As I was about to add a bat liver to my cauldron, I noticed that the entire potion had solidified. I couldn’t even stir it anymore. I pounded the stirring stick on the top of the solid mass in my cauldron in frustration.

“Is it supposed to be so hard?” I asked Charlotte about my failed potion.

Sirius turned around in his chair and wagged his eyebrows suggestively at me. Prat. I threw the bat liver at him, and it hit him in the face. I was bad enough at potions without his comments, regardless of whether or not he actually said anything out loud.

As satisfied as I was to hear the smack as it hit his face, and the laughter of the other Marauders, Slughorn had unfortunately seen me. I got a detention for that night, which irked me to no end because I was supposed to be celebrating my birthday. And it was all Sirius’s fault. I went to the cupboard to get another bat liver.

“I can’t say anything around Sirius, can I?” I asked Charlotte when I got back.

Charlotte laughed. “Well, you were asking for it by saying that.”

Mandy agreed. “One could say that he can’t do anything around you without you overreacting.”

I rolled my eyes. “You’re a lot of help. He was asking for a bat liver to the face.”

Defence Against the Dark Arts that afternoon was much better. We were working our way through various methods of repelling dementors, which we had written about several weeks before. This week we had been doing the practical application of the Patronus Charm, which Charlotte and I could already do, so we spent most of the lesson talking, and occasionally sending our Patronuses running around the room to win points for Slytherin.



When I walked into the Potions dungeon for my detention after dinner that evening, Slughorn was sitting behind his desk. “Hello, Professor,” I said, trying not to sound too glum.

“Miss Hastings,” he greeted me. “There will be someone else joining you in detention today. All you will be doing is cleaning the dungeon. The third-years got a little out of hand this afternoon.” He laughed, and flicked his wand and some rags and cleaning solution appeared on a desk. “Your potion today was very peculiar,” he said absentmindedly as he glanced at the clock, waiting for the other person. “But I think you have potential – sitting by Miss Macintosh will pay off in the end!” He smiled genially at me, as if expecting what he said to cheer me up.

I forced a smile. “Er, great…”

“Oho! Here he is,” said Slughorn, looking towards the door as Sirius walked in; as it turned out, Sirius also had a detention. “I’ll let you get to work then,” Slughorn said. “I’ll be checking in every so often, so make sure you’re using that soap and not magic!” He chuckled to himself and left.

I poured some soap on the nearest desk and started scrubbing it. There was some odd burnt residue left over from the third-years’ class that afternoon, and it somewhat resembled my congealed attempt at a Giggling Potion. Sirius started whistling to himself.

I scowled. It irritated me how happy he was in detention when I would give anything to be celebrating my birthday with my friends. I scrubbed the desk with vigor, hoping if I worked hard I could be done just a little bit faster.

“You in a hurry?” asked Sirius, grinning as I cleaned the desk at an almost unnatural speed. He was sitting down, leaning lazily against the ingredient store cupboard, his dark hair falling casually into his eyes, as he pointed his wand at a rag that was slowly drifting along the desk. It gave the distinct impression that he was in no hurry and felt the whole thing was a waste of his time.

I couldn’t stand his arrogance. “Yes I am. It looks like I’ll have to do everything myself though, since you’re being absolutely no help. You’re even using magic, which you’re not supposed to do, and still you’ve only cleaned about three inches of that desk.”

“Oh come on, old Sluggy’s just left and he won’t be back for a while. He’ll never know.” He still had that aggravating grin on his face.

I didn’t answer and finished scraping the last of the mess off the table, still without magic, and moved on to another table. I didn’t want to give him the satisfaction that he was right and it would be fine to use magic.

“Why are you so grumpy?” asked Sirius. He was still sitting in the same place, the rag pathetically wiping the same spot on his table.

“Because it’s my birthday today and I’d much rather be spending it doing something fun than scrubbing slime off the desks in the Potions dungeon with you, seeing as you’re the reason I’m in here.”

Sirius laughed. “I am? How is it my fault? I certainly didn’t force you to throw anything at me in class. That was your decision.”

“Why are you in detention too?” I asked him. “I didn’t think Slughorn gave you one.”

“Nah, this one is from McGonagall. She’s run out of things for me to do, and this needed to be done so she’s having me help out other professors.”

“Why have you had so many detentions recently?”

He just shrugged. “People keep being in the wrong place at the wrong time. And by that, I mean professors keep showing up when I’m in the middle of something like hexing a Slytherin.”

“Ha, ha,” I said. Sometimes I wondered whether he said things like that to annoy me, or because he genuinely forgot that I was a Slytherin too. “Hey, Regulus Black is your brother, right? Does this anti-Slytherin thing keep going when you’re at home? Or is it all for show?” I laughed.

But he didn’t find this funny at all. He scowled, and the atmosphere in the room changed instantly as he retorted, “Why don’t you mind your own business?”

“It was just a question!” I cried. “If you’d rather clean this dungeon in complete silence, be my guest.”

And indeed, that was what happened for the next half hour, punctuated by my throwing snide comments at him to see if he’d speak. He did not. For a while, I felt much better, as I could say whatever I wanted and he wouldn’t argue with me. But then I grew bored of that, and tried to get him to talk to me again — not easy considering I had just spent the last hour taunting him.

“Well this is pleasant,” I said. “It’s wonderful to work with someone so upbeat who doesn’t sulk for half an hour because I asked a simple question.” I looked pointedly at him, and he frowned. Maybe I shouldn’t have asked him about Regulus; Sirius never mentioned him much, and I supposed now that he just really didn’t want to talk about it.

“Look,” I tried again. “I’m sorry I asked you about Regulus. I was just joking, I didn’t realise… I shouldn’t have done that. I won’t bring it up again. But are you really not going to talk to me at all anymore just because of that? We are friends after all, are we not?”

He became very interested in a large soap bubble on the table. I pointed my wand at his desk and cleaned it instantly, and he finally looked up at me.

“Why are you so grumpy?” I asked, imitating his question from the beginning of the detention. “Even I’m happier than you, and I’m in detention on my birthday with Mr. Mood Swing, who won’t speak to me. And I don’t believe you’ve wished me Happy Birthday yet.”

Fortunately for him, he was saved from having to answer by Slughorn walking in to check on us and make sure we weren’t using magic. Slughorn looked at the tables and said it was looking nice, and turned to go again.

Surprisingly, after he had left, Sirius talked to me. “I told you it wouldn’t be a problem if we used magic. I had my wand out on the table the whole time and he didn’t say anything.”

“Well he saw that you weren’t using it, and you’ve been working slowly enough that he probably figured you hadn’t used magic at all.”

“That’s not the way to get someone to talk to you again,” said Sirius with a hint of a smile. “You’re not very nice.”

“You had the stupidest reason for not talking to me.”

“Yeah, you mentioned that a couple of times while you were begging me to talk to you again.”

“I did not beg.”

“Sure seemed like it. It’s all right, I understand — you missed talking to me.”

“Missed you like a wart.”

We continued cleaning the desks again and I was in a much better mood. I was working on one of the last few tables when Sirius said, “Come here.”

I looked over at him and he was not working, but hunched over by the desk, apparently looking at something on it. “What’s that?” I asked as I came to look, but just then he stood up and cried “Aguamenti!” I was standing less than a foot away from him at that point, and got completely drenched by the fountain of water.

He roared with laughter at me standing there dripping, until I had the sense to go get my own wand and sent water after him. A prolonged water fight ensued, and after we were both absolutely soaked, we had a competition to see who could hit a target on the blackboard from the furthest distance away. This tended to be messy, especially once we had gotten to the point when we were standing in the back of the room, as far as we could get from the balckboard. We must have spent an hour shooting water all around the room and laughing.

Slughorn unfortunately chose this point to stop in again and check how we were doing. Sirius and I quickly stowed our wands as we heard the door opening, but there was no hiding the several inches of water on the floor.

“What’s this?” he asked. “Trying to flood Hogwarts to get out of your detention?”

“Professor, I’m sorry, you told us not to use magic, so we couldn’t clean up all the water we spilled,” said Sirius.

“We spilled a bit of water because were cleaning so enthusiastically,” I said. “And look, it worked, we’re almost done.”

Slughorn decided he needed to supervise the rest of our detention, so after he dried off the floor and his shoes, he sat at his desk and graded papers while Sirius and I scrubbed the last desk together.

“Well that was fun,” said Sirius as we left. “Who’d have thought it.”

“Yes it was, after you’d stopped sulking in the corner while I did the work.”

“You seemed quite happy to do the work yourself. You were cleaning the tables so fast you were blurry.”

“Maybe that means you need to get your eyes checked.”

“I can see just fine, thank you. You were the one who kept missing the board when we shot water at it,” he said, grinning.

“Don’t start getting delusions of grandeur,” I said. “I didn’t miss any more than you did.”

“So will I be seeing you again for another detention in the near future?” he asked, as we were still just standing in the corridor talking and should probably get on our way.

“If you continue to be a prat and make fun of my potions, there is all likelihood of that happening, unfortunately. Now if you will excuse me, I’m going to go celebrate my birthday.”

“Well great, I think I’ll continue making fun of your potions then,” he said. I shook my head, laughing. "I'll see you later," he added. "Oh, and Melanie? Happy birthday.”

“Thanks.”

He gave me a brief hug and then turned to go. I left the detention with a smile on my face and a spring in my step.




The moment I walked into the Slytherin common room, Mandy, Charlotte, Alanna, Hector and Russell surprised me with a cake! It seemed they had used the time while I was in detention to plan a surprise party for me.

“Why’s your hair all wet?” asked Mandy. “You’re soaked!”

I looked down and realized that I was indeed still dripping water on the floor. I had forgotten all about it as Sirius and I were having too much fun in detention!

“Oh… yeah. Sirius and I had a water fight,” I said, drying my robes quickly with my wand.

“I thought you had a detention,” said Charlotte, raising an eyebrow.

“Sirius?” asked Mandy. “What was he doing there? I didn’t know he’d got detention too.”

“You had a water fight in detention?” asked Hector. “Why don’t I ever get such fun detentions?”

We went off to sit in a corner of the common room and ate cake and talked. I didn’t even mind the fact that I’d had to wait through a detention to celebrate – the day had actually turned out very well. My birthday was made even better when Elliott Jasper showed up asking how I’d ever managed to find friends to celebrate with, and Russell used the Body-Bind curse on him and left him lying motionless in the middle of the floor like a board, to everyone’s great amusement. Oddly enough, the best part of my birthday had actually been the water fight in detention with Sirius. I didn’t know how I had disliked him so much before – he was rather fun to be around.

As it turned out, Sirius and I did end up meeting for more detentions. I was able to keep myself out of trouble, but he wasn’t, and he involved me in his mischief. It was because we were passing notes in Transfiguration; I had just opened a scrap of parchment Sirius had lobbed across the room and accidentally laughed out loud at its contents. We had been just writing silly comments back and forth about the lecture Professor McGonagall was giving us about an Animagus who could turn into a bat. Sirius had written: Unfortunate consequences of turning into a bat which the Animagus Nolan neglects to mention: Melanie Hastings will steal your liver and throw it at someone’s face.

I laughed and then saw Sirius grinning at me from across the room. But McGonagall caught on to what was happening, and gave us both detention. And it wasn’t bad at all – I found myself actually looking forward to our detention, and then we spent the whole time talking and it didn’t seem like a punishment. Our plentiful conversation was not just a way to pass the time, but because we found we really enjoyed each other’s company when we weren’t arguing. In truth, we probably could have finished the work in half the time had we not been so caught up in conversation and friendly banter, but we were in no hurry to leave!



The following week, Mandy informed me that she had met the man of her dreams. I told her that she had met Sirius years ago, but surprisingly it was not Sirius to whom she was referring. She wouldn’t tell me who it was, because she said she’d had enough of my teasing her about Sirius and she wasn’t going to let Charlotte and me tease her about her new flame.

It didn’t take long to discover who the man of Mandy’s dreams was. Throughout Charms the afternoon following Mandy’s revelations, when we were supposed to be turning vinegar into wine, Mandy was batting her eyelashes and smiling coyly at the oblivious Hufflepuff Francis Madley. It was rather funny for a while, but then I became embarrassed for her and helpfully hit her over the head with the thick book Quintessence: A Quest.

Mandy came to her senses and turned back to the glass flask of vinegar on the desk in front of her.

“Try making it a bit more obvious that you like him,” suggested Charlotte. “In addition to fluttering your eyelashes, I would advise drooling, maybe walk over and tell him you want to have his children—”

Mandy’s flask of vinegar exploded as she rounded on Charlotte, who laughed.

At that moment, little Professor Flitwick came by, and upon seeing the bits of glass and spilled vinegar in front of Mandy, suggested that we practice instead of chatting. As he walked by, I managed to turn my vinegar into a dark red wine, although it still smelled like vinegar.

“Oh fine, show us all up when Flitwick is walking by, that makes me look even stupider,” said Mandy, drying the spilled vinegar from her robes.

“Don’t complain, I’ve got to be good at something. You saw me in Potions last week.”

Charlotte laughed. “Since you mention it, I’ve always been curious as to how you managed to get an Exceeds Expectations on your Potions O.W.L.”

I had always wondered that myself. “Very low expectations,” I said.



When I walked out of Charms, I nearly ran straight into Luke. He would usually meet me after my Charms class, because he had a free period then, but he didn’t often stand quite so close to the door. “Hi!” he said. “How was class?”

Mandy and Charlotte walked on without me, and I joined Luke instead. “Good, same as always really. How are you?”

“I was studying for Arithmancy,” said Luke. “So I’m pretty tired of that. But it’s great to see you!”

“Yeah, I can imagine you’d be tired of thinking after that. Do you want to fly around the grounds with me for a while? I haven’t been out on my broom in ages, and it’s gorgeous out.”

Luke considered it, but eventually declined, saying he wasn’t really in the mood for flying since he’d be having his Quidditch practice that evening anyway.

Instead we went to sit outside by the lake for a while and talked, and eventually the conversation turned where I wished it wouldn’t. “Are you all right?” he asked. “It seems like you’ve been a lot more distant since the holidays… or just not as happy.”

“I’m fine.” It was sweet of him to notice, but it also kind of bothered me. Had he caught on that I wasn’t as interested in him as I used to be? It wasn’t that I disliked him – he was a wonderful person, but I’d always been worried about whether he really liked me, and constantly trying to impress him. I’d done everything I could to avoid an argument, and it worked – we’d never fought at all. But that phase had passed, and I was tired of trying to be the perfect girl for him. I wasn’t that girl.

Besides, Luke was very predictable, and as much as I hated to admit it, our relationship had simply gotten boring. I had lost interest. And then out of the blue, I said, “I don’t think this is going to work out. Us, I mean.” It was like I was listening to someone else saying it using my voice.

“What?” he asked, sitting up straight.

“I mean… you’re basically the perfect guy, but I just… I don’t know. I’m sorry… it’s over.”

He stared at me. “You… you want to break up?”

“Er… yes.”

“This isn’t because of that Vanessa girl, is it? She’s been smarming up to me for weeks and trying to sneak Love Potions into my pumpkin juice at breakfast, but I promise I never did anything, I like you, not her—”

“No, it’s got nothing to do with her.”

“Okay… then what’s wrong? You don’t seem like yourself.”

I sighed. “This is me being myself. I haven’t been myself since I met you.”

He smiled uncertainly. I guess he had taken it to mean that I was just mad about him, when really I felt I’d just been pretending to be someone else since we started dating. Luke may have liked the person he was with, but that hadn’t been me. I shook my head.

“You’ve changed,” he said simply.

I cringed. What had I gotten myself into? I hadn’t wanted to do this today. “Luke, it’s just not going to work. I’m sorry…”

I felt so awkward. I had to repress the urge to walk away and hide. The next few minutes were very uncomfortable, as I tried to explain myself better and he struggled to understand why I was ending a perfect relationship in which we’d never even had so much as one argument.

Eventually he got up and left, and I rolled over in the grass, resting my head on my hands as I watched the giant squid float lazily on the surface of the lake. I hoped it would be a few days before I’d see Luke again. He hadn’t gotten too angry with me, but I had no idea what it would be like next time we saw each other. He wasn’t the type to get angry, but I still worried it would be unpleasant.

After I’d spent awhile outside throwing bits of grass and leaves into the lake and watching the giant squid reach out one of its tentacles and grab them, I went back inside and downstairs to the Slytherin dungeon.

I walked into my dormitory and sat on my bed, and the second after Mandy said hello, I wailed, “Mandy, I just broke up with Luke and it was so awkward, I had never broken up with anyone before, so I didn’t know what I was supposed to say, and now if I ever see him again I’ll have to run away—”

“Calm down,” Mandy interrupted, putting her arm around me. “You’ll be fine. You’re not even in the same house as him, so you won’t see him that much. He’ll get over it.”

“What about Herbology? I sit near him in Herbology! Maybe I’ll pretend to be ill.”

“No, you won’t. We don’t even have Herbology for almost a week. You don’t need to pretend to be ill. I’ve been through this before, just go on like normal. But I’m here for you if you need to talk.”

I sighed. “Thanks.”

Charlotte called to me from where she was sitting on her bed. “For now, you should come play Exploding Snap with me, Mel.”

“Okay,” I said, looking around for my new cards. “Hang on, I can’t find—”

“Your cards?” she asked. “I took them. They’re nice and new, they’re so much better than mine. So come on.”

We had a good time playing Exploding Snap until the hangings on Charlotte’s bed caught fire from the exploding cards and we decided to stop.



April slowly faded away into May. I kept seeing Luke around and we’d make eye contact sometimes, and that was about it. It could have been worse. Charlotte got into a couple of arguments with her brother Lester, but never wanted to discuss them with Mandy and I. I had the feeling it might have to do with Lester continuing to experiment with the Dark Arts with Mulciber and Snape, but I wasn’t sure.

I walked into the Gryffindor common room one evening to work on Transfiguration with the Marauders. When I went in they were all sitting in chairs by the fire, gathered around something. Before any of them had turned around or had the chance to see me walk in, James said, “Hey, Melanie!”

I was surprised – how had they known I was there yet? “Er, hello,” I said, walking over to their chairs. Remus was folding up a large piece of parchment, which Peter took and hastily hid it behind his back.

“What’s that?” I asked, looking at Peter, who could not have given it away more that this parchment was something he was trying to hide.

“Not for you,” said James.

“I didn’t ask if it was mine…”

“What’s up?” asked Remus.

“I thought we were going to work on Transfiguration?”

“Oh, that,” said Sirius, yawning. “Well you can, but I don’t need to study, I know all of that stuff.”

“He says that,” Remus told me, smiling, “but I know for a fact he was reading for Charms until two in the morning yesterday.” Sirius frowned at him.

“Cute. Did you sleep with the book under your pillow too?” I asked Sirius.

“Ha ha,” said Sirius. “Don’t you have work to do?”

“Good comeback, Padfoot,” said James, as Remus and I got out our copies of A Guide to Advanced Transfiguration and sat together at a table. James, Sirius and Peter continued to sit by the fire and do nothing.

“How are you doing?” Remus asked me.

“On my Transfiguration?” I asked, turning a page of my textbook.

Remus laughed. “No, I meant in general… I heard you and Luke broke up…”

“Oh,” I said, looking up. “Yeah. I’m actually doing well. I just don’t like running into him in the corridors, but otherwise fine.” I shrugged.

“That’s good.”

I smiled. “Thanks for asking…” I looked back at the other Marauders, now charming the rug by the fire to do tricks. “What was that piece of parchment you and Peter were trying to hide?”

He looked at me with a puzzled expression. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

Oh well, I had at least tried. We both went back to our studying, occasionally sharing random stories or discussing Transfiguration concepts, and after a while went back to join the other boys by the fire. As we cleared away our study materials from the table, Lily came by from another table and curled up in a nearby chair, leaning against the back of it. After she’d been there about a whole minute, James messed up his hair unnecessarily and sauntered over to Lily. “Hey, Evans,” he said happily, and she looked up warily.

“Hello Potter…” She sounded far from thrilled that he’d come to talk to her.

“I’m just saying hi. You look tired.”

“Thanks, I try,” she said sarcastically.

“Sorry, I didn’t mean—”

“It’s all right,” said Lily, shaking her head. She looked up at James with an odd, calculating expression.

“Smooth, Prongs,” said Sirius from where he was sitting several feet away, but luckily it didn’t seem as if James or Lily heard.

By that point Remus and I had come back to the chairs by the fire, and as soon as we sat down, Charlotte and Mandy walked in the portrait hole and came to join us.

“Hey!” I said. “What held you up?”

“Mandy was talking with the man of her dreams,” said Charlotte. “I could not get her away from him.”

Mandy raised her eyebrows. “Charlotte accidentally turned someone’s head into a watermelon in the library, so we had to take the girl up to the hospital wing.”

I laughed. “Who?”

Charlotte shrugged. “We don’t know, she had a watermelon for a head, we couldn’t exactly tell what she looked like.”

“Remind me to stay away from you,” said James, who had just walked back from talking with Lily. “I’d rather not accidentally get turned into a watermelon.”

“No, I’d turn you into one on purpose.”

We stayed around talking for a while, and then at one point Peter finally got up to drag the rug back in front of the fireplace, after several unsuccessful attempts to move it back with magic.

In the chair Peter had just vacated was the folded parchment. I picked it up and opened it; it was blank. I turned it upside down, and nothing changed. But there had to be more to it than this – why were they so keen to hide it?

I poked it with my wand and muttered, “Specialis Revelio,” hoping it would work and reveal something. And indeed, as if a hand were writing on it, words suddenly formed.

Mr Moony presents greetings to Miss Hastings, but wonders why she so rudely stole this parchment.

I gaped at it, and then looked back at the Marauders. “Hey!” shouted Sirius, as he realized I had the parchment, and he leapt off the sofa to come get it. I held on to it, however, and watched the writing continue to form.

Mr Padfoot thinks Miss Hastings is stunningly hot but still advises her to mind her own business.

Sirius’s eyes widened and he reached over and grabbed the parchment from my hands.

“What is this?” I demanded, flustered.

He didn’t answer me, and instead addressed the other Marauders, slightly red in the face. “We need to fix this, it’s got something wrong with it. It hasn’t done this before.” Remus took the parchment from him, and as he and the others saw it, they cracked up laughing. James was nearly incapacitated due to laughter, having fallen over on the sofa, and Peter was rolling on the floor.

“I didn’t know you were capable of such eloquence,” Remus laughed.

“Shut up, you lot!” said Sirius. “This is not a laughing matter.”

“It certainly is – what exactly did you say about me again?” I contradicted, dissolving into giggles myself.

The rest of the evening consisted of more fun and quite a few more jokes at Sirius’s expense, but Mandy didn’t speak to me for the rest of the evening until we left the Gryffindor common room and were headed back to our own.

“What was that about, Mandy?”

“Don’t even pretend, Melanie, I saw what was going on.”

“Nothing was going on!” I laughed. “It was that stupid trick parchment of theirs, but this time it played tricks on him.”

“That’s not what it seemed like to me.”

“What, you think he fancies me?” I said sarcastically. “Of course not, Mandy. You’re over-thinking this. And I’d just as soon fancy him as fancy a flobberworm, so stop worrying.”

She looked suspiciously at me. Charlotte asked her, “What happened to Francis Madley, huh? I thought he was the man of your dreams.”

“He is—” she protested.

“Yeah,” I said, “I didn’t even know you still liked Sirius – you’ve stopped drooling around him, so I thought you had moved on.”

Mandy scowled. “You’re going to make fun of me about everything, aren’t you.”

I grinned. “What are friends for?”


*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Thanks for reading! Please leave feedback, it means a lot to me!


__________________


Captain of the HMS Arts & Crafts, co-founder of Annie Is My Homegirl, Proud member of the IBP and KEBA

Last edited by marauderfan; January 26th, 2013 at 5:25 am.
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Old June 28th, 2011, 1:02 am
marauderfan  Female.gif marauderfan is offline
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Joined: 4132 days
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Re: The Brave at Heart

All right, here's the next one. It's a bit darker than the previous one, and gave me some trouble, but I hope it's up to standard! So without further ado.....

*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Chapter 19: In the Dark

Over the next few days, as if to cover up what he had said about me on the piece of parchment, Sirius seemed determined to make me admit I fancied him. This was ridiculous, because I didn’t, and I knew the parchment had been all a joke, so I didn’t understand why he kept dragging it on.

One Saturday morning as I was arranging Dungbombs by the Gryffindor common room entrance to be ready for the next unlucky Gryffindor to enter the hallway, I heard Sirius’ voice as he came out of the portrait hole. “Are you trying to get in trouble so you can have another detention with me? You really can’t resist me, can you.”

“What? Of course I’m not trying to get another detention,” I said as I stood up and surveyed my work.

“Then why are you putting Dungbombs everywhere? Obviously you just want to get caught and spend time with me.” He grinned in what he clearly thought was a winning manner.

I snorted. “Why would I want to do that? I see you enough as it is. We have nothing in common – we’re in rival houses… and of course, you’re the world’s biggest git and I’m not.”

“Well, they say opposites attract… Maybe that’s why you’re attracted to me.”

“Damn, you’ve figured me out. Let’s elope tonight.”

“Ooh, that’s more like it,” said Sirius, smirking.

I sighed and crossed my arms. After having dealt with several days of interactions like this, I was finally sick of it. “What do you want, Sirius? Why are you doing this? Just so you know, this is not how to attract a girl.”

“I don’t need to do much to attract a girl. It’s my animal magnetism, girls are just drawn to me.”

I had had enough of his idiotic remarks, and rolled my eyes. “Okay, well then find one who cares. Stop making comments about how I fancy you, because I don’t. I really have no desire to be your next fling. Find someone else to annoy.”

I turned to walk away. I almost felt bad for being so blunt, but I justified it because he deserved it for using me to boost his ego. Something about his extremely self-assured, arrogant manner of teasing me just wound me up. I didn’t even understand it myself; we’d been getting along just fine before.

Before I’d gotten more than a few steps away from him, he caught up to me. “Ouch, that was harsh, Hastings. Don’t you care about my feelings?” But he didn’t look hurt at all; he was still smiling.

“Your feelings? You don’t care about anyone else’s. You think you’re so popular that any girl will instantly agree to go out with you no matter how you’ve treated her. So don’t let me hold you up – I see a girl over there, she must be dying to go out with you, like all girls apparently are. How could she not like an arrogant womanizer like yourself?”

He started. There was an odd expression in his grey eyes. “That’s really what you think?” he asked softly, the self-assured tone now gone from his voice.

I laughed mirthlessly. “First time being turned down? Well it was bound to happen sometime. Not everyone can like you as much as you like yourself.”

He scowled. “Well if I recall, you were the one who suggested we elope. I never even said I fancy you.”

“Right… you say that, but your parchment said otherwise…” I said, knowing it wasn’t true, but I enjoyed that it was getting to him, because he was irritating me a lot at the moment.

“Well, it’s got a few bugs in it yet. I may think you’re pretty, but I’d never actually fancy a Slytherin.”

I glared at him. “If you have so much against Slytherins, then stop following me around, because quite honestly it’s annoying!”

“I’m not following you around. You’re the one who always comes to see us in Gryffindor Tower; if anything, you’re the one following me!”

I was so frustrated, and finally voiced the concern I’d had for ages. “Well sorry if you didn’t like me visiting. I should have realized that as a prejudiced and egotistical Gryffindor, you and your friends only wanted to have Slytherins around when it was convenient for you – but no other time, because it would ruin your reputation. That’s another example of how you don’t care about anyone but yourself.”

“That’s not true,” said Sirius angrily. “I do care—”

“Oh yes it is,” I interrupted. “You don’t care at all about Slytherins, even though you’ve pretended to with me and my friends.”

“Well it looks like I was right to distrust Slytherins, because look where it got me? I tried to be friendly with a few Slytherins and you ended up being a b*tch.”

I wanted to slap him, but I remembered the last time I’d done that he’d just made some suggestive remark about me being unable to keep my hands off him. I held my hands behind my back, as if to make sure neither of them reached out and punched Sirius of their own accord.

I could think of absolutely nothing to say to this, and as I had no desire to keep talking with him anyway, I stormed down the hall away from him without another word. My eyes began to fill with tears but I blinked them away. I generally didn’t cry easily, but he had really set me off by bringing up my insecurities. And it didn’t help that both of us had quite a temper – what had started out as petty quibbling had escalated into a very heated argument within minutes, for absolutely no reason.

My worst suspicions had been confirmed. Ever since the Marauders stopped talking to us for that brief period a few months ago, I had wondered – and now I was sure; they didn’t actually care for us at all. As near as I could figure, Remus at least was a friend, but James and Peter were indifferent, and Sirius actively disliked us and used me to inflate his already oversized ego. But Sirius or any of the others had never gotten into a fight with Charlotte or Mandy. I didn’t understand.

I sped out of the hallway and outside where I could be away from people. However, my solitude was interrupted by the absolute last person I wanted to see, other than Sirius. Vanessa Saltz and her little posse advanced on me, armed with their fake smiles, and I knew it was going to end badly because I was still so angry from my encounter with Sirius. So when Vanessa started gabbing about how I was too unpopular to have a lasting relationship with Luke Wilcox, and how she’d known all along we were going to break up soon, I drew out my wand and pointed it in Vanessa’s face.

“Leave me alone or I will jinx you right now. All of you.”

“All of us?” asked Vanessa. “There are four of us, and we are Ravenclaws, we’re smarter than you think.”

“If you were smarter you’d go away,” I snarled.

“Ooh, I’m scared now,” said one of Vanessa’s friends. They all laughed sycophantically.

“No, but really,” said Vanessa, “there is something I’d like to know. Did you use a Love Potion? Is that how you ended up together?”

My jaw dropped as I stared at her in indignation, and she laughed. “What have I ever done to you?” I asked. “If this is because I dated Luke and you like him, I’m not even with him anymore, so I don’t see why you continue to offend me whenever you see me!”

I turned around and walked away before I could end up doing something I’d regret. It was only eleven in the morning and I had already wanted to punch two people; it did not bode well for the rest of the day. I stalked off moodily with no particular direction in mind until I realized I had reached the outskirts of the Forbidden Forest. As no one was allowed to go in, I was about to turn around and leave, but decided to stay because this was probably the only place on the grounds where no one ever hung around. And technically, I was not in the forest, just next to it.

Finally alone, I let out the tears that had been trying to escape all morning. What had I done to deserve this? Elliott Jasper picked on me for not fitting in with most of the Slytherins, and now my own friends in Gryffindor didn’t like me because I was a Slytherin, and people I barely knew hated me for no reason. I usually tried not to let stuff like this get to me, but after everything this morning, it had got to me, and I was miserable.

I sat on the grass and just stared into the forest for a while. My curiosity got the better of me, and after I’d calmed down, I stood up and wiped my eyes, and cautiously began to walk into the forest.

Suddenly I ran into something invisible, and gasped. I thought it might be one of the Marauders in their Invisibility Cloak, because I recalled that they liked to run around in here for Merlin only knew what reason. “Remus?” I asked hesitantly. But there was no answer. “James?”

“What’re yeh doin’ in here?” asked a voice. I turned around, and Hagrid the gamekeeper was approaching from his hut on the edge of the grounds. He towered over me, as he was about twice the size of a normal person.

“Nothing,” I muttered, and started to walk out of the forest. I didn’t want to get in trouble, and I didn’t know how Hagrid would react to me being alone in the forest.

“Were yeh lookin’ at the thestral? Can yeh see it?” he asked.

“The what?” I said, stopping briefly. Oddly, Hagrid didn’t seem too concerned that I was out of bounds, but was instead looking in front of me, where the thing I’d run into was standing.

“Thestral. It’s right in front o’ yeh. ’Course, it’s invisible, so yeh probably can’t see it. Most people can’t.”

“Er, what is it?”

“It’s a big winged horse. Hogwarts has got a few of ‘em livin’ in here. Usually further in. This is a newer one, he mighta bin confused…”

“Why do we have invisible horses in the forest?”

“They’re real clever, have a great sense o’ direction… an’ they pull the Hogwarts carriages.”

“Why would we need them to do that when the carriages can move by themselves?” I asked, and then realized that he must mean the carriages had never moved by themselves, but had been pulled by the invisible horses all along. The carriages moved so smoothly that I would never have thought they were pulled by anything but magic. Since there was no need for Hagrid to answer my question, I continued. “Can you see them? What do they look like?”

“Yeah, they’re black, an’ got whitish eyes that sorta glow… their heads look a bit like a dragon’s.”

I was having trouble imagining what that would look like, although to be honest it sounded somewhat ugly. Maybe it wasn’t so bad that I couldn’t see them – although it was fascinating that some people could see them and some could not. I reflected that it would have been a much better use of my time if I’d taken Care of Magical Creatures rather than Divination in my third year! The only thing that had stopped me, of course, was that Professor Kettleburn, who taught Care of Magical Creatures, had lost half his limbs to dangerous creatures he was supposed to be minding and I hadn’t wanted to meet the same fate.

“Why can’t I see them?”

“They’re invisible, unless yeh’ve seen death, then yeh can see ‘em,” he replied. “Some people consider ‘em sorta unlucky ‘cause of that, but they’re not.”

I talked with Hagrid about thestrals a bit longer, until he asked me, “Yeh’re not supposed ter be here in the forest, are yeh? Go on, get outta here.”

It had taken him a while to catch on, probably because he’d been more preoccupied with the thestral, but I was glad he hadn’t said anything immediately. I looked up at him, trying to come up with an excuse, but I saw that under his wild tangle of hair and beard he was smiling. He wasn’t angry at me, which was good because I was sure that he could be very scary if he had been angry. I said goodbye and began to walk back out.

As I headed back up to the castle, I realized the encounter with Vanessa had completely flown from my mind; it was the fight with Sirius I was still frustrated about. I didn’t care what Vanessa thought of me anyway, so I wasn’t concerned about what had happened; I resolved to not let her bother me. After all, she had been pestering Charlotte for longer than she had to me, and Charlotte had never done anything about her. However, Charlotte was probably impervious to gossip because she did so much of it herself.

I did care about Sirius though. He was a friend – or at least I had thought he was – and I wanted to know what was going on and why he had treated me that way. I kept replaying our argument in my mind. Sometimes it just made me more angry with him, but other times I was disgusted with myself for the things I had said, and the way he’d reacted. I could still see the expression on his face when I’d accused him of not having feelings. Shock, anger, a bit of disappointment. Did he care what I thought of him? Maybe I should choose my words more carefully next time...

I needed to talk to someone. Remus would have been my first choice because I knew he’d understand and he’d know the right things to say to me, but he was too close to Sirius. Remus also might not be so keen to talk to me since I’d just had a fight with one of his best friends.

When I walked into the Slytherin common room, Hector Branstone was sitting on the sofa by the stairs, idly doodling on a textbook. “Hector, please explain to me how the male mind works,” I said as I threw myself onto the sofa next to him.

He laughed. “Got your eye on someone new already?”

“No. And I don’t think he likes me either, I’m sure he’s just making fun of me – but I just don’t understand what is going on! He’s been treating me insufferably and I don’t know why! And we just got into a fight, it came out of nowhere!”

“Who?”

“I’m not telling you, I just want to know why men are obnoxious.”

I’m not obnoxious.”

“No, you’re not… just help me!”

“If you won’t tell me who it is, I don’t know how helpful I can be.”

“It’ll be better than nothing.”

Hector considered it. “All right, if you tell me how girls’ minds work.”

“Deal.”

I talked to Hector for a while, but it wasn’t as useful as I hoped; he couldn’t tell me much considering I wouldn’t say who I was having trouble with. I told Hector how ‘someone’ was trying to make me say I liked him, and then saying he didn’t like me at all – Hector said this either meant he actually liked me but didn’t know how to say it, or he was just an annoying guy.

So it meant that Sirius was annoying. This much I could have figured out on my own.

And then I had to deal with Hector’s many questions as to why girls always went everywhere in groups, why they made a big deal out of unimportant things, why they said the opposite of what they felt, and why they created drama. Since his advice to me had not been helpful, my answer to almost everything he asked was “that’s just the way we are.”



I refused to visit the Gryffindor common room for the next few days. I wasn’t about to go somewhere I was so obviously not welcome; although, as Mandy and Charlotte had not had fights with any of the Marauders, they went a couple of times. When Mandy asked me why I wouldn’t visit the Marauders with them anymore, I tried telling her that the Marauders didn’t actually like us because we were Slytherins, but she dismissed my idea as ridiculous. I talked to Remus a few times when we came across each other in the corridors, but I wouldn’t hang around when Sirius was there.

One day about a week later, Mandy spent a while trying to convince me to go with them, and so I finally relented, although I knew it was going to be awkward. I wondered as we walked to the seventh floor whether Sirius had told the rest of the Marauders about our fight. If he had, it was sure to be an amazingly uncomfortable visit. However, as we approached, we ran into the Marauders coming down the stairs. They said they were on their way outside, so we joined them.

I knew Sirius well enough to know that he wasn’t going to apologize, and if he did, it would only be if I did so first. But I had nothing to apologize for, so I didn’t say anything to him as we walked outside. He caught my eye and raised an eyebrow, a hint of a smug smile on his face as if to tell me, “see? I was right.”

I glared at him and walked faster. Lily Evans and Mary Macdonald then arrived in the hall on their way outside, and I abruptly veered off to join them instead.

James noticed, of course. “Care to join us, Evans?” he asked politely.

“So I can listen to you tell me again why we’d be a perfect couple?” she asked sarcastically as we reached the entrance hall doors. “No thanks, I’d rather not spend any more time with you than is absolutely necessary.”

“Why not? You might like it.”

“You’re an arrogant pig,” said Lily.

“And you’re beautiful,” said James, clearly undeterred.

Lily rolled her eyes. “Stop it with the flattery. You should know by now that it will get you nowhere.”

“You know I can’t help it Evans, I’m only speaking the truth.”

“Hey,” Lily said to me as I approached, glad to have a distraction from talking to James.

“Hi,” I said. “How are you?”

“Fine, how about you? You can come join us if you want.”

“Thanks,” I said. We walked to a grassy area of the grounds, and she and Mary both threw their bags on the ground and we lay down in the sun. I could see the Marauders and Mandy and Charlotte settling down in the shade of a large beech tree over by the lake. “Lily, I think I’m beginning to understand what you’ve had to deal with for the past few years.”

“What do you mean?”

“Sirius has been trying to get me to say that I like him, and I don’t. And then we got into a fight a few days ago.”

“Really?” she asked.

Mary shook her head, grinning. “You got into a fight? I would never have fought with him, I would have proposed to him.”

Lily half-smiled. “Yes, Melanie, I know the feeling exactly. Potter has been doing that for years.”

“I know, and I don’t understand how you’ve dealt with it,” I said. “But at least James actually likes you and isn’t doing it just to torture you!”

“That may not be his intent but it is torture!” Lily laughed. “I suppose he is getting a little better, we’ve been able to have real conversations lately and he hasn’t actually asked me out in a while, but honestly, Potter has been such an annoyance for so long… well, you saw him just now.”

Mary laughed. “I don’t understand you two at all! The two most attractive guys in the school are chasing after you and all you can do is talk about how much you don’t like them! I’d give anything to be in either of your places.”

“He’s not chasing after me, he doesn’t even like me!” I protested. “You wouldn’t want to be in my place!”

Lily was reacting to Mary’s argument at the same time, so I’m sure Mary couldn’t actually hear a word either of us was saying as we talked over each other, but we got our points across just the same.

I sat and talked with Lily and Mary for a while, about everything ranging from obnoxious men to a discussion of the old French play Mary had been reading, called Hélas, Je me suis Transfiguré Les Pieds (Alas, I’ve Transfigured My Feet). Lily and I seemed to have bonded a bit more over the fact that we were probably the only girls who disliked either of the most popular boys at school.

It was a wonderful afternoon – much better than I had expected it to be when Mandy had convinced me to come with them. She and Charlotte joined us after about an hour; the Marauders were still sitting under their tree, and a different group of Gryffindors had joined them now. All across the grounds I could see groups of people sitting in the grass enjoying the day. It was a shame we had exams in a few weeks; I could easily have forgotten about exams with weather like this!



As Mandy, Charlotte and I were headed back inside to the Slytherin common room later that afternoon, I saw Luke coming in from a different direction. I attempted to hide behind Charlotte, realized this would look stupid, and then spotted Althea Seward, and immediately ran to talk to her so I would be busy when Luke walked by.

However, it didn’t go quite as I planned; although she smiled when she saw me, her smile faded as Mandy and Charlotte approached.

“Please don’t tell me you’re literally going to be hiding from your ex-boyfriend for the rest of the year,” said Charlotte.

I ignored her. “What’s up?” I asked Althea, noticing her expression as she saw my friends.

“Are they your friends?” she asked timidly.

“Yeah,” I said, and introduced them.

“They turned my head into a watermelon last week,” Althea told me in her very quiet voice.

“Oh. Sorry about that, it was an accident,” said Charlotte. “We tried to tell you but you probably couldn’t hear us, since your head was a watermelon…”

I tried not to laugh. The story had been hilarious when Mandy and Charlotte had first told it, but they had neglected to mention that they’d done it to possibly the shyest, quietest girl at Hogwarts.

“That’s all right, Madam Pomfrey fixed it pretty quickly.”

I was amazed she was just able to take stuff like that. If I were in her place, I would have retaliated instantly, or stewed about it for ages and held a grudge. Although, perhaps, it was this habit of mine that led me to get into fights with people like Sirius… Maybe Althea had everything all figured out. If I could pretend Vanessa didn’t bother me next time she came around to ruin my life, maybe she’d stop.



But other events put my personal problems and drama in perspective. At breakfast the next day, an owl arrived with Mandy’s Daily Prophet, just like usual. I was sitting opposite her at the table, and as she unrolled the paper, I saw a headline announcing that the Dark Mark had been set above three houses last night. A picture revealed a pile of rubble beneath a symbol of a skull with a snake protruding from the mouth, hovering in the sky above like an eerie constellation.

“When is this going to stop?” asked Mandy sadly to no one in particular. “Death Eaters went around killing Muggle-borns for absolutely no reason and set Voldemort’s sign above the houses to scare people… I’m sick of it. Every time I open the newspaper there’s always disappearances and deaths.”

“It’s awful,” I said. So far we hadn’t read about the disappearance of anyone we knew well, but some people at Hogwarts had already lost relatives.

Charlotte had an ugly expression on her face as she stared at the Daily Prophet. “I don’t believe it…” she said quietly, shaking her head.

“I know,” said Mandy gently. “I can’t believe people do this either.”

“It’s not just that,” said Charlotte, looking up at Mandy. She glanced down the table, where Lester, Snape and Mulciber were sitting, and then back at her half-finished breakfast. “Come with me,” she said, and stood up.

Somewhat confused, Mandy and I left with her and we walked outside into the courtyard. “I should have told you ages ago,” Charlotte said. “I’ve known for ages, but I didn’t know what to do… I still don’t know…”

“What are you on about?” asked Mandy, looking at Charlotte with concern.

Charlotte finally faced us, and said grimly, “Lester has become a Death Eater.”

My jaw dropped. I was shocked, and horrified. “What? When? Why didn’t you stop him?”

“I tried,” she said. “He let slip months ago that he was planning to join, so I talked to him a lot about it, and I told him he was too young, and it wasn’t safe, and that he’d have to kill people if he was a Death Eater… but he was already convinced. Then over the Easter holidays he disappeared a lot while we were home, and I never knew or cared where he was… But then one day at dinner he just told us that he and his friends had joined the Death Eaters.”

There was a silence while Mandy and I goggled at her. “But… why?” I cried incredulously. “Why did he join?”

“I think it’s because Lester wants a taste of power. He’s always trying to prove himself, he’s always been ambitious, and this was just a way for him to be powerful. And he’ll get that if he’s allied with You-Know-Who, because You-Know-Who is all about power.”

“What did your family say when he just announced he’d joined?” Mandy asked tentatively.

“My parents were both thrilled. My father especially – I never told you this either, but he’s a Death Eater too. He went to school with You-Know-Who.”

“Why didn’t you tell us before?” I asked.

Charlotte frowned. “If your dad and your brother were Death Eaters, would you tell everyone?”

That shut me up – I had never told Charlotte of my suspicions about my own dad and brother.

“And when you said ‘his friends’,” said Mandy, “does that mean Mulciber and Snape?”

“I don’t know, he didn’t say who,” said Charlotte. “But I assume that’s who he meant, they’re his closest friends. And Mulciber and Snape don’t really talk to me anymore; over the year we’ve really drifted apart because they’ve been getting even more into the Dark Arts… but I keep trying to find out for sure if they joined.”

My mind was reeling. I had never liked Mulciber or Charlotte’s brother Lester, and Snape and I had stopped being friendly years ago, but I thought they just liked being bullies – I would not have imagined they wanted to join Voldemort.

However, this information from Charlotte finally shed light on why, over the course of this year, she had gradually stopped spending time with Snape. At the beginning of the year they had still been friends – after all, Charlotte was rather popular (in Slytherin House at least), but I had noticed that she spent a lot more time with Mandy and me, and visited the Marauders with us a lot more than she had used to – now it finally made sense.

“And because I keep asking about it, and I’m trying to stay on good terms with him,” Charlotte continued, “Lester is trying to recruit me. He said he’ll introduce me to You-Know-Who and see how I feel then.”

I just gaped at her. Mandy said, “You know he’s lying. He’s not going to be able to drag Voldemort along with him wherever he wants, whenever he feels like it.”

“Unless,” I said, a thrill of realization and dread filling me, “that watch we found in October that had been cursed… was a way for Voldemort to get into the castle?”

“You mean a Portkey or something?” asked Mandy. “But that would need to be outside the castle to get him in. I actually don’t think the watch has got anything to do with Voldemort, it wouldn’t make a lot of sense. Sure it was weird, but… what’s important now is that there are Death Eaters at Hogwarts, and they’re trying to recruit!”

“I know,” said Charlotte. “And I’m just… I’m worried about Lester. He doesn’t know what he’s gotten himself into.”

“I know what you mean,” I said, deciding it was time to tell her – there was no reason to continue to keep her in the dark, even though it was only just my suspicions. Evidently she could keep a secret much better than I thought, and I felt a bit guilty for not trusting her. “Charlotte, I think Nathan and my dad might be Death Eaters too. But I don’t know, and I can’t just write Nathan and ask…”

“What makes you think so?” she asked.

“Nathan just avoids talking about his job, even when I ask about it, he’s kind of evasive… and my dad told him there are more important things to think about than just his job. I don’t know, it’s not much evidence, but I was worried.”

“Yeah, they might be. Or you could just be reading into it too much.” I nodded. She studied me for a few seconds and then continued, “Maybe you’ll be able to find out for sure when you’re home. And… let me know.”


*~*~*~*~*~*~*


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Last edited by marauderfan; January 20th, 2013 at 10:10 pm.
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