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Chapter 3: Christmas Trees and Pink Flamingos
Jane woke up after only a few hours’ sleep. She wore a broad smile across her face. After a moment she realized someone was poking her in the ribs. Opening her eyes, she saw an amused redhead leaning over her.
"What in Merlin's name are you doing?" She jumped, her grin disappearing.
"What were you dreaming about?" Lily asked, with the same amused expression.
“I don't know," Jane mumbled, pulling the sheets off herself. "I can't remember."
"Do you think perhaps it could have been about something that starts with 'S' and ends in 'irius Black'?" Lily smirked.
"Of course not," Jane countered.
"Good," said Lily, seriously. "He's bad news. Now, get up. We have Potions in twenty minutes." Jane climbed out of bed and quickly snatched up her robes, rushing to the bathroom.
Fifteen minutes later, the pair were rushing down the Dungeon staircase, each with their Advanced Potion-Making textbook and their Draught of Living Death essay in hand. They rushed into the classroom and sat themselves down at the front most table.
“Evans. Glossin.” Slughorn nodded. “Well, it looks like everyone is present, so let’s brew some potions.” He grinned, clapping his hands together. “Turn to page 346 of your textbooks and remind yourselves of the process of creating the Draught of Living Death. You’ll each be making this potion today.” He smiled.
The students all opened their textbooks, as Slughorn walked around collecting essays. Jane could hear the Marauders whispering in the back of the classroom. Their hushed voices echoing off the cold stone walls. She turned around, and as she did Sirius’ eyes flicked up to meet hers. He sent her a smile, before turning back to his friends and continuing the muffled conversation.
At ten minutes to eight that evening, Jane closed her books and silently rose from her armchair. Waving goodbye to Lily, she left the Gryffindor Common Room and slowly made her way down to the Hogwarts grounds. At lunch, Jane had been disrupted by McGonagall just as she was about to bite into a pheasant sandwich.
“Glossin, you’ll be serving your detention with Hagrid this evening,” She had said sternly.
“Be at his hut at 8 o’clock sharp.” And she was gone. As Jane passed a statue of Lachlan the Lanky she heard someone call her name. Turning around, she saw Sirius rushing to catch up, Potter not far behind.
“Are you with Hagrid tonight, too?” He asked, happily. Jane nodded, and as she did so, she could have sworn she saw Potter sigh disappointedly. Slowly the three made their way down to the grounds quietly. Sirius was the first to break the silence. “I’m so glad we’re with Hagrid tonight,” He said, more to himself than to anyone. “He won’t be too harsh on us. We’ll be out of here in no time.”
“Oh, do you know him well?” Jane asked, jumping at the chance to end the awkwardness. “I’ve only heard stories. Like the one where he got expelled in third year for hiding werewolf cubs underneath his bed.” She chuckled at the absurdity of the rumour. However, the other two remained quite silent. Minutes later, after another long stretch of silence, the group arrived outside Hagrid’s small wooden hut. James tapped on the door and moments later it opened to reveal a towering figure. Hagrid was a fierce looking man, with long wild black hair and a bushy beard.
“Well, there yer are.” The man smiled happily. “Come in,” He added, urging them inside. The inside of Hagrid's hut was cramped, exacerbated by the presence of the three Gryffindors now squished inside. “Ah Jane, is it?” He asked, raising his dinner plate sized hand to shake Jane’s delicate one. “Welcome ter my humble abode. It’s not much but it’s home,” He explained, gently.
"It’s lovely.” Jane smiled back up at him. “So, what did you want us to do?” James asked, sitting down at the small round table and helping himself to some treacle fudge.
"Well it's December now, so I'll be taking twelve Christmas trees into the Great Hall, just like last year," Hagrid replied, as he went about making tea. "We'll need ter cut them down, first o' course." He chuckled.
Once he had finished preparing the tea, Hagrid placed a pot and four cups on the table before he sat down with the Gryffindors, leaning back comfortably in his chair.
“Help yerself." He beamed at Jane, who happily obliged. Having missed breakfast, she could not wait to get something into her stomach.
When all were well fed, Hagrid stood up from the table and raised his large dirt covered hand.
“We'd best get a move on. Don't wan' the three of yeh out late," He said, as he crossed the room in two long strides. He picked up a large axe and opened the cabin door, striding off into the night. Jane, Sirius and James hurried after him. Jane found it rather difficult to keep up with the man's long strides. After several minutes, Hagrid came to a stop. "This looks about righ'," He said, looking at the tall surrounding trees. He walked up to the nearest tree, placing his hand on it. "Perfect. Now, I'm gonna cut the trees down. You three will catch 'em," He said, lifting his axe to the tree stump. James' eyes widened.
“Wait," He said. "We're not using magic?"
“It's okay, Prongs." Sirius smirked. "Even though you have the upper body strength of a Puffskein, the three of us should be able to handle it." James mock laughed, before nudging his head at Jane, who was now standing at the root of the tree, holding her arms in the air, prepared to catch it.
"Will Glossin be able to handle it?" He whispered. Sirius considered this, before walking over to Jane. “Did you want me to go here? It's where the tree will be the heaviest." Jane looked at the boy for a moment.
"No thanks," She replied kindly, returning to her position. A smile formed on Sirius' face as he walked back to his position midway between Jane and James. Suddenly, Hagrid started chopping at the trunk, each cut shaking the tree furiously. Slowly it lowered right into Jane's hands and they were it carrying into the nearby clearing.
Eleven trees later, the trio were panting quite loudly. Much to James and Sirius' surprise, Jane had kept up brilliantly. She had been determined to prove her worth to not only her classmates, but also to herself.
Once they had been dismissed, the three climbed the Hogwarts grounds, with hands full of treacle fudge, at Hagrid's insistence.
"I'm genuinely impressed, Glossin," said James. "For such a scrawny person, you're very strong." Sirius shot him a stunned look. Meanwhile, Jane just laughed out of embarrassment.
"Scrawny? Gee thanks. It's an outrage you haven't snapped Lily up yet with natural charm like that," she joked. Sirius and James both sniggered at this.
“Potter! Black! Will you pay attention?” Professor McGonagall snapped irritably across the Transfiguration classroom the next morning. Jane watched as the two boys in front of her jumped and looked up at the stern woman. Peering over James' shoulder, she saw what they had been working on for the past ten minutes. Sitting between the two was a rather realistic drawing of Snape sitting on what looked like a bright pink flamingo. They had been particularly detailed with the grease droplets falling from his slimy hair. It was the end of class, and everyone had packed up their books.
"Now that Potter and Black have been kind enough to join us," She glared. Jane heard Lily scoff, and it appeared that James had too, as his eyes darted to the side. "I would like all of you to write a 500 word summery of chapter eight. Due tomorrow." At this, a hushed groan spread through the room, as everyone slid from their chairs and made their way to the door just as the bell rang. "Glossin, Potter, Black," Called McGonagall, waving them over. Reluctantly, Jane wandered to the front of the room. "This evening you three will be visiting the Detention Chamber." Jane sighed. She hated the Detention Chamber. A small cramped room located on the First Floor. There was a single bench in which students could sit. But nothing else. "You may go." Looking around, Jane met the boys’ eyes, and noticed that they weren't nearly as disappointed. In fact, they looked rather pleased. "And Glossin, keep practicing your human transfiguration. You'll pick it up." Silently, they left together.
“Why are you two looking so pleased about going to the Detention Chamber?" Jane asked. Sirius and James looked at each other.
"Because we don't have to do any work." James shrugged.
“Well, I guess if you have someone else in there with you, it's not so bad. I've only ever been there by myself. After the first hour, it gets really boring."
Jane, Sirius and James went down to the First Floor that evening. On the way, James briefed Sirius on the contents of a letter he had received from his father.
“He said there's a rumour that Voldemort has employed seers to scan the future for any oncoming attacks." Jane's heart sank. "I sure hope it's just a rumour."
“Bloody hell, so do I," Sirius exclaimed, as they walked down a darkened corridor.
Once McGonagall had locked the chamber doors and disappeared, James turned to Jane.
"I have a proposition," He said, matter of factly. Sirius simply sat in the corner of the room with one eyebrow raised.
"I'm listening," Jane replied, intrigued.
"I propose an exchange of information. I noticed that you were having trouble with your human transfiguration today. I happen to be exceptional at transfiguration. In particular, the human kind." He smiled and winked at Sirius.
"Right." Jane nodded.
"I'd be happy to teach how to do it." He crossed his arms.
"And what information do I have to give you?" She humoured him.
"Just a few tips on how to get Evans to talk to me."
"Oh," Jane smirked. "-that."
"It's a great offer." He grinned cheesily. Jane considered him for a moment. She had been the only person in the class who was unable to perform the human transfiguration. This concerned her, as she had worked very hard to make it into the N.E.W.T class and had only just scraped by. To become an Auror, she would need to excel at this particular magic, and there was nothing Jane wanted more than to become an Auror. Slowly she lifted her hand to shake his.
Jane had a troubled night's sleep. A familiar man with scruffy dark hair and deep grey eyes wove in and out of her dreams. He grinned, and Jane moved around restlessly, her hands inadvertently shooting to her stomach. Suddenly he was replaced by a group of wizards wearing their lime green uniform robes. They looked down at Jane, with pity etched across their faces. Their lips moved, but they did not make a sound. She awoke abruptly in a cold sweat, just as the dormitory door slammed shut. Wrinkling her nose in disgust, she reluctantly lifted herself out of bed.
AN/ Hey guys, I'm sorry it's a rather short chapter. I had an option of either this length or much much longer, so I decided short and sweet would be better to read. The next chapter isn't far off. With a bit of tweaking it should be ready to post any day now. I how you enjoyed this chapter. Again, please let me know what I'm doing right or wrong.