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Chapter 10: Can We Forget About the Things I Said?
It's no surprise to me I am my own worst enemy,
Cause every now and then I kick the living shit out of me,
Can we forget about the things I said?
- My Own Worst Enemy, Lit
I was sitting on the couch with Dean when leaned in to whisper in my ear, "Lupin, I really, really like you. Not to mention, you're the sexiest girl I've ever met." His breath sent shivers and chills down my spine.
And then before I knew what was happening we were inching closer and closer. His lips were closing in on mind and –
My eyes flew open, but I immediately squeezed them shut when the bright sunlight shone through the window. The morning light hit my eyes and I immediately threw an arm over my face.
Ugh, was that a dream? No fair...
I rolled over and waited for my fuzzy, sleepy eyes to focus on the clock. I gasped and jumped out of bed. I was so late.
I hated being late to class. I hated being late anywhere. It was annoying when meeting up with friends, and disrespectful when showing up late to class. As much as I would have preferred going to class looking somewhat put together, I ran out looking as if I’d just woken up.
I made it just in time for Transfiguration and slid into my seat next to Catherine. I loved having Transfiguration with the Hufflepuffs. It was the only class I had with Catherine, so I was (almost) always happy to be here, even if I was rather dreadful at the subject.
Sabrina and Maranda slid into the seats next to us a moment later.
“Thanks for waking me up,” I sneered at them and shooting them a dirty look.
Woah, I chastised myself. You’re allowed to think snarky, but not speak snarky! Sometimes I got a little pissy with my roommates, but oftentimes I was overreacting, so I liked to not actually say anything to them.
Geez, I chastised myself. Since when do you snap at Maradna! Just because you're in a mood…
I guess this stressful morning just put me over the edge.
Oh shush, little voice.
It was fair though. I hardly ever bitched at anyone besides Cat, but she was family, so it was a bit different. What the hell has gotten into me?
Before I could apologize, Sabrina jumped to her defense. "We tried! You told us you were going to wake up later and you looked really angry and threatening, even though you were half asleep!”
“Someone woke up on the wrong side of the bed,” Maranda muttered under her breath, even as I got ready to apologize for my outburst.
Now I did vaguely remember the whole blurry scene. I gave them a guilty look and apologized for my dragon-like behavior. Neither of them acknowledged this instead turned to their desks and pulled out parchment and quills. I grumbled to myself about the way my morning was going and did the same.
I dipped my quill in the ink, settling in for another horrific day of transfiguration. I knew it was necessary to learn and all, and Professor McGonagall was one of the better teachers; it was still painfully difficult for me. Transfiguration made want to fling myself off the Astronomy tower.
Professor McGonagall clapped her hands together, and addressed the class. Immediately the shuffling and talking died down. McGonagall tended to have that effect on people, what with her sharp, bird-like features and uncanny ability to command even the haughtiest of us. (Like Al, who was actually scared shitless of her and probably respected more than he would ever admit.)
I think it was something about the fact that she treated everyone equally, and was known to be a sucker for a good prank or Gryffindor Quidditch. I honestly couldn’t think of anyone that didn’t feel reverence towards Professor McGonagall.
She pointed to the board next to her, "I'd like you to all copy down what I've written here and then we will begin the lecture." A small part of me died right then.
Personally, I favored classes like Potions and Arithmancy. They were logical and sensible. Transfiguration and Charms were too wishy-washy. You could spend hours copying down notes and wand movements, but if you didn’t put the right feeling behind the spell, you’d come up with nothing. (That’s not to say I couldn’t send a nasty hex someone’s way if I wanted to, but it would take me a while to master it.)
Admittedly, practical Transfiguration lessons were far more tolerable than lectures. True, they were almost always disastrous for whoever was on the receiving end of my spell, but practice makes perfect, and I would eventually get down what I was trying to learn. Lectures were boring and unbearable, and never helped me become a better witch.
Nevertheless, I began copying down the notes on Conjuring spells. They were long and meticulous, so every once in a while I would flick a bit of parchment at Cat to help the time pass.
I tapped my foot to the ticking clock. Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock.
Professor McGonagall pulled her wand out and made a movement I could only assume was the one for the Conjuring spell. “Now, the wand movement should look something like –”
“Oh my Godric! This is so boring! Would you just shut it?!”
The second it came out of my mouth, I wish I hadn’t said it. I couldn’t imagine why in the world I had said it. WHY HAD I SAID IT?!
Lupin! What did you do?! What, what, what did just you do?!
“Miss Black?” Professor McGonagall said. She didn’t sound mad. Perhaps a bit like I’d slapped her in the face, though. She probably didn’t even expect this from Al, let alone myself.
“Errrr . . . Ummm . . . Errr . . . I have to go!” I jumped up from my seat, didn’t even bother to gather my things, and sprinted from the room; mortified at what I’d done.
What in the world did I just say? I spent the next few minutes wandering around the castle and contemplating what completely mad person had taken over my brain.
My mouth is just running wild today . . . If my day keeps going like this, it'll be a long day.
I contemplated going back to class but decided against it; it would be extremely embarrassing to return to class after an exit like that. What would I say? ‘Oh, sorry Professor McGonagall for rudely bursting out in the middle of class and then running out of the room like a maniac, but I really couldn't help it.’
It just wasn’t very believable.
Instead, I took a stroll around the lake to contemplate my dilemmas: that I was spontaneously talking out of my arse, that I was still harboring a girlhood crush for an older and engaged man, and also that I was rather starving, seeing as I hadn't eaten breakfast.
I trekked far across the grounds and found myself somewhere I'd never been before. For some inexplicable reason, I came upon a clearing of trees where there was a particularly plain patch of grass. Rather boring really. However, as I ambled closer to the unknown, it transformed slowly but surely before my eyes. The grass became a little greener, then a little longer. Trees and shrubs seemed to sprout up from nowhere, until finally a gigantic tree began to grow rapidly from the ground. Long, thick, branches wound their way up the tree, stopping and widening every once in a while to create the perfect resting place.
"Wow," I whispered.
I wandered around a little, trying to figure out what sort of place this was, and how I had come upon it, until finally I just accepted that it was Hogwarts and these sorts of things happen occasionally.
“This place is so beautiful . . . I bet it would be tons of fun to shag out here!”
I sighed and rolled my eyes. Okay, this is getting old. Why do I keep saying everything I’m thinking?
"I will never get used to this," I declared and slid down the tree, hugging my knees and resting my head against the bark.
I'm completely off my rocker! Here I am, running around, saying mad stuff like a mad person! I feel like Mum.
At least she has some control over herself. You're just blurting things out like a fool.
Oh, shut it. I need to figure out what's going on before I embarrass myself so much that I have to leave school.
Well, you better get a move on then, the clock is ticking.
I grumbled and banged my head against the tree as my traitorous thoughts reminded me of my first unfortunate outburst. I pushed the thought from my mind and decided to write Mum like I'd been meaning to. Maybe she'd know about this cool new spot I'd found.
Besides . . . The longer I waited to tackle the problem at hand, the older I would be, and therefore, the wiser.
I hope you don't miss me too much and I hope you and Dad aren't driving each other too mad! Things are going pretty well here, mostly the same. Al is doing his best to torture Will, and Will is doing his best to ignore both of us completely. And poor me – I’m just trying to get though Fourth year! You're bloody sons (especially the first one) are making it rather difficult!
I do have a question for you though. I’ve just found this little patch of grass out past the lake and it's rather peculiar. It looks like a normal patch of grass from afar, but when you get closer, it blossoms. The grass grows tall and bushes sprout all around this large oak tree. It's odd . . . I don’t think many people know about it, though. At least, I’ve never known anyone else that wanders as far out as I do; I can’t imagine anyone else finding this. That's the best I can describe it. Did you ever find it while you were at Hogwarts? I have a feeling you did, it seems like it would make itself appear for you, seeing as you were a crazy lunatic as I have recently become.
Anyway, more on that tidbit later. I miss you loads, and I can't wait to come home for Christmas hols and see everyone! I don’t doubt that you have something ridiculous planned this year! Send everyone my love.
I set the parchment down and basked in the sunlight, calmness flooding through me. It had certainly been a weird day. Not only had I had a bizarre and inappropriate dream about Dean, but also I'd somehow decided that declaring every single bad thought I had out loud was a good way to express myself.
But really? Bursting out in class? That was something I'd never do, no matter how many struggles I was having. Maybe something Al would do, sure; I thought briefly that Al maybe had something to do with it. And for one horrifying moment, I pictured myself turning into an annoying, flaky, pinch like Al. That thought didn’t last long, though. If this was Al’s doing, he’d have picked a more reactive target . . . Will, for sure, or Cat, perhaps.
My stomach grumbled loudly and I tried to ignore it, seeing as there wasn't too much I could do about it now. I wondered if Oliver had ever come here when he was at school. I would certainly love to come here with him… happy as I was for him, it was a shame really, now he was getting married and all…
I hoped Mum would be able to help me with my dilemma. (The saying-what-ever-I-please dilemma, not the I-am-currently-harboring-a-huge-crush-on-a-twenty-something-year-old-guy-in-a-relatiionship dilemma.) I bet mum had found this with her friends; they had always done so much exploring around Hogwarts. How cool would it be if I had found refuge in the exact same place Mum had, twenty or so years earlier?
Resting my head against the tree, I closed my eyes in the sunlight, relaxing for the first time all day. The sun felt absolutely wonderful on my face.
Maybe I could just rest for a few minutes…
"I can't believe you like me. I mean, me! I am your best mates little sister!"
But Dean just smiled sweetly. "I can't help it Lupin. How could I not like you? You're sweet and beautiful and smart and funny. You're perfect."
Dean grabbled my hand and pulled me closer, whispering, "You are, Lupin. You're perfect." He leaned in and kissed me tenderly on the lips.
I jolted awake and looked around, momentarily forgetting where I was and why I was alone.
Jeez, I have got to stop dreaming about Dean. It's getting weird.
I looked up, attempting to judge the time by the light of day. It was still afternoon, but the daylight was quickly receding. I'd been out here for hours.
As I gathered up my thoughts and my things, ready to head back to the castle, I saw someone I wasn't expecting to see at all: Will.
"Lupin!" He cried, running towards me. "What the bloody hell? Cat told me you've been missing all day. I've been looking for you for an hour!"
"Well it's nice to know someone cares," I joked. I quickly explained my dilemma, and how I'd run here to get some peace and quiet, but had fallen asleep instead.
He scratched the back of his head, perplexed. "Huh, that is weird. Well, it won't do any use to stand out here. Let's go back to the castle, I'm guessing you’re starved; let’s get you something to eat.
I agreed, and we headed for the owlery to send the letter before going to dinner.
I quite enjoyed spending time with Will. Sure he wasn't as ‘fun’ as Al (if you could call his particular brand of torture fun), or as exciting, but he was really good company. He listened and was easy to be around. Sure he was an over-protective big brother, but not as over-bearing and in your face as Al was.
I flopped onto the bench at the Gryffindor table next to Will, and helped myself to a large piece of Shepard’s pie and roasted carrots. Will did the same and we ate in silence for a few moments until Will piped up.
“I wonder what’s causing this nonsense? You know, Lupin, it’s not just you. James was practically peeing himself with laughter earlier, talking about Seamus busting out at Professor Snape in their Defense Against the Dark Arts class today. He said Seamus’ face looked like this once he realized what he’d done.” And then Will proceeded to contort his face into what I would imagine most people would look like facing up against Voldemort, or something equally as terrifying. I suppose Snape was equally as terrifying.
Funny as it was, I groaned at the thought of what would happen once my deepest thoughts were suddenly brought to light. That could not happen. "We really need to find a solution to this, Will."
So after dinner, Will and I headed to the library for some serious researching. We looked through countless books, even managing to get a pass to look into the restricted section. During which, of course, one of the books almost bit Will's hand off. I spent fifteen minutes trying to convince him to grab the book and tear it to shreds in some kind of twisted revenge against a (mostly) inanimate object.
My urge to spew incriminating information was similar to what one felt under the influences on Veritaserum, but it couldn’t possibly be Veritaserum, for I hadn’t ingested any. A neither had any of the other few students who were in the same boat as I. And, even if I had, I would only be obligated to tell the truth when prompted; I wouldn’t arbitrarily declaring stuff.
The only comforting thought I could find was that the next day was Saturday and that meant I couldn't embarrass myself in front of the entire class again. Will vowed we'd talk to Professor Flitwick tomorrow, as he'd likely be able to tell us what charm caused the unruly truth-telling.
"Goodnight, Will," I said as he climbed the stairs tower his dorm. As much as I wanted to go to bed myself, I was wired from the extra hours of sleep I'd gotten.
I was sitting on the couch in the deserted common room, it was past midnight and almost everyone was in bed. There was a big Quidditch match tomorrow and Al had screeched at the team to, "Get a decent amount of sleep and not play like crap!" two hours ago. With threats of being kicked off the team, they listened. What a maniac.
I had thought everyone was asleep, but then I felt someone sit down beside me, the cushion depressing next to me. I opened my eyes to see Dean.
"So, Lupin, word on the street is that you have a lot more to say than you usually let on." He smirked playfully.
"You are so hilarious," I said sarcastically, deciding to speak of my own free will before the traitorous little bastard in the back of my brain spoke up.
“I'm just taking the mickey out of you," Dean said, draping his arm casually around my shoulder. "Don't worry, I'm sure you'll get it sorted out," he added.
It was just then that I remembered the extremely awkward dreams I'd been having about Dean. I froze up and got very uncomfortable.
Holy goodness gracious . . . What if I say something about the dreams?!
Dean looked at me strangely. "Are you alright?"
"Er, I've got to get to bed. I'm exhausted," I lied. Without even a wave goodbye I jumped up from the sofa and darted up to my dorm room, where I saw Sabrina and Maranda sitting together on the floor, around a copy of 'Witch Weekly'.
"Well, thank you for looking for me today. It really means a lot." I said sardonically. "I've only been missing all day!"
"Oh, we told Will," Sabrina said, dismissing me. "We just didn't want to go looking for you ourselves, in case you were a giant rage monster again or something."
I didn't respond and instead headed over to my trunk and pulled on my pajamas. Then a few moments later, "What are you reading about anyway?"
"The perfect man," Maranda answered. "It's a quiz: Why Aren't You Dating Your Perfect Man?"
I snorted. "I don't need any quiz to tell me that the problem with my love life is Al. Not myself."
"Because you're so perfect and desirable," Maranda drawled.
I made a face. "Hey, I'm extremely perfect and desirable and any guy would be lucky to have me!"
"Well, according to this quiz, I'm too damn pretty!" Maranda claimed. "It says guys are intimidated by my good looks and striking personality."
"And I love too much," Sabrina added. "Which is totally true. Usually I just read this magazine for laughs, but this quiz really hit the nail on the head." She gestured to Maranda and said, "We all know how much she loves herself - she thinks she's too good for everyone, and now everyone else thinks that too."
"Are you sure you don't want to take the quiz?" Maranda asked, waving the magazine in front of my face.
I nodded. "I've got some studying to do, anyhow. I missed so much today I've got to catch myself up."
You just don't want to risk the quiz accidentally spilling your secrets.
"Are you any closer to figuring out what's got you singing truths like a songbird?" Sabrina asked, pulling me from my thoughts. I slid my Transfiguration book from my bag and settled in on my bed.
"Nope, but I should be bitch-free by tomorrow.” I smiled at the thought.
Oh, don't play dumb. You know exactly what I'm talking about. You'd rather not let anyone about your dreams, eh? Blatant denial doesn’t suit you, Lupin.
That's ridiculous … You're ridiculous!
Mhm … Which, by extent, means you're ridiculous. I am your subconscious.
I'm not going to touch that right now. But I'm serious! Dreams don't mean a damn thing. One time I had dream that Al was snogging a dog, but that doesn't mean that I want a dog as a sister-in-law, or that Al practices bestiality. Dreams are simply a string of random events and memories from your everyday life, strung together in one big confusing mess.
Are you sure you don't like Dean?
I cut it off at that point.
"Yes, bitch-free…" I repeated.
False. In fact, I was not bitch-free free by Saturday, nor the day after that, nor the day after that.
But, on the plus side, I wasn't the only idiot running around shouting their innermost thoughts anymore. No, by Monday morning, more than half the population had been infected with the truth-bug, including the Professors. Which was why, instead of class, professor Dumbledore held a school-wide gathering in the Great Hall, just after breakfast.
"Students," Dumbledore began a after the food had vanished from the plates. "It has come to the attention of the staff that there is an unfortunate bug of truth going around Hogwarts. We have been working since the problem came to our attention on Saturday to find the cause. So far, we have unfortunately had no luck, but as the problem continues to grow, we have allocated more of our time and attention towards the situation."
I listened intently to Dumbledore, as I always did. I was not my Mum, or my Dad, or my bothers, and therefore, I usually gave the professors the respect that they deserved. And I believed that no one deserved my respect more than Dumbledore.
However, my attention (as well as everyone else's) was suddenly drawn towards the Slytherin table, where one of the students was having what was to be sure to be an embarrassing and regrettable outburst.
“Oh, pipe down, you old coot!” Someone yelled nastily. “No one wants to hear you talk!”
The hall went silent. "Well, sucks for him," I remarked to Sabrina. She nodded, but didn't open her mouth. She'd had her own embarrassing moment yesterday at dinner, and hadn't opened her mouth since, not even to eat.
Dumbledore smiled pleasantly despite the insult. I guess he'd heard worse. You know, having defeated Grindewald, one of the most evil wizards of all time, and whatnot.
"As I was saying, we will be working very hard to find out what is causing this and we will notify you all when we do. Until then, classes have been cancelled, to spare both our students and professors from time-wasting and unfortunate situations. You may all go."
There was a quiet mumbling as students got up to leave, but nothing like the usual roar. I suppose it was really just difficult to muster up the courage to open your mouth and speak when about half the things that spewed out were mortifying narratives of your inner thoughts.
By now, most of us had learned that in order to not say things you didn’t want to, all you needed to do was not speak or think. Some of our less bright peers hadn't cottoned on yet.
One older boy nearly shouted across the Entrance Hall to his buddy, “Demelza invited me into her room tonight. I’m so going to get that arse . . . That bitch is so lucky to get me!”
And then, there were the much less embarrassing renditions by others.
“I hate going to class, and I’m a bloody genius. I can’t imagine what it’s like for those who aren’t.”
A solemn and quiet group, we all headed up to Gryffindor common room, no one was speaking too much though, for obvious reasons.
"Hey there, Lupin!" I spun around at the sound of Cat's voice. She was walking towards me with Seamus's arm around her waist. I smiled. In the past few weeks or so, Cat had finally lightened up and accepted that I didn't hate her for dating Seamus. She even invited him to hang out with us sometimes. It was alright, but being a third wheel was a teensy bit awkward, so I often invited Dean to hang out with us too. Poor Al often got left out, but alas, he had his first love: Quidditch.
"Hey!" I smiled brightly at the couple. "Where are you two off to?"
"The library," Cat replied, stopping beside me. "Seamus is going to help me with Charms- he got an 'O' on his O.W.L. last year," she boasted happily. "And you?"
“Going to try and get to the bottom of this,” I stated. “I was the first one that got it, so maybe I know something they don’t.” I big goodbye and looked fondly after them as Seamus pecked Cat on the cheek.
Awwwwwww, the adolescent girl inside of me couldn’t help but coo.
I had almost reached the common room when I heard my name called again. “Al.” I turned around, my bright mood dampening slightly. He’d been particularly awful the past weekend, so I wasn’t exactly thrilled to see him.
But then he said three words I would have never believed would push past his tight lips. “Lupin, I’m sorry.”
I nearly went into cardiac arrest. It was all I could do not to suspect a case of the Imperius Curse. “Wh-wha-what?” I spluttered.
Al gave a non-committal sort of shrug. His eyes darted around the room, desperately trying to avoid mine.
“Wow. Well, er, okay. Thanks.” I didn’t quite know how to respond to the strange turn of events.
“I was thinking,” Al started again, as I made my way for the Fat Lady. “That maybe you’d like to play some Quidditch with me? I know you didn’t end up trying out for the team this year, but you’d be a great candidate for Chaser next year.”
I stopped in my tracks. I raised an eyebrow at my suspiciously at my brother brother. “Who are you, and what have you done with Al?”
“I just . . .” Al fumbled with his words for a while before he came straight out to say it. “Mum threatened me for real this time. Said I had to be nicer,” he grumbled.
“Why not start with Will?” I suggested. “He’s really the one that you need to be nicer to.”
Al made a face like he’d smelt something rancid. “But I’d rather be nicer to you.”
“Whatever.” I rolled my eyes. “I’m going to the owlery,” I announced, and spun on the spot, heading for the doors and hoping that my bloody stupid brother wouldn’t follow me.
And whom should I meet up there, but Dean.
Thank Godric he didn't follow me. There would have been a lot of death-glaring
“Hey, Dean!” I called, looking around to see if Mum’s owl – Kiele – had come in just after breakfast.
He was leaning out one of the windows, staring out into the autumn sky. I seemed to have startled Dean. When he turned around, he did not look happy.
“You alright?” I asked, frowning.
He shrugged. “Fighting with Ginny,” he replied.
“I’m sorry,” I said, earnestly. I threw a shoulder around the guy who’d been a better big brother than my own. “Want to talk?"
“Nah,” he brushed me off. “Well, maybe. I just don’t understand why she’s getting upset with me; I can’t possibly think of anything I’m doing to upset her!”
I smirked. “Those damn girls. What are we going to do with them?”
Dean cracked a smile. His chocolate brown eyes smiled at me as well, and I felt great that I’d made his day even the tiniest bit better.
“Lupin.” Dean pointed just past my shoulder, to Kiele, who’d just landed.
“Sorry,” I apologized quickly for jumping up and leaving. “I’ve been waiting for this letter from my Mum for, like, three days.”
I ran up to Kiele (being careful not to slip on the owl poo that was covering the floor) and practically tore the letter from her leg. I made sure to give her a bit of attention before opening the letter to read; there was nothing like an owl scorned.
Eventually, I sent Kiele on her way and opened the letter.
Actually, I know exactly the spot you’re talking about. I stumbled onto it myself, in my days. It’s sort of like a safe hiding place. When you’re inside, you’re invisible to everyone outside; it just looks like a barren field. However, if someone is specifically looking for you, they can find you, only if their intentions are meant well. So, say if Voldemort was looking for you, he couldn’t find you. But if you were to run away and Will wanted to find you and makes sure that you were okay (which, I heard, is exactly what happened) then he could.
I can’t wait to see you either! We’ve got some crazzzzzyyyyyy freaking plans, so get ready! Just a few more weeks and you’ll be back at home, tearing it up with your mad family!
I nodded appreciatively. I kind of liked that I had found the same place that Mum had previously.
Looking up from the letter, I saw that Dean was still leaning out the window. “You coming to stay for a few days during Christmas hols this year?”
Dean nodded. “As long as I’m invited.”
“Of course you are!” I cried. It was my Mum’s policy that as long as we gave her fair warning, we didn’t have to check with her before inviting people over, unless she didn’t like them. In which case we could just assume that they could not come over.
And then, I felt that uncomfortable bubbly feeling. Until a few days ago, I had associated with the feeling you get just before your vomit. But the truth sickness had caused me to think of another unpleasantry.
“I FREAKING LOVE THE HOLIDAYS!”
I sighed. Well, at least it was festive.
“I suppose we all know how you feel about Christmas hols now.” Dean laughed.
I chatted with him for a few more minutes before biding goodbye. I had planned to head up to my dorm, but I rerouted for the library. Once again, I would need more resources than just my ‘Intermediate Charms’ textbook.
By lunchtime, I was no closer to finding anything in any of the Potions or Charms books I’d taken out. I figured that I might ask Professor McGonagall for a pass into the Restricted Section again at lunch. Not that the problems that everyone had procured were particularly hostile, but hours of scouring over books had led me to believe that I would only find the answers there.
And if I had paid just a tad more attention as I sat in the library that day, pouring over stacks and stacks of books, I might have noticed the boy with a devilish smirk around the corner, laughing manically to himself.