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All Bets Are Off by maraudertimes

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Format: Novel
Chapters: 20
Word Count: 98,960
Status: Abandoned

Rating: Mature
Warnings: Strong language, Strong violence, Scenes of a sexual nature, Slash (same-sex pairing), Substance use or abuse, Sensitive topic/issue/theme, Spoilers

Genres: Romance, Angst, Young Adult
Characters: Dumbledore, A. Longbottom, F. Longbottom, James, Lily, Sirius, OC
Pairings: Sirius/OC, James/Lily, Lily/OC, OC/OC, Remus/OC

First Published: 01/10/2013
Last Chapter: 01/21/2014
Last Updated: 01/21/2014

Summary:
Beautiful banner by alchemyfreak123@TDA! || Currently being rewritten as Upping The Ante, which is now up!




Can Sirius Black, resident playboy, actually woo the stone
Can the elusive Alexandra James let someone into her guarded heart after her last love destroyed her?
Will Ravenclaw or Gryffindor win the house cup?


Chapter 4: Potions, Mothers and Professor McLaren
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*Author's note: Hello! Hope you like it! Basically, I need to make this quick because I get bored and I want to cram a year of shit into one chapter. Obviously not going to work. Anyways, reviews? Even just telling me how much you like it would be really appreciated. So rate it? MWAH! Thank you! P.S. How do you like my new chapter titles?

I sat at my desk in Potions, flipping through the textbook I had gotten at the start of the year. Today we were supposed to be working on Draughts of Living Death but I had already read up on them so I wasn't really doing anything productive. Charlie sat next to me, as my usual partner Lily was stick with Potter, reading over my shoulder. Although we were both pretty smart, we both had a tendency to lose our things and ourselves almost on a daily basis.

Just last week I had to borrow her extra jumper seeing as I had lost the three I own. And Charlie had just lost her Potions textbook this morning as she was putting it in her bag. Yes, she put the textbook in her bag and then lost it. I don't know how but she managed to do so. I was just about to close the book, as I wasn't actually reading anything, when I heard Charlie mutter a very bad swear word. I looked up and saw Carter.

Merlin I hoped he wasn't here to try and get us to go to yet another early practice. Four times a week was too much. I could barely stay awake long enough to finish my homework after our bi-weekly practices. Because our next game was coming up, in a week no less, and it was against Gryffindor, Carter had been making us practice until we begged him to stop. I groaned and he gave me a pointed look. I shrugged.

"I'm incredibly sorry Lexi," he smirked as he said my nickname, "but may I sit next to Charlie today? I need to talk to her."

I shrugged once more and gathered my things. Ignoring Charlie's look of helplessness, I turned to survey the classroom. Professor Slughorn was, as always, not there. He was always at least five minutes late. I sighed as I saw only one spot available.

Actually, there were two seats, but the second was next to Vincent Maevis, the only Ravenclaw I knew that would be able to join He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named and no one would be surprised. So, I regretfully made my way to the seat next to Remus Lupin, arse hat extraordinaire. Well, so I assumed. His being a marauder automatically lowered my opinion of him. Sighing as I dropped down beside him, I saw him jerk out his daydream and he seemed surprised by my appearance.

"My friends kicked me out of my seat. So I guess I'm sitting here today. Hope you don't mind." I gave him a tight-lipped smile.

"Uh, yeah, I guess that's no problem." He returned my smile, his as awkward as mine. "So I heard about what Padfoot said to you this morning."

"Padfoot?"

"Uh, yeah Sirius."

"Sirius?" I asked innocently.

He smirked. "Black."

I smiled. "Oh yeah. I know Black. So what exactly did you hear?"

"Well, I distinctly heard something about Diggory." My face fell and he faltered. "Well, and of course Lily told me…" He trailed off as I glared at him and then the back of the conniving redhead's head.

"Bitch," I muttered.

"Um, completely ignoring that because Lily is my friend, is that what happened at breakfast?" I must have looked extremely confused as he continued. "When you were talking with Dumbledore. And Diggory tried to talk to you. Also, did I hear you call Dumbledore Funny Bearded Man?"

I giggled. "I've known Dumbledore since I was a child. The name sort of stuck. But concerning Amos, er Diggory," I sobered up as I spoke his name, "I just don't want to talk to him right now. He's persuasive and I don't feel like forgiving him."

He nodded. "But really? Funny Bearded Man?"

"I had never attended Hogwarts when I first met him. Plus I was tired and was only interested in the fact that his beard reached his elbows." I laughed. "He's never really let that go."

Lupin smiled. "That seems like it could be quite an interesting tale."

My smile faltered but it didn't seem as if he noticed. "Yeah interesting. That's me."

"No, I'm serious. What could have made you call Dumbledore a Funny Bearded Man?"

My smile fell. "Doesn't matter."

"No really! It seems really –"

I turned towards him and glared. "It doesn't matter."

He gave me a tight-lipped smile and nodded. "Okay."

We sat there in silence for a minute before Slughorn arrived. Leaving us to make our potions so that he could take a nap (he doesn't cope well in the morning), I secretly cursed the old man. Couldn't he have us take notes?

The Draught of Living Death was murder to finish alone, especially as he wanted it done in half as much time. So now I would have to work with Lupin, who kept giving me curious looks. I sighed as Slughorn told us to start. Looking at Lupin, I muttered something about ingredients. Walking over to the stock room, I quickly found the Sophophorus bean, African sea salt, essence of wormwood, Valerian roots and root of asphodel. Slowly taking my time getting back to the table, I saw Lupin finshing the set up on the table.

The pewter cauldron was set up and I couldn't help but notice it was as beat up as mine. Obviously it didn't have the nicks and marks from dropping it down staircases, but I could tell Lupin used it quite often. He also had the graduated cylinder, the test tube, the measuring cup the stirring rod and the dropper out and ready.

Again, all his utensils seemed very used. I had always assumed the marauders didn't care about school. But then again, I had always assumed that the marauders were stuck up pompous arses. Maybe Lupin wasn't really a marauder. Maybe it was just an honorary title considering his best friends were the ones who enjoyed pranks and detention. He was, after all, a prefect. Perhaps I shouldn't have been so quick to judge him.

I smiled at him as I placed the ingredients on the table and sat down again. He smiled back and we started on the potion. I had him start with the water and the African sea salt as I began to cut up the Sophophorus bean. Taking the bean, I set it on my own cutting board and began to use the heel of my hand to roll it around. Lupin gave me a strange look.

"It says to cut it up for its juice, right? Well if you roll it under your palm, usually that releases the juice better," I explained.

"How do you know that?"

I blushed. "My mum was a good cook."

"Was?"

I shut my mouth and turned back to the bean. Lupin seemed to have gotten the message and turned back to his beaker. As I measured the essence of wormwood, he dumped in the salt water and held the cauldron at the angle I needed and I slowly poured half of the wormwood in. As he began to chop three of the Valerian roots, I watched the potion to make sure it resembled the smooth blackcurrant colour described in the text book.

When Lupin had placed the roots into a beaker filled with water, he turned back to the potion and I took the Sophophorus bean I had cut and squeezed as much juice as I could into the potion. He then added some of his Valerian root infused water to our potion. As he began to stir clockwise, I watched it become a purple colour but it still wasn't the light shade of lilac the book specified. Sighing in frustration, I saw Lupin's shoulders droop as well.

He passed me the stirring rod and I began to stir anti-clockwise, trying to follow the directions from the textbook as well as I could. As Lupin cut up more Valerian root, I waited as the potion began to clear up, but even as it settled, it was still murky.

"Should I keep stirring or should we just continue?" I asked.

"Well, I've never had a lot of patience for these things."

I mock-gasped. "Remus Lupin not having patience? Heaven forbid!"

He laughed and added the seven pieces of Valerian root. As I continued to stir the potion anti-clockwise, he measured and added the powdered root of asphodel. Taking the now heavy cauldron from me, he tipped it so he could begin stirring the potion himself. As soon as he was done, he cut off one small piece of Valerian root and sat down beside me. As we waited and timed the potion, he smiled at me.

"I never knew you could be this fun. I always thought you Ravenclaws were really school-oriented and didn't like having any sort of fun."

"Oh you just haven't hung out with the right Ravenclaws," I teased poking him in the arm.

He laughed. "Perhaps I should start hanging out with you more and your friend, um, Charlotte." He coloured at her name.

"Gasp! Is that a blush I see on your cheeks mister Lupin? And just for future reference, it's Charlie. Don't ever call her Charlotte." Lupin blushed even more and I gasped as I realized our two and a half minutes were up. "Oh bloody hell we have to go quickly! Lupin, hand me the Valerian root. Lupin!"

I may have sworn very loudly. Actually, I definitely swore very loudly. A few heads turned. Reaching over Lupin (who, by the way, wasn't doing anything), I grabbed the Valerian root and threw it into the cauldron. Sighing, I watched the potion turn a nice pink colour, but I knew it wasn't the specific colour from the textbook. Swearing under my breath this time, I turned to see Lupin looking over at another table. Glaring at him, I slapped him about the head and he turned to me, confusion in his eyes.

"Good to know you don't give a flying shit about our work."

He started and jumped up to look into the cauldron. Seemingly relieved, he turned back to me but I glared at him. He shrugged and gave me a sheepish smile.

"Bring the potion up to Slughorn," I demanded.

Rolling my eyes, I turned around to look at whoever he thought was more important than the potion. I locked eyes with Charlie who seemed severely pissed at Carter who was glaring at the potion as if the cauldron had decapitated his mother. Charlie rolled her eyes at me and I raised one of my eyebrows. She shook her head and I shrugged, turning back to my table.

Standing up and cleaning off the utensils of mine that I had used, I put them away and then started on Lupin's things. Cleaning and putting things away, I hadn't realized Lupin had come back until I made to clean the cauldron and realized he had cleaned it and put it away.

"She's never mentioned you," I said, sitting back down. He looked up, confused. "Charlie. She's never said anything about you."

"Oh." He sounded sad.

"Why?"

"Why what?"

I sighed. "Why hasn't she said anything about you? Obviously you've liked her for a long time, but I don't think you'd be that upset about her and Carter fighting unless you knew something about it. I mean, they fight all the time and they always have. So, what has she talked to you about, why, and why hasn't she told me?"

Lupin was shocked. "Um, I don't know, I don't… Nothing!" I raised my eyebrow. "Fine! I've been helping her with, uh, charms. And she, uh, didn't want you to know because she didn't want to hurt your feelings. Because, uh, you're so good at charms, but she doesn't like it when, uh, you teach her because you're her best friend, right? And, she wanted another opinion?"

"Wow Lupin that almost sounded believable."

"It's true! I'm just scared of you." I rolled my eyes. "That's true too!"

"No it's not Lupin."

"Oh yeah?" He asked, sounding very much like a six year old boy. "How would you know?"

I laughed and pointed to myself. "Ravenclaw." He frowned and pouted. "Oh come on Lupin, why won't you tell me?"

"Why won't you tell me about what you meant by you mother 'was,' huh?"

My face dropped and he smirked. "My mum's dead."

We sat there in silence for a moment as his smirk disappeared. He made to speak several times but always closed his mouth. I relished in his awkwardness. After a minute, I decided to take him off the hook.

"She's not dead."

He looked up. "Huh?"

"My mum. She's not dead. She left us though. My dad, my sister and I. When I was really young."

"Oh. I'm sorry."

"Thanks, but if I'm being honest, I would rather her be dead." He gave me a confused look. "That way, I would know she didn't want to leave me. She had to."

He shook his head. "No. You should never rather her dead. Because that means you'll never see her again." He put his head down and I felt a pang of sadness.

I sighed. "God, we're a pair aren't we? Lamenting over whether we'd rather our mothers' dead and in the ground or alive and who's abandoned us."

He laughed, but it was more sad than happy. "Yeah. I don't think I've ever told anyone that before. Apart from James, Sirius and Peter, of course."

"Yeah. Charlie's the only other person I've ever told. I actually don't know why I told you. I guess you just seem trust-worthy. Like I could trust you with my life."

He gave a harsh laugh. "Yeah, I don't think that would be the best thing to do. But I understand the feeling. We should talk more. You seem really cool."

I nodded. "You too."

As I walked out of Potions when class was done, I was surprised to realize that I had just opened up about my mum to someone I had never really talked to before. Perhaps it was because he seemed more Ravenclaw than Gryffindor. He seemed wise, like he had seen the worst parts of the world and had lived through them.

Like he knew that things would get better and then get worse. He wasn't going to tell me that my mum loved me, of course, she just didn't know what else to do. Or that she was a bitch for leaving my sister and me with my father. He would tell me that things could be worse, things will be worse and that I need to get over it to get on with my life. And I think I needed that.

Smiling as Charlie hooked her arm through mine, I thought back to Lupin. He seemed to really like her. And whether they were actually working on Charms or not, it might be nice for Charlie to have a boyfriend. Especially one like Lupin. I smiled as I saw him looking at her from the corner of his eye, concern radiating from him as she tripped over her own two feet. He would be good for her, I thought. And that's how I made it my mission to set them up.

"So Lupin," I said, poking Charlie in the ribs with my elbow.

She glanced at me, confused. "Remus Lupin? What about him?" "Well, a little birdy told me you might be taking some time away from me, your best friend, to hang out with him." Charlie flushed. "Aha! I knew it. Are you shagging him you slag?"

She flushed even more but her small smiled turned into a scowl. "Of course not you prat. I'm not some common slag like Kendra." "Hey! I resent that!"

We both looked over to see Kendra sitting a few seats away at the Ravenclaw table. We smiled sheepishly as she glared at us. The awkward moment was quickly interrupted as a boy from Hufflepuff sat down next to her and started sucking her face. And Kendra had been offended when we had insinuated that she slept around. That girl needs to get better morals. I sighed as I turned back to Charlie.

"I never meant that you arse hat, I was just joking. God, you're so sensitive lately."

"I'm sensitive? I'M SENSITIVE?" People turned to see what she was yelling about. "You haven't even asked me what happened in Potions class, even if I tried to get you to get me out of that situation. You did nothing."

"Charlie," I started, "you've always told me to wait until you were ready to tell me something. 'Respect your privacy' and some shit." She glared at me. "But for some reason, you always seem to try anyways. Merlin, why can't you be constant?"

"I don't know, maybe because I'm a human? We aren't the most constant of things you know."

"The one day that I need someone to talk to me, to nag me about my problems and you stop being yourself."

"I stop being myself? Charlie, you're being the polar opposite of how you normally are today! And frankly, you're being a bitch."

"Oh my Merlin, I cannot believe you said that. I'm being a bitch because suddenly I want to be more open with my best friend? Because I need to tell her something I should have told her last year but I don't know how to bring it up?"

"Um, yeah, pretty much. If it was really important that I know now even after how many months, why didn't you just tell me whatever you wanted to tell me when it happened? Why wait so much time before even bringing it up. And why do you expect me to bail you out of an awkward situation with Carter? It's not as if we both haven't been pissed at him, especially you."

"Well, you just wouldn't understand," she muttered.

"No I wouldn't because you're so secretive. So why don't you enlighten me?" I said sarcastically.

"You know what? I would, but you obviously don't want to know."

"Don't want to know? I usually beg you for information like this and maybe I've grown up and decided to respect you privacy like you want but apparently you don't want me to change. And you know what? I'm changing Charlie. I need to figure out who I am and you being a drama-seeking bitch isn't helping."

She glared at me and stood up from the table, her half-eaten lunch forgotten. "So now I'm a drama-seeking bitch? That's fresh. But you know what? You're changing to 'find yourself' or some shit, and I guess I should too. And the first thing I'll start with is my friends."

She grabbed her book bag that had been on the ground beside her and stormed away from the table. I rolled my eyes and stood up. I was distinctly aware of the large number of people staring at us.

"Fine. Walk away. But just remember you took the first step out the door," I yelled.

Sitting back down, I scowled. Who would've thought that almost six years of friendship could all come crashing down in five minutes because of some crazy overreaction? I still don't know why she was mad at me in the first place. I was just teasing like I normally did. And she was being a tad dramatic, well more than the tad she was normally. It was just so idiotic. I felt so stupid.

Fighting in front of the entire school during lunch because she was mad at me for insinuating that she was sleeping with the guy she was hanging out with secretly? Well, that was stupid.

First, because why should our personal fights be broadcasted? We should have kept it under wraps until our dorm rooms. Then if we had yelled at each other for the insanely short amount of time we did about the insanely idiotic thing we were fighting about, no one would be looking at me like I was insane.

Well, I was a bit of a kook, but no one ever really stared at me like this. I saw Lupin giving me a hard glare and I childishly stuck my tongue out at the Gryffindor boy. The sides of his mouth turned up in a smile but he tried to suppress it. Sticking his tongue out in a mock version of mine, still trying to keep his frown, he was hit in the head by Black.

My childish grin fell off my face and he turned to properly glare at his idiot of a friend. Saying some words to Black, Lupin stood up and made his way over to the Ravenclaw table. I gave him a coy smile and stood up, abandoning my food that was unappetizing after my somewhat quick and idiotic spat with Charlie.

"You know we look suspicious," I said, threading my arm through his. "Perhaps we should not be talking right after my incredibly loud, quick and obnoxious fight with my best friend, who you seem to like very much."

He frowned. "Actually, that's what I wanted to come over and talk to you about. You shouldn't be hard on her. She's going through a lot at the moment."

I blanched. "You came all the way over here to tell me that? Charlie's a big girl, she can take care of herself."

We had just left the Great Hall and were walking down one of the many hallways. A small whimper was coming from up ahead around the corner. I looked at Lupin and concern was written all over his face. He ran up ahead and by the time I had caught up (I am not the fastest runner, nor am I very good with exercise), I found him crouching down next to Charlie who seemed to be holding herself together.

When he heard me behind him, he turned and glared. Seriously, what is up with Lupin? I thought we were friends, or starting to become friends if one conversation in which we revealed our deepest thoughts about our mothers meant we were becoming friends, but the way he seemed to hate me just because I had upset Charlie made me think he wasn't all right in the head. I mean, I get that he might really like her, but he looked as if I had killed his first born child or something. Very rude.

"Obviously, she does need someone to take care of her," he muttered.

I frowned. Charlie had never needed someone to take care of her.

When she was sick in fourth year, she waited until I was in class before getting out of bed and going down to the kitchens for some chicken noddle soup. When she had accidentally broken her right hand last year, she had done all her homework herself, even if she couldn't quite hold the quill without her hand hurting. Just three weeks ago when she had taken a tumble from her broom and twisted her ankle, she had limped her way over to the changing room and healed it herself.

Charlie was not a girl you could take care of.

Footsteps behind me made me turn and I saw Carter. He seemed distraught but as soon as he saw Charlie and Lupin, he scowled. Then he turned to me and scowled some more. If that was possible. Come to think of it, he had never seemed so mad. Or scowly. And Carter is a very scowly person.

"Him?" He asked in a dangerously quiet voice. "Of all people, it's him? He's – well – he's – Charlie. Charlie, tell me you're kidding." His voice broke at the last word and he seemed to tear up.

The great Carter Day crying? Might as well tell me that I'm a death eater, that I have red hair and that my name is Priscilla. Priscilla Black for that matter. Yeah, Carter doesn't cry.

"This is who you've been fucking? You fucking slag!"

Charlie wailed, her heaved sobs becoming even more heart-wrenching. Lupin growled and stood, his wand out but I had already shoved Carter into the nearest wall. Grabbing him by his tie, I pulled his head down so his eyes were at my level.

"Don't you dare talk to her that way." He glared at me and I pulled him closer so that my lips were next to his ear. "We'll talk about this later, but I don't want this to be public," I whispered, subtly pointing out the people who had run after the four of us, trying to get a glimpse of the aftermath of my blow up.

I let his tie go and he nodded. "Charlie," he started, his voice strained, "don't bother coming to practice tonight."

"There's practice tonight?" I asked. I was still very confused about the whole 'this is the guy you're fucking comment' to say the least. Best not add any important details to that.

Carter tried to suppress a grin. "The Gryffindor boys got themselves a detention tonight, cleaning something or other. Potter" – he said this while he grimaced – "kindly asked if we could trade practice times. I agreed because I'm going to enjoy seeing him get up early tomorrow. God is that idiot ever sleepy in the morning. Maybe I'll be able to get my revenge for the hot sauce."

Walking off muttering, I smiled. Three days ago, Carter had found hot sauce in all his, shall we say delicates? It was not pretty. Especially because he hadn't noticed until he put one on. Let's just say the Ravenclaw common room had a pretty funny show that night.

Granted, he had gotten Potter a detention the day before, but he still maintained that he was not at fault. I heard movement behind me and I stiffened. I had momentarily forgotten that Charlie and Lupin were behind me. Turning, I glared at them both. Lupin was now helping a distraught Charlie to her feet.

"The fuck is wrong with you? In the span of 10 minutes you've pissed off two of the people I thought you considered your friends. Carter's right. Don't bother coming to practice you slag. Just go fuck this liar." I gestured to Lupin who seemed taken aback.

"Liar? Liar? I'm a liar?" He said hesitantly.

Obviously, no one had ever told him the bad news.

"Yeah. Your mum isn't even dead is she? You're just trying some sort of voodoo magic on me so I'll become your friend so that you can eventually stab me in the back. Well guess what. It's not working!"

He looked amused. "Voodoo?"

"It's some fucking muggle shit or whatever." He smirked and Charlie did too. "I'm fucking tired you numpties. My brain doesn't function well on tirededness."

"Tirededness?"

I glared. "Fuck off."

I walked away fuming. It wasn't my fault I couldn't quite be mad correctly. It had been a long morning. I sighed as I made my way to my common room. I still had double Defense Against the Dark Arts. With the idiots called the marauders. Well, at least it was with Professor McLaren. Professor McLaren was pretty awesome.

Although she was a woman and the boys didn't think her capable, she completely shocked us our first class by hexing some of the rowdier Gryffindor boys (they shall remain nameless) who were acting up in class. When they had complained to Flitwick, she had charmed the pants off the little man with something I like to call womanly charm. It was hilarious to watch. The little tosser had no idea what happened. He just muttered something about how children will be children and how 16 year old boys always seem to have crazy stories about certain, ahem, female teachers.

We had all been awestruck and all she had done was to continue on in her lecture about nonverbal spells. Yeah, nonverbal spells. A.k.a. the death of me. For the life of me I couldn't quite get it. I murmured them to this day, like most of my classmates, but I was a Ravenclaw. Call me pretentious, but I always seem to figure things out before most anyone in class. And for some reason, even some of the less admirable Ravenclaws had seemed to master the nonverbal spells. They still weren't powerful, but some of them could still do it. It frustrated me.

I sighed. Might as well get to class. I needed to talk to Professor McLaren about some tutoring that might be available for me. I wanted to be an auror after Hogwarts, and I'm pretty sure you need to do well in Defense Against the Dark Arts for that. Standing up from a chair I hadn't realised I had been sitting in, I looked around and saw that I was indeed in the Ravenclaw common room. This had happened before. I became so absorbed in my thoughts that I went on autopilot. Charlie had once said that it looked like I had turned into a living, breathing potato. I had hit her in the arm when she said that.

That was before everything had gone weird and she was overly emotional and unstable and needed someone to care for her. Ugh. Even thinking about the creepy thing that had taken over her body today made me shiver. That was not someone I knew and not someone I would consider a friend. Nope. I liked the old Charlie. The sarcastic, thick-skinned, independent Charlie that would rather shave her head than ask for help.

It's true. I had to disarm her in fourth year before she did something permanent to her hair one day when she didn't understand what we were doing in Transfiguration. Yeah, Charlie wasn't the most logical of girls. Even if she was in Ravenclaw. But I guess she was since she never seemed to have trouble with the passwords. I guess Charlie is just the best example of a Ravenclaw enigma.

I sighed and left the common room, making my way to the DADA class. Perhaps my imaginative brain isn't such an attribute, I thought as I stared out the windows as I walked. Clouds don't really have cute shapes. More inappropriate. I turned to share my thoughts with Charlie and stopped dead when I realised she wasn't beside me, accidentally letting a second year run into me. He glared as he walked past me, rubbing his abnormally large nose. I turned to tell Charlie that he looked like a certain greasy Slytherin sixth year and my face fell as I remembered why I had stopped in the first place.

Wow, I thought. Less than a minute after I leave my common room and I already miss Charlie. One fight and my whole dynamic is screwed up. Damn, I really missed her. I shook my head and quickly got to Defense. Professor McLaren was in her office and I timidly made my way up her stairs. I had learned early on from Carter that startling Professor McLaren was never a good idea. Knocking on her door, she beckoned me in without lifting her head.

"Miss James. What are you doing here?"

"Well, my class is next Professor."

"I am well aware."

I gave a sheepish smile. "Well, I'm having some difficulty with nonverbal spells."

"Again. I am well aware."

I reddened. "Well, I was wondering if you could possible take some time to tutor me every week because–"

"Because you're a Ravenclaw," she ended my sentence for me. "I know how you work. You need to be the best. You strive for perfection." She took off her small spectacles and placed them on her desk. Her brown eyes stared through mine. "I'm sorry, but I don't have time. Ask one of your classmates if it is that important to you."

I nodded and stood up. "Thank you Professor. I'm sorry to disturb you."

She laughed and I stiffened. I had never heard her laugh before. She had always smirked, hardly ever smiled and never laughed in class.

"You haven't disturbed me Miss James. But I'm curious. Why are nonverbal spells so important to you? I don't expect you to be able to do them well for at least another two months."

I hesitated. You seemed to see my brief second of hesitation and gave me a veritable smile.

"Well, um, my mum you see, she was an amazing witch. Well, I think she was. And she always seemed so good at nonverbal spells," I started. "And, well… You know what Professor? I don't want to waste your time on my petty problems, do I?"

I turned and was about to walk out when she stopped me.

"Miss James, I am well aware of your parental situation as well as what happened with you and a certain Hufflepuff boy." I stiffened. "And I just want to make sure you aren't trying to learn these skills to take some sort of revenge."

"Revenge?"

She laughed. "Many girls in my day did the same thing. Had a spat with their boyfriend, a big one or small, and decided to learn nonverbal spells to attack said boyfriend, or ex-boyfriend, and this person's new girlfriend. My friend Mary actually had a boy thinking his eyebrows were changing colours if he even went to the washroom. He tried to hold it in at his cousin's wedding and then made a scene during the reception. Quite fun, Mary was. Died too young she did."

I felt sad as I saw her eyes begin to glisten with tears even though a second beforehand she had been smiling, reminiscing about her friend Mary.

"Well, I assume you know her niece? Mary MacDonald in Gryffindor." I nodded. I knew Mary. Smart, but she was also quite mean when she wanted to be.

"Anyways, I just need to know you aren't trying to seek revenge on the awful Diggory boy." Her eyes glinted with mischief.

I squirmed. "No, just trying to make my mum proud. Ravenclaw shit and what not." I immediately bugged out my eyes and clapped my hands over my mouth.

But instead of telling me off for swearing, Professor McLaren just laughed.

"Class starts in 15 minutes. Get out of my office so I can continue working."

I nodded and left her, jumping down the stairs to see two people in the room. Only two people. And the only two people I didn't want to see.
 


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