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Lunar Phases I: Waning Moon by sinful_sanctuary

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Format: Novel
Chapters: 30
Word Count: 154,410
Status: COMPLETED

Rating: Mature
Warnings: Strong Language, Strong Violence, Scenes of a Sexual Nature, Substance Use or Abuse, Sensitive Topic/Issue/Theme

Genres: Drama, Romance, AU
Characters: Lupin, James, Lily, Sirius, Pettigrew, OC, OtherCanon
Pairings: Remus/OC, James/Lily, OC/OC, Other Pairing

First Published: 09/29/2011
Last Chapter: 11/22/2013
Last Updated: 11/22/2013

Summary:
Banner by innocentluminere @ TDA!
Betaed by Orion Knight (2-21) and broadwaykat (14-?)
AU. Part 1 in the Lunar Phases series.






Myra has always been too curious for her own good. It's about to catch up to her.

The Waning Moon Shall Lead us into the Darkest Night.


Chapter 1: Into the Lake
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Author Note

Here it finally is, Lunar Phases Part 1. Hope you enjoy the first chapter! It and the next two chapters are really a very long prologue, as they are the chapters that explain the events that set in motion this AU story.




Warnings

This is an AU. Maybe not so much in Part 1, but certainly in Part 2, 3 and 4. If you don't like AUs, move on now.




Chapter 1
Into the Lake



Image by bellatrixx @ TDA


It was Friday morning and Myra Kinney woke up to a blurry, odourless and quiet world. She was barely able to breathe, it sounded like her ears were full of cotton and her eyes were runny and full of goo. She tried to sit up, but the effort made her dizzy and made a splitting headache shoot through her head. With a loud groan she fell back into the bed.

"Something wrong, Myra?" she heard a voice say as if from very far away.

Myra tried to answer, but only a hoarse sound came out. The far-away voice grew a head as it appeared inside the curtains around Myra's bed. Myra rubbed her eyes and squinted, trying to see who it was.

"Oh, my," the voice said in concern, "you look awful." The voice sounded more and more like Myra's best friend, Hestia Jones. And sure enough, as she rubbed her eyes again, the light blurb developed somewhat familiar facial features surrounded by dark hair.

Myra tried to clear her throat; it wasn't nice to listen to. But it helped her croak out one word, "Thick," only to crumble in a coughing fit. Every heaving of her chest made her head hurt a million times worse, and she pressed her hands desperately around her head in an effort to make the pain go away.

Once the fit was over, Hestia spoke. "You mean 'sick'." She sat down on the side of the bed and put her wrist to Myra's forehead. "No kidding. You're burning up. But you're thick too; I told you that you should have gone to Madam Pomfrey for a Pepperup last night. However, I expect you'll be kept there for several days now, since you were so stupid and didn't go the moment you came out of the lake." Hestia shook her head as if she was talking to a child.

Myra just glared back, as her ability to speak was minimal.

The glare didn't even faze Hestia. She'd been on the receiving end of them too many times the last four and a half years to care. "Skip classes today, go see Madam Pomfrey. You're too sick to get anything useful done today. I'll take extra good notes, and make sure all your teachers are notified."

Myra nodded sadly. She had her favourite subject today, Care of Magical Creatures, right after lunch. But since that class was the one who had gotten her sick in the first place, maybe there wasn't any point in going today. It was supposed to be an outside lesson, and pneumonia was most likely next if she went outside. It may be just early October, but it was already windy and cold. Still, it would be wonderful to be there for the last lesson on grindylows.

"Cadt I judt sweep do do lund? De kwasses adt dat ibortadt. Ad den go to Cade o' Bagikal Keatud?"[*] This was followed by another coughing fit, thankfully shorter than the last.

Hestia caught herself before she laughed at Myra's words. "No, two hour extra sleep won't help you. And you might create an epidemic if you're let out into the public. You are going to see Madam Pomfrey. And that's final."

Hestia sounded frighteningly like Myra's mother. Another glare was sent in direction of Hestia, and then Myra managed to get out of bed, find some clothes and stumble into the bathroom, all the while her head pounded from the effort.

Doing the morning routine as quickly as she could in the state she was in, she finally got the clothes on and dared herself to look in the mirror. Hestia hadn't been lying; she did look awful. Her shoulder length brown hair looked dry and greasy at the same time. She was ghostly pale, making the feverish flush stand out. Not to mention the bright red nose, the nose that now denied her half the required oxygen amount to function normally.

It would have to do. She couldn't look more presentable until Madam Pomfrey had cured her. By now the rest of Gryffindor house had gone to breakfast, but Hestia was waiting patiently in the common room. Myra couldn't tell if it was out of concern or to make sure she did go to the hospital wing. They went on their way and said goodbye on the third floor. Myra reached the doors to the infirmary, gently opening them and stepping inside.

No one was in sight, so Myra coughed as carefully as she could to avoid another fit.

Madam Pomfrey came bustling out from her office and took in Myra's state with a frown.

"I'b sobby to bobber you so eadly, Badab Pobrey,"[*] Myra said thickly, feeling lightheaded from the effort of pushing the words out after the long trek from Gryffindor Tower. But before she was able to say anything else, she was thankfully being guided towards the nearest bed.

"Nothing to worry about, Miss Kinney," Madam Pomfrey said and shook her head, while firmly making Myra lie down. Myra did, feeling relief when her head hit the pillow, the pounding in it decreasing a bit when she didn't have to hold it up. The matron waved her wand over Myra in a series of intricate patterns, sometimes shooting small red sparks that made her sneeze. "Worse than I thought, Miss Kinney. Not only do you have a terrible head cold, but this has settled in the chest as well. No one has reported in to me about flu symptoms, and the season is not for months yet. How did you manage to get so sick?"

Myra cleared her throat. "Cade o' Bagikal Keatud yedteday, gwindylowd wid de bedpeople. I fedd id."[*] Once again she fell into a coughing fit. Madam Pomfrey summoned a glass of water and a vial of some potion, put some of the potion in to the water and gave it to Myra, who emptied the glass in one gulp. Instantly her throat cleared and the itch was gone.

"You studied grindylows with the merpeople in Care of Magical Creatures yesterday and you fell into the lake?"

Myra nodded. Apparently Madam Pomfrey knew the language of the oxygen deprived.

"I'll have a word with Professor Kettleburn about this; there are just too many accidents in his class. Now, just lie here and I'll fetch some more potions for you."

While Madam Pomfrey was in her storage room, Myra heard the rumble of students downstairs. Breakfast must be finished and they were all on their way to classes. She would have been on her way to Magical Living[1] now, not a favourite class, but it could sometimes be quite interesting.

She sighed at her misfortune as Madam Pomfrey returned with a tray of potions and put them on the bedside table. "Take a small sip from this one first," she said pointing to a murky yellow potion. "It's to clear out your sinuses."

Myra uncorked the bottle and quickly gulped down a tiny amount of the gooey substance. Almost immediately she felt air start to come through her nose again. And with more oxygen her brain felt clearer and the pounding decreased significantly.

"Now, take the Pepperup." The matron pointed at one of the three small vials containing a grey liquid. "Just one, the other two are for later."

As instructed, Myra swallowed the familiar Pepperup potion. Steam started pumping out through her ears. Thankfully not so much, she was still able to see the room, but Myra always felt so strange about it.

"You have a very high temperature, so I need you to stay here the rest of the day and at least until tomorrow evening. You will have to stay longer if your fever hasn't gone down by morning. Now, try to get some rest while the potion works. There's a light Sleeping Draught there too, if you need one. And take a small sip of the Congestion Potion[2] if you feel that you need it, but not more than once every 4 hours."

"Thank you, Madam Pomfrey," Myra said, surprised to hear her voice like normal again, though a bit hoarse.

Madam Pomfrey waved her hand at that. "No matter, no matter. Just make sure you rest. Sleep is a very efficient medicine for a head and chest cold." Then the matron went back into her office.

Instead of brooding about missing Care of Magical Creatures, she decided it would be better to sleep like Madam Pomfrey ordered. Myra took a small sip from the Sleeping Draught, and then rolled over to her right side and closed her eyes. It was a little bit uncomfortable to feel the steam from her right ear blowing directly into the pillow, but before she could think about doing anything about it, she had fallen asleep.

...

It was right before dinner when Myra woke up again. She felt a little disoriented. There was a faint grey fog around her head, but she noticed that her ears had thankfully stopped producing steam. She didn't feel much better than before she fell asleep, her nose was congested again and she felt a bit flushed, but at least her headache was gone.

Rolling over she took in her surroundings. It seemed that no one had been up to see her; there were no school books or class notes on her bedside table. Hestia always made sure Myra got her schoolwork if she was unable to go to class. She'll probably be up after dinner, Myra thought hopefully.

"Ah, you're awake! And just in time for dinner and another dose of Pepperup." It seemed like Madam Pomfrey had a bell in her head signalling when a patient was awake, because Myra hadn't even been up for two minutes before the matron came out from her office bringing along a tray of food. "Take the potion first, and then you can eat."

"I have to eat with all the fog around me?" Myra sat up, pulling her pillows up towards the headboard.

"Do you want to get well or not?" Madam Pomfrey said sternly. "Potion."

Grudgingly, Myra did as she was told, but not before taking a small sip of the Congestion Potion first. Another gush of steam came out of her ears, not as powerful as earlier, but still enough to make Myra not see exactly what she was about to eat.

"Good. Now eat. Just call on me if you need anything." And with that Madam Pomfrey disappeared into her office once again.

In quiet and solitude Myra ate her dinner, the tray floating in front of her. She was trying hard to ignore the tickle in her ears as they produced steam and the occasional shiver that ran through her.

Halfway through the Shepherd's Pie, the hospital wing doors opened and Hestia came through.

"Hi," Myra greeted as Hestia sat down on the empty bed next to hers.

"How are you feeling?" Hestia asked.

"Flushed and tired, but at least I can breathe properly now." She pushed the floating food tray to the foot of the bed, not having much of an appetite. "Did you bring me any notes?"

"I brought notes and your books. I've got Anna's and Ashley's notes too." Hestia reached for the book bag she had brought with her. "I haven't had time to copy them yet though." She pulled out several sheets of parchment, all covered in extensive notes, and her wand. After tapping the wand once to the stack, they doubled in number. One half was put back in the bag and the other was given to Myra. Then she levitated three books out of the bag, putting them on the bedside table. "You're going to have to get the rest of the notes from Henry yourself. I'm not speaking to him unless it involves Quidditch." She was referring to Care of Magical Creatures, one of the classes Myra didn't share with Hestia, Ashley Ainsworth or Anna Carmichael, all fifth year Gryffindors. Myra shared that class with Henry Goldstein, another Gryffindor in her year, but Hestia didn't like him much, at least that's what she kept saying.

"Thanks," Myra said putting the parchment away for later. "At least I'll have something to do now."

"How long is Madam Pomfrey keeping you?"

"At least until tomorrow morning, longer if-" Myra paused, her eyes big in a revelation. "Patrol! I have patrol tonight with Abigail! I have to get out of here!"

"Oh no you don't!" Hestia said and jumped over to Myra's bed and pinned her forcefully to it. "I'll find York and she can get someone to cover for you."

"No, she'll just go on her own and we'll both get in trouble."

"Myra! Stay, I'll find York before practice. If I can't find her, I'll just find Lily, or better yet, Hanson or Ivory."

"Company, Miss Kinney?" Madam Pomfrey's voice came from her office door. "Have you finished your dinner?"

"Some of it, but I don't have any appetite. Besides, I have prefect patrol, I can't stay here!"

"I told her I'd find her partner or the Head Boy or Girl so someone can cover for her," Hestia said quickly.

"Very good, Miss Jones, because you, Miss Kinney, are not going anywhere. It's quite normal to not have any appetite, but it means you're far from fine. I'm going to do another check up now, to see how much work the Pepperups have done." The matron looked pointedly at Hestia.

"I should go find York then, before I have to be at practice," Hestia said. "See you later, feel better!"

"Thanks," Myra mumbled.

As the door closed behind Hestia, Madam Pomfrey began with her diagnostic spells again. The sparks didn't make Myra sneeze this time.

"The Pepperup didn't lower your fever," Madam Pomfrey concluded. "You need a dose of Acon Elixir[3]." With a small flick of the wand a measuring cup and a vial appeared. The right amount was poured into the cup, and given to Myra. "Now rest, no homework today. You need to save your energy."

After shuddering from the awfully sweetened taste of the potion, Myra asked: "I can't even read through my notes?"

Madam Pomfrey shook her head.

"Not even for just Care of Magical Creatures?"

"No, complete rest. Sleep would be preferred. Take the last Pepperup before night, but I'll be back to check on you later."

"Great," Myra muttered to herself.

The Acon Elixir started working, and Myra felt warmer than before. She began sweating slightly, and her eyelids drooped. Lying down to rest her eyes, she quickly fell asleep.

...

The next morning Madam Pomfrey woke Myra a good while before breakfast for more diagnostic spells and Pepperup. Myra felt better, but tired and lazy. And she was convinced it wasn't healthy to wake up this early on a Saturday.

Apparently Myra's fever was still quite high, so she was not allowed to leave come evening. But she was allowed to do homework now, as long as she didn't tire herself out too much.

So Madam Pomfrey fed Myra with a couple more potions and conjured a tray of breakfast. She then left to tend to a patient Myra only now noticed at the far end of the room. Apparently they had come in during the night. There were screens around the bed that had to be spelled with Silencing Charms, because not one sound came from the area as Madam Pomfrey was most likely busy with diagnostics or treatment or just her usual fussing about.

The curiosity in Myra started bubbling, she felt suddenly more awake and was itching to go over and see who was hiding there. It had to be a special case of something, because of the spelled privacy. But she forced herself to stay put and eat her porridge, only glancing at the screens hoping to see something, shadows, spells, anything...

A few minutes later Madam Pomfrey appeared again, pulling the screens shut and waving her wand to make them stay.

"Who's behind there?" Myra couldn't help but ask.

"A patient that needs rest and privacy," Madam Pomfrey answered in a short tone. "Eat up." The woman disappeared into her office.

Myra strained her ears as she slowly lifted spoonful after spoonful of porridge to her mouth, trying to hear anything from behind the screens. But it seemed like they were still charmed into silence. What if the person behind needed something? How would Madam Pomfrey hear the cries for help?

Well, she did seem to have a way of knowing when her patients woke up, so she probably had a way of knowing if they needed her help too.

Once Myra was done eating, she couldn't help herself anymore. She made sure the matron wasn't on her way out of the office and carefully stepped out of bed, slipping her feet into a pair of slippers that materialized on the floor.

As carefully as she could, Myra moved towards the bed, breathing slowly and quietly, stepping lightly, afraid of doing anything that might set off some kind of alarm in Madam Pomfrey's head or wherever she had it.

When she was halfway across the room, she heard the hospital wing doors open. "Myra?"

Myra winced and froze.

"Myra, what are you doing?" It was Hestia.

Putting on an innocent face, Myra turned around. Ashley and Anna were there too. "Nothing important. Just... investigating."

All three girls looked very sceptical.

"What are you investigating?"Ashley asked as they sat down on the bed next to Myra.

Defeated, Myra trudged back to her bed and climbed in. "I was trying to find out who is behind those screens." She pointed at the hidden someone. "They must have been brought in some time during the night and the area has been silenced. I just wanted to see who it was, it's clearly something serious."

"What good would that do?" Hestia asked.

Myra had no answer to that.

"Do you feel any better?" Anna asked.

"Meh," Myra answered, but very glad the subject was changed. "I've been sleeping with the help of a Sleeping Draught, but I'm still tired. Not to mention sticky and sweaty." She made a grimace. "Have you spoken to Marie today, Hestia?" Marie was Myra's little sister, a first year in Hufflepuff. And as Myra's best friend, Hestia was like a big sister to Marie as well.

Hestia cast a Scourgify on Myra before answering. "Yes, I saw her just before we came up here. She wanted me to tell you this, and I quote: 'I hope you feel better. Sorry I can't come see you, but I have too much homework.'"

"Mum would be pleased."

All four girls grinned. Myra and Marie's mother had been in Ravenclaw, and lived by the motto 'study first, responsibilities later'.

"If you want, I can have her come later today, I'm sure Ambrose would escort me into the Hufflepuff common room if I ask nicely," Hestia offered.

"No, that's okay. If she's really studying, we should leave her to it."

"We should go," Ashley then said. "Hestia promised to help us with the Transfiguration essay for Monday."

Anna groaned at being reminded of this.

"I hope you have time to help me too," Myra said. "I'm going to need all the help I can get since I'm stuck here."

"Of course, I'll come by this evening." Hestia said with a smile. The three other girls liked to call her 'our genius', as she always did her homework to the tee, had colour coded schedules for everything, and the inside of her school bag resembled a Ministry approved filing cabinet, rather than an actual bag.

"Thanks."

"Please try to stay in your own bed," Anna said with a playful smile.

"And feel better," Ashley added.

...

The rest of the day went by quite uneventful, not to mention slow, as it often does when you're sick and bedridden. Myra did get some studying done, but found that she would have liked some notes or input from Henry about what they had done in Care of Magical Creatures while she was away. If Hestia or any of the other girls came by, she would have to ask them to fetch Henry for her.

Amazingly enough Myra managed to curb her very curious nature, and left whoever was hidden behind the screens alone. It wasn't easy, but the look Hestia had sent her before the girls had left that morning kept her in place. Madam Pomfrey had gone behind the screens a few times more during the day, hovering potions and bandages and other remedies with her each time. This also helped Myra to stay put, clearly the person behind was badly injured, and her poking about would not help.

One thing had happened to make the day interesting though. Around noon three boys from the year above Myra had tried to enter, Sirius Black, James Potter and Peter Pettigrew, three quarters of the Marauders. Madam Pomfrey had come running out of her office at their noisy arrival and tried to usher them out. They kept saying something about a moon they needed to see, and Madam Pomfrey almost pulled her wand on them. But then they noticed Myra and suddenly they went out the door without a struggle.

Myra frowned at this behaviour. She knew she wasn't the prettiest girl in the school, but certainly she wasn't so revolting as to send three teenage boys running in the opposite direction? There had to be something else about her presence here that made them leave, and the only thing Myra could think of was that it had something to do with whoever was behind the screens. Why else would those three boys come into the hospital wing? If not from some prank that went wrong, then it would have to be to visit someone.

That evening Hestia came to visit again, and this time she had Marie with her.

Marie bounced happily over and sat on the opposite bed. The little Hufflepuff looked very much like her older sister. There was no lie that could convince people they weren't related. The same face shape, same eye colour and eye shape. The only difference was while Myra's hair was a regular shade of brown, Marie's was a pretty golden brown. And of course, one was much shorter than the other.

"How are you?" Marie asked. Hestia nodded in greeting.

"Better, thanks," Myra answered, happy to have someone to talk to, other than the occasional word with Madam Pomfrey. "Finished your studying for the weekend?"

"Merlin, no. I have two essays to finish before Monday," Marie moaned. "Is it normal for first years to get this much work?"

"Yes," Hestia replied. "Your first year is almost the most important one, getting your magic under control and everything. You have a lot to learn."

"I suppose... Still not fun though."

Hestia had no answer to that, since she was quite fond of studying, but Myra sympathized. "It'll get easier in time, even though the workload increases," she offered to her little sister. "And in sixth year you'll get free periods. Oh, how I look forward to the free periods."

"You should use them for studying," Hestia said in a stern voice.

Myra shrugged at that.

"When are you getting out?" Hestia asked then.

Just as Myra was about to answer, the door to the hospital wing opened, but no one came through it. Marie and Hestia followed Myra's gaze just as the door closed again. They all frowned.

"I hope I'm out tomorrow, it depends on my temperature, apparently," Myra answered distractedly. She could hear a strange and very faint shuffling sound.

"What is it?" Hestia wondered.

"You can't hear that?"

"Hear what?"

Marie looked at bit scared at the conversation.

The sound stopped. Myra listened closely for a few seconds, before shrugging. "Hm, guess it was nothing. Probably a rush in my ear from the head cold."

The girls began talking again, mostly giving Marie helpful tips for her homework, until Madam Pomfrey interrupted. "There's just a few minutes left before curfew, don't you think it's time to go back to your houses, Miss Kinney, Miss Jones?"

Hestia checked her pocket watch. "Oh, right. I'll help you with schoolwork tomorrow, Myra. Good night. Let's go, Marie."

"Feel better, Myra," Marie said with a wave, and the two girls left.

"I'll just check your temperature for the evening."

"I'm sure it's gone. It feels gone."

"Yes, well, we'll see about that," Madam Pomfrey said in an I-know-best tone. She waved her wand over Myra, waited for some kind of response, and then huffed. "It's back to normal."

Myra kept from smirking triumphantly. Instead she frowned. If arguing over her fever was this interesting, she definitely needed to get out of here.

"If there is no change in the morning, you're free to go. One last Pepperup and then sleep." The matron held out a bottle, which Myra took, gulped down and handed back. Only a very faint fizzle came out of her ears now.

With a nod of acknowledgement, Madam Pomfrey went over to check on her mystery patient.

Once Myra put her head on the pillow and dimmed the oil lamp beside her bed, she fell quickly into oblivion.

After what felt like only a second later, Myra woke with a start. The hair on her neck stood on end and she looked frantically around for the source of whatever it was that gave her the shivers. She saw nothing, it didn't look like the mystery patient had gone from their sanctuary of screens, but someone, or something, was watching her.

"Who's there?" she called out. "Show yourself, you pale ass."

Nothing. No sound, no movement.

She slowly lay her head down again, mentally telling herself it must all have been a reaction to a dream she didn't remember.

Then the light shuffling sound from earlier came back, and the door opened, then closed a few seconds later.

Myra lit the oil lamp again, took a deep calming breath and closed her eyes.

I'm still asleep, she thought. I'm just dreaming. You can see ghosts. There is nothing like invisible ghosts because you are a witch. So I'm just dreaming. Just dreaming.

...

It was just in time for breakfast the next morning when Myra was let out with strict orders to not do any outrageous activities for three days. She did a quick detour to Gryffindor Tower to shower away the feeling of sickness, and was just on time to meet Marie in the Great Hall for their Sunday breakfast tradition.

Since the two sisters were in different houses, Myra decided already during the first week that term that they would always have breakfast together on Sundays. It would be just the two of them, alternating between the Gryffindor and the Hufflepuff table. They'd stuck to it just fine for a month and a half so far, but now Myra was a bit distracted that day.

"Professor Biggar is such a great teacher, isn't he, Myra?"

Myra vaguely heard someone talking to her, but her mind couldn't process who was talking and what they were saying. She was musing about the mystery patient in the hospital wing and how she hadn't been able to find out who it was or what was wrong with them. And now it was too late. There was no chance that Madam Pomfrey would let her in unless she got deadly sick again. She was also wondering about that strange thing that woke her up in the middle of the night, giving her the shivers.

"Myra!"

This registered in Myra's head, but only because she got a kick in the shin under the table. She snapped out of her thoughts and focused on her sister. "I'm sorry, Marie. What did you say?"

"Don't you think Professor Biggar is a great teacher?"

"I can't say he's my favourite teacher, but he certainly knows his subject well," Myra answered while looking carefully around just in case the professor in question was near. She honestly didn't like Professor Biggar one bit. Myra had always been excellent in Charms, and fairly good in Transfiguration, but she could not get a proper grasp on Defence Against the Dark Arts. None of the four former teachers she'd had in the subject was able to help her enough, but with Professor Biggar she was plain miserable. She could not understand his teaching methods and he certainly didn't understand her when she tried to explain her problems.

Of course, with a new teacher every year, it was bound to get difficult.

"Well, I think he's great," Marie finished, and then went straight into a new subject.

Myra smiled and mentally shook herself free of distracting thoughts. It was Sunday, it was breakfast, and her sister craved attention. There were plenty of other opportunities to get distracted at Hogwarts.



Notes

[*]What Myra is trying to say, in the language of the oxygen deprived:
"Can't I just sleep through to lunch? The classes aren't that important. And then go to Care of Magical Creatures?"
"I'm sorry to bother you so early, Madam Pomfrey."
"Care of Magical Creatures yesterday, grindylows with the merpoeple. I fell in."

[1]The Magical Living class is the wizarding equivalent of Home Economics, one of several new electives I've invented with the help of the lovely people at the HPFF forums.

[2]Congestion Potion is one I've invented myself, a viscous liquid, murky yellow in colour. One small sip clear out the nasal cavities in relation to a head cold, chest cold, influenza, etc.

[3]Acon Elixir (Full name: Pyrexia Acon Elixir) is a potion I've invented myself, it's to reduce fever. Pyrexia is the technical name for fever. There are several kinds of potions to reduce fever, but this one has Aconite as a dominant ingredient, which according to some homeopathic sites say is good for fever. In a non-lethal amount of course :)




Author Notes

A beta or two will look through this soon, I just promised my readers that I'd have this out today, and because I'm an expert in procrastination, I just sent a beta-request a couple of days ago.

I'm not sure when the next chapter will be out, I probably won't have a fixed schedule for this story, as I did with A Wolf's Soul, for those who read that. But 4 chapters are done, and all through November I will be writing on this story for the NaNo. That means I won't post anything in November, but I will write as much as possible. 4 chapters are done now, so I will try to post 1 or 2 more before November. No idea when though.

Please review with any thoughts you have! Cookies for everyone!

Coming: Chapter 2 - A Fertilized Accident
At the top of the stairs Myra stopped. The effort of climbing the stairs had caused the blood to pump furiously through her body. "I don't feel so good," she said quietly, feeling her legs give away under her.


Chapter 2: A Fertilized Accident
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Warnings

This is an AU. Maybe not so much in Part 1, but certainly in Part 2, 3 and 4. If you don't like AUs, move on now.

Some mature sexual themes.




Chapter 2
A Fertilized Accident



Image by bellatrixx @ TDA


One Wednesday Myra had Potions right before lunch. Professor Slughorn had assigned them to work in pairs on a Fertility Potion [4]. Myra had thankfully managed to get Hestia as a partner. Hestia was excellent at Potions, while Myra was not good at all. Sure, her exam average was Acceptable, but she was convinced that someone always spiked her morning pumpkin juice with Felix Felicis before every exam.

Despite their gap in talent, Myra and Hestia always worked well together. Nothing went wrong, at least not anything too disastrous, and it was awfully big of Hestia to risk her own marks in Potions by working as much with Myra as she did. Even though this Fertility Potion was somewhat similar to other potions that were taught up until fifth year, it was fairly easy, even for Myra. So she and Hestia were ahead of most others in the class and were doing the finishing touches. Hestia was measuring salamander blood; it had to be very precise, in millilitre. Myra had just counted seven ashwinder eggs and was about to put them into the cauldron.

"Myra! What are you doing?" Hestia called out, slamming the bottle of salamander blood down on the desk. She was just a bit too late with her warning. Myra's hand opened.

"What?" Myra asked, not understanding why Hestia had yelled. Their cauldron answered by starting to boil furiously. Hestia realised what was about to happen and jumped off her seat and ran to the other side of the classroom. The ashwinder eggs had to be put in last, during the instant cool down, otherwise the eggs would start burning and nasty things could happen.

Myra stared in shock at the cauldron. She knew very well that it shouldn't boil yet. The liquid inside was now so hot and bubbly it was spitting onto the desk. And one second later it reached boiling climax and exploded all over her, covering her in a murky pink liquid.

"Oh my, Miss Kinney, what did you do?" Professor Slughorn hurried over.

"I-I don't know, Professor," Myra stuttered. Then her eyes bulged as her body began its own boiling process. There was tingling, warmth flooded down her body and she felt a furious blush creep up from her toes all the way to her scalp.

"She has to go see Madam Pomfrey," Hestia advised, now coming back to their desk. She sent Myra a look suggesting she had a pretty good idea about what was going on inside Myra's body at the moment.

"Yes yes," the Professor nodded vigorously and turned to the rest of the class, who weren't sure what to do, laugh or stare in horror. "The rest of you will bottle your potions, no matter where you are in the process, and I will grade from that. Then clean up and be dismissed. Do not come near this mess, I will take care of it later. Prefects are in charge while I and Miss Jones escort Miss Kinney to the infirmary."

"Myra?" There was a careful questioning call from the front desk, where Ashley and Anna sat. Myra heard, but it didn't register in her mind. Nothing registered, except for the delightful sensations inside of her.

Hestia threw her own and Myra's book bags over her shoulder, both had amazingly enough been spared from the spill of the potion. Careful not to come near any part of poor Myra that was stained with potion, Professor Slughorn and Hestia guided her out of the classroom, through the dungeon halls and up the stairs to the ground floor.

At the top of the stairs Myra stopped. The effort of climbing the stairs had caused the blood to pump furiously through her body. Her own heartbeat was pounding loudly in her head, arousal vibrating all over her, stronger than anything she'd ever experienced. It became too much. "I don't feel so good," she said quietly, feeling her legs give away under her. Hestia reached her just before she started rolling down the stairs.

...

She felt numb. There was no feeling in her body. No sight, no smell, no feeling. Just faint voices. Many voices. Some close, some further away. But none clear enough to understand or recognize. Her name was mentioned. It was all she could make out. Myra. Myra. Myra.

Feeling started to slowly come back. But that was not a good thing. With feeling, came tingling, in very sensitive parts of her body. It felt very good, but not... right. There was something wrong about it. Or maybe it was something not real. But that obviously didn't matter right now, because it felt too good. And she was feeling too much. Everything sent pleasurable fire across her skin, the clothes she wore, the air on her skin, the hair on her scalp, the sheets below her...

Wait, sheets? Where was she?

No, that doesn't matter. This burning inside is all that matters. She stretched her body to increase the pleasure, moaning as a result.

The moan woke her up fully, and attracted the attention of the people in the room. Myra got all senses back in a rush. She clearly heard someone to the left snicker. There was a bright light from behind her, and stone walls around her. The room smelled clean, but there were also human odours, sweet sweat and warm skin. Someone very close on her right called her name. Slowly Myra turned her head. The motion caused another moan to slip past her lips. The snickering became louder, and someone barked out in laughter.

Myra fixed her eyes on Hestia.

"How are you feeling?" Hestia asked, staring intently into Myra's feverish eyes while sitting down on the chair next to the bed.

"You don't want to know," Myra answered, her voice hoarse. Not hoarse like when she had had the head and chest cold, but hoarse like she was in the middle of intercourse.

Hestia laughed. "You're right, I don't."

Then suddenly Myra noticed that her bed was surrounded by people. She did not enjoy having a lot of people around her while she was going through this. Madam Pomfrey was right next to the bed, doing diagnostics with her wand. The Headmaster, Professor Dumbledore, was standing by the foot of the bed with an amused twinkle in his eyes. Her head of house, Professor McGonagall, stood next to Professor Dumbledore, slightly pale and her lips thin. Professor Slughorn was behind them, looking a little scared and apprehensive. And then on her left were Sirius Black, James Potter and Peter Pettigrew, all with stupid grins on their faces.

"What are you doing here?" Myra managed to ask, a bit mortified that her voice made it sound like she was flirting to save her life. If possible, their grins grew.

"Don't worry, we're not here for you, well, not originally," Sirius said quickly. "We were just passing by and was curious."

As Sirius was talking, Myra looked at him. Why have I never noticed how incredibly handsome he is? He's tall, he's dark, the perfect look for a mysterious brooding man. He is the personification of every woman's dream.

"It's not every day one sees a girl with an overdose of arousal," James said. Myra shifted her attention to him and gasped. Perfect square jaw, gorgeous hazel eyes beautifully framed by a perfect pair of glasses, rugged messy black hair that made it look like he just got out of bed. What I wouldn't do to get him back into that bed...

Someone snickered again and Myra found Peter Pettigrew. He had lovely short blond angelic hair, neatly combed, and it just screamed for a female hand to ruffle it up. He had a round cute face with small sparkly blue eyes. There was an air of innocence and insecurity around him. Myra wanted nothing more than to corrupt him and make him feel like a god.

"An angel," she whispered, still looking Peter up and down.

"Well, she's still under the potion's influence," Madam Pomfrey said, snapping Myra out of her daydreams.

"Really? I wouldn't have guessed," Sirius said. "With that moaning."

"Thank you, Mr Black. Go back to your friend and be quiet, or leave." Madam Pomfrey set her eyes in him.

The boys sent Myra a mischievous smile and before going over to some screens at the far end of the room and disappearing behind them. She looked longingly at the place they disappeared and made to get up.

"Myra! Snap out of it!" Hestia interrupted her actions and pushed her back down to the bed. Just that touch, which would normally hurt slightly, made another moan escape Myra. "Ew!" Hestia squealed and pulled her hand back.

"Will she be alright?" Professor McGonagall asked, now with a light pink tinge to her cheeks.

"Yes, she will be just fine," Madam Pomfrey answered. "She'll probably be oversensitive like this for several hours, but according to Horace's analyzation of the potion and Miss Jones' retelling of the events, Miss Kinney will recover completely and there will be no consequences afterwards."

"That's good, Poppy. I suppose we should all leave Miss Kinney alone now," Professor Dumbledore said calmly. "You too, Mr Black, Mr Pettigrew and Mr Potter." He raised his voice to reach the three boys. "These two patients need calm, and lunch is almost over."

"I'll be back after dinner, with notes from Magical Living," Hestia said as the professors left. "And if you're decent by then, I'll take Marie with me. The word of an accident will be all around the school by now and she'll be worried."

Myra nodded lazily with a glazed look, as she followed Peter, James and Sirius with her eyes on their way out.

"That is so wrong in so many ways," Hestia muttered as she turned to leave.

"Miss Kinney, I will be putting screens up around your bed for some privacy until the worst is over," Madam Pomfrey said and conjured a pair out of thin air.

Myra now had her eyes pinned to the screens across the room. Someone was behind there. And that someone was male, she could feel it, smell it. She had an itch that needed scratching and that person could help her.

Madam Pomfrey saw where Myra was looking and understood the look on her face. With a sharp motion she pulled the screen in front of Myra's face, shutting out the rest of the room. "Don't you even think about it, Miss Kinney. I'm charming them so you can't open them or get out. Is that clear?"

Myra looked at Madam Pomfrey completely defeated. How can she do this to me? Doesn't she understand that the only way to be rid of these feelings is to give into them?

With a roll of her eyes and a slight shake of her head, the matron slipped out of the screens. Myra could see her shadow on the other side waving the wand to shut Myra inside. And then the shadow disappeared.

So there Myra lay alone with her lusty feelings and pumping blood and dirty thoughts. There were no distractions from old professors, paranoid nurses or friends who are girls. This gave Myra the opportunity to really feel what was going on inside her body. Nobody had told her exactly what went wrong with the potion, but some rational part of her brain remembered what the effect was supposed to be, and that it had taken a different direction with her. It was supposed to slightly increase libido, attract the opposite sex by increasing the production of pheromones and get the body ready for fertilization by greatly increasing the chance of conception. But as far as Myra could tell, there were nothing particularly special going on inside her. She was sure she would feel that. Instead her libido was in overdrive, everything turned her on, even the clinic smell of the hospital wing. Not to mention the boy she could sense across the room, it made her almost insane.

Involuntary a moan slipped out of her.

There was some rustling sounds from somewhere in the room, most likely from the mystery bed. Then total silence. Myra had to giggle. She was affecting him. It had to be the hormone that attracted the opposite sex.

Experimentally Myra moaned again while she strained her ears for any sound.

There it was; a choking gurgling this time. That sound made Myra's insides wriggle even more. It was like there were thousands of small pixies sitting under her skin, using her nerves as a harp. Oh Merlin, this is just too much. She turned in her bed to face the bed with the boy in it. She noticed that light was streaming in through the windows behind him, making a shadow of him visible through her and his screens. He was lying down, but seemed to be moving around, as if sleeping restlessly. Myra imagined some other activity that may cause rustling sounds from a bed and the thought made her nearly faint from the lack of blood in her head.

Myra's entire body was high strung, on top of her being furious for not being let out to scratch the itch properly. She was twisting in her sheets, moaning more and more, not knowing what to do with herself. It was tiring her out, and it wasn't long before she fell into a deep sleep, full of quite interesting dreams.

...

Myra woke some time later, she had no idea how long she had slept for. But something was happening outside her screens. The sun was still shining brightly through the windows, so Myra saw someone moving about right outside the white fabric. She was instantly alert, and while she on any normal day would reach for her wand in defence, she now sat up waiting in excitement.

The person outside gave off the same smell and feeling as the male from the mystery bed. He was moving jerkily, head going from side to side, loud sounds of deep breathing. His wand was waving frantically, trying to get through Madam Pomfrey's enchantments. Whenever he tried a spell, he tugged on the screens afterwards, and when it wouldn't budge, he growled angrily.

Myra sat quiet for a few seconds, waiting. But she too became impatient, thinking of what would happen if this person could get through to her. So she stood up with a moan and tried to open the screens. But they wouldn't budge for her either. She realised she didn't know enough spells to try to break through Madam Pomfrey's 'protections', besides; she couldn't see her wand anywhere.

A couple minutes later a faint red glow shone down the place where two parts of the screens were pulled together. Myra held her breath. The person outside reached for the screens, took hold of them, and jerked them open, only to close them again in surprise of his success. Slowly he opened them again, and Myra could finally see who he was.

It was a male, alright. Light golden brown hair, looking exactly as expected from someone just out of bed, it was sticking out all over and falling into honey eyes, framing a gorgeous pale face. A fresh red cut crossed his beautiful features, from his left eye and all the way to his right haw. It made him look dangerous, in a delicious way.

The tall, handsome boy was Remus Lupin, a fellow Gryffindor in the year above Myra and the fourth quarter of the famous Marauders. He stared at her, transfixed, breathing heavily through his nose. He reminded her of an animal that had caught the scent of something. It made Myra's breath come in short. Remus took a few steps towards her, his hands outstretched as if to grab her.

Just as he was about to put his hands on her shoulders, there was a loud bang and he was forced back. Madam Pomfrey stood by her office door, wand pointed at them.

Remus recovered quickly and rushed towards Myra, growling angrily again. He really was behaving like an animal. Madam Pomfrey ran over, waving her wand again and Remus was pushed back. But he still tried to rush back, but now Madam Pomfrey had a strong grip on his arm. While he was busy trying to shake her off, she sent a quick spell towards her office, and then went back to holding Remus back by force. Myra was now so lost in the sensations of the bad potion that she scrambled clumsily forward and had every intention of freeing Remus and then having her way with him. But the matron threw spell after spell to keep them apart.

Just a minute later Professor Dumbledore came through the door. He took in the scene while Madam Pomfrey breathlessly said: "Don't stun Mr Lupin; it will interfere with his recovery!"

Professor Dumbledore nodded and then shouted: "Enough!" He waved his wand and was more successful than Madam Pomfrey. Remus was forced away; feet scraping the floor and arms flailing desperately he glided towards his bed and was flipped over and put down. At the same time Madam Pomfrey was free to cast Impedimenta on Myra and then force her back into the bed.

"What happened, Poppy?" Professor Dumbledore asked, still keeping an eye on Remus.

"Mr Lupin must have woken up and smelled Miss Kinney's overly stimulated hormones. Merlin knows he's always oversensitive to everything the days before and after..." Madam Pomfrey interrupted herself with a quick glance at Myra. She didn't finish the sentence, but it seemed like the Headmaster understood the meaning. "It didn't seem like he knew what he was doing."

"He's still not himself, it appears."

"I can't give him any more sleeping potions and I can't spell him calm, if he is to recover quickly."

Myra drew attention to herself by moaning, not in pleasure this time, but in agony of losing her chance to get release.

"Can you do something with Miss Kinney that might... Shall we say, lessen the appeal?"

Madam Pomfrey thought for a few seconds, brows furrowed. "I suppose I can give her a Sleeping Draught. It might slow her system down enough to make it less appealing, as you put it."

"If you believe that it won't endanger her health, then I do believe you should do it. There's no telling what might happen if Mr Lupin gets enough control of his mind to utilize it properly."

The matron wasted no time, and summoned a bottle of Sleeping Draught from the storage. "I'm sorry for doing this, Miss Kinney," she muttered. "But you'll thank me later." And then she pointed her wand to the bottle, then to Myra's stomach while the vial emptied before their eyes. It took two seconds and Myra fell limp.

...

Myra woke up with only a dull aching in her body. Her eyes felt like sandpaper, her mouth was dry, but she was feeling very good at the same time. As frustrating as it was to be so lusty and not be able to do anything about it, it was a nice feeling to have nonetheless. Though it would have been absolutely wonderful to have Remus Lupin help me get past it, Myra thought as earlier events came back to her.

Voices caught her attention.

"... feel it too. Not so much now, but it was very noticeable earlier." It sounded like James Potter.

Of course it was James. Remus was in the hospital wing too, and the gorgeous boys from earlier was his friends. Myra must have slept for several hours, since them being here had to mean it was past dinner.

"Well, I'm still bloody feeling it, Prongs," Remus said with a hoarse voice. "And bloody smelling it too."

"We can see that," a quiet voice said, almost giggling. Must be Peter.

There was a chuckle too. "That's one of the perks of being what you are then, right, Moony?" Clearly that was Sirius.

"Yeah, nice perk," Remus muttered sarcastically. "You should have seen me earlier. Pomfrey had to get Dumbledore here to keep me away."

Suddenly the screens on Myra's other side opened, the charms must have been dropped when she was dosed into submission. Hestia and Marie stepped through. Little Marie opened her mouth to speak, but Myra waved her hands wildly, signalling for them to be quiet. The boys didn't seem to have noticed the two girls coming in, and Myra wanted to hear more of the conversation. Having a very good suspicion it was about her.

"Oh, stop complaining, Moony," Sirius said. "I would have given a lot to switch places with you during the past few hours. I would gladly have kept her company and given her what she needed."

"Get your mind out of the gutter, Padfoot." Myra could almost hear Remus shake his head in exasperation. "I couldn't have helped her even if I honestly wanted to. Dumbledore himself charmed her screens shut after she fell asleep. Only Madam Pomfrey or Dumbledore could handle the screens. And Myra has been sleeping all day, snoring and moaning."

Myra raised her eyebrows and turned to Hestia. "I snore?" she whispered as quietly as she could. Hestia nodded with an annoyed look. Clearly she snored a lot.

The boys went suddenly quiet. "Myra?" Remus asked. "Are you awake?"

"Uh," Myra answered, her voice sounding husky and seductive still. "I suppose."

"Bloody hell..."

James stepped over and pulled both screens back, Remus and the rest of his friends came into view. Still looking unnaturally good, all of them, Myra thought.

"Hi," Myra waved sheepishly. The aching accelerated slightly as the four boys smiled at her. But thankfully she didn't moan or get a desperate need to jump them. Though that would have been nice, but embarrassment from what she remembered of her behaviour earlier shone through the lust.

"How long have you been awake?" Remus asked, looking almost desperate.

Myra looked at Hestia and Marie. "A couple of minutes perhaps?" They nodded.

Remus seemed to deflate in his bed.

Ignoring the boys, Hestia motioned for Marie to sit down in the chair next to Myra's bed and went to find one for herself.

"How are you feeling?" Marie asked.

"Better," Myra answered shortly. Marie was too young; she didn't need to know everything about this current situation.

"Marie knows why you're here, Myra. I told her you had an accident in Potions, a Fertility Potion gone bad, and that you were attracting boys and wanting very much to be with them because of it."

"Oh," Myra said. "That's what happened, alright. But I'm much better now."

Suddenly Marie giggled and Myra saw her glance at the boys. Looking that way she saw that they were all still staring at her.

"I think you're still attracting boys," Marie said between giggles.

Obviously.

From the looks she was getting, her hormones must still be pretty active. They seemed to be undressing her with their eyes, and devouring her in their minds. Their response was affecting her. Her eyes glazed over and she breathed deeper and deeper.

Marie looked at her sister with a mix of curiosity and childish disgust.

Thankfully Madam Pomfrey came out of her office just then. She quickly surveyed the situation and shut Myra out again by pulling out the screens.

"Clearly you aren't quite ready for exposure," she said sounding amused, something that was unusual for her.

"No!" Myra called out and tried to get out the bed. Hestia quickly stood up and held her down.

"Don't make me chain you to the bed, Miss Kinney." Knowing very well that Madam Pomfrey would do so, Myra relaxed under Hestia's hands. "Stand back, Miss Jones. I need to take Miss Kinney's vitals." The matron waved her wand over Myra's body, sometimes stopping as if she was listening to something, then waving the wand again. This went on for a few minutes. "Well, the bad news is that the potion isn't entirely out of your system yet. The good news is that it will most likely be gone by tonight."

"Most likely?"

"I know this isn't fun, Miss Kinney, but it is your reality at the moment. Are you hungry?"

I'm hungry, alright... Myra opened her mouth to say just that, when Madam Pomfrey realised the double meaning behind her question. "Are you hungry for dinner? Food?"

Myra nodded with a smile. Madam Pomfrey summoned a tray with a steaming bowl of pumpkin soup and a goblet of pumpkin juice. "Thank you." And then Madam Pomfrey disappeared back into her office.

"I'm guessing you won't need the copies of my notes quite yet," Hestia said. "It seems like you got your hands full."

"Notes shmotes." Myra waved her hand between spoonfuls. "Have you done your homework today, Marie?"

"Not yet. I only have a Transfiguration essay for Thursday and some reading in Potions."

"How much reading and how long is the essay?"

"It's a whole chapter on snake parts and their uses in potions. And the essay is a foot long." A light blush crept over Marie's face, and she bent her head and hid behind her brown hair.

Myra smiled affectionately. "Go do your homework. Mum will murder me if I let you fall behind. And I'm ordering you to find Hestia if you need help."

"But don't you need company here?"

"I think I'll do better by riding off this storm alone."

Hestia stifled a chuckle at Myra's choice of words.

"Okay," Marie said and got up to give Myra a hug. "Feel better, big sister."

"I promise, little sister."

After they had gone, Myra took her time with dinner. She was in no hurry, not having any idea about when she would be free from here. One screen was still separating her from Remus and his friends. She could hear them talking, but now it was so low that she couldn't make out the words. Occasionally a bark of laughter or sniggering could be heard. The bark always sent warm sparks throughout her body.

About an hour later Remus sent them on their way, demanding they do homework. Somehow Myra doubted they'd listen to him.

The hospital wing was painfully quiet after that. Myra wanted to know why Remus was there, and she wanted to jump his bones at the same time.

"How are you doing?" he suddenly asked quietly, but loud enough to carry across the room and through the screens covering both of them.

Myra took two deep breaths before answering. "It still hasn't passed, but I think I can control the urge to jump you every two seconds, if that's what you're worried about."

"No no, it's not that." He laughed. "I think I'd be able to shake you off if you tried."

"Great..." she said sarcastically. Just what a woman in heat needed to hear, that a man didn't want her.

"I'm sorry about the way I tried to attack you this morning." This was barely audible, but Myra caught the main meaning.

"Don't worry. I was desperate for you to do it. I still am." Somehow being unable to see each other made it easier to talk about embarrassing things. Normally Myra would never have said something like this without joking.

"I'm still sorry. I don't usually behave like that. I never behave like that." There was a frown in his voice.

"I certainly hope you don't." Myra tried to joke, but she was not sure she was successful, given the silence that followed. "Why didn't any of the other boys go nuts like that?" she asked after a while.

The silence was almost tangible now.

"Remus? Did you fall asleep?" Myra had to ask.

"No no, I'm awake. I just... I don't know how to answer your question."

"What are you hospitalized for then?"

"Not feeling too well," Remus answered quickly.

There were a couple of minutes of awkward silence again, in which Myra had nothing else to do than focus on the aching and pounding in her body again. She could practically feel Remus sitting there just feet away, his aura pulsing out to her. A moan was working its way through her, but she bit down on it and swallowed hard.

"How did you get that cut in your face?" she asked in a thick voice.

"I uh... I had an accident in Care of Magical Creatures a few days back." He sounded short.

"Oh." Myra had apparently crossed some line. Her curiosity tended to do that. "I'm sorry. If you don't want to talk about it, I won't make you."

He didn't answer.

"I'm just trying to distract myself."

Now Remus chuckled. "Too much to handle?"

"Kind of."

The two patients talked for a while longer, darkness had fallen some time ago. Madam Pomfrey came out eventually to check on them before bedtime. Apparently Myra was as good as free of the Fertility Potion, but just to make sure Hogwarts wouldn't have a lusty teenager causing trouble in the middle of the night, she was ordered to stay the night, with protective charms to keep Myra from escaping. Remus was told to stay too, for whatever reason. Madam Pomfrey had cast a Silencing Charms around him when she talked to him. After that the matron ordered them to sleep, turned out the lights and disappeared.

"Can I trust you to stay in your bed tonight?" Remus asked jokingly.

"I'd like to point out that you were the one who couldn't stay in bed. But sure, if you can manage to dampen your gorgeousness," Myra said just as teasingly. The potion must have made her bolder.

There came a breathy sound from Remus at her response, but Myra couldn't tell if it was laughter or something else.

"Goodnight, Remus," Myra said, stifling a yawn.

"Can I just ask you something strange before you sleep?" Remus asked nervously.

"Go ahead."

"Could you not mention anything to anyone about me being here when you are released?"

Myra raised her eyebrows, thankful he could not see her. Then she frowned. "Uhm, sure. May I ask why?"

"I- I was supposed to be somewhere else, and I don't want anyone to know I wasn't there."

"But your friends know you're here."

"Yes, and they are the only ones who should know."

Myra chewed her lip. Questions raced through her. Hestia's voice rang loud in her head, telling her to keep her questions to herself. With great effort, Myra swallowed them down, except one concern. "But Hestia and Marie saw you were here too."

"That's right," Remus muttered.

"I don't think they'll go shouting it from the rooftops," Myra added quickly.

"I suppose not. Could you tell them to not say anything next time you see them? If they already have, I won't be such a big deal, but I'd rather it stay quiet."

Myra frowned. She wished she could have seen his face throughout this conversation, but her screens had been locked. It would have been easier to make the right decision about this strange request. But she liked Remus, and he was a fellow prefect. There had to be a good reason for him asking this of her. "I promise I won't tell anyone about you being here, and I will make sure to tell Hestia and Marie."

"Thank you, Myra. You have no idea how much that means to me."

"No problem. Just don't make me regret it."

"I won't. Goodnight, Myra."

"Goodnight."

...

Early, very early next morning Myra and Remus was woken up by Madam Pomfrey bustling about removing the screens around them both. It wasn't even light outside; only a faint moonlight was visible through the windows.

"Good morning, Mr Lupin, Miss Kinney," she sang. "Mr Lupin, how are you feeling?"

"I feel fine, Madam Pomfrey. Not quite awake, but fine," Remus answered more hoarsely than usual and rubbing sleep out of his eyes.

"No pain anywhere? Aches?"

"Nothing, everything seems fine."

"Then you are free to go as soon as you're ready."

"And me?" Myra asked. "Can I go?"

"I'm going to run some tests on you first to make sure the potion is entirely out of your system, but I can't understand why it shouldn't be out by now."

Thankfully all traces of the potion were gone, and Myra's emotions and mentality were back in her control. She and Remus were brought a fresh set of school uniforms and were able to leave the hospital wing together.

Though they walked in silence down to the Entrance Hall, it didn't feel awkward to Myra. She had expected it to be, given everything that happened yesterday and what had been said between Myra and Remus.

"What do you have after breakfast?" Remus asked as they stepped into the Great Hall. It wasn't even half full, since it was still quite early.

"Defence Against the dark Arts. My worst subject," Myra answered sadly. "You?"

"Potions," he said just as sadly as she. "My worst subject."

"Some advice for you." Myra turned to him and put on her most serious face. "Remember that salamander blood goes in before Ashwinder eggs in a Fertility Potion. And please remember to stay clear of the second desk on the first row from the right in the classroom."

Remus laughed. "I promise, to both!"

"Good. See you later."

"Yeah, see you later."

Myra waved as he found James and sat down with him. She continued down the table, spotting Henry, but before she was out of earshot from the boys she heard James ask Remus: "So, how was your night with the lusty Miss Kinney? Did you two have fun?"

What Remus answered to that, she didn't know, because she had reached Henry, and he bombarded her with questions about what she had been up to. Being a typical boy, he had loads of fun taking the mickey out of her.

The story of Myra's accident had reached the entire school, and as the Great Hall filled, sniggering and giggles and strange glances were thrown Myra's way. She suspected Remus' friends had spread the rumour. She made a mental note to get back at them some time.

The next few days went by in the same fashion. Peeves, the school poltergeist, had a lot of fun floating behind her making nasty noises and singing crude songs of his own invention. Some students went so far as moaning loudly when they saw her. It was quite embarrassing, but a bit funny too, so Myra laughed right along with them, hoping desperately they'd grow tired of it very soon.




Notes

[4]Fertility Potion is a potion I've invented for this story. It takes effects from Strengthening Solution, a simple Love Potion, Calming Draught, Blood-Replenishing Potion and Invigoration Draught. It calms the body and makes the reproductive elements of each sex more susceptible to conception.




Author Notes

Still haven't gotten that beta. Except for the lovely Orion Knight who helps britpick this for me. Apparently the first chapter was British enough :) But I will make a post at the HPFF forums, requesting a beta very soon. It's just a little nerve wrecking, doing it.

I think I will post the third and final prologue/introduction chapter right before I head into NaNo, so you'll have to wait another two weeks or so.

I hope these chapters aren't too long for you guys... This has been my standard length-wise before. I've thought about splitting them up, but it just doesn't feel right. Please let me know if you feel it's too long and I will try my hardest to split the chapters more in the future.

Please review if you have anything to say!

Coming: Chapter 3 - A Bump in the Head
"Miss Kinney, would you come with me, please." "Where to, if I may ask, Professor?" Myra asked as she grabbed her book bag and the toast. "The hospital wing," McGonagall said shortly and began walking. "Your sister has had an accident."


Chapter 3: A Bump in the Head
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Warnings

This is an AU. Maybe not so much in Part 1, but certainly in Part 2, 3 and 4. If you don't like AUs, move on now. This is the last time I give this warning.




Chapter 3
A Bump in the Head



Image by bellatrixx @ TDA


It was full winter at Hogwarts now. The frost that would normally melt as the sun rose in the afternoon, now covered everything all throughout the day. The smell of snow was sharp in the air and the Black Lake was almost completely frozen over. It looked to be the coldest winter in ages. Half of the Care of Magical Creatures classes were held inside. Though some of the greenhouses had heating charms inside, it didn't stop Professor Sprout from dragging her students into the unheated greenhouses as well. Some plants and herbs thrived during the winter season, she'd said, while the students shivered and shook nearly to death from the cold.

And then there was Astronomy, on top of the draughty Astronomy Tower. Why they couldn't put heating charms up there was beyond Myra. To be able to use her telescope correctly, she had to take her gloves off, and after an hour in the cold, her hands were painfully blue and frozen.

On the late evening on the first Thursday in December Myra, Hestia, Anna and Ashley had dressed up in their warmest robes, scarves, hats and mittens and was on their way to just that draughty tower. Halfway there they ran into Remus and Richard Mallard, one of the 7th year Ravenclaw prefects.

"What are you doing out at this time of night dressed like that?" Mallard asked. "It's past curfew."

"I'm sure they have a good excuse," Remus said to calm his fellow prefect down. "I do think you're on your way to an Astronomy lesson, correct?"

"Yes," Myra answered, finding herself a bit surprised that he knew that. They all handed over their hall passes, which were given to all the Astronomy students. Remus barely glanced at Myra's before giving it to the other boy. It stated clearly that Myra Kinney had Astronomy in the Astronomy Tower from 10:30 to 12:30 every Wednesday and Thursday evenings. The same was on the other girls' passes.

"Very well," the Ravenclaw said and gave back the passes.

"I thought you didn't have prefect rounds on Thursdays, Remus," Myra said. "Isn't Lily supposed be partnered with Mallard?"

"I've traded shifts with her," Remus answered. "I'm going away to visit my aunt at the beginning of next week, and that crashed with my regular schedule."

"Okay. Well, you two have a nice round then," she said as they all waved goodbye and parted ways.

"If you break any rules tonight, I will know," Mallard called after them.

"Duly noted," Ashley responded carelessly.

"I'm a prefect too, you know, Mallard," Myra started, turning around, but Hestia took her arm and pulled her away.

Remus mouthed I'm sorry to the girls.

"Paranoid little..." Anna muttered quietly as they rounded the corner and was out of sight.

"I can't wait to see him leave school this summer," Myra muttered. "Lily is the only one that can keep him in line. Even though we draw partners, I think someone fixed the drawing to force her to choose him."

They walked on in silence after that, entering the Astronomy Tower where Professor Sinistra and the other students already were in place.

They were going through the introduction to the subject of constellations related to the Christmas holiday and legends this Thursday. First they had some theory and then they were set to gaze out through their telescopes and document their sightings. While gazing out at the clear night sky, Myra found her mind wandering to the little incident in the hall.

There had been many incidents like that for a few weeks now, running into Remus, outside of doing prefect duties and in the common room. Usually she wouldn't even have put much thought into it if they happened to be in the same place and the same time. But after their shared time in the hospital wing it seemed like he was everywhere, and if she didn't know any better, she'd say he was stalking her. A reasonable explanation was that they now knew each other on a slightly different level other than just house mates and colleagues, thanks to the Fertility Potion, and so she was just more aware of him.

It was the same with new brooms. Say a friend bought the new Cleansweep, you got familiar with that broom, and suddenly it seems like everyone has the same broom. But you just know the broom on another level and notice it more.

It wasn't more than greetings and waves when Myra ran into Remus, or the occasional chat that he engaged, but she thought it was nice. And thankfully the story of the Fertility Potion accident had grown old, because during the first week after that Remus' friends always sniggered if they were around when the two ran into each other.

A cold wind blew through the tower and drew Myra back to her task with a shudder.

"Something on your mind?" Hestia asked quietly on her right.

Looking over, Myra saw that her friend had her chart just about finished.

"Just distracted myself a bit."

"Right," Hestia said, a slight smirk on her lips for some reason.

...

On the next Monday Myra was on her way to lunch after an awful Potions lesson. She didn't blow anything up or poison anyone, but she had melted a hole in her cauldron, causing the unfinished Draught of Peace to leak all over her desk, ruining her notes and staining her book. Slughorn wasn't impressed, to say the least. And before Potions, she'd had Herbology. They'd had that lesson in one of the uncharmed greenhouses and Myra had forgotten her scarf and hat in the dorm. Thinking the day couldn't get any worse, Myra sat down with Hestia for lunch.

Just as Myra had helped herself to toast and cheese, Professor McGonagall came up behind her. "Miss Kinney, would you come with me, please."

The two girls looked at each other, both racking their brains to think of what Myra could have done wrong. Surely a hole in a cauldron wasn't so serious, it happened to everyone at one point. Besides, it was Myra's own cauldron, and she was planning on getting a new one by owl order later that day.

"Where to, if I may ask, Professor?" Myra asked as she grabbed her book bag and the toast.

"The hospital wing," McGonagall said shortly and began walking.

Myra shrugged worriedly at Hestia's questioning look.

"What's wrong, Professor?" Myra had to ask when they reached the staircases. "Is someone hurt?"

"Your sister has had an accident."

"What?" she blurted out, stopping dead in the middle of the stairs.

McGonagall walked on for a few steps before she realised Myra wasn't following. The professor turned to look at her student. "Your sister had an accident in Flying Class just now. Madam Sprout just notified me and I know nothing else. Let's not jump to conclusions before we see your sister."

"Right," Myra said and blinked. That sounded reasonable, and they went rushing on their way, reaching the hospital wing shortly.

At once Myra saw Marie lying on the bed closest to the door. She had a few small cuts and bruises on her face. Her eyes were peacefully closed and she was breathing calmly. Myra sat down on the chair next to the bed just as Madam Pomfrey came in with a tray full of potions. Professor Sprout stood by the foot of the bed next to a pale Madam Hooch.

"What happened?" Myra asked.

No one answered. Madam Pomfrey began waving her wand, first at one potion, then at Marie's stomach. The liquid in the vial emptied slowly. This was repeated on the next potion as well. There were so many of them that Myra lost count after seven.

"She has a grade 1 concussion [5]," Madam Pomfrey informed when she was done. "At the moment she is unconscious, but she should come back to us any minute now."

Myra nodded, feeling some shock and lots of worry. Her gaze fell upon the flying teacher, and Madam Hooch began to explain what had happened.

They had the lesson on the Quidditch pitch because of the heating charms that were already there. They were flying an obstacle course, winding between poles to practice emergency turns. It seemed that Marie had made a turn too quickly and had flown right into one of the poles. Her broom broke and she plummeted to the ground and hit her head on the frozen ground, the rest of the broom falling right into her face.

"Has anyone owled our parents?" Myra asked, taking hold of Marie's limp hand.

"I just did," Madam Pomfrey said. "But I advised them from coming, it would only cause more stress. Miss Kinney will be perfectly fine in the morning, as long as she rests and keep calm and sleep properly tonight. I have potions to take care of all that, so she will be fine."

At that moment Marie whimpered. Madam Pomfrey immediately put down the tray of empty vials and waved her wand over Marie's head. There were a few wiggly waves of grey light that went white within seconds. Madam Pomfrey smiled, so the white light was obviously a good sign. Marie chose that moment to open her eyes.

"W-where am I?" she croaked.

"You're in the hospital wing, you had an accident on your broom," the matron explained calmly. "How do you feel? Do you feel pain anywhere?"

Marie blinked slowly. "Head," she whispered. Then she slowly turned and looked around the room through squinted eyes. "Hospital wing. Why?"

"Focus, Miss Kinney." Madam Pomfrey gently turned Marie's head around again. "You have a headache? Anything else?"

"Bit queasy." Then she closed her eyes. "So bright, room spinning. Where am I?"

Madam Pomfrey nodded instead of answering, as if this was good news. She turned to Myra and the professors. "She has a few symptoms of post-traumatic amnesia, which is perfectly normal for a grade 1 concussion. The potions I gave her should take effect in a couple of minutes and she'll be feeling better quickly after that. But I want to keep her over night, in case of complications. Not that I expect any."

"I'll leave then," Sprout said. "Let me know if anything changes, Poppy." Professors Sprout and McGonagall left, followed by Madam Hooch.

"Can I stay?" Myra asked.

"You can stay through lunch, but I will not have you skipping classes. She's not that ill."

"Of course, Madam Pomfrey. Thank you."

The matron did a few more tests with her wand and then left, with strict orders to keep things calm.

"Do not scare me like this again, Marie," Myra said and leaned her head on the bedside.

The potions were working now, so Marie became clearer. "Sorry. That one pole caught me by surprise."

"Don't apologize. It's not your fault." Myra looked up at her little sister now, still holding her hand. "You'll go back on the broom, right? This hasn't scared you away from flying?"

"No no no! Are you mental? I love flying! Ever since Hestia showed me her Beater tricks two years ago."

"Good. Just be more careful, flying takes practice. Remember it took me four years before I felt safe enough?"

Marie nodded against her pillow. Myra hadn't flown at all before school. She's had her share of accidents during the flying lessons in first year, nothing as serious as Marie's concussion, but there had been need for Madam Pomfrey's expertise more times than they could count. So all through second, third and fourth year Myra always took time to borrow a school broom and fly a couple of hours each week. She was determined to master flying.

"You're a very good flyer now, Myra," Marie complimented.

Myra smiled warmly. "I should get going," she said. "Hestia will be worried, and I should fill her in before class."

"Okay. Are you coming back later?"

"Of course, I'll be here as soon as I've had a quick dinner. Now you rest and get better, that's an order."

"Yes, mum."

Myra bent down and gave Marie a kiss on the forehead. "See you later."

...

Transfiguration went by in a blur. Professor McGonagall gave Myra a few stern looks, but never said anything about her student's lack of attention. No matter how much Myra loved History of Magic, she couldn't focus there either. But Professor Binns never paid attention to anything going on in his class.

Eventually they were dismissed for the day and Myra hurried off to dinner, a long way ahead of her friends. All the way thinking and hoping her parents hadn't come. Mum will fuss about her and dad will just be standing there looking like all the world's troubles are on his shoulders. They won't do Marie any good worrying like that.

Having finished dinner in record time and only giving one word answers to her friends' attempt at pulling her into conversation, she rushed straight to the hospital wing. She had decided to spend the rest of the day there, so she brought all her homework, and wouldn't budge if Madam Pomfrey decided Marie would get more rest without Myra there.

Marie was asleep when Myra entered, so she sat down in the chair next to the bed, put her feet up on the side of the bed and started on a Potions essay. Then she finished a Wizarding Culture Studies [6] essay for the next day, read up on Defence Against the Dark Arts, Charms and Divination, and took the time to write a short letter home. Marie dozed through it all.

One time during the late evening Hestia came, cold and dirty from Quidditch practice.

"How is she?" Hestia whispered.

"Fine. She's slept the entire time I've been here. Madam Pomfrey said she gave her a very mild Sleeping Draught to keep her calm, but her body is making her sleep so she can recover fully," Myra whispered back, before muttering a drying spell on the letter.

"Are you coming back to the common room yet?"

"What time is it?"

"Eight."

"I'll be there in thirty, give you enough time to shower off that filth." Myra pursed her lips in a joking manner.

Hestia grimaced at her for a second. "Give Marie my best if she wakes up before you leave."

"Will do."

But Marie didn't wake up. It worried Myra a bit, so right before she left she knocked on Madam Pomfrey's door.

"Anything on your mind, Miss Kinney?" the matron asked, looking up from a stack of patient parchments.

"I was just wondering if it's really normal for Marie to sleep so much?"

"It's nothing to worry about. It's her magic that has interacted with the Sleeping Draught I used to calm her, and it is closing her down so it can heal her properly. It's just her magic working within her. I'm going to wake her up in a short while to take her vitals, and then dose her again. If you want I can wake her now."

"No no, if it's really better for her to be asleep, then let her sleep. I was just about to go now anyway, before curfew."

"Okay, Miss Kinney. Your sister will be awake and fully recovered in the morning." Madam Pomfrey smiled warmly, and for a split second Myra actually wished her parents had come, they would be fussing about too much, but their presence would have been comforting.

"I'll be here before breakfast to pick her up then."

"I'm sure she'll appreciate that. Good night, Miss Kinney."

"Good night, Madam Pomfrey."

Myra left, after taking one last look at Marie. Instead of going straight to Gryffindor Tower, she took a detour to the Owlery to send the letter home with her owl, Meadow. Just as Meadow had taken flight, there was a loud wail in the distance, a horrible wail of pain and misery, making every hair on Myra's body stand on end.

The ghosts in the Shrieking Shack. Myra's greatest fear.

As quickly as she could, she rushed down the Owlery stairs, holding hard on the railing in fear of slipping on the icy steps. She reached the castle doors and the wailing quieted a bit. There was a breath of relief, and Myra hurried up to Gryffindor Tower.

...

Next morning Myra got up before her dorm mates. Hestia was talking gibberish in her sleep, Ashley was tossing, turning and grunting as if she was unable to truly snore, while Anna was snoring like a troll. Myra quietly washed, dressed and packed her bag. As stealthily as she could, she sneaked out of the dorm, down and through the empty common room and out through the portrait of the Fat Lady.

The castle was incredibly cold so early in the morning; most of the torches weren't even lit yet. Myra pulled her cloak tighter around her body and pulled the gold and scarlet scarf further up in front of her mouth and close to her ears. Finally reaching the hospital wing doors, she entered just as quietly as she left Gryffindor tower.

Madam Pomfrey was running towards her office, her wand waving furiously, Myra could hear something move around in there.

"Good morning, Madam Pomfrey," Myra said, standing still for a moment, a bit taken aback by the matron's busy manner.

"Morning, Miss Kinney. I'm sorry, but I have a critical patient. I've checked your sister and she is ready to go once she wakes up." And then Madam Pomfrey went into her office, and came out again in a second, carrying bandages and being followed by floating potions and salves.

Myra shed her scarf, letting the warmth of the ward creep into her as she walked over to a sleeping Marie, keeping a close eye on the place where Madam Pomfrey had disappeared behind screens. Once again there was a mystery patient here, and Myra felt her curiosity grow, along with some worry for the poor person clearly in a dire condition.

Sitting down slowly Myra forced her gaze to her sister instead. Marie stirred. She let out a tired moan, but just flipped from her side to her back.

"Hey, Marie," Myra whispered insistently, laying a hand on her sister's shoulder. "Time to wake, breakfast is soon."

Marie moaned again. Myra shook her shoulder lightly. Now Marie opened her eyes.

"Early," Marie whispered hoarsely.

"You're getting out now, and breakfast is soon. You need to get ready." Myra pointed to the uniform and robe lying on the bedside table.

At the mention of getting out, Marie perked up and rubbed sleep out of her eyes. "Alright, I'll change."

Myra stood up and pulled a screen around Marie's bed so she could change in peace. As she waited she saw Madam Pomfrey rush back and forth between the bed behind the screens further into the room and a table nearby that was full of medicinal remedies.

Who was this person that had gotten so injured in the night? Myra figured it had to be an injury or several, because of the bandages and some of the salves she recognized. No one got injured during the night at Hogwarts.

Gazing thoughtfully at the bed she couldn't see, she had a flashback to the last time she had been in here and Remus had been the one hidden behind screens, receiving lots of secret treatment. Something told Myra that he was behind there again.

Without her noticing, her feet had slowly walked her closer towards the mystery patient, but suddenly Marie spoke behind her: "I'm done, Myra."

Myra turned around and saw her sister in full black and yellow Hufflepuff uniform. With a smile she walked over, grabbed her bag and guided her sister out, making a mental note to sneak back in during lunch.

...

Sneaking back into the hospital wing didn't really pose a problem in itself, Myra was sure she could somehow get past Madam Pomfrey's protectiveness. But getting by Hestia was another story. That girl had to be a part-time Legilimens, Myra was sure of it.

After gazing thoughtfully at Myra for several long minutes, Hestia eventually took Myra's arm and leaned in close. "What are you thinking now?" She sounded frighteningly like Myra's mother.

"Nothing," Myra hissed under her breath.

"I know that look, you've got something planned, and it's most likely something not worth doing."

"What's that supposed to mean?"

"It means that your curiosity has once again gotten the better of you. Do I need to remind you what happened the last time you gave in to it?"

Myra opened her mouth to protest, but Hestia continued: "You got a crazy head cold and were stuck in the hospital wing for several days."

Myra swore something incoherently for a few seconds. "Fine," she relented. "Someone was up in the hospital wing when I got Marie, and they were terribly injured. I had a feeling it might be Remus, so I want to go see if it is."

"And now I need to ask the necessary questions: What makes you think it's Remus? And what good does it do him or whoever is up there that you figure out who they are?" Hestia bore her eyes into Myra's.

"Just a feeling I have, or had," Myra explained. "The person just gave off the same vibe that I got from Remus when I was up there for the Fertility Potion accident. And I just want to see. Pomfrey ran like crazy back and forth with bandages and potions and Merlin knows what else. Isn't it my responsibility as a prefect to make sure the students are okay?"

"In one way, yes. But Madam Pomfrey is a certified healer, and I'm sure this person's head of house has been notified. It's out of your hands."

"But... But..." Myra stuttered, and then her eyes hardened. "I'm going to see if it's Remus, and nothing you can say will make me change my mind."

"So you just want to see Remus then?" Suddenly Hestia got a playful spark in her eyes.

"Merlin's beard. I'm not even going to dignify that with an answer." Myra turned away from her best friend and went on to finish her lunch.

"Well, then I'm going with you."

Myra smiled fondly. No matter what she did, no matter what silly idea she got, no matter how many rules she broke, and no matter how wrong Hestia felt that it was, she always stuck by Myra. Mostly it was in an attempt to keep her out of trouble, but Myra had a feeling Hestia had a very repressed bad girl streak.

"If you wish."

Myra finished her lunch quickly, but without hurry so as to not attract the attention of the rest of her friends. She grabbed her book bag and stood up to leave, telling Ashley and Anna she just needed something from the dorm. And, as if on cue, Hestia copied her and they left.

On the way to the infirmary they were stopped by the Head Girl, Carly Hanson.

"Myra! Thank Merlin I found you," the older girl breathed.

"What's up, Carly?" Myra tried hard to remain calm, not at all needing to have prefect duties come in the way right now.

"Do you think you can cover Remus' shift with Tara tonight? Scratch that, I need you to cover Remus' shift with Tara tonight."

"Why? I have Gobstones club tonight."

"He went to visit his aunt again yesterday; apparently she's taken a turn for the worse. I had Lily originally covering for him, but she's been invited to some event Professor Slughorn has thrown together and he refused to let her out of it. Then Lowell was doing it but he had an accident in Herbology today, and everyone else is either missing in action or busy with something more important."

Myra sighed in defeat. "Fine, I'll do it. But what about the meeting today, everyone's just going to miss it?"

"Oh thank you, thank you, thank you! Most will be at the meeting, but they're unable to cover for Remus."

"Okay then. I'll talk to Tara at the meeting."

"You're a saint, Myra." And with that Carly ran off.

"It can't be Remus up there then," Hestia said when Carly was out of earshot.

"Still, I want to see," Myra said dismissively and walked on with renewed speed.

Reaching the hospital wing, they stopped, and Myra opened the door an inch and peeked through. When no one was in sight, she opened the door wider and stuck her head in. Quickly assessing the scene in front of her, Myra saw that Lowell Llewellyn occupied a bed, just as Carly had hinted at. Other than that there was only one more occupied bed, at the far end of the room, where Madam Pomfrey had been tending to someone earlier. There were screens around the bed, as expected. Madam Pomfrey was nowhere in sight, and Myra hoped with all her heart that she was very busy with lunch in her office.

Myra withdrew her head. "Coast is clear," she whispered, and then opened the door wide enough for just her and Hestia to squeeze through.

They tiptoed through the room, Hestia muttering under her breath all the way. Arriving at the screens, Myra pulled them apart and was both shocked and unsurprised at what was revealed. Hestia gasped, clasping her hand over her mouth.

In the bed was Remus. Full of scratches on his face and upper body, a bandage wrapped around his chest, and one naked foot full of a brown salve. He was either sleeping or unconscious.

"What happened to him?" Hestia whispered in horror.

"I don't know, he wasn't in such a bad condition when I saw him here last month," Myra whispered back.

"He came in this morning?" It seemed like Hestia had forgotten all about the wrong in being there.

"It was only Marie in here when I left last night, and when I came in this morning Pomfrey was treating him."

"What on earth could harm him this much during the night?"

"I don't know." Myra was thoughtful. Through her excited haze from the bad Fertility Potion last month, she did notice he had some fresh wounds. Did he have a vicious pet or something?

"Do you think Slytherins did this?" Hestia asked.

"I wouldn't put it past them. We'd be informed if someone or something dangerous was in the castle, right?"

"Right, for our own safety." Hestia nodded.

"Right."

Myra found herself staring transfixed at Remus, trying to make sense of what she was seeing. But there was just no explanation that made sense.

"I don't understand," she whispered barely audible. "I just..."

Just then Remus made a whimper of a sound and there was a bang from Madam Pomfrey's office. Both girls flipped around.

"Let's get out of here," Hestia said, coming to her senses. She moved to leave, but Myra stood still. "Come on, Myra," Hestia hissed and pulled on her friend's arm forcefully.

"But..."

"Come on!"

Hestia pulled Myra with her across the room and through the door. Just as it closed behind them, they heard the office door open and close.

...

Throughout the rest of the classes that day Myra's mind was busy. She was awfully worried about what had happened to Remus. She'd wanted to ask his friends, but Hestia had begged and begged and begged with her all the way down from the hospital wing that she keep it quiet. They had snuck into the infirmary, they had seen behind screens that were obviously up for a reason, and last time they had had contact with Remus in the hospital wing he had made them promise not to tell anyone about it. Hestia being the proper girl she was, decided that they should still heed the promise, and keep shut, no matter how suspect the situation was.

Myra had some sense of reason, and did what Hestia said, even though Ashley asked repeatedly all through Wizarding Culture Studies what was on Myra's mind.

By the end of dinner Myra was no closer to an explanation for Remus' condition. It could not be a vicious pet or a madman in the castle. If it had been a madman or any of the Slytherins, she was certain they would have been told, or heard something on the grapevine. Remus had just been unlucky in something, and with great difficulty Myra put the entire thing behind her and went to the monthly prefect meeting, which, unsurprisingly, Remus didn't attend.

Thankfully the Head Boy and Head Girl had enough issues to review, so Myra was occupied with taking it all in and planning her next patrol.

"As a final note, we need to start patrolling more in the halls around the kitchens," Head Boy Timothy Ivory said, gazing out at his group of prefects. "It's slightly warmer there now in the winter, and it seems the late night dawdlers has found out and have started gathering there after hours."

"How much more patrolling are you thinking?" Ambrose Longstaff asked. He was Myra's fellow fifth year prefect for Gryffindor.

"Not too much," Head Girl Carly answered. "We don't want them to think we're on to them or they'll move to another place. Just go by there a couple more times when you're in the area, and look a bit closer than you would normally do. If you notice any trends worth looking into, please report it to us as usual."

"Meeting adjourned," Timothy said and began gathering his parchments.

"Tara!" Myra called out as all the prefects began leaving.

The older Hufflepuff turned around at the sound of her name.

"Apparently I'm doing Remus' shift with you this evening."

"Oh good! I was beginning to think I would have to do it alone."

"No problem, it seems I have no life," Myra joked.

Tara laughed. "I appreciate your lack of a life. See you in the Entrance Hall at 8:45 then?"

"See you then," Myra confirmed with a smile, and then hurried off to try and get some homework done before duty would call.

...

Tara was a fun girl. She liked to talk, and she did everything she could to engage you in the conversation, even if that meant talking about something she was not interested in. Myra was completely distracted all through the patrol, and went to bed that night wishing she could have been paired with Tara instead of Abigail York. But the rule was that fifth years always patrolled with other fifth years. Hopefully Myra could be paired with Tara during one of next year's terms.

Tara's happy and talkative person drove anything that had to do with Remus and the mysterious attack on him. Myra didn't think twice about it the next day or the next. Hestia didn't mention anything either, probably thinking it wise considering Myra's tendency to sometimes get her nose in too deep into things that weren't her business.

But come lunch on Friday, and Myra noticed that Remus had appeared again. Mostly because he and his three friends were only a few seats away and Lily Evans had come in and joined her friend Mary MacDonald who sat next to Remus.

James' volume increased significantly when Lily came, and they began their usual banter.

"Will those two ever quit?" MacDonald asked no one in particular.

"Probably not," Remus answered.

Myra discreetly turned her head in their direction to see the interaction, just in time to notice that MacDonald blushed at Remus' small smile.

"Lily and I are working together on that Potions project we were assigned today. I should have thought twice about where I chose to sit today, and then we wouldn't have had to listen to them."

Remus nodded at that. Myra thought the girl rambled.

"How's your aunt, Remus?" she suddenly asked.

"My aunt?" He looked puzzled.

"You went to visit her this week, she had fallen ill?" MacDonald suddenly looked nervous.

Myra sharpened her ears now.

"Oh right," Remus remembered. "She's doing okay. I may have to go back soon, she can be gone at anytime, and I'm real close to her so I'd like to see her as much as I can before it's too late."

"That's so sweet of you!" MacDonald exclaimed sweetly, sickeningly so according to Myra.

I've never really liked that girl, Myra thought, before the torch lighted up in her head. Remus lied to MacDonald, Myra had seen with her own eyes that he had been in the hospital wing and not in any condition to go far away from the castle to visit anyone, unless it was to see a Healer at St. Mungo's. Unless Madam Pomfrey is his aunt, that is. No, she can't be. We would have heard about it.

Why would Remus lie like that? Was he embarrassed to have been attacked?

Someone punched Myra's arm hard. "Earth to Myra!" It was Hestia.

Myra snapped her head around to her friend. "Sorry. What?"

"Where in the world were you just now? I've been trying to get your attention for ages."

"Oh, I was just thinking."

"And what in Merlin's name did you think about?" Ashley asked. "It's not like you to be so far gone."

"It was nothing important. What did you want, Hestia?"

Hestia looked at Myra for a few seconds. Then she blinked and answered. "I was just wondering about our History of Magic homework for Monday. But I can ask you about it later in the common room."




Notes

[5] I researched concussions, so the symptoms and all that should be correct. But since I'm no doctor and my first language is Norwegian (I researched in English), I apologize if something isn't completely correct.

[6] Wizarding Culture Studies is a class I've thought up, with the help of the kind folk at the HPFF forums.




Author Notes

Thanks to Orion Knight for betaing this for me!

Sorry this took a week longer than planned to get out. There's just been so much going on in RL. But things should be calming down a bit from now on.

The "introduction/prologue" is done. There will be no more posting in November, because, as you've probably heard before, I'm participating in NaNo with this story, so I'll be focusing on that. I'm very behind schedule right now, about 7600 words behind schedule. Sigh. I'll try to catch up. So, expect chapter 4 at the beginning of December.

Please review if you want virtual cookies :)

Coming: Chapter 4 – Investigation
"Aren't you going to the feast?" Remus asked, as the last one out. "I just have to find something in my bag first," Myra lied and pretended to rummage through her bag for something. "I'll get there." Remus made a sound of agreement and went out the door. Myra glanced up and waited a few seconds before tiptoeing to the door to close it quietly.


Chapter 4: Investigation
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Chapter 4
Investigation



Image by tina.loves @ TDA


It was a very cold December morning. The four fifth year Gryffindor girls armed themselves to the teeth with all the warm clothes they managed to put on, and braved the cold and walked down to Hogsmeade.

It was time for Christmas shopping; Myra even had to do the shopping for Marie. Ashley, Hestia, Anna and Myra went into every shop, even the Quidditch shop, though that was mostly for Hestia's sake. A few hours later the girls carried at least fifty bags between them when they entered The Three Broomsticks, finding a table by the door. There were hardly any other tables available, as everyone had sought escape from the biting cold.

Madam Rosmerta looked disapprovingly at all the bags when she came to take the girls' orders; they took up too much floor space in her opinion.

"Four Butterbeers," Hestia requested and the barmaid went to fetch their drinks.

"I feel broke," Anna complained.

"I feel cold," Myra joined in.

"Thank Merlin there's only Christmas once a year," Ashley said, shaking her coin purse. It was depressingly silent.

They were quiet for a few minutes as they tried to rub heat back into their hands and cheeks. Thankfully Madam Rosmerta came quickly with the Butterbeers. All four witches held gingerly around the heated mugs, sipping and letting the deliciously warm liquid defrost their throats.

"How are things going with Lowell Llewellyn, Ashley?" Anna asked. "I saw you talking with him yesterday."

"Oh, it's the same old," Ashley answered depressingly. "Apparently he's on a date today with that Hufflepuff he's been talking to a lot lately."

"Abigail York," Myra offered. Llewellyn and York were both fifth year prefects, she had firsthand knowledge.

"Right, that one."

"I've always thought she was a hag," Anna commented.

Ashley smiled appreciatively.

"She has been going out with a lot of boys though," Myra added. "I think Lowell's her sixth since start of term."

"I'm sure it won't last long," Hestia said. "But you have got to make your move soon if you really want him."

"I know. And I will. I happen to know he does like me." Ashley smiled widely. "In what way and how much, I don't know yet. But I intend to find out."

Myra gazed out the window while the girls continued talking; exchanging ideas for what Ashley could do with Lowell. The scenery outside was beautiful; the falling snow, the frosted trees, Christmas decorations in the streets and shop windows. The Shrieking Shack in the distance, looking even more ghostly in the white surroundings. Myra quickly focused on something else in the landscape, the Shrieking Shack had always terrified her. Every time they walked on the path to Hogsmeade, with the Shack right there on the side in distance, she rushed past. The yowling and screaming and pure terror that radiated from it was enough to almost petrify Myra.

"You're awfully quiet today," Hestia commented, with a light push in Myra's side.

Myra smiled apologetically. "I've been listening, don't worry. I think you should go for The-Mistletoe-Ambush plan, Ashley."

"Is everything alright?" Hestia asked more quietly while the two other girls started chatting again.

"Yes, yes, everything's fine," Myra answered. "I was just enjoying the view."

Hestia automatically turned to look outside, and to Myra's horror Remus came into view, closely followed by his friends.

"That is not what I was looking at!" she exclaimed. This caught Anna and Ashley's attention too, and they both looked at Myra, then out the window and back again. "I-I was looking at the snow and the trees and the Shrieking Shack."

Hestia burst out laughing. Myra's desperate denial made it a whole lot funnier.

"What's so funny?" Ashley asked.

"Myra said she was enjoying the view, and then they walked by," Hestia managed to say between giggles, pointing to the wizards outside.

The two other girls began laughing as well. And then to Myra's even greater horror, the boys entered The Three Broomsticks, bringing with them a rush of cold through the open door. The sound of the laughing girls caught their attention, and Myra felt herself blush furiously.

Upon seeing her, Remus came over. "Hello! What's so funny?"

"Nothing," Myra said quickly. "Absolutely nothing."

Ashley was about to speak, but Myra kicked her hard under the table, causing the blond witch to yell out in pain. Myra turned the nastiest glare she could conjure at all her friends, demanding them to stay quiet.

"Come on, Moony, I'm thirsty," James said, tugging on Remus' robes. Sirius, James and Peter waited behind Remus.

"I'm coming, you see if you can find a table," he said to his friends, who went on without him. "Hey, thanks for covering for me on Tuesday. I was visiting my aunt again."

"No problem," Myra said slowly.

"I heard you missed Gobstones."

"Yeah, but it was no problem," she said just as slowly. "No tournaments in the near future, not that I'd want to compete anyway."

"Moony, our Butterbeers are here." Peter had come.

"Right. See you later then, Myra, girls." He smiled to Myra, and then to the rest.

Once he had left, Myra furrowed her brows. He kept the lie going.

"Why the curious expression?" Ashley asked.

"Nothing," Myra responded quietly, almost in a whisper. "Nothing. I don't know. Something doesn't add up."

"What doesn't add up?" Anna wanted to know. When Myra didn't answer, she continued. "Something about Remus?"

The mention of his name brought Myra mentally back to the table. Quickly she glanced at Hestia, and in that quick flash, seeing that her best friend knew what she was thinking about. "I don't know," was all Myra said. She opened her mouth to speak a couple of times, but ended up just gesturing her hands at them to forget it and continue where they left off.

Hestia and Myra shared one more meaningful look and then both joined the conversation, which was still about Lowell and Ashley.

A while later the Marauders left, Remus gave Myra a little wave as they walked by. Myra smiled in return and then followed him with her eyes all the way out and up the street through the window, until he disappeared behind a turn.

"Is it just me, or is there something brewing between Remus and Myra?" Anna stated more than asked.

Myra snapped her head to her friend, Hestia and Ashley too looked questioningly towards Anna. "It's just you," Myra retorted, a bit too short.

Anna raised her eyebrows. "Think about it; has he really paid much attention to Myra, or any of us for that matter, before? Now he comes over, and isn't interested in talking to any of us," her hand encompassed herself and Hestia and Ashley, "and the wave when he left seemed much focused on Myra. And your behaviour since he came in..."

Myra laughed lightly. "He thanked me for covering for him on a patrol he missed. And if you mistake my behaviour now for infatuation, you really ought to see Madam Pomfrey."

Hestia and Ashley looked back and forth between the two girls, as if watching a match between two Chasers.

"Then why so focused on him?"

"Oh, that's for very different reasons than you think."

"Like what?"

"I don't know yet. And I'm not sure I should tell anyone if I knew."

"As long as you're sure you don't fancy him?" Anna sounded hopeful.

"I'm sure," Myra finalized calmly.

"Okay." Anna accepted that. "Not so sure about him though," she added quietly.

"To slightly change the subject; I had an interesting conversation with Ambrose before patrol last night." A secretive smile settled on Myra's lips.

At once Anna perked up considerably. She enjoyed gossip and possible intrigues, but was thankfully never mean about it, at least when it concerned people she cared about.

"He asked me all sorts of questions about you, Hestia."

"What?" Hestia exclaimed. "Why?"

"It seems that young Mr Longstaff has quite the soft spot for you." Myra watched her friend carefully, gauging her reaction.

"Ambrose is cute," Ashley muttered dreamily.

"If you like that posh, snobbish, groomed look of a stereotypical pure-blood," Hestia protested.

"You're a pure-blood."

Ignoring the comments, Myra elaborated. "He asked if you were seeing anyone, or if you have your eye on anyone. He was subtle about it, but his agenda was still very obvious."

Hestia looked mortified.

Myra continued heartlessly. "He also wanted to know what you favourite flower was, your favourite colour, favourite Quidditch team."

"He must be blind, or deaf, if he doesn't know yet that it's Puddlemere United," Ashley interjected.

"That's what I told him."

"Did you tell him? All my favourites?" If there had been a hole in the floor, Hestia wouldn't have hesitated to jump into it.

"Of course. I couldn't exactly lie, could I? He'd find out eventually anyway." Myra was thoroughly amused by the situation.

Hestia dropped her head to the table, bumping into her Butterbeer in the process and spilling a few drops.

"There are worse wizards that could fancy you," Myra tried to console, but couldn't quite hide the amusement from her voice.

"Yeah, like Henry." Hestia's voice was muffled by the table top.

"But he flirts with everything that moves and has breasts," Ashley muttered. Their fellow fifth year, Henry, was known to be a flirt, ever since third year. But the worst part was that he really was a very nice guy, making him very dangerous in the right situation.

"Don't worry, Hestia," Ashley said. "It may not be as bad as you think."

Slowly Hestia raised her head, and the expression on her face told her that she felt that that was the biggest lie Ashley had ever told, or would ever tell.

...

In Herbology on Monday morning Hestia found herself standing next to Ambrose, while working with poinsettias. Myra saw her casting Ambrose furtive looks from time to time. It was very amusing, but also a bit sad that Hestia was so mortified by his interest in her.

Ashley and Anna noticed Hestia's behaviour too; they shared a look with Myra, all three seemed to be thinking the same thing.

During the rest of classes that day, Potions, Transfiguration and History of Magic, Hestia did everything she could to avoid Ambrose. She waited at the back of the classroom to see where he would sit, then take the desk furthest away. She dragged Myra off on an alternate route if it looked like they would come close to him in the halls.

When dinner came, Myra led the girls to the first available seats next to Henry. And he happened to sit across from Ambrose. Hestia looked horrified at the seating arrangements and waved a 'see you later' and went in search of another vacancy.

"What's her problem?" Henry asked the girls. "I've seen her acting strange all day."

The girls looked between them; they couldn't really say anything with Ambrose within earshot.

"She's just being a bit difficult about something," Ashley eventually said.

"I'll tell you later," Myra mouthed to him, without the others noticing. She had discussed this topic with Henry before, when he too had come to her to enquire about Hestia's interests. Knowing Henry was a flirt and a tease, Myra had convinced him to not go after Hestia like that. Since they had joined Care of Magical Creatures in third year as the only Gryffindors, they had become good friends and he had never betrayed her trust, so she knew he wouldn't this time either.

Henry nodded and left it at that.

Tuesday started very much in the same fashion as Monday, as far as Hestia's behaviour went. She sat far away from Ambrose at breakfast and forcefully pulled Myra to the other side of the Defence Against the Dark Arts classroom, first lesson of the day. Myra cast Hestia an ugly glare at the way she was being handled, but sat down obediently anyway.

"You're being ridiculous, Hestia," Myra whispered, aligning her textbook perfectly to the edge of the desk.

"What do you mean?" The other girl turned her head slowly and seemingly innocently in Myra's direction.

"The way you go out of your way to avoid Ambrose."

"I don't want him to be interested in me."

"It can't be that bad. Besides, he isn't going to do anything about it. He said he'd fancied you for a while, and no one knew before he told me. The way he acted... I doubt he'll make a move anytime soon."

"For a while? You didn't say that on Saturday!"

"Sh," Myra hissed at Hestia's sounded outburst.

"Yes, silence!" Professor Biggar suddenly said from the front of the classroom. "Last time we learned the theory of the Blind-Fold Spell. Today we will begin practising it. Start with the person you're sitting next to, alternating between casting the spell on each other, and when I say so, mix among yourselves to try with a different partner. No need to move your desks today."

Hestia and Myra turned toward each other. "You first," Myra said, not feeling too confident about this spell, the theory had seemed awfully complicated.

"Right then." Hestia closed her eyes for a couple of seconds, concentrating, and then pointed her wand at her best friend. "Obscuro."

The world around Myra took on a faint blurriness, and there was a noticeable lack in saturation. It lasted only for 3 seconds, before the world was right again.

"It's gone. It was blurry and it was less bright. No complete blindness."

Hestia nodded. She focused and tried again. "Obscuro."

Myra blinked and squinted. Suddenly having poor eyesight was very disturbing. "Improvement, but it just feels like I need glasses."

Hestia tried a few more times before Myra was completely blind. She blinked furiously in an attempt to see again and felt around her head at the feeling of an actual blindfold, but everything was gone and there was nothing on her head.

"Your turn now," Hestia said, and added with an afterthought: "Finite incantatem."

Myra found her concentration and cast the spell.

"Nothing," Hestia informed.

Myra growled and tried again, still nothing. Four tries later and Professor Biggar told them to change partners, the one closest to the windows stepped one desk backwards. Myra remained standing, frustrated about not working the spell, while Hestia moved back to Michael Baddock's desk and Anna came up to hers.

"Trouble?" Anna asked upon seeing Myra's expression.

"I couldn't make it work," Myra answered through gritted teeth. She nearly always had trouble in Defence Against the Dark Arts, and this year was worse because she just didn't get along with Professor Biggar's teaching methods.

"You go first then," Anna offered.

Myra took a deep breath to collect herself before casting Obscuro on her friend.

After another handful of tries Myra only managed to make Anna's eyesight blurry.

She gave up and Anna practiced on Myra a few times before they had to change partners again. Myra now practiced with Regulus Black, and with the same dismal results.

After what seemed like a lifetime of being cast very blind by a Slytherin, Professor Biggar finally dismissed the class and ordered them to have the Blind-Fold Spell mastered by next lesson, which was just two days away.

Myra muttered obscenities under her breath, much to her friends' amusement, and didn't shut her mouth until they reached the Charms classroom.

The rest of the day went by smoothly, except for the workload Myra had for homework, due to the spell she couldn't master. So it wasn't until Care of Magical Creatures before lunch on Thursday that Myra had the chance to explain Hestia's behaviour to Henry as she promised. Hestia had always been around whenever Henry and Myra were in the same room, so there hadn't really been any opportunity for them to talk.

"So what was it that was going on with Hestia on Monday?" he asked quietly while they were supposed to be researching Fire Crabs. It was cold outside, so the lesson was held inside doing theory. "And on Tuesday, come to think of it. And yesterday and today."

Myra was surprised he asked, she didn't think he'd be that interested to find out, making him still wondering after all those days. "Ambrose fancies her," Myra said simply, browsing through her books. "And she doesn't like it."

"Ambrose? That freak?"

The two boys may be in the same year, and the same house, but neither of them was good friends with each other or their three dorm mates. Henry kept the company of a few wizards in the years above and below him, while Ambrose was a loner by choice. He wasn't friendless; he just seemed to prefer his own company. Being and acting like a proper pure-blood, and at the same time being a Gryffindor had to make you a little bit strange. Well, that's what Myra had always thought, and according to Henry, Ambrose was known as The Freak among his dorm mates.

"Yes, that freak. He sort of interrogated me last week, almost like you did when you set your eyes on Hestia."

"Hmm, good times," was Henry's response. He didn't say anything for a long while. Myra continued looking through her books and making the occasional note, but Henry hadn't even opened any of his books yet. "Well, he's in for some hard work."

"Yeah, I suppose." Myra glanced at Henry. He had said that a bit too brightly for her to believe his carefree tone. "You won't let anyone know I told you?"

"Of course not, I promise."

"Good. Now open that book and start working."

Professor Kettleburn was looking out over his class, and Myra didn't want to be caught talking instead of working. With a playful glare, Henry took to the books and did what was expected of him.

...

The next day the last day of classes before the Christmas holidays arrived. The atmosphere around the school was very light even as early as seven thirty in the morning, when Myra went down to breakfast. More people than usual were up already, probably hoping that the earlier they could start the day, the earlier they could finish it. The last Christmas decorations had gone up, so beautiful they were almost mocking to the students that chose to go home for the holidays. Nothing could quite compare to the magic at Hogwarts.

As Myra walked down between the Gryffindor and Hufflepuff tables she noticed that not only was her slightly lazy sister up, but even all four Marauders were up. She raised an eyebrow to herself in wonder at what the world was coming to.

"Good morning, Myra," came the warm voice of Remus when she was just a few steps away.

"Morning, boys," she replied. Remus' three friends looked up at this, and muttered tired greetings back. Myra had to smile at that.

Just as she was about to walk on, Remus spoke up: "Why don't you sit here?"

Frowning mentally she accepted. "Sure," she said and sat down next to James and Peter, opposite of Remus and Sirius, immediately helping herself to food.

"Last night with patrol for you with Abigail tonight," Remus said.

"Last night? It isn't." Myra frowned openly now. "Doesn't fifth year prefects have to stick together all three terms?"

"I didn't last year. I was paired with Pritchard the first term, then Hansson second term, and Diggory third term," Remus explained. "I'm guessing it's the same rules this year."

"I desperately hope you're right," Myra sighed into her Pumpkin Juice. Then she looked around, and continued in a lower voice: "Abigail is nice and all, but I'm getting very tired of hearing all about her 'adventures'."

"She's with Marshall Erskine now, by the way," James informed.

"She was going out with Lowell Llewellyn only last Saturday!" Myra exclaimed.

"Well, she's obviously dumped him then."

"Who is Marshall Erskine?" Myra asked as an afterthought.

"Ravenclaw Seeker," James replied, suddenly more awake. "You have to know who that is! It's Quidditch!"

"Yes, well, forgive me, but I haven't really memorized the players except for Gryffindor's."

"Oh, the abomination," James slapped his right hand to his heart and looked mortified.

Peter grabbed James' shoulder in mock horror. "Don't die on us, Jamie!"

Sirius and Remus laughed, Myra couldn't help smiling either. But a sudden hand slamming down on her shoulder made her squeal in fright and turn around so quickly a cracking sound could be heard in her neck.

"Oh, Myra, there you are. Thank Merlin," Hestia said breathlessly, with something desperate in her eyes. "Can I sit here?" She glanced at the boys.

"Of course," Sirius said.

Hestia let out a great sigh of relief and sunk down on the seat next to Myra.

"What's gotten you riled up so early in the morning?" Myra asked her best friend.

"Anna and Ashley sat down there." She pointed up the table, where the two girls did sit, not far away from Ambrose.

"Oh," Myra said in realisation.

"What?" Sirius asked.

"Nothing," Hestia answered. "Why are you sitting here?" she then whispered as quietly as she could to Myra.

Myra only shrugged. "He asked," she whispered back.

"Did he really?" Hestia murmured, with a flash of something in her eyes.

Myra frowned at that, but didn't enquire into what Hestia really meant by that and turned her attention to the boys again. As she met Remus' eyes across the table it looked like he had heard the whispered exchange between her and Hestia. The other boys seemed quite oblivious, even when their attention was on the girls.

Once again Myra frowned mentally, but was distracted as James on her left suddenly mentioned something about Quidditch, to which Hestia on her right responded, and then the two were off on a discussion of tactics for the next season.

...

Thanks to breakfast that morning Myra was back to thinking of the mystery that was Remus Lupin and how he had lied so easily to Mary MacDonald about visiting his aunt early in December, and how Myra had to cover his patrol one evening. She wondered if he had missed any more patrols or meetings in the past, maybe there was a pattern. She honestly had to admit that she couldn't remember if he'd been there for all the prefect meetings this year. And she certainly hadn't been asked to cover any patrols, for him or anyone else.

Straight after the last class there was an end-of-term prefect meeting, and a plan had formed in Myra's head on the way there. The meeting wasn't long, since it was mainly dealing with the arrangement of the patrolling for the prefects that were staying during the holidays and those who would be patrolling on the Hogwarts Express, but Myra was impatient. The curious part of her was almost having withdrawals.

"Good, then that's settled," Timothy Ivory declared as the schedule for Christmas was set, and he did some final notes on the parchment.

"Now, we'll set the new schedule for the second term," Carly Hanson announced. "It's the tradition and you'll be picking names from the same cauldron as you did at the start of this term. And remember, it's been charmed with an anti-cheating charm, so no funny business." Carly waved her wand and conjured the see-through cauldron in question, already filled with pieces of parchment.

Myra raised her hand.

"Yes, Myra?"

"Are we fifth years changing around as well? And not just with other fifth years?"

"Yes, anyone can be paired next term."

Myra nodded and fixed her eyes on a spot on the wall, as she could almost imagine Abigail York's eyes on her.

"Any other questions before we begin?"

No one said anything.

"Right then." Carly began walking down one length of the table, stopping by each person and having them draw a name, while Timothy wrote down the results. Alan Diggory went first, followed by Holly Parkinson, who drew Abigail, then Ambrose drew, and then it was Myra's turn.

Carly lowered the cauldron and Myra put her hand in. She gently let her fingers mix the notes before she took hold of one and pulled it up. She opened it and read out loud: "Remus Lupin." Automatically her eyes found Remus on the other side of the table and he smiled. Myra smiled back.

Once half the table had drawn their partner, Timothy stood up with all the parchments from the meeting in his hands. "Anyone object to their new partner?"

There were some shuffling sounds, but no one spoke up.

"Good. The actual schedule will be posted here on Monday morning first day back. And yes," he raised his hand to the mouths that snapped open in protest, "we will take your extracurricular activities into consideration. See you next year," Timothy finished and closed the meeting.

That was when Myra started her little plan. She took a long time in getting her things together, she regretted not having spread out more parchments and quills and junk.

"Aren't you going to the feast?" Remus asked, as the last one out.

"I just have to find something in my bag first," Myra lied and pretended to rummage through her bag for something. "I'll get there."

Remus made a sound of agreement and went out the door. Myra glanced up and waited a few seconds before tiptoeing to the door to close it quietly.

The prefects and the Head Boy and Head Girl had their own room, kind of like the staffroom for the professors. Closing the door automatically activated privacy charms so none of the other students could listen in to meetings and hear things to help them break the school rules. The door also recognized the prefects and Head Boy and Girl, so no one else except them and the teachers could enter. In the middle of the room there was an oval table with twenty six chairs around it. Along one wall there were huge windows looking out on the Quidditch pitch, and underneath them was a table with tea and biscuits that never emptied and were always kept fresh. One wall had paintings of various historical witches and wizards. And the last two walls were covered with filing cabinets, containing schedules and records and meeting reports from years and years back.

The content of these filing cabinets were exactly what Myra was looking for.

When she was sure that the door was properly closed and no one was coming back, she went over the cabinet that was labelled '1950 to 2000'. Inside was one drawer for each decade, and she found the one for 1970 to 1980. Flipping through the separators, she found 'School year 1976-1977'.

Myra sat down by the oval table and opened the folder. The patrolling schedule for the first term that year was pretty straight forward, it stated clearly who was supposed to patrol each day, there was a check box by each name to be checked if they were absent, a box for a possible replacement and another box for the reason the prefect was unable to perform their duty.

Myra saw her own name written down next to Remus' on December 7th, the reason given for his absence was visiting a sick relative.

She flipped backwards; he missed his patrol on November 9th as well. Lily had covered for him then. And that was it. He hadn't missed any more patrols. But he had missed the prefect meeting on December 7th, the attendance roll didn't mention his name, she knew that, but it was the same day that she had had to cover for him. Myra couldn't find anything that explained why people didn't attend meetings.

So he wasn't any more absent than any other prefect really, or was he?

Maybe there was something from his fifth year.

Myra took out that folder too and flipped through it. He had missed October 22nd, November 19th, March 16th and April 14th. The only meeting he had missed was the end-of-term meeting in December.

Myra pushed the folders ahead of her and put her elbows on the table, thinking. Even though Remus hadn't really missed that many patrols or meetings, he was the only one with that many remarks next to his name. No one else had been reported to be gone as much.

She sighed. He was a mystery, that wizard.

Myra wasn't any closer to an answer to what was up with Remus, but she had learned that there definitely was something.

She had to discuss this with Hestia.

Hestia. The feast! She was late!

As quickly and thoroughly as she could Myra put the folders back into the drawers and closed the cabinet. She rushed out the door and ran through the castle to the Entrance Hall. Once there she stopped right in front of the doors and took a few seconds to catch her breath. Then she carefully opened the doors just wide enough to squeeze through and walked as casually as she could over to the Gryffindor table in search for Hestia and the other girls. Dumbledore had finished his usual Christmas speech, and the food had just arrived.

"Sorry," Ashley said as Myra reached them. "We didn't know you'd be late so we didn't save a seat."

"What kept you?" Hestia asked.

Myra leaned closer and whispered so no one else could hear. "I had some investigation to do. I'll fill you in later."

Hestia looked closely at her, trying to read her mind, but she wasn't really a Legilimens, so it didn't work.

"I'll see if I can find another seat, see you guys later." Myra straightened up and looked up and down the table.

"Hey, Myra!" Someone called for her almost up by the staff table.

She walked over to Remus when she spotted an available space next to him.

"Hi, I saved a seat for you when I saw how crowded it was and you said you get here later, so..."

"Thank you," Myra said and immediately sat down and helped herself to turkey and stuffing.

"Didn't think you'd be this long," Remus commented. "Did you have to go to Hogsmeade to buy what you couldn't find in your bag?"

Myra laughed a little. "No, I, uh, just distracted myself."

"That can easily happen."

"Yeah." Myra nodded.

"So, we're partners next term," Remus said casually.

"Yeah, I suppose we are. It'll be good," Myra answered. "I expect you to have common sense."

"Oh, I do," he replied, smiling broadly.

"Perfect, then we'll get along just fine." Myra smiled playfully before devoting her attention to the delicious turkey on her plate.




Author Notes

Thanks to Orion Knight for betaing and britpicking this for me! She's fast and she's wonderful!

NaNoWriMo is over now and I won! I managed 50.078 words. It looked dark for a while, but I managed to catch up the last week, and especially the last day, with about 9.700 words. Not bad for having moved out of my parents house, looking for a job, entertaining friends, and having to make all my own food and do the dishes afterwards. Anyway, lots of wonderful story is written, it's technically 3 chapters, but the way the story wrote itself, I can split them into 6-7 chapters! Yay! So regular updates should be expected now, 2-3 weeks between each chapter.

By the way, chapters 1, 2 and 3 now have chapter images! Go to my profile to see them, I will have chapter images made for each third chapter, 3 chapter images is the most you can request at TDA.

Please review if you want virtual cookies :)

Coming: Chapter 5 – Christmas and Rumours (title under consideration)
"Can I charm the baubles this year?" Marie asked as she picked up a box of baubles for the Christmas tree, some from each generation Kinney, and some from generations of Chelsie's Muggle heritage with the name Heaton. "You could," Chelsie said from the kitchen. "If you've covered basic sonar alterations in Charms and oscillation theory Transfiguration." "Show off," Robert muttered, having just put the last of the fairy lights on the transfigured spruce. "Oh oh oh!" Myra exclaimed. "I learned about oscillation last year, and we've done sonar alterations already in Charms this year! I can do it!"


Chapter 5: Christmas and Rumours
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Chapter 5
Christmas and Rumours



Image by tina.loves @ TDA


The next morning dawned cold and crisp. It was by far the coldest day yet that winter. Even though Myra had her warmest winter cloak on, over her warmest trousers and warmest sweater, with her warmest Gryffindor scarf, she had still shivered when she had hauled her trunk and Meadow's cage out of the portrait hole and down to the Entrance Hall at ten. The lack of sleep may have contributed greatly to the shivering. The previous night had been busy, with and end-of-term prefect meeting, end-of-term feast and then patrol, which had been busy because it was officially a holiday, lots of house points lost and lots of students furious at the prefects. So she had been packing late into the night. It was all her own fault of course, for waiting until the last day.

She was now standing on the platform at Hogsmeade Station petting her owl, Meadow, through the bars of the cage. The brown owl was hooting appreciatively. Hestia, Marie, and Marie's friend Juliana Thistlewood, were standing next to her, with their own luggage. The train wasn't ready for boarding yet, so they were watching the other students chatting, trying to keep warm in the insane cold. There was a fog of frost smoke around all the students, and it only increased the more they breathed or talked.

Even though Myra really was a spring person, loving the green grass and the colours of the flowers that just couldn't wait for summer, the temperature and the fact that everything came back to life during that time, she could appreciate a nice winter landscape. Because of the cold that had just been increasing the last week, ending in a high, or low depending on how you looked at it, that day, the world was a spectacular sight.

Myra looked around her, amazed at how much beauty there could be in a world painted in a million shades of only one colour. There was a thick white blanket on the ground. The station house used to be dark blue, but the frost made it light blue. In the far distance the Forbidden Forest was covered in frost, the naked branches and the fir trees greyish. Even the Shrieking Shack looked fit to be in a Christmas card.

Looking backwards to see the sparkle of the iced lake, Myra instead saw Remus looking in her direction, his friends around him busy talking and gesturing wildly. He smiled broadly when their eyes met, and to Myra's surprise her heart skipped a beat. Instead of smiling back, she turned around so he wouldn't see the frown that crossed her face.

"What's wrong?" Hestia asked upon seeing Myra's suddenly gloomy expression.

The frown deepened. "I... I don't know. Nothing, I suppose."

Suddenly someone poked Myra in the back. She jumped and spun around while reaching for her wand. Before she could unsheathe it properly, she saw Remus standing there. He gestured backwards slightly with his head and took a few steps back, away from Hestia and Marie. Myra followed.

"Everything alright?" he asked tentatively.

"Bit cold, but otherwise I'm fine. Why?" Myra was slightly confused at his attention to her wellbeing.

"It just looked like you... I don't know." He hesitated, a hint of a blush on his cheeks. "Like you're mad at me or something. If you don't want to be my prefect partner next term, I'll talk to Carly and Timothy and make them reassign us."

Myra blushed now, and looked at her feet, hoping he couldn't see her rosy cheeks. She thought she'd been subtle with that frown. The more she got to know Remus the more bloody observant he appeared to be.

Hoping the blush could be mistaken for frostbite Myra raised her head and looked him in the eyes. "My frown?" He nodded. "I wasn't aware I was frowning. I just remembered something when I looked back there," she lied easily.

"So you're okay with us patrolling together?"

"Yes, yes, of course!" Myra promised. "Though I'd be happy with almost anyone after Abigail." A split second after she said that she cringed, and looked quickly around, in case Abigail or any of her friends were close by. She couldn't see anyone. Then she cringed mentally as her last sentence replayed in her head. "I mean, not that you're just anyone, it's just-"

Remus raised his hands and waved them slightly to stop her from even starting to ramble. "It's okay, I understood what you meant."

Myra let out a huge sigh, and only now took in his surprising attire; just a rather thin looking winter cloak, no scarf or hat or anything else. "Aren't you cold?" she asked.

"What?" He looked confused for a second. "Oh, no. I've always been a quite warm person."

Myra nodded, thinking it a bit strange; it was insanely cold that day, she could even feel the insides of her nose freeze if she took too deep of a breath.

The train whistle sounded, cutting through the chatter of students and hooting owls. "All aboard!" the conductor called out.

"Guess it's time to go," Myra said.

"Yeah. Uh, happy Christmas," Remus said and completely surprised Myra by hugging her.

She recovered quickly from her shock and hugged him back. The surprisingly nice feeling of his strong arms around her made her stomach flutter lightly, reminding her of the skipping heart just minutes ago. He held on just a little bit longer than normal, before they pulled apart.

"Happy Christmas," Myra replied with a smile. Then they both walked back to their respective friends, parting with a smile and a wave.

As Myra looked into Hestia's face she was met by a raised eyebrow.

"Let's get on," Myra said, ignoring her friend, not even slightly curious about what Hestia was thinking. "Can you manage your trunk alone, Marie?"

The young witch nodded as she lifted the trunk off the ground with a great heave. Hestia, Myra, Marie and Juliana scrambled onto the train, the two young Hufflepuffs going off in one direction while the fifth year Gryffindor girls found an empty compartment. They were soon joined by Ashley and Anna, and waited for the long ride home.

...

"Mum! Dad!" Marie called out the moment she saw Chelsie and Robert Kinney in the crowd of parents and bounded off to them.

"Nice, Marie! Leave me with both trunks and a bird cage!" Myra called after her little sister, as she took hold of Marie's trunk and very slowly made her way over to her family.

"Myra! Here." Robert smiled at his oldest daughter's struggles, pulled out his wand and the trunks flew out of her grasp and stopped gracefully at his feet, leaving Myra with only Meadow's cage.

"Thanks, dad. Your youngest, the little brat, has no manners."

Marie stuck her tongue out from under Chelsie's embrace.

"Hi, mum," Myra greeted, ignoring her sister and hugging her mother. Robert joined in and the four Kinneys were locked in a group hug.

Myra revelled in the feel of her family around her. She loved her friends and the life at Hogwarts dearly, but she just didn't see her parents enough. It helped now that Marie was at Hogwarts too, but nothing and no one could make you feel as safe and loved as your mother and father. Coming home was always a good thing. Except when you realised your parents had aged a little while you were away. Every time Myra came home there was a new line in her mother's beautiful face, another grey hair in her father's dark blond hair.

"Ready to go home?" Chelsie asked a few moments later.

"Yes," Marie squealed. "I want to make a snowman!"

"It's late, sweetheart, and it's dark. You can make a snowman tomorrow."

"Robert, Chelsie," a bright voice sounded from behind.

"Ah, Margaret," Robert greeted Hestia's mother, Margaret Jones, who had come up with Hestia, levitating her daughter's trunk.

"Isn't Nicholas with you today?" Chelsie asked.

"He's busy at St. Mungo's. Apparently a couple of neighbours have been after each other for a while and today they got a bit too creative with their wards and ended up sending each other to the hospital." Mrs Jones shook her head in exasperation. "He Floo-called just before I came here, and said they're struggling with reversing the spell damage. He'll most likely be there all night, so it'll just be us girls tonight, Hestia." Mrs Jones put an arm around Hestia's shoulders.

"That sounds nice," Chelsie smiled. "Are you going away for Christmas or staying home?"

"We're just staying home. But I believe the entire family is coming over," Mrs Jones answered.

"Well, you're all very welcome to come over some day comif you want."

"Thank you; we might do that if I can get Nicholas to stay away from work for more than two seconds."

"Maybe we should head home now?" Robert said. "I bet the girls are hungry and tired."

Marie nodded fervently.

"We should too," Mrs Jones said. "Have a nice Christmas!"

"You too!"

Mrs Jones waved her wand at Hestia's trunk and it vanished. Then she tightened the grip around her daughter's shoulders and with a loud pop they were gone.

"Come on, girls." Chelsie took command. She did what Mrs Jones had done and vanished Marie and Myra's trunks. Then she pulled her youngest close and Disapparated. Robert put an arm around Myra, who held tightly to Meadow's cage, and then they vanished too.

...

Being home agreed with Myra. The stress of the upcoming O.W.L.s went away to some degree, and after just one long night in her bed in the house in Bakewell, she was fully rested.

She and Marie had wasted some time outside, making that snowman Marie had desperately wanted. Robert had joined them for a while, and he had charmed the snowman to dance whenever someone clapped. Safe to say Marie clapped a lot that day.

Eventually Chelsie called her husband and the girls inside to help her with decorating the house and the tree she had transfigured. That was Myra's favourite part about the holidays, the family transforming the entire house to a wonderland together.

Robert was always in charge of the lights, so he dealt with that while the females sorted tinsel, baubles, glitter, candles, all kinds of ornaments and never-wither holly, ivy, mistletoe, poinsettias and evergreen.

First Robert went outside to put white fairy lights on the small trees in the front garden, and then he covered the bushes in the back garden. It was still light outside, but Myra could already picture how beautiful they would look after sunset; fluttering lightly in their places, slowly dimming in and out, looking like tacky flashing lights to the Muggles.

When Robert was done outside, he helped the girls with the decorations inside, while Chelsie supervised from the kitchen. There she was making the dinner that they always had on the first day of each holiday that Myra came home from school, this year Marie as well; chicken casserole, fish and chips, cottage pie and all the necessary sauces and vegetables. All of which were the girls' favourite foods.

"Can I charm the baubles this year?" Marie asked as she picked up a box of baubles for the Christmas tree, some from each generation Kinney, and some from generations of Chelsie's Muggle heritage with the name Heaton.

"You could," Chelsie said from the kitchen. "If you've covered basic sonar alterations [7] in Charms and oscillation theory [8] in Transfiguration."

"Show off," Robert muttered, having just put the last of the fairy lights on the transfigured spruce.

"Oh oh oh!" Myra exclaimed. "I learned about oscillation last year, and we've done sonar alterations already in Charms this year! I can do it!"

"Go ahead and try, then," Robert encouraged.

Myra signalled for Marie to put the box on the table. Then she cleared her throat and pointed her wand at the contents of the box. "Globus Permoveo Leniscampana [9]," she spoke loudly and clearly. A golden light shot out of the wand and made all the baubles glow for a second.

Marie looked back and forth between Myra and the ornaments, and then to her father, who nodded. She carefully lifted one bauble out from the box and shook it gently next to her ear and gasped. A soft beautiful bell sounded.

"You did it," Marie whispered in awe.

"I did," Myra whispered even more in awe.

"Well, stop standing there with your mouths open and start hanging those ringing baubles on the tree," Robert ordered with humour, but Myra could see a proud glint in his eyes which made her chest swell.

With renewed enthusiasm the girls finished the tree, ordering Robert around with the decorations around the top.

"Since this is your first Christmas as a Hogwarts student, you will have the honour of putting the angel on top," Chelsie told Marie as she came in for a break in the cooking.

The little girl lit up brighter than the tree. Her father took a hold around her waist and lifter her up on to his right shoulder. Myra handed her the lightly glowing angel, and with great reverence Marie leaned towards the tree and gently sat the angel in place. Magic kept it from falling down once it was connected to a fir branch.

The tree was done, and the family of four stood for a few moments admiring it, the angel on top cocking her head and twisting her hands in embarrassment.

"Time to take the fish out of the oven," Chelsie suddenly said, all business again, and disappeared into the food fumes.

"Just the rest of the house left," Robert said, feigning exhaustion. Marie pounced on him, playfully punching him. Myra just smiled at the two of them and began pulling out colour changing tinsel.

...

About an hour and a half later the house was transformed. It now glittered, sang, and moved, it smelled of holly and ivy and evergreen and apples and cinnamon. The tree played instrumental Christmas carols in a comfortable volume, and the baubles jingled every time Marie or Myra walked by and moved them.

Chelsie told her husband and children to wash up and sit down for dinner. Myra's mouth watered at the sight. Fish and chips was not something often served at Hogwarts.

"How are you doing in your classes, Marie?" Chelsie asked between dinner and dessert. "Are you keeping up with everything well?"

"It's too much homework," Marie complained. "And Myra says it's only going to get worse."

Chelsie sent her eldest daughter a scathing look, but turned back to Marie with an encouraging smile. "Even if the workload increases, you will master it easier."

"Myra mentioned that too..." Marie muttered, staring at the empty plate in front of her.

"It's true," Robert added. "I did quite well, even though I wasn't a Ravenclaw like your smarty-pants mother."

Chelsie smacked Robert's arm playfully.

"You are. Way too smart for your own good sometimes."

She nodded in a confirming manner. "But onto another subject, you were in the hospital wing, weren't you, Marie?"

The young girl nodded.

"Even though we were advised from coming, we need to know every detail."

Both parents looked intently at their youngest daughter, and Myra saw that they had waited impatiently to ask this question since they met at King's Cross the other day.

"I crashed into a pole in Flying class, fell off my broom and got a concussion," Marie retold.

Robert and Chelsie promptly turned to Myra, who gave a more detailed description of the accident and the treatment Marie had received.

"You've got to be more careful, honey," Robert warned. "Being on a broom requires you to be one hundred percent focused and alert. You never know if a bird might cross your path, or a Muggle might see you. You could fly into an air-pocket and Merlin save you if that happens."

It was very strange hearing that from her father, Myra thought. The typical male Gryffindor; brave, go in head first, think later or not at all, confident about anything he did.

"I know, dad. Madam Hooch gives us that speech at the beginning of every lesson."

"Good," Chelsie said. "Listen to your teachers. And try not to be sent to the hospital wing."

Marie pursed her lips for a second, before her face lit up. "Myra's been in the hospital wing too."

"What?" Chelsie snapped and turned to her oldest daughter. "You have? Why haven't we heard about this?"

"Once she made a potion blow up, and it made her act all weird. And once she was awfully sick and had to stay there for days."

"You made a potion blow up?" Chelsie's eyebrows shot up into her hairline.

"Yes," Myra muttered.

"You were terribly sick?" Robert asked.

"Yes."

"You made a potion blow up?" Chelsie repeated, sounding baffled at such a preposterous thing. For a Ravenclaw managing an apothecary, it was an impossible feat, but for a Gryffindor more interested in almost anything else, it was very possible to blow a potion. It was very easy, in fact.

"What kind of potion?" Robert asked calmly, going along with his wife.

"A Fertility Potion."

Chelsie paled. "No... You... Don't tell me..."

"It exploded all over me and someone escorted me to the hospital wing, but I fainted, and then I was kept behind charmed screens until the effects had worn off." Myra deliberately left out that Remus had almost shagged her right in the middle of the infirmary, in bright daylight, and the most powerful wizard in the world was the only one who managed to keep it from happening. Hestia was the only one she had told, so her parents would never find out. Besides, it was just too embarrassing, not to mention the fact that the thought still excited her. And no one could ever know about that.

"Nothing else happened?" When Myra shook her head, Chelsie threw out question after question about the ingredients and the brewing procedure until she came to the thing Myra did wrong. The fact that Myra didn't remember every little detail, made the questions that much worse to answer. "Ashwinder eggs are extremely flammable and can't just be put into a boiling concoction without preparation!"

"I know, mum!" Myra snapped. "I didn't pay full attention, but I learned from my mistake and will never do it again! I don't want to think about that day."

Chelsie looked long and well into her daughter's eyes. She wasn't a Legilimens, but had her own way on knowing what went on in her children's heads. It had to be a maternal thing. Eventually she was satisfied, signalling that with a nod and a slight change of subject. "You were also very sick?"

Myra sighed in relief, and explained about her falling into the lake and ending up with a terrible head cold.

"You're becoming more and more like your father, both of you," her mother said as an end to the subject. "Foolish, overconfident and reckless."

"We Gryffindors and honorary Gryffindors have to keep together," Robert said with a wink, but he wasn't quite done being serious. "But you have to be careful, both of you. Even at Hogwarts. Accidents happen anywhere, and with anyone." His tone was suddenly uncharacteristically grave.

"Dad? What are you talking about?" Myra frowned.

Robert opened his mouth to respond, but closed it again with a frown. A few seconds later he settled on an answer. "Nothing." He waved it away with a hand. "I just hear things around the office."

Myra didn't let it go. "What do you hear, dad?"

"Rumours, honey, just rumours. Now, shall we have dessert?"

...

Myra wondered about her father's warning the previous day. She didn't ask him anymore, knowing from experience that if he didn't want to share, he was as stubborn about keeping things secret as she was about finding things out.

She'd heard that someone out there was gathering dark followers and doing bad things, but the students didn't talk about things like that at Hogwarts. The school was supposed to be the safest place in the world, so Myra had always just thought that whatever was going on outside the school wasn't really that big of a deal.

But maybe it was.

Someone acting that way could never be anything but a big deal. There had always been some kind of conflict in the Wizarding World, the students learned that in History of Magic lessons, so it wasn't really something new, all of those conflicts had gone fairly well. But the feeling Myra got from her father's behaviour the other day and the way it wasn't talked about at Hogwarts made it feel very serious all of a sudden.

Then again, Myra had never been alive to experience war, or conflict, or any kind of hostilities that would make an impact on the world in even just a marginal way, so she really didn't know how it was supposed to feel like. Hopefully she would never know.

Myra decided to let this go for now, she'd try to talk to her father, or her mother later. Now she needed to get some holiday homework done, before Christmas began for real. She sat down at the kitchen table, ploughing through her Wizarding Culture Studies book in search for something to use in an essay.

Since Chelsie was the manager of the Apothecary in Diagon Alley, she could do almost anything she wanted when she didn't want to feel the burden of responsibility and had taken the days leading up to and after Christmas off, so she was lightly humming Christmas carols in tune with the tree while making Christmas cakes, biscuits and candy. In the living room Marie was drawing in the company of the two family cats, Wipe and Napkin. Robert was at work at the Ministry.

Halfway through Myra's essay there was a light pecking on the kitchen window. Myra and Chelsie looked up from their business and saw an owl perched on the wide windowsill. Chelsie put down the bowl of batter and opened the window. The owl flew in and dropped two envelopes on the counter.

"It's from your grandparents," Chelsie said as soon as she saw the Diagon Alley post office seal on the second envelope.

Myra got up quickly and took the other envelope, the one from Robert's parents, ripping it open and pulling out a Christmas card.

Every year this card came, and every time it came with a relay owl that the receiver had to pay a fee for, seeing as they didn't have owls for long flights in the Ural Mountains where the elder Mr and Mrs Kinney had settled down nearly twelve years ago. This Christmas card was the only communication with them, and that one single card covered birthdays and holidays. Not even when Robert's brother, their youngest son, died five years ago did they come or Floo-call or anything. It was just a short condolence in the annual Christmas card.

"Grandma and grandpa's card has arrived," Myra called out to Marie.

She came running. "What do they say?"

"Yes, what are they saying this year?" Chelsie asked with a hint of bitterness, sending the post office owl away with the pay. She had admitted to Myra once, that she despised them for cutting themselves off from Robert's life like that, but she hated them for cutting themselves off from their grandchildren's lives. Chelsie's own parents had been Muggles, and had died of old age before Myra was born. Myra and Marie had never really known what it was like to have grandparents, and that was something Chelsie could never forgive Mr and Mrs Kinney for.

Myra read out loud. "Dear Robert, Chelsie, Myra and Marie.

This year has been prosperous. The fields have given us plenty of food for the winter, and the animals have bred well. We hope everything is going well in the old country too, but we've heard about a war that might be brewing there. We just hope it won't affect us here in the Mountains, and that it doesn't do too much damage over there.

Happy belated birthday to you all, and merry Christmas!

Love Alexander and Petra.
"

"Oh, I wish we could visit them sometime," Marie said dreamily. "I want to see the fields of grains and vegetables, and I want to see the mountains and the snow, and all the animals."

"Yeah," Myra agreed, but not wholeheartedly. "It would be nice, but they've never invited us."

Chelsie huffed, but didn't state an opinion. "Maybe," she just muttered, nearly inaudible.

"Mum, what did dad mean yesterday, about me and Marie needing to be careful?" Myra asked while she stared blankly at the word 'war' in the card, the time to ask coming sooner than she thought.

Her mother sighed deeply and found a chair by the kitchen table. Both girls sat down too.

"I suppose you've both heard about He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named." They nodded. "You mustn't be scared by what I'm about to tell you, it won't affect your lives at Hogwarts, and by the time you, Myra, are out of school, it will be over.

"You-Know-Who believes in blood purity, and he wants to control Muggles. He is gathering more and more followers that want the same as him, and not only witches and wizards. He's trying to win over all the beings and creatures we have de-humanized by our stupidity. They're inclined to join him because of that and his promises to make things better for them.

"Lately there have been several attacks on Muggleborn and Muggle residences too. The Aurors are on it, and they are confident about stopping this before it causes too much damage."

Marie's eyes were big, while Myra was frowning.

"Any damage is too much damage," Myra commented.

"Very true, honey. But the world isn't a utopia."

Myra nodded.

"But, mum, isn't this dangerous?" Marie asked.

"It is. It's always dangerous when someone has a twisted view of the world and tries to win through with it. But all throughout history there have been dark witches and wizards, some worse than others, and some practically harmless in their stupidity. They have always been defeated, and they always will. It's technically impossible for them to win, because there's a majority of good people in the world, magical and Muggle. And even though Muggles don't have magic, they have their own effective weapons and can help us if it comes to that.

"There is absolutely nothing to worry about, Marie. This will be taken care of long before you sit your O.W.L.s."

Myra saw that Marie let this sink slowly in. "Okay," she said after a while.

"Now, go back to your business. No need dwelling on things that we can't do anything about," Chelsie finished brightly and went back to her cake batter.

...

Myra was satisfied with the talk her mother had had with her and Marie. It made sense along with the little things she'd heard elsewhere. And if the Aurors were that confident about winning this, then Myra had no choice but to believe in their confidence, they were after all the ones supposed to protect magical and Muggle folk. And so Christmas went on.

Christmas Eve came and the girls put up their Christmas stockings by the fireplace and went to bed early so the morning could come quicker.

On Christmas morning Marie came bounding into Myra's room, dragging her sister out of bed and into the living room.

"Presents, presents, presents," Marie chanted all the way.

"Aren't you supposed to be a Hufflepuff, little sister? You sound more like a greedy Slytherin doing that," Myra taunted.

Marie stopped short and dropped Myra's hand. "That's not nice. I see our presents are already under the tree, but there's never a right time to be naughty."

"I was just kidding. Wake up on the wrong side of the bed today?" Myra chuckled and rushed past her sister and sat down in front of the tree, picking up presents and carefully shaking them in front of her ears.

"The bickering is starting early today, I hear," Robert said thickly through a yawn as he came through the hall from the bedrooms, closely followed by Chelsie.

"Friendly bickering," Myra defended herself. "Can I start?"

"Find one for your sister first," her mother responded. "Then you can both start."

There weren't as many presents as a normal magical family would get under the tree, seeing as there were no grandparents in the picture, or aunts and uncles, distant or close. But Myra got presents from Hestia, Ashley and Anna, and even Henry. And Marie got from all her friends, and Hestia. So they were never disappointed by the haul.

The rest of the holidays were filled with Christmas dinner, friends of Robert and Chelsie came over with their families on Boxing Day, and on the days before New Years the Kinneys had snow fights, gaming nights and reading sessions. Just enjoying the time as a family before the girls needed to go back to Hogwarts.

Two days after New Year's Eve it was time to go to King's Cross again. Robert had been busy the day before with laundry and helping the girls pack when Chelsie had been called into the Apothecary. Apparently there had been a large emergency order of ingredients for potions she did not want to name and the employees needed every person on board to make the deliveries in time. But Chelsie was there to see the girls off at the station.

The station was chaos, as it always was when parents were sending their children back to school. Myra and Marie received a shower of goodbye kisses, tight hugs and demands to 'be nice', 'be careful' and 'study hard'. The last one very insistent from Chelsie.

The girls stepped onto the Hogwarts Express just as the conductor blew his whistle. Marie disappeared into a compartment with her Hufflepuff friends, while Myra made her way further down the train, looking for Hestia. It felt a bit strange, being Sunday and leaving Marie behind. But they'd had a nice breakfast at home, and Myra wondered if they'd manage to make this tradition all the way into their adult lives.

Deep in these thoughts, she didn't hear someone wrench open a compartment door, grab hold of her and pull her roughly in.




Notes

[7] Basic sonar alterations is a subject I've invented for Charms, simple alterations to sound: create, change or silence.

[8] Oscillation theory is a subject I've invented for Transfiguration. The subject covers many things, and one part is "Sound is a mechanical wave that is an oscillation of pressure" (copied from Wikipedia), so for the students to fully understand and master sound-charms, they need this from Transfiguration.

[9] Globus Permoveo Leniscampana is a charm I've invented to make gentle bells sound from Christmas baubles when they are moved. The charm can be adapted to other objects by replacing "globus" with the appropriate word, or you can change the condition in which the bells sound by replacing "permoveo" with a different condition.




Author Notes

Happy Holidays everyone!

Thanks to Orion Knight for betaing and britpicking this for me!

I know this chapter isn't the most exciting, but it's necessary so we can start getting to know Robert and Chelsie, because of the future of the story. No clues for you!

If you haven't figured it out yet, I've put together an Excel sheet with all the core subjects and electives from canon and electives I've invented and the spells, potions and subjects they cover in each year. Basically the entire Hogwarts curriculum. I've gone through the lexicon and the Wikia, and used some common sense, so now I have a curriculum. Crazy, I know. But it makes things a lot easier when trying to come up with something for the students to do in a class, write in an essay or in situations like putting up Christmas decorations.

And thanks to the lovely people at the HPFF forums for helping me with facts about British Christmas traditions and giving me ideas about how to make them magical, or rather, more magical.

Please review if you have any thoughts on the chapter!

Coming: Chapter 6 – Title not yet set
Myra shook her head in hopelessness, took a deep breath and spoke in a normal voice. "I'm your bloody best friend, Hestia. Talk to me about it, let me be there for you." "I know you are, but this is my business, damn it!" Hestia had no intentions of calming down. (...) Myra shouted 'shut up' in her head in an attempt to drown out Hestia's voice. She wasn't very successful, but her legs carried her automatically to the hospital wing anyway, and before she knew it, she was in front of the doors.


Chapter 6: You're In My Head, But I Can't Get Into Yours
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Chapter 6
You're In My Head, But I Can't Get Into Yours



Image by tina.loves @ TDA


Deep in thoughts, Myra didn't hear it when someone wrenched open a compartment door. This someone grabbed hold of her and pulled her roughly in. "What the-" she shouted, startled nearly out of her wits. She couldn't even reach for her wand in the hustle. She was then pushed into a seat, and looked directly into the smiling blue eyes of Hestia.

"Hi," Hestia said brightly. "Have a nice Christmas?"

Myra opened and closed her mouth like a fish out of water a few times. She had not been prepared for this. Then she looked around the compartment and saw Ashley and Anna. Anna was straightening her robe; clearly she had been the one manhandling Myra. Glaring at them all in turn, she huffed and answered: "It was good. Quiet, but very good. Informative. You?"

"It was great," Hestia answered. "The entire family was over; aunts, uncles, cousin Gwenog [10], grandparents... It was mayhem, but so fun!"

"We had an all Muggle Christmas this year," Anna said. "We went to dad's parents' house. It was actually very nice, with a real tree shedding its needles and electrical fire hazardous lights. I missed the fireflies we have around our tree at home, but it was surprisingly nice. Especially the moving drawings and pictures they have on the telle-" Anna paused and scrunched up her eyes in thought. "Teller-, no, television," she finished hesitantly.

"Television? What's that?" Hestia asked.

"It's a box Muggles have that show moving pictures and sound. It's quite ingenious. Every year they have Christmas themed shows with moving drawings and photos, similar to our photographs and paintings. It was fun. Too bad dad doesn't want to bring any Muggle items into our house, unless they're better than magic at something."

"Wow..." Ashley sounded awestruck. She and Hestia were both pure-bloods, so everything in the Muggle world was new to them. Hestia did take Muggle Studies, but it was one of her worst subjects.

"Well, I had a good Christmas too," Ashley continued. "It was just us, and Frank. Alice [11] brought him with her." Ashley giggled. Alice was Ashley's older sister by three years, and Frank Longbottom was her Hogwarts sweetheart; they were now promised to each other.

"How is it going with their training?" Hestia asked.

"Alice said they were both almost done. They've been at the practical part for a year and a half now. Alice said they'd both probably only need another six months."

"That's great!" Hestia sounded truly happy. Even though she was so into Quidditch and academics at school, her life ambition was to become an Auror, and work for the Ministry to catch Dark wizards. Myra really admired her friend for that. If she'd been more talented in Defence Against the Dark Arts, she'd probably consider that career path too. As things were now though, she was more interested in perhaps becoming Professor Kettleburn's apprentice.

"Do you think Alice can put in a good word for me when we finish Hogwarts?"

"I'm sure she will. She said there was a lack of proper applicants so they need everyone they can get. If you want, I can tell her to write to you when she's finished with her training, and you can get tips and advice."

"Only if she has time though. I'm sure both she and Longbottom will be quite busy rounding up all of the Dark wizards out there. I hear they're multiplying like rabbits."

"Oh, none of this Dark wizard talk," Anna intervened. "It has just been Christmas; let's talk about something more cheerful. What did you all get for Christmas?"

Ashley jumped into describing every present she got, and while she did that, Lily Evans walked past the compartment in a brisk pace.

"Oh, patrol!" Myra exclaimed and jumped up.

All three girls started at her sudden outburst.

"You know what, Myra," Anna stated more than asked. "I have no idea why Dumbledore made you a prefect. You tend to forget that you have a duty to do."

Myra stood straight and glared at her friend for a few seconds before trying to defend herself. "I'll have you know that I was prepared to leave the comfort of the hospital wing just three months ago, risk my perfectly good health, just to do my duty."

"Yes, well, it took you a while to remember it," Hestia commented.

"But I did remember it, and it was more than enough time for you to let Abigail know that I wasn't allowed to patrol."

Hestia just shrugged, as if to say that what Myra said wasn't relevant.

"Oh, bugger all of you," Myra muttered and left heading to the prefect compartment.

About half of Hogwarts' prefects were there; the rest had stayed at school during the holidays. Myra greeted the ones she knew best, Abigail, Ambrose, Tara and Remus. And as she sat down she had to do a double take in Remus' direction.

It looked like he was on the verge of death. He was so pale he was almost see-through, his light brown hair was matted and dull, there were dark shadows under his eyes, and his gaze was glassy.

Myra frowned while ignoring the Head Boy when he began by saying some words about the new term. Remus' Christmas must have been awful, judging from the state he was in. Maybe he should just have stayed at home.

"Now, start patrolling," Timothy Ivory announced and was out the door in a flash. The rest of the prefects followed him, but Myra dawdled by the door when she saw that Remus took things slow.

After a deep quiet breath, Myra asked: "Did you have a nice Christmas, Remus?"

"Myra! I didn't see you there." Remus looked flustered. "Yes, my Christmas was fine. Yours?" The answer seemed forced.

"Quiet, but very nice," Myra answered automatically. "Are you ready for patrol this week?"

"Yeah, I'm looking forward to it." The answer sounded more truthful now.

"I'm looking very much forward to it; it will be a nice break from patrol with Abigail."

"I can imagine."

"Are you ready to patrol now? Get a feel for how it will be?" Myra offered.

"Sure, I'm not feeling too well, so you'll probably end up doing most of the work."

There it is, Myra thought. So he admitted he was sick. Why she thought he wouldn't, she did not know.

The two Gryffindors went out into the hallway of the train and began looking for rule breakers.

...

First day back after the holidays was always a bit difficult. Myra always slept poorly the first night, even after nearly five years. Her body adapted to the lazy schedule at home as quickly as a snap of the fingers, but adapting to Hogwarts time always took two or three days.

Monday morning she sat at the Gryffindor table, resting her head on the table with closed eyes, desperate for just a little bit more sleep. As her stomach rumbled, she raised her hand to fumble blindly around for a piece of toast.

"Before you put your hand into everything and leave germs all over, here," Anna said and put a slice in Myra's hand.

"Oh, shut it you." Myra took the toast and tried to eat with her head still on the table, but found it very difficult, so she sighed heavily and sat up. She nibbled on the bread while gazing at the owls that came swooping in through the top windows.

Suddenly Ashley put something in front of Myra. She looked down, and saw it was a bowl almost overflowing with porridge. "You'll thank me later," Ashley said.

Myra huffed, but dug in, feeling better with each bite.

The porridge did help Myra get through the day, and by the time the monthly prefect meeting was finished on Tuesday evening she was as good as back to her old self again.

Right after the meeting it was time for Gobstones club for Myra. Ambrose was a Gobstoner too, so the two walked together from the prefect meeting to the classroom set up by Professor Kavanagh for that year's Gobstoners. The walk started in awkward silence, until Ambrose began an even more awkward conversation.

"Did you have a nice holiday, Myra?" he asked casually.

"You already asked in Herbology yesterday. My holiday was very nice, still," Myra answered, looking strangely at him.

"How were your friends' holidays?"

Myra frowned. "They were fine."

"Hestia seems to be happy these days. Is she in a relationship?"

Myra pursed her lips. Of course this was about Hestia. "No, she's not. She hasn't really dated in a while." Not since the one and only relationship she had last year, for three days. "I don't think she's planning on dating for a while either," she added as an afterthought.

"That's wonderful," Ambrose said and gazed into the air in front of him, as if he hadn't heard the last part Myra said. "Has she started up with Quidditch training again?"

"No, I think they start at the end of the month."

"So, still Monday and Friday?"

"Only Mondays, until the winter is over." Myra was thinking that maybe she shouldn't answer all of Ambrose's questions so truthfully; he was starting to sound like a stalker to her. But nothing could really be kept secret at Hogwarts, eventually everyone would find out, whatever it was.

"Hm, I should go to one of them, it should be interesting." This he said as if Quidditch was the most fascinating thing in the world.

"Yes, you do that, I'm sure Hestia would just love to see you there," Myra said as ironically as she could.

"Hestia? You think I'm going for Hestia? No no," he denied whole heartedly. "I've just never been to one before. It's about time that I, a pure-blood, go to one. After all, it's the most famous sport in the entire magical world. I should delve deeper into its mysteries. And what better way to do it than by watching my house's practices."

Myra bit the inside of her cheek to keep from bursting out in laughter. He was such a bad liar that a ghost was less transparent than him. "Okay then, my bad," she forced out.

The rest of the way was spent in another awkward silence, in which Myra made plans to tell Hestia about the conversation.

...

"Was Lowell at your meeting today?" Ashley asked the moment Myra parked her bottom on the bed in their dorm that late evening.

"Hello to you too. Yes, of course he was. Why?" Myra pulled out a Divination book from her book bag, hoping to get some homework done before she went to bed.

"I was just wondering whether you've heard if he's dating anyone now?"

Myra looked up at her friend. Her blue eyes shone with interest, and there was a light blush on her cheeks. "It's the second day of classes; I doubt he would have had time for that yet. But, no, I don't think he is. We don't really discuss our love lives at these meetings, Ashley. I thought you had a plan for him?"

"I did, but I never got the chance. And now that the mistletoes are gone from the halls, I need a new battle plan."

"What are you thinking of doing now?" Myra asked with intrigue.

"I don't understand why you bother," Hestia interrupted all of a sudden. "Wizards are a waste of time; there are a lot more important things in life to focus on."

The girls stared at her. While she may not be interested in a relationship herself, she never tried to discourage her friends from doing it. But it reminded Myra of something.

"Speaking of which," she began. "Ambrose cornered me again today."

Hestia's eyes grew wide in horror.

"He was even less discreet than last time, even though he tried to cover up his interest. He wanted to know if you are seeing someone. And don't be surprised if he shows up at Quidditch practice."

"Myra! Why didn't you talk him out of it?"

"I tried! I said you weren't interested in dating anyone right now, but I don't think he heard me."

Hestia opened and closed her mouth several times, before finding the right words. Fire shot out of her eyes. "That's it? I'm so sorry you had to go through all that trouble!"

"Why are you getting so upset about this?"

"Because I don't want him fancying me!"

"Him, or everyone else of the opposite sex, or the same sex?"

"Hi- ever- hi- everyone!" Hestia stood in the middle of the dorm, waving madly with her hands to encompass what looked like the whole world.

"Why, Hestia? Why? Why in Merlin's great backside is it so horrible for someone to be interested in you?"

Ashley and Anna stood rooted to the same spot they were in when Myra and Hestia began their argument, now looking back and forth between their friends. But when Myra asked that question, both of them gaped.

"It's not, it's just..."

"Just what?" Myra stood up and stepped closer, hoping it made her look more daunting.

Hestia glared. "Just shut up! Why or why not I want a boyfriend, or girlfriend for that matter, is none of your business! I have my reasons and they are good reasons! So just shut up about it!"

Myra shook her head in hopelessness, took a deep breath and spoke in a normal voice. "I'm your bloody best friend, Hestia. Talk to me about it, let me be there for you."

"I know you are, but this is my business, damn it!" Hestia had no intentions of calming down.

"You are being so bloody difficult! I understood when you dismissed Henry's attention, but Ambrose is a perfectly good wizard! A bit mental socially perhaps, but perfectly fine otherwise!" The fact that Myra thought of him as a stalker earlier was conveniently forgotten.

"Get out!" Hestia yelled. "I'm going to bed and you will not come back here until I am fast asleep. Out!" She threw her arm in direction of the door and Myra swore she saw sparks coming out of the pointed finger.

With a frustrated huff she forcefully grabbed her Divination book and book-bag and rushed out the door, slamming it behind her. She stomped down the stairs like an angry hippogriff only to stop short when she reached the common room and realised it was still very crowded. All eyes were on her when she appeared.

Myra discreetly put the Divination book under her arm and used the free hand to casually dust off the prefect badge on her chest, reminding everyone of who she was. Like nothing had happened the room went back to their own business.

Surveying the area Myra saw an available armchair and headed straight in that direction.

"Hey, Myra," someone called out.

She spun around and saw the Marauders looking at her.

"Something wrong?" Remus asked, looking even sicklier than he had on the Hogwarts Express. Myra had been too busy getting her internal clock back on track that she hadn't really paid attention to Remus since the start of term.

She narrowed her eyes. "You didn't hear anything from upstairs, did you?" she directed to all four boys.

"We heard some yelling?" James answered in a questioning manner.

"But nothing detailed," Peter finished.

"Good," Myra muttered, staring at the nearly full moon in the window behind the boys.

"Are you okay?" Remus repeated.

Myra came mentally back to the room. "Yes, just had a row with Hestia over something stupid. I'm going to go do some homework now." She turned and headed for the armchair again.

"Moony, are you –" was all Myra heard Sirius say when she walked away and shut them out of her ears.

Settling in the soft, warm, red chair, she opened her book and began reading. Divination was just a subject she had picked up to fill her timetable, so her attention quickly strayed.

Apart from that three day relationship last year, Hestia hadn't shown any interest in getting a boyfriend, while her friends had had a few relationships themselves in the mean time. In fourth year Myra had spent three months in the company of Edmund Davenport from Ravenclaw. Anna had had three boyfriends, one of them even from Slytherin; that had been very short lived. And Ashley had also had one, and now had her sight set on Lowell Llewellyn.

Why did Hestia have so much against being in a relationship? From their five years together as best friends Myra couldn't remember anything that may have caused Hestia to be averse to a romantic relationship. She was sure she would have heard it if she had had a bad experience.

Myra felt like someone stared at her. She refocused on the room and her heart skipped a beat when she saw that Remus was looking worriedly at her. To clear her mind she closed her eyes and shook her head slightly, then opened her eyes again and smiled at Remus, telling him with her gaze that she was fine. His lips quirked lightly in return, and then Myra doubled her efforts on The Dream Alphabet.

...

The rest of the first week of term rushed by in a haze of new subjects and O.W.L. warnings. It was even more stressful than the first week of the first term. How on earth was Myra going to survive her fifth year? Too much to do, too much to think about, too much to memorize.

But on Friday morning she got something completely different to occupy her mind with when she was almost ambushed by Tara Thompson during breakfast.

She was deep in conversation with Hestia, who was completely fine the morning after their row; she just needed to sleep it off. Suddenly Tara came bouncing up, laying both her hands on Myra's shoulders and scaring her half to death.

"We're patrolling together again today!" she announced excitedly, then squeezing herself down between Ashley and a terrified third year Gryffindor on the bench.

"Uh, what?" Myra was utterly confused.

"Remus is gone again. You helped me once when he was gone, and now I get to help you when he is gone!" It sounded like the best news in the world that Remus was gone.

"Oh, well, that's nice!" It truly was, Myra thought, she liked Tara. But she'd been looking forward to patrolling with Remus. "Why is he gone?"

"Don't know," Tara quieted down. "Carly just said he was unavailable. Isn't he visiting his sick aunt quite often? Maybe she's had an emergency or something and he had to leave."

"Maybe," Myra mumbled.

"I'll see you at the usual time in the Entrance Hall then," Tara finished abruptly and was off in a blur.

"Is Remus gone?" Anna asked.

Myra glanced up and down the table. Everyone should be at breakfast by now, and Remus' three friends were there, but not Remus himself. "Apparently he is. I didn't even notice that he was gone, and he didn't tell me he would be either. He should have told me, since we're supposed to be prefect partners."

"He was gone yesterday too," Hestia commented.

"What?" Myra spluttered.

"Yeah, I noticed during lunch yesterday. It was just three Marauders then. I was sure you had noticed too."

"I didn't. Well, that was nice of him, not to tell me."

All throughout the rest of the day Myra itched to go to the hospital wing to see if Remus was there. He'd been looking on the verge of death for days and no matter how many people said he was visiting his sick aunt, Myra wouldn't believe it.

The Head Girl came across Myra between Magical Living and History of Magic and asked if Tara had spoken to Myra. When that was confirmed, Carly went on to say that Remus had once again gone to see his aunt.

So of course the first thing Myra did during lunch was look up Sirius, James and Peter to ask them where Remus was, saying she needed to finalize some details about their patrol. They too said he was visiting his supposed aunt.

Myra had to know. Even though she had Care of Magical Creatures after lunch, she was willing to come late just so she could once again sneak up into the hospital wing to see if Remus was there. And like always, Hestia saw right through Myra the moment she had made the conscious decision to do so, and forbade it. She threatened to owl Myra's mother and tell her that her daughter had failed a History of Magic test. Myra knew that Hestia would really do so if need be, so with great restraint Myra stayed put.

...

After prefect patrol with Tara that evening, Myra saw an opportunity to quickly rush up to the hospital wing. She said goodnight to Tara and on the way back to Gryffindor Tower she took a detour on the third floor. All the while Hestia's voice rang loud in her head.

Don't do this, Myra. This is wrong, Myra. Go straight to the dorms, Myra.

Myra shouted 'shut up' in her head in an attempt to drown out Hestia's voice. She wasn't very successful, but her legs carried her automatically to the hospital wing anyway, and before she knew it, she was in front of the doors.

She leaned gently against them for a moment to hear if anyone was out and about in there. When no sound was heard, not even the faint snore she was expecting from Remus after she'd heard him do just that back in November, she laid her hand on the door knob and pulled.

But it didn't open. It barely budged. She put her other hand on the knob too, and pulled hard back and forth making the door rattle. Nothing.

Why would the hospital wing doors be locked? Never, in all the times Myra had been a patient there or visiting someone there, had the doors been locked. It didn't strike her as a very safe thing to do, in case someone had an emergency.

Suddenly there was a noise from inside. It sounded like another door was opened and closed. "I'm coming, I'm coming," the tired voice of Madam Pomfrey sounded.

Myra's eyes widened, and for a moment she was frozen. Then she sighed in relief, she could kindly ask Madam Pomfrey if her missing friend Remus happened to be in there.

But when the matron's shadow appeared behind the white cloth covering the window, Myra turned on the spot and ran away as fast as she could. She had just rounded the corner when Madam Pomfrey's voice sounded out. "Hello? Who's there?"

Myra kept running until she reached the fifth floor, where she sank down to the floor at the top of the stairs, barely able to breath and clutching a stitch in her side.

"Why did I run?" she whispered breathlessly.

Because you knew it was wrong to go to the hospital wing for the sole purpose of seeing if Remus was there, when it's really none of your business. Hestia's voice was in her head again.

"Oh, Merlin's beard," Myra muttered, her breathing a bit more like normal now. "Fine, you win. For now." With an effort, she raised herself to her feet and began the long way up to the seventh floor and Gryffindor Tower.

In the common room there were only a handful of third years left, who seemed to be startled by her appearance and began gathering their things.

"Don't mind me," she said. "Keep quiet and don't do anything wrong." She trudged up the stairs and into the dorm.

"You're late," Hestia said from her bed. She was leaning against the headboard, a book propped up against her knees.

"Yeah, I made a detour." Myra sat down heavily on her bed, pulling off her shoes and socks.

Hestia furrowed her brows. "Not the hospital wing?"

Myra's head snapped up, but it didn't have the effect she hoped, seeing as the run had made her so tired everything she did was slow as sludge. "I wish you would just stay out of my head," she said tiredly and fell into her bed, falling asleep the moment her head hit the pillow, not even removing her clothes.




Notes

[10] According to the Harry Potter wikia Gwenog Jones is listed as possibly being related to Hestia Jones, among others, even though Gwenog is depicted on the Chocolate Frog cards as a girl with African colouring. I have decided that in this story Gwenog and Hestia are cousins. Hestia's father Nicholas has a brother named Matthew. Matthew Jones married Dede, from an African magic school. They met when he was travelling the African continent and she came back to Britain with him.

[11] I gave Alice Longbottom a little sister in Ashley.




Author Notes

Happy belated New Year everyone!

Thanks to Orion Knight for some fabulous beta work!

I'm now nearly done editing the last of what I wrote during NaNoWriMo. The chapter I had originally planned as chapter 10, which is the last chapter I wrote, is now being turned into chapters 17, 18 and possibly 19. Which means that right now I have all chapters up to number 16 pretty much ready to go! And when chapters 17, 18 and 19 are done, I'm not even halfway in the first part of Lunar Phases. What in Merlin's name have I gotten myself into? I've asked myself that several times. But who cares? It's fun!

Please review if you have any thoughts on the chapter! And feel free to ask me anything in my Meet the Author, link in my profile!

Coming: Chapter 7 – Gone and Not Telling
"If you want, I can help you with the spell," Remus offered. "You would?" Myra turned completely in his direction, staring up at him in wonder. "Sure, I would be happy to." (...) Myra stared in wonder, one eyebrow raised. "Tell Remus he'd better tell me next time he decides to run off," she said dismissively and walked back into the Great Hall.


Chapter 7: Gone and Not Telling
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Chapter 7
Gone and Not Telling



Image by Sixx. @ TDA


As January went on Myra quickly got over how Remus had missed their first partnered patrol. He had been there for the rest of them, and she really enjoyed them now, in contrast from when she had done them with the Hufflepuff Abigail York.

On their first patrol after Remus came back Myra tried to casually bring up his absence, but he had cleverly avoided it and turned on her instead.

"So how was your Christmas? We never got to talk much about it on the train." He seemed really interested in this, and Myra couldn't help but oblige and answer him in detail about her Christmas holiday. All through the conversation he looked to be listening intently and asking questions here and there about her family, and before she knew it she found herself telling him about Robert's parents and their isolation from the rest of the world and how her mother resented it and how she herself felt about it. All her friends knew that her grandparents were off in the Ural Mountains, but only Hestia knew how it affected the family.

Remus was sympathetic; he had been so fortunate as to know his own grandparents very well before they died when he was eight, so he knew both how it was to have grandparents and how it was to not have them.

There probably weren't so many students being caught that night as there should be, since the two prefects were so engrossed in their conversation.

But it wasn't just patrol that drew Myra and Remus together. They could now sometimes be found studying together in the library or chatting in the common room. And Myra was quite often invited to sit with the Marauders at meal times; sometimes she declined, and sometimes she accepted. Hestia was often with Myra when all of this happened; the two girls were rarely off alone, and so Hestia too got to know Remus on a whole new level.

One late evening at the end of January Hestia had a chat with Myra, because she and the two other girls had been talking a bit amongst themselves when Myra had been elsewhere. They were all wondering if there was something going on between Myra and Remus, since out of seemingly nowhere the two were a lot friendlier than before. Myra had laughed and very much denied that there was anything but friendship there. It was clear that Hestia didn't believe Myra, from the look on her face. Myra didn't understand why that was, but she didn't want to find out why.

...

During the last week of January the snow had almost been blown all away. The wind was so powerful the students had had trouble being outside. Trees lay almost flat against the ground, and so the wind blew nearly all the snow away. It was just a thin layer of greyish white left on the ground as February arrived, the first layer of snow that had sort of melted a bit and then frozen hard before more snow fell on top.

The first Tuesday of the month meant a new subject was being introduced in Defence Against the Dark Arts, the Imperturbable Charm this time. It was a charm to prevent a place from being eavesdropped upon and even created an invisible barrier to prevent objects getting close.

"Imperturb," Myra chanted, waving her wand in an elegant arc around inside the large see-through box she was standing in. A greyish red light grew out of her wand and leaked out onto the walls before fading away. She could feel that it didn't come out right, but still nodded to Henry, who was standing outside; she was signalling that he could try levitating the cushion towards the box.

The cushion hit something, something that was not firm like it was supposed to be, but springy. At least it couldn't penetrate the shield. Henry then nodded to Myra, signalling for her to start talking.

"Sometimes a dragon gets mistaken for a unicorn, which is troublesome for wandmakers when they go out to harvest unicorn hairs. This is the reason why it's common for wandmakers to be wrinkly, bald and smell of burnt hair."

"Where in Merlin's name did that come from?" Henry laughed.

"Bollocks," Myra cursed when it was clear the spell hadn't worked correctly. "It's just something I found in a book the other day. Remus was helping me do research for the Care of Magical Creatures essay and we came across this weird book. It had all kinds of silly fake facts in them."

Henry shook his head at her as she climbed out of the box. "You two seem to be getting along well these days, two crazy bookworms finding hidden 'treasures' in the library."

"Hey, I'm not a bookworm, he is. I'm just reaping the fruits of his cleverness."

"Are you sure that's all you're reaping off of him?"

Myra punched him hard on the shoulder, just when Professor Biggar came up to them.

"No violence in my classroom, Miss Kinney," he ordered too sternly for the occasion. "How is the spell coming along?"

"I've mastered the charm," Henry said proudly, very close to puffing up his chest in self-admiration.

"Very good," the professor said. "And you, Miss Kinney? I expect not."

Myra narrowed her eyes for a split second. It's not my bloody fault I can't understand your precious subject, she thought. "I've got the barrier working almost perfectly, but Henry could still hear me talking through the box."

"Demonstrate for me, both of you."

Henry stepped into the box and performed an acceptable version of the Imperturbable Charm. Myra then switched places with him and got the same result as earlier, though she thought maybe the barrier was less springy than before.

Without saying anything Professor Biggar went on to the last pair of students to check their progress, and then strode up to his desk. With a casual flick of his wand the boxes disappeared. "This was a fairly easy task; most of you have mastered it. Your homework is to write a short essay on the science of this charm. For those of you who did not master it," Myra was sure he had just set his eyes on her for a second, "you will have additional homework with practising. First thing next lesson you will perform it for me, and you had better have managed it by then."

"Next Thursday. Two days," Myra mumbled barely audible.

The class was dismissed, and Myra, Henry, Hestia, Ashley and Anna headed for Charms. On the way there they ran into all four Marauders.

They all greeted each other, some more overtly polite than others.

"Where to?" Remus asked Myra.

"Charms," she answered.

"Defence Against the Dark Arts."

Myra grimaced, causing an amused smile to erupt on Remus' face.

"See you later," Remus said when their respective friends as usual had continued on their way without them.

Myra waved as she ran to catch up with Henry and the girls.

"I have an idea," Anna suddenly said. "How about having Remus help you with the Imperturbable Charm?"

"That's a wonderful idea," Ashley agreed. "I think he'd be the perfect person to help you,"

"Or maybe not," Anna added. "She wouldn't be so impenetrable with him around."

Ashley, Anna and Henry burst out laughing, even Hestia laughed. Myra couldn't help but smile too, but only because of the pun, not the meaning behind, which she definitely caught.

"Not funny," she said. "Why can't I be friends with Remus without you guys turning it into a big dirty deal? There was nothing of this when I befriended Henry over there."

"You were thirteen and still believed all boys carried dragon pox [12]," Hestia said dryly.

"That may have been the case, but I certainly don't think like that anymore."

"Do you want us to tease you with Henry?" Anna asked.

"Merlin, no!" Henry exclaimed.

This time Myra laughed too.

...

Later that day there was once again the monthly prefect meeting. Myra hadn't had time to practice so much on the Imperturbable Charm yet, but she decided to go to the meeting room right after dinner instead of doing a detour to the Gryffindor common room, and use the time waiting to practice. Hopefully there would be no distractions there.

She was sitting near the windows, sometimes letting her attention waver to the scenery outside, the sad fading winter scenery. Over and over again she waved her wand, seeing the greyish red light bleed into the meeting room walls.

It wasn't until about twenty minutes later that Myra figured it was a bad idea to cast the spell on this place; people had to be able to come in. So instead she emptied her book bag, transfigured one of her mittens into a squeaking rat and put it inside the bag.

"I hope a desperate motivation will help," she mumbled as the rat's loud squeals hurt in her ears.

Again and again she tried to work the spell, without much success. People began mingling in, holding their ears and making annoyed glares and sounds. Thankful that she was fairly good in Charms, Myra cast a moderated Silencing Charm on the rat before she continued practising.

"What on earth are you doing?" An amused and familiar voice sounded suddenly next to Myra.

She snapped around and saw the smiling, but once again tired and pale, face of Remus. She sighed. "I'm failing at the Imperturbable Charm." Almost everyone seemed to have arrived, so she gave up the attempt for now and pulled out the rat in order to transfigure it back.

"Wormtail?" Remus suddenly gasped.

"What?" Myra asked, her wand pointed at the rat hanging by its tail from one of her hands.

"Nothing," he quickly replied.

The rat returned to the red mitten it used to be.

"If you want, I can help you with the spell," Remus offered.

"You would?" Myra turned completely in his direction, staring up at him in near wonder.

"Sure, I would be happy to. I can't with a good conscience let you fail at Defence Against the Dark Arts if I have the ability to help." He said this jokingly.

"Thank you thank you thank you!" Without thinking, Myra jumped up and hugged him.

He froze for a second, but quickly returned the hug.

When Myra pulled away she noticed that he looked a bit flushed, but she didn't ponder on it, since it made him look a bit less sick. "I think I was the only one really having trouble with it, and Professor Biggar wasn't nice about it. It will be fun to prove to him that I can do it. He doesn't need to know I didn't do it on my own."

Remus smiled. "He isn't the most sympathetic teacher we've had, that's for sure. We can stay behind after the meeting and start then, if that works for you?"

"That would be perfect," Myra beamed.

The meeting went in the usual fashion; reports on the rule-breaking trends, updates on how the new pairings and schedules worked, and other boring stuff. Once Carly and Timothy finished the meeting and everyone had left, Remus began his so-called lecture.

It wasn't the first time Remus had helped Myra with a Defence Against the Dark Arts problem, so she was starting to get used to his switch into teacher mode when he tried to tutor her. Earlier it had only been small problems, like not finding the right books for an essay, or a question about a spell that worked immediately, but this seemed to quickly turn into a much greater problem, needing more help.

He was sitting next to her by the oval table, the chair turned towards her, while he explained.

"What worked for me was to add a kind of a really small half-twirl at the end of the arc, like this." Remus drew a wide arc and at the end of it drew that half-twirl so quickly it was barely noticeable.

Myra squinted at the place where she thought the twirl had been drawn. "Could you do it a bit slower? The twirl was lost on me," she admitted sheepishly.

A warm smile crossed Remus' lips, and without question he repeated the wand movement, as slow as he could. Myra paid close attention, eyes darting between his arm, his hand, and the wand, all through the air.

"Right, right," Myra muttered and tried her best to repeat the movement.

"Of course, this is something I figured out for myself, something that works for me. It may not work for you at all."

"I understand that. What I don't understand is how you can come up with stuff like that, stuff like tweaking the spell to work better for you?"

Remus cocked his head, while thinking for a moment. "I really don't know. But that's an interesting question. Maybe I'll ask Professor Flitwick about it, he might know something."

The two Gryffindors practised for a little while longer, until Myra realised she was late for Gobstones club.

"Do you think you can help me tomorrow too?" She'd managed to make the barrier work, but the actual prevention of eavesdropping didn't work.

"I have Wizard's Chess tomorrow, but I think I can work with you a bit before that."

"You're a real saint, Remus."

"I don't know about that," he muttered, a bit too downcast than Myra would have expected.

"It's true." Myra felt the need to reassure him, but she had to go, no matter how much she wanted to find out what lay behind Remus' sudden mood change.

...

The next day Remus did as he had promised and helped Myra more with the Imperturbable Charm. There was some progress; the barrier held up, but now the sound was a bit muffled. Myra was ecstatic about this development, but stressed about not having perfected it before Defence Against the Dark Arts first thing the following day.

But it turned out that Professor Biggar had made empty threats last lesson, because they were just set to practice more instead.

Once again that evening, Remus helped Myra practice, in the common room, sitting at a small couch with a table near the boys' dorm stairs. There no one would be too much bothered by the squeaking of the transfigured rat they kept in a box Remus had gotten from his dorm.

There was no progress; still a strong barrier, but still the same muffled sound. She kept looking for that little something that would make the spell more powerful for her.

All the while they were training; Myra kept stealing secret glances at Remus. He looked positively dreadful. Feverish and pale at intervals, sweating, glassy eyed and yawning.

"Are you sure you're up for this?" Myra asked when he interrupted a test-wave with his wand by stifling another yawn while pulling at the neck of his shirt. "It looks like you should be chained to a hospital bed."

A small smile tugged at the corner of Remus' lips. "I'm sure, I'm not as sick as I look."

Myra wasn't entirely convinced. "What is wrong with you?" she asked quietly, not wanting to draw the attention of the people around them.

Remus had been standing while waving his wand, trying to figure out an alternate way of doing it, now he sat down next to her on the small couch, and Myra could feel the heat radiating from him like a furnace. "There are many things wrong with me," he tried to joke it away.

Myra just stared at him as if to say he couldn't possibly believe she would leave it at that.

"I think I'm coming down with something," he said in all seriousness.

"You came down with something last month too," Myra reminded him.

"I usually do that, every time there is some virus going around, I catch it."

"So you have a weak immune system?"

"I guess I do."

Myra looked at him, thoroughly, trying to see if he told the truth. She was no Occlumens, but liked to think that her curiosity allowed her to spot things like lies and truth. Right now she saw truth in Remus' face, so she nodded. "Well, that sucks."

"Yeah."

"I'll let you off for today. We can try more tomorrow, after you've rested."

"If you say so," Remus said lightly, but the way his body seemed to deflate into the couch told her that he was very grateful.

...

On Friday afternoon as Myra sat with her friends eating lunch, she noticed Remus entering in the middle of the meal. And he looked worse than he had the evening before.

"Merlin's beard, what on earth is wrong with him?" she muttered.

"Who?" Ashley asked.

"Remus. Look at him, it looks like he's about to die any moment. Again."

Ashley, Anna and Hestia looked in the direction Myra was looking.

"What have you done to him the last few days?" Anna asked, trying to joke, but it fell dead.

It looked like patrol and Defence Against the Dark Arts practice would be cancelled today, at least as far as Remus was concerned. So Myra decided to go talk to him to find out and ask if she needed to find a prefect replacement for him. "I have to ask him about tonight."

But just as she rose, he walked out of the Great Hall again with a speed no one in his condition should be able to have.

"Sit down, Myra," Hestia said, pulling on Myra's robe arm. "I'm sure that if he was unable to show up tonight, you would have heard so already."

"I suppose you're right," she mumbled, not quite convinced.

Lunch ended and Myra joined Henry for Care of Magical Creatures, while Hestia went off to Muggle Studies and Anna and Ashley went to Ancient Studies. Today's lesson was thankfully held inside, since it was blowing up a snowstorm outside, with the small amount of snow that was left. They would be learning the Talon-Clipping Charm.

Professor Kettleburn stood waiting at the front of the classroom with a huge set of pliers; they looked to be at least three feet long, and very sharp.

"Good afternoon, class," old Kettleburn said in his raspy voice when everyone was settled down. "Anyone know what this is?" He held out the pliers, dangerously close to Jugson, one of the Slytherins sitting up front.

A Ravenclaw held up her hand. Kettleburn nodded to her. "Pliers, sir," she answered arrogantly, as if it was the most stupid question in the world to ask.

"Correct, two points to Ravenclaw," Professor Kettleburn praised. "When Muggles clip the nails and claws of their pets, most often just dogs and cats, they use special pliers like these. Smaller ones, of course." He chuckled a bit. "But we, witches and wizards, sometimes have the need for greater equipment, for when we want to trim the claws of dragons, hippogriffs, griffins, or various small and large poultry. So, who here want to use these pliers and cut the claws of a Ukrainian Ironbelly?"

No one raised their hand or made a sound.

"That's what I thought," the professor chuckled again, and suddenly the pliers disappeared. "We have the Talon-Clipping Charm. What do we know about this charm?"

Several people raised their hands, Myra among them. Professor Kettleburn pointed out Myra. "It's most commonly used on dragons, since approaching a dragon with a set of pliers would qualify as a death sentence. But in later years it's been used for other creatures too, just because it's easier, and less risky."

"Five points to Gryffindor. Miss Kinney is absolutely correct. Up until 1934 witches and wizards cut the front claws of hippogriffs with pliers like you just saw. St. Mungo's petitioned to the Ministry to have them strongly advise people to use a charm or spell for their cutting needs. They did not want to waste capacity on such silly injuries as the ones people got after handling a temperamental hippogriff.

"The petition was successful, and for a year after that St. Mungo's sent home anyone mental enough to cut their hippogriff with pliers. Of course, people were given a pamphlet with instructions on disinfecting hippogriff bites and other non-poisonous bites and basic information about home-treatment, along with a signup sheet for talon-clipping classes.

"Eventually people caught the message, and we have used the Talon-Clipping Charm on anything with claws or long nails ever since. Anyone know the incantation?"

A few people raised their hands, and the Ravenclaw from earlier was called upon. "Digitus amputo [13]," she answered.

"Five points to Ravenclaw. Everyone repeat after me: Digitus amputo."

...

After Charms, the last class of the day, Myra and the girls went directly into the Great Hall for dinner. Myra glanced around at every person who entered the Great Hall, hoping to see Remus. While she had seen Sirius, James and Peter between Care of Magical Creatures and Charms, she had not seen Remus with them.

"Are you looking for Remus?" Hestia asked after the hundredth snap of Myra's head.

Myra nodded.

"Still gone?"

Myra nodded again. "I think I need to find Carly or Timothy, because I can't patrol alone tonight. We're not allowed to do it alone."

"I thought the prefects were more organized than this," Anna said.

"Me too," Myra muttered, feeling slightly neglected.

After having eaten her fill, Myra decided to try to find out about Remus, before she talked to the Head Boy or Girl. Looking down the table she tried to find his friends, the three of them were just leaving.

"Look after my bag, will you, Hestia? And take it with you if I don't come back before you leave. I'm going after Sirius, James and Peter," Myra said quickly and didn't even wait for an answer from Hestia before she hurried out of the Great Hall.

The three Marauders hadn't gone far when Myra reached the Entrance Hall. She almost ran straight into them as they stood huddled together, whispering in urgent tones.

"Hey!" she said and came to a skidding halt.

"Hello there, Myra Kinney," James greeted with a crooked grin. "What can we do you for?"

"I was just wondering where Remus is?"

All three boys exchanged unreadable glances.

"As I guess you know, he and I have prefect patrol tonight, but I haven't seen him all day. Well, except that short moment in lunch when he looked ready to die."

"He's away to visit his aunt for a few days. He left during lunch, in fact," Peter explained.

"He's visiting his sick aunt when he himself is so sick he can barely walk straight?"

"He's not that sick," Sirius said. Myra thought he looked a bit shifty saying it.

"I was with him last night, he was feverish and pale and tired and plain miserable. Wouldn't it be a bit risky to expose his aunt to that?"

"Like I said, he's not that sick," Sirius repeated firmly. "And it's nothing contagious. You haven't caught it, we haven't caught it."

Myra narrowed her eyes, and looked at the three of them in turn, trying to decide whether or not she should believe them. They looked steadfastly back, not even a tiny twitch in the corner of an eye.

Something didn't add up, but she would not tell them she thought so.

"Well, nice of him to let someone know then," she finally said, in an ironic tone. "No one's approached me with a replacement."

"I'll be a prefect for you," James nearly shouted with glee. "Lily's patrolling tonight, isn't she? Do you ever meet up with her during the night? Is she very friendly with that Mallard fellow?"

Now Myra stared in wonder, one eyebrow raised. "Tell Remus he'd better tell me next time he decides to run off," she said dismissively and walked back into the Great Hall.

By the Ravenclaw table she found Head Boy Timothy Ivory. "Hey, Timothy," she interrupted his conversation.

"Myra," he greeted.

"Have you heard that Remus is gone tonight?"

He frowned. "No, is he off to see his aunt again?"

"Apparently, and he didn't tell me anything. Just ran off at lunch today."

"He might have told Carly, and she just forgot to pass on the message. But if not, I'll have a word with him when he comes back. We've always been lenient with him having to leave every once in a while, as long as he gives a warning before hand. Do you have a partner tonight?"

Myra shook her head. "Not that I know of."

The Head Boy thought for a moment. "I'm not sure who might be free tonight without looking at the schedule, but if I can't find anyone for you, I'll take the patrol with you. Just show up in the Entrance Hall at 10:45 like usual and me or someone else will be there, all right?"

"Thanks, Timothy."

"No worries," he waved his hand, and Myra went back to the Gryffindor table.

"Did you sort it out?" Ashley wondered.

"Kind of," Myra answered, wanting another helping of dessert. She told the girls about her conversation with the Marauders and the Head Boy, but left out the part where she discussed with the boys about whether or not Remus was sick enough to leave anywhere. That was to be confided in Hestia later.

...

When it was ten minutes left until a quarter to eleven, Myra packed away her books and parchments, and went down to the Entrance Hall to see who would be so lucky as to be her partner for the evening. Praying to Merlin all the way down that it wasn't a Slytherin.

But it was Timothy Ivory who stood there in his Ravenclaw robes and Head Boy badge.

"Good evening, Myra," he greeted. "It seems that everyone else had more important things to do. I've already sent Lily and Richard on the way."

Some part of Myra felt performance anxiety creep up on her; this was the Head Boy after all. But she took a deep breath and reassured herself that Headmaster Dumbledore was the one who gave her the honour of being a prefect, and he most likely had the last word in whether or not she was allowed to continue with it if Timothy was to complain. "Let's go then," she said and led the way down into the dungeons, where she and Remus always began their patrol.

It was a fairly quiet night; not many stragglers were out and about breaking school rules. Timothy wasn't a very talkative type either, so Myra found time to think a lot in the quiet of the castle. And what else would she think about than the mystery that was Remus Lupin.

Something was wrong with him, that much was certain.

For the second time in a short while he abandoned her to do patrol without him. Both times he had looked ready to drop dead at any moment the days before he disappeared. And this time he hadn't even notified anyone.

"Did you hear if Remus had told Carly about him leaving?" Myra suddenly asked. They were now on the first floor.

"He actually did, but she completely forgot about it," the Head Boy answered. "We had a Potions test last thing today, and his message got lost in that haze."

Myra nodded; that sounded reasonable.

So Remus had notified someone. But he had said nothing to her about cancelling their planned tutoring session.

When they reached the third floor, it was clear that something was going on there. Myra pushed thoughts of Remus out of her mind and shared a quick look with Timothy. There was a faint giggling coming from an empty classroom near the end of the hall, where the Clock Tower entrance was.

Briskly, but as quiet as possible, the two walked towards the classroom, and the giggling became louder. They reached the door,and Timothy motioned for Myra to do the honours.

Myra smiled in glee at what she knew would come, then replaced the smile with her sternest face and wrenched open the door.

Inside were two Slytherins, a girl sitting on an old and battered desk, and a boy who just scrambled out from standing between her legs.

"It is three quarters after curfew, why aren't you in your common room?" Myra asked with authority, stepping inside so Timothy could survey the scene as well.

The boy held his face straight. "Why aren't you in your common room?" he asked. The girl giggled at his cheek.

Myra raised one eyebrow before pointing to her chest, where the shiny prefect badge was pinned.

"Well, like you said, it's a quarter to eleven, weekend tomorrow, no need to be so meticulous about it. Rules are made to be broken."

Stepping closer, Myra recognized him as a seventh year and her as a fifth year. "And what had you been planning on doing in here if we hadn't shown up? Gone all the long way together? What if she isn't following the rules about going to the hospital wing once a month for a hormone potion? What would happen if that rule has been broken?"

"I haven't broken that rule!" the girl defended herself. "I've taken that potion every month since I was thirteen!"

"Yes, and good for you, but I'm trying to make a point here," Myra dismissed her and looked hard into the Slytherin boy's eyes. "What would happen if your little girlfriend here broke that rule?"

He swallowed visibly, but remained calm and cold. "So what? I have the money to make that problem go away."

Myra raised both eyebrows now and looked at him as if he was something repulsive under her shoe. "Ten points from Slytherin from both of you for being out after curfew and for being cheeky about it."

"Fine fine, we'll go," he surrendered grudgingly and the two lovers sped out of the classroom. "Uptight little Gryffindor needs to get herself laid," he whispered to his giggling girlfriend when they were some way down the hall.

"I heard that!" Myra called after them. "Fifteen points from Slytherin for that!"

Timothy had a hand over his mouth, laughter shining from his eyes. "You are so cruel," he breathed when he had recovered himself.

"Thank you," Myra bowed. "There's no greater pleasure than finding reasons to take points from Slytherin."

The two finished the third floor, and went up to the fourth floor, the last floor they had responsibility for. Lily and Mallard took fifth to seventh and all towers. Then it was down again, through the floors, but not so thorough this time. Hopefully they had scared away most of the students who were out of bounds.

Timothy was a bit more talkative now that the ice seemed to have melted between them after the incident with the Slytherins, so Myra gave up trying to figure out what was going on with Remus, in favour of participating in Timothy's conversation.

A bit after midnight Myra was back in the Gryffindor common room. Not many of her housemates were up still, but Hestia and Anna were among the few late nighters.

"Did anyone show up to help you?" Anna asked.

"The Head Boy took it himself," Myra answered, falling down into the couch the two girls were sitting in, exhausted after a long week and two long hours of walking up and down six floors.

"He is cute," Anna commented dreamily, gazing into the air.

"I guess he is," Myra yawned. "I've never really thought about it."

"You're too busy ogling Remus, aren't you?" The grin on Anna's face was infuriating.

If looks could kill, Anna would be so far in the ground her corpse would come back out in China. "If I say that yes, Remus is an attractive wizard, will you shut up about it? But he's not the only attractive wizard in the castle, nor is he the most attractive."

"Fine fine, I'll shut up!" Anna put her hands up in surrender, but added in a mutter: "For now."

Hestia just shook her head at their conversation, sitting cross legged on the couch, a book in her lap and parchment and quill on the armrest.

"Hey, Hestia, do you think you can help me a bit with the Imperturbable Charm? If you have the time." Myra leant forward to catch Hestia's attention.

"Can't you manage to practice on your own?" Hestia didn't look up from her work.

"Just supervise, watch and tell me if I'm doing something wrong. I'm this close to mastering it now." She held two fingers close together to demonstrate.

"Fine, just give me five minutes to finish this."

"Did you catch any rule breakers today?" Anna asked.

"A couple of Slytherins, two Hufflepuffs and a Gryffindor."

"Ooh, Slytherins! How many points did you take from them?"

"Thirty-five," Myra answered smugly.

"That's my girl. What did they do?"

"They were having foreplay in an empty classroom in the Charms corridor. A seventh year and a fifth year. He was awfully rude to me, so I took fifteen points from him for it."

Anna smiled as if she'd just found a thousand unknown galleons in her pocket.

"Okay, I'm ready," Hestia announced and put her homework away.

"I'm too tired to sit here and watch you two do this, so good night!" Anna demonstrated with a yawn and went up to the dorms. Only a couple of handfuls were left now, grouped around the common room.

"Let's see how far you've gotten with Mr Lupin then." Hestia sat straight and waited.

Myra demonstrated after summoning a mitten to transfigure and a box to charm. She could either get the barrier working perfectly or she could block out sound completely, but not both properties at the same time.

"You have to find the common link between the two in the way you move your wand and the magic you draw from your core," Hestia said.

"Oh really, it's that simple? Why on earth didn't someone tell me that sooner," Myra said sarcastically.

Hestia clicked her tongue in annoyance. This was exactly why Hestia wouldn't normally help Myra with her homework or other academic trouble. Hestia didn't have the patience to deal with Myra's comments and interruptions. And Myra often didn't understand Hestia's complicated way of explaining things.

With a sigh that sounded like she was facing her doom, Hestia tried to explain in a simpler way.

The two Gryffindors were at it for nearly an hour, actually making great progress and were the only ones left in the common room, when a hair-raising howl interrupted them. Both looked at each other, then out the window, where the sound had come from.

Myra knew at once what it was, since it was her greatest fear. But both of them walked over to the window and gazed out onto the grounds. The night was pitch-black, but the moon was full and bright and lighting up the ground, making the snow that was left sparkle like a million diamonds.

The howl came again, followed by a couple of lower and deeper howls.

"The Shrieking Shack," Myra muttered, rubbing her hands over her arms in an effort to get rid of the goose bumps.

"They're always worse during the full moon," Hestia mentioned.

"I think you're right. Never thought about it before, but I guess you're right."

It was frightening, knowing that ghosts wandered the castle every day, all day, one of them even teaching a class. But none of them were harmful, not even Peeves the Poltergeist. But the ghosts inhabiting the Shrieking Shack, the viciousness of them, having the house so close to the school, it was bizarre. Exactly the same creatures as the ones inside the castle, so peaceful in one place and so horrifying in another. No wonder the ones in the Shrieking Shack was Myra's Boggart.




Notes

[12] A twist on the idea of boy-cooties, with help from the lovely people at the HPFF forums.

[13] Talon-Clipping Charm, invented by J.K. Rowling, mentioned in Goblet of Fire, the incantation for it, Digitus Amputo, invented by me.




Author Notes

Wonderful beta-work by the always-amazing Orion Knight! Bow down to her!

I'm now officially done editing the stuff I wrote during NaNoWriMo. Of course, I might edit some more here and there, but I'm now focusing on planning Myra's sixth school year. NaNo took us all the way to the end of September her sixth years, so now I'm almost done planning that year all the way through June. Think I'm going to blog some photos of how I'm working when I plan. Not sure if many other writers out there are as mental as me...

Please review if you have any thoughts on the chapter! And feel free to ask me anything in my Meet the Author, link in my profile!

Coming: Chapter 8 – Currently Untitled
"Hestia Jones, can I have a word with you, please?" he asked politely and formally. "Will you go out with me in Hogsmeade on Saturday?" Ambrose asked, his tone calm, clear and well rehearsed. "Eh, tomorrow, as a date," he added with an afterthought, for once in his life looking insecure. Hestia stared at him for a few long seconds. Then she blurted out: "Why?" Ambrose sputtered; this was clearly not something he had expected.
Or rehearsed, Myra thought while chuckling in her head.


Chapter 8: Pairing Up
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Chapter 8
Pairing Up



Image by Sixx. @ TDA


Myra and Hestia went to bed not long after they first heard the ghosts in the Shrieking Shack that evening. Myra was desperate to shut out the sounds of her greatest fear, and Hestia was just thankful to be done tutoring Myra for the time being.

On Saturday afternoon Myra was sitting with the three other girls by a staircase in the common room, trying to do some homework.

"Jupiter's fourth moon, is it one or two Ls?" Myra suddenly asked.

"Callisto?" Ashley asked.

Myra nodded.

"Two."

Suddenly the three left over Marauders came stumbling down the stairs, looking like they just woke up. The girls looked up at their noisy entrance. The boys were deep in conversation, and as they passed Myra caught the words 'hospital wing'.

So he isn't visiting his aunt, she thought, immediately drawing the conclusion that they were talking about Remus.

"I want to go to the hospital wing again," Myra leaned close to Hestia and whispered when the boys were out of earshot.

Hestia just closed her eyes in exasperation and sighed. "Sure, go," she whispered back.

"Well, I'm not going right now, since they are probably on their way there, but later today. Don't you want to come with me?"

"No," Hestia said quickly, but gave it a quick thought. "But I probably should, for your own safety."

A few hours, several essays and a trip to the library later, Sirius, James and Peter came back. Sitting in the same spot as earlier, Myra looked up at their arrival. They caught her gaze and all three boys stopped short.

Myra smiled in greeting, but none of them smiled back. Sirius narrowed his eyes, James' face was unreadable, and Peter looked sad. Then James put a hand on the others' shoulders, sent a dazzling smile in Lily's direction at the other end of the room, and they continued across the common room and up to their dorm.

"Well, somehow I've managed to make those three mad at me."

"What?" Ashley asked.

"Never mind. Hestia, can you come help me with that thing now?"

The girl in question sighed miserably. "Yes."

The two friends left Gryffindor Tower and walked down to the third floor. The moment they were about to open the door, Madam Pomfrey came out. "What can I do for you?" she asked briskly. "Are you ill?"

"No," Myra answered. "We were just wondering if Remus-"

Madam Pomfrey interrupted. "I currently have no patients, Miss Kinney, and I am not expecting any."

"But, he looked so-"

"No patients. Now, I'm sure you two have plenty of homework to do, off you go!" The matron turned them around and almost pushed them down the hallway.

"O-okay." Myra and Hestia walked away and when they reached a corner, they looked back. Madam Pomfrey was still standing there, hands on her hips, waiting for them to disappear.

"That settles it then," Myra concluded once they did round that corner.

"Remus is in there," Hestia continued.

"Uh, yes." Myra did not expect Hestia to be on the same page as her in this and stopped walking. "He told Carly that he was visiting his aunt again, and Peter told me the same thing. You noticed how sick Remus was looking the last few days before the weekend?"

Hestia nodded.

"If you were that sick, would you go visit a dying relative?"

Hestia shook her head.

"I don't understand this. There was that last time you and I went up here too, when we both saw him lying there, bruised and unconscious, not particularly sick. But he had been sick before he went there. And then I overheard him later, saying to that Mary MacDonald girl that he did go see his aunt."

"Same with when you were up there for the potions accident, then he told us to keep his stay there a secret."

"So you finally understand why I'm so curious about this?"

"No."

Myra cleared her throat. "Don't you find it to be the slightest bit mysterious the way he behaves and the way he lies?"

"Well, I understand why you are so curious about this; it is in your nature. But I don't understand why you're so determined to find out about Remus. You've been in the same house for nearly five years, you've been a fellow prefect with him for months. You told me you sneaked through the prefect records and that he seems to have been following the same pattern for a while, so why haven't you noticed and cared about his absence before? What changed to make you so adamant about it now?"

"He's my friend, and colleague, and housemate. I want to make sure he is alright, and that he's not involved in something bad or that he's hurting. I would do the same with you, or Ashley, or Anna, or even Henry, especially Marie."

"I appreciate that, but I don't think that's your main motivation for trying to get into Remus' business."

"What is my motivation then?" Myra asked sceptically.

Hestia looked at Myra, searched her eyes for something. Then she shook her head slightly. "If you don't see it now, I'm not going to tell you. Hopefully you'll figure it out soon enough and not too late. You have worked out harder puzzles before; I guess you will now too."

"Tell me!"

Hestia shook her head more vigorously now. "Come on; let's get some more homework done." And Hestia took off down the hall and towards the staircases.

...

The rest of the weekend was quiet. Myra kept looking around to see if Remus had returned, and one time on Saturday evening she even managed to get Peter alone to ask him if Remus was coming back soon. She figured Peter was the most naive and most likely to give her a straight answer, but he was calm and collected when he said he didn't know, he would most likely stay a couple of days more, he usually did.

After that conversation Myra got even more strange glances from the three resident Marauders. Sirius even sometimes glared angrily at her when he thought she wasn't looking.

"Be careful, Myra," Anna advised when they got ready for bed that night, sitting in her four poster writing in her journal.

"Why?" Myra stopped what she was doing; hanging her robe by the fireplace so it would be warm in the morning.

"I've seen the looks the Marauders have given you. I know they're usually just pranking and doing things for fun, but we all know how they treat the Slytherins. I wouldn't put it past them to be just as cruel to someone else, even if you are a fellow Gryffindor."

"I can't really help it, now can I? I have no idea why they're upset with me."

"Just be careful you don't do anything else that might upset them," Anna finished and closed the curtains around her bed.

Easier said than done when you have no idea what put them off in the first place.

On Sunday Myra had her usual breakfast with Marie, who requested some help with Defence Against the Dark Arts and Herbology for Monday. Myra may not have been particularly good in Defence, but as a fifth year she did master the first year stuff.

The sisters went to the library, and stayed there pretty much all Sunday, barely interacting with anyone else, and only emerging for meals. So the first thing Myra did in the dorm that evening was to ask her friends if they'd seen Remus that day. None of them had.

As Myra went to bed, she heard the girls whisper amongst themselves. She asked them what they were talking about, but they brushed it off as nothing and continued their nightly routines. Sleep was taking control of Myra, and she didn't have the energy to press further on the matter.

On Monday morning Remus was back. He still looked sick, as Myra followed him and his friends' journey to their seats with her eyes. But the usual spring in his step was back, so he had clearly improved.

She wanted to talk to him, but wisely decided that she needed to get him on his own first. Considering the advice Anna had given her on Saturday night, she thought it wise to not have Sirius, James or Peter witnessing that particular conversation.

She didn't know his schedule, at least not in detail, so she had no way of knowing what classes he took without the other three.

"Any of you wouldn't happen to know if Remus has any classes today without his friends?" Myra asked in a low voice to her friends.

They all shook their heads, smiling slightly.

Myra sank down a bit in her seat. There was always patrol on Friday, but she couldn't wait that long.

But not two minutes later Remus approached her. "Can I talk to you?" he asked and nodded his head in direction of the Entrance Hall.

"Sure, I think I'm done with breakfast anyway." She stood up, grabbed her bag and turned to the girls. "See you in Herbology."

Anna and Ashley winked at her when she left; Myra rolled her eyes at them.

Safely out in the Entrance Hall Remus sat down in the stairs leading to the grand staircase. Myra joined him.

"I hear you didn't get any message about me leaving?" Remus started, his hands twisting slightly in his lap.

"No, apparently Carly had too much on her mind to remember to pass on the message," Myra answered.

"I realise I should have told you too, and even Timothy, that I was leaving."

"Where did you go?" Myra asked carefully.

"My sick aunt again. It was kind of a spur of the moment thing to go, so I didn't get to prepare like I usually do, by letting people know and all that." He told the lie very convincingly.

"But you were so ill before you left. Was it safe to visit her in that condition? Couldn't both of you get worse?"

"It's not very contagious what I had and what she has, so the Healers have told us not to worry."

The lies were incredible!

"I find this very strange," Myra said thoughtfully.

"Did you work out the Imperturbable Charm?" he suddenly asked as a change of subject.

Myra almost snorted, but bit her tongue to keep quiet. She did not want to end the subject, but went along with him anyway. "Yes, amazingly I did. Hestia helped me after patrol on Friday; we don't work well together when she's helping me. But Professor Biggar will be surprised on Tuesday."

"I'm glad!" He seemed genuinely happy. "I'd be happy to help anytime, I hope you know that."

"Careful, I will most likely take you up on that offer, because I will need it."

There was silence for about a minute, when Myra wanted to try to pick up the subject he dropped. "So, you're feeling better then? You look healthier than last time I saw you." She gauged his reaction. But he didn't give anything away.

"Yeah, I should be fine by tomorrow. I dropped by Madam Pomfrey this morning and she wasn't worried."

"So she did have time for you then? I was up there this weekend, to ask about something, but she just shooed me away."

"Did she?" Remus asked. "Guess she was busy then."

"No, I don't think she was, she said she had no patients and were not expecting any."

Remus chuckled. "You can't really expect patients, can you?"

"I guess not."

It was quiet again for a minute, before Remus spoke. "So, Hogsmeade is coming up this weekend."

"Yeah, it'll be nice to get away for a while. You're going?"

At that moment people started filing out of the Great Hall, classes was coming up.

"Yeah, I'm going. You?"

"Pretty sure I'll be going. I should get to class." Myra stood up, ready to go.

"Me too. See you later then, Myra." Remus didn't make any move to get up.

"See you later." Myra was off, spotting Hestia in the crowd.

...

After Herbology, Myra sat down in Potions with Ashley, the two of them being partners for the day. "What did you and Remus talk about earlier?" Ashley asked.

"He just apologized for not making sure I got the message that he was leaving on Friday."

"That was sweet of him."

"Yeah, it was." But how sweet is it to lie like that? Myra thought to herself.

Professor Slughorn began the lesson on Befuddlement Draughts, but Myra was lost in her own thoughts without realising it, going over the conversation from that morning.

The lies Remus told sounded incredibly believable when he told them. Not so much when his friends did, but he said them so truthfully, Myra almost suspected he believed them himself. But he couldn't, could he?

No, he was very lucid and sane when she had interacted with him in the hospital wing, except when he tried to shag her. The same lie was in circulation back then.

Battered, bruised and sick, and lying about it. What was it?

"What are you thinking about?" Ashley suddenly whispered in Myra's ear, bringing her back to the present.

"Nothing, sorry, I'll pay attention," Myra whispered back.

"Well, you were smiling for a moment there, wherever your mind was."

Myra snapped back around to Ashley, who was now focused on the board Professor Slughorn was writing on.

...

Since Hogsmeade was coming up, Ashley was on the prowl for Lowell Llewellyn. She wanted nothing more than for him to ask her on a date that day, especially since it was considered a Valentine's Day weekend, since Valentine's Day was on the following Monday.

Some of her attempts were amusing to watch, like when she pretended to not see where she was going and bumping into him in the halls, or when she walked past his desk in class she swayed her hips so much she resembled a Christmas bell in the wind.

But it looked like she was succeeding, because Myra was sure she saw a glazed look in his eyes every time he looked at Ashley.

While it had been amusing, Myra and Hestia had had enough on Wednesday. Ashley wasn't talking about anything else other than the look Lowell had given her in Transfiguration that morning. So the two best friends decided to seek refuge in the library after dinner.

It was very peaceful in the library. The sound of the quiet there was different than other quiet sounds; it sort of engulfed you in a comforting way. And even though Myra wasn't much of a book person, she loved the smell of them, the older the better. Every once in a while she would unconsciously take a deep breath, and sometimes she even sighed happily.

Hestia wasn't so happy about those interruptions, but after a while she was so lost in her homework she didn't notice much of anything going on around her.

They had been there an hour when someone stepped in front of the light and cast their books in shadow. "Hello girls," Remus said quietly, smiling slightly.

"Hello," both girls whispered back.

"Mind if I join you?"

They shook their heads and Myra pushed her things down the table so she could give her seat to Remus.

"Thanks." He sat down and pulled out some parchment from his bag. "Peter and Sirius are helping James come up with a foolproof plan to ask Lily out this weekend. It's maddening."

"Same with Ashley," Myra sympathized. "She's trying to get Lowell Llewellyn to ask her out."

"At least one of them will be successful then. Three guesses who." Sarcasm dripped from Remus' voice.

"You mean Lily and James?" Myra asked as seriously as she could.

Remus made a loud noise, but then covered his mouth with his hand, his shoulders shaking with laugher. Hestia snickered quietly.

Over by the librarian's desk Madam Pince cleared her throat demonstratively.

"Sorry," Remus whispered almost inaudibly. "I'll be quiet and work."

"Yes, you better," Myra joked, but returned to her History of Magic book, concentrating on the subject there.

On Thursday they thankfully didn't have any classes with the Hufflepuffs, so Ashley wasn't wasting precious class time by flirting with Lowell. But she shared Wizarding Culture Studies with Myra, and Myra was this close to casting a Silencing Charm on her friend.

"Ashley, please." Myra had to put her foot down. "I'm happy you've found someone you want to be with, honestly. But please, talk about something else from time to time. Besides, this is class and I'm trying to work."

Ashley was frozen in her movements, shocked. Then she blushed. "I'm sorry, I didn't realise I was obsessing so much."

"No worries. I love to hear about how it's going, but sometimes it's just too much."

After that Ashley calmed down, until Lowell actually pulled her aside on the way from dinner, and asked her out to Hogsmeade. Myra and the two other girls had watched from several feet away, and had been surprised at seeing the calm and collected Ashley that stood there and talked to the current love of her life.

The rest of the evening Ashley couldn't stop smiling. And the first thing Myra saw when she got out of bed was Ashley's smiling face. It was contagious though, that was the best thing about Ashley, her good mood always caught on.

So it was with smiling faces the girls started the school day with Magical Living and then History of Magic. And that was when Hestia's smile fell.

When they approached the classroom, Ambrose Longstaff stood outside the classroom, leaning on the door, looking nervous.

"Hestia Jones, can I have a word with you, please?" he asked politely and formally and walked towards the group.

Before Hestia could decline Myra, Anna and Ashley stepped to the side and gave them some kind of privacy to talk.

"Will you go out with me in Hogsmeade on Saturday?" Ambrose asked, his tone calm, clear and well rehearsed. "Eh, tomorrow, as a date," he added with an afterthought, for once in his life looking insecure.

Hestia stared at him for a few long seconds. Then she blurted out: "Why?"

Ambrose sputtered; this was clearly not something he had expected. Or rehearsed, Myra thought while chuckling in her head. "Be... Because I like you and I want to go out with you." He recovered nicely, if not a bit desperate sounding.

Hestia turned slightly, seeking out Myra, demanding help with her eyes. Myra just shrugged and made a discreet motion with her hands to say 'just go for it'. Hestia looked over at Ambrose again, sizing him up. Then closing her eyes as she answered: "Fine, yes."

"Yes?" Ambrose asked disbelievingly.

Hestia opened her eyes and nodded.

"Yes," Ambrose confirmed happily and shook her hand, before leaving, almost skipping away into the classroom.

"Oh Merlin." Hestia dropped her head

"Don't worry, it'll be fun." Anna put a hand on Hestia's shoulder.

"Sure." Hestia didn't sound convinced.

"It's just a date, not a lifelong commitment," Myra said and lead the way into the classroom.

Hestia was a little awkward throughout the class, having Ambrose so close and not being able to get away. Not to mention the fact that the History of Magic classes always was slow, and inspired the students to look around and find things to entertain themselves. It was a relief to be let out for lunch.

"So two of us have a date tomorrow," Anna said while cutting up a sausage. "And two of us don't."

"We should go together, Anna. Pretend we're on a date together." Myra smiled jokingly. "Give everyone something to gossip about."

"That's actually a very good idea, my dear Myra." Anna reached across the table and put her hand lovingly on top of Myra's.

"I'm so glad you agreed to go with me, Anna. It's going to be real nice." Myra put down her toast and laid her other hand on Anna's.

"Stop that, you two," Ashley gagged. "There's nothing wrong with girl on girl, but you two..." She gagged again. "Besides, who knows, there's a big change Myra will have a date after her prefect patrol tonight."

"What?" Myra snapped around, nearly choking on her pumpkin juice. The three others chuckled at her reaction. "Who? Whe- What have you heard?"

Ashley's answer was perfectly calm; she even buttered a toast elaborately while talking, not looking in Myra's direction at all. "Prefect patrol, tonight. You're patrolling with Remus. I'm sure he's dying to ask you."

Myra blinked furiously, both in confusion and frustration. "Why can't you guys stop insinuating that something is going on between Remus and me?"

"We're not insinuating anything." Anna was just as calm as Ashley. "We can see it in both of you."

"You're crazy, all of you."

"Why is it so bad?" Hestia asked, a clear reprisal of the similar question Myra had asked her when Ambrose had first started asking questions.

"It's not bad, it's just not true at all," Myra answered quickly, sure of her answer.

"We'll see tonight, won't we," Ashley finished confidently.

"Yes, we will. You will be proven wrong. Now," Myra stood up, packed herself in her robe and scarf, "I have got to get to Care of Magical Creatures. We're far out on the grounds today, and it's a long way to walk." She waved goodbye and went to find Henry.

On the way along the Gryffindor table she passed the Marauders.

"Hi, Myra," Remus greeted. "Why don't you sit down for a while?"

"Hi," she said back, smiling at all four of them. Sirius, James and Peter just stared at her, and Myra couldn't even imagine what thoughts those stony faces hid. "I can't, I'm off to Care of Magical Creatures. I'm just getting Henry first." She motioned for her friend just a few seats away with a couple of boys from seventh year. He shot his head up when hearing his name.

"Oh, okay. Have fun!"

"Thanks." Myra continued down to Henry, and waited for him to get ready. In the background she could hear the Marauders talking.

"Why do you keep talking to her?" James asked.

"Why shouldn't I?" Remus asked back.

"You know very well why," Sirius hissed.

Myra turned slightly around under the pretence of waiting impatiently, seeing in the corner of her eye that Sirius was looking livid, leaning over the table towards Remus.

"I trust her, Padfoot."

"We don't," Peter said. "She knows too much already, and it's just too risky of you to keep her close."

"So I'm not allowed to have friends because of... my condition?"

"We're not saying that, you have us," James said. "It's just that she... She knows too much, like Wormtail said. Her friend knows too, and her eleven year old sister knows a bit too. Who can trust that little girl to keep quiet?"

"I trust them," Remus said slowly and with emphasis on every word. "There's nothing cruel in Myra or Hestia or Marie. Don't you think they would have said something already if they wanted to? Besides, what is there to say?"

"Let's go," Henry said suddenly, pulling Myra's attention away from the conversation down the table.

"Okay," she sighed. She really wanted to hear the rest of that conversation, but duty called.

My condition. My condition. My condition.

Those two words repeated themselves over and over in Myra's head all the way down to the Care of Magical Creatures clearing.

My condition.

What condition? Was Remus really sick? Was it more than a weak immune system that made him sick so often? Was it he who was critically ill instead of his supposed aunt?

Why was there so much secrecy surrounding it?

It seemed that Myra never had the time to finish her own thoughts. Each time she felt like she could almost grasp the truth behind Remus' strange behaviour, she was interrupted and lost the train of thought. This time she was interrupted by having arrived at the clearing and having Professor Kettleburn telling them what to do for the day.

Not even bothering to waste energy on trying to get her mind back to the thought process that had been cut short, Myra instead focused on the Fire Crab she had been assigned.

"It's the big date day in Hogsmeade tomorrow," Henry said casually, cleaning out the box of his Fire Crab.

"I suppose. You got a date?" Myra asked. She was trying to keep her Fire Crab in the temporary box so she could clean out the other box.

"Afraid I don't," he answered with a pout.

"Oh, you poor thing," Myra mocked. "Aren't there any witches left at Hogwarts for you to date?"

"Plenty. You for example, or Hestia."

"And we all know that will happen when Nifflers fly."

"I like those odds," he mused with a smirk. "But each year there are new fourth years eager to explore. But enough about me, do you have a date tomorrow?"

"No. But Anna and I thought we'd go together, us lonely girls."

"Does that mean Hestia has got a date?" Henry looked slightly shocked.

"That she does." Myra smiled. "She's going with Ambrose."

"Ambrose?" Henry exclaimed loudly, earning an angry glare from Professor Kettleburn.

Myra nodded to confirm. "He approached her earlier today, all nervous and rehearsed, and she gave in."

"Merlin." Henry looked thoughtful. "Maybe I could finally have gotten a yes from her too, if I'd asked today."

"I doubt it. You have a reputation, Ambrose doesn't. At least not that kind of reputation."

"So." Henry stood up straight and put on his most charming smile. "Do you want to ditch Anna and go with me tomorrow?"

Myra burst out laughing and continued working with her Fire Crab, not even dignifying him with an answer.

...

"Did you get asked out?" Ashley asked when Myra came back to the common room a bit earlier than usual after her patrol with Remus, leaving him with his friends by the fireplace and joining her own friends by a table under a window.

Myra smiled teasingly. "I did get asked out, actually."

"I knew it!" Ashley, Hestia and Anna said at the same time.

"Did you? Never would have thought. But I laughed it off."

The three girls' faces fell. "You did?" Anna gaped. "The poor boy." They looked over at the Marauders, where Remus was sitting, and not looking upset at all.

"Yes, poor poor boy. He'll easily find another girl in town tomorrow to help him get over me. It is his usual habit, after all."

All three were frowning now. "Wait, didn't Remus ask you out?" Hestia asked.

"Oh!" Myra threw her head back in mock surprise. "You were talking about Remus. I thought you meant Henry."

"Henry asked you out?"

"More specifically, he asked if I wanted to ditch Anna and go with him instead."

"We were so sure Remus would ask you," Anna said thoughtfully.

"Well, he didn't. And I really don't understand how you could come to that conclusion." Myra pulled off her shoes, massaging her feet.

Hestia looked around them, making sure the Marauders were still at the other side of the room. There were very few people left in the common room, but she still whispered. "Don't you find it odd that he continues to seek you out? Ask you to sit with them? Is so incredibly helpful when you have a problem? While his friends seem to be upset with you for some reason? And all of this out of nowhere?"

Myra frowned and took this in, finally. Automatically she glanced across the room at the four boys sitting there. Surprising her, Remus turned his gaze on her the moment her eyes found him. She started for a second. They looked at each other for a few seconds before Myra smiled and turned back to her friends. They'd all seen the exchange.

"My point exactly," Hestia finalized.

"It doesn't have to mean that," Myra said, but wasn't entirely convinced by herself. She looked helplessly at the other girls. But they just had that expression of 'I told you so'.

Remus was interested in her? That was absurd. He hadn't shown the slightest sign that that was the case. She'd have to look into this, try to get something out of him.

As if it wasn't enough with the mystery about his disappearances and his lies, he had to fancy her as well.

"I don't want to think about this now, I'm going to bed." She said goodnight and went upstairs.

Standing in the middle of the dorm, she thought out loud. "His friends don't like me, so why should he be into me like that." This idea took deep root in her mind for now, allowing her to get some sleep. Her dreams were filled with images of Remus in various interesting situations, but she didn't remember any of them when she woke up.




Author Notes

No special messages for you know, other than I'm starting to get back to writing again. Just a bit more planning left to do for the next 10-20 chapters.

Please review if you have any thoughts on the chapter!

Coming: Chapter 9 – Dates and Un-Dates
Now they were sitting at one of these tables, drinking tea flavoured with black tea and strawberries. In a weak moment Hestia had laid her left hand on the table next to the tea cup in order of draw some heat from the cup, and Ambrose had taken the opportunity to lay his own hand on top.


Chapter 9: Dates and Un-Dates
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Chapter 9
Dates and Un-Dates



Image by Sixx. @ TDA


Late Saturday morning after breakfast, the level of activity was high in the fifth year Gryffindor girls' dorm. It probably was in most other girls' dorms, as well.

Myra, Hestia and Anna kept Ashley company while she was going through her trunk, looking at various outfits, trying on some of them, discarding others, and making new combinations with the small amount of casual clothes she had taken with her to school.

"Why do you bother with trying to find the best possible outfit?" Hestia asked from her bed, where she had been sitting and staring into space for a long while. "He's only seen you in your uniform, and he still asked you out. Why not go in what he already likes you in?"

"Oh, Hestia." Anna shook her head sadly.

"What?" Hestia snapped. She was unusually bitter.

"I want him to really, really like me, Hestia," Ashley answered to avoid a quarrel between the two other girls.

"I liked the red pants and the black knitted sweater, Ashley," Myra said. "It shows off your Gryffindor colours and his Hufflepuff colours."

"She's going to have a thick winter robe over it, he won't even see it," Hestia continued.

"They might go into Madam Puddifoot's; she's going to have to take off her robes then. It's always sweltering in there."

"Oh Merlin, I hope Ambrose doesn't take me in there." Hestia fell over in her bed and buried her head in the comforter.

"Don't worry, Hestia," Myra comforted. "It probably won't be as bad as you imagine."

"I'm blaming you if today turns out to be a fiasco."

"Feel free."

Eventually Ashley found the perfect outfit; the red pants but with a soft yellow knitted sweater, combined with her black winter boots and winter robes. She represented the possible fusion of Gryffindor and Hufflepuff well. Subliminal messages couldn't hurt.

Hestia didn't take her outfit as seriously and went for her regular worn jeans and Gryffindor coloured sweater. Exactly the same as she would have worn on a girls' day out in Hogsmeade.

Down in the common room Ambrose was waiting when the girls came down. He looked at Hestia in wonder, it probably wouldn't have mattered what she wore; rags or dressing gown. He stepped forward and offered her his arm. She may not be excited about this, but she was brought up as a pure-blood, so her pure-blood manners kicked in, and she smiled and linked her arm with his, waved goodbye to her friends and walked out of the portrait hole.

The common room was full of activity, first and second years who weren't allowed to go were set up to take over when the older students were gone. And all the older students were pairing and grouping up, ready to go. But Myra, Ashley and Anna stood quietly in the midst of it all, thinking about Hestia and Ambrose.

"I don't really have high hopes for that date," Myra muttered.

"Me neither," the two others said in unison.

They stood there for a few seconds with gloomy looks on their faces, staring at the portrait hole.

Suddenly Ashley cracked a smile. "Let's just go, I've got a man waiting for me."

And true to her word, when they entered the Entrance Hall, Lowell Llewellyn stood at the top of the stairs coming from the Hufflepuff dungeons. He looked awfully smart in his freshly laundered winter robes and neatly combed hair.

Ashley blushed as he approached her. "Shall we go?" he asked.

She nodded, and they too linked arms, waved goodbye and left.

"Just us two left," Anna said.

"Shall we go?" Myra imitated Lowell, holding out her arm.

Anna giggled in an exaggerated manner and took Myra's arm. "Oh, let's!"

The two girls followed the stream of students being signed out and then moving down towards Hogsmeade, a comfortable silence between them.

The streets of the town were almost bare of snow, but the frost still lay thick on the woodwork and the trees. And in spite of the biting cold the streets were littered with couples in Hogwarts robes. There were a good amount of shoppers as well, both students and others, but the Hogwarts couples dominated with their sheer presence. It was a somewhat depressing sight, and that feeling took Myra slightly by surprise.

She thought she felt that way because she herself was single. She'd had several crushes, but hadn't had a boyfriend since the end of fourth year.

Having one wasn't the most important thing for her right now, if it happened, it happened. But she sometimes missed the feelings and the excitement that came with it, being in love, not to mention the added comfort that came with having the one you liked liking you back.

Myra sighed sadly on Anna's side.

"Is something wrong?" Anna asked.

"I think I miss being in a relationship. At least I miss being in love. It's a nice feeling, even when it's not reciprocated."

"I get what you're saying. I miss it too. There's really not that many to choose from at Hogwarts. Once you've been through two or three, there are really no other good matches," Anna complained.

"I know. I've only been with Edmund Davenport, and I can't say I've had any crushes after him."

"Why did you break up with him anyway?" Anna asked.

"I can't remember; it's been so long. Can't have been a big deal, or I'm sure I would have remembered. Hestia probably does."

They laughed, and continued on their way, window shopping.

"Hey," Anna suddenly said. She had stopped and looked at something down the street. Myra followed Anna's eyes. Outside Zonko's stood the four Marauders, clearly having just gotten out of there, since they all had their arms full of brightly coloured bags.

"Oh, curses," Myra muttered, imagining the plans they had for whatever they'd bought.

"I know you don't like hearing this, but if you see anything of what we have mentioned to you, please just consider it. Okay?"

Myra turned quickly around from the scene in front of them, startling a group of boys walking past them. Anna looked a bit scared, probably thinking Myra was angry again.

"Okay, I'll consider it. If I see something."

"Good. Now let's end this depressing loveless conversation of ours, and have a look in Gladrag's."

...

Inside Madam Puddifoot's Tea Shop it was indeed sweltering like Myra had said. Some sweet flowery mix of incense was burning, there were pink frilly tablecloths on all the small round tables, the ceiling was snowing red, pink and white confetti, and the tea cups were pink and decorated with dark red pounding hearts, all for this special occasion.

Of course Ambrose had to take Hestia inside there. She didn't have the heart to decline when he asked with hope shining out of his eyes.

Now they were sitting at one of these tables, drinking tea flavoured with black tea and strawberries. In a weak moment Hestia had laid her left hand on the table next to the tea cup in order of draw some heat from the cup, and Ambrose had taken the opportunity to lay his own hand on top.

Well, at least she wasn't cold anymore.

Merlin's beard he was boring. He started talking about Quidditch, since he knew she was a Beater, but because of his lack of knowledge about the subject, he quickly ran out of things to say and she grew tired of correcting him. Instead he had taken to talking about school and himself, both things he knew more than enough about.

"I've always been interested in Transfiguration, ever since I was a child, so it's not really a surprise that I take so well to that subject. It's really interesting to see how you can turn one thing into something completely different just by knowing the inner mechanics of both objects, or creatures."

Hestia nodded, expertly stifling a yawn. She looked over to the table in the corner where Ashley and Lowell sat. She'd tried to catch their attention several times, hoping they could help her, but they were completely lost in each other, holding hands and kissing.

Ambrose just went on and on, keeping a firm hold on Hestia's hand, looking into her eyes.

They'd been sitting there for an hour and a half when the door opened with a tinkling tune and instead of another lovesick couple entering, it was a single Henry.

Hestia had never been so happy to see him. She tried hard to discreetly catch his attention.

Henry walked up to the counter, chatting up the maid a bit. She served him a cup of tea, and as he was drinking he finally looked around the room. He met Hestia's eyes, and she poured all her boredom and desperation and pleas for help out of them. When Henry smiled amusedly, she knew she had succeeded.

He nodded that he understood, and mouthed: "I'll help."

For another ten minutes he let her sit there and sweat, but then he suddenly sat down his tea and strode over. "There you are, Hestia!" he said loudly, slamming both hands down on the table, towering over them both, catching the attention of the entire tea shop. "I've been looking all over town for you for hours, and then I find you sitting here with that posh little bugger!" He sneered with the last words.

Hestia stared in surprise at him, and it was quiet for several long awkward seconds before she collected herself and played along.

"I'm sorry," she mumbled, it almost sounded like a question.

"I thought we were supposed to go together today. What happened?"

"Uh, I had a moment of weakness. I'm terribly sorry."

"I am too, Hestia. It's like our trysts in the changing rooms never meant anything to you. It hurts." His voice broke, he was a good actor.

Hestia put on a sad face, looked at Ambrose, and then Henry again. "Is it too late for us?" She gave a small pout.

Henry gazed at her, considering his answer. "No," he whispered. "The day is still young, and every moment with you counts."

"I'm sorry, Ambrose," Hestia said to her date. "But Henry is the one I really want to be with. We have Quidditch together, so we really understand each other. Will you be okay?"

Ambrose looked like he had been Stunned. He couldn't do anything other than nod, with eyes the size of dinner plates.

"Thank you," Hestia breathed and jumped out of her seat and into Henry's arms. With his arm around her shoulders and hers around his waist, they walked out, leaving Ambrose and a mystified tea shop behind.

Once they were a safe distance up the street, they let go of each other. Hestia leaned against a shop wall, breathing out in relief. "Thank you, Henry. You saved my mental health in there. I will be forever grateful."

"No problem." He smiled smugly. "I had to jump at the only chance I'll ever get at going out with you. Even if it was for only two minutes."

Hestia glared at him, but her lips drew into a smile. "I'll give you permission to say that you broke up with me, if anyone asks."

"Were you heartbroken?"

"A bit, but not terribly so. I have to keep some dignity after you made it sound like I was a Quidditch slut."

"Yes, sorry about that." He actually had the dignity to look a bit ashamed. "I just thought it was too much out of the blue for me to just come there and claim you. Ambrose is too close for that to have worked out well. So I decided we had a secret steamy Beater on Beater relationship."

Hestia suddenly burst out laughing. People walking by were looking strangely at her.

"What's so funny?"

She couldn't stop laughing to explain. She tried, holding her hand over her mouth, biting hard on her knuckles. But she laughed so intensely she got a stitch in her side and tears ran down her face. Several minutes later she finally managed to draw calming breaths. "Nothing's really funny," she answered and hiccupped. "I've just been dreading this day since... Well, since yesterday, and it was so fantastically awful. I needed to let a reaction out."

"I'm glad I could be of help." Henry bowed theatrically. "What are you going to do now?"

"Find Myra and Anna. You wouldn't happen to know where they are?"

"I actually saw them in Scrivenshaft's right before I came into Puddifoot's. Maybe they're still there?"

The two walked back onto the street where Madam Puddifoot's Tea Shop was and looked into the windows of Scrivenshaft's, not seeing the girls there.

"I'll walk with you until you find them," Henry offered. "In case we run into Ambrose."

...

"What on earth are we going to get for Ashley?" Myra put the Remembrall back on the shelf. She and Anna were in Wiseacre's Wizarding Equipment, and since Ashley's sixteenth birthday was coming up in a couple of weeks they were looking for presents for her.

"I have no idea," Anna said. "I don't think she's really interested in anything these days, apart from her dear wizard."

Myra laughed a little. "Maybe we should wrap up Lowell in nothing but paper and ribbon?"

"Perfect!"

"You know what? I think I'm just going to get her some new ink wells, in various fun colours," Myra said. "She was happy with that for Christmas in third year, she better be happy with that now."

"Let's go to Scrivenshaft's again then," Anna suggested. "I think I saw a brand new ink collection in there earlier." The girls went out into the cold again. Halfway down the street they ran into Hestia and Henry.

"What are you doing here?" Myra asked.

"Henry saved me from Ambrose," Hestia said.

"Why did you need saving?" Anna asked.

Hestia explained about the bad date and Henry told them about the performance they had put on in Madam Puddifoot's Tea Shop.

"I blame you, Myra," Hestia said. "You said I was free to blame you if the date didn't go as well as you thought it would, so now I'm blaming you."

"I'm fine with that." Myra smiled. "At least you went out with him, that's what's important. Even though it was boring, it wasn't as bad as you expected it to be?"

"Well, I didn't die, so I guess not," Hestia admitted. "But I do not want to do it again."

"I'll take my leave now then," Henry said. "I've rescued the fair maiden from danger and led her to safety." His tone may have been cheerful, but Myra could see he didn't really want to leave.

"You don't have to go," she said. "Do you?" The last part she directed to the two other girls.

"I guess not," Hestia said. "Even though he's a pain."

"The fair maiden has a biting tongue," Henry joked.

"He can stay," Anna said lightly. She wasn't as threatened by him, having had a short fling with him before. But Hestia had never been entirely comfortable with his flirting nature. Though she seemed to like him well enough when they were thrown together by random circumstances, like now.

Together the three witches and one wizard went to Scrivenshaft's to buy birthday presents for Ashley. After that they went in to Honeydukes to stock up on sweets, and then decided they were done for the day and stopped by The Three Broomsticks for a Butterbeer and a snack, before heading back to the school.

...

When everyone had come back from Hogsmeade, it became clear that while Hestia and Ambrose's date hadn't gone the right way, Ashley and Lowell's had. Ashley had only stopped by the common room to drop off the few purchases she'd had time to make in-between all the kissing and handholding, and then she had gone off to be with her love in some remote part of the castle.

The following week Ashley was also very much absent from the group outside of classes, even in classes. At least the ones the fifth year Gryffindors shared with the fifth year Hufflepuffs, where she now sat with Lowell instead of Anna, as the usual routine had been. Where they were and what they were doing when not in classes, was not something her friends liked to ponder on too much. But Myra couldn't help but worry about what she would, and should, do if she came across them on the upcoming prefect patrol the following Friday.

What she should have been thinking about instead was how it would be awkward on her part when she, in the middle of the dungeons, remembered what the girls had said about Remus possibly fancying her. So during the entire first half of the patrol, she was sure she saw flirting in everything he did.

But then she pulled herself together and forced herself to stay calm. Instead she did what she did best when she wanted something confirmed or disconfirmed, letting curiosity take over.

"How was your Hogsmeade day, Remus?" she asked on the second floor, near the Defence Against the Dark Arts office. "Did you have a date?"

"I didn't have a date," he answered. Myra tried to look closely at him and at the same time keeping an eye out for rule breakers. "But I had fun with James, Sirius and Peter."

For her next statement she shut out all outward impulses except Remus' reaction. "I didn't have a date either. It would have been nice to have one, but I had fun with my friends too."

His face didn't give anything away, if there was something to give away.

"I heard your friends Henry and Hestia made a scene at Madam Puddifoot's," he said, a bit amused.

From the way he reacted, or didn't react, Myra concluded that he was not interested in her in the way the others claimed. "Yeah, turned out Hestia's date with Ambrose was just as bad as she expected. Henry rescued her by claiming she'd promised to go out with him first. Apparently they'd had a secret steamy relationship in the Quidditch changing rooms." Myra leaned in towards Remus and whispered conspiratorially. "But don't tell anyone that it was an act, for poor Ambrose's sake."

Remus whispered back, their faces now very close. "I won't, I promise." His voice was low and playful. Myra felt her heart skip a beat; she must have overexerted herself by walking too long too fast.

Thankfully they hadn't come across Ashley or Lowell, but when they met up with Lily on the way back to the common room, Lily reported that she and Mallard had caught the lovebirds in their part of the castle.

The two had apparently been making out quite enthusiastically in a broom cupboard, it was audible from far away. Mallard had taken ten points off of each of them for such lewd behaviour.

"I would have taken points off of them too, but I have to say I had fun seeing Mallard go off like that," Lily had admitted. "You'd think he had a crush on Ashley or something."

Of course Mallard didn't have a crush on Ashley, nothing had ever hinted at that, and even if he had, it wouldn't matter, because Ashley was too busy with Lowell. So much, that her friends weren't sure they'd get to celebrate her birthday with her, two weeks after Valentine's Day. Before they left Gryffindor Tower that morning, the girls had demanded that Ashley spend some time with them, at least so she could get her presents. And when Lowell was told the same thing at breakfast, being the kind Hufflepuff he was, he let Ashley spend the entire day with her friends, and promised he would celebrate with her the next day. "After all, they've been in your life longer than I have," he had said.




Author Notes

I've now officially started chapter 20 of this story, and I'm about halfway of this first part/book. I've also started the planning and plotting of my first ever original story that I one day hope to make a living from :)

Please review if you have any thoughts on the chapter!

Coming: Chapter 10 – Invisible
"But..." Myra scrunched up her face, thinking back to the view she'd had from the bridge. "I didn't look away for one second, so if they walked there," she pointed to the footprints, "I would have seen them."


Chapter 10: Invisible
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Chapter 10
Invisible



Image by Hallows&Horcruxes! @ TDA


As if the weather knew that Quidditch was starting up for real again, the snow disappeared on March first. It was the same week that Gryffindor team started up with practice twice a week again. According to Hestia it was fate.

But just because the snow was gone, didn't mean the weather was any warmer. It was downright miserable outside. The wind was howling outside the stone walls, the rain was splashing on the windows, and it looked and felt more like autumn rather than spring.

One day that first week of March, Myra ran into Remus when she arrived at the Magical Living classroom early to wait for Hestia and Ashley. Remus had just finished the class and stopped to chat for a short while. His three Marauder friends didn't share this class with him, and Myra couldn't help but think it was nice without them. They also seemed so incredibly hostile towards her these days. The conversation she had overhead a while back clearly stated that they didn't trust her with Remus for some reason. She was dying to know why and what she could have done wrong, but every time she talked to Hestia about it, the other girl profoundly advised her from trying to find out. And Anna's advice about not getting on the Marauders' bad side rang loudly in her head.

A few minutes into the conversation, Myra had to ask. "How are you doing, Remus?" He was looking sick again, same symptoms as always, pale, feverish and shivering. "You don't look too good."

"I'm better than I look, thanks for asking," he reassured. "I wasn't careful enough to dress warmly during Astronomy on Monday."

Myra sighed. "You're sick like this too often. You said you had a weak immune system; aren't there any potions or something that makes it more resilient? I'm sorry if this is too private of me to ask about."

"It's okay. There are no potions or cures or help for what I have. I usually heal very quickly no matter what is wrong with me, but sometimes I'm just sick for days."

"I'm sorry," Myra muttered, as if it was her fault.

"Don't be," Remus reassured her. "I'm used to it, and what doesn't kill me, can only make me stronger, right?"

Myra smiled. "Right."

"Good thing I've got Pre-healing next, maybe I'll learn something I can use today."

People started appearing for the next class, so Remus said goodbye to Myra and left for the first floor.

Myra didn't run into Remus any more that week, until he showed up for patrol on Friday evening along with Lily Evans and Richard Mallard. He was looking even worse now.

"Are you sure you're up for this?" Myra asked. All of the dungeons and every nook and cranny on the first to fourth floor was a long walk and hard work for twice in one evening, and she didn't really want to be held responsible for the death of Remus Lupin, so she felt she had to make sure he could do it.

"Yes, yes," Remus said, his voice a bit hoarser than usual. "It has to be done, and I've been running up and down the castle before today, didn't faze me at all."

"You're tougher than you look then." Myra smiled. "Let's go."

They waved goodbye to Lily and Mallard who were doing the upper levels of the castle.

"How is your aunt doing?" Myra asked politely when they reached the dungeons. Since he was sick, she had a feeling he would disappear again, so she decided to ask about his aunt.

"She's doing okay," Remus answered, after just the right amount of thinking time. "It's looking better now. She has ups and downs, and now she has an up."

"That's good. Will you be visiting her again soon?"

He cleared his throat. "I think so. I might take a short trip this weekend. Her birthday is coming up later in March, and this weekend looks like the only weekend I'll have time to see her."

Inwardly Myra rolled her eyes and snorted. The lies went deep, clearly, with birthdays and all. She wondered if the birthday had been on the same date, or if he switched it around when it suited him.

How could someone so nice and caring like Remus be involved in such a huge web of lies? What on earth was he hiding? Did he even have an aunt, any aunt, sick or healthy, close or distant?

Myra knew that even though she'd never really known her Uncle Andreas, and therefore not loved him as much as she should, she would never have gone around saying he was deadly ill and could die at any moment, had he been alive today. It would almost be like wishing sickness on that person, and if done for long enough and with enough conviction, it would come true. That was the way magic worked, the unconscious magic, the potentially dangerous kind of magic.

Reaching the stairs to the first floor Myra said: "Well, wish her the best and a happy birthday from me when you go."

"Thank you, I will." Remus looked strangely at her for a moment, something indefinable in his eyes. "She'll appreciate that," he eventually said and they climbed the stairs.

...

Just as Remus had said and Myra suspected, he disappeared that weekend. Usually he went away after classes, but since today was Saturday, he went right after breakfast. The strange thing this time was that Sirius, James and Peter disappeared too, but not at the same time as Remus.

After breakfast Myra had a date with her sister to study in the library, so she quickly went up to Gryffindor Tower to get her book bag before heading for the Hufflepuff common rooms. On the way there she ran into the three Marauders. At first glance nothing seemed strange about them, but the nearer they came the more she noticed that something was wrong. It seemed like they were carrying something invisible between them. Sirius and James walked next to each other with a distance of nearly four feet. Sirius' left hand and James' right were clenched tight. In the front was Peter, about two feet ahead of his friends, looking very casual with his arms behind his back.

Myra frowned suspiciously at them as they passed. They looked darkly back at her, anger almost spitting out of their eyes.

"Hello," she greeted kindly anyway. They may be angry at her, but they were fellow Gryffindors and friends of a friend. Plus, she didn't want them to be angry with her, so she tried to be civil and forthcoming.

They only grunted in reply.

When they had passed, she walked on for a few feet then turned around to look. Both of Peter's hands were also clenched tight behind his back. They really must be carrying something invisible between them!

Thinking they would take some time to reach the Entrance Hall, she ran the rest of the way to the Hufflepuff common room and knocked furiously on the door.

A seventh year prefect named Melinda Hooch opened and asked what on earth she was on about, but Marie was standing behind Hooch and said timidly that it was her sister and that they were going to the library together.

Hooch nodded and let Marie out.

"Come on, we have to hurry," Myra said, grabbing Marie's bag in one hand and her sister's hand in the other, almost dragging her through the halls.

"What's the hurry?" Marie struggled to ask.

"I have to see someone before they're gone!"

They ran up the stairs from the dungeons and, sure enough, at the top of the stairs were Sirius, James and Peter, still in the same position from earlier as they walked across the floor.

Myra and Marie's arrival was a bit noisy, so Myra took two quick seconds to draw deep breaths and look natural and casual. The boys looked around and something dangerous flashed in James' eyes, but they went on their way without doing or saying anything.

Out the door they went, letting in a rush of cold before the door slammed behind them.

"They didn't want to see you?" Marie asked.

"They didn't know I wanted to see them," Myra answered. She walked quickly towards the tall windows and looked outside. The three boys walked across the courtyard and out onto the grounds.

"Well, they're gone now. Let's go to the library," Marie complained.

With one last look outside, Myra sighed and went with her sister up to the third floor. Maybe she could see something out of the windows there, if the boys went around to that side of the castle.

But Myra didn't see Sirius, James and Peter any more that Saturday. Not when she had breakfast with Marie on Sunday, not at lunch or dinner, not in the common room, or anywhere else in the castle, until the evening. Then they came down from the boys' dorm, yawning. It was a shame that those four boys were the only ones in their year, because there was no one she could ask about what they were doing. She'd tried making Henry pretend he had walked into the wrong dorm by accident, but he just laughed at her and said that he didn't fancy getting rainbow coloured hair after his shower.

On Monday and Tuesday Myra looked for Remus, but he wasn't anywhere to be found, and she also noticed that his three friends weren't as active around the school either. But on Wednesday morning Remus came back, looking exactly the same as the last time he came back after a mysterious absence; still sick, but well.

Sometime during breakfast Myra saw that Lily Evans approached the Marauders with a stack of parchments pressed to her chest. James started talking louder and began almost obsessively running his hand through his hair, as if that would help the mess it already was. Lily elegantly ignored everything that had to do with James and she bent down to Remus, gave him the parchments and whispered something. He nodded and smiled at her. Myra thought she saw his lips move as if saying 'thank you'.

"See anything interesting?" Ashley asked teasingly. She may spend a lot of time with Lowell lately, but she always sat at the Gryffindor table during mealtimes.

Hestia and Anna looked in the direction Myra and Ashley was looking.

"Of course," Anna said when she found the object of Myra's attention. "What else, or rather, who else."

Myra ignored the comment just as elegantly as Lily ignored James.

"He's been gone for a few days, hasn't he?" Ashley asked again.

"Yeah, he has," Myra muttered, still trying to see in direction of the Marauders, Lily was still whispering with Remus.

"Miss him?"

"Not this time," Myra answered distractedly. She meant that he hadn't missed patrol this time, and didn't think about how her friends took that comment.

Lily straightened up and put a hand on Remus' shoulder. Myra's eyes narrowed. Then she heard Lily say in a bright voice: "See you later, Remus."

Remus answered. "Thanks again, Lily."

"Well, isn't that nice," Myra mumbled with venom.

"Where did that come from?" Hestia asked, looking at her best friend with raised eyebrows.

"What?" Myra asked.

"Were you jealous of Lily just now?"

Myra frowned in confusion. "No?"

"The tone you just said that in, 'Well, isn't that nice', was dripping with malice."

"No, it wasn't. Was it?"

"It was," all three girls said in unison.

"It wasn't supposed to."

"Right," Anna said in disbelief.

"Why would I be jealous of Lily?"

"Because it looked like she was right chummy with Remus right now," Hestia explained.

"It did look like that."

The three girls looked expectantly at Myra. But she had no idea what they were waiting for. "Good for them, if they are," she said, not realising that once again her voice was dripping with venom. "Too bad for James, though."

Several times during the rest of the day Myra got a slightly nauseating burn in her stomach and throat. She almost went to see Madam Pomfrey to see if something was wrong, if she was brewing on something, but decided against it when it didn't seem to be getting any worse. An evening with just resting and postponing homework for once would do her good.

"Why aren't you working?" Hestia asked when she came back from the library and found Myra laying sprawled over a couch, gazing lazily at the various students in the common room.

"I haven't been feeling good today, so I decided to take things slow, let my body do the work instead of my head," Myra answered lazily.

Truth be told, she hadn't felt any bad feelings since dinner, and was probably perfectly healthy, but the idea of an evening off was too tempting.

"What's wrong?" Hestia lifted Myra's legs and sat down with them in her lap.

"I don't know," Myra answered honestly. "I've just had this burning sensation in my stomach today, on and off since breakfast. It's been bordering on nausea."

"Have you seen Madam Pomfrey?"

"I thought about it, but it hasn't gotten any worse. It's actually been gone since I came back from dinner."

"Then why can't you do homework?"

Myra shrugged. "Just in case."

Hestia shook her head in exasperation and with grand gestures began pulling out several library books from her bag and reading importantly. If she thought it would tempt Myra to do the same, she was very much mistaken.

A half hour must have gone by when Remus, Sirius, James and Peter entered the common room, all looking awfully smug about something. James spotted Lily and guided the boys to a detour towards her side of the common room. Instead of giving into James' antics when she looked up, she instead smiled kindly to Remus, and he smiled back.

Myra put her hand on her stomach, the burning back again. She sighed.

"What's wrong? Are you sick again?" Hestia looked abruptly up from her books when she heard Myra's sigh.

Myra nodded.

Hestia gently put her own hand on Myra's stomach. "You're not pregnant, are you?" Hestia asked jokingly.

"Don't be silly." Myra almost laughed. She looked back over to Lily. The boys weren't there. She quickly twisted her head in direction of the boys' dorms, and they just went up the stairs.

Hestia followed Myra's gaze when she twisted her head. "Was that the Marauders?"

"Yeah."

"Myra, have you ever considered that certain feelings you get can be very similar to other feelings?"

Myra turned back to Hestia again, as confused as can be. "What?"

"Some feelings can resemble other feelings or situations. Have you ever thought about that?"

"Like you can feel like sicking up when you're taking a test, but it's just nerves?"

"I guess you can say that. Have you ever been jealous?"

Myra frowned and thought back on her fifteen years long life. "Envious sometimes maybe, but not jealous. I think."

Hestia glanced quickly in direction of the stairs. "Does your stomach still hurt?"

"No."

"We'll talk about this later, okay? Somewhere more private."

"O-okay."

Myra was even more confused than ever.

The evening went by too slow for Myra, she was curious about what Hestia wanted to talk about. So to make things more entertaining, she gathered her thoughts on all strange things concerning Remus and his friends, so she and Hestia could talk about that too. Myra hadn't updated her best friend on the last developments.

When bedtime finally came, Myra and Hestia went up to the dorms, chatted a bit with Anna and Ashley, and then Myra cast the Imperturbable Charm around her bed to give her and Hestia some privacy.

Myra then told her best friend about the conversation she'd had with Remus during their last patrol before he went missing for a few days, and about the strange behaviour of Sirius, James and Peter. And all about the thoughts and idea she'd made, or had trouble making, about Remus' behaviour.

"I don't know what to think," Myra finished her retellings, feeling incredibly frustrated.

"I'm starting to see why you're so determined to find out about this." Hestia looked thoughtful. "But I don't really have any answers for you. The only thing I can think of is what I already told you a while back and what he has confirmed; he has a weak immune system and he is for some reason embarrassed about it."

"Sure, he may have a weak immune system. But he also said that it's only sometimes it's weak, really. He usually heals fast, but some things leave him sick for days. That's not a weak immune system, that's allergies or something chronic."

"So he's just lying about his immune system?"

"Seems like it." Myra threw her hands up. "Merlin's great purple beard! What is wrong with him? Does he have a second personality or something?"

Hestia laughed a bit at that, but shook her head, she was just as clueless.

"I think I'm going to try and follow Sirius, James and Peter if I see them in a similar situation like on Saturday."

"No, you are not," Hestia said sternly. "That has trouble written all over it."

"But I need to find out about Remus. I can hardly take it anymore."

"You're just going to have to, Myra. Or find out in some other way. But please, promise me you won't follow them. Promise on your sister's life." Hestia looked pleadingly at Myra, projecting how seriously she meant what she said.

"I can't do that, you know I can't do that," Myra said. "Not on my sister's life. You know me; I will do it if I find myself in that situation again."

"Unfortunately, yes, I know you will do that, but I have to try to steer you right. Someone has to, when you can't."

"Thank you for that, but no thanks right now." Myra smiled with mischief, in spite of the apparent seriousness of the situation.

Hestia shook her head in exasperation. Then the two girls fell into thought, both trying to figure Remus out.

"Have you noticed anything that ties together all the times he's sick and disappears?" Hestia asked after a while.

Myra thought back. "Nothing, except that it happens when he lies about going to his aunt. So the two is connected somehow."

"That's really nothing new." Hestia sighed. "I'm at a complete loss."

"I have to find this out," Myra muttered.

"Which reminds me," Hestia began. "I was supposed to tell you something."

"Yes, you were," Myra remembered, completely refocused.

"I think I know what caused your stomach ache; jealousy."

"Jealousy? Of what?"

"Of whom. Of Lily and Remus, and the way you saw them behaving this morning."

Myra blinked.

"I'm sorry for bringing this up once again, but I think you're interested in Remus. And seeing him being so friendly with Lily this morning made you jealous."

Myra hesitated for a moment. "And I'm sorry, because I can't see what you see. I promised Anna I'd give it some thought if I saw any signs that Remus might be interested in me like you all said, but I checked and didn't see it."

Hestia opened her mouth to argue back, but Myra raised her hand to stop her.

"For argument's sake, let's say I do fancy Remus, and his interactions with Lily made me feel jealous. Why would I feel sick to my stomach?"

As Hestia answered, Myra spaced out. She'd just had a flashback to breakfast when she had first had that nauseated feeling. Lily had been talking to Remus then. It also happened at lunch. And she had been looking at Remus then too. And the same between Divination and Magical Living when she crossed Remus in the hall, he had walked with Lily then. And once again at dinner, the moment she spotted him. And lastly this evening when the Marauders came into the common room.

"Oh my Merlin," Myra muttered, her eyes the size of Bludgers, and her heart pounding loudly in her ears.

"Did you hear what I just said, Myra?" Hestia asked.

Myra didn't quite register what her friend said. She was still going over the day in her head, double and triple checking. "Well, that was news to me," she mumbled when she couldn't explain it away in her head.

"Myra? What are you talking about?"

"I didn't hear what you said," she apologised. "I was thinking, and I-" No, she did not want to admit this yet. "I was going through my day today and I don't see what you're implying." She tried hard to keep her face straight, and after a few seconds it seemed like Hestia believed her.

...

Even though Myra and Hestia talked for another hour or so that night, neither could come up with anything that explained Remus' strange behaviour other than what Hestia kept saying time and time again; he had a weak immune system and was embarrassed about it.

Myra went on patrols with him on Friday nights, not seeing anything strange, and nothing that meant he fancied her. Not giving him the benefit of the doubt was never an option, even though there was something wrong with him and he lied through his teeth about it, it was never an option to distrust him. It hadn't even occurred to Myra that he maybe shouldn't be trusted. Neither did it occur to Hestia, who ended up spending lots of time with him as well, since he often searched out Myra in the common room or the library.

The weeks went, Gryffindor beat Hufflepuff in Quidditch, and April arrived. On Friday April 1st there was an end-of-term prefect meeting. The patrol schedule was once again being switched around; teaming Myra with Miranda McKinnon [14] this time, meaning it was Myra and Remus' last day of patrolling together. The Hogwarts Express would take the trip to London the next day with the students wanting to go home for Easter, and the prefects remaining would set up their own schedule for the holiday.

Myra would not be going home, she usually never did. But now she would try to spend the time by starting some serious revising for the O.W.L.s, instead of having the week off. Marie decided to stay too, since her sister was. Of Myra's friends only Henry would be going home. Remus would be staying too, though he would probably have benefited from a week at home since he was starting to look ill again. Though if Myra's guess was correct, he would go to 'visit his aunt' any day anyway. So only a couple of handful students were left, like usual.

During the first weekend of the holiday Myra kept looking for strange behaviour from Sirius, James and Peter. Not from Remus, because she had a pretty good idea about what he would be doing. He would look worse and worse, and eventually disappear.

While nothing out of the too ordinary happened with three quarters of the Marauders, Remus did disappear on Monday afternoon.

"He's gone again," Hestia whispered in Myra's ear at dinner.

"I know, I think I saw him leave a couple of hours ago," Myra whispered back.

When dinner vanished from the house tables, Myra stayed. Ashley and Anna went on their way, leaving Myra to her odd interest in staying in the Great Hall, and Hestia's even stranger wish of staying with her.

Sirius, James and Peter had left a few short moments earlier, and since the door in the Great Hall were open, Myra had a clear view of the Entrance Hall, and would see it if the boys left again.

"I can't help but be a bit curious myself," Hestia admitted as they casually gazed into the Entrance Hall.

Myra smiled. Hestia never disappointed.

About ten minutes later, the three Marauders appeared, in pretty much the same procession as last time.

"What on earth?" Hestia blurted out.

"That was my reaction too." Myra was amused, but then she turned serious. "I'm following." She looked expectantly at Hestia.

But the other girl shook her head. "Sorry, but you're on your own with this one."

"Fine by me." Myra reached into her pocket, where she had kept her hat, scarf and mittens shrunken for the last few days, in case she came across just this opportunity. "Engorgio," she muttered and the garments went back to their regular size and she put them on. "See you later."

"Be careful," Hestia pressed.

Myra nodded and walked over to the doors. She peeked into the Entrance Hall. The boys were already out. So she went to the great doors, opened one so it was just ajar, and saw them on the other side of the courtyard. She waited until they were on the bridge leading to the road and the Forbidden Forest before she slipped out and closed the doors quietly behind her. Quickly she tiptoed to the awning circling the courtyard and followed it around to the bridge.

The boys had now reached the grounds and were heading quickly, as far as Myra could see from her vantage point, towards the Forbidden Forest.

Myra entered the covered bridge, crouched low and hurried towards the end, just in time to see them walk behind a large boulder. Not daring to move any further, in case they were hiding behind it to catch her following them, she stayed put.

After five minutes she began to doubt herself. Had she even seen them walking behind that boulder? To be on the safe side, she waited a little bit longer, but as the seconds ticked by she got more and more impatient.

It must have gone another five minutes when Myra stepped out of her poor hiding place. She didn't dare to say anything, or call out to them. What would she say if they answered?

Hi, I just followed you because I'm stupid like that.

No, instead Myra walked slowly and as silently as she could, not easy in wet slurps of mud and dead grass, towards the boulder she had seen them disappear behind. She made it there, but no one was behind it, or around it, or anywhere near it, except for her.

"What in Merlin's..." she muttered as she stepped around, back and forth, looking around and up, not understanding anything, but when she looked down she saw tracks. On the side of the boulder that they had supposedly been there was a myriad of shoeprints in three different patterns and sizes around a big square print.

"So they were carrying an invisible box," she said to herself. Looking onwards, she saw the track continue in the triangle shape of two boys behind and one in front, still in direction of the Forbidden Forest, not the rest of the school grounds.

"But..." Myra scrunched up her face, thinking back to the view she'd had from the bridge. "I didn't look away for one second, so if they walked there," she pointed to the footprints, "I would have seen them."

Myra knew there existed spells and charms to render one nearly invisible, like the Disillusionment Charm. She hadn't learnt it yet, but knew she would next year, which meant that the boys had probably learnt it. There were also charms and spells to render one completely invisible, but that was far, far beyond the Hogwarts curriculum. There were Invisibility Cloaks, but they weren't big enough to cover three teenage boys and a huge crate. Of course, the boys could have ordered one especially for their pranking needs, and Merlin knew that Sirius and James as rich pure-bloods had the funds to special order such an Invisibility Cloak.

Shaking her head at all the confusing thoughts, Myra decided instead to follow the tracks and see where they led.

On she walked, down the hill, seeing the gamekeeper's hut come closer on her right side. But then the tracks suddenly vanished. Myra blinked several times, cast a Lumos even though it was broad daylight.

"Nox," she whispered upon realising her own stupidity. Feeling frustrated with dissatisfied curiosity, Myra called out. "Hello? I know you're out there!"

She went completely quiet, hardly daring to breathe, while trying to listen for any sounds that could be the boys.

"Where is Remus?" she asked loudly.

There was a whisper of something a few feet ahead of her. She turned her ear towards the sound, but then she saw a flash of a light in the corner of her eye. Snapping her head around, she saw nothing.

"I know you're there!" she called out again. "I can hear you!"

No answer, no sound other than the natural sounds of the forest.

"Wizards," Myra hissed. "Stupid wizards." She turned and headed towards the castle again. But she had walked about fifty feet when she heard hurried shuffling and desperate whispers of what sounded like spells.

They were covering their shoeprints magically!

Myra sped back and a little further when suddenly a giant rat came running towards her. She squealed loudly and jumped to the side. The rat ran around and seemed to be herding her towards the Forbidden Forest. Myra jumped and hopped on one leg and both legs and one leg again, trying to get away from the rat that obviously had it in for her.

Suddenly she heard heavy footfalls from something with more than two legs, the thing was breathing heavily and loudly. Turning around she looked up into the eyes of something huge, and the foul rat was completely forgotten.




Notes

[14] I've given Marlene McKinnon a younger sister, a Ravenclaw in the Marauders' year.




Author Notes

A little bit later than I had planned, but my beta had some real life stuff coming in the way, and I was dreading the day she would send the chapter back to me, because I wanted to finish writing chapter 20 before I posted this chapter. Thankfully our minds was subconsciously linked, and it all worked out perfectly! But then some real life stuff got in the way for me, and so the chapter was another few days late...

But now I'm going to attempt to get a second beta, to relieve Orion Knight of some work, and to have a third pair of eyes helping out!

Please review if you have any thoughts on the chapter! And feel free to ask me anything in my Meet the Author, link in my profile!

Coming: Chapter 11 – Forty Points and Detention
Sirius and Myra were now so close the spit from their screaming was spattering the other's face. Hestia had stood up at one point, she was now looking wide eyed at the show. James and Peter stood firmly behind Sirius, nodding at everything he said.


Chapter 11: Forty Points and Detention
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Chapter 11
Forty Points and Detention



Image by Princess_of_Slytherin @ TDA


Turning around Myra looked straight into the eyes of a huge stag, and the foul rat was completely forgotten.

Her eyes widened more and more as she took in the creature. It was stamping its front leg, snorting, and moving its head up and down in a threatening manner.

"Huge antlers," Myra whispered.

Normally not an animal known to be particularly hostile, but this one seemed to be in a foul, foul mood.

"Nice stag," Myra muttered. It answered by snorting and shaking its head.

No, didn't think so, Myra thought, too scared to say anything. Slowly she moved backwards, putting some distance between herself and the beast.

Two feet.

Four feet.

Six feet.

Eight feet.

Ten feet.

Deeming the distance to be great enough, Myra whirled around and ran as fast as her legs could carry her, not once looking behind her, knowing that if she did she would lose momentum. The castle appeared in record time, across the courtyard, the door was wrenched open, and she slipped inside, shutting it loudly.

There were a few students in the Entrance Hall, all looking strangely at her. But Myra didn't care, as she slid down to the floor against the door, heaving and clutching at her throat. Several long moments later she got up, throat still hurting, and walked as casually as she could into the Great Hall to see if Hestia was still there.

Hestia was there, having taken out her books to revise, while waiting. "How did it go?" she asked worriedly after taking in Myra's dishevelled appearance.

"I- well- it-" Myra stuttered and hesitated. Then she sat down and recited what she had done and what had happened.

Hestia's eyes grew with every breath Myra took.

"They disappeared?" Hestia asked.

"No, I think they managed to make themselves invisible somehow, with a charm or something, and then one of them covered their tracks magically."

"Then a rat and a stag showed up, out of nowhere?"

"Apparently."

"You don't think it was an illusion or something that they conjured?"

"Might have been. I'm looking awfully stupid if that's the case."

Hestia chuckled. "Yes, scared half to death by a rat and a stag. Is- is that grey hair I see?" Hestia reached forward and pulled on a strand of Myra's hair.

Myra swatted her hand away and glared. "I'll give you bloody grey hairs."

"Yes, you will."

In concern Myra inspected the strand of hair Hestia had pulled on, just in case there were some grey hairs there. She couldn't find any.

...

Since it was Easter holiday, the bedtime was automatically prolonged in the common rooms. Curfew was the same, but since no one had classes they had to get up for in the morning, everyone from first to seventh year, stayed up a bit later than necessary each night.

Myra felt she had some responsibility as a prefect to stay up as late as possible to make sure none of the other students went out of line or went out into the halls after curfew. Gryffindor had five other prefects, though one of them was currently missing, but none of the others seemed to be taking their duties as seriously as her, not even Lily Evans.

"You're just looking for an excuse to stay up late," Anna said when she and Hestia packed up to go to bed.

"It's a good excuse," Ashley said. "I'm keeping her company."

"Thank you, Ashley." Myra smiled smugly at the other two.

"Have fun," Hestia said sarcastically and followed Anna upstairs.

"Go ahead," Myra said, waving her hand towards the portrait hole.

"What?" Ashley asked.

"I know you really want to go see Lowell. Just go, I won't report you or take points."

Ashley spluttered. "I-I- That's not why I said I wanted to 'keep you company'! I've already said goodnight to Lowell for today, he's probably sleeping already."

"Oh. Well, that's nice then. It's been a long time since just you and I spent time together."

"It really has."

The two girls smiled at each other, but instead of chatting, both turned to their books and continued revising.

Slowly the common room emptied, first the younger students went to bed, and then the older students followed. Only a seventh year was left when every hair on Myra's body stood on end and Ashley looked up from her book with a loud gasp.

Once again the bone chilling cries of the Shrieking Shack sounded from outside, the noise made louder by the wind that carried them towards the castle.

"Not again," Myra moaned.

The howling and screaming seemed to fill Myra's ears; it was almost like the spirits were angrier tonight.

"I hate this I hate this I hate this." She had her hands over her ears and her eyes shut tight.

Ashley pulled at Myra's arms. "Come on, Myra! It's not that bad. Come on." She managed to pull Myra's hands away. "Calm down, it's not that bad. They never leave the Shack."

"I know," Myra mumbled, listening, realising that they weren't as close as they sounded. "I just really hate them. Please put a deafening spell on me."

Ashley yawned. "It's two in the morning. Let's just go to bed, yeah? I think our dear Quidditch captain over there can handle herself without you here."

"Good idea," Myra agreed. She always managed to sleep in her Hogwarts four-poster, no matter how much the ghosts of the Shrieking Shack raged.

The two girls went up to their fifth year dorm and quickly got ready for bed, and the moment Myra's head hit the pillow she was out like a light.

...

Come morning Sirius, James and Peter were still gone. Myra wasn't sure if she should tell anyone about seeing them going into the Forbidden Forest. Technically she didn't see them, but she knew they were there. And if they were invisible, would they be found if she told anyone?

She decided to wait it out for a short day.

And that was a good thing, because at dinner, Sirius, James and Peter did show up, yawning, with messy hair and dark circles under their eyes.

Myra shook her head to herself, causing Ashley and Anna to look slightly worried for her.

On Thursday, three days after Remus had disappeared, he showed up again, coming in late at breakfast, bringing with him milder weather and heavier rain than before.

Myra wanted to talk to him. But there were just too many people around at the breakfast table. So Myra settled with observing him for now.

"Are you staring at him again?" Anna observed behind her stack of pancakes.

"I guess so," Myra answered.

Myra didn't get a chance to talk to Remus after breakfast, because the four boys disappeared pretty quickly and she didn't get the chance to follow this time. So the girls went to the library instead, after breakfast, to continue their revising.

The focus was difficult to keep for Myra; the topic of Remus kept churning around in her head and often taking precedence over more important matters. She spaced out, only to be brought back by a kick in the shin by Hestia.

Myra didn't realise that she wasn't trying to mentally figure out what was wrong with Remus, she was just plainly thinking about him. Until Hestia had had enough at one point. She needed help with History of Magic and decided to take Myra out of the library to study somewhere where they could talk and discuss without being hunted down by the librarian.

"Maybe it'll get your mind onto better things," Hestia muttered as they found their way to a warm third floor corridor.

They'd been sitting there for about an hour when the four Marauders came down the hall, their arms full of food. Myra and Hestia looked up at the spectacle they made, boisterous and taking up space. Hestia sighed, and put her quill down, and Myra cursed inwardly at loosing the brilliant train of thought she'd had.

"Oh hi, Myra, Hestia," Remus said as he noticed them. He stopped in front of them, carefully shifting his arms to keep the pumpkin pies from falling.

The three other boys stopped too. "Hi, Hestia," Sirius said, with a cheeky smile. James and Peter greeted her as well. But Myra was as good as invisible to them.

"Hi," Myra said, a bit dejected.

"Hi," Hestia said too, scowling at the food they were carrying.

Remus glanced at his friends with a slight frown, but shook it off quickly. "What are you working on?"

"History of Magic," Myra answered. "We've started some revising for our O.W.L.s and Hestia and I are discussing some timelines and theories about the Goblin Rebellions."

"Are you getting any wiser?" Remus sat down next to her on the bench, glancing at her notes, still holding onto three large pies.

"A little bit, but not wise enough," Myra said with a crooked smile.

"She's actually helping me a lot more than I'm helping her, for once," Hestia said.

Myra poked out her tongue. All four smiled at this.

"What's with all the food?"

"We were hungry," Remus answered sheepishly.

"Where'd you get it?" Myra asked.

"None of your business," Sirius snapped.

Myra narrowed her eyes at the dark haired boy.

"We have a secret source," Remus answered instead, jokingly. "And we'd have to kill you if we told you."

"Then I won't ask. What did you guys do on Monday?" Myra asked, not able to contain her curiosity now that the opportunity had risen, she could hear Hestia groan quietly. "You were all suddenly gone."

Remus face stiffened for a moment, and he seemed to be thinking hard.

"What's it to you?" James suddenly said, taking a few steps forwards. "It's not really any of your business what we do in our spare time."

"Prongs!" Remus was affronted.

"Fine, I won't ask you then," Myra said calmly. "Did you visit your aunt again, Remus? You were gone for days."

"Don't answer that, Moony." Sirius walked forwards now. "You've been nothing but trouble, Kinney. Just stay away from Remus and we'll all be happy!"

"Excuse me?" Myra put down her parchment and quill, standing up. "Who are you to decide who Remus should spend time with?"

"I've been one of his best friends for nearly six years!" Sirius stepped a bit closer. "And you are just a witch who happens to be a prefect like him and now you think you are his friend?"

"So now people can't make new friends? Is that some new rule no one has informed me about? It seems like everyone loves pointing out to me that I can't just go out and make new friends when I want without everyone putting all the wrong things into it!" Myra also stepped a bit closer, her face getting redder and redder with every word. She felt she was letting out some frustration at the nagging she was getting from the girls about her and Remus too.

"Oh, you can have all the friends you want, just not Remus."

"Just because you think you can tell Remus who he should be friends with, doesn't mean that you can tell me who to be or not be friends with!"

Sirius and Myra were now so close the spit from their screaming was spattering the other's face. Hestia had stood up at one point, she was now looking wide eyed at the show. James and Peter stood firmly behind Sirius, nodding at everything he said. Remus was standing opposite Hestia, being just as wide eyed.

"I may not be able to do that, but I can advise you to not make new friends, and just get rid of the old, seeing as you're so damn aggressive and dangerous!"

"I am not aggressive! You! Make! Me! Furious!" She was poking him hard in the chest with every syllable.

"Will you two stop it?" Remus suddenly yelled, trying to push them apart. "I am a prefect and I can take points and make sure you both get into detention!" His plea fell do dead ears.

"If you're that easily angered, you are dangerous!"

"Easily angered? Easily angered? You've either been acting as if I'm invisible or throwing pure poison at me for weeks! So don't say I'm easily angered! I've been extremely patient with the lot of you."

"Oh, how noble of you."

"And if you think this is me being dangerous, you have not seen me properly angered. I can guarantee you don't want to."

"Oh, you're so scary."

"Grow up, Black!"

"Ten points from Gryffindor, for both of you," Remus said quietly.

"You can't take points from your own house!" Sirius turned to Remus

"I can take points from anyone I want, even you or anyone else in my own house," Remus said still quiet.

"Not other prefects," Myra snapped, pointing at the badge she wore.

"Twenty points from Sirius Black then," Remus cried out, throwing his hands in the air.

"Twenty?" Sirius nearly screamed and gaped at Remus.

"Some best friend you are, yelling at him!" Myra continued their fight.

"I have six years behind me, so I can do what I want!"

It was Myra's turn to gape now, at Sirius' nerve.

"Black! Kinney! Detention!" Professor McGonagall came quickly down the hall. "And ten points from Gryffindor, each." Both students jumped apart.

"That's a total of forty points, Professor," Peter interrupted.

"Don't make me take ten from you too, Mr Pettigrew." Professor McGonagall was looking livid. Peter looked properly chastised, so she turned to Sirius and Myra. "I can't say I'm surprised by your behaviour, Mr Black. But you, Miss Kinney, a prefect... Like I said, detention for the both of you. Report to my office at seven o'clock tomorrow. If I see either of you at it like this again, it will be a week of detention. Understood?"

Both of them nodded. Myra's face a bit more genuine than Sirius'.

"Now, if you clear this hall quickly," she looked pointedly at the Marauders, "I will forget that you have raided the kitchens." Professor McGonagall stood with her hands on her waist, looking expectantly at the six students. The Marauders immediately scampered in the direction of the Gryffindor Tower.

"Let's go back to the library," Hestia suggested, gathering her things. "They won't bother us there."

Myra nodded and followed suit. Professor McGonagall seemed satisfied and went on her way.

"Guess they're angrier at you then we all thought," Hestia whispered as they sat down by Ashley and Anna's table in the far back of the library. Madam Pince was nowhere to be seen.

"Guess so."

"Who?" Ashley asked.

Hestia quietly explained about the fight, since Myra seemed to be a bit too riled up still.

"I warned you," Anna said.

"I know."

Myra laid out the parchments she and Hestia had been working on before the interruption, so the others went back to their own work, except Hestia who looked thoughtfully into space.

"Do you see what your curiosity can do? Once again it's landed you in detention, and it made you lose forty points from Gryffindor."

"Hey! Thirty of those were Sirius'!" Myra had been a bit too loud, and the old vulture of a librarian appeared around the shelf of books, glaring. "Sorry," Myra whispered, and Madam Pince disappeared again. It was like she managed to be everywhere if someone abused the books or was loud. She was almost like Filch's cat.

"You're both to blame for the points," Hestia whispered once she was sure Madam Pince was gone. "And your detentions. And the fight."

"He was the one that started yelling at me." Myra struggled to keep her voice low.

"But if you hadn't let your curiosity get the best of you, none of you would have been yelling at each other."

Myra gritted her teeth, narrowing her eyes at Hestia. Not wanting to admit that her friend was right, she opened Goblins of Old and unrolled the parchment with her theories on chapter seven. "Let's finish this."

...

"I have Easter prefect duties this evening at 10:45, Professor. I really shouldn't be late for that," Myra said when she and Sirius sat down in Professor McGonagall's office, to serve their detention. Professor McGonagall looked sternly over her spectacles. "Just thought I should mention it..." Myra mumbled nearly inaudibly and looked down on her folded hands in her lap. She swore she heard Sirius snigger next to her.

"I am well aware of this school's prefect schedule, Miss Kinney," McGonagall said and went back to the parchments on her desk.

"So, will I... Uh..." Professor McGonagall looked over her spectacles again as Myra stuttered. "Okay."

This time Myra was sure Sirius laughed at her. She snapped her head around and glared as ugly as she could. "Stop that," she hissed.

McGonagall cleared her throat demonstratively.

Myra turned her head back around and fixed her eyes on her lap again. But still, through the corner of her eye, she saw a smug grin on Sirius' face, and a light shaking of his shoulders. She couldn't take it.

"Stop laughing at me, Black!" she almost yelled and glared murder at him.

Professor McGonagall stood up abruptly, both her hands on the desk, staring down at Myra. "Miss Kinney, what has gotten into you?" the professor asked loudly.

"I'm sorry, Professor." This time Myra turned calmly towards her Head of House, trying hard to control her anger at Sirius. "He just gets on my nerves. He has been for weeks."

McGonagall sighed in exasperation. "Whatever issues you two have, I would appreciate it if you either get over it now, or settle it calmly and quietly on your own time."

"Yes, Professor," the two said in unison, one sounding more serious than the other.

"Now, your detention. If you'll follow me to my classroom, I have some work for you to do there." She waved her wand and the parchments on the desk vanished, then she strode out the door, not even stopping to see if Myra and Sirius were following.

Myra scrambled out of the chair and hurried after her, Sirius coming a bit more nonchalantly behind.

"Goodie-two-shoe-prefect," Myra heard him mutter humorously.

She stopped and turned around so suddenly he almost ran into her. The handful of students in the hall gazed curiously at them. "Yesterday I was dangerous and aggressive and a right menace to society. Today I'm a goodie-two-shoe. Make up your bloody mind, you mental bloody pure-blood." She put as much venom behind that last word, as a Slytherin would put behind 'mudblood', and quickly hurried after McGonagall so the professor wouldn't notice that she had stopped.

When they reached the Transfiguration classroom, Myra couldn't understand what they would be doing as a detention.

Professor McGonagall walked up behind her desk, which was littered with parchments, probably the same she vanished earlier. She folded her hands in front of her. "I'm sure you remember the snuffbox transfiguration from your respective first years." She spread her arms to point attention to the cages of mice along the walls of the classroom. "You will clean them for me. Without magic. And you are not leaving until you are finished, so expect that you, Miss Kinney, will finish your half in good time before 10:45. If not, I am more than happy to take your place as a prefect for this evening, leaving Mr Filch to supervise the rest of the detention."

"Yes, Professor, of course," Myra answered obediently.

Professor McGonagall conjured two buckets with soapy water, two scrubs, two small shovels and two empty buckets for the dirt from the cages. Myra and Sirius carried one of each item over to their own side of the room and began cleaning.

...

Both Myra and Sirius finished quickly; Myra had plenty of time before she had to go to patrol. Which was perfect, because she desperately wanted a shower; Scourgify wouldn't do it for her now. The mice had been extremely messy, and some of them even relieved themselves in fright when she put the small shovel in to gather up all the small pellets. It had been an awfully disgusting job.

After that Myra steered well clear of the Marauders. Remus had approached her at one point, saying he was sorry about his friends' behaviour. Myra apologised at the same time for snapping at him and for being involved in the fight. They had both hugged, and gone back to their own business.

The day before Easter Day was Marie's twelfth birthday. It was the first birthday she spent without her parents, so Myra tried to make the most of the day for her sister. Since she now knew that Remus knew how to acquire food from the kitchens, she asked him if he could get a few Butterbeers and some pumpkin pies for them. He did, and Myra, Hestia, Marie and Marie's best friend Juliana had a fun and quiet celebration in an unused classroom that Remus also found for them, with reassurances that teachers rarely frequented that area. Myra did not want to know how he knew.

On Easter Monday the train came back with the few students who had gone home, and on Tuesday classes were back and the schedule for the newly drawn prefect pairs were posted.

Myra now had Wednesdays, with Miranda McKinnon, along with Roger Judd from Hufflepuff and Holly Parkinson from Slytherin. And once again Lily Evans was paired with Richard Mallard. Myra was now sure the drawing was rigged.

She looked further down the list and saw that Remus had gotten Saturdays, with the beautiful Ravenclaw seventh year Carrie Griffin. Tall, bluish black hair with all natural large curls, perfect porcelain skin, and as curved as it was possible to be. Myra felt a stab of something in her chest when she involuntarily pictured the two strolling the halls a late Saturday night. She put a hand to her chest, and then felt the sour feeling in her stomach again. Frowning, she was worried something might be wrong with her again. But she was distracted by Henry, the pain and discomfort went away and she forgot all about it.




Author Notes

Got this back from Orion Knight tonight, wouldn't do anything about it until this weekend, but I didn't have anything better to do, and I'm hoping I can wake up to some nice reviews tomorrow morning!

I have now posted a request for a second beta. I have a feeling it will take a long while before someone responds, if they even do. Some of the requests that was up on the forum has been there for a month or so. But I have a Plan B if it fails!

I'm trying to get chapter 12 out within the next two-two and a half weeks, it's a big one, so enjoy the wait! Muahaha!

Please review if you have any thoughts on the chapter!

Coming: Chapter 12 – The Trip Jinx
"I need you, Remus." Myra cut to the chase, ending the lie infested small talk, sitting down by the table, folding her hands and looking imploringly at him. A light blush washed over his cheeks. Peter actually let out a small chuckle. Myra continued, ignoring their strange behaviour. "It's such a stupid problem, stupidly stupid. But I need help, and you're the only one who'll know how to do it for me."



Chapter 12: The Trip Jinx
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Chapter 12
The Trip Jinx



Image by Princess_of_Slytherin @ TDA


As April went on, three of the four Marauders still alternated between ignoring Myra and glaring at her. She had been a good girl and had avoided any kind of confrontation with them, even if that meant spending less time with Remus.

She had to admit to herself one night when she was sitting in the common room, glancing in the direction of the four wizards, that she kind of missed him. The boys were all huddled up in a corner, whispering, gesturing wildly with their hands, Remus bent over a piece of parchment, writing furiously, and occasionally smiling or bursting out in laughter.

"Are they planning a new prank?" Ashley asked following Myra's gaze, when Myra didn't hear a question directed at her.

The girls had thankfully cut down on their Remus related comments at her expense. Sometimes a remark would come, but ever since Myra stopped reacting so much to them, they had become further and further apart.

"Probably," Myra answered absentmindedly.

Towards the end of April, Myra turned sixteen. She didn't make a big deal out of it, since the O.W.L.s were dangling over all of their heads and stressing them all, but her friends recognized the day and celebrated a little bit during each meal.

May arrived with wave of warm weather, bright sun and happily chirping birds. But Myra and the other fifth years didn't have time to admire the spring season, their O.W.L.s were starting the last week of that month, and everyone seemed to have mysteriously forgotten five years of magical learning, trying desperately to learn it again.

On the same day as the monthly prefect meeting in May, Remus disappeared again. Myra didn't have time to see if his friends went off to do something strange as well, seeing as she was busy going to the meeting, going to Gobstones Club, and rounding up her intelligence. She was stuck on a Defence Against the Dark Arts topic from second year, not for the life of her could she get the Trip Jinx to work anymore. She doubted it would come up in the exams, but one could never be too sure. Remus would be a wonderful help, such a simple topic would take them two minutes to go through, but, alas, he was gone.

With still four weeks left until the actual Defence Against the Dark Arts O.W.L. though she decided she could afford to wait until Remus came back. Which was just two days later this time, he usually stayed away at least three or four days each time. Also something suspicious, why did he need to spend that much time with his 'sick aunt' every time he saw her?

Like usual it was breakfast time when he came back, and for the second time Myra saw Lily Evans approaching him. Even though he was far down the table, Myra somehow always had overview of where he was and what he was doing. Now Lily leaned forwards and seemed to be whispering, or talking quietly to him. Her entire manner showed that no one but the two of them were to hear the conversation. After a few minutes she kissed him on the cheek, straightened up with a smile and went back to her seat.

"You're looking positively green," Anna commented, a small smile on her face, when Myra turned her head and attention back to the girls.

"Green? What? Someone put a spell on me?" Myra snapped, inspecting her hands and arms and all skin she could see.

"No no, no spell!" Anna laughed. "Green with envy."

Myra sighed. "Sure," she muttered.

Truth was that she knew they were right. There was no denying it that Remus was an attractive young wizard. And he was kind, funny, smart and responsible. She liked spending time with him, she liked doing patrol with him; it wasn't boring or tedious with him. So when he seemed to be close to Lily in a way that seemed more and more likable to Myra, she got jealous.

"Have Remus and Lily been doing stuff like this for long? It's the second time I've seen it," Myra whispered so only Ashley, Anna and Hestia could hear.

"Can't say I've noticed," Ashley answered. "But I haven't been looking for it either."

The two others agreed. "It's not really the sort of thing I've been occupying my mind with either," Hestia said.

"They're probably nothing but friends," Ashley noted. "If you've only seen this twice, and it's been a long time since you last did see it, right?"

Myra nodded. "Two months."

"Then they're not together at least. Or if they are, it's the best kept secret to ever exist inside these walls. She's probably just helping him with something."

"Right," Hestia shot in. "Hasn't he just been missing for a few days? And hadn't he been gone the last time too?"

Myra thought back, and nodded slowly in realisation.

"See, she's probably just helping him catch up on his school work. Can you really imagine one of the other Marauders doing that, even though they claim to be so wonderful friends?"

It made sense. But Myra just made an agreeable sound and concentrated on her goblet of milk.

The school day began badly for Myra with a Defence Against the Dark Arts lesson, but continued with Care of Magical Creatures, which more than made up for Professor Biggar's bad teaching. Myra couldn't help but wonder what would make Biggar loose or give up the teaching position at the end of the year.

The next two classes, Herbology and Wizarding Culture Studies, produced plenty of revision for homework, so as soon as possible after dinner Ashley let Lowell go and joined Myra in the library to work on Wizarding Culture Studies together.

They worked well for a couple of hours, when Myra found herself in need of a book. She didn't know which book she needed, but she began looking through the shelves at the back of the library where she and Ashley sat, and worked her way onwards when she didn't find what she looked for.

Near the front of the library Myra found Remus at one of the tables. The perfect opportunity to ask him about the Trip Jinx.

"Hey, Remus," she greeted him. Peter was there too, and for once he didn't glare murder in Myra's face. "Hi, Peter," she greeted him, hopeful about his mood.

He nodded back. Not that much improvement.

"Hi, Myra," Remus greeted, smiling widely.

"You're back, I see?" she whispered.

"Yeah, I saw my aunt again."

"She's doing alright?"

"Well, enough, considering the circumstances."

"I need you, Remus." Myra cut to the chase, ending the lie infested small talk, sitting down by the table, folding her hands and looking imploringly at him.

A light blush washed over his cheeks. Peter actually let out a small chuckle.

Myra continued, ignoring their strange behaviour. "It's such a stupid problem, stupidly stupid. But I need help, and you're the only one who'll know how to do it for me."

"W-what do you need help with?" Remus stuttered slightly.

"The Trip Jinx." Now it was Myra's turn to blush.

Peter and Remus stifled their laughter.

"The Trip Jinx?" Remus asked.

"Yes," Myra confirmed. "I haven't had to use it since second year, and now I can't make it work."

"You know it's highly unlikely you'll have to demonstrate it on your exam?"

"Yeah, but I just want to be as prepared as I can be. And who knows, I might need it someday."

"Good for you. Yes, I'll help you. I'm a bit tired after-" Remus caught himself in something. "After travelling. Besides, Peter and I are working on a project. But how about tomorrow after classes?"

"That works fine with me, Hestia has Quidditch practice tomorrow so she won't be around to bother me about doing all my homework and revision at the same time."

"Oh, she's one of those," Remus joked.

"I thought you were one too, you seem like such a good student. Isn't he one of those, Peter?"

Peter looked stunned for being addressed, but recovered quickly. "He is." His tone was as short as his answer.

"I know how to unwind too," Remus defended himself.

Madam Pince walked by at just that moment, looking sternly in their direction. Myra realised their whispered conversation had turned more and more into a normal conversation.

"Sure sure, Remus," Myra joked. "I should go before I get you in trouble. See you tomorrow, Remus. Bye, Peter."

Just as she stood up she noticed that a book that had what she needed was on the table in front of Remus. "Hey," she pointed to the book, "are you finished with that book?"

"What? This?" Remus held it up, Myra nodded. "Sure, I'm done with it. Just make sure you have it back to Madam Pince in time, she was especially reluctant when I asked her to help me find it."

"Hm, okay, thanks." Myra smiled and reached for the book. When she took hold of it, her fingers brushed Remus' and a shock went through her. Remus let go of the book because she was taking it, but she let it go because she was startled. It fell to the ground with a loud thump. It was completely quiet around the three of them.

"What happened?" Remus asked as quietly as he could as to not draw Madam Pince's attention to them while bending down to pick up the book.

"I- Uh." Myra wasn't quite sure what to say for a moment, but found a reasonable lie. "I felt something like... Mum explained it to me once, something the Muggles call... static electricity."

"What's that?" Peter asked, clearly forgetting he wasn't supposed to like Myra.

"You shuffle your feet against a carpet and touch someone, then they feel a shock go through them. It's the same thing that powers Muggle appliances." Myra was a bit distracted while she explained, her eyes locked on Remus' hand that held the book up for her again. When she reached for it this time, she was careful not to come near any part of him. "Thanks," she muttered. "I should go, got to finish before curfew."

She hurried away, not seeing Remus' eyes following her as far as they could.

...

As promised the next day, Remus took Myra to an unused classroom on the seventh floor, one that overlooked the Quidditch pitch. He conjured heaps of fluffy pillows and offered himself as a test subject.

Myra felt a bit bad about it, but he reassured her. "You say you can't do it, and I can promise you that I need only trip once for you to get the hang of it again. It's like riding a broom, after all, engraved in your memory. You just need to find it and dust it off."

"Don't say that," Myra complained. "I don't like riding brooms. I'm no good at riding brooms, just ask Madam Pomfrey."

"But riding brooms is one of the easiest things in the world!" Remus was astonished.

"Not for me," Myra said quietly looking down at the floor, acting coyer than she was.

"I'll teach you to like flying some day," Remus promised.

Myra looked up and saw that his eyes were almost glowing. There was something about the way he looked at her, that made her feel warm on the inside. She smiled without really knowing that she did it, or why she did it. "If you have to teach someone to like something, is it really worth liking?"

"Oh, trust me; liking flying is definitely worth it. But, onto business," Remus said, and started showing her the wand movement for the Trip Jinx.

And just like he had said, he only needed to fall once for Myra to find the spell in her memory bank. It took a couple of tries, but suddenly Remus fell flat on his back with an 'oomph'.

"Yes!" Myra called out and rushed over to give him a helping hand to get up. "Are you alright?"

"Perfect." Remus let her pull him to his feet. "I'd say that was a perfect Trip Jinx, at least from my perspective."

"Thanks, Remus," Myra said sincerely, walking over to one of the desks that stood against the wall. "I think I would have failed Defence Against the Dark Arts this year if it hadn't been for you."

"The year's not over yet," Remus teased.

Myra flipped her wand, saying the incantation so quickly; Remus didn't have time to register it before he was lying on the ground, almost drowning in pillows.

"Hey!" His voice was muffled.

"Sorry, I couldn't resist."

Suddenly Myra fell to the floor, the desk vanishing underneath her.

"Remus!" she shouted. "There are no pillows under here!"

"I cushioned your fall," he defended himself.

"Not much." Myra stood up, massaging her bum.

Remus suddenly looked remorseful and rushed up and over to her. "I'm sorry," he said. "Does it hurt much?"

"No no, don't worry." Myra waved her hand dismissively. "It was just enough cushioning. Just not as comfortable as your pillows look."

Remus pursed his lips. "You don't deserve cushioning."

Myra slapped his arm, but Remus just laughed.

"But thank you, again," Myra said seriously.

"No problem. I'm happy to help."

"Hey, look," Myra said, pointing out the window. "The Quidditch practise has started. Want to go watch?"

Remus nodded and vanished the pillows covering the floor.

The two trotted down from the seventh floor and out to the Quidditch pitch in the bright evening sun. Once there they saw that Sirius and Peter were already there, for James' sake, while Anna and Ashley with Lowell were there for Hestia's sake, and partly Henry's. Other groups of students sat around in the stands too. Myra's friends sat a long way away from Remus' friends, so the two said goodbye to each other and joined their respective friends.

"Hi," Myra said and sat down with the girls. They had taken their revision with them, and weren't really paying that much attention to the practise. Proper games were after all more interesting.

"Did you manage the jinx?" Ashley asked.

"Yes, Remus fell flat on his ass, twice." Myra beamed. "But so did I," she finished not so brightly.

"What?" Anna spurted. "You fell- Did he- Did you two- What?"

It took Myra two seconds to figure out what Anna meant. "Oh, Merlin, no! He vanished the desk I sat on, and I fell right down to the floor. He did cushion my fall, but still, not nice of him."

"Sounded like you two had fun?" Ashley asked, with a sparkle in her eyes.

"We did." Myra smiled and looked in direction of the Marauders. To her surprise, Remus was looking their way, but he turned quickly away when he saw her noticing him.

"You two..." Anna mumbled, and jotted down a note in the margin of her parchment.

Myra sighed.

"'You two' what?" Lowell asked.

Ashley began explaining, while Myra desperately waved her hands and shouted 'no no no'. But Ashley just raised her voice, so Myra calmed down and felt a blush cover her face as Ashley went on.

"It's not like that at all," Myra said a bit awkwardly when Ashley finished. "We're good friends and that's all it's ever going to be. Don't you go around thinking anything else. Any of you." Myra looked at each of them in turn. "I can take points."

"Not from me." Lowell smiled.

Myra was about to retort, when Anna laughed. "You may be a badass as a prefect, but you would never abuse that power for something like that."

"No?" Myra looked seriously at her. "Try me." And she did decide just then that she really would take points from them if she got upset enough, even though they didn't break any rules.

Anna actually looked like she believed Myra, but then smiled dismissively. "Whatever you say," she finished and straightened her parchments.

Myra would show them. Yes, she would.

...

The weeks leading up to the O.W.L.s approached much too quickly for Myra's taste. Looking back, everything was a haze. There had been study sessions in the library, on the Quidditch pitch during practices and matches, on the grounds, in designated classrooms, in the common room and in the dorms before, after and in bed.

As Myra was standing with her friends and all the other fifth years in front of the Great Hall doors on Monday May 23rd, she was definitely feeling like there hadn't been enough time to learn even a small thing worth anything in Charms, which was the theoretical exam they were waiting to sit. She would give almost anything to be somewhere else celebrating Anna's birthday instead of going through this.

The doors to the Great Hall opened and the house tables were gone. In their place were what looked like hundreds of desks widely spaced, a stack of parchments on each, along with an inkwell and a quill.

Myra felt like sicking up. But she swallowed determinedly and found herself a desk. Hestia on her right, Anna on her left, Ashley next to Anna. Henry in a corner far away.

Pretty much every morning the rest of that week was the same as that first day. On Tuesday there was only Magical Living, but Hestia had Ancient Runes as well. On Wednesday Myra had time off, since she didn't take any of the subjects scheduled for that day, which helped a lot since she had to do patrol that evening. But on Thursday she had both History of Magic and Divination, and then on Friday there was theoretical and practical Transfiguration.

On Saturday Myra thought back on her effort over the week, and felt that it had gone quite well after all. Of course, it could always have been better, but what was done was done, and she had done her best. All the fifth years spent the weekend preparing for the next week, which meant that Myra focused mostly on Defence Against the Dark Arts that was coming up on Monday.

The girls took a few hours off on Saturday, in order to relax and celebrate Anna's birthday the way it should have been on Monday. Even though they looked happy and relaxed, Myra could sense an air of urgency between them, it was like they were trying to relax and have fun as quickly as possible. So it was almost a sigh of relief when they deemed the fun to be over and could go back to revising and studying for the final week of O.W.L.s.

Monday would consist of the theoretical Defence Against the Dark Arts before lunch and the practical before. It was safe to say Myra was anxious and tense. She would give anything at that point to relive the past five years of Defence with Remus teaching her. But that was not a possibility since the Ministry of Magic was very strict about the use of Time Turners. Because Myra had seriously considered applying for one when she woke up on Sunday morning.

Instead she sat in the comfort of the common room. The N.E.W.T.s were coming up the week the O.W.L.s were over, and the four weeks that those two exams were undertaken, all the other classes had their own exams. So the common room was a haven of study, apart from the times when there were too many people studying in there.

Ashley was studying, or so she said, with Lowell, somewhere else. So Myra, Hestia and Anna sat in each their armchair in the Gryffindor common room, all reading Defence Against the Dark Arts. But Myra was distracted by her own thoughts. The subject reminded her of Remus, and he was sitting in a spot that was a good for her to just look up from her work and see him.

It was like a mantra in her head these days, the strange circumstances around his illness, how he kept lying about a family member each time he fell ill, how good he was in Defence Against the Dark Arts, how quickly they had become good friends in the last half year, and how Myra found herself thinking that he was getting more and more attractive every day.

Each month, he falls ill. He's even starting to look sick now. Each month, almost a month to the day between each time. He is kind of cute when he's ill, all warm and feverish.

Myra glanced down at her book, trying to focus again, reading the text aloud in her head. 'Werewolves can be easily distinguished from regular wolves by several small, but significant, characteristics, all well known to all witches and wizards. But spotting a werewolf in human form among other humans is an entirely different case. There are several signs one can be on the lookout for, though unfortunately it takes a while, often several months, before the signs become obvious. But any irregularity that occurs a month apart, every month, is usually a sign that that person is inflicted.

For one, it's typical for werewolves as humans to like their meat bloodier than they would before they were inflicted by lycanthropy. Another is aggression, before and after the full moon, the human is more likely to become unnecessarily furious over small details. Some individuals are also known to be more aggressive all around, no matter where in the moon cycle they are and no matter what the circumstance is.

Also, werewolves take on the known symptoms of the common influenza before the full moon, and in time can also show symptoms similar to the condition called Lupus [15], which is a condition that -
'

Even though Myra's eyes read the last paragraph, her mind was elsewhere. She counted the months since her first stay in the hospital wing this school year.

That was the beginning of October. This was the end of May. She counted on her fingers; that was eight months. The first month she wasn't sure that it was Remus who was the mysterious patient that was in the hospital wing with her, but everything that she had seen and heard after that made her feel fairly certain that it was him. Myra didn't remember the details of every month, but what she did remember was enough.

Eight months. Eight times in eight months. Exactly one month between each time. And each time he is sick. Fever, lack of energy, scratches, bruises, broken bones, out for days.

She stood up. Books and parchment and ink bottle clattered to the floor, black ink staining the lush red carpet.

"One month between..."

"Myra?" Hestia said gently, but it barely registered. It was also lost on Myra that Anna and Hestia stared in wonder and concern at her, the rest of the common room in curiosity. And then a group of boys by the fireplace looked with barely hidden horror in their faces, one of them pale as a ghost. Though only Anna and Hestia had heard what Myra had said, the boys sat close enough to have caught it.

Myra's eyes found Remus'. Hers were full of shock and enlightenment, his were wide in horror.

He slammed his book shut, hastily grabbed his things and rushed up to the dorms. Had he waited just a little while longer he could have seen Myra's happy smile, but it quickly turned into a frown at his sudden departure.

Falling down in her seat again, she stared into the air, thoughtful.

"What's going on?" Hestia asked.

Myra didn't answer, she didn't even hear Hestia. Or Anna calling her name while she picked up everything Myra had dropped and didn't seem to have any plan on picking up herself. The rest of the Gryffindors lost interest and went back to their own business. Sirius, James and Peter took advantage of this. They came over, looking like someone had stolen Christmas, and James put a hand on Myra's shoulder. This snapped her back to the real world and she jumped in fright, reaching for her wand.




Notes

[15] I've quickly researched Lupus, and realise that this statement may not work very well. But I was just thinking about the fact that movie!Remus used a cane, had trouble walking, and has stiff joints and all that. Also, in the fanfiction series called Dangerverse, the same parallels are made in several ways, so I'm taking some inspiration from there. All in all, I've taken some artistic licence and this is the result.




Author Notes

About a week later than planned, but here it is! But it should be worth the wait with that nice little cliffhanger right there! Muahaha!

My attempt at getting a second beta seems to be impossible! No one has replied to my request at the HPFF forums and Perfect Imagination seems to have finally shut down for good. I'm going to make an attempt at the Sycophant Hex Forums too, but I'm currently waiting for an admin to approve my account. I was really too lucky for my own good when Orion Knight volunteered. So if you are comfortable with grammar and spelling, open to reading sexual scenes, violent and bloody scenes, crude language and all that good stuff, send me a PM! (And if you're British, even better!)

Orion Knight has exams coming up, so the next few chapters won't be betaed (unless a miracle happens and someone gets the second slot). So I hope you guys don't suffer too much in Orion Knight's absence :)

Please review if you have any thoughts on the chapter!

Coming: Chapter 13 – O.W.L.s and Interrogations
"Do you know the Unbreakable Vow?" Sirius suddenly asked. Myra nodded slowly. "We have no qualms about making you take one with us to keep Remus safe."


Chapter 13: O.W.L.s and Interrogations
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Author Note

Because my beta is busy with exams and I haven't gotten that second beta yet, I will give you this a few days ahead of time on this glorious day, my country's National Day, celebrating the signing of our Constitution and the beginning of our freedom as a country of our own! I couldn't think of a better way to celebrate!




Chapter 13
O.W.L.s and Interrogations



Image by lucky.clover @ TDA


"Will you come with us, Myra," James commanded, his hand very firm on her shoulder.

"And that was not a question," Sirius added from behind.

"O-okay," Myra stammered and stood up.

"Where are you going? What's going on?" Hestia demanded.

James and Sirius lead Myra out of the common room; they didn't give her the opportunity to answer. Not that she heard Hestia; there was too much going on in her head. Peter turned to the girls. "There is something we need to discuss with Myra, it is very important. We promise everything is alright." And he hurried after the others.

The three boys lead Myra through a few corridors and into a deserted room. Sirius took out is wand and was about to cast something, when a thought seemed to strike him. "Someone should check on Moony. Wormtail, will you go and see if he's alright?"

"Of course," Peter answered, apparently he was called Wormtail, and Moony was Remus. Peter hurried out.

"You know what to do when you come back," Sirius called after him. Peter casually waved his hand behind him in understanding. Sirius then cast Locking and Silencing Charms on the door.

James levitated over a couple of tables and a chair that stood near the walls. He and Sirius sat down on the tables while they gestured for Myra to take the chair in front of them.

"Is this an interrogation or something?" Myra couldn't help but ask.

"Or something," Sirius answered.

"You've found out," James stated.

"Yes, I think I have," Myra confirmed, she believed.

"What have you found out?" Sirius asked.

"What do you think I've found out?" Myra threw back. This gave the impression of an interrogation, and not a 'something', so she did not feel like giving them the upper hand and right to dominate.

They narrowed their eyes in perfect synchronization. If it hadn't been for the seriousness of the situation, Myra would have burst out laughing.

"Don't be smart, Kinney," Sirius snapped.

Myra stared defiantly at him, but she felt it was a bit childish and averted her gaze. "I think Remus is a werewolf," she said. "No, I know Remus is a werewolf."

"What made you come to that conclusion?" James asked.

Myra opened her mouth to answer, but something to her left caught her eye and she snapped her head around to see a thread of red and golden intertwined light creep under the door, form a hand, and knock silently on the door. Sirius waved his wand and the door opened to let Peter in. A second wand wave made Sirius lock and silence the door again.

"Moony claims he's fine," Peter reported. "He's deep into his books, so I'm sure he's going to manage."

"Thanks, Wormtail," James said.

Peter nodded and joined the two wizards on the tables, gazing at Myra.

"What made you come to the conclusion that Remus supposedly is a werewolf?" James repeated.

If they wanted her to think that it wasn't true that Remus was a werewolf, they were doing a poor job of it. Removing her from the common room, securing the room so profoundly, performing an interrogation belonging to the Wizengamot... Weren't the Marauders supposed to be smart? Well, their cleverness was really just a rumour.

With an air of confidence Myra answered. "It's obvious, isn't it? Each month he's sick two-three days before he 'goes home to visit his aunt'. Why would he expose a sick beloved relative to his own illness? He doesn't have an aunt, not one who's that sick anyway. I saw him in the hospital wing in November, and he begged me not to tell anyone I had seen him there. A promise I've kept, by the way. I saw him once again in the hospital wing in December, and just a few days later I overheard a conversation he had, when he outright lied and said he'd visited his 'aunt' when I knew differently."

Myra paused, thinking about what to say next. The boys just looked expectantly at her, clearly not in a hurry.

"He keeps up the lying well," Myra continued. "I've talked to him about his 'aunt' several times, and he really has the story down. So kudos to him for that, at least. But, like I said, he's sick every month, at exactly one month in between, and, coincidentally, he's always sick around the full moon. You'd be stupid not to see it."

"Took you several months to see it, if you started seeing signs already back in November," Peter said. "I'd say that's you being stupid."

"October," Myra corrected automatically. "After I saw him there in November, I figured he was the hidden patient when I was there in October. But forget about that, why are you being so mean to me all the time? Insulting me, glaring at me, getting me into detention? What on earth have I done to you lot?"

"You don't get it?" Sirius asked.

"No, I honestly don't."

"It's true," James said. "Remus is a werewolf."

Even though Myra had figured it out, it shocked her to hear it confirmed. Just like it never made sense that Remus was so into lying, it didn't make sense that he was a werewolf. Myra was a tolerant person, and had never disliked or feared werewolves in human form, but she could just not imagine Remus as the beast he turned into one short night each month. The reason for the lying was clear now, so that was no matter anymore.

Myra nodded in answer to James' statement.

"People don't normally like werewolves, so we're very protective of Remus," Peter continued. "I'm sure you can understand that?"

Myra nodded again.

"You've been a bit too nosy, asking too many questions, having too much understanding in your eyes, so we've done our best to keep you and Remus apart," Sirius said. "We're sorry, but just a little bit. We don't know where you stand when it comes to socialising with werewolves."

"But neither you nor Remus has made that an easy task," Peter sighed, making Myra smile.

It was amazing how synchronized they were, like they had been practising this speech.

"We will do anything to keep Remus at Hogwarts," James said. "Even if it means making nothing but enemies along the way. If word got out that there was a werewolf among the students, the best case scenario would be that Remus is expelled from school by the Ministry. Worst case scenario... He's hunted down and tortured to death by civilians."

Myra swallowed. She knew that being a werewolf was nothing to be joked around with; the Ministry of Magic took lycanthropy very seriously, and they were dangerous, that one night each month. But she hadn't really thought about what her finding out would mean to Remus.

Good thing she had been so incredibly clueless until that night, otherwise she was sure Hestia or Ashley or Anna or even Henry would have caught on to what she was on about. And Merlin knows how they would handle the news about Remus being a werewolf.

The wizards in front of her deserved an answer from her about where she did stand in this matter.

"You have nothing to fear from me. I wouldn't hurt Remus in any way. He's my friend and I care about him. I won't tell anyone what he is, unless he wants me to." She said this with as much sincerity as she could manage, desperately wanting them to believe her. "But," she said, and all three of them nearly rolled their eyes, "Hestia deserves to know."

"Why?" James asked, as if this was the most idiotic thing in the world.

"She too saw Remus in the hospital wing when I had had that Fertility Potion accident." Myra blushed a bit at the memory. "Remus had me make her too swear to keep shut about him being there, and I know she hasn't said anything to anyone but me, and that was always with Muffling Charms or Silencing Charms around us. She's Remus' friend too, whether you like it or not, and she too know he's been lying and she's just as worried as me about what has been going on with him."

"You will not tell Hestia Jones anything," Peter said. "Not without Remus' permission."

"She's my best friend! She can be trusted!"

"That may be, but this is Remus' life we're talking about here. It's his decision, his and his alone."

Myra looked into the eyes of all three for a long while, before surrendering. "Fine. I will keep this secret from my best friend, no matter how much it pains me and bothers her."

They all nodded.

"So, what happens now?" she asked. "Will you still go around being mean to me?"

"I guess not," James answered. "Now that you know, we should probably keep you happy." His eyes sparkled with mischief.

"I get to have you as slaves?" Myra eyes sparkled with hope.

James lowered his head and looked at her over his glasses.

"Worth a try," she muttered.

"If you keep your toes in line, we won't do anything bad to you. And believe me, we know lots of creative spells," Sirius threatened. "The only reason we haven't used them on you yet is because it would upset Remus."

"Yeah yeah, whatever." Myra was bold now that they had said they wouldn't hurt her, because she knew she had no intention of doing anything to hurt Remus. "Can I go now? I need to study for Defence Against the Dark Arts."

"Do you know the Unbreakable Vow?" Sirius suddenly asked.

Myra nodded slowly.

"We have no qualms about making you take one with us to keep Remus safe."

"No need. Like I said earlier, Remus is my friend, I care about him. I don't hurt my friends. But I would be willing to take one, even though it would be crazy to do so."

Sirius waved his wand and removed the spells on the room, signalling they were done for now.

"See you around." Myra waved at them as she left.

...

Back in the common room Myra was sorry to see that Remus was still up in the dorms. She asked Hestia and Ashley if he'd been down since she left, but they didn't answer. Instead they on her about what had happened. Regretfully, Myra said that she was not allowed to tell, but that everything was alright.

In fact, she thought to herself, everything is more than alright. I know Remus' secret, everything makes sense, and Sirius, James and Peter won't be glaring murder at me anymore.

With a huge smile, Myra sat down in her chair, accepted the parchment, book, ink well and quill Anna handed her, and continued studying. For some strange reason she found the subject to be much easier than earlier that day, or year for that matter.

Hestia asked again in the dorm that night, what she and the three Marauders had talked about. As Myra had explained to them, the two best friends talked with the protection of Silencing Charms.

But all Myra could tell Hestia was that she had settled her differences with them, and things were alright. She admitted that she now knew why Remus lied like he did and that it was for a good reason, but that it wasn't her secret to tell.

Hestia understood and accepted that, and didn't enquire further. She wasn't as curious by nature or as obsessed with Remus as Myra was.

The next day Myra was eager to talk to Remus. But at breakfast he resolutely avoided her gaze no matter how hard she tried to catch his. When he walked past when he was done eating, she called out his name, but he pretended to not hear her. James looked at her and shook his head lightly, to warn her off.

The theoretical Defence Against the Dark Arts O.W.L. started, and ended. Lunch came, and Remus was still avoiding Myra. She swore he looked scared when he got near enough to her.

Despite her best intelligence, Myra wanted to follow Remus out this time, but before she got as far, Professor McGonagall approached her with an envelope. "This is for you, Miss Kinney," she said firmly, handing the letter over.

"Is something wrong?" Myra asked.

"I wouldn't know, I was just told to give this to you. Good luck on your exam this afternoon." Professor McGonagall turned and went back to the teacher's table.

"Did anyone see someone giving this to her?" Myra asked the people around her. Everyone shook their heads. Frowning, Myra gazed down at the envelope. She didn't recognize the handwriting that spelled out her full name and house. She opened it and pulled out a small piece of parchment with a short note on it.

Miss Myra Kinney

Please come see me in my office right after you're done with your practical Defence Against the Dark Arts O.W.L. this afternoon. The password is Toothflossing Stringmints.

Sincerely,

Headmaster A. P. W. B. Dumbledore


What on earth?

"What is it?" Ashley asked.

"Dumbledore wants to see me in his office after I'm done with the practical today," Myra murmured.

"Why?" Hestia asked.

"I don't know..." Myra looked up at the staff table, expecting to see Professor Dumbledore looking angrily at her, but he was engrossed in an animated conversation with Professor Flitwick.

Lunch finished and Myra forced Professor Dumbledore and the meeting out of her mind. Instead she prepared herself mentally for the exam while she sat outside the Great Hall and waited to be called inside.

As the fourth group she was called in along with Hestia, Lowell Llewellyn, a Slytherin and a Ravenclaw.

There was no need to demonstrate the Trip Jinx, but Myra was asked to demonstrate Imperturbable Charm, the Blind-Fold Spell, and several other spells from all five years. She was also brought into a chamber by the examiner and asked to repel a Boggart. What came out of the box were the ghosts from the Shrieking Shack the way Myra imagined that they were. It was a sight even the examiner trembled at. It took three tries, but eventually Myra managed to turn them into rainbow coloured smoke. To finish off the test the examiner cast several non-verbal spells and jinxes on a dummy and Myra had to make Finite Incantatem work on all of them.

Myra didn't have a very good feeling when leaving the Great Hall, there were too many spells she had had to try several times and there were too many spells she felt hadn't been as powerful as they should. But as long as she passed she would be happy. She walked up to the second floor and found the gargoyle guarding the Headmaster's Office. This was the second time she was up there. First was at the start of the first term that year, for the Headmaster's private conversation with all the new prefects.

"Toothflossing Stringmints," she said and the gargoyle leapt aside, revealing the revolving staircase behind.

Once upstairs, Myra took a deep breath and knocked. The door opened and revealed Professor Dumbledore sitting behind his large desk, looking up from a piece of parchment he was writing on and smiled warmly.

"Good afternoon, Miss Kinney," he greeted with a smile and a twinkle in his eyes. "Please sit down." As he gestured to an empty space, a green, posh and fluffy armchair appeared.

"Good afternoon, Professor," Myra said back and sat down in the chair, only to fall awkwardly back in it, it was so soft.

"I just need a minute or two to finish this." He gestured to the parchment. "Sherbet lemon while you wait?" He pushed forward a bowl of sweets.

"No thank you, my stomach's not settled yet after the examination."

"Ah, yes, your Defence Against the Dark Arts O.W.L. How did it go?"

"It's not my best subject, sir, but I did my best," Myra answered honestly.

"I'm sure it went better than you think." There was a twinkle in his eyes again. Myra hoped he was right. Then he focused on his work again and left Myra to gaze around the office.

It was pretty much the same as the last time she had been here. The walls covered in bookcases or portraits of old headmasters, some dozing in their frames, some looking interestedly at what was going on in the room and some frames were empty. A myriad of spindly tables were holding ticking and whirring instruments. Myra was dying to ask about what they all were, but she didn't dare.

After what felt like an eternity, but most likely weren't more than exactly two minutes, Professor Dumbledore put away what he had been working on and caught Myra's gaze. "You must be dying with curiosity as to why I called you in here, Miss Kinney."

"Pretty much, sir. I hope nothing's wrong."

Professor Dumbledore suddenly turned serious. "I should think not, but that really depends on how this conversation goes. I understand that you know about Remus Lupin's condition?"

Myra nodded.

"It's very unfortunate that such a bright young wizard has to bear the burden of lycanthropy, but life doesn't always go as planned or deserved."

"It is unfortunate. But, sir, if I may, how did you know I knew?"

"Three of Mr Lupin's friends informed me. You understand that they didn't tell me to punish you for finding out, but simply as a precaution? I have this conversation with everyone who finds out about our dear Mr Lupin."

"I understand, sir."

"Good. Now, unfortunately there are not many people in our world who would let Mr Lupin come to school as a normal wizard. But I feel that Mr Lupin will most likely experience a lot of hardship in his life, and without an education he would be even worse off. So I made arrangements for him and offered him a spot here like any other magical eleven year old.

"I highly value the safety of each and every one of my students, and while I assure you that Mr Lupin is not posing any threat on any student here, I need you to know that his safety is even more precious because of what he is and people's prejudices. Do you follow me?"

Myra nodded again.

"Mr Lupin's friends told me that you had assured them you would not jeopardise his safety and well-being here at Hogwarts, is this true?"

"At Hogwarts, or anywhere else," Myra answered, struggling to keep Professor Dumbledore's intense stare.

"You also understand that Mr Lupin's lycanthropy is his own secret to share with whomever he wishes to share it with?"

"Yes."

"Others may be just as clever as you and find out on their own, but you will not encourage them to find the answer?"

"I will not, sir."

Professor Dumbledore smiled brightly, all seriousness gone from his face, and even the atmosphere of the room, Myra realised. "I know you are being truthful, Miss Kinney. And I dare say Mr Lupin could use more friends on his side."

"And I am completely on his side, sir. Even when I was suspicious of the lies he kept telling, I never doubted his credibility. I was just worried, and, I admit, curious. He is a friend, and I care about him. It doesn't matter to me if he's a werewolf, a vampire, a goblin or a house elf. He is who he is, and it's good to know that he has a very good reason for lying."

"I appreciate your honesty, Miss Kinney. I'm sure Mr Lupin appreciates your friendship and loyalty in him."

Myra thought that that didn't seem like the case right now, as Remus had avoided her so far that day.

"Is something wrong?" Professor Dumbledore asked. She must have had a sad expression.

"No, sir, I'm sure it will be fine." Myra smiled reassuringly.

Professor Dumbledore nodded. "Now, run along and take a well deserved break before your next examination tomorrow. Herbology, am I right?"

"Yes, sir, thank you, sir. Good bye." Myra stood up and walked out.

...

Once again Myra had to lie to Hestia, saying Professor Dumbledore only wanted to talk to her about prefect business. It was clear by Hestia's expression that she didn't believe that, but Myra begged with her eyes for Hestia to accept the explanation.

The rest of the week of O.W.L.s went by in just the same fashion as the previous week, in a haze and a blur and paper cuts and headaches, only exception being that on Wednesday evening there was another full moon, and Remus disappeared.

Myra thought about him all day that day. He was the last thing on her mind when she fell asleep with the ghost from the Shrieking Shack howling outside in the night, and he was the first thing on her mind when she woke up.

On Saturday Remus came back, in time for the last Quidditch match of the year between Gryffindor and Ravenclaw. Myra wanted to talk to him, but he was a master in avoidance. Thinking it would be easy to sneak up on him while the student mass moved down to the Quidditch pitch was a mistake. He was as good as invisible, and for all Myra knew, he could be. Even while all the Gryffindors were in place in the Gryffindor stands she couldn't see him anywhere. She couldn't see Sirius or Peter either.

Maybe they were all down by the changing rooms wishing James good luck.

The match begun and Myra forgot all about the Marauders. Hestia was brilliant, clubbing down a couple of Ravenclaws and delivering numerous bruises with her powerful Beater's Bat. The Ravenclaw Beaters had nothing on Hestia and Henry. While the two may not like each other much, at least from Hestia's point of view, they were an excellent team on the Quidditch pitch.

The Seekers on both teams had come near to catching the Snitch many times, but after two and a half hours Penhale, the Gryffindor Seeker, snatched the Snitch right in front of the Ravenclaw Seeker's face.

The Gryffindor stands erupted in cheers so loud it rang in Myra's ears, but she gladly joined them in their screaming and jumping. With the amount of points their Chaser managed to score today and the hundred and fifty points from the Snitch, they jumped far ahead of Slytherin and had now won the Quidditch Cup and possibly the House Cup.

Myra glanced over at the Slytherin side of the pitch and saw that the entire house was sitting there like Christmas had been made illegal. It made the win so much better! Looking at the other house stands; she saw that half of Hufflepuff house shouted in joy as well, while the other half was indifferent. The Ravenclaws of course were sad and angry.

In spite of the fact that all the seventh years began their N.E.W.T.s on Monday, the entire house spent the rest of the Saturday celebrating out in the grounds. Sometime after dinner Professor McGonagall told them to finish up and get inside, but they just continued in the common room.

The party seemed like the perfect opportunity to sneak up on Remus to talk to him, but he seemed to always know where Myra was, because once she spotted him and started making her way over, he had disappeared the small moment she blinked on the way over.

Fine, Myra thought. Be that way. On Tuesday there would be a final prefect meeting and since there was no full moon coming up soon, he would have to go to the meeting, he couldn't get away there.

But Myra had underestimated Remus. He came two seconds before the meeting begun, sat as far away from her as possible, and was out the door so fast he left behind a dust cloud when the meeting was adjourned.

It hurt, Myra realised, to see that he didn't want to talk to her anymore. But being the curious person she was she hired Henry to do some investigation for her.

"Dear sweet Henry," she cooed, sitting down next to him in the common room that Tuesday evening.

Henry groaned. "What do you want from me now?"

"Oh, nothing special. I just want to sit here next to you."

"Myra."

"Oh, fine. Do you think you can ask some of your sixth year friends from the other houses about their schedule?"

"Why in Merlin's name do you want to know that? There are hardly any classes left!"

"I- Well... Don't say anything to anyone, especially not Hestia, but I want to know what Remus' schedule looks like. I need to talk to him, but he's avoiding me, and I thought I'd stalk him a bit and make him talk to me."

"Obsessive little witch, aren't we?"

"I'm not, it's just-" She stopped herself. "It's a long story, and not my story to tell. Please, Henry, can you help me?" She batted her eyelashes, smiling widely, trying to look as sweet as she could.

"Fine, fine, if it will wipe that freaky look off your face," Henry relented.

"Hey!" Myra slapped his arm. "That was a sweet face, not a freaky face."

"You didn't see yourself."

Myra tried to slap him again, but he expertly grabbed her arm before it made impact. "No no, be nice, or I won't help you."

"Blackmailing me now?"

"No, just teaching you some common sense."

"Oh, shut up, wizard." Myra wrenched her arm free and stood up. "Thank you, Henry," she finished sincerely, bending to give him a quick kiss on the cheek.

Henry worked fast. Already by lunch next day did he come to Myra with an almost complete list of Remus' schedule.

"Thank you so much, Henry." Myra jumped up from the bench and hugged him.

"No problem, nosy git."

Myra didn't even retaliate; she was already perusing the schedule. Remus had Magical Living right after lunch, she had it after him. But he had to go from the fifth floor to the first floor, while she had to go from seventh floor to fifth floor. If she was let out early she might be able to catch him before his next class, she had done it before.

Otherwise they were both going to the grounds for their second class tomorrow, but he on the north side and she on the southwest side. He had Wizarding Culture Studies after lunch tomorrow, and once again she had that after him. The class he had after that was unknown, hopefully he had a free hour and didn't feel the need to rush anywhere. If Myra was quick, she could make it from the Greenhouses to the fourth floor quite quickly.

She had some possibilities now.

But she was not lucky. Remus was sneaky and nowhere to be seen anywhere. Once she was sure she saw him round a corner just as she came past the other corner. When she rushed over to his corner he had vanished.

Not until next Tuesday was she lucky. She had Defence Against the Dark Arts on the third floor, and right after she had Charms, which was also on the third floor. He had Transfiguration first thing, but would come up to the third floor for Defence Against the Dark Arts when she had Charms. The two classes were just two corridors apart, so Myra told her friends to go ahead without her and that she would catch up.

She waited as she heard the entire student body going from one class to another above and below her. Some were coming closer and soon she saw sixth year Gryffindors and Hufflepuffs appearing at the top of the Grand Staircase. Remus was trailing behind his three wizard friends, occupied with rummaging through his bag.

"Perfect," Myra muttered and walked slowly over. She greeted a few people on her way, and said a happy 'hello' to Sirius, James and Peter. Remus' head snapped up at the sound of her voice, and he visibly paled.

"Hi, Myra," Peter greeted back.

"Do you guys mind if I talk to Remus for a bit, alone?" she asked, deliberately not directing it at Remus, thinking he might not have a choice if they gave their blessing.

"Sure," Sirius said, and began pulling the two other boys with him into the classroom.

"I'm sorry, but I don't have time right now," Remus excused. "I have to write down the end to this essay before class begins. Some other time maybe." He said it all very quickly, not meeting her eyes at all, and then rushed into the classroom, leaving Myra standing there gaping like a fish out of water.

A spike of something really painful shot through her stomach. Apparently it hurt her more than she previously thought, that Remus not only didn't seem to want to talk to her anymore, but it seemed like he didn't want anything to do with her anymore. Feeling suddenly depressed, Myra walked slowly to the Charms classroom, not really feeling up to facing Professor Flitwick's happy presence. He usually let his students do what they wanted the last week of the year, and Myra had been looking forward to it, but not anymore.

"What's wrong?" Hestia asked when Myra found her usual seat next to her best friend.

"He doesn't want anything to do with me anymore," Myra murmured.

Without Hestia having previously known what Myra had just attempted to do, she understood immediately. "I'm sorry," she whispered. "Why?"

"I'm not allowed to say, I've promised that to too many people now."

"'Too many people'?"

"I tried to convince some of them that you deserved to know too, but it isn't mine or their secret to tell."

The look in Hestia's eyes told Myra that she understood most of what Myra didn't say. In her depressed state, Myra felt that she really appreciated Hestia's friendship. She leant forward and hugged her best friend, feeling a lot better afterwards, and they turned their focus to Professor Flitwick, who had begun demonstrating a new fun and meaningless spell.

...

Before Myra knew it the end-of-year feast arrived, without having had any more chances to talk to Remus. It was amazing the way he managed to avoid her so thoroughly. He had to have some tricks up his sleeve. Myra didn't know what to do anymore, except stop trying to round him up and just hope that fate brought them together again.

Each year on the end-of-year feast the Marauders had planned a prank or some other fun event, and this year was no different.

Professor Dumbledore made his usual speech about the school year that had gone, and he awarded House Cup to Ravenclaw, who were just a measly few points ahead of Gryffindor. And then the feast arrived on the tables. Everyone tucked in, but all around the Great Hall there were outbursts and yells of disgust. On Myra's right, Hestia spat out a potato.

So curious she didn't even consider the fact that the potatoes might be bad, Myra put a piece in her mouth, and then she too spat it out, splattering some on Henry, who sat opposite her. The potato wasn't disgusting; it just had an unexpected texture and flavour. Instead of moist and mealy, tasting like, well, potato, it was chewy and tasted like caramel.

Everyone around Myra investigated their food.

"What in Merlin's name is this?"

"Have the House Elves gone mental?"

Myra poked the potato on her plate. It behaved just like a potato should, wasn't hard to cut through, easily mashed with a fork. Experimentally she put the mashed potato in her mouth; it was still chewy like a caramel.

Professor Dumbledore stood up from the staff table and addressed the room. "While I normally appreciate good spellwork like this, would the ones responsible please reverse this, I'd rather not have caramel with fish and candle wax." He looked sternly around the room, surveying everyone, but Myra was sure he lingered a bit longer on the Gryffindor table. She wanted to see if the Marauders were reacting in any way, but even though everyone knew it must be them, she didn't want to draw attention to them.

Dumbledore went back to his seat and tried his food again. The entire hall was watching closely. His face gave nothing away; it was calmly amused like always.

Everyone else went back to their food and the feast went on. Occasionally there was an outburst of disgust, but it seemed that no one really minded. The first year Gryffindors actually began tasting a little bit of everything to map out all the different flavours and textures.

When dessert came though, people couldn't take it anymore. The ice cream was salty, the pudding was bitter and the trifle was sour. People quickly began leaving the Great Hall to get their packing done.

Finally Myra dared look in direction of the Marauders, and all four of them were happily eating ice cream, pudding and trifle.

...

The morning they were leaving dawned warm and bright. It would be wonderful with two months away from this place, two months without as much responsibilities and tasks. Two months where Myra could just lavish in the sun if she wanted to, find time to get tired of her sister, have enough time to get mad at her parents for something stupid. Not to mention being able to celebrate Hestia's sixteenth birthday in a way they'd never had the opportunity to do with Myra, Ashley or Anna, because the three of them had their birthdays throughout the school year.

The last few belongings were unceremoniously thrown into the trunk and Myra shut it close, surprised that she didn't have to sit on it and have one of the other girls lock it for her. Worriedly, she glanced around the room believing she had forgotten something, but she saw nothing.

"It'll still be here in the autumn," she said to the trunk.

"Did you say something?" Hestia asked from across the room.

"Just talking to my things," Myra answered as if it was the most normal thing in the world.

"You need a holiday, I hear."

"I do, we all do."

Unlike the way thing were done for the Christmas holiday or the Easter holiday, the four girls in Gryffindor's fifth year now put their trunks and animal cages nicely and orderly in the middle of the room, so the House Elves could transport them to Hogsmeade Station. Hogsmeade station had one room for each house, where the students would find their luggage sorted by year so they could pick them up and have them loaded onto the train and into the compartment they wanted to sit in.

Then it was time for a quick breakfast in the Great Hall, before Myra had to do some of the last duties as a prefect that school year; follow the first years to the carriages that would take them to the train station. It was only fifth year prefects who got that so-called honour, so she and Ambrose stepped up and guided the youngest Gryffindors to the carriages, explained the not so invisible horses to the few first years who were so unfortunate as to see the Thestrals pulling the carriages. Once they reached the station, Myra and Ambrose also had to help the first years find their trunks, but thankfully the conductors on the train had the job of helping those who needed it with getting their baggage into a compartment.

Myra could finally board the train, and levitated her trunk in front of her until she reached the compartment Hestia, Anna and Ashley had occupied.

"Some of the first years are really thick-headed," she whispered in a scandalized yet joking tone.

"Your sister is a first year," Ashley reminded her.

"Yes, well, she's smart and takes after me."

The train doors closed, the whistle sounded and the train jumped into movement.

Myra only stayed for a few minutes before she had to go out and find Miranda McKinnon for their scheduled patrol of the train. She went to the prefect compartment, as that was where all the partners had agreed to meet.

McKinnon was there, and the two girls began walking through their half of the train. Myra knew that Remus and his partner, Carrie Griffin, was patrolling the other half at the same time as she and McKinnon, but she didn't dare hope to run into him.

He had done a wonderful job in staying away from her thus far, so she did not doubt he would manage even on the train, where everybody was bound to bump into each other at one point or other during the journey.

Once Myra and Miranda McKinnon had done their duties, Myra retired to her friends' compartment, feeling quite at a loss of what to do with Remus.

She enjoyed having him as a friend, and she suspected she liked having him around for certain other reasons as well. Her friends knew she missed him as a friend, but she didn't dare admit the other thing to them, after all the teasing she had endured and denied so fervently. Having it come more and more true was just too embarrassing.

The train ride was spent chatting about their plans for the summer, and laying down ideas for Hestia's birthday, one more elaborate and mental than the last. Hestia had withdrawn from that conversation, saying she did not want anything to do with the things they suggested and she didn't need to invite them if that's how it was going to be.

It was all jokes of course, Hestia knew that, but Myra, Ashley and Anna had fun teasing her anyway.

...

It was a beautiful twilight outside when the train pulled into King's Cross station. The platform was full of waiting parents and siblings. Myra didn't spot her own parents anywhere, but knew they were there.

As planned with Marie earlier, Myra had gone and fetched her from her compartment a short time before the train arrived, and now helped her sister with her trunk. Meadow's cage was empty as the owl had flown home from Hogwarts, so Myra tucked it under her arm, some owl droppings falling onto the floor of the train. She was officially on holiday from being a prefect, so she didn't care.

Somewhere in the crowd, someone was calling Myra and Marie's names. Myra looked around and saw the familiar faces of Chelsie and Robert Kinney.

Having learned from the Christmas holidays, Marie didn't drop her trunk to run into her parents' arms. Instead she hauled it after her as quickly as she could and then let it go and was immediately pulled into her mum and dad's arms.

"Hi mum, hi dad," Myra greeted when Marie was done. She got a tight hug too.

"How are my girls?" Robert asked.

"Fine, dad," Marie answered.

"Are you ready to leave?" Chelsie asked.

"Just let me find Hestia and say goodbye first," Myra answered.

"Hurry then," Chelsie called after the daughter that had just ran off into the crowd in search of her best friend.

Myra quickly found Hestia with her mother and also her father this time.

"Hello Mr Jones, Mrs Jones," Myra said to them. "May I have a quick word with Hestia before we leave?"

Nicholas Jones waved his daughter off with a smile.

"You're coming over in July, right?" Myra asked.

"Yes, if they don't have any other insane plans. I'll owl you after I've talked to them," Hestia answered.

"Okay. Have fun at Gwenog's then," Myra teased.

"I will." Hestia smiled. She was going to have just one week at home, before she had been given the job of babysitting her seven years younger cousin Gwenog for one week while Gwenog's parents went on holiday to Africa. "Gwenog's a nice enough kid when we're visiting; I just really really hope she's just as nice without her parents being home."

"Threaten to take away her broom and I'm sure she'll behave."

"Yeah. I should go, mum's looking impatient."

"See you later then." Myra gave her best friend a hug, waved goodbye to Mr and Mrs Jones.

"See you later." Hestia went back to her parents and Myra went on her way.

But halfway back to her parents Myra was stopped short by the sight of Remus with his parents. She had never seen his parents before, but realised that she would have recognized them anywhere. Remus was the spitting image of his father, but from what Myra could see, Remus had his mother's hair colour and smile.

Now was the perfect moment to make Remus talk to her, but she didn't dare go up to him now. So instead she stood still watching the exchanges between him and his parents, feeling a bit like a voyeur.

Suddenly Remus turned his head and saw right into her eyes. He paled just a little bit, and Myra couldn't be sure over the distance, but she think she saw fear flash in his eyes.

After what seemed like an eternity, but was really just a few seconds, Myra smiled warmly at him.

His mother looked at her son, who was actually taller than her already, and followed his gaze to Myra. Mrs Lupin said something to her son, which made him blush and shake his head.

Myra smiled again, waved, and then went back to her family.




Author Notes

No second beta yet. Please, if you know about anyone who would be willing to help me out, send me a PM!

The chapter images for chapters 10, 11 and 12 haven't been requested yet, because I've encountered some issues with some vacation photos from Christ Church in Oxford that I've misplaced. In case you didn't know, parts of the Harry Potter movies have been filmed in Christ Church.

A warning about the next chapter: It contains descriptions of torture and violence and other gruesome situations. I will of course keep the chapter within the rules of the M rating, but if you don't want to read that, PM me and I can send you a summary of the chapter that does not contain any violence and nasty stuff when I post it. Link for PMing me can be find through my forum profile which you can find through the Meet the Author topic link found in my profile. If you can't find it, I have the same username on the forum as I have here.

Please review if you have anything to say!

Coming: Chapter 14 - Title withheld for spoiler reasons and because I haven't made a choice between the two suggestions I have
"You're staring at the sun again, Myra," Chelsie chastised. "Sorry." Myra blinked furiously at the pain and the flashing stars in her eyes, and rubbed them hard. It only made her see more stars. "Hey, mum," she had a thought, blinking to try to see her mother. "Are there any potions or herbs or something that prevents werewolves from changing at the full moon?"


Chapter 14: The Cure for Werewolves
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WARNING

A story about violence, torture and self-mutilation is told in this chapter. I have of course kept the chapter within the rules of the M rating with the help of a validator, but if you don't want to read it anyway, PM me at the forums (username sinful_sanctuary) and I can send you a summary of the chapter that does not contain any violence.




Chapter 14
The Cure for Werewolves



Image by lucky.clover @ TDA


The first couple of weeks of the summer holidays were delightful. Myra had pushed Remus' avoidance of her out of her mind. Instead, she focused on enjoying the warm weather, spending time with the family, and life in general. Robert spent time playing and having fun with his girls, while Chelsie ordered them to do their summer work and continue their studies. Myra didn't complain either way, because she had missed her parents.

Everything was perfect; until July 1st. That was the day of the full moon, and of course Myra was reminded of Remus. She didn't stay happy for long.

On the day of the full moon, she was sitting out in the back garden, watching the sun; the sun that would set much too soon. She wondered how Remus was doing at home. How were his transformations there? It was probably a lot nicer for him to have his mother and father take care of him afterwards, instead of Madam Pomfrey. From what Myra had seen on Platform 9 ¾, they were a close and loving family.

A certified Healer would probably have to take a look at him, though. Maybe he was taken to St. Mungo's in order to heal after his transformation. Myra hoped not. She hoped it was enough for him to just stay at home, where people who loved him could take care of him and nurse him back to health.

Thinking about what happened to Remus at home only brought up more unanswerable questions. It occurred to her that she had no idea where he went during the full moon while at Hogwarts, either. Of course, it had to be somewhere safe; Professor Dumbledore had been adamant about safety, especially Remus'.

An image of Remus being walked down into the dungeons and placed in a cage that was magically locked from the outside popped unwanted into her thoughts. She saw him staring at foot-thick stone walls, waiting to turn into a monster. She saw him waking up all alone, on a cold stone floor, shivering with fever and covered in cuts and bruises. Helpless.

Professor Dumbledore would never do that, she told herself firmly, wiping away tears. The Headmaster could never be so heartless.

"Is something wrong, sweetheart?" Her mum sounded worried, as her body leaned over hers, blocking out the sun.

Myra shook her head. She wasn't certain she could trust her voice not to crack.

Chelsie crouched down and put a hand on her shoulder. "Myra, honey, you're crying! What's wrong?"

Myra breathed in deeply, calming herself down. "Nothing's wrong, mum. The sun's stinging my eyes."

"Are you sure? You look upset."

"I'm sure."

"Okay, then stop looking at the sky. Dinner will be ready in a few minutes."

Myra nodded, and watched her mother go back inside before continuing.

Some evidence pointed towards Remus being in the Forbidden Forest during his transformations. Myra remembered how she had followed Sirius, James and Peter outside one of the nights Remus had gone missing. They must have been going to him. But how could they get close to him, when he was going to transform? Sure, they were brave, but they wouldn't be reckless enough to venture into a dangerous forest when they knew a werewolf was going to be on the prowl. Would they?

Throughout the rest of the day Myra was unnaturally quiet, thinking. Robert and Chelsie continued to ask if there was something wrong, but Myra continued lying, telling them that everything was fine. That she was just nervous about the O.W.L. results. They immediately launched into a speech about how clever Myra was, but of course she didn't listen. Instead, she picked at her food, purposely avoiding looking out the window at the setting sun. It felt like her heart was pounding in her chest at twice its normal speed.

She went to bed early that night, but couldn't sleep. She laid awake, gazing out at the night sky. At least she wouldn't be able to hear the ghosts in the Shrieking Shack and its extra loud rampage. She tried to keep her focus on that one happy thought. It was around four or five in the morning that she finally fell asleep.

...

It was Saturday, and both parents were home from work. The entire family was there for breakfast out in their garden.

"You're staring at the sun again, Myra," Chelsie chastised.

"Sorry." Myra blinked furiously as stars flashed across her eyes. Rubbing them hard only made her see more. "Hey, mum." Blinking, she tried to focus on her mother. "Are there any potions or herbs that prevent werewolves from changing at the full moon?"

Chelsie frowned. "Well that's a strange question."

"Why do you want to know?" Robert asked.

"No particular reason," Myra answered. "Just curious."

"I want to know too," Marie added.

Both girls looked expectantly at their mother.

"Well, there have been many experiments over the last two centuries. Most with no results at all. But some had very... gruesome side effects. You know the plant called aconite?" The girls nodded. "Then you'd know that that plant is also known as wolfsbane. Potions Master and Herbologists believe that particular plant will one day cure lycanthropy, but the problem is finding the correct plant among the 250 different aconitum species. It's been used in a few noteworthy experiments, but none of them have been remotely successful. In fact, they tend to have quite inhumane results."

"What was it that went wrong in the experiments?" Myra wanted to know.

Chelsie hesitated with a glance at Marie. "It's a rather dark breakfast conversation, Myra."

"I want to know, mum."

"Me too, mum," Marie piped in once more.

"Later, Myra. And we can talk when you're older, Marie. Okay?"

Marie pouted. Myra nodded, though her apprehension was growing. If they couldn't talk in front of her little sister, it had to be terrible. Was she sure she wanted to know?

Yes. If there was even a remote possibility that something could be done, she wanted to know. Maybe she could help. She might have been dreadful with Potions, but she was very good in Herbology. She needed to know if there was anything she could do.

...

Once Marie had gone to bed that night, Chelsie sat down with her eldest daughter in the sitting room. She had chased Robert away with the task of changing the sheets on their bed.

"He'll take forever with that," Chelsie laughed. "He doesn't know the spells to do it, so he'll have to do it by hand. Housework has never been one of your father's strong suites."

Myra laughed to the image of her dad wrestling with the sheets, but the humorous moment was short lived.

"Do you really want to know the horrible details of the werewolf experiments?" her mother asked again, growing serious.

Myra only hesitated for a second. "Yes."

"Alright then. You won't find anything about this in your schoolbooks. It's something I only learned about in the process of studying to become a Master Apothecary Technician."

"I understand, mum. I want to know."

"I suppose you won't tell me why you want to know?"

Myra shook her head.

Her mum sighed, sounding suddenly much older. "Whatever your motivation is, I hope it's worth it." She took out her wand, summoning a bottle of Firewhiskey and a glass from a cabinet by the window. She filled the glass, and sent the bottle back. Tossing her head back, she downed the drink before finally starting her story.

...

Two centuries ago, it was decided by the Ministry of Magic that something had to be done with werewolves. They couldn't be killed outright because of their half-breed classification: They were half human, therefore their deaths would be considered murder. But their existence caused so many problems that they couldn't continue to run unchecked. Somehow, something needed to be done.

Potions Masters, Herbologists and Healers, the best of their professions, were then employed to work on the case. They would become the very first Unspeakables, and the Department of Mysteries was formed, then known as the Department of Unknown Magic.

They researched for several years, but theory only goes so far. They appealed to those in the Werewolf Registry, promising galleons and the possibility of a cure in exchange for anyone willing to be a participant. Since it was just as hard then for the infected to find employment, several of them stepped forward. Ten participants were eventually accepted for the first round of tests.

The aconitum plant was known to treat symptoms similar to those a werewolf experiences, and that was the basis of the testing. The Unspeakables had created an aconite salve, which the werewolves rubbed into their skin before the full moon. It was supposed to ease the pain and prevent the joints from taking part in the transformation, forcing the body to remain human.

The salve didn't work. In fact, it ate away at the skin. Rather than ease the pain, it increased tenfold. By moonrise, it did nothing to stop the transformation. A gross oversight saw the werewolves locked together in the same room, and with nowhere else to turn they attacked themselves. It was a massacre. Not one of them survived. It was all recorded for Pensieve use, of course. Those whose job it had been to act as witnesses claimed it was unbearable to watch.

The entire experiment was reported as unsuccessful. Months were spent on different areas of research. A series of potions were the result. Twenty in all, utilising ten different species of aconite in two separate variations.

New werewolves were called in for testing on the day before the full moon. They were locked in private rooms, and told to drink from their designated potion once every two hours during the twenty-four hours prior to moonrise. They would report everything they felt even if it was nothing out of the ordinary.

And nothing did happen; until the moon rose. Four werewolves were stuck in mid-transformation, lying on the floor in horribly twisted positions. One werewolf dropped dead the moment his transformation was complete. Seven became more violent than previously recorded. Another ripped himself to pieces. Two had completely normal transformations, and five wolves also seemed to be behaving normally. The only problem was that they never changed back. They were put down the moment the moon set.

The Unspeakables spent seven years re-evaluating their calculations before renewing their experiments. The potions that had caused only half-transformations and the potions that didn't change the wolves back to humans were the ones focused on. Something had gone right with them; just not completely. They were certain that in combining the two with more of the ingredient that halted the transformation, they were sure they would succeed.

Another test group was hired, all given the same potion, administered in the same intervals as the last experiment. Since the Unspeakables were so sure they would succeed, the test subjects were not given private rooms, but were allowed to socialise with each other. An hour before moonrise, their room was locked and secured. The moon rose, and they didn't change.

For one short-lived moment, the Unspeakables rejoiced. They unlocked the room before noticing that the subjects' eyes had changed into those of the wolves'. While the physical transformation had been stopped, they retained the mentality of monsters. The Unspeakables were murdered. Those manic souls managed to break into the higher Ministry levels before all twenty 'werehumans' were brought down by Ministry workers brave enough to face them.

The bloodshed was too great this time to be ignored. Finally the incident, or at least its most significant details, was reported to the public. Those who would normally join the mob chasing werewolves from the country suddenly stood up for the rights of the inflicted, rallying for their right to be treated humanely.

It took a long time for someone to imagine attempting a cure for lycanthropy again, or anything targeting the particular pains of werewolves. Combining treatments into one remedy is not an art, but when you try to repress half of what makes a human being, you need more finesse and skill.

The Ministry of Magic kept the Department of Unknown Magic, but they weren't the ones in charge of these latest experiments. It was a Potions Master in China. The Chinese are more open and accepting than the European community, in regards to those who aren't all human. Their approach was quite different.

This Potions Master tested the ingredients by exposing them to many variables, such as the blood of humans, untransformed and transformed werewolves, Veelas, any kind of blood he could think of that had a similarity to lycanthropy. Of course, he obtained the blood legally and voluntarily by asking for samples.

He put these ingredients together in several different combinations, testing with the different blood samples again. After nearly ten years of the same slow back and forth process, he felt he had enough information to safely make a remedy that could cure a werewolf. It took another three years to develop the potion, and when those who had provided blood samples volunteered to act as test subjects, they were ready to begin.

His potion was supposed to put the subjects into a euphoric state for twelve hours before moonrise. The wolf was known to be terribly aggressive and unreasonable, and this euphoria would supposedly overpower it. By the time this happiness had settled into the mind, the subject would be put in a sleep so deep it resembled death. During the hour before moonrise, when the wolf started to let itself be known, the aconite, or wolfsbane, would kill the wolf from the inside. Certain herbs worked with the wolfsbane to protect the human. The transformation would occur as normal, but the wolf would be in the same deep sleep as the human, and be unable to do anything about its own unavoidable death.

Everything went according to plan, up until a certain point. Halfway through the night, the werewolves started writhing in pain and began transforming back. The Potions Master thought the process was over and the wolves were dead, but when he entered the room to administer the Wakening Potion, they started transforming back into wolves. Back and forth this cycle continued for the remainder of the full moon. By the time it set, they were dead.

...

"No reported attempts have been made since. I don't think there have been any attempts to create something to make the transformations more bearable either," Chelsie finished, watching her daughter carefully for her reaction.

Myra was on the verge of crying. She could feel tears sting in her eyes, threatening to escape at any moment. How was it possible to fail so badly? To mistreat men and women so horribly? To continue treating people that way? She felt sick to her stomach, imagining everything her mother had just told her. She was now sure that Remus was better off without any cure.

"You're a little bit pale there, sweetheart."

"What did you expect? That I would be dancing and singing songs of love and fluff?" Myra swallowed a lump in her throat.

"Do you need something? Something to drink, or something to settle your stomach with?"

Myra shook her head, and forced her voice to be steady. "I'll be fine; I just need to process this. I think I'm going to bed. Night, mum."

But Chelsie stopped her. "Are you sure you don't want to tell me why you wanted to know this?" she asked, seeing her daughter's tearful gaze.

"I'm sure." Her voice was thick.

"Why this sudden interest in werewolves?" Chelsie asked suspiciously.

Myra took a moment to think through her answer. "It's just something I thought about when revising for the Defence O.W.L. I feel bad for them."

Chelsie seemed to accept this answer. "Okay then. Good night, sweetheart."

"Good night, mum."

As Myra walked down the hall to the bedrooms, her father came out of his room, having finished wrestling with the sheets. "Are you alright, Myra dear?"

"Fine, dad. I'm going to bed. Good night."

He didn't stop her, but Myra could just hear him addressing her mother once she'd reached the sitting room. "What did you say to her?"

Myra didn't want to hear the answer, instead she stepped quietly past Marie's open door and into her own room. Once she had shut the door, she fell onto her bed and buried her face in the pillow. She struggled to force out the images of werewolves and humans in various horrible situations.

It had all been so terrible; the experiments on werewolves. The Ministry thought they were doing some great thing, helping these inflicted people, when really all they had done was make it worse. No wonder there were packs who decided to live far away from civilisation. Still, the Ministry had tried to do something. As misguided as their actions were, they had tried to help. Was it really their fault if all their attempts had turned out hopeless? Maybe there really wasn't anything they could do.

Oh, it was all so frustrating! Myra rolled herself across the bed, until she was facing the ceiling. It was so wrong what they had done; but maybe they right to at least try.

She imagined Remus, good, quiet Remus, raging around in his human body, behaving like a rabid wolf. "Merlin, Remus," she croaked, and began to really cry.

As Remus' face floated in front of her, she fell asleep. She hadn't changed out of her clothes or done any of her usual night-time routines. Her dreams were wild and violent; her imagination painting colourful pictures of what her mother had told her. In every scene and every situation, Remus had a starring role. Sometimes he was the raging monster. Sometimes the ghoulish victim.

It was one of the worst nights Myra had had in a long, long time.




Author Notes

It's suddenly been decided that I'll be going away this weekend, so you get this two days before my plans!

I finally got a second beta, and possibly a backup beta! Yay! The new beta broadwaykat here at HPFF and she betaed this chapter, both the version you're reading now with the HPFF safe version of Chelsie's story and the more graphic one for sites that accept that.

I've decided to participate in Camp NaNoWriMo in June and August. This should not affect the posting like it did in November, since it's a more relaxed event that the regular NaNoWriMo. You can watch the progress on my profile page!

Next chapter is scheduled for the weekend 15-17 of June. Please review if you have anything to say!

Coming: Chapter 15 - Title in desperate need of work
Chelsie explained. (...) "It's been said that certain spells will be more powerful if performed during the full moon, but I I've also heard somewhere that magic is
less powerful during the full moons."


Chapter 15: Blue Moon
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Chapter 15
Blue Moon



Image by lucky.clover @ TDA


Myra spent almost the entire Sunday in the back garden. The house suffocated her; she needed fresh air, needed to feel the sun burning on her face. She had brought some text books from Care of Magical Creatures with her to cheer herself up, but it didn't help. Even when Marie asked her to come to the lake for a swim, she declined. Myra always went with her sister to swim in the lake or the down town pool, but for once she just didn't feel up to it.

For the entire week following the werewolf discussion with her mother, Myra kept mostly to herself. She went about her day uncharacteristically quiet, trying to make sense of this new information, and how it changed even what she had previously thought she'd known about the treatment of creatures in the Wizarding World. Her love of Care of Magical Creatures from an appreciation for all sorts of animals, but she was beginning to realize that creatures just didn't mean fuzzy kneazles and nifflers. Goblins, vampires, werewolves, centaurs, merpeople, house elves – lots of people called them creatures too, didn't they? At least in the legal sense. Muggles didn't believe in them, so they didn't exist at all for most people. But they did for her. They had their own history, their own wars and revolutions. They were just as real as everyone else, and, as Myra was beginning to realise, didn't have nearly as much protection as they deserved.

Of course, the creatures that took up most of Myra's thoughts were werewolves. She compared her mother's stories to how they were described in the curriculum, and the image of a rampaging, unfeeling monster just couldn't match up with the Remus Lupin she knew. This hatred for werewolves and other 'half humans' came mostly from the fear of the abnormal and the unknown – but it wasn't 'unknown' anymore! The prejudice had evolved out of deep roots in the history of magical society. Her mother hadn't been raised with these outdated prejudices as a Muggleborn. Because of her profession, she had also learned to deal with many different creatures, and seen and entirely different side of society. She learned to accept those who were different, and passed on those same ideals of tolerance and fairness to her children.

Werewolves were fascinating – in theory. Being one was something else entirely. Sirius, James, Peter and Dumbledore – they were right to be so protective of him. Myra planned to be too.

Myra's new attitude didn't go unnoticed; Robert and Chelsie both realised that Myra wasn't entirely herself. They asked her if something was wrong on a daily basis, but she denied it every time. Chelsie pulled Myra aside one day, asking if she was still upset about the story of the werewolf experiments. But she denied this too, although it wasn't entirely true. She was upset about it, how could she not be? It had upset her, but it was mostly upset for Remus' sake. She hopped he would never have to get involved in experiments like that.

On Monday, some good news took Myra's mind off werewolves, at least for a while. She was joining her dad and Marie at the kitchen table for a late breakfast, when a Hogwarts owl landed on the sill of the open window. Myra thought she knew what it was and jumped eagerly up to take the envelope it brought. Before the bird flew off, her dad passed it a treat while she eagerly tore open the letter and began to read:

ORDINARY WIZARDING LEVEL RESULTS

Pass Grades:
Outstanding (O)
Exceeds Expectations (E)
Acceptable (A)

Fail Grades:
Poor (P)
Dreadful (D)
Troll (T)

MYRA KINNEY HAS ACHIEVED:

Astronomy: E
Care of Magical Creatures: O
Charms: O
Defence Against the Dark Arts: A
Divination: A
Herbology: O
History of Magic: O
Magical Living: E
Potions: E
Transfiguration: E
Wizarding Culture Studies: E

O.W.L.s ACHIEVED: 11

Sincerely,
Todd Tofty
Wizarding Examinations Authority
July 18th, 1977


It was a lot more than she had hoped for – O.W.L.s in all her classes! Of course, she owed everything to Remus for her Defence mark.

"Well done, Myra! This needs to be celebrated!" Robert announced once he had read the report too. "How about we have chicken casserole for dinner tonight, with a huge chocolate fudge cake for dessert? And Butterbeer, of course. It will be a surprise for your mother to get home to. You can have your pick of snacks that we can munch away at until your mother gets home too. No telling her!"

The two sisters agreed excitedly, and Myra felt excited for the first time in days. It was her favourite meal.

After a quick cleanup, Robert and the girls Flooed into Diagon Alley and got everything they needed at the market there, including some snacks. Myra picked up pumpkin seeds and Chocolate Frogs, as well as some Sugar Quills because she knew Marie liked them. Back home they munched on the snacks as they prepared for the celebratory supper. Eating enough that it was a wonder how they would manage to have room for the meal as well.

When Chelsie got home from work, she was very surprised to see what her husband and daughters had cooked up. "It's to celebrate Myra's O.W.L. results!" Robert announced, ceremonially handing over the letter.

She smiled as she read, and ended up giving Myra a very big hug. "You've done very well, sweetie! I'm so proud of you!" As much as Myra appreciated the compliment, she knew that as a former Ravenclaw, her mother had probably hoped for more O's. Certainly not any A's.

"Thanks, mum," Myra replied timidly. "Can we eat now? I'm hungry."

"Yes, let's eat!" Marie chimed in.

Motioning for them all to sit, Robert began serving out large portions of chicken casserole. In spite of the amount of snacks consumed earlier that day (which it was agreed Chelsie would never find out about) all four of them managed to eat every crumb.

After dinner, Robert suggested they play games. Since the evening was in Myra's honour, it was decided that there would be an impromptu Gobstones tournament. Myra easily beat Marie, and Robert beat out Chelsie, the latter not wanting to be coated in foul-smelling liquid and allowing a win by default. The finals between Robert and Myra was a truly fierce fight; two very stubborn Gryffindors with equal playing skills. In the end, Myra was victorious, and the sitting room was in desperate need of airing out.

It had been a nice family evening, giving Myra a temporary break from her busy mind.

...

Just a few days later, Myra was back to her thoughtful stupor – much to her parent's dismay. Someone needed to take action. Finally, on Saturday morning, Robert announced that Hestia would be coming over to spend the day. Myra knew nothing about this, and was suddenly very suspicious about the motivation behind her friend's unexpected visit.

"Not that I mind, but why?" she asked.

"We're taking Marie to get some new robes. She's growing so quickly. I thought you would have more fun at home with a friend," Chelsie said, ushering Marie and Robert out the back door. "Am I right?"

"I suppose so..." Myra agreed reluctantly, unconvinced that this was an innocent visit.

She was right. Not three minutes after her parents and sister had Apparated away, Hestia came through the Floo – and Myra immediately started interrogating her. Robert had ended up Flooing her parents the evening before, asking if Hestia knew if something was wrong with Myra, or if something had happened at school. Of course, Hestia had no clue. Robert kept insisting that something was wrong, and eventually asked her to talk to Myra, 'as her friend' to find out what was going on.

"He just wants to help, Myra," Hestia placated, when Myra started muttering angrily under her breath about her parents' unknown scheming skills. "But ulterior motives aside, we have almost an entire day to ourselves!"

The girls got comfortable out in the garden, laying in the sun. They struck up a relatively innocent conversation about the summer so far. Hestia shared some stories from when she babysat her cousin Gwenog for a week, and Myra shared the news of her O.W.L.s and the celebration afterwards. Everything was going smoothly, and she was even enjoying the company, until Hestia asked her about Remus. Had she written to him? Hear anything from him? Myra's mile immediately vanished, which Hestia noticed right away.

"What's wrong?"

"Nothing," Myra insisted, struggling to act like 'nothing' was indeed wrong. "I'm fine."

"You're not fine, Myra. I've been sent here to brighten your mood. I at least have to take a crack at it! Talk to me!"

"There's nothing to tell! It just hasn't... been a good summer." Myra closed her eyes and leaned back, soaking up the sun, hoping Hestia would take the hint and leave off. She didn't.

"I'll tell you what I think is wrong." Hestia shifted in her chair, straightening up as much as she could. "You're depressed. And it's all because of Remus bloody Lupin. You care about him and now you're all bent out of shape because he ignored you since the end of school. I bet it's something to do with whatever you found out about him, isn't it? You haven't a clue what to do, but if you could just stop being so stroppy and just tell me what it is?!"

Myra opened her eyes to look at her best friend. Hestia was spot on; not that she would ever admit it. "You know I can't tell you. It's not my secret, anyways. I'll get over it."

"Are you sure?"

"Yes. Things will work out, or... I'll get over it."

Hestia didn't seem convinced, but, after a tense moment, gave up and moved on to happier, safer topics of conversation. She knew that if Myra wasn't ready to talk about the goings on in her head, she wouldn't – especially if she couldn't be honest without giving up a secret that wasn't hers to tell.

...

Hestia stayed for dinner, to Marie's delight, but went home shortly after. Without the distraction of her best friend, Myra couldn't help but wander back to the topic that was keeping her so edgy. How was Remus doing now that another full moon was fast approaching? She checked the calendar and noticed that July had two of them this year; a blue moon. That would make it much worse, wouldn't it? Myra wanted desperately to talk to him. What if she could visit him? If she could just see for herself how he was doing...

No. She cast that thought away quickly. Even if she could convince him to not throw her out or make silly excuses not to see her, she couldn't bear being treated with the same indifference he had showed her at the end of the year. Maybe she could send him a letter. Let him know she was still his friend, if he wanted her to be, and that she would think about him during the blue moon. That she wished there was something she could do to help. Godric had not granted her the bravery to send a letter like that. It would be better than being denied to her face, but she would most likely spend the rest of the summer wondering if he would reply, and if he didn't, why.

That didn't mean she couldn't write someone else, though. There were the Marauders. One of the boys would surely understand that she wanted to make sure he was okay. It wouldn't be as traumatic if they didn't write her back. She decided to write to Sirius Black, because despite his hotheadedness, he was the one who seemed to be the most protective of Remus, and the most adamant about his well-being. Something about that made her feel a bit safer about turning to him for advice.

She brought a fresh piece of parchment and her quill out into the bright sun of the garden to compose her letter to Sirius. It took her a few tries to find the right words; after all, this was something she thought she would never do. Myra didn't want to sound childish – it needed to be perfect.

Dear Sirius Black

I never thought I would write to you, but here I am. I won't beat around the bush.

Here's the thing; I suppose by now Remus knows that I know about him. I haven't had the opportunity to talk to him since I found out, but you're his friends, so I guess you told him. I figure that's why he ignored be the last month at school, right? I know it's not you guys' fault, but it kind of hurts. He's been a great friend to me, and I'd rather not lose him over something as silly as... you know.

Don't get me wrong, I know it's not silly; but in the grand scheme of things, it hardly matters at all. At least not to me.

I wanted to ask if you know about anything I can do to salvage our friendship before it's completely lost. I don't understand why he avoids me, and I don't want to push him farther away. You and James and Peter have been friends with him for a long time, after all. If anyone would know, it's you.

Sincerely,

Myra Kinney

PS: I haven't told Hestia or Marie or
anyone about what I know. And I won't say anything, at all. Unless he'd want me to.

Looking back over what she had written, she hoped it conveyed how much she cared about Remus, but also how much she respected the secret that had to be kept. As if sensing that she was needed, Myra's owl Meadow flew in from the nearby woods, hooting joyfully. Myra folded the letter and looked around to see if anyone was looking. No one was, so she pulled out her wand to put a Sealing Charm on the letter. Then she wrote Sirius Black on the outside. No one but him would be able to open it now. Meadow opened her beak obediently.

"Take this to Sirius Black, will you?" Myra requested kindly, giving Meadow the letter. "I have no idea where he lives, but I know you can find him." Meadow hooted something that sounded frighteningly like 'of course' and took off.

...

The morning of the blue moon, all Myra wanted to do was get out of the house. She decided to take Marie out into the Hope Woodlands for a hike. They packed a small basket with food and blankets, and went out to the Pineapple Farm bus stop to catch the Muggle bus.

Thankfully, the bus was practically empty, because Marie talked excitedly the entire ride about how she wanted to try out for the Hufflepuff Quidditch team. At the stop in Hope Woodlands there were many Muggles; summer tourists and village locals. Myra had to remind Marie to keep quiet about anything magical, to which Marie childishly replied that she wasn't bloody stupid. They began walking up the rugged moorland that was Hope Woodlands.

Myra hadn't frequented Bakewell town more than once or twice since she started Hogwarts. She hadn't been to Hope Woodlands since then either. She would rather go to her friends' houses or Diagon Alley. Now and then she recognized some of her old friends from before school, as she and her sister trudged up the steep hills in the warm July sun. They seemed to recognize her too, looking curiously at her, but they didn't greet or acknowledge her. Maybe they thought she was too snobby to continue being friends, going off to a 'fancy' boarding school and all.

"Why are you so quiet?" Marie asked suddenly.

"Oh, no reason," Myra answered. "I'm just in a thoughtful mood today. Let's find somewhere to have our lunch."

...

Over the course of the day Myra had managed to forget school, forget Remus, forget blue moons, and best of all, the horrible tale her mother had told at the beginning of the month. But as the sun set and the moon rose, she couldn't help but listen for howls. There were none, but she heard them anyways, echoing in her head.

She was in the sitting room, trying to read one of her schoolbooks, while her mother worked on inventory for the Apothecary. Her dad was putting Marie to bed, reading a book to tire her out.

After a while Chelsie put down her stack of parchment, looking up at her daughter. "You look like you could use a distraction. Do you want to help me in the garden?"

"Sure," Myra answered, abandoning her book without a second thought. She followed her mother down the familiar path into the backyard, to the fenced part of the garden that Chelsie had sectioned off especially for growing herbs and plants. Half of her patch grew in the sun and the fresh air, while the other half took up a small greenhouse.

"Some of these herbs will be more potent if picked under a full moon, and even more so if picked today, on the blue moon," Chelsie explained when they reached the greenhouse. She cast a Lumos and placed her wand in one of many poles she had erected around the place. Some of the plants didn't thrive under magical lighting, Muggle lighting, or candle light; she had strategically placed poles around the garden at set distances so that they didn't bother the plants, but gave enough wand light to work by at night.

"Fluxweed," Myra recognized the plant her mother had begun harvesting.

"Yes. When picked during a full moon, it's very good for-"

"Polyjuice Potion." Chelsie looked up in surprise, so she hurried to explain. "I read about it when studying for my O.W.L.s. We weren't actually taught how to make it, but we talked about it in class." Her mum nodded, and went back to work. The greenhouse was silent for a few minutes, while they worked to gather the stringy green plants.

"Mum," Myra began hesitantly, a thought coming to her.

When she didn't continue, Chelsie urged her on. "Yes, Myra?"

"About the full moon. The blue moon more specifically. Other than making these plants more potent when harvested, do you know if it has a similar effect on werewolves? Like making them more vicious, or bloodthirsty, or something?"

Chelsie stopped what she was doing and looked up at her daughter from her kneeling position. "What is it with this sudden interest in werewolves, Myra?"

"I've always been interested in animals and magical creatures, mum," Myra defended herself. "I just want to know more. That's all."

Chelsie didn't look like she believed her, but knowing her daughter could be horribly stubborn, she didn't push the subject. "I'm not sure; it's not something I've looked into much, but it wouldn't surprise me if it did have an accelerated effect on werewolves. It's been said that certain spells will be more powerful if performed during the full moon, but I've also heard somewhere that magic is less powerful during that time. I don't know. Maybe, maybe not. Why don't you ask Professor Kettleburn when you go back to school? Or your Defence teacher. What was his name? Biggar? Professor Something Biggar?"

"Patrick Biggar," Myra offered automatically. "But mum, he's not coming back. The Defence teachers never do, remember?"

"Right, you're right. The supposed curse. I had Merrythought my first year, but when he retired we got Professor Stukley. He was there for at least ten years, I think. I never remember that curse. Why is Professor Biggar leaving? Marie always spoke so fondly of him."

"He was offered a better position at Durmstrang. I think he'll fit in perfectly there." Myra said the last part sourly.

"There is no need to be rude about him even if you don't like him."

"He wasn't a very sympathetic teacher."

"Still."

Myra didn't agree.

"Back to what we were talking about. Why don't you ask Professor Kettleburn or the new Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher about the blue moon's effect on werewolves, or other creatures?"

"I guess I can do that," Myra agreed. She bent down and continued helping her mother with the Fluxweed.

...

The morning after dawned wet and warm, black clouds crowded the sky and threatened to unleash their fury at any moment. But at least another full moon had come and gone for all the werewolves of the world. Myra was sure she would have heard back from Sirius by now, which was why she kept looking up at the sky to see any approaching owls. Meadow hadn't returned either, but were there really any owls in their right mind that would be out flying in this miserable weather?

It was still raining on Monday, but the clouds weren't as threatening. Robert had to go back to work, and Chelsie would begin her holiday next week. Today, the girls were home alone. Marie was drawing in the sitting room instead of doing the rest of her summer homework. Myra was by the kitchen counter reading Transfiguration, being not at all happy with the Exceeds Expectations on her O.W.L. But a tap at the window soon drew her attention. Meadow stood there, shaking water from her feathers as Myra let her in.

"Hello, lovely," she cooed, and filled a bowl of water for the owl. "Was it a long journey? I really have no idea where Sirius lives."

Meadow answered her with a tired hoot, before taking great gulps of water. Myra took her letter back to the counter and opened it.

It was from Sirius.

Myra

I was quite surprised to receive a letter from you. I was hoping it was a love letter from a lovely lady, but alas...


For a moment Myra stared in surprise at the beautiful, curly cursive. It didn't fit his personality, this curly writing. Though, he came from an old pure-blood family, and it must be compulsory for pure-blood children to learn calligraphy and many other skills at a young age. So maybe it did make sense.

You're right; we did tell Remus you know about his 'furry little problem'. That's the reason behind his behaviour. It's not something he talks about a lot. Just be patient. Let him be. He'll come around if he wants to be your friend. Just don't bother him about it.

We appreciate you keeping your mouth shut.

Sirius


It was short, and a little blunt, but that was Sirius for you. You could force skills and smarts on a person, but you couldn't beat the git out of them. No matter how rude Sirius was, Myra knew it made sense. Remus seemed like a very private person, for obvious reasons. When he was ready to approach her again, Myra would be prepared. Of course, if they happened to be partnered as prefects again or thrown together for some other reasons, she wouldn't not take advantage of the situation. She was too curious and stubborn not to.

"Merlin's beard, I hope I pick him for my next prefect partner," she muttered as she banished the letter to her safe-drawer in her room.

...

"I met Nicholas Jones today," Chelsie announced at the dinner table later that day. "He was at the meeting at St. Mungo's discussing the terms of a new delivery schedule for blood-replenishing potions."

"How are they?" Robert asked.

"They're fine. Mr Jones hasn't had any time off yet this summer. Mrs Jones has been spending time around the house, working on her new book[16]."

"Good! Can't wait to read it. Her last one was hilarious!"

"It was." There was a pause, as her mother reached across the table for the butter dish. She turned her attention to Myra. "Mr Jones asked me if you were still planning on going to Hestia's for her birthday."

Myra nodded.

"Well, he knew the two of you have talked about visiting each other this summer. Hestia's apparently been nagging at them to have you over for a while now. He said you could come over a few days before her birthday celebration. If you want to, you're welcome to Floo over Wednesday morning and stay until Sunday."

"Yes, please!" Myra answered immediately. Determined to push all thoughts of Remus and werewolves out of her mind, it would be much easier to do so around Hestia. She was sure to keep them both so busy that she would have time to think about anything else.

"And," her mother continued. "Since I will be starting my holiday next Monday, why don't you invite Hestia with you when you leave on Sunday. She can stay here for a few days?"

"Yes," Myra and Marie said together.

"Then it's decided," Chelsie concluded. "Finish packing by tomorrow evening and I'll Floo over there with you on Wednesday morning."

Myra couldn't wait, and nearly bolted from the dinner table right then to pack her bags in preparation for her stay at the Jones'. She was more than ready to make the best of what was left of the summer. Nothing was going to stop her.




Notes

[16] Fun fact: Mrs Jones is an author of fantasy novels. Which for witches and wizards means novels about Muggles.




Author Notes
I'm so terribly sorry this has taken so long! But I've had to reinstall my laptop twice, I've gotten out of unemployment and that's taking its toll on my energy levels, and the original chapter 15 was a real struggle to get through for me and my beta. To make it work, we've rearranged everything and split it into two. So my treat to you for having to way so long, is to have this and the next chapter out in quick succession. Unfortunately my beta is having technical difficulties, so chapter 16 may take a few days, but it will not take 2 weeks. Once chapter 16 is out, regular posting should resume.

Hope you haven't given up on me! Please review if you have any thoughts on the chapter!

Coming: Chapter 16 – Visits and Firewhiskey
"Hey, look here," Ashley said. She reached into the top of her bra and pulled something out. "There's a Cooling Charm on this. It was starting to hurt. Can I risk a spot of magic?" Ashley pulled her wand from her robe pocket and pointed it to the item in her hand. "
Engorgio."


Chapter 16: Of Firewhiskey and Freefalls
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Note

Scene involving the warning "Substance Use/Abuse" have been checked and okayed by a validator.




Chapter 16
Of Firewhiskey and Freefalls



Image by TheMarauderchick @ TDA


Wednesday couldn't come fast enough, in Myra's opinion. All her bags had been packed what felt like ages ago, and on the morning of her departure she was up before even her mother, pacing in front of the fireplace. She tried to appear patient, but spent most of the time impatiently counting down the minutes until she would leave. It was going to be nice to get away from home and enjoy the luxuries Hestia's house had to offer. It'd help her mind on to happier things.

"Excited?" Chelsie asked as she finally emerged from the bathroom and stepped into the kitchen.

"Very." Myra was itching to get her wand out to light the hearth. Chelsie was very strict about using magic outside of school while she was under-age, but Myra often got away with it. Mostly because she made sure no one saw. On the odd occasion her father happened to see, he feinted temporary blind- and deafness. Myra did not want to do anything that might make her mother decide to keep her home, however – so her wand remained tucked in her pocket.

"Incendio," Chelsie incanted at last. Warm and orange flames burst from the Never-Out Wood [17].

Myra reached into the pot on top of the mantle, grabbed a small handful of the silvery powder and tossed it into the flames. It turned instantly green, and she stepped into them. "Hearthstone Castle," she said loud and clear, instantly being transported past a myriad of fireplaces. A long minute later she was pushed out into the Jones' entrance room in their great house in Cumbria.

Taking in the small but extravagant entrance, Myra would think she had stumbled into the home of a proper pure-blood family if she didn't know better. The Jones' home looked exactly like any pure-blood home in Britain, but while the Jones' lived big, they were accepting of Muggleborns, half-bloods and Muggles. The 'house' was a good way of keeping up appearances, so as to not be labelled as blood-traitors.

In Myra's eyes, a home was a comfortable sized house with four walls and no more than two, maybe three, stories. That was what she was used to. But the Jones' home was a huge castle, five stories tall including the cellar. The entrance room led out into a courtyard that was surrounded by a round fore-building, a tower house, a domestic block and a grand hall that was used as the ballroom. Outside the entrance there was a grass yard enclosed by tall hedges, with a gravel path following the structure. Outside the hall was another yard with cobblestone and a road. One long cornered structure enclosed the grass beyond the cobblestone, and it held the stables – currently without horses. It also had living spaces, a part of which was occupied by the house elves, and the kitchen.

Mrs Jones had once said that her husband's family had bought the castle three centuries ago from Muggles. Rich, stately Muggles lived in ridiculously big houses with huge gardens and plenty of staff. The staff needed somewhere to live, and it was common to have small houses or living spaces for the gardener's family, the stable master's family, all the kitchen help as well as maids [18]. The family of house elves that had been with the Jones' for generations had more than enough room in the structure by the stables.

The castle was placed in the middle of a circular garden, or rather park, with luscious flower patches, ponds, bushes and trees. There were sculptures and statues, and even a small aviary. The park itself was marked by hedges, trees and a moat. And to the south was a gigantic field that, according to Hestia, was the jewel of the estate. It had been a private horse track, but since Hestia started playing Quidditch, Mr Jones had it transformed into a Quidditch pitch. It was properly spelled with heating charms in winter and cooling charms in summer, and year-round Muggle repelling charms – any serious player's dream.

"Good morning, Misses," piped a squeaky voice the moment Chelsie joined Myra out of the Floo.

"Good morning, Dippy," Myra replied, recognizing the house elf that always greeted guests. Chelsie nodded and smiled.

"Mistress Jones and young Mistress Jones is comes soon. Can I take Misses bags?"

"Of course." Myra handed her luggage over to Dippy, who disappeared with a loud crack.

"I can't get past how big this place is," Chelsie muttered, her voice carrying easily around the tall room.

"I know," Myra agreed. "I keep noticing something new every time I'm here – and I've been here a lot."

The door to the courtyard opened and in walked Mrs Jones, followed by Hestia. "Mrs Kinney, Myra, welcome!"

"Thank you, Mrs Jones. Happy birthday, Hestia!"

"Thank you, Mrs Kinney!" Hestia grinned.

"Do you have time for a cup of tea?" Mrs Jones and Chelsie had been friends for as long as their daughters had, but never got together often enough. It was usually only when their girls made them meet.

"I would love to, but I have to decline. My summer intern opened the Apothecary half an hour ago. Hard worker, but dead clumsy. I should get there before he blows up the place." Chelsie excused.

Mrs Jones laughed. "You better hurry then."

Chelsie gave Myra a quick hug. "You be good, okay?"

"I will, mum."

She turned towards the fireplace, but turned around, remembering. "I begin my holiday on Monday. If Hestia wants to, she's welcome back with Myra on Sunday to stay with us for a few days. I know the girls have discussed that too."

Mrs Jones glanced at her daughter, who nodded eagerly. "That's fine with me. Getting away from here would do Hestia some good."

Chelsie smiled. "I'll see you girls on Sunday then. Good bye!" She activated the Floo, and with a whoosh of green flames, she was gone.

"I trust you still know where your rooms are, Myra," Mrs Jones said as she guided the two girls into the courtyard.

"I do, Mrs Jones," Myra answered politely.

"Then I will leave you two to whatever activities you have in mind and start working. Do behave yourselves. Lunch will be served at one o'clock." Mrs Jones hurried through the door, leaving the two girls alone.

"Happy birthday, Hestia!" Myra said, enveloping her best friend in a tight hug. "Gotten any presents yet?"

"Not yet. I think I'll get some at dinner, but I expect I'll get most of them on Saturday."

"Good. You're certainly not getting mine until Saturday, either."

Hestia pouted playfully.

"Ashley and Anna are coming as planned? Anyone else?"

"No, just them. Mum and dad wanted me to invite our entire year. Or better yet, the entire school. Mum's wanted me to do that for ages. I finally gave in and promised her I'd invite a lot more people for my 'of-age' birthday. It got her off my back."

Myra laughed as the two of them found a bench near the house, within view of most of the park. Every time Myra visited Hestia, they spent most of their time here, around the 'house'. Even though Hestia had grown up there and could probably find her way through all the greenery blindfolded, Myra loved to explore and spend time on the grounds. There were all kinds of magical and non-magical animals hiding there, even the occasional gnome. Myra was in heaven.

For a few minutes the two girls just sat there, taking in the morning warmth and enjoying each others' company. Until Hestia broke the silence with a big question.

"How have things been since I was at your house?"

Myra didn't react at first. She just continued staring into the landscape. "The same," she answered truthfully. "But I'm sure I'll be cured after a few days here!" she finished optimistically.

Hestia stared sideways at her best friend, but didn't ask any more questions. Myra was sure she would, but she only asked, "Do you want to see the new peacock chicks?" When Myra's face instantly lit up, Hestia laughed. "Come on then!"

...

Being at the Jones' worked wonders on Myra. She was able to distance herself from everything that had occupied her mind at home. She got some hints about Mrs Jones' new book, tasted the wonders of house-elf cooking, and when Saturday came, look forward to a party with all her friends – the first time they'd get back together since the holidays started.

Half of the house-elves worked on getting the hall decorated with a definite Quidditch theme. The other half worked on the food – so all Hestia and Myra did was walk around, making sure everything turned out right, while they waited for Anna and Ashley to arrive by Floo.

"Are you sure you don't want anyone else at your party?" Mr Jones asked around noon when he came to check on the girls and the house-elves. "It's not too late to invite someone. Cutting it close, but not too late."

"I'm sure, dad," Hestia said firmly. "Next year, I promise." Her dad shook his head, bemused, but didn't argue the point further.

Around four in the afternoon, Myra and Hestia began getting ready, and at six Ashley and Anna finally arrived. They were promptly escorted from the entrance to the ballroom by Dippy, and the party finally began.

The room was spectacular. The ceiling and walls had been magically rounded and glamoured to look like the gilded inside of a Golden Snitch. The details of the chandeliers, tables and chairs were in navy blue; along with the gold of the room it reflected the colours of Puddlemere United – Hestia's favourite team. A wireless was tuned to a music channel. One table held enough Butterbeer for them all to drown in, and another table held appetizers.

"Wow," Anna breathed, craning her neck around to take in the room.

"Your house-elves really outdid themselves this time," Ashley said in awe.

"They did, didn't they?" Hestia smiled, helping herself to Butterbeer.

"Hey, look here," Ashley said. She reached into the top of her bra and pulled something out. "There's a Cooling Charm on this. It was starting to hurt. Can I risk a spot of magic?"

"If you must. But be quick."

Ashley pulled her wand from her robe pocket and pointed it to the item in her hand. "Engorgio." Whatever it was grew into a bottle of Blishen's Firewhiskey. Anna's and Myra's eyes widened in surprise, and then they smiled.

"Why did you do that?" Hestia asked in annoyance.

"Why not? It'll be fun. It's not like we haven't tried it before."

Myra could see that Hestia really didn't mind that Ashley had smuggled it in, but she tried hard to hide it.

"Never mind. Let's eat. Look – these are Forky's specialty. You've got to try them, they're amazing."

The bottle of Firewhiskey was put away for now. They started on the appetizers, and when they were gone, the main meal appeared; which was turkey in various forms. Next came time to open presents. The mood became lighter as the evening progressed, even without the spirits. But when the birthday cake came out so, finally, did the Firewhiskey. Myra and Anna served everyone with large pieces of butternut pumpkin flavoured sponge cake made to resemble a full Quidditch set including seven broomsticks, Bludgers, Quaffles and a Snitch, as Ashley poured out small tumblers of Blishen's for each of them.

"To me, then," Hestia said and held up her glass. The friends all clinked their glasses together with a chorus of 'To Hestia'. A shudder went through the group once they'd downed the fiery amber liquid, and Anna coughed. "Refill!" Hestia called out, surprising everyone.

If the party was going slow before, it took off very quickly now. When the bottle was half-empty the four Gryffindors were long past tipsy. They were sitting around the table singing along to the wireless, sharing the verses and chorus between them.

"No oooone will love you like IIIIIIIII dooooo!" Myra screeched along with the beginning of the chorus. "No one knows you like IIIIIII doooooo!" Ashley joined in on the second line. Ashley could actually sing. Her voice was crystal clear and strong, even in her inebriated state.

"No no no, don' sing when I do, Ashley," Myra complained. "You make me sound so horry- horrible."

"That's why she should sing louder," Hestia giggled. "To drown you out."

"You can' sing either!"

"You'r'll stupid. We need boys," Anna suggested. She leaned forward in her chair, half of her lying across the table. "Cute boys."

"That we do," Myra conceded, looking around the room, as if she expected a bunch of wizards to suddenly Apparate in.

"I have a boyfriend," Ashley said smugly.

"We don' care," Anna whined. "We care what we don' have."

"I miss Lowell. Mum and dad haven' let me see him all summer. I won' see him until school starts again."

"Oh, shut up," Myra snapped. But Ashley didn't shut up, instead she launched into the song again, singing with such feeling that it was clear she was thinking about Lowell Llewellyn. Myra glanced at Hestia, as she moved to the cake table, helping herself to another slice of Quaffle. Her face was closed off, though some of her feelings shone through because of the amount of Firewhiskey consumed. She seemed sad.

Myra stood up on unsteady feet, and found her way over to her best friend. "Is somethin' wrong?"

"I'm fine." She sounded frighteningly sober.

"You're not."

"I am!" Hestia snapped her head around, looking livid.

Myra's eyes widened in surprise, and she raised her hands in protection. Ashley stopped singing, and she and Anna stared at the outbreak.

"Let's dance," Hestia suggested as an up-tempo song came on. She put down the plate with cake on, moved towards the wireless and began some form of dance, totally out of beat with the song.

"One more shot first," Anna called out and refilled their glasses. She, Ashley and Myra immediately swallowed theirs, but Hestia continued dancing as if she hadn't heard them. Myra brought the glass over, Hestia downed it and tossed it away, breaking it.

For several songs the girls danced. None of them were particularly good, but they tried everything. Sexy dance, crazy dance, ballet, swing... Eventually they just hung on each others' shoulders in a circle, moving back and forth, too tired to stand by themselves.

"We should ask Henry to come over," Anna mumbled into Hestia's shoulder. "Why didn' you ask Henry to come?"

"I don' like him."

"I like him," Myra said.

"Oooo, you like him," Ashley jested.

"Noooo, I don't like him. I like him. He like my brother."

"That's just nasty," Anna joked.

"Sure sure. I need to sit." Myra disentangled herself from the mass of arms around her and made her way over to the table. Shortly after Ashley followed.

"I've been thinking this summer," Ashley said, flopping down in the chair next to Myra.

"Oh yeah? Did it hurt?"

She stuck her tongue out. "You don't know what Lowell and York did while they were together, do you?"

Myra scrunched up her nose and narrowed her eyes in thought. "Lowell? And Abigail York? What?" Then it hit her. "Did they have time for anything else than a kiss 'hello'?"

"That's what I've been wonderin' too. You know," Ashley tried to lower her voice to a whisper, but wasn't entirely successful, "I haven't had sex with Lowell yet."

Myra blinked several times. "Then what the hell have you been doing all those evenings you both gone off somewhere?"

"Snoggin'." There was suddenly a whoop from across the room, as Anna and Hestia found some excess energy and was dancing like their lives depended on it. Ashley continued. "Snoggin' our freaking socks off."

"You lying!"

"I'm not! It's not that I don' want to, it just hasn' come to that."

Myra blinked again. "Why?"

"I don' know. He hasn' pres- presue-" Ashley paused for a moment, and then pronounced the word slowly, "pressured me at all. I'm curious about what he and York did. Maybe they're still at it."

"I doubt that. She doesn' have the attention span to keep him interested for long enuff. Maybe he juss really really love you and are waiting for you to do it."

"First thing when we go back, I'll take him off to the bathrooms on the train and shag him silly."

"Yes, yes, you do that!" Myra gave the thumbs up. "Juss make sure I don' find you on bloody patrol."

"Hm, won' Lowell have to patrol too?"

"Yeah, guess you can' shag him them."

"I can shag him?"

"You can' shag him."

"You keep saying that. But won' patrol get in the way?"

"It will! You can' shag him!"

"How?"

"You can'!"

"I can!"

"No, you can' shag him!"

"What are you two on about?" Anna called out. She was bumping her hips with Hestia.

"Ashley can' shag Lowell on the train!" Myra explained.

"Good for them!"

"NO! SHE CAN' SHAG HIM, I'VE SAID SHE CAN' S'WRONG!"

"She can?"

"NO! Oh, you..." Myra mumbled some very bad profanities and helped herself to more Firewhiskey. The bottle was almost empty now, just a few swallows left.

As Hestia and Anna danced out the last of their energy, Myra and Ashley sat watching them, singing along. "Unicoooorns! Unicoooorns! I'm riding a unicoooorn! On my white shining unicorn I'm coming for yooooooouuuuu!"

The bottle eventually emptied, and the girls spent the last hour of the party dishing out secrets and badmouthing everyone they knew. Thankfully Myra restrained herself from mentioning Remus' secret. In fact, he hadn't been on her mind at all that evening.

Around three in the morning, the Firewhiskey was gone, the cake was soppy, and all energy was gone. They got a house-elf to Apparate them to their bedroom, where they barely managed to get out of their clothes before they fell asleep, snoring loudly.

At noon the next day, Mrs Jones woke them after several unsuccessful tries. It was clear that they had been completely knackered, but Mrs Jones was kind enough not to say anything about it. She only guided them to the dining room and left them there. Large amounts of delicious breakfast appeared on the table, but it did nothing to spark hunger in the girls. Myra felt her stomach churn horribly at the sight of toast, croissants, fruit, jams, cheeses, and various other breakfast treats. Before any of them got sick enough to leave, four vials of Sober-Up potions mysteriously appeared in front of each of them. Without a word, they emptied the vials and began to try and eat.

...

Ashley and Anna stayed for a few hours after breakfast, but their parents came to pick them up in time for Hestia and Myra to get ready to back to the Kinney house.

Mr and Mrs Jones went with the girls to the entrance to see them off. "Please, give our best to your parents and sister, Myra," Mr Jones said formally.

"I will, Mr Jones. Thank you for letting me stay here. I had a wonderful time!" Myra shook his and his wife's hands.

"Not at all, Myra," Mrs Jones said. "You're always so well behaved, it's no problem at all. I daresay you're making Hestia behave better while you're here."

"Muuuum..." Hestia said, glaring sullenly at her mother.

"Enough of this," Mr Jones said and tossed a pinch of Floo powder onto the flames in the fireplace. "Off you go, and be good! Both of you!"

"Yes, sir!" and "Yes, dad!" both girls chimed at the same time.

Myra took her bags with her into the green flames and spoke. "The Ridgepole!" She spun away and was tossed into the familiar kitchen in Bakewell some moments later. She barely had time to step away before Hestia followed with a trunk and her Nimbus 1000.

"Hestia is here!" a bright and loud voice announced and Hestia was immediately engulfed in a hug.

"Nice to see you missed me, little sister," Myra said bitterly, but jokingly.

"Hello, girls," Robert greeted, coming in from the living room, followed by Chelsie.

"Did you have a nice time?" Chelsie said and pulled Myra into a hug.

"I did," she replied, hoping they never found out about the Firewhiskey.

"You girls hungry?" her mother asked as Robert gave Myra a welcome home hug too.

"A bit. It's been a while since we had lunch," Hestia said. "But don't stress with anything because of me."

"It's no stress, Hestia! We were about to eat supper anyway." Chelsie moved over to the cupboards and charmed utensils and bowls to help start on supper.

"Let's go put our stuff away," Myra suggested.

Marie tried to follow the older girls, but before they could leave the kitchen Chelsie called her back to help with supper.

"Your mum starts her holiday tomorrow?" Hestia asked as the door to Myra's bedroom was closed behind them.

"Yeah. Guess there will be more focus on homework then. Dad didn't mind so much if we wanted to do something more fun when he had time off work."

Hestia smiled. "I like your dad. He's fun."

"People keep saying that." Myra smirked jokingly. "Speaking of..." She opened the door and poked her head out. "Dad! Can you come help us with something?"

There was some grumbling from what sounded like the living room, and soon Robert's heavy footsteps came closer. "What can I help you lovely ladies with?" he asked formally.

"Can you conjure a bed for Hestia?" Myra asked, smiling sweetly.

"Of course, my lady." He bowed and pulled out his wand. Maybe he waved his wand with a little too exaggerated flourish – setting Hestia giggling and Myra rolling her eyes – but in any case a comfortable looking single bed appeared against the wall opposite Myra's. "Satisfied?"

"Very! Thank you, Mr Kinney!" Hestia said.

"Then I take my leave," Robert said with another bow and left the room.

Myra sat down on her own bed and quickly surveyed the room. Sleepovers at her house were a different affair than at the Jones'. There, it was guest rooms with en-suite baths; here, two beds in a cramped bedroom. Still, Hestia didn't seem to mind. She lay down on her bed with a satisfied sigh, closed her eyes and smiled.

"Supper's ready!" Chelsie called out.

Hestia groaned. "Just when I was getting comfortable."

Myra laughed as the two girls left the bedroom and found seats at the kitchen table. The table was laden with toast and leftovers from dinner the night before. Everyone helped themselves while Robert filled their glasses with pumpkin juice.

"What did you girls do in Cumbria?" Chelsie asked as she buttered her toast.

"No homework, if that's what you mean," Myra said defiantly, earning a smile from her father. "We just hung around the garden, played some games. And there was Hestia's birthday party, of course. Not much." Myra didn't want any questions about what they had entertained themselves with; in case it led to revealing that they had Firewhiskey the previous day.

"Can we play Quidditch tomorrow?" Marie asked Myra and Hestia suddenly, with a sideways glance at her mother.

"We don't have the necessary equipment," Myra replied.

"Can't we play anyway?"

"We can do some flying, but we won't be able to play."

"Okay..." Marie pouted a bit. "You'll show me that move you did during the Quidditch finals?" she then asked Hestia.

"If your mother allows it, sure," Hestia answered.

"What kind of move was that?" Chelsie asked too kindly.

"A sort of flip and jump thing to help hit the Bludger harder," Marie answered.

"She can show you, but you will not try it. Is that understood?"

"Yes, mum." Marie looked a bit dejected, but perked up again soon enough.

...

After supper, Myra and Hestia retired to the bedroom. They changed into pyjamas and lay on their beds, chatting about school, their friends, gossip and their future. At midnight, Chelsie popped her head in and told them it was time to sleep. They quieted down, but didn't fall asleep until the early hours of the morning.

The next day Hestia and the sisters went out into the fields behind the back garden. It had been spelled safe from Muggles' prying eyes, so they could fly safely. Marie had a special broom that only went so high and so fast, and Chelsie supervised for a while, but went inside when she saw that things were going smoothly. As soon as their mother disappeared, Marie started asking Hestia to show her the new Beater's move, again and again and again.

Myra stayed firmly on the ground, laying down in the middle of the field and gazing up at the quick moving blur that was Hestia. For Myra it felt like hours before Hestia came down for a quick breather.

"Merlin, I'm drenched," she moaned and fell down next to Myra.

"Ew," Myra complained and playfully shook her arms as if Hestia had splashed sweat on her.

Hestia stuck out her tongue.

Myra was about to suggest they grab some drinks from inside, when they were interrupted by an excited yelp. Both girls snapped up into sitting positions, looking around for the noise. It wasn't until they looked up that they realised it had come from Marie.

Already, the younger girl was high up in the air, flying around on Hestia's broom. She seemed to be enjoying herself at first – but within seconds they noticed that the broom was flying very shakily, twisting this way and that in the air. The fun was over when the broom made a drastic turn to the right, and Marie's shrieks of delight turned to screams of terror. Myra screamed too – she was going to crash for sure. Before she could do anything – and before either of her parents was out the door, following the fearful cries, Hestia had grabbed the broom Myra had borrowed from her father and shot into the air after the wayward little girl.

But even as she climbed, it was obvious that Marie was in a lot of trouble. She was circling too fast, and was shooting up into the sky much too quickly. Who knew if Hestia would be able to reach her before she slipped off.

But Hestia was fast and soon she was side by side with Marie. She made sure that they were evened out, and then swung one leg over onto the Nimbus. Marie was startled and lost her grip for a moment. But Hestia quickly swung the rest of herself over, taking control of the broom. Without much fuss, she guided it back down to the ground. Robert may have been scared for his daughter, but managed to draw his wand to soften his own broom's landing which Hestia had let spin to the ground.

"What on earth were you thinking?" Myra snapped, anger overpowering her fear for her little sister. She couldn't believe Marie had been so stupid!

"I wanted to fly like Hestia," Marie answered, trying to sound defiant but looking quite shaken.

"Marie, I've been flying for nine years," Hestia explained calmly. At least she managed to keep control of her emotions. "I've been playing Quidditch since my second year. And this broom is not for beginners; I've had it for a year now and it took me all last summer to feel comfortable with it. Not to mention it has been specially adjusted to my body and flying form."

Marie's eyes widened at being talked to by Hestia. "I'm sorry," she mumbled with her eyes glued to the ground.

Chelsie knelt and put her hands on Marie's shoulders. "You should be! But it's okay." Marie raised her head to look at her mother. "Nothing bad happened, but I hope you never do it again."

"I won't, mum."

"Why don't we go inside; dinner's on the Ministry tonight," Robert announced, taking Marie's hand to lead her inside.

All three girls nodded.

"No more flying this week," Hestia muttered as they walked towards the house.

"No more flying," Chelsie consented.




Notes

[17] There might be some confusion as to the type of wood this is. It is NOT wood where the fire never dies, it IS wood that never burns out; you never have to go out and chop more.

[18] I don't know if that was/is the custom in Britain, but I know from some Norwegian book series I've read that that was how it was done in Norway ages ago. It seems nice to me, so whether it's correct or not, it's like that in the Lunar Phases version of Britain too.




Author Notes

Because the previous chapter was way past schedule, you're getting this one a bit ahead of time. It's fresh from the betas! After this, posting should go back to normal. But remember this, if, for some reason, posting takes longer than usual, I will not abandon this story without giving good and proper warning first.

Please review if you have any thoughts on the chapter!

Coming: Chapter 17 – Revelations at Hogwarts
When she had seen him again, on the train, something had happened inside of her. A breathless excitement she hadn't really felt since fourth year. But it seemed slightly different than what she remembered.


Chapter 17: Revelations at Hogwarts
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Chapter 17
Revelations at Hogwarts



Image by Naala @ TDA


The rest of the week was significantly calmer than the day they went flying. The two girls spent the rest of the week swimming, playing games and laying in the sun. Sometimes Marie joined them, but mostly it was just the best friends.

Hestia went home on Friday, and although Myra was sad to see her go, she knew that the time she had spent with her friend was exactly what she needed to keep her mind off of things. She was confident that from now on she would be back to her normal self.

The rest of the summer wasn't that eventful. On what was probably the warmest day, the Kinney's headed to Diagon Alley to finish school shopping. There, Marie was allowed to buy her first pet – an owl she called Unicorn.

While the last Sunday of the month was a full moon, Myra managed to ignore her worried for Remus. Everything settled into their regular patterns.

September 4th [19] was a very hectic morning. They had overslept because they hadn't wanted the summer night to end and were now running late. While the girls were packed, Chelsie needed to double- and triple-check that everything was there. Robert sat at the kitchen table with his head in his hands, half asleep and absolutely no help at all. Eventually, they made it to King's Cross with barely any time to spare; the train would depart in just a few minutes. Platform 9 ¾ was already packed with parents and guardians saying goodbye to their children, while some adults helped with loading the luggage onto the Express.

Moving through the crowds, Myra saw Hestia and her parents, as well as Ashley with her sister Alice and their parents. She waved at them, but wasn't sure if they could see her through the throng of people. Marie, in the meantime, had spotted her best friend Julie Thistlewood, and didn't seem to realize how silly she looked jumping up and down and waving like a madwoman.

Chelsie and Robert guided the girls over to a porter who took care of the luggage. There were plenty of hugs and kisses goodbye before Myra and Marie were ushered onto the train. They had begun walking slowly down the halls when someone called out from behind them. "Hey, Myra!" It was Anna. "Have you found a compartment?" she called out.

"No," Myra shouted back, making the wizard behind in line flinch. "Are Hestia and Ashley behind you?"

"I think they're boarding now!"

"Good, I'll try to find an empty compartment!"

"Will you stop shouting?" the wizard behind Myra said irritably.

"Sorry," Myra said sarcastically. "I'm done now."

"Wonderful," he muttered as the line moved forward.

"There's Julie and Grace!" Marie stopped, sliding open the door to a compartment where two younger girls already sat.. "See you later, Myra."

"See you later." Myra moved on, finally finding an empty compartment and claiming it. She had popped her head out the door to try and see how far Anna had come in the line, and found that she was nearly inches away from her friend's face. It nearly scared Myra to death.

"There you are," they said at the same time.

"And here we are," Ashley said walking behind them, alongside Hestia.

The three other girls entered and sat down, just as the train started moving.

"Excited about the new year?" Hestia asked.

"Not really," Anna replied with a sigh. "N.E.W.T. level classes are not my idea of fun."

"But we have free periods this year," Ashley said. "That will be fun. And regular school exams, not as much pressure as O.W.L.s."

"If you have free periods you're supposed to use them for studying," Hestia said sternly.

"What do you mean 'if you have free periods'?"

"I probably won't have any. I only dropped Muggle Studies – I don't think I'll meet Professor Kelly's entry requirements either. I signed up for Magical Ethics, though."

"You're insane," Anna muttered. "I mean, not about Magical Ethics, I got that too. But at least I'll have a couple of free periods."

"Hey, did any of you see Remus on the platform?" Myra suddenly asked.

"I can't say that I did," Ashley said, while the other two shook their heads. "But I was kind of busy saying hello to Lowell."

"Won't you see Remus at the prefect meeting you should probably get going for?" Hestia suggested.

"Oh bugger," Myra cursed, jumping to her feet. She reached into a pocket, pulled out the prefect badge, and pinned it crookedly to her chest. "See you later." She called over her shoulder, rushing out of the compartment as her friends laughed. She almost ran into the wall of the train, stumbling as it lurched forward.

She wrenched open the door to the back compartment when she arrived. The entire room fell silent. "I'm sorry I'm late," she mumbled as an apology. Finding the only available seat around the table, she sat down, thinking up a quick excuse. "I was held up..."

Only then did she realise that Lily Evans was sitting at the front table where the Head Boy and Girl usually sat. Right next to James Potter. James Potter? Head Boy? Dumbledore must have gone insane, Myra thought with a slight frown.

"Well, as I was about to say," Lily said loudly. "We are your new Head Girl and..." She paused. "Head Boy." It was obvious from her tone that Lily was less than thrilled about her appointed partner.

Myra looked around the table to see who had replaced Lily as a prefect and who the new fifth year prefects were. Right next to Lily sat Mary MacDonald, with a shiny new badge on her chest. She looked awfully proud of herself. Myra noticed she also stared at someone. She followed MacDonald's gaze and saw Remus.

A powerful shock went through her at the sight of him. It seemed like she could see only him from then on, and her breath caught in her throat. Head spinning, she could barely register that Lily was still talking. Her heart was beating so fast and loud she was sure everyone could hear. It was likely Remus could hear; his senses were more sensitive than the normal person's after all. Maybe he had, because he turned his eyes away from James and Lily in that instant and met Myra's stare. He didn't pale upon seeing her this time, and he didn't seem afraid. There was no emotion; no joy, no anger, no sadness, no fear. Nothing. He looked good though, tan and healthier than she'd seen him in a long time. She would have considered him the picture of health were it not for the faint shadows under his eyes.

While James and Lily continued talking, making plans for the new school year, Myra continued sneaking glances at Remus. Sometimes, she caught him snapping his eyes back from her direction. Every time she caught him doing that, her heart skipped a couple of beats.

"Alright, final point on the agenda; time to draw patrolling partners. This is the same bowl we use at Hogwarts," Lily explained to the new prefects. "There are Anti-Cheating Charms on it, so if there's someone you don't want to draw or someone you really want to draw, you can't. It's also charmed so you won't draw yourself or anyone who has drawn before you. Last year, the drawing wasn't random for the fifth years, but this year it is. Everyone can be paired across all the years."

"Of course, if there's going to be huge problems with you and your partner, to the point where you're unable to perform your duties in a satisfactory way, let us know and we'll arrange for partners to be switched around," James added.

"Exactly," Lily agreed, although she seemed quite surprised with him. "Any questions before we begin?"

A wispy little Hufflepuff – one of the new prefects – raised her hand. "You mentioned first term; does that mean that we change partners each term?"

"Yes," Lily answered. "We draw new partners for the next term right before Christmas and right before Easter so that things won't become boring. The only patrol pair that won't draw new partners is me and the Head Boy. The Head Boy and Head Girl do not share their designated day with anyone else, but are obliged to patrol if for some reason your partner or any of the other prefects can't."

The Hufflepuff and several other fifth years nodded. Lily looked expectantly around at the lot, in case anyone else had any questions. When they remained quiet, she gave the bowl to MacDonald, who drew the first name; Michael Baddock. Myra had to stifle a laugh; Baddock was a Slytherin in her year and a real pain in the Hippogriff's behind. They would be perfect together. James wrote down the result.

The bowl continued on its way, reaching Remus. He held the bowl in one hand, and used the other hand to reach inside and rummage. He pulled out a piece of parchment, sent the bowl over to the next person, and then opened the note and read out loud: "Myra Kinney."

Myra started upon hearing her own name. She looked over at Remus, and this time he met her eyes. In her side vision Myra saw James write down their names. To show that she was happy with the result and maybe get some reaction out of Remus, she smiled. It wasn't obvious, but she was sure she saw the corner of Remus' lips twitch slightly. That was enough for Myra, and she continued to smile as she paid attention to the rest of the drawing.

When it was done, the bowl had reached James, who vanished the pieces of parchment that hadn't needed to be drawn. He stood up. "We will figure out your patrolling schedule by tomorrow morning, after we've had a chat with the Heads of Houses about your lesson plans and extracurricular activities. The schedule will be posted on the board in the prefects' room." He looked discreetly at Lily, asking with his eyes if that was correct. When she gave him the smallest of nods, he beamed.

"The first six couples who were drawn have first patrol here on the train, the last six have the last patrol. The Head Boy and I need to write a report and get organized, so we won't be patrolling now. Meeting adjourned," Lily announced. "Happy patrolling."

Myra chuckled. It was going to be a really interesting year with Lily Evans and James Potter being Head Girl and Boy. James, madly in love with Lily since the beginning of time, and Lily, loathing James for about as long. There was even a rumour that James fell in love with Lily the moment he had first seen her on the Hogwarts Express their first year. Myra didn't think such a thing was possible for an eleven year old, but if it was, then James was certainly crazy enough to accomplish it.

The prefects filed out, some going back to their friends, some greeting each other and heading out to begin the school year's first patrol.

"Hello, Remus," Myra said as Remus came over to her.

"Hello," he replied, sounding a bit nervous.

"Did you have a good summer?"

"Alright." It was only short answers from him, obviously.

"Good, mine too."

He nodded.

Myra tried not to sigh as she said: "Let's get started then." And she gestured with her head in the direction of the compartment door.

Remus began walking out and Myra followed.

'Don't bother him with it,' Sirius' voice rang in her head, even though he had only said it to her in writing. Yes, don't bother Remus. He would come around when he was ready to. Myra had to be patient, no matter how difficult it would be.

Their patrol went by in pretty much complete silence. The only thing that made Remus talk was when he addressed another student for doing something they shouldn't or by greeting people he knew. Same with Myra, she didn't want to push him, so she bit her tongue and kept quiet. Whenever she did try to start conversations on completely innocent subjects like upcoming lessons or the weather, he gave very short answers. No more than a syllable if he could help it. By the time their patrol was over, Myra was frustrated beyond imagination. She said an overly polite goodbye to Remus, and walked back to her friends' compartment with her fists clenched, her teeth gnawing against each other, and her breath coming out in huffs and puffs like an angry dragon.

"What on earth has gotten you so riled up?" Hestia asked upon seeing an irate Myra stepping through the compartment door.

"It's that bloody wizard Remus bloody Lupin," she said through clenched teeth, flopping carelessly down into the open seat.

"I thought you two were good friends?" Ashley asked, with special emphasis on the last word.

"Didn't you catch what happened last term? He suddenly stopped talking to her before the O.W.L.s," Anna explained.

"Why did he do that? What did you do to him?"

"I didn't do anything!" Myra defended herself loudly, but then she calmed down and seemed to deflate. "I- I can't really say what happened. I'm not allowed."

"So you did do something!"

"No, I didn't. But something happened that, that made him dislike me, or fear me, or I don't know what the hell his bloody problem is! I'm not even allowed to say!"

"Why not?"

Myra wanted desperately for her to stop asking questions. She thought there might be only one right thing to say in this situation if she wanted them to stop. "Professor Dumbledore told me to."

She was wrong.

"Professor Dumbledore? What does he got to do with why Remus is upset with you?!"

"Ashley, please listen to me." Myra leaned forward and looked firmly into Ashley's blue eyes. "I. Am. Not. Allowed. To. Tell. No matter how many different questions you ask, I won't tell you anything you'll be happy with. It's not in my place to say anything about it. If that changes, I'll tell you. Okay?"

"Okay."

"Thank you." She sighed and leaned back again. "As to me being frustrated with Remus, don't worry about it. He drew me as his prefect partner this term, so he's got to talk to me eventually. Unless..." Myra had a horrible thought. "Unless he asks James or Lily to assign him a new partner. I'm sure James would do anything to help his friend."

"James and Lily?" Hestia asked. "Why would he ask James and Lily to assign him a new partner?"

"Because he might not want to be my partner. They'll assign you a new partner if you don't get along to the extent that it will come in the way of your duties."

"No, what I mean is; why James and Lily. What have they got to do with anything?"

"Oh. Lily is the new Head Girl, and for some demented reason Dumbledore made James the new Head Boy."

All three girls gasped. "Are you serious?" Anna asked, completely shocked.

"No, but I am." Sirius Black slid the door to the compartment open, leaning against the door frame. The four girls turned their heads and rolled their eyes at him. "Can I have a word with you, Kinney?"

"Uh, sure," Myra answered, and got up. But before she went completely out the door, she turned around and finished what she had planned on saying. "I'm not kidding. Ask Professor Dumbledore yourselves if you don't believe me. And if nothing changes," she looked meaningfully at them, "I have high hopes things will work out with time." Then she closed the door, but not before she heard 'Yes, I'm sure they'll work it out just fine' and three giggles.

Sirius didn't say anything else, but started walking back down the hall. Obviously he meant for Myra to follow him. They passed through a couple of cars before she started wondering what he was up to. "Where are we going?"

"In here," he suddenly said, and rather suddenly grabbed hold of her upper arm and pulled her into the nearest compartment. Too late she realised that this was the boys' toilet.

"What in Merlin's great dirty beard are you taking me in here for?"

"Snogging. What else?"

Myra narrowed her eyes at his nerve.

"Do try to not to be so thrilled with the prospect of snogging me, will you?" he said sarcastically.

"What did you bring me in here for?" Myra repeated.

"I want to talk to you about that letter you sent me this summer."

"Oh." Myra straightened up from her slightly crouched defensive run-at-any-sign-of-danger-pose. "What about it?"

Sirius quickly looked through all the stalls to make sure the room was empty before talking. "Remus just told Peter and me he drew you as a prefect partner."

"He did. Is he planning to ask Lily and James for a new partner?"

"It doesn't seem like he is." Myra's sigh of relief made Sirius frown. "But he isn't very happy about it."

"Really? That was not the impression I got during our patrol. His reserved attitude and one syllable answers really made me think he couldn't be happier!"

Sirius raised a black eyebrow.

"Sorry, go on."

"Peter, James and I still aren't completely sure about your trustworthiness..."

"Professor Dumbledore seemed to be happy enough when he called me in for a conversation very similar to the one you three had with me back in... May. Although he was a lot more polite about it."

"Do you have habit of interrupting everyone when they're talking? That is rude."

"I'm just giving you some input. Helping you see the entire picture."

"Gee, thanks. As I was going to say before I was interrupted; we'll be watching you. You don't know when we will be watching, but trust me, we will be watching. Don't even think about trying to hide from us, we have ways of knowing exactly where you are at any time. And we have ways of completely concealing ourselves." Myra looked aghast at this, so Sirius hurried to add: "But don't worry, it's only when you are patrolling or otherwise being in the same place as Remus that we will watch. You just won't know when."

"Is this even legal?"

"Maybe, maybe not. We're not so big on the legal stuff." Sirius smiled and shrugged his shoulders.

Myra didn't quite believe that they had means to know where she was at any given time, so she took that with a grain of salt and asked a different question. "Just so I can be prepared: Will you be mean and rude and miserable towards me this year?"

"We won't be the best of friends, that's for sure. But Remus doesn't like it when we are mean to you, even when he's not talking to you. You won't need to bother with us anymore."

"Except from the fact that you'll be spying on me whenever you feel like when I'm near Remus."

"Exactly! You're not as stupid as you look, Kinney." Even though there was a playful spark in Sirius' eyes, Myra wanted to take it personally.

"Should you really be saying things like that to me, if you're so damn concerned about me keeping Remus' secret?"

Sirius didn't even flinch. "Yes," he said simply. "It's very clear that you care about him very much, so I know you won't rat on him out of spite."

"But that isn't enough for you to trust me?"

"Who knows? You might be a loose cannon or slip without knowing it. Under pressure, or torture..."

Myra had heard enough. "Fine! Whatever! Spy on me, don't spy on me – I don't care! You'll eat your words in the end anyway. Goodbye, Sirius. Tell Remus I said hi." And then she strode out of the boys' bathroom and didn't stop for anything until she got to her compartment.

"What did Sirius want?" Hestia asked upon Myra's return.

"Snog in the boys' lavatory," she answered simply, reaching into her trunk, pulling out Fantastic Beasts and Where Not To Find Them, the new addition to the Fantastic Beasts series, and sat down to read.

The girls' exclamations and questions fell on deaf ears. One sentence into the book and she was lost to the world.

...

When they finally pulled into Hogsmeade Station, it was dark and drizzling outside. Myra finally emerged from her book, having missed the witch with the food trolley, and was now famished.

"How was it?" Anna asked.

"It's fantastic! It's not really a textbook like the first one, but it's a funny book," Myra answered while she put the book away and straightened her prefect badge.

Anna sighed. "How was it snogging with Sirius?"

"What?" Myra didn't quite follow for a second. "Oh, yeah, that. It was fantastic too," she answered and stepped into the hallway before she started laughing.

"She didn't really snog Sirius, did she?" Myra heard Anna whisper to Hestia.

"No idea. I wouldn't put it past Sirius, but Myra has never shown any slightest interest in him. But who knows?" Hestia answered.

Maybe she should tell them that she hadn't really snogged him, but it was simply too much fun to have them think she did it.

Hestia, Ashley and Anna found their way into the hallway as well, and the line began moving off the train. Outside they could hear the booming voice of Rubeus Hagrid, the Gamekeeper, calling all the first years to him to take the boats to Hogwarts.

Once outside, Myra saw that the new fifth year prefects helped the first years with putting their luggage in the correct storage rooms in Hogsmeade Station. It was nice to think she no longer had that responsibility. The four girls, who were now sixth years, found the area for the sixth year Gryffindors, left their trunks and animal cages and then went to find a carriage to drive them up to Hogwarts.

...

It felt very good to be back, if one didn't take into consideration the studying and the homework and the expectations and the responsibilities that came with a year at Hogwarts. But for tonight, Myra had plans to just enjoy the great feast with all her friends under the enchanted ceiling that showed that the drizzle that was beginning to clear up.

The witches found a seat by the Gryffindor table, and were soon joined by Henry Goldstein.

"Hello, girls," he greeted. "Did you have a good summer?"

"Yes," Ashley answered.

"I did," Myra answered at the same time. The other two nodded.

"Wonderful! I did too!" He seemed very enthusiastic, but something was going on. It was as if he was unable to sit still, or he was sitting on something uncomfortable he wanted to get away from.

"What's up?" Myra asked.

"I thought you'd never ask!" he crowed. It didn't matter that it had only been about sixty seconds since he sat down. He turned to Hestia. "Do you know who our new Quidditch Captain is?"

"No," Hestia answered, but then caught herself. "You?"

"Yes!" Henry said while nodding so violently Myra swore she heard his brain rattle in his skull.

"Congratulations," Hestia said, not too enthusiastically.

"Congratulations!" Myra said and gave him a hug.

"Thanks! I was so sure James Potter would get it, but I guess Madam Hooch thought I was better suited."

"Sorry to burst your bubble," Anna said. "But it seems Potter was appointed the honour of being Head Boy instead. He's going to be busy punishing scoundrels, and won't have time to captain a Quidditch team."

"That's just evil of you, Carmichael," Henry pouted.

Myra laughed, but was cut short when the Great Hall doors opened and Professor McGonagall entered, carrying a stool and the Sorting Hat, followed by a long line of very small and nervous looking first years.

The Sorting Hat sang its song like usual before the sorting began. With each student that was Sorted, Myra's stomach growled louder, up to the point where Henry whispered something to Nearly Headless Nick, who came floating by just then. The Gryffindor ghost glided up in front of Myra and tipped his nearly severed head off his shoulders. The growling stomach stopped immediately, and instead Myra felt pale and a bit queasy.

"Thanks," she hissed in Henry's direction. She certainly wasn't hungry anymore.

"You're welcome," he whispered happily back.

The people around them were sniggering at Myra's expense.

"Watch it or I'll throw up all over you," she whispered. "And then take points."

They all went quiet, but when Myra turned her attention back to the Sorting, she saw that it was because Professor McGonagall was glaring in their direction.

Eventually the Sorting finished and Professor Dumbledore opened the start-of-term feast. Myra's appetite came back in full force as soon as she saw the wonderful spread.

Occasionally, while eating, she glanced up the table where the four Marauders sat. Remus looked happy enough now, chatting animatedly with his friends. Just like at the prefect meeting on the Hogwarts Express, she sometimes caught him looking in her direction. He snapped back the moment she began turning her head towards him, but it was obvious what he was doing. If he was paying that much attention to her, why didn't he want to talk to her? What was it that he was afraid of? Had she ever given him a reason not to trust her? Even that time in the hospital wing, when she'd had the Fertility Potion accident and he asked her to not tell anyone he was there, she hadn't said anything to anyone about that, except for Hestia and Marie. But that was because Remus wanted her to tell them to keep quiet too. Professor Dumbledore was satisfied she'd keep his secret, and James, Sirius and Peter were almost satisfied. Why couldn't that be enough for Remus? Didn't he know her well enough by now to know this?

Myra shook her head of the depressing thoughts and watched as Professor Dumbledore stepped up to the podium to give his annual welcome speech. "Welcome, new students, and welcome back, old students. It has been a good summer, good enough for you all to forget all you learned last year, I hope.

"Now, give a warm welcome to our new Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher, Professor Sri Harishandra. She has graciously travelled all the way from India, and will give you all a fresh input in foreign beasts, spells and wards."

Professors Harishandra stood up and curtsied, looking quite out of context by the substantially dominant stone walls of the castle with her flowing, and brightly coloured sari. There was a hesitant applause.

"The usual warnings: The Forbidden Forest is, as always, forbidden to all students. Our caretaker, Mr Filch wants me to remind you that a list of all items banned at Hogwarts can be found outside his office door here on the ground floor. A few items has been added since last year, so I advice you all to go and take a look. If you have questions about the rules or prohibited items, please address them to Mr Filch or a prefect.

"Speaking of prefects, congratulations to our new fifth year prefects. And congratulations to our new Head Girl, Lily Evans, and our new Head Boy, James Potter. Both from the fine house of Gryffindor."

There was a quick applause.

"For those wishing to try out for Quidditch, dates and times for your house's tryouts will be put up in the common rooms and on the notice board in the Entrance Hall. Please address any Quidditch related questions to our Quidditch referee and Flying instructor Madam Hooch, or your house captains. Full list of all of your prefects and captains can be found on each house's notice board and the board in the Entrance Hall.

"Now, good luck on your upcoming year, and sleep tight, it all begins tomorrow."

The very moment Professor Dumbledore took a step back, the benches screeched and people headed out of the Great Hall, finding their way to their respective houses, while the fifth year prefects took care of all the first years and guided them to their houses.

Not many people stayed in the common room when they got to Gryffindor Tower. Myra and two of her friends went up their dorms, one step higher than last year. Ashley had gone off somewhere to spend a little time with her boyfriend. The trunks were in place, one in front of each bed, along with two owl cages by Myra's and Ashley's beds.

"Remus seemed quite preoccupied at the feast," Anna commented.

"What?" Myra asked, opening Meadow's cage and letting the owl hop onto her arm.

"I saw him looking quite often in the direction of a certain friend of mine."

"I suppose he was," Myra muttered, opening the window to let Meadow fly out and join the other owls in the Owlery.

"You're not denying it anymore?" Anna asked in surprise.

"Denying what?" Myra turned back to the room, leaning against the windowsill and letting the mild summer night breeze cool her after the long trek up seven floors. The air still smelled of rain.

"Don't bother, Anna," Hestia said from her bed. She had already begun studying.

"Fine," Anna mumbled.

"What? Denying what?" Myra raised her voice, looking between her two friends, wanting to know what they were talking about.

"You'll get there eventually, Myra," Hestia said reasonably.

Myra had a feeling she did know what they were talking about, though she did not want them to know that she was likely further along than they realised. So she didn't try to wheedle out any more from then, and quickly did her nightly routine and climbed into bed instead.

"Good night," she called to her friends; Ashley had come back by now, and all four girls were settling in for the night.

"Good night," they all sang back.

Myra lay down in the familiar bed and closed the curtains around it. She snuggled into the sheets and mattress with a content sigh. Even though they changed dorms every year, the beds were exactly the same, magically kept fresh and soft like new. It was the best part of living at Hogwarts.

She was dead tired after not getting enough sleep the previous night, but she lay awake on her side for a while, thinking and listening to the sounds of the other girls getting ready for bed.

When she had seen Remus again, on the train, something had happened inside of her. A breathless excitement she hadn't really felt since she had been with Edmund Davenport from Ravenclaw in fourth year. It felt different than what she remembered, though. Of course, she was older now, and more mature. It was bound to change. What she had felt for Davenport a year and a half ago, she knew that couldn't have been anything like what her parents felt for each other for example. Myra hadn't had any urges to marry Davenport, to have children with him, run to him with every little exciting or sad thing. She can't say she was feeling anything like that for Remus either, but this was fairly new. It could shift and change in a moment, like the weather.

I have feelings for Remus, she thought, finally admitting it to herself. Warmth spread from her toes to the top of her head. But what does that matter; he won't speak to me anymore. He will barely even acknowledge looking at me.

She sighed deeply, curling up into a ball and closed her eyes. Tomorrow the prefect schedule would be posted. She would see what she could do about Remus' behaviour then.




Notes

[19] I know they usually go back to school on September 1st, but how is it possible for September 1st to be on a Sunday every year for seven years? That is something that annoys me, so I'm making them come back on the first Sunday of September, or last Sunday of August, if September 1st is on, say, a Monday.




Author Notes

Chapter 17, according to schedule. Haven't written anything worthwhile in ages, except for the sorry amount during Camp NaNo in June. Work has taken a lot of my energy, and I've had too much technical difficulties (I need a new laptop, SOON). I expect I won't be able to write very much in the near future either, laptop or no laptop, seeing as I now have two kittens to raise, while having 2 ½ jobs. But don't worry, chapters 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23 and 24 are written. That's 3 and a half months of posts. I hope the kittens are well enough behaved by November and the official NaNo, so I can get back on writing schedule.

Please review if you have any thoughts on the chapter!

Coming: Chapter 18 – The Talk and The Tryout
"Remus," she said suddenly on the fifth floor, on their way back to the common room after the patrol. "I need to talk to you about something." She had stopped and looked at him as he turned around slowly. "What about?" he asked unsurely. Myra took a deep breath. "About next Tuesday."


Chapter 18: The Talk and The Tryout
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Chapter 18
The Talk and The Tryout



Image by Naala @ TDA


As usual on the first day of the school year, Myra didn't want to get out bed. The fantastic comfort of the Gryffindor beds were easy to get used to. But Hestia, being the kind and gentle best friend, pulled Myra forcefully out of bed and practically carried her into the bathroom, slamming the door shut. Five seconds later, before she had collected herself enough to get out, the bathroom door opened and in flew her Gryffindor uniform and robe. There was a thump, and Myra understood that Hestia was leaning on the door. "You can rummage through your underwear yourself," Hestia called through the door.

"But you have to let me out to do that! I can't walk around without underwear! What would I do if I was outside and there was a sudden blast of wind that lifted my skirt?!" Myra called back.

With a groan Hestia stepped away from the door so Myra could open it, but followed close behind as she searched her trunk for clean underwear and walked back into the bathroom. When Myra heard the thump of her best friend's body against the door, she put her mouth millimetres away from the wood and shouted: "I can manage without you standing guard by the door, Hestia Jones!" Hestia screamed in fright, and Myra heard her stumble quickly to the other side of the room. Chuckling to herself, she got ready for the day.

On the way down to the Great Hall, Myra took a detour along the fifth floor. She wanted to see if the prefect schedule had been put up yet. Hestia followed, while the other two Gryffindor sixth years continued down the stairs. They reached the prefects' office and Myra put her hand to the door, opening it for the both of them. That was the only way someone could be let inside, you had to be a prefect, a Head, or a member of staff. The door would recognize you as such and let you inside.

On the left side of the door, a large corkboard took up most of the wall, where the schedules and other important pieces were pinned for the prefects' uses. Myra scanned it for her or Remus' name, and found they would be patrolling on Tuesday. That meant that either she was going to have to quit Gobstones Club, or Gobstones had been moved.

For curiosity's case, Myra perused the rest of the list. Her and Remus' colleagues on Tuesdays were Mary MacDonald and Michael Baddock. She harrumphed at the thought of cooperating so closely with MacDonald; who clearly had feelings for Remus also.

"Not happy about the day you were given?" Hestia asked amusedly.

"No no, Tuesday looks good, if Gobstones has been moved. But Mary MacDonald is a part of the other team patrolling on Tuesday."

"So?"

"So! I don't like her. I don't like her one bit!"

Hestia cleared her throat and looked towards the other end of the table, where Lily sat writing on a piece of parchment, looking up at Myra's outburst.

"Is there a problem with the schedule, Myra?" she asked helpfully.

"No no, it's perfectly fine, Lily. Only... Has Gobstones been moved from Tuesday?" Myra blushed a bit in embarrassment. If she'd realised Lily was there, she wouldn't have said anything about MacDonald.

"Yes, it has. It's on Wednesdays now, I think."

"Oh, well, then the schedule is perfectly fine in my book."

"Good. Don't hesitate to let me know if that should change."

Myra nodded and turned back towards the list. Having worked with Lily the previous year, she knew the girls always took her duties seriously and was there to help if anyone needed it. Now that she had become Head Girl, though, Myra felt very differently about working with her. Suddenly she had become someone who seemed so far above her. It had not felt that way with Carly Hanson or Timothy Ivory, and it definitely didn't feel that way with James, but Lily had somehow elevated to something beyond humanity. It wasn't something she had done, it wasn't anything related to the way she behaved, she seemed just as kind and honest and trustworthy as always, but Myra couldn't help but feel intimidated.

She looked quickly through the rest of the list, noting when Lowell had patrol. He was sure to tell Ashley himself, but just in case, Myra memorised it. He patrolled on Thursdays, with Alistair Yule, a fifth year Hufflepuff, and the other couple was Stewart Ackerley and Saffron Rosencrans, seventh and fifth year Ravenclaws.

Back on their way to the Great Hall, Hestia asked Myra what her problem with Mary MacDonald was. Myra wasn't sure what to tell Hestia, because she didn't know if she was ready to reveal to her best friend that they had all been right about her feelings for Remus. Part of the truth seemed like the best compromise. "She's just a rambling, annoying, helpless little... doormat."

"That's harsh. Do you even know her?"

"There's just something about her that really rubs me in the wrong way."

"You haven't been this annoyed with her before."

It was a pain how omniscient Hestia could be sometimes. "I've seen sides of her lately that I would have rather not have seen, so I've changed my mind about her."

"What sides have you seen?"

"And you say I'm the curious one," Myra snapped suddenly. Hestia shut up, but Myra knew her best friend's mind was still working, thinking and trying to figure Myra out.

At the breakfast table the Heads of Houses walked around and distributed the class schedules. Some of Myra's classes were at the same time as last year, which was nice. It meant a few less things to memorise. The schedule also showed that Lily had been right; Gobstones Club had been moved to Wednesday. But the best part about the new schedule was the four periods Myra had with no classes at all. The last two periods on Monday and the one before and after lunch on Wednesday were free. It would have been nice if at least one of them was at the start of the day so she could sleep in, but having them in blocks like this worked very well too.

As Hestia had predicted, her own schedule was packed. And on top of attending a full week of N.E.W.T. level classes, she had Quidditch practice two nights a week. If she was picked for the Quidditch Team again, that is.

The only classes for Myra on Monday were Charms and Herbology. Even though they weren't sitting their N.E.W.T.s until the end of next year, the professors began lecturing about how hard they were and how much they had to study to get through them. They weren't called Nastily Exhausting Wizarding Tests for nothing.

So when lunch came and Myra had the rest of the day off until dinner, it was with a yawn and a sigh of pleasure that she sat down and dug into some toast.

"Tired?" Hestia asked next to her.

"Incredibly. My body is still on holiday time. Besides, who wouldn't be tired after Sprout and Flitwick going on and on about hell on earth!"

"I hear you," Ashley chimed in. "I don't have free periods today, you lucky goat."

Myra smiled widely, suddenly feeling more invigorated.

She decided to spend her two free periods in the common room. She only had to make a quick stop in the library on the way up, to get some books for the Charms homework they had gotten already. It wasn't a soft start to the year either. It was straight into a gill creation charm. Maybe the teachers were scared Myra would fall into the lake again.

In the common room there was only one other student, a boy in her year named David Wiley. Myra called hello to him, as she took the opportunity to get an entire couch to herself. Eyeing the comfiest of them all, she rushed over, dropped her bag on the floor and sank down with a very loud sigh of contentment.

"It's nice to have free periods, isn't it?" David Wiley asked her.

Myra couldn't see his face from where she was lying, the couch was so soft and deep. It almost buried her. "It definitely is." She was sure there was nothing better in this world than lying there, knowing most of the other students were sitting on hard chairs, listening to some boring lecture with some boring teacher.

But conscience nagged at the back of her mind. With great difficulty she sat up and found everything she needed for her Charms homework. They were to write a three foot long essay on the theory of the Gill-Creation Charm, focusing on the ways it could damage the lungs if performed incorrectly.

It went fairly well, and by the time the rumble of students could be heard from the floors below, Myra was half finished.

David Wiley packed up his stuff and headed for the portrait hole.

"You're going to class?" Myra asked.

"Yeah, I got Pre-Healing." He didn't look too thrilled.

"Bummer. I have another free period," she bragged with a smile so wide it almost hurt.

"Lucky you." He actually looked jealous.

"Yes, lucky me." Myra grinned and waved goodbye. "Say hi to Hestia for me!"

"Will do!"

Five minutes later the portrait hole opened and Remus entered. He stopped short when he spotted Myra.

"Hello, Remus," Myra spoke warmly. "Do you have a free period now too?"

"Hello," he said back. "Yeah, free period. Excuse me." And then he walked across the common room floor and up to the boys' dormitory. It was obvious that he was hurrying, but trying to make it look like it was just a casual walk.

Myra sighed, and went back to her essay. But to her surprise, he came down again ten minutes later and sat down in another couch not far from hers. She was sure this was progress, and turned and smiled at him when he sat down. He actually smiled back, albeit a bit strained, but a smile was a smile.

The two worked in silence for the next hour or so, and by then Myra had finished her essay. All that was left was to read through it, but she could do that before bed. Wanting to break the silence, she chose a subject she was sure he would give semi-good answers to.

"We have patrol tomorrow," she began.

"Yeah, it'll be good," he answered absent-mindedly.

Good? Did she hear him right? Did that mean he was looking forward to patrolling with her? Or was it some other reason that made it good? That Mary MacDonald was a part of the other pair, perhaps?

"Good?" Myra had to ask. "Patrolling isn't really that enjoyable. Searching half the castle for students out of bounds that wouldn't respect you even if you were the Minister for Magic?"

Remus' head snapped up from his work and he looked bewildered for a moment. Then it looked like a torch lit in his head and he blushed. "No, well, I mean-" he stuttered. "I just mean that it'll be nice to do something again. Being home was a bit boring," he said too quickly for Myra to believe him. He focused on his book again, looking even more into it than before.

"Right, that makes sense." Even though he was lying, it did make sense. "You wouldn't happen to know what half of the castle we're getting this time? The bottom or the top? I always got the bottom half last year. It would be nice to get the top this year. Not as many Slytherins to deal with."

Remus' lips tugged a bit at the corners, but he did not look up from what he was doing. "I don't know. Guess we'll just agree on what half we take when we meet up with Michael Baddock and Mary tomorrow."

"Yeah. Would it be alright with you if we tried for the top half?"

This time Remus looked up at Myra's pleading voice. "Sure, I don't mind. I've done both halves several times, and I prefer the top half. Like you said; not as many Slytherins to deal with."

"Great!" Myra smiled widely. Remus actually smiled back, and Myra noticed that her heartbeat accelerated slightly. Terrified that he might hear it, she turned quickly away and calmed herself down by slowly and carefully rolling up the parchment with the Charms essay.

For the short half hour that was left before dinner, Myra just sat in the couch with her eyes closed, listening to the scratch of Remus' quill.

She must have dozed off, because suddenly she was woken by Remus' voice. "Are you sleeping, Myra?"

She started, opened her eyes and searched the room for him. He was over by the portrait hole, his bag over his shoulder.

"No, I'm not sleeping," she said quickly, obviously lying.

He smiled a bit. "It's dinner now. I thought I should wa- remind you."

"Thanks."

Then he walked out of the portrait hole, when Myra had hoped that he would wait for her so they could walk down together. She packed up her things, went up to the dorm to put them away and then headed down for dinner feeling a bit depressed.

...

Patrol on Tuesday evening went better than Myra expected, though not as well as she would have hoped. She and Remus had managed to get the top half of the castle, and it was a lot better than the bottom half. Remus hadn't been very talkative, but he had always been professional when it came to being a prefect. Maybe he took it a bit too seriously, now that he didn't want to talk to her.

The rest of the week was incredibly busy. Every professor pressed on the difficulty of the N.E.W.T. classes and how important it was to study hard and make sure you didn't fall back, and how difficult it would be to get ahead again. They were all like a broken time turner. They also clearly had no idea how nervous and stressed they made their students. Madam Pomfrey had better have a large stock of the Calming Draught ready, especially next year. If this sixth year was going to be half as hard as the professors promised, how bloody hard was the seventh year going to be when they would actually sit their N.E.W.T.s?

Try-outs for Gryffindor's Quidditch team were held on Friday after dinner. Henry had booked the pitch for the occasion, and Myra, Anna, Ashley and Lowell gathered in the stands to watch Hestia defend her position as Beater. Marie joined them as well, wanting very much to see a Quidditch tryout.

Not long after they had sat down, did Remus, Peter and Sirius arrive, sitting down not too far away from them. Myra waved in greeting. They all waved back, Myra was pleased to see.

Down on the pitch, the tryouts had begun. Henry didn't appear to be the slightest bit nervous as he surveyed the old team huddled together at one side and the new candidates in a wide spread group at the other side.

According to Hestia there was really just two available spots on the team; two of the Chasers had left school, but any of the spots could be changed if the captain saw greater potential in another player.

Henry began by making the new candidates stand in groups according to what position they wanted to try out for. Since there was a greater need to fill the two empty Chaser spots, he had the Chasers fly first. James was the only Chaser left, and he too had to fly up and prove his worth.

Myra wasn't very interested in Quidditch, and couldn't really see if anyone was much better than anyone else, but it did look like James might have the upper hand as they started tossing the Quaffle between themselves, and then trying to score against the current Keeper afterwards. Whenever James had the Quaffle or managed to score on the Keeper, Remus, Sirius and Peter cheered like they had never seen anything so wonderful.

Next group up were the Beaters. Since Henry as the Captain really couldn't be kicked off the team, he was excused from that group. Hestia seemed to fly well, but as far as Myra could see, so did a few of the other candidates.

After the Beaters, the Keepers were up, and finally the Seekers.

To end the tryouts, Henry said a few words. "I see that many of you have great potential, so I know we will get a strong team this year, maybe even stronger than last year. Two of you will definitely be our new Chasers, but I have to consider if any of the old team members need replacing. I will post the new roster on our message board Monday morning. Have a good weekend!"

The players went back into the changing rooms, and Myra and her friends and sister, and Remus and the boys, descended the stands.

"I don't see Henry changing any of the old team members," Lowell commented on the way down. "They're used to working together as a team, and it will be enough work to incorporate the two new Chasers into the group dynamic."

Sirius, Remus and Peter seemed to only now notice that they had two Hufflepuffs among them, stopped short, and looked absolutely horrified at the idea.

"What are you doing here spying on our Quidditch team?!" Peter asked sharply.

Marie shrank at bit, partly hiding behind Myra.

"I'm not spying," Lowell said with indignation. "I'm here because Ashley wanted to be here."

"Still, you might be reporting back to your Captain anyway," Remus said.

"Guys, it's just a game," Myra said, laying a hand on her sister's shoulder. "And it's just Hogwarts! It's not like it's the World Cup or anything."

All the boys looked at her as if she had Spattergroit. "So-orry, I'll shut up now," she said waving her hands in surrender.

"I won't report anything to any captain," Lowell continued as if Myra hadn't interrupted. "Nothing from Gryffindor to the Hufflepuff captain, and nothing from Hufflepuff to your captain."

"I agree," Sirius said after a few long seconds, and everyone began walking again. "The team is used to each other; they read each other and can fly seamlessly together. Getting two new players into the system will be more than enough work."

The Quidditch talk continued all the way back to the castle and into the Entrance Hall. There Ashley and Lowell went their own way, Marie headed back down to the Hufflepuff common room, and the Gryffindors climbed the stairs to their tower. In the common room the witches separated from the wizards, and a half hour later the Quidditch players themselves came in.

"Any ideas yet, Henry?" Myra asked him as he walked past.

"Wait for Monday," he answered shortly and ran up the stairs to the dorms before anyone else could bother him.

...

When Hestia woke up on Monday morning, she soon had the rest of her dorm up with her. She was being extremely noisy – obviously impatient and ready to go down and see the team roster. Her excitement was infectious, and even Myra hurried to get dressed, almost tripping several times as she ran down the stairs with her best friend.

Not many Gryffindors were up yet, but a few of the students from the tryout already stood in front of the notice board. Hestia was just short enough to be unable to look above the crowd even when she stood on her toes, so Myra who was just a couple of inches taller stretched to her fullest height and read the roster out loud.

"Seeker: Grace Bennet. Keeper: Simon Penhale. Chasers: James Potter, Edgar Eager, Agnes Garfield. Beaters: Henry Goldstein and... " Myra stopped, and dropped down to her regular height again, just to play with Hestia.

"Come on!" Hestia cried out, and just then the students who were blocking the board walked away.

Hestia snapped around, but before she could read who the second Beater was, Myra said it. "And Hestia Jones."

Hestia shouted in joy and jumped over and crushed Myra in what was supposed to be a hug. Myra chuckled at her friend.

"Did you really think he was going to replace you? You and Henry are perfect together as Beaters! Why would he put that at risk by taking on an untrained Beater?" Myra asked when Hestia finally let her go.

"You never know. All the spots are open for the taking during tryouts."

"Yes, but how often have old team members been replaced without them voluntarily leaving the team?"

Hestia shrugged as if saying 'you have a point'.

"Let's go get some breakfast," Myra suggested.

...

During the next patrol, Remus was a bit more talkative. He actually began a few conversations and asked Myra about her summer. Myra gladly answered all his questions and even dared asking some in return.

He seemed to be warming up a lot faster than what she had expected from the warnings Sirius had given her. Still, Myra was careful, kind of thinking of him as a skittish animal. You needed a slow and careful approach to be able to even get close enough to start earning its trust. Myra decided that if she shared personal information with him without asking for the same in return, the two of them would eventually get back to their earlier friendship status. Now that Myra acknowledged the feelings she had for Remus, it was more important than ever for her to get back to that. Only then could she start thinking about turning it into something more.

It definitely looked like it was working.

"I realised I really miss the walks in Hope Woodlands with my father," Myra said, finishing telling Remus about her and Marie's day out. "I think I might continue the tradition when both Marie and I are out of Hogwarts. And then one day I can maybe take my own children up there."

"It sounds like a nice place," Remus commented.

"It is, it's so rugged and barren, but still really beautiful. A bit touristy perhaps, but one can live with that." She smiled at him, and he actually smiled back, a smile not tinged with fear or hesitation, it was just a smile. It warmed Myra up inside, and she resisted the urge to grin like an idiot. "You should go there sometime."

"Maybe I will." Myra hoped he would suggest that she could show him around Hope Woodlands, but he didn't. She didn't dare suggest it herself.

A bang and a screech caught their attention, snapping them both out of their comfortable conversation. They pulled out their wands and were immediately on alert. The sounds came from the next hall down, and they approached with care. When they saw the hall light up with red light from a spell, they ran down it. Still, they were too late to save a young Gryffindor from falling stunned to the ground at the hands of a Slytherin.

"Expelliarmus," Remus shouted. The Slytherin's wand flew out of his hand before he had proper time to react to Myra and Remus' appearance.

Trusting Remus to handle the Slytherin, Myra ran over to the fallen Gryffindor and revived her and helped her up. It was a fourth year, named Jolie King.

"What are you going around Stunning people for, Snape?" Remus asked, twirling Severus Snape's wand with his fingers. The Slytherin was stuck between Myra and Remus, his back to Myra.

"Why do you care, Lupin?" There was a slight twist to the way he pronounced Remus' last name, making it almost sound as if it rhymed with 'lycan'.

As Myra was standing with one arm around King's shoulders, she saw Remus' eyes narrow. "I have common sense, unlike some."

"That's not the only thing you have, you filthy-"

"You really dare turn your back to two Gryffindors, Snape?" Myra interrupted him, not wanting to hear what Snape had intended to call Remus.

The Slytherin snapped around, as if he had forgotten all about the girl he had attacked and the girl who came to stop him.

"No matter how you turn you have a Gryffindor free to attack you from behind. I thought Slytherins were all about their own survival no matter the cost."

"Shut up, you little slut!"

Myra laughed. "Oh, that was nice of you!"

"Thirty points from Slytherin," Remus said calmly.

Snape snapped around again. "How dare you take points from me?" He made to unsheathe his wand, but then remembered that Remus had it. Snape lunged forward to take it.

"Protego," Myra said. Remus seemed slightly surprised at Snape's advance, but breathed out when Snape ran into an invisible barrier. "You're getting detention. With, let's see..." Myra pretended to think hard. "Professor McGonagall."

"Now, I'll give you back your wand, Snivellus, and then you will walk calmly back down to your dungeons, and you will not cast anything on anyone. There are two more prefects out, and they have already been alerted to your behaviour tonight." Remus' eyes made a split second move to Myra, who then discreetly waved her wand in the air and sent a message to Mary MacDonald and Michael Baddock. Then she let the protective bubble around Remus dissolve, and Remus cautiously held out the Slytherin's wand.

Snape gritted his teeth, walked briskly over to Remus, forcefully grabbed his wand and stomped away.

"Thank you," Jolie King said breathlessly when Snape was out of sight.

"What made him attack you?" Myra asked. Just because Snape had done something wrong, didn't mean the young Gryffindor hadn't.

"I know I'm out after curfew," she answered. "I've been with my best friend in Ravenclaw Tower and we lost track of time, and I was on my way back when he came out from nowhere. He startled me and I lost my bag and everything fell out. I was picking it up, asking if he could help me. But he just stood by and watched. When I was done, I said 'thanks', and that was when he stunned me."

"Five points from Gryffindor since you were out after hours, then," Remus said.

"I deserve that. I'll go straight up to the tower and go to bed. I promise."

"Good." Remus and Myra smiled as Jolie King left.

"Snivellus?" Myra asked when the girl had left. "I've heard him being called that before, but I can't get over how fitting it sounds."

Remus actually laughed. "Yes, it is fitting isn't it? A bit slimy, a bit sneaky, and a bit disgusting. James was the one who came up with it actually, back in fourth year. He hates Snape more than any of us does. Guess it's because he used to be friends with Lily."

"Yeah, how is that going? Lily and James being Head Boy and Girl together?"

They began walking again.

"I don't know. James rarely talks about what goes on in those meetings the two have, alone, and with Dumbledore. But... Lily hasn't killed him yet, so that's something, I suppose."

The rest of the evening went by in a much lighter fashion than before the Snape incident. Myra went to bed quite happy that night. Tired, but happy.

...

As the week went on Myra thought about the full moon that was approaching in a couple of week's time. She knew Remus would disappear to 'visit his sick aunt', and she knew she had to talk to him about it.

While things went well between them during patrols, it was a slightly different story the rest of the time. Though Remus didn't outright ignore and avoid her like before summer, he certainly didn't seek her out. Getting him alone so they could talk was impossible. The only solution she saw was during the upcoming patrol. Hestia understood that Myra had something planned, and wanted to know what trouble she would be getting into this time. Feeling slightly guilty, Myra said that she would not get into trouble; she was just planning to chat to Remus about the thing she wasn't allowed to talk about.

Tuesday evening arrived. It was now exactly one week left until the full. She wanted to make sure that he didn't have to lie to her about it anymore, and that she would be very understanding as to why he couldn't patrol with her. No matter what Sirius said about waiting for Remus to open up; Myra had to tell him. While she was naturally curious, with a need to know everything, she also sometimes had the need for others to know things. And Remus had to know that she was fine with this.

"Remus," she said suddenly on the fifth floor, on their way back to the common room after the patrol. "I need to talk to you about something." She had stopped and looked at him as he turned around slowly.

"What about?" he asked, sounding unsure for the first time that night.

Myra took a deep breath. "About... next Tuesday?" Her answer sounded almost like a question.

"What about next Tuesday?" Myra practically saw Remus shutting down in front of her, all the progress they had made the last few weeks flying right out the window.

"Maybe we should go somewhere where we won't be overheard," she suggested and looked around the hall. There was an empty classroom down to the left; they had chased a third year Ravenclaw out of there an hour before. "In there?" she asked and pointed.

"Alright," Remus answered and hesitantly followed her. Somehow Myra had thought he would have come up with some silly excuse not to go inside and talk.

Once inside Myra lost her nerve again. Remus had walked over to the wall of windows and was staring out at the dark autumn sky. Myra waited, unable to decide how to best approach this. Losing his patience, Remus turned around with a stony face.

"It's getting pretty late. Was there something you wanted to talk about or can we go back to the tower?"

"There is something I want to talk about, I just... I don't know how." She paused, closed her eyes for two seconds and began, sink or swim. "You'll be gone next Tuesday, won't you? To," Myra made quote marks with her fingers, "'to visit your sick aunt'. Am I right?"

Remus nodded slowly.

"But you know that I know-" She stopped. "Can you make sure this room is properly silenced and locked?"

He nodded. He drew his wand, cast a few spells, and put it away again. Myra could have done it herself, but this way he could make the precautions he felt comfortable with.

"But you know, that I know that... that you won't really be going to visit your sick aunt, right?"

Remus didn't do anything for several long seconds, just stared at her. Then he nodded even slower than before.

"And you also know that I know what really happens on the upcoming Tuesday night?"

Another slow nod.

"Is it because you know that I know that you have been avoiding me a bit lately?" Myra was mortified to hear something horribly sad entering her voice as she said that, but it was already said.

Nod. Didn't he know any other way to communicate all of a sudden?

"First of all I want you to know that there is no point in avoiding me, Remus." Myra's courage began coming back when he showed no sign of running away. "What you are or what you're not makes no difference to me."

She let that sink in before continuing. "I am still your friend, still on your side, no matter what. I have not told anyone about what I know. Professor Dumbledore talked to me about the significance of your safety, and I agree with him, it's very important. And your friends have also made it crystal clear to me that if I so much as bend a hair on your head in the wrong direction, I'm going to regret the day I was born. Well," she hurried to add, "they didn't say it quite like that. The general meaning was quite clear, though."

Myra took a few more deep breaths before she finished what she wanted to say. "I just want you to know that you don't have to lie to me about what happens next Tuesday evening, or any evening it occurs after that. And if there is anything, anything, I can do to make it easier for you, please let me know."

After she had said what she wanted, she felt emotionally exhausted. She staggered backwards to the nearest wall, leant on it and sank down to the floor.

Remus stood in the exact same position for several long minutes before Myra couldn't stand any more silence.

"Say something, Remus. Please..." she pleaded.

"I-I don't know what to say." His voice was raspy, as if he hadn't used it in a long time.

"Saying that you won't avoid me anymore and that things between us can go back to the way they were before the summer holidays. It would be great if we could go back to that, but I understand if you don't want to be friends with me, I really do. But I want us to be friends." Myra felt pathetic sitting there on the floor, practically begging him to be friends with her.

He began walking back and forth in front of the windows, arms crossed protectively over his chest, dark robes twisting behind him every time he turned. Myra had to close her eyes, she felt dizzy watching him walk like that.

Suddenly the sound of his footsteps stopped and Myra opened her eyes again. He was looking straight into her eyes, not wavering. "First of all, I need you to confirm something for me," he began. "You have been talking a lot about next Tuesday. But you haven't actually said what happens on Tuesday evening. I need to hear you say it, so I know that you fully understand it. What is going to happen on Tuesday evening and what does that have to do with me?"

Myra blinked a couple of times. Didn't he know that she knew after all? Why did he need her to say it?

Did it really matter?

"There is a full moon next Tuesday evening. And because you are inflicted with lycanthropy, you will change into a werewolf when the moon rises."

Remus' face twitched when she said 'lycanthropy' and 'werewolf'. If he didn't like hearing it, why did he make her say it?

"Anything else?" he asked.

"Anything else? No, nothing else."

"Oh, there's one more thing, a huge thing," he said bitterly, raising his voice slightly. "I turn into a monster that can kill anyone in this school if given the opportunity!"

"But you won't be given the opportunity, will you! Or we'd all have been dead already."

"You never know what might happen."

Myra ignored his pessimistic comments. "You never know what might happen if you get out of bed in the morning either. Someone might drop an anvil on your head. Someone might curse you when you turn a corner. I've said what you needed to hear me say. Now what? Are we still friends?"

He stared at her. Myra stared right back at him, until her eyes began stinging and she had to look away.

"Yes, we're still friends."

She snapped her head back up. "We are?" She couldn't believe it.

"Yes," he confirmed quietly.

A huge smile of relief and delight spread across Myra's face.

"Why are you smiling so much?" Remus asked.

"You said we are still friends."

"And that makes you this happy?"

Now it was Myra's turn to nod; only she did it a lot more enthusiastically than he'd done earlier. Remus couldn't help it, a small smile crossed his face too, a smile that grew and grew until it spanned from ear to ear.

...

It was very late when Myra and Remus came back to Gryffindor Tower. Only Ashley was still in the common room, probably only having come back herself. Must be nice to date a prefect that knew how to avoid anyone on duty.

"Why are you so late?" she asked them.

"No particular reason," Myra answered. "Good night, Remus."

"Good night, Myra."

Remus went up to the boys' dorm and Myra began climbing the stairs to the girls' dorm. Ashley came hurrying after her.

"Why are you so late?" she repeated.

"We were talking," Myra answered, stifling a yawn.

"But... You look happy?"

"Should I have been sad?" Myra opened the door to their room. Hestia and Anna were still up, playing a game of Exploding Snap on Anna's bed.

"No, but... You look happy."

"You do look happy," Hestia said. "Why does she look so happy?"

"I don't know," Ashley said. "I was sitting down in the common room, minding my own business when she and Remus comes walking in through the portrait hole. Remus didn't look like he had just swallowed a stone, and Myra looked like every weekend had been made Christmas."

"Oh oh oh oh oh!" Anna jumped up and down where she sat in time with each sound she made. "I know, I know! They snogged! Or better yet, shagged! You are glowing a little bit! As if you've just been shagged!"

"Oh, come on!" Myra complained. "Not everything is about snogging or shagging!"

"What happened then?" Hestia asked, not noticing one of the cards in front of her starting to vibrate dangerously.

Myra considered her answer, and decided to go with a very simple one. "We stopped to talk." She shrugged as if it wasn't a big deal, when on the inside she was shouting and screaming and jumping with joy. The future looked exceptionally bright.

Before they could ask any more questions, she went into the bathroom. Starting to brush her teeth, here came the sound of a small explosion from the other side of the door, followed by a pained cry from Hestia. Her card had exploded, singing her fingertips.

When she was done, Myra, still grinning, started to get ready for bed.

"She's still smiling," Ashley said amazed.

"Talk to us, Myra," Anna pleaded.

"Remus and I are back to being friends, like we were before the summer. That's all," she gave in. "I'm tired, I'm going to bed, so no more questions. Night!" Myra changed into her pyjamas, climbed into the four-poster and under the covers, then closed her eyes. She did not draw the curtains, not wanting to make the girls think she didn't want to talk to them.

"Myra," they nagged. But she slowly started breathing deeper and louder, as if she was asleep.

She knew it wasn't fair to act like this with them, but it was difficult because she couldn't say anything about Remus' secret. And she certainly didn't feel ready to say anything about the feelings that were growing inside of her. Soon, she promised herself, maybe she'd tell Hestia. The other two would have to wait a while longer.




Author Notes

I'm sorry this has taken longer than planned. But now it's here, and I hope it was worth the wait!

Two months until NaNoWriMo! Thank Merlin I'll be castrating my kittens around that time, hopefully they will be calm enough so I can focus on writing in November...

The next chapter will most likely take three weeks before it's out, so expect that around the weekend of 21-23. of September. Maybe a few days before, maybe a few days after, seeing as I'm really going away that weekend. Please review if you have anything to say!

Coming: Chapter 19 – Curiosity Nearly Killed the Cat (Title not set in stone)
Myra dared to take a few steps away from the three of them while holding onto her left arm, only to back into something solid that grabbed her around the waist, forcing the arm holding her wand to stay down, and covered her mouth, muffling her scream of terror.


Chapter 19: Curiosity Nearly Killed the Cat
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Chapter 19
Curiosity Nearly Killed the Cat


Image coming soon!


Now that Myra knew about Remus – knew the reason behind his illness and disappearances – there was something that made her more perceptive about the changes he underwent near the full moon. Either he was more open around her, or her finding out had pulled back a veil. Along with very flu-like symptoms, he could snap at the smallest of things. Only at the things his friends did, though. He managed to grit his teeth and bite down on whatever he wanted to spew around everyone else. Sometimes he had a sharp tone with Myra, but she could see the regret in his eyes almost instantly afterwards. She always let it slide but she worried about him. He didn't seem to want to take care of himself when he was like this.

The changes in Remus were the least of her troubles, though. The bigger worry was for the changes she saw in herself. Myra realised one evening when she found herself staring in his direction – there was something about him that stirred something inside her, deep inside her. His rougher than normal voice? His watchful eyes? Just him in general? She could hardly keep her eyes off him, she wanted nothing more than to be near him. It reminded her of how she had been while under the influence of the Fertility Potion, though she managed to control herself now. But even that was hard when Remus would catch her looking. He got this look in his eyes that she had no idea what meant, but it pulled at something inside her. She couldn't help but wonder if he would affect her in the same way as, well... as a wolf...

After watching these changes in Remus for the past week Myra was getting desperate to both be with him and to help him in some way. Any way. Instead, he ended up helping her, as usual. The day before the full moon, during their shared free period, he was supposed to be helping her with Defence Against the Dark Arts. They started out well, but soon they did more talking than studying. The subject of the next day's patrol came up.

"It's such a weight off my shoulders that James and Lily are our Head Boy and Girl. I don't have to do anything anymore. They just write whatever works in the reports and find replacements for our patrol." He sighed with a smile, and sank deeper into the couch.

Myra smiled. The common room was empty except for them. She sat sideways on the couch, facing him. She wanted nothing more than to put her arms around him, but she didn't even dare put her hand on his shoulder in comfort, for fear of losing control of herself. "I'm glad," she said. "If there is anything I can do to help too, just let me know. I would do anything to help." She tried not to put too much weight on 'anything', but of course she really meant she would do absolutely anything for him.

A light of some kind flashed in his eyes, and he lifted his hand, looking like he was about to touch her, but instead he let it fall to his lap. He didn't reply to her statement. "It's alright, though. I don't have to worry about the Head Boy and Girl getting suspicious anymore," he said quietly.

"How long has Lily known?" Myra asked carefully.

"Two years. I blame James for her finding out. He always draw her attention towards us. But I'm thankful for it." He tiredly mumbled the last part.

"Why is that?"

"She helps me catch up on the subjects I miss when I'm gone. She copies her notes and her homework, and helps explain it to me if I need it. James or Peter or Sirius never did that. Well, they did. But the difference in quality is miles apart." He finished with a lazy smile.

Myra had to smile too. She felt a sort of relief inside herself now that she had gotten an explanation to why Lily had secret and whispered conversations with him when he came back from the full moons. While it looked awfully cosy and intimate, it was really about school.

Too soon the bell rang, bringing Myra back to reality. The thunder of hundreds of students heading for dinner sounded below them.

Remus straightened up and looked at the school books and parchments lying around them. "We didn't finish your homework!"

"Don't worry about it, Remus. You can barely sit straight. I can ask Hestia to explain the chapter to me before bed tonight. Your health is more important."

When he didn't even protest to that last sentence, Myra definitely knew he was not well.

"Why don't you go up to your dorm, and I can have your friends bring dinner for you?"

"No no, that's not necessary. I'm not that ill."

Sure sure, Myra thought as he stood and closed his eyes and swayed for a second.

"Remus, please. Go upstairs, and I'll make sure you get some dinner up there." She had to put a hand on him now, to keep him from going anywhere and to be within reach should he fall down. The heat of his fever nearly burned her hand, but it didn't faze her. "Please."

He slowly opened his eyes and gazed at her. "Okay," he agreed meekly.

She sighed of relief.

He began collecting his things, but Myra beat him to it and put the parchments, books, ink and quills into his bag. She handed it to him. "Can you get upstairs alright?"

"I think so. Thanks, Myra. Really... Thanks."

Myra nearly choked at the tiredness and emotion in his voice. She only nodded in response.

"See you later." Remus began walking upstairs, and Myra stood watching him until he had climbed too high for her to see, then she waited until she heard the door close.

It was horrible seeing him like this. It made no sense at all, that this allegedly flu-sick boy would turn into a werewolf in less than a day. How could he be so ill only to become so strong for one night? She couldn't really believe it until she could see it.

Nearly having reached the Great Hall, Myra stopped abruptly. She had to see it with her own eyes, Remus as the wolf. Tomorrow after patrol would be a great opportunity. But it was crazy. So she had to be careful no one would know what she planned. She had to be exceptionally careful around Hestia. That girl always knew when Myra was up to something.

Myra took a few moments to let the plan fully form in her head, then she pushed it to the back of her mind and collected herself before entering the Great Hall.

...

To Myra's delight, Lily had made arrangements to have Tara Thompson take Remus' place that evening. Tara was great fun to be around, and Myra was sure her animated chattering and bubbly personality would be enough to stop her from thinking about whatever was going on outside, at least for a while. She managed to make it through the entire patrol without once thinking about her plan. Once they were done, Tara said goodnight and departed for the Hufflepuff dungeons, while Myra pretended to head towards the seventh floor.

Instead, Myra went no further than the sixth floor; where she had hidden a warm cloak in an unused office. Being a prefect and all, Myra couldn't really get into trouble for walking the castle at night. Even so, she tried to be quiet to avoid capture by the caretaker or his cat, moving from shadow to shadow as quickly as she could tiptoe. She made it down three flights of stairs without incident, but then something made her freeze. Every hair on her body stood on end. The creatures in the Shrieking Shack were at it again, howling and screaming and crying so loud it felt like her bones erupted in goose bumps.

"No no no, not tonight," Myra hissed to herself. She contemplated going back up to Gryffindor Tower, to the safety of her dorm. It was the thought of Remus being out there that wouldn't let her. Gritting her and setting her shoulders, Myra continued her creeping down to the Entrance Hall before hesitating again. Now she had to actually open the doors and step outside. Out there somewhere was her greatest fear. She was about to go outside, where she could run into an out of control werewolf – and yet it was the ghosts that really couldn't hurt her she was afraid of. The ghosts that were said to never leave the Shrieking Shack.

Myra put Remus' face in her mind's eye, forced herself the rest of the way to open the door and stand outside. Moonlight flooded the grounds, and for a moment she stood there, reluctant to close the door behind her and seal her escape route back inside.

"Great Godric, help me now," she muttered, and pushed the doors shut. They made a small boom when they closed, making Myra cringe and momentarily forget all about Remus and the shrieking ghosts. All she thought about was whether someone inside had heard that bang or not. She stood there listening intently for footsteps from the inside. Not a single sound could be heard, except for another sudden pained howl in the far distance. It reminded Myra of why she was out there.

Her greatest fear. No, wait, that wasn't it. Remus. She wanted to see Remus. She needed to see him as the wolf.

"They never leave the Shrieking Shack," Myra whispered as a mantra as she slowly walked across the scantly lit courtyard, over the bridge and onto the grounds, her gaze fixed firmly on a spot in the outskirts of the Forbidden Forest. She didn't dare cast a Lumos for fear that someone from the castle would see her. Thankfully the full moon lit up the ground just enough for her to avoid tripping. She wasn't entirely sure that the forest was where Remus went to transform, but that was the direction Sirius, James and Peter had been heading the day she had followed them. She couldn't think of anywhere else he could go. Leaving him in the castle seemed too risky, even if he was secured with physical locks and powerful charms.

The ghosts shrieked again, making Myra stop short. She had never been this close to them before, and certainly not alone. And she was only going to get closer. Gritting her teeth, she forced her right leg to move in front of the left and was on her way again in what felt like a sea of syrup, ghosts howling depressingly in the distance. In time, Myra must have made it to the edge of the Forbidden Forest, because the grounds around her started to darken. The moonlight didn't quite filter all the way down to the mossy ground. She ran through every defensive spell she could remember, as she lit her wand and took the first step into the break of trees, feeling some excitement through the thrilling fear. If the ghosts hadn't come out to maul her yet, then surely they never would. Now all she had to do was find Remus, if he was out there.

The deeper she went, the darker it got. Every sound was muffled by the density of the trees. It felt like she went on forever, and she met no other living creature save for a few insects that climbed at her legs whenever she stopped to listen for sounds. She could have been walking through the forest back home – peaceful, quiet –

Then she heard a twig break behind her. She snapped around.

She turned and saw a huge beast, its shoulders easily as high as her waist, long light brown fur that was dirty and tangled. Yellow eyes were burning with viciousness, and a surprisingly long, tufted tail swung threateningly back and forth. Its paws were so large they could easily crush a cat with one 'wrong' step, claws sticking out ready to slice skin.

"Remus?" Myra asked tentatively.

It answered with a deep growl.

She looked into its eyes, thinking maybe that if they had been a bit darker, and kinder, they would be exactly like Remus'.

The werewolf took a few steps forward, flashing sharp, dirty teeth and growling again, its breath smelling of rotting flesh. It held its head lower than the rest of the body, leaning forward slightly as it advanced, menacing and ready to pounce. Myra automatically stepped backwards, but then the wolf snapped its jaws and began moving to the side. She turned too, careful to always keep it in front of her, her wand at the ready. It circled her, gobs of drool falling to the forest floor, circling closer and closer and closer.

Suddenly the forest seemed very noisy – breaking twigs, rustling – but Myra didn't dare take her eyes off the werewolf. After all, no other animal in the forest could be more dangerous than it. The wolf also heard the sounds, snapping its head from side to side, snarling angrily at the possible interruption of getting a late night snack. It didn't take its eyes off its prey for too long though. It focused intently on Myra. Then, it lunged.

It felt as if everything had suddenly slipped into slow motion. Myra lifted her arms u in a futile attempt to protect herself, the wolf flying through the air, its slavering jaws wide. It was nearly upon her when suddenly a huge stag, not unlike the one who almost attacked her several months ago, and a black dog almost as big as the werewolf itself jumped in from the side. The stag knocked the werewolf away, catching it in the side with its massive antlers.

The werewolf tried to lurch forward and almost crashed into the two other animals, but stopped with amazing agility when the dog barked angrily, and the stag bowed as if to charge again. The drove the wolf back a few inches, it tried to sidestep around them only to be cut off again.

Pain was arching through Myra's left arm. One of the wolf's claws had ripped through her robes when it had been shoved away. She could feel blood seeping into the cloth, and it felt like her skin was on fire. She stumbled backwards, holding her injured arm to her chest, only to back into something solid that grabbed her around the waist. It covered her mouth when she tried to scream.

"Shh," the person behind her hissed into her ear. "Calm down, don't struggle! I'm taking you away from here!"

Myra could not believe her ears. "Peter Pettigrew?"

He held her hard against him, so hard it was going to leave bruises. Slowly, he backed her away from the three animals. The stag and the dog were busy keeping the werewolf at bay, and it was still putting up quite the fight. It bit into the dog's shoulders, making it yelp. The stag retaliated by using its antlers to pin the werewolf against the forest floor.

In spite of the threat the werewolf was on her own life and how close it had come to killing her just seconds ago, she couldn't help but whimper in sympathy when the animal whined in pain. After all, Remus was somewhere inside that furry body. Her legs stopped moving, but whoever held her didn't. They dragged her on until she got her feet working again.

Once the two were far enough away, the grip around her middle loosened. Myra was finally able to turn around. It was Peter. She was about to ask him what he was doing out here, when he started running, forcefully dragging her along by her injured arm.

"Come on! Dammit!" he hissed at her.

Myra was gasping for breath, struggling not to trip on every rock and tree trunk and pulling enough air into her lungs to stop her from collapsing. She gripped her wand as tight as she could, afraid that she'd drop it, as she tried to ignore the burning pain of the injured arm which Peter yanked whenever she stumbled. They kept running until they were far past the edge of the forest, all the way up by the covered bridge leading to the courtyard. There, he finally let her go, and Myra fell onto all fours, feeling incredibly nauseous, unused to such extreme exertion.

"What the bloody hell were you doing out there?!" Peter yelled.

"I could" heave "ask" heave "you the" heave "same" heave "thing!"

"I asked first!" For a boy that was usually very quiet and seemed to agree with everyone, he was surprisingly forceful now.

Myra swallowed a few times, then sat up, clutching her arm. She closed her eyes. "I was curious."

"Curious about what it would be like to die?"

She snapped her eyes open, glaring at Peter.

"Of course not!" She was still a bit out of breath, and mad that Peter seemed to recover so quickly. "Curious about the werewolf."

"And so you sneaked out in the middle of the night and hoped to meet it for a spot of tea and biscuits?!"

"Would you stop that!"

"Stop what?"

"Ridiculing me!"

"I'm not ridiculing you, I'm trying to make you realise how bloody stupid you are."

Myra stood up so she could be at eye level with Peter, but she had unconsciously tried to use her arms for support, and cried out in pain. She stumbled a bit; feeling like someone had cast the Jelly-Legs Jinx at her and looked down at the injury for the first time.

"Did he bite you?" Peter asked, the anger gone from his voice.

Myra carefully pulled the broken robe aside. The claws had made a clean cut through her cardigan and shirt and into the skin. But thankfully it didn't look too deep.

"Did he bite you?" Peter repeated desperately.

Myra shoved her arm into his face. "No, he didn't bite me. He only scratched me when he was pushed away."

Peter grabbed her arm and carefully inspected the scratch. Myra wasn't worried. A wolf could scratch and maim you all it liked with its paws, but it had to actually bite you for you to be inflicted with lycanthropy. The fact that it hurt more than any other scratch she'd gotten throughout her life did worry her a bit, but she decided to give it a few days. Hopefully, no one would find out. She had not been turned, and that was the most important thing.

"My arm is fine. I'll repair the clothes and clean it later. I don't even think it'll scar," Myra then said and pulled her arm back. Then she remembered what they had been arguing about seconds ago. "Why the hell were you out there?"

"That is none of your business."

"The hell it is! You didn't follow me out there. I made sure no one followed me. So you had to have been there before I got there. Did you think you would meet the werewolf for a spot of tea and biscuits?"

"What I was doing there is none of your business."

"I think I should know the agenda of the guy who just saved my life."

"You should just be bloody thankful that I did save your life and fucking leave it at that! Now go inside, clean that wound and... and go to bed!"

"No! I know you and Sirius and James have snuck out in a suspicious manner at least two times before a full moon, and only appeared again late the next day looking like you all had hangovers. Why? Why can you hang out in the Forbidden Forest when I can't?"

"We do not hang out in the Forbidden Forest! We never have."

Myra glared at him. "Well, you're doing something in there, and I want to know what!"

An angry and pained howl came from the distance.

"Oh Merlin," Myra moaned. She had forgotten all about the ghosts in the Shrieking Shack.

Peter looked worriedly at her. "What's wrong with you? You look like you've seen a Dementor."

"The ghosts in the Shrieking Shack. I... don't really... they're my greatest fear. My Boggart," she whispered, staring into the distance, in direction of the Shack.

Peter burst out laughing. Myra gaped at his insensitive behaviour. "What the hell is wrong with you?! You don't laugh at someone's greatest fear!"

He struggled a bit with composing himself long enough to give an answer. "It's not ghosts," he wheezed, clutching his stomach.

"Yes, it is! They've been there for ages! Haunting and causing fear. Dumbledore himself has confirmed it!"

"He's lying." Peter had managed to calm himself, though his lips still twitched some.

"Why would he lie about that?"

"Because it's Remus making the sounds. He's the one in the Shrieking Shack, he's the one making all that noise. Dumbledore just backed up the stories people made up, to protect Remus."

"But... But the ghosts, they've been there for ages, longer than Remus has been alive."

"No, they haven't. People just think they have been. Incredible what a few stupid stories can do."

"But, the wailing, it's not only during the full moons. They're only worse then!"

Peter looked pointedly at her. "Are you sure?"

Myra opened and closed her mouth, suddenly not so certain anymore. She thought back. Had she really heard any sounds from the Shack when there wasn't a full moon? The last time she remembered to have heard them was during the last full moon, before the summer holidays.

"Oh, Remus," she sighed and fell down into a sitting position again. "Poor soul. Is it really just him?"

"It's really just him. And this is one more thing you can't tell anyone, you understand?"

Myra nodded sadly. "How can one werewolf, one boy, scream with so much pain?"

Peter sat down next to her. "I don't know if I should tell you this or not. The others would probably tell me not to, but... I will anyway. First off, a transformation is not exactly pleasant, whether it's into a werewolf or back into a human. Secondly, Remus is out for blood when he's a wolf. He needs raw flesh and meat, but since he can't get it, he... he goes after himself. That's why he's screaming so much, and... That's where all the scars come from."

"Oh, Merlin." Myra's voice was thick with unshed tears.

Peter suddenly stood up. "You should go back to the Tower."

Myra nodded slowly and stood up too.

"You do promise to keep everything about tonight secret, right? You know what will happen if you don't."

"I won't tell anyone. No one even knows I went out here."

"Good. Now, just go..."

She stepped onto the bridge, but turned around when he didn't follow. "Aren't you coming?"

He shook his head. "I need to go back out there."

"But how can you do that?!"

"I have my ways."

Myra frowned.

"I'll be okay. I promise on Remus' life."

Myra sighed and continued on the bridge. Halfway across she turned around and saw Peter still standing there, watching her. A few more steps later she turned again, but now he was gone. She ran back to the end of the bridge and looked frantically around, but he was nowhere to be seen.

"Those bloody Marauders," she muttered and went back into the castle, taking her time to help calm herself down. She needed her cool if she was to go back to the Tower unseen. But before she went on, she took a few moments to cast Reparo on her clothes, in case she met someone.

She made it back to the Tower with very little fuss, save for a close call with Peeves on the fourth floor. The Fat Lady had not been happy to be woken up, but grudgingly swung aside when Myra gave her the correct password.

The common room was dark. Only a very faint glow was coming from the hearth.

"Myra?" a sleepy voice came from a dark corner.

Myra squealed in surprise. "Hestia?" She lit her wand and the light fell on her best friend, sprawled across a couch, rubbing sleep out of her eyes.

"Where have you been?" Hestia sat up.

"I've been on patrol," Myra lied. Well, it was the truth. It was just a while since it was really true.

"This long? It's two thirty in the morning. MacDonald came back ages ago."

"I've- I've been wandering the castle."

Hestia looked at her in an 'I'm-not-stupid'-way.

Myra sat down next to her. "Why are you down here and not in bed?"

"I was in bed, but I was worried since you hadn't come back. I came down here to wait, and I guess I fell asleep. After all, it's been two hours. Where were you?"

"I-" Myra opened and closed her mouth several times. "I can't tell you," she said sadly.

"You can't tell me?"

She shook her head.

"Why?"

Myra just shook her head again, looking down at the carpeted floor.

"Does it have something to do with Remus?"

Myra twitched involuntarily at Remus' name.

"It does." Hestia nodded, and didn't speak for several long seconds. "I'm worried, Myra. All the things we discussed about him last year? How curious you were to find out why he lied, and why he was in such bad shape in the hospital wing? I still shudder when I think about how he looked when we sneaked up there. Then suddenly you give up on trying to find out, saying you've learned the truth, but aren't allowed to tell. Sirius, James and Peter keep giving you these looks ever since, like they're monitoring you or something. And then you don't come back after patrol today! You smell like you've been outside, Myra. What did you do?"

"Hestia, please, I'm not allowed to say anything!"

Hestia looked pleadingly at her best friend.

"I hate this, Hestia, not being able to tell you! But there is too much resting on my silence. I think this is one thing I would swear on Marie's life; mum's and dad's too."

"It's that serious."

"Yes, it is! It's really for the best of the entire student population. But... it's nothing to worry about. Nothing dangerous." Not so much, anyway, she thought to herself, unconsciously letting the fingers on her right hand ghost over the scratch and the repaired fabric on her left arm. "Hestia, I can't tell you what I know. But there's nothing wrong with finding out on your own, as long as you promise not to tell what you find out!"

"Hmm..." Hestia seemed to be thinking it over. Myra crossed her fingers behind her back, hoping it'd be enough. "Alright, I guess. I'm starting to get an idea of how it is to be you. The curious you." A small smile graced Hestia's lips.

Myra smiled too, but it quickly turned into a yawn. "I'm going to bed." She stood up and walked up to their dorm, Hestia following.

They did their nightly routine as quietly as possible, Myra secretly cleaning out the scratch while in the lavatory. It still burned a bit.

Before she laid down on the bed, she called Hestia over. "I really want you to know what I know, Hestia, so please, try your hardest to figure it out. But remember. When you do find out... you can't tell anyone."

"I will, and I promise. Goodnight, Myra."

"Goodnight, Hestia."




Author Notes

Once again, very very sorry this has taken so very long! But life's been a bitch, for both me and my betas. For me, my kittens are really making things difficult for me. They need to be monitored so they don't kill the tv or jump on things they're not allowed on, and when they rest they usually demand to be on top of me. One in my lap and one as close to my face as she can get. At the beginning of November, I'm having them neutered and then hopefully after New Years I can get back to a nice schedule. I'm about to kill off two of my four jobs as well. That should help. So, I doubt I'll win NaNo this year. I'm participating, but I won't go for the win. If things work out, sure! But I'm hoping for 25.000 words...

Anyway. Chapter 19 is finally here! Shining moment for Peter, who is majorly miswritten in a lot of stories. I'm trying to write him properly, so hopefully this was okay. Next chapter should be out around mid-November. A long time, I know. But I have so much on my plate right now, I don't have time to write. The less I write, the less chapters I have ahead of schedule. The more I post, the less chapters I have ahead of schedule, again. I like to be many chapter ahead. Means generally less waiting for you guys...

Please review if you have anything to say!

Coming: Chapter 20 – Regret and Ambush

Anna came back and the trio began walking again. Hestia was quiet; it looked like she was thinking hard, while Anna was looking through some notes her Arithmancy partner had given her. Which is why they were slow to react when Sirius, James and Peter came walking by, from one class to another.


Chapter 20: Regret and Ambush
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Chapter 20
Regret and Ambush


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It was very hard getting up the morning after her adventures in the forest. Myra was in bed by three, but didn't fall asleep until four and she didn't sleep well. Hestia hadn't gone to bed until three either, but she'd slept better on the common room couch; at least she was significantly more awake and alert.

Ashley and Anna had also noticed that Myra hadn't gotten back until early that morning. "Just didn't get much sleep," she told them when she woke up with bloodshot eyes and shivering despite the autumn sun blazing through the dormitory window. Myra was being truthful, but they kept asking her all the way down to breakfast. Finally Myra snapped and told them both to shut the hell up.

Thankfully she had two free periods that day; one before and one after lunch. She struggled through Magical Living, begged Hestia to bring her some lunch when they would meet for Transfiguration and went straight up to the dorms to sleep. Her imagination conjuring up a vision of an injured Remus in the hospital wing before she went under.

Half an hour before Transfiguration, her alarm went off. It was even harder waking up now than it had been that morning, but she splashed some icy cold water on her face, pinched her cheeks for colour and left for class. On the way down she stopped by the Magical Ethics classroom to wait for Anna and Hestia. She leant against the wall beside the door, listening to the muffled sounds of the lesson inside for several minutes before students began filing out.

"Hestia!" Myra called out when she spotted her friends in the crowd. "Do you have lunch for me?"

"'Hello, Anna.' 'Oh, hello, Myra'," Anna mocked, noticing she hadn't gotten a proper greeting. Myra stuck her tongue out at her.

"Hey, Myra. You look better – good nap?" Hestia commented while she dug into her bag or some slices of toast and an apple.

"I've been pinching my cheeks for the last few minutes, so I better look better." Myra's stomach rumbled the moment she got food in her hands. She had nearly inhaled it before they'd reached the sixth floor, where Anna was stopped by someone she shared Arithmancy with. Hestia and Myra stopped a few steps ahead.

"So. What's up? Any hints for me about what you did last night?" Hestia whispered.

"Not anything I haven't already told you. I can't – You're a lot smarter than me! I'm surprised you didn't see it before I did."

"I'm not that smart-" Hestia began protesting.

"Than me," Myra interrupted her. By then, Anna had returned and the trio began walking again in silence. Hestia looked like she was thinking hard, while Anna was absently flipping through the notes her Arithmancy partner had given her. None of them reacted when Sirius, James and Peter approached them from the opposite direction. Instead of passing by, Sirius grabbed hold of Myra's arm and forcefully dragged her off into an adjacent classroom.

"Ouch!" Myra screamed. "What the hell?" She could just see Hestia and Anna turning around, clearly surprised, when James and Peter followed through the classroom door, closing it behind them. She did not have time to reach for her wand in the struggle, and couldn't be sure if she could have any ways. Her shoulder hurt so bad she could have sworn it was dislocated, and it had all happened so fast. Not that he seemed to care; he didn't even seem to notice she stumbled as he let her go and whipped around, wand in hand, muttering something at the door.

"Myra! Myra!" She could hear Anna and Hestia calling out, banging on the door and rattling the handle. "Open this door immediately! Black! Potter! Pettigrew! Open it now, you bloody eunuchs!"

Myra fumbled for her wand, thinking that she could Stun Sirius – but by now he had turned his attention back on her. "Expelliarmus," he said, and James grabbed the wand when it went flying in the boys' direction. Sirius continued to mutter unintelligibly under his breath.

Despite the pain in her shoulder, Myra wasn't about to just give up. Gritting her teeth, she dashed for the door, only to find that the handle wouldn't so much as budge. "Hestia! Hestia! Use an unlocking charm! Hestia!" Myra began banging on the wood as hard as she could with her good arm, to no avail.

"They won't hear you," James explained calmly, leaning back against a dust-covered chair. "It's soundproofed from the inside."

"Myra!" Hestia shouted from the other side of the door. "I'm getti-" And then it was charmed quiet from that side too.

Myra spun around, glaring at all of them. "What do you want with me? I have a class to go to!"

"What the hell is wrong with you, Kinney?" Sirius suddenly shouted and advanced on her, forcing her back against the door. "Do you have a death wish? Are you trying to kill yourself?" He was so loud it hurt in Myra's ears.

"What are you on about?" she shouted back. Which might have been a mistake. Grabbing hold of her upper arms, he shook, banging her hard enough against the door that tears threatened to spill and her already aching shoulder throbbed.

"What am I talking about? What am I talking about?! I'll tell you what the fuck I'm talking about, you stupid little witch! Last night, that's what I'm talking about! What the hell did you think you were doing, going out in the Forbidden bloody Forest in the middle of the night when you knew perfectly well there was a werewolf loose out there? What the fuck is wrong with you?"

"- Bit forceful there, Padfoot," James started quietly, but Myra interrupted him.

"How the hell do you know where I was last night?! Let go of me, that hurts!" Her voice was thick with pain and suppressed tears.

"You shut up, Prongs!" Sirius barked. He knocked her against the door one more time, and suddenly let go, pacing away from her and looking fixated out the lone window, as if he couldn't bear to be near or look at her any longer. Myra was far from finished, though.

Besides; he had started it.

"You've dislocated my shoulder, Black! Thank you very much." Myra carefully rubbed her shoulder, looking from James and Peter and trying to determine what part they had in this. Neither looked like they quite wanted to meet Myra's glare, but they didn't go at her either. Obviously this was all Sirius.

"How do you even know if I was here or there last night, Black?"

"None of your business," he snapped, turning towards her again. "I know you were out in the Forbidden Forest last night when Remus was running around. What part of Forbidden Forest don't you understand?"

"I understand perfectly well that the Forbidden Forest is forbidden, Black. If you won't tell me how you know if I was there or not, I won't tell you why I was wherever I was!"

"Don't be smart with me, Kinney! There is no point in denying anything!" He advanced on her again. Despite herself, Myra winced, shrinking back against the door in case he tried to grab her again. "You were in the Forbidden Forest last night! Peter took you away from there, talked to you, and saw you walk into the castle again. I KNOW!"

"Fine! So I was in the forest last night!"

"Do you have a death wish?!"

"No-"

"Because if you do, by all means, I'd be happy to help, but don't you dare drag Remus into it!"

"I don't have a death wish!" Myra tried shouting over him, but the words seemed to stick in her throat.

"If you think pulling a stunt like last night wasn't a serious issue, Kinney, then there's a bloody mental ward at St. Mungo's with your name on it!"

"I- I was cu-," Myra began, but stopped herself.

"Curious?" he guessed correctly. "Is that what you tried to say? That you were curious? If you-" He interrupted himself and closed his eyes, grinding his teeth so hard she could hear them click. When he next spoke, he wasn't yelling, but Myra almost wished he was. "If Remus ever finds out that you were out there last night... If he finds out that he was inches away from killing you... What do you think he would do? He'd never forgive himself for as long as – For – It would bloody eat him up inside every day, every hour, every second of his life!"

Myra's eyes widened. That wouldn't happen though. It wasn't like he could remember anything from when he was a werewolf... could he?

Sirius' face twisted in a malicious, triumphant smile when the gravity of what she might have done finally clicked. "You said you were Remus' friend. Certainly, if you really were you'd have noticed how sensitive he is? He carries around all the world's problems on his shoulders, even when they aren't his to carry. You honestly think you can just walk out in the middle of a full moon night. That he wouldn't care about coming within inches of mauling someone, killing someone? If you think just the idea of that happening to anyone wouldn't completely destroy him, then you obviously don't know him at all or just don't give a damn!"

"But he – he doesn't remember what he does on a full moon, right?" she breathed, barely audible, even to herself.

"Sometimes he does, sometimes he doesn't. Depends."

"Does he remember last night?"

"I don't know. We went to visit him, but he hadn't woken up yet. For his sake, I hope he doesn't – but honestly, I don't think you deserve to be so lucky."

Myra literally felt what little colour she had drain from her face. She turned slowly, groping for the door handle, but ended up hitting her bad shoulder against it instead, and she cried out. Out of the corner of her eye, she thought she saw Peter twitch forward, as if to help her, but he slunk back against the same table James was leaning against when Sirius shot him a very nasty look.

...

"Professor!" Hestia ran into the Transfiguration classroom. She had not come across any teachers on her way, so Professor McGonagall was her last chance. "Professor!" She halted in front of the desk of a very surprised Transfiguration teacher.

"Miss Jones. What's the matter?" Professor McGonagall looked instantly worried at Hestia's wild entrance and scared expression, it was not something one usually saw in the dark haired Gryffindor.

"Myra was just pulled into an old classroom by Sirius Black. The door was locked, and I couldn't open it. I screamed at them, but I don't think they heard. I left Anna there to continue trying to get in," Hestia rambled out, her chest heaving painfully at the end; she hadn't taken the time to get her breath back from running.

"Miss Jones," Professor McGonagall said significantly calmer. "Sirius Black took Myra Kinney into an old room and locked the door. Why do you come running in here like it's a matter of life or death, when the two of them will most likely just miss class because of their escapade?"

"No, you don't understand. It was against Myra's will. Sirius Black, James Potter and Peter Pettigrew walked past us, and then Black just grabbed her and pulled her into the room. The two others followed, and then the door was locked," Hestia explained.

The professor looked slightly more alarmed again. "Did you try the Unlocking Charm?"

"Yes, the simple and the advanced, the door would not open. We couldn't hear a sound from inside, and they didn't seem to hear us."

"Where did this happen, Miss Jones?"

"On the fifth floor," Hestia paused to think, in the bewilderment she hadn't noticed the details around her, "I think the statue of Gregory the Smarmy was nearby."

"Mr Longstaff, look after the class. I will be back shortly." McGonagall waved her wand at the blackboard, revealing a list of pages and chapters from the text book and instruction on what to do with those pages. Then she hurried out of the classroom, Hestia close on her tail.

"What's going on?" Ashley asked when Hestia passed. She and Lowell had entered just seconds ago.

"Marauders got Myra locked up."

Their eyes widened and they followed their friend and the girls' Head of House.

...

"You won't tell him, will you?" Myra pleaded. She hadn't thought twice about the consequences of her adventure into the forest. Typical Myra. Where had her conscience, starring Hestia, been?

"We haven't decided yet," Sirius replied simply.

"We haven't?" James questioned.

"We haven't."

Myra gulped, vowing then and there that no matter what happened, she would never act on her curiosity again. She couldn't. Desperation creeping in her voice, she knew that if there was any hope, she would have to convince Sirius, too. "You can't tell him!" She moved slowly away from the door. "I've just managed to get back to being friends with him. I can't lose that!"

"You should have thought of that before you tried to kill yourself!" Sirius shouted, spit showering from his mouth.

"I did not try to kill myself!"

"Only because Peter saved you. You owe him, you know. You owe him your own bloody life!"

"And don't you dare take advantage of that!" Myra knew exactly how a bunch of marauders would use that to their advantage. Especially Sirius.

"Why wouldn't we? It would teach you a lesson!"

"How did you get sorted into Gryffindor, Black? When every inch of your being is so insanely Slytherin?"

She realised that was the wrong thing to say much too late.

Sirius face contorted into an expression unlike anything she had ever seen before. As if in slow motion he raised his wand again, pointed it at Myra and muttered something. Before she had time to dodge or protect herself in any way, the world turned upside down. Her robes and skirt dropped down in front of her face. Her arms fell towards the floor and the dislocated shoulder wrenched downward in such a way she could barely stop from screaming.

"Padfoot," James hissed, accompanied by the wheeze of panic or laughter, she couldn't exactly tell which, from Peter. "Put her down."

"Yes, put me down!"

"The hell I will! She needs to be taught a lesson. Doing that to Moony, comparing me to m- that family and-"

"She did not compare you to your family! She doesn't even know your family! She called you a Slytherin, which is far nicer than comparing you to your family!"

Just then there was a bang from the other side of the door. "Help!" Myra shouted at the top of her lungs. "HELP! IN HERE!"

"She as good as compared me to my family!" Sirius had been angry before – someone you certainly didn't want to mess with. But she'd never actually been frightened of him until that moment.

"HELP! HELP!" Myra shouted again, as the door rattled as if someone was trying to get in.

"Just shut the hell up, Kinney! I'll let you fall head first to the floor. Maybe you'll get your wish and bloody die!"

"Mr Black!" McGonagall screeched, as the door suddenly slammed inwards. "Are you uttering death threats?! Let Miss Kinney down carefully and put away your wand!"

Myra gasped in relief as McGonagall's voice filled the room. It took unnecessarily long for Sirius to turn her around the right way and put her down, and when he did certainly wasn't careful. Barely halfway around, he let her fall hard to the stone floor onto her bad shoulder. She screamed, white stars flashing at the edges of her vision. If it wasn't dislocated before, she was sure it was broken now.

"Myra!" Hestia called out, rushing over. Ashley, Anna, and to Myra's slight surprise, Lowell followed awkwardly behind to help ease Myra onto her feet.

"Don't touch me!" Myra cried. She couldn't hold it in any longer, as tears fell freely down her cheeks. The pain in her arm was enough to make her feel nauseous. "I think it's broken." Hestia pulled her hands away as if she'd been burned.

"What do you think you are doing?!" McGonagall's voice echoed shrilly around the classroom. Even Myra, who wasn't technically in trouble, would have felt sorry if she hadn't been the victim in the situation. No one ever wanted to be on the receiving end of the Deputy Headmistress' fury.

"We had nothing to do with this, Peter and I," James defended.

"Why do I not believe that, Mr Potter? Whatever you did or didn't do does not matter, except that you clearly did nothing to stop it!" The Head of House held out her hand towards the three Marauders and with a hard glare told them to wait, and then walked over to Myra. "Miss Kinney, are you able to explain to me what happened?"

Myra had never felt more useless, lying on the floor crying and clutching one limp arm against her chest. "Yes, but... Do you think you can levitate me up, Professor? My arm hurts so much I can't bear to have anyone..."

McGonagall nodded and proceeded to carefully levitate Myra to her feet. Lowell and her friends made a sort of protective half circle between Myra and the Marauders, while Hestia straightened Myra's robes as carefully as she could. McGonagall raised her eyebrows, waiting for an explanation.

Myra took a few deep breaths to still her tears a bit, and did her best to give a detailed account of the events. "I had spent my two free periods sleeping because I slept so poorly last night. So on my way to your class, Professor, I met up with Hestia and Anna on the sixth floor; Hestia brought me something to eat. We came down the hall out there. Those three walked by, and Black just grabbed me and pulled me in here. I think my right arm got dislocated as he yanked on it. Then he locked the door, disarmed me, and started yelling and pushing me against the door, threatening to kill me. Eventually flipping me upside down and then... then you came. James and Peter didn't tell him to stop, but... they didn't really try to make him... "

"Is this true, Mr Potter, Mr Pettigrew?"

"Yes, Professor," James said quietly.

"Did Mr Black have a reason for treating you this way, Miss Kinney?"

Suddenly, Myra couldn't meet McGonagall's eyes any more, and averted her gaze. "I... I did do something to upset him," she admitted. "But I didn't hurt anyone – I didn't abuse another student!"

"What exactly did you do, Miss Kinney?"

Myra felt everyone's attention, especially the Marauders', shift to her. "I'm sorry, Professor McGonagall, but if I told you that, I'd have to share information that would cause me to break a very important promise I made to several people."

"If it made Mr Black behave in this," she turned to the boy in question, "appalling way," back to Myra, "I am certain it would be perfectly acceptable to break that promise."

Myra hated doing this to her respected Head of House, but Remus' safety was on the line. She said the only thing she thought might make McGonagall let it go. "One of those people is Professor Dumbledore, Professor."

McGonagall blinked several times, clearly taken aback. There was a long pause before she acted.

"Very well." She waved her wand towards the door. "You admit to having done something to aggravate Mr Black, Mr Potter and Mr Pettigrew. Ten points from you for that. Fifteen points from Mr Pettigrew for not interfering, and twenty-five from you, Mr Potter, for the same, but you are the Head Boy and should most definitely have interfered. Mr Black, I will decide exactly how many points you will lose once Madam Pomfrey has made clear the severity of Miss Kinney's injury. Of course, you will also receive detention – another thirty points from each of you for the spells and charms you used on this door, many I am certain only exists in books from our Restricted Section."

"You rang, mam?" The wheezy voice of Mr Filch suddenly came from the door, his watchcat close on his heels.

"Yes, Argus. Mr Black, Mr Potter and Mr Pettigrew have a free period now, so I need you to keep them occupied until classes are over for the day."

"Of course, mam!" The old caretaker perked up, Mrs Norris mewling happily.

"Mr Black, give back Miss Kinney's wand."

James quickly raised his hand. "Uh, I have it here, Professor," he said and held it out. Lowell was closest, so he snatched it from James' hand, brushed it off with his robes and gave it to Myra.

"Thanks," she muttered and did her best to sheath it, but failed. Hestia helped.

"Now give me your wands. I will not have you try anything until I decide exactly what to do with you."

All three boys gaped. But reluctantly Peter and James held out their wands for McGonagall. Sirius wasn't about to obey, but when McGonagall raised her arm to disarm him, he held it out.

"Off you go." McGonagall waved Filch and the Marauders away, securing the three wands in her robe pocket. "I will escort Miss Kinney to the hospital wing, and you four had best get back to class and get started on your readings. Mr Llewellyn will aid Mr Longstaff in looking after the class until I get back."

Ashley, Anna, Hestia and Lowell nodded and headed out the door. "We'll come up to see you after classes if you're being kept there," Hestia promised before they were gone.




Author Notes

Perhaps a couple/few days later than mid-November, but chapter 20 is here! And I'm posting this at work, how awesome am I? Next chapter will most likely be out within a month too. Seeing as I haven't had the opportunity to write a single word for NaNoWriMo, and once again I have a neck inflammation, and soon Carpal Tunnel Syndrome will make it impossible for me to write anything at all unless I get the doctor to refer me to surgery. So I'm keeping the chapters that are already done for as long as I can, and that means one chapter one month.

Please review if you have anything to say!

Coming: Chapter 21 – Dislocated Shoulders and Sickbeds

Remus' chest was slowly going up and down, his breaths coming out slightly louder than normal, like any sleeping person's would. It reassured Myra, because from the looks of everything else, he should be dead. "Please, don't remember, Remus," she mumbled. For several long minutes Myra just sat there watching him sleep, trying to ignore the increasing pounding and prickling in her shoulder.


Chapter 21: Dislocated Shoulders and Sickbeds
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Chapter 21
Dislocated Shoulders and Sickbeds


Image coming soon!


"It's not broken, only dislocated," Madam Pomfrey declared as she stepped back from the bed Myra was sitting on. The matron had cast a series of diagnostic spells, finally casting one spell that included a series of complicated twisting motions, that made a rather disgusting image of the inside of Myra's arm project itself in the air above her head. "I can see it has undergone serious stress. What were you doing before Mr Black... intervened?"

"Nothing out of the ordinary, eating, walking..." Myra tried to think back on the last few days as she answered. "Homework... Nothing out of the ordinary." If her shoulder had been badly injured before, she certainly would have known.

"I see. Well, from what Professor McGonagall has told me, then... I doubt it was dislocated before you fell to the floor. If you're certain you haven't done any strenuous activities lately, then it was Mr Black's treatment that eventually caused the dislocation."

Professor McGonagall stood at the foot of the bed, her arms folded across her chest, lips thin and expression unreadable. "Is it too severe, Poppy? Do you believe you'll be able to put it back in place?"

"Of course. It's just that, the issues with dislocation is that patients have a tendency to re-injure themselves if not careful, or without thorough therapy. This shoulder has gone through a lot today. It was wrenched twice, then fallen upon from a considerable height. That will make it more painful and difficult to correct, since the joint and muscles have taken a beating. I can make it right, though as for the grade of severity... I say it's high. You, Miss Kinney," the nurse turned to Myra, "will have to be extra careful in the future, to avoid dislocating it again. I think I will have to keep Miss Kinney here, at least for the rest of the day."

"Very well," McGonagall muttered, and closed her eyes for a second. "Two hundred points from Mr Sirius Black," she said to no one. Myra thought she should have been devastated by how many points Gryffindor had lost that day, but she couldn't help but feel that Sirius and his friends deserved the hatred they would have to endure because of it. Besides, it was still early in the year; those points could easily be earned back.

"Do you have any extracurricular activities today, Miss Kinney?" McGonagall asked.

"I have Gobstones tonight," Myra answered, suddenly feeling a bit depressed. She could have let out some steam playing that evening. It may not have been a particularly violent or vigorous activity, but the putrid smell and competitiveness was usually helpful in letting out all sorts of stress and frustrations.

"I'll inform Professor Kavanagh. Feel better, Miss Kinney." With that Professor McGonagall left to take care of the rest of her lesson.

Madam Pomfrey got back to working on Myra. Several potions, draughts and salves were summoned and a screen was levitated around the bed. Myra was ordered to take off her cardigan and shirt. She instantly feared for the cut on her other arm, and decided it was enough to just pull off the clothes on half of her upper body. When she was done, Pomfrey just looked at her.

"Do you need help with the rest?" she asked, puzzled, but already reaching out to help remove her top completely.

"Is that necessary?" Myra recoiled from the nurse's touch, stopping herself only when she realised how suspicious that might seem. "It's just the right side that needs help."

"You've never been bashful before, Miss Kinney. What has changed?"

"Hormones?" Myra tried.

Madam Pomfrey clucked her tongue. "That won't do. It will be a much easier procedure if your entire upper body is free of restraint." She began pulling off the rest of Myra's cardigan and shirt, while Myra slumped in resignation.

"What is this?" Madam Pomfrey asked as the scratch was revealed. It looked better than it had last night, but it still hurt.

Looking at the red stripe of skin, Myra thought quickly. "I, uh, tripped during patrol last night. My arm grazed the sword of some armour." She didn't quite dare to meet the nurse' eyes, hoping that just this once the nurse would believe her and not ask any more questions about it.

Eventually Pomfrey spoke. "Very well." She sounded far from convinced. "It looks clean. I don't think it's going to scar, so no need to deal with that." Back to being all business, she focused on the dislocation. "This will work instantaneously to numb some of the pain, but not entirely." The nurse smeared a thick layer of clear salve on and around Myra's shoulder and arm. "Now I want you to relax completely and sit very still as I make the bone rejoin the joint."

Although she had been commanded to, Myra struggled to relax. Still, she took a few deep breaths and imagined herself sitting high up in Hope Woodlands, no one in sight but her, no tourists, no sister or father. Then Pomfrey pointed her wand at the shoulder and suddenly Myra heard a snap and felt pain. Only it wasn't blinding, as she had expected it to be. Instead it was a mild pain, as if she had merely fallen out of bed and hit the floor really hard.

"Drink these as quickly as you can, it will speed up the healing process." Madam Pomfrey held out two phials. Myra did as ordered, sputtering a bit with the first one, but forcing them down and swallowing several times to keep everything down afterwards. Then Madam Pomfrey cleaned away the salve and helped Myra get dressed, before conjuring a sling and gently putting the arm in it. "Now you can just sit back and relax, and don't use your right arm for anything until you get the all clear from me."

"I have a question," Myra said. "If I'm going to dislocate it again, it will have to be if someone yanks hard on it or something like that, right?"

Madam Pomfrey shook her head. "I'm afraid not. Doing everyday things may cause it; you may even dislocate it in your sleep. And if it happens very often, you will need special treatment to repair the damage to the affected bones, muscles and tendons. And that includes Skelegro; I trust you remember what that treatment feels like."

Myra nodded, feeling a bit pale. Back in third year, when she had done out-of-classes flying practice, she had fallen and had been absolutely sure she had broken her arm. Hestia had started Pre-healing that year, and had shown Myra a spell that was said to mend broken bones. Myra had tried it on herself, and it resulted in the loss of bones in one finger and half the bone in her lower arm. Safe to say Myra still had nightmares about that sort of pain.

"Anything else?"

Myra shook her head, but as she did she saw something in the corner of her eye. Turning her head that way she saw the only other occupied bed covered by screens. Since she had left the classroom on the fifth floor, Myra had forgotten about Remus. All the regret and guilt came rushing back, but the feeling most prominent was worry about him. She sat up and made to get out of the bed. "Is that Remus behind there?" she asked.

"There's no one behind there," Madam Pomfrey replied, a little to sternly and quickly.

But Myra stumbled out of bed as quickly and carefully as she could. Pomfrey stepped in front of her, gently taking her by the arms. "Get back into bed, Miss Kinney."

"I can't see him?" Myra asked confused. Sirius, James and Peter always got to visit Remus, but she couldn't?

"See who?" Madam Pomfrey retorted, a little too stiffly to be completely innocent.

Myra raised an eyebrow, but quickly lowered it when she realised how rude she must look. "Remus. I know he's here recovering from the full moon last night."

"Y-you know?" the nurse stuttered clearly taken aback, releasing Myra's arms.

"Yes, I know. I thought you knew that I knew!"

Madam Pomfrey looked suspiciously at Myra again. But before she could say anything, Myra spoke up. "Professor Dumbledore knows. He talked to me about it after I found out, and if you're afraid that I'll say something to someone, he seemed satisfied I wouldn't. I've known for a few months now, and haven't told anyone. I still wouldn't have said anything if Professor Dumbledore hadn't talked to me." That last part might not have been completely true, as Myra would most likely have told Hestia, but that didn't really count.

Myra stood her ground as Madam Pomfrey stared her down.

"James, Sirius and Peter get to see him, they even told me they were up here earlier today. At least I won't be noisy about it."

"Very well. Mr Lupin has not woken up since he came in this morning. It has been a particularly bad night for him. He is exhausted and in pain. He needs sleep in order to speed up the healing process. You can see him, sit with him. But you will not attempt to wake him up. If you do, I will know. You will not move him, and you will not do anything to cause him undue stress. Is that clear?"

"Yes, Madam. Very clear. Will he hear me if I talk to him?"

"I doubt it; the potions make the sleep very deep. He's never before mentioned hearing anything of what I've said to him when tending to him," Madam Pomfrey answered. "Be warned... He doesn't look good at the moment. There are a lot of injuries."

"I understand."

And then Madam Pomfrey walked off to her office again, leaving the door open a crack.

Myra quickly walked over to the screens, but hesitated parting them. When she finally summoned the courage to, she gasped at what she saw.

Remus did look awful, a lot worse than when she and Hestia had sneaked up to see him. He was pale, sweat beading on his forehead, which sported several bloody scratches. Bandages covered his entire torso and left arm. Any visible skin was covered in blue bruises, and his naked right arm was so a mottled mess of ugly black and red splotches.

"Oh my Merlin," Myra muttered, feeling her heart break. She hadn't felt the way she did about him the last time she'd seen him post-moon. Now that she knew what caused them and cared for him so much more, it physically pained her to see. Feeling like she had been hit with a Jelly-Legs Jinx, she sat down in the chair beside the bed.

Remus' chest moved slowly up and down, air hissing out in slightly louder gasps than normal. It reassured Myra, because from the looks of everything else, he might have been dead, were it not for such steady, sleepy breaths.

"Please, don't remember, Remus," she mumbled.

For several minutes Myra just sat there watching him sleep, trying to ignore the increasing prickles of pain in her shoulder. Looking at his rising and falling chest. The fasteners on his bandages. His arms slack on opposite sides of his body. The matted hair, some of it sticking to his sweating forehead. The curve of the forehead, his nose, lips, chin, neck.

Myra's heartbeat sped up. Without thinking about it, she reached out for his hand. It was warm, too warm, but she didn't care.

"I like you, Remus. Merlin, I hope you can't hear me, but I really do. Like you. You've helped me so much the past year. I don't know what I'd do if you weren't my friend anymore. Not that I only like you because you help me, because it's not just that. You're a good friend. You're funny. I like talking to you. I like patrolling with you. Please, don't remember last night..."

Another several long minutes went by, with Myra just holding Remus' hand, watching him. She wasn't entirely sure why it was, but she felt a burn in her heart growing stronger with every second. It was like the feverish warmth that radiated from Remus' hand, making it almost unbearable to hold on, but she didn't budge. After a while, she vaguely registered the footsteps of someone in the room, but she was so lost in her own mind she didn't react to them. Not long after that, that someone walked quickly away.

The rumble of students being let out of class for the day brought Myra back to the present. Abruptly, she let go of Remus' hand, accidentally letting it fall heavy to the mattress. He made a noise deep in his throat. Myra was sure he would wake up, but he just turned his head and slept on.

Before anyone would come up to visit either of them, she stood up and pulled the screens together again and walked over to her own bed.

"Are you ready for dinner, Miss Kinney?" Madam Pomfrey suddenly said coming out from her office. Either that woman could somehow monitor the entire wing constantly, or she had a very complicated alarm system set up. The nurse came over with a tray of steaming pea soup, Myra realised how hungry she really was. She also noticed how her shoulder throbbed in pain. It ached uncomfortably, moving up and down her entire arm.

"Could I get a potion for the pain, Madam Pomfrey?" Myra asked, her eyes closed in an attempt to will it away.

"I'm sorry, Miss Kinney, but this is one thing that will just have to run its course. I promise it will get much better by this evening. Now eat. It will help a bit if you get something in you."

Myra cursed inwardly. Awkwardly, she reached for the spoon with her left hand and slowly guided it to her mouth, trying not to spill anything.

Madam Pomfrey then moved over to Remus' bed. Unlike all the times Myra had been in the hospital wing before, Pomfrey let the screens stay open as she woke Remus up with a spell. He was very groggy, blinking furiously. "How are you feeling, Mr Lupin?" the nurse asked.

"Better, I think," Remus answered. The sound of his scratchy voice sent a thrill down Myra's spine.

"I'll just change your bandages before I fetch your dinner." Madam Pomfrey pulled the screens shut again, but Myra didn't mind. Remus' wounds shouldn't be on display.

Myra kept on slurping her soup, slowly and clumsily. Just a few minutes later did Madam Pomfrey come out from the screens, waving her wand to summon another tray of pea soup for Remus to eat.

"Myra!" Remus exclaimed happily upon seeing her, his voice still a bit scratchy. "What are you doing here?"

He didn't seem to remember.

"Hi, Remus! I dislocated my shoulder." Myra smiled nervously at him. He was sitting up, looking much better with fresh bandages and a bit of colour back in his cheeks.

"How did you manage that?"

Myra hesitated for a few seconds, noticing that Madam Pomfrey paused at the threshold to her office. "I, uh... I fell down the stairs and grabbed the railing to stop. Guess I was tumbling too fast." She couldn't meet his eyes, so she looked into the green soup. Madam Pomfrey went in and closed the door.

"That sounds painful. Are you alright?"

"Yes, yes. It hurts badly, but it's getting better. How are you feeling?" At this she had the courage to face him.

He looked a bit uncomfortable at being asked that question. "Oh, you know... Bruised and battered. But I'll survive."

There was a sort of uncomfortable silence for a few minutes, before James, Sirius and Peter noisily entered the hospital wing. "Moony!" Sirius boomed loudly, leading the boys over to Remus' bedside, ignoring Myra in a very obvious way. James too walked past Myra without so much as a glance in her direction, but Peter gave her the smallest of smiles. At that moment Myra felt a rush of affection for the lesser acknowledged Marauder and smiled widely back at him.

The three boys sat down around Remus, James in the chair by the bed and Sirius hopping onto it, making some of the pea soup spill in the progress. Peter was left to close the screens.

Myra sighed. They would probably tell Remus all about last night now. Gone would their friendship be, and with it the opportunity for Myra to find out how her feelings for Remus could grow and if there could ever be something romantic between them.

"What have you been up to?" Myra heard Sirius ask his friend.

"I had the strangest dream," Remus answered. Myra's breath caught in her throat. "About last night and this mo- about last night."

"Really? What about?" James inquired.

But Myra couldn't hear Remus' answer. They had probably charmed the area quiet.

Myra eventually finished her pea soup. She had spilled some, but didn't dare use her wand left-handed to clean up. Merlin knows what damage she could do with it.

Her evening went by quietly, until Hestia, Marie, Ashley and Anna came up after dinner. They helped pass a bit of the time, until Madam Pomfrey came out to chase the visitors away, and to give Remus another dose of potions, closing his screens once more.

Myra just knew Remus didn't want to see or talk to her. It didn't even cross her mind that he might be sleeping again.

...

Madam Pomfrey had kept her overnight in case she did something to the shoulder in her sleep. Early next morning the nurse woke her up to go over an exercise routine to help heal and hopefully prevent it from dislocating again.

Remus didn't seem to be awake when Myra left, so she never got the chance to find out if his friends had really told him anything about what she had done. She went on with her day in a depressing mood. Having Care of Magical Creatures helped some, but seeing as she had to wear a sling and they were outside and supposed to look after the hippogriffs, she couldn't really do much. Most of the lesson was spent sitting on a log watching Henry enjoy himself.

Myra's spirits hadn't been able to lift until dinnertime. According to Hestia, the entire school had been curious about the major drop in points for Gryffindor on Wednesday, three hundred and forty of them. It had been the only subject of conversation for the Gryffindors at mealtimes, in the halls between classes, in the courtyards during breaks... But the truth hadn't come out until dinner on Thursday.

Right as it was served, Professor McGonagall came up to Sirius, James and Peter.

"One bloody month?" Sirius exclaimed loudly, standing up, fury making his face red as a beet. "What about her?" He haphazardly pointed his finger in Myra's direction.

"Mr Black! Sit down," McGonagall hissed very close to his face. Thankfully Myra sat close enough so she could strain her ears and hear what was said next. "As I told you yesterday, she is excused from detention because of the injury you inflicted on her. If you tell me what she did to rile you up to that extent, I will reconsider."

Sirius hadn't sat down, despite Peter's frantic pulling on his robes. James just sat there with a stony face, occasionally looking shamed in Lily's direction. "Fine, I'll tell you what she did!"

The piece of chicken Myra was currently chewing on was accidentally swallowed and got stuck in her throat. She coughed fiercely, Ashley banging her on the back.

"She was out after curfew and thought it would be a right good idea to- Ouch!" Sirius suddenly fell down on the bench, bending forward to clutch his leg. "What the hell, James!"

"Despite your language, Mr Black, I must ask you to go on," Professor McGonagall encouraged.

James and Sirius stared intently at each other, before Sirius deflated in his seat. "I take it back, Professor, I can't tell you."

McGonagall's lips thinned. "Then you will attend your detention, all three of you, without complaint for a month, starting Monday. And you, Mr Black, will have another fifteen points lost for that very unnecessary outburst." With a last stern look at the boys, the professor walked away from her house table.

"Why exactly did he attack you last night?" Anna whispered across the table to Myra.

"I can't tell you," Myra mumbled absent-mindedly, watching Sirius get up and leave the Great Hall with a rush, fury written all over his face. Merlin's beard, no matter if Myra remained friends with Remus or not after this, how on earth was she going to get on the civil side of Sirius again? Getting on their friendly side was most definitely out of the question, Myra knew that much.

The next couple of days Myra walked around on egg shells. She longed to see Remus in the hospital wing again, but didn't dare. She steered clear of his friends, which was a little difficult seeing as they were all in the same house. Myra spent a lot of time with her sister that weekend, being invited into the Hufflepuff common room, or the two of them joining Hestia in the library.

It was obvious that Hestia was working on finding out Remus' secret. Quite often she stared absentmindedly at Myra, not quite seeing her. Then she would tap her fingers against her temple, or write something down in a notebook she always carried around. Myra was very grateful for her trying to figure it out; having someone to relieve her worries to was just what she needed.

...

On Monday Myra was sitting at the Gryffindor table with her friends, eating breakfast and starting to feel normal again. Or as normal as one could be when everything had to be done with one arm. The four Marauders came in halfway through the meal, walking past the girls. Remus said 'good morning', but the three others didn't acknowledge Myra or any of the girls.

At least Remus didn't seem to be angry with her. Did that mean that he didn't know what had happened on the night of the full moon? Or did he know, but somehow didn't mind?

Right. Like he wouldn't mind that she'd nearly made him a murderer.

"Something wrong?" Ashley asked.

Myra shook her head. "Nothing, don't worry about it."

Just then Lily got up from her seat and walked over to the boys. And just like the times before, she leaned close to Remus, gave him something and began a whispered conversation. Even though Myra knew that it was only about homework, she didn't want to look at them. She straightened up and turned to Ashley. "How's Lowell doing?"

The school day began, and Myra struggled through it with her one functional arm, as she had the last few days. During lunch she realised that she had a free period with Remus coming up. Their doing homework together in the common room had already become such a habit and expectation that she didn't think about it anymore. This time though, when the bell rang to signal the short break between her two periods, her Gryffindor bravery failed her. She stormed up to the dorms before Remus could arrive. When it was time for dinner, she lurked outside the dorm door, listening for the sound of him leaving. She couldn't even be sure if he had been there, but she took no chances.

After a couple of minutes of lurking, she eventually heard the portrait hole open and close. Letting out a loud sigh of relief, she went down to dinner, slowly, as to not catch up with him accidentally.

Tuesday was the first Tuesday of the month, which meant a prefect meeting after dinner and patrol with Remus a short while after. There was no escaping that, so Myra decided to spend the whole day mentally preparing herself to the possibility that Remus knew everything about the real reason behind Sirius' 'kidnapped' her.

But the day was packed with classes that required her full attention, so while she didn't really have time to prepare, she didn't have time to think on it either. There was Defence Against the Dark Arts before lunch. Professor Harishandra was a right sight better at teaching than Professor Biggar, so Myra didn't mind that class as much anymore, though she still struggled. The day ended with History of Magic. And it was with a bright outlook on the evening ahead that she went to dinner with her friends. This time, Henry joined them, having walked with them from Professor Binn's classroom.

"Merlin, why can't they replace that ghost?" Henry complained when they sat down.

"I know," Anna agreed. "He's so unaware if what's going on around him, he probably doesn't know about the historical changes that have happened since he bit it!"

"It's not that bad," Myra and Hestia said in unison.

"You two don't get to have an opinion on this," Ashley said. "You're just too much of a eager bowtruckle," she said to Hestia, "and you need to get your head looked at," she finished looking at Myra.

Henry laughed at Myra, and ruffled her hair.

She swatted his hand away. "Yes, well, look who's talking. You're the one who sits and hum twice a week," she said to Ashley.

"It's called Meditation and it's healthy! You should try it some time!"

"Oh, go snog Lowell!"

"You know, I think I will!" Ashley said with a smile like a cat with cream, and left for the Hufflepuff table, before she had even began eating.

"Lowell is a lucky bloke," Henry commented quietly as he watched Ashley's curvy body walk away.

Hestia pretended to gag on her food, and Myra stuck her elbow hard into his side. "You already had a taste of that. Now she's taken."

"I did, didn't I." Now Henry was the one smiling.

The girls and Henry joked back and forth all throughout dinner, something Myra was very grateful for, because it continued to keep her mind from the upcoming meeting and patrol. But eventually the meal came to an end, and while her friends went off to the common room or library, she trudged up to the fifth floor and the prefects' office.

When she arrived, half of the prefects were already there, along with Lily and James. Myra found a seat next to a Ravenclaw, leaving an empty chair on her other side and looked up at the head of the table where the Head Boy and Head Girl sat.

She couldn't help but be a bit surprised at James. She had expected him to arrive late, or come in with Remus. But Remus hadn't arrived yet. From the looks of it, James had been there just as early as Lily had been. But of course, this was the first proper prefect meeting since the one on the Hogwarts Express. He might start off trying hard and then getting lazier and lazier...

A few minutes later the last prefects came in. To Myra's horror, Remus came just in time to take the available seat – next to her.

"Hey, Myra," he greeted warmly, and Myra felt her face heat up. If it was in fear and embarrassment about the last full moon or just because it was him, she didn't know.

"Hi, Remus," Myra answered quietly, not meeting his eyes.

"Is something wrong?" he asked, leaning forward.

"No?" she answered questioningly.

"No?"

Myra dared to look at him, not that she had much choice considering how close he was. He looked completely normal. "You've heard what happened between me and Sirius a few days ago?" She didn't dare mention the moon phase that had caused all this.

"Yeah, I heard. But he won't tell my why. Neither will Peter or James. I was hoping you would." He didn't seem upset in any way, just politely curious.

Myra didn't know how to answer. If James, Sirius and Peter really hadn't said anything about what had happened, so she most definitely wouldn't.

Before she was able to answer however, Lily and James stood up to signal the start of the meeting. Myra couldn't help but sigh quietly at her luck. Throughout the meeting she racked her brain for something to tell Remus, but it wasn't easy to listen to what James and Lily had to say, try to ignore how close Remus was, and come up with a story all at the same time. She wasn't sure, but he seemed to be leaning towards her in his chair.

Half an hour later, Myra was none the wiser about what to say about her and Sirius' fight. She stood up to leave, hoping Remus would let her go without asking again. But he stood up too and joined her on the way out.

"Where are you off to?" he asked.

"The library; I got to get started on a Potions essay we were assigned today."

"Sounds... fun." Sarcasm dripped from his voice, and Myra couldn't help but smile. "Hey," he then said and stopped, lightly pulling on Myra's good arm to stop her too. The hall they were in was empty. "What's with you and Sirius? I've gathered as much that James and Peter didn't really have anything to do with it, even though they've got detention too. What happened?" The way he said it wasn't accusatory or anything. It was just as if he was trying to repair a tear between two friends he valued highly. Which was probably true, well, at least one highly valued friend, and one she was.

"I don't know what to tell you," Myra started honestly. "It's just... Sirius isn't very happy with me. I know why. But I didn't realise why until it was too late." Her heart beat loudly, and she was terrified that Remus would hear it and see through the thin explanation she gave. She hated not telling him the truth, but she hated even more what it would do to him and their relationship if he knew the entire truth.

"Sirius really dislocated your shoulder? And manhandled you? And hung you upside down and let you fall?" Remus stepped forward, looking involved and concerned between Myra's arm still in a sling and her face. Myra gaped a little, wondering how he could know so much. "Peter told me," he quickly explained, seeing her confused expression.

"Yes," she began, but had to interrupt him when he stepped back with an angry growl in his throat. "But! Don't be hard on Sirius for it – I deserved it! Well, perhaps not the dislocation, but the manhandling I certainly did deserve! So please, I'm betting Sirius has a hard enough time dealing with the detention, so, please, don't be angry with him!"

"Are you sure?"

"Very sure."

Remus nodded and looked down on his shoes for a few seconds. Myra watched him, feeling warmth inside her chest. "I can't imagine you doing anything that would justify that treatment," Remus said, still looking at the floor, but nodding his head in direction of her sling.

"Thanks, but I- I really can't tell you, Remus." Myra saw through him. "I'm sorry, but I just can't. I hope you won't hate me for not telling you, but I just want to forget it, and I'm hoping with all my hippogriffs that Sirius will too."

"It's nothing serious then? Nothing you're not going to get into trouble for?"

"Not serious. As for trouble, I'd say I'm already in trouble." She gently moved her right shoulder to indicate the injury. "I can't take notes, and I have to dictate my homework." Myra sighed in exaggerated exasperation, hoping to lighten the mood and get them focusing on something else.

Remus smiled at her concerns. "So they won't let you skip homework then?"

"No, I'm just not that lucky."

"Anything I can do to help, just let me know. Okay?"

"I will. Thanks."

They smiled at each other and began walking again, making small talk as they descended through the castle, reaching the third floor.

"Are you going to the library too?" she asked Remus.

"No, not today," he answered. "Peter mentioned something about him and Sirius heading outside, trying to study. I doubt they're actually studying, but I think I'm going to join them. James will probably be around soon too."

"Okay, see you at patrol then." And then Myra did something she didn't realise she was doing before it was over. She stepped towards him and gave him a quick one-armed hug. "Sorry, I didn't get to talk to you yesterday, but I'm glad to see you up and about after your time away, Remus."

It actually looked like he was blushing when she pulled away. "Thank you," he said quietly. "See you later." And then he almost raced down the hall, turned left and was gone.




Author Notes

Sorry this has taken so much longer than I said... But you know how real life can be sometimes...

I'm sad to say that Orion Knight will not be betaing for me anymore. She has been with me since chapter 1 and betaed since chapter 2. I'm sad to see her go, but hope she will stay in touch. And she is of course welcome back any time, should she wish it! broadwaykat is staying on.

I will not set an approximate date for the next chapter, since real life is demanding of both me and broadwaykat, there just isn't enough time. But I promise you (with my right hand on Deathly Hallows and my left and in the air, or something like that :P) that the next chapter will come!

Please review if you have any thoughts on the chapter!

Coming: Chapter 22 – Targeted

Myra was not enjoying herself. Things were not going her way, and she had a strong idea why that was.


Chapter 22: Targeted
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Chapter 22
Targeted


Image coming soon!


Myra was not enjoying herself.

Things were not going her way, and she had a good idea why that was. The day after Remus had raced off, leaving her outside the library, she had been declared well enough by Madam Pomfrey for her sling to be taken off; though she had to do exercises twice a day for the rest of the month. This, of course, was a good thing, but it seemed that from the moment her sling was off, she was fair game.

At least twice a day she would trip in the halls. She never fell, but something always seemed to be in the way making her loose her balance and wobble back to both her feet with her heart in her throat. She was terrified of falling and dislocating the shoulder again. Sometimes her book bag would fly out of her her grasp, landing several feet away. At meal times, the goblet she was drinking out of would fall over, mostly spilling all over herself. She barely had enough clean uniforms to get through the day. In the common room or the library while she was doing homework, her quill would suddenly make huge blotches on the parchment with more ink than she was sure she had dipped it for. Scourgify and ink-siphoning charms could only do so much.

Never before had Myra been this accident prone. Sure, she'd had her share of mishaps, but they could mostly be traced back to her nosy nature. There was never anyone around who seemed to be jinxing her, when she checked there was nothing she actually tripped over, no one pulled on her book bag, no one pushed her goblet, and nothing made the quill act out. She'd even express owl-ordered new quills, asking specifically for the best and safest, but they acted the same way.

After three days of this, Myra decided to spend the weekend safe up in her dorm, only emerging for food. At least there would be less tripping and no ink spillage. She tried to get the girls to bring food back to her, but they refused, saying that that would be letting her enemies win.

They were probably right. But Myra didn't like it. Because she was sure it was Sirius, James and Peter who were behind these so-called accidents. They were dangerous enemies indeed, who were smarter than they seemed. Excellent at magic, brave, careless – not to mention they simply loved pranking people.

At breakfast on Sunday, Myra had just about had enough. She was at the Hufflepuff table, having her weekly breakfast with Marie. Just as she was about to sip her orange juice, the juice exploded. It soaked the entire plate and the toast on it, flowing down into her lap, and it coated her entire face and stung her eyes. "Great Merlin's hairy blue balls!" she exclaimed, earning an angry glare from Marie for swearing.

Automatically, her head snapped in direction of the Gryffindor table and the place where she knew Remus sat, knowing his friends would be close. She alternately rubbed at her eyes and blinked furiously to force the tear canals to take the stinging away. "Can someone please give me some water?" she begged.

Another goblet was thrust Myra's way, and trusting whoever had given it, she scooped some of the contents up into her hand and bent her head over to wash out the orange juice. Then she did the other eye, and then repeated. Three times. It helped to some extent; it still stung, but at least she could keep her eyes open.

Again she looked towards the Gryffindor table. All four Marauders talked and smiled and didn't look like they had done anything out of the ordinary. Still, she glared at three of them while casting Scourgify on her clothes. When she did the same to the plate, she also managed to lose the two slices of sodden cheese and toast she had planned to eat.

"I am going to kill someone if this doesn't stop soon!" she exclaimed again and banged her hand hard onto the table.

The poor Hufflepuffs nearby were startled and they looked warily at the imposing Gryffindor.

"Why are you so angry, Myra?" Marie asked childishly.

Myra gritted her teeth, working hard at restraining herself. She closed her eyes while breathing deeply, once, twice, thrice. "I've just had too many accidents lately," she answered her little sister. "Stupid accidents and I know none of them are my fault."

"How is that?"

"Someone is jinxing me, or something. I'm pretty da- sick of it."

"Who is it?" Marie looked around the Great Hall, scowling at everyone.

"Don't bother with it, Marie. I don't want you to get involved in this. It's nothing dangerous." Myra looked up at the Head table to see if Professor McGonagall was still there. "Look, I'm done with breakfast, so I'm going to have a word with McGonagall," she said, standing up. "See you later, alright?"

Marie nodded.

"Love you, sis," Myra said before she walked off.

"I love you too."

Myra had never approached the Head table before, and felt like all of the professors and students were staring at her as she was walking to the gallows. "Professor McGonagall?" Myra stopped in front of her Head of House. The woman in question looked up. "Could I talk to you about something, please?"

"Of course, Miss Kinney," McGonagall replied. She stood up, and followed Myra out to the Entrance Hall. "What's wrong?"

Myra looked around, checking that no one was eavesdropping, though with the Marauders, you never knew. She saw Peter looking out at her and the professor, and she almost decided to not say anything. But she had to take a chance. "You're probably going to think I'm crazy for saying this, but... someone has been targeting me for the last few days."

"How so?"

"It actually began right after I got my sling off. I've been tripping, dropping my bag, spilling my goblets and dripping ink all over my homework."

Professor McGonagall frowned slightly. "How is this targeting, Miss Kinney? It sounds like clumsiness to me."

"I know." Myra shifted her legs. "But I've never been that clumsy before. When I trip there is never something there for me to have tripped over. I know I'm not throwing my bag several feet away. And I ordered all new quills on Thursday!"

The professor looked thoughtful. "That does sound suspicious. Have you seen anyone doing this to you?"

Myra shook her head. "No, but I have a strong feeling I know who it is; Sirius, James and Peter."

"And not Mr Lupin? They're usually all together in these sorts of things."

"Not Remus, no. He's never done anything to me, and we're still friends, so I doubt he's doing this."

"I'm afraid, Miss Kinney, that there is not much I can do. You haven't seen anyone, I haven't seen anyone. I can't punish someone on hearsay."

Myra sighed dejectedly. "I understand, I figured as much. I'm just so sick of it; I was hoping there was something that could be done."

"I'll keep an eye out, Miss Kinney. And if I see something, be sure that I will deal with it."

"Thank you, Professor."

McGonagall gave a curt nod and went back into the Great Hall. Myra didn't feel like going back in, so instead she went up to the Gryffindor Tower and the nearly empty common room. Only Lily and that fourth year, Jolie King, was there, pointing and talking quickly about something in a book on the table between them. Myra sank into one of the fluffier chairs, with a view of the fireplace. The autumn wind was strong that day and the old castle was draughty, so the fire was roaring and dancing merrily because of it.

She sighed as she stared at the bright flames. Peter jad noticed that she had talked to McGonagall. He would most likely have told the others. With everything inside her, Myra hoped that hadn't made things worse. Hopefully she wouldn't actually fall next time she tripped, and hopefully her bag wouldn't explode instead of just flying off.

"Hello, Myra," a bright voice suddenly came, and someone blocked the view of the hearth.

Myra looked up and saw Lily standing there, the flames behind her making it look like her hair was on fire.

"Hi, Lily. What's up?"

The redhead pulled over a wooden chair and sat down.

"I was just going to ask you the same thing."

Myra frowned. When did Lily Evans begin taking an interest in Myra's life and well being?

"I've just noticed that you've been struggling a bit lately. Keeping to yourself and... Well, just not being yourself."

"I've had a rough couple of days," Myra admitted. Anyone would have noticed that. "I have to do exercises for a long while with this arm and someone has been jinxing me since Wednesday."

Now it was Lily who frowned. "Jinxing you? Are you sure?"

Myra nodded tiredly. And when Lily looked like she was about to ask more, Myra quickly told her a revised version of what she had told McGonagall, but didn't give any names.

"Is there something I can do?"

"Don't worry about it, Lily. I've kind of brought it on myself. It'll work itself out," Myra said as confidently as she could, even if she didn't feel it. "I've got no proof anyway..."

"Okay then." She raised her eyes, looking at something and smiling. "Just let me know if there's anything I can do. I'm here to look after the students, especially my prefects."

Myra smiled as Lily got up and went back to the table she had been working at earlier.

"It has to work out," Myra mumbled to herself, closing her eyes and thinking of her friendship with Remus. It was hanging by the thread, and she was desperate for it not to snap and break. Not that he knew any of that.

"Myra," another voice came and interrupted her musings. This one she recognized without opening her eyes. It was the warm voice of the object of her thoughts. The voice that was starting to give her more and more pleasant chills every time she heard it, even when it wasn't directed at her.

She opened her eyes and saw him sitting down on the chair Lily had pulled over. Quickly she cast a glance around the room to see if his wizards friends were there, but they were not.

"How are you?" Remus asked conversationally, but there was something hiding in his voice.

"Fine. Tired, but fine, thank you. You?"

"Good," he brushed it off. He opened his mouth to continue, but hesitated for a moment. "Are we good?" He leaned towards the chair Myra was sitting in, gesturing with one hand between them.

"Of course we are. Why wouldn't we be?" Myra was suddenly nervous he had found out about the Forbidden Forest.

"I don't know. I haven't seen you much lately. And I don't understand why Peter, James and Sirius are suddenly acting like you don't exist. Just because they do that, doesn't mean it affects you and me being friends, right?"

Myra wasn't sure, but - did she hear fear behind that statement? Desperation? He sounded hurt. "Right," Myra confirmed. As long as your friends don't tell you what went on last full moon.

Remus looked into her brown eyes for several long seconds. She couldn't help but stare back. It became almost unbearable after a while, but then he finally looked away. "I'll try to talk to the boys. I just don't understand -"

"No, no, no, you don't have to do that!" Fear struck at Myra. "I'll- Wait, talk to them about what?"

"They're the ones that have been giving you grief the last few days. I didn't know until yesterday. I would have done something to stop it sooner, if I had."

"Don't," Myra said as firmly as she could. "I don't think they'll see reason – not while they're still doing detention. I'll talk to them myself. You don't have to say anything. Please, don't do it." She stared pleadingly at him.

"Whatever you want, Myra." Remus leaned back, getting more comfortable in the chair. "How do you like Professor Harishandra?" He asked, changing the subject.

Myra blinked a couple of times to readjust her thoughts. "Uh, she's certainly better than Biggar. I'm learning loads more from her. She has an interesting angle on the subject."

"I figured," Remus smiled. "You haven't asked me for any help yet at all this year."

"You do realise I don't have to depend on Mr Remus Lupin to get me through Defence. I did manage for four and a half years before your help." She raised her eyebrows and smirked.

"And how did that work out for you, Miss Kinney? I seem to recall someone desperately seeking Mr Remus Lupin out to teach them the Trip Jinx just a few months ago; that's a first year jinx."

"It was O.W.L. stress! It gave me a mental block! I got it pretty quickly, didn't I?" Myra took on a haughty look. "And for your information, I got an Acceptable on my Defence Against the Dark Arts O.W.L."

"Only Acceptable? I would believe that someone under my tutelage would have gotten something higher than the lowest pass grade." Now it was Remus who smirked.

"You watch yourself, Lupin." Myra waggled a finger at him. "Maybe your tutelage just isn't that good?"

"A teacher is only as good as- Oh, bother," he suddenly said and chuckled. "We're just insulting ourselves and the other in an illogical circle here. Let's just agree that we both stink."

She thought back on the conversation and laughed. "We stink. But seriously, I'm very happy about that A. I don't really think I could have passed without your help."

"My pleasure," Remus bowed his head like a true gentleman.

Just then the portrait hole opened and in walked the rest of the Marauders.

"I got to go." Myra stood up abruptly. Before Remus had the chance to react, she was halfway up the stairs to the girls' dorms.

Just as she closed the door behind her, realisation hit her hard.

"Oh Merlin, I think I just flirted with Remus Lupin."

...

Myra didn't have company for the next hour. She was just beginning to think about heading down to lunch, when Anna burst through the door and Hestia followed calmly behind.

"You won't believe what we just heard down in the common room!" Anna exclaimed and launched herself onto Myra's bed, excitedly bouncing up and down. Hestia rolled her eyes, but joined her on Myra's bed.

"What?" Myra asked lazily, closing Standard Book of Spells: Grade 6.

Anna was about to speak, when Hestia beat her to it. "Heard and heard," Hestia noted. "You overheard and forced me to eavesdrop with you."

"You bad, bad girl, Hestia." Myra chuckled.

"Remus was chewing out his mates! Over you!" Anna said excitedly, not managing to hold it in anymore.

"What?" Myra nearly shouted.

The two other girls were startled by this; Hestia wide eyed and Anna nearly falling off the bed because she was so high strung.

"He did what? What did he say? How did they react? What did he say?" Myra threw out questions in a frantic pace.

Anna raised her hands to cut Myra off. "Calm down! Merlin, if I knew you'd freak, I wouldn't have told you in the first place!"

Myra shook her head and took a deep breath. "I'm calm. What happened?"

"Well... It wasn't as much shouting as a very quiet discussion. But Remus seemed to have something very pressing to tell his friends. We didn't hear as much as we would have li-"

"You would have liked," Hestia interrupted.

"As I would have liked," Anna corrected. "First I heard your name, so I paid closer attention. Remus was pointing his finger at something and I heard something like 'it's not worth it, something something hurting and something something more'. I didn't catch all of it, but I think he gestured towards himself at the end. And the others were sort of hissing and shaking their heads in return. Then Remus smiled and opened a book."

"That was a lot of 'somethings'."

"And it wasn't even that much hissing or pointing," Hestia pointed out.

"To me it sounded like he was trying to protect you, with a passion," Anna continued.

Myra couldn't help but blush a bit at that last bit. She was flattered that he stood up to his best friends for her, but she was also terrified. Anything that would possibly make them tell him about how she had gone out into the forest was bad.

"What's wrong? You went from red as a beet to white as a ghost," Hestia interrupted Myra's thoughts.

"I- I- I just-" she stuttered. Then she shook her head. "Never mind. It's nothing." She tried to look pointedly at Hestia without Anna noticing. It wasn't clear if Hestia got it or not, but it didn't really matter right then. "That's nice of him," she finished with a strained smile.

Anna looked expectantly at Myra. "That's it? That's all you're going to say about it?!"

"What else is there to say?"

Anna shrugged.

"Can I get back to my homework now so I can get lunch soon? It's actually quite fun when my quills aren't exploding."

Anna chuckled. "Sure, knock yourself out." And then she went over to her own bed.

But Hestia stayed. "That look you gave me," she whispered. "That was really a look? Something you wanted me to understand?"

"Kind of. How is that going, by the way? Are you figuring anything out?"

"I have some theories. Some of them are kinda farfetched, but I'm looking into it. I think I'm closing in."

"Good, because I need someone to talk to about all of this."

"Merlin, I hate being out of the loop!" Hestia exclaimed as loud as she could while whispering, throwing her hands up in exasperation. But she smiled when she left Myra to her homework.

...

With bated breath Myra stepped out of the portrait hole with her friends on Monday morning. She didn't doubt that Anna was right about what she and Hestia had overheard the previous day. But despite the fact that she wished he hadn't done it, she still hoped he had managed to talk some sense into his friends.

Nothing out of the ordinary happened on the way to the Great Hall. While eating breakfast, the goblet shook a little, but that could have been vibrations from someone else bumping the table. Nothing bad happened on the way to Charms or Herbology, but on the way to lunch Myra tripped again. Ashley caught her, not that it was enough of a trip to fall.

"Thanks," Myra muttered.

Nothing too bad happened during lunch either, the goblet only fell over when it was close to empty. Thankfully Myra had no more classes that day, with only fellow classmate David Wiley for company the first free period and Remus the second. So she waited in the Great Hall until classes had begun and then a little longer. She already knew Sirius, James and Peter had class, so it should be no trouble walking up the tower when she could be sure they were safely inside classrooms or wherever they were supposed to be.

Myra sat there for fifteen minutes, staring at the empty Gryffindor table, before she was bored enough to leave. The halls were empty, except for a few ghosts. And as expected, David Wiley was the only occupant of the common room; he rarely studied anywhere else during that period. But Myra still had to make sure there weren't anyone else there.

"Hi," she greeted him.

"'Lo, Myra," David said back.

"Is there anyone else here or up there?" She pointed to the boys' dorms.

"I haven't seen anyone except for one of the boys' cat."

Myra let out a breath of relief and found a place to sit, brought out her books and got started on some homework.

A good while later David said goodbye and left for his final class. Shortly after that, Remus stepped through the portrait hole. It was like clockwork, every Monday.

"Hi, Remus," Myra said and let the Herbology book fall to her lap.

"Hey." Remus smiled and joined her on the couch. "How's your day been so far?"

"Good, I'm less 'clumsy' today." She tried to smile, but he only looked at her sadly.

"I told them to give it up."

"And I told you not to bother with it; I will take care of it. I don't want you guys to fight!"

"I know, but I can't just sit by and watch my best friends bother –" he interrupted himself. "Bother you."

"Well, it seems like it helped, so thank you, Remus. But really, it's okay." She laid a hand on his arm. Merlin, he was burning up. "Are you always this warm?" she asked with a frown.

"Yes, it comes with the furriness."

"Can't say I've noticed it much before."

"The boys tell me you have to get really close to tell, like when you touched me just now. Thank Merlin for that, it'd be a bit tricky to explain. Apparently I'm warmer when it's closer to the full moon."

Each time Myra and Remus talked and the subject turned to that of the werewolf, he opened up a little more. She loved it. She loved that he trusted her so much that he felt he could share. But they never talked about it for long. Myra wanted to know more, and she itched to ask, but had enough common sense to see that that would only drive him away. And that was not something she wanted.

After the two of them had chatted for a short while, Myra went back to her Herbology book and Remus began on a Wizarding Culture Studies essay. They worked in comfortable silence for a while, until Myra's eyes grew tired of reading about plants and herbs. She quietly closed the book and leant back in the sofa, resting her eyes and thinking.

She had to talk to the boys. Try to get them to stop bothering her. It didn't do anyone any good, surely they could see that. No, they wouldn't see that. This was their kind of recreational fun. But she had to try.

"Remus."

"Yeah?" he answered immediately, turning his head towards hers.

"Do you think you could ask your friends to meet me in the unused classroom, third door to the left on the ground floor after dinner tonight? I think... I think I want to talk to them."

"They have detention tonight, so they might not have time. But I'll tell them," Remus said slowly. "Are you sure you want to do that?" He looked worried.

"I appreciate you looking out for me, but I have to. It'll be okay. I don't think they dare do anything else to me. Besides, James is the Head Boy and he has to keep up the good appearance."

At that Remus snorted. "Right. James and keeping up appearances. Good one. I'll tell them to go see you."

"Thank you," Myra said and before she could stop herself, she laid her hand on his arm again to show her gratitude. She blushed when she pulled it away. "Thank you."

...

Myra couldn't believe how nervous she was. She could hardly eat anything off her plate, and her legs couldn't be still under the table.

"What in Merlin's name is going on with you?" Hestia hissed quietly in irritation after being kicked by Myra for the thousandth time.

"Sorry. I'm meeting Sirius, James and Peter after dinner, to try to talk some sense into them. At least I think I'll be meeting them," she finished thoughtfully. "I'm a bit nervous."

"You don't say."

"What are you going to say to them?" Anna asked.

"I don't know." Myra was quiet for a few moments. She had tried to think about it since she had first asked Remus about asking them to meet her. But that wasn't even half an hour ago. "I don't know. Just ask them to stop, hope there's some empathy in those thick skulls somewhere."

The girls chuckled.

"I can't eat anything. I think I'm going to go. Maybe walking will make me think of something," Myra said and stood up.

"If you aren't back in an hour, we're calling the Aurors," Ashley joked, but Myra could tell there was some honesty behind her words.

"In that case, it's the third classroom on the left on this floor." Myra smiled at her three friends and headed out of the Great Hall to find the third door on the left in the classroom wing. As expected, the room was empty. If one didn't count the dust bunnies rolling across the floor and the spiders lurking in the corners. Myra walked over to one of the windows looking out on the Owlery and the Quidditch Pitch, dust billowing in her path. She magically cleaned the windowsill and leant against it, to wait for the possible arrival of three Marauders.

She didn't have to wait long before the door opened and Sirius, James and Peter walked in.

"I didn't think you'd show up," Myra greeted them, nerves suddenly gone.

None of them gave any answer to that as they settled in a line a few feet away from her. This time it was James who safe-proofed the door. Myra wasn't afraid of them this time. She'd told the girls where she would be, and they had more or less promised to get her if this wore out.

"You guys have been jinxing me since Wednesday," Myra began. "I suspected it was you all along, and I got it confirmed yesterday, so don't even think about denying it. Did you have fun?"

"It was very fun," James said with a wide smile on his face. The other two smiled as well.

"Bloody hilarious," Myra muttered. "I think I already know the answer to this, but what was the point?"

"There wasn't much of a point really," Peter said. "Except that we thought you deserved it."

"Yes, 'cause living through the dislocation of a shoulder and having to be careful for the rest of my life is not punishment enough. On top of the guilt that's eating away at me, of course. And then I have to go around in constant fear of falling, not having enough clean clothes to wear for one day, risking all my homework and with it my entire future..."

All three boys just shrugged carelessly.

If Myra could growl, she felt like she could have made a pretty scary one right then, but instead she narrowed her eyes and gritted her teeth.

"I'm asking you to stop it. Please." The last word came as an afterthought. It couldn't hurt to try to be polite.

"Why would we?" Sirius asked coldly.

"For one thing; McGonagall and Lily," she looked pointedly at James at the mention of Lily, "knows I've been jinxed for the past week and they both know I suspect you." Lily knowing was a lie, but they didn't need to know that. "I haven't been able to prove it, but I could very easily get this memory into a Pensive and put an effective end to this. Secondly; it's not doing any good. I don't like it, and Remus doesn't like it. I'm not going to make him choose, because I know he'll choose you three over me any day. But Remus wants to be my friend, so you guys just have to accept that. I've done a stupid thing, and I've learned my lesson. Believe me, I've learned my lesson." Myra closed her eyes for a second and shook her head slightly, thinking of her own stupidity. "For Remus' sake, can we please call it a truce?"

The three wizards just looked at Myra. Peter had slightly raised eyebrows and looked ready to say yes, James was emotionless, and Sirius was frowning a bit with his lips tight.

A long and uncomfortable silence followed. It felt like ages, but it probably wasn't more than just a couple of minutes, or seconds.

Then the three boys looked at each other, communicating in some way that she couldn't even begin to understand.

"Okay," Sirius finally said as they turned their attention back to Myra. "Truce. For Remus." He held out his hand and Myra walked warily over to shake it, expecting it to be a trap. But nothing happened, and the two other boys held out their hands for her to shake as well. She had done it.

Now all she had to hope for was that they kept their word.




Author Notes

I did not set a date for posting this, so it's not late and it's not early. Then why do I have that sorry-it's-late-feeling? Real life was a bitch on my beta and a buzz kill on me. Now, I have a work weekend, and thought that posting this would give my mind an escape every now and then with wishing and looking for reviews.

By the way; I'm participating in Camp NaNoWriMo in April. Thankfully you can set your own word goal, and reset it whenever you like during a given timeframe. I have set it to 20.000 words, and then we'll see if I'll change it during April. Hopefully to a higher number.

Like last time, I don't know when the next chapter will be out, but I swear it will come out!

Please review if you have any thoughts on the chapter!

Coming: Chapter 23 – Hestia's Discovery

"It's time we talked," Hestia said, walking over to Myra's bed.


Chapter 23: Hestia's Discovery
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Chapter 23
Hestia's discovery



Myra's life had calmed down drastically. It was only a little over a day since she had chatted with James, Sirius and Peter, but they had so far kept their end of the bargain. It was never entirely safe to deal with her in Potions or Defence – but she was doing much better, comparatively.

She was on her way to patrol with Remus and it was something she was very much looking forward to. The truce felt like a promise from the boys to not say anything to him about what she had done on the last full moon. He didn't remember, and didn't ever need to know. Life was good, and she could focus on her feelings for him. Myra was beginning to think that hopefully one day they could move on from just friendship.

"You're awfully chipper this evening," Remus commented bemusedly as they ascended to their second patrolling floor.

"I feel great!" Myra responded happily.

"I take it the chat with the boys went well last night?"

"It did, we came to an agreement and so far I haven't had any more accidents. Didn't they tell you anything afterwards?" Myra stopped for a moment.

Remus stopped too, and turned back to look at her. "No, they didn't. They didn't even acknowledge having seen you. But I take that as a good sign. They aren't even in that strange mood they have been in the last few days. Whatever you said to them, it must have worked!"

"I'm glad." Myra smiled and they began walking again.

It was a relatively peaceful patrol; only a couple of rule breakers out and about. They got to dock plenty of points from all four houses and they gave a couple of detentions. What Myra liked best of all thought, is it gave them a chance to talk. About everything and nothing. Remus even told her about how his friends' detentions went the previous week.

Myra often had to stop her mind and take a mental step back when she was in Remus' company. The pace in which her feelings for him grew, was frightening. It had just been a month and a half since she admitted to herself she had feelings for him, and already it felt like she was taking the first steps of falling in love. Any day now, she was sure he would push her over the edge, and she wouldn't know how to stand up again.

Myra spent the next few days trying to figure out exactly how she felt about Remus, and what to do with it. She tried to hide this from her friends and seemed successful, but only because Hestia was busy trying to figure out Remus' secret and didn't have time to mysteriously flesh what was going on with Myra herself. Because of this, Myra couldn't talk to her about it. She didn't want to take Hestia away from figuring it out. The sooner she did, the sooner Myra could talk to someone about it, get everything she was feeling off her chest and get some advice on how to proceed. The only other person she could think of to talk to was Henry. So during Care of Magical Creatures on Thursday she took the opportunity.

The October sun shone brightly, making it comfortable to be outside, which is why Professor Kettleburn had taken the class outside to meet the Hogwarts' own Mokes instead of discussing the creatures inside. The first half of the class was dedicated to a quick look back on the theory, and then the students were given a terrarium with a family of Mokes. They had to clean it out, rearrange the pebbles, sand and plants, then they had to perform several Weather Charms to simulate the ideal climate for the Mokes to thrive.

Myra and Henry naturally chose neighbouring terrariums, quickly getting to working on them. It wasn't easy, since the Mokes liked to shrink and disappear when they were stressed.

Halfway through clearing out the litter and old sand, Myra summoned the courage to tell Henry what was on her mind. "Hey Henry, I need to talk to you about something," she mumbled, careful not to let anyone hear what she was saying.

Henry halted his actions and looked up at the hesitant tone of her voice.

"I would have talked to Hestia, but she's... busy. And right now I think you're the best person to talk to about this. But please, I don't want you to tell anyone else, okay?"

"Okay, I promise," Henry said solemnly.

Myra lowered her voice even more. "I like Remus. As in like like." It was the first time she had said it out loud, and she wasn't sure Henry had heard her since his face didn't show surprise or anything.

"Figures," he said and continued scooping up sand from his terrarium.

"What?" That was not the response Myra had expected.

"You've been spending a lot of time with him lately. You've even neglected me a bit." He pouted jokingly. "I know you secretly harbour this undying lust for me, so it must be something big if you chose to spend time with someone else." The confidence and smugness that was etched across his face was infuriating.

Myra just glared murder at him for two seconds and turned back to her Mokes.

"But seriously, Myra, I think it's great. He seems like a great bloke, albeit a bit peaky."

This made her smile for a moment, but then she frowned. "I'm just not sure what to do about it."

"What's there to be unsure about? You snog, you shag. It's very simple."

"Yeah, if his hobby was being a rent boy, like you."

Henry just raised one eyebrow at his friend. Myra knew he would never be hurt or angry by that or similar accusations, because they were pretty much true. He was a flirt, always had been and always would be, and he liked it that way. He had been with both Ashley and Anna at one point, several of the girls in years ahead, some in the years below, and across all houses. There wasn't a girl he had pursued that had let him down, except Myra and Hestia. Myra because she saw him as more of a brother than anything else, and Hestia because she just wasn't interested and had always been uncomfortable around his flirting nature.

"He's a very private person," Myra explained in a low voice, while working on their task. "I know he wants me to be his friend, he's said that. I've already come pretty close to ruining everything; being friends, or more or whatever. But I just managed to make things right. I really, really don't want to muck this up by scaring him off or something!"

Henry didn't say anything for a while. Myra noticed that he looked her over a couple of times, almost like he was considering something.

Finally he spoke. "I can't tell you what the best way for approaching Lupin in a romantic way is, since he and I are so different. But I'm trying to put myself in a similar mindset. It sounds like you should just take it slow. Flirt with him, but be subtle about it. Do not take after me." He smirked. "Worm your way into his heart. You are, believe it or not, an attractive little witch; play on that. And make sure you're always around him, so he won't forget you. But don't make it obvious. If he's in the library, take Hestia with you and sit somewhere near him. Always be a couple of seats away in the Great Hall. Sit so he sees you when he looks straight ahead in the common room. Do you get me?"

Myra nodded.

"Other than that, do what you normally would do with him."

While Henry gave his full attention to the Mokes again, Myra paused in her work and leant back on her heels on the ground. She sighed, thinking about the advice she had just gotten. It seemed easy enough. The only problem was that she never imagined herself to be a flirtatious person. She wasn't even sure she knew how to flirt – although being friends with Henry for so long, she should have been an expert. Maybe her lack of experience and knowledge made it that way without her even trying? Because that was all she had to go by. No way was she going to ask anyone for lessons in flirting!

...

Over the following week, it got a lot colder. The autumn winds howled around the corners of the castle and the rain pattered loudly on the windows. In just a few days the trees had gone from greenish yellow to yellow, orange and red. Slowly but steadily the leaves were being pulled from the trees and flew in small whirlwinds across the grounds and past windows.

Myra had tried to do what Henry advised, but it seemed to be getting her nowhere. Subtly was easier said than done. Hestia, Ashley and Anna were more than a little confused by her sudden desire to dictate where they sat at mealtimes or in the common room. Whether it was working or not, Myra couldn't tell; but at least it made life a lot more interesting.

What surprised Myra the most was the realisation of just how intense her feelings were. She didn't want to dig too deep into what they really meant just yet, but she was starting to think that perhaps her falling for Remus hadn't happened as recently as she thought. It was the only explanation she had, and that meant that the girls had been right all along when they'd teased her about fancying him. They had noticed, and she hadn't.

The full moon was meant to reappear towards the end of October. Remus was looking worse with each passing day. Finally, on their last patrol just two days before the full moon, Remus looked so haggard that Myra wanted to tell him to go and rest and let her handle things. He would never allow for that, so she kept her mouth shut and did her best to make it an easy and uneventful evening for him.

"Do you think you'll make it back to the school in time for Hogsmeade on Saturday?" Myra asked. Without either of them planning it or discussing it, they used his original story about visiting his aunt whenever they talked about the full moons when someone could overhear.

"I highly doubt it," Remus answered, sounding bitter as well as tired. "I'll most likely leave late on Thursday. Some miracle may happen making things go smoothly, it has happened before. But..." His pause made Myra look at him, and he discreetly gestured at himself and the state he was in. "Doesn't look like it will happen this time around."

Myra sighed sadly. "I'm sorry," she whispered almost automatically.

Remus looked surprised at her sympathy. "I appreciate that, but don't be. Please. It is the way it is."

"Still..."

They didn't get to talk about it much more, as they were soon distracted by a commotion up ahead. Someone was out after curfew, doing something they probably shouldn't, and the prefects had to stop it. So Myra kept the rest of her worries to herself, and just hoped that Hestia would find out about it soon.

...

On the day of the full moon something unusual happened. Myra went to the library right after dinner with her sister and her friend Julie. Hestia tagged along, and both the older witches tried to help the younger ones with their homework. The topic was Charms, something both Myra and Hestia were good at, especially the second year material.

"No, no, the incantation literally means 'the expanse of an open mouth, always'," Hestia whispered in exasperation. They had been there for only fifteen minutes and had spent them mostly trying to explain the Tickling Charm to Marie and Julie. "The point is to laugh and not being able to stop. And the most painful way to laugh is by being tickled, that's why is classified as a minor torturing curse. So it's not really a tickling charm."

"This is confusing," Marie muttered and leaned back in her chair.

"Minor torturing curse?" Julie looked horrified. "That's –" She was interrupted by Remus approaching. Both the second years looked up in awe at this, to them, tall and formidable seventh year wizard.

"Myra," he said, not even glancing at the other three. "Could I talk to you for a moment?"

"Uhm, sure," Myra replied slightly confused and followed him out and a good distance away from the library. When he finally stopped he put his hands in his robe pockets and looked up and down the hall quickly before looking awkwardly at his shoes. Myra took in his appearance, and felt her heart break. His hair was a mess, what she could see of his face while it was facing downwards was pale and flushed at the same time. He seemed to be shivering slightly.

"I- I just-" He looked up at her then. "I just wanted to let you know that I'm leaving now."

"Oh, okay." Myra wasn't sure how to react to this. She turned to look out a window, there was no moon there, but she wasn't sure it was even visible from that side of the castle yet. "How long before... it's up?"

"Don't you pay attention in Astronomy?" He smiled.

"I pay attention!" She pouted.

"It's not full until 11:36 tonight. That's when everything is aligned."

"Okay then. So, you're leaving already."

"Yeah, I'm in no state to do anything worthwhile, so I'm going, and I thought..." He trailed off.

Myra gritted her teeth and thought fast and frantically for exactly five seconds. Then she moved forwards and pulled Remus into a hug. He was burning up; the temperature she was sure he was at would be enough to kill a normal person. But overshadowing that thought in her head was the feeling of how good it felt when he reciprocated and laid his arms around her shoulders. Her heartbeat sped up, pounding in her ears, her muscles felt slightly limp, and she had to restrain herself to keep from really tightening her arms and never let him go.

After just a few seconds longer than what was acceptable for a simple friendly hug, she reluctantly pulled away, feeling flushed from both his fever and her own rushing blood.

"I'll be worrying about you tonight," she muttered. When he opened his mouth to most likely tell her not to, she interrupted him. "Whether you like it or not, I will worry."

He smiled appreciatively.

"Take care of yourself, alright? As best you can."

"I will, I promise."

They both turned to go in opposite directions, when Myra had a final thought. "Hey," she called to halt him. He turned, and Myra stepped closer so she wouldn't have to speak so loudly. "Can I visit you in the hospital wing tomorrow?"

"Well, you have seen me beaten and bruised before, so yeah, I'd like that. If Madam Pomfrey lets you in, that is." He chuckled humourlessly.

"Good. See you tomorrow then."

They smiled at each other and Myra made it back inside the library.

"What did he want?" Hestia asked quietly as Myra sat down by the table. There was something in her voice that Myra didn't like.

"He just wanted to let me know he's leaving," she whispered back. "You know, to visit his aunt." She tried to lay just enough of pressure on the right words to make Hestia see that it was a hidden meaning there. Hestia didn't make any impression that she had understood, but Myra knew she probably had.

The girls continued working for a few hours, right until curfew. Myra and Hestia followed the younger girls to the Hufflepuff dungeons and then retired to the Gryffindor common room. They had a little bit of time to relax before they had Astronomy.

Myra guided Hestia to a window that she knew would show the moon, and soon Anna joined them. Hestia worked on homework, Anna and Myra chatted, with the latter more than occasionally keeping an eye on the whitening orb in the rapidly darkening sky. Before they knew it, it was time to head for the Astronomy Tower.

During the first part of the lesson Myra found herself replaying the scene with Remus over and over in her head. Safe to say she was a bit distracted while Professor Sinistra lectured about the planets and the stars. Hestia kept nudging her to pay attention, but it didn't help much.

When the lecture was done the students went out onto the Tower to make use of the new knowledge they had just been given. Myra felt a bit at a loss, but managed well enough until the exact time Remus had given her earlier, 11:36.

A bone-chilling wail was let out in the far distance, making Myra cringe in empathy.

"The ghosts are at it again," Ashley muttered from Myra's right.

"Yeah," she muttered distractedly, staring out onto the grounds, gnawing her teeth at the sound of the pained cries. A minute or two later the crying stopped and a long feral howl broke through the night.

Myra sighed.

Hestia moved away from looking out of her telescope. "Are you alright?" she whispered.

Myra turned slowly to her best friend. "I'm fine." But Remus isn't.

"Don't worry about the ghosts in the Shack," Hestia continued. "It's just one of their nights."

"Right, right." Quickly Myra went back to work, trying to understand better what they were supposed to do. She felt Hestia's gaze on her. Hestia must have noticed Myra's sudden lack of fear of the ghosts. Good. Maybe that meant she was one step closer to finding out about Remus.

...

Myra had barely slept that night. She had tossed and turned, and ached for poor Remus doing Merlin knew what out there. Her thoughts were so occupied by him that she didn't even stop to wonder about what Sirius, Peter and James might be doing. At least, not until she saw them at breakfast. They had dark circles under their eyes, the paleness and puffiness of lack of sleep, and moved in a zombie-like manner. But for once Myra found herself not caring what they'd been up to. All she cared about was getting through the day and finding the time to sneak up to see Remus, now that she had his approval.

"Hey, Myra!" Someone said, poking her hard in the shoulder.

"I'm sorry, what?" Myra asked.

"Hestia asked you something," Anna said and shook her head in exasperation.

"How long are you planning on staying in Hogsmeade tomorrow?" Hestia asked from across the table.

"I don't know, not too long, I guess," Myra answered, stifling a yawn.

"Did you sleep at all last night? I heard you tossing and turning when I woke around five to go to the loo."

"Hardly. Just had a lot on my mind, I guess..."

Hestia nodded thoughtfully, while the other girls lunged into a new conversation about their plans for the Halloween Hogsmeade visit the next day.

Throughout the first few classes Myra tried to think of how she could get away and go see Remus. It wasn't easy doing anything secretly around Hogwarts; the girls would ask questions if she tried to sneak off in the middle of the day. If she had a good excuse they would let her leave, but coming up with that excuse wasn't possible at the current time.

She thought she might be able to do a quick visit at the end of lunch and right before Care of Magical Creatures, but Remus would probably be sleeping then. Besides, she wanted a bit more time with him than a few minutes before class.

No, Myra couldn't think of anything, and suddenly dinner had arrived, so the chance had likely gone.

"You've been planning something today," Hestia whispered as she sat next to Myra, eating Shepherd's Pie.

Myra snapped her head around. Nothing gets past that witch! I thought I was getting better at hiding stuff from her! There was no point in denying it. "Yes, but don't worry. I have permission."

Hestia furrowed her brows. That was unlike Myra. "Do you need me to come with you?"

"No, my own conscience will be enough this time." Myra smiled. "Any help to not be followed when I go would be appreciated, though." Why hadn't she thought of that sooner?

"I'll do what I can before I have to go to practice," Hestia promised quietly after thoroughly scrutinizing Myra.

"Thank you, but I-" She was interrupted by a commotion down the table. All heads turned in that direction.

James had climbed up on the table and walked towards Lily, the food, plates and cutlery moving gracefully out of his way. He had charmed the red on his robes and uniform to be orange and was carrying a bouquet of bright orange roses and black lilies. When he reached Lily, the table cleared itself in front of her so he could get down on one knee.

"Beautiful Lily Evans," he began, holding the flowers forwards to her, "will you please do me the honour of accompanying me to the Halloween Hogsmeade visit tomorrow?"

Myra was proud. This was one of the more classy stunts he had pulled. But that didn't help his case.

Lily glared hard at him, stood up and quickly walked out of the Great Hall. Some snickering could be heard across the hall at James being rejected for the umpteenth time.

But he was not miserable in the slightest. He jumped up and threw the flowers over his head, making it rain down on him. "She didn't say no!" James shouted again and again while hopping around. He reached the edge of table, lost his balance and toppled loudly down to the floor.

Peter immediately ran over to help James up, but he quickly got to his feet on his own. "I'm alright, I'm alright." He held his hands up for a moment before brushing himself off. All the while Sirius was doubled over laughing.

...

Saturday morning dawned bright and chilly. The autumn wind had thankfully taken the day off and the sun was shining for the occasion, but there was an unmistakeable touch of the coming winter in the air. The girls donned their warmer robes and went with the rest of the school to the little town.

Halloween spirit was all over, with skeletons popping out of alleys scaring the shoppers, spiders crawling up and down the windows, cobwebs in the shop entrances and window corners, ghostly weeping as a background sound throughout the entire town.

Myra enjoyed herself for a few hours with her friends. They browsed all the clothing stores, before Ashley disappeared with Lowell. The rest of them went through all the other shops; stocking up on sweets and school supplies, dreaming about new robes and brooms and jewellery. Myra's mind, however, was back at the castle, and Hestia seemed to be the only one to notice. They were just about to go into the Three Broomsticks for a drink when Hestia held Myra back by her arm.

"I think I've figured it out," Hestia whispered, keeping a grip on Myra's robes.

She understood at once what her best friend was referring to. "Really?" She was hopeful.

Hestia nodded. "We can talk when we get back to school."

"Good. But..." Myra just saw Sirius, James and Peter go into a shop down the street and had an idea. "I think I'll go back now, to do that thing I didn't manage to do yesterday."

"Okay. You're still sure you don't need me to go with you?"

"Yes, but maybe next time." Myra smiled secretively.

Hestia furrowed her brows in thought for a second, but then her face smoothed over and she seemed to come to a realisation. "Be careful then."

Myra knew then that Hestia had to have come to the correct conclusion about Remus. "Don't tell anyone what you know. Understand?"

"I understand, if you promise to be careful."

"I'll be careful. Tell the others I had forgotten I promised to help Marie with homework or something."

As quickly as she could without looking suspicious, Myra raced back to Hogwarts and up the nearly empty halls to the hospital wing. She opened the door and ran into Madam Pomfrey, almost knocking her over.

"What are you doing here, Miss Kinney?" the matron asked sharply, looking her over for injuries.

"I'm here to see Remus," Myra answered confidently. "I was supposed to go see him yesterday, but I couldn't make it."

Pomfrey stared her down. It seemed like she still didn't trust Myra, even after last time. But after a few agonising seconds, she stepped aside.

Myra didn't waste any time in locating Remus' bed, it was the only one who was occupied and shielded by opaque screens. "Is he awake?" she asked, turning back around to the matron.

"I'm awake." A tired, slightly hoarse voice answered before the matron could, sending delightful tingles down Myra's spine.

With a great smile she walked right over. "Hi."

"Hey." Remus smiled widely back.

He looked well enough, for someone recovering from a full moon. He had a bruise on his left cheek, there were something that looked like bite marks on his shoulders. Reopened and fresh cuts criss-crossed down his arms. There was a bandage across his torso, just visible through the open buttons on his nightshirt. The covers were drawn high up, so Myra couldn't see much else.

"How are you doing?" She sat down on one of the three chairs that were by his bedside.

"As good as could be expected, I guess."

"Sorry I didn't come yesterday. I couldn't get a way without raising suspicion. You know how it is at Hogwarts."

"Don't worry. I slept most of yesterday, so I wouldn't have exactly been any company." He waved his hand dismissively, wincing slightly as he pulled a some unseen injury.

"You're not the one who's supposed to be company. I am supposed to be entertaining you," Myra added playfully.

"Then I appreciate that. Did you make it to Hogsmeade today?"

"Yup. I just came back now. The other girls went into the Three Broomsticks."

"How was it?"

"Cold and sunny." Myra pursed her lips. "But it was good. They've added a background sound this year; weeping ghosts, all over town."

"Sounds creepy." Remus chuckled.

"Not really. Once I would probably have freaked out, but not anymore." Myra smiled and shook her head at the thought.

"Why? Ghosts aren't dangerous. I mean, Nick's nice enough, isn't he?"

"No, but imaginary ghosts are. I used to be terrified of 'The Ghosts in the Shrieking Shack'. So terrified they were my Boggart. Until Peter... told me the truth."

"You're kidding?" Remus paled a bit, but eventually he snickered. The mirth didn't seem to quite reach his eyes.

"No, I'm not kidding! I came face to face with a Boggart on my O.W.L. and I think I damaged the examiner for life with what my imagination conjured." She shuddered at the memory.

"When did Peter tell you about the Shack?"

"When I was –" she stopped herself, eyes widening. Why did she bring up that subject? She had worked so hard and been through so much to keep her friendship with Remus intact, and now she had almost destroyed everything by letting it slip herself. "I ran into him late one night when you were howling away out there. He thought it was hilarious that I was so scared of imaginary ghosts, and told me what it really was." There. That was close enough to the truth to be okay. She just hoped the group wasn't as inseparable as she thought, making it believable that Peter could be out and about without the others, Remus included, close behind.

"I'm sorry..." Remus muttered.

"Hey, don't be. It's Dumbledore's fault. According to Peter, he backed up the stories people invented about the reason for the noise. Dumbledore fuelled my fear."

"What do you think your Boggart is now, if you don't mind me asking? The same, or will it be something different?"

Myra cocked her head, thinking about it. She hadn't thought about it since that night Peter had told her. She really couldn't think of anything that really frightened her enough to turn into a Boggart. "I don't know," she answered, looking out the window behind the bed. "I mean, of course I'm terrified something will happen to mum, dad and Marie. I don't want to lose them for anything. But I don't know, that's just not a reality right now. They're all healthy, no one's after them, so I don't think that fear is great enough to manifest..." She looked down for a few seconds to rid herself of the images that threatened to fill her mind. "I guess it will be something different, but I hope I never find out. Not through a Boggart and not through reality."

Remus stared at her. Myra noticed and turned her head to him. There was something in his eyes that she had never seen there before. She didn't recognize what it was, but her heart reacted by beating a bit faster.

"What?" she asked.

Remus shook his head. "Nothing. I just... My Boggart is the full moon," he offered.

Myra breathed out, her heart breaking for him. "Wow," she whispered. "And you face it every month without fail. Only an incredibly strong person could do that."

Once again Remus stared at her, and she stared back. There was so much she wanted to say to him right then, but her bravery failed her. She hoped he could see some of it in her eyes.

"Well, this was a depressing turn of conversation," Remus said, smiling suddenly and trying to remain upbeat.

"Yeah. Hey, did you hear what James did at dinner yesterday?" Myra suddenly remembered, thinking it was a good change of subject.

"He asked Lily out again, didn't he? They were up here afterwards and he told me all about it. Something tells me he didn't tell it the way it really happened, though."

Myra proceeded to retell what she had seen the previous day. "I guess he's right; she didn't say no. That's got to be progress..."

Remus snorted. "I don't know. He has a lot to make up for when it comes to Lily. I don't think I would call it progress just yet."

"Still, I have a feeling those two are going to end up together. I mean, James hasn't strayed at all these years, has he? And it's not like he's been lacking in offers."

"Right," Remus confirmed.

"That has to count for something."

"For his sake, I hope you're right. Hell, for my sake, I hope you're right! I'm tired of listening to his rosy red daydreams after all these years!"

Myra laughed, picturing James all doe eyed and dreamy, yammering on and on and on about Lily, and Remus, Sirius and Peter in the background pulling their hair.

Remus just shook his head, exasperation very clear on his face. But then he chuckled too.

When they had calmed down, Myra looked at the clock that hung above the door to Madam Pomfrey's office. Her friends would most likely be back by now. "I should probably get going," she said. "Before the girls start wondering where I am."

"Yeah." He didn't look too happy. "And I'm guessing the boys will be here soon."

"I don't want to be here for that. We may have stopped our fighting, but it's obvious they don't like me." She stood up and looked down on Remus where he was propped up in his hospital bed. She wanted desperately to hug him again, but couldn't bring herself to it. "Feel better, Remus."

Halfway down the hall she passed Sirius, James and Peter, their arms full of Zonko's and Honeyduke's bags. They all nodded politely to each other, not saying anything, not slowing for an instant. For all they cared, she might as well have been invisible.

...

"It's time we talked," Hestia said, walking over to Myra's bed.

Myra looked up from the letter she was writing to her parents, hastily tucking it away when she noted that Hestia looked particularly businesslike. She hadn't noticed it before, but Anna and Ashley were missing from the room; the former having skipped off for a bath before bed and the other still hanging out with Lowell somewhere in the castle. They were alone.

"Okay," Myra replied, heart skipping a beat. She was barely able to keep her excitement in. She'd been waiting so long for this moment.

Hestia climbed onto the bed, pulling the curtains closed and waving her wand around them, making sure no one could hear their conversation. "I've told Anna that I had to talk to you about something, so she's not going to wonder when she comes out of the loo."

"Okay," Myra repeated.

Hestia took a deep breath, ready to begin. "It took a little while, and I went through a few theories." She didn't beat around the bush. "I even researched what we discussed, you know, about Remus' immune system being faulty. That's the one that made the most sense since a lot of things matched, but there was just something that told me it wasn't right. I thought about someone doing it to him, some evil Slytherin or something. I thought maybe he had a disease that just made him sick and bruised. And that put me on the trail, which you confirmed with your behaviour on Thursday, and yesterday, and today."

Hestia took a break in her speech. Myra was getting very impatient; sure that Hestia was going to get this right.

"Remus is a..." She closed her eyes, and gritted her teeth. "He's a werewolf. Isn't he?"

When it came down to it, Myra wasn't sure if she should nod, or say yes or deny everything. Would she actually break the promise to Remus and his friends and Dumbledore if she confirmed this? But it turned out that her thoughtful hesitation was answer enough.

"He is," Hestia said with finality.

"How- how do you feel about this?" Myra asked cautiously. To her it didn't look like Hestia liked it very much; the almost sour expression on her face, the lack of emotion in her voice, her stiff posture.

Hestia took a while to answer. "I honestly don't know. I can tell that you don't care, that you never cared."

Myra nodded to confirm this.

"But, it's different for me. It's difficult – I'm a pure-blood. Not only have I grown up with the scary stories about werewolves, but my entire family has for generations. It's not the same as being Muggleborn or having Muggle blood. Half-breeds are an entirely different matter."

Myra straightened up, her anger flaring. "He's no-"

Hestia held up her hand, silencing her mid-rant. "Just hear me out before you go all mental. Now. I've never met a werewolf in my entire life, as far as I know. But what I've grown up with, and what we've learned in class... it doesn't exactly match up with the Remus I've gotten to know this past few months. He seems like a decent person, decent enough for you to fall for him –" Hestia held up both her hands this time, before Myra could do more than open her mouth in protest. "We'll talk about that later. Just hold your hippogriffs.

"I don't think I'm okay with this; him being a werewolf amongst all the students. But I haven't had much time to think about it. I thought about it briefly when I first began researching, but it just seemed so farfetched! It wasn't until you were so preoccupied during the full moon on Thursday evening I knew for sure. So, like I said, I haven't had much time to think about it. I'm not sure if I'm ever going to be okay with it, but I won't tell anyone about it. I've gathered as much from you that this is something to be kept very, very secret. And I'm not going to be difficult about it and make things difficult for you." Hestia lowered her shoulders and relaxed her body.

Myra just looked at her. "But you won't mind if I need to talk about it sometimes? The main reason why I wanted you to know was so I could have someone with a sane head on their shoulders to talk to!"

"I won't mind. Even if I currently have a problem with the whole thing. Like I said, I'm not going to make things difficult for you."

"Good, because I have a feeling that the issues between me and Remus' friends aren't over yet. I don't want to face it alone." Although she'd brought it up, Myra hoped with everything in her that that didn't happen.

"Let's move on to the subject of your very obvious feelings for Remus." It was strange –because Hestia was usually Myra's one girlfriend who couldn't be bothered with the subject of boys, and here she was changing the subject and seeming very interested in her love life. Sure, she had joined in teasing Myra when the girls first thought she fancied Remus, but everyone knew the subject made Hestia uncomfortable and that she thought it was a waste of time to think of boys like that. Myra was a little surprised, she seemed so interested in what her feelings for Remus were, even after having just said she wasn't sure she was okay with him being a werewolf.

She thought that perhaps she should tell Hestia about the 'adventure' in the Forbidden Forest and the truth behind everything that was going on between her and three of the Marauders, but seeing as Hestia was still figuring out the entire werewolf thing, Myra welcomed the change in subject. Even if the subject was her feelings for Remus. They could talk about all the wrong things Myra had done later.

"What about them?" she asked simply. She didn't deny it, but she didn't fully confirm having them either.

"When did you realise it?"

"You know I hate it when people tell me how I do or should feel."

"Yes, but I am not telling you. I'm just asking."

"I can't quite remember, but I think it might have been sometime during the summer or the first week back. I don't know anymore. Does it really matter?" Myra shrugged.

"I guess not," Hestia agreed. "As long as you finally see it. We were never trying to tell you to have feelings for him. Or, I don't know what Ashley and Anna were doing, but I know you well enough to see it for what it was. I've been trying to make you realise them before he went and found someone else."

"Why?" Myra had to ask, shaking her head slightly in confusion. "You always say that boyfriends are a waste of time. That there are better things to put your mind to."

"There are. But I understand that most people don't feel the same way."

Myra nodded that she got that.

"So what is happening between you and Remus? You're spending more and more time with him, and you both certainly seem very happy when you come back from patrol together."

An involuntary smile erupted on Myra's face. She just couldn't help it. Patrols were her favourite time with Remus. They were as good as alone in the entire castle and they could talk for hours as they strolled around. Every week Remus opened up a little bit more, and every week he loosened his rule about keeping patrols strictly business. That rule was almost non-existent at this point. Then Myra thought about the answer to Hestia's question, and her smile fell. "We're just friends."

A look of sympathy crossed Hestia's face.

"I've actually talked to Henry about it," she then admitted, to which Hestia raised her eyebrows. "Asked him for advice about what to do."

Then comprehension lit up Hestia's eyes. "Is that why you're always trying to decide where we sit in the Great Hall and the common room?"

Myra shrugged guiltily. "Henry told me to always be near Remus, but not up in his face. I don't know if it's working."

"I doubt you need to do anything at all." Hestia looked smug. "To me it looks like he already fancies you."

"Then what's stopping him?"

"The fact that he's a werewolf perhaps?"

"Oh, don't be stupid! Why would that be an issue? I don't have a problem that he's a werewolf! He knows that!"

"Then I don't know what's stopping him." Hestia shrugged. "Maybe he's shy. Maybe he's gay. Maybe... I don't know! You still know him better than I do! Frankly I don't care too much about finding out."

"There's the Hestia I know and love," Myra cheered, smiling. But then she grew serious. "Will you ever tell me why you have such an issue with boyfriends and all that goes with it?"

Hestia pursed her lips in thought. "I don't know. They're... just a waste of time."

"I don't believe that. There's got to be more behind it." Myra pleaded with her eyes. It felt so sad that Hestia was this way.

Hestia shrugged. "I don't know what else to say, Myra. Maybe..."

"Well, whatever it is, I hope it won't keep you back if the right wizard for you shows up!"

Hestia just smiled sadly.

"How about we just say that better times will come and call it a night?" Myra suggested, feeling that things had taken a very depressing turn.

"Good idea," Hestia agreed. She uncharmed the area around Myra's bed and pulled the curtains open.

"You've been in there for a long time," Anna commented from where she sat on her bed reading a book, looking up when the two girls emerged.

Ashley looked confused as she rummaged through her trunk. Her ruffled look suggested she had just come in.

"We had a lot to talk about," Myra answered tiredly.

"That we did," Hestia concurred.

Just as Hestia was about to get off the bed, Myra grabbed her arm and leaned in towards her ear. "I'm not ready yet for them to know about the second thing we talked about, okay?"

Hestia stared at her for a moment, before nodding. "I won't tell them until you do."

"Thanks."




Author Notes

I'm awfully sorry about the time it took for this to come out. Real life can be a b in the itch some times, and now it has been for both me and my beta. At least it seems my beta will have some free time on her hand, while I'm about to start redecorating my dining room and doing some much needed painting on the balcony, as quickly as possible...

At least this is one of the longer chapters so far!

I completed the first Camp NaNoWriMo this year, 20066 out of 20000 words! I think that means I'm now writing chapter 27 or 28... I've gotten so into writing again now, so I want to try a regular posting schedule again. I'm trying out with a new chapter every three weeks, and we'll see how that goes. Might change it to two weeks, or back to four weeks/a month.

Please review if you have any thoughts on the chapter!

Coming: Chapter 24 – Lifting Burdens and Burying Hatchets

"We need to talk," Sirius commanded more than requested. "All of us." He drew his hand out to encompass Myra and Remus, Hestia in front of him and the boys behind him.


Chapter 24: Lifting Burdens and Burying Hatchets
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Chapter 24
Lifting Burdens and Burying Hatchets



How Dumbledore knew, Myra and Hestia would never know. But as Myra sat at the end of the Gryffindor table for breakfast the very next morning with her sister, she saw an owl land in front of Hestia some distance away. The girl opened the note attached to its leg and frowned as she read.

When breakfast ended and Myra caught up with Hestia in the Entrance Hall, Hestia told her about it.

"Professor Dumbledore wants to see me in his office in an hour," she explained and held out the note she had gotten.

Myra skimmed through it; it was very similar to the one she had gotten a few months ago. "How does he know? Never mind, I don't want to know. He most likely wants to talk about what we talked about last night."

"What?" Hestia burst out. "I can't talk to him about that!"

"Don't worry! It's just to make sure you won't tell anyone. And that Remus'," Myra whispered his name, "safety is taken care of."

"Oh Merlin." The little colour Hestia usually had was gone.

"But please, if it comes up; make him understand that I didn't tell you. You found out on your own. There's absolutely nothing wrong with that. And it is the truth."

The two witches went back to Gryffindor Tower, where Hestia for once couldn't focus on her homework, she was so nervous.

...

Myra had been looking forward to the attending the Halloween feast, but it seemed that, the day of, she wouldn't get much of a chance. It started when Remus was late for the free period they shared together. She was starting to think he wouldn't show at all, but halfway through her Herbology question sheet the portrait hole opened and closed with a thud. She looked up with a smile, but frowned when she saw the stony expression on Remus' face.

"What's wrong?" she asked, setting her quill down.

He didn't answer or do anything right away. He just stood with his back to the closed portrait hole, staring at her. Then he took a deep breath and walked over to the table she sat at. His bag dropped to the floor and he put his hands on the table, leaning forward slightly. "Did you tell Hestia?" he asked quietly, not meeting her eyes. There was something in his voice that broke her heart.

"Tell Hestia what?" she asked, even though she had a pretty good idea what.

Remus glanced around the room; although it was unnecessary as there had never been anyone there during that period save for them. Then he sat down opposite her and folded his hands in his lap. "You know what, Myra. About... what I am." His voice was low and unsure.

"I didn't mean to sound dodgy, if that's what it came out like. I tell Hestia a lot of things, but I swear I didn't tell her that!" Myra tried her best to convey the sincerity through her voice and her eyes.

"Swear?" he repeated questioningly.

"Yes, I swear," she confirmed. "She knew I knew something, but not what. She figured it out all on her own, and told me about it on Saturday. I swear on Marie's life that I didn't tell her or help her figure it out."

He didn't speak for several minutes. His gaze switched from her eyes to his hands, then back again several times.

"How did you find out that she knows?" Myra asked, she just had to break the silence.

"Professor Dumbledore informed me just now. It's why I'm late."

"Nothing gets past that old man," she muttered. "He talked to Hestia yesterday. From what Hestia told me it was the same talk he had with me; making sure she doesn't tell anyone. That she does what she can to keep you safe."

"And will she keep from telling anyone?"

"She will. She's one of the most honourable people I know. And because she has made a promise with Dumbledore, she will take this to her grave. I..." Myra hesitated for a moment. "I care about you, and I don't want stupid people to make life difficult for you! Hestia and I are both keeping quiet to keep you safe. The only thing that can make us speak up is if you tell us it's okay do to so."

"You keep mentioning my safety, what about everyone else's?"

"I believe that as long as your safety is being taken care of, everyone else's is too."

"I shouldn't even be here at Hogwarts," he mumbled, covering his face with his hands and leaning his elbows heavily on the table. "It's just too risky..." His voice was muffled.

Too risky? For who? Myra had been sure it was all about Remus' safety, and it was, but he didn't feel that way, did he? He was more worried about everyone else. What he could do to them. It was never a question of what they could put him through if they found out about him. As if Myra needed another reason to care, another testament to his goodness...

"Of course you should, Remus!" she reached for him and carefully pulled his hands away from his face, forcing him to look up. "You have every right to be here! You have even more right to be here than some people! Hogwarts just wouldn't be the same without you! I'd still be taking fifth year Defence Against the Dark Arts if it weren't for you!"

"I'm sure you would have managed just fine..."

"Eventually, maybe – but I would've ruined my friendship with Hestia! Imagine where Sirius, James and Peter would have been if you hadn't been their voice of reason."

"Well, they wouldn't be unregistered Animagi if it weren't for me!"

"Of course they- Wait, what?!" Myra's eyes were the size of Quidditch hoops. He couldn't have said what she thought he said.

Remus frowned, but then his eyes grew wide too as he seemed to realise what he'd let slip. "I should not have said that," he whispered fearfully. "You can't ever say anything about it. They'd get in so much trouble!"

"I won't," she answered without thinking. She wasn't sure what else she could say; her mind was working on overdrive as several things clicked into place in her mind, things that finally made sense. That was why they were able to be with Remus during the full moon. That was how they had disappeared that time she followed them out. "What kind of animals are they?" she asked slowly.

Remus took a while to answer her. "Peter is a rat. James is a stag. Sirius is a big dog of undefined breed." He sounded defeated.

Myra shook her head, her mouth hanging open in shock. Even more things made sense now! James and Sirius had been the ones fighting off Remus when she had gone out into the Forbidden Forest. And because Peter was so small, he had been able to sneak up behind her, transform and get her out of there. And that was how he suddenly disappeared afterwards, just transformed into something so small she hadn't been able to see him! It was why Sirius and James knew all about what had happened that night, even though she hadn't 'seen' them.

Were James and Peter the ones who had threatened her that time she followed them?

"I think I have seen them," Myra mumbled. "At least James and Peter." She couldn't sat she'd seen Sirius too, without giving away that one other incident.

Remus raised his head, frowning. "How did you see them?" He sounded very suspicious, and Myra was certain he was afraid she had done the very thing she was hiding from him.

"Oh, I ran into them in the halls near the kitchen once. They were behaving suspiciously and it looked like they were carrying something invisible between them. The next time I noticed this, I followed them outside. They disappeared, but I heard some noises near the Forbidden Forest and went to investigate. Suddenly a rat and a stag came. The stag threatened me with its antlers and the rat kind of chased me back. Safe to say, I ran as fast as I could."

"This wasn't during a full moon, was it?"

"It was on the day of the full moon, but it wasn't up yet. It was also before I figured anything out."

He seemed to relax, knowing that. "You can't ever go outside when the moon is full. Can you promise me that?" He looked so intently at her it was almost painful to be on the receiving end.

"I promise." And she truly meant it. This time.

...

By the time they'd finished talking, there wasn't much time left of the free period. Myra had long since given up on the Herbology homework anways. The Halloween feast started later than regular dinner, so when the castle came alive with the sounds of students being let out of classes, the two of them decided to head down to the Great Hall earlier than necessary.

But they didn't get very far. On the fifth floor they were stopped by Hestia, who was closely followed by Sirius, James and Peter. Hestia looked aggravated, her teeth clenched. It seemed like she'd been trying hard to lose the boys in their walk through the castle.

"We need to talk," Sirius commanded more than requested. "All of us." He drew his hand out to encompass Myra and Remus as well as Hestia and the other boys.

"But the feast –" Myra interjected.

"That can wait," he spat. Myra could almost see his muscles straining in his neck, as if he were biting back a ruder reply.

"I guess I know what you want to talk about," Myra began, with a quick glance at Remus to confirm. He nodded. "But it's not really anything to talk about. It's all taken care of and nothing to worry about."

"Let us be the judge of that," James said, swiftly taking the lead. The girls followed reluctantly, and Sirius and Peter walking behind them, as if making sure they didn't go astray. They didn't go very far, just a few corridors away and into the prefects' bathroom. Hestia looked around in wonder; she had never been in there. But Sirius and Peter didn't look impressed in the slightest, so Myra guessed that either James or Sirius had snuck them in before.

They didn't waste any time. The minute the door shut, Sirius directed a fierce glare at Myra. "Did you tell Hestia?"

Remus had asked the same thing, but at least he'd been polite about it. Myra felt her anger rising, as well as her guard – remembering the last she had been shut in a room with the Marauders. "No, I did not tell Hestia! I did not tell Hestia anything! All she knew was that I knew something, but I told her nothing more than that, not even a hint! I didn't break my promise to you or Dumbledore; Hestia did it all on her own. Just like she or anyone else is allowed to! And Dumbledore is satisfied that she does not pose a threat to Remus' safety, right?" She glanced at Hestia, willing her friend to confirm all she said.

"Right," Hestia said. "He called me to his office yesterday. How he could possibly know that I knew without me telling anyone, I have no idea." She shook her head.

Peter sighed deeply and sat down in the steps leading down to the huge tub. "This is moving way too fast, isn't it? I mean, apart from us – that's four students who know. Now it's seven people. That's just too much! And when one of them is... well. This... This isn't good."

"'One of them is' who?" Myra asked, curiously.

"That's none of your business," Sirius snapped, at the same time as Remus supplied, much quieter, "Snape."

"How did Snape find out?"

"It's a long story," Remus said before any of the others could reply. "And not a good one."

Myra wanted desperately to find out more, but she held her tongue. Hestia would be proud.

"How did you find out, Hestia?" James asked, moving on.

Hestia sighed, sliding down a column until she sat on the top stone step. Myra could tell she would rather be anywhere else than trapped in a bathroom with the Marauders. She could sympathise. "How did I find out?" she repeated. "Well, I knew Myra had found out something. And I knew it had something to do with Remus. Seeing as she's know to get into trouble when her curiosity is involved, I figured I better find out too, so maybe I could help keep her out of trouble."

Myra winced, but caught herself before Remus noticed. She wished Hestia hadn't said that; she didn't know about the 'incident' in the Forbidden Forest and Merlin knows what Sirius, James and Peter would make of that omission. Myra had every intention of telling her, but not right now.

"Should've tried harder," Sirius muttered. For someone who was so intent on doing what was best for Remus and keeping bad things from him, Sirius certainly didn't think too hard about what he was saying. Myra just wanted a hole in the ground to swallow her up.

"Sirius!" Remus snapped. But then he seemed to realise something. "What did you mean by that?"

"Nothing!" Sirius quickly responded. "Just thinking back to the potions accident last year."

Myra had to give it to him; he had a quick mind when he bothered to use it. Whether or not Remus believed it though, she didn't know.

"Why is it that so many people have found out all of a sudden?" Peter asked.

"It's not that many people," Remus interjected. "It's just Myra and Hestia. Lily found out a year ago, same did Snape. I trust them all completely, well... maybe not Snape."

"Just like that?" Peter asked.

"No, em>not just like that. I knew Lily before she found out. And now, I know Myra and Hestia well enough to trust them."

"How can you be so calm about this!" Sirius burst out. "It's your ass on the line! There has been nothing but trouble since she forced herself into your life!" He pointed rudely in Myra's direction.

"I did not force myself into his life...!" Myra interjected loudly, but her voice died out at the end as Remus spoke up at the same time.

"How have she been trouble, Sirius?!" he asked heatedly, stepping forwards. "I haven't seen anything of the sort! All of you have been critical of her since the moment we started being friends. And you've never given me one single reason for why you're acting so ignorant! You always talk it away or say it's nothing! Clearly it's not nothing!"

Everyone stared at Remus once he'd finished his outburst. Myra included. She had never seen him like this. She didn't want him to fall out with his friends, and have them blame her for it. "Stop it!" she shouted before Sirius could say something at the top of his head. Everyone turned to her. "Don't you guys start fighting! Sure, things have been done and said on all parts that I'm sure everyone regrets – I certainly do. But it's nothing we can do anything about! Can't we just move on already?!" Myra flopped heavily down on the stairs next to Hestia, tirade done, trying to ignore the fact that she had essentially re-silenced the room. She only hoped she hadn't made things worse.

Eventually, Sirius shook his head and began to pace. Myra could sense he had something to say, so she hurried to cut him off again. "Yes, I may have done some stupid things. Loads of times. I'm too curious for my own good. But have I really ever done anything to make you not trust me? Think about it, think hard before you answer. All of you." She glanced at Sirius, James and Peter in turn, daring them.

The only sound that was heard for several minutes was the dripping of water from the taps in the tub, or the occasional rush of water through the pipes. James was eventually the first to speak.

"I suppose not," he began, quietly. It was strange, seeing someone who was usually so confident hesitate about what he was saying.

"I'm starting to think this really has nothing to do with whether or not you believe me or Hestia can be trusted with Remus' secret! I think you've all decided not to like me, and so you use this secret to push me away and now you're applying it to Hestia too! You never had a problem with her until today! In fact, you've very clearly ignored me before and said cheery hi's to her when you saw both of us! Now you're suddenly mortal enemies!"

Hestia stared in wonder at Myra. Remus stared too, but Myra wasn't sure why. The boys seemed to be thinking very hard. Myra felt confident she had struck a nerve with that last part; because she knew it to be true. Myra felt confident she had struck a nerve with that last part; because she knew it to be true. The question was what the boys would do about it. The three of them looked at each other. Did they have some secret way of communicating without sound?

"We can't promise anything," James said eventually. "But... we'll try to be civil towards you two."

Myra noticed that they hadn't confirmed or disproved her statement. "You've said that many times before. Are you going to make sure you follow through this time?!" she spat.

"Myra!" Hestia hissed. "This isn't helping!"

"Come one, guys... Let's go," James said. Peter, Sirius and Remus made to follow, but Myra called out: "Remus, wait! Can I talk to you for a second?"

Remus turned around, the other three stopped too. "Sure," he replied, and then turned to his friends. "You go ahead without me. Save me some food."

"I'll just leave too." Hestia followed the other Marauder's out the door. As it closed, Myra could clearly hear her direct a parting jibe at the boys. "See if I can scrape some leftovers off of Ashley and Anna's plates now that the bloody Halloween feast is half over!"

"What's wrong?" Remus asked, sitting down next to Myra on the edge of the tub.

"I don't want to cause any trouble between you and your friends," she began, looking sideways at him. "I hope us being friends isn't hurting your friendship."

Remus smiled warmly, hesitantly laying a hand on her knee. The touch seared Myra's skin. "Don't worry. We've been through worse stuff than this. If we survived Snape finding out about me, we can survive anything." Myra looked up, instantly curious. Remus laughed. "I knew you would react that way. But... that's not my story to tell, really. Ask Sirius or James once they've calmed down. And promise me you won't hold what you hear against them. Or me."

"You're mean, Remus," she whined, shoving her elbow into his side.

"Hey, I'm just being smart. Isn't that a good motivation to make peace with them?" He smiled playfully.

Myra looked thoughtfully at him, chewing her bottom lip with narrowed eyes. "Good job, Mr Lupin. Good job."

"Thank you, Miss Kinney." He replied triumphantly. "Now how about we see if there's something left to eat at the feast?" He stood up and held out his arm for her.

"Excellent notion, Mr Lupin." She stood up too and linked her arm with this. Together they headed down to the Great Hall. There weren't many students left, but Sirius, James and Peter was at the Gryffindor table. Hestia was sitting awkwardly a few feet away from them, nibbling at some bread, refusing to look in their direction.

"Have Ashley and Anna gone already?" Myra asked, sitting down between Hestia and Peter, bridging the gap between the two 'groups'.

"Apparently they have," Hestia replied. "I didn't see them when I got here. I guess we were up there longer than I thought."

"Henry was gone too?"

"Didn't see him. But I didn't look for him either."

Myra sighed and looked around at the table. Thankfully the food hadn't been removed just yet, but all the good dishes were empty. She found a slice of bread and a roll, put them on her plate and poured some gravy next to them for dipping.

Eventually, Sirius, James and Peter got up and said their goodbyes, heading for detention.

"Thank Merlin practice is cancelled today," Hestia said bitterly. "With this little food in me it would have made an awful practice."

...

After Halloween, November took away the afternoon warmth. The winds roared every day and the autumn rain poured down nonstop. It was a horrible weather, and it made for a gloomy mood. Myra had had a couple of days to think about the conversation she and Hestia had had with the Marauders. The need to tell Hestia about the things she had done became more and more pressing; the trip into the Forbidden Forest, the reason behind a lot of the tension between her and Sirius, James and Peter...

"I need to tell you some things, Hestia," Myra whispered as the girls stepped through the portrait hole after dinner on Wednesday.

"Okay," Hestia replied slightly confused.

Myra moved towards the stairs to the dorms.

"Now?" Hestia asked.

Myra nodded.

"But we have homework!"

"We always have homework. I've got both homework and Gobstones today. Please?" Myra pleaded. "I need to get this off my chest!"

Hestia took a moment to contemplate, with a quick glance at the bag slung over her shoulder. "Fine." She gave in. "See you girls later."

The two of them left Ashley and Anna and the common room and went upstairs. They settled onto Hestia's bed, drew the curtains and charmed them quiet.

"What did you want to talk about?" Hestia asked, leaning back against the headboard.

"I thought I ought to tell you about some of the things I've done regarding Remus and his... you know what..."

Instantly Hestia became more alert. And just like that, Myra began talking. She briefly went over finding out back in May and the talk three of the Marauders had with her then. She explained about the summer, how she had been worried about Remus, and afraid of how their friendship had been doomed. The story about the werewolf experiments came out too, but Myra found it hard to elaborate on them. Myra explained the idea she had about going into the Forbidden Forest to see Remus as a werewolf.

Hestia gaped and sputtered. "Y-you didn't do it, did you?" Her hesitation seemed answer enough. "I can't believe you! Myra, you're such an –"

"Can we please save the comments and the question until after I'm done with everything?"

Hestia glared, but motioned for her to continue.

Myra retold the events of the fateful night in the forest, how she had met the werewolf and how Peter had saved her and explained about the Shrieking Shack. Hestia didn't seem as shocked by this news as Myra had expected. But Hestia might have already thought that there was something about the Shack that didn't add up. What followed must have made many things make sense for Hestia; about what had really happened in that locked room that Sirius had dragged her into, and the accidents Myra had for a while after that. She ended the speech by laying her hands in her lap and looking expectantly at Hestia.

"What on earth were you thinking when you decided you would go into the Forbidden Forest to seek out a werewolf of all things?" Hestia snapped.

"I don't know!" Myra answered ashamedly. "I guess I was just curious! I wanted to see a werewolf in real life! See if it really was Remus."

"You're bloody mental!"

"I know – I regret it, alright? I think I will regret it until the day I die! But Remus has no idea I did it, and he can never know!"

"I won't tell him. But not for your sake. I can't believe I'm saying this, but I agree with Black. He doesn't deserve to have that on his conscience."

"As long as he never finds out." Myra shook her head to push back the guilt that was still there. "Any other questions or comments you want to share?"

"Well, I do feel you deserved the dislocated shoulder, all things considered. Not the treatment Sirius gave you afterwards or the precautions you have to take from now on, but the general pain of it. Seeing as it's because it's payback for almost getting your ruddy face ripped off!" Hestia at least looked a little apologetic when she said that. "The Marauders' behaviour makes so much more sense now! I wish I knew this before they demanded we talk to them on Monday. They're still being so stupid about this, though. I mean – there's really just one stupid thing you have done recently, and it's very clear you regret that. Why would they have so much against you and Remus being friends?"

"Wish I knew," Myra mumbled, and then smiled as she remembered the motivation Remus gave her to befriend them.

"What?" Hestia asked.

"Just something Remus said on Monday. I think I want to be their friend, now. Not just have a truce, but really be their friend. They care so much Remus, and if he cares about them, there must be something there to like. If I'm ever going to be with Remus, I have to make them like me."

"How are you going to do that?"

Myra shrugged and shook her head. "Just play nice and hope for the best, I guess."

...

Though several burdens had been lifted off of Myra's shoulders, the Marauders still had one more day before their burdens could be lifted too.

Every night, seven nights a week for the last month, Sirius, James and Peter had dutifully gone to the detentions they got for 'kidnapping' Myra. Sometimes, when she thought about it, she felt guilty for them having to go through that. But then she remembered the awful pain she'd been in with the dislocated shoulder, and suddenly it didn't seem so unjust.

Remus gave her reports almost every night; the boys had had detention with each and every one of the teachers, the gamekeeper, the caretaker, and even Professor Dumbledore. The next to last day had been Sirius' eighteenth birthday and it had found him in a particularly bad mood. All his spectacular plans for the day were ruined. He was so displeased that he had earned one extra hour from Professor Flitwick, who was overseeing the events that night.

But the last had day arrived, and the atmosphere in the entire Gryffindor Tower light. When the girls walked down the stairs that morning, manic laughter could be heard from the common room.

"What's going on?" Ashley asked.

Myra walked a bit quicker down the stairs, slowly getting into prefect mode. The sight that met them was of Sirius having Peter at wandpoint. Peter was lying down on a sofa, holding tightly onto his stomach, twisting his body back and forth and laughing so hard he almost choked. Sirius must be holding him under with the Tickling Charm. Remus and James were standing to the side, watching. As was half of Gryffindor house.

"Aren't you going to stop them?" Hestia asked Myra urgently.

"I should," Myra answered slowly. "But they'd just take it the wrong way, and I don't need that right now," she whispered.

"Good call," Anna agreed.

Myra caught Remus' eyes across the room and gave him a questioning look. He shrugged.

Just then Lily came down the stairs, she stopped short at the scene. As if rehearsed, James stepped forwards. "That's enough," he said firmly and loudly. "End the spell, Sirius!"

Sirius looked at James, then around the room. Reluctantly, he lifted the spell and Peter was able to breathe normally again. "That was fun," he wheezed and sat up.

Lily's eyebrows were raised. It looked like she didn't believe James had just behaved the responsible Head Boy and saved Peter from a simple spell classified as a possible torturing curse. She walked briskly out of the portrait hole, and James' face fell.

"Don't worry, mate! She'll come around!" Sirius said cheerily and clapped James hard on the back.

The boys started heading out of the common room. As they passed the girls, Myra fell into step next to Remus. "What was all that about?" she asked.

"Peter love being tickled. He's always said he wants to find out-" There was a pause as they climbed out of the portrait hole. "Find out how far he could go without snapping. So he and Sirius decided to try now," Remus answered with a slight shake of his head. "James getting an opportunity to show off in front of Lily was just a lucky bonus."

"She didn't look impressed to me."

"I don't think he impressed anyone with that show," Anna muttered from behind the two.

Remus chuckled, and turned his head slightly to smile at Anna. Myra felt a stab of jealousy, but instantly regretted it.

She lowered her voice and leaned in towards Remus. "You've all been so quiet lately, no pranks, no mischief. Why suddenly today?"

"Last night of detention." Remus smirked at the back of his friends. They were several steps ahead of Remus and the girls, laughing and shoving each other around.

"Of course! I forgot."

"Expect mayhem from now on," Remus said in a calm and businesslike tone.

"Should we be scared?" Ashley asked.

"I doubt it. After this month of detention... We'll be lying pretty low."

Myra was happy their detention would be over in just a few hours. Hopefully it would make it easier to become friends with them. She'd give them a week or so to get over it, and then she would try her hardest. A smile of determination crossed her face, and she got a sideways curious glance from Remus. She just shrugged and shook her head with an even greater smile. "Good times lie ahead, my dear Mr Lupin. Good times lie ahead."




Author Notes

Three weeks, just like I said! Yay!

Some good news, or bad, depending on how you look at it: I've finished part 1! On the evening of May 17th, I wrote the last word on Lunar Phases part 1. It was supposed to be a lot longer, but after some thoughts I had, some discussion with broadwaykat and asking advice on the HPFF forums, the decision was made to end it at the point the story had reached on chapter 30. So you have about six chapters left, and then I will have some news for you. It too, is good or bad, depending on things.

Please review if you have any thoughts on the chapter!

Coming: Chapter 25 – A Lesson Given

Hestia opened and closed her mouth a few times, choosing her words. "I'm sorry. But sometimes it just seems to me like you only like him because he's a werewolf. Like, when you had that
brilliant idea to go see him in the Forest."


Chapter 25: A Lesson Given
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Chapter 25
A Lesson Given



The first Quidditch match of the season, between Gryffindor and Slytherin, occurred a few days later. Henry had trained the team hard the previous evening, threatening to break limbs if they didn't beat Slytherin. There was a lot riding on the game; particularly, the points they gained would make up for the gigantic loss earlier that year. Gryffindor just had to beat Slytherin. Hestia had even gone straight to bed after practice without even opening a school book, which was very unusual for her.

Game day was just as windy and wet as the days before, and neither Myra nor the other girls wanted to go watch. As they got dressed that morning, however, Hestia informed them otherwise: "If I have to fly around in this wretched weather, you damn well better be there to support me! Or I will never help any of you with any kind of school work ever again! And I'll make damn sure no one else helps you either!"

They all showed up in their Gryffindor coloured raincoats, cheering loudly with the rest of the house. Still, not ten minutes into the game and everyone was drenched. At least it was still kind of fun. Unfortunately, the game seemed destined to last a while – not many goals were scored in the first half, and the Seekers on both sides were having a horrible time navigating, let alone finding the Snitch.

During a slightly lighter rain shower, the Slytherin Seeker caught sight of something and took off towards the Gryffindor goalposts. Penhale took off too, hot on the Slytherin's tail. But just as they reached the goalposts, the Snitch seemed to have disappeared back into the gloom. Slowly, but surely, Slytherin began taking the lead, making goal after goal, Gryffindor struggling to keep up.

This went on for another hour; it was hard keeping count of the time in the cold. When Slytherin were in the lead with 350 points and Gryffindor had 200, there was a single male roar from the top of one of the Hufflepuff towers. Madam Hooch blew her whistle to signal the end of the game.

"Penhale caught the Snitch!" Anna screamed on Myra's right, pointing fervently to the speck of a player in Gryffindor red at the top of the tower. With the points from the Snitch, Gryffindor tied the game!

Both the Gryffindor and the Slytherin stands broke out in cheers of victory, and then they quieted, confused. At the same time Hooch blew her whistle in a warning and raced off towards a scuffle by the Slytherin stands. Myra snapped her gaze in that direction and saw that one of Gryffindor's Chasers, Agnes Garfield, was pulling on a Slytherin girl's hair. The green clad witch clawed at Garfield's face. Henry, his Keeper, and all three Slytherin Chasers were there too, yelling at each other and gesticulating wildly. The rest of the two teams approached quickly, but Hooch made it there first.

"What's going on?" Myra asked.

"I think they're fighting about the score," someone said from behind.

The three girls turned around. "What score? It's a tie." Ashley asked.

The younger Gryffindor raised his eyebrows. "Didn't you pay attention? Slytherin scored just as Simon caught the Snitch. The scoreboard says we tied, but I guess the Slytherins feel they should win."

Myra raised her eyes at the boy's arrogant tone, resisting the urge to take points, and turned around again to see how things were faring. Professor Slughorn had arrived to assist Madam Hooch in breaking up the two girls. Slughorn ended up holding the Slytherin back, while Hooch pulled Garfield away by the tail of her broom, pointing fiercely towards the changing rooms. The girl zoomed off with a scowl. Hooch then turned towards the shouting teams, flew right into the middle of them and blew her whistle three times. Eventually, they raced towards the changing rooms as well, exchanging murderous glares the whole way.

Madam Hooch returned to the ground and pointed her wand to her throat. "The score is as it stands, 350 points to Slytherin and 350 to Gryffindor!" Her voice boomed over the pitch. The Slytherins screamed profanities and complaints, while the Gryffindors cheered; a tie was not ideal, but better than a loss. With the official decision made, the four houses made their way down from the stands and back up to the castle.

...

It was a happy weekend for the Gryffindors. They had secured a massive amount of points in the first game. Beating Slytherin would have been best, but it was still a good enough situation. It certainly helped that Slytherin's pride was wounded as well. When Hestia came back to the dorms after practice on Monday, she had quite a story to tell.

To start, the practise had been just like any other. They had a few spectators – Sirius, Remus and Peter among them. Halfway through, the entire Slytherin team showed up. They climbed up onto one of their stands and began booing and shouting insults.

At first some of the Gryffindor players started flying towards their enemies to get back at them, but Henry's orders brought them back under control. They tried their hardest to continue as if nothing was happening. It had been too good to last.

"Can't even score a simple goal, Potty?" Someone yelled when James missed a goal. "Just like with that Evans bird! Can't even score a simple redhead!"

"Shut the hell up, Reggie!" Sirius shouted from his seat.

"You shut up!" Regulus Black yelled back. "I suppose I can't blame you, though. I mean, I bet a slag like her would be a firecracker in the sack!" A smirk was on his face as he watched James for a reaction. "I'd do her, if she wasn't a filthy Mudblood!"

Hestia had flown past James at just that moment, and she'd seen fury flash in his eyes. He gripped his broom so hard she was sure she heard something crack; fingers or broom, she didn't know. But he did not give Black the satisfaction of snapping.

Sirius, on the other hand, had jumped out of his seat. "You're not worthy of eating the dirt under her shoes, Reggie!"

"You are the dirt under her shoes!"

"Clever, Reggie! You just insulted yourself!" Sirius barked out a short laugh.

"Stop calling me that, you filthy blood-traitor!"

"I'd betray a bunch of wankers any day!"

"Yeah, you'd know all about wankers! Guess Evans doesn't want your dirty leftovers!"

At this Sirius bolted towards the Slytherin stands, tripping over seats and steps. Remus ran behind yelling at him to stop while dodging everything Sirius tripped on, Peter hurrying after. Sirius reached the wall between the two stands first, jumped easily over, and launched himself at his brother.

Hestia hadn't caught the details of the struggle, but as far as she knew no magic had been involved and all seven Slytherins had more or less joined. Madam Hooch, who was never far away during a practice, came and had to physically pull them off one another. Sirius was sent to the hospital wing to tend to many nasty bruises and injuries. Hestia had seen blood running down from his eyebrow, a black eye, one arm hanging limp by his side, the other clutching at his stomach and a limp in his step. Regulus was sent there for nothing more than a bleeding nose. Everyone else got off injury free, but detentions were given and points were taken.

"Seven against one, that's awful odds, even for Sirius," Anna commented. Myra agreed – as much as she might have wanted to laugh at the idea of Sirius being the one beaten up, and by his younger brother at that, it wasn't exactly a funny circumstance.

"What did the others do?" Myra asked.

"From where I was in the air, it looked like Peter wanted to join the fight. Remus held him back," Hestia answered. "Sirius might have gotten off easier if he'd had some help."

The girls were thoughtful for a few short moments, before Ashley came through the door, having been with Lowell that evening. She looked flushed and flustered.

"Miss Ainsworth, look at you!" Anna exclaimed. "What naughty things have you been doing?"

"Nothing special," the blonde answered.

"Oh, come on! Details!" Myra coaxed.

"We just snogged! Alright! Nothing else!" She sat down hard on her bed, looking a bit off her beat.

"Do you even get your homework done when you're out and about like that?" Hestia asked.

"Yes, I do! Thank you very much, Professor!" There may have been a weak smile on her lips, but there was a definite bite in her voice.

"What's going on?" Myra asked.

"Nothing! Get your own love lives, instead of living through mine!"

"No thanks..."

"Working on it...

"Can't find anyone..."

"Wait, what?!" Anna snapped her head around to look at Myra. "'Working on it'? Does that mean you have someone in sight?"

"Oh oh oh," Ashley breathed, suddenly back to her cheerful self. "Tell tell tell!"

Myra leaned back towards her pillows, feeling a blush creeping up her face. "I'm sure you know," she said quietly. "You've told me all about it before."

"Remus?" Anna asked.

The deepening of Myra's blush was answer enough.

"We were wondering when you would admit to it!" Ashley exclaimed.

"Ten points to you for figuring it out before me," Myra said sarcastically.

Hestia sputtered. "Y-you didn't just give them points for that?"

"No no. There needs to be a wandless, non-verbal spell behind it. I didn't do that."

Anna waved her hand dismissively at Hestia. "So what's going on? Are you together?"

Myra shook her head at both questions. "Nothing special is going on. If we were together, do you really think I would hang here with you three all the time?"

"Well, you might have been hiding it. You know – sneaking out in the middle of the night, or on Prefect duties..." Ashley defended.

"We're not hiding anything."

"Well, it looks like he fancies you too! So it's only a matter of time," Anna stated. "We just thought it would have happened by now."

"'We'? You guys been talking about this much?"

"Not much," Ashley defended again. "Anyone can see that you two have something going on, it's hard not to speculate. You're just awfully slow about it."

Myra sighed and looked into the air. "Slow is just the way it has to be, if I want it to get anywhere. I'm doing my best, but I won't rush it. It's not helping at all that Sirius, James and Peter are doing everything they can to push me away, either..."

"What?! Why?"

"Wish I knew," Myra answered honestly. While she imagined there to be several reasons, she really did not know what went on in those marauding minds of theirs.

"Well, I hope you get there soon," Anna comforted. "Nothing can stand in the way of true love!"

Myra chuckled. "I don't know about that, but I'll remember you said it," she said sulkily.

...

The next morning Myra was surprised to see only three Marauders at the breakfast table, Sirius being the missing one this time, not Remus. He must be in a worse shape than Hestia made it sound like.

After Myra was done eating, she excused herself and slid down the bench to where Remus, James and Peter sat. "Morning, boys," she greeted happily. They murmured tiredly back. In the friendliest tone she had without sounding sarcastic, she asked: "I heard about what happened at Quidditch practice last night. How is Sirius doing?"

James narrowed his eyes, nibbling at a piece of cheese. Peter was busy staring at something in the distance. Remus made something resembling a chuckling noise and shook his head. "He's chock full of painkilling potions and healing draughts. He even had to endure Skelegro during the night."

Myra shuddered. She had needed Skelegro once before and knew what that was like. "That potion is nasty. What did he need that for?"

"A few of his fingers were broken in a way that Pomfrey felt it was safer to remove the bones and re-grow them."

Myra widened her eyes, and flexed her fingers in sympathy.

"But he's in good spirits," Remus continued. "He got to beat his brother around for a bit, and he landed a few punches on some Slytherins. Best day he's had in weeks."

"He would have been just as happy even if he had lost all his limbs," James added, and Myra was surprised he dignified himself to joining a civilized conversation she was a part of.

"I can imagine." She smiled at the image of a drugged out and heavily bandaged Sirius on the hospital bed, smiling like a maniac. "Whether he like it or not, tell him I hope he gets better soon. I really mean that." Myra laid all the sincerity she had into her voice.

They looked at her, Peter and James in slight disbelief and Remus with genuine warmth.

"Myra, we should head to class." Hestia had come over, with her bag slung casually over one shoulder. Myra glanced behind her and saw that Anna was getting ready. Ashley had joined up with Lowell and was already on their way out.

"Right." Myra nodded.

"What class do you have?" Remus asked.

"Charms," she answered.

"We've got Defence, we can go together," he offered with a smile, glancing quickly in James and Peter's direction. They shrugged.

"Sure," she grinned back.

Myra saw Hestia shake her head a bit as the boys gathered their things. The group of six got on their way, Remus and Myra taking the lead, instantly falling into conversation.

"I'm surprised every week that goes by without you asking for help with Defence, Myra." They had reached the first floor when Remus said this, purposely not looking at her.

She glanced at him, hoping for his sake that he was joking. There was a playful twinkle in his eyes and a smirk on his lips. "Get used to it," she quipped back. "Our new teacher has surpassed you."

"So it seems."

They both looked at each other sideways as they walked. The four others in their group had fallen behind, not wanting to disturb the two in their strange approach of each other.

Suddenly Remus smiled widely, making Myra's heart flutter. "I'm sure you'll need my help soon enough."

"Yeah, sure, whatever you say," Myra spoke as confidently as she could, putting her nose up in the air. But after a few steps, she smiled sheepishly. "Probably."

He burst out laughing.

...

These days Myra was never as happy as when she patrolled with Remus. It was the highlight of each week, and happened far too rarely for her taste. They met up outside of patrol too, but it was those few late hours every Tuesday that were by far the best at helping to further develop their friendship, and develop it fast. They often teased each other, especially if the conversation turned to Defence Against the Dark Arts, but occasionally they talked about more serious things.

It wasn't just on the verbal plane that Myra and Remus' relationship had developed fast. It was physical as well. Now that the full moon was so far away, Myra allowed herself to come near Remus, to touch him. It wasn't too conscious on her part, seeing as she had a deep need to feel him, but the further from the full moon, the less she controlled herself. Because around the full moon she sometimes struggled to keep it together. She was the one who felt like an animal. Wasn't that supposed to be him acting that way? But he didn't seem affected by anything. Least of all her.

It was a depressing thought. While she was falling deeper and deeper in love every day, it didn't look like he felt like that at all. But Myra decided she didn't want to think too much about it, she had his friendship. That was better than nothing.

"I like Tuesdays," Anna said when Myra entered the dorm after patrol that evening.

"Why is that?" Hestia asked, her voice muffled from her being deep down in her trunk.

"Myra is such a delightful person to be around when she's happy," Anna explained. "And every Tuesday," she adopted a dramatic voice, "our Myra is like the spring sun. She is like the rainbow after a summer drizzle. She is the leprechaun gold that doesn't fade away."

The girl in question frowned from her stupefied position at the door. "Have you been Confunded or something?"

Hestia snorted from her position half inside her trunk. Anna chuckled. "No, I'm just trying my best to describe how you appear right now. So happy and pleasant. Wonder why that is?" She smiled crookedly and waggled her eyebrows.

Myra shrugged innocently. She knew exactly what Anna was hinting at. It was getting more and more difficult to hide how deep in she was. But Anna knew, so it was okay for Myra to smile as she walked over to her bed and shrugging off her robes.

Anna straightened up from her sitting position by her headboard. "Are you seeing what I'm seeing, Hestia?" she asked in wonder.

"I can't see anything else than panties right now, Anna," Hestia replied, still rummaging through her trunk.

"What are you looking for in there?" Myra asked her best friend.

"My copy of Facts and Fouls of Quidditch." She surfaced for a moment to explain. "Henry is convinced that bumphing [20] is allowed on Keepers, but not the crowd. I happen to know both is not allowed, but he won't budge. I just remembered that the answer is in Facts and Fouls of Quidditch. If only I can find the bloody thing!" She dove right back into her trunk, clothes and books and knickknacks being tossed onto the floor. "He's being really annoying about it," she mumbled.

"Couldn't you just find a copy in the library?" Myra suggested, but no one listened.

"But Hestia," Anna said. "Can't you see it?"

"See what?" She didn't stop what she was doing.

"What I so poetically just said about Myra? Spring sun and all that."

"Oh, that. I've seen it."

"You're not going to protest anymore about you fancying Remus?" Anna directed at Myra.

"I already admitted it to you. Why should I suddenly deny it?"

Anna cocked her head and shrugged. "Myra fancies Remus." She smiled and nodded as a confirmation.

Myra nodded too, her smile wider. "He really... fascinates me," she said. Hestia emerged at that comment, craning her neck to see her friend.

"Fascinates you?" Anna asked.

"Yes, Remus fascinates me," Myra confirmed, not offering any more on that subject. She laid her robe on top of her trunk and disappeared into the loo to start her nightly routine. She heard Ashley enter the dorm, and the three girls talked. Myra didn't try to hear what they were saying.

Remus did fascinate her. So good and kind. Always with a helping hand, caring deeply for his friends. But inside him was something vicious and bloodthirsty, a creature without consideration for other beings. Existing only to satisfy its own hunger. It was something of a wonder how the two parts of him could co-exist like that. She thought about it every day; the image of the drooling werewolf in the forest and the smiling face of Remus shifting through her mind. Both the same man, both so different. It was fascinating.

...

The next day found Myra a bit unhappy. Her usual free period with Remus before lunch was occupied by Ashley. Ashley had often been in the common room with the two before, but now she claimed all of Myra's attention, needing help with History of Magic. The free period after lunch she did almost nothing but sulk at one end of the common room, while David Wiley studied at the other end.

Gobstones the following evening did nothing to take away the frustration like it usually did. And when Hestia pulled Myra aside and into an unused classroom after dinner the next day, her mood hit rock bottom.

"What did you mean when you told Anna that Remus fascinates you?" Hestia asked, getting straight to the point while sitting down on the floor.

Myra frowned and joined her. "What did I mean? I meant just that."

"No, there was..." Hestia began, struggling to find the right words. "The way you said it. It was strange."

"How so?"

"I don't know how to put it." She hesitated. "It-it reminded me of how you... How you are when you talk about something you just learned in Care of Magical Creatures."

"What?" Myra was confused and cross. "How can you say that?"

Hestia opened and closed her mouth a few times, choosing her words. "I'm sorry. But sometimes it just seems to me like you only like him because he's a werewolf. Like, when you had that brilliant idea to go see him in the Forest."

"That's not true!" Myra defended herself. "I liked him before I knew what he was! Him being a werewolf only makes it better."

"Makes what better?"

"Well," she started, but couldn't think of how to continue for a few moments. "It makes everything more interesting!"

"Do you even hear yourself?" Hestia shook her head as she said it, a disgusted look on her face. "Makes everything more interesting? I'm not saying I'm suddenly okay with someone with his condition being at school with us. But what helps make it okay, it that I realise he's still human, most of the time. Whenever you talk about him, I get the feeling he's just another animal that you want to figure out."

"I-" Myra didn't know what to say. She couldn't believe Hestia would say this. She did not thing of Remus as an animal. He just happened to be a werewolf, she couldn't help that, no matter how much she wanted. "I know he's a human being, Hestia! I know that!" She thought of his smile, his hoarse laughter. His voice, how he spoke her name. His eyes of flowing honey. She was very aware of how human he was. "You have no idea..."

"I'm not saying you don't think of him as human. I'm just saying that I think you are more interested in the animal that he is, instead of just looking past that and just at Remus himself!" Hestia spoke with such finality that Myra couldn't find an answer. She just narrowed her eyes at her best friend, her mouth tight, chewing the inside of her lips. "Think about it, Myra. Just think about it. I don't want us to fight. I just thought I should tell you what I've noticed. You know best what the truth is. Despite Remus being... what he is, I like him, and I don't want either of you to be hurt." Hestia stood up, stretched her legs a bit and walked out of the room. Myra still sat on the floor, staring at the closed door.

Hestia was wrong. She couldn't be more wrong. She liked Remus the human. But she also liked his werewolf side. She liked everything about him. Wasn't that the right way to like, or love, someone? Love everything about them, all the good and all the bad?

Myra shook her head to clear it. There was nothing to think about. She liked Remus for all that he was, and that was that.

She stood up and began heading back to Gryffindor Tower. Halfway up one of the last staircases, it began moving. When it stopped she walked the rest of the way up and was about to take another way, when someone stepped out of a side corridor.

"Kinney." It was Sirius.

"Hello, Sirius," Myra greeted with a smile. She noticed he still had some fading bruises on his face. "Have you been released then?"

"Yeah," he answered shortly.

Myra sighed mentally at his tone. "You're heading for the Tower?"

"Yes..." he said again, this time as if Myra had asked the most stupid question in the world.

"I am too." She began leisurely climbing the new staircase, keeping to the right, giving him the choice of either accompanying her or quickly getting ahead.

To her surprise, he walked a few steps behind. She was a bit wary about having one of the Marauders so close behind her, but she walked steadfastly on. Finally they walked down the short hall to the portrait hole.

"Firecracker," she told the Fat Lady, who swung open. She had a feeling it was James who had set that password, thinking of Lily.

"Sirius!" James shouted upon seeing his friend arrive. He bounded over and enveloped him in a bear hug.

Myra laughed at them and found Ashley and Anna by a table. "Where's Hestia?" she asked, sitting down and folding her arms.

"Up in the dorm," Ashley answered.

"Was she mad when she got back?"

"Not as much mad as snappy," Anna said. "She just muttered to herself, and huffed when we asked what she was saying."

"Did you have something to do with that?" Ashley wondered.

"Maybe," Myra answered as honestly as she could. "We had a discussion. She was wrong, but she can't see it. We're not fighting, if that's what you're wondering."

"Good," both blonde girls said, seemingly satisfied.

And it's not even a lie, Myra thought to herself as she made herself comfortable in the chair. After all – there was nothing to fight about when she was absolutely sure that she was right.




Notes

[20] From Wikipedia: "Bumphing: Beaters must not hit Bludgers towards spectators, or the Keeper, unless the Quaffle is within the scoring area."




Author Notes

Five chapters left of part 1. And I really don't have anything else to say, so I'll end with: Next chapter out within 3-4 weeks, and please review if you have any thoughts on the chapter!

Happy summer!

Coming: Chapter 26 – A Lesson Learned

"Oh Merlin, what is wrong with me?" Myra ran her hands through her hair, resting her head on her knees. "I'm even more damaged than Hestia said."


Chapter 26: A Lesson Learned
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Chapter 26
A Lesson Learned



Although Myra had decided not to think about her and Hestia's discussion, it proved to be very hard to ignore. Especially every time she saw Remus, and every time they talked.

Days later, they were studying together in the library after dinner. The other girls were occupied by other things, and Remus' friends were cheering James on at practice. Myra, who was supposed to be finishing a Charms essay due tomorrow morning, instead found herself watching Remus, lost in her own thoughts.

She didn't see him as an animal... did she? Of course not! How could she! He was sitting right there, flesh and blood and beating human heart. Her face felt warm at the thought. Your body wouldn't react like that for a werewolf, a ferocious predator.

Suddenly, Myra noticed that Remus' hand had strayed from the parchment as he continued to furiously scribble notes. "Hey, you're writing on the desk there," she whispered, amused. When he didn't seem to hear her, she laid her hand on his arm to get his attention. Again, it felt she was given a mild electric shock, but she wasn't surprised by that anymore. Since it happened nearly every time she got near him, ahs had gotten used to it.

Remus looked up dazedly. "What?"

"You're writing on the desk." She let go of his arm and pointed.

He looked down, following the last line he had written, eyes widening. "Oh." He chuckled and took out his wand to clean it off. "I got a bit carried away there."

"Apparently. Good think there wasn't a library book there. Pince would have had your head."

He looked frantically around. "Careful what you say, she might hear you!" he whispered.

Myra stared at Remus' behaviour for a second, before bursting out into hushed laughter. He snapped is head forward again to look at her, but eventually started laughing too.

"What is it you're getting so carried away with anyway?" Myra asked after she had taken a few breaths to stop laughing.

"Wizarding Culture Studies. We had this really interesting lesson today, about the use of magic in Ancient Rome. Magic was known amongst the Muggles there, but at one point someone destroyed all records of it and Obliviated anyone who might have carried on the knowledge. Some believe that was what set in motion the idea that eventually became the International Statute of Secrecy in 1689. But recently, a record was found by a Wizarding researcher in Florence in Italy. It's some kind of animal skin which depicts some of the social traditions the witches and wizards kept from the Muggles," Remus explained enthusiastically.

Myra's eyes had glazed over a bit, and Remus smiled and shook his head at her. He tried with another piece of information. "Did you know our robes come from the fashions the Romans wore?"

"I'm not really that interested in fashion, you know. I wear what's clean and whole. But Anna would be thrilled to learn that bit of information. Or horrified. Depending on the angle you pitch it at."

"I'll be sure to bring it up then, next time I see her."

"Please do. You might get a new best friend." Myra grimaced.

"You say that like it's a bad thing," Remus noted with a hint of a smile.

"I didn't say anything." She smiled, but slowly it morphed into more of a smirk. Remus chuckled and turned his attention back to his homework, shaking his head.

...

The full moon was fast approaching again, and the signs of Remus' condition began to make themselves known during his latest patrol. Myra felt bad for him, but there were some symptoms she truly enjoyed. His voice got hoarser and sent chills down her spine when he talked, especially when he said her name. He was easier to set off if they came across someone who wanted to make trouble, and he was awfully attractive when he was angry. Not to mention the magnetic draw she felt towards him, forcing her to keep a tight hold on her actions.

Myra shared some of her concerns with Hestia in the dorms afterwards, hoping to worry less by telling someone. It didn't help, but at least Hestia seemed sympathetic. Though Myra could see it in her eyes that her mind was on the conversation they'd had a few weeks ago. It made her angry; why couldn't Hestia see that Myra had this right. She understood Remus' condition, but did not see him as a project for Care of Magical Creatures. Myra didn't say anything, knowing Hestia didn't want to understand.

On the eve of the full moon, Remus approached Myra again to let her know he was leaving. He found her in the crowded common room, where almost everyone was relaxing and enjoying the start of the weekend. He timidly asked if Myra would be so kind as to follow him outside for a bit. She was just as surprised by his approach this time, but appreciated it very much.

"I'm leaving again," he started.

Myra sighed sadly. "Okay," she said quietly. "How is she feeling?"

Remus picked up on the careful emphasis. "Not so bad this time. I think the cold weather helps somehow. It's not exactly ideal for... Well, hunting." He said the last part in a barely audible whisper.

She couldn't help but chuckle. "I suppose you're right. Let's hope for a long hard winter then."

"Yeah."

While Remus looked at his shoes, Myra looked at him, and the situation reversed the instant he tried to meet her eyes. There was so much she ached to tell him, but she didn't say anything. It might have seemed awkward to onlookers when the conversation lulled, but it really wasn't.

"Well... I should get going. The boys'll be waiting."

Both of them stepped forward at the same time. Myra thought she was the only one who would do it, since she had done it last time, and both were a little bit surprised. But then they both smiled, and hugged each other. Remus pulled her to him, and she leaned into the warmth of him, heart speeding rapidly.

"I'll worry about you," she whispered. "And I'll try to come see you afterwards." He tightened his arms then, and Myra felt her breath hitch. One long moment after, they pulled apart, but still standing so close Myra had to look up to see into his eyes. "Take care, Remus."

He lifted his hand, as if to touch her, but dropped it quickly back to his side. "I'll do my best," he said instead. Then he walked off and disappeared around the corner. Myra waited for a moment, taking deep breaths to calm herself, before she entered the common room again.

He's left? Hestia mouthed when Myra joined her friends. She nodded.

"What did Remus want?" Anna asked in a suggestive tone.

Myra smiled involuntary. "Nothing much. Just to talk."

"Did you kiss?" She drew out the last word.

"No," Myra muttered. An image of him and her kissing popped into her head, and she felt her heart skip a few beats and a blush spread across her face. Anna noticed, and smiled as if she knew something no one else did.

As Hestia worked on homework, Anna read a book and Ashley worked to finish a letter to her sister, Myra found her mind wandering. She gazed out the nearest window, and even though the moon wasn't visible there, she could see the silvery light slowly brighten the blackening sky. Soon, the sounds of a werewolf transformation would fill the sky.

"So," Ashley interrupted Myra's thoughts as she lay her quill down and started blotting at the drying letter. "Who do you think will win tomorrow?"

The second Quidditch match of the season would be played the next day between Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff. Because of Gryffindor's close call with Slytherin in the last match, the other houses felt their chances at the Quidditch Cup was much greater. There had been plenty of discussions the last week over who thought who would come out on top.

"Please, Ashley. You know I haven't a clue! Quidditch is fun to watch, but I could care less about the actual logistics of it."

"Come on! Have a guess, at least!"

"Why?"

"Just for the fun of it."

"Fun?" Myra raised her eyebrows. "Fine. Hufflepuff. Because it's my sister's house."

"You're no fun." Ashley pouted.

Myra stuck out her tongue, then glanced at the letter in front of her friend and changed the subject. "So, how's Alice? Is she and Frank still planning on getting married soon?"

"They said they would do it when they were done with their Auror training. But they were done this summer. Frank says they've set a date, but mum says they haven't. I'm betting on next summer, though."

"Sounds probable," Myra agreed.

"How are they liking the life as Aurors?" Hestia suddenly piped in, letting her homework rest.

For a while, Ashley shared all her sister Alice had told her. Even Anna joined in after a while. But when a gut wrenching howl sounded outside, conversation stalled. Myra winced and closed her eyes. He was changing.

"That wasn't a nice one," Anna commented. "Sounds like the Bloody Baron's out there roughing things up." She chuckled

"It's not funny," Myra muttered, unclenching her eyes.

"Oh, don't worry. It's not like they can leave the Shack. They're not that kind of ghosts."

"It's not that. It's just..." She shook her head. "Oh, never mind."

Anna looked questioningly at Myra. Hestia, who knew what was on her best friend's mind, began packing up her things. "Let's get to bed. The match begins early tomorrow."

Myra looked round. The common room was just about empty. Ashley and Anna gathered their things also, and headed upstairs. But Myra just sat there, as another long howl came from outside.

"Aren't you coming to bed?" someone asked.

Myra looked around the room again. Hestia stood by the foot of the stairs to the girls' dorm.

"Are you coming too?" Hestia repeated.

"Soon," Myra replied. "I think I might want to write a letter home." She picked up her bag and began looking for blank parchment.

"And listen for the ghosts in the Shrieking Shack."

Myra smiled guiltily and stopped looking for something to write on. Hestia stepped down and walked over, sitting down in the chair she had occupied earlier. "Have you thought about what I mentioned a while back?"

"Yes," she replied shortly. When Hestia didn't inquire further, Myra decided to go on. "I still don't think you're right. It's the whole package for me. Nothing more, nothing less."

"So, that awful idea you had when you went out there to see him? How do you explain that? I didn't think even you were that crazy."

Myra huffed. Yes, she had been curious about seeing the wolf, truthfully, she still was. The contradiction that was Remus had to be investigated.

Wait. Investigated? Myra's eyes widened. Where did that come from?

"What's wrong?" Hestia asked.

"Had to be investigated," Myra repeated her train of thought out loud. Like he was something she needed to research for a class. Like he was doing something that needed investigating. Like he wasn't human, but a particularly interesting mystery. Or a new, exciting creature. "Oh, Merlin, Hestia! I think you're right! I mean, I do fancy him the way I should, I really do! But I guess I'm a bit too obsessed about what's going on tonight too." She leaned forward and put her head in her hands. Hestia laid a hand on her back in comfort. "What he must think of me..."

"I doubt he's noticed. At least, it looks to me like he's still oblivious."

"But he doesn't know that I went out there!" Myra complained. "If he found out -"

"He'll never find out," Hestia interrupted. "And since you recognise it now, you can start thinking differently from now on. You have nothing to worry about."

"Merlin's beard, I hope you're right!"

Hestia removed her hand. "You really like him, huh?"

"I do. More and more every day." She muttered into her hands. "It seems like there's no end to it."

"Come on, let's go to bed. There's no point in sitting her and listening, since there's nothing we can do. Get a good night's rest, and we can start fresh tomorrow." Hestia stood up and put Myra's bag over her shoulder.

"If I can get any sleep, that is," Myra said and stood up too. "I can't help but worry."

"It's a good sign that you're worrying. He'll be fine. I'm betting he'd want to you sleep, though."

"You're betting right." Myra straightened up and the two of them went up to the dorms. Ashley and Anna were fast asleep already, their light snores the only sounds in the room. Myra let Hestia get ready for bed first, meticulously tidying her school bag in the meantime. She did her routines and climbed into bed, wrapping the covers tightly around her. The air in the room a bit chilled even though the heater in the middle was burning merrily. As she had just closed her eyes, a loud and long howl was heard outside. Her eyes snapped open, focusing on the nearest window were the moon hung bright and silver and clear.

With a loud sigh, she closed her eyes again. She conjured an image of him from earlier that night; hoarse, blush of fever, scruffy hair... The feeling of his arms around her when they hugged. She was most definitely attracted to the human Remus, no doubt about that. With that image in mind, Myra fell asleep.

Outside the werewolf and his Animagi friends continued their rampage, howling and whining at the moon.

...

"This is boring," Myra muttered, stifling a yawn. The match between Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff was dragging on. It had been three and a half hours. Only the first half hour had been action packed, with goals and tackles and Beaters on a mission, but then it had closed to a crawl. The Seekers had been flying aimlessly around the pitch, not even bothering to try any feints. Whatever team happened to have the Quaffle tossed it lazily between themselves, sometimes zooming off to score. Mostly the Chasers and the Beaters were trying to help the Seekers find the Snitch, but it was nowhere to be seen.

"Shouldn't Madam Hooch interfere? Check if the Snitch isn't lost or... stuck or... something?" Ashley asked, leaning forward with her elbows on her knees, sleepily resting her head in her hands.

"Don't know. No one interferes in the professional leagues," Anna replied.

"We're not professionals. And we have class on Monday!"

Myra chuckled, imagining the professors teaching classes on the stands.

"Madam Hooch is not going to interfere," Hestia stated. "The rules say we have to play until the Snitch is caught. Like that, it's the same as in the leagues. The difference is that our Snitch isn't as sneaky and elusive. Normally."

"What if it's been replaced by a professional Snitch?" Ashley asked, her head bobbing in her hands as she spoke.

Anna perked up. "Who would do that?"

"The Slytherins," Myra suggested.

"Dumbledore," Ashley said.

"Goldstein," Hestia added.

"Hey! I did not do that!" Henry defended himself, poking Hestia in the back.

Myra looked backwards. "You could have." She smirked.

"Where would I get hold of a professional Golden Snitch? My parents are Muggles; I have no magical connections other than you miserable lot."

"Choosing to ignore that last bit. Sounds like you've given this some thought, though," Anna teased.

"Why would I do something that gives the opposing teams time to get miles ahead in points?"

Anna harrumphed, and Hestia smiled. He had a point.

The conversation stalled. Ashley's head nodded forward and she was snoring lightly, while Myra was leaning on Anna's shoulder, resting her eyes. Anna was resting her head on Myra's. Around them, people were starting to leave.

Suddenly Myra woke herself with a snore at the same time as a shout of joy came from out on the pitch, quickly followed by more people shouting. Anna, Myra and Ashley straightened up with a start, and saw that the Ravenclaws had caught the Snitch.

"It came to him... It just came to him," Hestia mumbled breathlessly and in awe, but with a frown on her face.

"What?" Ashley asked groggily.

"Erskine just hovered there, looking around, when the Snitch flew up behind him and waited for him to see it and catch it. And he did. I can't believe it!" She banged her fist on her knee.

"It's almost as if it was rigged!" Henry joined her from the bench behind.

Myra shook her head, not quite understanding what the big deal was. It was just a school game. "Let's get back to the tower. No point in staying here and freezing our wits off." She rose and gathered her robes tighter around her, before she slowly made her way down from the stands, amidst the throng of Gryffindors. Ashley and Anna followed close behind, but Hestia and Henry were lagging, discussing the possibility of a fixed game.

...

The girls managed to get some warmth back in their bodies after catching a couch near the
the common room fireplace. They all had some last pieces of homework they wanted to finish before dinner, but the motivation wasn't quite there. Hestia however, once she made it back inside, nagged them into getting started, though they were nowhere near finished by dinnertime.

"I can't think anymore," Ashley complained as they stepped out of the portrait hole, heading for dinner. "Ancient Studies is killing me."

"How can that be hard?" Myra asked. "I would have taken it, if it weren't for Care of Magical Creatures and pressure from home to take Magical Living."

"You have four free periods every week!" Hestia proclaimed. "You have room for two more subjects!"

"Not all can be wonder-students like you, with photographic memory and the mind capacity of twelve founders!"

"I don't have photographic memory! I-"

"You have some kind of amazing memory, at least," Anna interrupted.

"Twelve founders..." Hestia harrumphed quietly.

The staircase they were on started to move, moving them towards a quicker way to the Great Hall.

"Anyway. Professor Stratos is too enthusiastic about the class," Ashley continued. "There is just too much information about every subject. Analysing, re-analysing, testing, discussing, comparing... It'll be the death of me."

"Then why are you still taking it?" Anna asked.

"Because... Well, I can't just quit, can I?"

The staircase had escorted them directly to the first floor.

"You quit two other classes," Myra pointed out.

"I'm not getting any sympathy from you, am I?"

All three girls shook their heads.

They walked in amused silence down to the ground floor and into the Great Hall. They slid onto the bench at the first available spot and helped themselves. Dinner went by in a normal fashion, until most people were done with dessert and began slowly leaving the hall.

A few seats down from Myra and the girls, Lily was seated with a few of her friends. A gasp was heard from that direction and then a clatter of utensils. Myra snapped her head in that direction, the prefect in her hearing trouble.

Lily was staring down into her plate, her eyes as huge as Quidditch hoops. Something was moving on her plate, and her expression turned from one in surprise, to one of irritation.

"What's going on?" Hestia asked.

Automatically Myra searched the table for James. She blinked in surprise when she saw him, Sirius and Peter two seats down. James was staring in Lily's direction, gauging her reaction.

Was the pudding turning into a bouquet of lilies? It kept transforming – from flowers to hearts to fireworks to finally, what looked suspiciously, though she couldn't at first think of why, an incredibly lifelike human head. Myra would bet her entire vault that it was James' head, grinning and pleading.

Lily's eyes narrowed into slits, if looks could kill... Good thing she wasn't looking at the real James. Then she took her spoon and rammed it straight into the pudding-head, stood up abruptly and stormed out of the Great Hall. The pudding was a collapsed mess on the plate, which Lily's friends stared at for a few seconds, before going after her.

Sirius and Peter was laughing. "Come on, Prongsy," Sirius said sweetly through his barks of laughter. "Could've been worse!"

James smiled weakly, and stood up as Peter and Sirius began heading out of the Great Hall, but when their backs were to him his shoulders slumped. Not even his friends noticed him slip dejectedly back onto the bench. Myra heard him sight with a sadness she had no idea he could possess. She almost felt bad for him, but at the same time she was exasperated at his behaviour that seemed to know no boundaries or censorship.

"What am I going to do, Myra?" She was surprised, to say the least, when he addressed her of all people. Probably because he noticed her turn in his direction. "How can I make Lily say yes to me?"

Had he just called her by her first name? Not Kinney? That was strange enough, but the way he said Lily's name – laced with frustration and admiration all at once – that was the strangest thing of all. She had no idea those feelings could fit together. Ever.

She glanced at her friends, they were animatedly talking about something apparently more important. In fact, she seemed to be the only one to notice James at all now. She slid down on the bench, but leaving some space between them. "I don't know, James." She honestly didn't. Why was he asking her in the first place? Desperation? What could she possibly tell him? It wasn't like she was terribly experienced – a short liaison with a Ravenclaw and massive one-sided crush on one of best friends hardly put her in a situation to be dolling out relationship advice.

But he was staring at her, or maybe he stared in her direction, but not looking at anything in particular. That would explain the forlorn, almost desperate look. He wanted advice, someone to give him the solution to all his problems. So, somewhat reluctant, she scooted a bit closer so the conversation could be more private. "I don't know Lily well, James. I hardly know her at all, so I can't know what you should do or shouldn't do with her. But I do know that what you have been doing hasn't well... it doesn't work, does it?"

She scrambled for an idea and said the first thing that came to mind. "Why not try something simple? No ambushing, no grand public displays. Just come out and ask her, in private. I know I wouldn't like it to have someone put on a show every time they saw me, parade and show off every time they wanted to tell me something. I wouldn't enjoy turning them down either, when they show so much... enthusiasm."

James smiled – sheepishly? – in return. "And what if I don't know any other way to get her attention?" he admitted.

"Remember that day before Halloween? With the black lilies and orange roses?"

"How can I forget? I fell off the bloody table." He laughed.

"Loved that part!" Myra laughed too. "But, instead of a colour coordinated flower shower and horrible coloured robes – orange does not suit you – how about you just hand her a single red rose, or white lily, when you pass her in the hall. Just hand it to her and walk on. Don't make such a big deal out of it."

"And?" James pressed on when Myra stopped speaking.

"Like I said – I don't know Lily, and I don't have much experience to draw from, certainly not in wooing girls." She cocked her head to emphasise her point. James smirked, and was about to say something – probably crude – when Myra cut him off by continuing. "But you clearly have enough imagination for a hundred lifetimes, I'm sure you can think of something. What you've done so far hasn't worked, so do something else. In fact, do the exact opposite of what you've done in the past." She shrugged.

James let it sink in, staring out into space again. Still more people exited the Great Hall.

"Myra?" Hestia asked.

"Yeah?" Myra turned, seeing her friends' curious expressions.

Hestia spoke slowly, unsure. "We're going to the common room. Are you coming too?"

"You just go ahead, I'll be right there."

"O-okay." Slowly, her best friend turned around to pick up her bag, and she and Ashley and Anna walked off .

As Myra's attention was on James again, she saw he was still staring into space, deep in thought. She took the opportunity to relish in the moment, in the trust he had shown her. Myra hoped that this was not a onetime event, James talking to her about 'normal' things. It seemed like a huge step forward in their relationship, their friendship. Remus would be proud!

"Thanks, Myra," he said simply after a while.

"No problem, James." She dared to bump her shoulder into his, as a friendly and light-hearted gesture.

"By the way, Remus asked about you earlier today." In an instant Myra blushed. James smiled knowingly upon noticing it. "Why don't you head up to see him?"

"What, now?" Myra sputtered, a couple of butterflies flying excitedly in her stomach.

"Why not?"

Myra pretended to consider it, when she really wanted nothing more than to run to the hospital wing. "Okay. If you guys aren't going to visit him now?"

"No, we can wait." James smiled again, in that clever, knowing way that Myra wasn't sure how to interpret, as a good sign or a bad one. "Besides, I think we have some homework that should be done."

"Okay then." She stood up and straightened her robes. "Good luck, James."

He stood up too and smiled in gratitude. "Don't tell him I said he was asking about you. I wouldn't hear the end of it. See you around," he said and was off.

"See you around," Myra muttered to herself. In bafflement she headed for the third floor. That had been unexpected. But a step in the right direction, hopefully. For all Myra knew, James could go back to the cool acceptance of her presence in the world next time they saw each other. But with everything in her, she hoped that wouldn't happen. She wanted to be friends with Remus' friends. It was important to Remus. Plus, he had promised her a secret if she managed to make friends of them. That was one thing she was almost certain she couldn't resist.

Reaching the third floor, Myra cleared her head of everything James. The instant she opened the hospital wing doors, Madam Pomfrey was there, blocking further entrance.

"What- Oh, Miss Kinney. Do come in!" The nurse stepped aside and held out her hand, as if she graciously invited Myra into her own home.

"Thank you," she said hesitantly. "You know why I'm here?"

"Yes, I do think that I do." She pointed towards the right corner. There was a wall of white screens there. "There are a few other patients here today," the nurse continued in a whisper. "But the area is spelled silent unless there is an emergency."

Myra glanced around the room. Of course, even though the Quidditch game had been pretty dull, it hadn't been without accidents. "Okay. I won't stay long."

The nurse nodded and went over to one of the other patients. Quickly Myra walked over to Remus' corner and opened the screens an inch. She put her hand through and made a waving motion. "You awake and decent?"

"Don't know," came a tired and amused reply.

Myra smiled and opened the screens wide enough for her to step through. "Hey."

"Good morning. Or afternoon. Or night," Remus croaked.

"I would go with evening," Myra said amusedly.

"Good evening then," he greeted.

"Good evening. How are you feeling?" She sat down in one of the chairs next to the bed, taking in his appearance. He didn't look too bad; no new cuts on his face, one bandage on his arm and that seemed to be it. But he looked exhausted, pale skin and pale eyes, matted hair. His talk was slow and his voice was strained.

"Tired. Achy. But I guess I'll live." He smiled playfully, but it didn't reach his eyes.

"Rough moon?"

"You could say so."

"I thought the cold weather made for less... hunting."

"It does." He straightened up a bit against his pillows. "Don't know why last night was so bad. Or why I'm so exhausted." He blinked slowly a few times.

"Does the others know why?"

Remus shook his head. "Said it was just like any full moon. Only without much hunting."

"Maybe the lack of hunting exhausts the wolf? Hunting is what it's supposed to do, so not being in the mood to do so, makes him exhausted."

"Maybe. Haven't thought of that. Sometimes this just happens."

Myra sighed and furrowed her brows. A lump wanted to form in her throat, but she swallowed hard and forced it back down. Though the wolf intrigued Myra, Remus didn't deserve the ugly consequences.

"What's wrong?" he asked, cocking his head.

Closing her eyes, she shook her head. "There's just- I don't know." She looked at him. Her heartbeat sped up, pounding in her ears. The helplessness of him in that bed, tousled hair, slow breathing, that hoarse voice that echoed in her head. It forcefully tugged on her heart and sympathy, but it also tugged in her gut and somewhere a lot more interesting. Myra found herself breathing heavier and quicker as something inside of her seemed to thrust through her skin and desperately try to reach for him. Her arms lay still on her thighs, but they ached from not reaching out to touch him. It was strange.

Now Remus was furrowing his brows, searching her face. Myra forced herself to snap out of it, before he could read too much from her. She took a deep breath to settle her inside, and ground her teeth as she pushed everything down and away. "I don't like seeing you in such a state," she said as an acceptable answer to his question. "I don't like seeing my friends sick or hurt."

Remus' face softened. "Let's talk about something else," he croaked out slowly. "Happier."

Myra smiled. "Okay." She thought back on her day, trying to think of something nice. "Ravenclaw won the match today."

"No!"

"Not good?"

"Slytherin is enough to deal with. Now we have to worry about the 'claws too...?"

"Not good, then. Quidditch..." She spat the word out and shook her head. "James had a go at Lily again at dinner."

"With the pudding?"

Myra raised her eyes in surprise. "You know?"

"He's planned it for a while. Did it work?"

"No. She stabbed his head with the spoon and walked out."

Remus winced and chuckled dryly. "When is he going to catch a break..."

For a moment, Myra smiled too, but then she turned serious, remembering the conversation with James. This time, Remus didn't have to ask what was wrong before she volunteered to explain. "No one's ever doubted that he fancies her, he's made that very clear. But he really loves her, doesn't he?"

Remus had to think about his answer. "At first we weren't sure. But yeah, I think he does. With everything in him. And then some."

"He asked me for advice today. About Lily."

"About time he came to his senses."

"Senses? I couldn't give him much useful advice. I have no idea how to go about something like that."

"Right." Remus said, raising his eyebrows in disbelief.

"Right. When have you ever seen me with a wizard, trying out my powers of persuasion?"

"You often hang around that Goldstein guy."

"Henry?" Myra laughed and spluttered. Remus looked confused. "Sorry. He's... been around, should we say, but I would never ever ever go beyond friendship with him. Besides, I've been spending a lot of time with you lately, haven't I?"

"You have."

For the first time, conversation stalled and the silence became awkward between Myra and Remus. She realised what an insinuation her last sentence actually was, and fought not to blush.

When she couldn't deal with the quiet anymore, she stood up. "I think I should get going. Hestia'll be wondering where I am."

"All right," Remus said quietly.

"When do you think you'll get out of here?"

"Hope tomorrow, but probably not for a few days."

"Okay. Feel better. I'll try to come back on Monday, if you're not already out. Bye." She really wanted to hug him, but the awkward silence, him in bed, her reactions to him. She settled for a wave and quickly disappeared between the screens.

"Miss Kinney, how –" Madam Pomfrey spoke, but Myra didn't stay to listen, instead she walked as quickly as she could out the door and some distance down the hall. There she leant against the stone wall and slid down to the floor.

Merlin's flaming beard! The things Remus made her feel... Made her do... She had never felt anything like it, anything so... She wasn't sure strong was the right word. But that werewolf did something to her that scared her and excited her so m- That werewolf?

"Oh Merlin, what is wrong with me?" Myra ran her hands through her hair, resting her head on her knees. "I'm even worse than Hestia thinks!" Some of the things she enjoyed the most were the things that came from being a werewolf. The temperature, the burning, the scratches and bruises that implied danger. She shouldn't be enjoying werewolf symptoms this much. No one should be enjoying them this much.

"What am I doing?"




Author Notes

Four chapters left of part 1. So far I'm failing Camp NaNo miserably. But I blame the weather. And allergies. High spread of grass pollen. And it's about thirty degrees (Celsius) outside. I think I might die from overheating and lack of oxygen.

Expect chapter 27 within 3 to 4 week!

Please review if you have any thoughts on the chapter!

Coming: Chapter 27 – The Werewolf Effect

"You have to help me, Hestia," she moaned and fell face first onto her own bed with an 'oomph'. "What fresh hell have you gotten yourself into now?" Hestia asked dispassionately without looking up from her book.


Chapter 27: The Werewolf Effect
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Chapter 27
The Werewolf Effect



"What's wrong?" Anna asked as Myra slumped down next to her on a couch in the common room.

"What?" Myra blinked.

"You look like you've fought a Boggart. What's wrong?" Anna repeated.

"Oh, nothing. Where's Ashley?"

"With Lowell. What-"

"Where's Hestia?"

"She's up in the dorm. What-"

Myra stood up and dashed up the stairs before Anna could finish her question. She stormed into the sixth year dorm and found Hestia on her bed, reading.

"You have to help me, Hestia," she cried, falling face first onto her own bed with a soft thud.

"What've you gotten yourself into?" Hestia asked dispassionately without looking up from her book.

Instead of answering, Myra wriggled her right arm out from under herself and drew her wand, pointing it at the door and making sure it was locked. She then covered it with a silencing barrier, just in case. This caught Hestia's attention, and she finally seemed interested. "What fresh hell have you gotten yourself into now?"

"An emotional one," Myra answered into her pillow, her voice muffled. "A damaged emotional hell!"

"Get up, will you?! I can't hear you properly!"

She reluctantly flipped onto her back and talked upwards at her canopy. "I'm worse off than you thought. With Remus and werewolves and obsessions and all. Remember?"

"What do you mean by that? You know that you went at it all wrong – how could it have gotten worse?"

Raising herself onto her elbows, Myra sighed. "I think... I'm being turned on by the things that make him a werewolf. The things that the werewolf does to him." Ashamed, she glanced carefully at Hestia, gauging her reaction. It came as a furrowed brow and cocked head.

"Have you been out during the full moon again?" She sounded suspiciously like her mother.

"No! You know where I was last night! But I was in the hospital wing just now, seeing him. Apparently he had been asking for me." She smiled and blushed at the memory of James telling her about that.

"And he... affected you?" It seemed like Hestia struggled to get the word out.

Myra's smile fell as she nodded and sat up fully, crossing her legs and leaning forwards. "There has to be something wrong with me. I- I-" She closed her eyes and tried to find the words to explain how she had felt. She couldn't. "I can't explain it. The sight of him... It can't be right."

Hestia marked the page she was on and put away her book. Then she slid out of bed and walked over to Myra, talking as she did. "I've had about a month to digest all of this. Remus being a werewolf. A werewolf among us at school. And I'm surprised to find that I'm less and less bothered by it." She sat down in front of Myra now, but didn't say anything else.

Myra frowned. "What does that have to do with my... issue?"

"Nothing." Hestia shrugged and smiled. "Just thought you should know."

The other girl smiled thankfully.

"How did you feel about Remus before you knew what he was?" Hestia asked.

"I don't know," Myra drew out. "You guys seemed to know better than me. I guess... I was interested, sure. But not like this."

"Once you knew what he was, what did you feel then?"

"Excited. But also hurt," she answered quickly. "Hurt that he didn't seem to want to be my friend anymore."

"When he wanted to be your friend again?"

"Happy. Hestia, you said it yourself! I was too obsessed with the wolf." Myra grew frustrated, not understanding where Hestia was going with this. "That I liked the wolf, and not the human."

"And you told me off then, remember? You said you liked the whole package. Nothing more, nothing less."

"But I was wrong! I'm still wrong! I know I am, but I just don't know why?!"

"What do you expect me to tell you, Myra?"

Myra raised her eyebrows in complete surprise. "I thought you had a point with asking me all those questions!"

"I was just trying to help you figure out your own feelings!"

"I can't. That's why I came to you! You're smart – you're supposed to figure them out for me!"

"How I am supposed to do that? It's not like I can read your mind! I don't know."

Myra pouted. "But I don't know."

Hestia smiled exasperatedly. "Oh, Myra," she chided jokingly, but suddenly it looked like someone had cast Lumos in her brain. "How do you feel during the new moon? When he's the furthest away from being a werewolf?"

"Crushing, most definitely. But I – oh Merlin, I can't believe I'm telling you this – I have to control myself more the closer to the full moon it is."

Hestia closed her eyes and shook her head at the insinuations in Myra's tone and choice of words to emphasise. "Ever think it is just because of him?"

Myra was confused.

Hestia looked down on her hands in her lap. "I've done a lot of research this past month. Trying to understand what werewolves actually are. How to actually deal with one if things got out of control." She looked up again. "I even got a pass into the Restricted Section from my Magical Ethics professor. I said I needed some books for a private project. And you know me, I had to actually do the project, so it wouldn't have been a total lie. I delivered it last Friday."

Myra chuckled. "That's my Hestia. Everything for extra credit."

Hestia lightly pushed Myra's shoulder. "Anyway, werewolves can... affect people more around the full moon. It's all got something to do with pheromones and hormones and animals, and I don't know. I didn't understand half of what I was reading, and the half I did understand was just..." She shook her head. "As long as you understand the difference between the wolf and human, and don't obsess about it like you did. It could also be just him."

"Do you sense something about him during the full moon?" Myra narrowed her eyes.

"Can't say that I have. Don't know about anyone else, but I'm willing to bet that Anna at least would have said something, or Merlin knows have done something, if she had."

Myra had to agree with that last. And she was extremely relieved that Hestia didn't feel anything around him.

So, pheromones, hormones and animals. Or something like that. It made sense. And they were all animals, in the big picture.

"Thanks, Hestia."

"No problem." She leaned over and hugged Myra. Then she went back to her own bed again to continue reading.

Myra waved her wand at the door again. Seconds later, Anna came bursting in.

"About bloody time!" She huffed and walked quickly over to her bed.

"Sorry," Myra and Hestia said at the same time.

"Don't worry," Anna said, not angry at all. It wasn't the first time Myra and Hestia had shut the other girls out of the dorm to talk. "I wasn't worried. Got your talk out?"

"Yeah. Ashley back yet?" Myra glanced at the magical clock on her bedside. It was getting late.

"No. Don't think we'll see her until tomorrow." Anna smiled deviously.

Hestia shook her head and Myra smiled. Anna laid down on her bed and immediately started lamenting about her own lack of a relationship, while Myra headed for the bathroom. It had been an eventful day and she was tired. She brushed her teeth and tried not to think too much. But as she put her toothbrush away, she leaned on the sink and stared at herself in the mirror.

"Bloody hormones," she muttered through gritted teeth. But then she smiled and thought of how wonderful it all really felt. If it was this good when she and Remus were just friends, think of how it would be if they were actually together.

But no. He didn't think of her that way. How could he, when his friends disliked her so much? Except maybe James. He appeared to be warming up to her. Then again, it might have just been because he was desperate to sort out his own love life.

Her head hurt. It was all 'what ifs' and 'buts' going in circles.

She finished quickly and rejoined the two other girls.

...

Frost was covering the dying grass and the air stung with cold and smelled like snow. Myra was walking with Hestia to Quidditch practice late on Monday. Resembling beacons, each of the twenty towers lit up the pitch, making for quite a sight.

Myra had decided to tag along as moral support; or at least, that's what she'd told Hestia. What she really wanted was to take the opportunity to see if she could make friends with Sirius and Peter. She had seen Remus in one of her free periods and he had said they were planning on cheering James on at practice. Hestia probably saw right through her charade, thought. She had given her a sort of knowing look when she'd made the suggestion at dinner, but she didn't call her out on it.

They parted at the changing rooms, and Myra began climbing the steps to the nearest Gryffindor stand. Sure enough, Sirius and Peter were already there in the first row of empty seat. Horribly enough, she actually felt nervous. She knew she shouldn't, as they did have their truce. Even a group like the Marauders had to have some honour. Didn't they?

"Kinney," Sirius greeted coolly.

"Kinney," Peter repeated with disinterest, staring at the pitch like his life depended on it.

"Black, Pettigrew," Myra greeted in her regular voice, careful not to add any coolness or too much warmth to it. Both could be taken the wrong way.

There was a very awkward silence as they waited for the players to finish changing into the practice gear. All three of them fixated on the pitch despite that nothing was happening at the moment. Myra wished that Remus could have been there to take the awkward out of it. Though, considering everything that she had experienced in his company since Saturday, she didn't trust herself not to just jump him. And that was certain to only make things worse.

She giggled nervously at the thought.

"What?!" Sirius snapped around, glaring, as if she'd made a threat to his life by laughing.

"Nothing." She smiled sweetly. "Calm down. Just thinking."

Sirius narrowed his eyes suspiciously, but slowly turned his head around again, just as the team appeared on the pitch. Both Sirius and Peter whooped for James, and James whooped back.

Henry said a few words to his players and they began. Already, Myra was bored. If the weather had been warmer, she could at least have done homework. Yes, the pitch was magically warmed, but not enough. Anna hadn't wanted to come, complaining about the cold. Ashley was busy elsewhere, most likely with Lowell.

"You guys doing anything special for Christmas this year?" she directed at the boys.

Both turned to her, looking a bit stunned. "What's it to you?" Peter asked.

"Just making conversation. I doubt my Christmas will be anything special. Just mum, dad, Marie and me. Maybe we'll take a hike. There's this area near our town... Hope Woodlands... and I've never actually been there during the winter. Think I'll suggest that when we come home." Myra prattled on. "Marie will like that. Dad too, I think. Mum will probably sit out. Too much of a comfortable Ravenclaw for that. But dad, me and Marie. That will be nice. Magic some place clean of snow and have a picnic. I used to go to Hope Woodland with dad every summer before school. It's a really nice place, you should go there some time. Or have you been?" She waited a few seconds in case one of them answered. But when they didn't make a sound she carried on. "You should really go. There's always Muggles there, tourists and the like, but they don't bother anyone. Hey, how was your apparition lessons last year?" She suddenly changed the subject.

"Easy enough," Sirius answered, and Myra smiled triumphantly even as he suddenly realised he'd answered automatically. The look on his face was one of surprise and almost horror.

"Did any of you get splinched?" Myra wrinkled her nose in imagined pain.

"Peter did."

"I did not!"

"Did too!"

"Did not!"

"What is that right," Sirius leaned towards his friend and pointed at his ear, "there then? That's a splinching scar if I ever saw one. You were bleeding and everything. Squealed like a pig, too."

"I didn't!" Peter mumbled defeated, blushing.

"Did it hurt?" Myra asked, and dared to slide closer on the bench.

"Not too bad. It was just a small piece. So small they couldn't find it and set it right."

"Can I look at it?" She slid a bit closer.

Peter turned around and showed his left ear to Myra. She leaned in and gazed at it. It was small, alright. But a piece of his earlobe was missing, and the skin had scarred. "Battle scar." She smiled as he sat straight again.

"That's one thing to call it, I guess." He blushed.

"Hmph. Battle scar..." Sirius muttered.

"It could have been worse," Myra defended. "He could have lost his entire ear. Or his entire head."

Peter paled at this.

"Least then they could have spelled it back on."

"I doubt they could spell a head back on. Wouldn't you die if that happened? Beheaded and all."

"They said they could fix everything if it was handled quick enough. Unless you splinched yourself into a million pieces."

"When are you starting your lessons?" Peter asked, seeming rather in a hurry to change the subject.

"Don't know. But I hope soon. I want to take the test in time for my birthday in April."

They fell into silence again. This time, Myra didn't try to break it. She had had a normal enough conversation with the both of them and managed to sit closer without being pushed over the railing. It was a good first step, but she dared not press her luck.

...

Next morning, Myra had a rough start, but not in a particularly bad way. She woke up as usual, got dressed, packed her bag and joined her friends in walking down to the Great Hall for breakfast. It was a regular November Tuesday, completely ordinary. The girls sat down in their usual spot and helped themselves to their breakfast favourites, chatting about homework and the upcoming day.

"We'll be assigned our big Potions essay today," Hestia announced.

"What big Potions essay?" Myra asked.

"You know, the one Slughorn said we'd get at the end of each term this year, to prepare us for the N.E.W.T.s. The Oh So Great Project Number One." While that grand title should have made it sound big, difficult and important, she said it like it was the simplest task in the world, to finish an essay of the magnitude Slughorn had hinted at.

"Right, the essay of doom. I had completely forgotten, thanks for reminding me," Myra said with sarcasm.

Hestia smiled, immune to Myra's sarcasm.

"I'm actually kind of looking forward to this essay," Anna began, but Myra didn't catch the rest of her sentence. Something made her look towards the doors and what she saw made her heart skip several beats, her breath hitch, and her stomach tumble round and round. Remus entered with Sirius, James and Peter, and even though she had seen him less than twenty-fours earlier, expecting him to be let out that day, it was still a shock. During her last two visits in the hospital wing, she had been prepared. This time, it came as a surprise.

"Myra? Hellooo." Someone called her name, and slowly she turned back to see who it was. "Where did you go?" Ashley asked.

"What? Nothing," she said distractedly, painfully aware of Remus' path through the Great Hall. What on Merlin's bloody earth was happening to her?

Ashley looked around, and apparently caught sight of Remus. "Ah," she said simply and chuckled. Anna and Hestia followed her gaze and chuckled too.

To Myra's horror and great delight, the four boys seated themselves close to her and the girls.

"Good morning, Myra," Remus greeted her with a warm smile. He sent a smile to the other girls in greeting as well.

"Morning," Myra replied, nerves making it hard to say much else.

"Morning," James added, in a civil manner. It made Myra relax a bit, they were still friendly after the chat they'd had. It had not been a desperate act of a hurt man. They had crossed a line that day, and hopefully it was no turning back.

The two groups didn't say anything else to each other, all carried on with their breakfast and talked amongst themselves. Myra stole glances at Remus as often as she could, and more often than not, he was already looking at her when she sought him out.

Something had changed. Whether it was the full moon that had just passed, or something else, she had no idea. All she knew, was that it felt very good. And he was all human now. The human was the one affecting her.

Breakfast was coming to an end, and people began leaving for class. From the head of the Gryffindor table came Lily and her friends Mary MacDonald and someone Myra thought might be named Islip. When the girls reached Remus and the boys, Lily waved her friends off and leaned down for a whispered conversation Remus. Despite the fact that Myra knew what it must be about, jealousy flared through her like dragon fire. She felt her jaws grind together, her fists clench and a deep hatred for the kind-hearted Lily Evans filled her stomach.

Myra wanted to hear what they were saying, but forced her eyes away from the scene and tried hard to focus on what her own friends were talking about. Still, she was highly aware of Remus and Lily. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw nods, smiles, words exchanged, and then Lily produced a small bundle of rolled parchment and handed it to Remus. He smiled, and she hugged him, and –

Did she just kiss him on the cheek?!

Myra had been holding her goblet in order to keep her hands from clenching, but at the sight of that kiss she tightened the grip on the goblet so hard that it broke. The stem stayed in her hands, but the top fell off and liquid spilled all over the table and ran forward to drip on Anna's robes.

"Myra!" Anna screeched and leapt backwards.

"Sorry," Myra said, dropping the stem of the goblet. It clattered to her empty plate.

Hestia had drawn her wand and wiped away the pumpkin juice that still trickled down the table, Anna was wiping at her robe with her hands, making a face when her hands got stickier and stickier. Ashley shook her head humorously and pulled her wand. "Relax! You're a witch, remember?" Then she spelled Anna's robe and hands clean and dry.

"Thanks."

Myra looked around, the debacle had attracted an audience. Remus, James, Sirius, Peter and Lily all stared at them. She smiled sheepishly. "Stronger than I look, apparently," she muttered to them.

Remus smiled quizzically, while the other boys just seemed to delight in her embarrassment. She just shrugged. "Let's go to Charms," she said to the girls, grabbed her bag and left.

...

As Myra distanced herself from the morning's scene, she was disgusted by herself. She knew very well that there was nothing more than friendship between Remus and Lily. And even if they did have feelings for each other, Remus wouldn't do that to James.

Lily was kind, warm and helpful. She had noticed that Myra was in trouble when Sirius, James and Peter were attacking her, and offered to help. She found out that Remus is a werewolf, and kept the secret and made sure he got notes and homework from the classes he missed.

I should talk to Lily about this, Myra thought.

She wondered if Lily knew that Myra knew about Remus' condition. She couldn't remember him saying anything about it.

But both she and Lily wanted what was best for Remus, and she had to get over this jealousy. The only way to do that, was to get to know Lily a bit better.

"Class dismissed," Slughorn said suddenly, and Myra snapped back to the room at the sound of chairs scraping and voices breaking out into chatter. "Good luck on your essays!"

"What?" Myra asked, utterly confused. Looking around, everyone was packing up and leaving.

"Class is over," Hestia explained.

"When?"

"Now. Weren't you paying attention?"

"Obviously not." She too began packing her things.

"When did you drift off?"

Myra thought back. "Don't know. Somewhere between Everlasting Elixir and... Everlasting Elixirs." She shrank down in her chair, realising she didn't remember anything Slughorn had said, other than the topic of their essay. Then she looked pleadingly at Hestia.

Her best friend glared for a long moment, before giving in. "Fine! I'll make a copy of my notes and fill you in."

Myra broke into a huge smile of gratitude. "That's why you're my best friend."

"Lovely," Hestia muttered, but Myra could see she struggled to hide a smile.

...

On the morning of the first of December there was a small gathering around the notice board in the Entrance Hall. One of the younger students walked away from the group looking disappointed and a bit angry. Anna wandered over and cleared a path for the other girls. It was mostly sixth years, Myra noticed.

"Apparition lessons!" Anna informed over her shoulder.

Myra rushed over and forced herself in next to Anna. "Wicked!"

Right after the Christmas holidays all seventeen or near seventeen year olds were invited to join in Apparition lessons. They would be held every week in January, and every two weeks after that until spring. Their instructor would be Cliff Clifton and lessons would be supervised by the House Heads.

"Is it really Apparition lessons?" Ashley asked when they headed in to the Great Hall, throwing a sideways glance at the board still occupied by sixth years.

"Yeah, right after Christmas," Myra confirmed.

"Did it say on what day it would be?" Hestia asked.

"It didn't."

"I hope it doesn't get in the way of Quidditch," she muttered when they sat down.

"Me neither," Henry concurred, as he out of nowhere sat down next to her.

"Either way, it will be great to finally learn Apparition," Anna said. "I've been waiting forever, ever since I heard about it. Mum never got her license, so I've never seen it. Or even done side-along."

"You've never even seen it?" Henry asked in wonder. "I'm Muggleborn, and I've seen it!"

"Like I said, mum never got her license, so it's just never been an issue at home or anywhere. We Floo."

Henry shook his head. "Witches," he muttered into his goblet.

Throughout the day people continued talking about the Apparitions lessons. Horror stories about splinching were retold in magnitude, each story worse and worse by each retelling. Myra knew that the stories were blown out of proportions, but couldn't help be frightened. Picturing herself without arms, or legs, or head. Bleeding all over the place. She even talked to Remus about it in their shared free period, but even though he had nothing but positive reassurances, she felt scared about what was to come. Remus just shook his head at her inability to take what he said to heart.

There was still one issue: She needed to talk to Lily. And it was difficult, because Myra only saw her briefly by the Transfiguration classroom, as she was leaving, and there was not enough time between classes. She was distracted by Remus saying hello the second time she spotted the redhead.

And even if there had been time and opportunity, she hadn't worked up the courage yet.

Something about the Head Girl made Myra feel inferior. That had not been the case with the previous Heads, or even Lily before the start of the school year. But as soon as she became Head Girl, she had elevated to something indefinable. She could talk to Lily, but it was easier if the redhead approached her.

At dinner, Myra finally had an idea about what to do. There was a prefect meeting next week, and that would hopefully give her the opportunity to get Lily alone to talk, or at least let her know she wanted to talk about something. She could wait until after the meeting, or get there early. She knew the Head Girl and Head Boy was early to every meeting. But as faith would have it, Lily was in the common room when the sixth years came back from Astronomy that night. She was hunched over a long roll of parchment and her quill was scratching quickly.

Henry and the boys said goodnight, and Myra waved the girls away, thinking she just had to jump into it.

"Hi, Lily, do you have a moment?" she said as she tentatively walked over.

Lily looked up from her work, looking surprised that there was someone else in the room. "Hello, Myra. I do, but it'll have to be quick. I'm sorry, but I need to finish this essay for tomorrow. I was struck by an inspiration earlier, and I'm changing most of it."

Myra raised her eyebrows and gently shook her head. "You're mental!" she cried out, but smiled nonetheless. "I'll be quick." She sat down on the edge of the chair on the other side of Lily's table. "It's about... Remus."

Lily smiled and leant back in the chair. "What's he done now?"

She sputtered and blinked. "Wh-what?" She wasn't sure what she expected as a response, but it certainly wasn't that.

"He's not the most eloquent of people, and certainly not very knowledgeable about how to approach witches."

"What?" Myra repeated, completely confused.

Lily seemed to backtrack. "What?"

"What did you mean by that?" Myra wanted to know.

"Never mind that." There was a light blush to Lily's cheeks. "What did you want to talk about?"

"I'm not really sure." She suddenly realised she didn't know what she wanted out of this conversation. She had just been so intent on talking to Lily about Remus, she hadn't considered the details. "I just... You know that I know, right?"

"Yes," the other girl said without hesitation.

"I guess I just want to talk to someone on... the outside, I guess you could say. We don't have to do it now. I know it's late and you're very busy." She smiled and shook her head again with a glance at Lily's essay.

"How about tomorrow?" Lily suggested. "I'm done with most of next week's homework, and we don't have to start planning the prefect meeting until Sunday, Monday at the latest."

"S-sure!"

"We can meet after dinner, and go somewhere private. We don't want to be overheard."

"Sounds good to me! Thank you." Myra stood up.

"No problem, Myra."

"Good luck on your essay!"

"Thanks!"

"Goodnight," she then said and headed for the stairs. Lily said nothing, and as Myra turned before she ascended the stairs, she saw that the girl was bent low over her parchment once again writing furiously.

Walking upstairs, she felt stunned at how easy it had been. Lily was friendly, and approachable – it hadn't been scary at all. Not that they had really talked about the issue at hand, but Myra felt more comfortable about it now.

...

Myra wasn't sure if she should approach Lily in the Great Hall when she was done eating, or if the older girl wanted to wait until later that Friday evening before having that talk. When Lily was done eating however, she just exited the Great Hall with her friends, without a look behind, so Myra figured she had either forgotten or wanted to wait. She and her friends stayed a bit longer at the table, taking good time with their desserts.

"Hello, ladies!" Lowell had come over, his gaze sweeping over them before resting on Ashley's smiling face. "Want to go somewhere?" he asked his girlfriend.

Ashley nodded vigorously and jumped up to follow him out.

"They're so discreet," Anna complained sarcastically.

Their friend's departure signalled the end of dinner, and they too took off and wandered up to Gryffindor Tower. But they had barely sat down, before Lily approached them.

"Hello, Myra!" she greeted, and smiled to Hestia and Anna.

"Hi," Myra greeted back.

"Shall we?" Lily motioned for the portrait hole.

"Sure. We have some things to do," Myra explained to her friends. "Prefect business," she added as an afterthought, so they wouldn't ask. "I'll be back soon."

The two Gryffindors headed out of the portrait hole, and Myra let Lily lead the way, expecting her to know where they could talk safely without being overheard.

"How are you, Myra?" the other girl asked conversationally.

"I'm fine. Itching to get home for Christmas. You?"

"Same. Mum is excited about getting the whole family together. My sister's husband is spending his first Christmas with us, so it's quite an occasion!"

"That sounds like fun!"

"Yeah, I think it will be. I haven't really gotten to know him yet, since I've barely been home the last few years, and they've been busy with settling into their new home. I've only met him once, besides the wedding. My sister seems happy, so he must be a decent fellow."

As they descended to the fifth floor, one half of the Marauders came towards them; James and Peter. Myra heard Lily sigh, probably expecting something from James.

"Hello, Lily," he said warmly and with a smile. "Myra," he added and then they had both passed. That was it, nothing else, just a 'hello'. Peter had only smiled. Lily stopped short and gaped, looking back at the two boys as they disappeared up the stairs.

"What's wrong?" Myra asked.

"Did you see that?"

"See what?"

"Potter! He didn't... he didn't try anything funny!" She made the last word sound like a swear word.

"Oh.. does he usually?" Myra faked ignorance.

Lily only sent her a 'like-you-don't-know'-look.

"Isn't this a good thing?" Myra then asked.

"I suppose."

The two continued walking. Myra smiled on the inside, feeling proud that James might have taken her advice to heart. She just hoped it worked, cause she really had no idea if she had been right or wrong in what she had said.

Lily swerved down a corridor and opened the fourth door on the right. "This room is good," she said and let Myra enter first.

As far as Myra knew, the room was not used for any lesson or club, but it was clean. No dust or cobwebs. Row upon row of desks, a blackboard and three long arched windows, giving an excellent view of the lake. "What room is this?"

"It's one Professor McGonagall has allowed my study group to use every now and then. I think the school elves keep it clean because they know it's being used some of the time." She closed the door and cast a few spells on it. "Just in case," she explained afterwards, then walked over to the windows and hopped up on one of the ledges.

Suddenly feeling nervous again, Myra settled down on a desk a few seats over. She swallowed and once again decided to dive right in. "You know about Remus."

"I know he's a werewolf, yes," Lily confirmed.

"How did you find out?"

"In our fifth year. Around the time Sev... Severus did. He was very curious about where Remus went every month. He talked to me about it sometimes, before... we.. that doesn't matter. He asked me all sorts of questions about things I might have noticed. He told me he saw Madam Pomfrey take Remus to the Shrieking Shack and he followed. How he got out of it unscathed, I don't know. He refused to talk about that. But he found out. I had connected the dots long before he followed Remus out, and I confronted Remus about it."

"Aren't you a Muggleborn?"

"Yeah?" Lily looked suddenly ready to attack, daring Myra to say something bad with that word.

"No no!" Myra defended her question. "It's just, Muggleborns seem to accept things like that easier. Or rather, pure-bloods almost always have a problem with it."

Lily visibly relaxed. "Werewolves were creatures in fairytales and horror movies, as far as I knew. Until I was taught the same horrible things as everyone else in Defence Against the Dark Arts. But I took it with a grain of salt. It doesn't seem like it's their fault, what they are. There are bad Muggles, there are good Muggles. There are bad werewolves, there are good werewolves."

"Right," Myra agreed thoughtfully.

"How did you find out about him?" Lily asked.

"I'm curious." She shrugged. "I was in the hospital wing a few times last year, saw him there, and thought it was all very strange. So I tried to figure it out. But it wasn't until I revised for my Defence O.W.L. that I understood the truth."

"How'd you feel?"

Myra thought for a moment, about how to answer without sounding like a mental person. "Confused, but kind of excited, too. I've always been interested in magical creatures; werewolves, vampires and the like. I guess I hadn't thought much about the fact that some of those creatures are both humans and animals, and not human or animal. It didn't make sense at first, Remus being both. He is so different than the way werewolves are portrayed. But I've learned. And I don't mind. Never did. It's all what makes him him, and that's all that matters."

Lily looked at her in a funny way, head to the side.

"What?" Myra asked.

"Your face, when you talk about him. It's... I don't know... Lit up. You fancy him?"

Myra felt her face heat up and was willing to bet all her allowance that she matched the red on her tie.

"I take that as a yes," Lily laughed.

"I can't believe I'm that obvious." Myra bent her head back and closed her eyes.

"I've suspected this for a while. I've been observing you a lot. Not for any reason, just... you're one of my prefects, after all. As Head Girl, I figure I should make sure you're all alright. It's not just you, don't worry. I doubt Remus has a clue. And clearly you don't either."

Myra looked up again. That sounded like an insult, but it didn't feel like it was. "What's that supposed to mean?!"

"Never mind." Lily pursed her lips, indicating she did not want to say anything more about that. Myra itched to push it, but didn't dare.

"You're helping Remus with the schoolwork he's missing?" she asked instead.

"Yeah. I saw something that Potter gave him once, early in sixth year. All chicken scratch. I felt so bad for him. How those boys manages to pass their classes will always be a mystery to me." She muttered the last sentence with annoyance. "So I offered him to copy my notes and get a list of the homework he missed. He accepted it, and I've done it ever since."

All the jealousy Myra ever felt at seeing Lily and Remus close and whispering during the exchange of schoolwork, left her like a trail of water. All that was left was an incredible gratitude towards Lily for helping him. He was a learner, always doing his best to get the best grades he could in all his subjects. She knew he really hated missing classes because of his lycanthropy. All Lily did was make sure he made it out of Hogwarts in the best possible way.

"You're amazing for doing that for him," Myra said before she could think twice about it, feeling embarrassed the moment it had slipped out.

It didn't seem to faze Lily. "Not amazing. Just doing what any normal person should do."

Myra nodded. Very few people would have done it. The fact that Lily was willing, was a real testament to her character.




Author Notes

I've got two weeks of vacation now, so be happy I'm posting this! I've got my mum and dad's caravan all to myself for nearly a week and a half. I suspected the internet here to be awful, it usually is, but I'm usually here during the weekends.

Three chapters left now. Chapter 28 has already been sent to broadwaykat, I'm guessing it will be 3-4 weeks before I post it.

Please review if you have any thoughts on the chapter!

Coming: Chapter 28 – Two Plus Two

"What's going on up there?" Myra asked quietly. He looked up towards his friend and Lily. He smirked knowingly. "If I'm not mistaken, he's asking her to Hogsmeade," he whispered, so as to not disturb the couple. "Really?" Myra raised her eyebrows and gaped in surprise. "This quietly?"


Chapter 28: Two Plus Two
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Chapter 28
Two Plus Two



It was soon very clear that Christmas was on its way. On Saturday morning, a few lonely snowflakes fell slow and silent to the ground, coating it in dusty whiteness. It was far too little, in Myra's opinion, but the icy cold temperature that had been steadily dropping since the start of November now made everything frosty in the morning.

Along with the slowly whitening world, decorations were appearing here and there throughout the castle. A bauble here and a wreath there. The armours sang Christmas carols when someone passed them, and Filch had begun cleaning the castle for the holidays, muttering about slushy floors and boot prints as he went about.

Marie was bummed out knowing that their parents wanted them home for the holidays, as she still wanted to spend a Christmas at Hogwarts. Myra wanted that too, but her parents had promised that she could do that for her last year. Hestia, Anna and Ashley had also been promised this by their parents, and so the girls would spend Christmas at school for their final year. Marie had been promised the same thing, but her last year was a longer way off.

"That's ages," she complained during breakfast on Sunday morning. It was a Hufflepuff week, so Myra was situated among the Hufflepuffs.

"You'll survive," Myra said. "I've wanted to spend Christmas here since my first year too, and I've survived. People have always said it's amazing."

"I'm staying here this year," Julie Thistlewood piped up. She was Marie's best friend.

"See!" Marie exclaimed. "Why can't I too?"

"Marie, please! It's not like I'm the one who gets to decide! Stop asking me about it! Take it up with mum and dad."

"Maybe I'll just not go on the train. Maybe I'll just decide to stay anyway." The younger girl crossed her arms across her chest and pouted.

Myra mentally shook her head and changed the subject. "How's Muggle Art?" she asked, knowing it was one of Marie's favourite things about school. Marie forgot all about Christmas and launched into a lengthy explanation of their last lesson.

...

The Christmas spirit around the castle, reminded people that a Hogsmeade visit was coming up very soon. All around people were asking about wish lists and making plans for shopping. Myra too was making plans, as she had to do Marie's shopping as well. Next year her little sister could do it herself and Myra was certainly looking forward to that.

Prefect meetings were scheduled for Tuesday after dinner. Myra was looking forward to letting her mind relax for a short while, and decided she want to get there early. She and her friends had lingered in the Great Hall, not feeling up to getting up to the Tower yet.

"I guess I should get going," she said and downed the last of her pumpkin juice, before they all decided to leave the table.

"Yes, you should," Remus said suddenly, standing behind her.

Myra was startled, and glanced behind her, a bit out of breath. He kept surprising her recently. It couldn't be healthy. "Hello," she said. She looked around, Sirius and Peter was on the way out of the Great Hall, James must be in the office already. "See you guys later!" she said to her friends, and stood up to follow Remus.

They walked in silence for a while, not feeling the need to say much in each other's company. There weren't many students lingering in the halls after dinner, now that it was so chilly in the draughty halls.

"It's our second to last patrol together tonight," Remus said suddenly as they reached the second floor.

Myra looked at him, wondering if she was just imagining the sadness in his voice, but she couldn't tell from the way he looked if he was upset about it or not. "Yeah," she muttered. "I've had fun patrolling with you." She felt it was a stupid thing to say, but it was all she could think of that didn't reveal too much.

"Me too."

At least we still have our free periods, Myra thought, considering if she should say it out loud. She didn't.

Remus looked thoughtful, a furrow emerging between his eyes and his gaze fixed on his shoes as he walked.

"What is it?" she asked cautiously.

He cleared his face and looked up. "Oh, nothing. Hogsmeade again, this weekend." He changed the subject.

"Yeah. With the Christmas shopping. I'll be doing Marie's too. I can't wait for her to be allowed to go herself!"

Remus chuckled. "I'm so glad the lads and I have agreed not to give each other anything. I should probably not tell you this, but we've made a deal to all just pitch in on one great thing from Zonko's that we use after New Years."

Now Myra chuckled. "That explains a lot... But, it sounds scary. A big thing from Zonko's in the hands of four marauders... Maybe I shouldn't come back after Christmas."

"Oh, don't worry, I'll protect you," he said warmly and bumped his shoulder into hers.

There it was again, the shortness of breath and the racing heart. Myra was really starting to worry. "How nice of you," she managed to huff, jokingly.

When the two of them reach the prefects' office, everyone else was there already. Lily sent them a quick glare, but then declared the opening of the meeting. It was the same as every meeting, but with a warning that they would draw new partners before the end-of-term feast. It was a depressing thought for Myra, so she was glad when Lily finally ended the meeting and began gathering her parchments.

People started leaving, but Remus made no move to leave, so Myra didn't either. They sat for a few minutes, trying to find out what Myra should give her friends for Christmas. After a couple of minutes, Myra noticed that something was happening at the head of the table. James and Lily were talking, or, it looked like James was talking and Lily was listening.

"What's going on up there?" Myra asked quietly, interrupting Remus, who had been helping her brainstorm ideas about what Quidditch supplies to get for Hestia.

He looked up towards his friend and Lily, and smirked knowingly. "If I'm not mistaken, he's asking her to Hogsmeade," he whispered, so as to not disturb the couple.

"Really?" Myra raised her eyebrows and gaped in surprise. "This quietly?" There were no magic shows, no jinxing of other students, no grand proclamations of love. He was just talking to her. "Maybe we should leave," she suddenly said.

"I promised the others I would stay and see how it really went, but I think you're right."

The two of them slid carefully out of their seats, stood up slowly, and tiptoed out of the room. Myra closed the door as quietly as she could.

"He said he might ask her again this week," Remus explained as they walked leisurely down the hallway. "He hasn't asked her in a long while."

"Then what was that show with his head in mashed potatoes?"

"That was just him spewing out his feelings."

Myra chuckled at his choice of words. "Maybe she'll finally say yes."

"I sincerely hope so, for his sake. Peter suggested yesterday he do it at the meeting as a reminder that he is doing well as a Head Boy. If nothing else has impressed her, that'd have to."

"I'm curious." Myra suddenly stopped and pulled on Remus' robes. "Let's wait for them."

Remus smiled and shook his head. "You're awfully curious, aren't you?"

She nodded, a guilty smile spreading across her face.

"Fine." He gave in and sat down on the floor, leaning on the wall. They were deep in the middle of the castle, so it was a bit warmer there. No need to worry about the consequences of sitting on cold stone. Myra leant against the wall and slid down to sit next to Remus, draping her robes around her knees. They continued discussing Myra's Christmas present options, until they heard the door open sometime later.

Lily came out. James was not following her. She closed the door and hesitated before she turned around and strode down the hall like she owned it.

"James coming soon?" Remus asked casually, like he was wondering what could have taken his friend so long.

She seemed surprised at their presence and stopped short. A furious blush spread across her face. "I don't know!" she answered brusquely. "How am I supposed to know if Potter is coming or not?" And then she walked off.

"She said no," Myra stated, looking at where the red head had disappeared down a staircase.

"Did she?" Remus sounded optimistic about the opposite.

"Wouldn't she be happier if she had accepted an invitation to a date?"

"I don't know. Why don't we bet on it?" His entire face had taken on a playful look, eyes glinting and a boyish grin on his lips.

"With what stakes?"

"How about... Your future in Defence Against the Dark Arts?"

Myra gasped. "You wouldn't dare!"

"Oh, I dare!" He tried hard not to smile, but the mirth danced in his eyes.

"You choose to live a very dangerous life, Mr Lupin." She tried to sound threatening and waved her index finger at him.

He leaned over and whispered. "I am dangerous, Miss Kinney."

Myra didn't know how to breathe. He was not wrong.

Knocking the air back into her was the sudden reopening of the prefects' office door. It slammed into the stone wall, the sound reverberating in the nearly empty hallway. Both Myra and Remus were startled and snapped their heads towards to the commotion. On the threshold stood a beaming James Potter.

"Lady and gentleman, mark your calendars!" he crowed. "December 6th 1977, is the day the lovely, beautiful, much esteemed Lily Evans," even though he spoke loudly, her name sounded like a gentle summers breeze coming from his lips, "agreed to go on a date with the humble, lowly, so-not-worthy James Prongsatious Padleyfeet Wormustailus Moonaloona Potter! 'tis the season to be jolly!"

Remus began laughing, but Myra turned to him and asked quietly: "He's not really called James Prong-what's-his-face Potter, is he?" This only made Remus laugh even harder.

"What are you laughing about?" James said, closing the door and coming over. He looked insulted.

Remus fell over on the floor, laughing even harder. Myra couldn't help but smile at his behaviour. His laughter was a beautiful sound, and it was infectious. Soon she was laughing too, James looking even more insulted.

"What are you laughing about?" he asked, directed at Myra this time.

"I-don't-know," she breathed out.

"Moony! Cut that out!" He towered over Remus, glaring daggers at him and reaching for his wand. "It's a day of celebration and you're laughing at me?"

Remus heaved after his breath and clamped down his jaws to calm himself. He managed to put himself back into sitting position and held his arms across his stomach. "I'm sorry," he stammered out. "You should have... seen your face!"

James looked confused now. "It was a happy one, I'm sure."

"Oh, it was." The more he spoke, the calmer he became. "I've just never seen that kind of face on you before. It was a bit funny."

"A bit?" Myra asked sarcastically. "You nearly died, you laughed so hard!"

"No, he's not really called James Prongsatious Padleyfeet Wormustailus Moonaloona Potter," Remus finally answered her question. "Don't you recognise the names?"

"You really think I'm called that?"

"I don't know!" She shrugged and threw her hands in the air. "You're a pure-blood! I'm sorry, but most pure-bloods have crazy names!"

"Come on, Myra." Remus changed his seating so he faced her. "Moonaloona? Prongsatious? Haven't you heard something like that before? Padleyfeet? Wormustailus?"

She blinked a few times, trying to say the names out loud in her head. She cocked her head and furrowed her brows. The boys looked on with amusement. Then suddenly it struck her. "Moony!" Remus nodded. "Wormtail!" He nodded again. "Pr... P... No, I don't know the other two. There's something familiar about them though."

"Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot and Prongs," James said and bowed graciously. "Pleased to meet you, madam."

"Padfoot's Sirius, then?"

"He is," Remus confirmed.

"I don' think I've heard his nickname before. I've heard yours, and I've heard someone call you Prongs," she looked at James, "and I've heard you say Wormtail before." She turned to Remus again. "When you told me what they are, I guessed Peter was Wormtail. That only leaves Sirius, the dog. Pun intended."

"I believe she's got it, my dear Moony."

"I believe she does, dear Prongs."

Myra shook her head. "Wizards." But she smiled.

"Congratulations, Prongs," Remus said, all play aside. "I'm glad she finally said yes."

"Thanks, Moony," James replied, but for the first time his happy expression faltered. "Now all I have to do is not muck it up."

"I'm sure it will alright, James," Myra reassured him. "If she's said yes after all this time and all the crazy things you've done, I'm sure it's going to work out."

The three of them eventually made it back to the Gryffindor Tower. Hestia wondered where on earth they'd been, since the other Gryffindor prefects had come back ages ago.

"We stopped to talk," Myra explained.

"But you have homework!" Hestia complained. "First that meeting, and then you have patrol to waste away the rest of the evening. You need to get your homework done. We got that Potions essay that you have to get started on. She can't get the night off, can she, Potter?"

"There's still lots of time," Myra said, before James had the time to reply. He looked confused. "It's not due until the last Potions class of the term." She was a bit confused about why her best friend was suddenly so on edge about essay, and looked questioningly at her.

"I'm sorry," Hestia said when she noticed Myra's look. "It's just harder than I thought."

"Clearly."

"What kind of essay is it?" Remus asked. He and James had sat down near Myra, Hestia, Ashley and Anna. There had been some curious and confused looks from the girls and certainly from Sirius and Peter, who sat at the other end of the room. They did not come over.

"Everlasting Elixirs," Ashley said with a great sigh. "It's torture."

Both boys looked sympathetic.

"You wouldn't happen to have any advice for it, do you?" Myra wanted to know. They had been through that subject the year previous.

"James is fairly good at Potions," Remus said. "But he can't teach to save his life."

"Hey!" The other boy looked affronted.

"It's true."

James shrugged. But then his face lit up. "Lily's excellent at Potions! You could ask her!"

"How did it go tonight, James?"

Peter and Sirius had come over, and Sirius was looking pointedly at his friends, ignoring the girls.

"Excellent!" James replied.

"Give us all the details," Peter demanded and nodded his head in direction of the where they had just been sitting.

Myra wanted to roll her eyes, they were not discreet in the slightest.

James and Remus stood up to leave. "Ladies." James bowed slightly.

"I'll see you at patrol," Remus told Myra, and the four boys went to the other side of the room.

"How did what go tonight?" Anna asked, while Myra frowned at the boys' behaviour.

"He asked Lily out again, and she said yes," she answered distractedly. Whenever she thought she made some kind of progress with Remus' friends, she managed to do something to go right back to where she started. At least James was coming around, but Sirius could be rude and snappy enough for all four them.

In an effort to get her mind off stupid wizards, she started on the Everlasting Elixirs essay. Her bag had been kept safe by Hestia, and now she pulled her Potions book out of it and flipped through it to find anything she could use. What makes Everlasting Elixirs everlasting? That might be a good chapter to start with.

As the evening went on and it got late, people began retiring to their dorms. Myra glanced at the clock, and saw that it was time to head down to the ground floor. This time she decided to beat Remus to it, so she walked over to the Marauders before he had time to surprise and take her breath away.

"Ready to go, Remus?" she asked, standing behind their couch.

"I'm ready," he said and jumped up from his seat. She couldn't help but notice that he looked unacceptably unaffected by her sudden presence.

The two of them left their friends and walked in silence down to the Entrance Hall. Myra tried to start several conversations, but Remus didn't seem up to talking. They met up with Mary MacDonald and Michael Baddock, and then the pair trudged up to the fifth floor again to being patrolling.

"I don't understand why we have to meet all the way down on the ground floor, when we have to go up again to start our rounds," Myra said when they finally reached the top of the last staircase.

"Yeah, doesn't make sense," Remus answered absentmindedly. It didn't even look like he saw where he was going, his eyes seeing something that wasn't there. The turnaround from earlier that day couldn't have been bigger, when he had been joking and laughing so hard.

Myra hoped it was just one of those days, and didn't try to make him tell her if something was wrong or not. They continued on, scouring the entire fifth floor, but finding nothing out of the ordinary. Up on the sixth floor, he was still taciturn and thoughtful. She could no longer stand it.

"How did Sirius and Peter take the news about James' success with Lily today?" Myra tired halfway through the floor.

"They were thrilled. I think they're celebrating right now," he replied simply.

She couldn't help a sigh of frustration slip out, but he didn't seem to notice.

As far as Myra felt, the evening went by at glacial speed. Even the two Ravenclaws they found moaning loudly and making out in a broom cupboard near the Ravenclaw Tower failed to make things interesting. The couple quietly surrendered and disappeared to their tower. The Slytherin caught setting up a trap with a Confundus Charm near the Owlery in the West Tower didn't go as quietly, but failed to shake Remus out of whatever-it-was. When they came down to the fifth floor again, there was nothing else to do then go back up once again, and call it a night.

When they reached Gryffindor common room, however, Myra had just about had enough. She grabbed his arm and made him turn around, before he reached the stairs to the boys' dormitory. "Is there something wrong, Remus?" she asked, shocked to hear her voice so hurt. "Have I done something wrong?"

"What? No!" he replied quickly. "Why do you think that?"

"You've been so quiet all evening. I don't think you've heard anything of what I've said to you tonight." She looked worriedly at him.

Remus' face turned into one of complete regret. "I'm so sorry, Myra." He stepped closer. "I've had a lot on my mind. I just –" He stepped back again.

Myra stepped closer instead, not wanting him to create a distance between them. "What?"

He looked down on his shoes, growing paler by the second.

"Are you ill?" Myra asked.

He shook his head. "No, I'm fine." It was barely audible. He took a few deep breaths.

He's ill, Myra thought. It was nearly a fortnight since the full moon, so it couldn't be that. She took one more step towards him, worried sick. But then he looked up, and it was clear from his eyes that he was not sick. They were wide and staring.

"I've just been going over and over in my head how to ask you to Hogsmeade this weekend." Colour rushed back into his face, but Myra didn't notice. Stars flashed in front of her eyes and her heart jumped wildly in her chest. Heat flooded her body and her knees felt week.

She couldn't believe it. He didn't just say what she thought he said, did he?

No, he just wants her and her friends to accompany him and his Marauders. It's not possible for him to actually ask her out on a date. He could not be interested in her.

"Will you go out with me to Hogsmeade on Saturday?" he asked properly, as if reading her mind. "Just you and me, on a date."

He did say what she thought he said, right?" It was real. He asked her out. He –

She had to answer. She opened her mouth to speak, but found her voice was missing. Instead, with her eyes fixed on him, she nodded vigorously.

A smile broke out on Remus' face. Myra smiled too. "Okay then," he said, his voice trembling slightly. "Good night, then." He turned slowly around and walked across the floor. When he reached the stairs to the boys' side of the tower, he looked back, still smiling. "Good night, Myra," he repeated.

"Good night, Remus." She finally found her voice, though it was much squeakier than it usually was.




Author Notes

Finally, chapter 28 is here! I've had the betaed chapter in my possession for a while now, but I'm struggling with some kind of insomnia or other sleep disorder. I don't know. Something's not right, and I'm constantly tired, having trouble falling asleep no matter how tired I am. Top that with summer SAD... (Yes, summer SAD is a real thing, though given where I live I should have winter SAD, summer SAD is usually found in people near equator). I haven't really been in a good place to work on the story the last few weeks.

I think I'm working out the sleep disorder thing, so hopefully I'll get some of energy back!

Anyway, expect next chapter in 3-4 weeks! Please review if you have any thoughts on the chapter!

Coming: Chapter 29 – Lost Track of Time

"There you are!" an irate voice came suddenly from behind them. They turned around and saw Sirius and Peter, the latter with a piece of parchment in his hand. "What took you so bloody long?"


Chapter 29: Lost Track of Time
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Chapter 29
Lost Track of Time



As the girls got ready for bed the next evening, Myra decided she had to tell her friends about her plans with Remus. She hadn't said anything earlier, because she just wanted to keep it to herself. Enjoy it privately, without their 'oohing' and 'awwing' over it. In the end though, she just had to tell someone.

"I got something to tell you guys," she said. She was sitting on her bed, smiling and feeling excited.

The three other girls stopped what they were doing and looked over. "What?" Ashley asked.

Myra didn't say anything right away, so Anna urged her on. "Tell us what?"

"Yesterday," Myra began, "Remus... Uh, he – He asked me out," she finished quickly, her voice fading at the end.

The two blondes squealed. "That's wonderful, Myra!" Ashley said excitedly, bouncing over and joining Myra on the bed.

She tried hard not to, but Myra's lips twisted into a wide smile. "Yeah, it is," she said quietly. She glanced up at Hestia, who was sitting on her own bed. Her best friend was also beaming. That meant the world to her.

"How did he ask?" Anna wanted to know.

Myra explained how Remus had been so quiet, and how she had been afraid something was wrong. "He said he'd just been thinking about how to ask me. And then he did."

"Did what?"

"Ask." She shrugged. "Just asked if I wanted to go to Hogsmeade with him."

"What did you say?" Ashley asked breathlessly with anticipation, as if the answer wasn't already pretty obvious.

"YES! She said yes, of course!" Anna had come over and joined the two girls on the bed.

"I said nothing," Myra surprised them.

"What?" all three cried out.

"I couldn't speak," she admitted. "So I nodded."

They all breathed out in relief. "You scared me for a second there," Ashley said.

"Oh, come on! Of course I would accept!"

"What are you going to wear?" Anna asked.

"I don't know. I haven't really thought about it yet."

"It has to be something spectacular, of course." Anna was up and digging through Myra's trunk in an instant. "You have nothing interesting in here," she complained, emerging a minute later.

Ashley got up too and started digging through her own trunk. "We're close to the same height, and body type," she said, pulling out a few garments.

"Come off it!" Myra protested. "Height, yes. Body type, no way. You're way more curved than I am!"

"She is," Anna confirmed, picking up the items Ashley had found. "But you're definitely curvy too. Ashley is just exceptionally so, unnatural almost."

"Hey!" Ashley emerged from her trunk with a final set of skirt and top. She pulled her tongue at Anna.

Hestia just sat quiet, observing the mad scene unfolding in front of her.

"Try this," Anna said, having matched a pair of light red, almost orange trousers to a black top.

"Why?"Myra asked.

Anna raised her eyebrows, as if Myra was the most stupid person in the world.

"Fine." Myra muttered and began stripping down to her underwear. She pulled on the clothes and looked sceptically down at herself. She did not like the colour of the trousers and she did not like the fit of the top. It was too large around the breasts. "I look ridiculous."

"Agreed. This then," Ashley handed over the skirt and top she had found last. The skirt was similar to their school skirt, but grey plaited instead of plain grey, and the top was a perfect Gryffindor red.

With a huff, Myra changed. The skirt was better than the trousers and fitter her well. The top was gorgeous, but was still a bit big over the breasts.

"If you stuff your bra, you could totally pull that off," Anna suggested.

"I don't know," Myra said slowly.

"We still got a few days to figure this out," Ashley said and reclaimed the clothes she had strewn across the floor. "We'll find the right clothes, try on some makeup and make Remus not know what hit him."

The trying out of clothes and makeup sounded tiresome to Myra. She didn't mind it at all, but the enthusiasm Ashley and Anna showed at this, was too much for her. But Remus not knowing what hit him, she liked the sound of that.

...

The days leading up to Saturday went by much too quickly. Myra would have liked more time to prepare, to figure out what to wear, to think about things they could talk about. Not that there had ever been many awkward silences between her and Remus. Not that Ashley and Anna hadn't forced several outfits on her and tried out different colour eye shadows, mascara amounts, eyebrow shapes and blushes. Not that she really knew what needed preparations for a simple date in Hogsmeade. Mostly she felt that she hadn't had enough time to actually feel the joy of knowing that Remus Lupin had asked her out.

Suddenly it was Saturday morning, and she disregarded everything Anna and Ashley had tried on her, and instead put on a pair of jeans and a comfortable sweater. No more or different makeup than she usually wore. It wasn't anything special, but it was clean and she looked presentable.

As the other three girls were getting ready, Myra sat on her bed, thinking. She was all nervousness and desperation. What if they had nothing to talk about? What if there were awkward silences for the first time? What if she wasn't dressed pretty enough? Would they kiss?

Oh Merlin, she thought, feeling something catch in her throat. Would they kiss? Would he expect her to want him to kiss her? Should she kiss him first?

We are going to kiss. Oh my sweet Merlin!

Never mind that she had been kissed before. She'd had a nice relationship with Edmund Davenport a while back. They had hung out after a class project and then they were together. They had not gone on dates, one day they just kissed, and that was it.

Myra just realised she had never been on a date before. She had no idea how to behave on one.

"Are you alright?" Ashley asked, cautiously stepping over to Myra.

Myra looked up from her wringing hands. "I'm fine," she answered thickly.

"You don't look it. You look sick."

"I don't know," Myra admitted. "I'm so bloody nervous. It's just Remus, and I shouldn't be worried. I don't get it."

"You're about to step up your relationship," Anna explained, observing from over her pocket mirror. "You don't know where you'll stand come this evening. It's as simple as that – anyone'd be nervous about it."

"Not helping, Anna!" Myra cried out.

"Sorry." The girl laid down the mirror with an apologetic smile. "But it's true. It is just Remus, you've known him for a while now. But he's asked you out. Either he'll be your boyfriend after this, or he'll go back to being someone you go to school with. Or, the most unlikely scenario, you'll find out it wasn't meant to be and go back to being friends. It's one of three."

"You're really not helping," Myra muttered, staring at her hands, fighting not to throw up all over the floor. "Merlin forbid we're not friends after this." Her throat closed up at that possibility, she could hear the sadness in her voice. She cared about so much, she couldn't imagine her life without him anymore.

"It'll be alright," Hestia said quietly from the door.

Myra turned to look at her, and saw the confidence in her friend's eyes. Her stomach settled a bit, and she mouthed a 'thank you' to Hestia.

"Are you girls ready?"

"Soon," Anna said. "I can't find my mittens."

"Buy new ones, then."

"I still have to get down there without losing all my fingers!"

"Take mine," Myra said and threw her Gryffindor striped mittens over. She just wanted to go down to breakfast and see if food could settle her stomach.

"Thanks!" Anna caught them easily.

The atmosphere in the Great Hall was a merry one, but it didn't do anything to help calm Myra's nerves. And when all four Marauders sauntered in, her heart started beating faster than she thought possible. They had a clear path towards the girls, Remus in the lead.

"Good morning," he said and sat down right next to Myra.

"Morning," she breathed out, horrified that she sounded like a love stricken teenager, staring into his eyes.

"Good morning, ladies," James greeted happily, then looked up and down the table, probably trying to locate Lily. There were murmurs of 'good morning's from the others.

Remus smiled to Myra, and she found, to her surprise, that she was completely calm. All nerves were gone, and her stomach growled in hunger. It was just Remus. She snapped out of her admiration of him with a smile in return and filled her plate with toast and cheese.

...

Soon enough, those students who were old enough to go to Hogsmeade started to leave, Sirius and Peter being the first of the group near Myra. They were soon followed by James and Lily, and finally Ashley, Anna and Hestia, who called out a hearty 'have fun' as they passed. Remus and Myra was the last of the two groups to leave. They decided not to take a carriage down, and instead walked, talking about everything and nothing.

"Are you excited about your Apparition lessons?" Remus asked.

"Most definitely!" She proceeded to ask him all sorts of questions about what to expect, and he told her some interesting stories about his own lessons. Before they knew it, they had passed Hogsmeade Station and was in the busy streets of Hogsmeade. They stopped just past the Three Broomsticks.

"What do you want to do first?" Remus asked.

"I was hoping I could get the Christmas shopping out of the way," she replied. "I got both mine and Marie's to do, but I know exactly what to get and where to get it, so it'll be quick. Then I can hire an owl or two to get everything back to the school."

"Good plan. You do what you need to do, and I'll follow," he said with a twinkle in his eyes.

"Don't you have any shopping to do?"

"I do, but I have my own ways." He smiled secretively.

"Like what?"

He leant close and whispered. "If I told you, I'd have to Obliviate you."

Myra didn't hide the fact that she enjoyed the nearness of him. She smiled and breathed hard at the same time. "Then Obliviate me," she said playfully and shrugged.

He looked around them and then leant even closer. "Secret passageways and an Invisibility Cloak.

Myra gaped. "Really?" she whispered, instantly intrigued.

"Really," he confirmed. "I love the look on your face right now," he then stated boldly, still so close she could feel his breath on her face. She wanted to grab him and kiss him into next week, but managed to control herself, though barely.

It seemed like ages before Remus pulled back. "Lead the way, Myra," he said, his voice a bit unsteady.

"Why can't I shop like you do?" she complained when she pulled out two shopping lists from her pocket.

"I'll take you some time," Remus promised. "And I'll show you other great things around the castle too."

Myra raised her eyebrows questioningly.

"That's all I'm going to tell you now. Later, I promise." He smiled mischievously.

The future looked promising and very bright indeed.

"You certainly know how to keep a witch interested," she joked.

"Only one as curious as you," he shot back.

"You got me there. Now," she consulted Marie's list, "to Dervish and Banges. Most of Marie's things can be bought there."

Remus graciously held out his arm, indicating she take the lead. "After you, milady."

Myra curtsied and took off the road, Remus taking a couple of long strides to walk by her side again.

Thankfully, Marie hadn't reached that age yet where she thought size and price mattered when giving presents, she just wanted to give something, and that made things easier for Myra. When they were done in Dervish and Banges, it only took quick visits to Gladrag's, Zonko's, Honeydukes and finally Spintwitches to finish all the Christmas shopping. Remus had done some shopping in Zonko's and Honeydukes too, so they carried several bags between them when they entered the Post Office to send it all off to school.

The couple wandered the streets for a while, window shopping where they hadn't already been. Conversation flowed easily, about school, their friends and family, and a brave innuendo here and there.

"I'm getting a bit thirsty," he said as they passed Madam Puddifoot's Tea Shop. "Want to find somewhere warm and sit down for a bit?"

Myra glanced at the tea shop and answered hesitantly. "Uh, sure."

Remus understood at once. "Not there, I promise. Unless you want to." She shook her head and visibly relaxed. "Three Broomstick, maybe?"

"Or the Hog's Head? I don't fancy a busy pub full of students right now."

"Hog's Head is fine," Remus stated and led the way.

The grimy old pub was quiet. There weren't many customers there, and as far as Myra could see, no one from Hogwarts. The two Gryffindors found a booth near the entrance that wasn't visible from outside, in case any professors walked by. They weren't specifically disallowed from being there, but it all depended on the professor's mood.

"Do you want Butterbeer?" Remus asked before he settled into his seat.

"Yes, please. Nice and warm," she replied and rubbed her hands together.

He nodded with a smile and went to the bar to place their order. She watched him walk away. He had taken off his robes, and sported a pair of light brown trousers and a grey cardigan that looked very warm and comfortable. Perhaps he wasn't the most well dressed wizard in school, but she wouldn't have wanted him any other way. Well dressed and stylish was reserved for the uptight Slytherin pure-bloods.

A strong desire to rip off his clothes flamed up in her. She had seen him half naked before, in the hospital wing. Half naked was perhaps not the correct term, as he had been covered mostly in bandages and sheets, but there had certainly been some skin. If what she had seen was anything to go by, he would be just the right shade of pale, decorated with scars. Would she be able to feel them under her fingers? Would he mind her touching them? She wanted to. Touch him, kiss him, and feel him against her, and –

"What?" Remus' voice came suddenly. She snapped out if her fantasy. He had come back, and she had been staring at him all the while, lost in thoughts. He was looking at her in a funny way.

"Nothing," she answered quickly, not able to stop the burning in her face.

He cocked his head and looked down at her, as if he was trying to read her mind. He wasn't able to do that, was he? "Sit down, Remus," she ordered and averted her eyes, just in case.

He sat the mugs of Butterbeer on the table and settled down with a confused smile.

"Thanks," Myra said and grabbed one of the mugs, letting it warm up her hands a bit before taking a cautious sip.

"What were you thinking about just now?" he asked again.

Her face flushed again. "Nothing," she said almost snappy. "Read any good books lately?"

Remus chuckled and changed the subject. "Happy with your catch today?"

"What catch?

"Christmas presents."

"Oh. Yeah. I think so. I don't really like shopping for presents. It's so hard to know what they'd like, even if they have a wish list."

"I know, I feel the same. Which is why I'm so happy me and the boys agreed to add our money together and buy something together, for a big prank."

"But then you go out in secret to do the rest of your shopping?" Myra raised one eyebrow suggestively, indicating she wanted to know more about the secret passageway and Invisibility Cloaks.

"Maybe," he said mysteriously.

"Come on! Please, tell me." She batted her eyelashes.

He pretended to think for a moment. "Since you so desperately want to know," he gave in, "I will tell you a little bit."

"Just a little bit?!"

"I got to keep you interested, now don't I?" He smirked, and Myra's stomach flipped.

"I don't think you need to worry about that," she muttered, staring hungrily at his lips.

Now it was Remus' turn to blush.

Myra subconsciously parted her lips slightly and licked them. "About those passageways," Remus started, his voice croaky. He cleared his throat, and Myra blinked to refocus.

"What about them?" Suddenly, she wasn't all that interested to know.

He cast a charm around them, and took a deep breath, before continuing. "There's one on the third floor that leads to Honeydukes."

"Really? Where on the third floor?"

"Now, that would be too much information in one go. How about I show you some time?"

"You better." She looked sternly at him. But then her curiosity kicked in again. "How do you know about it?"

"We've been exploring the castle ever since we came here. I don't think there's anyone alive that knows so much about it than we do." He couldn't hide the pride in his voice.

"But there are disappearing rooms and changing corridors! How have you not gotten lost and never found? I've heard stories..."

There were stories of students, even teachers, that had gone into a room and never been found. Through the ages, some have claimed to witness it. Someone opens a door, enters, and suddenly, the door, the room and the person are nowhere to be found.

"The castle is alive, somehow. We've learned that the hard way, that's for sure. But it seems to have a sense of humour and has never locked us up or harmed us."

Myra was horrified he could take it so lightly. "You talk about it like it's a person. With a personality and the ability to think on its own!"

"I think it is." He shrugged. "I think it's because of all the magic. Being exposed to all that magic on a daily basis for – what, a century – has to have had some effect. How else does the staircases move? Or some door opening when certain conditions are met?"

"You seem to have given this a lot of thought."

"I have. We briefly discussed the subject in Wizarding Culture Studies once. And Hogwarts, A History mentions that the staircases wasn't meant to move, originally. They've only started doing so the last few decades or so. I made some conclusions." He shrugged again.

Sometimes Remus amazed Myra with his knowledge of magic. That he was extremely talented in Defence Against the Dark Arts was no secret, if he managed to help her pass the class when Professor Biggar taught, he couldn't be anything but brilliant. But he knew so much, about so many things. And she never grew tired of listening to it.

...

It was several hours later when the two of them decided it was time to leave Hog's Head. The cold air stung their faces as they left the warmth of the pub. The sun had set a while ago, and the side street they were on was dark. Myra and Remus walked towards the dim lighting on the main street in silence. Neither felt the need to speak anymore, and just enjoyed each other's company.

Just before they reached the end of the dark street, Myra felt something warm against her hand. Remus was reaching for her. Automatically she opened her hand, letting his slide into her, their fingers interlocking. Never before had she been so grateful to be without mittens, despite the biting cold. He of course, never wore mittens, being so naturally warm. It spread from her fingertips to her toes.

The darkness hid Myra's joyous smile, but it didn't hide the fact that her heart was beating wildly in her chest. Something Remus most likely were able to hear. But she didn't mind.

They turned into the main street and the dim light, coming from shopping windows and a few street lights. It looked like the shops were closing up, the street weren't nearly as full of life as it were earlier.

"What time is it?" Myra asked.

"I don't know," Remus replied. He turned to the right, towards Scrivenshaft's, pulling her with him. The shop had a clock in the window. "Quarter to six," he noted with surprise.

"We've been in the Hog's Head that long? Hogsmeade curfew is way past due!" she said in equal surprise. Then they looked at each other. Slowly, Remus started to smile, then she followed. They began walking again.

"Do you care?" he asked, despite her smile.

"Not so much. I've broken curfew many times before, but never in Hogsmeade. Won't they catch us when we get back to school?"

"Not if we don't walk through the main doors," Remus said cryptically.

Myra started to giggle, and it rolled off into laughter. She laughed out loud, but cut it short when a passerby glared at her and cleared his throat. Instead she shook with mirth, Remus' hand tightening around hers.

In silence the two of them walked up the streets, past Hogsmeade Station and onto a path between the train tracks and the forest, towards the Shrieking Shack.

"We're going to the Shrieking Shack?" Myra asked, unable to hide a tremble in her voice. Even though she knew the truth about the old house, the fear was still there, rooted deep in her mind.

"Are you still afraid of the Shack?"

"Clearly, I am."

"I'm sorry," he mumbled as they reached and opening in the trees.

"Don't be," she comforted. "It's not your fault."

Remus stopped. It was dark, the moon nearly new in the sky, but she could still see the sad look on his face. It broke her heart. "I'm still sorry."

"It's not your fault," she repeated. "I'll get over it. The path ends here." To change the subject, she pointed towards a wall of rock, grass and moss. Around them were trees, there were nowhere else to go than back.

"We're going in there." He pointed to the wall of rock.

Myra looked at him as if he were stupid.

"We are. There is a secret passageway from the Shrieking Shack too, if you'd rather take that," he suggested seriously, but with a playful sparkle in his eyes. "But it only goes to the Whomping Willow."

"That's not funny." She playfully slapped his arm.

"Sorry," he said for the third time.

"I told you not to be." She looked hard into his eyes, trying to make him understand that it wasn't his fault. He stared back, and seconds later she forgot what she had just said and what she was trying to do.

There was suddenly no sorrow or guilt in his eyes. The intensity of his gaze was something she had longed to see for a while now. It made her heart want to come out of her chest. Remus took one step closer, his head slowly coming down. His breath was on her face, and her own breathing became deep and desperate at the smell of him. His tongue darted out and Myra snapped her eyes down, watching how it quickly moistened his lips. Then he closed in and his lips met hers.

Myra had imagined this many times, but reality was nothing like the dream. It was unimaginably better. His lips were soft, and warm, and gentle, pressing against hers. He tasted just like he smelled, of deep forest and crackling fire. Or maybe that was the trees around them and the unnatural heat of him. Wasn't it supposed to be freezing? Then why was she burning?

She didn't care, as she pushed up on her toes, leaning against him, her hands grabbing fistfuls of robe at his sides. Wanting to be closer, needing to be closer. His hands came up and cupped her face. Long seconds later, he pulled back and leaned his forehead to hers.

Myra breathed out loud in wonder. Remus let out a deep airy chuckle. His hands was still warm on her face, but she had slackened the hold on his robes. Their eyes opened and met. In an instant they both moved together once more, lips meeting hard and wanton. Remus let go of her face and reached around her back to pull her against him. Myra moaned lightly as she felt his entire body against her.

This time they moved together, trying out the feel of their lips, but no matter how much Myra wanted to open up to him, she didn't dare as long as he didn't ask.

Myra pulled away this time, needing to breathe. Remus let his hands slip from her and she let go of his robes. She looked into his eyes as he reached into a pocket, drew his wand and muttered something she didn't understand. A grating sound came, and she practically felt that there was now open space next to her, not a solid rock wall.

"Come on," he whispered, lit his wand and took her hand again. Myra turned and saw that the rock had slid to the side, creating a small opening in the mountain. Remus led her inside and the rock closed up behind them. They were locked in a cave of some sort, with a low ceiling, but spacious width.

"Where does this lead?" She took out of her own wand and lit it as well. It was quite dark in there.

"The fourth floor," he answered simply.

"Seriously?"

"Seriously." He smiled and began walking.

For a long while they walked in the same kind of cave-hallway, going downhill, until it suddenly widened and revealed a huge cavern. Stalactites hung from the ceiling. They were easily fifteen feet long, but were still too high up to touch. The cavern was as wide and long as it was high, until it narrowed quickly again.

"What is this place?" Myra whispered in awe, gazing around as they walked.

"Don't now."

"Are we under the lake?" They had walked downward and slightly to the west, so they had to be under the lake.

"I think so." Remus smiled at her awe.

"This is amazing! I really wonder what it was created for..."

"You don't think it just got this way naturally?"

"No way." They had reached the cave-like hallway again. "A path from each side, leading to a huge space like this. It can't have happened naturally. I don't think any Muggles could have made this either. Must be magic."

"Makes sense. We haven't really thought about what this place could be before. We just cared that it lead to Hogsmeade." There was mischief in Remus' voice.

"Marauders," Myra muttered playfully.

It didn't take long before the path ahead grew very steep. So steep in fact, they had to bend and use both their arms and legs to climb, their wands between their teeth.

"We usually slide down here," Remus said in a muffled voice, his wand in the way, climbing behind Myra.

"I want to try that some time!" she exclaimed, her wand dropping from her mouth, and rolling down the hill, the light gone. "Bollocks!"

"Accio Myra's wand," Remus said after a chuckle. The willow wand came flying back at such speed it zoomed past Remus' head and Myra caught it in the air.

"Thanks," she said. "Lumos." A second light filled the cave again, and they continued climbing.

Suddenly the path stopped and further wanderings were stopped by a stone wall.

"Just push lightly here," Remus explained and laid his hand on the stone. His hand disappeared through the wall. Then he put his head through and moved it from side to side. He pulled back. "The coast is clear." He stepped through and pulled Myra with him. They both found themselves on the fourth floor at Hogwarts. Behind them was a lone mirror on the wall. She reached out towards it, cautiously touching it with her index finger. It was solid.

"First of all, that cave led here. But behind that wall is outside, right?"

"Right."

She nodded as if that made sense. "Second, how do you activate the mirror?"

Remus burst out laughing, the sound tickling Myra's insides. Then he leant over and whispered the incantation in her ear, his hot breath making her hairs stand on end. Shots of fire burst from her ear and to her centre, her eyes half closed.

When he pulled back, Myra stayed in the same position.

"Are you alright?" Remus asked.

"I-I don't think I'll remember that tomorrow," she whispered and shivered.

He blushed. "Come on, let's go to the common room. I'm sure our friends are wondering where we are."

"And our shopping! The owls were supposed to fly here around five."

"There you are!" an irate voice came suddenly from behind them. They turned around and saw Sirius and Peter, the latter with a piece of parchment in his hand. "What took you so bloody long?"

Of course they have to interrupt, Myra thought sourly.

"We lost track of time. Just got back," Remus explained happily, while Peter quickly turned his back to them and bent his head over the parchment, then back again. "We took the secret passageway by the lake."

"Yes, we know!"

Myra was about to ask how they could know, but thought better of it. "We're sorry, Black. But we did lose track of time," she said instead.

"Yes, well, at least you're back now," he stuttered.

"Is Prongs back?" Remus asked.

"He came back with the rest of us," Peter explained. "In quite a good mood."

"He didn't want to tell us anything before you came back. Which is why we've been looking all over for you," Sirius complained.

"And I'm sure it was a real struggle," Remus retorted with sarcasm, and Myra noticed his eyes made a quick move towards the parchment in Peter's hands.

The three boys looked at each other, and Myra felt that there was something she was missing. "What's going on here?" she couldn't help but ask.

"Nothing," all three said in unison.

"Let's go back," Peter suggested and took the lead towards the staircases.

The others followed, and Myra suppressed a sight. The date was over. The spell of the day was broken. She lagged behind as the three boys took the lead, chatting and laughing.




Author Notes

Only one chapter of part 1 left! But, I'm the process of revising part 1. There are many things I'm not happy with. Characters I wish were fleshed out more for the reader (I know them well enough myself :) ). Things I wish were done a bit differently. Information that needs to be written about to explain things better. Basically, making part 1 better so it fits better with Part 2.

I'm about halfway through revising part 1 now. And after that it done, I will make part 1 longer, as in it will not end where this current version of part 1 ends in the next chapter. It will continue until the end of Myra's seventh year, which was the original plan before I made the decision to revise/edit part 1. Don't worry, it's a "proper" ending for part 1.

But don't fret! You can either chose to wait for part 2, or you can read the new version of part 1, or.... :) I will have a surprise to keep you going, for whatever you chose to do. I will not reveal it before chapter 30 comes out!

Expect next chapter in 3-4 weeks! Please review if you have any thoughts on the chapter!

Coming: Chapter 30 – After Waning Moon Comes Darkness

The end-of-term feast came, and Myra was surrounded by the people she loved the most at Hogwarts, and some other people. (...) Myra Kinney was in a very good place and the future looked very bright. Little did she know...


Chapter 30: After Waning Moon Comes Darkness
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Chapter 30
After Waning Moon Comes Darkness



"How was the date?" Anna was on Myra the second they entered the dorm. The blonde sat down next to Myra on her bed.

"It was good," Myra replied. She didn't want to share too much, but she was sure it was evident in her eyes how well it had gone. "We did some shopping, then we walked around town and then we sat in the Hog's Head and forgot all about time."

"Did you kiss?" Myra didn't even have to answer that one, the blush that suddenly adorned her face was answer enough. "How was it?"

"It was good," she repeated.

"Are you together now?" Hestia wanted to know. "As in girlfriend and boyfriend?"

She thought for a moment. "I don't know. I don't think so." It had not been discussed, they had not made plans for a second date or anything at all... But they had kissed and held hands and had a really nice time. "I have no idea. With Davenport it just happened, but I'm guessing it isn't usually that easy?" Myra turned to Anna, who had had her share of wizards.

"Well, it's not good to just assume you're together. Some people don't want to be exclusive." Anna stood up and stretched and yawned. "But I was so sure it was a done deal between you and Remus, to be honest," she finished simply and headed into the bathroom without waiting to hear if anyone had anything else to say.

"How was your day in town?" Myra asked Hestia, not wanting to think about the questions Anna raised quite yet.

"Cold, quick and efficient," Hestia listed off on her fingers.

"Sounds... fun," Myra said sarcastically.

"It was freezing out in the streets," her best friend began explaining. "Because of that we wanted to finish quickly. Then we went to the Three Broomsticks as usual, were Goldstein," she put annoyed emphasis on Henry's last name, "joined us with one of his Hufflepuff friends."

Myra chuckled. "Henry's not so bad. When are you going to see that?"

"As long as he continues to behave like he's the gods' gift to witches, I refuse to see him as anything worthwhile," Hestia said firmly and stubbornly.

"Fine, be that way." Myra shook her head in amusement and lay down on her bed, gazing up at the canopy.

Anna came out of the bathroom and the girls stayed up and chatted for a while. Ashley came back from her adventure with Lowell, and Myra had to relay her date with Remus again, before they all went to bed. Darkness filled the dorm and the sounds of sleeping became a choir as three of the girls fell asleep. Myra was awake. She rolled over, her back to the room. With a small smile and her eyes firmly on the wall, she replayed the kisses she and Remus had shared, over and over, her insides squirming in delight. Finally her eyes began drooping and she fell asleep, into a dream of what could have transpired if they hadn't stopped kissing. What else could they have done against that hard, solid mountain wall?

...

When the castle woke up on Sunday, the entire world outside was white. Out of nowhere, snow had decided to come and it had fallen fast and heavily during the night. A lot of the younger students wasted no time in getting out there to play. Most of the older students were there too, but Hestia and Anna wanted the four girls to stay in and get started on the homework before the holidays. Not to mention the big Potions essay they had to deliver in a few days.

All day, Myra hardly saw Remus. He hadn't been near at breakfast, she didn't see him the common room, and all the Marauders were missing at lunch and dinner. She wasn't sure what she had expected after the date, but somehow she felt disappointed that he was so out of reach.

"What's wrong?" Hestia quietly asked when they got ready for bed on Sunday evening. "You've been frowning more and more every hour."

Myra stared into the air for a moment before replying. "It's nothing." Then she grabbed a towel and disappeared for a shower. Under the scorching water, Anna's statement from the previous evening came to mind.

But I was so sure it was a done deal between you and Remus, to be honest.

Up until Tuesday, Myra really had no idea that Remus fancied her. Her friends had claimed that he did. Maybe that was true.

Just the idea that he had fancied her for a while, made her insides tingle pleasantly.

So what exactly had she expected after the date? That he would go up on the Astronomy Tower and proclaim his undying love for all to hear? That he would whisk her away into an empty room and have his wicked way with her?

She had no idea. But it certainly wasn't to pretend she didn't exist. To go out with his friends to play in the snow, she had seen them out there, when she was stuck inside and he could have stayed to keep her company, like he sometimes did.

Did he regret the date? Did he realise he didn't fancy her after all? Had he kissed her just to make her happy? Or was it kissing her that turned him off? Was she that bad of a kisser?

Myra turned the water off and began drying off, desperately going through the entire previous day. Had his smiles reached his eyes? Hadn't his movements seemed stiff and forced?

Oh Merlin oh Merlin oh Merlin! she thought depressingly. Remus didn't fancy her after all! Now he probably didn't want to be her friend anymore either!

No! Stop it! she shouted in her mind. She could not go mental right now. Deciding she was clean and dry enough, she stepped into her pyjamas and went to bed with an ache in her heart.

On Monday Remus and the Marauders were still absent. She was hopeful for the free period. The first one she spent in the library for once, finishing the dreadful Everlasting Elixirs essay. But when bell rang, she rushed back to Gryffindor Tower. Remus would be on his way there, like usual. But he wasn't. So she sat down to wait.

The minutes ticked by. Remus never showed. Sighing sadly, she gave up on waiting and instead started on the Charms homework.

When the bell rang to end the last lesson of the day, Remus still hadn't shown up. She waited a little while longer, in case he was hiding in the dorms, like she had done once. The portrait hole suddenly opened, and her heart missed a beat in excitement, but it was only a group of fourth years. Myra banished her bag to the dorm and glared at the group while she stomped past them to get dinner.

She continued her march of anger down several flights of stairs, getting curious glances from a few portraits, but when she had to wait for a moving staircase, her anger went away and was replaced by sadness. Her shoulders slumped and she lost her appetite. But her legs moved in direction of the Great Hall anyway, and soon she found herself sitting down with her friends.

"What's gotten you in such a bad mood?" Anna asked after Myra had given several one syllable answers to the conversation. Automatically, Myra looked in direction of the Marauders, who were sitting with Lily and MacDonald. Maybe Remus fancied MacDonald instead? She certainly fancied him.

"Something happen between you two in your free period?" Hestia asked.

"I wish," Myra muttered. "He didn't even show up."

"That's a first, isn't it?" Ashley asked.

"Yeah."

"I'm sorry, Myra," Hestia said quietly, putting a comforting hand on her friend's back. "It just wasn't meant to be, I guess."

The other two made agreeing sounds. "I suppose," Myra mumbled, pushing her plate away from her. "I'm going up to the Tower," she then excused herself and walked quietly off.

The group of fourth years she had glared at earlier was still in the common room, now playing Exploding Snaps. Myra turned briskly in their direction, wanting to ask if they didn't have homework instead, but decided against it and went up to the dorm to retrieve her bag again. Then she settled as close as she could to the hearth and started on the last piece of homework for the day.

Nothing changed the next day. Myra hadn't said a word to Remus, or even his friends, and none of them had spoken to her. She barely even saw them, except during meals. She actually wanted to ask James about his date with Lily. It seemed to have gone well, since she had been sitting with him the Great Hall a few times since. Without yelling. And without magic on James' part.

Remus and Myra had patrol that evening. To be completely honest, she was sure he would find a way to get out of it. But as she sat in the common room chatting with the girls, the voice she had missed so much the last few days spoke very close to her ear. "Ready for patrol?"

Anna and Ashley grinned widely as Myra nearly lost her breath. They sat opposite her and must have seen him approaching.

"Uh, sure," she managed to choke out, feeling her face burn, her heart race and her stomach twist in a pleasant way. "See you later," she said to her friends and followed Remus out.

"So, how have you been?" she asked hesitantly as they reached the sixth floor, wanting to get this over with before patrol actually started.

"Good. You?"

"Good." It was like they didn't know each other at all. "Excited about getting a couple of weeks at home?" She had no intentions of letting the conversation stall.

"I am."

They were now on the fifth floor. "Have you had time to get your shopping done?"

"I have. We went last night."

Near the top of the stairs leading down to the fourth floor, Myra stopped. Remus didn't notice her stopping until he had taken several steps down. Then he stopped and looked questioningly back at her. "Have I done something wrong, Remus?" she asked, needing an explanation from him. She looked straight at him, confusion in her eyes. Even before their date, even before they became such good friends, he hadn't ever ignored her like that. Hell, even when he was terrified after she found out his secret, they had communicated more than they had since Saturday night.

"What?" he asked incredulously, taking a few steps back up. "Have you done something wrong? Why do you think you've done something wrong?"

She looked down. "I know it was just one date. I know that doesn't mean anything big. But I just..." Remus had stepped all the way back up, and was on her level. "It seems like you're ignoring me. If you regret the date, just tell me." Her voice faded at the end, going nearly inaudible. She'd had the courage to bring this up, but she didn't dare look at him. To see the indifference in his eyes as he told her he regretted the date, she couldn't handle that.

It felt like forever, but suddenly Remus was right in front of her. She snapped her head up in surprise and just in time for him to crash his lips down on hers. Myra's eyes were large as Quidditch hoops, she had not expected that. He put his arms behind her back, pulling her flush against his body and that woke Myra from her shock. She closed her eyes and laid her arms around his neck, making sure he couldn't pull away.

Butterflies and flobberworms and phoenixes and what-not were flying around in perfect chaos in Myra's stomach. Remus' body heat engulfed her and made everything too sensitive. But when his tongue tentatively reached out and asked for permission to deepen the kiss, she burned. Without hesitation she let him in and he did taste like deep forest and crackling fire.

She was lost.

All too soon they had to pull back for air. They still held on tight to each other, leaning forehead against forehead.

"That's not ignoring me," Myra murmured breathlessly, smiling with her eyes still closed.

Remus laughed quietly. "I don't regret the date. Far from it." As he spoke, she could feel every word and every sweet breath on her face. "I was... I don't know. Doesn't matter now." He tightened his hold on her for a second, to emphasise his words.

She opened her eyes and leaned her head back, to gauge his reaction to her next question. "What are we?" It needed to be asked, even if it would chase him away. She didn't want to be halfway with him. Right now, it was all or nothing.

"Whatever you want us to be," he said calmly, staring right back at her. Nothing in his gaze or voice wavered.

"Then I want to be your girlfriend." The corner of her mouth quirked up, trying to hold in a smile.

Remus nodded. "Only if you let me be your boyfriend."

Myra nodded too.

Both grinned. Myra felt like she was standing on a flying carpet. Then Remus leaned in for another kiss, and she could care less about where she was or what was going on around her.

...

Never before had Myra finished a patrol as quick as that evening. When she and Remus finally managed to pull away from each other and hurry down to the Entrance Hall, Mary MacDonald and Michael Baddock was waiting very impatiently. It must have been obvious what had delayed the couple, because MacDonald pushed her chin up and huffed as she pulled Baddock roughly with her towards the dungeons.

Myra and Remus kept their patrol professional and tried not to get distracted by each other. There might be many students that didn't get caught that night. Once they had done their floors up and down once, Remus pulled Myra into the Magical Living classroom on the fifth floor and snogged her senseless on a desk before she knew what was happening.

When they made it back to Gryffindor Tower, it was very late, and everyone was asleep. The two said a long goodnight by the stairs and reluctantly went separate ways. Up in the sixth year girls' dorm, only Hestia was still awake. She was sitting on Myra's bed, reading her Pre-Healing book, pyjamas on.

"You're still awake?" Myra asked disbelievingly, sitting down on the edge of her bed.

Hestia shrugged. "When you didn't come back at the usual time, I figured you and Remus had either killed each other or had babies. I wanted to be the first to know which one." She smiled and made a dog ear in her book before closing it.

"Well, it wasn't either of them. But I guess it was closer to having babies than killing each other." Myra giggled and held her hands together excitingly.

"I'm happy for you, Myra." Hestia leaned forward and the two best friends hugged.

"Thanks, Hestia. I'm happy for me too."

Hestia laughed at Myra's serious tone. "I'm going to go sleep in my own bed now."

The black haired girl wandered away, put the book on the nightstand and crawled under the covers. "Good night, Myra. Sweet dreams." She said the last part playfully.

Myra grinned. "Oh, yes, they will be. Good night."

It took Myra a while to fall asleep that night. She could still feel the burn of Remus' lips against hers, every contour of his body against hers. It was probably emotional exhaustion that made her finally drift off to a dreamless sleep.

...

The girls went to breakfast next morning, settling down in the middle of the table. Ashley and Hestia jumped right into a conversation about what they had read in preparation for the upcoming Magical Living lesson, while Myra waited anxiously for the Marauders to get there.

And they did, just minutes later. The four of them walked towards them, and Remus sat down next to her as if he had done nothing else every morning for the last six years.

"Morning," he said and gave her a quick kiss.

"Morning," she repeated, beaming.

Under the table, someone kicked her leg and she exclaimed in pain. Ashley looked at her with large, surprised eyes. Myra just continued smiling, and then Ashley smiled too.

The three other Marauders sat down near them, resigned to the fact that Remus wanted to sit with Myra.

Conversation continued, and Myra revelled in the happiness she was experiencing. They had sat together at meals before, but now everything was different. They were together, he sat very close, and his friends were not cursing her into next week.

The free period they shared later that day was quite interesting for Myra. There weren't much schoolwork that got done, but she learned a lot of interesting things about Remus' responses to her kissing certain parts of his exposed skin or gently touching various parts of his body.

They were sprawled across a couch, Remus on the bottom and Myra lying comfortably between his legs, her head resting on his chest. They had started out the other way, with her on the bottom when Remus had leant her back, snogging the breath out of her. Myra had trailed her hands all over his body, as far as she could reach, learning all about the way his back muscles moved under his school shirt when he moved. She arched her hips into his, and noticed how wonderful it felt when he groaned into her mouth. She ran her hands through his hair, delighted at the way he looked with it all mussed up because of her. He even moaned when she pulled playfully at it. She learned what spots around her own neck were her most sensitive and responsive, because he had no problem whatsoever pointing them out with his lips.

But most importantly, she learned that she was defenceless when it came to him. If it was the pheromones and hormones Hestia had mentioned some time back, or just plain old attraction, it didn't really matter. But as soon as he set his lips on her, she was like mashed potatoes, melting pudding, crumbling crackers, in his arms. And from the sounds he was making and the enthusiasm in which he was snogging, she would bet her entire savings vault that he felt the same way.

At one point, they needed a break, and that's when Myra ended up on top, comfortable in his embrace. They didn't speak, but she listened to his heart beat, and he gently stroked her arm up and down.

All too soon the bell rang and it was time for lunch. Two couple disentangled from themselves and joined the rest of the student body.

That had been their last free period before the holidays. But they still spent as much time together as they could the last few days of the term. His friends didn't make any trouble out of it, in fact they were as civil as they could be. James could probably care less, since he was with Lily, after all those years. Remus explained to Myra that they weren't a couple yet, but she was very favourable towards James, and they took longer with their Head Boy and Girl meetings than they used to.

The end-of-term feast came, and Myra was surrounded by the people she loved the most at Hogwarts, and some other people. Ashley and Anna were opposite her on the Gryffindor table. On her left side was Hestia and on her right was Remus. A short distance away was Henry. She had a clear view to Marie at the Hufflepuff table. Next to Remus were Sirius and Peter, and opposite them was James next to Lily.

She was sad about leaving Remus for a couple of weeks after they had just four days together, but after the holidays they had months to spend together before he would finish Hogwarts.

Myra Kinney was in a very good place and the future looked very bright.

Little did she know that outside her little world at Hogwarts, big things were happening. She had heard rumours, but it had been something she decided not to think much about. Soon enough, she and all her friends would get firsthand experience with it. Remus and his friends a lot sooner than her.




Author Notes

I am so very sorry this has taken sooo long. There's just been too much. My grandfather passed away all too suddenly at the beginning of October, and I just couldn't bother with writing anymore. It's only NaNo now in November that has forced my head back into it and healed part of my heart at the same time. I buried myself in playing Dragon Age: Origins when he passed away, it was such an easy escape. And then, I figured out who I can actually count on when shit really happens. I have clearly been mistaken when it comes to a lot of people in my life, and when it all comes down to it, family is all you really have.

Enough, sadness and ranting. This chapter is not betaed. My beta has had a lot on her plate as well, but I didn't want to let you guys wait any longer, not knowing what was going on. When she sends me the betaed version, I will update. So here it is, the temporary end to Lunar Phases Part 1: Waning Moon!

In case you haven't heard, I'm in the process of rewriting Part 1. There are lots of things I wanted to change, lots of things that needed to be changed. In the new version, you will get more from Myra's friends and their POVs, and more from the Marauders' POVs. More explanation of why Sirius, James and Peter treat Myra the way they do, and you'll just get a bigger reason to love all the characters. I hope. Scenes have changed, some things have been deleted, some things added, some things from another POV... And Part 2 will be easier to write because of it. In any case, I feel that the story is getting so much better, that I feel confident in saying: If you really like this version of Lunar Phases, expect fireworks in the revised version! And a longer story, ending with Myra leaving Hogwarts!

But, while you wait for Lunar Phases to be reposted, I have another story, or whatever you want to call it, to post. If you haven't read Until Next Time, go read it now. Because I will post more. Call it a series of one-shots, call it a mini-series, I don't know. But it will be hot, intense, angsty, dark and sexy. At least that's my vision looks like. All in all, I have five chapters/one-shots of it, including the one already posted and lots and lots in drafts, just waiting to be sown into something wonderful.

Now, until we see each other again (see what I did there ;) ): Please review if you have any thoughts on the chapter!


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