Chapter 15 : Chapter 15
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When Danika finally awoke from her long potion-induced sleep, it was already dark outside. She could see several stars shining in the dark sky and the ghost of the moon hiding behind large grey clouds. She didn’t recognize the room that she was in, the blackness of it making it even more difficult to do so. Not a candle or a torch lit the spacious area, drenching Danika in obscurity.
Lifting herself slightly off the bed she was laying in, the blonde observed that instead of her usual sleeping gear, she was wearing a plain cotton blue nightgown, the crispness of the clean material coarse against her skin. On the small bedside table next her she could dimly make out a jug of clear liquid (presumably water), an empty glass and the stump of a burnt-out candle.
“Lumos,” Danika whispered, immediately, a small light appeared out of nowhere, hovering in front of the blonde, and if one looked closer, one would notice that it was a kind of ‘ball of luminosity’.
Unsteadily getting up on her feet, Danika scanned the room, the conjured light illuminating the areas on which her eyes lay. “This must be the Hospital Wing,” she thought, observing the numerous basic beds and cabinets containing potions and herbs. Moving towards what appeared to be an office of some sorts, Danika stumbled and would have fallen if it weren’t for an invisible force that caught her just in time and steadied her on her feet. The unseen arms kept holding her around the waist, and the blonde held her breath, terrified by the sudden captivity she was in.
“Why are you out of bed? You should be resting,” whispered a concerned and familiar voice in her ear.
Turning around in the spot to face the still invisible figure, Danika reached out her hands before her. Abruptly, they came in contact with a solid form, enveloped in a soft and light material. As she pulled at it, it felt like the softest of silks against her fingers. Slowly pulling harder, she stripped off the concealing fabric and revealed the individual whose voice she had identified.
“Remus,” she gasped, letting go of the cloth and hugging the young man fiercely.
“Nothing can compare to this,” Remus thought with a smile, tightening his grip around the blonde’s waist. He had just arrived in the Hospital Wing, wrapped in James’ invisibility cloak, when Danika conjured the ball of light using wandless magic. He couldn’t sleep properly without seeing the girl one more time that night, so having borrowed Prongs’ cloak, he had expected Danika to still be asleep. He was both pleased and anxious to having found her wandering around the ward. But now that the blonde had wrapped her arms around his neck and was hugging him as if Remus were her lifeline, all of the negative emotions that he had been feeling throughout the day faded out to the back of his mind.
“So, what are you doing out of bed?” Moony finally broke the silence.
“Just checking my surroundings,” the blonde answered, smiling as she pulled away from him.
“Strange, he looks almost upset that I stepped away,” she thought to herself when she saw a shadow of disappointment quickly cross over the young man’s face.
“And what are you doing here? I take it you’re out after curfew?” she asked.
“Yeah, I just wanted to make sure that you were okay for the night,” Remus replied, silently thanking the lack of light for hiding the blush creeping up his cheeks. “You slept the whole day and no one knew what caused you to get ill. Even the nurse didn’t tell us. But anyway, how are you feeling?” he enquired as he took Danika’s arm and led her back to the bed she previously occupied, sitting her down and taking a place beside her, their thighs faintly touching.
“Dizzy, and my throat still hurts somewhat. But my headache is gone, and I can breathe properly now,” the blonde gave a small smile. “Did I miss much in the classes today?”
“I, uh, didn’t pay much attention. So…you’ll have to ask Lily for the notes and the assignments we have been given,” Remus replied sheepishly, scratching the back of his head and looking away from the girl next to him.
“I see,” Danika chuckled lightly. “Has anything interesting happened whilst I was in here?”
“Not really…” Moony lied, knowing that if he were to mention Sirius hexing Snape, Danika would only become upset.
“You’re lying,” the blonde said calmly, looking intently at the Marauder.
“You’re lying, I can tell. Whenever you lie, you involuntarily bite the left side of your bottom lip.”
“I do?” Moony asked with raised eyebrows.
For a few minutes they sat in silence, each lost in their own thoughts. “Well, logically, if she noticed something so small about me, she obviously cares about me. So perhaps…” Remus was pondering. “Or she’s just a good observer,” the more pessimistic side of him noted. Over the past weeks, Moony had been battling with his feelings towards the young woman, weighing one option against another. “Either I tell her of my feelings for her, or I keep quiet,” he kept repeating in his head. Both had their pros and cons, but however much time he spent thinking about the subject, he could never come up with a decision. Every morning when he saw Danika, every class they had together, every meal and every moment in between, Remus felt an urgency inside of himself to tell her of his affection. But then something always stopped him. Thoughts that she didn’t like him in that way, that she fancied Padfoot, that she wasn’t looking for a relationship, that she would be disgusted by his feelings for her. “After all, who would want a werewolf as a boyfriend?” Remus thought bitterly.
But as he looked at Danika, her delicate features softly illuminated by the ball of light she had conjured earlier, he felt that urge tug at his heart once more. She looked so serene at that moment, so perfect, even in her fragile condition. Her pale skin had a pearly lustre to it in the dim atmosphere, her hair a variety of golds as the light reflected from it, and her brow slightly furrowed in thought. “I have to tell her,” the notion flashed in his mind.
Whilst Remus was wrestling with his inner thoughts and desires, Danika contemplated why the Marauder would lie to her. “I doubt he would lie to me in order to spite me,” she decided. “Then what could have happened to make him hide the truth… What if there was an accident and someone was hurt? No, then there would be someone else here in the ward with me,” she contemplated.
The young woman hated being ill, fortunately something which she had to suffer through rarely. Missing her classes was a horrifying concept. “What if Professor Dumbledore expels me now?” she fearfully thought. In the girl’s mind, skipping classes, even on the basis of illness, was a good enough reason to force her to leave the confines of the school.
“What is going to happen to me now?” Danika asked quietly, looking at her lap, right at the moment when Remus had opened his mouth to speak.
“What do you mean?” he enquired, frowning at the girl’s meek tone.
“Am I…” she hesitated, her shoulders slumping in advanced defeat, “Am I going to be expelled?”
“What?! Of course not! What in Merlin’s name would make you think that?”
“Well, it’s just that I’ve missed my classes today, so-”
“Danika,” Remus interrupted in a firm tone, “no one is going to kick you out for having been ill. It isn’t your fault. Before you came along with that miraculous potion, I used to always skip classes the day following the full moon. Still here though, aren’t I?”
“Yes, but you’ve got a legitimate reason. I just had a bit of a headache-”
“That’s bollocks, Danika, and you know it,” he exclaimed, suddenly angry that the blonde was not taking this seriously. “You looked very ill this morning, and during lunchtime when I came to see you. All of Gryffindor was worried about you, especially after word spread that McGonagall had to bring you here unconscious on a stretcher. So don’t say that you had ‘a bit of a headache’, because it isn’t true.”
It took Danika a moment to register everything that Remus had just said and come to terms with it. Firstly, the Marauder had come to see her at the Hospital Wing during his lunch hour, when he should have spent it in the Great Hall, eating with the other students. Initially, this irritated her, since Remus really shouldn’t be skipping meals for the likes of her. But then, the warm, fuzzy kind of feeling enveloped her. The same sentiment she felt whenever the young man hugged her, or complimented her on her homework, making her feel ridiculously proud. This sacrifice, however small it appeared to Remus, was not so small in Danika’s mind.
Secondly, the blonde thought about how he mentioned the Gryffindors being worried about her wellbeing. This was something unexpected to say the least, yet it made Danika feel like she really belonged. Over the months spent in Hogwarts, she had done her best not to argue with anyone, to not pick fights or irritate any student, teacher or even ghost. She had felt as if she was on some sort of trial to see if she was good enough to be part of this magical community. As if she was being judged how well she could get along with other human beings after having lived in the company of only one person during her 16 years of life. Constantly having to rethink her decisions, to carefully consider what she said before opening her mouth- these habits had been wearing her down lately. But when Remus said that her house worried about her, Danika could honestly say that she had once again found a home.
Nonetheless, Moony’s last sentence touched another cord in her.
“So why don’t you tell me what happened today which you are so eager to conceal?” she asked, fixing him with a determined blue-eyed gaze.
“Uhmm, listen, Danika,” Remus stammered, slightly thrown aback by the unanticipated question, “it’s nothing important for you to occupy your mind with. You should rest, you’re still weak.”
“Do not treat me like a child or a handicap, Remus John Lupin. I only have something mild like the flu. So stop stalling and tell me.”
“Well, seriously, it’s nothing significant. Sirius just threw a little curse at Snape, no big deal…” Moony confessed, looking anywhere but at the blonde.
After a few seconds of silence and still no audible response, Remus finally set his gaze on Danika. Her emotions were clearly etched on her face, revealing disappointment, anger and, strangely enough to Moony, guilt.
“But it wasn’t anything bad, honestly!” he hastily began to explain. “Snape just grabbed a potion from here and cured it quickly. Padfoot was given a detention by McGonagall and got points docked off, that’s it.”
But Remus’ words had failed to make Danika feel better. It wasn’t a surprise that Sirius hexed Severus again, even after the fight that the Marauder and she had in the beginning of the school year. So it wasn’t that shocking of a news, even if the blonde couldn’t deny being saddened by Sirius’ foolish behaviour. What upset Danika the most however, was her own attitude towards the mysterious Slytherin. She couldn’t help but think that she had been ignoring the young man lately, being mostly busy with school work and her friends, more specifically Remus. “But I did try to approach him on several occasions,” her mind defended. Nevertheless, Danika couldn’t shake the feeling of guilt that she felt for having in some way let Severus Snape down.
“Dani, are you okay?” Moony asked, placing his hand softly on hers, interrupting her trail of thought. “Just don’t be upset because of it. You shouldn’t worry yourself over something so petty.”
Danika nodded and gave a small smile in response, though deep down the feeling of culpability kept nagging her.
“Was that an invisibility cloak you covered yourself with when you came in?” she enquired, changing the subject.
“Yep, it belongs to James. He got it from some distant relative who acquired it whilst travelling in Asia.”
“Really? They’re incredibly rare, you know. I read that they’re very difficult to make because it involves killing a rare species of magical bird, then plucking its feathers and using it to make the threads.”
Remus gave a short laugh, “I doubt James would really care if he knew. He loves that old cloak. Not only because it’s extremely useful, but also we gained so many good memories thanks to it. For years we’ve been using it to sneak and explore the castle after hours.”
“Yes, I can imagine that Prongs and Padfoot put it to good use.”
“That’s for sure. So now you know another one of the Marauder secrets. I should talk to the guys about making you a member, considering you know so much about us already,” Moony said, half of him joking, the other half seriously considering that option.
“No, that’s quite alright, thank you. I would rather stay out of trouble.”
“Yeah, you can start a study group with Lily or something,” he laughed.
“That’s a good idea actually,” the blonde said completely seriously, causing Remus to laugh even more.
“I definitively wouldn’t put it past you two to do so.”
Remus and Danika spent the following few hours chatting amicably, moving to a more comfortable position laying on the bed with their legs stretched out beside one another and their heads sharing a pillow. The conjured ball of light was long extinguished, leaving the two Gryffindors in complete darkness. As their eyes adjusted to the dark, both contemplated their proximity. Laying parallel to each other, their legs, thighs and arms were touching, spreading a tingling feeling through both of them, though neither aware that the other was affected in the same way.
“What time is it?” Danika asked out of the blue after a minute’s silence.
“No idea, but the sky is getting lighter,” Remus noted, looking out at the sky seen through the large window on their left.
“You should probably go. I don’t want you to get into trouble.”
“Probably,” he stated simply.
But neither moved or said a thing, feeling too comfortable to do so. As time ticked by, sleep began to draw nearer, drowsiness conquering the two of them. It wasn’t long before the two Gryffindors had fallen asleep, and in their dream state, having instinctively moved in a more secure and intimate spooning position. Remus wrapped his right arm tightly around the blonde’s waist, her own hands holding it closely, whilst his other arm was used as an impromptu cushion for her head. The Marauder’s last conscious thought before his mind shut off was “I have to tell her.”
+++ so,any good or complete bollocks? you tell me. +++
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