Disclaimer: All HP belongs to JK Rowling (as if you didn’t already know that…*sigh*). The chapter title is taken from the song "All the Stars" by Eastmountainsouth. Nayda and the plot belong to me. Oh, that and a few…dozen…Orlando Bloom posters. But that’s normal, right?
A/N: Here’s the next chapter. It switches POV a few times, but I think I made it obvious which is which. If not, feel free to mention the inconsistency and I’ll fix it. Thanks to MoonlitTwilight for such faithful reviews! As always, Read, Review, and Enjoy. ~Manya
Morning should be banned, Nayda thought darkly as she crossed the Great Hall to the Ravenclaw table for breakfast. Exhaustion threatened to topple her over—despite the infusion of the potion she took last night to sleep, she still woke up with a headache and a body consuming weariness flooding every vein. Adrenaline let down caught her blindsided every time.
"Good morning, Nayda."
Nayda turned her head, the goblet of orange juice she’d just procured tipped to meet her lips. She took a sip of it and did not refrain from glaring at the questioner. "Good is a relative term, Sirius," she said with a slight bite to her voice. She looked up at him—he was standing to her left as she sat facing the Gryffindor table—and knew that Remus had spoken with him. News traveled fast in Hogwarts, even faster among friends. "I’d hardly classify a splitting headache as ‘good’."
Sirius flinched at her words. "Hangover?" he asked staidly. From the familiar way he said it, Nayda suspected he was an expert at knowing exactly what an alcohol induced head pain felt like. She considered saying no, but had already concealed the truth from Remus and didn’t have the willpower this morning to conceal it from another friend.
She nodded. "Had to take something to deal with them," she said, referring to her family. "I told Remus it was a calming potion."
Sirius tipped back his head as he laughed. "Calming potion," he mused, "I’ll have to remember that one." His mirth subsided and he regarded her with a serious expression. "What are you up to today?"
Nayda thought about this for a second. She finished her work before the ball—half because she knew it would keep her mind off the impending doom—so the weekend was hers to do whatever she wished. "I’ll probably sit out in the sunshine and read, why?" Taking a quiet day sounded really nice to her right now.
"How’s a trip to Hogsmeade sound? I won’t take no for an answer."
Somehow, she wasn’t surprised. After four weeks of being friends with the Marauders, she could start to predict only a few of their cajoling techniques. Most of Sirius’s consisted of pushing until the unfortunate targeted party gave in. His manipulation, unlike say Remus’, was straightforward. Nayda doubted he knew how to be anything else.
"Alright," she agreed. She held up the half a bagel on her plate. "Can I finish this here or do I need to take it with me?"
Sirius smiled. "How fast can you eat?"
Nayda tipped her head back and laughed, the sound filling the space between the friends gathered around the table at the ice cream shop and igniting it with joy. She had a way of sharing mirth that bubbled over, Remus reflected. He played with his spoon, which was dug into his second bowl of fudge brownie ice cream, and smiled to himself. He was glad to see her laughing, happy again, if only for the day. Last night was brutal (to say the least) and this distraction idea of Sirius’ was turning out to be just the thing for easing Nayda past the experience.
"So, Nayda, you’re a girl—" James was saying.
"Last time I checked," Nayda quipped through a mouthful of pistachio ice cream. "What do you want to know, James?" She asked this with a knowing smile on her face, as if she already knew what the question was to be.
"How come some of you fawn over me and some of you hate me with a passion born of a thousand suns?—that being a theoretical quote, not word-for-word, of course," James added hastily.
Nayda coughed to refrain from laughing perhaps, and swallowing her ice cream, she answered,
"You could try being nice. And not in the typical ways," she said, seeing the indignant look on James’ face. He always did thing his way was the best way.
"What’s not typical?" James protested. "I thought I had been being not typical."
Nayda rolled her eyes. "Well, yes, you haven’t been typical, but I meant unusual in a good way. Like, say, not asking her out morning, noon and night. Try going a whole week without saying more than cursory comments like "good morning", or "excuse me" or "have a good day"." She put down her spoon and met James’ gaze squarely. "We girls like chivalry when its presented subtly. To us, that signifies that it’s genuine, not just out there for show. Take Remus for example."
Remus nearly choked on a piece of brownie, unprepared for being brought so fully into the conversation. Sirius reached over and slapped his hand against Remus’ back. Remus glared at him, then looked over at Nayda. "What do I have to do with this?" he wanted to know.
"He’s a classic example of proper gentleman behavior," Nayda continued, ignoring him for the moment.
"He is?" Sirius raised an eyebrow. "And here I thought he was a true Marauder—egotistical prat through and through. Poor Mooney, he’s gone soft on us."
"Yes, he is," Nayda shot Sirius a look for the inopportune comment. "And where us girls are concerned, gentlemen are much more desirable than self-important rebels. We want someone to take care of us, listen to us, and care about what we think, not just want to spout a bunch of flowery language in an effort to be impressive. That isn’t impressive—except, perhaps, as a memorization feat. Think of it this way: how do you treat your friends? You respect them, you share things with them, you care about what they think, you listen to them—"
James held up a hand. "I think I understand," he said, the classic ‘I’ve got an idea’ sparkle in his eyes. "Thanks, Nayda."
"Anytime." She smiled. "Don’t tell her I said this, but I think she’d be good for you, provided you behaved. You two could be nauseatingly cute together."
James frowned at the word "nauseatingly", Sirius looked confused, and Remus laughed quietly to himself. Nayda just ate the last bits of her ice cream as if nothing was amiss.
(to be continued)
A/N: sorry this chapter is so short. I wanted to post something, because it’s been a few days since I last posted. The next chapter is in the works—it may even go up right after this one, but we’ll see. In the meantime, please review! I love to know what my readers think! ~Manya
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