Chapter 2 : Good Luck Charm
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My trip near the stairs caused my aunt’s portrait to go off; she was screaming and cursing at us as usual. I landed flat on my back, clutching the hideous umbrella stand. I opened my eyes and Remus was looking down at me. “If you like it so much, I’m sure Sirius will let you have it,” he said smiling. Remus’ calmness amid the shrieking portraits had a soothing effect on me. Everyone else in the house seemed to tense up when the yelling started. He leaned down, took the umbrella stand out of my arms, and offered me a hand. Once on my feet I thanked him, blushing slightly, then checking my hair in a mirror I retreated downstairs with the others. Molly wanted help with supper; she said dinner wouldn’t happen if one person had to bear to the brunt of the work. I offered to help and she hesitantly accepted. I started to pour butterbeer for the eleven of us. It went pretty well until I was almost done.
I managed to do a domino-style spill where the first mug hit all of the other ones and caused them to fall over spilling butterbeer everywhere. I took out my wand and vanished the wasted drinks then conjured more butterbeer allowing Ginny to pour them. I looked around feeling rather sheepish. Remus’ shoe seems to squelch from being wet; an orange cat lapped some of the butterbeer from the floor. Hermione picked it up and said, “that’s not for you Crookshanks,” shooing him out of the kitchen. Fred congratulated me on making a bigger mess than Ron (who spilled a container of noodles everywhere). George whispered something to Ginny that sounded like domestically challenged.
I sighed and changed my hair color to the vivid red of the Weasleys, smirking slightly. Deficient though I was at useful around the house, I could at least amuse myself and laugh at my follies. Hermione laughed so did the others. “Can you do noses like last night?” she asked eagerly as we sat down to eat. I nodded and thought of how best to comply.
I did a large protruding nose that resembled that of Snape. Ron snorted derisively. I did everyone’s nose in the room. By the time I was done, we were halfway through dinner. I did a pig snout to imitate Ron eating. It was a hoot. Our fun was ended by the arrival of a few Order members. Dung came in stench and all, followed (at a distance) by McGonagall. Molly swiftly ushered her kids and Hermione out of the kitchen and stood out in the hallway, most likely to block them from eavesdropping again.
Moody called the meeting to order. He was shooting me an occasional puzzled look with his normal eye. So were a few other people. Remus put his hand on my knee, leaned in and whispered, “your nose.” I felt it and gasped quietly. It was as scarred and broken looking like Moody’s. I dropped my quill and changed it back to normal while I was leaning down to pick it up. At the point where Moody said, “Assuming that Tonks did her job,” I sat up abruptly.
“My job? Yes! I did. I made a copy of it too.” I brandished an official looking letter. “I also sent one to some neighbors of the Dursleys, in case they check around.” I looked around the group; they seemed to find my actions sufficient. Moody looked pleased at least. I grinned but no one returned my giddiness.
Moody had extensive plans for going to the house (staggered apparition at a nearby park). He had escape routes and back-up escape routes. Once we entered, the house there was debate on how to approach Harry. We couldn’t send him a letter. It could be intercepted or just not arrive. Dedalus Diggle suggested that we merely go in and work out what to do from there. That idea wouldn’t do. Elphias Doge suggested that Remus go up to Harry’s room and fetch him. Moody didn’t quite like that idea. We settled on summoning him down to the living room and Remus (because he knew Harry the best) would explain the plan to him.
After coming reaching our decision, Moody delved into his explanation of our departure. They had a signal that Molly would send when the skies were free. Then another one 15 minutes later when we were to takeoff. Our route back was planned to be more complex than our trip there. I was chosen to lead and carry Harry’s trunk under my broom. I had a harness that would work nicely. Kingsley looked as if he wanted to inquire as to the purpose of having a harness that size (as most adult wizards send their luggage by magic) and I was glad that Moody moved right into the complicated flight pattern. It sounded like we’d fly looking like a model of an atom that I once saw in a book of my dad’s.
We finished the plans in another half hour. I knew I couldn’t stay as late that night. I yawned and said that Scrimgeour might notice if I was dead-on-my-feet two days in a row. I seemed to be the signal that it was polite to leave without rushing out. Moody also said he had to go; he needed to think-over our plans. He told the group to keep the next evening open. We walked out together. I asked how he was going to revamp our plans. He gruffly replied that they needed fine-tuning but he had duty that night and would probably have a hard time getting it finished. We made it to the door and I realized that I didn’t knock over the troll-leg-of-death that seemed to have a permanent appointment with my foot. It was nice to walk with a guy that didn’t cause my feet to spaz out.
We walked down the street a ways; Dumbledore said it was best to apparate by a nearby desolate park. Moody and I chitchatted about the Order, the Auror office, Harry, and retirement for an Auror. Almost to the park, I tripped over a loose brick. Moody extended a hand and helped me up.
“You passed your Auror qualifications?” he asked gruffly. I glanced at him and saw the remnants of a smile on his face. He was teasing with me, which I didn’t think he was in his repertoire.
“Oh bugger off you old cod,” I said laughing. Moody let out what must have been his version of a laugh. “Well, I’ll see you tomorrow then.” with that I disapparated home.
The next day was just as interesting as the previous. I felt an excited tension growing in my chest. I walked into Scrimgeour twice while going about my business. I set up a phone for the Dursleys to call if they confirmed their attendance at the Lawn Ceremony. Sure enough, they called. “Best Kept Lawns Society,” I answered cheerily.
It was Mr. Dursley. “Yes, this is Vernon Dursley, I-”
“Oh yes! Mr. Dursley,” I said girlishly. “How can I help you?”
Dursley’s voice changed slightly; “I’d like to confirm attendance for Petunia, Duddley Dursley and myself.” He added in a smarmy voice, “We’ve been short-listed.”
I rolled my eyes and continued with this sycophantic conversation. “Yes, of course. Your yard is one of the best ones we’ve had in a while… Not that I can say that ‘officially’," I laughed airily. "You’ll be dining near the stage with our other honored guests.”
Dursley rambled on for another five minutes and grilled me about his neighbors; he wanted to make sure that they weren’t invited. I assured him that the only people in the vicinity that got an invitation were people who had impeccable lawns, and his neighbors did not meet the requirements.
I went on a bit of a walk after the phone call; that muggle was in a league of his own. I bumped into Arthur Weasley. “You alright?” he checked indifferently.
“I would be if you’d watch where you’re going,” I responded coolly. I walked past giving a slight smile. Kingsley explained to me that we were to treat other members of the Order with whom we don’t have usual interaction with cool indifference. Otherwise, people would inquire about non-related people gathering together.
That night wasn’t as arduous as the night before. Moody seemed less determined to unify everyone’s plan. He had a hard time competing with the chatter about meeting Harry. Bill Weasley chatted animatedly about Harry during the Triwizard Tournament. I was seated between Bill and Emmeline Vance. She didn’t seem to think tonight’s meeting worthwhile. She and Moody were talking about the previous Order and its members. As the night wound down I chatted with Bill at length about school in our days. He was a few years older than I was and we knew a lot of the same people. Molly kept giving us furtive looks while talking with Kingsley.
Slowly, the group dissipated. Moody lingered at the door; I felt his gaze on me for a few extra seconds before he left. Bill soon departed as he had work in the morning. I started chatting with Remus and Sirius about Harry. I was intent on getting insider information on our target. Listening to both of them talk was entertaining. They respected Potter and quite obviously loved him. They gushed over him like parents gush over newborn babies. It was quite charming. Remus’ description of Harry working relentlessly on the patronus charm was endearing. Midnight had come and gone before I felt my eyelids close slightly with sleep.
I yawned loudly and said I had to go. After Sirius mangled what he thought would be a covert kick under the table (the loud thud was somewhat of a giveaway that he was doing something), Remus asked if I wanted company out. I agreed smiling at Sirius’ antics more than anything. I made it past the umbrella stand without tripping; Remus seemed to notice and opened his mouth to say something when I tripped over Crookshanks. The cat ran towards a corner and hissed at me. Remus and I laughed.
When we got to the door, I asked if he wanted to go with me to the corner. Remus agreed, grabbing his red, knitted sweater and put it on, causing his hair to ruffle. “Knit that one yourself?” I asked him as we set off. He did seem awfully domestic.
Remus looked at his sweater critically. “Are the sleeves uneven or something?” He asked dryly. I threw him a sideways glance. There were traces of a smile on his face. “I did make it.” he said with a touch of pride in his voice.
“I thought so. Part of my Auror training was in detecting handmade sweaters and their Dark counterparts.” I chuckled quietly. Then I stopped. I always annoyed myself when I laughed at my own jokes.
Remus played along. “Dark sweaters?” he said inquiringly. “Like those ones that come out around Christmas?”
I snorted, “Yes!” louder than I meant to. I didn’t say anything else right away, but then a question popped in my head. “Do you think it’ll really be dangerous tomorrow? Or is Mad-Eye being Mad-Eye?” I stopped walking and so did Remus.
He looked around pensively. He always seemed to have a ‘thinking action’ when he didn’t want to answer someone right away. “There could be,” he finally said, “With some luck we’ll get through it without any hold-ups.”
I raised an eyebrow. “All that planning and we’re relying on luck?” I shot Remus a grin which Remus returned.
“Well, luck and some highly trained witches and wizards,” he corrected himself. Remus was looking around the park which was all but deserted.
“Hmm,” I thought it about it for a second, “In that case…” And without really thinking it through, I put my hands on the back of Remus’ neck, pulled him close gave him a tender kiss on the lips. His hand, which seemed to be somewhat lost, found its way to my waist. I pulled away smiling after what had been, for me at least, a few delectable moments. “That should take care of the luck part,” I said stepping backwards, thankful that the dark covered my flushed cheeks. Without anytime for explanation or a redo, I disapparated.
I was so shocked by my behavior that I missed my flat by a few blocks and popped into the flat of a couple in the midst of… recreational activities. I ran out and redisapparated, this time making it home. I hugged my pillow in bed that night. I lost quite a few hours of sleep analyzing my interlude with Remus. Then I groaned realizing that Sirius would probably find out. He’d think I was a lush or something; he seemed immature when it came to these things. Even worse was that I didn’t know what Remus thought of the kiss. It caught him by surprise as much as it did me. I couldn’t quite quantify or classify my feelings for him, and I didn’t want to right then either.
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