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Chapter 18 : Initiation
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In Transfiguration the next day, I went to sit in my usual seat in the front of the room, but Sirius beckoned to me. I looked over my shoulder to make sure he wasn't beckoning to someone behind me. At this, Sirius began chuckling and called, "Lorelei White!"
I blushed slightly as everyone turned to look at me. I walked to him and looked at him questioningly. "Yes?"
He chuckled in response. Tilting his chair back and looking up at me lazily, he pointed to the chair that Remus usually occupied and smiled, "Take a seat. No reason for you to sit alone anymore."
I didn't need to be told twice. James grinned at me from the other side of Sirius. "'Ello, Lore."
"Hi James," I said with a smile. "Erm… is Remus going to mind that I'm in his seat?" I asked with concern.
"Don't worry about it," Sirius assured me, brushing the hair from my eyes as I tried not to notice how close he had been to actually touching me. My stomach was practically fluttering at the thought.
"Remus won't care," Sirius continued.
"I don't mind at all, hello Lore. Nice to see you're joining us," Remus said kindly as he took the seat to my left.
As McGonagall swept in with a flourish of her robes, she seemed surprised not to find me in my usual seat. Her eyes narrowed when they fell upon me sitting with the Marauders, but she said nothing.
A few minutes into her lecture, which I was finding fascinating, I heard James whisper to Sirius rather loudly, "What's she writing, Padfoot?"
Sirius made a big scene of peering over my shoulder and an even bigger one of sighing and leaning back in his chair, carefully balancing on the two back legs. "She's taking notes, Prongs."
"Notes? What for?" James whispered back.
I smiled as I continued taking notes. This was clearly for my enjoyment. I cast a side glance at Remus and he was smiling too as he avidly took notes. I dipped my quill into my inkwell and tried writing again, but when I put the quill to paper, nothing appeared as I was writing. I tried again, but the ink wasn't making any marks on my page. I turned with a questioning look to Sirius, but he just looked blankly back at me.
Oh don't give me that false-innocent act, Mr. Black. I sighed and looked more closely at the bottle. The label said Bumble and Isigor's Magical Disappearing Ink in faded black lettering. I rolled my eyes and whispered, "Ha ha. Give me back my real ink bottle, please," I added, biting my lip and directing my question at James.
"Real ink bottle? Prongs, what do you figure she means?" Sirius asked, giving me the same blank look as before.
"Dunno, maybe she reckons we swapped her ink for this other one."
"Oh, but my dear, see we promised not to do that anymore, now didn't we, Prongs?" Sirius grinned at me and raised his eyebrows in amusement.
"Right you are, Padfoot. Must have been Peeves that switched 'em," James added with a grin of his own.
"Come on guys-" I began.
"White, Potter, Black, pay attention," McGonagall said sternly.
I snapped to attention immediately, blushing in embarrassment. She'd never had to say that to me before. "Sorry Professor," I mumbled as I felt my face turning bright red. I turned back to my page, only to still see it blank from the disappearing ink.
"Here Lore, you can share with me," offered Remus.
"Thanks," I whispered back with a final look at James and Sirius who were laughing silently in their tilted back chairs. Pricks.
"I thought we agreed no more pranks," I said to James and Sirius on our way out of class.
"And I thought we determined it was Peeves," returned James with a charming smile. "We'd never prank you Lore."
"'Course not," Sirius agreed, throwing an arm around my shoulder.
I shrank at the touch. It made me want to laugh and sob at the same time. It was an entirely friendly move, but Sirius had such an effect on me no matter what he did. It was starting to scare me. "Right," I mumbled sarcastically, more to myself.
Sirius laughed, having been the only one close enough to hear it, and shook the silky black hair from his eyes as only he could. "Right," he repeated. "Race you to Charms, Prongs," he challenged, removing his arm from my shoulders.
They sped off into the distance, leaving me and Remus to walk to our next classes at our own pace. "They didn't mean anything by it," Remus began randomly.
It took me a second to connect what he was saying with what he meant. "Oh, the ink thing?"
"Yeah. They didn't mean it to be mean," Remus continued with the same kind smile and reassuring air.
"It was rather inconvenient for taking notes for the rest of class, especially because they didn't give it back," I noted.
"They're only initiating you."
"Initiating me?" Whatever did Remus mean?
"Yeah, you're practically one of us now. They only do that sort of thing to Peter and me. And now, apparently, you. It's not pranking, per say, it's more like playful teasing."
I was still hung up on what he had said before. I was one of them? It seemed like an impossibility. One of the famous- rather infamous- Marauders? Me? Shy little Lorelei White? Pfssht, yeah right. "I don't know-" I began doubtfully.
Remus was firm. "No, it's true. Yesterday James charmed my History of Magic book to look like a different book so I was looking for it for ages."
"Remus, that doesn't seem like you're part of their joke. It seems like you're at the expense of it," I argued. I was a little mad they treated sweet Remus like that. Remus would never hurt a fly—he was such a gentle soul. "I mean, you wasted time looking."
"It was just a little harmless joke. That sort of thing, as twisted as it may seem, means that they trust you."
James and Sirius trusted me? Well, I knew James trusted me—after all, he had trusted me with his real feelings for Lily and he was trusting me enough to ask for my advice. But did Sirius really trust me? In the time we'd known each other, I didn't know if I'd given him specific reason to trust me.
"Don't take offense, Lore. They're really good guys and they honestly didn't mean any harm," Remus concluded as we parted ways. "It means they like you."
It means they like you, was what stuck in my mind. Well, rather, it meant Sirius liked me. This was definitely a step in the ultimately right direction! Even if we were only destined to be friends, as his long list of female conquests seemed to dictate, the first step was him liking and trusting me. Even if it did mean I was going to be subject to this playful joking around. Some contact was better than none, right?
So absorbed in thought, I didn't hear the steps behind me and I didn't sense the person looming overhead. When I finally noticed I wasn't alone, it was because a foot appeared from nowhere and tripped me. I almost fell headfirst into a suit of armor, but managed to catch myself before that happened.
"Told you we'd meet again," the cold voice of Dorinda echoed down the empty hallway. I cringed and hesitated to turn around, but remembered my lesson from our last encounter—never turn your back.
I turned and faced her. My hand was in the pocket of my robes where I had stored my wand. In my head, the self-protection spells Remus and Peter had taught me were repeating like a skipping record. My hand shook nervously. I wouldn't hesitate to protect myself this time, but words were always the better way to try and solve things first.
"Please, Dorinda, I don't want any trouble," I said as calmly as I could manage.
"I'm sure you don't," she scoffed and drew her wand. "But you should have thought of that before."
"Before what?" I persisted. "Dorinda, I didn't do anything to you. And if I did, I assure you it wasn't my intention and I'm sorry," my voice shook as I looked between her face and the tip of her wand. I didn't want to be cursed!
"Shut up, Gryffindor," she spat, as if it were a distasteful word. "Furnuncul-"
"Expeliarmus!" I shouted before she could finish the boil-inducing curse, furnunculus. Her wand flew from her hand and landed two feet behind me. She snarled at me.
Just then Sirius appeared from around the corner and bent over to pick up the wand. "Problem here, Lore?" he asked me, not taking his eyes off Dorinda's face, which was now twisted with rage.
I looked at Dorinda, but shook my head at Sirius. "No."
"Give me my wand," Dorinda ordered, holding out her hand.
Sirius looked at the wand he was holding and began twirling it between his fingers. "Hmm… no. I don't think I will," he stated casually.
Dorinda began to say something, but Sirius interrupted her with, "Or would you rather I go let Dumbledore know you were trying to curse someone in the hallway?"
Dorinda closed her mouth, but shot me a look of pure venom as she turned on her heel abruptly and walked the opposite direction. "Give her the wand, Sirius," I said as we both watched her stomp down the hallway.
"Oi, catch!" Sirius called, hurling the wand down the hallway after her, hitting her square in the back. She made a low 'oof' noise, turned, bent over and picked it up. With one final look at me, she left.
"What the bloody hell was that?" Sirius asked when she was gone. He looked down at me concerned. He held my shoulders firmly and seemed to be checking my face for boils.
"Dunno, she's got it out for me I think," I muttered.
"I heard you trying to tell her you hadn't done anything to her. Lore, she's a mean Slytherin. You can't argue with them."
I shook my head sadly as I picked up the book bag I had temporarily forgotten in the midst of my showdown. "That's the attitude she had. When I said that, her only retort was that I was a Gryffindor. I wish the two houses didn't hate each other so much," I said wistfully. "It would cause a lot less hallway cursings, I reckon."
"You're probably right," Sirius said with a bark of a laugh. "Anyway, off to class? Boy you're lucky I came along when I did," he said with a wink, falling in step beside me as he obviously intended on walking me to my next class, though it was nowhere near where he had to be.
"My hero," I whispered sarcastically, face turning red as I looked away when I realized he had heard me. He had amazing hearing!
A/N- I realized I hadn't put an author's note in a while, so here goes! I really love all the positive feedback I'm getting from you guys, so thanks! I'm working hard to get these out as quickly as I can so you won't have to wait long. I know they're short, so that's how I'm trying to make up for it. Things will be picking up from here on out and I'm trying to make the chapters a bit longer for you guys.
Leave a review, if you like!
**Edit** I accidentally put the wrong chapter before. Only ten people read it, but if you accidentally read "Of Tugboats and Chocolate" then I'm sorry! That's the next chapter, actually.
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