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Laugh it Off by ValFish
Chapter 6 : Heartbeats
 
Rating: MatureChapter Reviews: 8


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My heart was beating in my chest as if there was no tomorrow. And at the rate things were going, I was beginning to believe in that very fact. Today was Saturday.

The week had gone by, very slowly, to my displeasure, and Sirius and I had just a little over two and a half conversations. On the other hand, Remus was now my partner in every class except for Divination (he opted for Ancient Runes, lord only knows why) so I could not only count on passing the assignment, but since he was absent from class for two days, we would have plenty of extra time.

I threw open my trunk and rummaged through my clothes.

“Alice!”

I’m hopeless when it comes to looking presentable.

“Help, please,” I whined, staring at my best friend, who rolled her eyes, but began to go through my stuff anyway.

In a matter of seconds, Alice had produced a black sweater, black dress and grey tights, with my red flats to match.

“I’m not going to a bloody funeral,” I complained, picking up the sweater and tossing it back in the trunk.

Alice sighed. “It’s not about the color. It’s about the effect. Black is slimming.”

Was she calling me fat?

Apparently.

“Fine, but can I at least skip the tights?”

The look Alice gave me sufficed as an answer. A walking funeral march was what I was
going to wear.

I scooped up my outfit and left to change in the bathroom and put on my makeup.

Why was I so nervous? I mean, it wasn’t technically a real date. Only a fake. So why was my stomach doing that thing? Where it gets all bubbly and I wash the feeling down
with a chocolate bar or two…

Oh Lord.


“Are you ready yet?” I called to Alice, who decided it was necessary to take forty minutes getting ready for Hogsmeade on a date with some poor 5th year boy who had no idea what was coming to him.

Alice came out of the bathroom, wearing a significantly larger amount of color than me and more makeup than I knew she owned.

That was funny, but only because she was always mocking me for wearing so much eyeshadow.

We’re such girls.

“Yeah, yeah. I’m ready. Hey, do you think these pants make my arse look fat?” Alice asked, twisting and sticking her bum in my direction.

I sighed. “No. They look fine. Now can we go, then?”

“If I didn’t know better, I’d say you sound nervous. Don’t tell me you are,” Alice said, taking her purse from her bed and following me out of the room.

I wasn’t nervous, was I?

I think I am.

Yeah, now is a good time to lie.

“No, of course not. Me? When have I ever been nervous?” I questioned as we made our entrance to the common room, “Don’t answer that.”

Alice laughed behind me.

I was half expecting her to see through that.

Why can’t I lie like that to McGonagall?

“Elsa, darling! Don’t you look ravishing,” James said as Alice and I came into view. He was standing with Remus and to my surprise, Lily.

“You didn’t say yes this time, did you?” I directed at Lily, who laughed loudly in response.

“Potter? Yeah, right. I was actually on my way up to the dorm when this toe-rag stopped me,” she said, smirking.

James rolled his eyes. “You know you want me, love.”

Lily replied by smacking him on the arm and leaving.

That girl needs to get her priorities straight.

First its all ‘I want to be nice to everybody’. Next minute its ‘Elsa, dear, will you help me cause permanent emotional and/or physical damage to Potter?’

It’s bloody confusing.

“Ready to go, then?” Remus asked, running a hand through his hair.

“As I’ll ever be,” I grumbled. To be perfectly honest, I didn’t really want to go to Hogsmeade today.

I didn’t like being nervous. If I could avoid the feeling by not going to Hogsmeade, then that’s what I wanted to do.

On the flipside, Hogsmeade has chocolate.

“You sound excited,” Remus chuckled as we left the common room.

No shit.

“I’m just tired. And chocolate-deprived. I’ve been killing for a block of chocolate ever since I got to school and just never got around to dragging my ass down to Honeydukes,” I told Remus, who was either faking attention or was genuinely interested.

Remus smiled. “That’s funny, I’ve been thinking the same exact thing.”

Maybe this’ll go better than planned.


After shopping around Hogsmeade for a couple of hours, in which I picked up some much-needed chocolate, a new bottle of hair dye to pay back James, and a new scarf, I was finally settling down for a nice butterbeer with Remus, James and Alice.

“All he wanted to bloody talk about was Quidditch. He’s not even on the team, for God’s sake,” Alice ranted. Apparently she had ditched her date and found James to bother.

“He was probably just nervous, love,” I said, taking a sip of butterbeer. “I mean, you weren’t exactly subtle with your whole plot.”

Alice snorted. “As if you can talk. By the way, how much fun was your little ‘date’?”

“I had a good time,” Remus said next to me.

I nodded. “We didn’t see Sirius or Mary, though. Have you seen them?”

James shook his head. “No. Come to think of it, I haven’t seen Padfoot all day.”

Don’t get me started on their stupid nicknames. Remus is ‘Moony’, which is odd, James is ‘Prongs’, which is odder, Sirius is ‘Padfoot’ which is odder yet, and Peter was ‘Wormtail’, which was hands down the oddest. Frankly, I don’t even want to know what their names stood for.

“I saw him at breakfast,” Remus sighed. “And Mary.”

Alice groaned. “Would it kill them to snog somewhere besides the table where we have to eat?”

We all laughed until just the very people showed up, holding hands and seating themselves at a table two down from ours.

And of course, they began to snog.

“It really is disgusting,” James said, faking vomit over Alice. “I mean, they could at least do it in the back of the place.”

“Yeah, but this is Sirius we’re talking about,” Remus pointed out.

Alice shrugged. “At least Marlene wouldn’t go within two feet of our table. I hate to admit it, but she’s my first choice over Mary.”

James grinned.

Oh Lord.

“Hey, you two do realize that this is a perfect opportunity,” James said slyly.

“For what?” Remus and I asked at the same time.

Alice laughed. “He means snogging, you two.”

“I don’t think that’ll work as long as those two are busy sucking face with each other,” I said.

James shrugged. “Suit yourself. But this plan will never work if you two just stare awkwardly at each other the entire time…”

“Oh fine,” I stated, rolling my eyes. Then, grabbing Remus by the scarf, kissed him.

I think this may have shocked everyone just a little bit, including myself.

Alice spat out her drink, James started laughing, but the weirdest thing of all was that Remus was kind of kissing me back.

“Whoa, when did you two start going out? Or is this just a ‘friends with benefits’ kind of thing,” said Sirius, suddenly appearing in front of our table.

I smiled and exchanged a glance with Remus, who was blushing furiously. “Believe me Sirius, only you are privy to the great secrets of the ‘friends with benefits’ relationship,” I told Sirius, who only smirked in return.

“What do you mean?” Mary suddenly asked, appearing next to Sirius. “I really hope your joking.”

Sirius shrugged. “And if I’m not?”

Mary frowned. “I just thought you were a little above that. After all, you have a girlfriend. And I’m sure there’s never a time when you can’t get one.”

“Yeah, I’m well aware,” Sirius said, with a little bite to his words.

What’s this? Trouble with Sirius and Mary? Oh no, of course I’m not shamelessly thrilled.

“What is that supposed to mean?” Mary asked shrilly. “What do you mean you’re well aware?”

Sirius groaned. “I just mean I’m well aware! That’s all I’m saying! Just stating a fact, darling.”

“Don’t call me darling, Mr. Friends with Benefits,” Mary huffed, putting her hands on her hips.

Fine, maybe I was a little thrilled.

But I’m not going to tank their relationship because of one stupid remark.

“Mary, I was only joking about the ‘friends with benefits’ comment.”

Damn conscience.

Mary seemed to soften up a bit with this revelation and blushed. “Er, I’ll meet you back at the castle, Sirius,” she said quickly before leaving the shop.

Sirius sighed and pulled up a chair to join us. “Thanks Elsa. She’s a bit shrill at times, y’know.”

James laughed. “Yeah, no joking. What’s her problem?”

Sirius shrugged. “I dunno. She’s been acting all funny since she saw me talking to Lily
last week,” Sirius said, then noticing James’ expression, quickly added, “as friends, of course. Merlin Prongs, I’m shallow, but not that shallow.”

James gave Sirius a dangerous glare, but seemed satisfied with his best friend’s reaction and went back to his drink.

“So, back to my question, when did you and Elsa start going out?” Sirius asked Remus before stealing his friend’s butterbeer and taking a sip.

“Oh, er, today-ish.”

Great answer, Remus.

Sirius laughed. “Today-ish. Well, then.”

“It’s getting late, guys, we should probably head back to the castle,” Alice suggested.

James nodded. “I can’t afford another detention; my schedule is already a bit clogged up with two from McGonagall and one from Binns. I can’t believe he even bloody expects me to stay away in his class anyway.”

Remus rolled his eyes. “I think he’s perfectly entitled to expect that, James.”

“And I’m perfectly entitled to nap in his class.”


Once we were safely back inside the castle, Lily came sprinting towards the group of us. I don’t think I’d ever seen her run that fast for anything except to get away from James.

“Bloody hell, Lils, what’s got your knickers in a twist?” James asked, smirking handsomely.

That was before any of us noticed Lily’s pale color and nervous attitude. “Elsa,” Lily began, ignoring James, “McGonagall needs to see you immediately. It’s about your brother.”

I felt my heart stop. “Raffie?” I breathed hesitantly.

Lily shook her head. “No, Devon. C’mon, I’ll walk with you.”

For the second time today my heart was pounding out of my chest, but this time it was more extreme than when the nerves had been caused by something as stupid as a dumb date.

“Bye guys,” I whispered to the four behind me and followed Lily.

The walk to McGonagall’s office was too long to properly bear. My mind kept racing over what could possibly be wrong. In fact, I wanted this to be a dream. I didn’t care if today was all a dream. As long as my family was fine.

“I’ll wait for you outside, okay?” Lily said gently, patting my arm as we reached the wooden door.

I nodded solemnly and walked inside the office.

“You wanted to see me, professor?” I asked shakily, once inside.

McGonagall took off her spectacles. “Yes. Please have a seat, Miss DeLestrade.”
I took a seat in one of the chairs in front of her large desk.

“I’m afraid I have some terrible news, Miss DeLestrade. Regarding your brother, Devon,” McGonagall began. She sighed. “I’m afraid your brother was attacked this past Wednesday.”

I sucked in my breath.

Please don’t be dead, Devon. Please.

“I don’t know if you are aware, Miss DeLestrade, of a man by the name of Fenir Greyback?”

“The werewolf?” I stated, not particularly enjoying where this was going.

McGonagall nodded. “Your brother was attacked by this, this-man. On the full moon.”

I blinked several times before registering what she had just said.

“I’m afraid that your brother has gained this, well for lack of better words, condition. I have arranged for you and Raphael to go home for the day tomorrow. Be in my office at 9 AM sharp tomorrow morning, please. You may go.”

I stood up and tried to bite my lip to stop myself from completely breaking down in front of my Head of House. I was nearly out the door when McGonagall called again.

“Oh and Miss DeLestrade? I’m sorry,” she added sincerely.

I pushed the old door open just as the tears overflowed.

“Elsa, Elsa? What’s happened? Is he okay?” Lily asked as soon as I was out the door, taking my arm. “Come on, let’s go to the common room.”

I followed Lily, sobbing my brains out.

I wasn’t thinking clearly. All that raced through my mind was: Devon, werewolf. I didn’t want him to be a werewolf! I just wanted him to be my brother.

The journey to Gryffindor tower was even longer, if possible, than the one to McGonagall’s office, and it was all I could do just to put one foot in front of the other. I lost track of how I had even gotten to the couch in front of the fireplace in the first place.

Luckily, it seemed that most of the students had already gone to bed, considering we had been a little late in getting back in the first place, and only James, Alice and Remus were left in the common room along with two Seventh years that were quietly talking in the opposite corner.

Upon seeing the train wreck that I was, Alice rushed over, followed by the, if somewhat unsure, Remus and James.

“Oh, Elsa, what happened?” Alice pleaded, sitting next to me and putting an arm around my shoulders.

I tried to take a couple deep breaths to calm myself down enough to speak, but even that was a tad bit difficult. I didn’t really want to cry in front of James or Remus.

“My b-brother got attacked on W-Wednesday,” I sobbed, not caring about crying in front of the boys suddenly, “B-By Fenir G-Greyback.”

I noticed the shock on all of my friend’s faces, but none more so than Remus, who had paled at least two shades. “That was the full moon,” he whispered.

I nodded. “He’s a w-werewolf.”

“Elsa, I’m so sorry,” James said, kneeling in front of me.

Lily took my hand and squeezed it. “But he’s okay, right?”

“How can he be okay? He’s a bloody werewolf! How is that okay? Do you know how painful for him that’s going to be? My grandparents are going to die when they here about this,” I cried.

“But he’ll still be the same person, Elsa. It’ll all work out, I promise,” Lily said.

“Of course he will. You’ll see Elsa,” James added. Lily smiled at him.

The shock factor of that was slightly over-shadowed by the fact that my brother was now a werewolf.

Remus took a seat next to me and took my other hand. “I know it’s going to be hard at first, but he’ll get used to it, and eventually you’ll understand too,” he said.

I wish that could make it all better.

But it didn’t.

I buried my face in Remus’ shoulder and cried.

A/N: Hi, all! I just realized I hadn't posted an author's note at all and wanted to just thank everyone who has taken the time to read up this far in the story. You are amazing! Also, sorry about the semi-depressing chapter, but the werewolf thing was a plot element that was in my outline, and after several different drafts in other directions, I chose to stick with the original. So anyway, thank you all for reading and don't worry, this story will still be upbeat and funny (at least I hope it is!) even though this little bit was kind of heavy with the drama.

Thanks again!
-Val



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