Chapter 2 : Friendships
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Chapter Two: Friendships
I awoke the next morning feeling much lighter than I had in weeks. I wasn’t going to be expelled, and the Headmaster was more than willing to help me with my…problem. Not only that, but I wasn’t alone!
I never would have guessed that Remus Lupin was a werewolf, but now that I did know, I was able to see the signs. I had never really paid it much attention that at least a few days out of each month he didn’t show up for class. I never paid attention to the fact that when he came back, he looked drained. I had always considered him a sickly person, and that was what most other people assumed, too.
I had so many questions I wanted to ask him. What was it like the first time? How painful was it? Did it get better with time? Is there anything I can take for the pain? How long had he been a werewolf before he started at Hogwarts? Did his friends know?
His friends, that was a problem. Our paths crossed occasionally, but only when I was with Lily. It was pretty obvious that James fancied Lily and had for some time, but she didn’t approve of how he acted.
Just before we got out for summer last year, James had seriously humiliated Lily’s friend Severus Snape. He had levitated the Slytherin boy and turned him upside down so that everyone could see his soiled underwear. Lily had stepped in to help, and just ended up getting her head snapped off by Severus as he gathered his things, and his pride, and rushed back into the castle. James hadn’t been very apologetic, and the surrounding crowd had been roaring with laughter. I hated to admit it now, but I had been giggling under my breath.
I wasn’t too fond of the boy myself—after all, he’d ruined Lily’s friendship with Severus that day—but I couldn’t help but laugh at him, nonetheless. He was charming and personable, even if he was mischievous.
And what girl at Hogwarts hadn’t fantasized about that Sirius Black? He was gorgeous, as far as that went for men. Even I had had my fair share of daydreams while sitting in a class with him.
I shared Divination and Defense Against the Dark Arts with all four boys—James, Sirius, Remus, and Peter (who seemed out of place in that group; he just seemed too sweet to play those petty pranks)—but I did have Potions with only Remus and Peter. Perhaps then would be the best time to talk to him? I could at least ask him to meet me somewhere away from his friends later.
As I got ready for the day, I had my mind made up. Right after Potions I would pull Remus over and ask him to meet me later at the library. The sooner the better, right? The full moon was in only two weeks.
I packed my bag and headed down to the common room, where I saw Lily sitting with Jodie and Amy. At seeing the red head I felt a fist clench in my stomach. Something just wasn’t right about talking to a stranger (I barely knew Remus, after all) about something that I hadn’t even told my best friend.
But Dumbledore’s parting words rang in my head, “Close friends can do more for one’s spirit than anything else in this world.” I would tell her. I would, but I wanted to get things all straightened out first. Talking to Remus was something the Headmaster had asked me to do, and he would be able to help me along with hiding once a month. This was important.
And plus, what if she pushed me away?
After all, my own mother had.
x x x
“You have to understand how your mother feels, Lacelin,” Mr. Richard Crill said from over the top of his copy of the Daily Prophet.
Lacelin sat across the kitchen table from him, her hands clasped in her lap. Her long black hair was disheveled and pulled back into a messy ponytail. Large, dark bags were under her dark brown eyes, and she just plain looked exhausted. “Why is it me that has to understand? She wasn’t the one bitten by a-a…a werewolf!” She swallowed hard, going a little paler.
Richard slammed his paper on the table, his own olive complexion losing a few shades. “You watch what you say so freely!” he spat through clenched teeth, his voice barely louder than a whisper.
Lacelin felt her throat tighten. “I know exactly how she feels. She’s ashamed of me, and so are you!”
The first day of classes began with one of the best breakfasts I have ever had. But that could be said for just about any of Hogwarts’ meals.
As I dumped some more scrambled eggs onto my plate, Lily looked across the table and asked, “Oh, did you get you schedule fixed last night?”
I nodded, sticking to the story for now, but that lump in my stomach returned. I hated keeping something from her—but this was my big secret, I would tell her on my own terms. “I did. It was no biggie so it only took a few minutes.”
Lily smiled a little and reached over to get some more French toast. “That’s good. What was the problem?”
I stopped in mid bite. I hadn’t thought this far ahead for my story. “Well um…For some reason, Divination was on my schedule multiple times.”
Lily frowned. “That’s bizarre. Come to think of it, it’s not often that anyone has a schedule problem anymore.”
I smiled, albeit a bit sheepishly. “Well, everyone makes mistakes, right?”
To my great relief, Lily only shrugged and we dropped that topic of conversation.
It was getting closer to time for our first class to start—Lily and I had charms together before I split to go to Potions and her to Ancient Runes—when Severus Snape wandered over to the Gryffindor table.
More like glided like a creepy nutter, in my opinion. I had never really liked the boy, but Lily had been fond of him so I kept my opinions to myself. He just was so hard to talk to; the only person he ever showed any kindness to had been Lily, and we all know how quickly he turned on her!
He held a book in his hand. Upon closer inspection I saw that it was On the Road by Jack Kerouac. He presented it to Lily, his body turned towards the doors of the Great Hall, giving the impression that this was to be a quick drop off.
“I’m returning your book,” he said matter-of-factly. No greeting, no well-to-do, just straight to the point. He had always been like that, though.
“Oh, um…” Lily reached out with both hands and took the book from him. She cradled it to her chest like it was a great treasure. “Thank you. D-Did you enjoy it?”
I had never seen Lily look so nervous to talk to someone before. I looked at her with worry. Her whole posture screamed of her discomfort. She was sitting hunched over the book, holding it tightly with both arms, and by the way she was sitting I could tell she had her knees snapped together. She had tightened up into as much of a ball as she could manage—a defensive position.
“It was interesting,” Severus answered in such a neutral tone I couldn’t tell if he was sincere or not. After that he simply nodded and then walked away, rather quickly.
“Lily, stop worrying about him. He threw away your friendship; you didn’t do anything wrong.”
“I know,” she replied, but I could tell by the tone of her voice that she wasn’t comforted or convinced.
I sighed. About that time the bell rang to signal the beginning of the school day. We stood up and headed to our class in silence.
x x x
I had almost forgotten that I was going to try to speak to Remus after Potions until I made my way to the dungeon classrooms. He was standing outside with everyone else, talking to Peter Pettigrew. I was surprised that boy had been able to achieve the ‘Exceeding Expectations’ Professor Slughorn required to continue the class past one’s fifth year; he had just never seemed very good at the class. Perhaps Remus had helped him—he was one of the only other students that gave Lily a run for her money in the studies department.
I began to get nervous then, and could barely listen to our first lesson. Luckily, Slughorn was feeling under the weather so we repeated our experiment that was required of us during our Potions O.W.L. I had been asked to make a Draught of Peace, which I found very ironic for today.
I remembered the steps perfectly. I found already grinded moonstone in the pantry, along with hellebore syrup, and quickly went to work.
By the time class was almost over, my potion was finished. I called Professor Slughorn over to check my work.
“Draught of Peace? That one was quite popular on the exams last year wasn’t it?” he said, though he sounded wholly uninterested, so I only nodded in response.
He didn’t taste it himself, instead he called over Peter and had him test it. As he took a sip, the boy was trembling—poor thing had never responded well to be directly addressed by a teacher—but after a minute or so, he seemed much calmer. He didn’t seem more confident (he still practically ran away when Slughorn dismissed him), but he had stopped shaking.
“Very good, Miss Crill,” Slughorn said without enthusiasm and then moved on to the next student.
While his back was turned to me, I dipped some of the potion out of the cauldron and took a sip. Then after a moment’s hesitation, I took a gulp.
I immediately felt warm. All my nerves began to iron out, and I was standing taller. I didn’t think I could tackle anything, but I was certainly more willing to try.
When the bell rang throughout the castle to signal the end of class, I slung the strap of my bag over my shoulders and strode straight over to the table where Remus and Peter were gathering their things.
They looked up, mildly surprised to see me there.
“Remus? Can I ask you a question?” I asked before either could say anything.
“Um, sure,” he replied, looking uncertain. Peter was looking on with wide, curious eyes.
“Alone, please,” I said with an apologetic smile to Peter.
“Of course,” he said and hurriedly picked up his bag. “I’ll see you at lunch, Remus.” He scurried from the almost empty classroom. Slughorn was even already gone.
It couldn’t have been more perfect if I had planned it. “This isn’t the time to talk about it,” I began, glancing around to make sure I hadn’t missed anyone, “I would really appreciate it if you would meet me some time later to talk.”
“What about?” he asked, looking curious and now just a tad bit nervous.
“Er—it’s a secret. Will you meet me at the library tonight? Say around…six?”
Remus was silent for a moment while he mulled it over in his head, but finally he just nodded. “All right, I’ll see you then.”
I smiled brightly. “Thanks! I’ll see you around.” With that said and done, I left the classroom and headed towards the Great Hall were Lily and Jodie were surely waiting for me.
It wasn’t until lunch was almost over that I realized what Remus probably thought I wanted to talk to him about. I blanched, almost spitting out the steamed carrot I had in my mouth. What if he thought I fancied him? My swig of the Draught of Peace had worn off and now I was nervous all over again. I was getting really tired of this feeling!
x x x
“If anyone finds out, you’ll lose all of your friends. You probably won’t even have a chance to tell anyone, they’ll suspend you from Hogwarts for sure.”
Lacelin was trying to ignore her mother, but Patricia Crill stood over the girl’s bed, her arms crossed over her chest, looking straight ahead of her at the Wimbourne Wasps poster on her daughter’s wall. She had always disapproved of her daughter’s interest in the sport—sports were for men.
“Not only that, but even if they let you finish school you still won’t be able to get a job, no matter how good your marks are. So why does it even matter?”
“It matters to me, mother,” Lacelin said in a neutral, almost bored, tone. This was not the first time she was hearing this spiel.
Patricia sighed and put her forehead in her pal, the other hand grasping the elbow of that arm. “This is a disaster.”
“I didn’t want to get bitten, mother.”
“Really? Then why did you disobey your uncle?” Patricia glared at her daughter. She then scoffed and turned to leave the room. “He should be responsible for you now, not me.”
I wish that he was, Lacelin thought to herself as her mother practically slammed the door behind her. The girl rolled over on her bed and buried her face into her pillow, and cried.
Fifteen minutes till six, I made the excuse of needing a book to Lily and Jodie and then headed out of the common room. I took some parchment and my Potions book with me to make it look like I was going to work on an assignment, but I already knew I wouldn’t be able to concentrate enough to actually work on anything—not that we actually had any homework anyway.
I found a table within view of the entrance to the library and sat down. So that Madam Pince wouldn’t think I was suspicious, I opened my potions book to the first chapter and began to read, using my parchment to take notes. That way I just looked like a studious student seeking quiet.
After a while, I checked my watch. It was 6:05. Okay, so he was five minutes late? That was no big deal. He might not be able to tear himself away from his friends.
Another five minutes passed by, and my resolve started to dissipate, but I held fast to my theory that he couldn’t get away from his friends.
By 6:30, I had almost a foot of notes from my Potions book and my hand was cramping. I sat back in my chair and looked around.
So I had been right. He thought I fancied him, and he chickened out. He must not have wanted to have to turn me down.
Other than Sirius, I hadn’t really fancied anyone else at the school. But it still hurt to come to the realization that I wasn’t liked, at least not liked enough to deserve a proper turning down.
With a heavy sigh, I gathered up my things and left the library, forgetting to check out a book like I had told Lily and Jodie I was going to do. I just wasn’t in the mood to keep my cover solid.
When I reached the bottom of the changing staircases, I was hailed from behind.
I turned around to see Professor McGonagall heading towards me. My heart dropped. Why had it even crossed my mind that it could have been Remus? The voice had definitely been female.
“Hello, Professor,” I greeted, trying to sound more enthusiastic than I felt.
“Good evening, Miss Crill,” the professor said. “The Headmaster asked me to set up a date for you to meet with him. How does tomorrow directly after your last class sound?”
I only nodded. “That’s all right. Do I need to come find you?”
She nodded. “I’ll be in the Transfiguration classroom, just come by once you’re finished in class and I’ll escort you to the Headmaster’s office.”
I nodded again in confirmation. We exchanged good evenings and then went our separate ways. I trudged my way into the common room, which was full of students who hadn’t received homework on their first day back and were now chattering and being loud. I was able to sneak through the crowd up to the dorms, glad to find my room empty. I would just have to get my things from downstairs the next morning. At that moment, I just wanted to go to bed.
Author's Note: I'm posting this so soon after the first chapter because I want to keep caught up with other sites I post on.
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