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Chapter 13 : Chapter 13: I Am the Dumbest Girl to Walk the Planet!
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A/N: I'm not JKR. How do I know? JKR probably didn't think of her amazing series while sitting in band practice. No, that's how I spend my Monday nights. Enjoy.
Chapter 13: I Am the Dumbest Girl to Walk the Planet!
“Art-Artemis! Ha ha! Get- get this charm off meeeee!” Lily then collapsed in a fit of laughter.
“Sorry, sorry,” I apologized. It was Friday’s Defense class. This week, Professor DiGroop partnered me up with Lily. Like all other duels, our main goal was to incapacitate our opponent. And for most people, that meant a large reliance on stunning spells and shield charms.
But as you may have guessed, that’s not exactly how I duel.
Sure, I can stun as good as the next witch. But stunning spells are so boring. Now, if you can combine a cheering charm and the tickling charm together, your opponent can’t focus enough to attack you back. And with a ‘secret weapon’ I discovered a few years ago (which I refuse to tell anyone about), I can distract my opponents long enough so that I don’t even need the shield charm.
So yeah, Lily was the victim of a heavy-handed cheering charm. I then added the tickling charm. I’ve been wondering what would happen to the recipient of those two charms for a few weeks now. Now I knew.
I lifted the charms, but Lily still had a goofy grin on her face. “Th-thanks,” she giggled. She accepted my hand as I helped her off the floor. “That was good.”
I smiled. “Thanks. Out of eight duels this year, I haven’t lost one yet!” Yeah, that might be a little pride leaking out, but I didn’t care.
“Artemis, Lily, good duel,” Professor DiGroop said, coming over to us. The other dueling partners were already finished and half the class was already gone from the room. Our professor turned his attention to me. “Artemis, I’ve noticed that the spells you cast are not ones typically seen in duels.”
Yeah, I get them from Charms class. "They still work," I said. Was my professor afraid I didn't know any of the serious spells and curses?
“Well, of course they still work. Even the disarming spell can be useful if the right witch or wizard is behind the wand. But I’ve also noticed that when you cast your spells, your opponents usually, well, they usually hesitate themselves. No offense to you, Lily, but I expected a fast wand reaction from you.”
“None taken,” Lily said. “I actually don’t know what came over me.”
I knew what had come over Lily. But I’m constantly afraid others will steal my idea, so I made sure I learned the way to cast my ‘secret weapon’ nonverbally. I used to whisper it, but you never know who has incredible ears.
“Well, either way, good work ladies. I expect your summaries of today’s duel on Monday.” The professor made his way to the last group of duelers, a Ravenclaw and a Hufflepuff.
Lily and I went to the back of our room to grab our books. As we did, Lily looked over at me, as if studying a science project.
“What?” I asked. Did she actually get a jinx in and now I had a pig’s snout?
“What spell did you use on me? Before the cheering charm.”
I almost felt like cringing under Lily’s stare. It had to be the emerald-green color of her eyes. But I looked away as I fiddled with my bag. “Sorry, it’s an Artemis Monroe Specialty. It wouldn’t be effective if I told everyone.”
Lily sighed. “Whatever. You’d better get moving. Remus is waiting for you.”
Huh? I turned back to the door. Remus had been dueling one of the girls from Ravenclaw. I didn’t know her name, but I guess she was pretty. If she was the one Remus had a crush on, I wanted to give them time alone. So much for good intentions.
“Oh, okay. Bye, Lily.”
Remus waited patiently for me to run across the room and join him. I nudged his arm, as I usually did, to get him to start our daily walk to the library. “You didn’t have to wait for me, you know,” I said.
Remus shrugged, keeping his eyes looking forward. “Not much of a walk without a friend.”
“Awe, you’re too kind. So, how did your duel go?”
“I won, though I had to dodge a powerful stunner. Natalia is really good at those.”
Remus doesn’t talk about ‘Natalia’ like she’s anyone special to him. Must be a different Ravenclaw. I know it's none of my business, but I was somewhat interested in who Remus was interested in. I mean, I know who all my Muggle friends are dating (my only single friends back home were Ken and Randy). Yeah, I try not to push too much as to who's dating who, but I'm somewhat interested.
“Artemis? Coming in?”
I looked up. “We’re at the library already?”
“Uh, yeah. Where have you been?”
“Thinking. A girl’s allowed to think, right?” I walked past Remus, who held the door open for me, and led the way to our usual table in the History of Magic section.
So yeah, from there things turned its their usual evening. I got started on a new Transfiguration essay due next Wednesday because I hated procrastinating. Remus chose to work on his Potions essay. That probably meant that after Remus left for dinner, I would look through his books to write the outline for that paper. Transfiguration was so long, I’ll need to give my hand the rest of the night to recover.
I looked to my right at Remus. We’d been in here for less than fifteen minutes. “What?”
“I- uh- I mean-” Remus turned away as his face grew pink. “Never mind.”
Okay, that was random. Whatever. I went back to writing my essay.
We went back to working for a while. But then Remus bent over his side of the table and went rustling through his book bag. “Uh, Artemis? Do you have your potions book?”
“I think so.” I checked my bag. Yup. “Here you go.” I slid it over to him and went back to writing the blasted essay.
“Thanks. Must have left mine in my room this morning.”
“Not a problem.” Oh great, I misspelled another Latin word. Where did I put my wand?
I tapped my essay, erasing the misspelled word, then went back to writing. But when I reached for my quill, I felt Remus’s eyes on me. In fact, I didn’t think he even took the book I gave him. That was a little weird. Whatever. I tuned him out and went back to writing.
Five minutes passed. I misspelled the same Latin word four times. And each time, I’d noticed Remus wasn’t working on his essay. I must have something on my face. I touched my right cheek but didn’t feel anything strange. Whatever. It’s just Remus. If I did have something on my face, he would have cleaned it up for me already. I went back to writing.
Remus took a deep breath not even a minute later. “Artemis, I really need to tell you something.”
I put down my quill and turned in my seat to face Remus. Obviously something was bothering him. Maybe he wants a girl’s advice about his crush. Not that I’d be much help since I don’t think of myself as the typical girl, but the least I could do is try to help a friend in need. “Okay, Remus. Shoot.”
Remus’s eyebrows went up when I actually swiveled around. “Well, actually, I wanted to ask you something . . . I mean-” He then started muttering incoherently.
“Remus, slow down!” He’s kinda cute when he gets this flustered. “I don’t want you to throw yourself into a fit over nothing.”
Okay, wrong thing to say. Remus groaned. Okay, maybe I shouldn’t have downplayed his ‘crush’ into nothing. Whatever. He doesn’t know I know. I just sat there next to him, waiting for him to either put his words in order and spit them out or just forget it and go back to work. I kinda hoped it was the former- I thought of some potential advice I could give him last night before I went to bed.
Watching Remus was interesting. He ran a hand through his hair, looked all around the area, and let out another groan. I was very close to laughing at him, but I did have enough common sense to tell me that would be a bad idea. I didn’t want Remus to-
Remus leaned forward and pressed his lips against mine. Remus was kissing me.
Remus. Was. Kissing. Me. Me!?
I felt my brain freeze. My heart stopped. My breath caught in my throat. The library started becoming very warm, the air thick. And Remus’s face was in my face, kissing me.
I felt like the kiss lasted years, but at the same time only a couple of seconds. Or fifteen seconds according to the clock behind Remus’s head.
After the longest fifteen seconds of my life, Remus pulled away from me, reopening his eyes. Mine had remained open, not even blinking.
Remus. Me. Kiss. Now. Library. Remus. Lips. Me. Kissed.
“Artemis?” Remus asked, his voice soft but wavering slightly.
Me. Remus kissed me. How? Why? Remus likes me? No. But still. . .
“Artemis?” Remus repeated. He took a deep breath. It came out sounding like Morris Code, it was so choppy. “Artemis, say something. Please.”
How? He can’t like me! But the kiss? Kiss. Remus. Kissed. Me. Why? Where did this come from? Can’t be.
I finally felt my heart start to beat again. Well, it was actually going so fast, I think it was vibrating. My brain was still in jumbles. Remus kissed me? Every square centimeter of my body started shivering. What was happening to me?
I was moving before I could make sense of it. I guess it was the fight-or-flight response. I jumped out of my chair, grabbed the shoulder strap of my book bag, and dashed for the door. I nearly ran into a group of third year Slytherins on my way out. I didn’t even apologize. I just had to get out of there!
Once in the corridors, I started running. Fast. I didn’t care if anyone saw me. Few people could probably keep up with me on foot. I didn’t know where exactly I was going, but I had to get out of the castle. The air felt so thick, I couldn’t get enough fresh air to breathe.
After a few minutes of high speed running, with my legs actually burning from the run, I finally slowed down at the steps leading up to the Owlery. That’s where I should go. I ran up the stairs, two at a time, and was relieved to find no one else up here. Good. I couldn’t deal with people right now. Only owls. And paper.
“Peck!” I shouted up. My owl only came down when I pulled out his bag of owl treats and set them down with the bag open, giving him a chance to eat his fill.
“Don’t eat too much,” I warned, searching through my bag for some paper. My quill and ink were still in the library, I realized, but I had a few pens in here. “You have to get this home immediately. This is an emergency.”
I then wrote the shortest letter home in my life.
Remus kissed me! What do I do?
I shoved the letter in an envelope for Randy, then wrote another letter for my parents, just telling them to give the note to Randy. I stuff them all into one envelope and tied it to Peck’s leg. He was still going to town on the treats.
“That’s enough, go home!” I ordered him. I nearly threw him out the window. “Give me the answer as soon as you get back! Don’t wait for breakfast!”
Peck hooted angrily at me but did as he was told. He started flying out to the south, faster than he normally leaves.
Now what? I couldn’t go back to the library. Remus might still be there. Nor could I go to Gryffindor Tower, because Remus might show up there too. Where could I go for the night?
With nothing better coming to mind, I pulled myself up and out of the Owlery and positioned myself on the roof, figuring no one would see me here. From a certain spot up here, I couldn’t even see the rest of the castle. Someone would have to know exactly where to look for me, and I had never come across anyone else sitting around up here in six years. I cast a heating charm on the roof and a few protective spells to keep me from rolling off the roof and down to my death. I would sleep here, under the stars, and wait for Peck’s return.
Something was biting my fingers. I didn’t like it. I waved my hand around, hoping whatever it was would go away. I was too sleepy to-
A weight pressed itself on my chest. What the-? I opened my eye. A large pair of brown eyes surrounded by feathers looked back down into mine.
“Eep!” I sat up, making Peck flutter away from me and land on the roof next to me. Peck did not look happy.
“Sorry, Peck, you scared me.”
The owl just decided to offer me his leg, where an envelope was waiting for me. When I untied it, Peck took off to go back to rest in the Owlery.
“Thanks! You have the night off!” I shouted down to him. I didn’t think Peck would deliver a letter for me tonight anyway. Sometimes he can be a drama queen when he feels overworked.
I just had to choose the owl with attitude when I was eleven, didn’t I?
I ignored my parents’ letter, which would probably ask me what happened, and turned to Randy’s response. Well, I tried to anyway. However, the sun was just hinting at rising over to the east, with only a faint grey light disturbing the otherwise black sky. I had to rearrange myself to use the last quarter’s moonlight to illuminate the page. When I did, I saw the letter was shorter than I was expecting.
You shouldn’t be so surprised. I’m not there, and I could figure this Remus bloke likes you. I can’t tell you what to do. Just do what feels right.
I just looked at the letter. Well, what did I expect? Randy to say I should kick Remus’s butt for even touching me? I did give him my shortest letter ever. So he gave me my shortest letter back. I was at least hoping for some of his taunts about how ‘Artemis is growing up’ or ‘It’s about time.’ Or, in the other direction, he would say ‘Pound in his face’ or ‘We’ll get him when he gets off the train at Christmas Break.’ Randy telling me to do what feels right? I’d never expect that from him in a thousand years.
I removed the spells keeping me on the roof. But when I removed the heating charm, I realized just how cold November could be. I nearly fell off the Owlery roof as I maneuvered myself back through one of the many windows, all because my fingers were nearly numb from the cold.
Three cups of hot chocolate and enough food to fill three regular students later, I was still wondering what I should do. Remus kissed me. How? I thought he had a crush on a Ravenclaw girl. I mean, James and Sirius implied that this girl was smart. And aren’t Ravenclaw girls seen as smart?
Then again, the top five people in sixth year are all Gryffindors. The Sorting Hat must have been Confunded that year for that to happen.
No one was in the Gryffindor common room when I came in, though the Fat Lady tried to get me to reveal where I was last night. Honestly, what can a painting do to me?
And no one was awake as I entered the sixth year girls’ dormitory. Lily wasn’t snoring this morning, though. Great, I could have had a peaceful night’s sleep if I did manage to come back here last night. I can never win, huh?
I took a shower (definitely needed one after sleeping on top of the Owlery). When I got out, though, I saw three of my roommates were sitting up and looking at me.
Well, I didn’t have to explain anything to them. I walked across the dorm to my bed, sat down, and tried to figure out what to do. I mean, I couldn’t ask my professors to all give me private lessons up here because I didn’t want to show my face again, could I?
Samantha was the first to move from her bed. But instead of going to shower, she marched over to my bed and stood in front of me. “Where were you last night?” she asked.
“Hogwarts,” I answered automatically. When you ask a stupid question . . .
“You were with Sirius Black last night, weren’t you?” she demanded, crossing her arms.
“Samantha!” Melissa called, now getting out of her bed and approaching her best friend.
“And you were wishing you were with Sirius Bloody Black last night, weren’t you?” I shot back, rolling my eyes. Honestly, how could she have gotten any O.W.L.’s when she’s obsessing over one bloke all the time?
“Samantha, you know Artemis can barely stand being around Black,” Lily said, arriving at the foot of my bed next. She turned to look down at me. “You weren’t with Black, were you?”
“Wow, you just proved that you’re the smartest witch of the age! Now let’s see what you’ve won!” I slouched down lower on my pillow. Let’s see now, what could possibly have possessed Remus to-?
“Artemis, that’s enough with the sarcasm,” Lily said sternly. She took a deep breath and said in a gentler voice, “Artemis, what happened last night? We were worried when you didn’t come up.”
“Yeah right,” Samantha coughed. Melissa nudged her in the ribs.
Well, what would matter if I tell them now or if they find out from the Marauders later? The whole school would know within a matter of hours, if they didn’t already know. “Remus kissed me.”
“So, it wasn’t Sirius?” Samantha pressed. Melissa nudged her again, harder. “Well, excuse me for caring,” she said sarcastically. She turned around and went to take the next shower. On the way, she poked Kati to wake her up. Kati just hid her head under her pillow and continued to sleep.
“Artemis, why are you so upset about something like that?” Lily asked. She sat down at the end of my bed.
I just looked at her. Did she not see how weird this was? Remus and me? Me and Remus? I was under the impression that we were just friends.
Samantha left the shower and Melissa went to take hers. Lily continued to sit at the end of my bed, trying to coax me to talk to her. But how could I when I was barely understanding what was going through my own head?
“Lily, aren’t you going to have breakfast?” Kati asked when she finally woke up. She usually takes her shower at night, so she was just changing. Lily, however, was still in her pale-pink pajamas.
“You go on ahead, Kati,” Lily said.
Kati shrugged and left with Melissa. Samantha had gone down as soon as she was dressed.
“Artemis, please, talk to me,” Lily said. “Why are you so upset?”
“I’m not upset,” I said. “Just confused.”
“Well, why would Remus kiss me in the first place? It just doesn’t make any sense.”
Lily just continued to stare at me. “You’re serious about that, aren’t you?”
“What do you mean?”
Lily sighed. “Artemis, Remus has obviously liked you for months now. Just think about it. And you?” Lily shrugged and got off my bed.
“And me?” I asked. What about me? “What should I do about this?”
Lily shrugged again, now getting dressed. “I can’t tell you what to do about this sort of thing. No one can. Just trust your heart and everything should be okay. Trust me.”
Great, another non-answer. Lily’s no help, just like Randy’s letter. I groaned and pressed my forehead against my knees. Too bad I couldn't fold myself up into nothing and get out of this problem.
Lily must have left, because when I unfolded myself, I was alone. Everyone was probably going down to the Great Hall for breakfast. Well, I’d already gotten my mail from Peck, so I technically didn’t need to go down. That and I’d already eaten. I was safe up here for the weekend. The mound of food I brought back from the kitchens Thursday night would last me six, maybe seven meals. But then what about Monday? I would have to sit next to Remus in Transfiguration. How could I do that when the last time I saw him, he kissed me?
And how could everyone think that Remus kissing me is okay? Didn’t they see that this came out of nowhere? There was no way. . .
No, I was being foolish. Haven’t the clues been all around me? Remus has always been hanging out with me. I thought it was because he thought I needed friends here, not just at home. But what if he liked me from the beginning? I probably would have rejected him instantly if he came up to me like Sirius did last year and suggest we go into a broom cupboard and snog. Remus became my friend first.
Remus had even written to me over the summer. Maybe he used the Forever Bubbles as an excuse to get in touch with me. And before that, when I saw him in Hogsmeade, Remus was really nice to me. I thought it was just his polite mannerism. Maybe he liked me ever since then.
“Okay, Remus does like me,” I muttered to myself.
But what about me? How do I feel about him? I mean, Remus is a good friend. He stuck by me after his Marauder friends hung me upside down and I refused to forgive them (they still refused to tell me why they did that in the first place!). He had chosen me over his friends, so to speak. I appreciated the loyalty. That’s a great quality that I have in common with all my Muggle friends. And Remus is honest. And sweet. And he shares. All qualities I really like in a person.
And didn’t I think about him all the time? Whenever Remus has to do his Prefect duties when we normally spend time together, I usually miss his company. I’ve come to rely on him being with me nearly all the time. If he stopped spending so much time with me, making me go back to being alone all day, I didn’t think I would be so comfortable with the silence.
I must like him after all. I mean, the idea of Remus kissing me didn’t disgust me like the idea of Sirius kissing me (shiver). No, I was just surprised. And I don’t think I would mind him kissing me again.
Oh Merlin, wait a second! I ran out of the library after Remus kissed me! He must think I don’t even like him! I’ve always liked him, but I never considered myself as possibly being a typical girlfriend (which is strange, because I never doubted I would get married someday- you have to be a girlfriend before a wife, right?). Anyway, Remus must think I’ll totally reject him. There’s a big difference between complete and utter shock and rejection. Um, I’ll let you know what that is later, but there’s a difference!
So, what do I do?
How would I handle this if I were at home? I thought to myself. I mean, not if I was at home, but if I was acting like the person I’m like at home? I don’t think I would have run. Certainly not. I would have probably cracked a joke about the kiss. That wouldn’t have been a good move either. So what’s left? I want to show Remus that I still like him, possibly more than I realized, and I’d be open to the whole boyfriend/girlfriend thing if that’s what he wants. Now how would I do that if this were not Hogwarts?
I smiled as a simple thought came to my mind. It was so easy, it was bordering on genius. Yup, I’d do just that. I hopped off my bed and headed for the Great Hall. The whole school should be down there for breakfast by now.
Yeah, the Great Hall was crowded when I got there. I left my book bag out in the hall, not wanting to smack anyone once inside. I disillusioned it to be safe (you know, to prevent theft of my lunch inside), then entered the hall.
No one seemed too surprised at my entrance. Most didn’t even look up as I walked in and scanned the Gryffindor Table, looking for one special Marauder. Wow, I didn’t realize there were this many Gryffindor students. There looked like a lot more of us when I wasn’t seated within the rows of students.
I found him. He was in the middle of the table, spooning up porridge slowly. The other three Marauders were there too, but they looked like they were behaving normally. Remus looked so downcast, my chest hurt a little when I realized he was bummed out because of me.
“Remus Lupin!” I shouted above the chatter. The hall came to be silent a moment later. Even the professors stopped chatting amongst themselves. Great, I forgot about the professors! I might get a detention for this. A moment later. Whatever. Remus is more important than some record I’ll never get acknowledged for anyway.
“Uh, Artemis,” Remus said, his mouth hanging open. I think it would be safe to assume that he was surprised.
“Stand up!” I ordered, walking down between the Gryffindor and Hufflepuff tables to where he was seated.
Remus got off the bench slowly. He had closed his mouth, but his eyes had widened considerably. It took all my self-control not to laugh about what he must be thinking right now.
I came to a stop directly in front of him. No one made a sound. Remus just looked down at me, but from his body language it felt as if I were larger than him now. I decided to wait a few seconds, to let him sweat it out.
Okay, I was bored.
I reached forward with my right hand, clutched his tie, and yanked it forward, causing Remus to stumble. But as he recovered, I put my left hand behind his head and drew his face forward into a kiss. I pressed my lips firmly against his and held him there for a few second.
I felt something warm and tingly go through my entire system as our lips pressed together. It was hard to describe. It almost made it incredibly hard to release Remus and push him away from me. He stumbled back and fell onto the bench.
“That’s my answer,” I said, now unable to stop smiling at him.
Remus just stared up at me in amazement. Then, slowly, a goofy sort of smile placed itself on Remus’s face. He nodded once, still slowly.
Okay, everyone’s eyes were on me. Might as well get out of here before McGonagall could called out a detention for me. I turned and walked back the way I came, the Great Hall still silent.
I was just finding my invisible bag when I heard a roar come from the Great Hall. I couldn’t be sure, but I think they were cheers. James’s and Sirius’s voices rang out the loudest. I guess the entire castle knew before me. Typical. I walked away from the Great Hall. Um, I wonder what Remus did with my Transfiguration essay. Oh well, I’ll get it from him later.
A/N: Someone asked me several weeks ago when Remus and Artemis would get together. I’m so sorry it took so long, but it’s finally happened. This was an easy chapter to write, and I had fun with Artemis freaking out. : ) So what did you think? Does this fit with how you see Artemis and Remus? Like it? Don’t like it? Don’t care? Let me know. I don’t want to disillusion myself into thinking I’m doing a good job if everyone else thinks I’m wasting my time.
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