The weekend had passed without incident, I had spent most of my time completing the homework I was assigned and spending time outdoors with Bensi while the good weather lasted. Monday morning arrived and I awoke with the sun, as had become my habit in order to continue my daily runs with Bensi while following my fiancés guidelines on proper behavior for a young pureblood lady. I dressed quickly in my traditional green yoga pants and a white sports bra, figuring the one advantage to Regulus’ rule for my work out hours would be that modesty wouldn’t be such an issue for me, considering no one would be awake to see me anyways.
Bensi and I made our way out to the grounds as had become our routine in the few days we had spent in the castle so far. Upon opening the giant doors out into the grounds I smiled as the mist of the early morning was caught in the gentle rays of the rising run, giving the grounds a golden shimmering look.
We take off. Bensi and I side by side run down the sloping lawns to the lake, where we circle it twice. Just before we circle it a third time a path leading away from the lake catches my eye. I decide it’s a good day to explore a little more of the beautiful land surrounding the castle, and guide my companion to the trail.
We maintain our break-neck speed and find ourselves in front of a grand stadium. I figure this must be the quiditch pitch, and after a moment’s hesitation push the doors open and make my way inside.
My first thought is that the pitch is huge. Much larger than the one we had at my last school, although my last school wasn’t nearly as large as Hogwarts either, so I suppose that made sense. I stand there for a moment, looking up at the high stands around me, before I signal once again to Bensi and we take off, circling the track from the ground just as so many young fliers have done from the air. We did two laps before I decided we’d better go back and get ready for classes, as people would be waking up in their dorms soon.
At breakfast with a nervous pinch I was reminded that I would be spending my first class of the day partnered with my fiancés brother, whom I was now forbidden from socializing with. Just as this thought crossed my mind the person in question entered the Great Hall with his friends. I couldn’t help but watch the confident way he entered, the way that his walk was more of a strut. I cursed myself for noticing that he contained most of the qualities I had dreamed my future husband would as a little girl. As I was staring he suddenly looked up and our eyes met. It was only for the briefest moments before I ducked my head down to stare dejectedly at my breakfast, but I could have sworn I saw something flash through his eyes that unsettled me.
Finally I could push the food around my plate no longer and made my way to potions. When I arrived Sirius was seated at the table we had shared in our last class, the empty seat next to him waiting for me. I made my way over timidly and slid into the seat. Taking out my notes and ink, before staring at the front, decidedly ignoring my partner. I wasn’t supposed to be talking to him after all!
“So how was your weekend?” dammit, this boy could not read signals could he? I cursed in my head, hoping that if I continued to ignore him he would get the hint and leave me alone.
So instead of responding I simply began to copy down the instructions for the potion we were making that day that were already upon the board, although class hadn’t technically begun yet.
“That good eh?” He remarked, he sounded amused, but I wasn’t going to risk looking over and getting caught up in a conversation. So I continued to ignore him the best I could. A couple more seconds passed, Sirius had just let the two front legs of his chair hit the floor, and I was sure he was about to try again to start a conversation with me when the doors to the room burst open and Slughorn made his entrance.
He gave us a few more instructions as to the potion we would be working on before letting us get started. I immediately pulled out the materials and got to work chopping mandrake root. I had almost convinced myself that he had given up finally when his voice startled me out of my intense chopping.
“So do you run like that a lot?” My chopping stopped immediately. Fuck.How had he seen me? Regulus is going to be pissed. I bit my lip nervously, and cursed the amusement in his voice as he continued. “Because you were really hauling ass this morning.” He knew he had me, he finally said something I felt the need to respond to.
I didn’t look at him that felt too much like he won. Instead I slowly resumed my chopping and murmured a small “yes.” Trying to move my lips as little as possible on the off chance that Snape noticed we were talking.
“Yes?” He asked confused.
“Yes I run like that a lot.” I clarified, dumping the now chopped roots into the potions mix and stirring it counter clockwise, glancing nervously at Snape as I did so. He was diligently working on his potion.
“Oh.” Was all he said, and I continued to work on the potion, waiting for Sirius to get done properly milking a Silma Bean. Several minutes passed in which we simply worked together on our potion. At last we made it to the half waypoint, where the ingredients needed to boil for a solid 10 minutes before we continued to add the last of the materials. We shared an awkward silence for the first minute. Sirius was staring lazily around the room, and I followed his lead. I was just starting to drift off into my own little world when Sirius decided to break our awkward silence.
“So how does my dear brother feel about you running around barely wearing a shirt in the early mornings?” He asked, his voice a mixture of amusement and anger. I bristled at his tone, but decided to answer against my better judgment.
“He isn’t to happy about it actually.”
“Shocker.” He said, rolling his eyes in an irritated manner.
“Why do you care anyways?” I asked just as irritated, flipping my hair out of my eyes and sending another nervous look in Snapes direction.
“I don’t. Why do you care what Snapes up to? You have a crush on him or something? I’m sure my brother would love to hear that his wife to be has a thing for greasy nerds.” He spat out vehemently.
“I don’t care what Snapes doing as long as he isn’t paying attention to me! And for your information I’m not supposed to be talking to you!” I added in an angry whisper. I bit down on my lip angrily as Sirius’s only response was a burst of bark-like laughter.
“Then why are you talking to me?” He asked, his grey eyes dancing in amusement. I cursed their beauty in that moment.
“I don’t know.” Was all I had a chance to reply before our potion almost boiled over and we were forced to hurriedly finish our work and turn in our creation. As I packed my things to head to Defense Sirius leaned over and spoke softly into my ear for the briefest of seconds a quick “see you later.” Words that definitely didn’t deserve the goose bumps that broke out upon my neck and down my back.
I arrived in Defense Against the Dark Arts in a huff and sank into my seat between Lilly and Remus (Both of whom had arrived before me) and began to unload my book, parchment, and ink respectively when our teacher, Professor Amelia, entered the room and immediately instructed us to put our lecture materials away and to take out our wands.
An excited bustling went through the class as everyone took our their wands, wondering what spell they would be practicing.
“As you all are well aware,” Began Professor Amelia, taking her place in the front of the room and facing her students. “We are in the beginnings of a war. In a time of war it becomes even more important that even our young witches and wizards are capable of defending both their bodies, and minds from the will of our enemies. Therefore today we will be practicing the skill of legilimens. You will be partnering up and one of you will be attempting to break into your partners mind, while the other attempts to keep you out, then on Wednesday you will switch places, understood?” We all nodded nervously, most people instantly losing their previous excitement at the thought of their most personal memories being up for display.
Remus turned to me and I caught his eyes, they smiled warmly at me, “Would you like to be my partner Charlotte?” He asked nervously.
“Sure.” I smiled back and we both stood and made our way over to the practice area the rest of the class was headed to. We took our places on either side of the room facing each other while Professor Amelia went over the particulars of the spell.
“Alright, now everyone on the right side of the room will be attempting to break into the mind of their partner on the left side of the room, while the people on the left side of the room will attempt to defend their minds against invasion, and push out their partner if they are able to break into your mind. Understood?” She asked again, when everyone nodded their heads she instructed us to begin.
All of a sudden I was six years old again, crouched at the top of the stairs listening to my parents scream at each other.
“HOW DARE YOU AGREE TO THAT HENRY! HOW DARE YOU! SHE IS OUR DAUGHTER!” Came the irate voice of my mother, followed by the sterner intimidating voice of my father.
“I did what needed to be done Catherine!” I blanched at my fathers angry voice and looked up into the sparkling green eyes of my older brother.
“Come on Charlie, let’s go outside and play.” Charlie coaxed me up, and I took his proffered hand. Just then the image changed.
I was sitting in my fathers study. Practically drowning in the large leather chair upon which I sat. My parents were standing in front of me, explaining my arraigned marriage to me for the first time. I had already sort of known about it, it had been hard to miss since my parents fought over it constantly. But I was attempting to look surprised and pleased as my father told me I would be practically royalty when I came of age.
The image changed again and I was in our backyard, it was the summer before I started my first year of wizarding education, which made me 11. I was sitting on our tire swing under the large oak tree in my back yard when suddenly my brother burst from the house angrily. Kicking at the dirt as he made his way over to me.
“What’s the matter Mattie?” I asked as he punched the tree and let out an enraged cry. “What did he do?” I asked in a smaller voice.
My brother turned his eyes to me sadly, clearly regretting releasing his anger and frustration in front of me and scaring me. He was always very protective, I guess it came with being an older brother.
“Their sending me away Charlie, their sending me off to boarding school in Spain.” He answered, examining his tennis shoes, then the sky, pretty much looking anywhere but at me. “But I’m not going. I’m running away. They may think they can control our lives, but I’m going to show them they can’t! I won’t let them decide on my future, and I won’t let them decide on yours either Charlie!”
“But, but you can’t leave. I can’t go to school without you! Mattie you promised you’d be there! That I wouldn’t be alone!” I cried, jumping from the swing and becoming increasingly hysterical.
“I’m not going to leave you Charlie! I won’t let them ship you off to some loveless marriage. I won’t let him turn you into mom!” He yelled angrily, gripping my shoulders and pulling me into a bone-crushing hug. I squeezed my eyes shut, feeling the hot tears leak down my cheeks.
“Don’t worry Charlie, I have to go for now. But I won’t let them hurt you; I’m going to save you Charlie. You’ll see…”
A jolt of pain ran up my legs from where my knees slammed into the cold stone floor of the dungeons. I was on my hands and knees, staring at the grey floor. The warm tears from my memory still sliding down my cheeks. I was breathing harshly, struggling to pull oxygen into my lungs.
“Charlotte?” asked an unsure voice to my left, and I felt the pressure of some ones hand on my back.
“Back up, back up, everyone give her some room to breath. She’ll be perfectly alright, she’s just experiencing a rather common emotional reaction to the spell. Good work Mr. Lupin by the way, that is the best first attempt I have seen of this spell. 10 points to Gryffindor.” Remus must have been about to argue because professor Amelia continued, “No no Mr. Lupin I insist, Miss Rouse will be just fine, no cause for you to throw away points on a job well done. If you would be so kind as to escort your partner to the hospital wing though? I believe some pepper up potion will do her a lot of good.”
“Yes professor.” Answered Remus, who took me by the elbow and helped me from the floor. I swiped at my eyes embarrassedly, although it was useless. The entire class had already seen me fall to the floor sobbing.
We made our way out of the classroom, and down the hall before it was too much for me, and pulling away from Remus I leaned against the cool stonewall behind me and closed my eyes.
“Are you okay?” He asked worriedly.
“I’m fine, I just need a second to catch my breath.”
“I’m sorry Charlotte, I didn’t mean to… to… you know.” He said, shuffling his feet nervously as he talked.
“It’s alright…” I answered, pushing away from the wall and continuing on our journey to the Hospital Wing. “So…” I began again after a few minutes of uncomfortable silence. “Did you see everything I did?” I asked, chancing a glance at my companion, he cringed guiltily, answering my question without saying a word.
“Yeah… I didn’t mean to though, I honestly wasn’t trying to see all of that.” He explained anxiously.
“I know you didn’t, it’s okay, honestly.” I reassured him, looking anywhere but into his eyes.
“So… that was your brother than?” Remus asked after another short pause.
“Yeah, yeah that was my big brother Mattie. Matt. That was the last time I ever saw him actually…” I don’t know why I shared that, especially with Remus, but there was something to open and laid back about him, I had a feeling he was a really compassionate person, the kind of person people open up to.
“I’m sorry to hear that… you two seemed close.”
“We were inseparable practically, until he left for school of course. He was 3 years older than me.”
“Was?” Asked Remus, confused.
“Is. I dunno. I haven’t seen him in so long it’s kind of hard to have faith that he’s around at all anymore, you know?” I asked still surprised at how easy it was to talk to this boy.
“Yeah I guess I understand what you mean. Well here’s the Hospital Wing.”
“Thanks for walking me Remus.”
“It was my pleasure Charlie” Smiled Remus. My heart contracted painfully hearing him use the nickname for me Mattie had always used, but I smiled warmly at him none the less before entering the Hospital Wing.
A/N: Sorry this chapter isn't as long but I wanted to get it done and posted so we could continue on in the story. Hopefully the content makes up for the length? I'd love to know what you guys are thinking so please please please review! Reviews really inspire me to get chapters out faster! *Wink WInk*
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