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Chapter 10 : Dueling and Forgiveness
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No faith, no honesty in men.- Romeo and Juliet, William Shakespeare
I stopped in my tracks and snarled, “You have some nerve, Potter! Davey was the only one who was kind enough to actually follow me and comfort me!” James opened his to interrupt, but I was too quick. “No, stalking me under your invisibility cloak doesn’t count. I thought you were my friend, James. Davey was just trying to make me feel better after everyone was gaping at me like I was bloody Voldemort!” James winced at the name. “If anyone’s going to be apologizing, it’s going to be you.”
We dashed into class just as he was taking register. He beamed at James who just smirked and sat down in the empty seat next to Remus. I cleared my throat nervously and apologized for my lateness.
Slughorn glanced at me offhandedly. “Oh…that’s quite alright Ms. Cooper.” He never did get my name right. Well, seeing as all the seats are already taken, you’ll have to have a seat next to Mr. Black. If that’s alright with you, Sirius m’boy! Now class, these seats are permanent. Yes, for the rest of the year!” He boomed. I groaned inwardly, and from the look on Black’s face, it looks like he was doing the same. I dragged my feet over to him and plunked down unceremoniously. I burrowed my head in shoulders, and five minutes later I felt a rather harsh poke in my arms. I peeled an eye open to see Black sitting there moodily. “We’re making Felix Felicis. I know you’re crap at Potions, so just go get the ingredients and look like you’re actually doing something, and I’ll make the potion. Just stay out of my way, yeah?”
I was about to open my mouth to argue, but reason took over. He was right. I was crap at Potions….and he was giving me an offer I couldn’t refuse. So with clenched teeth and narrowed my eyes, I stormed over to the supply cabinet with the list of ingredients in clutched in my fist. I grabbed the materials off the shelf quickly, all the while muttering dark nothings under my breath. I huffed back over to the table, almost tripping twice. I carefully slammed the ingredients down on the table.
Black rolled his eyes, and glanced at the board. “Well, I’ll start boiling the dragon’s blood and the armadillo bile. Can you do me a favor and chop these horned slugs?” He gestured at a pile of brown gushy lumps that lay on the cutting board. They oozed a funny yellow color and smelled of burning rubber. I scrunched my nose in distaste, but nodded nonetheless. I pulled the board towards me and snatched a small knife off the table. We worked in silence until I had chopped all the slugs. I turned to Black reluctantly and pushed the dismantled slugs towards him. He glanced at the slugs and raised a brow. I expected the worst and was surprised when he muttered, “You chopped these near perfectly. How is it that you’re bad at Potions?”
I shrugged. “I’m just very precise. I don’t half-ass things. So I can chop things perfect, sure. But I have no idea how to brew things. It’s futile to keep trying, so I just…”
“Gave up?” He interrupted. He looked a bit surprised at this. “Tell me something Cosgrove. When you practice all your pieces on whatever instruments you play, what do you do if you don’t do it right the first time?”
I stared at him, a bit startled at his change of topic. “….I try again.”
“And what happens if you get frustrated because you don’t seem to get it?”
“It just makes me more determined to get it, and more satisfied when I do.”
He just stared at me for a while; something in his eyes was telling me I was missing something. He turned back to the potion, stirring it counter-clockwise a few times.
And then it clicked. I felt so stupid for not connecting what he had said. “So you’re saying that I should use the determination that I put into my music into getting better at Potions?” I grumbled.
He nodded as looked at the potion. In the meantime, he had added some bay leaves, knotgrass, and screechsap. The liquid was now a bright gold, not quite how the book depicted it, but enough to scrape an O. The liquid was jumping happily, which reminded me of cute little goldfish. He smirked contentedly at the potion, and ladled a bit into a vial. He strode over to Slughorn and handed him the vial, at which he laughed jovially and patted Black heartily on the back. “Well done, Mr. Black and Ms. Cope!” I rolled at his fail at my last name. “Not quite the right coloring, but near perfect! 20 points to Gryffindor!”
All the Gryffindors smiled happily at this. The Slytherins glared at ol’ Sluggie, the Ravenclaws hurriedly tried to finish quickly so as not to be outdone, and the Hufflepuffs just smiled good-naturedly. When Black had returned, I was about to wave my wand and utter the vanishing spell when Black whispered, “NO!” He practically grabbed the wand from out of my hand and threw it across the room at James, who turned and flicked Sirius off.
“I wasn’t done with this stuff yet. I spent time making it, I’m gonna use it.” And with that, he siphoned the rest into a flask which he conjured and then shoved it into his robes. He summoned my wand and I snatched it out of the air. Then he cleaned the area, sending things flying back to the cabinet or into thin air.
I shut my eyes and shook my head. “I really don’t wanna know what you’re going to do with that.”
“Good. ‘Cause I wasn’t gonna tell you anyways.” He winked. Class was dismissed, and we all filed out rowdily.
I was pretty lucky for my schedule. Today, I had a free period before and after lunch. D.A.D.A was after my second free period. I spent most of the depths of the library reading books and flinching anytime I heard a remotely human sounding noise. With dread, I stood and headed down to lunch. As I stood in front of the great hall doors, I chickened out. I scampered down the hall and down to the kitchens. I was attacked by eager house elves when I arrived. I had to smile; I just love those little guys. I asked for a chicken sandwich and some chips and a Dr. Pepper, a muggle soda that my mum had introduced me to. Within a minute, I was shoved into a seat and a plate of food was shoved into face along with a large goblet of Dr. P. I thanked them profusely and dug in, preferring my lonely lunches in the dungeons than the crowded lunch with the glares that awaited me upstairs.
After I had finished, I had asked for sugar cookie to go and was presented with three. I took them gratefully, and headed upstairs. I was munching thoughtfully on my cookie when I heard the sounds of a quiet conversation approaching. I ducked into a closet and listened intently.
I heard the silky voice of Lucius Malfoy hiss, “And you better be there the next time, Pettigrew. They're getting suspicious.”
Peter Pettigrew replied in a voice that sounded more confident and bold than I had ever heard. “I’ll be there. Don’t worry your pretty little head about it.”
“Good.” I heard the sounds of Malfoy’s feet strutting away, and I peered through the key hole. Peter was standing in the hallway, taking shuddering breaths. He glanced down reluctantly at his left arm and rubbed it, as if it pained him. “I hope I’m doing the right thing.” He muttered. And with that cryptic thought, he hurried down the hall anxiously.
I couldn’t have been more shocked. Remus and Jennifer were day and night. Remus was quite and calm, while Jenni was loud and rowdy. Remus was smart and bookish, yet Jenni was not as smart and sporty. And somehow, they would make the perfect match. I squealed softly. “Eeeeppp! This is perfect! You guys will be awesome together! I’ll just talk to-“ I stopped shortly when I realized I couldn’t talk to Jenni because she was mad, at least I think she was. Remus’s face softened when he realized my stop and rubbed my arm consoling.
I smiled gratefully at her and hugged her tightly. I looked expectantly at Jenni next and my smile faded. Her face still held traces of anger and hurt. “You know, I wish I could forgive you as easily.” She said coldly. “I thought we were best friends, Juliet. Best friends tell each other everything. I’ve told you everything about me. I thought it was only right for you do the same. Apparently I was wrong.” And with that she rose and stalked out of the common room.
Tears appeared in my eyes as I took in how truly angry she was. Lily just held me and rocked my back and forth, trying to comfort me as I pondered all the ways I could get my best friend back. Trying to make myself feel a bit better, I looked at Lily and smiled evily. “Guess who’s got the hots for Jenni?"
Lily’s eyes widened and she clutched my arm. “WHO WHO WHO WHO?!” She screeched. I rolled my eyes and said, “Guess.”
“James?” She asked hopefully.
I rolled my eyes.
“Right. Now, nothing beats a duel on the first day! So let’s see…let’s have…Mr. Longbottom…and Mr. Lupin! Thank you, lads. Now, you know the rules. No long-term injuries! Begin!"
The class grumbled, but dragged out their books and fell into silence as we read the chapter. When I was assured that Professor Harvey was distracted, I fetched a bit of ink from my bag. I got a scrap of parchment and a quill and scribbled my plan to Lily. Then I tapped it surreptitiously with my wand so that only one person could see what I had written. I folded in half but then I folded the right hand corner as well. The girls and I had come up with a method of note passing. If the note was folded in half, it was not of great importance. If the left hand corner was folded, it was urgent. If the right hand corner was folded, it was the most important thing in the goddamn world. I scooted the paper over to Lily, and her eyes widened when she noticed the corner. She opened it quickly but silently, her eyes darting over the words frighteningly fast. Then she looked up and glanced over at me. She nodded her head in acceptance. I sighed and glanced over at Jenni, who had her hurt-filled eyes glued to the page and was scribbling furiously onto a sheet of parchment. She looked up, as if feeling my eyes on her. Her harsh glare softened, and the look of pain and sadness that they held steeled my resolve. I would do anything to get my best friend back.
A/N: 'ello Mates! :D So....how'd ya like it? :) Tell me about it in the reviews......and please give me some more ideas for songs! I'm dying here :(
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