Chapter 2 : Have You Even Talked to Her?
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“I cannot believe that Potter’s Head Boy!” Lily had just come back from the Prefects’ carriage. Understandably, she was upset about certain decisions carried out by the senior staff at Hogwarts. “What drugs are they on?”
“Well, it is the seventies,” I said.
“Lily, I think you’re overreacting,” added Sarah, our other best friend.
“There’s nothing new there,” I muttered. I was rewarded with one of Lily’s infamous glares.
I tried giving her a winning smile. I don’t think it worked.
“James Potter is not Head Boy material,” seethed Lily, as she flopped down next to Sarah.
“You don’t know that,” I said, feeling that I had some sort of duty to stand up for my Quidditch Captain, no matter how many push-ups he made me do.
“Oh, and someone who’s constantly in detention for pulling pranks and terrorising the student population makes a good Head Boy?”
“Terrorising is a bit strong, isn’t it?” said Sarah.
“And it’s not just James,” I added, trying for a reasoning tone.
“Great! Now that he’s Head Boy, those stupid Marauders will get away with absolutely everything!” cried Lily.
“I really think,” I started cautiously – we didn’t want to incite the girl any more – “that this might be good for him. You might have noticed some, uh, changes already.”
“Potter cannot change,” Lily said, chin jutting out slightly, just like it always does when she was being stubborn.
“Did he hit on you?” I asked. The only way to convince Lily was to put up a sound argument.
“Did he hit on you while you were with him?”
“Well… um,” Lily’s brow furrowed in confusion. “He hardly said a word to me, actually.”
“See, change.” But before Lily could reply, the door to our compartment flew open.
To be honest, it didn’t really fly open. It just opened like a normal compartment door opens. It just seemed that way because the people standing in the doorway were the kind of people you would expect to make a door fly: the Marauders. James was in the lead (as usual) with Black leaning against the door frame like he owned the place. Remus was standing sort of in the background, trying to look unobtrusive, which really wasn’t that hard for him, but Pettigrew was doing a much better job of blending in. If anyone ever had to learn the art of blending in, I’d recommend learning it from Peter Pettigrew, but I think he really didn’t mean to. Disappearing into the woodwork was something that sort of just happened to you if you hung out enough with the rest of the Marauders.
Lily scowled at them. “What do you want?” she snapped.
“Hello to you too, Evans,” drawled Black. For some strange reason, whenever Black talked, it invariably came out as a drawl. A very annoying drawl.
“What do you want?” she repeated.
“Hey, is that the new one?” Remus suddenly said, looking in my general direction.
“What?” I said quite intelligently, then realised he was talking about the book in my lap. “Oh yeah, it is.”
“I didn’t even know that was out!”
I wasn’t quite sure if he was just diffusing the situation, or he actually cared about the book I was reading. I think it was a bit of both, so I went along with it.
“Um, it came out last week.”
“Is it any good?”
“Yeah, it’s great! But it’s not as good as the third one.”
“I don’t think any book can be as good as the third one.”
“Um, you can borrow it once I’ve finished, if you want. I’m almost done with it.”
“Really?” his face lit up with a genuine smile.
“Sure. The library won’t get it in ‘til ages.”
Neither of us had realised that whilst we were having our little discussion, all our friends had been staring at us with looks of surprise and, in some cases, slightly open mouths. Sarah was looking at me like I had just sprouted two heads, Lily’s look clearly showed the shock in realising that I was okay with having a conversation with one of the Marauders (even the decent one – her words, not mine) in public, James was looking at Remus like he had never seen him talk before, Black looked as surprised as one can whilst still looking arrogant, and Pettigrew… well, he was being Pettigrew.
“Um… we’ll be leaving you now…” Remus said, not without a lot of awkwardness.
“Uh, okay. I guess we’ll see you at the feast or whatever,” I replied with only marginally less awkwardness.
Neither of us did well when all eyes were on us. Remus walked away, Pettigrew trailing behind him. James couldn’t help himself and threw a fleeting glance at Lily (she didn’t notice) and said, “See you later, Lily, Sarah, Millie.” And he walked away.
Black was the last to leave. He inclined his head and said, “Ladies,” but even though he was referring to all of us, his eyes never left me. Creepy. At last, even he left.
“He talked to you,” whispered Sarah reverently. Sarah has had a massive crush on Remus since third year, but Remus, being Remus, has been quite oblivious to her obvious affections for him.
“Yes, Sarah. And I talked back,” I replied dryly.
“I didn’t know you talked to Remus,” said Lily.
She couldn’t quite fathom why I would like a Marauder, which was weird, considering that Remus and her would’ve been in each other’s company heaps for the past two years as they were both Prefects.
“We were Potions partners in fifth year, and well… we have a lot in common,” I muttered.
“Are you and him… you know…” began Sarah.
“Definitely not. We have a strictly platonic relationship. There is absolutely nothing of that nature going on between us,” I said firmly. It was very important to stamp out any misgivings such as this, very early on. One never knew what could be construed later down the track.
“Do you want there to be something more?” asked Lily. How could she even ask that as she knows that I know about Sarah’s feelings?
“No,” I said.
“Does he want there to be something?” asked Sarah cautiously.
“How do you know?”
“Because I do,” I snapped. It was time to stop this whole Remus thing right now before the idea took root in my friends’ overactive imaginations. Next thing you knew, they would be planning the wedding!
“I don’t think Remus stood a chance anyway,” Lily said.
“Excuse me?” I asked, my head snapping in her direction.
“Well, even I know that Remus Lupin doesn’t stand a chance against Sirius Black,” Lily said slyly. What on earth was she going on about?
“What do you mean?”
“I think you know very well what I mean.”
“I honestly do not.”
“Come off it. Are you telling me that you didn’t notice that Black’s eyes never left you?”
“Well, yeah, I did, but it doesn’t mean –”
“And you didn’t notice that look of his when Remus was talking to you?”
“Um… sort of, but that’s kinda how he looks all the time – when he’s not being you know, up himself or whatever.”
“I think Lily has a point,” mused Sarah.
“No, Lily does not have a point!” I said. Why did I have to do this twice in one day?
“You two are quite similar in some ways…”
“I do not share anything in common with that arrogant prat!”
“You’re both pure-bloods,” Sarah continued like she hadn’t heard me. “You both have family problems –”
“It comes with the whole pure-blood thing,” I interrupted. Amongst other things, it also included being related to each other – distantly, but still probably related. Which is weird. And gross.
“You both have trouble holding down a relationship for more than two weeks.”
“I can hold a relationship for more than two weeks!”
“No, you can’t,” said Lily bluntly. “You’re both commitment-phobes. That would be an interesting relationship for sure.”
I didn’t say anything. I was positive that my friends were exploiting something that just wasn’t there. And I would never, in a million years, go out with Sirius Black.
“So. You and White, huh?” I asked as nonchalantly as I could. We were back in our own compartment after our little expedition. It is quite sad sometimes that Prongs could not spend ten minutes without seeing Evans. Slightly scary even.
Moony, to whom the previous statement was directed, frowned and said, “No. Nothing like that. We’re just friends.”
“When someone says they’re just friends, it never means that they’re just friends.”
“No, sometimes they do, Padfoot.”
I knew that, but you know, I had to say it. Just in case. “Right. Are you sure there’s nothing going on between you two? I don’t think I’ve ever heard her say that much at once. I don’t think I’ve ever heard you say that much at once.”
“I am positive that there is nothing between us. And you’ve never heard her talk that much because you’ve never really paid attention, have you?” I think that might have been an ill-disguised jibe in my direction. “Why the sudden interest?”
“Padfoot has a new crush,” chimed in Prongs. I felt like killing him right then.
“I do not have a crush!” I countered hotly.
“Are you sure? I think that might be a blush there.”
“Sod off, Prongs.”
“So you do have a crush on Millie?” asked Moony.
“No!” I replied again. Didn’t I say that before?
“But you certainly have a…” he paused for a second trying to think of the word, “a certain interest in her?”
“I guess you could call it that,” I mumbled.
“I can tell you now you’re not her favourite person.”
“I know that. She hardly knows me. I could eventually become her favourite person though.” I mean, it’s not like that’s difficult, wooing the opposite sex.
Moony looked sceptical. “If you say so.”
“Why does everyone keep telling me that White won’t ever like me?” It was seriously annoying.
“Because she’s just not that kind of girl.”
“And what kind of girl is that?”
“The kind that you frequently associate with, Padfoot. She’s not one of your fan girls.”
I frowned. First Prongs, now Moony, telling me that White wasn’t “my type”. Why did everyone seem to think that she wouldn’t be interested in me? “Does it matter if she isn’t one of my fan girls?”
“Have you ever even talked to her?” asked Moony.
“Of course!” I paused for a second. Moony raised his eyebrows in question. “I mean… I must have… there was that one time… no, wait, that was someone else…” Had I ever talked to her? “Well… maybe not… perhaps.” Strange. The amount of time Prongs spent around Evans, thus me spending time around Evans, thus me spending time around White was quite a lot. How the hell had I missed her before, then?
“Wait until you do. Let’s see what you think after that,” Moony said smugly, returning to reading the Daily Prophet.
I didn’t reply.
I had a strategy to plan…
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