Chapter 17 : Serious Business
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Chapter 17: Serious Business
"Have you ever been to Rome? Rome's nice. My mum took me there for Christmas two years ago. We saw a bunch of stuff, it was like Roman Hogwarts! Just a bunch of old stone and lots of people everywhere. Our tour guide was really old, kind of like Professor McGonagall, don't tell her I said it, except she didn't have a funny hat and she wasn't as mean. Don't tell her I said that either. I don't think she's that mean anyway. Just a little harsh sometimes. One time she gave me a T on an essay that I worked three weeks on and it was pretty upsetting but I got over it. But that was before I was a witch. I hate that term. How come the boys get to be wizards but we have to be witches?"
I sighed and adjusted the bag over my shoulder. "I don't know, Charity. I don't know."
Ever since I had started being nice to the kid, she had followed me around like a puppy. The only time I managed to get away from her was during class. She even sat next to me at dinner tonight.
James and Peter and Remus were all laughing at me. Although to be honest, any excuse to kick James in the shin is one I'm game for.
"Well, some teacher you'll be!" Charity huffed, pouting until I answered back.
"I don't want to be a teacher. I'd like to be a, well, I don't know."
It hadn't really occurred to me until now that, in fact, I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. I guess the list of 'good' careers was overshadowed by the fact that I'm not suited for any of them.
Auror- I'd fall flat on my arse trying to run away from a fight.
Curse Breaker- too much thinking.
Healer- has anyone seen me ever make a successful potion?
And that pretty much covers the three things that most people seem to be interested in taking as a job. Although I'm not sure that all my friends even fit into these. Let's see. Alice could be a curse breaker, I think she'd like that. Lily would be a healer. Of course. I'd say James and Sirius would go the auror path, considering the glory that comes with it. I'm not sure where I'd put Remus. Maybe a teacher or something less manly and more compassionate.
Thank god it's not seventh year yet.
I turned around and saw Sirius running towards me. I shooed Charity off and fixed my hair a bit.
"Hullo Sirius," I said, attempting to sound completely relaxed. "What's going on?"
"You will never believe what I just saw!"
I looked at him desperately. "Well, what is it?"
Don't be something stupid. Oh please god I miss the drama.
"I saw Professor Jones and Madame Rosmerta snogging in Hogsmeade this morning! They were snogging! Snogging!"
I stared at Sirius for a moment. "You just ran from Hogsmeade, to tell me that you saw Jones and Rosmerta snogging?"
Sirius nodded. "Yeah. What's the problem?"
I couldn't hold back my smile. "Oh, nothing. Have you seen Remus lately? I was supposed to give him my half of the potions project today, but I couldn't find him."
Way to kill it, Elsa. Every bloody time you talk to Sirius you end up talking about Remus.
Just hang me.
"He's probably sleeping. Tonight's the full moon. You didn't notice he wasn't in class this afternoon?" Sirius asked.
"Guess not. Anyway, what were you doing in Hogsmeade on a Tuesday anyway? Sneaking out for no reason again?"
Sirius grinned. "Just had to pick up some supplies and stop over at Zonko's. I've been told Minnie leaves her classroom door unlocked at night."
I frowned. "Who's Minnie?"
"McGonagall. She called me Sirius and not 'Mr. Black' the other day so I've started calling her Minnie. I like it. It's quite catchy if I do say so myself."
"I think it suits her," I agreed.
He shrugged. "What can I say? Who was that first year following you?"
I bit my lip. "Honestly, I could write a book on who she is just from the two days she's been talking to me. Her name is Charity Burbage, she is 11 years old, going to be twelve on the thirteenth of April, is muggle born, has a cat named Santana and loves to knit. She's also taken to following me around."
Sirius laughed. "That's awful, but it's nice of you to talk to her. She looks like she doesn't have any friends."
"That's the problem," I mumbled. "I'd feel guilty telling her to piss off."
"At least you have a good conscience then," Sirius pointed out.
"I guess," I sighed. "Anyway, it doesn't matter, she wont remember me come next year and it'll be normal again. Well, one can hope."
"I doubt normality is in the picture anymore, Elsa," Sirius said. "Did you hear about all the muggle killings that have been happening lately? Voldemort. He's rising."
I felt the lump in my throat move, but my lips stayed still.
"I know it sounds melodramatic now, but Alice's mum has already died. Who's to say it won't be us next?"
I tried to lighten up the mood a bit. "Considering actually being serious now, Sirius?"
He smiled and meddled with his hair a bit. "I do it quite often, and people are always surprised."
"I think I know that by now," I said, "It feels like most of our conversations are actually legitimately serious. The war, my mum, your brother- it's all fun and games here!"
Sirius laughed again and sat in a nearby windowsill. "Well, it's nice having someone to talk to that doesn't automatically think I'm either hitting on them or trying to get some laughs."
I felt my heart drop a bit, but smiled anyway. "I'm glad. Not to be nosy or anything, but how are you and Marlene? I heard you guys fighting yesterday."
Sirius sighed. "Honestly I love Marlene, but sometimes she can be a bit of a bitch. The hormones aren't making it any better either. It's a bit scary, really, about to be a father at 17. Sometimes I don't think I'm anymore than a child myself."
"If you can say it then maybe you've grown a bit, then," I concluded.
I knew I should be happy. I'd just spent ten minutes talking to Sirius. But all it did was make my self esteem crawl back farther into the little cave it likes to vacation in.
With the general grim mood in the castle over the recent murders it seemed as though everyone I knew had grown up at least two years, including myself. I hadn't said one snarky thing to Marlene, and vise versa, all day.
I tried to cheer myself up by skipping first period, but all I got were ten points deducted from Gryffindor and a lot of nasty looks from my housemates.
Then I decided to sit next to James in Charms class, and while it was a riot, as he charmed Sirius' hair to fall out, I am now clueless as to what our 'very important end of the year project' is. I figured Remus would probably know.
Things started to look up when Alice and Frank had a little disagreement in the hallway, but it ended with a makeout session that Sirius himself would have been embarrassed to witness.
When all that failed, I took my lunch hour to go visit Remus in the hospital wing and tell him that I'd successfully completed our project. Which I was rather proud of, in fact. All we had to do now was complete the practical portion of it. Which Remus would be doing. He says I've 'set his hair ablaze for the last time' every time we work. I say, if it bothers him that badly, then he can do it himself.
Madame Pomfrey let me in without a fuss this time, and I was pleasantly surprised to see that Remus was completely conscious and reading a book. That would be an oxymoron for anyone else, but for some whacked-up reason, Remus likes to read.
"Hi there," I said, seating myself in a chair across.
Remus looked up from his book. "Did you turn in the project?"
"What, no 'gee, hi Elsa, how are you?' 'oh, I'm fine' 'great, I'm quite lovely myself'?"
Remus chuckled. "I wasn't aware that was how our conversations usually went."
"Well where the hell have you been the past six years, then?"
"Waiting for Pomfrey to let me out of here, it feels like," Remus sighed.
"Yeah, I mean you look pretty good for someone who's just recently turned into a wereworlf. You still look like shit, but it's a good kind of shit."
"Oh, so I'm good-looking shit?"
"No. Don't even go there, man. Do you not remember the library?"
Remus blushed and I'm pretty sure I felt my ears get red.
"What do you mean unfortunately?" I asked, slightly outraged.
"I just mean, never mind. Ignore me."
Quick, think of something uplifting to say.
"I skipped first period today."
He shook his head. "Honestly, Elsa. Did you really have to? No? I didn't think so then. Muggle studies is an important class. It educates you."
"I thought that was the purpose of every class! Why should I treat this one any different?"
"I dunno, maybe you'll be some kind of muggle relations officer, or maybe you'll live in London. It's all important stuff to know, then isn't it?"
"First of all, no. And no. I'm completely content without knowing how to use a lawn mower," I retorted.
"Merlin help us all if you're ever groundskeeper."
"Merlin help me if I am."
Remus snorted. "I actually don't think I can imagine that."
I laughed. "I can't either. Oh, and I was wondering, do you know what our ridiculously important project in Charms is? I sat next to James today."
"Please! I just need one! That's it! Completely done after that, I promise!" I was practically on my knees in front of the Prewett twins, who seemed to be unsure about the essay I was requesting.
I'd nearly forgotten that I was supposed to turn in a defense against the dark arts essay tomorrow for Professor Airhead and while she may be dumb, she isn't dumb enough to fall for 'I'm pretty sure it was Mary's cat' excuse. I don't even know if that cat is still alive.
"We'll see what we can do, but it's kind of short notice," Gideon said.
"A whole scroll on defense? It's a lot of writing for just ten galleons," Fabian agreed.
I rolled my eyes. "Come on, it's not like you guys write those essays anyway. You pick on harmless first years- You know what, never mind."
I turned around and strode out of the Gryffindor common room. I needed to find Raffie. My guess was he would be at the pitch practicing, but all I needed was the Hufflepuff password.
Once I was out there, it occurred to me that Charity might not even be in the common room. Of course, I hadn't talked to Raffie in two weeks, so I figured I should drop by anyway. No matter how inconvenient.
I climbed up into the commentator's stand and grabbed the mic I was so familiar with. I cast the charm on it and yelled.
Raffie was scared shitless, apparently, because next thing I knew he was plummeting towards the ground.
I screamed like a ten year old and ran down from the stands faster than I knew I could run onto the pitch. My heart was pounding in my ears and I was trying to replay what had happened over and over in my head.
When I reached Raffie he was already surrounded by a cloud of people and I pushed my way through.
After finally making it to the front, I saw a pretty terrible sight.
I'd never felt more guilty.
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