Chapter 8 : Brotherly Love
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“Mate, are you sure you’re not a girl?” Sirius asked, earning himself a smack on the back of the head via James.
“Don’t be mean to him, Padfoot,” James scolded, a smile tugging at the corners of his mouth. “We all know that you’re the real girl.”
“Just because I attract them doesn’t mean I’m one of them,” Sirius countered. “You’re just jealous that I’m the one who gets all the ladies.” It was true. It seemed that Sirius had a way of wooing girls without even trying. He and James explained about how Sirius had gotten a whole list of telephone numbers from girls during his stay at James’ house. “Too bad I don’t know how telephones work,” Sirius sighed. “They were all very pretty girls. And they were muggles, which would have really made my mum angry.” Just then, a group of Hufflepuff girls walked by the compartment they were sitting in, gazing at Sirius and giggling uncontrollably when he winked at them.
“What’s your secret, mate?” James asked enviously, watching as Lilly and Severus walked by.
“I don’t have one. Guess they just like me for my body,” Sirius joked, and he once again was slapped across the back of the head, this time by Remus.
“Don’t be so full of yourself,” Remus laughed, rolling his eyes. In truth, he was jealous of Sirius’ ease at flirting with girls. He always got flustered when a girl so much as smiled at him, causing him to blush madly and stumble over his words when he tried to speak.
“Hey, Moony, I think she’s looking at you,” Sirius said, sounding surprised as he stared at a very pretty girl who was walking past their compartment. Indeed, when Remus looked up, they made instant eye contact. The girl blushed and looked down at her feet at the same time Remus did the same.
“She was pretty,” Peter whispered excitedly. “You should go talk to her!”
“She probably doesn’t even like me,” Remus muttered, his blush deepening.
“With the way she was staring at you? There’s no way she can’t like you,” Sirius disagreed, shaking his head. “And she was blonde, too, mate! You can’t beat that!”
“I wouldn’t know what to say,” Remus sighed.
“Say, ‘Hey, I’m Remus Lupin, here to be your lover.’ It’ll work. Trust me,” Sirius offered, trying and not succeeding to keep a straight face.
“Ha ha, you’re so funny,” Remus said sarcastically. “Seriously, I have no chance. I’m not like you, Padfoot. I just can’t talk to girls like you can.”
“So don’t talk to her like Sirius can. Talk to her like you can! She obviously likes you more than Sirius, anyway,” James laughed, earning an elbow being jabbed into his ribs by Sirius.
“I don’t know...” Remus said hesitantly.
“Go on, mate, live a little!” Sirius urged. “Have a little fun! Get yourself a girlfriend!”
“Fine, fine,” Remus said, standing up and walking out of the compartment, heading in the direction the girl had gone. He found her standing in the corridor, talking to one of her friends. As Remus approached, the girl’s friend noticed him and whispered in the girl’s ear, giggling. She then waved at Remus and walked away, leaving Remus alone with the girl. “Err... Hi, I’m Remus Lupin,” Remus said, sticking out his hand for her to shake.
“I’m Bethany Jordans. I was in your Defense Against the Dark Arts class last year,” Bethany introduced, shaking Remus’ hand.
“Ah, so you’re a Ravenclaw?” he asked. “I always liked Ravenclaws. Second best house, next to Gryffindor, of course.”
“No, you’re mistaken. Ravenclaw is definitely the best house,” Bethany disagreed jokingly. “We’ve got brains rather than brawn.”
“Do I look like someone with brawn to you?” Remus laughed. He held up his skinny arm, which had close to no muscle on it.
“I’m sure you’ve just got to grow into it,” Bethany said with a wink. “After all, girls mature faster than boys, so even though I’m obviously more advanced than you, you’re sure to catch up soon.”
“More advanced?” Remus asked with a snort. “Unless you’re talking about your ability to make snide comments about my obvious weakness, I don’t see much advancement about you.”
“Well, then, I guess you’ll just have to get to know me better,” Bethany offered, flipping her long, blonde hair off her shoulder and fluttering her eyelids flirtatiously over her sapphire blue eyes. “How about on the first Hogsmeade trip of the year?”
“Like a date?” Remus asked nervously.
“Yes, silly, like a date,” Bethany sighed. Remus bit his lip. After all of the problems with the dark wizards killing muggles and wizards alike, his mother had refused to sign his Hogsmeade permission form.
However, Remus refused to let that stop him, so he gave Bethany his best marauder smile (which seemed to have an excellent affect on her) and said, “Sure, that sounds great. I’ll see you around, Bethany.” He then turned and walked back to the compartment, where his friends were watching him carefully.
“So...?” James prompted.
“So what?” Remus asked innocently.
“So what happened, you git?” Sirius asked excitedly.
“Well, I’ve got a date for the first Hogsmeade trip of the year,” Remus said, and his friends whooped and hollered happily.
“I knew you had it in you, mate!” James congratulated him.
“A blonde! I can’t believe you landed a blonde!” Sirius said, shaking his head in disbelief.
“I’m impressed,” Peter admitted. “I could never talk to a girl.”
Remus sighed and sat down. “Only problem is, my mum wouldn’t sign my permission form. What am I going to do?”
“Just use one of the secret passages out of the school. We’ve found seven already, counting the one you claim leads from the Whomping Willow to the Shrieking Shack. I’ll let you borrow the Invisibility Cloak,” James offered.
“A blonde!” Sirius exclaimed once again. Remus got the feeling that Sirius wasn’t really paying attention to the conversation at the moment.
“I guess I can do that,” Remus agreed with a nod. “It can’t be that hard to sneak out of Hogwarts, right?”
“That’s the spirit, mate!” James said happily.
“A blonde—oomph!” Sirius grunted as Remus elbowed him in the ribs. “Bloody hell, would people please stop hurting me today?”
“Stop acting like a bloody oaf, then!” James laughed.
Sirius was on his best behavior for the rest of the train ride, obviously determined to remain bruise-free. When the Express finally came to a halt at Hogsmeade Station, Remus leapt to his feet nervously and tried to get his bag down off the luggage rack. However, his hands were shaking so hard with nervousness that he accidentally dropped the bag right on Sirius’ head.
“Ouch!” Sirius shouted, tumbling to the ground in pain.
“Sorry!” Remus said hurriedly, picking the bag up off the ground as James and Peter helped Sirius stand up.
“What’s the matter with you, Moony?” Sirius asked as the rubbed the top of his head.
Remus hesitated before saying, “What if I see Bethany? What do I say?”
“Well, you landed a date with her. Talking to her shouldn’t be that hard, right?” James offered.
“I don’t know, talking to girls can be pretty scary,” Peter said, his voice cracking with fear at the mere thought of talking to a girl.
“They’re girls, not giants! Come on, mate, you’ll be fine. If she really likes you, you have nothing to worry about.” Sirius looked out the compartment doors at the corridor filled with students pushing and shoving their way off the train. “Now, let’s go before we’re left behind.”
They made their way into the crowded corridor and followed their peers out onto the platform, where Hagrid stood with a lantern and his boarhound, Fang, waiting to lead the first years to the boats that would take them to Hogwarts. As the Marauders headed to the carriages pulled by invisible horses that would take the rest of the students to the school, someone knocked into Sirius’ shoulder... hard.
“Oh, sorry, brother,” Regulus said with a sneer. “I didn’t see you there. In fact, I haven’t seen you since last year. Too busy hanging out with your blood-traitor friends?”
Sirius looked stunned, as if he didn’t know what to say. Last year Regulus had barely spoken to him, and now he was suddenly a bully? James spoke up in defense of his friend.
“Buzz off, Regulus,” he said angrily. “Go bother someone who actually cares about what you think.”
“Ah, see, you’re one of the blood-traitor friends I was talking about.”
“He said get out of here, Regulus,” Remus spoke up. “Leave before someone gets hurt.”
“Oh, don’t worry, I’d never hurt you. I don’t like to get my hands dirty like that,” Regulus sighed.
“Well, good thing we don’t have the same reservations,” James growled, while Peter gazed at him in horror.
“Just drop it, you guys,” Sirius finally spoke up, not looking at Regulus. “Let’s go.”
“Potter,” a slimy voice spoke up, and Remus winced. Great. As if they needed him here at a time like this.
“What, Snivillus?” James snapped, turning to face Severus. Lilly was standing behind him, looking as if she wanted nothing more to be as far away from this confrontation as possible.
“Now, now, you don’t have to be harsh with me,” Severus soothed. “I just wanted to make sure you weren’t mistreating Regulus, here.”
“Well then, no need to get your knickers in a twist, Snape,” Sirius said curtly. “If anything, he’s mistreating us.”
“I highly doubt that,” Severus said shortly. “Come along,” he said, turning to Regulus. “Rodolphus wants to meet with us before the feast. He says it’s urgent.”
“Well, then, you must run along,” Sirius said in a mocking voice. “You mustn’t keep dear Rodolphus waiting, after all.”
“Go to hell,” Regulus snapped before following after Severus. Lilly cast a guilty look to the Marauders before jogging after Severus.
“It’s like she’s his puppy,” James griped as they got into a carriage. “Following him around, not speaking up for anyone he badmouths...”
“She’ll learn that you’re the better choice for her, someday,” Remus assured him.
“And besides, it’s not like Snivillus is a very likeable person,” Sirius added. “She’ll see the light soon, don’t you worry.”
“Yeah, I guess so.”
“And look on the bright side of things, mate,” Remus added.
“What’s that?” James asked.
Remus paused for a second, and then said, “Hold on, let me think of one.” That gave the Marauders a good laugh.
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