With hindsight, our code-word sounds like we’re planning to sabotage Herbology.
Anyway, we started our diabolical plan that night. The first steps meant that Alice was trying to buddy up with the tomaytoes. And no, the ‘let’s say it like an American’ joke hasn’t got old yet, and I doubt it ever will. Alice drew the short straw because Lily refused to make friends, and as I’ve hit both of them at some point, I was able to cop out of it.
Lily and I crouched near the beds on our dorm, underneath James’ cloak (Lily used her wily charms on James while I nicked it). Surprisingly, seeing James with Lily is less disturbing than Remus with Libby, but I am firmly telling myself that it is because a) using love potion is banned, and b) I’ve developed a conscience, and not c) Alice is right.
Glad that is all sorted out.
Alice was lying on Libby’s bed with Jess, and Jess was on Libby’s bed. Lily and I were forced to communicate through elaborate mime due to our need for silence.
Jess was talking about a ‘gawwjus’ Hufflepuff she was currently dating in order to make Sirius jealous.
I doubt he has noticed.
“I’m so happy for you and Remus!” Alice gushed.
Libby smiled, and started to play with Alice’s (crew-cut) hair. It required serious effort to play with.
”Thanks,” she smiled. “I always knew we were meant to be together.”
“You make such a cute couple!” Alice said, adoringly.
She is worryingly good at this, I conveyed to Lily through raised eyebrows, shaking head and a thumb jerk at the beds.
Lily held up two fingers, pointed at Alice, and made claw fingers, and scrunched up her face. That looks like Alice is going to prematurely age. Lily made an exasperated face, and pointed behind her, and then went all rigid. Past tense! Alice has two older sisters!
I rock at charades.
“And you’re both so in love...” Alice trailed off wistfully.
“How are things with you and Frankieeee?” Jess asked, putting more stress on the ‘ee’ than should be legal and pulling long black extensions out of a drawer, measuring them to Alice’s head.
Lily and I exchanged horrified glances. If I was Alice, I’d be out of there. Now.
“Not so great...” Alice said. Woah! She was ad-libbing loads. Stick to the script! Keep on topic! “I just need something to spark it back up again, you know?”
OMFG. Alice is a genius. Lily and I silently screamed at each other.
“Have you thought about getting yourself a new man?” Libby said.
Yes, I heard they’re on sale in Hogsmeade.
“We always thought that James was a no-go, but he’s been with Eva, and now Lily. Seriously, how long is he going to stay with a ginger?” she continued.
I had to forcibly hold Lily down, with fierce shaking of the head and angry eyebrows.
“Fair point,” Alice said, with an anxious look about two feet left of where we were hidden. “But I’ve been with Frank ages, you know? I don’t want to give him up, not when I’ve put so much effort in... y’know?”
It's like breaking in a horse.
“We know,” said Libby and Jess together. They looked at each other very meaningfully. “Well, seeing as you need it, you can have some.”
“Some of what?” said Alice, trying to sound interested and at the same time edging away from the fake hair.
“Well, how else have we managed to stop Remus slobbering over Eva?”
WHAT? Why does everyone have the impression that Remus and I are practically soul-mates? I shoved Lily, as her ‘oh my god’ face was burning into the back of my head.
“Go on...” said Alice, looking evil.
Libby pulled out a tiny tiny bottle of what I could only assume was Amortentia. “A drop a day for total adoration.”
Alice held out her hands. “Gimme.”
Jess wagged her finger. “You have to be careful. Make sure he doesn’t know what it is when you give it him- Libbs gave it to Remus in his tea, and she’s going to put it in his tea every morning- and you have to make sure you are the first person he sees. We were told that some potions are specifically engineered to people, but this one is subjective.”
Jess looked very pleased with all the long words.
AND YESSS! NOW WE KNOW! HALLELUJAH!
Alice cradled the tiny flask like it was bottled heaven. In their minds, it probably is. “Why don’t you use it on Sirius?” she asked.
Jess looked haughty. “Sirius loves me. He just doesn’t know it. If going out with Gary doesn’t work, then we’ll resort to this.”
Libby gave a smug smile and looked at her watch. “Oh no! I’m late to meet Remus- bye girlies!” she blew kisses at Jess and Alice, and then Lily and I had to shuffle quickly out of the way.
Jess rolled her eyes at her twin. “She thinks she’s so special because Remus loves her.”
Alice’s face screwed up into what no doubt she thought was a sympathetic expression. “Aww, don’t worry Jessie!”
Jess pulled out another tiny bottle, and held it up to the light with an evil smile. “She’s not going to beat me.”
“Course she’s not!” but Alice’s voice wavered a little bit.
I had previously thought the twins were just stupid. I was wrong. They are stupid and immoral and mean.
She pulled half-heartedly at Alice’s new hair extensions. “I think... I think I’ll just go see Sirius.”
As soon as she left, Lily and I threw off the cloak to help. “Get them off get them off get them off!” begged Alice, and we managed to pull the weird hippogriff-hair things off her head.
“It’s like they’re actually alive.” I said, poking one gingerly with my wand.
“Dark magic,” Lily said sombrely. “Anyway, who is our priority? Remus or Sirius?”
Then, James burst into our dorm, getting a piggy-back from Mandy.
That is an ingenious way to get up the stairs, but we’re going to have to move his broom.
“That is child cruelty,” Alice rightly pointed out.
“So? Sirius has gone mad, and so has Remus, and you are having a slumber-party! Dammit, help me!” James looked positively feral. “AND YOU’VE NICKED MY INVISIBILITY CLOAK!”
“Shut up! We’re on it. We’re strong, independent women, and we are going to fix this,” Lily said decisively.
“How?” demanded James.
I rolled my eyes at him. “We’re working on it.”
The next morning, I was alarm clock, and we were all up at crack of dawn, hiding under tables in the Great Hall. The plan was to grab Remus and run before Libby force-fed him tea, and Sirius if we could manage it. But Remus was our priority, because frankly, Sirius was not doing anything he hadn’t done before.
To help with our (genius) plan, we had enlisted Mandy and Marlene as strong, independent women. Marlene was Sirius’ blonde Scottish Ravenclaw by the way, who understandably wasn’t best pleased with his sudden infatuation with Jess.
She did admit that it was very funny watching the two of them though. We found Marlene straight laughing in Sirius’ face last night when we went down to the common room. It was hard not to, when you saw them falling over themselves trying to please the twins. Sirius was pulling out chairs and plumping pillows for Jess, and constantly checking his appearance in my handheld mirror he stole.
Remus was content to lie back and let Libby play with his hair, but then she was brushing it with her wand and it just kept getting longer. When it reached halfway down his back, he just flicked it, giggled and started to plait it with Libby’s hair. So they were joined.
So yeah, we were hiding under the table, and it was very cramped. I suddenly got déjà vu and expected to see James cursing Sirius. And then! Feet came into the Hall.
We all jumped out from underneath the table and yelled various battle cries-
-and saw Professors Sharpe and McGonagall pouring themselves tea.
McGonagall fixed us all with a steely glare as we mumbled apologies and shuffled our feet, before regally sweeping out the Hall.
“As you were,” Sharpe said with a salute, grinning, and followed her out.
We all quickly got back under the table, and we’d barely settled before more feet came in.
“Okay,” said Marlene, who was quickly becoming one of my favourite people on this earth. “ATTACK!”
“DIE KILLER TO-MAY-TOES!” was my choice of war whoop.
It was worth everything, shouting that.
Libby freaked out completely, and I think she shouted ‘TRAITOR!’ in Alice’s general direction, but it was very hard to tell with all the battle noises. Remus looked like a rabbit caught in headlights, and but he was grabbed by myself, Mandy and Marlene and towed away while Lily checked that no Amortentia was in any drinks and Alice squared up to Libby, stopping her from following us.
We pulled Remus into the nearest girls’ bathroom and chucked a bucket of water in his face. I’ll have you know, that we were so organised that we put the bucket in there. Booyah!
Lily had told us that the water wasn’t necessary, but it was fun. All we really had to do was keep Remus and Libby apart until the potion wore off. Eventually, halfway through our first lesson –Mandy informed us that she’d never skipped a lesson before- Remus suddenly groaned.
He’d stopped trying to escape about half an hour ago, and now he sat with his head in his hands.
“Remus?” I asked gently. “Are you back?”
“Urrrrrgh. I cannot believe it.”
“I think he is,” said Marlene, and high-fived Mandy and me. “Good work, women. Do you think Alice and Lily have caught Sirius?”
It’s like they’re animals. And then Lily came in, with Alice, and a blindfolded Sirius.
“Ssh!” Lily begged, but Sirius had turned his head towards the noise, and made a pucker-up face. “Jessie-poo? Is that youuu?”
Remus looked aghast. “Is that what I was like?”
“No,” said Marlene bluntly. “You were worse.”
She grabbed Sirius’ hand. “Where’s the twins?”
“In their lesson with Flitwick,” Alice said proudly. “We tricked them in the class, and then ran away.”
“Great, I’ll take lover-boy to our common-room then,” said Marlene, “The twins will never manage the password.”
She gently led him out, like he was a heavily pregnant giraffe or something.
Then Lily turned all prefect. “Mandy, you should get to your lesson- I’ll walk you there and you won’t get into trouble.”
Alice stood up too. “Yeah... I’m going to find Frank.”
I scowled at Alice. I’ll kill her later. I see what she’s trying to do.
They all left, and I was left awkwardly with Remus.
And then Alice popped her head back around. “And you should probably go somewhere where demon twins won’t find you, because it’s second lesson in about six minutes and they will be on the warpath.”
Remus stood up to go, and I followed. Oh God, this was awkward. Please tell me it’s not going to be this awkward all the time?
He led the way to the Room of Requirement, but stopped in front of it. “Do you want your room?”
“Ahh... not really. Not after you and Libby yesterday.”
His eyes widened. “Oh Merlin, I’m so sorry. You looked so awkward!”
I nervously laughed. “I think my room feels violated.”
“Do you want to see my room?” he asked suddenly. “I’ve seen yours.”
He walked (very quickly) up and down, three times, and then a tiny, unobtrusive door appeared, looking like the entrance to the Shrieking Shack.
“Oh shut up and get inside, before we’re swamped by tiny children and demonic twins.”
“Not all twins are demonic.”
“They are. Trust me.”
“What if I said I was half a twin?”
“My point exactly. Exhibit A: you, this morning.”
“That was to save you. What about Lily? No... Alice? No... James? Definitely not... We don’t have any normal friends, do we?”
“It’s unfortunate, but true. Anyway, what do you think?”
Seeing someone else’s room was really weird, like you’ve got a peek at inside their mind. Remus had already seen mine, (so had Libby) and James was pretty comfortable with it too, but I’d not seen anyone else’s.
Remus’ was so much more personal. One wall was half drawn on in black marker pen, with sketches of dragons and broomsticks and cauldrons, with the Marauders and the girls. There was a picture of the Whomping Willow, a werewolf mid-way transforming, as well as intricate drawings of flowers, a sketch of the sun rising over Hogwarts, the teacher’s table in the Great Hall, and the giant squid languishing in a top corner, his tentacles lazily thrown out over the wall. More recent ones were drawn in coloured pens; me, the tree down by the water, a lion.
There were books –of course there were- and a desk, and a Muggle stereo. There was a long wooden bench which stretched across the room, the floor was a dark polished wood, and there were papers everywhere, filled with drawings.
“I didn’t know you drew so much...” I said wonderstruck. It was a totally inadequate response to the fantastic artwork everywhere.
“Do you like it?” he said, closing the door just as the bell went.
Remus smiled, and went into a cupboard to pull out some cushions.
“It’s supposed to be the Room of Requirement,” he said wryly, “but no actual comfortable seats ever appear in my room, so we’ll have to make do with blankets and cushions.”
I picked up a sheaf of parchment and started to flick through it- then stopped on a drawing of the Slytherins common room. Frank, Sirius, James, Regulus, Malfoy and Bellatrix- he’d captured them all perfectly. And then there was me. It was just as I wanted to go and kill Malfoy with my bare hands, but Remus had seen it and stopped me.
He’d drawn in his restraining hand on my arm, and I looked weird.
Not weird as in ‘Remus is a crap artist’, but I had never seen myself that way before. It was surreal, like when you’re in a changing room with all the different mirror angles and you think, ‘wow, from that angle I have a really bony elbow’ or something. You never usually see your elbow, and elbows are known for their boniness, so it doesn’t really matter-
But I looked scary. There was this gleam in my eye which was totally unfamiliar and the way I was sitting- half-kneeling like in prayer, but from the rigidness of my body you could tell I was seriously angry.
“What are you looking at?”
I flicked to the next sheet quickly. “Er... Mrs Norris,” I said, holding up a caricature of a cat winding itself around some very skinny ankles.
I went to sit down with Remus on the floor, leaning against the wall with drawings. What struck me most was the emptiness of the room, and the darkness. It was like something was missing from Remus’ room. It was too big, and it didn’t have enough in it to fill it. Remus’ drawings were only thin paper. My room had stones from the beach and one of those jars layered with sand and shingle, train-tickets of everywhere I’ve been and stuffed toys and a suitcase in the corner which I hadn’t looked in but I knew what it was. It was the suitcase I packed when my mother remarried and I convinced myself –aged nine- that mum didn’t need me anymore, so I planned to run away with my toy koala bear, a packet of digestives I had nicked from the kitchen and bits of string I’d picked up.
My room was filled with memories, some I wanted to forget, some I was glad to have. Stuff that made me who I am. Remus’ looked like he was just getting started- like the red and blue and green pens. He was just starting to colour himself.
Remus was lying back on some pillows, and I laid back too, and looked up at the high, vaulted ceiling.
“I could have a skylight,” he said, sketching it on the ceiling with an outstretched finger, and as he did so, the ceiling shimmered and transformed into the blue sky outside, clouds scudding across the tiny pane.
“That looks good,” he said, satisfied. “It adds colour.”
A/N: Thank you for reading, and please please review! What do you think of Remus' room? How much do you love Marlene? What's going to happen next? Any other thoughts? Do share!
All credit for 'Attack of the Killer Tomatoes' goes to Four Square Productions.
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