Chapter 2 : Plotting Revenge
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Once again, a huge thank you to I Am Frank at the Sands @TDA
That would be two of my best friends attempting to decapitate one another.
“I. Hate. You. Sirius. Black.” Lily screeched, bringing Magical Herbs and Where to Find Them down on his head with each word.
“I was just complementing your hair,” Sirius smirked, raising his hands to deflect the barrage of violent blows. “Although, I must say, it doesn’t smell as nice as it normally does.” Of course, he had to tie an insult in somewhere.
“Maybe it would smell nicer if you hadn’t broken every single shower in the girls’ locker room,” Lily replied loudly, attracting stares from our fellow Gryffindors. Lily was still dressed in her filthy, mud-caked Quidditch robes, which, to be completely honest, didn’t exactly smell like a bouquet of freshly cut flowers. Lily brought the book down on his head one last time for good measure.
“Gee, Lils, it was nothing personal. I might even be able to help,” Sirius said with a lazy flick of his wand.
***A Word to the Wise***
Never mess with Lily Evans unless you have prepared yourself for public humiliation. Sirius, evidently, had chosen the public humiliation route.
Lily shrieked in a high-pitched voice that I was previously not aware was humanly possible when she noticed her bubblegum pink hair. Sirius, evidently, did not learn from his mistakes. And now, it was time for Lily’s “You-do-not-have-permission-to-turn-my-hair-a-hideous-pink” speech which was repeated on nearly a daily basis. I swear Lily had cue cards or something, because it was the same speech every single day, and I had it memorized at this point:
I do not appreciate walking around with a pink afro, thank you very much. I can’t believe you would resort to such-
“Childish activities.” Damn, I’m good. While Lily continues to lecture Sirius while simultaneously beating him to a pulp (go Lily!), I’ll give you a little insight on the seventh year Gryffindor students that were currently lounging by the fire. Rather, fighting by the fire.
Let’s start with myself, shall we? Remus Lupin’s the name. My exceptionally pale skin is dotted with freckles, which stand out like a ski coat in July. My pale, blue eyes supposedly changed with my mood. I’m from a poor, pureblood family with barely enough food to go around. I’m one of three children, the middle one. Neil was five years older than I, and he moved out the day he graduated from Hogwarts. He currently is some Ministry big-shot who makes a six figure salary, lives in an upscale house, and hasn’t sent us so much as a sickle since he acquired the position. I can assure you, in all of my fifteen years, I have never had two galleons to rub together.
***Neil Lupin’s Insight on the World Around Him***
Everyone can earn a living, they just lack motivation. And those who succumb to laziness can suffer through an impoverished lifestyle.
My younger brother, Fred, started Hogwarts this year. He was sweet, loving, and caring. He, unlike Neil, was able to look past my...uh...furry little problem.
An earlier encounter with Fenrir Greyback has left me scarred, both literally and metaphorically. There’s no on to blame for the incident, although any might argue otherwise. Once a month, I undergo the painful transformation from within the confinement of the Shrieking Shack. Ever since James, Sirius, and Peter discovered the cause of my strange disappearances (I went to an unspecified aunt’s funeral seven times. Maybe I have a lot of aunts, okay?), they had insisted upon accompanying me every month on my moonlight nightmare. Those who are aware of my condition are few and far between, and I’d like to keep it that way.
Then, of course, there was James, who had decided on our first train ride to Hogwarts to torture me into befriending him. I was fairly shy at the time, and James believed a bowl of mashed potatoes to the face would forge an immediate relationship between the pair of us. Why, might you ask, would the popular and handsome James Potter want to be friends with someone like me, who could have been classified as socially awkward at the time? The answer to that, my friends, has escaped me for the past seven years. James, with his luminescent, brown eyes, untidy mess of black hair that constantly stood up in the back could make any girl fall head over heels for him. Any girl but Lily Evans.
And that brings me to the lovely, hot-tempered, red-head who is currently attempting to maul Sirius with his broom servicing kit, which will evidently lead to a slow, painful death. She's been at the top of our class since our first year. Poor Lily has spent the past seven years being harrassed by Sirius and proposed to by James. No wonder she's attacking him so violently at the moment.
And now, to Sirius Black, one of my best friends, yet worst influences. He was James’ partner in crime since they were two. The thought of a mini James and Sirius running around and wreaking havoc is rather frightening.
***One of his earliest adventures with James***
The constantly recounted tale involved...
and the Minister of Magic.
You’re probably wondering what the hell Sirius was thinking when he dropped the chandelier on the Minister’s head. And the answer, in its simplest form, is absolutely nothing at all. He’s claimed that he was merely exercising his God-given right to stupidity. I have failed to remember an occasion when Sirius’ idiotic behavior has procured relatively beneficial results.
Sirius, like James, was a Hogwarts celebrity. Girls fawned over him like there was no tomorrow. He was quite the playboy and had a different girlfriend each week. I’m not positive whether it was his Quidditch talent, good looks, or his charm which barely exceeded that of a dead slug, but he was classified as popular, or, when it came to girls, “hot,” which Sirius protested was short for “His Royal Hotness.” God, why do we have to create an abbreviation for every phrase longer than two syllables?
And lastly, there’s Peter. If you look up the word “pariah” in the dictionary, you’ll find a picture of Peter Pettigrew. He was one of seven children and lived in a shabby apartment on Knockturn Alley.
***The Living Conditions in Knockturn Alley***
The apartments there weren’t of five-star quality. Unless you were in the mood to be kidnapped, never venture outside after about 7:00 p.m.
The stout boy was constantly fidgeting with his hands or pushing his matted, dirty blond hair out of his eyes. He struggled with just about everything, from putting his shoes on the correct feet to studying for exams. I almost waited for ensuing catastrophes at this point.
***A General Rule of Thumb***
When in doubt, Peter Pettigrew.
And now, back to my dearest acquaintances, who are getting along marvelously.
“Sirius Black, you have five seconds to fix it,” Lily spat in disgust.
“Sorry. I seem to have forgotten the counter-curse.”
With that, Lily tossed the broom servicing kit over her shoulder, causing a few first years to dive out of the way while she lunged at Sirius. Laura and I exchanged a glance as the two continued to fight. Laura and Lily had been practically attached at the hip ever since they met on the train in our first year. Laura and Sirius constantly fought with one another, but, for a change, Laura was sitting in an armchair, watching the action unfold.
Lily's hair was now sticking up and her face was bright red. She managed to punch Siriusin the nose before the pair were pulled apart, Laura restraining Lily and myself grappling with Sirius.
“Let go of me, Remus,” Sirius snarled, attempting to break free of my grasp.
“Cut it out,” James said, looking up from his book for the first time throughout the entire encounter. “We have a match in three days, seven hours, forty-nine minutes, and fifty-three seconds, and we’re going to need seven fully functional players if we have any hopes of winning. This is one match that we cannot afford to lose,” he concluded as blood began spurting from Sirius’ nose, which was, presumably, broken.
“Get off,” Lily demanded, struggling to free herself. “Black deserves it. He’s being an obnoxious, arrogant, bigheaded-”
“Would you care for a thesaurus?” Sirius asked politely.
“To beat some sense into you? Absolutely,” she replied.
“No, you appear to be running out of insulting adjectives to describe me.”
“Enough,” James interjected, getting to his feet and standing between the two of them. “Remus, would you kindly escort Sirius to the hospital wing?”
I nodded, and, seizing Sirius by the forearm, dragged him out of the common room.
“I hate the hospital wing,” Sirius muttered.
“You should have though of that before you hexed Lily. If you’re lucky, you’ll get to spend the night,” I added, relaxing my grip on his arm.
“Could we go to the kitchens instead?”
“The Great Hall?”
“The Shrieking Shack?”
***Sirius Black’s Strange Aversion to the Hospital Wing***
Every time Sirius visited the hospital wing, he created a list of 100 ways that Madam Pomfrey was attempting to kill him. The cause of his abnormal fear of the hospital wing had never made itself apparent, and it would, most likely, remain that way.
We continued walking in silence until we reached the large double doors of the hospital wing. Giving Sirius a small shove, we entered, and my senses were immediately overwhelmed by that all too familiar scent of antiseptic. Madam Pomfrey was handing a second year a cup of green, smoking liquid when we entered. Her head snapped up upon our arrival.
She took in Sirius’ blood-covered face for a moment before she spoke. “Mr. Black. Back for another visit?” she asked, beckoning him over to an empty bed. “It was finally starting to settle down in here. Should I even ask what happened this time, Mr. Black?”
“An act of violence committed by a fellow student,” Sirius replied, failing to mention the “act of violence” was inflicted upon him by a girl. Typical Sirius.
An hour later, the pair of us had rejoined James and Peter in the common room, Sirius with a bandaged nose, and I with orders to keep him out of further trouble.
“That went well,” Sirius muttered, who was sprawled out on the floor before the fire.
“I don’t understand why she keeps rejecting me,” James said, whose face was still bright red. He had just returned from asking Lily out, and the answer, unsurprisingly, was a slap across the face.
“Oh, I dunno, maybe she was hoping you will finally get the message that she has no interest in wasting a perfectly good Hogsmeade weekend on a prat like yourself,” Sirius suggested, flinging his potions textbook across the room. “Remus, are you sure I can’t borrow your homework?” he whined.
“Positive,” I replied, before turning to James, who looked like he was about to burst out in tears at any second. “She’s already going out with Snape.”
“Lily’s dating Snape,” Peter piped up, shrinking back from the death glare James sent him.
“Since when?” James asked, horrorstruck.
“Since the start of term,” Sirius said. “She spent the entire summer at his place.”
“B-but,” James spluttered. “They stopped talking after Snape called her a mudblood in our fifth year.”
“Snape apologized to her every other day, and she finally forgave him,” I responded when no one else spoke. “Sorry, mate, I thought you knew.”
Several uncomfortable, silent minutes later, James stood up abruptly, managing to knock over the armchair in the process, and stormed up to the boys’ dorm, making sure to slam the door behind him. Thankfully, I had spoken to Professor Chittock, the charms instructor, just last week about James’ enraged tendency to slam doors. Together, the two of us scoured nearly every book in Hogwarts’ extensive library until we had located a spell which would prevent the door from cracking in half every time James lost his temper. The lack of the usual, steady string of curse words informed me that the spell had, in fact, been effective.
James skipped dinner that night, and Peter had detention, so Sirius and I walked down to dinner alone. For the entire twenty minutes that we were there, Sirius’ eyes were glued to a Ravenclaw girl whom I assumed was in our year. Whenever I spoke, he nodded absentmindedly, not bothering to so much as glance in my direction. Sirius was about five seconds away from throwing himself down on his knees, and, in his best opera voice, proclaiming his undying love for the Ravenclaw girl. I told him he should probably learn her name first as I, quite literally, pushed him out of the Great Hall. Those are the occasions when I just want to look the other way and deny any knowledge that a person named Sirius Black even existed.
When we climbed through the portrait hole, we almost collided with James, who had been pacing back and forth on the other side, impatiently waiting for our return. During our absence, he had hatched a plan. A plan of revenge.
***A Quick Note About James Potter’s Infamous Plans***
1. Failed miserably
2. Succeeded Flawlessly
And that is how I found myself strapped to an oak tree, clutching a bottle of Lily’s “Shine Enhancing” shampoo, and praying that the entire length of my body was still covered by James’ invisibility cloak. James, Sirius, and I were perched on one of the lower branches in anticipation of the arrival of two specific people.
Lily collapsed beneath the old oak tree, drew her knees up to her chest, and gazed out over the lake where the Giant Squid was sluggishly swimming. I felt my heart drop when she let out a small sob. An elbow to the ribs from one of my cohorts alerted me that the second person of the aforesaid duo had arrived, concern clouding his features.
“What’s wrong, Lily?” came Snape’s nasally voice.
“Just Black and Potter up to their usual antics. I-I thought they’d act a b-bit more m-mature this year,” Lily admitted, as Severus sat down beside her, placing a protective arm around her shoulders. James tensed up so suddenly that he almost tumbled out of the tree.
“Sounds like the pair need to learn a lesson or two. And their geeky friend, too. What is it - Reynie?”
“It’s Remus, and n-no, you don’t need to go b-beat anyone up. I just let them g-get to me t-today.”
They sat in silence for several minutes, watching the sun as it began to sink, its orange and yellow rays reflected on the lake.
***A Note From the Trio in the Tree***
Trees do not typically have a habit of sneezing.
So when Sirius did sneeze, Lily and Severus jumped and stared up at the tree.
“Probably just a squirrel,” Lily said, letting her eyes return to the pink, orange, and red streaked horizon. The silence resumed once more.
“I was wondering if you wanted to go to the Yule Ball with me?” Snape asked, breaking the silence. “Unless, of course, you’re already going with someone.” Out of the corner of my eye, I could see James’ face growing redder by the second.
“I’m not going with anyone yet. Potter did ask, though. Of course I’ll go with you, Sev,” Lily replied, wrapping her arms around his neck and drawing him closer. Their lips met. A brief, lingering kiss. They broke apart, wrapped in each others arms, savoring the moment.
That was when there was a crack from the tree above them, followed by an entourage of thick, foamy liquid. James’ temper had finally snapped and he seized the shampoo bottle, emptying its entire contents on the couple below us.
***The Conversation that Ensued***
“We noticed your hair could use a washing, Snivellus, so we decided to help you out,”
“Potter, you are so dead!”
“Really? And how, pray, do you plan to murder someone you can’t see?”
“I hate you, Potter.”
Lily wiped globs of shampoo out of her eyes and helped Snape to his feet. “For all I care, you can go rot in hell. And no, I don’t want a postcard,” she added, before storming off toward the castle, arm-in-arm with Severus.
“That went magnificently,” Sirius said, once the pair were out of earshot. “How exactly did we benefit from that again?”
***A Note From the Author***
So, there you have it: the revised chapter one. I don’t even remember how many times this chapter title has changed, or how many different versions I have saved on my computer. Let’s put it this way: I have more than 10 drafts.
Please take thirty seconds to review and let me know what you think. Love it? Hate it? All of the above? None of the above? All feedback is greatly appreciated!
***The Yule Ball, Part I - A Sneak Peak!***
“I’ll see you tonight,” I managed to say before darting out of the library. I had one destination: the hospital wing. The full moon was only two nights away, and I could already feel the effects of the illness associated with the transformation. It always began with a headache, which grew gradually worse as the dreaded evening approached. Coughing, nausea, and dizziness ensued, followed by a fever and lack of appetite. Lastly came the weakness and fainting. There were some equally unpleasant after-effects, as well.
I staggered up four flights of stairs and through the hospital wing doors. Madam Pomfrey looked up from where she was folding linens as I clutched at the doorframe for support. My heart was pounding and each breath caused excruciating pain. I was relieved the hospital wing was otherwise empty. Madam Pomfrey dropped a pillowcase and rushed to my side. With her assistance, I managed to hobble to my usual bed in the back corner before collapsing from the effort. Bile rose in my throat as I struggled to draw another breath.
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