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Inferior by luvinpadfoot
Chapter 2 : Chapter Two
 
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 Chapter Two


Mina decided not to tell Lily about the dung bombs. She shot looks over at the Slytherin table where Severus was eating with Mulciber and Avery. She thought about warning him, but they hadn’t spoken in over a year. It would be too awkward.

The Gryffindors were still celebrating over their Quidditch win two days before. Mina had avoided most of the celebrations as they centered around James Potter, Captain and star chaser of the team. He was one step short of having a fan club.

Lily used to think the same way, but now she was as bad as the rest of them. She hung onto Potter’s every word as he retold the story of how he scored the winning points. She was sitting with him over breakfast, which was why Mina was alone.

The Marauders, as they so arrogantly called themselves, were sitting at the end of the table with their girlfriends. Mina felt nauseous every time she saw Lily laugh at something Black said. It was like their whole history with the Gryffindor blokes had been erased from Lily’s mind entirely.

Half of the Great Hall seemed to be looking at the Marauders enviously. Mina knew it was probably her imagination, not everyone wanted to be them. They had nearly as many enemies as they did friends, especially in the Slytherin House.

Mina glanced back over at Severus and was surprised to see him scowling in Lily’s direction. He’d always fancied her a bit, but Lily never seemed to notice. It must have added insult to injury to see Lily with his worst enemy.

She kept an eye on her watch until she could go to Transfiguration without being obscenely early. Still, by the time she got there only a few other students were in the room. Mina set up at her desk where she sat alone ever since Lily started sitting with James.

The only decent thing about the situation was that she wasn’t the only person in the class sitting on her own. Two Ravenclaws both had desks to themselves and the Marauders squeezed in three at a desk. McGonagall was fine with wherever they sat as long as they were relatively quiet.

The rest of the class drifted in and began pulling out their homework from the night before. The Marauders were, predictably, the last into the room, showing up just before McGonagall arrived. They were rarely late anymore, but Mina guessed that was Lily’s doing. She wouldn’t let anything, not even a relationship with James Potter, get in the way of her perfect marks.

McGonagall waved her wand without a word and instructions appeared on the board, much like in Potions class. “Human transfigurations today, you’ll need a partner.”

Mina cringed. Partner work was fine when she’d had Lily by her side, but now Lily was already whispering something in James’s ear. One of the Ravenclaws joined the other’s table and the three Marauders made no effort to move.

She was left alone at her table, keeping her eyes glued to the coarse wood. There was a chance, just a slim one, that McGonagall would overlook her. Mina shrunk down in her chair hoping that it would help. “Miss Sherwood, you cannot practice these spells on your own!” McGonagall eyed her through narrowed eyes. “Mr. Black, please join her over here.”

Mina’s face reddened. Of all the Marauders to be stuck with it had to be Black? Lupin wasn’t all that bad on his own. Why couldn’t he have been the one assigned to work with her?

“But Professor-” Black protested before McGonagall sent him a scathing look.

“When I want your opinion I will ask for it,” she said tensely. “Now move.”

He picked up his back and books and carried them over to Mina’s desk. His friends sent him sympathetic looks as he did so. McGonagall explained the spell, something from the previous year that Mina hadn’t quite managed to grasp. They were supposed to be growing facial hair on their partners, but nonverbally.

“So can we get this over with?” Black asked, pulling out his wand. It was made of a wood so dark it was almost black and about twice as thick as Mina’s own wand. She gripped it tightly and nodded, not meeting Black’s gaze. “Fine, I’ll start.”

He raised his wand and Mina felt an instant tickling sensation on her face before hair began sprouting out. It grew until it was long enough for her to see that it matched her dirty blond hair exactly. Black was talented with spell work even if he didn’t care, something that only made Mina more disgusted with him.

He was one of the few to get the spell right on his first try, but most pairs had at least a little hair grown in various colors. “Nice mustache,” Black said with a smirk. “Your turn.”

Mina lifted her wand shakily and pointed it at his face, repeating the incantation over and over again in her head. Nothing happened, not even a light wisp of a beard. “Come on,” she murmured, holding her wand so tight her knuckles began to turn white. “Come on.”

“Merlin, Sherwood, it’s not that difficult,” Black said in an exasperated tone as he rolled his eyes. “Just give me thicker eyebrows or something.”

Mina nodded, but now she was so nervous she couldn’t focus on the spell. She’d like nothing better than to cover his whole face with thick hair, prove to him that she was just as good as him, but she couldn’t even do something as simple as make his eyebrows thicker.

“Whisper the spell if you’ve got to,” he said when nothing happened. “Just- Merlin! Do something!”

Just about everyone in the room had grown copious amounts of facial hair in the forms of mustaches, beards, and eyebrows that grew to their shoulders. Most people were laughing, having a fun time with the project. Lily and James had gotten fancy, giving each other handlebar mustaches perfectly styled.

Mina was close to tears- or a panic attack. “I can’t.”

“It’s just a simple growth spell. We learned this last year. Merlin!” Black threw up his hands and turned away from her. “How did you even get in this class?” Mina’s eyes welled up. An insult from Black of all people shouldn’t have hurt her feelings, but it did.

They sat sullenly without speaking to each other for the rest of class and Mina put down her wand, only using it to remove the bear and mustache Black had given her. He bolted the moment the bell rang, joining his friends in the doorway. He gestured back at her and rolled his eyes, saying something about a squib that made James and Peter laugh.

Mina wiped her eyes. Normally she wasn’t that bad at magic. She had gotten into NEWT level Transfiguration, after all. It was just that particular spell and Black had stressed her out. She would have gotten it right if she’d been working with Lily instead.

Lily was waiting by the door for Mina who was one of the last out, except for a Slytherin who was speaking with McGonagall. “What happened?” Lily asked sympathetically.

Mina shrugged. She didn’t know what to say. Black was her boyfriend’s best friend, she wouldn’t take too kindly to complaints about him. “I just couldn’t get the spell right,” she muttered, keeping her eyes trained on her shoes. “No biggie.”

“Want to practice it during lunch? I’ve got Herbology in a minute, but we could do it then.” Mina shook her head. She wasn’t feeling in the mood for lunch. She’d do better to spend her free time in the library or her dormitory studying for Defense and Charms. “Alright.” Lily gave her best friend a searching look. “You sure you’re okay?”

Mina nodded her head. “Yeah. Tired.”

“Get some sleep tonight. You look like you need it.”

The glint in Lily’s eye changed Mina’s mind. She fell into step beside her friend in the corridor. Herbology met out in the greenhouse so there was plenty of time for her to say what she needed to say. “Can we talk? You won’t be late, I promise.”

“Sure,” Lily said, hoisting her bag higher on her shoulder. “Talk.”

“It’s about Po- James. Well, more his friends. Black especially.” Mina stumbled through, trying to be as clear as possible. She should have planned in advance. She would have planned, but she’d decided not to say anything. “They were so mean to us for years. Why would you- why did you forgive them?”

Lily rolled her eyes. “In case you hadn’t noticed they’ve matured since they played pranks on us. When was the last thing they did to us? Fourth year? Third? They’re eighteen now, no longer children.”

“They still do things like that,” Mina said. She didn’t think Lily really believed what she was saying. Of course they were the same boys who pranked them for years. “They have a plan to drop dungbombs on students exiting the Slytherin Common room.”

“Don’t be ridiculous, Mina,” Lily said with a frown. “They were probably talking about something they did years ago.”

“They were not! They’re going to do it sometime this week! Black and Pettigrew were laughing about how long it was going to take Severus to get the stink off his robes.” Lily froze and Mina realized her mistake. She shouldn’t have said Severus’s name. “Please, just listen to me!”

“I’m done talking about this,” Lily snapped, quickening her pace.

Mina jogged to catch up. “Black and Potter think they’re better than everyone else. They may have gotten older, but they never stopped being arrogant.”

“That’s my boyfriend you’re talking about.”

“Can you remember the last time Potter ever spoke to me? It certainly hasn’t been this year. He only associates with the highest class people at Hogwarts. People like you and Black.” Mina knew she’d crossed the line, but she didn’t know where to stop. Once she’d opened her mouth it was like everything she’d been thinking over the past few months spilled out.

“You want to go be friends with Snape? Be my guest. Have him teach you all the dark magic he knows, the curses he’s no doubt practiced on people. He’s probably got Death Eater friends outside of Hogwarts by now, bowing to You-Know-Who at night. If that’s the life you want, take it. James, Sirius, Remus, Peter, and I are going to fight that kind of thing once we graduate.”

That wasn’t what Mina had meant at all. The Marauders were probably only joining the war because they thought it would make them heroes. They might do good things, but to her they were always going to be school bullies.

“Lily-”

“I’ve got class, don’t wait around.”

Lily left Mina behind as she entered the greenhouse and Mina had the sickening feeling that her friendship with Lily was going to end up the same way Severus’s had.


 

A/N: So here's the second chapter, as promised! Let me know how you like it. =)


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