Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter or anything else that you might recognize.
I tossed the book aside, sighing as reading it had been a complete waste of time.
‘Everything you ever needed to know about memory charms’ – what a misleading title for a book. It hadn’t contained any useful information.
A yawn escaped my lips and I rubbed my exhausted eyes before glancing at my watch. It was half past three already and I was starting to regret I had skipped lunch. Dinner time was still a while away and I wished I knew the way to the kitchens. But there was nothing I could do about it now. Feeling like I still had some energy left in me, I grabbed the next book – a very familiar looking one – from the high pile next to me.
I was certain that there would be nothing in that old tome that would help me nor would I learn anything new that I already didn’t know, but I still had to make sure. There were only so many books in Hogwarts library about memory charms and I knew every single one of them by heart, but still – I didn’t know where else to look.
Well no, that wasn’t completely true. There were bound to be some more in the Restricted Section of the library, but I couldn’t get a pass there. Apparently it wouldn’t be a good idea to just go poking around at random books there, at least that’s what every teacher had told me. One should know what one was looking, they all had said.
“Quite a homework load you have there,” an amused tone startled me and I lifted my gaze from the book to see Remus Lupin staring at me with a friendly smile on his lips.
“Hi Remus,” I said, unable to hide my surprise that he was even talking to me. “It’s not homework.”
“Oh?” he cocked an eyebrow and tilted his head a bit so he could read the title of the topmost book. “Trying to modify somebody’s memory then?”
“Something like that,” I admitted, leaving it to that. He wouldn’t be interested in my family drama.
He chuckled. “Good luck then. I just came to let you know that I’m doing the rounds with you today instead of Sam Jordan. Something came up with him so he asked me to change.”
More likely he just didn’t want to spend any time with me.
I nodded. “Okay, that’s cool.”
“Where do you want to meet?”
“By the Great Hall doors?”
“Sounds fine. I’ll see you there at half past ten,” Remus said before disappearing between the bookshelves.
I dropped my gaze back to opened spread and tried to find where I had left off, but my concentration kept slipping elsewhere, back to Sam. I wondered if it had been wrong to end things between us; he was a nice guy after all – and I did really like him when he wasn’t acting like this – surely he would’ve understood in time.
But then again I wasn’t certain if I had really wanted to be with him. He had been my escape, my way to forget everything else that was bothering me. The biggest pro about Sam was that he loved to talk; he would never run out of topics to discuss and that had been exactly what I needed last spring – something else to think about when Maman was having a bad season.
Maybe I should try to talk to Sam after he calmed down, work things out at least. I didn’t want to lose him as a friend.
After finding my concentration again and scanning the book through, I disregarded it into the useless books’ pile that had grown quite large already. One glance at my watch told me that dinner time was almost here. I returned all the books to their rightful places, picking a few from the ones I hadn’t read yet, but looked promising, to take with me.
The young librarian, Madam Pince had a frown on her face when I showed her the books I would be borrowing – she always seemed to be hesitant of letting the books out of the library, but she didn’t really have a choice. I was quite certain that she always went through every returned book and made sure they were in the same spotless condition as they had been before. I didn’t even want to imagine what would happen if that wasn’t the case.
I made my way to the Great Hall to finally get some food into my already growling stomach, wondering if the girls had already come back from the Quidditch pitch where they had gone to spy on the Gryffindor tryouts.
They were nowhere to be seen when I entered the Hall and sat on our house table, but I didn’t have to wait for long. The three girls walked in only a few minutes later, after I had just managed to fill my plate with the pork stew that smelled more delicious than anything else. I was so hungry that I could’ve eaten small rocks thinking they were the best and most nourishing food in the whole world.
Dorcas made a beeline towards me immediately while Helen and Catie searched the Ravenclaw table for empty seats. The latter one seemed to have quite a disoriented look on her face and Helen had to practically guide her forwards.
“What’s with Catie?” I questioned after my best friend had taken the seat in front of me.
Dorcas turned around to glance in her direction too and chuckled at our beautiful blonde friend’s dreamy expression. “I think she overdosed herself on a shirtless Sirius Black. It was a hot day at the Quidditch tryouts.”
“Oh, I didn’t know he played,” I said, trying to remember if I had just missed that information somehow.
“He doesn’t,” Dorcas told me, turning to look at me with an amused smile on her lips. “He was just supporting his mate from the stands. While sunbathing.”
“Hmh,” I commented and gazed around me to see if other girls were sporting similar looks. “I bet the girls loved that.”
Dorcas nodded and started collecting food on her plate. “I think that was the point of the whole ‘show’. Every girl who wasn’t serious about Quidditch was too distracted to do anything. And all the guys tried even harder to impress the girls, so they wouldn’t just keep staring at the ‘male perfection’ in the stands.”
“Aah, clever,” I admitted, understanding the brilliance of the plan. Kids in our school took Quidditch very seriously.
“Potter seemed to think that too. He was quite pleased of his new team.”
“Oh? So you at least managed to actually follow the tryouts?” I teased and she rolled her eyes at me.
“Some of us actually enjoy the sport for other reasons than just hot guys,” she reminded me.
Not that I needed reproof of that. Dorcas was the biggest Quidditch fan I knew, she knew every single thing there was to know about the sport. Surprisingly she didn’t play herself – she always told me that her lack of eye-hand coordination was preventing her from becoming the best player there is, but I didn’t think that was the real reason. I’d seen her in the stands; she always had an excuse not to go too near to the edge, so I suspected she was actually afraid of heights. Another prove of that was her superb skills in Defence Against the Dark Arts class where her assumed flaw didn’t seem to bother her at all.
But I would never mention my suspicions to her. If she didn’t want to tell it to me, then she didn’t. I was sure she had a good reason for it. I knew all about touchy subjects; even though I was open about most of mine, there were still plenty of things I didn’t want other people to know.
After filling our stomachs with the scrumptious food, Dorcas and I wandered into the school grounds to enjoy the warm sunlight. It didn’t take long for Catie and Helen to follow us and we four eventually ended up sitting down on the grass near the Black Lake.
I lied on my back and listened to the girls. They were chatting about their day at the Quidditch pitch and other trivial things, leaving me alone to my thoughts. It was a relaxing evening, exactly what I needed after a busy day at the library.
My thoughts swirled around my mother and the talk I’d had with Jonathan this morning via the two-way mirrors he had bought us. Maman’s condition hadn’t changed in the past couple days. She had asked after my dad and me for a few times, but other than that she had just knitted.
But there was also some bad news. He had gotten a letter from the Healers of St. Mungo’s the previous afternoon, telling him that they would be making a few house calls during the fall to check up on her since I was reluctant of letting her be taken to the hospital. Jonathan had told me to expect a letter too since they needed my acceptance for it.
As the sun set down we made our way back inside and settled down at the Great Hall to play some Wizard Chess. It was always amusing to watch Catie and Helen battle against each other, they both were excellent players and there was practically a war going on the board.
As the game eventually ended, I realised that it was getting late. I needed to leave if I wanted to check on Maman once more and still be on time for my meeting with Remus.
“I have to go. I need to talk to Jonathan before I meet with Remus and I forgot the mirror in my dormitory,” I said and got up from the seat.
Catie’s head spun in my direction immediately. “What?! Why didn’t you mention this earlier?”
I furrowed. “Err, yes I did. When we met after breakfast, I told you all that I’m doing rounds today.”
I most definitely had said that, I couldn’t be just imagining it, right? Sure, I was still a bit mixed-up from spending the whole day in the library, absorbing all that information, but I could still remember that discussion fairly well.
“Yes, but you said it was with Sam!” Helen pointed out.
Aah yes, that I had done. And they had all frowned at the thought, asking me how I felt about that.
“Oh, yeah…” I admitted a bit embarrassedly. “Apparently he didn’t want to do them with me…”
Dorcas’s expression turned into a sad smile. “Oh, sweetie,” she said, reaching out for my hand and grabbing it for comfort.
“It’s fine,” I hurried to tell them. “And it’s nice to do them with Remus.”
Catie was practically exploding with excitement. “But can’t you see, Ser,” she started, clapping her hands together, “this is a perfect opportunity to pry if Sirius likes someone! You need to ask him that!”
My eyes widened at the mere thought. “I can’t just ask that! He’ll think that I fancy Sirius!” I protested.
Catie laughed brightly, her voice sounding like little bells tingling. “Easy. Make it sound like you’re just curious, slip it in the conversation. You can do it, we have faith in you.”
I let out a groan and the frown I was sporting showed my discomfort perfectly. “No, you really shouldn’t. I suck at stuff like this, you should know that.”
“You’ll do fine,” Catie said in a reassuring tone. “Just make him talk about something else first.”
“Like what? I don’t know him at all.” The uneasiness was already prickling in my stomach. I had not been nervous about the rounds at all – Remus seemed to be a nice guy and easy to talk to – but now that I had something I needed to slip into the conversation, all the possible discussion topics were disappearing from my mind faster than anything.
“Oh, talk about your mum!” Helen said suddenly. “His mum’s sick too, you know. Or so I’ve heard. So you can bond about that first and then the rest of the discussion will be easy.”
“I’m not going to use his ill mother as an excuse to talk to him about Sirius! That’s just wrong, Helen!” I said in a bit horrified tone.
She shrugged. “Well something else then.”
“Please Sera, I’d be forever grateful if you did this! I’ll do anything for you! Your homework, buy you a completely new wardrobe, anything really, just name it!”
Urgh, why could I feel myself agreeing to this madness? I was going to fail so badly and make a complete fool out of myself!
“Fine.” I sighed as I agreed to her request, regardless of my resisting thoughts. “I’ll see how everything goes. If everything’s okay, then… But if there are a lot of awkward silences like there always is with that one Ravenclaw sixth year, then I can’t really do it!”
Catie beamed at me. “Great. That’s all I ask.”
Why does she make it sound like I was doing just a teeny tiny favour for her and not going to try to humiliate myself completely?
“And remember, you can’t mention anything about me.”
Of course, that too, this had seemed to be too easy anyways so why not throw in a few more rules?
“I’m going now before you can come up with anything else,” I muttered darkly and made my way out of the Great Hall and towards the Hufflepuff common room.
I found the small pocket mirror from my bedside table where I had forgotten it this morning. Sitting down on my bed, I popped the lid open and called Jonathan’s name. After a few moments my own image on the mirror flickered and I found myself staring into the brown eyes of my next-door neighbour.
The conversation with Jonathan ended up lasting longer than I had expected. Maman had had a good day and as always, I wanted to know every single detail about it. When I closed the pocket mirror after the long ramblings with Jonathan, I realised I was almost late.
Remus was already waiting for me by the doors when I made the stairs. “Sorry if I’m late,” I said as I tried to catch my breath, hoping that he hadn’t waited for too long.
“You’re not. I’m early.” He smiled. “Shall we get started then? Where would you like to go first?”
“Oh, well, I’ve usually started from the top, so that the kids have enough time to reach their common rooms. I don’t want to give anyone a detention because they’re few minutes late.”
“Well that’s very thoughtful of you, so let’s do that,” he agreed.
There was a comfortable silence lingering over us when we made our way upstairs, but I still tried to feverishly come up with ideas that could lead the conversation to his friends and to me asking if Sirius Black fancied someone without Remus thinking that I was interested, or that Catie was either.
It seemed like such an impossible mission.
Remus was the first one to break the silence when he asked politely about my studies and then questioned if I was going to be a Healer, based on my curriculum. I confirmed and asked him about the subjects he was studying, but couldn’t make the same deduction from his answer. When I asked him about it, he told me that he hadn’t made up his mind yet and that he studied as much as possible to keep his options open.
That explained why I had seen him in the library so many times without his friends, but it made me wonder why on earth he was a Gryffindor instead of a Ravenclaw if studying was that important for him. But I didn’t think it was polite to pry such a personal thing. The Sorting Hat saw the deepest thoughts in our minds so surely it had had a good reason to put Remus into the house of scarlet and gold.
We kept walking through the empty corridors of Hogwarts, in search for some mischief makers, but none seemed to be up. It was a surprisingly quiet night even though it was the start of a semester, not even Peeves was anywhere to be found.
I still hadn’t made any progress with the task Catie had given me when we reached the end of our rounds nor had I any idea on how I’d be able to do it. Either I’d just have to blurt it out and deal with the consequences or tell Catie that I couldn’t do it. And I never liked to disappoint my friends.
But before I could even begin to start the most awkward conversation of my life, there was a bang coming from the Dungeons corridor we had just searched through.
“What was that?” I muttered out loud, turning around and taking a few steps down the stairs again.
“Maybe Peeves?” Remus suggested hopefully. “It’s weird that we haven’t seen him tonight.”
“We should still check.”
Remus agreed somewhat reluctantly – I couldn’t blame him, I was already growing quite tired and would’ve wanted to call it for the night soon, but apparently that wasn’t happening now.
We descended the stairs and I started to walk towards the silent muttering that was coming from behind the next corner. The lit torches flickered on the walls as I made my way forwards in the shady corridor, hoping that what I found behind that corner wouldn’t be anything else that a knocked-down armour, courtesy of the school poltergeist.
My guesses weren’t that far from the truth, but it wasn’t Peeves who we found there levitating the fallen pieces of a suit of armour to their rightful place.
“James,” Remus commented, not sounding too surprised. “What are you doing here?”
“Aah, Remus my dear friend, didn’t I tell you I might drop by to help you finish the rounds?”
I glanced at the Head Boy a bit suspiciously, because it didn’t seem to me that he’d do that. I had not expected him to be so… helpful?
“And Frost, right?” He then turned to look at me. “Have you had a peaceful evening?”
“Sure… up until this point,” I replied, glancing behind him to see if anyone else was hiding in the shadows. But the corridor seemed to be empty.
“Yes, sorry about that. Thought I heard something and turned around a bit too quickly, crashing into this armour here.”
“Is that so…” Remus commented from behind me. “Well, we’ve just finished our rounds actually and there was nothing out of ordinary to see.”
“Good, good, you’ve been fast then,” James said, nodding eagerly. “I’ll just finish fixing up this then and be on my way. No need to mention this in your report as I already know about it obviously.”
“I think we still have to,” I pointed out.
“Aah yes, of course,” he replied, examining my expression, probably trying to figure out what I was thinking.
I wished him good luck with that, because I didn’t know it myself either. This all seemed very odd.
He dropped his attempt after awhile and turned to look at Remus again. “Well, run along now, you’ve had a long night. I’ll meet you back at the dormitory once I’ve fixed this.”
“Sure.” Remus shrugged. “Shall we, Sera?”
“Yeah,” I agreed, not really knowing what else to say. I couldn’t just start blaming the Head Boy when I had no proof.
Remus and I started our way back towards the Great Hall. “Is it just me or was that suspicious?” I questioned after we were far enough from James.
“Err… I’m sure it’s nothing,” Remus replied, scratching his neck. “James takes his Head Boy duties very seriously. And now that I think about it, he did mention something about helping.”
“Aha. Well that’s good,” I replied, still feeling a bit unsure. I was aware that the four boys were often connected to some pranks that had happened in Hogwarts, but surely James Potter wouldn’t be using his Head Boy status to cover something up? I decided to leave the subject at that for now and wait for the morning to see if something had happened.
Besides, I had one more thing left to do before Remus left towards the Gryffindor tower and I made my way to my own common room.
“So… I meant to ask you something…” I started, feeling the blush already creeping up on my cheeks.
“Yeah?” Remus glanced in my direction curiously.
“I have this friend and she wanted to know…” my voice trailed of as I was feeling too uncomfortable to finish the sentence.
Remus waited for a while, but as I wasn’t able to continue, he opened his mouth. “You want to know if Sirius is seeing someone?”
How had he guessed that?
“You’re not the first one to ask that, you know,” he told me, an amused smile on his lips. “I’m a bit surprised though, I didn’t think he was your type.”
“God no! I’m really asking this for a friend, she just doesn’t want me to tell her name. Fear of rejection, I don’t know, something like that.”
Remus chuckled. “Well the answer is no. He’s not dating anyone right now.”
“But he’s planning to then? Since you said right now…”
“It’s Sirius. A lot of girls fancy him, so I can’t say for sure how long his single status will last.”
“But I can tell him that Catie is interested.”
I was halfway through nodding when I realised what I was doing. “No! Absolutely not! I – oh lord… I’d be dead if you did that, how did you even guess it?”
He shrugged. “Your friend Dorcas seemed to be keen on talking about her yesterday at Potions, so it wasn’t that hard to make the conclusion.”
“Urgh. You weren’t supposed to find that one out.” I let out a frustrated groan – I had known I’d fail at this. ”Could you kindly just forget I said anything and not to mention it to Sirius?”
A roguish grin was on his lips as he replied. “Sure. I’d rather do that than let you practise any of those memory charms on me.”
“Funny,” I said, rolling my eyes at him. “But thanks.”
We walked the rest of the stairs in silence. “So, who’s your victim then?” he continued when we made it to the landing again.
“Huh?” I wasn’t following.
“The memory charms,” he clarified.
“Oh, that…” I paused for a moment to decide if I should lie, but I always felt like if I didn’t tell the truth, I was embarrassed of it. And I certainly wasn’t ashamed of Maman. “My mum.”
“Trying to make her forget some awkward thing you did as a kid?” Remus suggested, still smiling.
“I wish it was that simple.”
“Oh?” he furrowed a bit, the smile faltering from his lips as he sensed the seriousness in me.
“She’s… sick, for the lack of a better word.”
“Oh. Sorry, I shouldn’t have joked…” he started, but I cut him off.
“Don’t be ridiculous, you couldn’t have known.”
He nodded, pondering the news as we walked forwards. “What’s wrong with her? If you don’t mind me asking.”
“No, no,” I replied. “Spell damage. It has affected her brain and her memory is failing her so I’m trying to find solutions for that. And in order to do so I need to understand how the charms work.”
“Oh, wow. That must be hard,” he said with a sympathetic tint in his tone.
“Yeah,” I said, remembering what Helen had said about Remus. “But I guess you know all about it.”
His sharp tone startled me a bit and I hoped I hadn’t offended him in anyway. “Your mum, she’s sick too, right? At least that’s what I’ve heard…”
“Yeah, yeah. I just – didn’t realise you knew…” he muttered then. “I really don’t want to talk about that, if you don’t mind?”
I had crossed the line. Urgh, I should’ve just stayed silent and forgotten all Helen had said.
“No, really, I understand completely how uncomfortable it can be to talk about that,” I hurried to say, feeling extremely relieved noticing that we’d reached the Great Hall doors again. “It’s getting late anyways and we need to catch some sleep!”
“Yeah…” he said a bit awkwardly.
“Really, don’t worry about it. It was nice chatting with you,” I added, with an apologetic frown.
He gave me a friendly smile that I was not expecting. “Sure thing, Sera. Talk to you later.”
I nodded and said my goodbyes, then quickly hurrying down the stairs that led to the Hufflepuff common room. The blush from my awkward inquiries was still burning my cheeks and I was feeling extremely thankful that Remus Lupin had been so cool about everything. I just hoped that he’d extend that courtesy and kept his promise.
Even though I really didn’t deserve it after that discussion.
A/N: Finally! I know it's been like forever since I updated anything, but I've had such a busy month! RL has been crazy and I haven't had any time to write, but hopefully things will get better now (:
So, what did you think? Once again I'd be forever grateful if you found the time to leave me a little review with your opinions.