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Chapter 19 : Hogsmeade
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“Did you see him?” Luna asked after Defense Against the Dark Arts in early February. “Sirius Black?”
“When he broke in, you mean?” Remus replied, sorting through a stack of essays. It had only been three days since Sirius broke into the castle, attempting an attack on Harry.
Luna nodded. “When all the professors went searching. Did you see him at all?”
“No,” Remus answered. “None of us did. He managed to escape before the search began.
“Scary, though, isn't it? Ron Weasley said he had a knife.”
Remus sighed. Even after thirteen years it was hard to imagine the Sirius Black he knew doing what he'd been accused of doing, and then attempting an attack on a thirteen-year-old boy. “It's very scary, Luna.”
“Sleeping in the Great hall was kind of fun, though,” Luna said with a smile. “Like a big sleepover.”
Remus smiled. “Your mum would've said the same thing.”
“Did she know Sirius Black?” Luna asked. “I know you all went to school together, but did she really know him?”
“I rarely spent time with them both at the same time,” Remus said. “But there were a few times, yes.”
“Sirius, what are you doing here?” Remus asked as Sirius sat down next to him at his and Addy's table in the library.
“I'm here to study, Moony,” Sirius said, as if it were the most obvious thing ever. “That's generally what one does in a library.”
Addy giggled and turned back to her book. Remus sighed and raised his eyebrows at Sirius. “You haven't been in the library in months,” he said.
“I know,” Sirius replied, pulling a stack of books out of his bag. “And then I realized that I'm only accepted to the Auror Academy if I keep my marks up and get at least an 'E' on all my N.E.W.T.s, so I'm taking a leaf out of your book and studying for the rest of the year. You don't mind me joining you, do you?”
“Er, not at all,” Remus said. “It's just odd. Where's everyone else?”
“James and Lily are patrolling, Alice is looking at wedding magazines in the common room, and Pete's writing a letter to his mum,” Sirius explained.
“So you were bored,” Remus said flatly.
Sirius grinned. “Yeah. But I also really do have to study.”
Remus shrugged and turned back to the Charms essay he'd been working on. For the next hour he, Addy, and Sirius sat quietly, each absorbed in their own homework. Remus was very surprised at Sirius's ability to sit still that long, given that he usually couldn't sit still for longer than fifteen minutes. Addy kept glancing at Sirius every so often, as if she expected him to stop working, but he never did.
“Library is closing in ten minutes,” Madam Pince announced when it was 9:50.
Remus finished up the sentence he was on and began packing his things. Addy and Sirius followed suit.
“I'm going to walk Addy back to Ravenclaw,” Remus told Sirius as they left the library. “I'll see you back in the common room.”
Sirius turned and set off in the opposite direction, while Remus and Addy headed toward Ravenclaw tower.
“He wasn't as loud as you described him,” Addy mused. “I thought he was going to run around the library or something.”
“I'm not sure what's gotten into him,” Remus said. “Usually he never sits still that long. I guess he really is worried about his N.E.W.T.s.”
“Why did he call you Moony?” Addy asked. “Is it a nickname?”
Remus swallowed hard before responding. This was the closest Addy had ever gotten to mentioning something that had to do with his lycanthropy. “Er, yeah, it's a nickname. I'm, er, really good in Astronomy.”
“Oh,” Addy said. “Moony. That's kind of funny. Can I call you Moony?”
Remus chewed his lip and averted his eyes. The last thing he wanted was for Addy to call him Moony, but he didn't see how to tell her no.
“I won't,” Addy said as she slipped her hand into his. “It's okay. I'll just call you Remus.”
“Thanks,” Remus muttered. “It's just a thing my friends do. Lily and Alice don't even call me Moony.”
“A bloke thing, then,” Addy said.
“Yeah, a bloke thing,” Remus agreed.
They arrived at Ravenclaw tower a few minutes later. Remus gave Addy a quick kiss good night and they parted ways, Addy solving the riddle and going into her common room, Remus turning around to head to Gryffindor tower.
Sirius, James, Peter, Lily, and Alice were all gathered around the fire when Remus entered the common room a short while later. Most of the younger students had gone to bed so the common room was fairly empty, providing the group with plenty of room to lounge about in.
“Remus,” James said as Remus sat down. “Tell us, is it true that Sirius actually studied tonight?”
“He did,” Remus said, grinning.
James laughed. “We wouldn't believe him. Can you blame us?”
“Hey, it's not that unusual!” Sirius shouted.
“It is, mate,” James said, slapping Sirius on the back.
“I don't want to lose my spot in the Academy because I fail a N.E.W.T,” Sirius explained. “But forget about that. I got to see Remus with Addy tonight.”
Remus groaned inwardly. So far his relationship with Addy had been very separate from his friends and he liked it that way.
“They were very adorable,” Sirius said, blinking his eyes rapidly. “He even walked her back to her common room.”
“It's not a big deal,” Remus muttered.
“Did you kiss her?” Peter asked.
“Yeah,” Remus said, not meeting anyone's gaze.
“Oh, lay off him,” Lily said. “So he's got a girlfriend; what's the big deal?”
Girlfriend, Remus thought. They hadn't discussed whether they were boyfriend and girlfriend, but he supposed they were. They had to be, right?
“Have you asked her to Hogsmeade for next weekend yet?” Alice asked.
Remus felt the color drain from his face. He hadn't even thought about Hogsmeade yet.
“Oh Remus,” Alice said, groaning. “You forgot, didn't you?”
“Er, maybe,” Remus said.
Lily sighed loudly. “Remus Lupin. Tomorrow. You'd better ask her.”
“I will, I will!” Remus said, holding up his hands. “I promise!”
“Good,” Lily said, smiling. She turned to James. “Do you have something to ask me?”
James startled. “Oh, right. Want to go to Hogsmeade, Lils?”
“Of course,” Lily said. She turned back to Remus. “See? Easy.”
Remus shrugged. It would surely be easier than the last time he asked Addy to Hogsmeade, but it still made him nervous. This was the Valentine's Day Hogsmeade trip, which meant he'd have to be more romantic than normal. Remus had no idea how to be romantic.
By the time the Hogsmeade trip actually arrived, Remus was a nervous wreck. He didn't know what to wear, didn't know what to give Addy, and didn't know where to take her. Somehow this Hogsmeade trip seemed much more complicated than the previous one, despite the fact that he and Addy knew each other better now.
“You don't have to wear anything fancy,” James said as he rooted through Remus's trunk. “Here.” He pulled out a nice pair of trousers and a plain red jumper. “Just wear that.”
Remus nodded, taking the clothing. He changed quickly behind his bed curtains and emerged to find James wearing a very similar outfit.
“But do I bring her anything?” Remus asked.
“Bring her flowers,” James said. “Girls like flowers, and they're not complicated to conjure. Watch.” James pulled out his wand and muttered a spell. A beautiful bouquet of lilies emerged from his wand. “See?”
“Okay,” Remus said, pulling out his own wand. He muttered the spell and a similar bouquet of lilies emerged from the wand. They were slightly shabbier than James's, but still nice.
“There,” James said. “You're all set.”
“Thanks,” Remus muttered. He felt slightly less nervous, but still unsettled.
“Remember, we've got to be patrolling by two,” James said as they left their dormitory. “Sirius, Peter, and Alice offered to do the whole day but I told them we'd at least do part of the afternoon shift.”
“Yeah, I already told Addy it would have to be a short date,” Remus explained.
Lily was waiting in the common room. She and James said goodbye to Remus and set off for Hogsmeade, while Remus walked to Ravenclaw tower to pick Addy up. She was waiting for him just outside the entrance to the common room, looking as beautiful as ever, but no different than she usually did. She hadn't dressed up either.
“Here,” Remus said, handing her the flowers. “These are for you.”
Addy's eyes lit up. “Aw, Remus, thank you. No one has ever gotten me flowers before. Let me go put them in my dormitory.”
Addy returned a few minutes later, the grin still plastered on her face. She grabbed Remus's hand and led him down the corridor.
“You're nervous, aren't you?” Addy asked as they left he castle and headed down the path to Hogsmeade.
“Er...” Remus stammered.
Addy giggled. “I know you are. But don't be. I'm not big on Valentine's Day, to be honest. Let's act like it's any other day.”
“So you don't want to go to Madam Puddifoot's?” Remus asked.
Addy laughed. “Not if you paid me ten Galleons. I'd much rather go to the Three Broomsticks.”
Remus sighed, very relieved. “I'd much rather do that, too.”
By the time they settled in at a table in the Three Broomsticks and had a few Butterbeers and a pile of chips in front of them, Remus felt much better. This was good, he thought. He could handle a normal Hogsmeade visit that didn't involve Madam Puddifoot's or snogging over a pot of tea.
“Have you heard from your brother?” Remus asked.
Addy nodded. “Yeah, he owls me once a week, but he doesn't talk about...whatever it is he's doing. As long as he keeps owling me, I'll be happy.”
“Good,” Remus said.
“Do you have any brothers or sisters?” Addy asked. “You've never really talked about your family.”
“No,” Remus answered. “It's just me, my mum, and my dad. My mum is a librarian and my dad works for Gringott's.”
“Must have been quiet growing up,” Addy commented, taking a handful of chips.
“A bit, yeah,” Remus said, shrugging. “But I don't know any different.”
“I suppose so,” Addy said. “Do either of your parents want to fight You-Know-Who? I mean, neither of them are Aurors, but neither is Patrick....”
Remus could see his dad fighting, but his mum would never allow it. She'd be upset knowing that Remus wanted to fight. “No. My mum is really scared of what's going on. I haven't told her I'm helping Dumbledore and my dad thinks it's best she doesn't know. But I don't think he'd be able to help fight, not with Mum so afraid.”
Addy nodded. “But your friends, they'll all be fighting soon.”
“Yeah, they will be,” Remus said.
“Did you notice that Dumbledore is rarely at meals lately?”
“Yeah.” Remus had noticed that a few months ago, right after the Halloween attack, but lately there were days when Dumbledore never seemed to make an appearance in the Great Hall.
“Do you think he's got anything to do with the organization my brother is in?” Addy asked. “I mean, he's got you and your friends guarding the castle and Hogsmeade.”
The thought had crossed Remus's mind, especially since Dumbledore had mentioned something that Remus could possibly do after Hogwarts. “Possibly. I don't think he'd ever tell us, though.”
“I guess I'd just feel better knowing that Dumbledore was in charge of it all,” Addy said, sighing. “Sorry, I didn't mean to bring all of this up.”
“It's okay,” Remus said quickly. “It's all I think about half the time.”
“Me, too,” Addy said. “But I don't want that to be all we talk about. This is random, but when is your birthday?”
“March tenth,” Remus said, confused.
“Good.” Addy smiled. “I had hoped I didn't miss it. Don't plan anything for that day.”
“Okay,” Remus said. “What about yours?”
“Oh, mine was the end of September. The twenty-fourth.”
Remus thought back to September, back before the Hogsmeade attack. Even back then, just a few months ago, things had been simpler. But back then, he didn't really know Addy.
“I missed it,” Remus said.
Addy shrugged. “Don't worry about it. We didn't know each other well back then.”
Remus nodded and took a sip of his Butterbeer. For the rest of the morning they didn't talk about the war or Voldemort. Instead they spoke of Quidditch and classes and their professors. They spent a good fifteen minutes on Professor Banks, and Addy agreed that he was kind of odd. After they finished their Butterbeers and chips, they walked around the village, stopping to look in Honeyduke's and Zonko's. Remus bought them a bar of chocolate to split and they finished it just as two o'clock approached.
“I don't have time to walk you back,” Remus said at the path back to the castle. “I'm sorry.”
“That's okay,” Addy said. “I'll be fine.”
“I'll see you tomorrow,” Remus said, squeezing her hand.
“Right.” Addy grinned. “In the library. Have a good patrol.”
“I will.” Remus leaned in and kissed her on the lips, warmth spreading throughout his body as he did so. The two broke apart a few minutes later. Addy's cheeks were flushed with red. She smiled one more time and then set off toward the castle, while Remus watched. He watched her for a full minute before turning back to the village to meet James and Lily for their patrol. Valentine's Day, it seemed, was not as scary as he'd originally thought.
Remus found James and Lily waiting for him by the Three Broomsticks, both bundled in thick cloaks, scarves, and hats. Remus shivered, realizing that it was in fact, very cold outside. When he'd been walking with Addy, he'd been so distracted that he hadn't noticed the cold, or the occasional twinge in his leg.
“How did it go, mate?” James asked as they set off to stroll the village.
“Good,” Remus answered. “Addy isn't big on Valentine's Day.”
“Still, you'd better bring her chocolate or something on Tuesday,” Lily said. Tuesday was actually Valentine's Day.
Remus nodded. He wouldn't have thought to do that. “Did you two have fun?”
James and Lily smiled at each other. “We did,” James said.
“But we've got something to show you,” Lily said, speeding up to walk in front of James and Remus. “C'mon.”
Remus hurried after James and Lily. Lily led them to Madam Puddifoot's, which completely confused Remus. They were supposed to be patrolling, and what could Lily and James possibly have to show him at the most sickeningly sweet tea shop known to man?
“Look,” Lily said, pointing to the window. “Inside.”
Remus crouched awkwardly by the window. There was a couple sitting right under it, who stared at the three of them as they looked in the window. Remus gazed around the room until his eyes fell on a couple off to the right. Alice and Frank.
“What's Frank doing here?” Remus asked, standing back up again.
Lily grinned. “He got today off and he came up to surprise Alice. He told James and I about it, but swore us to secrecy.”
“That's awesome,” Remus said. “They look so happy.”
“They are,” Lily said as they set off on their patrol again. “But she worries about him, with training. He said they're using trainee Aurors to do missions now, because of You-Know-Who.”
“It'll be both of them next year,” James said quietly.
“And you, too,” Lily replied. She looked unsettled. “Remus, I'm really glad you're not becoming an Auror.”
Remus didn't know what to say to that. He felt the same about her, but couldn't say that.
“Everything is just so uncertain,” Lily said, sighing. “No wonder Frank and Alice are getting married so soon.”
“You don't think they'd be engaged if it weren't for Voldemort?” Remus asked.
Lily flinched. “I really wish you wouldn't-”
“No,” Remus interrupted. “My dad says it's stupid to be afraid of a name. It'll only make us more afraid of him.”
Lily nodded. “V-Voldemort. No, I don't think they would be. I mean, they're both going to be Aurors. If God forbid something happened, they want to be together.”
Remus glanced at James, who looked incredibly nervous. Remus understood why. If Lily had gotten into the Auror Academy, she and James would be in the same exact boat. Yet as far as Remus knew, they had no intentions of getting married anytime soon.
“They've been together for two years, though,” Remus pointed out, attempting to make James feel better. “And they've been friends ever since Alice got to Hogwarts.”
James, however, was no longer paying attention. Instead, he was focused on the Shrieking Shack. “Lils, Moony, look.” He pointed at it.
Remus zeroed in on the familiar building. There were four figures huddled up next to the porch. All four were large, at least sixth years, but two looked particularly huge. Remus got a sinking feeling in his stomach.
“C'mon,” James said, drawing his wand. “Let's check it out.”
Remus already had a feeling he knew who these blokes were. Snape, Crabbe, Regulus, and Bulstrode. When he had agreed to patrol Hogsmeade he had never really thought he'd encounter Bulstrode again, but now, here he was walking toward him. His leg twinged painfully, as if warning him to stay away.
“I don't know about this, James,” Lily said. “Shouldn't we just report it to Dumbledore?”
“We've got to have something to report,” James pointed out. “It's not against the rules to stand next to the Shrieking Shack.”
“It should be,” Remus muttered.
“We've got to find out what they're doing,” James said. He sped up and led Remus and Lily to the group of boys.
They obviously heard James approaching because they turned around. Remus's suspicions were confirmed and Bulstrode walked forward, crossing his arms on his chest. The other three hung back.
“What do you want, Potter?” Bulstrode asked, uncrossing his arms and subconsciously tugging down the sleeve of his left arm, despite the fact that it was already covered.
“What are you four doing up here?” James demanded. “Bit suspicious, holding meetings next to the Shrieking Shack.”
“Can't say that it's any of your business,” Bulstrode said.
“I'm Head Boy,” James said, “and Lily's Head Girl and Remus is a prefect.”
Bulstrode laughed. The other three sniggered. “Head Boy, Head Girl, prefect. That doesn't mean anything, not in the grand scheme of things. All three of you are as good as done. Blood traitor, Mudblood-.”
James raised his wand. “What did you just call her?”
Bulstrode stepped forward, drawing his own wand. “I called her what she is. Mudblood.”
James opened his mouth and muttered a spell, but Remus grabbed his arm, causing the spell to shoot up into the sky. “James, don't. Look at the odds. There's four of them. It's not worth it.”
James, breathing heavy, nodded.
“Too bad, Head Boy,” Bulstrode said, smirking. “I would've liked to do you an injury like I did him.” He jerked his head at Remus. “But as much as I'm enjoying this conversation, we have business to attend to.”
Bulstrode stowed his wand and walked quickly down the hill, not checking to see if his lackeys were following. Regulus and Crabbe followed without hesitation, but Snape hung back. James glared at Snape until he started walking, but he paused when he reached Remus.
“You're even worse off than them,” Snape muttered, sneering at Remus. “Half-breed scum.” Without waiting for Remus's reaction, he ran down the hill, catching up with his colleagues just as they reached the road.
Remus stood there, stunned, watching as they hurried across the road to the Hog's Head. He didn't like Snape and never had, but he had always thought James and Sirius were as much to blame for Snape's behavior as Snape himself was. Until now. Remus wished more than ever that Snape had never learned of his condition.
“What did he say to you?” James asked, his face serious.
Remus glanced at Lily, who looked ten seconds away from bursting into tears, and then turned back to James. “Later,” he muttered.
“Later,” Remus said, louder. He nodded to Lily. “We need to go see Dumbledore anyway.”
James sighed and shook his head as he hurried over to Lily. He put his arm around her and they set off down the hill. Remus followed, the words Snape said to him repeating over and over again in his head.
A/N: Yes, Addy's birthday is the same day as mine. Not sure if anyone picked up on that, but it was completely intentional. Thanks for all the lovely reviews! I am nearly done with this story, with only a third of a chapter left to go. It'll be thirty chapters total.
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