Chapter 1 : Friendship
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Lovely banner by Kenden @ TDA
Remus's brow wrinkled slightly and he gave the girl beside him a sideways glance. "I don't know." He answered honestly. "I feel like my parents will be relieved to be rid of me. But your parents love you, Grace. They will miss you a lot."
"Yeah…" Grace said as she played with the grass, a gloomy expression on her face. "But they have five more kids to make up for my absence, don't they?"
Remus stayed silent because he had no idea what to tell Grace. He never did know what to tell her when she brought up that particular subject. Remus was an only child and he didn't understand Grace's constant fight for her parents' attention. He knew she felt left out and like an outsider in her family. A part of him knew it was his fault that she felt like that - because her siblings constantly teased her about hanging out with Remus but she never left him, and thus they refused to hang out with her, saying they didn't want Remus to join them.
Remus felt so bad about it but he knew that if he voiced his thoughts, Grace would snap at him for being a bloody idiot and would he enjoy the time they have together, please.
So he stayed quiet and nodded.
Grace breathed deeply through her nose, shredding the grass with viciousness that contrasted with her placid expression. "We're going to Hogwarts tomorrow." She said quietly, looking up at him. "Are you ready?"
Remus shrugged. "I don't think I'll ever be ready but I don't have a choice."
Grace looked down. "You know I'll always be there for you, right?"
Remus smiled, recalling the day Grace had proclaimed him her best friend. "Always and Forever, I know."
A smile touched Grace's lips. "Good."
As expected the morning of September 1st was a chaos in the Malone household. Six kids from ages eleven to seventeen struggled to find stuff they had forgotten to pack and trying to get ready for the day and eat some breakfast.
Graciela Malone was alone in her loft in the large house that belonged to the Malone's, lying on her bed. She had come home late last night, and then she couldn't fall asleep so she looked through her things to make sure she had packed everything she would need, so now she had nothing to do except lay around and wait for her siblings to finish hopping about in the house. She really didn't want to get in their way.
Grace smiled as she thought of Remus and looked towards the window. Remus lived in a house just over the hill, and often the two of them would sneak out late at night to hang out and watch the stars and the moon. Sometimes they were silent, sometimes they weren't. It was on one of those night escapes they had that Remus told her about his lycanthropy. Grace wasn't going to lie; she had been shocked. Unpleasantly so. But Remus had been and still was her best friend and even back then, she knew that she couldn't lose him over something he had absolutely no control over. They remained friends to this day and Grace knew she would never regret her decision to stay by his side.
A sharp pounding on her door jerked her out of her thoughts and she shot up to a sitting position.
"Breakfast, squirt!" Grace's older brother, Ezra's voice came from the other side, seeping with irritation, most likely because he had been forced to come up to the enemy territory that was Grace's room. She sighed deeply and slid off her bed, grabbing her trunk and owl cage with her. When she walked out the hall, Ezra had disappeared. She frowned slightly as she looked at the leather trunk that was nearly the same size as her and sighed, turning her intelligent green eyes on her owl. "Lovely, don't you think, Sky?"
Her owl hooted soothingly, causing Grace to smile.
"I will wing it somehow." She said with a troubled smile, walking over to the stairs. She bit her lip as she looked down the long, steep stairs, and then at her trunk. "Oh, this is going to be so much fun." She muttered sarcastically to herself as she grabbed her trunk. She put down her owl and smiled. "Sorry, Sky, but you have to stay here for now. Believe me, you don't want to join me on what I'm about to do." She casted another long-suffering and slightly scared look at the staircase and took a deep breath. "You can do it, Malone. Think about how much they'll all laugh at you for not being able to do things on your own."
With that in mind steeling her resolve, she nodded resolutely to herself. "This is it. Now or never."
Sky hooted from behind her and she took comfort in that thought that she wasn't alone.
"It'll be easy." She muttered to herself as she took the first step. "I'm going to be just fine."
"What happened to you?" Ezra chortled as soon as Grace walked into the kitchen messy-haired, sweating and puffing as if she had just ran a marathon.
"Leave me alone." She muttered crossly, not in a mood to deal with him. She collapsed in the only empty chair around the table and scowled into her empty plate.
Her siblings exchanged amused glances, while their mother sighed and walked over to Grace, dropping a kiss on the top of her head. "Here, sweetie, eat your breakfast." She said as she dropped a few sausages in Grace's plate. "Do you want me to get you anything?"
"No." Grace mumbled as she took her fork and knife.
Her mother smiled. "Alright. Bon appétit."
Once their mother had disappeared in the kitchen, all five of Grace siblings gave her gleeful looks.
"Oh, Gracie, sweetheart, do you want me to chew your food for you?" Ezra mocked in a hushed tone, eyes glinting wickedly.
"Where's dad?" Grace asked, ignoring the jab.
"At work." Zoe answered. "Why?"
Grace looked down at her plate. "Just asking." Of course he was going to go to work when they had to sent her off for the first time. It was just typical. It showed just how much he cared for Grace, really. She stabbed her sausage moodily and pushed it around in her plate, ignoring her siblings who had started to talk amongst themselves. If they weren't mocking her about something, they simply ignored her.
She stood up. She had lost her appetite, and it was not like she was wanted on the table anyway. "Tell Mum I'm going to the station with the Lupins."
"Send your little boyfriend my best!" Derek shouted after her. She ignored him – she was becoming quite versed at that – and continued on her way to the entrance hall. Her trunk and owl cage were there waiting for her, and after she put her shoes on and grabbed her thin jacket from the cloth hanger, she got a hold of both items and walked out the front door.
As expected, Remus's house was quieter than her own and she waited outside his door for someone to open it. She heard the sound of pounding footsteps across the floor and a second later the door was thrown open by none other than Remus, who flashed an enormous grin. "Grace!" He said as he stepped aside, allowing her in. "Everything alright?"
"Sure." Grace said as she walked in and rolled her trunk behind her. "I'm going with you to the station. That's not a problem, right?"
Remus shook his head, a surprised and slightly concerned expression on his face. "I don't see a problem. Why, though? Did something happen?"
Grace shook her head. "Nah, I just prefer to travel with you."
Remus smiled. "We were just having breakfast. Come on."
Grace smiled and followed Remus further in the house. John and Julia Remus were having a debate over something but they halted it as soon as they saw Remus and Grace.
"Grace!" Julia said with a bright smile, standing up. "How are you, dear?"
"I'm fine, thanks." Grace with a smile.
"Take a sit, dear. We were just having breakfast." Julia said as she gestured to the table. Grace nodded and took a sit next to Remus, who upon sitting, started to wolf down his breakfast like it was his last. Julia smiled fondly and grabbed a plate from one of the cupboards. "John and I were just talking about how we should go to the station. I keep telling him that we should apparate, but he insists he uses that muggle thing to drive us there. I don't trust it, plus, apparation is quicker and easier." She sighed and shook her head, slapping pancake after pancake on tha plate.
"Yes but what about trying new things?" John questioned, eyes bright. "I've had that car for about a year now and you never let me drive it!"
"Because you don't know how!" Julia argued back, putting the plate of pancakes in front of Grace, who instantly tried to protest. "Nonsense, Grace. Eat your breakfast."
Grace's shoulder slumped in defeat and she took the fork and knife Julia handed her.
"I will learn how!" John said, his enthusiasm never-dying out. "Plus, if it doesn't work out, I can always use magic on it."
"No." Julia said with a touch of finalty, taking her seat. "We are driving children, John. I won't have them exposed to your idiocy. Learn how to drive the car and I will think about it."
John's shoulders slumped in defeat. "Fine."
"There, there." Julia said, patting her husband's hand. "It's alright." Her voice was definitely amused as she said it, her lips twitching.
"Grace, how are your parents getting to the station?" Julia asked.
"They are apparating as usual, why?"
"See!" Julia said as she turned to the still solemn John. "That's how normal wizarding families travel! Now stop pouting. The car won't be gone when we get back."
John sighed deeply. "Alright, alright."
Julia nodded in satisfaction. "Do you like the pancakes, dear?" She asked, looking at Grace.
"Yes, its delicious." To emphasis her point, Grace licked her lips and smiled.
Julia chuckled. "Remus, dear, do you want more?"
"Yes, please." Remus said as he handed his mother his empty plate.
Julia smiled fondly as she grabbed it and stood up. Grace looked at Remus, who smiled, though his face was pale and his eyes were drooping slightly. Grace wanted to hit herself for being so stupid.
"How are you feeling?" She asked with a frown of concern, taking in his tired appearance.
Remus's smile faded slightly and he shrugged. "I'm alright." He said quietly. "I'm a bit worried about my first full moon.. there. I just keep having this dreams and thoughts that I'll somehow return to the castle and kill everybody."
Grace glanced at Julia and John, who were both busy with making more pancakes and reading the morning newspaper, respectively. "Don't worry, that won't happen. Mom and Dad always say how brilliant Professor Dumbledore is, and my parents seemed all to agree which you know is a big thing, since they very rarely admit to anyone being brilliant beside themselves. He will have everything sorted out."
"I know." Remus said, fidgeting with the hem of his faded brown shirt. "I met him and he explained to me about all the safety measure they had taken. He was really nice and I felt like he really cared about my well-being but.. still, I can't help but have those thoughts. It's stronger than me." The look in his eyes was one of helpless resignation, and Grace frowned slightly. Remus was so resigned to everything. He accepted everything so quietly, so calmly as if he expected that he deserved all of it. And Grace knew he did. He thought that just because he was a werewolf, he was fit to be the doormat of every big-headed moron out there, her siblings included.
Which was plain stupid, no matter how you looked at it. Remus was a person, a human being, and he deserved to be treated with respect. Furthermore, he was one of the nicest people she had ever met, and he was definitely the best friend anyone could hope for. He didn't deserve any of it, but making him realise that was the hard part.
"We'll talk later." Grace said as she glanced at Julia and John.
Remus nodded, though he looked reluctant. Obviously, he didn't want to talk on the subject anymore.
"There. Eat that quickly, Remus, because we really need to get going."
Remus nodded and dug into his breakfast, avoiding Grace's eye as he did so.
King Cross station was huge and despite its impressive size, it was still full with people. John and Julia got them both a trolley and put their stuff on it, and now both Remus and Grace were walking side by side, pushing their trolleys, looking around them with wide-eyed excitement.
"We're finally going." Grace said happily, watching as one of the trains took off. "It's real."
"Of course it is." Remus said playfully, though his eyes were just as excited as hers. "Just behind the barrier." Remus murmured as the platforms ten and nine came into view.
"Now, give this to us." Julia said as she took the trolley from Remus, and John did the same with Grace's. "You are to run straight through the barrier. Don't hesitate, don't think about it; just run. Now, wait until we make sure people around aren't watching."
Remus and Grace stood nervously as Julia and John scanned their surroundings. Finally, Julia pushed the trolley in the direction of the barrier.
"You're going to go first. Quick."
Remus looked at Grace. "Together?" He asked, offering his hand.
Grace smiled widely. "Together!" She said as she took his hand and they both ran towards the barrier. Grace closed her eyes just before she made an impact and sighed in relief when she didn't hit anything hard. She opened her eyes and her eyes widened upon seeing all those people and long, scarlet train. "Wow!" She clutched Remus's hand. "We're here! We're here!"
"Yes, yes we are." Remus said with a soft smile, looking around the platform in silent admiration.
"Graciela Sophia Malone!"
Grace froze. "Uh-huh."
Grace's mother pushed through the crowd and marched up to Remus and Grace, crossing her arms over her chest. "What did I tell you about disappearing like that without my permission?"
Grace shrunk slightly. "Not to do it."
Her mother narrowed her eyes. "Then why did you do it? You should have asked me if you could go with the Lupins, not tell your siblings to tell me as an afterthought! You are my child, Grace!"
"I know that." Grace mumbled, letting go of Remus's hand. Merlin, why did her mother feel the need to make a scene out of everything? Couldn't she see she was with a friend and that she was embarrassing her?
"What's going on? Oh, Veronica! Hi!" Julia greeted Grace's seething mother brightly, a friendly smile on her face.
"Julia, hello." Veronica said briskly, smiling in a forced kind of way.
"What's going on?" John asked as she noticed Grace's downcast look and the way Remus was fidgeting with an awkward expression on his face.
"Nothing." Veronica said almost coldly. "I will see you at Christmas, Graciela." She said curtly and then, she whirled around and disappeared into the crowd again.
Grace winced loudly. "That was bad."
"What happened?" Julia asked, looking bewildered.
"Mum's angry I didn't tell her that I'll be coming with you."
Julia gasped. "You didn't tell her? She must've been so worried!"
"I told my siblings!" Grace defended herself, seeing nothing wrong in that. "They told her so she knew where I was. I don't see what the fuss is about."
Julia sighed and smiled softly. "You wouldn't understand. It's a mother thing, but the next time you feel like running off to our house, tell your parents please."
"Fine." Grace muttered. "Can we just go now?"
"Yes, let's go." John said.
They made their way through the crowd and walked up to the train. They stopped to say their goodbye close to the door.
"Oh, I'll miss you so much!" Julia said as she scooped up Remus, hugging him tightly. Unlike many boys his age, Remus didn't protest and hugged her back just as tightly.
"I'll miss you too." He mumbled.
Grace looked around, searching for the familiar faces of her family.
"Huh?" She turned around and saw Julia smiling at her, her arms opened for a hug. Grace smiled and walked straight into her embrace.
"Make sure he doesn't worry himself sick, alright?" Julia whispered in her ear as she squeezed her tightly.
"Of course." Grace replied, smiling into her shoulder.
"Thank you." Julia pulled away and smiled warmly at Grace. "Well, you better get on that train." She said as she looked at her wrist watch. "John, help them get their trunks on, will you?"
"Of course, dear." John said, rolling his eyes playfully.
Once he helped them with their trunks, he reached out and ruffled Remus's hair. "Get 'em, son." He said with a wink.
Remus smiled, but didn't say anything, looking down at his trainers.
Grace grinned. "No worries, sir, we'll make sure they remember us."
John grinned. "That's what I want to hear!" He offered his fist to Grace and she grinned, curling her hand into a fist and bumping it with his. His eyes twinkled as he offered his fist to Remus. "C'mon, son. For the team."
Remus chuckled and bumped his fist with his father's.
"John, are you done encouraging the children to cause trouble?" Julia asked, sounding more amused than worried.
"Yeah." John said as he looked between the two of them. "They are ready, alright." He stepped back and took Julia's hand in his. "Have fun!"
"And don't forget to study!"
"We won't!" Grace and Remus said in unison. They grabbed their luggage and started to walk down the corridor.
"You think we'll be able to find an empty compartment?" Grace asked as she peeked in one which was full of older students.
"At this time? I don't think so." Remus didn't sound pleased. Grace knew he wasn't overly fond of meeting new people. He had that constant fear that people would immediately find out who he was just by looking in his eyes, and that often caused him problem with interacting with new people. But he had Grace, and she was going to make sure he didn't stay with only her as a friend throughout his schooling.
"Well, let's find something that it's semi-empty then." She muttered. The doors off the train all slammed open and the train sprang to life. Remus and Grace moved over to the window to wave at Julia and John, who waved back enthusiastically, large smiles on their faces. Grace stayed by the window even when they passed Remus's parents. She bit her lip as her eyes searched the crowd of people they passed, and she nearly lost hope in seeing her mother for the last time until Christmas, when she caught a sight of her long blonde hair, standing away from the crowd, talking to a man. A man Grace didn't know. She frowned slightly, leaning close to the window. The man had dark hair and grey eyes, his features were strong and stern, not necessarily handsome and he looked irritated.
Her mother didn't look happy either, as she waved her hands around to emphasis whatever she was saying to him.
Grace cursed as the train passed the platform, cutting off her view of her mother.
"Grace?" She turned to look at Remus, who was looking expectantly at her, a spark of concern in his eyes. "You alright?"
"Yeah, sure." Grace said with an absent smile. "Let's go."
Luck wasn't on their side, though neither of them was surprised. Grace started to get impatient and irritated as they passed yet another compartment which contained older students. "C'mon, this is one big train! There has to be something."
Just as she said this, the door of the compartment in front of them slammed open and a redheaded girl stomped out of it, her cheeks blazing red. A scrawny boy with lanky long black hair followed her, calling at her to slow down.
Remus and Grace exchanged looks. "That was interesting." Grace said as she peeked curiously at the compartment. Her eyes lit up when she saw that only two boys her age were sitting inside. "Remus, look! There's a place for us."
Remus started to protest. "Grace, I don't know, the girl probably had a reason to be angry—"
But he was ignored. Grace slid the door open and walked inside, leaving Remus no choice but to follow. The two dark-haired boys halted their conversation and looked at the two newcomers.
"Well, you look like a better company than the last two." The one with the longer black hair said, studying them with his calculating grey eyes. His black hair and grey eyes reminded Grace of the man her mother had been talking – or arguing, really – with.
"Yeah, at least you look like you've bathed." The other one said, running a hand through his already messy hair. "I'm James Potter." He said with a jaunty grin. "And this less handsome-" He put an emphasis on the words, giving the boy a meaningful look. "—fellow is Sirius Black."
Grace recognised both of their last names, having heard them enough in her house.
"I'm not less handsome than you." Sirius argued. He turned to Grace. "You're a girl. Tell that delusional sod that I'm far better-looking than him."
"Er.." Grace looked between the two of them, then glanced at Remus who looked like he was desperately trying to hold back his laughter. Arse. "I don't know really. You're both.. handsome."
"Well, yeah, obviously." James said impatiently. "But the question is, who is more handsome? C'mon, now—" He smiled charmingly. "You know it's me." He ruffled his hair and winked at her from behind his glasses.
Grace's own lips started to twitch as the amusement grew inside of her. "I say.. Remus is the most handsome." She turned to grin at Remus, who suddenly didn't seem all that amused.
"Him?" Sirius asked, raising an eyebrow. "You have questionable tastes... what's your name, by the way?"
"Grace Malone." Grace said, grinning a little.
Sirius's eyes lit up in resignation of her name. "Oh, well, nice to meet you, Grace."
Grace smiled and nudged Remus, who jumped slightly but got the hint.
"I'm Remus Lupin." He said, braving a smile at the boys.
"Hey, mate." James said cheerfully. "What house do you want to be sorted, though?" He asked, his voice serious. "'Cause we just met a potential Slytherin and we're not overly fond of his sort."
Grace blinked and looked at Remus, who looked slightly uncomfortable.
"I guess Gryffindor." Grace said with a shrug of her shoulders. "I think it sounds the most fun out of all of them."
"That's the spirit!" James cheered, offering his hand for a high-five. Grace chuckled and slapped her hand against his, then did the same with Sirius. "Hey... isn't your family notorious for being sorted in Slytherin?" She asked Sirius, who frowned momentarily then shrugged.
"Yeah but who says I've got to be exactly like them?"
Grace smiled a little. "No one."
"What about you, mate?" James asked Remus, who shrugged.
"I guess whichever house takes me."
Sirius frowned. "Really? Whichever takes you? You'd be content with even Hufflepuff?"
"Well..." Remus trailed off, shrugging. "yeah."
"I don't believe you." Sirius said, shaking his head. "No one wants to end up in Hufflepuff."
"I'm not saying I want to end up there." Remus tried to explain. "I'm just saying that I will be content with being in each house. I'm not picky about it."
"But seriously, if you have to choose, where do you want to go?" Sirius asked, narrowing his eyes a little.
"Well.." Remus hesitated before speaking. "in Gryffindor, with Grace."
James whistled, smirking slightly. "Is Grace your girlfriend?"
"No!" Remus and Grace said together, exchanging a shocked look.
"She's my best friend." He explained more calmly.
Sirius opened his mouth to speak, a certain glint in his eyes but he never got to chance to speak, since the door opened. Sirius shut his mouth with a snap, his eyes darkening slightly as they fell on the tall blonde girl standing at the entrance.
"Sirius!" The girl scowled, her light blue eyes sweeping over all of them. "Why are you here? You should be sitting with Avery and Mulciber! Don't you listen to what your mother tells you?"
Sirius rolled his eyes. "And catch some of their stupidity? Seriously, Cissy, if Mother wants to pick my friends for me, she could at least put some effort in it. Those two are right dunderheads. I'm not sitting with them."
Cissy pursed her lips. Sirius smirked. "You know I'm right, don't you?"
"You're a Potter." Cissy stated, ignoring Sirius and looking straight at James, who nodded and flashed her a grin.
"James Potter, on your services, my fair lady." He said, bowing his head and doing a flourish with hand that he only half-accomplished due to his sitting position.
Sirius snorted derisively.
"And you two?" She turned her unnerving eyes on Grace and Remus.
"I'm Grace Malone."
"One of Ezra's sisters, I assume?" Cissy asked.
Grace made a face. "Yes."
Cissy nodded and turned to Remus. "And you?"
"Remus Lupin." He said timidly, giving her a tentative smile.
Her eyes narrowed slightly but she nodded again. "Alright. I guess you're company isn't that bad. Just stay out of trouble, will you? I'll come to check on you." She warned, puffing up her chest a little to show the shiny badge on her chest.
"Sure, your highness." Sirius said with a roll of his eyes and a salute.
Cissy's lips twitched, though her eyes warned him against saying anything else. "Good day to you." She nodded her head – what was with all that nodding? Couldn't she just smile? – and closed the door, continuing down the hallway.
They all turned to stare at Sirius questioningly.
He sighed. "That was my cousin, Narcissa."
"Narcissa?" James snorted. "What's with your family and those pretentious names? Sirius, Narcissa, what next; Andromeda?"
Sirius looked awkwardly at him. "Actually, mate, one of Narcissa's sisters' name is Andromeda."
James looked incredulous for a moment. "Mate-" He started seriously. "If you family didn't have the reputation it has, you will all be the laughing-stock of the school."
Sirius nodded sadly. "I know, mate, I know."
"Yeah, seriously, what were they thinking?" Grace wondered. "Are names like Ben or Elizabeth beneath them or something?"
"Yes." Sirius told her, a dead serious expression on his face. "My family thinks that just because they can trace their wizarding heritage several centuries back, they're practically the royalty of the wizarding world. The purest of the pure and bullshit like that. They have this thing for stars and constellations, because apparently, we were all stars and we deserve to bear those names."
"That's... pretty weird." Grace said truthfully.
"At least you can make great jokes and puns out of Sirius." Sirius said with a shrug of his shoulder.
"That's true." James agreed.
"Food!" Grace exclaimed, startling the three boys.
"Huh, what?" Remus asked, looking in Grace worriedly.
"Food!" She repeated, pointing at the door. They all turned and saw a trolley covered with all sorts of sweets, pushed by an elderly lady.
"We ate just before coming here, Grace." Remus pointed out.
"Well, yeah, breakfast. Sweets are in their own category." She stood up. "Do you guys want something?"
"I'll come with you." James said as he took out a handful of galleons from his pockets.
"Here, mate." Sirius tossed a couple of gold coins at James. "Get me a few chocolate frogs and cauldron cakes, yeah?"
"Sure." James said.
"Do you want something?" Grace asked Remus.
"Uh, yeah, um, two chocolate frogs and a sugar quill." He fished through his pockets for his money but Grace hurried out of the compartment before he could find them.
A few students surrounded the trolley and James and Grace stopped behind a blonde girl, waiting for their turn.
"Oh, it's you." Both James and Grace turned around. The redheaded girl who had stormed out of James's and Sirius'c compartment stood behind them along with her friend, arms locked over her chest. She was giving James a disdainful look, her lips curled into a sneer.
"Oh, it's you." James repeated cheerfully. "Hello, Snivellus!" He said, his eyes flickering to the boy, whose pale cheeks flushed red. "Sorry, what was your name again?" He asked the girl, who huffed.
"You're insufferable." She spat.
"I take pride in it, sweetheart." James replied just as cheerfully, unbothered by her insult.
"Lily, it's not worth it." The boy muttered.
"Listen to your boyfriend." James said, eyes laughing. "He knows best."
"That was kind of pathetic, James." Grace said with a snort, glancing back at the trolley to make sure they didn't lose their turn.
Lily's bright green eyes flickered over to Grace. "Who are you?"
"I'm Grace." She attempted to smile but Lily only scowled at her.
"Grace, it's our turn." James said. "Leave the losers be." He grinned at the two, as if he hadn't just insulted them and turned around to take his food.
Grace shrugged and joined him. A minute later they arms were full of sweets and they headed back to their compartment, though not without James tripping Snivellus. Grace probably shouldn't have laughed with everybody else but it had been funny, especially the way he had collapsed to the ground.
They found Remus and Sirius into a heated game of exploding snap. Grace smiled as she sat next to Remus, glad to see he was finally relaxing.
Grace, Remus and James all jumped up with Sirius at the sound of his name. He sent them an amused grin but it was clear the way his fingers were twitching that he was nervous.
James clasped him on the shoulder. "Wait for me at the Gryffindor table."
Sirius blinked, but then his grin grew and he nodded. "Got it, mate." He pushed through the crowd and walked up to the stool, where he took a sit as if it was a throne, straight-backed and proud. Professor McGonagall put the hat on his head and they all waited.
One minute. Two minutes. Three minutes. People were starting to whisper.
Four minutes. Grace, Remus and James exchanged unsure looks.
Five minutes. Professor McGonagall frowned deeply at the hat.
Six minutes. Sirius's hands clenched into fists.
Grace, Remus and James were the ones who broke the shocked silence with their loud clapping and cheering. Sirius hoped off the stool, handed the hat to Professor McGonagall with a cheeky grin, and headed off to the Gryffindor table, where people had started to recover from their shock and were giving him a loud and warm welcome.
Six more kids passed before it was Remus's turn; two girls got sorted in Gryffindor, on of which was Lily from the train. One boy went to Slyhterin, two boys went to Ravenclaw and one girl to Hufflepuff.
Grace smiled reassuringly at Remus. "Go get 'em." She said quietly, repeating his father's words.
Remus nodded and smiled. It didn't take him nearly as long as Sirius to get sorted, and soon the hat shouted.
"Yes!" James and Grace high-fived, laughing as people turned to stare at them. Remus flushed slightly as he handed the hat to Professor McGonagall, a bashful smile on his face. He headed for the Gryffindor table, where Sirius had climbed on the bench and was whistling loudly.
He was forced to climb off, however, when Professor McGonagall shot him a murderous look.
James and Grace exchanged a fond smile, and Grace briefly marvelled how quickly she had grown fond of those boys.
"Good luck." Grace turned to look at James, who had a genuine smile of encouragement and support on his face.
Grace smiled back. "Thanks." She skipped up to the stool and plopped down. Professor McGonagall put the hat on her head and it fell over her eyes, cutting her view of the vast hall. She wrinkled her nose slightly.
"Well, this is pleasant." She muttered.
Grace jumped a little as the jolly voice filled her head but soon relaxed. "Merlin's pants-"
'Watch your language when you are speaking to your elders, Miss Malone! Now, to the sorting. Your young friend had quite the accurate picture of you in his mind; yes, I was right to send him there. Now, let's see about you. Slytherin is a no, plain as a day, really. Hufflepuff; not really. You aren't very hard-working, are you? No, no. Ravenclaw; hm, you're more of a think on your feet kind of person. Ravenclaw value logic and strict facts. You won't fit in there. So, that leaves us with Gryffindor. But you've known all alone where you'll end up, haven't you? Good judge of character. Yes, yes-"
Grace resisted the punch the air as the hat was lifted off her head and jumped on her feet. James gave her the thumps up from where he was standing and she returned it, a grin on her face. She looked at the Gryffindor table - Sirius was once again on the bench, much to her amusement - and her heart swelled with happiness.
This was where she belonged.
Right there, with the red and the gold.
"Man, I ate so much that if I took a dip in the Lake, I will hit the bottom right away." James groaned as they joined the flow of students exiting the Great Hall.
"We all would." Grace muttered as she rubbed her full stomach. She suspected magic was involved. She literary couldn't stop eating, it was so delicious. They must have put enhancement on the food.
"All I want to do is get to the common room and climb in bed." Sirius said seriously - haha, get it?- as he trudged unenthusiastically.
"Not so fast, Sirius." The cold voice made them all stop and they turned around, coming face to face with the beautiful Narcissa Black again. Sirius groaned.
"Can't we do that another time?" He pleaded. "I'm really tired."
Narcissa didn't seem to care. "Come with me, Sirius. He will join you all soon." She nodded - still with the nodding? - and grabbed Sirius by the elbow, dragging him out of their sight.
They exchanged confused and slightly worried looks. "Do you think we should follow?" James asked in a hushed voice, as if afraid Narcissa could hear him.
"No." Remus said. He looked even paler now, and his shoulders had slumped down in exhaustion. "He'll be alright. She's his cousin. Let's go before we lost trail of everybody and get lost."
Grace nodded, a small frown marring her face. "Remus is right. C'mon, James. You can wait for Sirius to return in your room."
"Alright." James agreed eventually, though he still looked bothered.
He was a great friend, that one, Grace thought approvingly.
So, I'm very excited about this story. I've written more than half of it already and even though I had promised myself I wouldn't post anything without having it already written down anymore, I couldn't help myself. On the bright side, I have this whole part written, so there won't be any problems with updating.
I hope you enjoy it. And if you do, could please, pretty please, leave me a review? Even a teensy one will suffice. I just want to know your opinion, and it's kind of hard to transmis that when you only click the favourite button. I want to know what you liked and what you didn't like so I can improve my writing!
Thanks in advance. :))