"Get up, Thalia! We have so much to do. What are you going to wear? How are you going to do your hair?"
I was awakened bright and early by an eager Lily. It was too early for a Saturday, Hogsmeade trip or not, and I wanted a few more hours of sleep. I had just planned on throwing on a pair of jeans and a jumper, as it was supposed to be cold later on.
Of course Lily, and Maia, who had also been awakened by Lily’s shouting, were both great fans of makeovers, and weren’t planning on letting me get away that easily. They forced me into the shower and threw different potions over the door. They then covered my face in makeup. And after all that, I was forced into a skirt (with tights luckily) and a fitted jumper. This was not the look I was originally going for.
Thank Merlin they left my hair down, and not forced hadn’t forced it into an intricate up-style. To be fair, there wasn’t much to be done with curls. For once, I was glad about my hair. At least it meant I kept one piece of my appearance natural.
While I was being plucked and pampered, I pondered over the curiosity of Sirius Black. Ever since that thing in the library, he seemed to have been ignoring me. I mean, I didn’t suddenly expect him to be professing his love for me; we didn’t even kiss after all.
But I couldn’t comprehend this silence. We were finally able to hold civil conversations with one another, which was a rather nice change. I didn’t want our relationship to return to the constant arguments of the previous years.
Oh well. I decided not to waste my time thinking about someone who obviously only cared about his ego. George Wood was a much nicer person, someone worth thinking about. I was slightly shocked when he asked me to Hogsmeade but Lily wasn’t. I got what her side comments were about now, and that wink she gave me.
After Maia helped Lily pick an outfit for her date with Will Cavendish, Mary and Alice had finally woken. Once they were dressed, we all headed down to breakfast. To tell the truth, this was my first proper date. I know most people had been on plenty of dates by fifth year, but I was just always shy when it came to boys. I was too nervous to even eat anything. How was I supposed to even act today?
Maia offered me some words of comfort, “Don’t worry, Thalia. If he didn’t like who you are, he wouldn’t have bothered asking you out. Just act like yourself and go with the flow.”
Her words calmed me slightly, but I still approached the date with apprehension. Mary, Alice, and Maia were all dateless, so they decided to dedicate the day to trying on the latest robes in Gladrags. Lily and I bid them farewell while we waited in the Entrance Hall for our respective dates. We spent the next ten minutes waiting in silence, both too nervous to speak.
The moment George appeared, my nerves immediately calmed down. He looked good. His brown hair was swept back off his face, and his turquoise eyes lit up with happiness. He greeted me, and we set off out of the Entrance Hall.
Argus Filch, the new school caretaker, ticked our names off on his list with a bitter scowl. When we were out of earshot, George said to me in a low voice, "I bet he looks like that because he spends his spare time sucking on lemons.” His joke seemed to have broken the silence between us. After that, we chatted away as we walked leisurely down into the village.
Deciding we were both in an urgent need of a sugar rush, we popped into Honeydukes to see which latest delicacies were on display. While George inquired about sending sugar quills in stock to his younger sister who wasn’t at Hogwarts, I was poked in the back. I turned around to be greeted by the three mischievous faces of Mary, Maia and Alice.
“So how’s the date going? Have you kissed yet?” Mary asked bluntly, cutting to the chase.
“It’s going fine, thank you very much. As for the second matter, no we have not. We are only thirty minutes into our first date.” I tried my best to sound outraged at Mary’s suggestion. “You’re not getting me confused with Felicity Brown, are you?”
I could see her see just walking past Honeydukes with a fellow seventh year. She seemed to be heading towards the alleyway between Honeydukes and a dilapidated old house, which was a well-known place for couples to frequent if they wanted some private time.
“Of course Mary wasn’t trying to insinuate that, were you now?” Alice replied using her sternest voice possible. It was funny to watch someone so little sound so scary.
“Yeah, yeah, don’t pretend you didn’t want to know as well. You were saying all the way down, "I wonder if he’s going to kiss her, “I wonder if he’s going to kiss her.” I was just speeding up the process, so we don’t have to do all that subtle hinting back in the dorm later,” Mary said, justifying her actions.
“Fine, I did say that,” Alice shot back. “But I didn’t want to be blunt and just burst out with it.”
“Come on, guys,” Maia interjected. “I’m sure Thalia will tell us every detail later. I saw the most amazing pair of robes in Gladrags, and I want to get them before someone horrible like Narcissa Black steals them first.” Her words managed to stop Alice and Mary shooting glares at each other.
Mary put on a grim expression, “Fine. But I’m only coming as I need a new set of robes for the party tonight.”
I’d almost forgotten about the party. It was being held in the Room of Requirement tonight by the Marauders. Most of the school from fifth year up had been invited, except the Slytherins.
As the three of them trudged out of the shop, George had finally finished his discussion with the owner, and headed towards me.
“Got everything sorted then?” I asked politely.
“Yeah. They had some spare boxes in the cellar, thank Merlin. Olivia really does love them,” he said with smile. He and his sister sounded really close, the way he talked about her. His whole family sounded like they actually held conversations with each other, unlike my mother and me.
“I’m feeling rather peckish. Do you fancy getting an early lunch?” I asked, despite it being only eleven thirty.
“Yeah, sure. That’d be great, The Three Broomsticks?” George asked.
“Where else would we go?” I said, smirking.
“I heard Madam Puddifoot’s is great place for couples on a date,” George replied jokingly.
“I thought we had cleared that up already, Mr Wood. Us going to Madam Puddifoot’s equals us never talking again,” I joked back.
“Not being able to enjoy your delightful presence is too much to ask. I guess I’ll have to suffer the curse of The Three Broomsticks then.” He replied.
“Come on, it won’t be that bad. You’re with me after all.” Suddenly feeling a rare spurt of confidence, I grabbed hold of his hand and we set off for the pub still joking with one another.
We were so absorbed in our joking, that we didn’t realise another couple trying to enter the door at the same time. When we bumped into them, I turned to see two deeply contrasting hair colours, one an almost platinum blonde, the other, a very familiar shade of black. That person also shared the same surname as his hair colour, Sirius Black, and if I was correct, the blonde was Anna Whitby.
“I’m ever so sorry….Longwood?” Black asked with a tone of confusion, and something else mixed in which I couldn’t identify. I looked at his eyes, the familiar pool of grey in the hope of finding a clue or an answer, but it was to no avail.
“Ha! Don’t worry, it was nothing,” George joked merrily, ignoring the glares I was sending Black. I know he was obviously missing the death wishes I was sending mentally, but he did notice that my grip had tightened on his hand, and gave me an inquiring look.
“Yes, of course. Nothing’s ever a problem if Black’s in the equation,” I spat out bitterly. I still hadn’t forgiven him for him suddenly ignoring me. George and Anna seemed confused by my sudden hostility. I could understand though, considering I hadn't even told Lily about what had happened between me and Sirius. It wasn’t that I didn’t trust her; I was just never one to go blurting out about every single detail about my personal life.
“Nice assumptions you’re making there, Longwood,” Sirius replied, his voice laced with venom.
“You can’t call them assumptions if they’re true.” Other people had begun to build up in front of the doors. Not wanting to start an argument in front of a crowd, I let go of George’s hand and marched into the pub. Luckily, George followed and didn’t mention anything about the scene.
Much to my surprise, George and I managed to enjoy the remainder of our date. We strolled peacefully back towards the castle, enjoying the last of the autumn sun.
“So are you going to this party tonight?” George asked.
“Yeah, probably. Maia wanted us all to go, so she might have a chance to talk to Remus. You are going as well, aren’t you?” I asked hopefully.
“Who on earth would turn down a party hosted by the Marauders? Do you want to meet up and go together?” George’s cheeks flushed slightly.
“Sure, how about we meet in the common room at eight?” I replied, coming to a halt at the large, imposing doors that led into the Entrance Hall. “How about we meet in the common room at eight?”
“Sounds great,” George said. “And Thalia, I had a really nice time today. Thank you.” He leaned in and swiftly pecked my cheek.
“No need to thank me. I genuinely had a really good time too.” I replied happily. It was true I really did have a great time.
George joined his hand with mine, and we wandered back to the common room in a comfortable silence.
When I stepped through the dormitory door, I was greeted by three impatient girls, who had all been waiting to interrogate me about my date. They were rather impatient when I arrived, as Lily had come back about an hour earlier than I had, and they had already pestered her.
“So, did he finally kiss you?” Mary said jumping straight into the questioning.
“Yes, but only on the cheek. He also asked if I wanted to go to the party tonight with him, and I said yes.” I had a massive smile plastered on my face.
“Aw, that’s sweet. Does that mean Lily and I get to do another makeover?” Maia asked hopefully.
“No. I think I’ve had enough of makeovers for the time being. How was your date, Lils?” I asked, hoping she had a successful one as well.
“It was good,” she said hesitantly. “It’s just Will’s a bit too perfect, you know? He doesn’t seem to have any flaws, so you tend to feel inferior in his presence.” Lily sounded a bit dismayed. “On the bright side, he seems to be keeping Potter away. Even though it’s mean, I may keep him for a while, just so I can have some Potter free time.”
“Ha, I guess there’s always a silver lining.” I looked at my watch and found it was already half past five. "Oh Merlin, look at the time. We have to hurry, or we'll miss dinner.”
“Yes we’d better,” Lily replied and stood up and headed towards the door. The rest of us trailed behind, still laughing at the fact Lily was finally free of Potter, albeit only temporarily.
The Great Hall was decked out in the usual Halloween decorations. The candles were a bewitching black instead of the usual ivory hue. Pumpkins sat every few metres or so on the tables, and the ghosts were trying their very best to scare people. The only ghost who was really succeeding was the Bloody Baron.
Luckily, we managed to find a place on the crowded Gryffindor table. I grabbed a slice of carrot cake and started eating it, glad I could finally enjoy something that was bad for me without my mother’s disapproving glare. I could almost hear her berating me in the back of my mind:
“Thalia, think of all that weight you could gain from that single slice! Do you think someone would want to marry you if you’re fat? You can’t become some lonely spinster. You have to marry well to succeed in life, and eating that won’t help at all.”
The only time she paid any interest in my life, was when she tried to shape me into becoming a lady of society like she was. I received lessons in proper etiquette, was forced into fancy dress robes that didn’t allow much movement, and banned from reading books. According to mother, men didn’t want to have educated wives. Even though I tried not to listen to mother’s advice, I was still paranoid about ending up alone and as a spinster who has cats for company.
I was still surprised she married dad. He had always the one who encouraged me to read and explore the world, free from social and gender restrictions. All mother cared about was adding the name Longwood to her name, as it was connected with wealth and prestige.
I was pulled from my thoughts by a sudden bang and the screams which followed. I scanned the room trying to find the source of the noise.
The giant pumpkin in the middle of the staff table had exploded, and to most people’s horror, about fifty bats were swooping around the Great Hall.
Like she had with the prank on the first day, McGonagall quickly caught the perpetrators. She issued the ringleaders, Black and Potter, with detentions for two weeks. Pettigrew and Lupin managed to get away with only a stern telling off. If there was any trouble at the party later, I doubt McGonagall would be very pleased, and the punishments would most likely be a lot more severe.
After the spectacle we decided to get ready for the party. Alice and Maia were keen to get closer to Frank and Remus. Even though I declined their offer of a makeover, I still wanted to make an effort for George, as I didn’t want to end up looking like a banshee.
For once, I enjoyed getting ready. Lily had brought her record player from home this year. Mary told us that she had one at home, as her mum was a muggleborn. Lily put a large black disc inside and turned it on. She told us that we were listening to this band called The Beatles. The device greatly interested the rest of us, since we had never seen one before.
Mary and Lily were still grieving over the fact that the band had split up, despite that happening around six years ago. Mary had even tried charming her poster of them to get it to move like the magical ones, but it was to no avail and the four men remained stationary.
At eight o’clock, Maia, Alice and Mary went ahead to the party. I stayed in the common room and sank into an armchair in front of the fire, watching the flames flicker and dance while I waited for George. Lily gave me a small wave as she stepped through the Fat Lady's portrait, where she was meeting Will.
Then Mary suddenly rushed back up to the dormitory. About thirty seconds later, she quickly ran back down into the common room.
“Mary, what are you doing back here?” I asked.
“Oh, I left my wand in the dorm,” she said a little breathless from the stairs. “I hate being without it, especially now with the threat of Death Eaters around. I thought it’d be best to come back and get it.”
“Fair enough. See you at the party,” I said, as Mary headed back towards the Fat Lady.
As soon as she slipped through the portrait, George descended the stairs.
“Sorry I’m late. I just got back my dorm to find that some idiot had ransacked my trunk. I had to go and put everything back in order. I hope you didn’t mind waiting,” he said with a smile.
“It was no problem; I’ve only been waiting a few minutes. Shall we go?” I asked offering my hand to him.
“Let's.” He took hold of my hand as we walked out of the portrait hole.
As soon as we stepped out, I heard a blood curdling scream from ahead of us. I let go of George’s hand and ran down the corridor. As soon as I rounded the corner, I almost let out a scream myself.
Mary was on the floor, surrounded by what seemed to be a pool of her blood. I froze in shock unsure of what to do. Should I seek help? Or perhaps try and heal the wounds myself? Judging by the amount of blood which had amassed around her, I knew whatever spell was cast on her had caused deep, ugly wounds.
I heard footsteps quickly approaching, and to my great relief it was George.
“What happened….oh Merlin!” George sounded equally as shocked and as scared as I felt, “We need to do something quickly. I’ll stay with her and you go look for help, ok?” I nodded and quickly set off down the corridor in the direction of the party, as I guessed I would more likely find help there, than in the deserted common room I just left.
I saw a silhouette ahead and started shouting in the hope of capturing their attention.
“Help, help me please! Someone’s been seriously wounded!” I desperately hoped they would respond to my pleas.
“Thalia? What is it?” I heard Remus Lupin reply as he ran up to me.
“It’s Mary. George and I just found her lying in the corridor in a pool of blood. We don‘t know what to do. Please, just come,” I said, my voice louder and more desperate as I continued speaking.
“Remus? Longwood? What’s going on?” James Potter appeared from the shadows.
Not another person I have to explain to, I thought, Mary was in urgent need of help. Luckily Remus was thinking the same.
“Not enough time to explain. Look I’ll get Madam Pomfrey. You and James go back to Mary and try not to let her lose more blood.” Remus immediately shot off in the direction of the Hospital Wing.
“Thalia, what’s happened?” James asked worriedly, as we hurried back to where I found Mary.
“I don’t know, I was just going to the party with George, and then we heard a scream. So I ran ahead, and found Mary on the floor with blood around her. It’s just so awful, why Mary?” I suddenly burst into tears, as I had finally given up on repressing them.
“Hey, Mary will be alright. Trust me. Madam Pomfrey can work miracles, and I’ll make sure that they catch the person who did this.” James pulled me into a reassuring hug.
“Thanks,” I said, wiping the tears from my eyes. “It’s just hard to think that now.”
By the time we got back to Mary and George, Remus had returned, and was not only accompanied by Madam Pomfrey, but also by Professor McGonagall and Headmaster Dumbledore. Dumbledore was in the process of levitating Mary onto a conjured stretcher.
“Take her straight to the Hospital Wing, Poppy. She’ll need urgent care,” Dumbledore said. Madam Pomfrey immediately headed off in that direction, with the stretcher following in her wake.
“Do you think she’ll recover, Albus?” McGonagall asked tentatively.
“Yes, I think she will. However, due to it being cast by dark magic I wouldn’t be surprised if she was left with some scarring.” Dumbledore’s tone was grave. “Thank you though Wood, Potter, Longwood and Lupin. Without your quick action she may have not been saved.” With a curt nod to us he departed in the direction of the Hospital Wing.
Author Note: I hope you guys had a good Christmas and a happy new year to you all :D What did you think of Mary being attacked? You’ll find out in chapters to come who did. PLEASE REVIEW :D as I really like to hear what you think whether it’s good or bad as any improvement helps me a lot! Thanks xP.S. Thank you all for reading and getting it to +1500 reads :)
A big thank you to my beta pixileanin who has updated this chapter for me!