Chapter 9 : Wish You Were Here
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I’m trying to be as canon as possible here … so I’m assuming that Lucius Malfoy, Bellatrix and Andromeda Black and Rodolphus Lestrange have graduated at this point in time. However, I do want to use some canon Death Eaters in this story so I’m choosing to make Rabastan Lestrange and Thorfinn Rowle Seventh Years even though they are older than Sirius.
Also, I’m not sure if I made this clear or not but Marianne’s mostly English except for her grandfather on her father’s side and her mother. They are both fully French.
Chapter image by me :D
“We’re just two lost souls swimming in a fish bowl year after year, running over the same old ground. What have we found?” – Pink Floyd, 1975
“But Marianne, I want to hear the story about Madame Thatcher again! Won’t you tell it? Please?”
“If she heard you calling her Madame, Nanette, she’d probably laugh at you,” Marianne Minot chuckled as she scooted over on the Ravenclaw bench. “She’d prefer you to call her Maire.”
Her younger sister squealed in delight and sat down next to her. The other Ravenclaws around them smiled politely as they got up from their table in the Great Hall and made their way back to their common room; most students had finished their dinner and began doing the same. Nanette, however, never broke eye contact with her sister as she poured herself a fresh glass of pumpkin juice.
“Well go on! Tell me!”
“Alright, alright!” Marianne laughed as she ruffled her youngest sister’s hair. “As you already know, there aren’t many details about Mairead Thatcher’s birth. Legend suggests that she grew up just off Drury Lane in London.”
“The same street where that Muggle Muffin Man lives?”
“Yes, the very same. Mairead became an orange girl at one of the local wizarding playhouses, selling fruit and sweetmeats to the audiences during the acts. However, her magical abilities soon vaulted her onstage and she became one of the first female illusionists. She became the Queen of Fantasy and her visual tricks charmed audiences from all over London. Her confidence even enchanted the great wizard Keredwel Rincewind! She became his mistress and kept his interest over the years because she never pretended to be someone she wasn’t. She was Maire Thatcher from Drury Lane until the day she died.”
“So she’s kind of like … what’s her name? Oh, shoot. I should know this! Umm, ummm … She’s – she’s like Cinderella! The girl in that Muggle fairy tale!”
“Well I wouldn’t say she’s exactly - ”
“What your sister is trying to say,” Remus interjected above them, “is that you should always pursue your dreams and never discriminate against people just because of their background.” Nanette beamed up at the Gryffindor and he smiled over her head towards Marianne; the Ravenclaw grinned back, thankful that Remus had saved her from going into more detail.
“Oh what’s this? My head feels extremely heavy. There must be something stuck my ear!” He placed his fingers in his left ear, mimed plucking something out of it, and with an excellent magician’s slight of hand, magically conjured an orange that rolled off his shoulder, down his arm, and into her lap. The little Hufflepuff squealed in delight.
“Do it again! Do it again!”
“Nanette,” Marianne warned.
“It’s alright,” Remus laughed. He propped his knee up against the Ravenclaw bench and leaned down towards the small girl. His hand snaked around her shoulders and plucked a single white rose out of thin air and Nanette’s eyes almost popped out of her skull in awe. She giggled when he placed the flower in her tiny hands.
“I like him,” she said matter of factly as she turned towards her sister. “Why isn’t he around you more often?”
“Because he has other friends, Nanette,” Marianne said rolling her eyes playfully. Her sister was still so young and naïve. “Now off you go. I’m sure you have homework to do.” Nanette frowned and her lower lip quivered, but the Seventh Year didn’t budge. “Your puppy dog eyes aren’t going to save you this time. I want that homework done on time!” She groaned and Marianne kissed her younger sister’s cheek lovingly. “Say thank you to Remus and then run along to the Hufflepuff common room. Your friends are waiting.”
“Thank you Mr. Lupin!” the Hufflepuff with glee as she twirled her flower with her fingers. “And you better be back here tomorrow - I want to see more!”
Marianne snickered behind her hands as she watched her sister joyfully skip out of the Great Hall with her new present tucked behind her right ear. The Ravenclaw sighed and remembered when her youngest sibling had been placed under the Sorting Hat; its choice didn’t surprise her in the slightest because Nanette was a bubbly, blissful girl who only cared about animals and nature. She was a perfect Hufflepuff.
Although Marianne loved both her sisters, the small girl always tugged at her heartstrings. She was so young and fragile compared to her other sister Gabrielle, who was more of a stubborn genius. Nanette required much more attention and care and Marianne feared she wouldn’t be able to shield her from the darkness brewing on the horizon. Pushing her familial responsibilities out of her mind, she turned to Remus, who was busy watching Nanette.
“Thank you for saving me there,” she chuckled. “I always feel like I’m walking on eggshells when I tell that story.” She ran a hand through her cropped hair. “Nanette always loves hearing about romances. It doesn’t matter if the characters are Muggles or wizards, she will still beg me to tell them to her over and over again. I love teaching her to love everything, reach for the stars, and be tolerant of others but at the same time, I don’t have the heart to tell her what a mistress is - I tried to leave that detail out when I first told her but she corrected me after she took a trip to the Library. I told her being a mistress was like being a very good friend with a man and thank Merlin she believed me.”
“She’s young,” Remus replied with a grin. “She doesn’t need to know the truth just yet.”
“I know,” Marianne agreed, “but I’m still biting my fingernails every time there’s another attack against Muggles. She’s – she’s just so little and innocent! She doesn’t know how cruel the world can be.”
She crossed her arms over her chest and let out a frustrated huff, which slightly tousled some of her dark brown hair. Remus laughed next to her and she looked up at him with a raised brow, forcing him to explain his outburst.
“Well you can’t blame me for laughing! You’re only 17 and you’re already acting like a concerned mother,” he justified with a caring smile.
“Ugh, don’t remind me,” Marianne teased as she stood up from the Ravenclaw bench. “I’ll be getting wrinkles and grey hairs before I graduate.” The pair chuckled collectively as she rose from the bench and threw her heavy school bag over her shoulder.
Yet, before they made their way out of the Great Hall to start their weekly study session in the Library, Marianne couldn’t help but throw a glance over her shoulder at the Slytherin table. Several Seventh Years - including Severus Snape, Gruntilda Avery, Thorfinn Rowle, and Rabastan Lestrange - remained at the end closest to the door and were huddled over something in front of them. Their whispers were barely audible but their faces were sinister and menacing.
The Ravenclaw didn’t want to know what they were planning but immediately felt hard, rigid, and defensive. She knew the tides were turning and the last thing Marianne wanted was for her family to be thrust into the conflict. Lord Voldemort’s hateful rhetoric forced many rich pureblood families to choose sides but thankfully her mother and father remained neutral.
Yet, as she caught Rabastan's intense stare from across the room, she couldn’t help but ask herself one question – how long could they stay out of the line of fire? It was no secret that the youngest Lestrange was looking for a wife after the untimely demise of Helga Nott and Marianne physically shuddered when his stare didn’t waver as he licked his lips suggestively. She was not blind. She perceived his discrete advances loud and clear. He was slowly hunting her because she was a pureblood with several important ties; her father came from the illustrious English Carter family and his father and her mother gave her connections to the renowned, selective circles of Paris.
In the eyes of the Lestrange family, she was a better candidate than Rodolphus Lestrange’s new wife, Bellatrix. Marianne had always suspected that Rabastan was secretly in love with the famously nasty and brutal Slytherin alumna, which is why he probably set his sights on someone like her. If he could marry a Minot, then he would be the champion of the family instead of his older brother.
He would have the bragging rights.
“Come on,” Remus whispered softly as he put a hand on her back and guided her out the large pair of doors, “they aren’t worth your time. Besides, Lestrange will be the laughing stock of the school tomorrow, mark my words.”
“You better be referring to an upcoming Marauder prank,” Marianne said icily as her light footsteps turned into vicious stomps. “I know I’m a Prefect but I would love to see someone break his bloody nose.”
She seethed silently until she caught Remus’ surprised face when they rounded the next corner. His eyes were wide in alarm. His jaw dropped slightly. His lips twitched nervously. He looked like he’d been thrown for a loop. Marianne’s firm body language immediately softened when she realized that Remus had never actually seen her this mad before. They mostly discussed upcoming exams, newly released academic novels, and career paths. Their friendship was light and comical, not deep and serious. Her behavior was probably shocking him.
“I’m sorry,” she apologized as guilt washed over her. “I’m just stressed.”
Remus gulped, swallowing her response anxiously, and then gave her a small smile. She returned his gesture with a smile of her own and they slowly walked in silence as they made their way to the Library.
However, once they sat down and began discussing their upcoming Defense Against the Dark Arts essay on Unbreakable Vows, the tension between them faded. The rigorous conversation opened them both back up and they freely discussed scholastic interpretations as they flipped through the large stacks of books to provide evidence for their respective arguments. At one point, Marianne knocked over her inkpot when reaching for an old book, but disregarded the mess as the black liquid pooled on her parchment and spoiled her notes.
She had to find the one passage that described a Bonder’s specific duties to prove Remus wrong.
“Ha! See this?” she said triumphantly as she thrust the page into his face. “According to Weber, the strength of the Unbreakable Vow lies with the Bonder. If the Bonder doesn’t fully focus while performing the wandless incantation, he or she weakens the spell. So you can cheat the Vow if you bribe the Bonder to purposely muck up the whole thing.”
Remus raised his brows, unimpressed. Marianne tutted and stuck her finger next to the passage that proved her interpretation was right. He skimmed over the printed words in front of him, sighed, and threw himself back into his chair in exhaustion.
“Fine, you win this time!”
“What are you talking about? I always win.”
“Well that’s because I always let you,” he chuckled as he raised his hands in the air and stretched.
Marianne tried not to stare but his toned stomach peeked out from beneath his shirt and she felt her mouth salivate. As he lazily smiled back at her, she couldn’t help but show her genuine surprise. She always knew that Remus was a smart student but if he was figuring out the right answer before her and still letting her say it first, then he was also an extreme gentleman. He ignored her wandering eyes, sighed again, and collapsed on the table in front of them, leaning on a stack of books.
“Your incessant arguing is wearing me out,” he grumbled into his arms as he closed his eyes. “Wake me up in five minutes and then we can spar again.”
Marianne blinked dumbly several times as she tried to decipher the previous moment. Was Remus Lupin more than he seemed?
He was certainly a lot smarter than he let on and Marianne already considered him to be leaps and bounds ahead of his peers. But his playful deception brought a deeper question to the surface ... why did he feel the need to hide his genius? She bit her lip as she puzzled. She hoped she’d never given him any reason to keep anything secret from her. In fact, she considered them to be good friends … yet, as she watched his chest slowly rise and fall, Marianne finally realized that she didn’t know very much about Remus. They never talked about their wildest fantasies, far away dreams, or painful pasts - only schoolwork. So his admission was the first time he’d shown her another layer of his personality.
Marianne let out a soft breath and continued to stare at her sleeping friend. She’d always found him attractive, but his good-humored performance for Nanette and recent confession made her want to get closer to him. She wanted to see who the real Remus was because she was beginning to like what he was like under the first couple layers.
He raised his head slightly so he could let out a shallow cough and then burrowed back into the crook of his arm. Marianne felt her own breath catch in her throat as she continued to survey him from across the table. She felt conflicted. The Ravenclaw desperately wanted to know more about him, but held herself back from waking up him up to talk to him again. She bit her lip harder and looked up the ceiling, hoping to find an answer.
Her mother had always taught her to be coy and demure, letting the suitor chase her instead of pursuing the relationship herself. That was the French way. And so, when Marianne had first met Remus in the Library before their big exams, she adopted the same strategy; although she found him to be extremely striking, she never forced anything between them.
The choice was his – he could remain friends with her or chase her.
However, after they began studying together regularly, her romantic feelings towards him faded, because she figured that if he was courageous enough to kiss other girls in their year, he would have tried to woo her as well. He must have felt their relationship was only platonic, which is why he never forced her into anything either.
Yet, as her eyes finally settled back on Remus, Marianne realized that she didn’t want things to be platonic between them anymore, not when he had so much more to him that she didn’t know. Out of all her friends, he was the one who always brightened her day. He always made sure to talk to her at parties, remembered all her favorite authors, and treated her kin more than amicably. He was so different from all the conceited gits that pursued her at all the pureblood balls her parents dragged her to.
At that moment, Marianne decided to adopt a different strategy. Screw the French way. She was going to do it the Marianne way. If she wanted something, she was going to go get it. She wouldn’t let herself be prey to someone like Rabastan Lestrange. No one on earth was like Remus Lupin and if she didn’t try, she would always wonder what could have been. She desperately wanted to open a new door and know how he was handling his mother’s terminal illness. She wanted to know his deepest darkest secrets and his most joyous moments. She wanted something more between them, something multi-dimensional.
And when he yawned as he lifted his head off the table, she wanted to kiss him. Badly.
“I told you I only wanted to be out for five -”
“Do you want to go to Hogsmeade with me?” Marianne blurted out in the middle of his sentence. “You know, walk around, have a butterbeer, go to a bookstore, and check out their new titles?” His eyebrows shot up dramatically, his face plastered in shock. Marianne couldn’t help but laugh as he snapped his dropped jaw shut.
“I’d- I’d -”
“Just say yes! You can tolerate me every Wednesday night, surely you can tolerate me for a Saturday afternoon.”
“Yes,” Remus said breathlessly. “Yes, absolutely. I’d love that.”
Marianne couldn’t help but grin broadly. Her break with her mother’s advice had brought her immediate success and she felt elated and overjoyed. As he chuckled softly and ran a hand through his sandy brown hair, Marianne solidified her new approach and vowed to take her romantic future into her own hands. She felt empowered beyond belief. She wasn’t prey, she was finally the hunter.
“Fantastic. Now you said earlier that you think Baldash is completely wrong, but actually …”
Author’s Note: AHHHH REMUS IS SO CUTE!
Sorry for the wait guys, last week was my spring break. I planned to write a lot but my trip to New Orleans was just way too much fun. I had a little bit of writer’s block in the middle of this chapter but this afternoon I got a spark. Plus, I have so much planned. I can’t stop now. I just want to get it all out on Word because it’s gonna be soooooo good.
And LOL at Gruntilda. I pulled that name out of thin air.
Favorite quotes from the story? Who’s your favorite character? Favorite pairing so far?
Next chapter will be about Lily. Hopefully it will be up in about a week!
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