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Chapter 6 : Girl Talk and Bad News
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“This is awful,” Liam muttered as they sat down for breakfast on Wednesday morning. His dark blue eyes had a hard look in them as he scanned Daily Prophet. There seemed to be a big picture of a cloud – like shape on the front page, but Olivia couldn’t see it properly since she was looking at it upside down.
“What is it?” she asked frowning, loading scrambled eggs on her plate. Liam looked almost queasy. He just shook his head and handed her the paper.
MUGGLE FAMILY BRUTALLY KILLED
Around 11 pm on Monday night, a muggle family in Liverpool was found dead in their home. All bodies wore unmistakable signs of magic, and a large sign in the form of a skull with a snake as a tongue, was placed above the house. Auror spokesperson Jeremy Flint confirmed that the attack is in line with other muggle – attacks that have taken place this summer.
“The bodies wore the same marks as the victims of the other attacks, and they also seem to have some sort of connection to wizards, for example a marriage between a wizard and a muggle or a muggle – born relative who attends Hogwarts. These murders are therefore a clear message, that there is a certain group of wizards and witches who doesn’t deem these connections rightful. The Auror Office is investigating these attacks, putting the best Auror’s on the job, and we hope to uncover the identities of these pure – blood supremacists as well as putting them behind bars as soon as possible.”
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Magic demands wizarding population to stay calm and try their best to protect their muggle relatives or neighbours. A simple protective charm cast on your street can save several lifes. If anyone happens to know more of these attacks, the Ministry urges them to share this information.
Olivia pushed the paper away with a nauseated expression on her face. This was horrible, and she couldn’t believe how anyone could think like that. She shot a look at Lily, who was sitting a few places away from her. Lily looked pale, her eyes glassy and Olivia was sure she’d read the paper. Her friends didn’t seem to have noticed and chattered away happily.
“Eat something Olivia, you look as if you’re going to pass out,” Liam said quietly. He stacked her plate with toast, then grabbed her hand and gave it a small squeeze.
“Thanks Liam,” she muttered weakly. She managed to give him a small smile and started nibbling on her toast. Liam still kept an eye on her, to make sure she was eating. As she finished her toast, Olivia saw Lily stand up from her seat and leave the Great Hall.
“Sorry, Liam, I got to do something,” she muttered, Liam gave her a piercing look and nodded. She swiftly packed her things and went after Lily, heaving her satchel over her shoulder.
“What?” Lily asked, her voice impassive. Her curtain of auburn hair obscured her face, causing Olivia to wonder if she’d been crying.
“I just wanted to know how you felt. I read the article in the paper, it must’ve been even worse for you,” Olivia muttered. This wasn’t really her kind of thing, comforting someone, but she couldn’t let Lily face it all on her own, could she? Lily looked at her, a slightly surprised expression in her glassy emerald eyes.
“It’s just awful, isn’t it?” she whispered. “I worry constantly about my family, what could happen to them. Nobody protects them and I can’t do it, I’m not of age yet. There’s nothing I can do,” she said with a dry sob, trying very hard not to cry.
“Sure there are things you can do, Lily,” Olivia muttered. “You can work hard on Defence Against the Dark Arts and become the best, so you can protect your family later and then become an Auror to fight those maniacs who’re behind this.” Lily listened to her with big eyes.
“You’re right, I never thought of it that way. There’s no use moping around, is there?” She got a determined, slightly intimidating look on her face. “Maybe we can’t fight yet, but we can learn as much as we can now. Thanks, Olivia.”
“You’re welcome,” she mumbled, slightly taken aback with Lily’s sudden mood swing. She had always thought of Lily as something of a crybaby, but apparently she had been wrong. She smiled at her realization.
“Want to walk to Transfiguration?” Lily asked, interrupting her reverie.
“Sure,” Olivia smiled, and they walked together in companionable silence. She could practically hear Lily’s brain whirring, but Lily didn’t say anything and Olivia didn’t ask. They were the first when they entered the Transfiguration classroom, McGonagall giving them an acknowledging nod. The other students entered, filling the seats, with James, Remus, Peter and Sirius the last ones to enter. They where whispering among themselves, looking uncharacteristically serious. Olivia guessed they had also read the article.
“Attention, class,” professor McGonagall barked as everyone was sat. “We will continue with Vanishing Charms today, and I expect everyone of you to be able to Vanish his or her snail by the end of this lesson.” She waved her wand and a snail appeared on each student’s desk. “You may begin” McGonagall commented with a stern glare.
Olivia had been able to Vanish her snail the previous lesson, so she was confident that it would work this time. However, this time she set to perform the charm non – verbally. This would be a good test for her, since Vanishing Charms were of an average advanced level. Olivia pointed her wand to her snail and concentrated. To her delight, it Vanished entirely.
“Have you been practising non – verbal spells, miss Wright?” a stern voice asked from her right. Olivia looked over her shoulder and saw Professor McGonagall standing behind her.
“Yes, Professor,” she responded in a clear voice. McGonagall watched her attentively, then gave her a rare smile.
“Excellent, miss Wright. It pleases me to see a student show initiative and an eagerness to learn. 20 points to Gryffindor.” Olivia watched her walk away, inspecting Peter’s work. She turned to meet Lily’s surprised face looking at her.
“That was surreal,” Lily whispered in awe. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen her smile.”
Olivia nodded, still slightly astonished. The rest of the class passed uneventfully, and every student managed to Vanish his snail in the end. Even Peter, although she had the impression Remus had been helping him.
“See you around, Olivia,” Lily said, giving her a small smile. Joan and Mary didn’t look too pleased though when Lily joined them, shooting an unfriendly look in Olivia’s direction.
“What’s their problem?” Liz asked, walking towards her. She had sat next to David during the class. Olivia shrugged.
“Probably afraid I’ll steal their friend or something,” she muttered. “But don’t worry Liz, no one could replace you even if they wanted to,” she added cheekily.
“I should ruddy think not,” Liz snorted. “They would have to get past me first.” She pretended to karate – chop someone in mid air, shrieking impressively. Peter, who had been walking behind them, toppled over in surprise.
As Liz and Olivia were done laughing, they sat down at the Ravenclaw table.
“So, first Hogsmeade trip is in a few weeks,” Liz said conversationally. Olivia looked at her with big eyes.
“Oh Merlin, are you going to ask me out?” she exclaimed in a mock emotional voice. “I never thought this day would come,” she added, pretending to brush away tears. Liz smacked her on the back of her head.
“You wish,” she muttered, reaching for a cheese sandwich. “No, I just wanted to say that I’m going with David,” she continued in a louder voice, smiling broadly.
“Of course you are,” Olivia responded nodding. “I’ll just go with Liam, or on my own.” Liz frowned at this.
“You can’t go to Hogsmeade on your own, Olivia,” she said, as if she was explaining something very simple to a two – year old. Olivia shrugged.
“Why not? I like to be on my own.”
“Yes, but people will think you don’t have friends and they’ll take pity on you,” Liz retorted impatiently, her dark eyes big.
“I don’t really care about other people,” Olivia said with her mouth full of ham sandwich. Liz arched one eyebrow.
“Clearly you don’t, otherwise you’d have learnt to eat as a proper human being,” she muttered. Olivia rolled her eyes. Really, the topic of her eating habits came up a bit too often to her liking.
“Don’t you have to go snog someone in a broom cupboard?” she asked drily. Liz glared at her, then ate her cheese sandwich in what she clearly thought was a dignified silence.
Raindrops were splattering loudly against the windows that evening. Olivia groaned, realising Quidditch training was going to be a real treat.
“Mind if I sit here?” a female voice asked. Olivia looked up from her Potions homework and saw Emma standing next to her usual table in the library.
“Be my guest,” she answered with a wave of her hand. The small beater sat herself opposite of Olivia, and watched her for a few minutes without saying anything.
“I need to ask you a favour,” Emma exclaimed finally. Her chocolate – brown eyes watched her intently, waiting for a response.
“Spill,” Olivia commented, turning her attention to her teammate. She looked a bit uncomfortable, and finally took a deep breath.
“I need you to help me become a girl,” she said in a serious tone. Olivia was struck dumb for a few seconds, then found her voice back.
“You need my help to become a girl?” she repeated slowly. “First of all, I think you’re fine the way you are, and secondly, I’m not sure I’d be the right girl for that kind of job.”
Emma shook her head. “No, you are! Look, you’re kind of that girl in – between. You’re not a bimbo, but not tomboy either. You’re sensible, calm and as un – dramatic as it can get. If I wanted to be a bimbo, I would’ve asked that 5th year Hufflepuff girl who can’t tell a broomstick from a shovel.” Emma looked at her pleadingly. “I’m tired of being treated as a sodding bloke. I want to be me, and that includes girl sides.” The skinny beater sighed and thought for a moment. “And I want to get revenge on Andrew and Troy.”
“All right, you seem to have given this some thought,” Olivia commented perplexed. “Wait, what happened with Andrew and Troy?” she asked, referring to their fellow teammates.
“You know how guys often play this game, where you have to choose between two gross options who you’d rather kiss?” Emma said drily, one eyebrow arched. Olivia nodded. “Well, I came up, and they were all having a laugh about how I couldn’t be picked because it would be like snogging a friend. A male friend, to be precise,” she continued in an impassive voice.
“Oh.” Olivia didn’t know what to say to this so she quickly changed the subject. “So to get this straight, you want people to notice you’re a girl and get your revenge on Andrew and Troy?” she asked, counting off her fingers. Emma nodded in agreement. “Right, so I think you should somehow combine those two goals. It’ll have to be good, though,” Olivia said thoughtful. “I’ll help you, but we really need to think this through.” She was silent for a few moments, deep in thought.
“You know what, what if we just think on it for a few days? I agree with you, I want to think this through properly,” Emma said, frowning slightly. Olivia nodded her agreement.
“Right. We need to get going anyway, Quidditch training is about to start,” she sighed with a look at the window.
“Stupid bloody rain,” Olivia muttered as she chased after the Snitch. She had the tendency to swear when training in bad weather. As the Snitch took a particularly sharp bend it just escaped her grasp. “SON OF A – “
“Come on team, only fifteen minutes left! Give it all you’ve got!” Evan shouted from the other side of the pitch. Muttering angry, Olivia turned her broom and chased the Snitch once again. Dodging a bludger, she almost lost sight of it but managed to spot it hovering next to one of the Hufflepuff stands.
Come on, she thought, focussing on the Snitch. Just a few inches…
With a sigh of relief, she grabbed the Snitch and turned to fly toward Evan. He nodded, grinning broadly when he saw her approaching.
“Good catch, Wright. There’s a chance we’ll be playing in this weather so it’s good to know our chances,” he said excitedly. Olivia just grumbled and shot him a dark look, shaking out her mass of wet hair that was plastered against her skin from the rain.
“Save that for when we win the ruddy match, Hamilton,” she responded, but he didn’t seem to hear her. He was looking at her with his mouth slightly agape, a bit of an absent expression on his face. Olivia snapped her fingers in front of his eyes.
“Hamilton! Pay attention, your Chasers are going haywire,” she said with a frown.
“Right,” Evan muttered, shaking his head as if to clear it. He shot her a last odd look, then turned his attention to the Chasers who had lost their Hawkshead Attacking Formation.
“That’s enough people, we’re done here,” he shouted. A chorus of relieved voices reached them. “Let’s get down,” he muttered to Olivia, who nodded and landed next to him. The field was soggy as they walked across it to the dressing rooms.
“Good training everyone,” Evan said, watching his team with a satisfied expression on his face. “It’s always good to have had practice in extreme conditions, since you never know what kind of weather we’ll have on a match. See you all tomorrow!”
The team mumbled defiantly as they entered the dressing rooms. In the girl’s dressing room, Emma groaned as she tried to get out of her drenched Quidditch robes.
“Bloody Hamilton,” she muttered angrily as she turned on the shower. “It’ll be raining like this for the rest of the week, mark my words.”
Olivia, too tired to answer, just shrugged. The hot water pouring down was blissful against her cold skin. Eventually, she had to get out though. She dried her hair with a flick of her wand and proceeded on putting on her robes.
As Olivia entered the common room, she was greeted by a very active Sirius.
“Hey Olivia,” he said, grinning widely and pushing his hair out of his eyes. “I was wondering if you’d fancy going over Shield Charms again before the DADA class tomorrow?”
Olivia grumbled incoherently and kicked second – year from the couch by the fire, letting herself fall into the soft cushions. Liam, who had come in after her, followed her example and landed next to her, his long legs swung over Olivia’s back.
“Piss off, Healey,” she muttered, pushing away his legs. “And Sirius, I’m sorry but I’m exhausted. I doubt if I can even drag myself up to my dorm,” she said, turning to Sirius.
“I can take care of that,” he replied, arching one eyebrow cockily. His smile faltered as she threw a cushion at him. “Okay, but can you just give me some advice? You won’t have to do anything, I’ll cast the spell and you point out the weaknesses.” He looked at her pleadingly, his grey eyes big.
She considered this. “I can criticise you” she said slowly, then beamed at him. “We have a deal! Liam, would you move? I want to sit comfortably for this.”
“Fine,” Liam groaned. “But this couch is not your sole property. At least let me use you as a pillow.” Olivia rolled her eyes and nodded, motioning Liam to make himself comfortable. He spread out on the couch, legs swung over an armrest and his head in her lap. After a few seconds, he already started snoring softly. Olivia patted his head and turned her attention towards Sirius, who was watching her amusedly.
“You may begin,” she said to Sirius in an imitation of McGonagall stern tone. Sirius had gotten better, but there were still mistakes that always came back. They didn’t practice for long though, Olivia for one was completely knackered and it became more difficult to talk through Liam’s snoring.
“He’s even worse than James,” Remus commented, watching Liam in awe. Olivia noticed that Remus had dark shadows underneath his eyes, and he looked slightly feverish. Full moon was tomorrow night, so it didn’t really surprise her. Katie must be feeling awful too, she thought sadly.
“Guys, could you get him off me?” she gestured towards Liam. “I really want to sleep.” Sirius immediately bounced from his seat eagerly, pointing his wand towards Liam (with a slightly too gleeful expression on his face, she thought) and send a Tickling Hex at him. Liam immediately woke up howling with laughter, and scanned the common room for the culprit.
“Black!” he managed to gasp between fits of laughter. “You’re a dead man!” and he chased Sirius around the Common Room. As Olivia climbed the spiral staircase that lead to her dormitory, she caught a last glimpse of Liam holding Sirius in a stranglehold, Remus watching them with an amused expression on his tired face.
“All right class, that’s it for today,” Professor Vaughan’s voice rang through the classroom. A bunch of students, all in varying states of consciousness, looked up at his words. They had been spending the lesson focusing on Stunning Spells, which accounted for those few students who were still out cold. “Next class we’ll be practicing on other attacking spells. Off you go.” Vaughan then turned to enervate the unconscious students left. “Good work miss Wright,” he said to Olivia as she put her wand in her satchel. “I see you’ve been practising.”
“Thank you Professor,” she answered with a nod. Her Stunning Spell was still quite pathetic, but at least she had improved. It just annoyed her that she improved so slowly. Stretching her arms to get rid of the stiffness due to being Stunned several times, she walked towards Liz who was waiting for her outside of the classroom.
“If that Quidditch training yesterday evening didn’t kill me, those twelve Stunning Spells surely have done the job,” Olivia muttered as she sat down at the Gryffindor table. James, who had sat himself opposite from her raised his goblet in agreement. “And I still need to finish that essay for Professor Sprout,” she groaned, letting her head rest on her arms. “Please help me?” she begged Liz in a tiny voice.
Liz patted her head with a amused smile. “Sure thing honey,” she answered while loading her plate with smoked salmon and toast. Olivia raised her head and scanned the table for something to eat.
“Green apples!” she exclaimed happily. She loved green apples. Pulling the nearest bowl towards her, she started to peel one.
“Why are you so excited about green apples?” Remus asked frowning, watching her devour a Granny Smith apple with a dreamy expression on her face.
“’Cause they are the best,” she managed to explain between her bites. “Red apples are way too sweet, and they’re often mushy and everything. Green apples are perfection.” James shook his head in unbelieving manner.
“Not bloody likely. Green apples are too sour,” he objected. Olivia shook her head vigorously.
“No they’re not. They’re fresh and crisp and perfectly balanced between sweet and sour.” She took a few more from the bowl, putting them in her satchel, and started devouring another one.
“All right Granny Smith,” Liz said loudly. “Time to let go of the apples and get your lazy ass to class.” She snatched the bowl out of Olivia’s hands and placed them a safe distance away. “You’ve got Ancient Runes, right? Off you go!” and she pushed her away in the direction of the hall. With an unhappy expression, Olivia dragged herself to the marble staircase.
“I agree, you know,” a husky voice said coming from behind her. Remus followed her up the marble staircase, his amber eyes looking tired. “Green apples are the best.”
Olivia gave him smile and observed him. Remus looked even more feverish than last night, which was probably the reason why he had loosened his tie. A few sandy locks were plastered to his forehead, and the shadows under his eyes were even more pronounced, giving him a slightly tormented look. She knew that his senses were going haywire right now, with the full moon only being a couple of hours away, so she talked quietly as they walked to Ancient Runes together. None of the other boys followed this class, and from the other girls only Emma and Lily attended it. In her third year, Olivia had chosen Ancient Runes in favour of Divination and she turned to be very happy with that choice, especially when she heard the stories about the Divination Professor.
Remus had sat himself next to Olivia before Emma had come into the classroom, so she had to sit next to Lily instead. The two girls hadn’t gotten along well in the past few years, but during the lesson they were more or less polite to each other. As they were working their way through an sixth century text, Olivia saw Remus clenching his teeth as a cramp ran through his body. He’d have to go to the Hospital Wing, but she guessed he didn’t want to draw attention to himself, fearing that someone would notice a pattern. She could see that he was in pain, though. Luckily for him, Olivia was a good actress.
“Professor Babbling?” she groaned with a nauseated expression on her face. “I think I must’ve eat something bad this lunch. Can I go to the Hospital Wing please?”
Professor Babbling, a slightly loony looking witch looked up from the blackboard. “Yes, of course Wright,” she answered vaguely, motioning with her piece of chalk. “Mr Lupin, if you would be so kind to escort miss Wright…” she muttered, turning her attention back to the text.
Remus and Olivia packed their things and walked out of the classroom. As the door closed behind them, she turned her expression back to normal.
“You don’t look ill,” Remus commented in a hoarse whisper, his face contorted in pain as another cramp ran through his body. He staggered and Olivia supported him, grabbing his elbow.
“No, but you do,” she answered, her voice impassive. “I know you wouldn’t want to ask to go to the Hospital Wing, so I gave you an excuse.” Remus looked at her with a surprised expression on his face, and Olivia could spot a glint of fear in his eyes. He’s afraid I suspect something, she thought.
“It’s okay, I have that too” she continued quickly. “Whenever I feel sick in class, I just wait until class is over because I don’t want people to worry.”
He looked a bit more at ease now, but Olivia wanted to make sure he wouldn’t fret about someone discovering his secret. The transformation would be worse if he did. So she decided to provide him with an excuse.
“It’s probably something you ate, though. My friend Liz was sick about a week ago and she had pretty much the same symptoms. She had to stay in bed for a few days, so you’ll probably also have to.” Liz hadn’t been sick of course, but it provided him with the perfect excuse and also would explain the few days of absence he’d have in the days following the full moon. Remus’ amber eyes looked into Olivia’s green – grey ones, and he gave her a small smile.
“That’s probably it,” he nodded. They had reached the Hospital Wing, and Remus lingered outside. “Thanks, Olivia,” he said with his slightly crooked smile. She gave him a wink and strolled towards the Gryffindor Common Room.
“I’ll let your friends know that you’re ill,” she shouted over her shoulder to Remus. He nodded and went into the Hospital Wing, feeling slightly better than before. As Madam Pomfrey handed him an old pair of robes, he found himself more relaxed than he usually was. A faint whiff of something that smelled like green apples and sea air reached him, causing him to smile without realising.
A/N: A big thanks to the people who already have reviewed, it really makes my day and I can use the feedback! This is a bit of a filler chapter, but it was necessary. So, what did you think of the conversation between Emma and Olivia? Where will it lead to? What did you think of the Quidditch Captain? Let me know, if you feel like it!
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