Chapter 5 : Amends and Negligence
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AN: Welcome back! Much appreciation is shown towards my beta, indyheart, because she is awesome!
Grace had retired early the previous night following her chat with Albus, hoping that the new day would be better than the last few. Her muscles ached from pushing herself harder than usual in her training that morning, attempting to ease her frustration. She was determined to make this day decent, hoping the beginning of the term would provide an ample supply of distractions. She also hoped that Anne would return her message soon, after remembering the unsent letter in her pocket and giving the owl specific instructions to stay with the werewolf until she replied.
She had a plan. She was going to befriend the two roommates that engaged her yesterday, without being suffocating. She was going to 'back off' her Servator, hoping that Peter's suggestion would be useful. She was going to attempt to make Severus at least tolerate the sight of her. She was going to sit quietly in her classes and make an effort to learn what the school had to offer.
"Right," Grace breathed, entering the Great Hall, feeling a bit uneasy about her school outfit, especially the skirt. Grace did not care for skirts.
To her relief, Remus and the others were not there yet, but there, chatting between each other, were Lily and Alice. She approached slowly, observing the blonde who sat beside Lily, immediately joining in the quiet exchange. This did not cause her gait to falter, however, as she convinced herself that it could only be a good thing. She was just another friend to make.
She bumped the table. She had been lost in her thoughts and she bumped into the Gryffindor table. The sudden disruption caused the three girls, along with several other students, to turn and look at Grace.
The only words she could think of slipped from her mouth before she could stop them, "Balls."
Her slip had caused the blonde to smile, her cheeks rounding like perfect apples.
"Morning Grace!" Alice greeted her cheerfully.
Lily waved at her. "You were in bed awfully early yesterday."
Grace lowered herself to sit next to Alice, hoping that the engagement in conversation also doubled as an invitation join them for breakfast.
"You were up early too, gone before any of us even woke up," Alice concluded, taking a bite from an apple.
Grace smiled, helping herself to some bacon. "I had a bit of a long day, yesterday...."
"Where did you say you ran off to again?" Lily inquired.
"I had a letter to send...."
"Oh, Merlin, I forgot my manners," Lily said suddenly, saving Grace from her excuses. "This is Marlene, she lives in our dorm with us. You would've met her yesterday if you weren't sound asleep before nine-thirty."
Marlene grinned at her. "Pleasure." When Grace nodded in response, it seemed to urge the blonde to carry on. "You know, James never mentioned having a sister, what school did you go to?"
"He never has, has he?" Alice chimed in.
Lily was even giving her an inquisitive look at the question.
Grace coughed. It should not have surprised her that people would be curious about her. "Noctars Institution."
Making a face, Marlene shrugged. "Never heard of it, is it close to here?"
"Uhm, nope, it's in the US."
"Explains your accent," Alice said, smirking at Grace.
Grace smiled, "Yeah, I guess it does."
"So, why has James never mentioned you, are you guys mortal enemies or summat?" Marlene pressed, chewing.
Laughing, Grace said, "No, no. We've just never really met each other before, so.... Fuck! Look, this isn't something I really want to talk about." Grace blushed and turned her attention to some eggs, jabbing them with her fork, causing the bright yellow yolk to seep out onto the white surface.
Marlene shrugged, busying herself with her own breakfast.
"You'll have to excuse Mar," Alice said brightly. "Very inquisitive, that one," she added playfully.
Lily laughed, "Don't worry, though. She's too far shoved up Black's arse to really care—"
"-am not!" Marlene protested, hitting the redhead in the arm.
Alice leaned towards Grace, whispering, "She's Sirius Black's girlfriend."
"I am not!" the blonde asserted again. "We just...hang out."
Snorting, Alice rolled her eyes. "Hanging out is not what I can hear all the way down in the Common Room! I mean seriously, do you two even know any silencing charms-?" Alice's words were halted as she had begun to block a barrage of black pudding, a piece of which went wayward and caught in Grace's hair.
"Well, my appetite’s ruined," Lily stated, letting her fork fall to her plate after the brief onslaught and Grace began to fish the food from her hair. “I can't believe that you can tolerate that foul git... Something is definitely wrong with the lot of 'em. I mean they call themselves 'the Marauders' for Merlin's sake! Pretentious arses.”
“They're not that bad,” Marlene protested.
Lily gave her a wary look, but decided to let that particular conversation end. "What class do you have first block, Grace?"
Lily smiled, "Great, Alice and I have that too, sit with us?"
"Mar didn't take the class," Alice informed her, continuing to eat. "Couldn't stand to be away from her lover, you know."
Marlene's blush began in her cheeks but quickly spread across her face. "Shut up, Alice."
Alice laughed and looked at Grace, looking her up and down. "Your skirt's on backwards, pumpkin."
Grace glanced down, studying her skirt inquisitively. She had not realized that there was a back to the piece of fabric.
"Shirt's all wrinkly," Marlene added.
"And your tie's a bit...not tied," Alice concluded.
Grace grimaced. “Shit....”
Lily smiled at her as Grace blushed, wanting to hide underneath the table. With a small laugh, the redhead said, "Well, we've got some time before class starts. Why don't we go back to the dorm and fix you up?"
With a sheepish smile, Grace agreed, preparing to take her leave with the girls. Just as she was about to cross the threshold, Severus passed her. His eyes locked onto the redhead behind her, halting his stride.
"Lily...," he began, but the redhead brushed past Grace, who had not realized she stopped moving. Noticing her stare, his saddened eyes shifted to Grace who smiled at him. He sneered before turning away.
Grace listened to Lily and Alice happily chatting. She appreciated Albus for signing her up for this subject. Not only was Ancient Runes something that she had excelled in during her independent studies, it also gave her an opportunity to spend time with Lily and Alice. She was enjoying just listening to them, figuring she would learn more that way than running her mouth. Talking was lately the source of her problems.
An attack on her senses pulled Grace from her comfortable haze.
She could smell Remus before he entered the room, but resisted the urge to turn and look at him. After having finally found her Servator, Grace would have to practice extreme self control to keep herself away from him. Instead, she busied her attention on the boy who had joined them.
"Hello lovely," he said, sitting next to Alice before learning in and giving her a chaste kiss.
"Grace, this is Frank Longbottom," Lily informed her.
"Oh hello," Frank said, as if noticing Grace for the first time. "You know...I don't think Potter's ever mentioned having a sister...."
Grace's smile dropped, briefly wondering if everybody that she would meet would ask about her and James' relationship. She fought to create an excuse when she felt an arm wrapping itself around her shoulders.
"What haven't I done, Longbottom?" James asked lightly, his arm still around Grace.
As Grace turned to look at her brother, she could not help but notice Remus seating himself next to James, frowning.
"Potter," Lily snapped. "Go away."
"Aw, good morning to you too, Lilypad!" he grinned at her. "Besides, I just wanted to sit with my baby sister! Is that a crime?" James pulled Grace closer to him for good measure.
Grace momentarily wondered whether James was actually born first or if he was just being presumptuous.
Lily exhaled, frustration lining her face. "Whatever. Just try not to speak."
Finally letting go of Grace, James turned to Remus grinning.
Remus rolled his eyes and looked towards the front of the classroom as the teacher began to speak. Grace attempted to do the same, painfully aware of the strong presence that was radiating from beyond James. This was going to prove to be more difficult than Grace anticipated.
Defense Against the Dark Arts had taken an interesting and slightly frightening turn. James had explained to her that this particular teaching position was jinxed, so each year there was a new professor. Thus, Professor Short had decided to take the time in the first class of the term to review dueling strategies. Grace had watched as several different students were called to the front of the room, a pair at a time, to demonstrate, taking note of the polite customs that went along with dueling. It was when the Professor had called Grace's name following Serverus' that she had begun to panic.
So there she stood, in the front of the classroom staring at Severus as Professor Short prattled on about the importance of blocking and countering spells. Severus returned her gaze in boredom, a small smirk playing across his lips.
"Now," Short said cheerfully, clasping her hands together. "Wands at the ready!"
Grace paled, glancing over to where Remus was sitting with his friends and noting the amused looks on Sirius, James, and Peter's faces. He had been watching her, she could feel his gaze. As they locked eyes, Grace frowned at the unreadable expression on his face.
"Miss Potter, your wand?"
Grace shifted her eyes back to her professor and offered a small smile. "I don't have a wand," she said quietly.
Short brushed her bushy hair from her forehead, giving Grace a stern look. "Of course you've got a wand, all students—"
"-No, really. I don't use one."
"Ten points from Gryffindor for your cheek," Short said in a very clipped tone. "Miss Potter, take out your wand."
Grace sighed glancing at Severus. He stood with his arms folded, amusement playing across his features. Grace was not used to dueling when it meant not killing her enemy. Worry became her. She would have to manifest great self-control so as not not hurt him.
"Really, Professor," came James' voice. "She doesn't use a wand."
Short puffed up a bit, but appeared to consider the allegations. "Very, well...begin."
Grace inhaled as Severus stood before her, giving her a smirk. She bowed as he began to bend his waist and neck slightly, before standing as he straightened, timing her actions around his body movements. She turned, counting the paces away from him. As she returned to face him, he was already waiting for her, his arm that held his wand curved gracefully over his head while the other one stretched out in front of him, his long fingers pointed at Grace.
She stumbled slightly as one foot caught on the other in her distraction.
Widening her stance, Grace ground her feet against the hard surface below her to balance herself. She flexed her fingers, arms at her sides. Severus raised an eyebrow and tilted his head slightly. Grace took a deep breath and nodded in return.
If she could manage to get through this by blocking his attacks, then Grace would be satisfied.
"Stupefy!" Severus said, with a quick elegant movement, flourishing his wand.
Grace brushed the spell away from her with ease.
Again, it was easily blocked.
"Petrificus Totalus! Confundo!"
Grace frowned, Severus was becoming frustrated. He was obviously skilled at dueling, or well enough so that the second spell caught Grace off guard, nearly hitting her.
"Immobulos! Alarte Ascendare! Depulso!"
The fourth spell came silently but Grace was already in motion, blocking it wasn't a problem.
Severus was firing wordless spells at her in rapid succession, agitation etched across his face. Grace frowned in worry, she needed to disarm him, but his angry onslaught was keeping her quite preoccupied.
"Protego Totalum," she whispered, holding her hands out before her.
The spell that had been hurtling towards her met the shield with furious vigor and rebounded. Grace's eyes widened in horror as Severus was hit with his own spell, knocking him backwards with great force. All Grace could see was the fire, the scent of burning flesh assaulting her senses. “Fucking hell!”
"Aqua Eructo," she whispered, once at Severus' side. The spell had soaked him, effectively putting out the flames. Grace was thankful that the spell had rendered him unconscious.
Over the peals of laughter coming from various students in the classroom, Grace could hear Professor short's raving about the “inappropriateness of using a blasting curse on other students” and so on. She glanced away from Severus, panic still overwhelming her, as Remus knelt down beside her with a grimace.
“He needs to go to the infirmary,” Remus said flatly to the teacher.
Short waved her hand at him. “Yes, yes. Go on.”
“You haven't said a word to me all morning,” Remus said, idly looking about the corridor.
Grace frowned, focusing her gaze on Severus levitating body as she gently directed him. She hummed softly. “You were angry with me yesterday.”
He smiled apolitically, rubbing the back of his head. “Acted like a right git, yeah?”
Shaking her head, Grace remained silent.
“I'm sorry,” he offered, after a slight pause.
Grace smiled with a hint of contempt. “Don't...I shouldn't have told you about all of...well, you know. I'm sorry for being 'overbearing' and...'stalkerish' and just so goddamn stupid,” she said with disdain.
Remus's face dropped and he remained silent for a few minutes.
“You're mad at me?” he asked finally.
“Listen, Grace. I just don't know anything about you and you've been a bit...hands-y...”
Grace nodded, scowling to herself.
“I just...” He trailed off, putting his hands in his pockets. “Do you actually believe that book?”
Faltering in her stride, Grace glanced at Remus. “My ancestors wrote that to help guide future generations of Trucidamus. What is there not to believe?”
“Well, I-I mean... Look, the only passage you've showed me is supposed to be about me, but maybe the things they wrote might not be applicable to you...but was to them. I mean, everybody is different, right?”
Pressing her lips together, Grace considered his thoughts. After a moment, she decided to leave them hanging ominously in the air as Severus moaned and began to stir. “He's waking up,” she said in concern.
She lowered him from the air, struggling to keep him upright. Remus reached under Severus' arms in assistance, relieving Grace of some of his weight.
“What are you doing?” Remus asked.
“We have to get him to the Hospital Wing before he wakes up,” Grace said, pulling her charm bracelet off her wrist so that she could activate it one-handed. “He's going to be in a bit of pain.”
She pressed the wand charm beneath her thumb, and wrapped her arms around Remus and Severus. “Sorry for being hands-y...hold on tight.”
Grace closed her eyes and focused on the infirmary, feeling the familiar pull of the transportation. The feeling of being weightless easing her mind, allowing the strain to be lifted from her body. As her feet once again met the ground she opened her eyes, tightening her grip around Severus as Remus stumbled slightly.
“What—” Remus began, but was cut off by Madam Pomfrey bustling into the room.
“What happened here?” the young nurse exclaimed, relieving Remus and Grace of the unconscious boy.
“Wayward blasting curse in class,” Remus offered.
Frowning the nurse dipped her hand into a jar of thick, orange paste. “Not to worry, I can heal the burns in no time. You two may go back to your classes, now.”
Grace looked up at Remus, realizing that she still had her arm wrapped around the boy's back. “Right, sorry.”
They left the Hospital Wing, heading back in the direction of the Defense classroom.
“What was that?” Remus asked her.
The only response she gave him was a sly smile.
By the time Remus and Grace had reached the classroom students had already begun pouring out of the narrow door. James' head appeared from the crowd soon followed by Sirius and Peter's as they prattled to each other, looking quite amused. Sirius was the first one to notice them.
“Oi!” he said, maneuvering around the bustling students. “Took you two long enough.”
James smirked. “That was brilliant,” he laughed. “Snivelly never saw it coming!”
“Knocked him right on his arse,” Sirius agreed.
Grace glowered, watching James give Remus his books. “There ya go, mate.”
“Grace,” Peter said, causing her to turn her head. “Here.”
She quickly snatched her books from Peter's hands, her handbook glaring at her from the top of the pile. Well, it was not actually glaring, as books cannot, but Grace felt a bit uneasy about leaving her handbook lying around. She would have to be more careful. “Thank you, that's very kind.”
He gave her a small smile, his watery eyes lighting up.
A sudden thought crossed Grace's mind. Would somebody bother to bring Severus his books? She would check, just to make sure.
“Let's have lunch then, I'm starving,” Sirius complained, holding his hand over his stomach.
“You're always starving, Padfoot,” James said with a grin.
“I'll catch up with you guys, I've gotta check something.” Grace smiled at them and headed into the abandoned classroom.
She spotted Severus deserted books almost immediately. She gathered them in her arms, carefully placing them atop of her own. It amused her slightly that Remus' scent still lingered in the classroom, remaining strong despite the other students. At least they were speaking, that was a good start.
As she turned to leave, her body collided with another and she stumbled backward, dropping the books.
“Balls!” she whispered, bending down to collect the mess.
Remus stooped down beside her to help. “Sorry,” he said meekly, flashing her a smile.
“What are you still doing here? Lunch is about to start.”
“Must be the beast inside...yearning for you,” he joked, chuckling.
Grace snorted and slapped his arm playfully. “Don't tease me, Remus.” She stood once she had regather all her lost parcels. “I'm going to drop these off to Severus, I'll see you at lunch?”
“Let me walk you.”
“I don't need an escort, you know?”
“Well then...let me walk with you?”
“Grace,” Lily's voice floated into her mind. “Grace, wake up.”
The gentle shaking in combination with her soft voice roused Grace from her slumber. She had dragged herself up to her dorm following Remedial Potions, groggy from her first day of classes and still full from lunch. She groaned as she opened her eyes, not wanting to be pulled from the warm lull of unconsciousness.
“Grace,” Lily urged.
'Aren't you come down to dinner? Marlene, Alice, and I are headed down now.”
Grace yawned. “In a bit.... Imma take a shower first, I think.” She allowed her eyes to flutter closed, and listened to Lily sigh.
After a brief shuffle, Grace willed herself to get out of bed. She knew that if she was seduced by her sleepy draw to abeyance now, she would surely be up at an odd hour. That would make the next day of classes tedious.
Grace dashed down the girl's staircase frantically. Before she had gone to lunch, she had made a quick excursion to her room to toss her books in the security of her trunk. She simply could not risk leaving her handbook about again. Due to her carelessness, primarily due to her hurry to rejoin Remus' company, she did not realize that her handbook was not in the pile of books that she had deposited. Therefore, when going to retrieve it she was sent into a panic upon not finding it. While tearing apart her bed in hopes that perhaps that she had stashed it somewhere else, she recalled the incident with Remus in the DADA classroom.
She must have shuffled her handbook in with Severus' texts.
So much for not being neglectful.
She brushed passed the Marauders on her way through the portrait hole.
“Hungry Grace?” Sirius called playfully after her.
“Hospital Wing,” she returned, not bothering to stop in her haste.
She had made it down the first set of staircases when Remus caught up to her. She had been slowed as the second level of stairs had begun to change. He touched her shoulder in concern as she bounced on her toes in anticipation.
“What happened? Are you alright?” he asked.
“Ugh, I think...I just think that I might have accidentally mixed my handbook into Severus'...I have to get it back. Ideally before he reads it.”
Remus frowned, his brows furrowing. “If you're in such a hurry, why don't you use that trick you did earlier?”
Grace blanched as the staircase swung around to a landing, bringing her hand up to her forehead. “I'm such a fucking idiot!”
As she touched her wand charm, Remus hand wrapped gripped her arm. “Wait—”
It was too late. They were pulled to the infirmary, Remus landing hard on the floor with a grunt.
Grace stared at the empty hospital bed that had earlier retained Severus' body. “Fuck!”
Remus gathered himself from the floor, rubbing his arm. “I was going to tell you that I might be able to help...” Grace watched him pull a piece of parchment from his pocket. He pressed the tip of his wand to it mutter, “I solemnly swear that I am up to no good.”
Grace raised her eyebrows and attempted to peek at the paper, leaning around Remus' body.
He pulled it away from her before she had the chance to catch a glimpse. “Nu-uh. You have your secrets, I have mine.” He grinned at her. “Do you know where the library is?”
AN: So, you've stuck with the craziness this long? I hope you like it! I wouldn't mind a review if you've got the time!
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