Chapter 5 : Chapter 5 - The Traumatizing Job of Shopping
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It was nearing the end of October and the Halloween Ball that Lily and James had organised, seen as they were Head Boy and Head Girl. They also organised a Hogsmeade trip a week before for anybody who hadn’t already bought their costumes, a.k.a. me.
“What do you want to go as?” Marlene asked me exasperatedly whilst we were getting dressed. I picked up a pair of black disco pants, a deep blue jumper and some grey ankle boots.
“I already told you, I’m not going. I’ll only know you two and it’ll be awkward.” I shrugged, trying my hardest to get out of going. Mainly because I didn’t want to see Sirius as I’d done a pretty good job of avoiding him so far.
“You have to go and I promise we’ll stick by your side all night, please, please, please!” Lily begged. Not wanting to disappoint her, I replied,
“Fine.” Shortly, “I can’t go!” I moaned after a few minutes.
“And why not?” Marlene asked from the full length mirror.
“Because I don’t have costume for it!” I threw my hands up dramatically, pulled on my pants, jumper and boots and flopped down onto my bed.
“That’s why we’re going to Hogsmeade today, to find you a costume!” Lily came and stood over my head.
“Fine.” I sighed defeated as I didn’t have any more reasons for not going. I slowly, and grudgingly, got off my bed and put my wavy hair into a high-ish ponytail. Then I put a bit of mascara and eyeliner on and I was good to go.
“You ready?” Lily asked from the doorway. I nodded my head and followed Marlene and Lily out of the dormitory. Jennifer Roberts passed us on the way up and ‘accidentally-on-purpose’ knocked into my shoulder meaning that I lost my balance and fell down the rest of the stairs.
“Merlin, are you okay?” Lily ran up to me, seeing me crumpled on the floor.
“Yeah, lost my balance and fell down.” I shrugged it off as my clumsiness, I didn’t want Lily and Marlene involved between Roberts and myself.
“Here, Marlene come and help me!” Lily called over her shoulder as I went to stand up. However, instead of Marlene, James Potter came to help me up.
“You’re not Marlene.” I said stupidly. Of course he’s not Marlene, idiot! Why did you say that?! “Sorry.” I mumbled embarrassed as I blushed. Again.
“It’s fine, are you okay?” he gave a throaty rumble and held onto my arm until I was capable of staying upright.
“Y-yeah.” I stuttered after being asked a question directly by JAMES FRICKING POTTER! Have I just got a magnet that says ‘Hello, everyone come and talk to me!’ because I don’t get why everyone’s suddenly talking to me.
“Okay, well maybe she needs to go to the hospital wing. She might have a concussion.” He said seriously to Lily, who looked a bit taken back by his maturity.
“Y-yeah… we’ll do that.” She finished confused, I could see that on her face as her eyebrows rose on her forehead before furrowing.
“Well, see ya! Hope you feel better!” he said to both of us before placing a hand on my shoulder. I nodded my head and blushed again before dragging Lily to where Marlene was standing in the common room, with surprise written on her face.
“What was that?!” she breathed. Lily still seemed to be in shock because she didn’t respond and stared after James, as he exited the common room with Remus, Sirius and Peter in tow.
“I don’t know…” I muttered back, also unable to explain what happened, “but let’s got to Hogsmeade now.” I smiled suddenly and pulled both of them with me. The Marauders must have been waiting for us because they were stood leaning against the opposite wall talking when we exited.
“Hey, we decided to walk with you, if that’s alright?” James asked, looking at each of us but lingering a little bit on Lily. She just huffed in agreement, grabbing Marlene’s hand and pulling her in front of them. Suddenly realising I was on my own with The Marauders and all their eyes were on me, I blushed, shrugged my shoulders and walked rather fast to catch up with the two girls. Due to my clumsiness, when I was speed walking, I tripped over my own feet and went flailing forward until a pair of strong hands grabbed my upper arms and hoisted me back up.
“Thanks.” I mumbled, blushing and looking down.
“Okay.” Came the tired voice of Sirius from above me, I sneaked a look to see him rolling his eyes at me. Embarrassed once again, I turned around swiftly making sure to not trip over my feet and made my way over to Lily and Marlene who were getting signed out by Filch, the caretaker. Once we were searched, we made our way down to Madam Maulkin’s on the main street.
“We might as well start in here.” Lily sighed and practically had to carry me in because I refused. I could hear The Marauders laughing behind us as I struggled with Lily. Eventually, Remus came up and helped her push me in and The Marauders followed us in. When they put me down, I made a mad dash for the entrance but was stopped by Remus,
“Traitor!” I hissed angrily. He just laughed at my expression and blocked the entrance.
“I hate you all.” I muttered as I followed Lily to where the costumes were.
“No you don’t. You love us really.” She replied happily. Crossing my arms, I followed her round as she picked up different costumes to which I replied ‘No’ to every costume.
“You have to choose something!” she yelled, fed up.
“What if I’m saying no because I don’t want to go!” I whined.
“Why don’t you want to go?” she asked intrigued.
“Because… of reasons.” I mumbled, steeling a glance at Sirius but unfortunately, Lily noticed.
“Listen, you don’t have to speak to him at all during the evening. Please come with us.” She pleaded. I knew she was right so I, childishly, huffed and went to stand by The Marauders who looked bored.
“This is perfect!” Marlene came around the corner holding a dress cover but I couldn’t see what was in the bag. She showed Lily, who came running at Marlene’s voice, and turned to me with an evil smile. I gulped and turned to Remus,
“Help.” I whispered. He laughed at my face before I was unceremoniously dragged by Lily.
“No, I don’t want to.” I moaned sitting on the floor.
“Remus, help!” I shrieked. The Marauders were laughing at me again. Remus stepped forward and Marlene chucked the costume at him whilst she and Lily grabbed my legs and dragged me along the floor to the changing rooms.
“Here, now try it on and tell us what you think.” Lily pushed the costume in with me and shut the curtain. I tried to open it and escape but she and Marlene were holding either ends. Left with no other option, I unzipped the bag and my mouth dropped open at the costume inside.
“There is no way in hell I’m wearing that!” I hissed venomously, staring in disgust at the clothing in front of me.
“Just put it on! Unless you want us to come in and help you…?” Lily trailed off, making to open the curtain.
“NO!” I screamed loudly. She stopped moving and I sighed frustrated, knowing I had to put the costume on. I picked it up and placed it on a hook so it was displayed in front of me. I couldn’t believe they were doing this to me, I thought as I undressed and slipped the bottom half on. It felt silky against my legs and I wanted to shiver in disgust at what it looked like.
Then I pulled the skimpy top half over my bra, hiding my bra straps behind my hair, which I decided to put down. When I looked in the mirror, I didn’t look so bad and to be honest I quite liked it. Although, I didn’t like showing my bare stomach.
“Okay, I like it… a little but I still hate you for choosing it.” I said to Lily’s hand as I admired it a bit more in the mirror.
“Can we see it?” Marlene’s voice said behind the curtain and I braced myself before replying,
“Yes.” Hoping that The Marauders were stood where they were before because then they didn’t have view of the changing rooms. Lily pulled back the curtain as I turned around,
“Wow, it looks good on you!” she squealed happily, glad to have finally found a costume that I liked. And with it being the last thing I would have chosen, I think she felt smug. Marlene wolf-whistled before I realised The Marauders had moved. Great, this was just brilliant.
“Er… hi?” I mumbled quietly as they took in my appearance.
“I’d definitely go for that.” James said after his eyes swept over every curve and every piece of bare skin. I blushed and looked at Lily who looked a bit; dare I say it, jealous?
“I agree.” Remus said kindly, with a small smile which I returned. I could feel grey eyes staring at me so I looked up to meet his eyes, which looked a bit shocked with my appearance and the fact that I looked directly at him without blushing. Yet.
He nodded slightly; at least I think he nodded, before he stared pointedly at my body. I tried so hard to keep my blush under control but when he looked back at my eyes with a smirk, I couldn’t help it.
“You look HOT!” Peter blurted out. Everyone turned to him,
‘T-thanks Peter…” I stuttered, not used to the compliments, “Can I get changed now?” I asked Lily, a little bit uncomfortable with everyone’s eyes on me. Especially seen as I was half-naked.
“Sure.” She shut the curtain and I let out a huge sigh of relief that I was sheltered. I heard Lily’s chuckle at my sigh and I glared daggers at her hand, knowing she probably couldn’t feel it. I quickly got out of the costume, pulled my pants, jumper and boots on again, pulling my hair up and stepped out holding the dress cover with the costume inside.
‘Are you going to pay?” Lily asked hopefully. I stared at the dress cover before nodding and silently making my way over to the counter.
“Finally found one?” the woman teased and, you guessed it, I blushed.
“Er… yeah.” I mumbled. She nodded, told me the price, which I paid, and we left. Lily shrunk it for me so I didn’t have to carry it around.
“Where to next? We have about an hour until lunch.” Lily said looking around. Sirius went to open his mouth but before he had a chance to speak, I disentangled myself from Lily’s grasp and sprinted towards Zonko’s.
“Oi! Where are you going?” I heard his voice some way behind me. I didn’t answer before I headed inside and got lost in the crowd looking at all the products. I picked up a few dungbombs, then Peruvian darkness powder and joke wands, thinking it would be funny to see what they did.
“There you are!” Marlene called once I’d paid for everything. I turned around with a big bag filled with all the stuff I bought with Sirius eyeing me suspiciously.
“We might have some competition for the title of prankster, Padfoot.” James nudged Sirius with a smile on his face, who replied,
“Not likely.” Quietly, but loud enough for me to hear. After that, I waited with Lily and Marlene outside whilst the boys bought all their products and then we made our way to Honeyduke’s, where I bought another big bag of sweets.
“What are they for?” Remus asked me casually as we walked towards The Three Broomsticks in a large group.
“Snacks and comfort eating.” I answered, looking ahead at The Three Broomsticks. We entered and found a table right at the back were there were less people. Lily slid in with Marlene on her right and me on her left, then Remus slid in next to Marlene with Peter next to him. I silently wished that Sirius wouldn’t sit next to me but God must hate me because he did.
His leg scraped against mine slightly and I stiffened.
“What does everyone want?” James asked not sitting down, he was obviously going to get drinks. There was a chorus of ‘Butterbeer’ from everyone else but I was too tense from who was sat to me that I didn’t hear what was being said until someone’s fingers clicked in front of my face.
“Sorry, what?” I asked, blushing.
“What do you want to drink?” James asked.
“Uh… butterbeer please?” I asked nervously. He nodded his head and went to the bar. Remus and Peter started discussing schoolwork whilst Marlene and Lily were talking about the Halloween Ball. This left me and Sirius in silence as he looked out of the window bored. I just stared ahead until James came back with the Butterbeer for us; I said thanks and gulped it down nervously.
“Thirsty?” James teased.
“…Yeah?” I replied nervously.
“You don’t need to be nervous, we don’t bite.” James smiled at his joke, much like Sirius did in September. Sirius smirked whilst Remus glared at James; I looked at the three confused before the topic suddenly changed to me.
“So, what do you want to do when you leave Hogwarts then?” Remus asked, making conversation.
“Probably travel around. I’ve always wanted to go to Egypt.” I mused, thinking about all the places I could go and learn about my condition.
“You don’t want to be a Healer or an Auror?” he asked confused, his last choice made me snort into my third butterbeer, “What?” he added after I’d stopped choking on my drink.
“Can you really see me being an Auror?” I laughed at the image.
“Why not?” he asked furrowing his brow.
“For one, I’m not good at confrontation and you’ve seen that.” I stole a glance at Sirius to see him smirking at me, “Two, I doubt that they’d hi-…” I stopped short, realising that I’d have to explain why someone wouldn’t hire me. They’d fire me as soon as they found out about me.
“Doubt they’d what?” Sirius asked leaning forward intently, speaking to me for the first time in a while.
“Nothing…” I mumbled into my butterbeer before sipping so I didn’t have to talk. They thankfully dropped the subject and I noticed James and Sirius sharing inquiring glances, but I eventually relaxed again. After everyone finished their second butterbeer and I’d finished my fifth, we decided to go back to the castle.
“Lily, I really need the loo.” I said once we made it back to the castle. She laughed and ushered me on to the nearest bathroom.
“I’ll wait for you outside, okay?” I nodded my head and walked in. The Marauders had wandered off somewhere and Marlene was waiting with Lily. When I entered the bathroom, I found Jennifer Roberts already in there but without any of her cronies.
“What are you doing here?” she sneered at me.
“I do go to this school, I’m allowed to use the toilets.” I sneered back, more confident because she was by herself.
“Don’t get cocky just because you’re friends with the Head Girl. I bet she just feels sorry for you.” she spat whilst she washed her hands.
“Are you sure that’s not you, you’re talking about?” I bit back. If I’d have known what she would do next, I wouldn’t have antagonised her. As she went to leave, she turned around and splashed me with water. I put my hands up in front of my face as a defensive mechanism and the water soaked into my hands, before I could transform, I quickly ran into one of the bathroom stalls as she left, laughing. The tail, gills, webbed hands, hair and face changed and I couldn’t breathe. I needed water.
“Lily, Lily…” I croaked. I opened the stall and dragged myself to where the taps were. Marlene and Lily came running in, Marlene stood in shock at me whilst Lily had seen this twice already.
“What? What happened?” she panicked.
“Doesn’t… matter… can’t… breathe… need… to… dry….” I croaked out, struggling to speak. She got to work drying me with a spell and this time, fortunately, I was left with clothes on.
“Thanks!” I said, gasping for air when I was back to normal. She helped me up and we both turned to look at Marlene who was still staring at me in a mix of horror and surprise,
“Marlene… please listen…” I tried to talk to her but she shook her head and ran away. I quickly ran after her, following her up to the seventh floor.
“Marlene! Wait please! I can explain!” I shouted to her as we entered the common room, “Just please stop! I need to explain!” she ran up the stairs as I stopped in defeat. She wasn’t going to listen and she’d probably go round telling everybody what I was, then people would hate me and I’d have to leave and start a new school or go into hiding. I started pacing, coming up with a plan until Lily caught up with me a few minutes later,
“She won’t let me explain Lily. She’ll hate me and tell everybody.” I started crying into her shoulder, “I’ll have to move school because everyone would turn against me.” I carried on.
“Sssh, it’s okay. She won’t tell anyone. She just needs some time to adjust, she’ll come round.” She comforted me. Although slightly reassured by her words, I couldn’t help but feel worried and scared.
“I’ll go up and talk to her for you.” she offered, let me go and disappeared upstairs. I sat down at one of the study tables, biting my nails until Remus came and sat by me.
“Kataryna, are you okay?” he asked kindly.
“Yeah, perfectly fine. Everything’s good, why would you say that? I’m fine. It’s not like there’s anything wrong with me, no, I’m fine and healthy thank you very much.” I rambled, unsuccessful at reassuring Remus. The Marauders and myself were the only students left in the common room; the others had probably gone outside or gone to the library.
“Listen, I want to ask you something but don’t freak out okay?” he warned me. I went to open my mouth but decided against it and just nodded my head instead, “Are you… a-are you a werewolf?” his voice dropped low into a whisper and my eyes widened in horror. He was so close and he knew something was up; my whole body froze in terror.
“No, why would you say something like that? If I was a werewolf, I probably wouldn’t be here, I mean… No, nope, nada, nothing wrong with me. It was just a misunderstanding with Marlene and I…” I trailed off, wincing at how nervous I was coming off, “Werewolf? Ha. Whatever made you come to that conclusion?” I laughed nervously before standing and announcing, “I have to go… somewhere.” And all but running out the portrait hole. I kept running and running until I was outside, hidden under a tree by The Black Lake.
After half an hour, Lily joined me with a silent Marlene.
“We talked for a bit and she’s willing to let you explain.” Lily looked between me and Marlene. I took a deep breath,
“My Mum was a bit… different. She is a muggle but she’s always had a fascination with supernatural beings like witches, wizards, mermaids, werewolves and stuff from fairy tales she had when she was younger. When she was 21 years old, she was on holiday up north and she fell into a lake and was saved by a merman. They fell in love and she became pregnant with me, and here I am. Half-human, half-mermaid but once a month when it’s a full moon, I become a Siren and it’s terrible. At first I really liked what I was because who doesn’t want to be a mermaid but… when I was ten, that was when the full moon starting having its effect on me and I did something horrible and ever since then I’d hated it…” I finished sighing.
“Wow… I’m sorry I just walked out before. I thought I was imagining it.” She apologised.
“It’s okay, I tried to keep it under wraps for six years and Lily here, found out on the first moon of this school year.” I shrugged.
“So… you still turn into a mermaid if you get wet? Not… not just full moons.” She stuttered.
“Yes, that’s why I stay away from water. Listen, I know it’s difficult to understand but thank you for trying.” I held her hand and gave it a squeeze.
“It’ll take some adjusting to… but I’ll be here if you need anything.” She squeezed my hand and smiled at me.
“That’s all I ask.” I replied happily.
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by Sierra Black