Chapter 10 : Argumentative
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AN: Not much happens in this one. There's a little bit of fluff for toomanycurls, for fun!
“Are you excited to start looking for Unicorn horns on Monday?” Peter asked from across the table.
Grace could not help but smile at Peter's enthusiasm. He was a nice boy, she had decided, despite what his follies would be in the future. There could be no harm in humoring him. Grace was not actually sure what he was doing alone in the Great Hall in the first place; she rarely saw him without one of the other Marauders. Then again, Peter wasn't exactly alone. Grace was there with him.
“I suppose,” she said. “Are you still upset with me for picking that one?”
Pushing his eggs around on his plate, Peter shrugged, saying, “Well, it wouldn't have hurt if you had picked something easier. Like syrup of Hellebore.”
“Most of the class was already doing that,” Grace responded, simply. She stabbed at her toasted bread before deciding that the tea in her cup looked more inviting.
“Exactly! Because Hellebore is everywhere in the Forbidden Forest.” A worried expression suddenly crossed Peter's face. “How are we even supposed to get the Unicorn horns? Unicorns are supposedly very shy creatures and I doubt that they would be very willing to let us cut a piece of their horn off....”
Grace laughed, choking on her tea. “Fuck, Peter...we aren't going to go around cutting the horns off of Unicorns.”
Peter gave her a wry smile. “Says the girl who thinks that it is okay to erase people's memories all willy-nilly.”
“Willy-nilly?” Grace questioned with a smile. Without skipping a beat she offered him a rebuttal, saying, “Says the boy who thinks that it is okay to enlarge people's body parts.”
Snorting, Peter responded, “Touche.” He appeared to be in thought for a moment, as if considering the two events. “Actually ours was a prank, and it was funny at that. You were erasing memories...how many memories have you erased, anyway?”
Grace drank more of her tea, avoiding Peter's question. “So I decided since I got us into the Unicorn horn mess,” Grace stated after swallowing. “That I would be responsible and do some research.”
Peter waited for her to continue as Grace beamed at him.
Obviously he was not understanding that Grace had done research, which was something that she really did not want to do. She had a significant amount to deal with currently and she was very proud of herself for investing the time to actually read up on the creature. Grace's smile turned into a grimace. At least she had a legitimate reason to be annoyed with Peter now.
Grace sighed. “Their horns break now and again,” she mumbled, dejectedly. “So we can probably find some pieces buried under the ground coverings in the forest.”
Peter raised his eyebrows. “You have worse mood swings than Remus during his time of the month,” he muttered in a low voice.
Without warning, Grace flung a piece of toast at the watery-eyed boy.
He squeaked in surprise before casting Grace a resentful look. “Still having issues with your attitude?”
Grace glared at him, stubbornly refusing to respond.
“Here,” he said, passing her an open bag of red candies. “You need something to sweeten you up.”
The cheerfulness in his voice caused Grace's mood to lighten slightly. She felt bad for throwing food at him, but she still eyed the bag of candy suspiciously. She realized that she could not distance herself from him for trivial reasons without raising speculations from the other marauders. It was in the best interest of her secrets to try to get on with a boy; Peter was really endearing at times.
“What did you do to them?” she asked, a bit of her previous playfulness returning to her voice. “No wait, don't tell me. They dye my skin different colors. Or maybe they'll force me to speak a different language all day.”
Peter scoffed indignantly. “Do you really think that I would try to prank you Grace?” he asked in a whimsically offended tone. He dropped the bag between them, leaving it up to Grace to decide whether or not she wanted the candy.
Grace raised and eyebrow at him, unable to resist smirking at his impish joking.
“'Sides,” he said, shoveling a few too many pieces of fried tomato in his mouth. “James would hex me to oblivion if I messed with you. And Remus may eats me, for that matter.”
Before Grace could assure Peter that Remus would most definitely not consume him, an owl swooped passed Grace, startling her as it dropped a letter in front of her. The handwriting instantly threw her into a pleasant state of excitement; Anne had written to her.
She quickly opened the letter, excited to hear from her friend, and read:
I'm sorry it took me so long to get back to you,
but I couldn't catch your stupid fucking bird.
Honestly, I don't know why you can't use the
mail, like everybody else in the world!
Making a fool out of yourself again? Maybe
you were right and I should have come along
with you, if only to keep out out of trouble!
I know it has been awhile since you wrote,
so I'm hoping things are looking up by
now! Fill me in!
Next time, send a different bird! This one
was going to be my lunch if it didn't stop
keeping me up at night with its damn noises!
It made a nest above my bed in the loft! Don't
send it again.
Good news, though! I might get to see you
sooner than you think! I should be out of here
by the end of the year! Since I really have
nothing keeping me here, and I can't stand to be
an entire ocean away from you for much longer,
I've decided to move your way when I graduate!
But I can't remember exactly where that is, so
send that too.
Write me soon! I need my bestie!
I miss you like the moon!
Grace found herself missing her best friend again. Part of what brought them together was the same connection that Remus fought against. In all actuality, the connection was not the same. Remus was her Servator; Grace felt what he felt. Anne was just a werewolf; Grace could sense her general mood and was drawn to her. But, then again, Anne wasn't just a werewolf; she was Grace's best friend for years. Grace wished that she was here now where Anne would already be caught up on what was going on in Grace's life, and would be there to make her feel better.
Feeling a hand on her shoulder, Grace was pulled from her thoughts as Remus sat down beside her. Grace frowned, she had not been able to sense him as she had been wrapped up in her own thoughts and feelings. Now, as she was brought back into reality, she could feel his concern and four pairs of eyes on her. She dropped the letter to the table to glance around at the marauders at the table.
“Okay?” Remus asked.
Grace nodded, offering him a smile. “Yeah, fine.”
“Peter was having a conversation with himself when we showed up,” James said nonchalantly, piling some food on his plate. “Interesting post?”
“Just a letter from Anne,” Grace said lightly. “Sorry, Peter. I've been waiting to hear from her.”
He shrugged. “I was having a pretty interesting conversation without you, anyway.”
Remus removed his hand from her shoulder, but continued to watch her. “Your friend from the other school?”
“Uhm, yeah, that's Anne.” Grace glanced down at the letter on the table, feeling regretable that she had caused Remus to worry. “I just miss her,” she said quickly, trying to dampen his uneasiness.
He nodded, but the sinking feeling, the unsure feeling that had been lying dormant beneath his concern, did not falter. He looked away from her.
“You going to see her over the Holidays?” Peter asked.
Before Grace could respond, unsure if she would be capable of seeing Anne, James said, “Actually, I was hoping that you would want to come home. I mean, to my house...er, our house? Meet Mum and Dad?”
Grace had not considered meeting her parents, it seemed like something she was not achievable. She had developed a few protection and concealment charms, for when she was outside of Noctars and Hogwarts' own protection, but she was not sure just how confident she was in them. Going 'home', as James had said, could put her family at risk. She could not stop neither the excitement that bubbled within her as she thought about seeing her parents nor the uncertainty that jabbed her insides.
“I...,” Grace began, as the disappointment settled in. “I don't know if that's a good idea,” she said solemnly.
James stared at her carefully. “I wrote to them,” he said. “Told them that you were here.”
“What'd they say?” Grace asked, quickly. The idea of her parents wanting to see her made her smile.
James laughed. “I've just written them this morning.”
“Oh,” she said quietly. “Well, maybe if I speak with Albus, and he thinks its okay and-and our parents want to see me...then maybe....”
“Cool,” James said, smiling. “It'll be fun, Sirius will be there and Remus will be over on Christmas day. Hey Pete, your parents still making you go on holiday with them-”
Whatever else James was saying, and what Peter had to say in response, had gone unnoticed by Grace as she locked eyes with Severus across the room. He watched her curiously for a fraction of a second before looking away again. Grace blinked, wondering why he was watching her. She assumed that he had been looking in that general direction when she looked up and that their eyes met under natural circumstances. Grace frowned.
Her attention was brought back to Remus, when she felt his emotions spill farther downward. “Everything alright?” she asked.
He nodded, but his emotions remained where they were. “Good. Great, actually.”
“Okay,” Grace said, turning her attention back to her tea. “You know, it's a little early in the month to be having mood swings.”
Remus did not find this as humorous as Grace intended it to be.
“I've gotta go,” he muttered, getting up to leave.
“-Don't worry about it, Grace, I'll go,” Peter said, cutting her off.
She glanced at James, confused.
He shrugged. “I'll go, too,” he said, following after his two friends.
Grace turned her attention to Sirius, waiting him to leave as well.
He grinned at her.
“You're not going?”
He shrugged. “He's fine.”
Grace narrowed her eyes. “You're staying to make sure I don't follow him.”
“Maybe,” Sirius laughed.
She frowned, glancing into her teacup which had refilled itself. She pushed it away from her. “I didn't mean to upset him. I'm actually not really sure what I did....”
Sirius gave her a long, calculating look. “Or what you're doing,” he said lightly.
He shook his head, innocently muttering, “I didn't say anything.”
“What?” Grace asked again.
Sirius raised his eyebrows, titling his head forward slightly. “What?”
Grace glanced over his shoulder to where Severus had been sitting, but he was not there.
“You know,” she said after returning to Sirius. “Peter's much better at talking to me about Remus than you are.”
He raised his eyebrows, chuckling. “I didn't know we were supposed to be talking about Remus.”
“You were implying something.”
Grace rolled her eyes. “I'm going to Runes.”
Grace lounged by the Black Lake, enjoying the way the sun shimmered off of the water. Her schoolbooks were spread around her as she lay sprawled on her back, but she was not doing her homework. The gentle majestic ripples in the water, spurred by a teasing breeze that danced along the glossy surface, held her attention. She found it effortless to become distracted in trivial beauty; her mind would cease its dizzying racing, allowing her to forget about everything that plagued her. Homework and studying never captured her attention this way so it lay neglected, nestled in the damp grass. She would finish it later. Today was turning out to be a decent day. Remus had apologized to her before class, though she only received an excuse that he was not feeling well. She knew he was lying, but decided to let it go. Lily had asked if Grace would continue their conversation from the day before later that evening. Grace had agreed, knowing she would figure out just what information she would choose to divulge and what she would not by the time that arrived. It was a lecture day in Defense Against the Dark Arts, so the students did not have to sit with their partners, meaning that Grace was not under Severus' speculations. Otherwise, it had been a fairly quiet day and she did not want anything to disrupt whatever in the universe that was allowing it. She would lay low for the day, avoiding any conflict that she could.
She felt Remus this time as he approached. He seemed to be in a much better mood than earlier, so she was happy to receive the company. She sat up quickly, grinning as he reached her. She did not miss his surprise at her mood but he covered it with a smile of his own.
“Not hungry?” he asked, coming to sit down beside her.
Grace responded, cheekily, “Is that why your out here, to make sure I'm getting my nutrition?” She nudged him playfully with her elbow. “Actually, I need to catch up on some homework.”
“Mhm...and how's that going?” His tone was light and knowing.
“Not so great,” she admitted.
With a laugh, he shrugged. “I can help you later tonight, if you'd like.”
“Well, yeah, sure. It's not a problem.”
Grace wrapped her arms around him suddenly, extremely enthusiastic and relieved that he would help her. “Thank you!” she exclaimed, gratefully. At least Remus would not be crass with her; Severus always managed to make her feel like a child, being reprimanded for something they had no participation in.
The whirl of emotions Remus felt made her stomach flutter pleasantly. She understood, for the first time, why people described the feelings as “butterflies”. She buried her face in the soft fabric of his vest, enjoying the chills that ran the length of her spine when Remus slowly let his own arm coil around her back. It was much better than studying, Grace decided, to remain stationary in Remus' embrace while she rode waves of pleasant emotions. She was not certain who they originated from, or if they were elicited from both of them, but she did not care today.
Grace was not entirely sure what to make of the new emotions and sensations generated from Remus' fingers tracing the gentle curve of her hip through the fabric of her blouse, or from the way he rested his chin the top of her head, pulling her closer to him. Her heart-rate accelerated when he traced her jawline with feathery touches, guiding her face up to meet his gaze. She almost stopped breathing all together when her eyes finally locked onto his. His golden-brown irises had darkened, pushed back by widened pupils, almost consuming the brown completely. She subconsciously licked her lips, trying to remember to breathe under his intense smoldering gaze.
Unwanted thoughts berated her mind, telling her that the feelings they were having were not acceptable. She tried to push out images of the young woman with the coral pink hair that would receive Remus' attention some years from now. She tried to forget the fact that the look he was giving Grace would not belong to her for long. She fought with the thought of Severus' eyes, an image that she could not shake. She found herself comparing their eyes, the shape, the color, the intensity.
The sinking feeling within her reminded that she needed to breathe again. She wanted to ignore everything her mind told her, and relish in the moment as it was, trying to sort out pleasant feelings. She realized that that sinking feeling may not have solely belonged to her as Remus pulled away, releasing her entirely.
The butterflies were killed off by her feeling of guilt. She was being selfish, trying to cling to what brought her own pleasure and neglecting fate and her objectives. She wondered if she overstepped boundaries with Remus again; she was thoroughly confused by them and where he drew lines.
Remus cleared his throat after moving enough of a distance to put a significant gap between them. “So,” he began rather bitterly. “When are you planning on telling me?”
Grace furrowed her brow, still dizzy from Remus' touch, trying to remember if there was anything that she was supposed to tell him. “I don't...what are you talking about?”
His frustration peaked and he looked away from her. Evidently, the grass was more interesting and he began plucking individual blades from the earth. “James said that you.... Er, he said that you met your...true love, or soul-mate or whatever.”
Blinking, Grace attempted to analyze his dejected feelings. “Well, yeah.” She felt uncomfortable when he turned to her with an expectant gaze, waiting for her to continue. She did not know what else she was supposed to say, or why it mattered. “I, uhm, don't know what you want,” she said, finally.
Although his face remained fairly stoic, Grace winced at the hazy blizzard of emotions that captured him. “You love him, then?” he asked quietly.
Stopping herself from laughing, Grace raised her eyebrows. “No,” she said. “He has been particularly unpleasant. I'm not sure how that whole thing is supposed to work.”
“Right,” Remus said, standing. “So next time you need to cry on somebody's shoulder, maybe try going to him.”
His biting tone threw Grace, but she stood to stop him from walking away from her. “What is your problem?” she demanded.
His eyes widened and he cast her an incredulous, exasperated look. He opened his mouth a few times, as if failing to find the right words to say. Grace was clearly missing something and she did not understand his sudden mood swing. “You...we...,” he stopped again, agitation driving his mind. “Do you have any idea...?”
Grace reached out to touch his arm, trying to be comforting, as her mind raced in confusion.
“Don't,” he seethed, pulling away from her. “Why are you doing this?”
“What the fuck am I doing?” Grace demanded. She tried to even out her tone, feeling that speaking bitterly would not get her anywhere. “I don't understand, Remus,” she said a bit more softly.
Remus laughed, humorlessly. “Of course not. I don't think you understand anything beyond what that book tells you.”
Grace's temper flared. “What are you talking about?”
“Do you have any idea what it's like to suddenly have to share emotions with somebody? To keep receiving particularly confusing emotions that keep changing and then...and then you'll look at me that way and....”
Grace raised an eyebrow. “Yeah...I do know what that's like,” she muttered.
“And then you refuse to tell me what's wrong with you,” he continued as if he did not hear her. “Even though, clearly something is wrong. You're soul mate is Snape, of all people, but you-”
“-how did you know that?”
“I'm not an idiot, Grace!” he snapped. “But you keep coming to me...and you'll hug me and you almost kiss me and then you start feeling guilty, like you shouldn't-”
“-You're the one who came out here to find me,” Grace snapped, cutting him off. Her temperament was getting the better of her again. “And you're the one with all of the confusing emotions, so don't try to blame me for them. For fuck's sake, I wasn't going to kiss you! Maybe if you stop confusing me-”
“-Right, it's my fault that you can't seem to get your feelings straight. If your bloody book tells you that you should be snogging Snape then maybe you shouldn't-”
“-You don't know what the fuck you're talking about-”
“-Like you ever do-”
“-Severus doesn't even like me-”
“-And yet you still insist that he's supposed to be your soul mate-”
“-I never insisted anything-”
“-Then why feel guilty?”
Grace clenched her teeth, trying not to give into the temptation to push Remus into the lake behind him. “I didn't ask for any of this!” she growled. “I didn't fucking ask to be a Trucido, or to have a Servator who thinks that he has feelings for me, or a true love who fucking hates me. And I'm pretty fucking sure that he's in love with Lily! I didn't want any of it! I didn't fucking want to be taken away from my parents and locked in some institution; I didn't want to have a stupid fucking connection with werewolves; I didn't want to have to see the fucking future or be involved in a stupid fucking war in a different goddamned world or try to figure out how to not die from fucking Morticaine. I don't want to want to have to worry about changing fucking everything around me and disrupting fucking fate because apparently that will only make things worse! I don't want to have to worry about schoolwork and try to fucking kill vampires in my spare time. I don't want to fucking have feelings for you when I am supposed to fall in love with someone else, and I don't want to fucking know anymore about the pink-haired lady and gods I don't want to see you kissing her ever fucking time you touch me. I don't fucking want to worry about going to see my parents or going into the fucking forest because I'll get everybody fucking killed and I don't want to fucking have to keep secrets from absolutely everybody. I don't even know what I'm supposed to do with the war....” Grace stopped, her mind reeling as she watched Remus' confused expression. She tried to remember what she had just said, feeling her stomach churn.
“Grace, what are you talking about?”
“Oh gods,” Grace managed in a strained voice. “I don't know, I-I just lost my temper...I don't know what I'm talking about.” She didn't look at him, but already knew that he did not believe her. “P-potions,” she stuttered. “I've got to get to class.”
“Wait, wait,” Remus said firmly. He gently held onto her upper arms to stop her from leaving. “You don't have class for another hour.” He held onto her a bit more firmly when she moved to escape again. “Just wait! Would you just talk to me?”
“You don't want to talk about any of it, remember?”
He sighed heavily. “Grace, tell me what you're talking about, for Merlin's sake! Morticaine? Visions? I don't even know anybody with pink hair, Grace!”
Grace felt her carefully constructed world begin to crumble around her. “I can't fucking tell you!”
“You kind of already have!”
“Just leave me alone,” Grace demanded, tearing away from him.
“-Leave me alone! Just...go away!”
Grace was trying to pick her books from the ground, shoving them carelessly into her bag. Remus was not leaving.
“Grace,” he said again, gingerly.
She turned around, seething. She had lost her control; she had said things that she was not supposed to divulge. She could not be around Remus right now. She could not explain anything to him. “Leave me alone.”
“Would you please just talk to me? That's all I'm asking-”
“-I don't want to talk to you. I don't want to be around you. I don't want to see you,” she said, returning to her books. She felt tears pricking her eyes. “Go away.”
She felt his hand on her shoulder. “Grace, please-”
“Stop!” she interjected, spinning around to face him again. “What part of 'go away' and 'leave me alone' don't you fucking get?”
She ignored the hurt that was quickly constraining his chest.
“You're acting childish,” he said, after a moment.
“Go fuck yourself-”
“Fucking hell, Remus! You said it yourself, you don't like the way I make you feel. And I don't like the way you make me feel. Do us both a favor and leave me the hell alone! Gods and you fucking think that I'm overbearing!” She stopped, bile rising to her throat as his pain increased. “Maybe you were right, we shouldn't be friends.”
“Why are you acting like this?” he asked after a moment.
Grace sat down, feeling disoriented, and buried her face in her hands. “I don't know,” she admitted, her voice muffled.
Sighing, Remus joined her on the ground, putting an arm around her back. “I'm sorry for getting angry with you,” he said quietly. “I didn't mean....”
Grace leaned into him, her emotions, or his emotions, still riding the roller-coaster. “I'm sorry, too. I don't want you to go away.”
“I don't understand any of this.”
“Me neither,” she said, dropping her hands dramatically. “I thought I did, but I guess I really don't. My handbook doesn't cover this.”
Remus was quiet for a few moments. Grace listened to him breathe as she tried to level out her mood.
“You going to talk to me at all?” he asked.
“I don't know if I can.”
“About any of it?”
Grace did not respond. She did not know how.
Remus rubbed her back, sighing. “Okay,” he said. “It's okay.”
Grace had decided to take a nap after, eventually, promising Remus that she would try to talk to him later in the evening as he 'nonchalantly' brought up Morticaine after potions class. She hoped that it would stop her racing mind, but it seemed that sleeping had brought her no refuge. She was trying to decide what she could tell Remus and was trying to remember what she, haphazardly, already had. She had decided that maybe there would be something in her handbook to help her, but found it missing from her bag. She suspected Lily, but could not seem to locate the redhead. She seriously considered breaking her promise to Remus and wanted to erase his memory.
That was why she was standing in the middle of the marauder's dormitory, looking at the four boys expectantly.
“Where is she?” Grace demanded.
“Who?” James asked.
“The red-haired klepto.”
James glanced at Remus who shrugged. “Who?” he asked again.
“Lily Evans?” James asked.
Grace impatiently replied, “Of course Lily Evans!” She really should not miss meals; apparently she was easily agitated when she was hungry.
“Is a kleptomaniac?” James continued.
“She took my book again.”
Remus gave her a small smile. “I'll help you find her,” he said. “As long as you don't lock anyone in a closet again.” He looked at Sirius. “Pads, can I have the map?”
Sirius quickly turned his head towards Remus, looking at him strangely.
“She's already seen the map, just give it.” Remus held out is hand expectantly.
“What do you mean, 'she's already seen the map'?” Sirius repeated, glancing around at James and Peter. “Do we have any secrets left that she doesn't know?”
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