Chapter 11 : Defining Right and Wrong; Butterflies
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AN: Asterisked citation provided at the end as well as the translations. Enjoy.
Grace moved down the corridor with a certain degree of hesitation. She was mildly enjoying Remus' silent company while dreading further questioning regarding her earlier outburst. With some swift maneuvering, or the ability to hold a level-headed conversation with another person, Remus had retrieved Grace's book. This time, Grace was left standing beyond the large library doors while Remus handled the careful negotiations. His serene, light-heartened disposition had given her enough reason not to recreate her last chaotic mission to obtain her lost handbook and she forced herself to wait patiently for his successful return.
“How did you get it back?” Grace asked, breaking the quiet.
Remus glanced at her idly and shrugged. “I told Lily that you needed it, and asked for it.”
“And she gave it to you?”
With a stifled laugh, Remus said, “You'd be surprised how far asking can get you.”
“Apparently Severus didn't get the 'ask and receive' memo,” Grace laughed.
“You know, Grace, technically accusing somebody of stealing and then attempting to blackmail them doesn't exactly fall under that category.”
“I asked nicely the first time!” Grace protested. She sighed. “Nevermind, you weren't even in there.”
“Oh that's right. I suppose then I misinterpreted the dignified way you left the library and...tackled and captured Regulus Black,” he teased.
Grace laughed and knocked her arm gently against his. “Okay, maybe I still need to work on my people skills.”
“Actually I think you've been doing really well,” Remus said, lightly. “Aside from when you're shouting at me in the middle of the school grounds.”
Grace shot him a defiant look. “You started it.”
“But you haven't even attempted to rub my stomach once,” he continued, unwavering, “and you haven't been erasing memories...I think.”
“I can't say it hasn't crossed my mind.”
“I'm assuming your referring to erasing memories...but if you ask nicely I may reconsider the stomach-rubbing-”
Grace knocked his arm again playfully, interrupting him as they rounded a corner.
“Oh, before I forget,” Remus said, suddenly. “Lily had some stipulations that preceded giving up your book.”
Grace grimaced. “What?”
“Well, you have to talk to her about things, which you've apparently been promising to do for weeks.”
Groaning, Grace said, “I don't know why she keeps bothering me so much.”
“Well, maybe-and this is just a thought-she wants to be friends with you.”
“Does being somebody's friend indicate that we can't withhold secret information?”
Remus shrugged. “James, Peter, Sirius, and I all tell each other everything.”
“But what if you had secrets that you absolutely couldn't tell because it could have the serious repercussions of interrupting fate and could put all parties involved in danger? What if revealing some information could snowball into more information and lead to some really fucking bad things? What the hell am I supposed to do then?”
Remus was quite for a moment. “We aren't talking about you and Lily anymore, are we?” he asked. “We're talking about you and...me?”
“Are you sure I can't just erase your memory and we can start this whole thing over?”
“And what 'thing' are we talking about, exactly?”
“Hey,” Remus said, stopping in his path. “Maybe we should just talk, you know...about, well, anything.”
Grace felt an unsettling feeling in her stomach. She genuinely did not want to try to have this conversation.
“Look, if you can't explain pink-haired girls and futures to me, then I can live with that. But is there anything that you can talk to me about? Morticaine? Snape? You...and me?”
Grace frowned, watching a group of third-years girls pass in blissful, giggling naivety. She envied them for a moment. “We should probably go somewhere private.”
Suddenly, one of the passing girls stopped, saying, “Hi, Remus!”
“Oh hello, Mary,” he returned politely.
“How's your bunny?” she asked, playing with a loose strand of her hair.
Laughing Remus said, “As spunky as ever.”
Grace shifted in her place awkwardly. She didn't appreciate the close proximity to Remus that this Mary was positioning herself in. She hated even more the way the third year was leaning towards him, batting her eyelashes and twirling her hair around her fingers. Thirteen-year-old girls should not have the ability to flirt, Grace decided, especially with Remus. She watched Mary's two friends giggling quietly in the background and frowned.
“Is everything alright, Grace?” Remus asked, breaking his conversation with the short brunette in front of him.
“Remus,” Mary said with quiet urgency. “Isn't that James Potter's sister?” She leaned closer to him, placing a hand on his arm. “You know, the nutter?”
Something inside Grace surged as Mary's hand made contact with Remus' arm, causing her rationality to stop functioning properly. She was not entirely sure of her actions until she found her arms wrapped around Remus' middle, tugging him away from the third-year.
“It's okay,” Remus said unevenly as the other girls drew their wands. “Really, she's not mental...typically. We're, er, just late for something.”
Grace continued to pull Remus down the corridor until they rounded another corner, out of the sight of the girls. She touched her charm, transporting them to the seventh floor, where she stood, still fuming, without releasing Remus.
“You can let go of me now,” he laughed.
Pulling away quickly, Grace apologized meekly. “Sorry.” She began pacing before a wall, thinking of a quiet place where she and Remus could talk.
“What are you doing?” Remus asked. “And what was that back there? Was that jealousy...?” He trailed off as a door began to take shape. “What is that?”
“Coming?” Grace asked, opening the door.
The room was significantly smaller than it was when she used it for training. It was a particularly plain room, barren of any distractions or even furniture save the two oversized, overstuffed taupe-colored armchairs sitting in front of a marble fireplace.
“What is this place?” Remus asked again.
Grace dropped into one of the chairs, dismissing his question. “Nevermind that, tell me about this rabbit.”
Remus lowered himself into the other chair, looking confused. “What?”
“Mary asked you about your 'bunny',” Grace pressed.
With a smile, Remus said, “Oh, that.” He laughed. “James calls my lycanthropy my 'furry little problem' in company. People are under the impression that I own a badly behaved rabbit.”*
“So,” Remus continued. “Are you going to tell me where the sudden bout of jealousy came from?”
Looking down at her hands, Grace shrugged. “I wasn't jealous about anything.”
“You're going to lie about your emotions to the person who can sense them?”
“Maybe you were jealous,” she muttered, looking pointedly at him.
He smiled. “I was jealous of Mary?”
Frowning, Grace remained silent. She didn't have any counterargument for his logic.
“I don't fancy her, you know?” he said, idly. “And a couple of weeks ago she was acting that way around Sirius. I think she's going through a phase. By next week, she'll probably be making eyes at your brother. There's no reason to be jealous.”
Grace didn't say anything.
“You know,” Remus said with a good-natured tone. “I don't think you have the right to be jealous, for that matter, with you being in love with Snape and all.”
“I'm not in love with Severus,” Grace said, finally. “We're soul mates. So someday we will be in love...I think. I'm not actually sure how that works, exactly.” She stood up, feeling a bit restless. “And I wasn't jealous,” she added as an afterthought. “And I can feel any way I want to, thanks. Besides, you're going to meet your soul mate someday, too.”
“Oh, so I get my own Snape,” he said wryly. “I can't wait for that. Tell me, is that the girl with the pink hair?”
Grace sat down on the arm of Remus' chair, putting a hand on his shoulder. “This is serious, Remus! You can't be having feelings for me because we're not meant to be with each other. If we are going to be friends, you have to remember that you don't belong to me. You're going to meet somebody, someday, that will make you whole and-”
She was cut off as Remus pulled her gently down onto his lap with a small smile on his face. “I keep forgetting that the feelings we're experiencing are manifesting on my own accord,” he said quietly. “Like the way you're stomach is fluttering quite pleasantly, that's actually me, right?”
Grace swallowed roughly, her heart racing. She should have known better than to sit close to him. “Yeah,” she said, attempting to sound firm.
“And it's inappropriate for my skin to be burning when I touch you?”
“Because I'm going to belong to somebody else?”
“I don't belong to anybody.” He placed an arm behind her back, supporting her.
Grace attempting to steady her breathing, feeling far too warm. “Remus....”
“But you think that it will infringe upon our friendship if I do this?” he asked, running a thumb across her cheekbone.
“Yeah,” she said weakly.
“Or this?” He leaned in closely, bumping their noses together.
“Or this?” he asked, his voice barely above a whisper as he pressed his lips to hers.
Grace froze, her mind spinning. Her body reacted in a strange, new way as he kissed her. She felt like she couldn't breathe, but she really didn't care. Her stomach was alive with butterflies, her flesh felt as though it was going to melt from her bones if it wasn't for the pleasant chills that ran across her. It felt like an eternity that they were in the isolated position, neither of them moving or breathing, before Remus finally pulled back slightly.
He looked down at her silently, uncertainty beginning to constrict his chest, uncomfortably.
Grace could not think straight. She reached up to lace her fingers through his tawny hair before recapturing his lips.
Remus tightened his hold on her, tracing his fingers lightly across her jawline.
Gasping, Grace pulled away from him. She blinked, reality crashing down around her again, and quickly scurried out of Remus' lap. “M-morticaine,” she sputtered. “You wanted to know about the entire poison thing, right?” she asked nervously.
Remus watched her for a moment and Grace couldn't quite read the hurricane of emotions that were racing through him. Something in his eyes seemed to click, as though he had come to a decision, and he stood, closing the gap between them. He wrapped his arms around her back and rested his forehead against hers. “Yeah,” he whispered. “Tell me about that.”
“And how is your concealment charm coming along?” Albus asked, lightly.
Grace had been working on a spell that would allow her to be outside of the protective barriers of Hogwarts, without having to worry about being put in harms way. Bartholomew, her ancestor, had created the spell Obfuscate. It was a very powerful confounding spell that would cause the subjects' mind to become too muddled to function properly for short periods of time. Grace favored it to the Confundus Charm because it rendered the target unable to react all together. They typically would just stare into nothingness until the spell was removed or wore off.
She was using its base to create a slightly different charm that would obscure the target of the spell from unwanted attention. Similar to the Disillusionment Charm and the Bedazzling Hex, it would conceal the target, but would not make it invisible. Instead, it would cause the target to be overlooked by any unwanted persons or creatures. Thus, Grace deemed it the Omission Charm (Praetereo Pretereo ).
“Perfected,” Grace said, bouncing her feet distractedly on the floor. Ever since she and Remus had kissed, she found herself oddly nervous and inattentive. She had spent a great deal of the previous night avoiding Remus as well as most of today. Today had been a bit more difficult as she had History of Magic and Transfigurations with him. When she wasn't avoiding him, she was pulling him into alcoves and closets to relive sweet, innocent kisses.
She was confused.
“Is everything alright, Grace?” Albus asked.
She glanced up at him, realizing that she had been focusing her attention on pattern of the floor. “Yeah,” she said. “I'm just a bit tired. But, really, I have got the Omission Charm down! It's perfectly safe for me to go....”
Albus considered her plea for a moment, drawing in a deep breath. “If your adventure to Hogsmeade on Saturday and your venture into the Forbidden Forest go well,” Grace smiled as she realized that he had granted her permission to go to Hogsmeade, “and you can prove to me that this charm works effectively for long periods of time, then I don't see any reason why you would be unable to visit your parents for a day or so over the Holidays.”
A smile broke out across Grace's face and she made an appreciative noise. “Thank you so much, Albus! Your the best!” Grace made to leave, excited to ask her brother if had heard back from their parents yet.
“Oh Grace,” Albus called before she could reach the door. “While I have you, I was wondering if we could have a conversation about your grades.”
Grace groaned, but turned back towards Albus.
Grace inhaled the milky white smoke of her cigarette as she sunk further into the hot, rejuvenating bathwater. She had missed dinner, having decided to put her extra energy into good use by doing a couple laps around the lake. It had taken all of her effort to come back to her dormitory and slide into the bath instead of rushing immediately to James. She knew by seeing James, she would also have to see Remus. That would only result in more bewildering kissing excursions.
She needed to sort through her emotions before she saw Remus again.
At the same time, she felt terrible. She knew he was sitting in his dormitory right now, feeling just as confused as she was. They needed to actually talk this through sans distractions, despite how enjoyable those distractions were. Perhaps they needed a mediator.
Grace jumped as the door swung open. “For fuck's sake, Lily!” she exclaimed as the redhead closed the door behind her. “What's with all of the bathing intrusions?”
“It's the only time you don't run away from me,” Lily said, honestly. “Now would you please just talk to me. I think I've figured most of this whole thing out...but I have so many questions.”
Grace sighed took another drag off of her cigarette. “What do you want to know?”
Grace opened the closet door slowly, peering out into the abandoned corridor. “Okay,” she said. “I think everyone's gone to lunch now.” She shoved the door the remainder of the way open and stepped out into the hall.
“Why are we sneaking around in closets?” Remus asked warily. “It's just a kiss.”
“Kisses,” Grace corrected. “Multiple kisses, and they're wrong.”
“Do we have to go over this again?” Grace demanded, exasperated. “Why don't you go to lunch, you're hungry.”
“So are you,” he said. “You're not coming?”
Grace shook her head. “I've got to run around or something.”
“You need to eat.” he laughed.
“Then I'll run all the way to the kitchens.”
“Did you still want help with your Transfigurations homework tonight?”
“Will we be getting any homework done?”
“Maybe,” Remus said playfully, pulling Grace into another kiss.
Grace sighed contentedly and distanced herself from him. “I'll see you later.”
She bolted down the corridor, hoping to exhaust the unsettling emotions within her if she physically tired herself. She sped down a flight of stairs, distracted by rampant unwanted thoughts and emotions. She lost track of her steps after, traveling down stairs, corridors and hallways blindly for an indeterminable length of time. Her legs began to ache by the time she turned a corner and collided with another object.
With a grunt, she tumbled to the unforgiving stone floor accompanied by a bombardment of books and a second body.
Grace pushed herself up, her mind still in a haze, grimacing at her skinned palms.
“Potter? What the hell are you doing down here?”
Grace turned quickly at Severus' demanding voice as he picked himself up from the floor. “Oh shit, Severus, I'm sorry...I didn't-” Grace stopped herself, realizing that he probably wouldn't care that it was an accident. She stooped back down quickly, collecting some of the scattered texts instead.
Severus grumbled to himself as he joined her on the ground for the remainder of his books.
She needed him to help her with her potion brewing, which would first be dependent on an alternation in his arbitrary hostile attitude towards her. Grace surmised that knocking him to the ground would do nothing to assist that change, so she was sulking heatedly by the time she relinquished his books, meeting his annoyed expression with a scowl of her own. Remus' words returned to her about asking, but the unsettling feeling in her stomach nearly caused her to halt in her efforts.
“Severus,” she called quickly when she realized that he had already continued in his path in the wake of her silent thought.
Grace scurried to obstruct his way again, ignoring the palpable glower on his face. “Severus, I need a favor,” she said with a degree of uncertainty.
Severus' face contorted slightly, as if he had tasted something particularly sour. “Why would I do a favor for you, Potter?” he spat venomously, moving to step around her.
“Just hear me out,” Grace plead, grabbing hold of one of his arms.
He tore out of her grasp violently. “Don't touch me-”
“-Yes, fine,” Grace interrupted. “I wont touch your precious self, now just listen!”
Severus sent her a glaring look, opening his mouth to say something, but Grace didn't give him the opportunity to speak.
“I understand the concept of potion-brewing,” she said carefully, “it's the process. Apparently I'm terrible at it-”
“-so you're an incapable dunderhead; I'm not certain that's an improvement-”
“-and I was wondering if you could show me how to properly brew them,” she finished unwavering. “You know, instead of wasting your time sitting in the library, accomplishing nothing.”
He rolled his eyes in an irksome manner. “Brewing potions outside of class is against the rules,” he said sharply. “Which means that we would need a location where we wouldn't be seen, not to mention the ingredients to brew-”
“-I know someplace!” Grace interjected. “And I can buy supplies in Hogsmeade tomorrow-”
“-and why would I trouble myself with helping you, Potter?”
Grace winced at his tone this time, her mind racing for a sufficient reason. “I can do a favor for you in return.”
“Like what?” he scoffed.
“I don't know...what do you want?”
He snorted, attempting to step around her again. “Nothing from you.”
She was coming up empty and began to panic as he began to move down the dungeon corridor. “I'm friends with Lily Evans!” she called suddenly.
That stopped him. He turned quickly with an unreadable expression on his face. “So?” he asked, irritated, after a moment.
Grace stepped forward, closing a some of the gap between them. “I-I might be able to convince her to speak with you.”
He remained silent, observing her intently.
She continued after a moment, her stomach dropping slightly. “That's what you want, isn't it? To talk with her?”
Severus' expression did not change.
“I-I don't know what happened between the two of you, but I'm sure that I can talk her into having a conversation with you,” she said. “I have it on good grounds that you...that you fancy her-”
“-none of this is any of your business,” Severus spat.
“A conversation with Lily for you teaching me how to brew potions,” Grace said, firmly. “I really need your help, Severus.”
He was quiet for a moment, before his expression hardened. “If you're such good friends with Lily, then I'm sure she'll show you how to brew potions-”
“-you'll give up an opportunity to have a few minutes of Lily's time?”
“Fine,” he said quietly.
Grace was about to press further when she realized that he had agreed. Her stomach heaved unpleasantly; Severus really did love Lily, then. “Thank you...just be outside of the Gryffindor common room at like eight tomorrow night. I'll make sure she meets you.”
He nodded before turning away from her again.
She waited until he was out of sight to slide down the cool, stone wall that she hadn't realized had been supporting her weight for some time. She licked her dry lips, telling herself that she had no right to be upset over Severus' feelings for Lily-not when she was sneaking around kissing Remus.
“The filthy blood-traitor, down in the dungeons, all by herself?”
Graced raised her head lazily at Regulus' scathing voice, staring at the wand aimed at her. “Not now, Regulus,” she whined. “I'm busy sulking.”
“How dare you?” he spat. “Nobody's given you permission to address me so informally. You should show more respect for your superiors-”
Grace flicked her hand towards him, sending him flying across the corridor with an unspoken stunner. She really did not want to deal with his ridiculous ideology at the moment. She decided that she shouldn't linger in the dungeons for very long, however; there were an astounding number of Slytherins who wouldn't hesitate to hex her, given their grudges towards her brother and his friends.
Grace found herself in Remus' lap again, enjoying the waves of excitement that rushed through her as he ran his tongue across her bottom lip. She gasped slightly, opening her mouth just enough to let his wandering tongue in to explore her mouth. As she felt the pink muscle nudge her own tongue, so that they began to move against each other in a slow, sensual battle, she lost control. She pulled on the back of his head roughly, impossibly attempting to bring their mouths closer together. Grace's mind was a foggy in the wake of lips, tongues, and clashing teeth, dizzying her to no end. She had never contemplated the degrees of kissing before, nor did she have any experience to compare kisses to, but she significantly preferred these heated kisses to the gentle pecks that they had previously exchanged.
Remus pulled away from her, his face flushed, furiously pink. Grace could only imagine that her own face mirrored his. “We have to stop,” he said discordantly.
Grace leaned forward to press her lips against his again. “Why?”
“It's very warm in here,” he said unevenly. “And I-I...we have to stop.”
He maneuvered his way from beneath Grace and slid out of the chair, straightening his robes.
Grace frowned, but stood as well to collect her unfinished Transfigurations homework from the large table in front of her.
“It was probably not the best idea to study in the Room of Requirements,” Remus remarked, still sounding slightly dazed.
“I had fun,” Grace said idly, shoving her homework back into her bag.
Remus chuckled. “I meant that it wasn't the most beneficial place to do your homework. Why are we in here, anyway?”
“You know,” he continued, “instead of the library, or the common room, or even the dorms? Who, exactly are we hiding from?”
“We aren't hiding,” Grace said uncertainly.
“Really? All of the sneaking around could have fooled me.”
Grace didn't say anything, busying herself with closing her pack instead.
“My first thought was that you didn't want Snape to see you with me-”
Grace coughed in surprise.
“-but realized that Snape couldn't see us in the common room. So then I guessed it might be because of your brother, although I'm not entirely sure why. But he has the map and, as Sirius is constantly reminding me, they've all seen us in broom closets together and even disappearing off of the map on the seventh floor yesterday. So, although you've been avoiding them like they've got Dragon Pox, I still see them multiple times a day. They know, Grace.”
“We aren't hiding,” Grace said again.
She frowned, turning to face Remus finally. “Remus, we aren't supposed to be doing this-”
“-according to? What? Your book? What you've seen of your future? Tell me, how does your and Snape's wedding pan out?”
“I can't see my own future, Remus,” she said bitterly.
“But you can see mine?”
“Some of it.”
“Which means that you're not in it, because you can't see your own future?” he asked, struggling to keep his voice even. “So, where are you then?”
“I don't know,” she muttered, breaking their eye contact.
“And what happens if you decided to be a part of my future?” he pressed. “What if we changed that?”
“You can't change fate, Remus.”
Grace sighed, wrapping her arms around him gently, looking up at him. “Everything should become more clear as time passes.”
“I want you to be a part of my future....”
She released him, swinging her back over her shoulder. “You hardly know me.”
“How can I know you when you still only talk to me when I practically beg you?”
“I talk to you every day.”
“You know what I mean.”
Grace was silent for a moment, contemplating how to handle this conversation. “Iliva callavant falival illavin lollivov walatith yallavou.”
“Why not?” Remus asked.
Startled, Grace gaped at him. “How did you...? You understood that?”
He regarded her, confused. “What are you talking about?”
“I was speaking in a different fucking language, Remus! It's the dialect of the Cruors...how...?”
“All you said was, 'I can't fall in love with you.” Remus added as an afterthought, “In English.”
Grace frowned. That was curious. At least now she knew when she didn't have enough courage to say something to him, then she couldn't dress it up in that language. “No, it wasn't,” she said. “It doesn't matter right now, we should head back. Dinner's soon.”
She felt his arms around her and she looked up at him, allowing him to kiss her again. She smiled.
After gathering the remainder of their papers, speaking very little to one another, they departed. What they did not expect was Sirius, Peter, and James to be waiting in the hall across from the Room of Requirement.
Grace blinked at them.
“This is an intervention,” Sirius informed, lightly.
AN: The asterisked abridged quote is from Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, p. 314, by J.K. Rowling.
Translations: I can't fall in love with you
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