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Chapter 7 : Fake Snakes and Good Sweets
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Coralie’s time in Hogsmeade had come and gone before she even really had time to appreciate the beautiful village. She’d felt so down on the way back that the girls had already starting planning ideas for the next Hogsmeade trip and were counting down every day. That night, true to his word, Sirius had found her and practically forced her to try one of his Fizzing Whizzbees. She had actually liked the taste, but with everyone around she didn’t dare say so, instead she pretended to scrunch up her nose at the taste and Sirius had left her alone since then. Or so she had thought.
It wasn’t until the day before Halloween that Coralie started to notice that Sirius had been shooting her looks all through class and again all through dinner. She tried to ignore them- she really did, but by the time only Alice, James, Peter, Sirius and her remained in the Common Room that night, she couldn’t handle it anymore.
“Is there something wrong?” she asked, meeting Sirius’ gaze. Her sharp tone caught the attention of James who was now looking between the two of them. Sirius didn’t answer. “Do I have something on my face or something?” she whispered to Alice who shook her head with an apologetic look on her face.
“I suppose there is.” Sirius finally answered. Despite how shocked Coralie was, James looked even more surprised by his friend’s response. “I just wanted to know why you pretended that you didn’t like the Fizzing Whizzbees the other night.” Coralie couldn’t stop the small squeak-like noise that escaped from her lips. “Did I do something wrong?” She couldn’t manage to form any words and so she just shook her head in response. “Did you do it because of Evans then? Because she doesn’t like me?”
“Mate,” James intercepted but Sirius cut him off with a sharp look. Coralie’s eyes were fixed on Sirius’ face but she could see Peter frowning at James.
“I didn’t want to start anything,” Coralie half-whispered in response, though she could tell she’d said it loud enough for Sirius to hear judging from the sour look on his face.
“Didn’t want to start what?” he furiously spat back.
“Something like this. I didn’t want you all to get into some confrontation about it, especially after the other day. You and Lily had been bad enough then; I couldn’t imagine what it would have been like with all of you going at one another. I just thought you’d prefer to keep them off your back.” Sirius’ furious expression slowly softened. “I know you probably don’t understand this, but not everybody lives to fight, you know? Some of us would just prefer to avoid it whenever we can.”
With that, Coralie picked up her books as quickly as she possibly could and made her way back up to the dormitory- she could hear Alice following her quietly and she was grateful that even once they reached their beds and the other girls demanded to know what the screaming was about, Alice didn’t speak a single word.
The day of Halloween was perhaps one of the worst days that Coralie had ever experienced. The day she met ‘him’ remained in the very top spot, followed closely behind the day she had to leave France behind but then, in third place, would be where Halloween 1976 would proudly sit. It started off normally enough, at least as normally as a Sunday at Hogwarts could start off. Coralie had just been in the middle of a rather nice dream- or rather a memory of her and Jacob playing in the garden when they were younger. Then all of sudden, there was screaming, an ear-shattering noise that had Coralie practically falling out of her bed.
“For Merlin’s sake! What is going on?” Kiki had groaned, her pillow was covering her face but Coralie could imagine the annoyed look that would be on the girl's face.
“There’s a snake on my bed!” Mary exclaimed, not even attempting to be calm. The blonde girl had long vacated her bed and was instead sitting on the very edge of Alice’s bed- as far away from her own as she could get. On her bed was in fact a snake- a perfectly still, plastic snake. Miranda had gotten out of her bed and picked up the snake before Mary could squeal again, though when Miranda tried to show Mary it was fake, the girl had hidden under Alice’s sheets and refused to get out until the snake was gone. Miranda decided to hide it in her trunk for future use.
“Oh God, it’s already started,” Lily groaned, collapsing back into her pillow. The other girls all groaned in agreement, slowly making their way into the bathroom and getting ready for breakfast, Coralie joined Marlene on her bed.
“What’s started?” she asked, motioning to Mary who was now checking under her bed to see if there was anything else waiting for her there.
“Halloween,” Marlene replied, “The Marauders like to play pranks and for them, Halloween is like a second April Fool’s Day. Their pranks are usually just for Slytherins or other people who’ve annoyed them, but today- as far as the Marauders are concerned, it’s fair game for anyone.” Marlene went off to brush her teeth and Coralie solemnly retreated back to her bed.
She could only imagine what sorts of things Sirius was going to have up his sleeve after the way she shouted at him the night before. Would James pitch in? And Peter? And Remus? She hadn’t even meant to yell at the guy- she’d never done it before, but everything had just slipped out before she could even considering stopping it. She hated being pranked- she thought it was cruel and stupid. Even Jacob and Angus had learnt not to prank her. But here, she was fair game. She was the new girl. And she didn’t think she was exactly on the Marauder’s good books.
“You’ll be okay, you know?” Alice cut through her thoughts as she gracefully landed next to Coralie on her bed.
“They won’t target you because of last night. If anything, I think they’ll probably respect you even more. Besides, James is ultimately the leader and he’ll stop Sirius if he thinks if he’s going too far.” Coralie wanted to feel relieved by that, but she just couldn’t manage it. If anything, it made her feel worse.
“And how far is too far for James?” she replied. Alice frowned and shrugged her shoulders; she placed her hand on Coralie’s shoulders apologetically and went back to getting ready. Coralie collapsed backwards on her bed, feeling thankful that today was a Sunday after all and that if need be, she could at least hide up here for a little longer. That’s what she told the others when they asked her if she was coming down- at least, she told them that she wasn’t feel well and that she needed to rest for a while longer.
Maybe they understood what she was doing because they all left without an argument; only Lily hung back for a moment to ask her if she wanted them to bring back any food or anything else. Coralie considered asking her if Lily could take away the boys’ memories of last night, but she changed her mind at the last moment- it was better if she didn’t know.
“You know, I’m really glad you’re here Cora. You’ll feel better soon, I hope you know that.” Lily stated as she closed the door. For the first time in a while, Coralie let herself truly smile.
Somehow Coralie managed to drag herself out of bed and down into the Common Room. The girls had been gone for about an hour, though she expected they’d all be sitting on the couches rather than coming up the stairs in order to give her a little bit of peace. But it was empty, at least it was except for the one person. And of course, it had to be the one person that Coralie really didn’t want to see.
“Bennett!” Sirius exclaimed, Coralie couldn’t help but flinch slightly. As far as Coralie could remember, this was the first time she’d been referred to as Bennett by anyone. She was pretty sure that that was not a good sign. “Hey, happy Halloween, eh?” She didn’t reply. Instead, she waited for something horrible to happen- like for a bucket of green slime to drop on her head or something, but nothing did. “What’s up with you?” Sirius asked, watching Coralie and diverting his gaze to the ceiling above her where Coralie was also staring. After he realised there was nothing there, he shook his head and pulled out a bag from behind his back and handed it to Coralie.
“What’s this?” She asked, trying to keep the nervousness out of her voice, though from the puzzled look on Sirius’ face she was thinking that it must not have worked.
“Fizzing Whizzbees. I thought you might like some of your own so that your friends didn’t have to see you sharing with me again.” Coralie flinched again at the sound of his annoyed tone.
“What’s wrong with them?” she asked before she could help herself. He furrowed his eyebrows before he looked down at his feet, and when he looked back at her Coralie could see an odd expression in his eyes.
“Did they actually get to you? They made you think I try to poison you or something? That’s low, I mean that’s really low for them.” He gritted his teeth together.
“No, they didn’t. It’s just, it’s Halloween. And there was already that fake snake on Mary’s bed and they said you guys had a habit of doing things like that today.” Sirius chuckled slightly at the mention of the snake but regained his composure by the time Coralie had finished.
“Trust me, they’re just sweets. I think it’s a little too cruel to poison someone’s sweets, don’t you?” Coralie nodded mutely, carefully watching Sirius’ face for any change. She knew it was silly, he wasn’t going to suddenly just turn into some devil or something but she was finding it difficult to tear her gaze away.
“You’re being honest, aren’t you? I really don’t like pranks.”
Sirius looked outraged for a moment. “You don’t like pranks?” Coralie shook her head furiously, “How? Why?”
“If you actually asked, I think you’d probably find that no one really likes pranks being pulled on them. No one likes to made a fool of, it’s horrible.”
“In that case, Coralie Bennett- I swear to you that those sweets are not pranked in any way, shape or form. They are just seriously good sweets. Marauder’s honour.” He made some weird kind of salute at her. “Why would you think we’d prank you anyway?”
“Isn’t it obvious?” He shook his head. “I’m the new girl. I’m an easy target. I’m fair game,” Sirius seemed to tense at that statement, “You got Mary before so clearly you prank girls as well.”
“Hey, that’s not true.” Coralie raised her eyebrows at him questioningly. “You’re not the new girl, not technically. You’re a Gryffindor now, you’re one of us. It’s kind of like a gang, once you’re in- it’s incredibly difficult to get out. Besides, you just said you didn’t like pranks. We don’t prank anyone who doesn’t like them.” Coralie sent him a pointed look. “Okay, we don’t prank anyone who doesn’t deserve it.”
“And Mary did?” Coralie questioned.
“Oh maybe not, we just like making McDonald squeal. It’s entertaining.” Coralie shook her head disapprovingly.
“What’s the point? You wouldn’t even be able to see her reaction.” Sirius let out a loud bark-like laugh.
“Oh, that’s sweet. Of course we have a way of seeing McDonald’s reaction. What would be the fun in that otherwise?” Coralie turned bright red. “Oh, don’t worry Bennett. You looked real precious in your short little pyjamas this morning.” With a wink, he disappeared out of the portrait hole, leaving Coralie standing there alone, her face burning with embarrassment.
Like Hogsmeade weekends, the Halloween Feast was a new experience for Coralie. The Great Hall was spectacular on a day to day basis, at least for her it was, but for Halloween Feast- well Coralie couldn’t think of a single word in either English or French to describe it. She wasn’t sure there was a single word in any language that would quite do it justice.
The ceiling looked like a perfect starry night- that was usual for this time of night, but the stars seemed to shine even brighter and the moon, not quite full, was bigger than Coralie had ever seen. Hundreds of candles, of all different sizes, floated, all lit and unable to be blown out. The dancing flames reflected off the goblets on each table and off the silverware. The food was insane. Each of the four house tables and the teachers’ tables were covered completely in plates upon plates of food of all types. There hardly looked any room for anyone to sit amongst the food, but somehow people managed.
“Come on, let’s sit Cora down before she dies of starvation from just standing here,” Miranda teased, lightly pushing Coralie towards a strip of empty bench at the Gryffindor table. They hadn’t even been sitting down for a second before Kiki had started to pile food high on her plate.
“Are you actually going to be able to eat all of that?” Coralie asked, spooning some peas onto her plate. Kiki looked at her plate and nodded, shovelling a spoonful of rice into her mouth before nicking a chicken leg off Mary’s plate while the latter had turned to speak to Alice.
“You’d be surprised just how much food that girl can fit in her stomach. They say it’s bigger on the inside,” Lily half-whispered, blowing a kiss to Kiki who looked outraged. Then the group fell into a comfortable silence as they all began to devour the food on their plates- every now again laughing, like when the juice from the corn cob Marlene had been eating squirted Alice in the eye or when Miranda’s spoonful of mashed potato had completely missed her mouth and had been violently brushed onto the floor, though most of it managed to land on Kiki’s legs.
Dessert was the real killer. Apple pies were Coralie’s ultimate weakness. They reminded her of her father who believed that apples could go in almost anything, especially in pies smothered with cream and custard. Of course, there were apple pies just within her reach- sure, they were mini ones, but after five or six of them (in all honesty, Coralie had lost count of how many she had), she was almost regretting them.
“Hey, and you were worried how much I could eat. I could see you shovelling down those apple pies like there was no tomorrow,” Kiki commented as the girls finished their desserts and tried to make their way back to the Common Room. She swung her arm around Coralie’s shoulders and bumped her hip against Coralie until the latter eventually lost her balance and stumbled right into Remus, who had just joined the two of them. “Lupin!” Kiki practically screamed, reaching her arms further around Coralie in an attempt to bring Remus into her little huddle as well. After trying to avoid her deathly grip, as Coralie had decided to name it, Remus finally gave in and let Kiki practically squish the three of them together.
“Enjoy dessert, did you?” Remus asked Coralie with a cheeky smile- she just groaned in response at him. “Maybe you shouldn’t have had so many apple pies?”
“Oh shush. Apple pie is the king of all desserts,” Coralie proclaimed with a chuckle.
“I’m inclined to agree with Bennett, they were some good apple pies.” Sirius joined on the other side of Kiki, though she tried to fight him off. “But being French, I thought you would have gone for a Crème Brûlée or something.” Sirius tightened his grip on Kiki's waist which allowed his hand to brush gently against Coralie’s which was loose around Kiki’s waist. She tried to ignore it, pretend as if she didn’t feel it but Sirius wore a smug smile on his face that told her it was pointless to try. From the glare that Kiki sent him, Coralie could only guess that her friend had felt it too, and she was not happy about it at all. Coralie tried to move her hand away, but Sirius had now placed his hand on top and she felt trapped.
She felt trapped.
He made her feel trapped, like she couldn’t breathe. The memories were all floating back to the surface- that cruel smile of his, his grip on her arm. She could feel her heart speeding up, her vision blurring. She tried to fight it, tried to pay attention to Remus who was talking about classes to her right. He was asking her something, and then he was stopping.
Then Kiki was stopping. Then everyone had stopped and they had all turned to face her. Sirius had let go of her hand, she hadn’t noticed when that had happened.
Her eyes tried to find Lily, to tell her that it was happening again. Lily would know what to do. Even with her vibrant red hair, Coralie couldn’t place Lily through the blurriness.
She tried to talk, but she couldn’t even tell if her lips were moving, let alone if she was making any sound.
She grasped onto someone’s shoulder. She tried to steady herself. She tried to force herself to stop this. But she couldn’t. She could hear a squeal. Another person yelling for help. The sound of shoes clicking against the floor. An arm around her waist and then another.
Then it all disappeared.
Authors Note: This wasn’t actually the way this chapter was supposed to go at all, but I actually really like it. I know it’s all very mysterious at the moment, but the memories/the reason for the Bennett’s moving to England will be revealed soon. For those of you who may have read the original, I’m presenting it quite a bit differently than how it was. Hopefully, it’s going to be a lot better and much more interesting. If you never read the original, I’d love to know what you think happened.
The next couple of chapters are actually some of my favourites- mainly because they include Christmas and I love being able to write some Bennett family dynamics. I also want to apologise because this chapter is currently un-beta’ed. The chapter is currently being beta’ed but I really wanted to get it up today. I hope you enjoyed it, and hopefully the next chapter will be up soon.
Beta'ed: 5th of February.
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