Chapter 2 : Gossamer Season
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- Walt Whitman
After a rather hectic arrival, the marauders, along with Carter and Lia, all sat down at the Gryffindor table for breakfast the following day. The evening before had been full of unpacking, and reuniting with fellow classmates, most of them catching up into the earliest hours of the morning. Though due to such a sleepless night, the majority of them sat at the table with drooping eyes and less enthusiastic conversations than usual. Food had long since appeared at the table, covering nearly every square inch of the glossy surface. The ceiling showed a dreary, cloudy sky, ensuring them all for a less than cheery first day of classes.
Carter took a large swig of pumpkin juice, her right elbow knocking into Lia's left as Lia ate from a stack of pancakes hungrily. Carter scooted a bit away from her, wondering why she never seemed to remember that Lia was left handed until they bumped elbows at meals. She made a mental note to sit on Lia's right from then on, as she had done so many times before. The post owls arrived suddenly, startling them and grabbing the attention away from their plates. They all waited patiently as owls swooped down in front of each of them, a brightly colored parcel or envelope tied to their legs, excluding Sirius and Lia.
"In the three years I have known you, you've not received a single letter," James mused thoughtfully, his gaze trained on Lia. "Doesn't your father ever write?" he continued, genuine curiosity filling his face as he unwrapped a parcel sent by his mum. It was just as it was every year, his mum sending him something on the first day. It wasn't uncommon among the parents of Hogwarts students to start off the school year by sending somewhat of a “good luck” gift to their children.
"No, he doesn't have much interest in keeping up with me during the school year," Lia replied casually, as if they were simply discussing the morning's charms class. She didn't even bother looking up from her plate as she spoke, showing more interest in her scrambled eggs than the conversation taking place.
Remus shot her a worried look that seemed to go unnoticed by all. She had spoken of her father and his distaste for Hogwarts before; but until now Remus was unaware that it was harrowing enough to the point of no communication while she was here. He watched her for a moment longer, before deciding that that was hardly a conversation to bring up now. Lia had a habit of getting short with him whenever he mentioned her well being or her father. They both seemed to be sore subjects for the girl.
Unlike Remus, Carter seemed unsurprised at Lia's offhanded response, simply looking at her friend out of the corner of her eye to assure herself that Lia was fine. James, however, didn't seem to want to let the subject drop, and continued on.
"Why is that?" he asked, scooping an unhealthy amount of scrambled eggs onto his plate. Carter stared at him in disgust as he began to pile bacon on top of them. They had already been eating for a while. How James seemed to put away so much food each day was beyond her. He didn't look up from his plate at Lia as he asked the question, missing the annoyed and somewhat pained look on her face. He seemed more interested in the nauseating amount of eggs he was consuming than in the fact that Lia was merely shrugging distractedly, avoiding both eye contact and the question.
Sirius stared at her in concern for a moment, his brow furrowed in worry. He turned to James in an attempt to divert his attention from Lia, who obviously did not care to talk about her father and his lack of letters.
"Lay off, Prongs. I haven't gotten a letter from home in two years. And before that they were usually howlers telling me to get the pictures of muggle girls off my walls," he said, earning smirks from the boys sitting around them. Peter looked from Sirius to James like he was watching a tennis match and couldn't decide who to root for.
"Still there, eh?" James remarked, amused, before feeling a sharp kick to his shin. "Ow!" he said dramatically, glaring daggers at Carter, who was staring at him with narrowed eyes from her seat across from him.
"I swear, there is not a pinch of respect for the female gender at this table," she quipped, shooting Sirius a look that could at least seriously maim, if not kill. Lia made an obligatory noise of agreement before catching Sirius's eye and offering a small smile of thanks. After all, she wasn't daft enough to miss him changing the subject for her. Sirius gave a short nod in response, winking at her.
"So, who's gonna let me borrow their charms essay so I don't go into class empty handed?" Sirius asked, mentally patting himself on the back for not only helping Lia, but also effectively cutting off any rant that may come from Carter if talk of the posters on his walls continued.
"Honestly, Sirius, you had the entire summer to get that done," Remus replied with a roll of his eyes as he watched Sirius glance around the rest of the group expectantly. He was used to his friend's antics and his lack of concern for school, of course, but that didn't mean he wanted to tolerate them.
"But I also had a whole summer to do fun things," Sirius argued, "and really, which is the better choice?"
Remus scoffed, "I don't know, perhaps getting the annoying task out of the way first, and then doing fun things?" he said, clearing his plate.
"Not all of us are blessed with such a knowledgeable noggin, Moony," Sirius replied teasingly. "So, is anyone going to let me borrow their homework, or not?"
He looked to Carter eagerly, knowing how good her grades tended to be when she actually bothered working. Though it was likely she, as usual, did not do her work.
His heart sunk in disappointment as he saw her shake her head. "Considering I didn't do it myself, I'd say you're out of luck, my friend," she said lazily, blowing off the assignment as if it had no effect on her at all.
Lia shook her head at the two in exasperation, "You two are one in the same," she remarked, cutting into the conversation. She may not have liked studying, but at least she bothered to try. The last thing she needed was bad grades to add to her father's distaste for the school.
"Wait, so did anyone actually do their homework?" James inquired, looking around at his friends, who, for the most part, stared back at him with blank faces for a moment.
A look of eager realization flashed across Peter's expression, "I did," he piped in, as if just remembering the charms essay he most likely threw together last minute.
Carter looked around the table, waiting for someone else to say theirs was done as well. Namely her dearest friend Lia. Lia, however, remained quiet. Carter sighed in defeat, "So we're all using Peter's then?" she asked. As much as she would rather not have four people hand in the same essay, it seemed they didn't have much of a choice. After all, they couldn't very well hand in nothing. Hopefully it wouldn't rouse any suspicion, but she seriously doubted it.
"I'm not sure that's going to work out," Lia interjected, "Not that I have anything to worry about, anyways. I wrote my essay."
Carter allowed a small moment of triumph. She knew Lia had to have done her work; as usual, Lia, Remus, and Peter were the only ones who did. It seemed that they would be copying from those three until graduation.
James shook his head at Lia's studious behavior. It was almost like he was disgusted at her lack of procrastination. Sirius just rolled his eyes, snatching the offered parchment out of Peter's hand, and using a spell to duplicate it thrice. He handed the original essay back to Peter, clapping him appreciatively on the shoulder. Peter grinned at Sirius, pleased with himself and how helpful he had the chance to be. He rarely had much to offer, but he did always seem to come through with schoolwork.
"Peter, you really shouldn't let them do that," Lia remarked, shooting a judgemental look towards her friends, as they all stood up from their seats. She had let them copy from her the previous years, but after the group being accused of cheating and receiving a failing grade towards the end of their fifth year, she was more stingy than ever.
Peter just shrugged his shoulders offhandedly. It hardly mattered to him either way. Though he did smile at her appreciatively in silent gratitude for standing up for him, as it was a rare occurrence in their circle of friends. They all weaved their way through students as they walked out of the great hall and towards their first classes of the day.
"Don't you think someone is going to notice that you four handed in the exact same essay?" Remus questioned as they neared the classroom, more amused than frustrated at his friends. Before anyone had a chance to protest, chatter from a group of passing Slytherins interrupted them.
"So happy to see the mudblood is back!" Severus Snape jeered sarcastically from alongside them, his eyes on Lia. Rather than taking offense, she just grinned back at him.
"Glad to be back, Severus," she called to him, waving animatedly. Remus, however, glared at him dangerously, barely noticing as Lia yanked him along by his forearm. She only paused to look at the others pointedly until they all stopped muttering under their breath while they stared at Snape and other laughing Slytherin students.
"Let me hex him, okay? Just this once," Remus said through gritted teeth, yanking his arm out of Lia's grasp.
"Let it go, all right?" Lia said, grabbing the sleeve of his robe in an attempt to drag them towards their class. She glanced behind them, watching to see if the others followed. She spotted James, Sirius, and Peter trailing behind reluctantly, but Carter looked to be missing from the group.
"Hey, where's Ca-" she began, stopping her question abruptly as she saw Carter just in time. She hurried towards her friend, just as she was lifting her wand.
"Carter!" Lia shrieked, rushing to wrestle the wand out of her hand. She grasped it firmly in her right hand, and grabbed Carter's arm with her left in an attempt to drag her away.
"Honestly, I don't know why you guys get so bothered about that," Lia muttered, stalking towards the classroom with Carter in tow, completely missing the annoyed look she was shooting the back of Lia’s head. She understood the meaning of the word, and how it was only used in a crude manner, but it would be far easier to leave it alone. There was little point in riling up the Slytherins. It was like asking for spells to go flying, only leading them all to detention, as it had before. And Lia couldn't really afford detention so early on in the year.
"Lia!" James hissed. "He called you a... Well, you know what," he said, defending their actions as he tried to keep Remus from running after Severus. Though he hardly approved of what Severus said, he didn't have time to be in a fight at the moment. After all, he had to get to class early if he wanted to snag a seat near enough to Lily Evans for the sole purpose of staring at her throughout class.
"He's got a point, Foxe," Sirius added, as they all piled into the classroom.
"He's been calling me a mudblood for six years now. How are we not past this?" she muttered, sliding into a seat next to Remus.
"They're just trying to defend you, Lia," Peter said, settling into the seat on her left. She just offered him a weak smile before pulling out her charms book and settling it on the table in front of her.
After handing in their essays, the group barely paid a bit of attention to the charm they were learning about, save for Lia and Remus. The latter of which spent the class dutifully taking notes that Lia planned on looking over later on. The rest of them gave lazy flicks of their wands occasionally, staring blankly ahead for the majority of their lesson,
"So, do you care to elaborate on why you had a shitty summer?" Carter murmured to Sirius while the others were busy laughing at Peter, who had managed to perform a bat-bogey hex on himself.
Sirius shrugged carelessly, "Family and I got into an argument. I left home. Not much to elaborate on," he said casually as he gave another half-hearted flick of his wand. He didn't need to look towards Carter to know there was a shocked and slightly appalled look on her face. The thought of not getting along with her family was somewhat foreign to her, as she was as close as ever with her father and her older brother. Though years of being friends with both Sirius and Lia taught her that not all families worked as well as hers did.
"You ran away from home?" she said disbelievingly, "Sirius, that's not just a casual thing kids do over the summer! Where are you staying? Do you have a place to sleep?" she rambled worriedly, going through the hundreds of concerns running rampant through her mind. Her string of questions continued until she noticed Sirius's muffled laughter, halting her abruptly.
She smacked him roughly on the shoulder, "It's not funny! Stop laughing!"
"It's nothing to fuss about either, Carter," Sirius assured her, "I was fine. I stayed at James's house," he added, hoping to quiet any of her paranoid worries.
The frustration on Carter's face melted away into concern, "Why did you run away?" she said, her voice soft and worried. She tried to school her features into a neutral expression, hoping they hadn't caught anyone else's attention with the whispered conversation. She mentally scolded herself for forgetting to speak quietly throughout it.
"Mum tried to pull all that pureblood rubbish on me again. She said she got tired of me talking about how all blood types are equal, and it turned into the argument to end all arguments, I guess."
Carter could easily see past the unconcerned tone of his voice, but she was unsure as to whether pressing matters further would be a good idea or not. It all depended on Sirius's mood, really, and those weren't always easy to read. After a moment of staring at him, she decided to leave it for the time being. She didn't want him to yell at her for asking too much in the middle of the classroom.
"Are you okay?" she finally asked. Of course, all she got in response was that signature indifferent shrug. And really, she hadn't expected much more. After all, he was Sirius Black. He couldn't be bothered by emotions or life changing things like leaving his family. Carter just sighed, turning back to the wand movements in her book.
After two classes, they all finally had a break. Thankfully, despite their clashing class schedules, they had all managed to score a free period together on Mondays. They sat scattered around the edge of the lake, the majority of them studying various text books, trying to keep up with their N.E.W.T. classes. Remus and Lia, on the other hand, had nothing to worry about.
Lia sat slumped against Remus's shoulder, gazing blankly at the sky, playing absentmindedly with the sleeve of his robe as he lost himself in a copy of Great Expectations. The book was supplied by none other than the girl leaning against him, as she had a habit of giving them all muggle books, clothes and music. Remus had gotten Great Expectations and countless others for his last birthday, and he was still working his way through them.
Sirius stared at a page in his transfiguration book with an unusual amount of concentration. He flicked his wand, frustrated at the absolute nothingness that was happening. He groaned loudly, trying to make his annoyance known to everyone within earshot.
"If I can't conjure a hat by the end of this week, McGonagall is going to kill me," he remarked, looking as discouraged as ever.
"If you would just study, and actually do your summer work, this wouldn't be happening," Remus chirped from behind his book, his eyes never leaving the page before him.
Sirius stared at him with obvious annoyance, "Didn't we have this conversation at breakfast? I feel like this has happened before. You wouldn't want to set a nagging record, Remus."
Remus rolled his eyes at him, returning to the novel in his hands. Though concentrating on it was proving difficult with Lia leaning against him like she was. And it hardly helped that her hair was tickling his neck every time she moved an inch. Especially since the strong scent of apples it was giving off was both intoxicating and distracting.
"Lia, your hair," he said squirming. His words drew her attention away from the clouds, and she looked at him in confusion. She fingered a curl, staring at it as if that would tell her what he was talking about.
"It's tickling me," he explained. She let out an amused giggle before moving away from him, inching closer to James, and leaving Remus with a cold, empty spot where she had been before.
They all sat in silence for a moment before Lia grew fed up with it. "It's the first day of school, and I'm already bored," she confessed loudly, throwing herself back into the soft grass for dramatic effect. She folded her hands on her stomach, her open robes splayed out on either side of her.
Carter glanced up from her potions textbook to Lia, "Fag?" she offered, already digging through her robes to find the package of Marlboros and her disposable lighter. Lia sat up quickly, suddenly alert as she nodded, and rearranged her skirt over her thighs. She scooted closer to Carter, taking the offered cigarette and leaning closer so Carter could light it for her.
Remus watched as Lia took a long drag, "I swear, you lot are going to get us detention before lunch on the first day," he said absentmindedly, shaking his head at their behavior.
"Still not beating Sirius and James's record," Carter remarked, blowing smoke out through pursed lips, her cigarette perched elegantly between two fingers. Sirius watched her for a moment before lunging towards her, snatching the pack from where it sat on her lap while she was somewhat distracted. He smirked at her as he hurried out of her reach.
"Hey!" Carter exclaimed, grabbing for Sirius's wrist in an attempt to stop him. “Hands off, you sodding git. Those are mine!"
"Didn't you learn to share over the summer?" Sirius whined, already placing a cigarette delicately between his lips and tossing the pack to James. Carter sighed, giving in and tossing the lighter at Sirius with more force than he expected. He flung his arms up to catch it, failing horribly as it hit him on the bridge of his nose.
“Looks like we’ve got an expert seeker on our hands,” she said with a smirk, Sirius only narrowing his eyes at her.
"Can I have one?" Peter cut in, his voice somewhat meek as he watched Carter with a worried expression. Carter raised her eyebrows, staring at him critically. He looked as if he was almost afraid she would say yes.
"Since when do you smoke?" she inquired, leveling him with a steely gaze.
Peter shrunk back immediately, "Nevermind," he said quietly. Despite the two having hung out together with the same people since their third year, Carter and Peter hardly considered themselves friends with one another. He found her far too bossy and particularly intimidating, not that he would tell her such. No, he would rather stay quiet and follow whatever James and Sirius did. Though, he did always seem to shy away from smoking, despite the influence the others had on him.
"It's okay, Peter," Lia began, giving him a reassuring look, "Remus doesn't smoke either," she reminded him. Remus scoffed loudly at hearing this, setting his book down on his lap.
"Of course I don't smoke. Those can't be healthy for you! You're inhaling that into your lungs. They're bloody disgusting things," he said. "They'll kill you one of these days. Peter's right to not join in," he added.
He had held this view for years, adamant that breathing in the smoke was nothing other than toxic, and would kill them. And who would want to die young? Especially from something as avoidable as a cigarette. As usual they all rolled their eyes in response, not believing a word he said.
Peter, however, nodded slightly in agreement, reluctant to side with Remus over the others. Though his reason for staying away from them was more because he hated the taste than it was them maybe being bad for him. After all, a lot of things were bad for them, and they did them anyways.
Sirius shot an exasperated look at Peter, not forgetting his halfhearted attempt to blend in, "Well, there's no reason to pretend, is there? If you don't smoke, don't ask for a cigarette," Sirius remarked, incredibly annoyed with Peter already.
"Leave it, Sirius," Lia ordered sternly, sounding like a mother who had just caught her child with his hand in the cookie jar. Sirius put up his hands in mock surrender, unwilling to fight with Lia about it. She had a habit of somehow talking him out of his original opinion and coming out triumphant.
"I hope you never use that face for evil, Lia," James said, glancing back and forth between the pair.
"Yes, because Lia's face is a lethal weapon," Carter cut in sarcastically, shaking her head at all of them.
"Well, considering she can use it to manipulate half the school..." Remus trailed off. Lia's mouth dropped open in disbelief as she stared at them all, appalled. Remus laughed lightly at the look on her face, unable to hide his amusement.
"Excuse me!" Lia said haughtily. "I only use my powers for good," she claimed defensively.
"And by that you mean for your own gain," James quipped through a puff of smoke. Suddenly his easy expression turned into one of horror. His eyes widened at the sight of a hunch backed figure hobbling towards them.
"Filch," he warned quickly, shoving his cigarette into the ground, effectively putting it out. The others followed suit, looking suspiciously innocent by the time Filch made his way over to them. A practiced routine, of course.
"I believe you have a class to attend," Filch snapped rather menacingly, staring at them all with a single eyebrow raised in suspicion.
"Free period," Lia supplied, flashing him a rather wide and innocent grin.
"See? Evil," James whispered under his breath to Sirius, who snickered in turn, trying to keep his face blank.
"Well, the period's just ended," Filch said. "Now get to class," he ordered, stretching his words and speaking so slowly and and intimidatingly that they didn't dare press the issue any further.
"Hammet! Sit up straight or I'll take house points," McGonagall threatened, striding inside the classroom with robes billowing out behind her. She appeared to be extra hostile today, much to everyone's immediate dismay. Despite being head of the house, she still wasn't very friendly towards her fellow Gryffindors. Which unsurprisingly lead to Gwendolyn Hammet sitting perfectly still in her seat next to Lily Evans, shoulders squared and back straight, too afraid to defy McGonagall.
Not that many blamed her. Nearly everyone stared straight ahead, keeping quiet and attentive for the majority of them feared McGonagall might really take house points away. The last thing any of them wanted to be responsible for is putting their house into the negatives within the first day.
"Today we will be working on trans-species transformations," McGonagall announced, her face as stern as her voice. "If you would all partner up, please," she instructed. There was a bit of shuffling as students fought to get partnered up with their preferred classmate. Before Carter could even blink, Sirius stood next to James, and Lia next to Remus, leaving Carter with Peter, much to her shock and disappointment.
"Lia!" she hissed angrily, green eyes flashing with frustration at the idea of being partnered with Peter.
"Sorry, Carter. We both know who the better wizard is here, and I can't risk bad marks again this early in the year," Lia said in a regretful tone, looking sympathetic. That was hardly enough. Carter made a rude gesture with her hand and walked somewhat dejectedly towards where Peter stood, leaving Lia to stick her tongue out at Carter's retreating figure.
"Mature," Remus whispered, smirking at her. Lia opened her mouth to reply, only to be cut off by her professor.
"We will be using human to rabbit, so please say the spell accordingly," McGonagall ordered, her voice booming through the room and drowning out the chatter. The partners looked at one another, nervous about turning their friends into the wrong animals, or perhaps even only turning parts of them into rabbits and leaving the rest of them human. The room filled with noise as the students carefully and loudly recited the necessary spell.
"Lia, stand still. I don't want to turn you into a rat," Remus said, exasperated. Lia ignored him, her attention focused on flirting with a Ravenclaw two seats in front of them. As he watched them, Remus shook his head, the poor bloke obviously thinking he might get somewhere with her. After a whole minute of waiting, he decided to poke her in the shoulder with the tip of his wand, earning a glare from her. She turned around and stood still, an annoyed look still in place on her face.
He recited the incantation very carefully, moving his wand in the memorized motions. Far sooner than he had expected, a small white rabbit stood where Lia once did. He couldn't help the triumphant smile that spread across his face.
"Very good. Ten points to Gryffindor," McGonagall said upon seeing his success. The next hour was filled with students reciting spells and various colored rabbits hopping about. Unfortunately, some students weren't quite so successful.
James, for instance, hand managed to turn Sirius into a rabbit with human ears, leaving Professor McGonagall to scowl in their direction as she passed by.
"The first transfiguration lesson and I've already screwed something up," James muttered to himself in the common room later that night. He had never ended up being able to turn Sirius into a rabbit, and had only managed to turn him back just before class had ended. Sirius hadn't even had a chance to try his hand at the spell. Which was probably just as well, since he hadn't even read it over yet.
"Cheer up, Prongs. At least you're not spending Saturday night with McGonagall like Sirius here is," Remus said, his tone overly cheery with optimism.
"No need to sound so happy about it, Moony," Sirius groaned, his mind going to the reason he had earned detention in the first place. The others knew he had received the detention, but Sirius refused to tell them why. There were just some things that no one needed to know.
"I think you can survive one weekend without shagging random birds," Carter remarked, smirking in his direction from the couch across from him. Sirius just groaned louder at the thought of his usual Saturday night plans being ruined.
heyyyy chapter twooooo okay ya please review and follow our fic blog for pictures of our faceclaims and shit (carter and lia amongst other things woo!!!!) link is in our profile
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