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Behind the Sketches by JamesandLily4ever
Chapter 3 : A Crayon and a Pastel
 
Rating: MatureChapter Reviews: 1


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Disclaimer: this universe belongs to J.K. Rowling. Also, I apologize for this horrid double spacing in the last chapter… it was the work of the new editor. New chapters will be handled uniquely (through the simple editor).

Chapter 3: A Crayon and a Pastel

The first month back was a blur.

First there was a missing stair.

“Did you hear about the missing stair? Most of the first years are losing our points because they’re getting to class late,” Emma said, setting up her breakfast platter. “Plus, a number of them fell through it.”

“Must be the so-called Marauders again,” Mark replied.

I was glad I hadn’t been one of the first years to have fallen through it, but even then, the whole of Ravenclaw was glad that the first year was in the hospital wing.

And then there was Transfiguration.

The past many years were a testament to how hard Hogwarts tried to promote House Unification, which was total hogwash considering how we drifted to our own house. That year it was different.

I was cozied up with Emma and Mark until the beginning of class. The tables and Professor McGonagall’s high desk were in their place, but there was a dizzying array of green, red, and yellow among us. I scooted my chair under the table until I could feel my stomach blob under the tabletop.

The chair beside me whined as it was dragged back and it clattered as the person beside me sat forward. I suddenly froze from my head to my toes. Mark and Emma shared a look and Emma just stared at me with her very round eyes.

Sweet Merlin.

It was tragic. I couldn’t bear to turn around. I just couldn’t.

The introduction of the course commenced. McGonagall paced by her desk and glanced continuously in my direction over every other syllable pertaining to the wealth of NEWT exams.

“Some of you may have endured the past five years of Hogwarts by looking over each other’s shoulders or putting in your own efforts to surpass yourselves. These next two years will be no different. If you are here, you have been quite fortunate to find yourselves in the journey to your chosen profession – such that you were interviewed for only last year… I expect the best of your work here in spell casting, pronunciation, and your understanding of the theory. You will be tested every two weeks, and a foot of parchment will be expected in full for your knowledge of theory each week. There will also be a project of how this material pertains to your profession, which we will discuss further this month.

“This week’s assignment will be to read chapters…”

Quills were scribbling at the speed of light. I glanced sidelong to see who it was that chose to sit beside me as my quill wandered over my own sketchbook.

Black hair… swished at the ends…

Black cloak…


His right hand merely twirled the red feathered quill in his hand.

Red and gold on his tie…

He was murmuring to his left, and I momentarily let my eyes wander above his head and then I saw the messy black hair and round spectacles and very brown eyes.

In a swoosh, I glanced back to my sketchbook when he glanced over.

Yep, studious Ravenclaw, right here.

~*~

Later on that day, I stayed behind with Mark and Emma, my eyes and ears lingering with the handsome boy from the train.

“Oh, Prongs, what would I do without you?” he joked with James Potter.

Oh, what a time to be alive. I thought to myself.

How did I not know this boy’s name? I blinked owlishly at Emma, and Emma narrowed her eyes at me suspiciously.

“Have the two of you ever crossed paths before? I would have sworn you had at some point,” she commented, and then she elbowed Mark in the side. “Have we ever been in contact with Potter and his mates?”

“The Marauders? No, never,” Mark replied, and then he continued for my benefit since I must have leaned forward and raised my eyebrows incredulously, “They don’t dig into other people’s graves to steal things. They just named themselves that. It’s rather mysterious, I find.”

Mysterious indeed, but Emma followed reluctantly. “I didn’t think that it would ever be possible for Sirius Black, of all people, to sit by Abby, though. I would have thought him to single out someone else.”

Someone like Rebecca, I thought. Rebecca was a modern and contemporary beauty. She had hazel eyes that happened to fit her face pleasantly, and long, dark hair to frame her oval shaped face and shoulders. She even had an hourglass curvy figure that showed through her robes and uniform. I frowned at my predicament. I wasn’t one to compare myself to others, but I knew myself to be quite hidden in terms of a slimmer body with an almost barely noticeable chest.

I could masquerade as a boy simply by binding my chest a couple of times. I tucked my hair back and looked up only to chance Emma in the eye.

“Do you have anything to say, my dearest Abby?” she asked me.

I did not, but I knew better than that. “What if he sits beside me every Tuesday and Thursday?

What would I tell the student body?

‘Oh, I have no claims to this boy!’ I found myself thinking, imagining several girls holding torches and pitchforks. ‘Take him if you want him! I don’t even know his name!’

I wasn’t his friend, and I most certainly knew nothing of him to even get that close. Nor did I want to be that close, I thought to myself.

And yet… something fluttered at the thought of it. Just something, not much of anything to begin.

~*~

The next couple of days brought me to another series of events.

Slughorn decided it would be absolutely perfect to learn how to work in pairs for a year.

“This term will be realized through team effort! I have already done part of the work and I expect you to do the rest.”

His part of the work was dividing us into twos, and the rest was the concept of preparing different potions together. There would be three to four potions to create until Christmas and another three after holiday until exams. All the successful brews would be given to Madame Pomfrey in the Hospital Wing and sold to the Apothecary in Hogsmeade. There would be a prize at the end of the year. I supposed he might have meant a potions book or some kind of special potion.

All good things! I hoped, but here I was again with other students from each house, and I was vulnerable to lose both Emma and Mark.

“…McGain….Snape,” I vaguely heard.

I swallowed and floundered, and then I raised my very clammy hand into the chilly dungeon air.

“Mr. Severus Snape, Miss McGain is at the other side of the room… if you could humble us in directing yourself there, that would be much appreciated,” Slughorn cheered along.

My neck and cheeks burned. I kept my hand up while I hugged myself with my other arm; all the while I cursed Slughorn for doing this to me.

Who was Severus Snape anyway? I glanced and saw a lean, brooding type with greasy black hair, a hooked nose, and an intense stare. I stepped aside to make room for him. He merely crossed his arms firmly around his books.

I glanced over and saw his heavily annotated textbook.

“That’s remarkable,” I mentioned quietly.

He sneered and hugged his books, shielding them from my view.

I frowned. Who does that?

~*~

Later on that day, I bemoaned my luck. Was I really going to spend every Potions class with this boy?

Emma had a gag reflex any time we talked about the house unification going on in our NEWT level courses. Mark was suddenly affected after our Charms class. He was blank faced for a portion of the time when it came to his partner from Hufflepuff.

He charmed his dinner to be smaller and wrapped the whole thing, platter and all, in napkins. He gathered his books and excused himself from the table.

“I can’t hear myself think,” he explained.

“You’re not the only one,” I replied.

Emma looked after him and began to push her food around her plate.

~*~

Weeks into the change, we all began the steep climb to save our grades.

It was easier when I dealt with Gregory Boot, a Hufflepuff who helped relentlessly in any task. He put everything down on the first day in Herbology: “I am not going to risk anything here, but I will end you if my Outstanding plummets.”

“My Exceeds Expectations could be worse, but I’d rather it stay the same,” I declared my argument.

After that, we both became fast friends, I think.

~*~

McGonagall paired us up on certain days, but she insisted, “Despite this… you will all be graded individually.”

Needless to say, I tried to create a tolerance around Sirius. He had decided that he would never move from his seat beside me. This confused me since no one was really assigned to sit anywhere, but he hadn’t moved or switched seats with his friends. We also didn’t talk much, but he was insistent on talking. And me, well, I couldn’t stop blushing.

“How is your day, Miss McGain?” he asked, trying to catch my eyes.

As if I would ever take my eyes away from a book! …or stop listening to the giggling that happened whenever he was out and about with his friends.

I swallowed thickly and replied quietly, “Good, thank you.”

Minutes passed in which I couldn’t figure out what to say besides spell work. We were researching theory before starting wand waving techniques. The first two weeks were mainly about transfiguring small objects. At last, I was starting to understand why my exam didn’t go that well.

“Well, my day is fantastic,” he replied as he nimbly flipped through his textbook.

I flipped through mine and nodded. “Well, that’s good and fine; let’s get back to work.”

The less he talked, the better.

I’m very sure that he smiled, and I turned slightly to hide my face.

Maybe I should have cursed all the cute boys to never see me… Maybe I should have hoped to fall back into how blissfully unaware I was of him. Maybe, but despite this, it was flattering to talk with someone of the opposite sex (who wasn’t Mark)… even if it was a couple of sentences at a time.

~*~

Slughorn left most of us to do our work on our own, but he strutted by between our stations and remarked on everyone’s good work. He paused by the desk I shared with Severus, and he chuckled.

“Perfect sleeping draught! The coloring is coming along, I trust?” Slughorn asked.

Severus nodded and I aha’d, both of us too involved in chopping ingredients and turning the cauldron.

It was remarkably difficult for me to focus on the time. We had moved from timing the stirring to letting it rest meanwhile we each wrote down our observations. He was getting pretty good at following my lead, and I was glad that he wasn’t that difficult to follow. We corked our flacons, labeled them, and placed them all together in our holsters.

After that we paused. I tentatively turned my quill in my hand. What now?

“Miss McGain, I trust that you will take these to the Hospital Wing, as they are to be dropped off with Madame Pomfrey,” he began.

I looked up from the holsters and frowned. “Why don’t you go with me to drop them off so that Madame Pomfrey can tell Professor Slughorn that we both delivered our potion, as it was mentioned we would at the beginning of term?”

I was not one to forgo something so simple as following directions (which is why I did alright in Potions – not extraordinarily, but alright), but really? Our first impression with this new impression left me confused, but I so yearned to know more about his reaction. Why the attitude?

His eyes narrowed and he sneered. “As you say, it shall be done.”

Terribly Slytherin, I couldn’t help the thought. What irked me further was that it was so distinctive that I found myself all the more curious.

Once we gave the holsters to Madame Pomfrey and stepped out of the Hospital Wing, he turned to me and snidely remarked, “Good work for a Ravenclaw, but I begin to wonder if you will fail.”

That reminded me of Gregory, but Gregory was happier about our mutual responsibility to stay afloat. I began to wonder if the Sorting Hat did actually place people into the house that better suited their personalities, but then… this was inexcusable.

“I hope not, but will you?” I replied, looking him dead in the eye. “You must not know me as you may know Slughorn’s other star pupils, but I follow directions to the letter and I have never failed.”

“How droll,” he said, and he had the nerve to glance me up and down. “How blatantly average.”

I raised my eyebrows. “You, sir, will not test me. I have other places to be, so good day, sir.”

Curious! My whole body was throbbing and my fingernails were biting into my palms. No one had ever, ever, made me so angry before. I was also glad that I didn’t look back. I would have said too much, especially with the internal heat wave I was going through.

I was going to see his face again in our next class and I was going to prove him wrong. I knew I was not remarkable, but I was not average. At least not in the way he had shown me.

Maybe I could hold him to his unspoken wager.

Maybe I’ll let him find out.

He didn’t know me, and Potions wasn’t that difficult.

~*~

My stomach turned whenever I thought about how Transfiguration would be like later on during the year, especially after the easy part of researching and writing down how the theory worked. I balked whenever I thought about Sirius seeing me fail as I had failed before. Stupid Transfiguration!

In order to calm down, I retreated to the library and drew meanwhile I read from my Charms textbook.

Who would find me here? Probably Mark and Emma, I gathered, so I delved further than my favorite place. Somewhere new would help.

I sat at the table in a dark alcove by the railing on the second floor – it was a nice place for me to look down into the first floor without being seen at first glance. It faced the tall windows and provided a great view of the first floor. It was a far cozier nook than the nook by the windows downstairs.

I breathed deeply and settled into the soft paper.

That day, I brought with me crayons and pastels. My fingers smudged arcs around lilacs and apple green flowers. A swift inhale became a blossoming exhale.

My mind also began to wander. I thought about my future. I couldn’t really do anything about Transfiguration… at least not yet. I knew that I needed to practice the theory. I also knew that I had so much to work on how to distinguish the spell work there than in Charms, which was confusedly easier and I had no idea why.

And then I thought back to Severus Snape.

Throughout the first month of working with him, I found that Severus was different. His silence was melodious with mine. We created a steady rhythm in which we would only talk when we needed something or motioned to each other before something was amiss. Yet, his attitude and his very protective reaction to his things and his person… I wondered about that. What happened that made him build such a thick wall around himself like that?

I was also befuddled as to how I would ever get back at Sirius Black’s antics. I wasn’t really one to linger around company like that. Books were just as good looking, but they weren’t as unapproachable as a boy like that. My cheeks flamed at the thought of talking to a drawn version of him. It could help in my approach, but it was just so embarrassing. Who did that anyway? Maybe I could just watch Rebecca to see what she did whenever she was on the rampage for a new boyfriend.

Hm. Did I need a boyfriend?

No. Not ideally, but… what if I scared all the boys away? No. My future profession counted for more than that. I didn’t know what I would do just yet, but I was set on not letting boys stop me from attaining my education.

Once I was done, I waved my wand on it and the wax solution I had gotten for myself three years ago at Hogsmeade. The solution spread evenly across the page and I left it to dry meanwhile I finished reading the current chapter about animating objects.

It was around then that I heard a thud against the bookcases behind me. I turned and saw no one, and I shrugged. A moment later, I glanced around me to take in my surroundings.

The fun part about the library was that the whisper of books returning to their shelves was always there. I watched as they sailed across the huge gap in the middle between the railings and the other walkways. There was also the slight hiss of flipping pages. Everyone was always immersed in a book. I glanced downstairs to the center where many tables were being occupied by some reading on their own and others gathered in groups. There was one where a gaggle of girls surrounded an auburn haired Lily Evans.

Remarkable. They weren’t all Gryffindors. I stared. A Hufflepuff, a Ravenclaw, and a Slytherin?

Another Gryffindor sat beside them. They were all gesticulating and pointing at their open books, which were almost overlapping each other’s pile of textbooks.

Hm. Well, we were all in several multi-housed courses this year and perhaps even next year. Maybe it was a good thing for study groups like that to emerge.

I tentatively touched my drawing and found it dry. Having relieved my stress, I gathered all my things and went back to the tower before going to dinner.

~*~

Everyone was in their individual groups. Some read by the fire or in different armchairs, and others played Gobstones or played with Quidditch through the Ages trading cards. New developments, I guessed. Kit was discussing Quidditch players with a couple of seventh years and fifth years, and Leonel was the head of the Gobstones club. I gleamed over the house board. Nothing new just yet, I supposed.

Upstairs in the dormitory, Rebecca was entertaining Jane Wells with her make-up box.

“Interesting… developments…” I commented as I stepped around Angelique’s bed.

Angelique mumbled behind her pillow and flipped a couple of pages back and forth meanwhile her quill scribbled away.

Rebecca smirked, “It’s the least we can do that doesn’t have to do with revising again.”

It wasn’t a secret that Rebecca didn’t have to revise her essays in order to get full marks. Jane puckered her lips and looked up so Rebecca could apply mascara.

“Well, at least Jane is better preoccupied this way,” Emma commented from her bunk beside mine.

I loved that we both had gotten a spot by the window; we had a nice view over the area where the forbidden forest and the black lake met. A light fog had descended over the treetops and the glen.

“Are you ready to go to dinner, Lady Pommington?” I asked as I pried open my trunk and rearranged my books inside.

“Quite, Lady McGain,” Emma replied, and then she muttered, “Quickly, quickly!”

“See you at dinner, ladies!” Emma cried as we both skirted by Angelique and Rebecca’s stylistic goings-on.

We talked meanwhile we walked.

“How was your day, Miss McGain?” Emma teased.

I sighed, “Please stop that. It’s not funny, you know.”

“But it is rather dashing… and I’m serious. How was your day?” Emma contested, delighted. “What’s happening with you and your partners as of late?”

“Emma!” I didn’t want to indulge her, but that was a step too far in the wrong direction. “Gregory’s great. Sirius could be better. Aaaaaaand Severus is alright.”

“Alriiiight? My goodness, that sounds lovely. What about Patricia Jenkins in Charms?” Emma continued. “I’m surprised you haven’t complained like everyone else has.”

Patricia Jenkins was a very talkative Gryffindor who happened to like filling the silence with things going on in her life and in Witch Weekly… and everything else. Despite being nonsensical, she was entertaining to hear. I didn’t necessarily fact check her because I wasn’t so interested in who had the award for the best smile or who was sporting the newest hair style, but she did sneak in bits of info about what was going on at the Ministry and other things besides. I was glad she didn’t quote the Daily Prophet word for word, but she did go into other sources like the Scribe, a very underground and new wizarding news magazine. My own mum had copies herself, most of them were from the late fifties and sixties, and she was always stating that it was fresh compared to what dad got by owl post.

“She is alright. She does her best,” I answered. By that, I meant that she did pause every now and then to focus, and the girl didn’t lack that much focus like Jane would.

“Two alrights… I wonder about you sometimes,” Emma said with a flip of her short brown hair. “But that’s alright. At least you aren’t like Rebecca.”

I raised my eyebrows at that. Rebecca and Emma had fallen out years ago over the trivial thing of who liked a boy first. The boy in question had been… I tried to remember, but then I guessed it. Jonathan Gray, a boy who had graduated a year ago. I wondered about him. Did he work at the Ministry now? Did he have a job? Was he living with his parents?

Pff. Probably.

We reached the Great Hall and went to our part of the table where Mark was idly eating his fill of scalloped potatoes and roasted chicken.

“Good evening, ladies,” he greeted. “Good day and month thus far?”

“Yes,” I replied, reaching out to carve some roasted chicken breast.

“Of course,” Emma said, biting one of her fingers meanwhile she perused the steamed vegetables. “I’m glad I got a capable few; I mean, even Pettigrew has been alright, as Abby would say.”

I rolled my eyes.

Mark smiled. “Well, that’s all well and good. I’m glad.”

I scooped myself a baked potato and dressed it with cheese and butter.

The rest of the time was spent in silence. I looked over Mark’s spiky hairdo and suddenly clasped eyes with Severus. He glanced at me with appraisal, and I smiled in return.

Perhaps the rest of the month wouldn’t be so bad, I gathered. Some of us were hospitable enough.
All good things, I thought.

Little did I know that all good things have a way of turning around.

~*~
Author’s Note: Yeeeeeyyyy, new developments :D

I hope you guys enjoy this one. I’m going to try to evolve the narrative so you guys get more of a feel for Abigail and her perspective of others (through indirect characterization). I don’t feel that confident about the second chapter I have up… but I might go back to rearrange a couple of things and remove some unnecessary parts.

Thank you for reading and/or reviewing, however :D

Sincerely,
Meli :B

Edit: I decided to change a couple of things around since they seemed too tranquil… especially with Severus.


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