Thread: Fire Burns
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Old November 7th, 2009, 2:56 am
Purple Banana  Female.gif Purple Banana is offline
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Join Date: 29th March 2004
Location: Behind you
Age: 31
Posts: 48
Re: Fire Burns

Chapter 2 – Secrets

“Lovely night outside isn’t it? Beautiful full moon…”

Remus’ words followed Severus down the corridor. Was it full moon already? No, it couldn’t be, could it? The headmaster wouldn’t let a werewolf loose on the train. Dumbledore might seem a few raisins short of a fruitcake, but he wasn’t that crazy.

He reached the end compartment and slid open the door, and sure enough, there were Evan and Fiona, just as Katherine had said, and from what he could see of them, they looked very, well - busy. As did Regulus and Juliet. Severus sighed and slid into the compartment with a disgusted look.

“Hey.” The voice came from the only one of the compartment’s occupants not currently engrossed in someone else, and was presumably, therefore, directed at him. “Good summer?”

“Ok.”

“That bad, huh?” asked Robert Avery as Severus turned to face him, raising an eyebrow.

“Not really,” lied Severus, sitting down next to him; there was no way he was going into details about his home life with Robert Avery; not ever in a million years. “Just as thrilled as ever to be coming back to our wonderful school?” he inquired, subtly changing the subject. Robert laughed darkly, brushing blond hair out of his eyes.

“Oh yes, spent the entire holiday wishing I was back here.” He grinned sardonically, brown eyes glimmering with amusement. Severus smiled thinly; he was never too sure of Robert – it was so hard to tell whether he was joking or not. He was one of the smartest people in their year and he tended to keep to himself most of the time.

Severus looked around the apartment and frowned; judging by the small number present, there were people missing.

“Where’s Damon?” He asked Robert after giving the compartment a quick once-over.

“With his sister,” shrugged Robert as he eyed Regulus and Juliet with a disgusted sort of fascination.

“And the girls?”

“Cass and Nicki didn’t get on the train,” said Robert mildly, switching his view to the other couple in the train. He slouched down in his seat and placed his hands behind his head. “I suppose they’ll meet us at Hogwarts or something. Don’t know about Katherine, though. Thought I saw her on the platform.”

“She’s-” began Severus, but was interrupted as the apartment door crashed open, cutting off the rest of his words.

“Erm, sorry about that,” apologised Katherine, cringing as everyone’s eyes turned on her.

“Well that’s one way to make an entrance,” commented Regulus Black, running his hand through his dark hair, haughtily. He smirked at Juliet who grinned back.

“You know who you remind me of?” asked Katherine, closing the door behind her carefully this time and flopping down on the seat next to Juliet. Regulus stared disdainfully at her through dark brown eyes, awaiting the answer. “Your brother. You’re both as arrogant and as thoroughly irritating as each other. And you’ve both successfully worked your way through just about every girl in your respective houses.”

Regulus gazed at her for a moment, as if appraising whether or not her remark was even worth a come-back, then looked away. From his seat near the window, Robert glanced between them, frowning slightly, a calculating expression on his face.

“Where have you been, Katherine?” asked Evan Rosier, detaching himself from Fiona Parkinson and looking suspiciously at her.

“There is such a thing as a toilet you know, Evan,” laughed Juliet, leaning against Regulus, who draped a casual arm around her shoulders.

“Yes, but girls only go to the toilet in groups of two or more,” put in Robert, a quiet smirk playing around his lips.

“Only if we’re talking about boys,” said Katherine calmly, with just a hint of sarcasm. “And I was talking to Lily if you must know. I needed to ask her something about one of my essays.”

“Lily? Lily Evans? Muggle-born prefect Lily Evans?” demanded Evan, dark eyes wide with astonishment.

“Muggle-born head girl Evans you mean,” remarked Severus sourly, slumping in his seat. There was a collective gasp from the compartment.

“She’s head girl?!” Fiona stared at him, tossing thick blonde hair over her shoulder, her brown eyes wide with anger and disbelief.

“Yep. And guess who made head boy,” Severus continued, his face growing darker by the second; so much for his hopes for a good start to the year.

“Perfect Prefect Lupin?” guessed Robert mildly. Severus grinned acidly, but shook his head.

“I wish,” he snorted, leaning backward in his seat, an even sourer expression coating his face. It was a childish pose, but right at that moment it expressed his feelings perfectly.

Evan narrowed his eyes, looking closely at Severus. “From the expression on your face I’m guessing it’s Perfect Bloody Potter.”

Opposite him, Katherine smiled faintly and debated whether or not to tell him that that was exactly what Lily had said.

“Got it in one,” said Severus, scowling. He had now sunk so far down in his seat he was almost sitting on the floor. He leant his head back and gazed at the ceiling, contemplating the immediate future and how terrible it would be with bloody Potter in charge.

“I wouldn’t worry about it, Severus,” said Katherine lightly, grinning at him and waving his concerns aside with one hand. “I can’t wait to see how Potter gets on with Lily. I’d pay good money to see those two being forced to work together.”

“Oh yeah,” said Fiona, sitting up from her position under Evan’s arm, brown eyes glinting rather mischievously. “She hates Potter, doesn’t she?”

“Supposedly,” agreed Katherine. “But Narcissa used to hate Lucius and now look at them.”

“Hang on a minute,” interrupted Evan suspiciously. There was still an unanswered question on his mind. “You still haven’t explained what you were doing with Lily Evans.”

Everyone in the interior of the compartment, aside from Severus, turned their heads to hear her answer. They’d tolerated her friendship with Remus Lupin on the grounds that she’d known him since she was four and he was at least a half blood, but fraternizing with another Gryffindor, and a mudblood at that, was pushing things a bit. Severus was still scowling at the ceiling, lost in his own world. From the look of disgust on his face, it wasn’t a pleasant place to be.

“What do you think we were doing?” asked Katherine, torn between laughter and disgust. Were they really so stuck in their ways that they wouldn’t allow a little social interaction between the houses. “We were talking. Is there a law against that?”

“There should be,” said Severus darkly, sinking down in his seat again, finally coming back to the conversation.

“She’s a mudblood,” said Evan, voice going dangerously low. “A Gryffindor. She’s one of them,” he hissed, leaning forward in his seat and placing his hands on his knees. He gave Katherine a look of contempt and narrowed his dark eyes at her.

Katherine arched her eyebrows. “Evan, calm down before you rupture something. Lily, she’s really not that bad-”

Evan’s face turned a brilliant shade of magenta as he stood, towering over Katherine. “Not that bad?! You do realise she’s not got an ounce of wizarding blood in her, right?”

Katherine frowned slightly, blue eyes hardening. She’d met people far scarier than Evan Rosier, and she wasn’t about to be intimidated by an inflated ego and half decent surname. “You’re not my father, Evan. You don’t get a say in who I can and can’t talk to, so I’d advise you to shut your mouth,” she shot back at him. He remained where he was, not about to give in that easily.

“Somehow I don’t think your father would approve your being friends with a mudblood,” muttered Severus under his breath; Katherine glared at him.

“She’s not my friend, she’s just not that bad,” she snapped, sitting back in her seat with her arms crossed.

“Which means you like her,” Evan cut in. His dark eyes narrowed as he glowered menacingly at Katherine. She glared right back at him, blue eyes dark with fury.

“She’s a nice person,” said Katherine, through gritted teeth. “Nearly everyone likes her. It’s not a big deal.”

“And what would your father say if he knew?” demanded Evan, face an ugly shade of puce. His stature was growing more and more like that of an angered cat; hackles raised and figurative claws outstretched. Robert, ever watchful, looked on with interest, a slight smile below his blond hair.

“Nothing, because he’s not going to find out,” said Katherine, and there was a dangerous edge to her voice now as she sat forward slightly in her seat, intruding on his personal space. Evan held her gaze for a moment, then sank back into his seat, shooting a disgusted look her way which she pointedly ignored.

The compartment was silent for a few minutes as everyone carefully avoided each other’s gazes and the creaking of the train and background noise from the other compartments filled the air. Evan was still fuming - you could practically see the smoke coming out of his ears, Severus was looking sullenly out the window as the train rounded a bend, throwing a particularly stunning view of the countryside into his line of sight. Fiona was pointedly studying her nails, not knowing what else to do in the suddenly tense atmosphere, and Regulus was once more involved with Juliet, much to everyone’s unuttered repulsion. In the corner, Robert stared into space, looking bored, and on the opposite side of the compartment Katherine read the Daily Prophet, her forehead creased in a frown as she read one of the articles.

The silence was threatening to remain for the rest of the journey but, about ten minutes before they arrived at Hogwarts, a fifth year Ravenclaw came in to get Regulus and Juliet for Prefect duty. The atmosphere thawed a little when they left and when Robert made some off-hand remark about how beautiful the moon was, Katherine couldn’t help laughing as she saw Severus’ expression. Evan told Robert to stop being so soft and then everyone laughed at the look of shock on his face when Fiona added that it was quite romantic, actually.

By the time the train stopped, everyone was almost back to themselves. The five of them tumbled out of the carriage, laughing as they saw the first years’ terrified looks at Hagrid and grinning as they recognised old friends – and enemies. Hogwarts, despite the upcoming hard work and exams, was looked forward to with much anticipation by everyone.

Severus looked over the heads of the crowd of students flooding towards the horseless carriages and glimpsed Potter hurrying to keep up with Evans, whom he seemed to have annoyed already judging by the no-nonsense expression on her face. His face darkened as he saw Sirius, Remus and Peter disembarking, joking about something. He met Black’s eyes and held them; then he felt a tug on his robe and heard Katherine whisper: “It’s not worth it. First night back, remember; call a truce?” Severus nodded reluctantly and followed her to the carriages.

Katherine wove her way through the multitude of students towards the carriages, pulled by Thestrals. Two years ago, their uncanny features might have frightened her, or at the very least intimidated her, but not now. She had seen much worse and they really were quite beautiful when you took the time to look at them closely. She saw Remus regarding the creatures with a look of distrust as one turned its proud black head towards him.

“They don’t bite,” she murmured as she walked past, not wanting Severus to hear the remark. They’d already gotten off to a bad start because of her supposed ‘fraternizing with the enemy’.

“I do,” he muttered back, only half joking. She was about to tell him that he should stop trying to carry the world on his shoulders but Severus had caught up with her, and Remus disappeared into a carriage.

“Oi! You! Over here!” yelled a familiar voice, distracting her from her old friend.

Katherine looked ahead to see Nicola Meliflua and Cassandra Rookwood leaning precariously out of the window of one of the front carriages. Nicki’s long brown hair was blowing wildly in the wind and Cassie’s usually neat blonde hair was whipping around her face in the swift breeze. Together they looked like two feral goddesses of the weather overseeing their subjects, and Katherine couldn’t hold back the smile forming as she approached them.

“See you later, Katherine,” said Severus quietly, as he stepped up into the next carriage where Damon Nott, Evan and Robert were waiting for him.

“See you later,” Katherine smiled, and hurried over to her madly waving friends. “Hi. Good summer?” she asked them, as they opened the door to let her in.

“Great,” grinned Nicki; her chocolate brown skin looked darker than ever and Cassie had an even more obvious golden tan.

“Why weren’t you on the train?” Katherine inquired, voicing one of her real worries. The door swung open again; the latch hadn’t caught when Cassie had pulled it shut the first time and the wind was whistling as it sought entrance to the carriage.

“We missed it, so Mother had the car drop us off,” explained Nicki, pulling the door shut again as the carriages lurched off. “Sorry about that. I bet the train ride was terribly boring without us. We only just got back from Spain last night and we over slept.”

“Sunny Spain! How I shall miss it,” said Cassie reminiscently, flopping back in her seat dramatically.

“Gorgeous, hot Spanish guys, how I shall miss you,” added Nicki, hand on heart.

“As dramatic as ever I see,” noted Katherine happily; it was good to be back with her friends - her real friends with whom she could almost be herself.

“You think I’m joking? Kat, you didn’t see them! But don’t worry, we took plenty of pictures,” winked Nicki, a contented smile on her face.

“And addresses,” added Cassie, green eyes sparkling delightedly.

“You’re writing to them?” asked Katherine sceptically; her friends were great mates but their organisational skills left a lot to be desired, to put it mildly. Katherine considered herself very lucky if they even remembered to send her one owl all summer and she was one of their best friends. The poor Spanish boys would be left waiting all year for a single owl.

“They’re writing to us,” corrected Nicki, “All-” she paused, thinking. “How many were there, Cass?”

“Twenty six,” Cassie instantly supplied, looking dreamy at the mere thought.

Katherine leant back in her seat as the carriage began to move out of Hogsmeade and up to the huge castle. The wind picked up as they moved, but the carriage off most of the noise and they only heard the faint howling against the thick fabric top.

“Twenty six gorgeous, hot, Spanish guys,” repeated Katherine absentmindedly. “And yet I’d still rather be here in school. There’s something wrong with that.”

“You’d still rather be in school because that’s where your boyfriend is,” said Nicki yawning. Katherine was on the verge of agreeing with her when she actually took in what Nicki had said.

“What boyfriend?” she asked suddenly.

“No need to look so panicked, Kat, she’s only joking,” said Cassie sleepily, closing her eyes.

“I’m not,” replied Nicki indignantly.

“I haven’t got a boyfriend, unless you count Severus, and I’m not going out with him,” said Katherine slowly; they obviously hadn’t got that much sleep the night before.

“That’s my point-”

“That I should go out with-?”

“Oi, let me finish. My point is that you should have a boyfriend. So I’m going to get you one.”

Katherine shook her head and smiled at Nicki. “What if I don’t want a boyfriend?” she asked, a challenging look in her eyes.

“Why would anyone not want a boyfriend?” responded Nicki, looking genuinely puzzled.

“You’re serious, aren’t you? You honestly can’t see why someone would not want a boyfriend?” asked Katherine, grinning slightly.

“Can you?” challenged Nicki, folding her arms defiantly.

“Over protective parents-” Katherine began, ticking the list off on her hands.

“Doesn’t stop them wanting one,” chipped in Cassie. Katherine gave her a look that said quite plainly ‘you’re-not-helping-so-shut-up’ but Cassie only laughed; they had been friends long enough to know whether or not the other was joking.

“They might be waiting for someone special-” continued Katherine, deciding to ignore her friend’s comment.

“Like that’s gonna happen,” muttered Nicki darkly, shaking her head.

“It might. Let’s see, what else.” Katherine stopped to think as the carriages passed through the gates of the school and made their creaking way up the steep slope to Hogwarts castle.

“Run out of ideas?” Cassie asked, dragging a brush through her hair as the coaches ground to a halt.

“No - they might not want a boyfriend because...either they’re a boy and they want a girlfriend or they’re a girl-” she paused, wondering how to finish the sentence. “And they want a girlfriend?”

Nicki and Cassie laughed at her weak argument as they climbed out of the carriage and looked around. There was still a crowd around the main door, and it would be a few minutes before they would get into the warmth of the building and the Great Hall.

“It’s freezing out here,” shivered Cassie, wrapping her cloak around her for warmth. Nicki made a murmur of agreement but Katherine was looking out over the grounds and didn’t reply. She loved this place; the way the moonlight glinted on the surface on the lake, the silent whispers of the Forbidden Forest and feeling of peacefulness. It was enchanting, better than any man-made magic.

“Hey dreamer,” Nicki called as she walked ahead. The line had moved and she was hurrying toward the door. “Come on, before we freeze to death.” Katherine smiled faintly – it didn’t feel that cold to her, but then she’d been in England for the past two months, not lazing about in the warmth of a Spanish sun; out of the corner of her eye she saw Lily at the front doors of the school, talking to James.

“How long do you give them before they end up kissing?” asked a soft voice from behind her.

“About a week, maybe two,” she answered lightly. Turning around she saw Remus wasn’t shivering either.

“I suppose you’d better go in before your friends freeze,” he said quietly. Katherine heard the humour in his voice but there was an air of sadness in his eyes.

“Cheer up Remus. It’s school, and we love school don’t we,” she said, with just enough sincerity to make Remus wonder whether she was really being sarcastic or not.

He watched her leave sombrely, trying to figure out what was different about her this year. He would have gone on thinking about this but Sirius jumped on top of him at that moment, nearly making him fall over.

“What the hell are you doing?” asked Remus, laughing as he caught Sirius on his back.

“Padfoot wants a piggy back,” he whined in Remus’ ear, sporting the puppy-dog face that he had mastered through years of practice.

“You’re insane,” replied Remus and ran up to the castle with Sirius holding on for dear life.

xxx

“Look Lily, I’m sorry for being so immature in our previous years at this school and I’m sorry if I offended you in any way,” said James solemnly and out of the blue. It was the first time in a while that Lily had given him the time of day and this time he was going to make it count. After all, Sirius and the others weren’t here to screw it up this time.

Lily raised her eyebrows, this did not sound like James at all, and she couldn’t shake the feeling that he was probably just working his way up to some punch line. James and serious didn’t belong in the same sentence, unless one was talking about Sirius Black.

“I’ve matured a lot,” James continued. “And so has Sirius-”

As he said this, Remus ran past with Sirius on his back; Sirius was calling Remus things that even James hadn’t heard before and they were getting some rather odd looks from the surrounding students.

“Well,” amended James, shaking his head despairingly and cringing. “I’ve matured a lot.”

Over on the other side of the entrance hall, Remus had put Sirius down and he was collapsed on the floor either laughing or crying, James couldn’t tell which. James smiling a little himself as Lily looked at Remus and Sirius, an assessing look on her face.

“Look, James.” She said as she turned back to him, and he hurriedly resumed an expression of polite interest. “I don’t know about you, but I just want to be able to work without you mucking around and flirting with every girl you see. Can you do that?” asked Lily, running a hand through thick red hair.

“I- Yes, I can do that, but Lily- I can call you Lily, can’t I?”

“I suppose, though I must say my consent hasn’t stopped you before…” She told him; in truth, years of being addressed as ‘Evans’ was getting on her nerves.

“Right, look, I don’t flirt with everyone, it’s Sirius who does that, and, well, I’d like us to be friends?” he ended questioningly. He gave her a half-hearted smile, masking the desperate plea he really felt.

Lily smiled. “Ok, I guess I’ll see you around then, shall I?”

“Great,” replied James, trying not to smile so hard that his face split. When Lily’s flaming red hair had disappeared into the Great Hall, James turned to find Sirius and Remus grinned annoyingly at him.

“What?” he asked sheepishly, still smiling.

“Nothing,” they replied innocently, in perfect unison, smiles widening.

“What did I miss?” asked Peter, hurrying up behind them, beads of sweat on his brow; Remus was a fast runner, even with Sirius weighing him down, and Peter had never been the athletic type.

“Nothing,” said James, Sirius and Remus together; Peter looked at them uncertainly, feeling slightly out of the loop. The three of them smiled down at his short frame, James wearing the remnants of his smile from before and Remus and Sirius still grinning at their secret joke. They let an awkward silence build, causing Wormtail to squirm before Sirius waved a hand.

“Oh come on, guys, I’m starving,” Sirius said, winking at Wormtail good naturedly, and they turned and filed into the Great Hall with the rest of the school.

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