Thread: Fire Burns
View Single Post
  #6  
Old December 29th, 2009, 1:04 am
Purple Banana  Female.gif Purple Banana is offline
First Year
 
Join Date: 29th March 2004
Location: Behind you
Age: 31
Posts: 48
Re: Fire Burns

A/N : Firstly, Merry Christmas and an Happy New Year in advance. Apologies for not updating on schedule, but my laptop had a major meltdown, and since the entire story is located on it, I had no access to the chapter. It’s now fixed, or at least reasonably functional again, so fingers crossed it stays that way.

Also, according the JKR, the Slytherin common room is situated under the lake, so I’m presuming their dormitories are also underwater. For this reason, I’m giving their dormitories port holes that look out into the lake, rather than having no windows at all.

Chapter 6 - Dates

“How do you ask them?” asked Damon, looking anxiously around the dormitory at the other boys, who lay sprawled haphazardly over beds and pillows. “I mean, what happens if they say no?”

Evan looked coldly over the top of his newspaper at him. “Why don’t you just try it and see what happens?”

Damon scowled at him, brown eyes scornful. “It’s all right for you - you’ve got Fiona. I haven’t got a girlfriend, have I?”

“I wonder why,” muttered Severus under his breath, he flicking through the pages of his Arithmancy textbook. From his position on his own bed, Robert smirked, stretched lazily across the covers, and looked out of the window.

Over on the other side of the room, Damon was still fretting about dates. “But who should I ask? I mean, they’ve got to be pure blood, of course, but I don’t want to end up with someone like Vanessa Digby – she’s practically disfigured-”

Evan looked up, confused, as Damon’s flow of inane babble was abruptly cut off, and younger boy’s hand flew to his throat, his pale brown eyes wide. Eyes narrowed, Evan looked over at Severus and Robert, not that either of them took much notice. Severus was still poring over his book, and Robert seemed acutely interested in a grindylow that was peering in at them from the port hole window. Damon looked around wildly, still clutching at his throat, then hurried out of the door, presumably heading for the Hospital Wing and Madam Pomfrey’s healing hands. Evan sighed, casting one last suspicious look at his two remaining roommates, and rose to go after him, leaving the Daily Prophet on his bed.

As soon as the door had shut behind them, Robert turned his head to look at Severus, grinning.

“Nice one, Sev.”

Severus dropped his book onto the covers and tucked his wand into his pocket, before lying back, eyes closed. “Peace at last.”

Robert laughed, rolling over on his back and gazing up at the underside of the hangings of his four-poster bed. “Yeah, I thought he’d never shut up. Who are you asking to the ball, anyway?”

Severus shrugged noncommittally; he didn’t have a good track record with dances, and he wasn’t sure if he was going to go at all. He didn’t voice these thoughts, however, and settled for a simple: “No idea. You?”

“Cassie,” answered Robert promptly, a slight smile on his face.

Severus rolled dark eyes and picked his book up off the covers once more, muttering a quiet: “Finally” under his breath. Robert sat up, staring at him in confusion.

“What do you mean, ‘finally’?” He asked, real confusion apparent on his face.

“Well it took you long enough,” said Severus, engrossed in a particularly interesting theory of Henrich Agrippa, and not even bothering to meet his roommate’s gaze. “You’ve been making eyes at her ever since Rosier’s seventeenth last April.”

Robert scowled and, unable to conjure up a fitting retort, threw a pillow at him.

xxx

James, Sirius and Remus were playing Wizard snap in front of the fire in the Gryffindor common room when Lily came in. James stopped mid play, and was rewarded with singed fingers as the pile in front of them ignited. Sirius laughed and cuffed him over the head.

The flash of flame caught Lily’s attention and she waved at him, before crossing the room to sit with Mary and Alice at one of the tables by the windows. James stared after her for moment, then turned away, hanging his head despondently.

“Hey cheer up, mate,” said Sirius, clapping a hand on his shoulder as Remus began picking up the charred shards of their game. “It’s only one night. She’ll go to the ball, realise what a moron Smith is, and come running back to you.”

“Yeah,” agreed Remus earnestly, shifting his position on the thick rug they were sitting on to reach a few of the scattered ashes. “I mean, what’s he got that you haven’t?”

“Lily,” said James dejectedly, and Remus winced.

“Well he hasn’t got her exactly…” he tried, looking at Sirius for support.

“That’s right,” Sirius nodded. “And maybe he’ll change his mind about going-”

“He won’t,” said James, sitting back in his chair and avoiding his friend’s sympathetic gazes.

“Maybe we’ll change his mind about going,” amended Sirius, continuing with his speech as though there had been no interruptions. He pulled out another deck of cards and handed them to Remus, their designated card dealer . “Maybe he gets a sudden migraine, or a horrible rash, or…” he hesitated, and Remus quickly filled in:

“Some unfortunately positioned boils?”

“Precisely,” agreed Sirius. “And you leap in like a knight in shining armour, and voila! Evans does get to go to the ball!”

“And we have a wonderful time, and everything’s going great, then Smith turns up and tells her we orchestrated the whole thing and she dumps me,” said James, shaking his head, eyes growing wide from the numerous scenarios filling his head. “Or she insists on staying by his bedside and nursing him till he’s better. Or-”

“Hey Jamie.”

James turned around to see Ursula Cepheus, one of Lily’s dorm mates standing directly behind him.

“Oh, hi Ursula,” he said cautiously, cringing internally.

Ursula starting twirling a loose strand of her short blonde hair around her fingers distractedly and smiled prettily down at James. “I was just talking to Pettigrew and he says that you don’t have a date for the Halloween ball,” she purred softly, stepping closer to him, “So I was thinking maybe we should go - together,” she raised her eyebrows questioningly. “What do you think?”

“I-” faltered James, trying to edge away from her smouldering gaze.

“After all, what with Lily going with Smith and everything…”

“Look, I-” tried James, at a complete loss for words.

“He’s otherwise engaged, sorry,” said Remus, leaning back against the foot an armchair and throwing a card down to start the next game. Sirius shot him a curious glance, but added his next card to the heap, and nudged James.

“Your turn, mate.”

“What? Oh right,” muttered James, turning away from Ursula and looking questioningly at Remus. Ursula stared suspiciously at them for a few seconds, then said frostily:

“Pettigrew said you didn’t have a date.”

“His name is Peter,” said Remus wearily, looking up at her for the first time.

Ursula glared at him, coyness forgotten, then rounded on James. “Who’re you going with then?” she demanded, dark blue eyes blazing.

James opened his mouth to answer, then shrugged, casting a quick look at Remus. “It’s a surprise?” he ventured uncertainly.

“A surprise?” Ursula repeated, one eyebrow arched in blatant disbelief.

“Hey, he’s James Potter,” put in Sirius, slinging an arm around James’ shoulders. “It’s his final Halloween ball at Hogwarts – he’s got someone really special lined up, hasn’t he, Moony?”

“That’s right,” agreed Remus, fixing Ursula with stony glare. Ursula looked for a moment as though she was going to say something, but then she just made a noise of disgust and turned on her heel, marching away and disappearing up the girls’ staircase.

“Want to tell us what all that was about, mate?” asked Sirius, eyeing Remus curiously. “I know she’s a bit much sometimes, but-”

“Does this have anything to do with that Slytherin mate of yours putting her in the Hospital Wing at the end of last year?” interrupted James quietly. Remus glanced up at him, a flicker of surprise crossing his face, and then he sighed.

My Slytherin mate does have a name, you know,” he said mildly, placing his next card on the growing pile.

“Yeah, but I make a point of not being on first name terms with Slytherins,” said James haughtily, leaning forward and brushing messy black hair out of his eyes. “And you didn’t answer the question. Does it? Did Ursula insult her, or something?”

“You think I’m offended on Katherine’s behalf?” Remus asked, shaking his head, a humourless smile on his lips. “Believe me, she can look after herself. Most of the time, anyway,” he added, almost as an afterthought, looking up at the ceiling, frowning slightly.

“I doubt she needs to,” remarked Sirius dryly. “Judging by the hex she used on Ursula, I’d say most people positively go out of their way to be nice to her.”

“I am not responsible for what Katherine does or does not do,” said Remus firmly, and sighed heavily. “Look, I just don’t like Ursula. I’ve got my reasons, ok?”

“Ok,” said James slowly, exchanging a helpless look with Sirius. “But what am I going to do about the ball? We’ve said I’ve got a date, so I can’t exactly turn up alone now, can I? But if I turn up with some random girl, Lily’s gonna think I wasn’t serious about really wanting to go with her.”

This time, Remus smiled, leaned forward. “Well, about that, I’ve just had a rather brilliant idea…”

xxx

Nicki sat down heavily next to Katherine, dumping her bag on the table and scowling.

“Everything alright?” asked Katherine cautiously, scribbling a few extra lines onto the end of a four scroll essay.

“Yes, everything’s bloody fantastic,” replied Nicki, her voice dripping with sarcasm.

“Oh good,” said Katherine inattentively. “That’s nice.”

Nicki glowered at her.

“What?” Katherine asked, looking up finally at her friend’s stony silence, a mildly confused expression on her face.

“Quieten down please everyone,” said Professor Litchfield walking into the classroom carrying a thick sheaf of papers, a blonde head bobbing in after him. Cassie slipped in next to Nicki, slightly out of breath.

“Where’ve you been?” asked Nicki curiously.

“Nowhere,” said Cassie evasively.

“You really shouldn’t wear lipstick if you want to do that secretly you know,” said Katherine quietly, eyeing the papers dubiously.

“What?” said Cassie, evidently flustered; Nicki handed her a mirror.

Cassie hurriedly fixed her makeup as Professor Litchfield started calling the register. Katherine glanced around as Robert Avery dashed in, answering to his name just in time. Professor Litchfield looked up, frowning for a moment, then continued down the list of names in front of him.

“Right,” said Litchfield when he’d checked everyone was present. “Today we’ll be studying the effects of the ten dark hexes classified as Grade Three by the Ministry of Magic, and suggesting ways to counteract them. I do not expect you to know the actual counter curses, but by careful study, you should develop an idea of how such spells are formed. You’ll be working together in groups of four, which-” he raised his voice as various students started looking across the room to catch the eye of those they wanted to partner “-I will assign.”

“Fantastic,” muttered Nicki darkly. “How much do you want to bet he’s doing it alphabetically?”

“It’s a tried and tested method,” sighed Cassie, as Litchfield announced:

“Group one – Katherine, Robert, Sirius and Lily.”

“Yep,” groaned Nicki, pulling her books toward her. “Well this is going to be great fun, isn’t it? We’re all stuck with Gryffindors.” She looked sourly towards Litchfield, who was running his finger down the register, and saying:

“Group two - Frank, Remus, Mary and Nicola.”

“At least Remus and Longbottom will be civil, I’ve got Black to deal with,” muttered Katherine, casting a dark look across the room at the back of Sirius’ head.

“Group three - Alice, Damon, Fiona and Rose, Group four - Peter, James, Cassandra and Evan, and Group five – Severus, Samantha, Thierry and Carol.”

“Nope, I win,” declared Cassie as everyone stood up to change seats. “Potter and his lap dog.”

“Good luck,” murmured Nicki as James Potter and Peter Pettigrew approached and Cassie sank miserably back into her seat, eyeing them with distaste. Katherine smiled sympathetically and made her way across the room to where Sirius and Lily were waiting.

Robert reached them at the same time, and the two Slytherins pulled up chairs opposite the Gryffindors, and dropped their books onto the desk with bad grace.

Professor Litchfield arrived at their table a minute later and deposited a worksheet between them. Katherine glanced at it, then looked up at Sirius, who had turned his head to stare across the classroom at another group.

“So, Severus says you haven’t hexed him lately. Are you ill?” she asked lightly, an insincere smile on her face. Sirius scowled at her and snatched up the worksheet, as Robert grinned. “Fine, be like that,” shrugged Katherine, sitting back in her seat and stretching. “I was just trying to make conversation.”

“Maybe we should just concentrate on the work?” suggested Lily, holding out her hand for the work sheet, which Sirius obediently handed over as Katherine and Robert exchanged smirks.

“The Eructonius hex,” Lily read aloud. “First recorded in 1432, causes victim to- oh that’s disgusting.” She threw the sheet down, looking slightly nauseous. “How on earth are you meant to repel that?”

“Non-verbally?” suggested Katherine mildly, picking up the sheet herself. Robert shot her an incredulous look, which she met with a small shrug. “Well you’re not gonna be able to speak very well, are you? Not if you’ve vomited up your-”

“Yeah, we get the picture,” interrupted Sirius, grimacing at the mental images which he was trying very hard to block out.

“Maybe we should start with another one?” Katherine proposed, glancing sideways at Robert. “How about the Obruxics curse?”

“That drowns you or something, doesn’t it,” asked Lily, brushing her long red hair out of her face and trying to focus. “So I’d think you’d need some kind of air based charm, some way to get the victim breathing?”

“Sounds like a good start,” agreed Katherine grudgingly, as Robert handed the work sheet back to Lily to read out the information they’d been given on the Obruxics curse.

Forty minutes later, they had five possible counter curses for various hexes on the list, though the sixth was causing problems.

“If someone’s been sent halfway to hell, I don’t see what spell you could possibly use to bring them back,” said Sirius, pushing a hand through his hair and making it stick up at odd angles.

“They haven’t actually been sent to hell,” said Robert with a withering look. “They just think they have; you can’t send someone to hell. The curse plays on the mind, so the counter attack has to be something that affects you mind too, like Confundus or Obliviate.”

“Oh yeah, that’s really gonna help, isn’t it?” said Sirius archly. “They’re already in mental anguish, and you want to make them forget who they are and confuse them to boot.”

“I wasn’t saying we should use those charms,” retorted Robert, treating him to a disparaging look. “I was just suggesting spells that influence your brain.”

Lily watched them argue absently, twirling her quill idly between her fingers, then shot a quick glance at Katherine who was sat directly opposite her, head resting on her hand. She appeared to be deeply engrossed in the text book lying on the desk in front of her, but Lily had some doubts about that, because she’d been staring at same page for a full five minutes now, and there was no way she was that slow a reader.

Next to Lily, Sirius turned his attention on Katherine too, arms folded defiantly across his chest.

“I suppose you think Obliviate’s the answer, too, do you?” he asked sourly. “Hey, you ignoring me?” Sirius reached across and tugged the book out from under Katherine’s hand. She looked up sharply, blinking and shaking her head a little.

“What?”

“Necartrius? Counter charm?” prompted Sirius, raising his eyebrows.

“Oh, Epegeiro, isn’t it?” said Katherine vaguely, rubbing her eyes tiredly. “Something like that.”

There was a momentary silence as Sirius and Lily shared a curious look, and Robert’s blond head turned sharply to stare at his friend.

“You know the actual counter curse?” asked Sirius slowly, and Katherine paused in the act of flicking through her textbook, eyes that had seemed slightly preoccupied a few seconds ago suddenly focused as she looked up at him. “How do you know the counter curse for a Grade Three hex?”

Katherine seemed to deliberate for a moment, then shut her book carefully, and shrugged. “I read a lot.”

“You expect me to believe that?” asked Sirius, dark eyes narrowed suspiciously.

“How else would I know it?” inquired Katherine, and though her expression was one of harmless innocence, he heard the steely note in her voice.

Sirius’ half formed answer was drowned out by the bell signifying the end of the lesson, and both Katherine and Robert had scooped up their books and left the classroom before he could say another word.

xxx

The Slytherin common room was distinctly empty that evening, Katherine noticed as she rolled up her Transfiguration essay and placed in carefully her bag. Severus was hunched up in a chair, gazing coldly at the fire. She regarded him thoughtfully for a moment, leaning on the arm of the leather bound chair she was sitting in.

“Keep doing that and it’ll go out,” she said after a while, resting her head on her arms and gazing at him. Severus blinked and turned round to look at her.

“What?” he asked, frowning a little.

“Nothing. Are you alright? You seem a bit…distant.”

Severus shrugged; he didn’t think he was being particularly quiet, but maybe two months of living at home had made him revert to his customary reclusive nature.

“I’ve just got a lot on my mind,” he said, dark eyes returning to the fire once more. He thought he heard Katherine murmur something, but when he glanced over at her, she was already levering herself up from her chair and picking up her bag.

“Well, I’m going to bed,” she said, stifling a yawn. “See you at breakfast.”

“Night,” said Severus absently, watching her leave with a dubious expression, then: “Wait, Kat…”

She turned and waited. He shifted position in the chair so that he was facing her and said: “Who are you going to the ball with?”

“No one yet,” replied Katherine, frowning at him. “Why, you offering?”

“No,” said Severus, and Katherine wondered if it was just the firelight making his usually pale cheeks look a little red. “It was Regulus – he asked me earlier, said you wouldn’t tell him.”

“Oh, yeah, he’s been bugging me about for the past week,” sighed Katherine, rolling her eyes. “Heavens knows why.”

“Think he’s up to something?” asked Severus, and she grinned at him, brushing a stray lock of hair back behind her ear.

“It’s Reg, Severus – that boy is never not up to something.”

“But no one’s asked you, then?” inquired Severus, arching one eyebrow curiously.

“Well given the very limited pool of boys available, I was rather considering that a blessing,” admitted Katherine with a wry smile. “Have you seen your fellow Slytherins recently? The inbred look isn’t really my thing.”

Severus laughed. “What about the guys Nicola was going on about at lunch?”

“Harrow’s in Ravenclaw,” explained Katherine with a shrug. “And Kilney…well I think even Nic might have her work cut out for her there.”

“Prising boys away from their girlfriends hasn’t presented much of a problem for her before,” said Severus dryly, but Katherine only laughed.

“That’s not gonna be an issue with Thompson, believe me.” She smiled at his uncomprehending look, and shook her head. “The point is, they’re unavailable. It’s Slytherin or nothing, and since there are very few people in his charming house of ours that I can actually stand, I’m currently opting for the nothing. I think it’s safer.”

“Well when you put it like that…” said Severus, settling back down into his seat. “Although, if you decide you do want a partner, and presuming I am one of the few you can stand, you could always go with me.” He tore his gaze away from the flames dancing over the wooden logs in the fire and glanced over at her. “It might get Regulus off your back.”

“You want me to go with you?” she asked slowly, gazing at him with an inscrutable look in her eyes.

“Well, only if-”

“Ok.”

Severus stared at her for a moment, not quite sure what to say, then mentally shook himself and nodded. “Ok. I guess you can finally get Regulus to leave you alone, then.”

Katherine’s odd expression immediately morphed back into a sly grin, and she laughed again. “Why on earth would I want to do that? It’s driving him mad not knowing – he can just wait and see like everyone else. Night Sev.”

And with that she turned on her heel and disappeared into the dark corridor leading to the girls dormitories, leaving a mystified Severus behind her.

------------------------------

Feedback would be lovely.


Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links