Chapter 20 : Camping: Part I
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By the time our last lesson rolled around I was getting hungry and was looking forward to dinner. It took me a second to realise that we were not walking towards the Muggle Studies classroom like we should be, but instead towards Gryffindor tower.
Why are we going this way? Have I forgotten something?
Wait a minute…
I forgot to pack my stuff for camping! After James and Lily had gone off to bed we had all said goodnight and followed. I even saw Lily putting things into a bag but I was already in my nice, comfy bed and hadn’t thought much of it. By the time she was done I’m sure I was dead asleep.
“Where are you going?” James shouted to me, amusement clear in his voice.
“I forgot to pack!” I shouted back frantically to the others as I ran off to the dormitory. I could hear them laughing but chose to ignore them. By the time Alice and Lily strolled into the room I had shoved half of my belongings into a bag, not even really noticing what was what.
“Do you really think you will need all this for a weekend of camping?” Alice asked with amusement clear on her face.
“I like to be prepared,” I said and snatched back the fluffy slipper she had picked up.
I struggled to close my bulging bag but in the end I managed to at least have some clothes to take with me. We all changed into ‘outdoor’ clothes. Alice and Lily were going for the ‘blend into nature’ look with green and brown colours. I, on the other hand, went for more of an ‘I have no bloody clue what to wear in the wilderness look’ which basically consisted of bright coloured shorts and an even brighter top.
Alice and Lily grabbed their neatly packed bags while I grabbed my ridiculously heavy misshaped bag and we met back up with the Marauders at the bottom of our staircase.
“Bloody hell Shaylee,” James said looking at my bag.
“Do not say a word,” I said warningly and he smirked at me.
“At least we won’t lose you,” Remus said smiling and nodded to my bright clothes.
“Oh shut up. Can we go already?” I asked but smiled at Remus so he knew I was joking.
Once we reached the Muggle Studies classroom, I plunked my increasingly heavy bag onto a desk and looked around at everyone else. At least I wasn’t the only one who didn’t know how to dress for camping.
“Alright class!” Professor Verona said excitedly as he entered the room. “I’m happy to see that everyone has brought their camping gear with them!”
“Just barely,” I muttered to Remus and he laughed quietly.
“As you can see I have with me a bunch of other essential items that we will need. Now I want you all to get out your lists and start sorting out what other gear you will need to take with you. There are all sorts of tents that sleep different numbers of people so make sure you sort out who you will be sleeping next to before you pick a tent!”
“Pick a what?” I asked Remus as the rest of class began talking to each other.
“A tent,” Remus said and pointed to a pile of weird shaped canvas bags. “You know, the things we’re going to be sleeping in tonight.”
I looked at him like he had gone mental. “But…” I started, looking at the bags.
“You’ll see once we have them set up,” he said and laughed at the look on my face. “Don’t worry, I’ll help you.”
Lily and Alice were waving me over to the pile of camping gear so I gave Remus a small, but dazzling, smile and went over to them.
“I think this is a three person one,” Lily said picking up a medium sized bag. I hope she’s right because if not, she’s the one who is going to be sleeping outside.
“Don’t forget to pick a sleeping bag!” called Professor Verona, practically giddy with excitement. He is definitely mental.
I looked around for a sleeping bag. I spotted a pretty yellow one and went to grab it but at the same time someone else picked it up. I looked up and saw Jessica Russell, a very pretty Ravenclaw, was the one who had grabbed the same bag. I tried not to visibly cringe. She was one of the prettiest girls at Hogwarts. She was also one of the bitchiest. I swear she had some sort of superpower. She knew everyone and everything about them before they did.
I tried to smile at her and laughed sort of awkwardly. She just stared at me blankly, her face not showing any sort of recognition. It was like she was looking straight through me. Well then. I am not invisible! Well, not anymore.
“Well this is a little awkward…” I said and tried to subtly pull the sleeping bag towards me. I really wanted this one. I mean it was yellow!
When I spoke, she narrowed her eyes. “Only because you’re here,” she said and sneered at me. My face instantly hardened. What a cow!
Before I could say anything back, she had snatched the sleeping bag out of my hands. I was reaching for my wand to maybe hit her over the head with it, but before I could Lily had grabbed my arm.
“She’s not worth it Shaylee,” Lily said to me quietly but she still glared at Jessica’s back. “Here I grabbed you this sleeping bag,” and she handed me a green one. I said ‘thanks’ then stared at the ugly sleeping bag.
I hate green.
Once every group had a sleeping bag each, a tent and cooking and eating utensils, the Professor called for everyone’s attention.
“Alright everyone, the lesson is almost finished so that means our camping adventure is about to start!” Verona said and clapped his hands. We all stared blankly at him. “What that also means is no magic! From the final bell until Sunday evening we will be living as Muggles!” There was a slight protest but Verona silenced us pretty quickly by saying, “Anyone caught using magic will automatically fail this class. Am I clear?”
We all said ‘Yes Sir’ in annoyed voices.
Just then the final bell rang indicating that lessons were finished for the week. Well except ours of course.
“Alright class, let’s grab our gear and go!” Verona said and pretty much danced out of the room.
“Right, well how about you carry the tent and your camping bag Shaylee and I’ll bring your sleeping bag for you. Alice you grab the cooking stuff if you can,” Lily said taking charge, which Alice and I didn’t mind because we had no idea what we were doing.
We walked as a group through the castle, the kids keenest on camping leading the way. I was at the very back walking next to Sirius.
“Are you alright?” I asked him quietly as we let the rest of the class get a little ahead of us. Sirius had been quieter than usual since breakfast and had spent most of the day with a frown on his usually joking face. I hadn’t had a chance to ask him what was wrong and he didn’t look like he particularly wanted to be asked. Now, he just shrugged and didn’t say anything. I didn’t want to push him for answers because I knew that wouldn’t help.
Instead I gave his hand a quick squeeze and said, “If you need to talk or anything, I’m here for you.” Sirius still hadn’t said much so I resolved to talk to him later.
By the time we had lugged all of our gear out the front doors of the castle, I was seriously considering just quietly hiding in a cupboard for the weekend. Surely that would be better than sleeping outside. Honestly, Muggles think of the strangest things.
Professor Verona led us across the grounds towards the lake. We skirted around the edges of the forbidden forest and came to a stop a little ways from the lakes shore. We were a little too close to the Forbidden Forest for my liking. I mean it was called Forbidden for a reason right?
“Okay class, let’s get to work! Choose a comfortable spot and set up your tents. I need a couple of volunteers to help me gather some firewood!” Verona said, looking expectantly at us all. Eventually three people felt bad enough for him to offer to help. I was not one of them. They went ambling off into the tree line of the forest and started picking up dead wood.
“What now?” I asked Lily. She didn’t seem to hear me. That’s when I noticed that she was giving James flirty eyes. I couldn’t help smirking and when she realised I had caught her, she blushed a shade of red as deep as her hair.
“Don’t say a word,” she said to me in a low voice and I grinned at her.
“Uh, do you girls want to help?” Alice asked and I looked over to see her dumping the contents of the tent bag onto the ground. “Bloody hell, what is all of this?” she asked, poking some material with her shoe.
“That’s what you’re going to sleep in tonight!” Remus called over to us from his own pile of material. He laughed at the looks of mine and Alice’s faces.
“We had better get started if we want to get this thing finished by nightfall,” Lily said and picked up a sheet of paper that had to be the instructions.
It took us a long time to get the basic shape of our tent. There was much muttering and swearing, mostly from me, but we managed to at least get the thing to stand upright. It was a little saggy in areas and looked like a mild breeze would knock it over but at least it was up.
“What is that thing?” Sirius asked as he and his friends came over to our tent. They had set theirs up right by ours so that the fronts of our tents were facing each other with a couple meters or so gap between them. I looked enviously at their tent. Theirs was not saggy or awful looking. It actually looked like something you would feel relatively safe to sleep in.
“It’s a tent!” I said defensively. They all cracked up laughing.
“Do you want us to help you?” James asked, still sniggering.
“No!” I bit back. We really could use their help but I was feeling stubborn and unwilling to admit defeat.
“Yes!” Alice and Lily had said at nearly the exact same time as I had said ‘no’.
In the end the boys did help us and in no time at all, our poor excuse of tent was righted and looked just as good as the Marauders.
“Gee, isn’t there usually something people say after someone helps them…” Remus teased as he tossed the last of our gear into our tent.
I rolled my eyes but ended up smiling. “Okay, okay! I admit it! We needed your help, so thank you!”
“What was that?” Remus joked and cupped his ear like he was hard of hearing. “Could you repeat that?”
“Ha-ha, very funny,” I said sarcastically and rolled my eyes. Remus chuckled and ruffled my hair affectionately. What does a hair ruffle mean?! Was it a ‘you are irresistibly cute’ sort of hair ruffle or more of a ‘I think of you as a sister’ ruffle?!
Before I could confuse myself too much about the whole hair ruffling business, Professor Verona and his miserable looking helpers arrived back with armfuls of twigs and branches.
“Everyone come grab some firewood! You should all remember our lesson on camp fires and camp fire safety. I want one fire between two groups. The first team to light their fire correctly and safely will not have to cook tonight!” Professor Verona said and started helping students.
The Marauders automatically looked at us and James asked, “Do you girls want to team up?” We all said yes, of course, and James and Sirius went off to get our firewood.
“Who remembers the lesson on campfires?” I asked the rest of my friends. “Because I’m pretty sure I was too busy being bored to death that lesson…”
It turned out that only Lily and Remus remembered the lesson properly. Not a big surprise. Lily ordered me and Peter to go and get some rocks so we could build a sort of fire pit area. That was apparently the ‘safety’ part. We wandered down to the lake and each grabbed a decent amount of rocks. I may have thrown a worm at Peter, testing his rumored fear of flobberworms. He squealed like a girl and flung his armful of rocks everywhere.
While I dodged his falling rocks, I felt a little mean but it didn’t stop me from laughing.
“Sorry Peter!” I said, still giggling. He glared at me and stomped off back to our tents, leaving his fallen rocks.
Oh well. Totally worth it.
“What has got you so giggly?” Remus asked from behind me. I whirled around and nearly copied Peter by throwing my rocks everywhere. I managed to hold onto them all but looked ridiculous in the process.
“You scared me!” I said, pointing out the obvious. Remus smiled and began picking up some of Peters abandoned rocks.
“Sorry, I didn’t mean to,” he said and caught me staring at him. I quickly looked away and pretended to be interested in a patch of grass. Nice going Shaylee.
“Why did Pete go off in a huff,” he asked, still picking up more rocks. I gave up looking at my boring grass and instead told him about the worm incident. Luckily, he thought it was funny and didn’t think I was a horrible person for being mean to his mate.
“No wonder you get on with Sirius so well! You’re so alike!” Remus laughed, shaking his head. My stomach fluttered at the memory of him asking Sirius if we were dating. I wanted to make sure he was perfectly clear that we were not.
“That’s what makes us such good friends!” I said quickly, putting as much emphasis on the word ‘friends’ as I dared. I didn’t want to be too obvious.
Remus nodded and looked thoughtful before asking, if I’m not mistaken, a little shyly, “And what about Aiden?”
I froze in mid-reach for a rock and stared at Remus. What was he trying to ask me? I thought I knew but I wanted to make sure.
“What about Aiden?” I asked innocently, moving again.
Remus looked uncomfortable and said, “Are you two just friends or…” he trailed off but it was now clear what he was asking.
My stomach exploded in butterflies at the thought of Remus caring if I was dating Aiden enough to ask me straight out. I had to stop a sappy grin from spreading across my face.
“Aiden and I are just friends,” I said quietly and watched Remus closely for his reaction. A slow smile slid over his face but before he could say anything, James was calling out to us.
“Oi you two! We can’t light this thing until we have those rocks!” I wanted to curse him into a million pieces but had to settle for promising to yell at him later for interrupting my Remus time.
“We’d better get back,” Remus said looking just as disappointed as I did.
When we got back to our tents, which were furthest away from the rest of the class, we saw that Lily and the others had stacked all of the firewood into a neat pile. They had the good idea to build it away from our tents. If I had been left to build the fire, I would have probably made it inside our tent.
Once Remus and I had dumped our rocks on the ground, James started rearranging them into a circle around the pile of wood. Once he was finished we called Professor Verona over.
“Excellent job!” he said looking at our unlit campfire. “Here are your matches. Be careful with them! If you need any help let me know. You had better get going if you want to win!” He handed me and Sirius a box of matches and I looked blankly at them. I’ve never used matches before but we had passed a box around class a few days ago so I at least knew what they were. We hadn’t actually used them though, so I had no clue what to do with them.
Sirius was just looking at them as well so Lily offered to show him what to do. Peter, James and Alice watched them eagerly and they all crowded around the fire.
“Here I’ll help you,” Remus said kindly from beside me. He took the box from me and pulled out a match. “You take this,” he said and handed me the small match. I held it nervously like it was going to spontaneously explode. Merlin, for all I know it will!
Remus was still holding the match box in his left hand. With his right hand he gently took mine that was holding the match. My hand tingled where his touched. “You have to strike it along the side of the box like this,” he said as he used his hand to guide mine. The red part of the match swept along the rough side of the box and a small flame instantly erupted.
I shrieked in surprise and flung the match away. It arched through the air to my right and to my horror, landed on Sirius’ long pant leg. Remus and I just stared in shock at the still lit match. Before I could do anything more than stare, Sirius’ pant leg had started to smoke.
It took Sirius a second to work out what was happening but by that time I was yelling and pointing at him, not being very helpful.
“Bloody hell!” Sirius shouted and jumped up, kicking his leg around, trying to put out the small flame that had started.
“Stay still!” Remus shouted before he shoved Sirius over and used his shoes to stamp out the flame. Once Remus reassured Sirius that it was out, he helped him up.
Everyone turned to stare at me.
“I’m so sorry!” I blurted out. I repeated it a few times for good measure. Sirius was glaring daggers at me.
“You set me on fire!” he shouted and pointed to a singed hole in his pants leg.
“I said I was sorry!” I said in a quiet voice. I didn’t like Sirius yelling at me. It felt wrong.
“I can’t believe it! You actually set me on fire!” he was pacing around and waving his arms, really worked up. I understood that he had gotten a fright but really, it was only a small fire… And he was okay! I don’t think he even got a burn!
“I think you’re over reacting-” I tried to say but he cut me off.
“Over reacting?! I was on fire! I could have died!” he had stopped his pacing and was right in front of me, yelling again.
Okay he was definitely over reacting. Where was the Professor when you needed him? I wish he would come and break this up so Sirius couldn’t shout any more. But I saw that Verona was busy helping a group, totally out of earshot. Great.
“Oh come off it!” I said a little angrily. I really was sorry but he was being dramatic.
I wish I hadn’t of said that though because it only made him angrier. “I guess I shouldn’t be so surprised. You’re a walking disaster! No wonder no one has ever wanted to be friends with you!” he said and I saw the instant regret on his face but it didn’t matter. His words stung deep and I felt close to tears.
“Shaylee I didn’t me-” Sirius started to say quickly, reaching out a hand for me. I backed away from it; like I was afraid he would hurt me. A tear escaped before I could turn away and I wiped at it quickly.
“I’m going to set up my sleeping bag,” I said in a wobbly voice. The voice you get when you’re trying to hold back tears. Lily looked like she about to say something but I turned and quickly walked to our tent and unzipped the opening. I climbed in and zipped it closed, thankful that no one had followed me.
I unrolled my horrible green sleeping bag and it took a tear splashing onto the shiny material for me to realise that I was crying. I laid face down on my sleeping bag and cried, trying not to make any noise. I hated myself for crying but by that point there was no stopping it.
Having no friends for a long time was hard on me. I had had no one to talk to when I needed it. There was no one to share my day with or just enjoy each other’s company. So when I became friends with Lily, Alice and the Marauders it had felt like dream come true. As I lay there I thought back to when I had convinced myself that the Marauders were just pretending to be my friends. That only made me cry harder because it brought back all of those horrible feelings.
I heard a scuffle near the opening of the tent and froze, waiting for the unzipping sound. It didn’t come. Instead there was a low murmur of male voices.
“Just leave her alone for now mate. I’m sure she doesn’t want you to see her upset,” Remus said in his soft voice and I was so thankful for him.
“But I have to tell her I didn’t mean what I said!” Sirius whispered back in a desperate voice.
“She knows that,” Lily had joined the conversation. “Just let her be for now.”
I heard Sirius give a huge sigh before he walked off. The other two soon followed.
Once they had left, I relaxed a little. I thought of Sirius and what he said and I felt a stabbing pain in my heart. I thought of him as my closest friend, even closer than Lily or Alice. He knew what a sore spot my having no friends was for me and he still said it. I wanted to curse him, yell at him and call him all sorts of names. But I was too tired, worn out from crying. Also, I knew that I wouldn’t mean any of them so there was no point really. So I lay there trying to think of nothing but not succeeding very well.
It felt like I had been lying there for hours but really it was about half an hour. I could hear everyone else moving around the tent but no one came in. I guess they were giving me time to compose myself and for that I was grateful. I eventually cried myself out, my eyes left red and puffy. Very attractive. If Remus saw me like this I think I would die a slow and painful death from embarrassment.
It could happen!
I rolled over onto my back and sighed deeply. What am I going to do? I can’t just come out of here looking like this. I’m sure my friends all know that I’ve been crying but I don’t want to show them that I have.
I sat up and started digging around in my camp bag. I pulled out my wand with a sigh of relief. I tried to think of one of Alice’s beauty spells and gave one a go, but quietly. I didn’t want anyone to know I was using magic. I didn’t want to fail Muggle Studies after all. I had packed a small mirror in my packing frenzy so I checked out the results of my spell.
Well at least my eyes are no longer red or puffy. My face is still a bit red but it’s better than nothing. I tucked my wand and mirror back into my bag. And Alice laughed at my packing skills. I bet she didn’t bring a mirror and by morning she will be begging to borrow mine!
With that thought, I plastered a smile on my face and unzipped the tent.
* * *
To say I was shocked at what Sirius had said to Shaylee would be an understatement. Sirius was fiercely protective of Shaylee and I know he considers her as a close friend. So to hear him say something that would deliberately hurt Shaylee was a shock.
I didn’t really know how to react. I was angry at Sirius for making Shaylee upset but I could tell right away that Sirius regretted it. So I was torn between wanting to comfort Shaylee and needing to control Sirius, who looked like he was about to rip down the girls tent so he could apologise.
Which if he did, I’m sure would not make Shaylee forgive him. She would more likely curse him. Or kick our tent over. That bloody thing was an effort to put up, even with James’ sneaky bit of magic, so I was in no hurry to have Shaylee knocking it over in a fit of anger.
Once I managed to talk Sirius out of jumping into Shaylee’s tent, he stormed off towards the forest. I had enough sense not to follow him. When Sirius was in a mood like this, like he had been all day, it was best just to leave him alone. When he was ready he would come and talk. I had a feeling Shaylee was much the same way.
So Lily and I let her be and made sure none of the others bothered her. James looked like he wanted to go talk to her but Lily had a quiet word with him and they went off to check out the other students fires.
It was almost an hour before Shaylee emerged from her tent. The sun had started to set but I could see her clearly enough to know that she had been crying. Her eyes weren’t as red as I thought they would be but she looked tired and sad, despite her smile.
She came over to where we were all sitting on logs that James and I had dragged over to act as seats. Everyone except for Sirius, that is. He still hadn’t returned. We had arranged the logs around our now blazing campfire to form a sort of circle. I scooted over on my small log and she squeezed on next to me. The skin on my arm instantly felt hot where hers brushed mine and I knew the heat had nothing to do with the fire. Oh Merlin, I hope she didn’t notice!
“Hey,” I said to her quietly and she gave a small smile back. Then I couldn’t think of anything else to say. I didn’t want to say anything to make her feel awkward, but by not saying anything made it awkward! Thankfully Lily saved me from saying something stupid.
“We were just about to cook our dinner. I know you wouldn’t want to miss that!” Lily said in a teasing tone and managed to get a classic Shaylee eye roll and grin from her.
“I hope you filled up on food at lunch time,” I whispered in her ear. “Because I am a horrible cook!” That managed to get a laugh out of her and the group as a whole relaxed.
I saw Lily mouth the words, ‘Are you okay?’ from across the fire where she was sitting next to James. Shaylee gave a tiny nod. Then they started having a silent girl chat with each other. There was a lot of eyebrow raising and giggles between them, though neither of them said anything.
Let me tell you, girls are a bloody mystery. How on earth do they understand each other?
James was looking from Lily to Shaylee as well and then looked to me for answers. I just shook my head and shrugged. I’m almost certain James muttered ‘bloody girls’ to himself while laughing.
“Alright everyone! Listen up!” Professor Verona called from the middle of our camping ground. Groups of students turned to look at him. Some of them had found logs like we had, while others were sitting in the opening of their tents or on the ground around their fires. It looked like everyone had managed to make a decent fire.
“Since group Three here won the fire making competition, they will not have to cook tonight! Instead, groups One and Four will be cooking theirs for them since they were the last to get their fires going!” the Professor continued and group Three cheered while One and Four groaned and protested. We were group Five and obviously hadn’t won the competition, what with Shaylee setting Sirius on fire and all, but luckily we only had to worry about cooking our own food.
“When you are ready, send someone from your group to collect your supplies!” Verona shouted over the noise of the now chattering students.
“How about Lily and I go get the food,” James said and jumped up, bringing Lily with him, really leaving her no choice. She didn’t protest like she normally would… Hmm.
“Peter and I will go get the cooking utensils!” Alice said quickly and dragged Peter off towards her tent. I could have sworn she flashed Shaylee a quick wink… Or maybe it was just the fire light?
That left Shaylee and I sitting squashed together on our log. Oh Merlin, what do I say? Before I could stop it, I heard myself asking, “Are you okay? After what happened with Sirius I mean.”
She looked at me, not saying anything for a moment. Great, now I have gone and made her feel worse! Just as I was about to apologise for prying, she surprised me by answering.
“Yeah I’m okay,” she looked down at her hands and I noticed that she was playing with her fingers like she often did when she was talking to people. “I was just shocked I think. I mean, Sirius is like my best friend and I know he has you, James and Peter, but I at least thought he liked me as a good friend or something…” she trialed off and continued to twist her fingers.
Suddenly, without thinking, I grabbed her hand. We both stared at our hands, shocked at my boldness, but she didn’t pull away. That has to be a good sign right? It felt different holding her hand this time. Last time I had held her hand it was because I wanted to protect her from the Slytherin quidditch team and I had thought of her as only a friend. Now it felt completely different.
“He does think of you as a best friend,” I said to her quietly and she looked up at me.
For a moment I forgot that we were camping, that all of our classmates were around us. I forgot that I didn’t know for sure if Shaylee liked me or not or if she was just being friendly. All I could see and think about was how beautiful she looked right now, her face being lit by the flickering light of the fire. Her dark hair and ivory skin seemed like a backdrop for her green eyes that were shining brightly.
My eyes dropped from her eyes to her lips. She was lightly biting her bottom lip like she was nervous. Did she have any idea how sexy that was? I had a feeling she didn’t which made it even more incredible.
“Remus,” she said my name on almost a whisper and that was it. I have to kiss her! Right now!
But before I could even lean forward or close my eyes, James and Lily returned loudly back to our fire. The moment was broken and Shaylee quickly looked away. To my disappointment she pulled her hand back and jumped up to help Lily with the food. All I could do was stare in shock.
What just happened?
* * *
What just happened?!
One minute everyone was around the fire and I was actually feeling a little bit better. Then the next second Lily has gone off with James and Alice has practically dragged Peter away so I was alone with Remus. I can’t even believe what happened next, thought I am sure it happened. Well I hope to Merlin that it happened because otherwise I have an extremely over active imagination.
After Remus asked if I was okay I had to take a second to make sure my answer was truthful. I had said more than I planned too. Remus seemed to have that effect on me. He could ask me anything and I would tell him. God, I hope I never have to keep a secret from him! I would have to avoid him for the rest of my life!
When he took my hand, I practically fell off the log, had a heart attack and nearly peed my pants all at once. That is a lot to try and control at the same time and frankly I am surprised one of those things didn’t happen.
Then he just started staring at me and I felt like my insides had turned to mush. He was so good looking and sweet. How is it that one person could manage to be both so good looking and a great person at the same time? I know he had to have his flaws but I was way past caring what they were.
As he was staring at me I was having a mini freak out in my head. I had to tell myself not to leap on him and snog him senseless, though that is exactly what I wanted to do. I refused to be the one to make the move this time! Look how great that turned out last time…
When James and Lily came back I wanted to tackle them and curse them for their horrible timing. But they had broken the moment so I couldn’t think of anything else to do other than try and help Lily cook dinner.
What a great idea that was.
“Lily,” I said as I poked a slimy looking pink thing. “Surely this is not a sausage!”
Lily rolled her eyes but grinned at me. “It is, now put it on the cooking plate before you set it on fire!” I glared at her and she smiled innocently back at me. “Too soon?”
“Much too soon,” I grumbled to myself while the others laughed. I looked from the slimy sausages, to the metal cooking plate that was sitting over the fire heating up, and back again. They looked so gross! If I had known that this is what sausages look like before they’re cooked I would never have eaten them!
“I, um, just remembered that I am, um, allergic? Yes! Allergic to… uh… cooking!” I said and quickly backed away from the sausages that, I swear, were staring at me. “So sorry but someone else will ha-” I started to say but stopped abruptly when I backed up into something solid.
Please don’t let it be a bear! Or a wild hippogriff! For the love of Merlin, please don’t let it be a deranged psycho killer with a hook for a hand! I’ve read the Muggle horror stories and they never end well!
As I slowly turned around and saw what, or I should say who, it was, I let out a small shriek and flung my arms around him.
“Sirius!” I said, my voice muffled by my face being buried in his chest. “I thought you were a crazed killer with a hook for a hand! Whose idea was it to set up camp so close to the stupid forest anyway?!” I was babbling but I couldn’t help it. He stood there shocked for a moment before his arms slowly wrapped around my waist and he hugged me tightly. I could hear him, and the others for that matter, laughing at me. That’s when I remembered that I was supposed to be mad at him.
I shoved him away and glared at him, my arms folded across my chest. All signs of laughter disappeared from his face. The others stopped laughing and I could feel everyone in our group staring at us, wondering what was going to happen.
“Shaylee please, can I talk to you?” Sirius asked me in a voice I hadn’t heard him use before. It was soft and sad and there was no way I could say no. Damn! He really knew how to get me!
I gave a sigh but nodded my head. His face cheered up slightly and he grabbed my hand and began leading me towards the darkened lake. As we were walking away I heard Lily call out, “We will save you some dinner!” and I smiled appreciably over my shoulder at her. As I did, I saw Remus staring at me and Sirius with a troubled expression on his face. What did that mean? Before I could even begin to think what it meant, we had rounded a corner of trees and he was out of sight.
We got to the lakes edge without anyone stopping us. Professor Verona and the rest of the students were too busy trying not to burn their eyebrows off while they cooked their dinner. Sirius and I both sat down on the rocky shore, far enough away so the water wouldn’t wet our shoes. I looked out across the lake and wondered if Barry was out there swimming around or if he was sleeping already. Then I remembered why I was here and turned to look at Sirius.
He was looking at me but wasn’t saying anything. Well I sure as hell am not going to be the one to speak first, I will tell you that much! I will sit here all night if we have to. He will be the first to speak not matter what!
“Well?” I asked impatiently. Dammit. I always do the exact opposite of what I tell myself I’m going to do.
“I’m so sorry Shaylee!” he said, again using the soft, sad voice. He looked truly upset and any anger I had melted away. I’ve said it once and I will say it again. I just can’t be mad at him. “I didn’t mean what I said! It just came out! I’ve been in a bad mood all day because of this stupid letter I got at breakfast and I ended up taking it out on you. I wasn’t thinking and I-” he was talking in such a rush that I had to shut him up by putting my hand over his mouth.
“It’s okay,” I said, still covering his mouth in case he continued on rambling. “I forgive you.”
I could feel him smiling before suddenly my hand was wet. “Did you just lick me?!” I shrieked, yanking my hand away from his mouth. He was grinning at me like a guilty child, looking much more like his normal self.
“Ew!” I said and whacked him on the arm, which didn’t seem to have much effect. He just laughed and wrapped his arm around me again like he usually did. This felt much better, much more normal. Well except for Sirius’ spit on my hand, which I wiped on his shirt sleeve. That was a first.
We sat there for a little while, just staring out over the lake, enjoying our renewed friendship. I had known I wouldn’t stay mad at him for long, even if he did make me cry. I thought of his apology and suddenly remembered something.
“What letter did you get this morning?” I asked, looking at his face for his reaction. He momentarily stiffened and his jaw clenched but just as quickly relaxed. He used his free hand to pull out a crumpled letter from his jeans pocket. He handed it to me and turned his head away.
Frowning at the parchment, I unfolded it and read it slowly. It was hard to read in the dark but the moon was large in the sky and gave off just enough light. The more I read, the angrier I felt. By the time I finished the whole thing my hands were shaking with rage.
I tried to control my voice so as not to upset Sirius. It was an effort. “Who wrote this?” I asked, staring at the unsigned letter.
“It’s my brother Regulus’ handwriting,” Sirius said and he turned to look at me. I gave the letter back to him, trying to control my shaking hands.
“I’m going to curse him,” I said darkly, most unlike myself. “I will hex and jinx him until he is nothing but a pile of dust! And then I will- I will… Well I don’t know but I’ll think of something and it will be horrible!” Sirius looked shocked but then smiled kindly at me and gave me a squeeze.
“He’s not worth getting in trouble over,” Sirius said and continued on before I could protest. “I highly doubt he wrote it on his own anyway. I’m sure my mother had a hand in it.” He had said it so casually, as if his own brother or mother writing him a letter saying horrible, horrible things to him was normal. My heart panged painfully at the thought. Sirius in no way deserved to be called any of the names his family called him.
Having read the letter, I completely understood his weird mood all day and his outburst at me. “I wish you had told me sooner. You know I’m always here for you,” I said and gave him a big hug.
He hugged me back and replied, “I know you are. Just like I’m always here for you.”
After that we sat there a little while longer but soon I could hear, and feel, Sirius’ stomach rumble with hunger. I laughed quietly before standing up and stretching. I tugged on Sirius’ hand and reluctantly pulled him up.
“Come on you big lug,” I said and grinned at him. “Let’s go and see if the others managed to cook anything worth eating!”
“I doubt it! If Remus is in charge of the food we may as well eat the grass!” he joked and we began walking back towards our camp. We got a few looks from some of the girls as we casually strolled back past them but we tried to act normal. About halfway I got the giggles and couldn’t stop. That set Sirius off and we ended up looking very guilty. I noticed Melanie Johnson, a Hufflepuff and the head of Sirius’ fan club, glaring at me and I responded by poking my tongue out at her.
“Look who is back!” James said cheerfully from his place next to Lily. “Everything back to normal?”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about Prongs. Was there a fight or something?” Sirius joked and James rolled his eyes. As Sirius went to sit next to Peter, I saw him subtly toss a piece of parchment into the fire. I caught his eye and smiled at him. He returned it and I felt happy as I sat back down next to Remus.
Remus looked from me to Sirius before he looked sulkily away. Oh God, Sirius and I must have looked a lot guiltier than I thought. I wanted to shout out ‘It’s not what it looks like! We were just talking, not snogging!’ I didn’t though. Remus probably thinks I’m crazy enough as it is.
“So you’re still alive?” I said to Remus, grabbing his chin and turning it left and right, pretending to check if he was okay. He looked a little startled at first but soon realised what I was doing. I was surprised at myself for being so bold and comfortable with him but my talk with Sirius had left me in a good mood. He laughed and rolled his eyes before gesturing to a paper plate of food.
“I’m still alive! I saved you some food. I even tried it first just to make sure. Lily did a good job!” Remus said and tossed his empty plate into the fire. His sulky expression was gone and his normal smile was back. I breathed a sigh of relief.
As Sirius and I ate our dinner, that actually tasted pretty amazing, Professor Verona started organizing people to clean up and such. Alice and Peter volunteered and in no time our cooking stuff was packed neatly away, ready for tomorrow.
Once everyone’s areas were tidied up, Verona called the class to attention again. “Now it is time for a camp sing-a-long!” He looked around at everyone. We all stared back at him. Surely he is joking.
He is not.
A/N: Hello everyone! That was part 1 of the Camping chapters. I hope you liked it and are excited for part 2! Hopefully you didn't fall asleep halfway through this and drool on your keyboard.
Thank you so much for reading! And reviewing! And just being awesome in general! Drop me a review letting me know what you thought! They make my day. :D Thank you!
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