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A Deafening Silence by Story

Format: Novella
Chapters: 19
Word Count: 33,354
Status: WIP

Rating: 15+
Warnings: Mild Language, Scenes of a Mild Sexual Nature

Genres: Fluff, Romance, Angst
Characters: Lupin, Lily, James, Pettigrew, OC, OtherCanon
Pairings: Remus/OC, James/Lily

First Published: 12/28/2007
Last Chapter: 06/30/2008
Last Updated: 06/30/2008

Summary:
Banner by Revival at tda.



All Blacks have secrets, and Clover Black has been Sirius's best kept secret for the past sixteen years.  Now that she's transferred to Hogwarts, the secrets out, and a certain apprehensive werewolf finds himself dazzled by her.  There's just one problem:  she can't hear a word he says. 


Chapter 1: Sirius's Secret
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Amazing chapter image by Revival!

I wish there was a more comfortable way to travel for underage wizards like myself. As I step into the fireplace I inhale a large portion of the ash that surrounds me and am thrown sideways and diagonally until I reach another large fireplace not unlike my own. I promptly crash onto the hearth where the entire Potter family sits watching me before they realize it is in fact, me, and they hurry to my side.

I wheeze and cough until I find I can breathe half decently, but I’m still lying on the floor like a dead man. James pulls me to a sitting position and sends a few hardy punches to my already aching back. I shove him off immediately for he never was one to assist in healing any variation of cuts or bruises. I should know as I’ve always refused to allow him to dress my cuts after a full moon.

Sirius, who throws himself to my right, points his wand in my face and says, “Aguamenti!” A splash of water is thrown into my dirt smudged face and I splutter for air.

“I see you’ve been practicing your charms Padfoot,” I manage weakly as Mrs. Potter clucks sympathetically and hands me a towel to wipe off with.

“It’s a wonder you got here at all,” she says disapprovingly, “what with all that ash in your lungs.” I nod in agreement for I’m afraid if I say one more word I’ll start hacking again.

Mr. Potter grins down at me from where he stands with his hands on his hips and his hair messy as usual; he looks like a madman. “Welcome Remus!” he exclaims and extends a hand that I can only assume I’m supposed to take. I reach out and he pulls me up with such force, I’m thrown onto a floral print couch.

“Thanks sir,” I reply with what’s left of my dignity. I shake my head as I look down at my rumpled clothes and dirty hands. There simply must be a better way to travel, I think.

“I should have sent someone for you dear,” Mrs. Potter clucks. “I forgot the last time you tried to travel by Floo Powder.

Ah yes. I remember that all to well and am willing to do anything to get off that subject. The very last thing I need is to endure a recount of how I traveled in completely the wrong direction ending up at Malfoy Manor. I had to do quite a bit of fast talking to get myself out of that mess and anyone who knows me knows it must have been quite entertaining to hear me trying to fast talk anything. In fact, Malfoy might have let me go simply because it was so amusing to listen to my ranting and rambling.

I smile unconvincingly and look to my friends for help. “How has your summers been?” I ask in hopes that one of them will bite.

Sirius jumps, “I met this Muggle girl Remus, and she’s incredible. She’s mad but in a good way.”

“Named Sirius’s wand, if you know what I mean,” James winks at me and once again I want to change the subject. My friends were never very good conversationalists to say the least.

“Listen Remus,” Sirius says as he pulls me to a standing position and walks me out of the room leaving the Potters behind. “There’s been a change in…well there’s been a change.”

“A change,” I say slowly.

“Yeah,” he says breathlessly. “You know how my parents just died last year.”

I shrug trying to appear nonchalant but sympathetic all at once. Sirius didn’t care much for his parents to begin with, and he’d already run off the previous summer to live with James so their death hadn’t hit him all that hard. Still though, they were his parents.

“Well, I haven’t told you this, and I’ve only just told James, but,” he pauses, and I hope it’s not for dramatic effect, “I have a sister.”

I nod before I can even take in what he’s said. What did he just say? He has a sister. Oh right. Wait. What?

“You,” I wince, “have a sister.”

“Yup,” he says insignificantly as if my last comment had been a question.

“So let me get this straight.” I’m still struggling with the idea of Sirius being related to anything but slime. “I tell you I’m a werewolf, something I’ve never told anyone. You repay me by not telling me you have a sister?”

“Well, you tossed around your werewolf-ism for anyone to see whereas I have kept Clover a carefully guarded secret all my life,” he says puffing with pride.

“Clover?” I gape. “Shouldn’t it be something like…I don’t know…a star name?”

“My mother,” Sirius replies dryly, “loved clover for whatever reason. The woman was insane, you know that. I don’t question her motives.”

“Is she…” I pause but I know I want Sirius to confirm that she’s as rotten as the rest of the Blacks. How could she not be? They’d all been primed since birth to be great Death Eaters, and Sirius had simply turned out to be the black sheep of the family. Or the white sheep depending on how you looked at it. There couldn’t be more than one exception to the rule could there?

Sirius shakes his head. “She’s normal. Well, comparatively speaking.”

“What-”

Sirius holds up a hand, “She’s deaf. She’s perfect in every other way, but she can’t hear a damned thing.”

“Oh,” I say. I’m still trying to think of a reason for Sirius to hide her from us then.

“I didn’t tell you,” he explains, “simply because I know how I’d react to her if I wasn’t her brother, and I didn’t want that from you guys.”

“What do you mean?” I ask.

“Have you gone daft Remus?” he asks but before I can protest, my words die on my lips as Clover Black is walking down the foyer stairs in front of me and only one of my senses is working properly; my eyes.

They take her in slowly, from the legs up, although they could have stopped at the legs and been completely satisfied. She’s small in every way but perfectly proportioned from everything from her chest to her hips and waist. As my eyes reach her face I see pink parted lips, rosy cheeks, and bright green eyes. Her face isn’t perfect, and I see that her forehead is a little too wide and her features are rather timid looking, but at the same time, I completely understand what Sirius said about her being perfect.

She brightens upon seeing me and holds out a tiny hand for me to shake. I take it in my stupor and she says cheerfully, “Hello, I’m Clover, and you’re Remus. I know because I’ve heard so much about you.” Her syllables aren’t as sharp as a hearing person’s, and I realize she truly is deaf. That little fact hadn’t completely hit me until right then. Should I talk back to her? Or wait for Sirius to translate? I have no idea what to do so I simply stand and smile like an idiot. I hope I’m not grinning wolfishly at her…that’s a bad habit of mine.

Sirius waves his hands around in a way that I suppose Clover can understand because she smiles and looks at me. “He tells me you’re quiet usually.”

“True,” I reply simply. What else is there to say? You’re beautiful, and I wish we were alone so I could tell you properly although I know I never would in a million years? I think not.

“She can read lips mate,” Sirius says immediately and I wonder what the rush is. “Not just one syllables either.” I laugh nervously, and I wonder if she can read the nervousness on my lips too. I consider asking Sirius this, but then realize she’d be able to read that and then really know that I was nervous. I’m in a predicament with this girl already, although it’s only been five minutes since Sirius told me that was exactly what he didn’t want.

After a few moments of playful banter between Sirius and Clover, she walks away saying in a shaky voice that she’d be in with the Potters if he needed anything. She smiles gently at me and I think she’s trying to put me at ease but all I can manage is a tiny, pathetic wave.

I turn back to Sirius who is already giving me a reproachful glare.

“Sorry,” I shrug.

“How does this happen?” he wants to know. “All the girls at Hogwarts fawn over you Remus and you refuse to even glance in their direction, but when it comes to my sister, you can’t keep your eyes off of her?”

“She’s pretty,” I say sappily, and I know I have a goofy grin on my face.

“Yes, and you have gone daft,” he says, still disappointed, “because she’s my sister.”

“Maybe I have,” I concede. Sirius shakes his head at me before walking up the stairs that Clover had just appeared upon moments before. The very memory of it sends shivers up my spine and all I can think of is seeing her once more.









I’ve never considered myself the irrational type but I’ve begun to wonder now that I’ve met Clover. I’ve also never had a girlfriend although I know without being immodest that I could. It’s not that some of the girls at Hogwarts wouldn’t have made good girlfriends…it’s just that they weren’t for me, and I knew that. I don’t know how, but I knew at the time. I wouldn’t say that I’m picky…just specific in what I want.

Now though, I find my interest in Sirius’s sister odd and strange. It simply doesn’t make sense. First of all, she’s my best mate’s sister. Secondly, and I don’t mean to be prejudiced, but she’s a Black, and everyone knows Blacks have secrets. I wonder vaguely what hers is as I sit at home now that my visit at the Potters is over. God knows that was an interesting visit.

She’d flitted everywhere during my week’s stay, and although she barely spoke I could hardly get a word in edgewise. Clover spoke with her eyes and her expressions as easily as anyone else might with their words. Of course Sirius understood her best of all, but I couldn’t help but feel jealous of his comprehension of this foreign language of hers.

Sirius had to have known what was going on in my mind, but he said nothing. James was oblivious to the whole ordeal, and Peter wouldn’t know anything ever. He never knew anything. Peter flitted around us like some sort of energy draining butterfly, and I don’t think I’ll ever know why James and Sirius kept him around.

We spent the week playing Quidditch behind James’s house and talking about nothing important, but there was only one thing on my mind, and I was slightly ashamed.

I spoke once more to her before I left, and it was immediately before my departure.

“Goodbye Remus,” she said softly so that I was left wondering if she’d said anything at all. I knew she had though by the way she looked at me expectantly.

“Clover,” I nodded and our eyes met briefly where I noticed a strange look in her eyes, and I wanted more than ever to understand what she was trying to say.

I left, this time at the side of Mr. Potter, and he turned slowly for his Apparation. As we disappeared with a pop, she was still staring at me with emerald eyes that were speaking volumes, but I found I could not read them, and I knew I’d be trying to decipher the meaning behind that look until I saw her again one day.

That day came much sooner than expected.



AN:  Okay so what do you think?  Is this story worth continuing?  I've already finished the second chapter which is already up, but I still don't know if this story is worth keeping.  Help!  Oh and reviews are like chocolate.

Chapter 2: Bad Questions
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Credit for this amazing image goes to Roonil Wazlib of tda.

I was early as usual to the Hogwarts Express so of course I was the first Marauder there. I was the first everywhere it seemed like, and sometimes it was slightly annoying. I stood awkwardly with my back to the brick wall, watching my classmates run through the passage to the Platform 9 ¾. It was slightly amusing at times however, to watch some of their faces as they burst through the seemingly solid wall.

Some of them waved at me and asked how my summer had been. I gave short but friendly answers because I wanted a good start to my year, but not so much that I felt the need to be most popular. It was important I stayed in the background as I had my first six years at Hogwarts. If people began to notice me too much, or began to care, they might notice my disappearances once a month more acutely, and they might notice they occurred during the full moon each time. That would be a disaster, and I knew it.

Suddenly a familiar face burst through the passageway, and I realized it was Clover immediately. How could I not with those flashing eyes and crooked smile? I was rewarded with a bright grin when she noticed me, and I returned it as best I could. What was she doing here? She didn’t go to school at Hogwarts…maybe she’d just come to see Sirius off.

“Hello Remus,” she murmured as she approached.

I paused, unsure of myself. “Hello.” I shuffled around a bit, “Where’s your brother?”

“James and Sirius are unpacking the car. They said I could go ahead through the barrier. Such gentlemen,” she said with a glint in her eye.

“Gentlemen,” I agreed although I wondered if we were talking about the same two boys. “I bet you’ll miss Sirius huh?”

Clover gave me an odd, twisted look as if she hadn’t understood so I repeated my last question. She shook her head as if she couldn’t get her head around what I was saying. It really wasn’t that complicated, I thought to myself, but I decided to give up. It didn’t really matter…it had been more of a rhetorical question anyway.







Clover’s POV

Remus Lupin is currently standing in front of me moving around like he isn’t sure if he should be where he is. He’s an odd boy and not at all how Sirius described him. He has a certain quality to him though that makes me think I can trust him. Of course, I’ve thought that before about my brother Regulus so I might be wrong. In fact, I probably am.

I would talk to him more to put him at ease, and I know I should because he certainly isn’t used to talking to a deaf person. He’s so nervous I can almost feel it radiating off of his skin. It’s just that I’m not exactly used to talking to people like him either. It makes me feel strange to have that power to make him feel that way because he’s rather attractive even with all his scars, and I’m not used to talking to good-looking guys besides my brother who hardly counts.

The first time I saw him, I noticed right away that he held a secret that he wasn’t going to give up easily. That’s one good thing I’ve learned from being deaf. I notice things like that about a person easily because I can’t hear the tone of their voice or the inflections in the words they speak. I have to look elsewhere to learn about a person and how they think, how they feel at the present time.

I’m glad he at least knows he can talk to me. It’d be useful if he knew sign language like Sirius does, but of course, I would never expect that of him or anyone. It took Sirius ages to learn it and Regulus only learned bits of it. My parents never even bothered. It’s important that my brother explain to people we meet that I am deaf, but I can read lips. I haven’t been deaf all my life, so I know the movement of the lips certain words make when they cross them.

Oh no, he’s asking me a question now, and it’s bound to be an awkward one. He’s asking me if I’ll miss my brother. That is an odd question. I know Hogwarts is a big school, but surely I’ll see Sirius once a day at least. I shrug it off although he asks me several more times. That’s the good thing about being non-hearing; I only have to answer if I like the question. That particular question is a dud.

There’s my brother at last. “I see you’ve been chatting up poor Remus here,” he winks at me. He turns to Remus, “Has she been talking your ear off mate?”

Remus shakes his head slowly. I read his lips carefully, “She hasn’t spoken much.” He shrugs as if he expected that.

“Remus asks peculiar questions,” I counter. Remus raises an eyebrow at me as if he wants to argue about whose conversational skills are better but decides better of it as I knew he would. He’s not the confrontational type, which means we are quite different.

“Like what?” Sirius wants to know.

“He seems to think I’ll miss you,” I reply. I know my words are staggering and unclear, but I do my best to sound in control.

Sirius laughs loudly, and I know his happiness is reverberating off the brick walls although I cannot hear it. “Remus,” he says as I watch his lips, “Clover is going to be at Hogwarts this year. She’s been at Beauxbaton all her life because my mother went there and blah blah blah.” He waved a hand around vaguely. “I thought she might want to choose were she goes this time for herself.”

“Oh…you didn’t know,” I realize. I struggle with my words, and it’s not because I’m unsure of myself but because I feel slightly sorry for him.

Remus shrugs in my direction as if to say it doesn’t really matter. He keeps looking at me like he’s never seen anything quite like me. Sirius told me that was exactly what he didn’t want from his friends and that was why he hadn’t told them about me. I still don’t have a clue what he was talking about. I’m still kind of upset with him for keeping me a secret. I told all my friends at my old school about him, and they all wanted to meet him. I’m glad they didn’t though; he’d have broken all their hearts in a week.

James and his parents appear through the barrier at last, and we prepare to say goodbye. Peter Pettigrew, a strange and quiet little boy, follows them through so we pick up our bags and head to the train. Sirius picks out a compartment without even glancing around so I assume the Marauders sit there every year. If they’ve chosen it no one else would dare sit there before they arrived, and I know that because Sirius has told me all about Hogwarts and where he stands there.

Remus stands aside for me and surprisingly takes my bags from me and lifts them into an overhead compartment. I realize then that he’s quite strong, and I wonder vaguely how he got that way. I say thank you with what I hope is gratefulness in my voice. I also hope he doesn’t notice I was staring at him as he shoves my trunk under the seat. Sirius rolls his eyes at Remus but James just smile knowingly in his direction. I wish I knew what was going on here.

I end up perched on the seat between Remus and James while my brother and Peter sit across from them. The four of them chat amiably with a few interjections from me although they keep calling each other strange names that I don’t recognize as any words I’ve ever known. I make a mental note to ask Sirius about that later.

“Guys,” Sirius begins, “Clover needs someone in every class to sit with her…make sure she gets all the directions from the professor. The professors know about her disability, but she doesn’t know anyone and…” Sirius realizes he’s rambling and stops talking. I laugh at him from my seat.

“We’ll do it Sirius,” Peter pipes up beside me. Great, I think. The boy doesn’t look like he could perform the most basic of spells without falling over. Remus nods beside me and James does as well so I immediately feel a bit better.

“I don’t bite,” I promise and slide my eyes over to Remus in a way I know he has to notice. Peter’s just said something that I missed while I was glancing over because Remus shakes his head but James and Sirius are laughing hilariously.







Remus’s POV

Clover keeps looking at me in that crazy way she has where I feel like she’s reading all my secrets like an open book. It’s driving me slightly insane and Peter tops it all off when he replies “Remus does,” when Clover’s just said that she doesn’t bite. For a moment, I worry she’s heard, but then I think about how stupid that is, and I relax.

“That’s a relief,” I say smiling at her. I know she’s feeling left out because she’s missed the joke. If she only knew how relieved that makes me, maybe she wouldn’t feel so bad.

I’ve noticed that she holds herself like royalty as I’ve come to know Regulus Black to do. I’m accustomed to Sirius’s trademark slouch so I’m caught off guard by her show of confidence. I wonder vaguely if she considers herself better than all others as Regulus does.

I wonder which brother she is more like and I hope to God its Sirius, and I immediately laugh at myself for wishing anyone would be anything like him. He’s a great friend, and there’s no mistake about that, but he’s careless in his words and actions especially when it comes to girls. I’ve noticed though that he’s very careful around Clover as if she might break with a wrong word or action. I wish I knew what has happened to her to make my friend treat her like a porcelain doll.

“So,” Sirius begins, “Remus you can be in Potions and Astronomy with her. Peter, you can take Transfiguration as it’s the only thing you seem to be able to manage. James, Charms and Defense Against the Dark Arts, and I’ll take what’s left.”

“There’s quite a bit left,” I point out trying to be discrete about the fact that I wish I could have more classes with her. Sirius sees right through the act though.

“She’s my sister,” he says and that’s that. Clover slides her eyes over to examine me for a moment, and I’m sweating it. I think about what she might see with those kaleidoscope eyes of hers and I shiver. She notices, of course, and I’m a fool.

“Are you cold?” she asks quietly. The others don’t notice because they’re talking loudly about what they can do to Snape in order to completely humiliate him this year. I feel bad for him a little bit because all he’s ever done to us is love Lily, but James grudges anyone who does that, and Sirius goes along with anything James wants to do.

I realize I still haven’t answered Clover. “No,” I say, “I’m not cold.”

“You shivered,” she points out succinctly.

“You were staring at me,” I reply. Touché, I think, but it’s too soon for a victory dance.

She examines me subtly before leaning over and saying even more softly, “I bet you’re wondering what I saw.” Where the hell did that come from, I wonder wildly. She’s such a small girl, but she packs quite a punch. I notice all the air in my lungs has suddenly gone.

I realize I don’t know a thing about this girl for the first time, and I wonder what she’s really like without the air of confidence. I’d like to know what she’d be like if she let down her guard for half a second. I don’t grudge her for keeping up a barrier because as a Black, I suppose you have to. The moment you’re born into a family like that you have secrets to guard and a name to uphold. Even with her parents gone, I don’t think she realizes she’s just as human as the rest of us. Well, maybe a bit more than me as I’m a werewolf and all.

“There it is,” she says upon seeing the castle in the distance. “It’s beautiful,” she breathes, completely forgetting about her last comment.

“Yes it is,” I agree, although I can’t figure out whether I mean Hogwarts or her at the moment.





AN:  What do you think about Clover?  Is she a good OC or a horrible, horrible character that should never have entered the realm of fanfiction?  Hehe, let me know either way!

Chapter 3: The Sorting
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Once again, credit for this chapter image goes to Roonil Wazlib!


Upon arriving at Hogwarts, Sirius takes Clover to the Headmaster’s office to see what exactly is to be done about her and where she can stay since she’s not a member of any particular house yet. I wonder how they’ll sort that out. Maybe she’ll have to sit under the Sorting Hat like a first year or maybe they’ll let her choose. I’ve heard they’ve done that in the past for transfer students.

The rest of us head up to the dorm where all of us begin to unpack. The four of us are all roommates again this year and with James as Head Boy, we’re all feeling unstoppable. James is claiming that this will be the best year any students ever had at Hogwarts when Sirius walks in.

“In that case James, I expect to get stuck with a lot less detentions than last year,” Sirius says. “You need to be more careful if anything…especially as Head Boy. What will Lily think of you?”

James’s face falls as he realizes this is true. Lily is Head Girl this year, and we all know she won’t put up with James’s troublemaking habits or his persistent harassment of Snape.

“Where’s Clover staying?” I ask Sirius casually.

He looks at me amusedly. “As if I would tell you. You can try and hide your hormonal imbalances behind that innocent, scratched up face of yours, but we all know what’s going on in that head.” He laughs. “This is good though Remus. It’ll be interesting how you go about chasing a girl even if it is my sister. You sure know how to pick ‘em though,” he says. “Clover is a mystery even to me sometimes.”

“What do you mean?” I ask intrigued.

Sirius shrugs, “I mean what I say.” He’s trying to be enigmatic and it doesn’t suit him.

“Wait,” Peter says from off to the side, “Remus likes Clover?”

No one even honors him with a response.

“C’mon,” James says, bored now, “let’s go to dinner.”

And I, ever the follower, agree.






After the first two weeks, Clover seems to be completely settled in to her new home and has made several new friends to show for it. She and Sirius have a chat once a day but besides that she is free to wander the castle and hang out with who she pleases. That definitely does not include me.

Her brother Regulus’s friends seem to be quite taken with her, and they seem to think that she is prime Slytherin material. Sirius notices this as soon or sooner than I do and becomes immediately concerned. While he is concerned, I find myself horribly jealous. I know she’s not mine to feel jealous over, but I can’t help it. We haven’t talked all that much so I suppose I’m more envious of the time they have with her.

We chat for a few moments before Potions and Astronomy class, but those classes only meet once a week each. That’s barely enough time for me to get to know her. She’s been friendly enough to me though, and I’d almost say she was a sweet girl if I didn’t know any better.

Sirius calls us all together because he wants to make sure Regulus doesn’t steal her away completely.

“I don’t know how this happened,” Sirius shakes his head.

“I’ll tell you,” James says. He then remains silent.

“Okay,” Sirius prods.

“Well, Regulus must have some kind of redeeming quality,” James says. He clearly has no idea how ‘this’ happened.

“Let me think.” Sirius pretends to contemplate this. “Nope, nothing.”

“Don’t you guys think it’s terribly ironic that you guys’ last name is Black?” I ask. “It’s almost a terrible cliché.”

“It is a cliché,” James nods.

“Do you know what a cliché is?” I ask gently.

“Not entirely, no,” he replies shortly.

Peter chortles.

Sirius sighs. For once, he is the serious one of the group. “This is not why I wanted to talk about. Clover may be in trouble is she decides to become a Slytherin.”

“Oh come on,” Peter says, “not all Slytherins are awful people.”

“Okay,” Sirius patronizes, “let’s think of one that did not turn out badly.”

We all pause to think, trying to be the first to come up with a name that has not been tarnished by being related to the Dark Lord. No one says anything.

“Exactly,” Sirius mutters darkly.

“Your parents are gone though Sirius,” I say trying to understand his worries. “She shouldn’t feel any pressure to be a Slytherin.”

Sirius laughs as if I’ve just said something terribly funny. “My parents can make you feel guilty even from the grave.” I’ve never seen him like this, and I’m slightly worried.

“C’mon,” I coax, “take it easy Sirius. Clover is…” I pause for I’m not entirely sure what Clover is. “Smart,” I finish lamely.

“We’ll see,” he murmurs, “we’ll see.”

“When’s she going to choose?” James asks.

“Tomorrow,” Sirius replies. “Let’s just try to persuade her not to be a Slytherin until then.”






I have Astronomy with her later that night, and Sirius makes sure I know it’s my job to convince her to make the right decision, as he calls it. I have no idea what I’m going to say to her so I simply begin talking to her.

“Clover,” I say.

Well, that’s a good start.

She raises an eyebrow. She seems to do that a lot.

“Do you know which house you’re going to choose?” I hope I sound as innocent as Sirius seems to think I look.

She grins crookedly, “Wouldn’t you like to know?”

“Not particularly me, no,” I reply. If only she could hear, she’d notice the concern in my voice, but now I realize she’ll only think I’m simply acting on the part of her brother.

“Oh,” she replies and turns away.

Great, I think, now I’ll have to pull her back.

I do. “Do you understand me okay?” I ask.

She nods. “Most of the time. Why?”

“Well, you can’t hear the tone of my voice.” A thought comes to me, “Doesn’t it bother you you’ll never hear a whisper or a laugh?”

She considers this, “Yes.”

I determine she’s not one for explaining things. I guess I should be glad she’s not the one helping me out in class.

“I wonder what your laugh would sound like,” she says surprising me.

I chuckle at that. She smiles. “I can imagine it’s rather contagious,” she says.

“Why’s that?”

“You made me smile just now by barely laughing,” she says. “I didn’t even hear it, but it still made me happy.”

I nod.

She’s making me feel are warm and fuzzy inside.

I’m pretty sure I’m the first werewolf to feel that way.

Ever.

“Just so you know,” she says leaning over, “I don’t know what house I’m going to be in.”

“I wonder if it’ll be Gryffindor or Slytherin,” I say.

She shrugs and tosses her brown hair mischievously. Hopefully she doesn’t notice I’m counting the colors in her eyes.

“We’ll see,” she says, and I realize that’s all she’s going to tell me. “Next time, you can tell my brother not to send his friends to spy on me.”

“I wasn’t spying,” I say.

She raises her eyebrow.

She must know it drives me crazy.

-

The next night, Sirius is waiting for her outside the Headmaster’s office to learn whether Clover has chosen Gryffindor or Slytherin. The rest of us Marauders have chosen to join him as well as Regulus and his friends. Regulus is standing off to the side looking sulky and less than happy to be in the same spot as his brother.

I’ve determined on my own that Clover would never choose to be a Slytherin, but I also don’t know that she’d fit in well as a Gryffindor. I honestly don’t think there is a perfect fit for Clover.

She appears at the base of the steps as suddenly as if she had Apparated there. She looks around at all of us standing there, and I think she means to hold us in suspense.

She has a little smirk on her face in the very fashion Sirius does when he’s thought of a brilliant prank. She begins walking away from us all.

“Wait!” Sirius calls before remembering she can’t hear him. He catches up with her and grabs her arm. “What house did you choose? Gryffindor or Slytherin?” he asks, once she is looking at him.

She spins on her heels so that her honey brown hair fans out behind her and her eyes glitter like jewels in the light.

“Ravenclaw,” she declares slowly with the smirk still imprinted on her face. Her eyes meet mine for a moment, and only a moment, but I know that it was intentional.

She leaves us all speechless for a moment before Regulus and Sirius both shout out “What?” simultaneously.

I don’t even attempt to hide the smile that’s spread over my features like honey over toast. 







AN:  Ahaha that was fun to write.  I hope I surprise everyone!  I'm starting to like Clover more every time I write a chapter for this story which is good.  At first I wasn't sure about her.  Leave a review for me please!

Chapter 4: All In
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Credit for this incredible image goes to Roonil Wazlib, of course!


“So how does it feel to be a verified Ravenclaw?” I ask Clover the next week as we sit at our Potions table.

“Damn good.” She grins determinedly, but then realizing her smile falls short of true happiness says, “I couldn’t choose between my two brothers Remus.”

“I know,” I say not looking at her. I wonder if she saw my lips move at all.

She stares at a spot on the table. “I would have liked to be a part of what you guys have.” I know she means us, the Marauders, and for once, I realize she’s let down her guard in the slightest bit.

“I don’t know about that,” I reply thinking of all the detentions I’ve sat through mostly due to James’s over zealousness.

She laughs colorfully. I’ve never described a laugh as colorful, but that’s exactly what Clover sounds like.

And mine is musical. We should make a song together.

It’d be a hit.

“What are you thinking?” she asks.

I shake my head; I know better than to think when she’s around.

“Nothing. Just how you’d fit perfectly with the Marauders,” I lie.

She stares wistfully at my mouth. “I don’t know that last word.” I realize she’d never heard it before so she wouldn’t know how to read it off my lips.

“It’s not important,” I say, and it really isn’t. It’s just a label people know us by. Even now, seven years later, I can’t believe we’ve named ourselves.

It’s absolutely ridiculous.

We’re like little schoolgirls who call themselves the Three Musketeers. It’s like we’re a little exclusive club within a greater human population.

“Have you met anyone you like in Ravenclaw?” I ask to change the subject. I’m beginning to think I have a gift for that.

Clover nods. I’m glad she’s honoring my questions as a good one. Sirius told me how she picks and chooses her responses.

“Girl or boy?” I ask intrigued.

She looks at me with a question in her eyes which she doesn’t ask. Instead she murmurs in the little lilt she has, “Both.”

Now I’m really interested. She has boy friends? Of course, boys that are friends is what she means. Of course. Hopefully. Whatever.

“Do they have names?” I ask making a little joke of how relentless she is in keeping information to herself. It’s like a little game to her, and I’ve learned to simply play along.

She smirks. “Yes.”

Oh, now she’s trying to be cute with me.

“Cute,” I say.

She nods. She laughs again gracefully so that surrounding students peer around for the source. “Their names are Ada and George.”

“George,” I comment, trying to think of a boy named George I might have met at some point.

“Funny,” she grins, “how you immediately pick out only the boy’s name.”

“Hilarious,” I agree sarcastically.

It’s just a usual day with Clover as a part of it, and those days are always a little more exciting than the others.

“Do you play poker?” she asks sweetly.

I pause. Do I? “No, I don’t think so,” I estimate.

She doesn’t skip a beat. “I do. Let me teach you.” She seems eager for me to agree.

“Okay,” I voice, and I know I’m only doing it because it’ll make her happy.

-

The four of us are sitting outside basking in the sun when Clover walks over. She has a triumphant expression on her face, and Sirius sighs.

“What’d you do now?” he asks. His face is straight, but there’s a bit of amusement playing across his eyes.

“I tried out for the Ravenclaw Quidditch team,” she boasts.

“Did you really,” Sirius says passively.

“I made it,” she announces.

Peter plucks a blade of grass from the ground and James becomes suddenly very interested in the Giant Squid.

“Made it where?” Sirius asks stupidly.

“On the team,” Clover says, and I wonder how Sirius managed to get a response out of her for that question.

Sirius stands so that he towers over his sister. He’s not tall by any means, but Clover is so small, she seems dwarfish compared to him. He begins to laugh in a slow, methodical fashion.

“That’s great!” he exclaims. I’m thrown for a loop because I’ve seen that expression on his face before, and it’s one of concern. He envelops her in a giant hug, and she seems pleased.

“Congratulations,” I spout in her direction.

“Thanks Remus.” Oh good, that means she was watching me if she read my lips. I nod feeling pride in falling under her gaze even for a moment.

“George is on it as well,” she says, delivering a staggering blow to my confidence.

George. I shake my head.

She gallops off to announce her victory, maybe a bit more subtly, to her other friends, which I’m sure includes George somewhere along the way. Probably Regulus and his friend too.

“James,” Sirius hisses as soon as she’s gone, although I don’t know why as she wouldn’t have heard even if she was within range anyway.

James glances up as if he’s just come back into being.

“You better make sure nothing happens to her in that match next week James. Please.” I’ve never seen Sirius so earnest in my life, and it strikes me suddenly how much he loves Clover.

James looks like he’s going to be sick. He’s captain of the team this year, and he’s been stressing out already trying to maintain his leadership and balance his Head Boy duties. It’s not an easy thing to do especially with thoughts of Lily running rampage all throughout his head. “Alright,” he manages weakly.

“Thanks mate,” Sirius says amiably.

-

“Okay,” Clover says tossing some cards to me, “here’s how you play.”

We’re sitting in an empty classroom where she’s supposed to be getting tutored by me for Astronomy. Students keep peeking in upon hearing our voices expecting to see something different than the scene that meets their eyes.

Clover goes through all the various rules of poker and my mind is already swimming. I can easily grasp Charms. Transfiguration, no problem. This though, is going right over my head.

“Wait,” I burst, “three of a kind beats two pair?”

“Did you say something?” she asks for she was staring at the cards on the floor between us.

I’ve got to learn sign language.

“Anyway,” she continues, “you’ve really got to watch your facial expressions. If you get a good hand, don’t celebrate. It’s too early, and your opponents will fold right away. Then, you’re left with nothing.”

“Poker face,” I say nodding. I know this part. “Is that why you’re good at poker?”

She looks at me. “I never said I was good,” she says in an unprecedented burst of modesty, “but yes, that’s why.” She beams at me.

So much for modesty, I think.

“Are you going to do this professionally?” I ask as she flips over cards and deals them out like she’s done it all her life.

She shakes her head. “You’ll laugh if you knew what I want to do professionally.”

“At least it’ll make you happy if I laugh.”

She looks pleased and evidently decides I can be trusted to in fact, not laugh. “I’d like to be the Minister of Magic.”

I consider this. “You’d be good at it.”

“You think?” she asks uncertainly.

“Yes,” I say sure of myself. She would be. No one would question her.

She looks amused and delighted at the same time. “You’re the first person who’s ever thought that.”

“You should go for it,” I affirm. I can smell her perfume from where I sit, and it’s making me feel a bit hazy. She simply shrugs.

“Sometimes, you’ve got to lay all your cards on the table,” I say, knowingly making a bad poker reference.

She nods though in agreement. “Sometimes, you’ve got to move all-in.” She turns some cards over and seems pleased. Apparently she’s beat me out, although I still have no clue what I’m doing, but she reshuffles and deals again.

Chapter 5: A Dark Mistake
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I love my new life at Hogwarts.

It’s much better than at Beauxbaton. I still resent my mother even after everything for sending me there. I had friends, yes, but I could never understand what they were saying because they spoke French. I can only read the words off of lips that in English because that’s the only language I’ve ever known. They had to either write things done or learn some sign language, which some of them did actually. My friends there made me realize not everyone cares only for themselves, but as soon as I went home, I would settle back into my old stupor.

At Hogwarts though, I have both of my brothers, and all of their friends, plus friends of my own. I’ve always been perfectly fine on my own. Actually, sometimes I prefer it that way. It’s nice though to have people who want to listen to you.

I think, however, that Regulus’s friends only like me because I’m his sister, and they hope there’s still time left to bring me over to their side. They’re all so pathetic. As if I’m one to take sides on anything. I’ve always stood alone. Why should now be any different?

There’s a war fast approaching though, and everyone can feel it in the air. The ceiling in the Great Hall has been dark and stormy since I’ve arrived although I don’t think the two events coincide that much at all. Still, there are sides in every war, and there’s only two. It’s not like they give you many options do they? Either way, I’m bound to be fighting against one of my brothers in the end.

I know Regulus is a fan of the Dark Lord, and Sirius, well he isn’t going to be converted any time soon. He’s Dumbledore’s man. What am I? I’m their sister. That’s it for now.

Regulus has been talking to me about the benefits of signing on as a Death Eater. I scoffed at him because I’ve seen how you “sign” on, and I’ve never been the type of girl to want a giant ugly skull tattoo on my arm.

In the end, there’s only one thing I’ve decided on.

Picking sides suck.

I’m currently sitting in the Great Hall studying when Remus walks through the huge wooden double doors and spots me.

I taught him poker yesterday. He should be pleased. I don’t teach just anyone poker.

I like him. He’s a nice guy, and he seems earnest enough in our conversations. Of course, how can I ever tell? For all I know he could carry a sarcastic tone in everything he says. I don’t think so though. Besides, my brother doesn’t seem to mind too terribly that we’ve been talking.

He walks towards me and I wish I could hear his footsteps on the hard stone floors. Sometimes I can just imagine that I hear as a normal person would because I know the noise is there.

Really though, it’s like being underwater. Always.

Sometimes I still wake up in a panic because I can’t hear. Just as I couldn’t the day before. Or the day before that.

He nudges me, and I scoot over. “Hey,” he says facing me.

I nod.

“What are you studying?”

“Potions.”

“Can I help?”

“I only need you to listen to directions for me. I can read though.” I know I sound mean, but I’m smiling.

“That’s a relief,” he grins.

He pulls out some books from his book bag and begins memorizing some charts. I suppose it’s for Astronomy although he’s checking moon charts, and we haven’t gone over moon charts yet.

I start studying my own material, but my eyes keep sliding over to the boy next to me. His posture is slouchy like Sirius’s, and his features are smooth like a young boy’s. It’s endearing and attractive all at once. I hope he doesn’t realize I’m memorizing him because I’m staring quite loudly at him now.

He smirks as he turns to me. “You’re staring again.”

“No,” I correct. “I’m listening for secrets.”

“Secrets?” he questions. He seems alarmed. Well, I suppose it was a rather odd thing for me to say.

“You’re hiding something.” I shrug. It’s obvious for anyone to see, really.

“So are you,” he says pointedly without missing a beat.

He’s good.

Then again, so am I.

“I’ll play you for it.”

He wrinkles his nose. “I don’t gamble with my secrets.” He laughs at the expression on my face. I’ve gambled with everything except my soul.

“You’re funny Clover,” he says softly. I think he probably wonders if I know what he’s saying when he speaks quietly or mutters, but I can. Most times.

“Are you excited for the Quidditch match?”

I groan. “I don’t think excited is the right word.”

“You’re nervous?” He seems surprised.

I laugh. “I am human you know.”

He seems taken aback. “I know,” he says ruffled. “You’ll be fine.”

“I know. I’m worried for the other guy,” I grin.

He shakes his head. “How do you do that?”

“What?” I ask. I don’t know what he’s talking about.

“You’re always so confident.”

Me? Confident? What?

I can’t count the number of times in a day I second guess myself. Maybe I always make the right guess.

“Thanks,” I murmur.

He looks at me gently. “I forget sometimes that you’re deaf even. It seems to be you hear more than the rest of us do.”

I know what to say to this. “That’s because you get so caught up in what you see and the sounds you hear that you forget there’s more that can’t be examined physically.”

“How can you hear what isn’t there?”

“It’s like believing what isn’t right in front of you. I can’t hear the tone of your voice, but I believe it’s friendly. I could be wrong,” I shrug, “but I’m almost certain I’m not.”

I wonder how the two of us look sitting close together, head bent towards each other. I bet people are talking right now. By tomorrow, it’ll be all over the school that Remus and Clover have a “thing.”

I almost wish there was more for them to talk about.

Almost. 






 It’s time.

My first ever Quidditch match is taking place in exactly two hours. I’m trying to eat breakfast.

“Eat something,” George commands.

“Can’t,” I mutter.

Ada pops up from my other side. Apparently she dropped something. Again.

“Here,” she says. “I learned something.” She waves her hands around emphatically, and I realize she’s signing. “Good luck,” I read.

“Thanks,” I beam. It was nice of her to learn that for me.

George glares at her. “You’re trying to make me look bad.” Ada sticks her tongue out at him.

They’re both so young still. I mean, we’re exactly the same age, but they seem younger than me. I envy them that. I grew up too fast.

There’s a tap on my shoulder, and I turn. It’s the Ravenclaw captain Roy. “Let’s go,” he shakes his head in the pitch’s direction.

“Right.” I stand and pick up my broom from George’s outstretched hands. I’m heading out of the Great Hall when Remus catches my eye. He winks.

Haha.

He just winked at me.

Who winks anymore?

Nonetheless, I feel better after this odd little signal from him, and the butterflies momentarily flutter for a reason other than the impending doom that is the match against Gryffindor.

The air is clear as we walk to the field and into the locker room where I change in half a second. I don’t even listen to Roy’s little pre-game chat. Before I even know what’s happening exactly we’re kicking off at the whistle, and the winds whistling through my air.

It’s the best feeling of my life.

My confidence zooms back into my chest and it fills me up from my toes to the tip of my head. Suddenly, I know I can do this.

I’m flying faster than I ever have and throwing the quaffle left and right. Every time someone throws it at me, I catch it with ease. Suddenly though, I spot a bludger coming in from my right side, and I know it’ll hit, and it’s going to hurt. I brace myself.

The blow never comes.

I turn my head and peer in that direction. James Potter is holding a club in his right hand. I realize two things. First, he just saved me. Second, he’s a Chaser and shouldn’t be holding the club at all. I look around and see the Gryffindor Beater clubless and angry.

I immediately understand my brother made this happen. I’m upset. Now I look like…like a handicapped girl. Which I am. But I shouldn’t be made to look like one this way.

“Get away,” I hiss at him. He shakes his head so his messy hair flops in his eyes. He tosses his club back to the Beater and rushes off catching the Quaffle on the way. I fly after him, bump into his side, which I know is a foul, but I grab the red ball away from him, and the referee doesn’t blow the whistle on me. I toss it through the hoops easily, and I hear my team going crazy.

I give James a meaningful look as I circle around the hoops and back to the center. He shrugs as if this has nothing to do with him.

The same Bludger comes swiftly towards me again, and there’s not enough time to get out of the way. There is time though, to get rid of it. I know I shouldn’t. But it’s either that or get hit. I make the choice on the moment and whip out my wand muttering a curse as I go. A curse I’m not supposed to know.

A Dark curse.

The type we’re supposed to learn how to protect ourselves from, not perform.

Shit.

The bludger blows up in my face and the bits of it float to the ground. I’m suspended in midair, and I realize all eyes are on me, and no one’s playing the game anymore.

I look around the stands and I see Sirius’s disappointment, Remus’s surprise, and Regulus’s smirk.

I’m so screwed.

Everyone’s going to think I’m some sort of dark witch now getting ready for my debut as Voldemort’s little princess. I’m struck with the unfairness of it all. Regulus taught me that curse before I went to Beauxbaton so I could protect myself, he’d said. How stupid of me to use that curse of all things.

Now no one’s going to be talking about Remus and I tomorrow. Instead, they’ll be gossiping about how I’m an evil witch.

At least I won’t be able to hear any of it.





AN:  I've never written a story so fast before!  This is kinda fun =)
I hope you all are loving this story so far.
If not...well, I don't like you.
Just kidding!


Chapter 6: A Good Person
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Did that really just happen?

That’s the first though that comes to my mind as we’re walking back to the castle. Clover clearly used some very dangerous dark magic back there, which means she must have learned it somewhere with purpose. You can’t just learn those curses on a whim. I knew she didn’t want to take sides with her brothers, so I’m surprised to learn she just paraded her knowledge of dark magic in front of so many people and Sirius.

Actually, I’m quite disappointed.

I’d be angry with her if I knew her better.

This just goes to show how little I really know.

Suddenly, her little frame bounces into view. “Hey,” she announces. She notices the shadows on all our faces. “Why are you guys so down?” she asks. “You won!”

“I’m surprised you haven’t hexed us all for that,” Sirius mutters.

She didn’t miss it. “Excuse me,” she says, her voice icy, “but since when have you started pretending not to know curses you shouldn’t? We learned them at the same time Sirius, you know that.”

“Yes,” he agrees dryly, “but I don’t use them in front of my whole school, especially a school where the headmaster was kind enough to allow you to transfer to.” He stops walking and raises his voice although we all know Clover won’t notice, “In fact, I’ve made it a point to forget I ever learned those curses. Unlike you, who apparently keeps them so close to hand that they slip out in the slightest of emergencies.”

“That,” Clover says levelly, “is not fair.”

“Oh, I’m sorry,” Sirius says sarcastically, “and I suppose that little curse of yours back there was? I’m sure it obeyed the rules of the game and all.”

Clover is in a rage now. I can see it burning away in her eyes, which look like hot embers at the moment. I’m slightly scared by the sight so I turn away.

“Regulus,” she says evenly, “would never blame me.”

Sirius chortles at that. After a while, he leans back his head and laughs at the sun. “That is about the worst thing you could possibly say at this point in time,” he says after he’s calmed down a bit.

“Fine,” she declares, “if I’m so evil and all just like him, I’ll hang out with him from now on.”

“Right,” Sirius says. I keep moving my head back and forth between them listening to the volleys and punches even though I know it’s really not my business. Although somewhere in the back of my mind, I think I should listen.

I wonder vaguely who’s winning the argument before I realize that’s stupid and neither of them could possibly win this fight.

“At least he doesn’t judge me for my mistakes,” she says hotly.

Sirius laughs again, and I warn him silently to stop doing that or he’s going to get punched in the mouth. “Yeah, because Regulus is so much more nonjudgmental than me. I mean, at least he doesn’t befriend people based on their blood status, their family’s wealth, and their outward appearance. Oh wait, he does!”

I don’t know why he doesn’t just sign these things to her, but then I think maybe he wants us to hear this. Or maybe shouting is just more dramatic than signing.

Clover realizes she’s on the losing side but refuses to admit defeat so she spins on her heels and walks away at a fast pace. In fact, is she walked any faster, she’d be running.

None of us say anything. Sirius stares after her and turns on us. “I have no idea what happened there.”

“If she were normal, she’d be crying,” Peter replies.

Sirius accepts this. “I know. I don’t know what got into me.”

“What curse was that Sirius?” I ask.

Sirius waves his hand around airily as if that hadn’t been the subject of the fight that had taken place moments earlier. “It was an Exploding Curse. I mean, it’s nothing major, but it’s definite dark magic, and she shouldn’t know it at all. If this gets out…” he trails off, and I’m left wondering exactly what would happen if it got out.

“Regulus should be mad then. If the powers that be hear about this, your whole family will be investigated, and he’ll be found out to be a junior Death Eater,” James says decidedly.

Sirius shakes his head. “No one can find out then. Clover will get pinned for one too.”

I gape at him, “Sirius, the entire school just saw that happen.”

“Well,” he replies, “I still know some people who could pull some strings…” He walks off still muttering to himself with his head held high. He looks, at the moment, like a true Black.

“I’m slightly worried about him,” James says after a breach of silence. “Should I be?”

“Yeah,” I immediately answer because I am. I’m worried more about Clover though, which I know is wrong considering what she just did, and Sirius is my best mate.

The three of us set out to follow him.

He’s easy enough to find. We hear him before he comes into view. Oddly enough, he’s standing at the base of the tower that contains stairs leading up to the Ravenclaw Common Room. Regulus and Clover are with him. All three of them look rather upset.

“Why would you do that Clover?” Regulus is asking. The three of us frame the doorway so there’s no way in or out.

Clover is taken aback. “What are you talking about?” she hisses. “You looked smug enough after I did it!”

“I wasn’t thinking that it would all come back to me,” he replies without looking at her.

She bares her teeth in what I think was meant to be a smile. “Of course. Everything has to do with you doesn’t it?”

He approaches her as fast as lightning and grabs her arm roughly so that we all know there’s going to be bruises there later. “Don’t talk to me like that,” he seethes. His dark hair is flopping around in his eyes, and he looks quite menacing; like an evil version of Sirius in fact.

“Hey!” I call. “Let go of her!” I take some steps towards them. I’m too late.

Sirius is closer and punches his brother in the mouth. Hard.

Regulus reels back and hits the stone wall with a thud. He leans back against it and stares up at his brother who is guarding Clover like a statue. Regulus sticks his tongue out and licks away some of the blood.

“Don’t,” Sirius says calmly, “ever touch my sister again.”

“You forget,” Regulus replies darkly, “she favors me just as our parents did.”

“Used to,” Clover spits at him. “If Sirius hadn’t gotten to you, I’d have punched you first, just so you know. Also, our parents are dead Regulus.”

“Good riddance,” Sirius mutters.

Regulus throws himself at Sirius and for the second time that day, Clover whips out her wand and shouts, “Protego!” A bubble forms immediately between Regulus and Sirius so that Regulus is bounced back against the hard wall again. He shoots a hard look at her.

Clover though is looking away from him as if choosing to not hear whatever he wants to say to or call her.

“Shit,” he mutters before pushing his way past the three of us who still stand in the doorway watching.

“I’m sorry Sirius,” Clover says shrugging. “You had to know something would happen with me here at school this year.”

Sirius pauses before grinning. “Yeah,” he says, “I just didn’t expect it so soon!”

The two of them begin laughing and Clover hugs her brother helplessly.

It’s just like Sirius to turn such a bad scene into one of laughter.

James, Peter, and I can’t help but to laugh as well so that if anyone were to look at us, they’d never imagine Sirius had just punched his brother.






Later that night, I’m walking back to the Common Room from the library when I spot Clover perched in an open window. She’s just staring out at the night and doesn’t seem to be in a hurry to move any time soon.

“You all right?” I ask as I approach. She moves over for me for the second time in two days so I can take a seat next to her.

She smiles at me. It’s dazzling. “Yup,” she says simply.

“He didn’t hurt you did he?”

“No he didn’t. Not compared to…” she trails off as if realizing she’s said too much.

“Compared to what?” I prod.

She sobers. “Nothing.” She looks up at me big eyes. “I know how that must have looked to you today. You have to understand how I was raised. It was normal to know those curses. I mean, you had to.” She pauses, “It just kind of popped out before I could even think.”

“I understand,” I say honestly. “What’s going to happen?”

“I’m kicked off the team for one,” she says with a small smile. “In a way, I’m relived. I never was one for competition.”

“No?” I ask surprised.

She seems pleased. “You sure have a different way of looking at me Remus Lupin.”

I think of how it’s impossible that anyone could think she’s any more beautiful than I do. “I suppose,” I say.

“Are you sure you’re okay?” I ask once more.

She nods. She twists her small hands in her lap.

“He…he hasn’t hurt you before has he?”

Her silence is proof enough.

“I’ll kill him.” The thought hits me suddenly and with such force, I’m surprised.

She looks at me sadly. “Don’t be ridiculous. He’s hurt Sirius before, and I’m certainly not going to let him hurt you too.”

I’m slightly offended that she thinks I couldn’t take him. She seems to notice. “I just wouldn’t want you fighting my battles for me when I don’t deserve it.”

“How can you say that?” I ask dumbfounded.

“I’m not as good as you seem to think I am.”

I can’t believe this. I say the only thing that comes to my mind that would serve as a complete denial that she’s not a good person. It almost makes me laugh at how young the question sounds when so many big problems are surfacing recently.

“Will you go to Hogsmeade with me next weekend?”

Chapter 7: Help
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“So anyway,” I say to Sirius, “in the end, she said she wouldn’t go with me.” I’m talking about how Clover said no to my invitation to Hogsmeade, which I’m currently confused about.

“Really,” Sirius muses. “Did you ever consider maybe…just maybe, that was the wrong time to ask?”

I think. I think some more.

“Nope,” I answer unhelpfully.

Sirius sighs.

“I hate helping you out here Remus. You know I didn’t want one of you guys do fall madly in love with her as you seem to have,” Sirius conjectures.

I shrug. What can I do?

“I think at first though, I thought it’d be James or Peter so just be glad it’s you instead. If you hurt her though…I’ll kill you,” he says after a moment.

I laugh at that. It’s hard to imagine Sirius killing me, a werewolf.

I play along however. “Deal,” I say.

Sirius accepts this and begins pacing our dorm. James and Peter are playing a game of Exploding Snap, and Peter is rather bad at it I notice. It’s kind of annoying really.

“Okay,” Sirius says, “the reason she said no is because first of all, your timing was off. She was having a heart-to-heart with you it seems, and you went and asked her on a date. That’s not going to fly with my sister. It makes it seem like you don’t care about her feelings and only about dating her.”

“That’s crap,” I say fiercely.

“No,” Sirius says slowly. “What’s crap is how hard you’re going to have to work now to get her to go with you.”

He has a point.

“Anyway,” he begins again, “you have to really listen to her. Make her trust you. Most of all, please remember that after everything, she is a girl. She may not have the same emotional capacity of most, but she does like, you know, the occasional flower or compliment.”

I nod. I can deal with that.

“Basically, the best you can do now is follow those little tips, talk to her, and when the time is right, ask her again.”

“When the time is right,” I repeat slowly.

“As in, when she’s not ready to pour out her heart to you.”

I snort. “I highly doubt she was about to-”

Sirius stops me with a raised hand. “Never assume anything about that girl.”

I choose not to question him at this point.

“Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a date with Emmeline.”

“Vance?” James blurts out.

“Yeah, why?”

“Well,” James says from his side of the room, “it’s just that she might be…I don’t know, good for you.”

Emmeline is the smartest girl in our year, and pretty, but not in the typical way Sirius likes his girls to be. She has class.

“I know,” he shakes his head. “It’s scary quite frankly.” With that, he exits.

-

“Remus,” Clover says politely as she takes her place next to me in potions class.

“Clover,” I mimic. I didn’t mean to. It just popped out.

“You’re mad,” she says pointedly.

“No, I’m not,” I say a little too fast.

She laughs charmingly. The hurt melts away like ice in the sun.

She examines me. “There, that’s better.”

“Guess who I’ve made friends with?” she asks after a moment.

“The devil?” I guess. I’m being childish, but I don’t care.

She rolls her eyes. “I did that ages ago,” she laughs. “Emmeline Vance!”

“Really,” I say flatly. Emmeline seems to getting all the love lately.

“She knows how to sign,” she claims.

A thought strikes me suddenly. “Does she,” I say mischievously, and I’m pleased because I know she can’t hear the playfulness in my voice.

After class, I immediately go to Sirius in the dorm.

“How was your date?” I ask uninterestedly.

“It was good. Emmeline-”

“Can you teach me how to sign?” I ask quickly.

Sirius sighs as if he had been expecting this question all along and moves over to make space for me on his bed.

-

I’ve wondered if maybe I’m misdirecting my efforts. I mean, if she really doesn’t want to go with me, I know nothing is going to make that girl change her mind. I just have this feeling that that’s not the case. There’s something else…and I don’t know if it has to do with my bad timing like Sirius said or what.

It’s possible she’s figured out my secret. She is smart after all.

If anyone told though…I’ll be upset to say the very least.

The thought occurs to me that maybe Sirius might have accidentally let it slip. Granted, he’s never told anyone before, but she is his sister, and he seems to tell her a lot.

Then I have to wonder what her reaction would have been. She’s definitely not the hyperventilating type so that’s definitely out.

I know it’s stupid, but I just think maybe, just maybe, she wouldn’t care.

I guess eventually I’ll have to find out.

I catch her as she’s heading outside to study with flowers in hand and a compliment in mind. She spies me suspiciously.

“Who are those for?” she asks.

I hand them to her. She takes them tentatively, but I can tell she likes them.

“Thanks,” she says easily as if she’d been expecting this. “I love tulips.”

“I know,” I admit.

She grins.

I sign to her, “You look lovely today.”

She blushes.

Clover Black just blushed.

Ha!

“Thanks,” she signs back. She signs something else, but I can’t understand what it is.

I shake my head, “I didn’t learn that much of sign language. I just started my lessons you know.”

“I said that’s sweet of you,” she says.

Now it’s my turn to blush.

“Will you go to Hogsmeade with me?” I ask again with nothing in hand now but a prayer.

She examines me. I feel small under her scrutiny even though I’m nearly a foot taller than her.

“You don’t give up easily,” she decides.

“Not when it comes to this,” I say shrugging earning a smile from her.

She shakes her head. Oh no, she’s about to refuse me again, I think.

“Listen,” I say quickly, “I’ll tell you my secret if you’ll go with me.” It’s possible I’ve just made the worst decision of my life.

She stares at me wide eyed. “Why,” she says slowly, “would you do that? That secret is the best card you have to play. You’re laying it on the table too soon.”

“The stakes are high,” I say roguishly.

“Well,” she says, “I’m glad you think so.” She bites her bottom lip. It’s about the most adorable thing I’ve ever seen. “Here,” she decides. “I’ll let you keep your secret if you let me ask the questions.”

“What?” I’m confused.

“Will you go to Hogsmeade with me Remus?”

I stare at her. “What?” I repeat.

“Will you-”

“I heard you,” I interrupt, “and yes, I’ll go with you. But…”

She smiles wide. “Sirius forgot to tell you that I always do that asking.” She flips her hair and gallivants away celebrating a victory that was supposed to be mine.





Clover’s POV

I’m still smiling when I walk into the library to meet with Regulus later that day. The look on Remus’s face had been just priceless. It was true I’d been hesitant about going to Hogsmeade at first, but now I wasn’t sure why. He was nice…perfectly nice. Maybe even too nice. I wonder as I step into the library what he thinks of me when no one else is around.

I can’t believe he was willing to give up his secret to me. I’ve known he has some kind of big dark secret since Sirius told me last year, but he wouldn’t tell me what it was. I guess maybe he trusts me. Maybe I should trust him.

I meet Regulus at a table in the Potions section.

“I apologize for yesterday,” he says immediately. “Dumbledore seems to have covered our tracks.”

I snort. “That was awfully nice of him.”

He ignores me. “The Dark Lord wants to know where you stand.”

“The Dark Lord can ask me himself.”

Regulus shakes his head, “You don’t want that to happen Clover.”

I notice he’s not using sign language today. Oh wait, he never really knew it.

“Remus learned a bit of sign language for me,” I say pointedly.

Regulus laughs. “You know I don’t see the point of learning it. You understand everything perfectly anyway.”

“Sirius learned it too.”

“Hey,” he says, “I learned some.”

“You’d never be able to tell,” I state, “seeing as you never use it.”

He looks as if he’s on the verge of getting angry, but then shrugs. “I don’t have time for this. Are you with me or not?”

“I’m with you,” I say. “That doesn’t mean I’m with him.”

“You don’t have a choice. You do know that right?”

“Actually, I know that I do. Sirius definitely isn’t going to be helping out with cause any time soon.”

“Sirius,” he spits, “is not even worth the Dark Lord’s time.”

“And you are?” I challenge.

“Yes,” he says without thinking.

“Well,” I say slowly, “in that case, you two can just go have a little tea party.”

“Clover,” he says clearly exasperated, “you’re being difficult.”

“Of course I’m being difficult,” I say loudly. “Think of the conversation we’re having! It requires me to be difficult.”

“I’m leaving,” he says shortly. “Remember this though. You’re either with me or against me.”

“So if I choose not to get a little tattoo on my arm I’m against you?” I ask spitefully although I already know the answer.

“Yes,” he says regarding me carefully.

He leaves without a backward glance. I look at the floor in anger, and I notice a pair of sneakers on the other side of the bookcase. Sneakers that look exactly like the pair Remus owns.

I realize with a sinking feeling that he now knows my secret.

I watch his sneakers leave without him knowing I’m watching him at all. I’m thinking I should have made that deal with him today. I’m thinking everyone seems to be leaving me these days.

Chapter 8: Upside Down
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Clover and I walk into Hogsmeade as if we’d been doing it all our lives. We’ve talked about everything and yet nothing because what I overheard yesterday hangs over us like a storm cloud.

I doubt Clover will choose to go against Sirius. Sirius has been nothing but good to her, he always looks out for her, and he loves her. Regulus would be ready to drop her if he noticed any sign of a preference for good. It’s just the fact that she’s entertaining the idea of becoming a Death Eater. I’m not mad…just confused. If I’m going to get involved with this girl, I want to know where she stands.

We walk past the quaint little building with the sloped roofs and say hello to friends we see.

“Where do you want to go?” I ask.

“You tell me,” she says. “I’ve never been here before.”

Oh, yeah.

“Well, we could go to The Three Broomsticks or Honeydukes if you like. There’s Madam Puddifoots, but I doubt that’s your kind of shop.”

“What do you mean?” she asks affronted.

“Think confetti and an excess of valentine heart decorations,” I say.

A look of realization crosses her face, and she wrinkles her nose. “Oh,” she says, “well, let’s go to The Three Broomsticks then. Sirius says that’s good.”

Well, if Sirius says so.

I open the door for her as we enter which earns me a smile that makes me feel much warmer than even Madam Rosmerta’s butterbeer ever could.

Clover heads toward a booth in the back and I follow her lead. We take our places across from each other, and suddenly I’m struck with the fact that I’m on a date with the prettiest girl I’ve ever met.

“You look nice,” I say, translating my thoughts into words that can be said aloud.

“You do too,” she grins.

I pause. Should I ask about what I heard yesterday?

“You overheard me yesterday in the library,” Clover says after a moment. It’s not a question.

Well, that makes everything easier.

“Remus,” she continues, once my face affirms this statement, “I’m not a junior Death Eater, don’t worry. You can stop looking at me like I’m Voldemort’s little apprentice.”

“You’ve never talked to him before?” I ask nervously.

She laughs. “Oh you know, just the occasional chat about the weather or the latest Quidditch scores.” I roll my eyes at her smart mouth. “I’ve talked to him only once,” she concedes, “when he was visiting my parents on a meeting. I was young, and he saw me beating up Regulus and said I’d be a good addition to his cause.” She shrugs. “Whatever.”

Well, that’s a relief. Voldemort just thought she was good Death Eater material. No biggie.

“Okay,” I say for lack of a response.

“You’re mad,” she says.

“No,” I correct, “I’m concerned. He’s going to find you if he expressed interest in you already and then what will you do?”

“Refuse him,” she says as if this has all been thought through, and he’d simply accept her answer as final.

I shake my head, “This is bad Clover.”

She frowns. “I know Remus. It’ll be fine though.”

“I feel like that was kind of a contradiction.” Her face darkens so I say quickly, “Maybe not.”

“Listen. Don’t worry about me. I think you have enough to worry about as it is,” she says sharply.

I gulp. “What’s that supposed to mean?”

“You tell me,” she replies pointedly. She softens upon seeing my worried expression. “I’m sorry. I don’t know anything Remus, really I don’t. All I know is that you have some sort of problem. I don’t know what kind or how big, and you don’t have to tell me. In fact, I don’t want you to.”

“Okay,” I say calming down. “Okay good. Now let’s get back to you.” I wonder how many times that has been uttered on a date. I’m almost certain never in this context.

She waves a hand dismissively. “My parents always expected only three things from me: marry for money, go to Beauxbaton, and become a Death Eater.”

I sincerely hope she doesn’t still plan on still marrying for money.

Wait, I’m already thinking about marriage? I’ve officially lost all sense of rationality.

“I plan on disappointing them as much as possible,” she grins. “I’m not worried about the future Remus, so neither should you.”

“Well, when the time comes, I’ll be there for you,” I say sincerely.

She considers this. “I appreciate that,” Clover says graciously.

The conversation turns to other subjects besides life threatening ones, and I find myself enjoying it completely. I wonder is she’s having as much fun as I am. After we’ve finished our butterbeers, we stand up to go to Honeydukes where Clover buys more sweets than I do. Right away after seeing a couple talk about Zonko’s, she wants to go. I show her the way and even buy her a few dungbombs although I know I’m encouraging a bad habit.

“I had fun,” she says sweetly on our way back to the castle.

“Me too,” I reply, relieved.

“You seem relieved.”

Damn, she’s good.

I laugh trying to appear confident.

She smirks showing that she sees right through me.

“Thanks Remus,” she says after a while.

“For what?” I ask.

She gestures toward nothing. “Everything. You’ve made coming here much easier for me, and more fun.”

Fun. I’ve never heard that word in reference to me.

“I’m happy to do it,” I say truthfully.

She rewards me with another smile which I have grown accustomed to. This time though, she gives me a kiss on the cheek.

And I think I’m in heaven.










The next day she disappears.

Her brother Regulus is gone too. Once I had discovered that she was missing I simply expected her to be in the Hospital Wing with the flu. I made a trip to surprise her, but I was told by a rather ruffled Madam Pomfrey that she hadn’t been to see her at all this year.

When she didn’t show up for Astronomy that night, I really began to worry. I practically ran the entire trip to the Gryffindor boys’ dorm half expecting to see Sirius missing as well. I was relieved to see him sitting on his bed, but upon noticing the vacant expression on his face, my relief promptly vanished.

“They’ve gone to him haven’t they?” I ask blankly. Sirius simply nods. James is sitting in the window seat looking mournful and even Peter has mustered up some sympathy for the situation.

I shake my head in disbelief. “I don’t believe it! Just yesterday she told me she wouldn’t think of doing exactly this!”

Sirius seems to mirror my feelings. “I thought I knew her. I thought I’d had some effect on her.” In a sudden burst of anger he lets out a yelp and throws his pillow at nothing in particular.

“Sirius,” James says from the other side of the room, “mate, you can’t blame yourself.”
Sirius laughs darkly. “Well, I am.”

I sit down weakly on my trunk at the foot of my bed. I would have sworn for her that she wasn’t going to get involved with this…this evilness! I try to tell myself that she can still say no. Even then, wouldn’t that get her killed? Voldemort wouldn’t wait for reason and he certainly didn’t have any patience for expressions of virtue.

“I’m sure it’s not as bad as it seems,” Peter says meekly.

Sirius scoffs at this. “Any way you flip it, it’s going to be bad Peter.”

“Did she say anything?” I ask quietly.

Sirius shrugs, “She said she was sorry, but she wouldn’t say why.” Sirius smiles sadly, “I guess now I know.” He laughs, “I thought it was about something she’d done with you!”

I think quickly of the kiss she’d given me.

I’d been floating about in a romantic haze all last night, and now, any thoughts of love or adoration were far, far from my mind.

Before I’d questioned her feelings for me and her miscellaneous secrets, but now, there’s only one question on my mind.

How well can you ever really know a person?

“No,” I say sadly, “she has nothing to do with me.” 











AN:  Sorry it's so short, and I'm sorry about Clover!  Don't hate me or throw miscellaneous objects my way!  She still has time to redeem herself! ;-)
I'm heading back to college next week so the next update might not be for awhile.


Chapter 9: Better Together
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Remus is going to kill me.

Wait. Shouldn’t I be thinking about Sirius first?

I’ve completely lost it. I go on one date with the guy, and I can’t stop thinking about him?

Anyway, Remus and Sirius as well as numerous other random bystanders are going to kill me.

I had to go though. It’s just that simple and it’s just that hard. There was no way in hell I was going to let Regulus go meet up with Voldie by himself. I mean, the boy still can’t perform a proper Expelliarmus! I know of course, that I’m no match for the Dark Lord either, but at least together we’d have more of a chance if anything did happen.

I tried to reason with Regulus the whole way to Malfoy Manor where Voldemort was waiting for us. I clung to him on the back of his expensive brand new broomstick and shouted over the wind that he was an idiot if he went through with this…that I’d never speak to him again.

He now has a fabulous moving snake tattoo on his forearm so it’s obvious to us all that he wasn’t listening. Although it’s possible he just didn’t care.

Voldemort was much more intimidating that I remember from my childhood. It seems he has become even less human if that were even possible. He’s cheeks have sunk down to form shallow little pits and his eyes are shadowed in a way I didn’t even think could be done. He simply looked exactly how the devil appears in my mind.

After he had finished with Regulus he turned to me. I pretended to be unable to read lips which, in all honesty, it probably would have been difficult to read his as they barely moved. I made Regulus translate to sign language for me.

I was glad that I had chosen to play dumb for I knew that the Dark Lord could read minds more easily than I can read secrets. If I simply had to use my hands to communicate he couldn’t read anything on my face. I’ve learned through my lack of hearing that words give away much less than emotions that flicker across one’s eyes.

He wanted me to join up of course, but I refused although not outright. I told him I’d be a spy for him and what good would a tattoo do me then? I hoped that he couldn’t see past my façade.

He let us go.

Now I’m left with the chore of explaining exactly what happened to Sirius and Remus, and I know that even though I’m not a Death Eater at the moment, I should still expect quite a bit of anger on both their parts.







I’m furious with Clover.

It’s the exact feeling I got once I’d realized what it meant to be bitten. It’s that feeling of knowing nothing in life would ever be the same. There would be either pity or repulsion written all over peoples’ faces when I met them for the rest of my life. Then the little things would be different too. Ice cream would never be as sweet and a child would never be as innocent.

Yeah, it’s like that.

I never thought for a second she was innocent, but I at least thought she was…virtuous, for lack of a better word. I know I’m not the only one either – Sirius is devastated still. In fact, the only one of us who seems relatively calm is Peter for once.

One thought seems to stick with me. If a girl like Clover who is still so young and new to the world’s tragedies can decide something as grave as she has, what chance is there for the rest of us to come out of this as we entered?

She can’t hear, but she listens harder than anyone I know. She can see through a person’s appearances as soon as she looks at them. Clover is, or rather was, better than any of us. Now, she’s just one of them. She’ll use her skills against herself, as well as us. What chance do we have?

I walk down the stone walled corridor on my way to nowhere in particular. I simply didn’t want to think anymore. It’s not as if she was a huge part of my life…she was just a girl that I could have loved.

I take a seat in one of the open windows and stare out blankly into the night.

“Remus,” a voice says.

It sounds like Clover.

It can’t be.

I turn to look.

It is.

I look at her mustering up my best angry face.

She giggles, “Don’t do that. You look funny.”

“What are you doing here?” I ask darkly. Somehow though I’m not as angry as I am on the outside. Somehow just her being here makes me happy even though she is the source of my madness.

She places herself on the edge of the window by me so that every inch of my side is touching hers. It makes me crazy for her even at a time like this. In fact, I’m more attracted to her now than ever.

I have problems. My being a werewolf may just be the least of them.

She turns to me so that the right side of her face is illuminated in the moonlight while the other side is left dark. “I know what you’re thinking -”

“Of course you do,” I mutter.

“I didn’t do it,” she finishes.

I pause.

“What?” I ask incredulously.

Clover shows me her pare forearm. She tells me all about what’s happened to her in the last few days. She apologizes profusely about leaving Sirius and everyone in the dark, and I’m sure it’s more than she’s ever apologized in her life although she seems unfazed by this.

“You have every right to be upset,” she finishes shrugging.

I know I do. I should be mad for leaving me worried and alone with no one to talk to but Sirius who only blew things even more out of proportion than usual. I realize though, that I’m not.

She sees this in my face and grins. She kisses me on the cheek. “You’re the best.”

I consider this because I’ve never heard anyone say that in reference to me ever. I wonder what she means by it. I’m the best at what…being a friend? I’m the best at not being mad at her when she deserves it, that’s for sure.

“You’re in trouble,” I reply unsmiling.

Her grin melts away. “I know,” she says softly, “it’ll be okay.”

“Have you spoken to Dumbledore?” I ask.

“No, not yet.”

I shake my head at her in disbelief. “You of all people should know that Dumbledore is the first person you should have gone to see, not me.”

She smiles roguishly. “Dumbledore’s not as attractive as you though.”

“Come on,” I command as I take her by the elbow and propel her forward although I want more than anything to laugh. 







“Have you seen Clover?” I ask Sirius carefully. He looks over to me from where he is propped up on the coach in front of the fire in the Common Room.

“Yes,” he says casually.

“She didn’t get a tattoo,” I say, my face revealing nothing.

“No,” he nods.

I shrug. “I’m not mad at her.”

He gives me a hard look. “Why would you be? You’re not her brother.”

“You’re mad then,” I assume.

Sirius shrugs. “She chose Regulus over me.”

“She chose to protect Regulus. There’s nothing wrong with that.”

“Anything to do with Regulus is wrong,” Sirius counters.

I consider this. I decide I can’t disagree.

A third year named Jeffrey Paul walks in through the portrait hole and upon spying Sirius calls over to him. “Black! You’re sister’s waiting for you outside.”

Sirius sighs and stands up. He looks down at me and says slowly and concisely in true Black fashion, “I suppose you ought to come as well.” I’m slightly surprised at his acceptance of the fact that Clover just might want to see me too.

We exit the Common Room and spot Clover leaning against a wall. Instead of the wall supporting her though, it seems she’s supporting the wall. She’s so tense it shows in every limb of her body although she’s never shown her emotions physically to me before. As we approach her I see that her eyes are red rimmed from either crying or lack of sleep. Usually I’d say the latter is more likely, but in this situation, I’d say it’s the first.

“They’re talking about me,” she says finally after we’ve stood examining her for a few moments.

Neither of us speak.

“They’re saying I’m a Death Eater. They’re saying I’m the Dark Lord’s chosen,” she continues.

I’m struck by how deeply this seems to be affecting her. I’ve never seen her so distraught, although I haven’t none her that long. However, I turn to Sirius and he seems just as genuinely concerned as me.

Sirius runs a hand through his dark hair so that it stands on end. “Clover,” he says finally, “don’t worry about them.”

“They talk about me a lot, I know,” she says, tearing up again, “because they think I can’t see them. They talk about me when I’m standing right in front of them because they know I can’t hear. They’re ridiculously stupid.”

I grin at the familiar sound of malice in her voice.

“Before though, it was all true. They’ve called me a bitch…okay, maybe I am sometimes. They’ve called me conceited,” Clover shrugs, “sure, fine. This though, is completely untrue and it’s a horrible thing to say about anyone. Especially because the decision I’ve made may very well kill me even though it was for the good. They don’t even realize…” she trails off making a strangled noise.

Sirius wraps his arms around his sister and kisses the top of her head. “It’s alright,” he says calming her. “They don’t know anything, you know that. They only know what they see while you,” he pulls her at arms length, “know they’re all fools and can see through them all. Hell, you hear more clearly than they do.”

She grins sulkily. “Thanks Sirius,” she mumbles.

“We all love you,” I say, feeling as if I should say something although what I’d really meant to say is ‘I love you.’” She simply turns to me with onyx eyes and turns me inside out.

“I wish I knew who ‘we’ meant,” she smirks finally, and I know I’ve broken through to her by humiliating myself for her benefit.

The odd thing is, I’ve never felt better while being publicly embarrassed. 









AN:  Okay, so I told you it'd be a while until my next update.  I've actually been working on this chapter for the past week but its been slow going.  I'll probably have the next one out next week sometime although I'm not making any promises.
Let me know if I've made any mistakes in this chapter and/or if you liked it or disliked it.
Thanks guys, you're amazing!


Chapter 10: Clumsy
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Currently, I’m rethinking my agreement to be Clover’s Potions partner.

She’s dumping fig leaves and some kind of wrinkled nut into the dark, murky potion. I’m concerned because I know for a fact that she does not know every direction Slughorn said because half the time, his back was turned. I know she’s good at reading lips but not that good.

She’s amusing me though because she seems to know precisely what she’s doing and refuses stubbornly to ask me for help. She won’t even look at me so I can tell her what to do. She seems bound to do this on her own.

I have no idea why. We’re making a love potion, and she’s told me before she thinks they should be illegal. Granted, this particular potion is supposed to only last half an hour.

“There,” she says finally, looking up at me with big dark eyes, “I’m done.”

“Super,” I mumble.

“You’re not happy,” she grins.

I roll my eyes at her but I can’t help smiling back.

Sirius makes a joke from behind me, and I turn around to laugh. By the time I turn around Clover has a smirk on her face. The same smirk she wore when she chose Ravenclaw over Gryffindor or Slytherin.

“Let’s sit together at lunch,” she says decidedly.

I’m suspicious, but I shrug. What could she possibly do with the whole school watching? Then I remember her little mistake on the Quidditch field and I begin to wonder about my logic.

Still, I say, “Alright.”

It’s not like she could embarrass me any more than she already has.

However, I know immediately when we’re sitting together at the wooden tables a few hours later that I definitely should have thought this through a little more.

She’s sitting next to me with a small little china doll smile on her face, and Sirius keep fidgeting in his food barely listening to James’s jokes. You can’t blame him there though; James’s jokes are hardly ever worth listening to. I say that as a friend.

Clover cocks her head to the side so that I catch a whiff of her perfume and she nods in the direction of her own house table.

“Emmeline,” she says, “is such a flirt.” She looks at Emmeline with such intensity that I look in that general area as well. Emmeline is preening herself in front of some Ravenclaw boy I don’t think I know. That’s not unusual. Everyone knows the Marauders as much as I hate to say it, but we don’t know most of the other students. Mainly, because I keep to myself, I know Sirius’s and James’s girlfriends and a couple of their friends. And now, as a new addition to the system, Sirius’s sister.

Sirius jerks his head as if he’s having a seizure and his long black hair shakes violently. “Excuse me?” he asks Clover, curious.

Clover leans over the table so that the necklace she’s wearing dangles precariously over my goblet. My eyes are drawn to the charm on the end and I recognize it as the Black family crest. Well, I suppose some things are hard to give up.

“Oh don’t worry she likes you,” she says confidently. She turns to give Emmeline a wave.

I shake my head at her antics and pick up my goblet with my usual pumpkin juice. I take a quick swig and continue eating my pork as I had been before. Clover suppresses a giggle while looking at me expectantly.

I raise my eyes to meet hers. “What?” I ask her not impatiently.

She looks slightly disappointed.

“What is it?” I ask, worried now.

She brightens considerably after a moments thought.

I brush off the incident without contemplation. Clover is after all, a girl, and is entitled to certain odd moments and random bursts of feminine moodiness.










I’m sitting in the library studying some Ancient Runes when Clover skips over. I mean, she’s literally skipping and, quite frankly, it’s scaring the hell out of me. Clover does not skip. Ever.

“Hello,” she murmurs as she takes a seat across from me. I grunt. I’m feeling slightly ill at the moment as the full moon is so near.

“I know your secret,” she says smirking.

“Excuse me?” I squeak. I seem to have lost my masculinity with my surprise.

She raises an eyebrow and places a tiny hand on my paper. “It’s okay,” she confides, “I know you’re in love with me.”

I gulp. Well, I dodged that bullet.

Um.

Well, kind of.

I laugh nervously. “I don’t know what you’re talking about Clover. We’ve only just started to be friends.”

I’m being an ass. A typical boyish ass.

“You’re being an ass,” she comments smoothly.

I don’t reply. It’s not worth it.

“I gave you that love potion today at lunch,” she says measuring my response which I’m sure was quite enough entertainment for her because I’m shocked. Even from her I’d never expect such…such… “I dumped it in your pumpkin juice, and yes, I know it was wrong,” she concedes attempting to avoid a lecture.

“And illegal!” I interject.

She rolls her eyes as if I should know she’s clearly above the law. I suppose I should know. Blacks have always managed to slip past legal proceedings in the past. “Anyway, it worked.”

I’m quite sure it didn’t.

“It didn’t,” I tell her.

“Oh,” she says with a glint in her eye, “it did. You see, I made it perfectly. I know I made it perfectly because making that potion was the only thing my mother ever taught me that was useful. It didn’t have any affect on you.” She seems rather proud about this fact, but I am simply more confused that ever. I wish I could just settle back into my Ancient Runes again because in comparison to this conversation, they seem quite simple.

“You were already in love me,” she says finally. “That’s why it didn’t work.”

I consider this. It’s possible. I mean, it definitely could happen.

“You’re completely wrong,” I lie.

“You’re lying,” she says satisfied.

I roll my eyes in a very un-Remus fashion.

Something’s wrong with me.










After Clover leaves, Sirius pops in to have a little chat. I’ve never had so many visitors in the library before, and it’s kind of throwing me off. The library is my secret place because honestly, students generally avoid it whenever possible. Me, I welcome the smell of musty old books and silence.

“Mate,” he says as he plops in front of me, “let’s go for a walk.”

I huff, but I know I don’t really have a choice so I pick up my books and miscellaneous other scholarly items.

We end up wandering around the corridors until we end up in the courtyard. It was a bad idea because people were always eavesdropping on couples whispering to each other or enemies making threats…whatever. I wasn’t in the mood to mention this to Sirius because first of all, he should know that better than anyone. Secondly, what he had to say probably wasn’t that crucial.

“The full moon is coming up,” he says as we sit in the chill night air.

Okay, so maybe it is a bit important.

“Yup,” I reply offhandedly.

“I love it,” he says.

“You know I hate it,” I say in almost a whine.

He puts a hand on my shoulder. “We’ve never led you astray have we?”

“Not yet,” I mutter.

Sirius laughs to the near-full moon. It’s almost disturbing how much like me he looks at the moment.

“You’re just like a girl with your time of the month you know?” he says, still laughing.

“Don’t rub it,” I say. I make a mental note to beat someone up in the next month just to remind myself of my manliness.

“At least you and Clover can have something to talk about,” Sirius says. He’s still laughing, that ass.

I shove him and he falls off his perch. It’s not quite as violent as I would have wished, but he is my best friend. I can’t kill him.

“How much do you like her?” he asks seriously as he dusts himself off.

I pause. “I’d marry her now, if I could.”

He passes a hand over his face. “I thought so.”

“Do I have your blessings?” I ask with a straight face.

“Shut your face,” he says shoving me now. I tip slightly.

“Seriously though,” I say sobering, “do you mind at all?”

He thinks. He thinks some more.

“Sirius!”

“I’m joking. I was only pretending to think,” he says. “Better you than Peter,” he says finally.

“Thanks mate,” I say clapping him on the back.

We sit in silence for a second and only a second.

“I knew it!” a familiar face says as it pops up in front of us. I’m alarmed to see its Clover, and she' s somehow appeared from behind the fountain in the courtyard.

I’m especially alarmed not because she knows I like her, but its quite possibly she knows of my condition.

“How much did you hear?” Sirius asks immediately.

She looks at me deliberately and her eyes run over every curve and contour of my face and body simultaneously. It’s scary.

Finally, she parts her lips and says, “Everything.” 










AN:  So...yeah.  This chapter is a little...okay it's not the favorite thing I've ever written.  I thought it was interesting how I explored Remus's issues with his masculinity throughout the chapter, but that's really about all I was impressed with.  I can only hope you guys like it more than I do. 

Chapter 11: Imperfection
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I think about him all the time.

There I’ve said it. I’m a hopeless romantic. I’m just your typical girl.

There’s a difference though, I’m proud to say. I didn’t admit to it until I knew for sure he liked me back.

I’ve been feeling quite somber about the whole ordeal however. I mean, regardless of the fact that Remus is completely handsome in the Rudolph Valentino sense and he is just as sensitive as any girl could wish for, he is a werewolf after all. It’s tough forgetting about all the things my dear old mother engraved in my brain about werewolves being inhuman and undeserving of any respect or concern.

Still though…Rudolph Valentino.

And I just can’t picture Remus ever hurting me. I mean, Sirius has been his best mate all these years. I just found out Sirius, James, and Peter all learned how to become Animagi in order to take care of him during the full moons. I’ve always trusted Sirius’s judgment and if he thinks Remus is worth all that effort, well then, I’m willing to give him the time of day.

Really, I’m more surprised that Peter figured out to transform rather than Remus being a werewolf.

I knew he had a secret. It was just a matter of what. Now I know, and it is a damn good secret. I’d venture to say it’s the best secret I’ve ever heard. It’s even better than Sirius keeping me a secret all those years for less than valid reasons, the ass.

Anyway, I didn’t admit to liking Remus (although I really did of course) to anyone until just today, and that was only to Sirius. I was sort of disappointed that Sirius didn’t act more surprised, but what can I do? I’m not telling Emmeline, Ada, or George. I’m not certain I can trust them yet. They’re only good for a laugh at the moment.

Shut up. I know I have trust issues.

It’s something that can’t be seen and it makes you feel as if you have no control over your own emotions. Once you know someone has such a horrible condition what can you do but feel…scared, for yourself and them. The feeling hides deep down in your heart though, so that you barely think its there, but it is. I can almost feel it burrowing deeper down into my soul. How long could anyone live with that fear?

I can’t help it. I’m a Black and therefore, I’m a little bit selfish.

I do like him though. A lot.

I’d be willing to work on my Black-like tendencies for him. That’s saying something.

I can’t believe he likes me though. I mean, I know to everyone else it must be the most obvious thing in the world, but I was completely oblivious. I flirted with him in a way only a Black girl can do, but it seemed to have literally no effect on him. Then, my little love potion changed all that. I’m quite good at Potions regardless of what Remus seems to think.

His ignorance is so endearing sometimes.

All laughter aside though, I’ve never been in love. In fact, I’ve never been in like. I can only imagine what it must be to be in love. I think it’d be something like drinking a cup of steaming hot chocolate except constantly feeling that warm all the time. I’ve heard it described many different ways by my friends. The best thing about it is that it requires no hearing or even seeing. I’m a Black girl, but my heart is on fire for love.

I think that should be all that matters.






I’m currently on my way to the Headmaster’s office. He had something “urgent” to tell me. Well, of course it’s urgent. Everything with the war is urgent. I’m tired of urgency. Actually, damn urgency. I slow my fast pace to a tip toe.

I feel the vibrations of running feet under mine so I turn so my hair fans out behind me in exactly the way I know boys like. I’m glad it did that too because it’s Remus who’s chasing me. He had better know that even though I like him, he’s still going to have to do a bit of chasing.

Although come to think of it, he still doesn’t know I like him.

“Hello,” I say, flashing my dark eyes.

He momentarily forgets how to speak until he says, “Where are you off to?”

I cock my head in the direction of the statue in front of Dumbledore’s office.

“Ah,” he realizes. “Listen, you’re not going off to do any spy work are you?”

“I don’t know,” I admit, “but probably.”

“Why aren’t you scared?” he says as he clearly is.

“Why are you?” I counter.

“You know why,” he says without missing a beat.

I grin widely. “That I do.”

He shuffles around for a moment and looks up at the ceiling. “I’ve been meaning to speak with you about that. About what you heard…”

I roll my eyes nonchalantly. “I’m whatever about it.”

“You’re whatever about it?” he questions, raising an eyebrow. It’s rather adorable.

“I’ve heard werewolves make better lovers anyway,” I reply, shocking him into silence. I twirl around so that my skirt swishes back and forth as I walk away leaving him as unmoving as the statue I’m approaching.

Merlin, if I wasn’t so good at hiding things, I’d be so screwed right now. 





 “So?” he asks as he approaches me after my meeting. It seems he took the liberty of waiting for me outside the Headmaster’s office. He’s walking casually but his face is white like chalk.

I smile to feign happiness. “I’m going on a secret mission,” I tell him proudly, “like an undercover agent.”

He ruffles his hair and frowns deeply. “I wish you wouldn’t go,” he says finally.

“I wish you’d stop worrying so much,” I reply pointedly.

He’s getting impatient now. “Well, I wish I wasn’t a werewolf, but we can’t all get what we want.” He brightens. “Here I learned something for you.” He waves his hands awkwardly and I read his poor signing. He’s saying ‘You’re beautiful.’

I blush in spite of myself.

“Of course Sirius would know how to sign that best,” I mutter. I straighten and say more loudly, “Thank you.”

“Don’t go.” His face falls again.

I shake my head. “You know how I feel about commands.” I start walking in the direction of the Common Room.

“Please,” he pulls on my arms so we’re face to face. “It’s not a command Clover. It’s a wish. I need you here…I need,” he trails off and releases his hold. I take his free hand to my own surprise.

“You need what?” I ask softly.

“I need you,” he says lamely but without a pause. “I’ve needed you since I first saw you.”

“I know,” I say easily remembering how he looked at me that first day. I was just glad he couldn’t hear my beating heart at the moment. It occurs to me I tell him ‘I know’ too often. I’ve never felt so self-conscious around a boy.

He considers something. “Is it possible to need someone before you’ve met?”

I raise my eyes to his and see the amber inside the dark surrounding his pupil. “Yes,” I say positively, “absolutely.”

He grins wolfishly.

Ha. That’s funny now.

Only I could so easily find humor in something while so clearly falling in love with a werewolf.

“C’mon,” he says, “let’s go for a walk.”

I agree. We walk through the solid stone halls of the school and out the great double doors into the crisp fall air. We walk in silence, but it’s a comfortable silence. It’s the best silence I’ve ever known in fact, and I live my life without sound.

“Are you sure you don’t mind I’m a werewolf?” he asks tentatively.

“You’re questioning me,” I say disapprovingly.

He shakes his head. “No, I’m just so surprised. I would have told you eventually, but I know how you were brought up, and-”

I stop him. “I may be a Black, but I’m also Sirius’s sister. We’re not so different. I know you worry I’m more like Regulus, and in some ways I am. I’m not choosing between them, even now, but I’m still Sirius’s best girl Remus, and I do have a heart.”

He seems relieved. He laughs under his breath and says, “Where’d you hear werewolves are better lovers?”

“I just imagine they are is all,” I say mischievously.

“You’re a crazy girl,” he chuckles.

We walk around the lake for a few minutes until he breaks the silence once more. “Sirius wants to send one of us with you to You-Know-Who.”

“Excuse me?” I burst. I had just been studying the swaying trees and imagining the sound of the wind rustling through the branches, but now, I could only focus on the here and now. I hug myself as a shield from the wind.

Remus whips off his jacket in a flash and hands it to me wordlessly. I mutter a quick thanks before he continues, “I wanted to go immediately, but I’m too unpredictable with the full moons and Sirius seems to think I’d do something brave and give your secret away.”

I nod, “You’ve never been good with secrets as long as I’ve known you.” It hasn’t been very long though, I remind myself silently.

He shrugs as if indifferent. “We’ve all decided on Peter.”

“I don’t need anyone to go with me and especially not him of all people.”

“It makes the most sense. No one would ever suspect Peter, and he’d never give you away. He’d be too scared to even speak directly to You-Know-Who.”

“I won’t do it,” I say stoutly.

Remus stops walking and pulls me in front of him. “Please,” he says sincerely. I understand through the expression on his face that he truly needs this.

I shrug. It doesn’t really matter anyway. “Fine.”

If only we had known then the strength of the decision we had just made and how drastically it would affect us all in a few years time.

He slides a hand under my dark hair and places it at the nape of my neck holding firmly. This simple action sends shivers down my spine, but I try not to show it.

“Kiss me goodbye,” I command simply. It comes easily to me to direct him in such a fashion, and he seems unfazed by my audacity.

However, to my surprise he shakes his head. “No,” he says lowering himself so that he can see every inch of my face. “I won’t kiss you goodbye. I’ll kiss you as a beginning of more to come. More of us to come.”

I realize the impact of his words but nod slightly. He leans in until his breath is hot on my face and I can smell the breeze moving through his hair. In a second, his lips are on mine, and suddenly a rush of feeling floods my body from my toes to my chest. It’s my first kiss and it’s everything I’ve ever wanted but it’s not perfect. The imperfection of it mirrors exactly the emotions in my heart so it fits exactly like a puzzle piece into my being. It’s everything and so much better than any sound I could ever hear.

As we pull apart he grins down at me and says, “I think that will hold me over until you get back.”

I couldn’t agree more.

We stand close together experiencing each other’s radiant body heat and he holds my hand lightly as he asks randomly, “What do you want after the war Clover?”

I reply easily, “I’d like to come back to this place, in this moment, with a sweet-tempered werewolf.”

This clearly makes him happy, and his joy spreads over his features. “You would want that,” he says clearly, finally.

And I know what he means. His translucent danger fits snugly into every other aspect of my life and my personality. We’re more alike than any outsider could ever know.






AN:   Well, I thought this chapter was rather cute myself, but who am I to judge?
That's why I need you guys!
And you should all be quite pleased I updated so quickly!
=)
I don't know who's point of view I like writing better at this point. -shrugs- We'll see.
In any case, I'm more excited for this story than ever!


Chapter 12: Amazed
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Waiting. I’ve never been any good at it. I swear, I have some sort of disease where I cannot sit still when I’m impatient for something. It doesn’t help that this time, I’m waiting for a girl I love and hope to call mine sometime soon.

Sirius watches me like a hawk, and I think he’s looking for some sign of what Clover may have said to me during our goodbye. He’s only asked me if she knew when she was coming back, which she didn’t because she didn’t know. It strikes me that a reversal of roles may have just taken place with me as Clover’s confident and Sirius as the outsider looking in. I feel sorry for him because that’s not a very good position to be in and especially not when it comes to his sister.

I go to class like a good boy, but I find it impossible to pay attention. Professor Slughorn calls me out on it during a particularly good daydream concerning Clover and a wet t-shirt. Professor McGonagall commands I stop tapping my quill on the hard wood of the desks in her classroom, which I agree to grudgingly.

I wonder what could possibly be taking Clover such a long time. None of the Marauders have heard a word from Peter which means that either he’s been killed or he’s just too lazy to pen a quick note to us. It’s probably the latter although neither options would be unlikely.

My thoughts rest lightly on the whereabouts of Peter until they turn sharply once more to Clover. I’d never thought in my life that I’d find a girl worth waiting for. I figured my girl in the end would be waiting for me. I’d romanticized it to no end. The girl I’d imagined would be waiting for me all her life until I came to her. The girl in my mind ended up being not at all what reality brought me.

It’s funny though because now I can’t sleep. It used to be that in my dreams my soul mate was waiting for me, but now, she’s alive and real in my waking life. Why sleep that away?

Even before she’d left just a few days ago, I never thought I could handle waiting for her. Then I felt her kiss, and I could wait my whole life just to feel something like that again. I think part of my problem was that people find faults in those that keep them waiting. Humans as a whole don’t like to wait. When the person keeping you waiting is so flawed already and keeps all her short comings on show, it’s impossible to find mistakes. Those imperfections make her perfect in my eyes.

I’m only relieved because if I can survive this first bout of waiting, I can survive much, much more. And there will be much more if she continues on this path. I think disjointedly that it’s good she’s amazing at poker. On the other hand, who is it she’s really trying to fool? If she’s lying to us…how could we ever know?

But I can’t think like that.

As I sit across from Sirius on my four poster, I do think about this and everything, until Sirius in typical Sirius fashion interrupts me.

“I’ve never seen anything like it,” he says. I look up and he seems thrown between awe and disgust.

“What?” I ask confused.

“You,” he shakes his head, “are completely head-over-heels for my sister!”

I groan, “It’s the best and worst thing I’ve ever felt mate. Don’t rub salt in the wound please.”

He falls back on to the bed, apparently in an effort to stop himself from doing just that. “Full moon is tonight.”

“Of course it is,” I say grimly. The one time in my life when I absolutely feel as if any physical anguish would tear me to shreds, I have to deal with it. Alas, the life of being a werewolf.

“What’s her middle name?” I ask suddenly. I don’t know why I want to know. I have a weird inclination for knowing people’s middle names.

Sirius sits up again and cocks his head to his side. I look at him sheepishly. “There are several names…which would you like to know?”

“What?” I splutter. “How many exactly does she have?”

Sirius shrugs. “Her given name is Clover Athena Maria Hawthorne Black.”

I gape. “Hawthorne?” I ask, after a moment of recollection.

“It was my mother’s maiden name.”

“Why don’t you have as many?” I ask.

“Regulus got all the exciting ones. First born you know. What with Clover being the only girl, she got loaded up on all the family female names.”

“Ah,” I say as if this makes complete sense. I’ll never understand the family Black.

“What are we going to do with Peter gone?” Sirius asks.

“Erm…” That is a good question. “Throw rocks at the Whomping Willow until it stops moving?”

Sirius lets loose a bark of laughter. “I forgot for a second why we never let you plan our pranks mate.”

“How could you?” I ask in mock surprise.

Sirius smirks at me, but he quickly sobers. He’s been quite calm lately, and quite frankly, it’s throwing me off.

“What’s with you?” I ask insensitively.

He looks at his hands which are folded in his lap. “I just might know what you feel like Moony.”

I pause. “Excuse me?” I’m more worried than unsure. I’m fairly certain Sirius has never known what it feels like to be me at any point in his adolescent life.

“Emmeline,” he groans. “I can’t get her out of my mind. The thing that I don’t understand is that I’ve been treating her just like any of the other girls, and yet…”

“She’s different,” I offer up pleasantly.

“Yes,” Sirius points at me, head still bowed, “yes, precisely.”

“I never thought I’d say this Pads, but,” I turn over what I’m going to say in my mind and decide its absolute ludicrous. Nonetheless I continue. “…you just may like her.”

“You’ve completely lost it now Moony.” He considers this though as if to be fair through and through. “Actually, you may be right. It’s just that the initial idea struck me as odd at first.”

“It’s more than odd,” I agree.

“Whatever,” Sirius falls back on the bed once more. “I’ve got to stop this madness then. I can’t be falling in love now! We still have a semester left of girls and mayhem. I won’t be reined in, I won’t,” he says stubbornly, like a child.

“I hope Clover doesn’t feel the same way as you,” I say worriedly.

“She’s a Black isn’t she?”

“She’s her own person isn’t she?” I mock.

Sirius snorts.

“We’ve both gone completely off our rocker.”

I couldn’t agree more.









That night is worse than imaginable for me, and it’s definitely worse than most of my transformations. I’m not really sure what I did or what I happened to destroy, but I know when I became me again I felt as though I’d been torn to absolute shreds.

I must have said this out loud because a voice answers me.

“You basically have mate,” James says.

I look down at my thin frame and find it covered with nips, cuts, and bruises. “Are these all self-inflicted?” I ask warily.

“Every last one,” Sirius says with a hint of worry in his voice.

James is dressing my wounds tonight which I don't really appreciate as he is less than gentle, but I'm too tired to protest. 

“Here,” a voice says indistinctly, “let me.” I look to the side and there in the doorway is my girl, my Clover. She’s standing there looking authoritative and calm as if she’s used to cleaning up half naked werewolves in her spare time.

James hands her the ointment and the bandages disconcertingly. He eyes her as if he’s never seen anything quite like her before.

“Clover,” Sirius says, “what are you doing here? It isn’t safe.”

Clover laughs at the irony of this statement. “You find your friend here more dangerous than what I’ve been doing for the past week?”

Sirius looks at her like a small boy who got caught with his hand in the cookie jar. “No…”

“Good.” Clover nods to the door, “Close that on your way out.”

Sirius obeys surprisingly, and James throws a log in the fireplace before winking at me as he eases the door shut.

“So,” Clover speaks slowly looking down at my torso. I feel miniscule under her scrutiny. “I always wondered how you got all those scars.”

She leans over me and applies the ointment slowly to each cut before bandaging the bigger ones. She works faster but more nimble than James, and her touch is light. It’s making me feel slightly hazy in fact. I never thought my healing process could be so…exhilarating. In doesn’t help that when she comes to the last one, she bends down and kisses it softly before covering it.

“You’ll be the death of me,” I pant. My conscious state is definitely better than dreamland at this point, but I can’t help it. I’m past the point of exhaustion and past the point of no return. I’m asleep before I can even attempt to stop myself. As I pass into sleep mode I see Clover’s perfectly symmetrical face floating above mine, and I wish groggily that that image would stay with me through the night. 









AN:  Well that was rather fun to write.  And you guys had to know the obligatory chapter about Remus's first full moon with his girl was coming up at some point.  Please, please, please...tell me what you think! =)

Chapter 13: Still Life
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Once I recovered from my “big night” as James and Sirius have taken to calling it, everything pretty much went back to normal. The next few weeks went by uneventfully and although Clover and I did talk, I never mentioned her being there for me. I should have. Bad dog.

She never brought it up though either.

Really, I still have no idea what she thinks about me or any part of me, and it’s been throwing me off. I can’t concentrate once again because of her. I hope she’s happy. She probably is, that tease.

Just kidding about the tease part. Kinda.

I have to know what she really thinks about me. Merlin, I feel like a little girl doing this, but it has to be done. I make myself a promise to do something incredibly manly directly after this.

At dinner, I sit in front of a rather pretty blonde girl at the Gryffindor table. She raises her eyes to mine and cocks her head to the side. “Remus,” she says with surprise.

“Emmeline,” I smile gently.

“Are your friends sick?” she asks confusedly.

“Er…no.”

“Okay,” she shrugs.

“Listen,” I say urgently, “what has Clover said to you?”

She rolls her eyes. “I can sign Remus.”

“Okay,” I hold up my hands. She’s making this deliberately difficult. “What has she signed to you?”

“About what?” She’s put on her best indifferent face.

I lean closer, over the toast and marmalade. “About me.”

Her gaze is piercing and amazingly calculating. “I’ll show you mine if you show me yours.”

I look at her in shock. “Excuse me? I mean, that’s not a bad idea by any means but not exactly what I had in mind.”

“You’re an ass Remus Lupin.”
“I…wait, what?”

“I’ll tell you what Clover’s said about you, if you tell me what Sirius has said about me,” she says decisively.

It’s an easy trade, I think. In Clover’s terms, it’s a good call. In fact, I should maybe even up the ante. But I’ve never been one for gambling. “Okay.”

“You first.”

I look over my shoulder attempting to be sneaky although it doesn’t suit me, and I know it. “Sirius likes you. A lot. More than any other girl he’s dated or is dating. He’s still dating other girls you know, but he likes you best. That’s how he is. He likes girls.” I’m rambling, damn it.

“You’re rambling,” she points out, “but okay.”

“You’re turn.” I’m not offended.

“Okay.” Here’s the big moment, and my heart’s actually picked up its pace. “Clover has said absolutely nothing about you.”

I pause. I retrace my steps. I determine something has gone terribly wrong in the conversation. “I’m sorry?”

Emmeline grins at me. “She’s never said anything about you as a person. She only told me you went out to Hogsmeade and you’re friends with Sirius, which I knew of course.”

“Oh.” I try to look nonplussed but I know it isn’t working.

“Look,” she says, “it’s not that bad if you would only think for a moment. Clover only tells things to people when they’re not important. Everything that’s anything is a secret to her, which is probably why she hasn’t mentioned you to me. You’re probably something if I were to guess.”

“Oh!” I say, a bit more happily. “Well, that is great news.”

She bites her lip. “I’m glad you think so.”

“Why?”

“Well, has it ever occurred to you that maybe Clover isn’t exactly a girl for relationships and such?”

“Yes,” I say honestly. I want to add, every second I’m with her.

She smiles now. “Well, good. At least you’re both on the same page.”

I smile back dubiously and say, “Yes, good.”

“Okay then,” she’s still smiling but I’ve clearly been dismissed.

“Alright,” I agree. I sit for a second more, but then stand awkwardly and walk away as collectedly as possible.

I’m simply glad that’s over.

Now all that has to be done is a quick wrestling match with Sirius.

-
Clover’s POV

“Emmeline, what did Remus want at dinner?” I ask inconspicuously. I want to know, of course. Damn it, I want to know.

We’re sitting in the library trying to study, but it’s hard to do so when you’re also trying to sign simultaneously.

She looks up and says slyly, “He just wanted to say hello Clover. I don’t see why it would matter to you.”

“Forget it,” I reply staunchly.

“Well,” she begins, giving in, “you should know that he has no idea that you like him, which I know you do, don’t lie, and that he is head over heals for you.”

“I knew that,” I say grumpily. How can he honestly not know I like him? I went to Hogsmeade with him didn’t I? I flirted like a pro with him and exactly like any decent Black girl would. Although come to think of it, most Black girls would only be leading him. Really, I guess I kinda am.

“Your brother doesn’t want to get serious,” she says suddenly.

I laugh. “What did you expect?”

“I don’t know,” she mutters. “We just have just a good time together, you know?”

“Yeah,” I say, because I do know. Because Sirius constantly talks about her. He’s so stubborn in his ways, but I think Emmeline can be the change he needs. I’m not about to tell her so though.

“I’m glad we’re friends,” she says amiably after a while. I have no idea why, and it really makes me shrink inwardly. What am I supposed to say to that? What’s the proper protocol?

I nod and grunt.

Merlin, I am so socially awkward.






Remus POV

“Sirius,” I begin, “tell me about Clover.”

He turns on his perch in the window seat and places the book he was reading next to him. “She enjoys a good cup of coffee, vacations to Capri, and expensive jewelry,” he says without pause.

“So basically she’s very superficial and materialistic.”

“She is not!” Sirius snarls.

“Okay,” I say calmly.

“She just likes nice things!”

“I understand,” I nod.

“Shut up,” Sirius declares.

“Er…”

“I’m sorry,” Sirius says immediately. “She’s my baby sister you know…very protective…” he trails off muttering to himself.

“Whatever,” I say quickly. “I mean, how can you…know her?”

“Talking to her is a good place to start,” Sirius says sarcastically.

“Forget it,” I say smartly. I’m determined to not talk to him for a long, long time now. He’s made me mad and isn’t talking me seriously.

Minutes pass. I try to amuse myself with a book. I throw it down. The clock ticks slowly, painfully slowly, on the wall. I get up to check that it is working. It is.

“Okay,” I say finally after half an hour. “I give.”

“I didn’t know we were playing,” Sirius says raising an eyebrow. He laughs at my face. “You forget I’ve lived with a deaf girl all my life. I can not talk for days.”

“I can’t believe that,” I reply. I can’t. Sirius talks constantly, and really, it gets annoying after a while.

“Clover is Clover,” he says sagely. “That’s all there is to it.”

“I suppose,” I concede.

Suddenly, something flies into the window Sirius is sitting by. He puts down his book for the second time and opens it halfway. A small brown owl flops in and onto his lap. “I think this one’s seen better days,” he frowns. Upon seeing it’s addressed to me, he tosses the floppy owl into my lap.

I take the letter from its beak and set the owl gently on the bed beside me where it promptly perks up and toddles to my side, apparently to read the letter.

I ease the envelope open and pull out a length of parchment that reads:

Remus,

There’s been an emergency.
Come home.

-Mom

I’m not sure what to make of it so I toss it to Sirius.

“I’ll come with you mate,” he says immediately.

In the next hour, all of the Marauders plus Clover are packed for a few days stay at my house. The letter is still a mystery to me, and hopefully it isn’t something silly like my Aunt Mildred is getting divorced again. That would be horribly embarrassing especially in front of Clover.

“Ready?” I ask them all. They nod. We each step into the fireplace one by one.

I immediately swallow a large portion of hot ash.

Of course. 






 My mom catches me as I fall onto the hearth, but she doesn’t let me go. I cough repeatedly until I find I can breathe again. 

When she sees everyone else standing around us she looks up and puts on a fake smile. “Oh Remus, you brought your friends!”

“Yes mother,” I say impatiently.

She pulls me up to a standing position before making me sit down again on the coach in front of the fireplace. She sits next to me and turns to face me. I notice that her eyes are puffy and red from crying and my heart immediately sinks into my stomach.

“Mum,” I say slowly, “what’s happened?” I notice something is missing. “Where’s Dad?”

“Well dear,” she says with a small, grim smile, “I thought the only way to tell you was here with me. You know your father always had those heart problems, and he just refused to eat better…there was nothing anyone could do…”

“What are you saying?” I ask incomprehensively. I look around at all my friends and immediately Clover’s face sticks out. She looks stricken, an emotion I’ve never seen on her face. It’s then I know what’s happened. It’s then that I realize.

“Your father passed away this morning Remus. I…” My mother can’t go any further because she’s broken down into tears. All I know to do is to hold on to her. It feels as if she’s slipping away even as I cling to her.

This time when I look to my friends, I look for help. I can’t do this alone. Immediately they’re by my side. James is helping my mother up off the coach. “Let’s get you upstairs Mrs. Lupin,” he’s saying. Sirius takes her place at my side and looks at me anxiously. Peter stands around nervously by the fireplace and puts two logs on top of the already filled grate.

Clover places herself on my other side and reaches out to clutch my hand. My hand feels cold and uncertain even in her grasp. It seems ages ago I was worried about whether she liked me or not. It seems so petty now. It seems that nothing matters at the moment, and that’s terrifying. Everything seems disjointed like a movie and there seems to be a rushing noise in my ears so that I can’t hear. Reality has become too much for me and I just…let it go.





AN:  -Tear!- Poor Remus!  
Anyway, please please please let me know what you think.  It seems reviews have been on the downhill, but it really does help me when you guys leave em.  I like to know what my readers are thinking etc.  So please, let me know =)


Chapter 14: Early Winter
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It was a beautiful day for my father’s funeral.

It was almost as if even the skies were mocking my grief.

I’d never experienced the piercing hurt of death before. No one I’d ever been this close to had passed away before. I had never truly looked upon the face of a mourner. Now, every time I look in the face of my friends I see my pain reflected in their eyes. Whenever I look in the mirror, I only want to turn away.

Over the past few days, I pushed everyone that cared about me away. I can’t even count the number of times Sirius or James tried to sit me down and make me feel “better” as they called it. I realize now vaguely through the haze that Clover hasn’t approached me a single time and for that I am grateful.

How do you handle a pain like this? It isn’t tangible or something you can sew up with a thread and brag about a day later. If I tried really hard, no one would be able to tell that I wanted to rip my heart out just so I wouldn’t have to feel for a few moments.

And at first, I didn’t feel. I only felt numb and this numbness I clung to for as long as possible. Then I saw my mother cry.

My mother throughout my childhood had only been composed and collected in every aspect of her life. I’d never seen her breakdown, not once, and now, it seemed all that she had were her tears. I’m not made to handle seeing something like that.

Now, as we stand around in the chill November air I look at my friends and Clover who is as still and clam as she’s ever been. Her eyes seem darker today but other than that, I can’t see any sign of sympathy. In any case, I pocket my own emotions for another time although I keep them close at hand. For what, I don’t know – a shield perhaps from this weakness. I’ve never felt so broken down or exposed.

I realize the ceremony is over as my father’s casket begins to lower itself into the ground. I find this ritual so strange at the moment that I can’t help but to stare until Sirius takes me by the elbow and steers me away. My mother still sits sobbing by the hole in the ground and I should go to her but I don’t.

“Mate,” Sirius says, tugging on me, “let’s get out of here.”

I nod hoping that’s the response he needs. It occurs to me this is no time to be thinking about the necessities of others, but even through the worst disasters, I am me.

The rest of my friends trail behind. Miscellaneous relatives, who I’ve only spoken to once or twice in my life, nod briefly to me in passing. They’re going to the Apparition point where they’ll return to normal lives and go about their day as if nothing had ever happened.

I’ve got to get a hold on things, but how can I when there is nothing to hold on to? 





 Clover’s POV

I’ve got no idea what to do to help Remus. I don’t go to him because I am a selfish, unfeeling being, but because I’m afraid of only hurting him more. I imagine it’s not unlike helping a victim after an accident. You aren’t supposed to move them or jostle them in any way lest you make their pain all the harder to heal.

You’d think that because my parents died last year, I’d know what it felt like – death. Truthfully, I can’t be sure. I know I felt absolutely disjointed at the time and it was as if I were being put on parade. That’s just the way Blacks do things though. If one dies…the next in line takes their place and the rest of the family look to them to make sure their reputation is being taken care of.

I wonder if they knew what they were getting themselves into when my mother had me. At least there’s Regulus to take care of all their Dark Lord serving and bad boy acting dreams.

That is why I don’t know how to help Remus. My experience is nothing like what he is going through right now and I know this simply by looking at him. Anyone can see he is simply falling apart.

I’m frightened because I thought you were supposed to hold onto your sadness until months after the death. Remus has been in mourning since the moment he learned of his father’s rather antiheroic death. Don’t get me wrong – I’m sure he was a great man, but at a time of so much turmoil, you just begin to expect other causes of death than heart attacks.

My brother has been taking as good care of Remus as he knows how to. He just doesn’t know when Remus wants to be left alone, which is all the time now it seems. Remus is constantly asking him to go, look after his mother or please, fix up dinner for the rest of us. I’ve never seen my confident brother so lost and confused.

It has been three days since the funeral and although Remus isn’t expected to go back to class, the rest of us are. We’re leaving tomorrow morning straightaway, and I can’t shake the feeling that Remus shouldn’t be left alone.

I’m standing in front of the big picture window in the Lupins’ living room that over looks their garden when I suddenly remember something my mother told me. It comes in the oddest of forms and I’m surprised I even think of it. Nonetheless, it’s worth a try.

I go to Remus’s room and am slightly irked to find all his clothes packed away in trunks as if he’s going on holiday somewhere.

“Remus?” I call.

He pops his head out of his closet, and even at a time like this, its funny. “What?” he responds with absolutely no emotion in his voice. I’ve never seen him less happy to see me. He moves to his small twin bed with the Chudley Cannon comforter and sits down, smoothing it as he does. He looks up at me expectantly.

“What?” he repeats.

I sit down next to him causing him to flinch which makes me sad – sadder than I’ve possibly ever been with him before.

If this doesn’t work, it really can’t hurt, I think quickly. I place a small hand on his broader one which is lying on the bed. Its cold compared to my warmth and I shiver slightly, but I look at him as he stares at our intertwined fingers. With my other hand I tip his chin back towards mine.

“I’m so sorry Remus,” I say softly, meaning it with every fiber of my being. It occurs to me nothing I’ve ever said have I meant more than this.

Remus replies back, “Me too…me too.” He collapses in my arms and I hold him as he shakes with sobs, waiting for the wounds to heal. Waiting, as I never have before, for another human being to feel release.

I realize then that what my mother said was right. A simple touch of the hand can make a person begin to change. Of course, she said this before striking one of her children. Now I know that perhaps she had the right idea, just the wrong background to go with it. I’m determined to never be like her, but always learn from her mistakes. She gave me so much more than she’ll ever truly know just by her errors. It occurs to me that perhaps it shows exactly how much different I am from her just be realizing she did make mistakes.

As I look down at Remus, I realize that we will both be okay, more than okay, because of the things that have happened to us that we could not control.

I’ve never believed in much, but right now, I know I believe in fate. 





 Sirius’s POV

I cannot believe Remus is going back to Hogwarts with us. He has to be, well I know he is, so torn up over his dad. I met his dad over summer break one year, and he was a great guy. He took us out for muggle ice cream once and another time took us to a Cannons Quidditch game, although I know he couldn’t really afford it.

At first, he seemed like he never wanted to see the light of day, but now, he’s doing better. I mean, he’s still not smiling and definitely not cracking jokes, but then again, neither am I. I’m just glad it looks like he’s going to be okay.

I wonder exactly how long he’s going to be grieving. I mean, with me and my mum, it was about a couple months, but then again, how can you really be hurt over someone who hurt you so badly? You can’t really. I miss him, that’s all. I miss the real Remus, and I miss the real Clover. It looks like as long as he’s sad, it’s going to make her less than happy too. It looks like this is going to affect all of us for a long time to come.

Oh well. At least Remus knows we’re all going to be there for him, no matter what.

I walk downstairs to the living room where we first entered this nightmare four days ago. Remus is already waiting there next to the grate holding a fist full of Floo Powder in his hand which he promptly drops into the fireplace as soon as he sees me.

“Ready?” he asks.

“Are you?” I ask back pointedly.

He pauses and takes a deep breath. “Yes,” he says and he steps into the fire. 





AN:  I've never done a Sirius POV before!  That was slightly amusing considering the circumstances.  I apologize for this chapter being a bit short - I just wanted to develop Remus's feeling a bit more before carrying on with the story.  Thanks for the review I know you're getting ready to leave me! =)

Chapter 15: Bright Lights
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Sirius POV

The weeks pass by and still Remus won’t be…Remus. It’s nearing on Christmas break, and I’m thinking about what I’m going to do with him over the holidays. He always goes to James’s house with the rest of us for Christmas, but this year, has he even remembered Christmas? I could simply go ask him, but he hasn’t actually spoken to anyone other than Clover since we got back from the funeral.

And I could go ask Clover, but she’d probably tell me to go ask him myself.

More than anything I suppose, I’m worried about him. I understand death is tough stuff, but we’re his best mates. We’re supposed to be there for him, but he won’t let us be. I think all the Marauders feel like we’ve failed him when really, there isn’t anything we can do without feeling as if we’re intruding on him.




Remus POV

I feel bad that I don’t feel bad about not letting my friends in. I know they’re worried, but really, they shouldn’t be. I’m coping.

I feel worse that I’m confiding in Clover and not them. It’s not even that we talk about my dad or anything. She’s just there and it makes me feel better – that’s all there is to it honestly. I don’t really know what we talk about because it doesn’t really matter. Sometimes we don’t say a word and its fine. I’ve always wanted a friendship like that.

And no, I never thought I’d say I wanted a friendship with Clover, but for now, it’s enough. She said she likes to make the moves, so I’m letting her. At the end of the day now, my emotions are too drained to plan anything for my life other than sleep anyway.

Today we’re going to Hogsmeade again and Clover’s paying for everything like she wanted. It’ll be the first time for me being in a crowded place, and I only hope I don’t crack.

“Hey Remus, you ready?” Clover asks, popping her head in the boys’ dorm.

“Where you going Moony?” James asks me.

Clover answers by opening the door wide and looks at him directly. “We’re going to Hogsmeade.”

“Sweet,” James responds. “Let me get my coat.”

Clover shakes her head, “Sorry James, it’s a date.”

“Again?” he whines. “Aren’t you guys over each other yet?”

“I don’t really think they’ve been on each other yet,” Peter smirks earning him a smack on the head from Sirius who seems to have flown across the room to deliver it. Sirius resumes his posture and walks gracefully to his bed on which he promptly flops on to.
“Leave them alone,” he grunts from this position.

Clover grins and rolls her eyes. “You heard him,” she says amusedly.

The entire time this conversation was taking place, I had remained on the side, out of the action. I was an outsider looking in on my own friends.

Clover turns to go expecting me to follow. “Wait,” I command. “Are you guys going to the Potters for Christmas again?” I ask trying to be smooth.

“Er…” Sirius shoots upright in his bed, “yes. Right guys?” The other two boys respond with wide eyes and vacant head nods.

“Good.” I try to smile but it ends up as more of a grimace. “I can’t wait.”

James whoops and Sirius’s frown melts into a wide grin. “I knew you’d come back Moony,” he says.

“What are you talking about Pads? I never left,” I smile dolefully and leave with Clover still standing in the doorway. I have to turn around and pull on her arm to get her to come completely ruining my dramatic exit.

“What was that all about?” she hisses.

“What?” I shrug. “I’m going to James’s for Christmas Break.”

“Oh,” she sighs. “I couldn’t tell what you were saying – your back was turned you know.”

“Sorry,” I say immediately. “I’ll try to remember to turn to the side so you can overhear my conversations.” I try to rein in the sarcasm that’s threatening to slip out but to no avail.

“Well,” she says snidely, “I’m going too.”

I consider this. I don’t really know what I expected especially considering it was her first Christmas without her parents and such. Of course she would want to be with Sirius and of course Sirius would invite her. I’m just slightly miffed that her choice of lodging over the holiday doesn’t have anything to do with me.

“Don’t be silly either,” she says sticking her nose up in the air looking at me out the corner of her eye. “I’m going for both you and James. You need me.” I would comment on this but the look on her face tells me I’d better not.

“Okay.” I’ve learned finally that that’s the safest response when talking to Clover.

Her mouth eases into a small smile. “Good. I’m excited.”

I don’t think I’ve ever heard Clover say she was excited about anything, but whatever, I’ll go along with it. “Me too,” I say putting my arm around her waist.

It’s been like that for a couple weeks now – this easy give and take. I’ve learned how to satisfy Clover in a conversation yet give her enough to comment on. The most important thing though may be the discovery of when the best time was to put an arm around her or hold her hand without her getting upset over my acting first.

Right now I’m relieved that I finally broke through the icy feelings that have been circulating between the Marauders recently. I think I’m finally becoming more myself now. I think it’s like that for most people though. Every day after the funeral is a little bit easier until the day you wake up and realize you’re going to be okay.

And with Clover in arm, I’d say I’m more than okay. I’m glad to note that my feelings for Clover haven’t seemed to change through my depression. I’d been vaguely worried that she’d become more of just a friend. I think now though that in maybe a few weeks time, she’ll be giving me the tingles and making me wonder just as much as she ever did.

We talk the entire time on the way to Hogsmeade and it’s nice to finally be away from Hogwarts for a while. As we enter the village and I’m surrounded by people for the first real time in weeks, I start to suffocate slightly so Clover pulls me into a little boutique filled with girly frills and things.

I spy a pink dress with ruffles and pull it out from its rack. “Look Clover, it’s so you!”

She laughs for a second before making a gagging noise. “Take it away,” she shakes her head. “I don’t know what could possess someone to even make something like that.”

“You know Clover,” I say trying to stay serious, “some girls do like pink. I know that must be a shock for you – ouch!” Clover’s just nailed me in the shoulder with black stiletto shoe.

“Let’s get out of here,” she commands. “We’ll go to The Three Broomsticks.”

“As you wish,” I say as I hold the door open for her and wave her through like a princess.

She looks at me with undisguised amusement. “You really are back.”

“If that suits you m’lady.” I can’t help it; the laughter is coming through in my voice now.

“Oh stop it,” she grins and she steps through onto the cobblestone street.





The night before we leave for Godric’s Hollow, all the Marauders are throwing clothes and shoes aimlessly through the air hoping they’ll land in somebody’s trunk. We just want to get out of the castle mostly, but also, we’re just really excited about Christmas. Although I don’t think anyone would admit it.

I’m excited as well but not just for those reasons either. I’m excited to be spending the break with Clover and my friends. I’m pretty sure it’s the best situation to ever occur in the Marauders tight yet insanely quirky circle.

Clover lugs in her own trunk and gives it one more pull before it lands in front of the fireplace. “Here,” she says. She looks around at us all and catches my eye smiling before tossing her hair and leaving again.

I can’t help it; I’m smiling like a fool now.

“I thought maybe you’d grown up a bit and forgotten about that little crush,” Sirius says pointedly.

“I don’t think it’s possible for any of us to grow up Sirius,” I reply and receive laughs of agreement from the peanut gallery.

Sirius looks like he’s about to get upset but decides against it. “Regulus isn’t going to be home for Christmas this year,” he says suddenly.

“Is he going to be enjoying a nice Christmas dinner with his master then?” James jokes.

“I don’t know,” Sirius says, “but I’m not complaining if he is.”

“Has he talked to Clover lately?” James asks and everyone looks at me.

I shrug. Now that I think about it Clover hasn’t said a word about or against Regulus lately which I find strange. Sirius seems satisfied by my response however and the night progresses amid several good burns and hours of laughter.

Before I go to sleep however, I think how strange it is that the four of us can sit around and joke about less than serious subjects when we are all sitting on the edge of a great war and we all have so very much to lose.

Chapter 16: Holiday
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This is my third time traveling by Floo Powder this year and every other time, it’s come with bad consequences. However, this time I manage to slip through the fireplace network without it taking its toll on me or any part of me. I fall onto the rug in front of the Potter’s fireplace less than gracefully and get to my feet.

“Hello Mrs. Potter…Mr. Potter,” I say politely. Mrs. Potter is standing in front of the fireplace looking worried while Mr. Potter is sitting on a comfy-looking armchair next to her.

“Hello dear,” Mrs. Potter simpers as she gives me a hug and Mr. Potter reaches out to shake my hand. He gives me a nod and rolls his eyes as if to say, what can I do?

I realize as I look farther out into the foyer that those were the exact stairs I saw Clover on for the first time. I remember briefly the shine of the light hitting her hair and the piercing look in her eyes when she first saw me. I almost wish I could go back there again when there weren’t any problems concerning Clover and her family name.

“Remus? Hellooo?” Clover is saying in my ear as I come back to the present.

“Sorry,” I mutter.

James and Sirius as well as Peter fall out of the fireplace directly behind me thereby knocking me into the coffee table. Clover stands by laughing at the scene we’re making until she hauls me up with surprising strength to my feet.

“That’s not funny,” I say in her direction.

“Oh, but it was,” she corrects.

I ignore her.

“C’mon you guys, let’s go upstairs. Clover your room is right next to Remus’s” James says with a mischievous smile.

“Wait,” I say confused, “I’m staying in a room by myself this year?”

“You’re a big boy now,” Sirius says jokingly.

“What about Peter?” I ask.

“What about me,” he pouts. “I’m going home for Christmas. I’m just here on a visit.”

“Thank God,” Clover whispers at my shoulder. Sirius snickers.

I shrug, “Whatever. That’s fine with me.”

“Of course it is,” James grins earning a punch in the shoulder from Sirius.

As we pull up our trunks to the second floor landing, Clover is already at the top pouting. “Remus’s room is bigger than mine.”

“We assumed that’s were all the action would be taking place,” James explains.

“That’s enough,” I tell him impatiently. “You can have it if you want it Clover.”

Clover smiles, “No, you take it. I just wanted to make sure you’d offer it to me.”

“Ah,” I reply as if that makes perfect sense. She disappears into her own smaller room next to mine. James and Sirius take their trunks into their own room and so I enter my room whereupon I realize it’s three times bigger than mine at home.

Oh, what it must be like to be a part of society’s A-list. My mother would have loved to have the chance…

My mother. I realize I’ve left her stranded for the holidays at the worst time possible. She needs to be around people no matter how much she might protest. I run down the stairs taking them two at a time nearly running into Mrs. Potter.

“Er…hi,” I say awkwardly. “Listen, would you mind if my mum came to stay over the holidays? She’s by herself this year…” I’ve stupidly just reminded myself of the fact that my dad won’t be there this Christmas making me suddenly and horribly depressed.

“Of course Remus,” she smiles gently, “I was about to ask her to come stay myself.”

“Great,” I say feigning a smile. I run back upstairs and jot down a quick note to send off to my mum. I hope she accepts although I’m really not all that sure she will. She’s always much preferred spending time alone than with groups of people.

After I’ve finished sending James’s owl on its way in the cold winter air, I sit down on the bed completely exhausted. I cradle my head in my hands and stare at the intricate maroon pattern on the cream carpet. Who needs such frivolities anyway? I don’t understand it.

I turn my thoughts to the fact that I need Christmas presents. Not for me of course, but for my friends and Clover. I’m assuming I need to get one for Clover. I mean, I don’t necessarily know if she’ll get me one. In fact, she might not even believe in giving gifts knowing her, but I want to give her something.

The next couple days though, we spend playing Exploding Snap or Wizard’s chess both of which I’m horrible at. Clover tries to teach me more about poker which I really don’t care to learn but I do just as an excuse to be alone with her sitting across from me.

She deals me out hearts once and I fold immediately saying, “I don’t bet with love.”

“You don’t,” she says drolly looking at me with big charcoal eyes, “bet with anything, ever.” She’s right; I only ever fold, call, or check when we play.

“Why bet when what you have is already good?”

“Why settle for good,” she counters, “when you could have something great?”

I realize I have no answer.




 
After a week of continual laughter and extreme amounts of food and sleep, James decides it’s time to go shopping. We all know it’s only because he needs to get something for Lily, but no one says anything.

We head into Diagon Alley and hit the shops with less enthusiasm than perhaps was required of the situation. Christmas shopping is nothing to mess around with, even I know that. Clover opted to stay at home so I don’t even have anyone to make fun of the shops with.

I suppose its better that way considering I don’t know what I’m getting her or anyone. I finally split up with the rest of the boys since I’m not getting anything accomplished with Sirius and James constantly whooping about some witch they see or the newest broomstick.

I settle for a new broomstick kit for James and a book called How to Know she’s the One for Sirius. I momentarily forget Peter who I promptly buy some candy for, and I get my mum a new cookbook authored by some fancy wizard who probably can’t even crack an egg without magic. I figure she’d like it though.

Now for Clover. There’s no arguing that she is perhaps the most difficult witch to shop for in the history of Christmas shopping. I’m sure that whoever created the idea of buying gifts for Christmas did not do so with a girl like Clover in mind. I’m crazy to even attempt to buy something she’d even remotely like or want. I should have asked what she needed, but she would have just commanded me not to buy her anything. Although maybe she would have told me to surprise her. She’s hard to figure out regardless.

I pop into a little trinket boutique at the end of Diagon Alley near Gringott’s where an older witch examines my piqued expression and determines I’m shopping for my girlfriend. I don’t even both correcting her. She herds me to the far right corner of the shop and points out several objects that would make Clover giggle with mirth. Then surprisingly, somehow the saleswoman hits on something exactly perfectly right for Clover.

I can’t wait for Christmas Day.





My mum’s owl arrives the day before Christmas with a letter complaining of migraines and house chores that simply can’t wait until after the holidays. She’s not coming and I find myself confused and saddened.

I’m still holding the letter in my hand when Clover knocks softly on the door.

“Remus,” Clover calls softly from the doorway. I wave her in and she takes a place next to me. “Are you alright?”

I shake my head. It’s not worth attempting to pretend I’m okay around her.

“Do you want to talk about it?”

I shake my head again.

“What do you want?” she asks gently. The usual harsh edge in her voice is gone and right now, at this moment she’s just a girl who feels emotions just like any seventeen-year-old.

I think about what I’d like to say to her question as I stare into her face. I want my father to be alive again. I want my mother to be alright. I want to feel like I did before any of this happened. I want to know that you’ll be okay when you’re away from me. I want you here always…I want you.

I realize with a shock as recognition registers in her eyes that I’ve just said all of that out loud.

“How badly do you want me?” she questions.

“More than anything,” I breathe.

She studies me as she’s done a hundred times before but this time it’s different. There’s a fire in her eyes that I’ve never seen before and it reminds me a bit of smoldering coals. She places a hand on my ribcage and gently pushes me down on the bed on top of the covers and lies down next to me. One of Clover’s small hands is on my thigh and the other cradles my cheek. It seems that all my nerve endings have chosen this moment to go crazy.

Of course at that very moment Sirius rushes through the doorway holding the newest Black Cats record and upon seeing Clover and I in our current situation, let’s loose all havoc. Clover rolls her eyes at me as Sirius continues his rant which I’m really not listening to in the slightest. She kisses me at the corner of my eye and walks out smoothly like she’s exiting a stage as the star of the performance.

Sirius is still standing in the doorway and when Clover leaves, stops carrying on and stares at me blankly. I sit up and run a hand through my hair shrugging as if to say, hey, there was nothing I could do about that.

His hands are clenched as if he wants nothing more than to punch me in the mouth, but he seems to be in a conflict with himself. I can see the gears turning in his head. He’s thinking – I should rail on this guy, but he’s my best mate. But she’s my sister!

In the end, he stomps away without saying a word to me, and I relax and settle in to a blissful haze filled with images of Clover lying next to me and her hands all over me. I wonder what would have happened if Sirius hadn’t so rudely interrupted us.

Damn that Sirius. 





AN:  I've got a question and it's a serious one.  Is this story steadily getting less amusing?  Reviews are down, and I think it's because I'm losing you guys.  Is there something in particular you'd like me to change around?  Please leave me some lovin'!  I need it!

Chapter 17: Such Great Heights
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Christmas Day comes invariably sooner than anticipated as it does every year. I’m laying in my huge four poster bed staring lazily out the ornately decorated glass windows to my right where the snow is stubbornly refusing to give up. It’s been trying to become a full fledged snowstorm it seems with its sudden bursts of energy but it can never quite manage it. I involuntarily laugh at it.

“Do you usually laugh at nothing when you’re all alone?” Clover’s voice asks from behind me.

I shift around to face her where she is propped up against the doorframe with a small bundle clutched in her grip. “You really need to stop sneaking up on me. You’ll know all my secrets before it’s all said and done.”

“Where’s the fun in waiting for you to tell me?” Clover smirks as she steps inside and places herself at the foot of my bed. I grumpily release myself from the covers and traipse over to where she is sitting. “Happy Christmas,” she says after a moment. She hands me the little brown parcel she’s been holding onto like it’s the sun.

“Clover,” I say whiningly, “what is this?”

“Your Christmas present,” she says edgily. “If you don’t want it…I’ll just take it back.”

“No, no,” I say hurriedly. “It’s just…well, why are you giving it to me now?”

Clover blushes unexpectedly. “I don’t want the others to see it.”

“Oh,” I say curiously. If it’s something she doesn’t want her own brother to see it must be something pretty atypical of Clover. I look at her once more and she gives me a small smile and a shrug so I tear apart the paper until a little silver frame is sitting in my lap. It’s a pretty plain picture frame, and its only decorations are four fleurs-de-lis, one in each corner. I look up at her questioningly.

“Watch,” she commands. As I stare down at the picture in the center that moments before was blank, it dissolves into a picture of Clover and I playing poker in which I’m tossing my cards onto the ground in disgust while Clover looks rather pleased with herself.

“Clover, I-” I begin but she motions for me to keep watching the frame. The poker picture transitions into one of the two of us walking back from Hogsmeade, hand in hand. It’s a rather cutesy picture and I’m surprised she allowed it to be put in, but I like it so she seems happy.

This process proceeds for at least five more pictures – pictures that include our kiss by the lake and a few funny ones of either me or her making a face at a camera that I can’t remember ever being around us. “Clover, how’d you get these?” I ask breathlessly as it finishes.

“I’m magic,” she grins. “Do you like it.” It strikes me as humorous that she seems completely confident that I like it and yet still asks me if I do. She’s just trying to follow the proper protocol for giving someone a gift.

“I love it,” I say following along. “I really, really do.”

“I knew you would.”

“Of course you did,” I smile. I lean over and pull out her present from underneath my bed. “Here you go,” I say tossing it to her. “Happy Christmas,” I finish lamely trying to follow her own made up gift-giving process.

She reaches for it and pulls apart the gift wrap gently looking up at me through shadowed lids. She pulls out a snow globe and rolls it around from one hand to the other. I picked it out carefully from a few other trinkets not because of its outward appearance, but what it does. It’s a genuinely plain looking glove with a carved wooden bottom and a glass dome on top. Inside the dome is Hogwarts castle amid all its trees and in front of it is the mirrored glassiness of the lake.

“What is it Remus?” she asks finally.

“Okay,” I begin. “It’s a snow globe with a little charm placed over it. I bought myself one, you see?” I hold it up so she can view it. “If you shake yours,” she shakes it and little snow flakes fall around the castle, “then the snow will fall in my globe too.” I pause. “It’ll let me know you’re thinking about me…or I could let you know I’m thinking of you.”

She looks at it and runs her hand over the glass. I’m beginning to wonder if I just made a huge mistake in giving it to her. “Remus, it’s beautiful.” She looks up and I see her eyes are shining with tears. “It’s the nicest thing anyone has ever done for me.”

I don’t think Sirius would be pleased to hear that but I’ll take it. I reach over and enclose her in my arms where she leans her head against my shoulder like we’ve been doing it for years. “Thank you,” she whispers.

As we pull apart I ask, “What are we going to tell the others when we don’t have presents for each other?”

“Let them wonder,” she says slyly.

Suddenly an owl begins pecking furiously at the window. Apparently he’s not a big fan of the snow whirling around him. I rush over and open the window where he quickly plops onto the bed shaking snow of his wings as he does. I unfasten the letter attached to his foot, and I know what it is even before I read it – my mother isn’t coming for Christmas. I toss it aside on the floor as if it means absolutely nothing to me although I know it has ruined my day.

“Remus?” Clover asks gently from beside me. “She isn’t coming,” she determines after a second. I shake my head.

“Hey, it’s okay,” she says.

“Clover, will you be my girlfriend?”

Wait…what? Where did that come from? I panic. I had not meant to do that.

Clover bites her lip. “Weird timing,” she comments.

“Yes,” I reply. I think I got caught up in my own bad feelings that I was feeling kind of invincible to more heartache. I guess I was wrong.

“I’ll think about it.”

Well, at least there wasn’t any messing around with Clover wanting to ask me first which would seem pretty normal for her. Also, that wasn’t a complete shutdown was it?

I must look pretty downcast because she repeats herself.

“Okay,” I say shrugging. I don’t know what else to tell her.

“Okay,” she says agreeably. “I’ll see you down there.”

“Right.” She exits with her robe swishing around her ankles as she walks.

If only my thoughts could make my love come running back to me every time because every time she walks away it feels like the last time.






“Remus!” Sirius yells exceedingly loudly up the stairs. I run at a deadbolt sprint out the bedroom and into the hallway where I find him dashing up the stairs. He stops and he looks somehow ironic with his hair tousled and pajama pants amidst the fancy Potter décor.

He has one hand still on the banister and his fingers play across it restlessly in a brief second. His eyes meet mine and I know immediately something has gone terribly wrong.

“Clover has gone,” he says calmly as if not speaking killing words.

“It’s Christmas,” I observe as if speaking about the weather.

“It looks bad this time,” Sirius says and his face crumples. He bends his head and I place a hand on his shoulder hard as if to draw him back to more realistic pain. For some reason, he doesn’t seem to feel it and I too am numb to any human connection. “Voldemort called her to him about an hour ago.”

An hour ago she was sitting in my room handing over my Christmas present. Did she know then? “Did Peter go with her?”

“Yes,” he pauses, “I think so. I can’t be sure.”

We stand in silence for a few moments more before Sirius breathes the words I’ve been thinking all along. “She’s all I have.” I realize that’s all either of us have anymore and it could be snatched up in a without a moment’s notice. Our very capability of living could disappear like a wisp of smoke in the night.

Chapter 18: Violet Hill
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Clover didn’t come back that night…or the next. Needless to say, Christmas was a sorry affair. In fact, we didn’t even really attempt it at all. Clover would have just about died seeing us sitting around feeling sorry for ourselves while she was out ridding the world of all its evil. Sirius and I considered this briefly amongst ourselves before dismissing the thought to continue on with our brooding.

Later Christmas Day, Sirius received a rather disturbing owl claiming that Peter knew nothing of the Dark Lord’s beckoning. Almost immediately after, Sirius got word that Regulus knew a little more than nothing as he had gone immediately to be with his leader.

The three of us are currently sitting around in the formal room contemplating the grey storm cloud that seemed to constantly follow all of us around wherever we went. “I don’t quite understand why she absolutely had to go,” Sirius says miming what each of us are thinking precisely.

James considers this. “Well,” he says carefully, “she was just trying to do her job wasn’t she?”

Sirius bristles immediately. “Her job did not include bodily harm or…” he trails off without finishing.

I discover it’s my turn to speak. “What exactly happened Sirius, when she left?” I’ve been wondering that since the moment I learned of her disappearance.

He shrugged, “I walked into the kitchen and she was holding a piece of parchment and she said, ‘I have to go now Sirius,’ and, here’s the shocker, she went.”

I accept this answer and choose to ignore the sarcasm.

“Why are we all so uptight about this men?” James asks after a moment. “She’s come back every other time hasn’t she?”

Sirius and I look at each other with mutual understanding. “James, it’s like this every time she goes – she says goodbye, she’s gone for a few days, and she comes back. Sure, we worry about her while she’s gone, but I have absolutely never felt like she’s not coming back. This time…it just has a different feel to it is all,” I finish lamely, but Sirius nods like a punctuation point to my ending.

“Oh,” James says grimly. His mouth is set in a straight line with no hint of a smile in sight. Odd, I think. That’s the first time in a long time I’ve seen that.

“Well what shall we do then?” he asks.

Sirius slumps deeper in the burgundy winged armchair he’s sitting in. He looks so sad and pathetic it almost makes me want to slap him for being so ridiculously hopeless. And that, is the spark that gets me to my feet.

“We’ve got to go see Dumbledore,” I say determinedly and Disapparate right then, not even staying to see if the others intend to follow. For the first time in my life, I am clearly the leader. It scares the shit out of me, especially when something so precious is on the line. 




I end up on the boundary of Hogwarts. I had stupidly envisioned the Headmaster’s office in my mind, but clearly, I was…well, being stupid. I begin the trek up to the castle and it strikes me suddenly that I may have not completely thought this through. How do I intend to enter the castle? No outsider has managed to do it, ever, and here I think I’ll be able to? I actually laugh out loud.

Amazingly enough, the others opted not to follow me. Perhaps there intelligence preceded their actions unlike mine, which seemed to have failed me at a very inopportune moment. For some reason, my feet continue on carrying me to the big wooden double doors.

Which open.

Ha.

I scurry through them for I don’t intend to give them the option of second guessing themselves and reach the eagle in front of the Headmaster’s office.

“Pumpkin pasty,” I attempt. Miracle of miracles the eagle starts to swivel. I make a mental note not to attack my intelligence prematurely any longer.

“Remus Lupin,” a booming voice sounds above me.

“Er,” I answer. I continue taking the steps one by one until I finally reach the voice that belongs to of course, Dumbledore.

We stare at each other for a few seconds. Actually, he more or less seems to be considering my worth right then and there, whereas I seem to momentarily be at a loss for words.

“Clover’s in trouble,” I blurt out.

His eyes burn like coals at my words. “Sit down,” he commands. I do.

He remains standing but leans against his rather large desk completely covered with whirligigs and parchment. “I know she is,” he says rather sadly. “I don’t know how you know, and I don’t really want to know although I’m sure there’s a perfectly good explanation-”

“There isn’t,” I interrupt.

“Alright,” he says. “Fine. The thing of the thing is that Clover seems to have gotten herself in a spot of trouble. I have reason to believe that Voldemort has begun to suspect Clover for what she is. No surprise there as he is quite clever these days.”

I want to scoff at him. Loudly. He does not seem to be taking this very seriously at all.

“I’m taking this very seriously,” he says eyeing me carefully making me feel about as big as a skrewt. “I’ve alerted the Aurors and they’re doing their best to get her out of there.”

“But why did she go?” I question.

“What choice did she have? She was damned if she did, damned if she didn’t wasn’t she?” I hope this is a rhetorical question because I don’t answer.

“Go home now,” he says quietly. “Stay where you are when you get there. I can’t be sending Aurors off in every direction tonight now can I?”

I consider this. “Um…no.”

“Okay then,” Dumbledore chimes, smiling half-heartedly.

“Okay then,” I mirror and leave going precisely the way I came and having accomplished nearly nothing.




“What?” Sirius shouted. “She is in trouble then? She could be in pain this very moment!”

I wave a hand vaguely in answer. I’m holding my snow globe in my right palm and shaking it every so often. So far, it hasn’t snowed. I find it curious that out of context that sounds as if I’m talking casually about the weather but really, I’m talking about Clover’s life.

“We’ve got to go!” he continues to bark.

“Dumbledore said to stay here,” I say calmly. I watch as the last bit of snow falls to the bottom of the globe sadly and pensively. So much is held in that tiny little grain, and yet, in the end, it is just a grain. What could such a small piece of the world accomplish?

I peer at it a single moment longer. I look up at the expectant faces of my friends – just two faces in a sea of faces.

“Alright,” I say. “Let’s go.”

Chapter 19: Mercy
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The three of us are preparing to Disapparate…in fact James has already begun to spin on his heels before he realizes he doesn’t have a clue as to where we’re going. At the same moment, I recognize that I don’t even know where to begin looking for Clover. James and I decide our best option is to look at Sirius expectantly.

“She never told any of us where she had been when she came back,” I said pointedly. “What are we doing here guys? Merlin, I still can’t properly Stun someone as you very well know,” I say to James who I typically practiced on in Defense Against the Dark Arts class.

James smiles grimly, “He’s right Padfoot. He couldn’t Stun a dung beetle if he wanted to.” I had been expecting him to agree with me on the fact that maybe we shouldn’t be gallivanting off to find the Dark Lord’s lair without a care in the world, but hey, that worked too.

Sirius looks back and forth between the two of us before he sighs heavily. “I think I know where to go. You do pick up a thing or two when both your parents are Death Eaters don’t you? But I see you two aren’t so keen on the idea of saving my baby sister any more. Well that’s fine, but I’m going.”

James and I sigh simultaneously because at that moment we both knew there was no way we’d be able to talk Sirius out of this, and also, neither of us was going to let him go alone.

“Well let’s go then,” James says tiredly. He ran a hand over his face. “Where is this destination of hell?” Sirius replies with a peculiar sounding location name, one neither James nor I could picture or even repeat. We all decide a Side-Along Apparation would be our best bet.

“Stupify,” I try pitifully pointing my wand at James. A pathetic little poof of smoke issued from the tip of my wand but nothing more. James snorted. We both grabbed a hold of Sirius and without hesitation we were nothing more than a wisp of smoke in the air.

We appeared on the edge of shadows at a large weed infested graveyard. There’s very little light and so the three of us peer into the darkness, but nothing appears to us that we recognize as human shapes. “C’mon,” Sirius mutters. We crawl army style along the wet grass like insidious snakes until we reach a hefty overdone tombstone bigger than the three of us combined. I take the liberty of peeking around the huge stone and what I see before me is disheartening.

The Death Eaters stand in a half moon circle and in the center is Voldemort himself looking as ghastly as ever. There are at least thirty of them present and I can’t make out who any of them are. The worst part of the scene lays at the foot the Dark Lord and that’s because I recognized the bent hovering form of a body as Clover’s.

I believe I squeaked because one of the darkly robed witches and wizards turns my way sharply. I disappear behind the stone as quickly as possible but I’m thoroughly convinced I’ve been seen. Hopefully it was my brother Regulus. He’d be too scared out of his mind to tattle on me, and he’s no fool – I don’t think he’s ever wanted me dead.

“What is it?” Sirius mouthed at me.

I can’t bear to tell him and I’m sure how I’d even explain it so, giving up on me, Sirius takes a look himself. When he turns back to us his face is exactly the shade of a raw onion.

“I think,” he whispers so low I can barely tell he’s speaking at all, “she’s getting the mark.” My heart sinks so low in my stomach, I feel as if I’m going to be sick. I even gag a little bit. This entire time James has been curled up in a ball, back to the tombstone, staring straight ahead. Clearly, he’s not going to be much help. Looks like it’ll be 2 ½ men against 30.

Suddenly, I hear an ear-splitting scream and Sirius and I look at each other and then from behind the stone. Clover is on her knees in front of Voldemort and another Death Eater is holding her arm tightly against him while another holds her down so she can’t get away. I feel a tight ball of rage begin to form in my chest as the Death Eater’s hood that is holding Clover’s arm falls back from his face, and I see that it is Regulus. He may never have wanted me dead, but I certainly want to kill him.

The Dark Lord’s long wand is pointed directly at Clover’s forearm and appears to be digging into her flesh, most likely the cause of her cry. It seems to be true, Sirius’s assumption – Clover is receiving her Dark Mark and doesn’t seem to be doing anything about it. “What the hell is she doing?” Sirius asks anxiously. “Let’s go you guys!”

I couldn’t agree more. Sirius and I rise together and walk out from behind the tombstone like two bandits walking blindly into gunfire. Basically, we’re going to die. That’s something I hadn’t previously expected and I certainly haven’t accepted it but hey, what can you do. I feel James rise a little more hesitantly as if he’s actually thinking through his actions, but if he is, he must think this is best idea possible. That, or he’s decided to go along with it because it seems to be the popular thing to do.

“Get away from her!” Sirius shouts as authoritatively as is possible. It sounds pretty good to me - he is a Black after everything but of course it’s all to no avail. The Death Eaters and even Voldemort are temporarily stunned but the Dark Lord is the first to recover and begins to laugh as if it’s the funniest thing he’s heard in months. Which it probably is come to think of it.

I think fast. “Stupify!” I roar, aiming at nothing in particular. This time though, my voice sounds quite confident, but then I realize it’s because I’m joined by fifty other voices. The Aurors are here.


A few Death Eaters are actually hit by someone’s spell, and I’ll never know for sure if mine actually came into existence but I quickly dismiss the thought from my head. Clover has collapsed in the grass, and Sirius and I rush over to her side.

“Yes,” she groans.

“Er,” I say, “yes what?”

“I’ll go out with you,” she proclaims with as much strength as she can muster.

“Wow,” it’s my turned to be stunned, “weird timing.”

She shrugs or at least tries. I imagine it would be difficult from that position on the ground. “Well,” is all she says before she blacks out.

“I told you not to come here tonight,” Dumbledore says calmly as he approaches us from behind.

“Well,” Sirius says coolly, “we did. Would have been nice if you’d shown up sooner don’t you think?” He stares down hard at the Dark Mark on his sister’s arm. It’s glowing a cool black at the moment, but I imagine that if I reached down to touch it, I’d be severely burned.

“It might be useful,” another Auror offers up unhelpfully.

Sirius only shoots him a malice soaked glare.

James finally speaks up. “Let’s at least get her to St. Mungo’s.”

We all stand around for a few seconds before leaping into action.

“Additionally,” he continues, “that’s quite possibly the stupidest thing I’ve ever done.”

“Stupidest or bravest,” I reply. I’ve discovered as a Marauder there certainly is a thin line between the two and it definitely gets blurred from time to time.

Now, would be a good example of that.





AN:  We're almost done guys!  A little behind schedule, but still, better finished than abandoned.  Props to you if you've stuck around this long!

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