Chapter 3: Awkward leads to Friendship
It was Friday afternoon, classes were over for the week, the sun was shining, students were frolicking about and one girl was in the middle of a last minute potentially stupid plan.
That’s me I’m talking about by the way. Whenever I mention a girl and a stupid plan I’ll probably almost always be referring to myself in the third person. I never said anything about being normal.
I plastered a fake grin on my face as I approached the Marauders, victory goes to the confident.
Lupin had picked up the previously airborne textbook. He looked at me warily “Uhhh is this yours?” he asked.
“Nope, its hers” I cheerfully told him while pointing at Amy, who was staring at me mouth open, but when they turned to look at her she snapped her mouth shut and concentrated on a section of the grass like she was watching it grow.
That was about it for my plan. Maybe I should have thought about it some more.
I stood there for a few excruciating seconds. Alright it looks as if I’m going to have to wing this one.
“We were having a bit of a disagreement.” I explained.
“So you threw a textbook at her?” Sirius asked, trying to remain cool but clearly a little freaked by this psycho chick in front of him.
“Well, not quite, I wasn’t aiming right at her and I sort of just meant it as a threat but then whoops…. annd it flew out of my hands, and away it went” I rambled and gave a nervous laugh.
I stood there a little longer shifting from foot to foot. They were starting to look annoyed. Maybe I should walk away and stop grinning like and idiot. Finally James spoke up “Well okay, we’ll trust that’s what happened, is there anything else you can help me with”
I almost moved but realized for once I wasn’t being the stupid one and I could use it to my advantage. “I’m still waiting for my friend's textbook” I said impatiently. Remus quickly handed it to me. Damn I couldn’t leave just yet. They weren’t very conversational towards strangers. It was very rude. No wonder Lily wouldn’t date James.
Then it dawned on me, Lily, I could totally use somebody’s not so little crush to my advantage.
Making a bigger idiot of myself, I trained my eyes on James curiously. He looked a little off put by this.
“Errr..what?” he asked finally.
I squinted my eyes at him “Nothing, It’s just something Lily said, but I don’t see it” His eyes widened. Before he could say anything I shrugged my shoulders and walked away.
I had always wanted to do that cool countdown thing people always do in the movies when they have totally gotten control of a situation
“STOP, what did Lily say?”
Damn I didn’t get to one. Oh well, the idea still worked. Instead of turning back I walked back to Amy but before I sat down I found myself being spun around by Potter, who moved very fast I might add.
“Why do you care?” I asked him curiously. Oh boy, I was enjoying this now.
“Come on, you know James swoons if Lily mentions him, even if it is bad.” Sirius said as he casually strolled over, probably assuming James wouldn’t be coming back until he had answers. Peter and Remus were right behind him.
I sat down calmly and flipped a Paige in Amy’s book, pretending to be interested in its contents. “Well than maybe I shouldn’t say anything, because if he swoons when it’s bad, he might have a heart attack if it’s good.”
James sat down and grabbed my arm again “Tell me please” he pleaded. His hold in my arm was quite tight.
I pretended to think about for a moment before finally answering “She said that despite your annoying qualities you have surprisingly nice eyes” He did actually I have to admit, if he confronted Lily than she’d probably just think he was delusional and he would think she denied it only because she didn’t want to admit to saying it.
My occasional cleverness can be quite satisfying.
James sat next to me, eyes glazed over. “She thinks I have nice eyes” he said dreamily. A moment later he looked determined again.
“What else did she say anything else?”
“Errr…yeah” I answered.
“Well…What?, What did she say?”
“Umm, when I asked why on earth you were made head boy – “Amy and Remus laughed, then she blushed and looked down again. “- she said that you were smart and a good leader.”
Lover boy broke out in a huge grin and yelled “YES, I knew she admired my brains and leader qualities.”
“Thanks a lot, now he will be talking about this forever.” Remus groaned.
“Who are you?” I looked over at the before silent Peter who had asked the blunt question.
“Paige Springer” Sirius told him in an annoyed voice, answering before I could, “Sheesh Peter, you should know the names of the people in your year, let alone house.”
Amy burst out laughing. “You only learned on the train what Paige’s name was, mine as well and I’m sure I could point out a few other people you’d have no clue as to what to call’em.” She pointed out. Awww she broke her silence, I’m so good.
Sirius grinned sheepishly at her “Maybe, but I know your names now and I won’t forget them, I have an excellent memory”
“A memory that took seven years to kick in”
“Hey! I was close when I guessed yours.”
Amy rolled her eyes “Yeah you called me Anna, you got the first letter congrats.”
He chuckled “Alright, I hereby swear to never forget any name introduced to me again”
This wasn’t going how I intended, Amy was talking, but she was bantering with Sirius not Remus.
Sirius jabbed the daydreaming James and stood up “Love to stay and continue chatting but we have private business to attend to, business we were discussing until we were rudely interrupted by a 20 pound textbook aimed at our heads.”
I gave him a playful glare. “Keep talking and the next one will hit it” Shouldn’t be too hard I thought with a smile.
They walked off towards Hogwarts but Remus abruptly stopped and turned around, “You’re Paige” he said confirming it, “Amy right?” he said looking at her.
To my delight she managed to keep calm and answer him normally “Yeah, it’s Amy, Amy Davidson.”
His lips turned up slightly “I’m Remus Lupin” he said politely and caught up to his friends. I could still hear James talking about Lily as they got further away.
“Like you didn’t already know his name” I commented to my pal who was still staring in their direction.
“He definitely knows who I am” she said, a goofy smile coming across her face.
I leaned back against the tree and closed my eyes. I’d gotten all the thanks I nee –
“Mind you that was one of the dumbest plans I’ve ever seen and they probably think you are bonkers” My thoughts were interrupted by her ungrateful opinion.
I feel so underappreciated.
“Where on earth did you get that?” Amy asked me. As soon as Monday’s Potions ended I had pulled out a juice box.
“Muggle studies” I answered while trying to poke a straw in the little sealed hole. “Professor Harris always brings us muggle snacks on Mondays, want one, I snuck two?”
She rolled her eyes “Like you haven’t seen one before, you cheater, you were practically raised in an all muggle environment”
“And I still have so much to learn”
“You just want the easy O”
“It’s a big big world outside the wizarding community, we must embrace it not ignore it”
She rolled her eyes. Its true, take away the wand and all you have to do is punch your opponent in the face. It’s much more macho then using a wand anyways.
“Loo” she announced and instead of exiting the dungeons we routed the bathrooms.
“Ew, I’m not going in the gross dungeon bathrooms, almost as bad as Moaning Myrtle’s place”
Amy rolled her eyes again “It’s just drafty, the toilets and sinks are clean” she reasoned.
I remained standing, shaking my head so she went in with out me. I had my juice anyways.
“You’re completely worthless” a voice angrily said from around the corner. I sipped my juice nervously. I hope some bad tempered Slytherins weren’t approaching.
Instead the people who rounded the corner were Sirius Black and a younger boy who looked similar to him. I didn’t really want to overhear their argument but there wasn’t really anywhere else to go.
“Look, just tell them to stop sending me their ridiculous letters of scorn, I DON”T CARE!” he shouted at his mini version of himself.
The boy scowled but than a mean looking smirk crossed his features. “If you don’t care then why do you read them, why don’t you just throw them in the fire as soon as you get them?”
Sirius’s face grew angrier. Man this little shit was getting to him. I think the kid knew when to go out triumphantly so he turned around and left.
The older one remained standing. He didn’t seem to notice me. Until I ran out of juice and my straw made a small slurping noise. Unfortunately, combined with the silence, the noise actually turned out to be quite loud.
He spun his head in my direction, face ready to challenge whoever had made the noise. His anger briefly left and a look of surprise crossed his face.
I awkwardly took another sip that made a surprise again. Anything to keep my mouth from leaving the straw and making awkward small talk.
His surprise was again replaced by anger “Do you often make it a habit of eavesdropping?” he glared.
“Do you often have private conversations in public where people have no choice but to overhear?” I retorted defensively.
I felt bad quickly. I didn’t really want to start an argument or anything, he seemed rightfully mad. I reached into my bag.
“Err, you want some juice” I offered, holding it out.
“Do I what?” he asked, his brow furrowed in confusion.
“Juice…it has vitamins and…its apple..and tastes pretty good, although its in a quite small little box so it doesn’t hold much”
He blinked a few times, brow still furrowed in confusion. I guess he has never before had a juice proposition in a dark dungeon by a girl who threw a textbook at him the week previously. Some people need to get out and live life a little more.
“Uhh no, I’m good” he finally answered.
Amy came out of the bathroom a moment later, speaking as she did. “Okay you’re right, I’ll never use the dungeon bathrooms again, the sinks run brown water for about a minute until its clear.”
“I thank you for ability to admit you were wrong” We began leaving the dungeons, Sirius was already gone.
Ah another glorious week of school is before. It was Wednesday and we all sat in Defence Against the Dark Arts eager to learn from our enthusiastic admirable professor. Okay I think you get it.
We sat around bored out of our mind while our cruel professor handed out a pop quiz on last years review, which he apparently covered in our first class last week.
"This is to see how much you paid attention last week" he announced and Amy and I exchanged looks, instantly regretting our doodling session from the week before. I hate surprise quizzes.
"You have 20 minutes and those of you who fail will stay after class, I will read out those names after I finish marking at the end of class."
Many groans followed this but I smiled, professors, there's always a loophole in their methods. I leaned over and whispered to Amy. He totally deserved my sneaky plan, reading out people who failed is just mean.
Tests fluttered to our desks. I leaned on my hand so my head wasn’t facing our professor and closed my eyes for a quick nap.
Exactly 20 minutes later his voice boomed “Times up students!” I grinned at Amy.
He took out his wand and spoke “Accio tests!” summoning all the parchment towards him but they landed neatly in a pile on the corner of his desk instead of rabidly attacking him like they did with me, proving I still had a lot to learn.
"Take out your textbooks and read silently" he said not looking up.
"Golly, this table is certainly void of Gryffindor seventh years" I observed as we made our way over to Lily, who was sitting alone. Apparently, her brains haven’t rubbed off on her friends.
She looked up as we sat down and congratulated us on passing.
"Don't you want to congratulate us too, Evans?" James said as he plopped down next to her and she moved away a bit. Sirius sat down on his other side and Remus sat down next to me.
"Certainly is lonely being a genius" Sirius sighed.
"Well it was until you guys arrived" Amy remarked, Lily and I chuckled.
"Even me?" Remus asked pretending to be hurt.
Amy went slightly pink mumbled "No uh I guess not." And the table went silent for a bit. That was until…
"You're an ASS! All of us looked over and I recognized the speaker as Rita something from Ravenclaw, Sirius’s girlfriend who the girls had been talking about before. She was looking very PO'd.
Sirius looked at her for a moment and said "Oh alright."
She snarled and stomped off but just before she left she gave a hopeful glance back to see if she was being followed and when she realized she wasn’t a scowl came across her face and she marched off again.
"What did you do this time?" Remus asked exasperatedly.
Sirius answered while stuffing his face "i grunno i'b bguess fshe dovint sike my firting"
Some unknown substance flew out of his mouth while he was talking and landed on the side of my cheek. I made a face and picked it off and threw it into his goblet.
"Learn some manners" I said. He looked up at me curiously and our eyes met, Oh right the juice thing. And the accidentally overhearing not eavesdropping thing. I wonder if he was still mad about that.
Instead of telling me I was a horrible snoop he inquired something else "How on earth did you two pass that quiz, you spent last week's class drawing and laughing."
Every face turned to us, also curious. "We didn't pass it" I said in a nonchalant voice ignoring the nudge Amy gave me about his observation of us. It was no secret; Professor Darwin had reprimanded us several times that day.
Lily looked at us surprised "Then why didn't the professor call your names?"
Amy let her famous devious smirk spread across her face and pulled out our wrinkled up tests from her bag. "You can't fail a test that doesn't get marked" They all looked at us blankly.
"We held on to our tests in our fists when he summoned them, he didn’t mark them so he couldn’t announce that we failed. It’s not like it was for real marks or anything, just a chance for him to use his authority to be a jerk." I explained hastily, a little worried about the shocked expression on Lily's face. I recalled the strong pull of his spell and how I accidentally ended up punching the back of the kid in front of me.
The guys grinned. I kept looking at Lily to see if she would exercise her head girl rights of punishment on us, hopefully she wasn’t too rule abiding.
Finally she sighed, “Well I guess that was pretty clever, but a little risky.”
“Aw what’s wrong with a little risk hun?” James questioned smoothly putting his arm around her.
She slapped his arm away “As usual I’ve lost my appetite” and she stood up and walked away like Rita had before.
Amy and I followed saying a quick goodbye as the guys fell into a conversation about Quidditch, which we watched on game days but couldn’t play or fully understand for the life of us.
When we reached the great hall I called up ahead to Lily and she spun around and waited. When we got closer she asked “Since when have you two been buddies with the Marauders?” She looked somewhere between angry and a little upset.
I looked at her baffled “I don’t know we’re not buddies….. they just sat with us.”
“I don’t know why either I mean we are really odd and not the type of girls they would probably want to hang with” Aimes pondered out loud.
Lily exhaled “You guys are different, it’s interesting and you two always seem to be having a good time, some people just want to be friends with you.”
She sounded like it maybe wasn’t the Marauders she was talking about.
“Lily, do you want us to consider each other friends?” I asked her with a grin “Are you in need of a good time” I added suggestively.
Amy pinched my side “No propositioning potential allies”
I think this made Lily need a moment to think before answering. Probably a good idea, we can be hazardous to one’s sanity.
She broke a smile of her own. “Yes I do, I really like you guys.”
“Well, good now I’m up to two.” I stated and gave her a grin which I received in return. She said goodbye and left for the library.
“So wait we’re not freaks anymore, we’re interesting?” Amy asked me.
Something really weird happened. Out of the ordinary weird.
For the weeks following, all of a sudden we did find ourselves being some kind of “buddies” with the marauders. Amy one day gave advice to James about his one true love/obsession and suddenly they were co-conspirators in the Lily cause. I discovered Remus was in my Ancient Runes class when one day he simply sat with me. We actually started having actual conversations about the class. Intellectual conversations, ME! I’m as surprised as anyone. That led to Aimes actually talking to him a little more.
They also all started sitting with us once in awhile. It took some getting used to. Also occasionally we swallowed our pride, put away our dignities and shut off our brains and sat with Lils and our roommates although we weren’t received with much happiness. This more than one friend thing could be hard sometimes.
But we were sitting with the guys the day, a week before Halloween, when I got a letter from my mother.
Her beautifully groomed owl floated down to us and handed me a lovely envelope with my name and house written in calligraphy. I knew it was from her. Who else would decorate a letter so richly? She had said she would write once she got settled back at home but I had forgotten about it figuring she had forgotten as well. I hated that owl, it was nothing like the happy one she owned when I was a kid, this one was much too well groomed. I opened the letter slowly and read it.
It was just like a letter from a mother should sound like. Asked me about my classes and how are my friends doing, if I was getting into any trouble and if my marks were okay. Told some silly stories about home and ended it with I miss you sweetie love mom.
I threw it down in disgust. How could she act like a perfect and normal mother when I hadn’t even seen her for nearly a decade?
I must have looked pretty upset because when I looked up I was met with concerned faces.
“Who was the letter from?” asked Peter quietly. He barely ever spoke and I was always startled when he did.
“My mother, I‘m not hungry anymore” I answered and got up and left.
As I sulked in the common room I felt a hand on my shoulder but it wasn’t Amy like I suspected, it was Sirius.
“You gotta case of the crappy mom?” He asked and sat down on the couch next to me. I couldn’t tell if he was joking but I gave him a glare anyway.
“You should meet mine; I’m literally a son of a bitch, moved out last year” He said in a nearly expressionless voice but I could sense some resentment.
“Did she abandon you for 10 years and suddenly show up and pretend she can make up for it with apologies. She only married my Dad to get back at my wealthy snob grandparents, and when she couldn’t handle the life of a middle class muggle family she just left.” I found myself saying bitterly and unwillingly sharing something that only my best friend knew.
“No, not really but she is into the pureblood mania and never gave up the chance to rag on me for my blood traitor friends and what a disappointment I am.” Sirius grumbled and then his voice softened “You sort of witnessed my dislike on Monday.”
I cringed. I was wondering when that would come up.
“You gonna be alright and all that? I don’t know if we can handle a sad Paige, the strong, oddball one is much more fun to laugh at.”
I managed a smile and nodded just as Amy came through the portrait, ready to listen to my troubles. “You know Black” I said as I got up to go greet her. “That was a little mushy, even for you.”
He laughed, did that always sound like a bark?
As life returned to normal, days later I noticed something extremely unusual as I went up to bed after supper.
Sirius and Serverus Snape talking……together…..without wands pointed at each other…..and nobody was hitting.
Hmmmmmmmmmmm? I quickly went in a different direction, no more accidentally listening to stuff for me! I think Sirius was embarrassed about opening up to me; he was kind of awkward for the last few days.
I didn’t know that the effects of their speaking would trickle in to the next day so significantly.
“So Runes has been more fun with Remus around” I told Amy the next morning. “He seems very surprised how much I rock at translating. I had been telling her as much about Remus as I could but lately she seemed to not receive any info very enthusiastically. She merely nodded at my words and changed the subject.
Today was Halloween (Mmm feast) but when Amy and I reached the Great Hall for breakfast we couldn’t help but notice Peter and Remus sitting significantly apart from James and Sirius with angry looks on their faces. Lupin actually looked a little sickish and tired as well. I sat down across from Sirius to ask what was happening but James gave me a “Don’t ask” look so I started eating my oatmeal. After too long of a silence I looked up at Sirius. He was just staring at his cereal and seemed so upset and disheveled. I suddenly had the urge to give him a hug.
Stop, what? Wait a minute! My brain started yelling loudly and I felt a large portion of sugary oatmeal get lodged in my throat and I began choking. I have never had the urge to give a hug before. Not even to kittens.
I stood up coughing and hacking as Amy hit my back, very hard I might add. Well I guess hitting soft wouldn’t help. Suddenly I felt strong arms around my waist and I was lifted up as they hit my stomach. The clump of oatmeal soared through the air and hit some Hufflepuffs who screamed rather girlishly for teenage males.
“Cough…er…thanks Remus” I managed to say to my rescuer.
“No problem, I’ll walk you to History of magic” he answered ignoring Sirius and James. I definitely didn’t trust my oatmeal anymore so I followed him pushing that strange thought I had out of my mind.
“Oh man Runes was such a pain today, we got twice the work we usually do, and Remus said the funniest thing…” I trailed off catching Amy’s sudden angry look as we sat down in Charms.
“Oh do go on, what did Remus say that has you so, so….. into him.” She bitterly spat and proceeded to ignore a very confuzzled me. It hit me soon after, I hadn’t actually told her I talked about Remus all the time for her benefit; I just assumed she thought so. Opps. I tried to explain it to her but she continued to ignore me.
Fine if she wants to be like that, two can play this game.
So after a very quiet class I broke first and wrote her a note instead of speaking:
WHAT ARE YOU CRAZY MAN! Me and him, sorry but we’re just friends…..friends hey I have 3 friends now, maybe even more. Any how I know you majorly love him so the thought of more than friends has never crossed my mind
I practically shoved it in her face and after some prodding she read it and paused before answering back.
I know I’m being stupid, I’m sorry, its just that you two are so comfortable around each other and when he was all knight in shining armour this morning I guess I felt a little jealous
I laughed and wrote back.
Well maybe we should cook up a life or death situation involving you
I meant to pass it to her but for the second time in charms, note passing went dangerously wrong as she blew some dust off her book and accidentally also blew the paper out of my hand and right on the desk of the person who sits in front of us. Three guesses as to who it was. More good luck happened when the bell rang and Remus gathered up the papers on his desk before I could get it back.
“Please tell me that I only died and was sent to hell and that was the devil’s idea of a good opening joke and now I’m being sent off to the torture pit and this really didn’t happen” she moaned and put her head on the desk.
“Never again will we write anything to each other on paper, from now on verbal communication only.” I said trying to be of comfort.
“Well?” she asked lifting her head up and poking me “What’s your plan?”
“What are you talking about?” I exclaimed
“You always have a plan to make things right, they don’t always work but they’re at least a chance”
“Do I always have to save your butt?”
“YOU’RE the one getting my butt into trouble?”
“What about the time when – “
“HELLO we are in an emergency here! No time for arguments, think Paige”
I crossed my arms and sat down and did just that.
“Well we could pay a visit to the boys dorm while they’re at supper, I doubt Lupin will have started his homework before then.”
“But we’ll miss the feast!”
“Will you miss me when I die of sheer embarrassment?”
“Uhhh excuse me ladies?” We looked up at Professor Flitwick standing at the doorway “Class was dismissed a little while ago, could you two please leave?”
Author time: So I packed a lot into this chapter, I know, I hope it wasn’t too much and you all enjoyed it.
THANK YOU to all the reviewers, you guys made me want to write this story even more. Sorry if I don't reply to all the reviews quickly but know that each one is very much appreciated and encouraging.
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