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I am absolutely boiling. My head is bound to fall off at any moment.

If someone was to wander by, they would think that a tomato had grown legs and was now jogging around the Quiditch pitch like a fool.

Why did I decide to exercise? Obviously it is crap.

You know, I never realised just how huge the Quiditch pitch actually is. I’m only half way around and I’m already tomato girl. Not to mention the fact that I walked more than I actually jogged…

Maybe I could just have a little lay down on the grass and…

I had just turned around to find the best spot to have a little break and de-red my face, but when I did I bumped into something awfully solid but it also smelt really, really good.

It took me a moment to realise what, or who, it was.

“AHHHHHHHH!” I screamed before stumbling backwards so fast I ended up tripping over myself and landed roughly on the ground.

“Wow. You’re really red” McKinnen managed to say through his laughter. I really must find out his first name.

Oh my God. I am sitting on the ground with a possible broken bottom, a tomato for a head and idiot hair in front of the second best looking boy I’ve ever seen and haven’t made up.

Bloody fantastic.

What am I going to do?! I can’t just keep sitting here like a fool and a twit.

I got quickly to my feet in what I like to think was a graceful fashion. “I, err, HAHAHAHA… bye!” I started half stumbling half jogging away while mentally slapping myself for being such a weirdo.

“You know, you are quite easily the oddest girl I know” I nearly fell over from freight for I hadn’t even heard McKinnen jogging behind me and now he was jogging along side me, easily keeping up.

Stupid long legged…

Merlin, please tell me, for I will be the last to know, what a girl is meant to say to someone who just called you, ‘the oddest girl I know’? Because frankly I am at a lost. Well that and also the fact that I cant talk because my lungs have died and gone to exercising hell.

Oh nooooooo. I swear my head is going to explode from it being so gosh darn red. I must say something!

“*Huff* what are… *puff* you doing… *pant* out here?” Wow. I’m surprised I even managed to get out the first two words, let alone a sane question.

“I’m sorry, I missed that. What did you say?” McKinnen said with ease. Why is he not dying like I am?!

Oh God. He wants me to say it again! I barely managed the first time!

“*Huff, puff* Wha-”

Oh thank Merlin he’s interrupting me!

“I’m just kidding! I heard you. Please don’t try and talk again, I’m afraid you’ll die and I’ll have to drag you off into the woods” McKinnen said before cringing and laughing nervously.

AHA! Someone else who says things before instantly wishing that they hadn’t! I’m not the only one! I would totally dance right now if I knew that I wasn’t going to a) look like a complete twit, and b) die.

“Err… that sounded casually humorous in my head…” McKinnen said followed by an awkward smile and a nervous laugh.

I just gave him a dismissive wave, because that was all I could manage, and, what I hoped was, an attractive smile. That’s what I had hoped; I’m not saying that’s what it turned out to be.

We jogged on for another 40 seconds, the only sound being the tweeting of evening birds in the distant and the sound of our feet… oh and the sound of me dying, not so quietly.

“Uhh, I don’t mean to be rude but you sound like your dying. Maybe you should stop and have a rest?” I noticed that McKinnen was looking down at me with a slightly worried look on his face.

Oh my, I’ve just realised how tall he is…

Okay. That’s it! I have to stop.

I slowed to a stand-still with my hands on my head, gasping in air. As I said, exercising is obviously crap and painful. It can’t possibly be in any way healthy.

Having gathered some of my breath back I managed to say, “Uhhh is it normal to feel this dizzy?”

“Are you okay?” McKinnen asked rather worriedly, “Here, sit down” he hovered close to me, ready to catch me if I decided to go beyond the valley of embarrassment and faint.

Ahhh, this feels so much better. And hey, the ground has stopped spinning!

I watched in slight horror as McKinnen sat down opposite me, not to mention quite close, close enough that if I wanted I could have made our knees touch…

Not that I wanted to or anything of course…

Wait. A really good looking boy is sitting across from my almost exploding red head and my sweaty, messy hair. Greeeeeat.

My shorts started to feel too short and my top started to feel too tight as I began to feel more and more self conscious.

All the while I’m having a mini silent freak-out; McKinnen just sat there, leaning back on his palms with a casual smile.

Ohhhh he looks so nice all calmy, calm like. Why can’t I be like that!?

“You know, you are still sensationally red” McKinnen said with a playful smile.

Ugh. Stupid exercise! Stupid red face! Stupid I-Only-Know-Your-Last-Name-Boy!

“Umm, thanks?” I said raising an eyebrow.

Thanks? THANKS?! I thanked him for calling me really red? What in fresh hell is my brain thinking?! I, of course, will be the last to know.

McKinnen raised an eyebrow and laughed before saying “You’re quite welcome”.

Okaaaaaay… this is awkward. We’re just sitting here looking anywhere but each other.

I can’t take it anymore!

“Who are you?! And why are you so nice?” Oh god. I’m shouting at him again! If shouting obvious things at him wasn’t enough, now I’m demanding to know his identity. Merlin, for all I know, he could have a secret identity and here I am shouting at him to just tell me willy-nilly and… wait. Good grief, my brain has dropped out and gone on a holiday to loony city!

Thankfully, he just laughed and smiled before asking, “What do you mean? Would you rather I be horrible to you?”

“No! Err, I mean, no I just meant that you’re a Slytherin… and Slytherines tend to not like Gryffindor’s. At all. What so ever.” Gasp! What if this is all a trap and a group of man-like Slytherin girls are about to jump out and carry me off to their lair and…

Before he even had a chance to answer, I blurted out “This is a trap isn’t it!”

I had started to get up, fully ready to use my little knowledge of self-defence but McKinnen gently grabbed my wrist and pulled me back down while saying, “Whoa, whoa! What are you like? Of course this isn’t a trap!”

I ended up sitting back down but gave him my suspicious look.

“So what’s your name then?” I asked.

“My name is… ”

What? What! Don’t just leave me hanging! I need to know!

“Uhh…?” I said, hoping that would prompt him to finally tell me his name.

That’s when I realised McKinnen was looking past me. I turned around to see the whole Gryffindor quiditch team walking into the stadium, playfully pushing each other.

“I should go” McKinnen said standing up.

Nooooooo! I still don’t know who you are!

“What? Why?” I said scrambling to my feet.

McKinnen, who had been brushing grass off his uniform, stopped, looked at me like I was stupid and then realising I still wasn’t getting it, looked pointedly at his Slytherin uniform.

“Ohhhh” I said, feeling stupid for taking so long to realise that he was the only Slytherin in a stadium full of Gryffindor boys.

“Yeah, I don’t think your house would like it that much if I stole all their quiditch secrets… even though their all rubbish anyway” he said before giving me a smirk and a wink.

I was just about to say something to him when I heard the group of quiditch players laugh loudly at something.

Whoa! I had only turned away for one second to see what they were all doing and when I look back, McKinnen is gone!

Weeeeird… and annoying!

Slightly mumbling to myself about how crap it is to just disappear, I began jogging again, having finally stopped dying.

I am so glad that it isn’t that far to run until I reach the quiditch team. If it was, I would have definitely walked there. I am no letting tomato girl make another appearance!

Oddly enough, seeing as he isn’t on the team, Remus was the first to notice me. He smiled. I nearly fell over.

Oh god! Please Merlin; PLEASE do not let me go red again! As I got closer I slowed to a walk and tried to do a bit of sneaky idiot hair flattening.

As the others started to notice me I hoped I looked like I had planned; out for a casual, healthy, athletic jog. Not; Please help me, I’m dying on a death run.

As I reached the team, I focused on smiling, breathing and not saying anything stupid… near impossible for me.

“Hey Shaylee” James said smiling. Hmm, Lily must be crazy to not go out with that boy! Does she not see his smile?

“So this is where you ended up. We were wondering where you were going so dressed up” Sirius said with playful grin, looking at my ‘exercising outfit’.

I must say... phwoar.

I just laughed and smiled and nodded as if I was Miss Casual on casual street. What I was actually feeling was: Oh my god! What am I wearing?! What kind of stupid person ‘exercises’?! No one of course because it is so crap! I am such an idiot. Add in a bit of mental forehead slapping and you have my view on things.

I was just planning on saying something casual like, “So your starting practice early, it’s only the second day of school” and NOT “Remus you are the best thing since the toastie”, when we heard,

“Oh honey bunch!”

Good grief.

I turned to Sirius and said, “Oh honey bunch, your pookey bear wants you” and threw in a mocking smile.

Sirius looked slightly mortified, not to mention quite red. He glared at me, and anyone else who was laughing which was… err… everyone, before giving a small wave to the two girls sitting up in the stands.

“Right. Lets get on with it shall we?” James said, holding back his chuckles.

I wonder what Remus is going to do since he isn’t on the team. When I looked around for him, I saw him and Sirius just out of my hearing range. They seemed to be arguing about something.

I watched in amusement as they both got more riled up which meant an increase in head shaking and grumpy faces. In the end Remus gave a defeated sigh and Sirius thumped him on the back in that ‘thanks mate’ guy way. I’m still at a lost as to why they do that exactly. Getting the wind knocked out of you doesn’t seem like a very thankful thing to do to someone.

I pretended to look away and act interested in my nails as Sirius got on his broom to join the others near the goal posts while Remus walked back towards me.

I looked up in ‘surprise’ when Remus was close enough for me to have ‘just noticed’ him. Hmm, he doesn’t look that happy…

“You’re coming with me” Remus said before grabbing hold of my wrist and pulling me along behind him.

What? What??

“Uhh…okay” was all I said, trying not to die at the thought of him holding my wrist. It didn’t even occur to me that I should have probably asked him where we were going exactly. He could have been dragging me off to the Forbidden Forrest for all I knew or cared…

When he was sure that I was going to follow him, he let go of my wrist. I tried not to sigh sadly.

It took me until we were up in the stands to realise where were going.

“Oh no! Nooo way!” I said, stopping and putting my hands on my hips in what I hoped was a ‘and that’s final’ kind of stance.

He was dragging me off to sit with Sirius’ pookey bear and her friend!

Remus stopped and looked at me with pleading eyes.

I had to look away or I would have given in.

Uh-uh! No way, no how! It doesn’t matter what he says, I will not go and play friends with one of Sirius’ ‘girlfriends’.

“Please?”

“… Okay” Oh my god! I am so weak! But just look at that face…

Remus grinned at me and said, “I owe you one”

“Oh no. You owe me A LOT. Do you know who that is? That is Emma. She is CRAZY! Do you not remember her practically choking me yesterday when she thought I was Sirius?! I do not look like a boy I tell you!” I said in a frantic whisper as we were getting closer and I really didn’t want crazy Emma hearing me talking about just how crazy she is…

“I know, I know, trust me I don’t want to do this either but Sirius asked me and I did owe him after the giant squid incident…” Remus said, smiling down at me. What is it with all these boys being so darn tall?

“What about Barry?” I asked in slight worry.

“Barry?” Remus asked in confusion.

“Barry may be a giant squid but he is a good friend of mine and a great listener” I said without thinking how extremely odd that would sound.

“Yo-” Remus had started to say but was interrupted by,

“Remus!” Emma jumped up and hugged Remus, who was looking like he would rather have Barry hugging him rather than her.

Who hugs for that long, honestly!

Once she had finally let go, she turned and pulled her friend forward and introduced her as ‘Emily’.

Emma and Emily. Greeeeeat.

Emma and Emily were both chatting at the same time to Remus, who might I add, looked completely dazed.

As funny as this is, I should save him. I stepped up next to him and plastered a friendly smile on my face. Once Emma realised I was there she stopped talking and her nose scrunched up in distaste.

She turned her face to Remus and I noticed that she was back to smiling. She said in a sickly sweet voice, “Remus, who’s this?”

Good God, I fought back the urge to roll my eyes and also push her off the stadium grandstand.

Remus, having picked up on Emma’s unhappiness with me being there, pulled me gently by my elbow close to his side and said, “This is my good friend Shaylee”

Do not faint. Do not faint. Do not faint. I had to chant to myself.

“Oh” was all Emma said before sitting down, her friend Emily doing the same.

Remus grinned at me while pushing me toward the seat next to Emily. I shook my head furiously at him but he just kept grinning. Eventually I had to sit down.

I will get him back for this!

Emma and Emily were leaning towards each other whispering. One guess what their saying. I’m pretty sure I heard the words, “… she wearing?”

I was just about to tell Remus how much he owed me, when I felt Emma tap me on the shoulder.

“Umm, can you swap seats with Remus? I’m kinda trying to set him up with Emily” she whispered to me in a tone that suggested that I really didn’t have a choice if I wanted to move or not.

I was about to say, ‘Actually, I would rather submerge my head in a bucket full of dead flobberworms than help you set Remus up with Emily’, when I got better idea.

I’m getting us out of here.

I ignored Emma and turned to Remus and said, “Oh Remus! I just remembered! We were supposed to do that Muggle Studies homework, REMEMBER?” while I was saying the last bit I widened my eyes and hoped that Remus got the hint. He did.

“Oh! Right! We had better go do that now. Err, well, bye Emma, Emily” Remus said while quickly getting up and grabbing my wrist to pull me up. Together we shuffled off as fast as we could. At last! Freedom! I’m happy to be away from the ‘Em’s’.

When we were sure we were out of ear range, we both burst out laughing.

“Di- did you see her face?” I choked out through my giggles.

Remus nodded while grinning before saying, “Ahh, I owe you times two now! Thanks, I thought we were going to be stuck there until practice finished. Sirius only said I had to go sit with them, not that I actually had to stay”

I laughed and tried to make sure there was at least a semi attractive smile on my face before I said, “Oh that would have been horrid! Emma absolutely hates me!”

As Remus and I walked towards the castle, I tried to make sure I didn’t say anything too loony, which as it turned out, seemed to be quite hard for me.

We were just approaching the castle stairs when the doors opened and the entire Slytherin quidditch team came out and started down the stairs.

Remus, for the second time today, moved protectively close to me. Oh my god! That is so adorable!

… Oh shut up, I’m allowed to go all girly and stupid around him!

One of the beaters who was leading the team stopped when he reached Remus and I and looked at us with a half smirk half sneer.

Oh great. Way to ruin my Remus time! I will get you back for this!

“Well lookie here boys. A Marauder without his backup” he said while the others gathered around.

I was starting to get a little scared because there were a lot of them and only two us and I’ll be the first to tell you, it should be illegal to for me to even attempt to use my wand to protect myself… I just wave my wand around and hope for the best and in the worse case scenario I would probably just throw my wand at their head and run.

Hey! That doesn’t sound like that bad of plan… I wonder how my aim is?

“Yeah, yeah Reed, why don’t you just keep going” Remus told more than asked. I noticed that he already had his wand in his hand. I don’t remember that being there a second ago…

Oooooh when he is in tough mode it makes me want to… oh alright, I’ll shut up.

Reed scoffed before raising his eyebrow and saying, “What makes you think we would listen to anything you say?” as he was talking, he started to get closer to us while getting out his wand.

I instinctively moved closer to Remus. I realised I had gotten a little bit too close when our hands bumped against each other. I blushed and went to move away, even though I felt safer closer to him, but Remus grabbed my hand and pulled me gently towards him so that our sides were touching.

Oh. My. God. Remus Lupin is HOLDING my hand! My HAND. Not my wrist like last time, but my HAND. My knees started to feel a bit weak… NO! Do not faint!

I was saved from the horrific embarrassment that fainting would bring by ‘One name only McKinnen’ shouldering his way to the front.

He began to smile at me before I saw his eyes quickly glance down to my hand. His smile quickly turned into a glare but it wasn’t towards me. Ohhhh if looks could kill Remus would be deady-dead-dead. And also dead.

Oh great! Our one chance to get out of this has just turned into Mr Glare Man. Now what will we do? Surely I won’t have to resort to my ‘throw wand at head and run’ plan will I?

Just when I was getting ready to pull out my wand before throwing it, praying to Merlin that it hits someone other than myself, before making a wild dash for the castle, dragging Remus along with me, when I heard someone say “Oi!”, just from behind us.

I turned around and was beyond relieved to see the entire Gryffindor team stopping and fanning out along side us, almost like a solid wall of fit quidditch players… err, because that’s what they were.

I noticed that it was Sirius who was next to me. He gently put his hand on my arm before stepping slightly in front of me.

As nice as all this protectiveness is, do they all really think I can’t protect myself? I can throw a mean wand… and uhh, that’s it. Dang.

There was a long moment when all the guys did was glare at each other. At this rate we’ll make it to dinner… in a million years time.

I was thinking of saying something, you know, to just break the silence but then I came to my senses and said nothing.

I looked, or more so stared, at McKinnen, hoping he would look at me. When he finally did, I gave him my pleading eyes.

For a moment he just stared at me blank faced before he gave the tiniest sigh and turned to ‘Reed’. WHY everyone just talks to each other using their last names is beyond me.

I heard McKinnen say “C’mon” before roughly pushing past the guys on the end of the Gryffindor wall. The others followed, glaring at us all. Once they had gone I let a small sigh of relief.

“Well that was exciting… not” James said while grinning. How can he act like we had not just nearly been attacked by a group of angry Slytherin boys? Oh right, he’s a Marauder. He actually LIKES stirring up the Slytherines.

Sirius raised an eyebrow at James and said, “I can’t believe you just made a ‘not’ joke” before shoving him in the shoulder and laughing. James just stuck his tongue out at him.

While I was laughing at James and Sirius’ performance of immaturity, I was having a silent panic attack. I’m still holding Remus’ hand!

Oh God! What do I do now? If I don’t let it go he will think I like him, which I do but I don’t exactly want him knowing! But I don’t want to let it go…. Oh nooooooo.

“Right you lot, lets go get something to eat yeah?” James said before starting off towards the castle. Everyone began following him.

When Remus went to walk it seemed like he had only just remembered that he was holding my hand.

That’s not a very good sign…

I heard him say a small, “Oh”, before he slowly let go of my hand.

We both instantly blushed red, me somewhat brighter… okay a whole lot brighter! I can’t help it if I’m pale!

Remus did a nervous laugh while saying “Sorry about that”

I wanted to say, ‘Nooo! Don’t be sorry! Here! You can hold my hand for as long as you want! Or at least until it gets sweaty’ but then I remembered who I was talking to and how mortifying that would be… so I just blushed some more and said, “It’s okay don’t worry about it”

And with that final awkward note, we made our way into the Entrance Hall.

A/N: Hey you! Thank you soooo much for reading! :) I can't believe I'm almost up to 10,000 reads! Just by you reading even just this chapter makes me very, very happy. (((: The wait was long, but not as long as normal! So that has to count for something right?
      
Again, thank you to all of those who have read and to those who have reviewed me in the past. I'm dedicating time to answer every review I have so if you feel like leaving me one just to talk about the weather, feel free! [[:

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