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Chapter Twenty-Three~*~Live Life


Remus looked up at the most recent post on the billboard. He smiled. A ball...it was rather odd, and very short notice. Normally Dumbledore wouldn’t leave such things to the last minute. He thought of his friends, but then frowned. His friends. They had been acting so odd lately. They had not been talking to him very much...in fact, they hadn’t been talking to anybody very much. They seemed downright depressed. Even James and Sirius, who were normally the happiest of the gang. He had given up on talking to Peter, and didn’t want to talk to Alex. When he had tried to approach Lily, just to chat, she had given him such a lost, hopeless look. He hadn’t known what to think then, and when he asked Sirius to explain, all he did was shrug and walk away. He couldn’t help but feel slightly resentful, but at the same time, hopeful that his friends would, in time, come to him with their problems. They wouldn't keep him in the dark would they? The marauders were supposed to share everything with each other!

His mind wandered back to the ball. He knew who he would like to ask to the ball...but should he? He grinned then. Why not? Happily determined, he walked towards the Great Hall. Maybe he would find Candy there. He picked up his speed, walking down the narrow hallways.

“You’re just a freak, you know that?” a high-pitched, male voice said, just around the corner.

“What’s with your stupid hair anyways?” another taunting voice carried to him. He frowned.

“Yeah, do you think it’s cool looking like half your head is frozen?” the first voice said. Remus froze. Could they be talking about Candy? He listened carefully.

“Well, at least I don’t look exactly like everybody else,” Candy’s voice snapped back. “Though I don't blame you. If I were you, I'd strive to look normal too,” she countered. Remus followed the voices, and saw that two sixth years had her pinned to a wall. Both were Slytherin. One was a boy that Remus recognized as Thadius Knott. The other was a black girl he didn’t know.

“Don't you dare talk to him like that you freak!!” the girl screeched, grabbing hold of Candy's short blonde and blue hair. Candy balled up her fist and slammed it right into the girl’s eye. The girl flew back, pounding against the wall with surprising force. Remus smiled, but then stopped as Thadius yelled in outrage and made a fist of his own. He used his other arm to hold Candy against the wall. She winced, waiting for the inevitable.

“Abrasio!” Remus yelled in fury. Thadius yelled out in pain. His hands went to his face then. Candy stared as Thadius' face was covered in painful looking blisters.

"What have you done?" Thadius said.

"You look the same to me," Candy remarked, grinning ear-to-ear. Remus' eyes were narrowed, his wand at the ready.

"Get out of here, Knott," he said. "Twenty points from Slytherin!"

Knott looked horrified. Then he turned on Candy. "Twenty points! And it's your fault!" he yelled angrily. He made a big mistake by taking a step towards her. Candy let loose then. She hurled a kick at his leg, just below his knee. He grabbed it then, tottering on one foot. Then Candy swung her leg expertly to one side, until it collided with the back of Knott's other knee. Knott tumbled to the ground, whimpering in pain.

"Permantiora Pigmentatia!" she yelled then, pointing her wand at Knott's head. His hair turned suddenly bright blue. He winced horribly, but felt nothing. He grinned arrogantly.

"Doesn't look like it worked," he sneered.

"Really?" Candy asked him, folding her arms in front of her. She decided not to point out the fact that his hair was blue. She gave a soft little sigh then. "I guess you're right. Well, you better be off then." she said. Knott looked like he wanted to do just the opposite, but with Remus standing not two feet behind her, his wand raised in warning, he decided he better listen to her. He hurried off then, forgetting the girl in the passageway completely.

“Nice shootin’ Tex!” Candy said, grinning ear to ear.

“You're the one who did all the work. Where did you learn to fight like that?” Remus said. Then decided on a more important question. "Are you alright?"

“Never better. Those were some awesome moves though, weren't they?" she said rather proudly. "My dad taught me all about self-defense!" Remus shook his head, smiling. "Well, I guess I owe you my thanks! Though I can handle Thadius myself! I always do,” she continued on merrily.

“Always? He’s done this before?!” Remus asked heatedly. She shrugged.

“And I can beat him every time! Boy does he get sore! You’d think he would learn not to pick on me. It’s just this time he brought a little friend,” she said in disgust. “He cheated!”

“Well, he won’t ever pick on you again, will he?” Remus said angrily, deciding to have a talk with the nasty thing.

“I didn't think you could take points though...!” she said as an after-thought. Remus looked down at her, still shaken. He smiled though, realizing that he had been much more upset by this than she had. He shook his head.

“I can't," he said with pride. Candy gave a loud laugh, doubling over.

"Well, that was certainly an adventure, wouldn't you say? I mean, it's not often you get to take on two Slytherins in a day and completly kick their butts! And did you see the look on his face! I would pay money to see it again! He was simply furious, oh I'm talking too much again, I'll stop," she said. Remus was slightly dazed.

"You are the most bizarre...amazing...wonderful person I’ve ever met,” he said. She grinned.

“Thanks! I think all that stuff about you too. Well, since I think we feel the same way about each other, I think it would be fun if we went to the ball together, don’t you?” she said. Remus stared.

“Actually, that’s what I came to see you about,” he said, blushing.

“I know. I thought I’d save you the trouble of asking. Well, how have you been lately? I don’t think I’ve seen you much recently. You’ve been rather distant. Is it because of your friends? I noticed that they have been acting strangely too,” she said.

“Yeah...” Remus said, trying to keep up with everything she was saying to him.

“I thought so. Well, only you can ruin your day. Wait and everything will work itself out. It always does. Just sometimes it takes a long time,” she said wisely.

“Yeah, well I always thought of myself as patient, but this is just ridiculous,” he muttered. Candy stared at him, obviously thinking very hard.

“Is there anything I can do?” she asked. Remus smiled.

“Just stay yourself,” he muttered.

“Well, I think I can do that,” she said, laughing. Then she jumped, looking at her watch. “Oh, but I’d better go. Gobstones is about to start! I’ll see you!” and with that she took off at a run. Remus stared after her, feeling as he always did whenever he left an encounter with her: windswept.

~~

Heather and Sirius said nothing to each other the whole walk to the Common Room. In fact, if they hadn’t been holding hands, you would have thought they hadn’t even noticed each other.

“This isn’t your fault,” Sirius said firmly, reading Heather’s thoughts.

“It was my idea to have a ball. If I hadn’t suggested it, Frank and Alice might still be together,” she said dismally. Sirius stopped and put an arm around her.

“Heather, listen to me. Trust me when I say, it wasn’t the reason they broke up, it was just an outlet. Frank would have found another reason, if the ball hadn’t been announced. And besides, this ball is the reason Lily and James are back to normal,” he said, bending over slightly to look into her eyes. She looked sadly at the ground.

“What can I do to fix this?” she whispered. Sirius pulled her into a hug, closing his eyes against the top of her head.

“There is nothing to fix. We weren’t supposed to hear, remember?” he said.

“Yes...but...Maybe I can talk some sense into Frank. The ball is in two weeks,” she said, hope restored in her eyes. “There is still time,” she said. It was only her look of desperate hope that Sirius didn’t object.

“It isn’t your job to help everybody,” he said, and pulled her tight against him.

“WHAT IS THIS?!” a loud voice carried to them, causing Heather to jump. She spun around to see Lucius standing at the end of the hallway, watching Sirius and Heather disgustedly. “I warned you!” he yelled, running forward.

“Lucius...” Heather began.

“Shut up!” he yelled at her. “I’m going to get him! He will pay for your mistake! Blood-Traitors!” he roared. He started to turn back to tell his friends and get a small army to help him, but stopped as he noticed that somebody was blocking his way. Heather stared in relief as she saw Albus Dumbledore standing, his hands clasped behind his back, looking down at Lucius.

“I don’t think it necessary to raise your voice, Mr. Malfoy,” he said cooly. “Anybody within a mile could hear with crystalline clarity.” Heather smiled, as did Sirius. Lucius gave an audible gulp. “Now then, as to the content of your raging. I do believe that you were threatening one of my students. Is that correct?” he asked.

“Of course not, Professor!” Lucius said, feigning shock.

“Hmmm...well, my ears might be old, but I’m quite certain that I’ve heard quite enough to convince me that you’re not being completely truthful. If you would be so kind as to join me in my office?” he said, and began to walk away. Lucius threw an enraged look over his shoulder before trudging miserably behind Dumbledore. As soon as the two had turned the corner, Heather and Sirius exchanged a high-five.

Dumbledore smiled, hearing the exchange.

~~

Heather gave Sirius a last, nervous look before entering the Common Room alone. As she had predicted, Frank was sitting in a melancholy heap on one of the shadowy armchairs by the fire. He looked as though he was fighting the urge to throw himself into it.

“Hi,” Heather said, going to sit in a chair opposite his.

“Hey,” Frank said, not even looking up. Heather thought desperately, how could she explain to him that she had been eves-dropping? “I guess you’ve come to talk to me about Alice?” he asked. Heather didn’t register for a second that he already knew, and was already half-way into a plan to confess when she understood.

“You...you knew?” she said, amazed.

“Yeah, I knew. So, what is it that you want? You can’t talk me out of it, so don’t bother,” he said.

“Frank,” she said soothingly. “You can’t live your whole life running from something that might not ever happen. A life lived in fear is no life at all!”

He snorted. “Heather, you couldn’t possibly understand,” he said.

“Then explain it to me!” she replied, stubbornly. He sighed.

“That’s how my mother died. Voldemort killed my mother. I would rather live alone than have that happen to Alice,” he admitted. There was a long silence.

“You're trying to protect her?” Heather asked. Frank nodded. “Why don’t you tell her that then? That way she won’t think that you don’t like her for some reason!”

“If I tell her that, she’ll just insist that I’m being stupid, and that I shouldn't worry about her. It’s better if she thinks that I don’t love her anymore,” he whispered. Heather shook her head. Boy, did this bring back memories.

“Frank, you may not believe me, but I recently went through something very similar to what you’re going through. Trust me, it’s better to let her in. You’ll both be a lot happier if you let her know what you’re actually thinking.”

“What if she gets hurt!” he insisted.

“She could get hurt whether you’re there with her or not!” Heather insisted. When Frank said nothing, she continued. “She could get hurt just as easy if you’re not there. She could be walking across a street, and get hit by a car. If you had been there with her, you might have realized in time to pull out your wand,” Heather explained. “What’s going to happen, will happen. Don’t spend your days running from it. Live life, Frank!” she said softly. Frank stared at her, then a smile cautiously grew across his face.

“You’re right,” he said. “You’re absolutely right.”

“I know I am! Now go up to the girls dorms and tell her how you really feel!”

“Should I wait until she’s awake though?” he said uncertainly, but looking anxious.

“Frank, after what you just put her through, I doubt she’s asleep,” Heather admitted. Frank gave her a guilt-ridden nod, and began towards the steps. He got to the bottom before turning around and rushing to Heather. He gave her a friendly hug.

“Thanks,” he muttered, and then turned back distractedly. Heather smiled as she watched his robes whip out of sight as he levitated himself up the steps.

“You were wonderful,” a husky voice said behind her. She smiled as Sirius came to sit next to her.

“Thanks,” she said, leaning against him.

“You’re quite the match-maker,” he said, putting his arms around her. She snuggled closer, tucking her head under his chin.

“I don’t think I’ll be sleeping up there tonight,” Heather said, laughing as a squeal of delight and a loud thump met their ears. Sirius nodded.

“I’ll stay down here with you,” he said, and laid down on the couch, pulling Heather with him. She laid her head on his shoulder, and closed her eyes, falling into a peaceful sleep.


A/N: Well, this was a good chapter in my opinion. Only good things came from it! Remus and Candy had a nice little meeting that was loads of fun to write. Candy is a character that I really enjoy writing! And that scene with her fightin with Knott was especially entertaining. She really showed him who was boss! Lol. And then of course we had Lucius getting exactly what he deserved! That was fun to write, I love writing Dumbledore, so any small chance to do so, I take it! And with Frank, I had a wonderful time exploring his character. And now that I have figured him out, I quite like him! Well, enough of my notes, they always turn out so long! Oh well, hope you enjoyed the chapter, and please review letting me know what you liked/disliked about the chapter!

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