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02 November 2004 @ 09:32 pm
For everything is but sophistry and illusion, and should be consigned to the flames...  

Haha! Digging my (incorrectly quoted) philosophy vibe?!!?

Well, this is my life so far. I have lots of pepper pictures. I have some self-portraits so luridly coloured they look like an acid-droppers' wet dream (as someone in my class said today). I have to bind the twenty best into a sort of book using card (which is the wrong size) and gold thread (pretty!) tomorrow, and will probably get the angles skewed. Then, it will be sent on Monday with my two notebooks to Ruskin, where it will be probably laughed to scorn (shut up  henbock) along with comments along the general line of: 'Where is the experimentation/process/evidence of outside interests outside of silly cartoons/other modern art crap?!!? Begone from this esteemed place of learning, foul commoner! Go do animation!'

And can you imagine? There is such a thing as ART THERAPY.

Draco rejoined his friends, who had lost interest in Terry’s workout once the girls had stopped waggling their asses about. He stepped over Seamus, who was curled in a heap, whimpering. He made to walk on, then paused, bent over Seamus and patted him on the shoulder.

‘Sorry mate, but I really don’t think he fancies you.’

Greg and Vinnie, who had heard the exchange between the infuriated Hermione and the pink-clad nymphets, eyed him shrewdly.

‘Look, D- Black,’ Greg began, ‘I know you’re touchy about this, but I think you should leave the Granger bint alone. From what I can see, she’d rather go out with a blind one-legged camel than you.’

‘What he means to say,’ Vinnie supplied, ‘Is the girl ain’t putting out. She don’t fancy you, man! So you should find yourself someone easier. That Parkinson chick, maybe.’

‘That’s where you’re wrong, oh despicable cronies mine,’ Draco said, smiling angelically. ‘I don’t fancy her, so I could care less that she hates my guts.’

‘No way, it’s bleeding obv – owww!’ Greg ended in a howl as Vinnie stepped on his foot and all fifteen stones of V. M. Crabbe descended on his small toe.

‘What was that, Greg?’ said Draco dangerously.

‘Absolutely nothing,’ said Vinnie innocently. ‘Its probably his ingrown toenail bleeding, what?’

‘If it wasn’t before, it bloody well is now,’ Greg groused, but wisely refrained from following his former train of thought aloud.

As they wandered back to the main building, Harry shoved up the over-long sleeve of his jumper to look at his watch.

‘Its twenty-five past three,’ he said, prodding Ron, who had sunk into half-conscious stupefaction. ‘For crying out loud, did you get stoned again at lunch?’ He looked despairingly at his friend, whose head was lolling slightly, the pupils of his half-lidded eyes wildly dilated. ‘You used to be such a laugh,’ he muttered sadly, heaving Ron up by the arm and hooking it around his shoulders to walk him inside, Lost Prophets still blaring tinnily from the dangling headphones.

As the bell rang, signalling the end of school, Seamus realised he was all alone. Groaning wearily, he staggered to his feet and started to jog towards the school, clutching his aching head.

~

In the staffroom, tired and dispirited teachers sagged around the vomit-green walls, occasionally perching on battered plastic chairs to start marking work, or orbiting towards the ancient coffee machine in search of sustenance.

Currently, Sev was banging the side of the machine in an effort to get it to yield more dirt-coloured sludge. Giving up, he announced to the world in general, ‘The machine’s broken again.’ He was greeted by a weary chorus of groans from the assembled staff.

‘Has anyone seen Dumbledore since before Christmas?’ Minnie McGonagall demanded.

‘Nope,’ said Selina Vector, a pretty student teacher much beloved by the libidinous male section of Oakfield Comprehensive, from where she hoped soon to escape and never return.

‘I think he went on a drinking binge with Hagrid over New Year’s. Hagrid woke up in a dustbin in the park, so god knows where the principal is by now,’ the biology teacher volunteered. Ivy Sprout was a motherly, plump woman whose dedication and enthusiasm for her job had been long since eroded by students who couldn’t care less, either about her, or more importantly, about the reproductive system of an oak tree.

‘Good Lord,’ Marie Sinistra, a heavy-lidded, black-haired physics teacher, groaned. ‘Bugger all for getting someone to fix the machine, then.’

‘Surely we can still have someone in,’ said Remus Lupin, the French teacher, mildly. Despite having done a stint teaching in Oakfield during his training, he had still returned when offered a full-time job, and as yet did not seem to have imbibed the true nature of the place.

‘That’s where you’re mistaken,’ said Joe Binns, the history teacher, in a dry tone of voice. ‘Dumbledore has the account book for the school, and he takes it with him everywhere. We haven’t access to any other ready money for the school, unless you’re prepared to pay for it out of your own wages?’

‘Um.’ Remus feigned avid interest in a horrendously written third form essay about drugs in school which, if it bore a resemblance to the French language, was entirely coincidental and apparently unintentional.

‘I’m sure things will be all right,’ said Sybil, the philosophy teacher, leafing rapidly through a tabloid paper. ‘Look, Dumbledore’s a Leo, and it said in his horoscope that the Moon is in the third house, meaning an easing of financial pressures.’ She looked up with a triumphant smile that was met by glares from the teachers who had bothered to listen to her.

‘Of course he has no financial pressures,’ Sev muttered, sinking into a chair and raking a hand through his gel-laden hair. ‘He drank them all away with the finances.’

‘Surely not,’ Remus retorted, without malice. ‘He’s probably just sick or something. And as a matter of fact, my friend Sirius is a vending machine repairman. I’ll get him to fix the thing as a favour.’

‘Sirius, the vending machine repairman?’ Sev snickered, with an evil grin. ‘Does he have a daughter that he calls Easter and who was born on a Tuesday night?’

‘No,’ said Remus thoughtfully. ‘I think he’s gay.’

Sev nearly spat out the mouthful of optimistically-named coffee that he had been thinking about swallowing. ‘Why, thanks for sharing that with us, Remus.’

‘No worries,’ Remus said, hiding a smile behind his empty coffee cup. ‘I could set you up, if you like.’

‘I’m not gay!’

‘Oh,’ said Remus, with wide eyes. ‘My mistake.’

Marie Sinistra snickered, and waved a hand in front of Sev’s furious face. ‘Cool it, honey. I can feel your chakras disintegrating as we speak.’ Behind her, Sybil made a pained face.

‘Seeing as we’re all here – well, almost all,’ Ivy Sprout began with a sigh, ‘I suppose it’s time we talked about the sixth form trip.’

‘What’s this then?’ Remus asked, with genuine interest.

‘It’s another name for involuntary suicide,’ Sev growled through gritted teeth.

‘Each year, the sixth form is taken out for – depending to what level their untrustworthiness has sunk – either a day or an overnight stay,’ Marie took it upon herself to explain.

‘Oh, a sort of graduation trip then,’ Remus nodded. ‘Do they get to pick it – no educational component, I presume?’

‘The only educational component in this place is the stack of porn mags inside the covers of the Encyclopaedia Britannica,’ Joe Binns murmured.

‘Yes, I never knew one could actually bend that way,’ Marie mused. Remus stared fixedly at the table while Sev smiled maliciously at his discomfiture.

‘We stopped letting them choose their own destination after we ended up in a lap-dancing club in Soho a few years ago,’ Marie added.

‘Yes, I remember that,’ Sev drawled, watching Remus’ expression with grim amusement. ‘Now, that was what I call edifying.’

‘Yes, yes,’ said Ivy, waving a hand tiredly. ‘So, does anyone have any ideas?’

‘Pick something out of the air,’ Sev suggested in a bored tone. ‘They don’t care anyway. Or take them to a hash farm, that’s something they’d actually enjoy.’

‘Severus!’ Remus exclaimed reprovingly.

Sev rolled his eyes. ‘I assume you have some wonderful plan that will suddenly make them all realise what a waste their entire lives have been, and push them on to great and good futures?’

‘You shouldn’t give up on them so easily,’ Remus said quietly.

Au contraire, Lupin,’ Sev snapped, his limited patience at an end. ‘It’s they who have given up on themselves.’

‘Did you have something in mind, Remus?’ Ivy asked quellingly, as Sev relaxed into a sullen scowl, his dark hair falling into his eyes. ‘Lord knows, I could do without having to carry the bloody thing this year.’

‘I can take over planning it if you like,’ Remus offered. ‘I’m not completely disillusioned yet – despite the strong attempts of certain people to enlighten me.’ He shot a sharp glance at Sev, who ignored it, and muttered to no one in particular, ‘Give me potheads over idealists any day.’

‘That’s very kind of you, Remus,’ said Ivy, smiling properly for the first time. ‘And may I remind you that as class teachers of 6A – Minnie – and 6B – Severus – it is your turn to accompany them as supervisors.’

‘Oh, Lord,’ Sev groaned in unfeigned agony. ‘Can’t somebody else do it? Please? I’ll pay them!’

‘There’d not that much money in the entire world,’ Marie said, laughing, and utterly thankful she’d escaped the task this year.

~

Draco and Greg were playing Medal of Honour on Draco’s PS2, while Vinnie looked on, bored, waiting for his turn. Gripping the pads for dear life, Draco finally let loose a roar of triumph as Greg’s character shrivelled and died.

‘I win, I win!’

‘Point out the bloomin’ obvious,’ Greg muttered grumpily, as Vinnie snatched the pads from his fingers.

‘Want a drink?’ Draco offered in an attempt to be conciliatory. ‘Vinnie, you want one?’

‘Naung.’ Vinnie’s small eyes were fixed irrevocably on the flashing screen. Draco rolled his and beckoned Greg down the stairs.

His mother was in the kitchen, surrounded by a sea of expensive Turkish tiling and copper pans suspended from the ceiling. The overhead lighting shone off her blonde hair, making it glow. Beside him, Draco could feel Greg salivating, and stepped on his foot. The same one that Vinnie had stepped on earlier.

Greg’s grimace of pain switched instantly to an ingratiating smile when Narcissa looked up from the artistic thing she was doing to some red peppers.

‘Hello, Draco, I didn’t hear you come in,’ she said, flashing her two thousand pound crowns, courtesy of her ex-husband.

‘I’m just getting us a drink, Mum,’ Draco said perfunctorily. ‘Will dinner be ready soon?’

‘Give me half an hour.’ Narcissa turned to slide a tray into the state-of-the-art oven. ‘Vegetarian lasagne.’

‘Oh, for crying out loud, not that no-meat shit again!’ Draco sighed in despair.

‘Language, Draco!’ she reproved, having remained in apparently blissful ignorance of Greg and Vinnie’s swearing habits despite their ten year friendship with Draco. ‘My phrenologist said that eating meat clouds your inner eye.’

‘Phrenologist?’ Draco frowned, taking two cans of Coke from the fridge and tossing one to Greg. ‘Don’t they read the bumps in your skull? What’s he doing telling you what to eat?’

‘He’s got a secondary line in holistic nutrition,’ Narcissa said, beaming angelically, and eliciting a strangled groan from Greg. She moved closer to her son, subtly moving herself out of Greg’s earshot.

‘By the way, your father wants to see you on Saturday.’

‘No!’ Draco responded vehemently, clutching his can.

‘You have to see him, Draco,’ his mother said inexorably. ‘It’s written into the custody agreement. Besides, he’s still your father.’

‘Not by choice!’ said Draco angrily, not bothering to keep his voice down, as his mother was doing. ‘You dropped him like a hot coal of hellfire, why can’t I?’

‘Draco, that’s completely different,’ Narcissa replied with a hint of impatience, and an air that said that the subject was closed. Draco wondered vaguely when he would learn how to do that. When he was a divorcee with an eighteen-year-old son, probably.

‘Would you and Vinnie like to stay for dinner?’ she said graciously to Greg.

‘Sure, I’d like that, Mrs – um – Mrs Draco,’ Greg said, shy as a virgin on a first date, his confusion compounded by the fact that since the divorce – despite its seven year duration – he still had no idea what to call her. With an edge of malice that lined her soul, Narcissa had never clarified it for him. With the edge of malice that lined his, Draco had never bothered to do so either.

As they made their way back up the stairs, Draco remarked, ‘I was just thinking about Granger’s hair. It’s so curly. Someone should tell her about the invention of ceramic straighteners.’

‘Yeah,’ Greg said non-committally, his mind still on the blonde vision below.

‘I get the feeling your heart just wasn’t in that reply,’ Draco said sarcastically.

‘Well, you talk about her all the time, it gets bloody boring,’ Greg said vaguely. ‘Plus, you stare at her arse,’ he added, with complete irrelevance.

Greg proceeded into Draco’s room, from where the sounds of explosions were emanating, leaving Draco fuming in the hall. First his mother telling him he had to see his father, and now - this? Whatever the hell it was?

Angrily, he pulled the ring of the Coke can. After having been carelessly shaken during the kitchen interlude and on the journey up the stairs, it obliged by exploding frothily. All over his white shirt.

‘SHIT!’

~

Several days later, the dying rays of the sun lit on the dark brown head of Remus J. Lupin, BA French and European Studies, Exeter University, who was still sitting at the brown plastic, coffee scarred staff-room table at half-past five in the evening, sucking thoughtfully on a biro lid.

‘Still here for your sins, Lupin?’ said Sev breezily, leaning against the doorjamb.

‘Well, I’d hate to have been sent here for my good deeds,’ Remus responded dryly.

‘Yea gods, did Remus Lupin just make a joke?’ Sev pretended to clutch his heart in agony.

‘A mere observation, Severus.’ Remus chewed harder on his biro, starting hard out of the smeared window. ‘Did it ever strike you, Sev, how odd all our names are?’

‘Nope,’ Sev said carelessly. ‘By the way, did you get in touch with your friend – you know,’ he snickered, ‘the vending machine repair man?’

‘Yeah, I called him last night,’ said Remus absently. ‘He’s calling round tomorrow.’

‘How are you going to pay him?’

‘Well, he offered to let his charge be a sexual favour from yours truly,’ Remus said, with a faint grin, ‘But I said no.’

‘Not that way inclined, hey?’ Sev’s voice had just a hint too much of eagerness about it, but Remus didn’t pick up on it.

‘Towards Sirius – no.’ Remus laughed. ‘We were madly in love when we were younger, but he got done for drugs smuggling years back and was in prison for a while. We sort of drifted apart. I think he’s got a new boyfriend now – someone he met inside.’

‘Jeez,’ Sev gulped. ‘That was a little TMI, Lupin.’

‘The question asked for it, Snape.’ Remus turned and regarded him with his large, clear golden eyes.

‘Seriously though, how are you going to pay him?’ Sev asked urgently. ‘I mean, the chocolate machine is broken again too – better than a punching bag for some kids, that thing. I hope you didn’t offer him the bodies of your poor co-workers –’

Remus gave an uncharacteristic snort. ‘He’s not interested in women or straight men, Snape, remember?’

‘Oh, good,’ Sev said hastily. ‘I’m glad of the – um – clarification.’

‘As a matter of fact, I used a little emotional blackmail,’ Remus said quickly, sounding uncomfortable. Sev opened his mouth to question, thought about the last time, and closed it again with a queasy expression.

‘What time is he coming?’ he managed. ‘Hell, what’s his name again?’

‘Sirius Black.’

Sev’s eyes bulged. ‘Siriusly? I mean, seriously? Is he anything to the Black boy in 6A?’

‘Which Black boy?’ Lupin asked. ‘I don’t recall anyone of that name in my classes – I would have remembered it.’ He gave a wry grin.

‘Black – do you know, I don’t know what his first name is?’ Sev looked at Remus in consternation. ‘I don’t think anyone does. Everyone just calls him Black.’

‘Maybe it’s a nickname?’ Remus suggested.

‘Maybe.’ Sev looked doubtfully, chewing his lip in thought. ‘He’s a tall chap, blonde hair, couple of piercing with dragon studs.’

‘Oh, him?’ Remus made a moue of distaste. ‘He’s – well, he’s a bit of a pillock, isn’t he? I heard him tormenting that poor Hermione Granger today. From her expression, it’s a regular occurrence.’

‘Well, I guess he is a bit,’ Sev conceded with a knowing smile. ‘But don’t be fooled – he’s absolutely crazy about that girl.’

‘He’s got a seriously odd way of showing it,’ Remus said, disbelief writ large over his features.

‘He’s a seriously odd kid,’ said Sev. ‘I think he’s got a bit of a messy family break-up in his past. Besides which, he’s rather exceptionally bright, except he has no interest in taking advantage of it.’

‘So is Granger.’ Lupin permitted himself a small smile. ‘Maybe they wouldn’t make such a bad couple.’

Sev let out a bark of laughter. ‘I don’t think that will ever happen. She’s not very good at reading people – takes them at face value too much. She truly thinks he despises her, or at least couldn’t care less about her, and she hasn’t got enough self-esteem to go after him.’

‘God, who’d be eighteen again, hey?’ Remus said, running his hands through his heavy, silky brown curls, which immediately fell back over his forehead. He gave Sev an easy smile, and Sev felt a jerk somewhere in the region of his navel.

‘I wouldn’t mind having the body of an eighteen-year-old,’ he objected, without thinking very much about his mouth. Remus’ mouth, maybe –

‘What, all scrawny, under-developed muscles, and spots?’ Remus laughed. ‘Thanks, but no thanks. I earned my body, and I think I’ll keep it.’

‘You never did say why you’re still here,’ Sev said, quickly – anything not to have to ponder what exactly Remus’ body looked like, under the battered jeans and holey woollen jumpers.

‘Oh – just thinking about the sixth form trip.’ Remus ruffled at the brochures littering the table with a hand.

Sev just restrained himself from rolling his eyes. ‘You are such a dreamer. Do you still actually think they’ll care? Where the hell did you teach before, Eton?’

‘For two years,’ Remus admitted with disarming honesty. ‘What do you think of this place? Its a Scottish castle, you can hire it out, and there’s loads of activities like water-skiing on the lake – ‘

‘A Scottish castle?’ Sev looked a little green around the gills. ‘As in, in the country of Scotland?’

‘Yep. That’s what people generally mean by the adjective ‘Scottish’.’

‘Smart-arse. How long would we be on a bloody bus with these excuses for students?’

‘A couple of hours. And then two nights in the castle itself.’

Sev looked at Remus’ bright eyes and smiling red mouth, and suddenly felt very old. ‘It seems like a great idea – at least, until you add actual people to it. But where on earth are you going to get the money for this? Dumbledore’s still AWOL with the bankbook, we’re having to resort to sexual favours to get the vending machine fixed, and most of these kids have to get summer jobs to buy their school books – those that bother to buy them, that is.’

Remus held up a hand. ‘Amazingly enough, despite what you seem to think is my blind idealism, I did realise that. And the school is eligible for a grant from some organisation – ‘ he shifted rapidly through his accumulated paperwork – ‘that covers the cost of things like that.’ He looked up and made a face. ‘It’s for disadvantaged children. Anyway, I wrote to them, and they’re happy to pay for it.’

Sev laughed incredulously. ‘You know, Remus, you could be a dangerous man to have around. You’re actually making me feel enthusiastic about something again.’

~

Sirius Black made ripples as he passed through the school, dressed in tight-fitting jeans and a black jumper, heavy boots and a tool belt swinging obscenely from his waist. He ran a hand through his raven’s-wing hair, eyeing up fit lads over his tilted, aristocratic nose. As soon as he saw Remus, burdened under a stack of copies to be marked, he dropped the supercilious act and greeted him with unfeigned delight, also relieving him of his burden with a noticeable lack of effort.

‘Remus!’

Remus had to laugh at his puppy-like enthusiasm, which he showed at every possible occasion and which he had never grown out of.

‘I was just going to the staffroom. You can come with me and have a look this coffee machine.’

‘Ah, Remus.’ Sirius waggled his eyebrows suggestively. ‘I know it’s been a long time since we were together, but surely you must remember that you never came with me?’

Pansy Parkinson, who was passing by, paused in the middle of blowing a huge pink bubble to eye them in shock. It was clear that she was only prevented from giggling by the imminent danger of choking such a course of action would entail.

‘Chewing gum is against the rules, Miss Parkinson!’ Remus called after her as he hurried Sirius up the stairs, knowing his ears were turning red. Sirius, as usual, simply revelled in the attention.

‘I bet they just quiver when you use that manly tone of voice, huh?’ Sirius said seductively as they entered the staffroom. Remus could feel the blush spreading to his whole face. Sev, who was the room’s only occupant, turned noticeably pale under his sallow complexion.

‘I’ll leave you to it,’ he muttered, grabbing his coffee cup instead of his biro by mistake and hurrying out of the room.

‘Well, now,’ Sirius whistled. ‘Either I have a more instantaneous effect than I realised, or that guy has the hots for you.’

‘Shut up, Sirius, you prize idiot,’ said Lupin serenely, holding his hand out behind him without turning around. Sev grabbed his biro from it and fled from the room again, muttering his thanks.

~

Remus and Sirius passed Black and his two lolloping mates on their way to the vending machine. Sirius gave Black a thoughtful look, which he returned with a sneer. For some reason this made Sirius smile.

‘Do you know him?’ Remus inquired, remembering that they shared the same name.

‘Nah. He looks oddly familiar, though,’ Sirius shrugged.

‘His name is Black, too,’ Remus offered.

‘Really? Could be a second cousin. A lot of my family comes from near here.’

‘I didn’t know that.’

‘You wouldn’t.’ Sirius smiled grimly. ‘I doubt you’d be well up on ruling drug-baron families, now really?’

‘Oh. Oh god.’ Remus bit his lip as he saw who was standing by the machine. It was the Potter kid and his permanently stoned best mate. Even from here, Remus could see the desperation in Potter’s eyes.

‘All right?’ Potter said, nodding at them.

‘Sirius is going to fix the machine,’ Remus said desperately.

‘Oh, good.’ Potter was fairly quiet, Remus recalled, vaguely rebellious but mainly just lost.

‘Where’d you get that scar, kid?’ Sirius asked genially, laying out his tools. ‘‘S odd shape – lightning bolt.’

‘I got it in the car crash where my parents died, when I was one,’ Potter said in a low voice.

‘Ah, shit man.’ There was genuine sympathy in Sirius’ voice. ‘That sucks.’

‘I can’t remember them.’ Potter shrugged.

‘So, do you have a foster family now?’ Sirius asked.

‘No, I live with my aunt and uncle.’

‘Treat you well, do they?’

‘All right.’ For the first time, Remus noticed Potter’s scrawny wrists, his prominent cheekbones and the deep violet shadows under his eyes. All right was as far from correct as it was from left. And now he was stuck with a best friend turning into a drug addict in front of him.

Potter waited quietly until Sirius was finished, then bought himself a Snickers. Remus felt his heart twist in his chest as Potter counted out the money in five pence pieces. Sirius must have seen it too, for he leant over and dropped a handful of pound coins into his hand.

‘From the machine,’ he said, and winked.

As they walked away, Sirius turned to Remus with a sigh. ‘I suppose you’re going to tell me off now for nicking from the machine.’

Remus turned to him, his golden eyes hooded and sad. ‘Actually, it couldn’t have been further from my mind.’

~

Seamus was exhausted. He stumbled down the halls, his eyes half shut, miraculously not bumping into anyone until –

‘Watch it, you great wanker!’

Dean. Great.

Seamus wedged his eyes open a little further and took in Dean’s furious face, inches from his own, and grimaced. He made to walk on, but Dean wasn’t having any of it.

‘I have told you over and over,’ he was raging, his brown eyes sparking chips of ice. ‘I’m not interested, so could you bloody well leave me alone!’

‘I get it!’ Seamus snapped. ‘I’m sorry I bumped into you. I wasn’t looking where I was going, otherwise I would have headed in the opposite direction when I saw you. Towards Tibet, preferably.’

‘Oh.’ Dean looked a little put out, but Seamus wasn’t in the mood to humour him, shooting him a death glare which was somewhat diluted in wrath by the huge yawn that overtook it .

‘Look,’ Dean began uncomfortably, ‘I liked being mates with you, its just that –’

‘You don’t fancy me, I know,’ Seamus sighed. ‘I still have a bruise from where you tried to indent my head in the wall.’

‘Yeah, I just don’t – you know,’ said Dean, looking shifty.

‘How about we forget it? Not forget it, but,’ Seamus fumbled.

‘Start over?’ Dean smiled brilliantly. ‘Yeah, cool. I have missed having you as a mate, you know. I don’t know anyone else who’s so utterly useless at football. You’re a great ego booster.’

‘Thanks,’ Seamus muttered, a little indignantly, but too pleased with the turn of events to jeopardise it now.

‘So why are you walking around looking like the living dead?’ Dean inquired, as they set off down the hall together, companionably, but careful not to accidentally brush against each other.

‘What do you mean?’

‘The last few days – you look like you haven’t slept at all.’

‘Oh, that.’ Seamus shrugged. ‘I’ve been having the dreams again. About the castle, and the owls.’

‘Those again?’ Dean frowned. ‘Funny, that. I’ve been having my ones again too. Towers and paintbrushes, remember?’

‘Yeah, I do.’ Seamus grinned. ‘But that’s not what’s been making me tired. Those dreams always just stop all of a sudden, and I’m awake, and bored, and – ‘

‘Yes, you can just stop there,’ Dean commanded. ‘I really don’t want to know.’

‘Two words – Orlando Bloom,’ Seamus smirked.

‘Ahh!’ Dean covered his face with his hands. ‘It’s like having a bloody girl mate. I knew I should never have taken you to see The Return of the King.’

‘Muhaha. A shadow and a threat has been growing in my mind.’

‘Interesting. Do you think you might be gay? Oh wait, you are.’

There was a tense pause. Then Seamus thumped him on the back of the head.

‘Now, you will die, for without me to propagate, the Kingdoms of Men shall fail!’

‘Oh, Jesus.’

‘He’s not here, can I take a message?’

~

Hermione wasn’t quite sure how it had happened, but now Black was sitting next to her in almost every class. McGonagall had moved him in English; he had moved himself in Chemistry. And now, in History, Mr Binns had announced that he was changing the seating arrangements and that he would be happy to show the door to anyone who didn’t follow them from here on in. Hermione wondered if she was the only one who noticed the desperate glint of hope in his eye when he said that.

Soon enough there was a murderous glint in her own eye, when it transpired that he had seated her next to Black at the back of the class. Not only had he lined her up for endless tormenting, she wasn’t even going to be able to hear what was going on at the front of the class. Mr Binns had a droning, monotone and above all very low voice.

Black had become even more truly insufferable since he had begun going out with Pansy Parkinson. Hermione had no idea what he saw in her – despite being creatively capable of putting out, her brains wouldn’t have filled even half an eggcup, she had a huge forehead and she walked like a duck.

Maybe that was the attraction.

Hermione ground her teeth together.

She most definitely did not want to be thinking about this. Damn Binns! The one midway interested student he had, and what did he do with her? Stuck her at the back with a notorious dosser. Oh, well done.

Closing her eyes for a moment and trying to think calm thoughts, she picked up her books and made her way back to her assigned desk. Only to see Black grinning at her like the Cheshire Cat. She almost demanded to know what he was smiling about, before realising that it would certainly have a lot to do with Pansy, and as a consequence any answer would be unspeakably disgusting.

Choosing the less volatile option of completely ignoring him, she opened her notes copy and strained to catch what Binns was saying.

‘Don’t have a heart attack, Granger,’ Black said in amusement. ‘Currently he’s pointing out to the doped-up Weasel child that his essay on Disraeli should not have contained any references to sex with small chickens.’

Hermione frowned at him, but the chicken impression that Ron was now giving – complete with clucking – seemed to back up his ludicrous statement. Beside Ron, Harry had his head buried in his arms, in what looked a lot like abject despair.

For some reason, Black didn’t seem to be in a chatty mood. He was smiling to himself, and performing his usual table-flicking routine. Hermione decided that, on the whole, she could stand that as long as he didn’t talk.

Within a few minutes, she had forgotten his existence entirely, focusing completely on Binns’ lecture. She wrote swiftly in a clear, rounded script, occasionally pushing her hair out of her eyes. Its springy curls defied any form of corralling, and it was the bane of her life. However, the frequent tucking of hair behind a handy ear was such an ingrained habit that even with a crew cut she figured she’d still do it. Every so often, she looked up at the notes Binns had scrawled on the board, squinting slightly, and biting the side of her lip.

When the class was over, she ceased writing with a satisfied sigh and stuffed her pens into their case. She headed out of the classroom without a backward glance, leaving Black tilted back in his seat with the same expression of boredom he had worn for the entire class.

She didn’t register him watching her leave, no more than she had realised that for the entire class, except when jotting a desultory note, he hadn’t taken his eyes off her.

~

Sev gave a rare genuine smile as the coffee machine spurted dark brown liquid – the exact shade of Remus’ hair, actually – into his chipped mug. The smile lit up his whole face, the weak early spring sunlight catching glints off his rather crooked teeth.

‘Ah, pure caffeine,’ he sighed, inhaling the scent drifting from his mug as if it were a rare Brazilian connoisseur’s brand rather than cheap, bulk-bought, no-label decaff.

Remus looked up from his stack of marking, taking in the sight. Sev’s head was tilted back, strands of dark hair tangled in his eyebrows while the rest slid back over his head, dripping into the collar of his shirt. His deep-set eyes were half closed, his generous mouth curling in pleasure. He was dressed in leather trousers, as he was at least once a week.

‘Are they uncomfortable?’ Remus – a devotee of baggy jeans and fraying faux-cashmere pullovers – asked curiously.

Sev’s eyes snapped fully open, his expression wary at having been caught displaying emotion. ‘Are what uncomfortable.’

‘The leather trousers,’ Remus said patiently, gesturing at Sev’s lower half with a chewed biro. A dark flush unaccountably stained Sev’s hollow cheeks.

‘Well, no. Once you get used to them.’

‘Definitely not a vegetarian then,’ Remus said reassuringly.

Sev shuddered delicately. ‘God no. I couldn’t live without my red meat.’

‘Yes, they do say that animal rights campaigners protest more against fur than leather only because women in mink coats are far less intimidating than Hell’s Angels,’ Remus mused.

Sev raised one dark eyebrow – no mean feat.

‘Were you ever a biker, then?’ Remus asked cheerfully.

‘No.’ Sev rolled his eyes. ‘I was more in the brooding poet mould, if you must know – although my poetry was, and still is, abysmal.’

‘Can I read some?’

‘When there’s a cold day in hell, Remus, then yes, certainly.’

They were both momentarily distracted by the entrance of the universally despised philosophy teacher, Sybil Trelawney. As ever attired in floating scarves and gypsy skirts, Indian bangles clanking heavily at her wrists, she looked like a cross between Shiva and a Portobello Market hawker. Her eyes lit up when she spotted Remus. Ignoring Sev, whose features had sunk into a vicious scowl, she floated over to them.

‘My dear Remus! You have a free class, I see. Would you like me to do that tarot reading for you now?’

‘Not unless you’re going to predict a tall dark stranger for me,’ Remus said brightly. Sev choked on air. ‘Come on, Severus, we have to do that – thing, remember?’

‘Oh, yes,’ said Sev, gasping. ‘The – thing. The really important thing. Right. Better go now.’

‘Yes, sorry about that,’ Remus said, flashing a mega-watt smile at Sybil so that she forgot entirely what they were talking about. ‘Another time.’

As they exited the room at speed, Trewlawny fluttered her scarves and muttered to herself, ‘Such a lovely boy. And so enamoured of me!’

~

‘I think she has a crush on you!’ Sev gasped out, in between hoots of laughter. They were doubled over in the space behind the bike sheds, which Sev had cleared with a glare and a threat of cigarette confiscation.

‘Oh, Lord.’ Remus bit his lip, raking a hand through his damp curls, the light drizzle having settled on them both like stronghold hairspray. ‘I feel sixteen again, and trying to fend off infatuated girls with Sirius.’

‘Were you very popular, then?’

‘Inexplicably, yes. Sirius was incredibly so, but I came in for my fair share.’ Remus shook his head in bemusement, sending little droplets of water flying from his wet locks.

‘I can see why,’ Sev said, without thinking. Every time Remus reached up a hand to push his hair back, it drew up the frayed hem of his jumper, revealing the tail ends of a white shirt and a hint – just a tiny hint – of rippled muscle and skin covered in downy hair.

Remus chose to ignore the heated undercurrents, shrugging modestly. ‘Thanks. But I think it had a lot more to do with the fact that we were the school troublemakers, and co-owned this huge monster of a motorcycle.’ He laughed at the expression on Sev’s face. ‘Yes, I know – I look like more of a bicycle person, no? But it was Sirius’ idea, of course.’

‘It clearly worked,’ Sev remarked, raising one eyebrow again.

‘Yes – it did get me into bed. Eventually.’ Remus watched Sev’s red and spluttering face for a while. ‘You know, for someone who comes across as unshockable, you’re ridiculously easy to stun.’

‘It’s not fair!’ Sev complained. ‘You keep springing these clinkers on me.’

‘How long have you been teaching here, Severus?’

‘Ten years,’ Sev returned guardedly.

‘And you mean to say that vaguely explicit sexual talk still gets your knickers in twist?’

‘I wear boxers, not briefs,’ Sev said with a pained expression. ‘And you are a relatively mature teacher – I thought – not a rabid teenage sex bunny.’

‘Well, I wouldn’t say I’m a sex bunny,’ Remus said thoughtfully, ‘A sex wolf, maybe. But mature? Spare me, please.’

‘Ha! I knew something about that reliable, tweed-jacket with leather elbows domesticity was off!’ Sev said triumphantly. ‘You’re not really like that at all, are you?’

Remus started walking back towards the school as the bell rung. ‘You’re the one who’s brilliant at reading people,’ he yelled over his shoulder as the wind began to pick up. ‘You tell me!’

Preoccupied with not staring at Remus rather – very – Oh God – attractive arse, Sev didn’t answer. Only when the rain began to pelt down did he pause to think that moving indoors might be a Very Bright Idea.

FIN!!

 
 
Current Mood: apatheticapathetic
Current Music: 'Online Songs', Blink 182
 
 
 
henbock on November 5th, 2004 07:38 am (UTC)
iTS NOT PERSONAL
Ok I have only one small criticism and that is that teachers are niot that observant or enchanted. They would never notice that anyone fancies anyone! Other than that it is good and post up the rest soon ill ring later todat after the LLS
every Starbucks should have a polar bearscoradh on November 7th, 2004 12:01 pm (UTC)
YOU WANNA BET?!?
I was talking to Dots, and she asked me what exactly course I was applying for you-know-where...because all the teachers were talking about me and couldn't believe I was doing art instead of medicine or something, because of the points! They DO talk about us. Of course. What else've they to talk about?

Oh, and you think McCarthy didn't totally notice me digging Tony?
Caitcoralia13 on November 8th, 2004 09:15 pm (UTC)
WILL THERE BE AN AU/CANON CROSSOVER???? I LOVE AU/CANON CROSSOVERS!!!! UPDATE SOON!!!! I don't really go in for slash, but the promise of AU/canon crossover and your excellent writing and characters has me hook, line, and sinker! Keep up the good work - I can't wait to read more!

Oh, and good luck with your art portfolio! I hope you get in to... uh... "you-know-where". University, I suppose?
every Starbucks should have a polar bearscoradh on November 9th, 2004 10:11 am (UTC)
Oh, I will, never fear! The huge monstrous thing IS finished. And thanks for your luff. To be honest, it's not so much a crossover as an AU with recognisable elements...my summary in FicAlley ran 'Imagine that everyone in HP grew up as Muggles...' type thing. Bit of a Trousers of Time element goin' ooon there.

Cheers! It's actually Oxford. I didn't want to say it because my main lj is open to people from RL and I don't want them to know (only Henbock does) because the likelihood of getting in is practically nil...:)
Caitcoralia13 on November 9th, 2004 01:50 pm (UTC)
OXFORD!?! WOW!!! That is really cool! Oxford... Whew! Good luck! I might be studying abroad there junior year (Fall 2006 or Spring 2007) - kinda like my dream come true, if it works out.

Trousers... of TIME???? I... just... no words... Wait, I saw this British show once when I was in a hotel room that got BBC and there was this guy who went back and forth between the 1940s and now, and had a girlfriend in both eras...? But that doesn't sound like your fic... Hmm... Well, I look forward to updates, either way! Must go to my writing seminar now (blech!)
every Starbucks should have a polar bearscoradh on November 10th, 2004 10:32 am (UTC)
Well, I haven't got my hopes up AT ALL. Really, my teacher was AT PAINS to inform me how hard it was to get in - as if I didn't already know! She's some dumbass.

Oh, I just used it in the Terry Pratchett sense, that everything that happens has a counterpart for the things you didn't do. Type thing. Wasn't that show called 'Goodnight Sweetheart', btw?
Caitcoralia13 on November 10th, 2004 04:18 pm (UTC)
'Goodnight Sweetheart'... Very posible. All I really remember is that I thought the guy was a jerk for two-timing those poor girls, and some dude in the '40s was obsessed with Crazy Glue. Aw, Jeez - they don't make 'em like that over here!
every Starbucks should have a polar bearscoradh on November 11th, 2004 11:31 am (UTC)
I thought it was terrible when his friend's money printing machine broke! The one I'm thinking of has the blonde guy, Rodney (?) from Only Fools and Horses in it. I would never go back to 1940s England - nasty nasty time!
Caitcoralia13 on November 11th, 2004 04:06 pm (UTC)
No kidding - I did a history term paper on the Blitz once. Terrible is an understatement.

Umm... I really have no idea about Rodney. Or Only Fools and Horses. All I remember... is Crazy Glue.
every Starbucks should have a polar bearscoradh on November 12th, 2004 11:20 am (UTC)
Yah - my grandmother's house was bombed and they lived for four years in a half-tapulin hut!

Oh, well. Yay Crazy Glue? (What's so crazy about it, anyway?)
Caitcoralia13 on November 12th, 2004 11:54 pm (UTC)
You go crazy when they tell you that the only way to detach your glued-together fingers is to amputate. At least, that's what I believed as a child, and no one has corrected me yet.
every Starbucks should have a polar bearscoradh on November 13th, 2004 04:13 am (UTC)
*fallz over laughing*