chapter thirteen - dueling

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December arrived with even more cold weather. Sleet, hail and all types of precipitation, except snow, presented themselves. It became harder and harder to get to Herbology classes from all the swirling, icy winds and rain.

However, that didn't stop a Hogsmeade notice from being posted onto the board in the Common room. It was scheduled for the 15th of December, seven days after yet another party Lily had been invited to, hosted by the Potions teacher, Proffesor Slughorn. He called his party the Slug Club, and in Lily's opinion (and possibly the majority of Hogwarts) there was noting worse.

Remus Lupin and James Potter, who had also been invited, could be seen complaining about it every chance they got.

"Even swimmimg in the bloody Black Lake in this weather is better than attending one of those." Remus said at breakfast the morning of the Slug Club party.

"Agreed." Lily said as she bit a piece of toast. "I'm feeling tempted to fail Potions just so he doesn't invite me anymore."

James, who sat mext to Remus, said, "C'mon guys, it really isn't so bad. The food is nice."

"True," Remus admitted. "But company is always better. Besides, we can probably get Peter to sneak in food from the kitchens." Peter looked up from his sandwich at the mention of his name, but hadn't heard their conversation so he shrugged.

"Also, you sort of feel obligated to dress nice and in my honest opinion, I prefer dressing for comfort." Lily added.

"Exactly my point." Remus said and he leaned over to highfive Lily.

Meanwhile, Sirius and Marlene were engaged in a quiet conversation. Laurelle and Dorcas snuck occasional suspicious glances their direction, but didn't comment.

"And you're sure he won't retaliate?" Marlene whispered quietly.

Sirius chuckled. "My dear Marlene, when has he ever?"

"Well, there was that one time when-" but Sirius cut her off and pointed his wand down the table.

"On my count," He whispered lowly. "Five, four, three, two, one..." and they both muttered a spell.

James, who had been engossed in a conversation with Remus and Lily about Muggle fashion, felt a tickling sensation of his leg. He ignored it and continued talking. But it got more insistent and he finally rolled down his pants leg and-

"AAAAAH!" The scream was loud and immediately alerted all house tables.

They watched, some in amusement, others in fear and panic, as James jumped up onto the bench and began to scratch his arms and legs.

Remus looked down the table at Sirius, who was red from the effort of trying not to laugh as he watched James.

"Finite incantantem," he muttered and the tickling, itchy sensation of James' legs and arms disappeared.

Sirius, along with the majority of the people in the Great Hall, began to shriek with laughter. James sat down again, the memory of the spiders he was sure he'd seen on his limbs still in his mind. He looked down at his word, his messy hair falling into his eyes and blocking most of the blush on his face.

"It was Sirius," Remus muttered, loud enough for both James and Lily to hear.

"He knows I hate spiders," James muttered, staring into his porridge bowl, a slight blush still covering his cheeks.

Lily took in this new piece of information about James silently. Ever since her newly discovered crush on James, she'd been intent on finding out everything about him - however creepy it sounded.

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