chapter twenty three - cold times

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The days were proving to get colder and colder. While the inside of the castle was warm and cheery, the clouds outside were more than happy to shed their load, coating the grounds in more and more snow with each passing day. The lake was frozen solid and the castle was occasionally coated in snow. Students were especially reluctant to go to Herbology class, as that meant braving the numbing cold. Theyhung about in the castle for as long as they could until the time couldn't be delayed any more and they'd have to walk out to the greenhouses. They would arrive at Herbology, teeth chattering and slightly wet with melted snow, their lips blue with cold. More than once a student was sent to the hospital wing for a bad case of the cold or fever or for freezing up. There were also, of course, some students that found themselves tripping and falling into the snow.

Overall, the warmest times of the day were when a student was back in their Common Room.

All of that, however, didn't stop James Potter from having Quidditch practices. He told them it was because of their upcoming match with the Slytherin team that would determine whether they won the House Cup or not.

After one particularly cold day in which James had them practice a new move over and over again, Marlene was in a bad mood.

"Do you want to kill us, Potter?" She huffed angrily. "Having us practice on such a cold day."

"There are people out there who have it far worse than we do, Marlene." He replied calmly.

He was thinking about Remus as he said that, something Marlene didn't know. In just two days, it would be the full moon. Remus was a boy that was always cold, no matter how many jumpers he wore, and James was especially worried for him because the Shrieking Shack wasn't in good shape and had many holes that let in cold.

By the time the Hogsmeade notice was put up on the notice board in the Common Room, the majority of the students were reluctant to go to Hogsmeade.

James, however, was absolutely excited.

"I can't wait for next Thursday!" James exclaimed upon noticing it as he walked into the Common Room from Transfiguration.

He turned around to Lily and Marlene, who were just entering the Common Room from the very same class. "Evans!"

Both girls turned around and said simultaneously, "Yes?"

"The Hogsmeade weekend starts on Saturday. Do you still remember your promise?"

"Promise?" Marlene asked, looking over at Lily, who, for a second, had a confused look on her face, before realisation replaced.

"Oh, right. I'll tell you now." She said to Marlene. She turned to James and said, with sincerity very evident in her voice, "I can't wait."

She grabbed Marlene's hand and they made their way up the stairs to the girls dormitory, James staring after Lily with longing and awe.

Sirius, who had been lounging on an armchair by the fire, loped over to James and slung his arm around James' shoulder. "Let me guess; you're standing here with this awestruck look on your dace because you're amazed that deer Lily is actually excited to be go out with you to Hogsmeade?"

"Exactly that, Padfoot." James breathed.

Back in the girls dormitory, Marlene was listening to Lily explain the one little detail that she'd forgotten to tell her the last time she'd explained the events that took place in the Slug Club.

By the end of her explanation, Marlene was basically bursting with excitement. "And you said yes?"

Lily rolled her eyes. "Well of course I did, Marls. I couldn't not say yes."

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