Chapter 1: The Ambivalence of Frost

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"Ice burns, and it is hard to the warm-skinned to distinguish one sensation, fire, from the other, frost."

- A.S. Byatt

Laughter filled the corridor as James and Sirius returned from their little detour to the Quidditch Pitch. It was the day of the new Slytherin teams' try outs and the two of them decided it would be quite hilarious to place a shrinking charm on the gear that they were going to be using. The reactions from the young serpents were the cause for James and Sirius' uncontrollable laughter.

"Did you see his face? I'm growing! Help, someone! I'm growing!" James mocked, imitating the young first year's voice.

"That was our best prank yet! It'll teach those blokes to pick on our own," Sirius replied, high fiving James as they rounded the corner. Remus was already waiting for them. It took one look from the scar faced wizard to know that they had done something despicable.

"What did you- You know what, on second thought, don't tell me," Remus started, trying to form a disapproving look.

"Oh come, mate! You would have loved it!"

Sirius wrapped his arm around Remus' neck and pulled him down lower to ruffle his hair slightly, much to Remus' distaste.

"Yeah, it wasn't that bad! Let's just say those snakes will think twice before messing with our first years again. You-"

"James," Remus started, silencing him and cast a glance at the oncoming students. Sirius let go of Remus and went to stand next to James. Severus was making his way up the stairwell, his demeanour cold. The group still hadn't really gotten over the way he had insulted Lily; James especially. As if he could sense their stares, the greasy haired boy caught their glare and returned it with a sneer of his own.

Remus sensed James and Sirius were itching to say something, something that would no doubt make this entire situation worse. He stepped around them and attempted to block Severus from their view.

"Look, you've already started something earlier this morning. Let's avoid as much of an altercation as we can. Please?" he started, sounding slightly desperate near the end of his request.

"That might be the best course of action," piped the voice of Peter from behind them. He certainly was brave when James and Sirius did the talking, but he definitely didn't want to be singled out by the Slytherins. It was his way of protecting himself, hiding like he always did. And no one could blame him for that, right?

James and Sirius shot each other a glance, letting Remus' words sink in before slowly cracking a smile back at Remus.

"You're right, mate," James replied, resting his hand on his shoulder. "C'mon. Let's get going."

And with that, the group made their way to their next class, the bane of their existence. Potions. Professor Slughorn was a decent enough teacher, there was no doubt about that, but he had a certain fetish with students that showed promise. And just their luck, Severus Snape seemed to excel in this particular class, making his word gold in Slughorn's eyes.

It was for this particular reason that Remus had intervened in their earlier meeting. Snape didn't need more motive to make this class difficult for them. The four boys gingerly made their way down the stone steps that led to the darkest, coldest part of the castle, ignoring the disgusted looks of some of the Slytherins as they went along. When they had finally entered the classroom and moved towards their usual seats, a very frazzled Marlene McKinnon rushed in, slightly out of breath.

"Did you guys hear?" she whisper-shouted, making her way over to the Gryffindors. "Professor Slughorn is assigning us partners for today's potion."

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⏰ Last updated: Sep 24, 2020 ⏰

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