Butterfly wings can't buy love, although they are delicious
Remus tried for all he was worth to stay out of it.
He willed himself to listen to Professor Sprout but his eyes kept darting to the left, where Lisa was talking with Seth Tenley on the other side of the glass. He appreciated that James cared enough for him to get mad, but that really wasn't what he wanted. Remus thought it through carefully and knew he would never make a move on Lisa, despite his friends' insistence, and she had the right to look for someone else. He glanced at them again. Tenley was grinning. It was a good thing, Remus told himself again, trying once more to focus on Professor Sprout. If she found someone to make her happy, that was good. Because he could never be that person.
His eyes wandered to the glass once more. They were kissing.
Remus felt like someone blindsided him in the stomach with a cold, spiky mace. Then he saw she was trying to push him away. He was forcing himself on her. Angler bubbled inside him instantly, so hot it almost blinded him, and he stood up abruptly, not noticing the Venomous Tantacula vine creeping behind him. It wrapped around his neck and tried to strangle him, but luckily Sirius reacted immediately, hitting it with a severing charm. In-between coughing and assuring his friends he was fine, Remus stole another look at the glass. Tenley was heading back to the castle, and Lisa was walking towards the greenhouses, an angry expression on her face.
"Leave me alone, Seth!" Lisa said irritably the next day, as he followed her through the last three floors.
"Come on Lisa, how long do I have to beg?" He slammed his hand on the wall, trying to block her way.
"Beg all you want, it's not happening!" she hissed, glaring daggers into him.
"So I made a mistake, how was I supposed to know you'll take it like that?" he said. She kept glaring. "Look, I said I'll leave it to you next time. I thought it would be romantic!"
She rolled her eyes and slipped under his arm.
He caught up again. "You had fun with me and you know it!"
"Why are you so relentless?!"
"Because I'm a Hufflepuff. I work hard for the things I want."
"I'm not a thing!" she snapped.
"You know what I mean!" Seth grabbed on to her hand and spun her around, this time cornering her from both sides against the wall. "I had a good time with you and I want to do it again. And I know you're only turning me down because of some irrelevant reason."
"It's not irrelevant," she growled. "Get away from me, or I'll hex you."
"If you wanted to do that, you'd be free already." He smirked, despite her hostile glare. "You do like me. Don't deny it. I heard you defended me in front of Potter."
"I did that, because he was acting like a prat for no reason! It doesn't mean I—"
"It means you think I'm a good guy. And you're not wrong. We're both unattached and we both enjoy each other's company. Go out with me again."
She knew he was bringing up reasonable arguments, but she just couldn't shake the feeling of betrayal when he kissed her.
"No," Lisa said coldly. "Get. Off. Me."
At first he didn't move a muscle, but then suddenly jumped into the air, hit by a stinging jinx.
"You heard her. Off." Remus said behind him evenly, gesturing with his wand.
"This isn't any of your business, Lupin," Seth said, but moved out of the way.
"It is, when you force yourself on one of my friends," Remus shot back. Lisa went to stand next to him.
"I see," the Hufflepuff said, moving his eyes from one to the other. "Alright then. But think about what I said." Seth winked at her and walked away.
"You okay?" Remus asked, putting the wand away and glaring after him.
"Yeah. He's a bit pushy, but he's harmless. Thanks anyway."
"Sure," he said shortly and they walked together to the Care of Magical Creatures classroom. He tried to stay out of it, but the questions were searing holes through his mind and he slipped. "So... I take it things are a bit on edge between the two of you?"
"Yeah, on edge. As in, I'll throw him over the edge of the Astronomy Tower when I see him again!"
"That would make dates a bit awkward."
"We aren't dating!" Lisa exclaimed in frustration. "We had one date! One! As in, no more than that, EVER!"
Remus felt as if a little, tiny sun dawned inside him and struggled to contain the smile that spilled on his face.
"Now if only I could get that message through his thick, blonde skull..." Lisa mumbled as they made it to the classroom and sat down on one of the front desks.
"I actually know a handy spell for that," Remus quipped, before he could stop himself. "If you say the word, I could make him think he went out with a Fwooper."
She blinked at him once or twice, before erupting in a loud laughter.
"Settle down, please," Kettleburn beckoned in a bored tone. As usual, there was a big basket that moved suspiciously on his desk. "Well, because of the Leithfolds, which Dumbledore tells me were dangerous to bring inside, I have been placed on probation again. So today, we'll be looking at something more... safe," he said and opened the lid of the basket, revealing little balls of ginger fur. A loud 'Awwww' came from the girls. "Those are baby Kneazles. Who can tell me the difference between Kneazles and cats?"
Remus immediately raised his hand.
"Although similar in appearance, Kneazles have a very high level of intelligence, compared to the simple house cat and have an uncanny ability to detect suspicious and distrustful people. They can also safely guide their owners home, if they are lost."
"Exactly. Ten points for Gryffindor," Kettleburn said. "Now my friend's Kneazle, Fluffykins, had babies recently. Usually, they have about eight in a littler, and we have seven, so you'll have to partner up, feed and brush them."
Everyone came forward to receive a kitten, a brush and bottle of milk, and students were very exited to actually be handling something that wouldn't kill them if their attention drifted for five seconds. When it was Remus and Lisa's turn, she got the brush and bottle, but he seemed to hesitate at the basket.
"It doesn't matter which one you pick," she told him over his shoulder. "They're all equally adorable."
"Right," he said with a strained voice and reached in uncertainly, as if expecting the animals to attack him. They didn't, and he carried the little Kneazle to their desk so carefully, as if it were made of glass.
"There," she said and handed him the bottle with a smile. "You don't have to be so nervous, they don't even have teeth yet."
"Intelligent creatures like them tend to... avoid me," he said with a small smile.
"I guess that would explain why your best mates have dung for brains," she joked.
"I'm sorry about James," he said, placing the bottle in the kitten's mouth.
"It's fine, don't worry about it. I did push the 'forbidden button', it wasn't like I was shooting blindly. But come on, don't you ever want to tell him to shut up about Lily? He talks about her all the time!"
The corners of Remus' mouth twitched upwards. "You'd think with the war and N.E.W.T.s approaching he'd have more to talk about than how shiny Lily's hair is," he admitted.
Lisa giggled loudly again, receiving a reprimanding look from Kettleburn.
"Need I remind you, that this is a class, not a comedy show?"
Half an hour later, Seth collapsed in a chair next to his friend Tim Orgen in the Hufflepuff Common Room.
"What happened to you?" Tim asked, barely looking up from the essay he was writing.
"That Gryffindor bird?"
"I think I might've been a tad... forward with her. What do you tell a girl to convince her to go on a second date?"
Tim shrugged. "I don't know. Why don't you try the usual? Flowers and chocolates and such. Valentine's Day is in two weeks, ask her to Hogsmeade. No girl wants to be alone on Valentine's."
"Tim, you're a genius!" Seth exclaimed enthusiastically. "Pass me that quill; I have an order to place!"
"Here," Tim said, giving him a coupon for 20% off at Honeydukes. "My dad's an old friend of Ambrosius Flume; we get a bunch of these over the holydays."
"You are the best friend in the universe!" Seth said gratefully.
"Seth, this is getting old," Lisa said when he intercepted her on her way to the Library a week later.
"Just hear me out. Two minutes, I swear."
She rolled her eyes but stopped and looked at him expectantly. He pulled out a box from his school bag and gave it to her. She threw him a suspicious glance, but unwrapped it.
"Sugared Butterfly Wings! My favorites." Lisa smiled despite herself.
"Go out with me on Saturday," Seth shot quickly.
"It's Valentine's Day. You know Lupin won't ask you, so why not spend it with me?"
Her face went red. "Look—"
"I know I screwed up a little, but it's either me, or staying alone in your dormitory on the most romantic day of the year. It's not exactly a hard choice."
"Just think about it, okay? You can tell me later."
And with that, he turned around and made for the Charms corridor. Lisa stared after him for a few minutes, before snapping out of it and continuing on her way to the Library. When she got there, Dorcas was already waiting.
"Ooh, candy! Isn't it a bit early for that?" the Slytherin said.
"Not according to Seth, apparently," Lisa replied tiredly, sitting down. "He just asked me out again."
"At least this time he brought sweets." Dorcas smirked, reaching for them. "May I?"
Lisa shrugged indifferently. "Help yourself."
"Not to be devil's advocate, but if you dislike him so much why'd you agree to the first date?"
"I don't dislike him. I don't know, I suppose I was... trying to make Remus jealous," Lisa admitted shyly.
Dorcas burst out in laughter. "Did it work?"
"No. All it did was make me feel guilty for using Seth like that. He's really not that bad."
The dark-haired girl rolled her eyes, throwing two wings at once in her mouth. "He's persistent, I'll give him that. But you know—"
Dorcas' words were left hanging in the air, when her eyes rolled back into her skull and she fell to the floor.
Lisa screamed in panic and knelt down to her friend.
She shook her violently and called her name, but the Slytherin remained motionless. Lisa grabbed her wrist and listened intently for a pulse. After the longest minute in the universe, she felt a slight thump beneath her fingers.
"What's all this ruckus?" the vulture-like Librarian, Madam Pince, walked around the corner of the nearest bookshelf, only to gasp in horror.
Lisa's eyes fell on Dorcas' sugared fingers and widened with realization. Rage thumped deafeningly in her ears, as she grabbed the box of candy and shouted at Madam Pince to take Dorcas to the Hospital Wing. She ran as fast as she could straight to the Charms corridor, and without thinking, swung the door open, running right into Professor Flitwick's class.
Spotting Seth immediately among the shocked sea of faces, she forgot about her wand and punched him straight on the jaw. He flew back, along with his chair, as Flitwick was squeaking something about points.
"You complete arsehole!" Lisa shouted, beside herself with anger. "Dorcas ate them!" She threw the box at him. "You better tell me what you put in here, or I swear to Merlin—"
"I have no idea what you're talking about!" Seth said defensively.
She lunged at him but Frank was suddenly behind her, holding her back in an iron grip. In a split second her wand was out and Frank let go as a shock of electricity ran between them. Some girls shrieked, and Flitwick was failing miserably to keep control of the students.
"She ate them!" Lisa shouted, returning her attention to Seth, who was still on the ground. "She ate the stupid candy and passed out! What did you put in them?"
"Lisa," he said, slowly rising to his feet. "I gave you those butterfly wings as a romantic gesture. They were intended for you and only you, and I promise you, I would never try to hurt you."
She lingered for a moment on his honest face, and her rage subsided somewhat. She still wasn't sure she believed him, though. "Then where did you get them?"
"Honeydukes! I ordered them by owl post a few days ago! A friend of mine had coupons..." He shot a glance at Tim, who looked like a thief caught in the act.
"Coupons?" Frank's brows knitted and both he and Lisa turned to Tim. "Honeydukes doesn't give out coupons."
"What is going on here!?" Flitwick demanded, finally managing to climb up on one of the desks.
"What's the news?" Lily asked worriedly as soon as Frank and Lisa walked in the common room.
Lisa shook her head, unable to speak, and sank miserably in one of the comfy armchairs.
"It's bad," Frank said, white faced and tired. "Tim still denies any involvement, claiming he really thought the coupons were real. There's no way to prove otherwise, so..."
"But he was definitely involved, directly or not," Lisa called angrily. "Madam Pomfrey says it's... she says the wings were dipped in..."
"A Draught of Living Death," Frank finished darkly. The girls gasped in horror.
"That's notoriously difficult! How did they even—" Marlene started.
"I was the target!" Lisa shouted suddenly, eyes welling up with tears. "Orgen's father's a Death Eater and rots in Azkaban because of my dad, so he wanted to get even. It's not a secret which potions-obsessed git hates me enough to help him poison me!"
Lily looked at the ground sadly. "But it's not fatal, right? A Wiggenweld Potion is fairly simple... that can reverse it."
Frank shook his head. "Slughorn's potions cabinet's been raided. Whoever did this, didn't want anyone to wake up from it anytime soon."
"So... what's going to happen to her?" Alice asked weakly.
"They'll order the ingredients," Frank sighed, "But Moondew petals need to be plucked at a full moon, and by the time it gets here... Madam Pomfrey said Dorcas ingested a large and very potent dose. If she doesn't get the antidote soon..." He shook his head and Lisa's tears overflew and streaked down her cheeks.
"So there's nothing we can do?" Lily asked quietly.
No one answered her.