Simple Observations
By: Rynne

I am an observer. And Iím content with that. I donít see the need to charge rashly into things, like the Gryffindors. I donít spend hours pondering the mysteries of the universe, like the Ravenclaws. Iím not particularly concerned with getting ahead in the world, like the Slytherins. What I do is keep my head down, do my work, and watch everyone else. You can learn some fascinating things that way, you know.

Some things you learn by watching and then doing yourself. I can watch Severus Snape make his potion, try to emulate him, and have it turn out all right. I can see Lily Evans perform a charm, accenting the right syllables and making the correct wand motions, and I can do it myself.

Some things you can only learn by doing. The first time I kicked off on a broom and soared through the air, watching someone else wasnít going to help me. You canít get a proper feel for playing Quidditch purely by watching Quidditch. Sometimes you just have to go out there and plunge into the thick of things, all hands-on experience, and thatís the way you learn.

But most of the time, simple observation is all you need. Chance things, like seeing Lily Evansís hand brush James Potterís, and you know that she doesnít hate him anymore. Seeing Professor McGonagall dab her eyes with a handkerchief during breakfast, and you know that one of her Gryffindors is going to be receiving the black owl soon. The Ministry sends their regrets, but your familyÖor mum, or dad, brother or sisterÖI got one of those a year ago. Professor Sprout had been practically sobbing.

Sometimes what youíre observing is so subtle that youíre not sure itís there in the first place. But Iíve trained myself to observe people, and I know I catch subtle nuances better than most others. Sometimes I see things about them that they donít even see themselves yet. I donít know if Sirius Black and Remus Lupin know that theyíre in love with each other yet, but I know. I can see.

Everyone knows them. James Potter, Sirius Black, Remus Lupin, and Peter Pettigrew. Gryffindorís Golden Boys, getting their spells right in half the time it takes the rest of us. Black and Potter two of the best Chasers Gryffindor has had in years. Itís always a challenge to try and get the Quaffle from one of them. There are some things that the whole school knows about them. James Potter has been in love with Lily Evans for the past two years, at least. Sirius Blackís Dark Arts family disowned him and now heís living with Potter. Remus Lupin disappears once a month, ostensibly to visit ill relatives. Peter Pettigrew couldnít curse his way out of a wet paper bag. But these are only the things you see on the surface. It takes something else to look deeper.

Every time Lily Evans brushed Potter off, everyone else saw him laugh it off and return to his arrogance, but I saw determination and pain in his eyes. Heíd keep trying, because it hurt him for her to hate him. Sirius Black makes a big show of hating the Slytherins, including his brother, but when Regulus passes him in the halls, a sneer on his face and his nose upturned, Black would almost reach out, before remembering himself and going back to laughing with his friends. But I saw that even though he hates his family, he loves them and wants to be accepted by them. Remus Lupin disappears once a month and comes back looking sicker than his relatives. I havenít quite figured out what it is he really does, though I know he has the sanction of the school, or else the professors would make a fuss. But I still have to wonder why he comes back pale and with new bruises and scratches. I told my suspicions to his Head of House, Professor McGonagall, but she just said sheíd look into it, and told me to get back to class. I worry about him. Peter Pettigrew, on the outside, seems the perfect bully-bait. Always tagging along after the others, itís always seemed a wonder that the other three would permit this one into their charmed circle of friends. But I saw Avery and his bullying friends gang up on Pettigrew, who was alone, one time. I saw Pettigrew hex half of them, even with his wand hand shaking, before Avery disarmed him. And I saw the way his friends came running once they found him, and hexed the remaining bullies until they had to go to the hospital wing.

And thereíve always been rumors about the four of themómostly started by the Slytherins who hate them. But ever time the whispering has started up about what unnaturally close friends they are, theyíve always smiled and laughed and changed nothing about their behavior. Soon it became ridiculous to think that any of them are sleeping with each other.

But now Iím starting to wonder if itís really that ridiculous. I walk near them in the halls, from Herbology to Transfiguration, and from Arithmancy to Charms. They hardly ever notice me watchingómost people donít, but these four are unusually dense, always wrapped up in talking to each other. They walk down the halls, Black on Lupinís left, Potter on his right, and Pettigrew slightly behind him, sort of enclosing him in a kind of triangle. Like theyíre protecting him. Iím not sure what theyíre protecting him from; theyíve surely noticed the paleness and bruises and scratches just as I have, but Iím not sure if they can protect him from whatever makes him so pale and gave him those bruises and scratches. I donít know if Lupin knows that theyíre trying to protect him; he just smiles and laughs as always.

But Black always seems to be keener on protecting him than Pettigrew or Potter. Whenever a bunch of Slytherins passes them in the halls, Black shifts just slightly closer and in front of him, almost guarding him from Slytherin eyes. I know Lupin sees thatóevery time it happens, he touches Blackís shoulder and murmurs something in his ear. But then he turns back to Potter or Pettigrew, and doesnít see Black shiver and absently touch the spot Lupinís hand had rested on.

In class, Lupin and Black sit together. Itís a change, from our first several years here at Hogwarts, where it would always be Black and Potter, then Lupin and Pettigrew. Itís only been recently that Black started setting his things down in Pettigrewís normal spot. I remember the first time he did it, Lupin looked up, startled, and then he smiled. And Black started sitting with him for the rest of the year.

But not all of this is one-sided, mind you. Lupinís always touching Blackóinnocent places, certainly, like on the arm, or the shoulder. Thereís really nothing in those touches to betray any possible feelings. Except the fact that he doesnít touch Potter or Pettigrew half so much. Only Black. He calls Potter and Pettigrewís names to get their attention. He touches Black to get his.

Lupin always seems to smile more when Black is around. Oh, he loves Potter and Pettigrew. Theyíre like brothers to him; I can see it by how he looks at them and how he talks to them. I have brothers myself, and thatís the way they look and talk to teach other. Black is different. Lupin acts differently around Black. Like he knows that theyíre not brothers, but is trying to act like they are for everyone elseís sake. But he laughs more at Blackís jokes than at Potterís, smiles more at Blackís antics than at Potterís, cuts him more slack and lets him copy more notes than he does Potter, or even Pettigrew, who certainly needs it more than either Black or Potter does.

Sometimes Iím mistaken in my observations. Sometimes, the people I think fancy each other turn out to be simply good friends. But I know Iím not mistaken with this. Iíve seen the way they look at each other, and it lights up the room. Itís the way Potter and Evans look at each other, and the way Iíve seen my parents look at each other. But no smile is more brilliant than Blackís for Lupin, and no touch more eager than Lupinís for Black.

Like I said, I donít know if they even realize yet what they mean to each other. But I know itís there, because I see it. So until the day they open their eyes and discover what Iíve known for ages, Iíll do what I do bestówait and observe.