Chapter 1 ~ Blue Jeans

"I am NOT going home for Christmas this year! I don't care WHAT she threatens to do to me over the summer."

Muriel stopped, amused, outside the compartment.

"Don't worry, Sirius, you can come to my place for Christmas, Mum and Dad already said so." James looked sympathetically at his friend. Apparently his mother's parting words had been about Christmas.

"Don't you think they'll have calmed down by then?" Peter asked timidly. In the corridor, Muriel rolled her eyes. For a pure blood, Peter was criminally ignorant.

And from the snort of disbelief that Sirius let out, it would seem he agreed. "I've never SEEN them calm down, not since I got sorted into Gryffindor, anyway."

Muriel risked a glance into their compartment to find that Remus, who hadn't spoken, was looking right at her. She smirked. "Not coming to the Christmas party this year, Black?" she asked scathingly. Really, she could hardly blame him. She was looking forward to skipping it too, but she wouldn't tell him that.

Sirius looked up sharply. The words: 'Yeah, so you'll have to take care of yourself this time,' almost fell off his lips but he bit them back.

"Sorry to disappoint you, Deesia. I know there aren't any boys there worth looking at if I don't show up." He flashed her his infamous grin, but her annoyed expression didn't falter.

"There aren't any worth looking at when you DO show up, either." As she said it, she realized how far from the truth it was. His hair had grown out over the summer, and he had it pulled back in a loose pony tail. His face wasn't quite so thin, and even though he was sitting down, she could tell he'd grown at least another three inches. He wasn't the short, scrawny thing he'd been last year. Nevertheless, she flashed the boys a wicked grin and trounced back toward her cabin.

The minute her eyes turned away, Sirius dropped his grin and stared angrily at the door. "Ungrateful wretch," he muttered. James and Peter had already broken out a chessboard and weren't paying attention, but Remus gave him an odd sort of look, which he pointedly ignored.

A moment later they heard her voice again. "Lily?"

James looked up instantly, his chess game forgotten.

"Oh, hi. Muriel, right?" Lily knew Mur on sight, having spent the previous three years dodging the hexes she sent at the marauders, but they'd never been introduced. She held out her hand and the girl shook it.

"You can call me Mur, most everyone does now. I wanted to ask you about your trousers, they're really nice." Muriel was looking at the blue jeans Lily was wearing, which were trimmed with intricate and colorful embroidery. Muriel hadn't seen anything so cleverly done that cost less than 20 galleons, and even then, you had to go someplace better than Diagon Alley if you wanted to find them.

Lily raised an eyebrow. Muriel Deesia, a known mud blood hater had just shaken her hand and complimented her wardrobe. Was something going on here?

Mur saw the look, and heard the thoughts behind it. "I'm in Ravenclaw with a whole slew of muggle-borns," she said politely. "I've gotten used to it." She smiled apologetically, and after a moment Lily smiled back.

"They're blue jeans. I got them from a muggle store in London before we went to Diagon Alley."

Muriel looked back down at the embroidery. "Maybe I'll owl Papa and see if he'll get me a pair," she said thoughtfully. "Well, I'd better get back before Sev comes looking for me. Nice to meet you," she said quickly. She didn't want Severus to come out and insult the girl, as he was likely to do.

Lily nodded. "You too. Oh," she added, making Muriel turn back around. "Watch where you're slinging those hexes this year. Last year I almost caught three of them that were meant for Potter." Then she smiled again. "Not that I BLAME you for trying to curse the egotistical git!" Both girls laughed, then, and parted ways, each thinking that perhaps they'd made a new friend.

When Muriel got back to the compartment where Severus was waiting for her, she caught an annoyed look on his face. "What?" she asked immediately.

"Why were you talking to that mud blood, Evans? As if it isn't bad enough that you hang out with Marisa and the Ravenclaw girls, now you're making friends in Gryffindor, too?" He looked legitimately upset. She almost asked him why he'd been listening, but thought better of it.

"Sev, if you continue to sound like my mother, you will find that I stop listening to you as well," she said, a trifle coldly. Muriel did NOT like to be questioned. "Besides, I've been friends with Remus since first year, so it isn't like Lily is the first decent Gryffindor I've met."

Severus just looked at his friend, dumbfounded. Ever since she'd seen the dark mark on her mother's arm this summer, Mur had become more and more distant from the ideals she'd been brought up to believe in. He reminded himself silently that he had recoiled when he'd learned about his father's mark as well. He would just have to be tolerant. She would get passed this.

He was rewarded for this conclusion with a smile, which he returned. If she had to hear his thoughts, he was glad they were those ones, instead of the ones he was suppressing about the fact that she'd referred to a marauder as a friend.

* * * * * * *

Muriel sat between Kyle and Marisa as the 1st years were sorted. She tried to nod at the right times, while Kyle whispered to them about the Quiddich team. She didn't pay much attention until she heard the words "open position."

"Sorry, Kyle. Which positions did you say were open?" She turned to him as Marisa raised an eyebrow.

"Just one chaser position this year," he answered. "Last year's seventh years weren't very interested in the game, I guess." He went on to talk about whoever that seventh year chaser had been. But Mur had the information she wanted and tuned him out again. She would get a chance to be on the team this year.

Muriel and Marisa dragged themselves up the stairs to their room, worn out from the long train ride, and all the catching up they'd had to do at the feast. Neither of them felt like talking anymore. Muriel, in particular, was anxious to escape her dorm-mates polite inquiries about her summer.

She couldn't very well admit that her mother had been involved in half the attacks on muggle-borns that had occurred, and the attacks were a major topic of conversation. She wondered briefly how Severus had dealt with it all this time, before realizing that he didn't have any mud blood friends to feel guilty around. Everyone he associated with was both pure blooded AND a supporter of Riddle.

Muriel knew that Severus didn't want to be a Death Eater any more than she did. She just wasn't sure if he had the strength to resist. Mr. Snape had said, on more than one occasion, that he expected Sev to follow in his footsteps. Everyone seemed to think that he meant being on the board of trustees at Gringotts, or working for the Ministry on Experimental Charms. But Muriel had caught the worried look in her friend's eyes. They both knew that Mr. Snape had tagged Severus to be a Death Eater, and it was only a matter of time before the pressure started. Thinking of these things, Muriel fell fitfully to sleep, her mind already on what would happen next summer, when they had to go home again.