Chapter 3 : Operation Red, Gold and Victorious
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The next evening, James Potter dashed inside the Great Hall and peered around frantically for one particular person. He found her wedged towards the end of the Gryffindor table.
Lily Evans turned around at the sound of her name, her friend following suit. The blonde haired girl beside her glared and James couldn’t prevent a small smirk. It was no secret that Marlene McKinnon hated Sirius Black's guts and so by association, James.
“James, what is it?” Lily asked as he approached her.
James yanked the nosy boy on her other side out of the way before taking his seat. He ignored Lily’s reproachful frown and instead put his hands together. “I swear to Merlin Evans, I will do anything, anything you want. I wouldn’t bother you if I wasn’t desperate. Please, please, please, will you do me this favour? I’m begging you!” Lily looked on in amusement as his eyes widened pleadingly. James could see other students chortling but he paid them no heed. Many girls were looking on enviously.
Lily huffed and rolled her eyes. “What exactly is it you want Potter?”
James’ eyes lightened. She hadn’t outright refused at least. “Help with my transfiguration essay?” He asked in a small voice. And before she could scoff, he added quickly, “If I don’t finish it you might as well kill me now- save me the torture. Please Lily, I will love you forever and ever.”
She shook her head in amusement. “Why can’t Remus help you?”
“Remus is, er...otherwise engaged tonight.” James answered sheepishly before pouting, he did look quite endearing. She laughed.
“Alright, alright! I’ll help, but you do realize you only have one night?” She said exasperatedly.
He threw his hands in the air happily. “You magnificent, darling- amazing girl! Thank you, thank you, thank you. You’re a lifesaver!”
Lily’s lip twitched. “What else is new?” James gave a loud bark and threw his arms around her. “You’re the best! Remember, anything you want, you’ve got it. Unlimited chocolates, a rare book, personal assistant, Snivellus repellent-
Marlene choked back laughter as Lily sent him a withering glare. He grinned innocently. “I’m kidding...sort of.”
Lily rolled her eyes and James winked.
“So I have to get to practice but I’ll see you tonight at around eight?” She pushed him away insistently. “Yes, I’ve got it, now go. You’re going to be late to your own practice.”
He winked. “Perks of being captain.” He smiled and gave Marlene a cheeky salute before sprinting out of the great hall.
Lily watched him go with a smile on her face. Her friend scoffed.
Lily Evans was waiting in the relatively empty library. She glanced at her watch and then stretched. She sighed; James Potter was officially ten minutes late and the one thing Lily could not stand was tardiness. As soon as the thought crossed her mind, the person in question sprinted into the library, his chest heaving.
Lily couldn’t be bothered to stifle her grin as he was told off by the librarian. She waved when his bewildered eyes landed on her own. He looked like his legs couldn’t carry him fast enough.
“Been here all of two minutes and already the librarian hates me. I don’t even know what I did.” He muttered. Lily laughed at his perplexed expression and James’ face fell. “I’m so sorry Evans. I lost track of time and then I had to shower because I didn’t want to drive you away with my stench.” He ran a hand through his damp hair, refusing to lie flat even in its wet state.
“Well I was about to leave, but I decided to give you a few more minutes.” She said lightly. He collapsed on the seat beside her.
“You’re a saint Evans.” He breathed.
“Far from it, but let’s get started. I don’t particularly want to stay here any longer than I have to.”
A smiled played at his lips. “Who would have thought?”
She laughed. “I like books Potter, I’m not a hermit.”
His laugh carried accross the library and the librarians beady eyes glowered in his direction. He waved nervously. Lily offered an easy smile. “Don’t take it to heart. She doesn’t like anyone.”
“Hard to believe.” He drawled sarcastically and then cleared his throat. "So, where do we start.”
Lily motioned to his bag. “Hand me what you’ve got so far.”
Lily’s jaw went slack. “James!” She hissed.
He twiddled his fingers nervously. “It's funny, Remus gives me that same look.”
“With good reason.” She responded before letting out a heavy sigh. “Well, we might as well get started then, looks like we’re going to be here a while.”
Three hours had gone by before James and Lily resurfaced, to find the library entirely empty aside from the librarian who would constantly glare at them from her desk.
“I don’t know why you asked for my help. You clearly know everything!” Lily commented in exasperation, and a slight hint of disbelief.
He raised his eyebrow. “You sound surprised.” He rested his quill on the table and watched her turn an appealing shade of red to match her hair.
“Sorry, I suppose I’ve never really considered...”
“That I was smart?” James supplied amusedly. Lily grinned apologetically. “Pretty much.”
“Pranks don’t just pull themselves you know.” He said lightly. Lily nodded in acknowledgement, watching as he leaned back, a smirk playing at his lips and his eyes growing heavy with exhaustion. She remembered his Quidditch practice and frowned. “Potter, you’re obviously tired. We can finish this tomorrow morning.”
His sat up quickly. “No, no, I’m sorry. Besides, I only have conjuration to cover.”
Lily rolled her eyes. “Are you always this stubborn? It’s a wonder how Melody was able to convince you to do anything.” She said offhand, although regretted it immediately.
His relationship was still a sore subject, if his expression was anything to go by and Lily bit her lip. “I’m sorry; that was intrusive of me. It's none of my business.”
James cleared his throat and shook his head. “No worries, really, it’s fine. But I think you're right, maybe we should finish up tomorrow morning. I’ll be able to concentrate better.” His reassuring smile was strained and before Lily could come up with a sensitive reply, he’d already packed everything away.
Throwing his bag over his shoulder, James smiled again, it was small, but this time genuine. “Thanks Lils, you really are the best.” Lily grinned and shrugged her shoulders. “It’s nothing, friends help friends, right?”
He nodded happily. “Will you be alright heading to the common room on your own? I wanted to swing by the kitchens for a bit. I’m starved.”
Lily laughed. “Yes, I think I’ll be fine, I’ll make sure to have my wand out just in case I run into the big bad Peeves.” She replied wryly. “And why am I not surprised that you know where the kitchens are?”
He smirked. “It’s a marauders mission to know these things.”
Lily rolled her eyes. “Right, I’m fine Potter, go.”
He nodded and left, throwing her a two fingered salute.
Madame Pince’s eyes followed him all the way to the door.
“So, any dates to the ball yet?” Sirius asked nonchalantly as he and Melody walked along the corridor towards the common room, of course, speaking about the upcoming Halloween ball.
“You mean has anyone asked me?” She said wryly. He smirked.
“A few people have asked, but I haven’t said yes to anyone...yet.” Sirius rolled his eyes. “What if I could get James to ask you?” He ducked as she aimed for his head.
He shrugged unabashed. “What?”
She threw him a dirty look. “Mind your own business!”
He grinned. “But you and James are my business!”
“There is no me and James anymore Sirius, please, just stop making this more difficult than it already is.”
“So you admit that it’s difficult!” Sirius exclaimed.
Melody groaned. “Sirius, enough!
“Fine, I’ll stop when you stop.”
She eyed him warily. “Stop what?”
“Avoiding that you ever loved him.” He answered simply.
Melody winced, before retorting with, “I’m not avoiding anything.” She sucked her cheeks inward and replied with finality. “James and I are over Sirius. We’ve both moved on.”
“Wrong.” The fat lady replied lazily, ogling Sirius. Melody rolled her eyes.
“Correct.” The fat lady said before swinging open.
“I’ll see you later.” Melody muttered to Sirius before dashing up the staircase. He sighed. “These women are going to be the death of me.” He mumbled under his breath.
“You know, we haven’t come up with a good prank in three weeks!”
“Alert the Prophet.” Remus muttered sarcastically, lying idly on his bed, his nose buried inside a thick novel. James shot him a withering look. “We're the marauders and we have a duty to the people of Hogwarts. I don’t intend to let them down!” He announced.
Sirius grinned at his friend. “What did you have in mind mate?” He crossed his arms and looked at the boy expectantly. James was practically skipping with excitement. “I propose we do something to show Hufflepuff exactly why Gryffindor is going to win the game next Saturday.”
Sirius smirked. “James m’boy, I like the way you think.” Peter nodded vehemently and Remus rolled his eyes. “As long as it doesn’t break any rules, I suppose I can condone it.” James beamed and slapped him on the back appreciatively. “Good show mate!”
He dug his hand into his bedside table and pulled out a piece of parchment, nicking a quill from Remus’ bag. “Now, let’s have a name.”
“Operation Banish the Puffs!” Peter squeaked. James grimaced and shook his head.
“Poop on the Pansy Puffs?” Sirius suggested. James ogled. “Really padfoot? Six years of practice and that’s what you come up with?” He looked to Remus pleadingly. “Come on Moony, tell me you have something that beats ‘Poop on the Puffs’ or whatever idiocy it was that Padfoot suggested.”
Remus furrowed his brows in thought. “What about, ‘Operation Red, Gold and Victorious’?” James cocked his head to the side in contemplation. “Simple, yet gets to the point. It’s better than what these two tossers came up with anyway.” He nodded towards Peter and Sirius. “So it’s set then, ‘Operation Red Gold and Victorious’ it is!” He scribbled illegibly on the parchment and smirked. “Now, what’s the plan?”
“Potter you blasted wanker!” Lucas Davies, the captain of the Hufflepuff Quidditch team yelled angrily the next night at dinner. James, Sirius and Peter rolled around in laughter, joined by the rest of the great hall. Remus’ lips twitched; however, he managed to maintain an aura of aloofness. Even a few professors couldn’t restrain their smiles. Professor Dumbledore chuckled under his breath, eyes twinkling madly. Professor McGonagall on the other hand, was furious. She glared at the headmaster before turning to the spectacle before her.
Hufflepuff students across the hall were twitching madly- seemingly of their own accord- while their faces held expressions of astonishment and frustration. None seemed to be able to control themselves as they danced madly around their peers, flailing with failed attempts at pirouettes and tripping over trying to point their toes.
“Potter, Black, Lupin, Pettigrew! My office, now!” McGonagall screeched, bearing down upon them like a hawk to its prey. James composed himself quickly. “Whatever did we do Minnie?” His expression conveyed the epitome of innocence. McGonagall’s eye twitched at the nickname. “How dare you exhibit such offensive behaviour and such blatant disregard for the rules!”
She nearly snorted. “Oh who am I kidding, of course you would dare!” She glared murderously.
“I’m insulted, why would you automatically assume it was us?” Sirius pouted. “My dear McGonagall, we would never do such a thing.” His eyes widened endearingly.
McGonagall’s eyes narrowed. “When I find out who is responsible, and you can rest assured that I will, there will be severe consequences. Am I understood, Mr. Black? And no amount of charm will work for you in detention, I can promise you that!” With that, she turned furiously on her heel. Sirius smiled at her retreating form. “Bless her heart.”
“Brilliantly played Padfoot! I think even Pete fell for it.” James whispered, slapping the latter on the back. Sirius grinned. “The puppy face never fails.” He stood and bowed dramatically, earning a sharp look from Professor McGonagall who had returned back to her seat.
Remus snickered. “Snuffles would prove to be more useful than you.” He teased. James chuckled.
“Put a cork in it Moony.” Sirius threw a chicken leg at Remus but he lazily waved it away with his wand and it landed promptly on a plate not too far along the table.
Melody glanced down at her plate and grimaced. “Thank you Remus, but I don’t believe I asked.” Sirius barked with laughter and Remus gave an apologetic smile. “Sorry Melody.”
She shook her head in amusement and continued her conversation with Anna and Chanel.
James continue to gaze at their handiwork proudly and chortled as the Professors attempted to counter the spell on the Hufflepuffs. With a smirk, he took a triumphant bite out of his chicken leg.
After dinner the marauders took their leave, dodging the few Hufflepuffs who hadn’t yet been relieved.
“Do we know how to pull a prank, or what?” James smirked, sliding his hands into his pockets. Sirius fell into some sort of a dance. “Well, they don’t call us the kings of pranks for nothing dear friend.” He grinned and James gave him a high five.
Remus shook his head.
“C’mon moony, you know you‘re proud.” James insisted, throwing his arm around his shoulder.
Remus grinned. “I’ll admit it was amusing.”
Sirius smiled. “You know Remus, there might be hope for you yet.”
“Well, well, well, if it isn’t the merry band of miscreants.”
The marauders turned towards the source of the silky voice and adopted four similar expressions of dislike. Lucius Malfoy, Bellatrix Black and Rudolphus Lestrange leered back.
Sirius’ face lost all of it's mirth and he stared back at the Sltherin trio with a vacant and almost hateful expression. James scowled. “What do you want Malfoy? If you’re here to spit nonsense, hold your breath.”
Malfoy eyed him coolly. “Nonsense, Potter? No not nonsense, never nonsense. Everything I speak is only the truth.”
“Don’t bother Lucius, they’re a lost cause.” Bellatrix spat, glowering at Sirius. “They’re just a lot of blood traitors and half bloods!” She glared pointedly.
Sirius flinched. “Better a blood traitor than a pure blood maniac.” He replied coolly.
“Watch your tongue, Sirius! You will not disrespect the noble Black name!” Bella exclaimed. Sirius almost sneered. “I have nothing but disrespect for the Black name!”
Bella’s eyes widened. “You dare!”
“Get your head out of your arse Bellatrix, there’s more to life than blood status!”
Rudolphus raised his brow and there was almost something victorious about his expression. “Dear Bella, I believe your cousin has finally made his decision.” Her eyes flashed with something that could have been misrepresented as hurt. It passed as quickly as it came and she quickly plastered a sneer on her face. “You would turn your back on your family?”
Sirius clenched his jaw. “I have no family.” He said conclusively, with eyes as cold and dark as his name. He threw one last malevolent glare before turning on his heel. The others followed suit, though not without sparing their Slytherin classmates similar expressions of loathing.
Their trip to the common room was quiet and the only word spoken was as Remus gave the password for entrance to the common room. The boys continued towards the staircase, attracting many inquisitive glances. It was rare that the marauders would be so sombre after such a well performed prank.
Sirius sat heavily on his bed and kicked off his shoes, staring at the opposite wall. James opened and closed his mouth, unable to find the words to quell Sirius's anger. Unexpectedly, Sirius grabbed his hairbrush and threw against the wall so forcefully that it shattered into several tiny pieces. He fumed, ignoring Peter’s whimper of fear.
“Family.” He snarled. “How dare she use that word! She wouldn’t know the meaning of family if it hit her in the face!” He let out a breath of air and sneered at the wall.
James waited a beat before taking a seat beside him, carefully throwing an arm around his shoulder. “You’re wrong you know, you do have a family. We’re your family, and don’t you forget it.”
The story of Blacks ‘betrayal’ spread like wildfire and as he’d anticipated, a howler from his wretched mother waited for Sirius in the great hall the next morning.
“SIRIUS ORION BLACK! HOW DARE YOU BESMIRTCH THE GREAT AND NOBLE BLACK NAME! YOU HAVE SHAMED ME! THERE WILL BE SEVERE CONSEQUENCES WHEN YOU RETURN HOME AND I WILL BE SPEAKING TO THE HEADMASTER ABOUT YOUR IMMEDIATE REMOVAL FROM GRYFFINDOR AND STARIGHT INTO THE WORTHY HOUSE OF SLYTHERIN. YOU WILL NOT EMBARASS THIS FAMILY ANY FURTHER!”
The howler promptly burst into flames and fell to the ground in ashes. The entire hall was silenced with shocked, with the exception of his Slytherin peers, of course. James was staggered and Remus and Peter were apprehensive as they watched their friend seethe in anger. Sitting a few seats away, Melody was frozen in place and Chanel and Anna appeared to be gobsmacked.
James snapped out of his stunned reverie and to the surprise of the entire student body, began to laugh.
Sirius’s head turned in bewilderment but James only continued to howl, tears of laughter streaming out of his eyes.
“Mate... your mother... is off her rocker!” He exclaimed, struggling for breath.
There was a pregnant pause before the corner of Sirius’ mouth twitched upwards. Finally he relaxed and, shaking his head, smiled. “You’re insane prongs, you know that?”
James sighed contently after calming down and clapped Sirius on the back before proceeding to ruffle his hair in an act of brotherly affection. “C’mon, let’s go set Snape’s pants on fire.”
“Two weeks of detention! Is that even allowed?!” Sirius whined. James nodded in agreement. “It’s not even like he got very hurt. I mean if anything, we did the world a favour. Those pants were hideous!”
Remus rolled his eyes in though even he couldn’t contain his amusement. “You set the blokes pants on fire and scorched his legs! Did you really think you’d get away with it?”
“Still, two bleeding weeks?! McGonagall’s gone whackers!?”
Peter sighed. “And somehow I’m pulled into it.” James smacked him on the back. “Man up Pete! Take it like a man!”
“Two weeks!” Sirius was still whining. “You’d think she’d go easy on us, as our Head of House!”
James nodded. “Exactly and everyone knows you’re very fragile right now. It would only make sense for you to act out.”
Sirius snickered as Remus eyed James with wry amusement. “And what’s your excuse?”
James threw his arm around Sirius. “It was my duty to stand behind my best mate.”
Sirius wiped away imaginary tears and sniffed. “Why James, I’m touched.” He raised his voice a few octaves. Peter chortled. “You sound eerily like that Woodsworth girl from Hufflepuff.” Sirius wiggled his eyebrows suggestively. “Got your eye on her, have you?” Peter turned a deep shade of red and stammered in embarrassment.
The others snickered.
“Sirius!” The boys turned around and James scowled.
Melody sped down the corridor towards them. “Hey.” She smiled but her eyed were both inquisitive and concerned. Sirius shot her a reassuring, lopsided grin. “I’m fine.”
“Of course you are.” She answered quickly, glancing behind him.
James stared determinedly at the wall behind her, refusing to make any contact. Melody huffed and turned back to Sirius. “But you know I’m here for you right? If you ever need to talk...”
Sirius reached for her hands and kissed them appreciatively. “Of course. Thank you darling.” She gave one last smile before stepping back uncertainly. “Well, I suppose I should get going. I’ll see the lot of you later.” Waving goodbye, Melody walked off, seemingly eager to put as much distance between herself and the ex-boyfriend determined to ignore her existence.
Unbeknownst to her, as soon as she was out of earshot, James growled.
Remus offered him a sympathetic smile. “All right mate?” James clenched his teeth. “Fine.” He turned on his heel and stalked off in the opposite direction. “I’ll see you guys back in the common room later.” The boys recognized this to be code for ‘leave me the hell alone’ so they reluctantly trudged back towards Gryffindor tower.
When James got in that night, it was to find Sirius still awake- sprawled on his bed- reading the latest issue of Quidditch Illustrated. “Couldn’t sleep?” James glanced at him and loosened his tie.
Sirius shrugged then nodded over to the small enchanted mirror on his bedside table. “You forgot it.”
“Yeah, I realized I left it up here this morning.” He kicked off his shoes. “Go to sleep, Moony will kill you if you wake up late tomorrow.” He said ignoring Sirius’ enquiring gaze.
“Moony will kill you both if you don’t stop talking.” Someone replied groggily from the next bed over. James smirked. “Curse your stupid, freaky werewolf hearing.”
Remus groaned. “My werewolf hearing won’t be the only thing you’ll be cursing if you don’t stop talking.”
“My, you’re in a pissy mood tonight, I suppose your wolfy senses are still lingering from your transformation.” James snickered.
“Keep talking mate, I’m about two seconds away from pounding your face in.”
Sirius chuckled. “Now, now ladies, let’s play nice.” James grinned and hopped into bed, snuggling under the covers for warmth.
It was after class that Wednesday when James decided they go out for some fresh air to take advantage of the rare warm day as winter loomed on the horizon. They were fooling around in the courtyard when a voice interrupted.
“James! Oi, Potter!” James and his friends turned around and he smiled, ruffling his hair subconsciously. Lily jogged over to the group of boys.
Sirius’ eyes twinkled and he stepped in front of her- signature smirk in place. “Hello there Evans. Fancy seeing you today.”
She seemed immune and quite familiar with his charm, sparing only a passing smile and a, “hey Black”, before turning to James. “I got my assignment back so I’m guessing you did as well... so?”
James gave a smug grin. “She said it was excellently done and hopes that I take similar care with all of my other assignments henceforth.” He inclined his head appreciatively towards her.
Lily smiled. “Excellent, I wouldn’t want word getting around that Lily Evans is a bad tutor.”
James laughed. “I’ll make sure it doesn’t.” He promised.
She left soon after and Sirius eyed her retreating form appreciatively. “You know, I’ve always wanted to become...acquainted with Evans. A little nerdier than my usual-
“And by nerdier you mean she actually knows how to spell her name.” Remus retorted dryly.
“- but she makes up for it very nicely.” Sirius continued as if he hadn’t been interrupted, he did, however, throw an offended glare in Remus’ direction before looking strangely at James. “Don’t you think mate?” James shrugged indifferently. “Yeah she’s pretty.” He gave Sirius a stern look. “But don’t act stupid with her. She’s one of the good ones.”
Sirius pretended to be affronted. “Me, stupid?”
James’ lip gave a twitch and he shook his head in exasperation. “Just don’t play around with her.”
Sirius eyed him fleetingly before turning to Remus. “Nah, I think ol’ Moony would be better suited for her. They could talk about books and stuff.” Remus snorted and James grinned. “Give it a shot Remus, she’s a nice girl.” His voice betrayed a double meaning. “She’d understand.”
Remus’ expression hardened. “Not an option.”
The others sighed. “So what, you’re going to be alone for the rest of your life?” Peter inquired rhetorically. James glared at him. “He won’t be alone Wormtail, he’s got us.”
Peter shuffled guiltily. “I didn’t mean it like that.”
Remus smiled reassuringly.
Sirius frowned. “Alright, enough about girls; Hogsmeade is almost upon us; are we going together?”
James ran a hand through his hair. “Ella Montgomery asked me, and I feel kind of bad saying no.” The others did a double take.
“Since when do you feel bad?!” Sirius exclaimed.
James snorted. “She’s a nice girl. Besides... she’s fit.”
Remus’ eyes lit up comprehensively. “Of course.” He stated dryly. Sirius smiled proudly and Peter snickered.
“Well I guess it’ll just be us then mates.” Sirius exclaimed, throwing an arm each around his two remaining dateless friends Remus ogled him wryly. “What’s wrong with your date?”
Sirius shrugged. “Don’t have one. I’d rather just hang out. Besides, the ball is in a few days. All the girls are going to want to shop for dress robes.” He shuddered and made a face. “I don’t know about you, but Honeydukes and Zonkos sounds better than Gladrags.” James scowled. “Right, I forgot about that. I really hope she doesn’t drag me there.”
Sirius snickered. “Have your mirror on you. If she does, we’ll come and rescue you.”
James thought about the enchanted mirror Sirius and he shared and smiled. “Brillaint.”
Melody, Chanel and Anna were sprawled under a giant oak tree near the black lake, amusedly observing a couple of burly sixth years playfully wrestle with one another.
Anna rolled her eyes. “Idiots.” She muttered. Melody giggled and threw her head back, relishing in the warmth. Chanel crossed her outstretched legs, clad in her shortened school skirt. A couple of blokes under the next tree over ogled. “So have either of you decided on a dress yet?” She picked the imaginary lint off her skirt.
During the last couple of weeks, the girls had been searching through the latest catalogue from Twilfitt and Tattings, owled to them by Chanel’s mother. Although there was no shortage of dresses in the catalogue, the girls were still having a hard time finding one they really liked.
Anna sighed dejectedly. “No. I’ve looked through that blasted book at least fifty times and I can’t find anything I like!” Melody nodded her agreement. “Anna’s right, there is nothing in there remotely attractive to me.”
Chanel frowned flipping her hair over her shoulder. “Well I can ask mother to look while in Paris. She’s leaving tomorrow.”
“That doesn’t give us much time, does it.” Anna frowned.
“What other option do we have? I’m not buying anything from Gladrags.” Chanel responded distastefully. “Anyone and everyone will be getting their robes from there.”
Melody bit her lip as she remembered something. “James’ mother knows a designer, but he’d probably murder me before I even got the chance to ask.”
Anna tapped her chin thoughtfully. “Well can’t you just send Mrs. Potter an owl?”
Melody squirmed with self loathing. “She probably hates me too.”
Chanel glared. “Melody Milonas! James does not hate you! He’s a wanker- but he doesn’t hate you. He’ll get over it. And Mrs. Potter could never hate you. She loves you!”
Melody smiled appreciatively and took a breath. “Fine, I’ll owl her tonight.”
Chanel smirked triumphantly and satisfied with her work, leaned back against the tree.
That night Melody quickly wrote Mrs. Potter a note explaining their situation and sent it with her owl, watching the black animal soar out into the night sky.
She prayed Chanel was right.
The next morning the girls made their way down to the great hall for breakfast. Chanel as usual was half asleep, drooling on Melody’s shoulder and Anna was about as cheerful as a blast ended skrewt.
Melody attempted to hide her laughter as Anna snapped at a poor third year for talking too loud. “Bleedng idiots. I don’t understand why they have to yell. It’s eight in the effing morning for Godrics sake - for the love of Merlin Chanel wake up! You’re drooling all over the table!”
Chanel let out a grunt and sat up quickly. “Wuzzgoinon.” She looked around blearily and then sluggishly proceeded to pour herself pumpkin juice. Anna only continued to glare at anyone in sight and ferociously bit into her scone. Mercifully, the owls swooped into the hall, one of which glided straight towards Melody. Her heart pounded nervously and Anna and Chanel eyed the letter with intrigue as she opened it with baited breath.
My dear Melody,
Darling, it has been too long! I’m disappointed and a little upset that you’ve waited this long to contact me.
I will definitely speak to Miranda about the dresses. She may be a tad busy- you really should have told me in advance, however, I will have a word with her and get back to you. In the meantime, decide what you and the girls would like. Speaking of, how are they; I had lunch with Chanel’s mother the other day. Be sure to send them my love. Hope all is well dear.
P.S Don’t give up on James.
Reading over Melody’s shoulder, Chanel gave a smirk. “Smart woman she is.” She said, referring to the last line. Melody also couldn’t help but smile. She missed the Potter matriarch.
Chanel quickly grew bored of the letter and yawned loudly. “I feel like skiving class today.”
Melody gave her a stern frown. “You already skived off yesterday and the day before. McGonagall will have you hanged over the astronomy tower.”
Chanel groaned. “It’s not as if I’m missing anything particularly important. It’s bloody divination! What use do I have for reading tea leaves? I don’t even sodding drink tea!” She threw her arms up exasperatedly.
“You are a disgrace to Brits.” Anna said pointedly. Chanel flipped her the bird.
“Miss Emmanuel, I advise you put that finger away before I take it off!” McGonagall snapped, gliding past the girls. Chanel swung her legs over the bench. “Hurry up!” She snapped at her best friends as they cried with laughter.
Sirius fell gracefully into the seat beside Chanel, a few strands of hair falling into his eyes as she attempted to pull out her own. She’d just been describing to Peter, Remus and the girl- with animation- the degree to which she hated Professor Binns and where he could shove his newly assigned ten page paper.
“You stress too much.” He drawled.
“Well I’m sorry we don’t all have the ability to explode our way out of assignments! What have you blown up recently? Or have you finally grown up?” She countered heatedly.
“Sirius, where is your other half tonight?” Anna interrupted swiftly, before the two hot-heads could go at it.
Sirius forgot Chanel’s scathing remarks quickly and smirked. “Detention. We set Snape’s trousers on fire the other day but McGonagall forbade us to serve detention together. She said this way it might force us to think about the ‘error of our ways’” He scoffed as if it was the most ridiculous thing he’d ever heard.
Anna looked forlorn. “I’m sorry I missed it! I’d have like to see Snape on fire. Stupid clod!”
Chanel agreed. “I wanted to hex him the other day as well. He and Avery both, Mulciber and Lucius were there as well but it seemed like Snape and Avery were doing most of the work. They were taunting a couple of third year muggleborns. Unfortunately, McGonagall beat me to it.” Sirius clenched his fists and ground his teeth.
“I’m beginning to wish we’d given him a few first degree burns.” He glowered.
Remus put a restraining hand on his shoulder. “They’ll get what they deserve. If not now, they will in the future. Believe me.”
Just before Sirius could respond, the portrait hole opened and a bloodied James stumbled into the common room. Sirius blanched and shot up, sprinting to his side. The others followed quickly.
“What’s wrong, what happened!?” Sirius exclaimed. James shook his head and spat blood. “I’m fine; just had a run in with Malfoy and his little posse.” Melody pushed through and pursed her lips.
“Oh, you idiot, come here!” She sat him down and brandished her wand, quickly healing his smaller cuts. James stiffened. At the pain, or the feeling of her hands on his skin, he was unsure; but he didn’t object either way. Sirius snarled. “He’s going to wish he’d never stepped foot in Hogwarts the next time I see him.”
Remus too, looked troubled and angry. “What happened?”
“Malfoy, Mulciber, Rosier, Bella and-
He stopped abruptly and clenched his jaw.
“Anyways, on my way back from detention I saw them cornering that Grisham bloke from Ravenclaw. It looked like they were about to attack so I tried to stop them but they wouldn’t listen, so I fought.” He shrugged and gave a short laugh. “I got Mulciber and Rosier and I’m pretty sure I broke Malfoy’s nose and a couple of his ribs.” He allowed himself a smug glower.
Sirius on the other hand was silent and his eyes watched James coolly. “Who else was there?”
James frowned and looked away but Sirius was adamant. “Who else was there James?”
James sighed in defeat. “Reg.”
Sirius rose swiftly and was half way towards the portrait hole when James jumped in front of him. Melody made a noise of disapproval.
“Beating up your brother isn’t going to solve anything Sirius. Besides, he kept his distance.” James exclaimed keeping a tight grip on his angry friend.
“It doesn’t fucking matter James, the fact that he was even there...with them in the first place, is reason enough for me to rearrange his face!” Sirius growled, but he stepped away when he realized James was still in pain.
James gave him a firm pat on the back, grabbing his shoulder affectionately. “Reg still knows better, there’s hope for him yet. We’ll get through to him.” He said quietly. Sirius nodded.
James winced as one of his wounds gave a throb. “I suppose I should head to the hospital wing. Madame Pomfrey’s going to kill me.”
Melody rolled her eyes. Of all the reasons he was upset about needing to visit the infirmary.
“I was already in the infirmary for that stupid bludger the other day and she told me to take it easy.” Sirius smiled slightly.
James stretched, turned to Melody, opened his mouth as if to say something, and then thought better of it, before promptly turning on his heel towards the portrait hole.
“Oh honestly!” Madame Pomfrey exclaimed. He answered with a sheepish smile.
“What happened now?!” She scurried to her office quickly and brought out a few vials.
James hopped on a bed. “Sorry Poppy, I had a bit of a fall, nothing serious. A frie- er- someone managed to heal most of it.”
She nodded impressively. “Well whoever it was did a clean job.” James smiled reluctantly. “Yeah, she’s studying to become a healer.” Sirius, Remus and Peter exchanged looks.
She finished healing James wounds and handed him a vial. He scowled and brought it to his lips, taking a disgusted gulp before gagging. He handed the offending glass back and couldn’t help but think Pomfrey looked a little smug. “That should teach you to disobey me. Though heaven knows you should be immune to the taste by now.”
Madame Pomfrey threw him one last withering look and cleared the vials with a wave of her wand. “You should be as good as new. The four of you had better get back, it’s after curfew.” She exclaimed before promptly shooing them out.
James sprinted on the spot happily. “Merlin I love Pomfrey!”
“What about Mel? She healed most of your wounds.” Sirius smirked suggestively. James scowled and whacked Sirius in the back of the head. “Go swallow a flobberworm.” He muttered. Sirius grinned.
True to his word, the next day when Sirius saw Rosier and Mulciber, he- aided and abetted by Remus- hexed them hard enough that they had to be carried to the hospital wing on a stretcher, managing to do so incognito. Unfortunately for them, Malfoy was still in the hospital wing from the injuries he’d sustained from James.
Sirius had managed to successfully avoid his brother, but luck was not on his side come Friday. That night, accompanied by the Marauders during their late night trek to the Kitchens, he bumped into none other than Regulus and Rabastan.
When Sirius made to continue without acknowledging him, Regulus frowned and caught his shoulder. Sirius was surprised but anger quickly took its place. “Let go of me.” Sirius growled. Rabastan glowered in the shadows but Regulus eventually released him. “What’s wrong with you? Why are you ignoring me? Is it your time of the month?” He sneered.
“I don’t associate myself with wannabe death eaters.” Sirius snarled. Regulus winced. The name had been used by numerous people, even mentioned in the daily prophet. But no one had dared to point fingers.
People were still sceptical, but no one could deny that something was happening, something the Wizarding world wasn’t ready to face and shuddered to think about.
Regulus' eyes were fierce. “You don’t even know what we’re trying to fight for!”
Sirius scoffed disbelievingly. “You don’t even deny it.” His voice was filled with disgust.
“Why can’t you just attempt to understand?! Why can’t you stand behind your family for once!” Regulus argued. “You know they’re doing this for us! So that we can live in a world without having to worry about hiding or being weary of muggles catching us doing magic! Those muggleborns and muggle lovers are making it seem like we’re the evil ones! We’re just trying to fight for our right not to have to hide our birthright!”
Sirius eyed him with a mixture of incredulity and repulsion. “If you honestly believe that’s what you’re fighting for, you’re seriously deluded! You think this...this Lord Voldemort wants equality?! He wants domination, he wants to rule over muggles and muggleborns and kill them!” He spat.
Sirius turned to glare at Lestrange and barked, “Leave. Now!” Rabastan looked like wanted to argue but Regulus nodded reassuringly. He shrugged and walked off reluctantly.
Sirius’ eyes softened on his brother. “I don’t want you to make this mistake Reg. Bad things are happening, people are getting hurt! Step outside of this bubble that mother and father have created and think about what’s really going on! They don’t understand, and the rest of our family is a lost cause. Don’t follow Bellatrix. You see what she does to the muggleborns, they don’t deserve that. No one does.” He whispered the last part.
Regulus looked unsure. “They wouldn't..." He trailed off.
"What happens when we go home? We’re still expected to follow their beliefs; I’m expected to follow their beliefs.” He frowned. He looked so vulnerable then, without his Slytherin whispering in his ear. Sirius frowned. He looked like his little brother again.
James gave Sirius an ‘I told you so’ look.
“Sometimes I wish I could’ve been sorted somewhere else. Then maybe they wouldn’t be so hard-pressed about moulding me into a perfect pureblood prince. No offense, but they’ve lost hope in you.” Regulus continued dejectedly.
Sirius’ heart gave a pang and he ruffled Regulus’ hair affectionately, something he hadn’t done in a long time.
“It’ll be alright Reg.” He whispered lightly. “We’ll get through it together.” Swatting at him playfully, Sirius smiled, happy when his brother returned it.
“I guess I’d better get going. Rabastan will be on his way to tell the others that you're brainwashing me or something.” Regulus nodded at Sirius and then at the others before turning on his heel.
“Well that was touching.” James quipped, stepping forward to pat Sirius’ shoulder. Sirius laughed and let out a sigh of relief. “Let’s go eat.”
Sirius woke the next morning, blinking the grogginess away before glancing at his clock. James and Peter were still asleep and he could hear Remus in the shower.
He slipped out of bed and yanked James’ curtains wide open. “Oi, Prongs, get up!”
James moaned something incomprehensible and continued to snore.
Sirius shrugged. “You asked for it... Auguamenti .”
James screamed bloody murder as he shot up, dripping with ice-cold water. “What the hell Padfoot!” He roared, swearing under his breath.
Sirius smirked. “You wouldn’t wake up and you’re due to meet your date in twenty minutes.”
Still muttering a string of curse words under his breath, he looked around for his wand. Peter sat up and squinted through sleepy eyes. “Whazgoinon?”
James glowered at Sirius. “I’m friends with a git.”
Peter snorted and scratched his head. “What time is it?” Sirius glanced at his watch, still lying on his table. “Ten thirty.”
The bathroom door opened and Remus stepped out, fully dressed. He grinned at James. “I see you’re up then.” James muttered under his breath, walked past the smirking werewolf and slammed the bathroom door behind him. Sirius' smirk was wiped clean. “Oi, it was my turn!”
James voice was muffled by the door. “Fuck off!”
Remus shook his head amusedly.
“So, are the marauders excited to visit Zonkos?” Anna smirked when they ran into the boys in the common room. The group continued towards the Great Hall together. Sirius grinned. “Obviously, and naturally you lot are paying a visit to Gladrags?” He rolled his eyes.
Chanel scowled. “Please!”
“You got your dress robes then?” Remus asked.
“That, my darling Remus, is for us to know.” Chanel replied, flipping her hair.
Sirius and Remus exchanged a glance.
Behind them, Melody turned to James. “I never got the chance to ask, how are you feeling?”
James buried his hands into his pockets and shrugged. “I’m fine, it was nothing I couldn’t handle. But...thanks...for helping.”
“Of course.” Melody smiled.
Unbeknownst to them, Chanel began subtly gesturing towards them. Anna grinned and Sirius raised his brow curiously. “What?” Before he could turn, Anna grabbed his arm. “Don’t.” She hissed.
Remus looked confused as she dragged both boys ahead. “Don’t look, but Mel and James are talking.” She was practically bouncing with excitement.
Sirius beamed. “About bloody time.” Remus frowned. “I don’t think this amicable truce will last once she learns he’s going to Hogsmeade with Ella.” Chanel furrowed her brows as she followed closely behind with Peter.
“Who in the blazes is Ella!?” The trio turned around and shushed her.
“Be quiet Chanel!” Anna hissed. They chanced a glance at Melody and James who were still lagging behind, lost in conversation.
“Right, sorry, who in the blazes is Ella?” She amended whisperingly.
“Some girl from Hufflepuff, I think.” Sirius’ forehead crinkled in thought.
“No I think she’s in Ravenclaw.” Remus replied.
“Who bloody cares! If James goes on a date with this girl, it’ll completely blow any chances of them getting back together.”
Sirius smirked. “I sense a plan brewing my dear Roberts.” Anna grinned mischievously. “You know me well. I say we put ‘Get Melody and James Back Together Because They’re Too Damn Stupid to Do It Themselves’ in action.”
Remus blinked. “Maybe we ought to shorten it a bit.”
“Or a lot, Pete’s still trying remember what you just said.” Chanel snorted. Peter blushed.
Anna rolled her eyes. “The point is we need to do for them, what they’re too damn stubborn to do for themselves.”
Sirius crossed his arms. “First we need to find out why Melody broke up with him in the first place.”
“Okay, good, this gives us something to work with. That’ll be our first plan of action then.” Anna turned around as they neared the great hall. “In the meantime, we have to figure out some way to get James out of this date.”
Remus, Sirius and Peter smiled. “Leave that to the Marauders?”
After the girls left with Melody, Sirius, Peter and Remus turned towards James. “Shall we leave then?” Remus said. James shook his head. “I have to find Ella first.”
Peter squeaked and Remus shot him a look to shut him up. “Well let’s walk and maybe we’ll run into her on the way.”
James shrugged but didn’t protest.
As they approached Filtch checking off names, Sirius and Remus subtly craned their necks around, keeping an eye out for James’ date.
Filtch glowered at them and muttered under his breath as he checked off their names, muttering something about vile miscreants and Peeves.
“Splendid fellow he is.” Sirius remarked dryly as they made the trek towards Hogsmeade village.
“So where are you lot headed first?” James asked. Remus shrugged innocently. “We might visit Zonko’s first, or maybe Honeydukes.” James nodded. “Well, I guess I should go find Ella. How about we meet up at the Three Broomsticks, say around two?”
Sirius and Peter exchanged alarmed glances. “Er...”
Remus shot them a glare. “Yes, that should be fine. Come on you two.”
Once they were out of earshot, Sirius turned on Remus. “We’re supposed to keep him from going on the date, not encouraging him!”
Remus rolled his eyes. “How did you plan on doing that exactly? At least now we can come up with a plan without him catching on!” Sirius looked mystified. “Oh, right.”
“Now, we have to find Ella first.”
Sirius and Peter looked at him in confusion. Remus sighed. “I have a plan but we need to act quickly! Come on, I’ll explain on the way.”
They rushed back towards the castle, making sure to remain unseen by James. Luck was on their side it seemed, because soon they spotted Ella, waiting impatiently near the courtyard. They quickened their pace and weaved through the throng of students leaving.
She turned towards the boys and blushed. “Oh hey Remus.” She grinned and then smiled flirtatiously at Sirius.
Sirius smiled slightly and then assumed an expression of deep sympathy.
“Ella, I hope you weren’t waiting long. James asked us to tell you he can’t make it today. He’s fallen ill, feels terrible but hopes you’ll understand.” Sirius used every bit of charm he had, and soon had Ella swooning.
“Oh no, poor James, the poor darling, of course I understand! He needs to get better.” Sirius smiled crookedly and she nearly fainted.
“Thank you for being so understanding.”
Ella giggled and waved him away. “My friends just left, I’ll just catch up with them.” With a parting wave, she flounced away to find her friends.
Peter looked at Sirius in amazement and Remus smiled in an exasperated manner. “Well will you look at that? For once, your ability to make a girl weak in the knees came in handy.”
Sirius smirked. “Always does.”
Remus shook his head and then motioned to the boys to follow him. “Let’s go, we have to find James before Ella sees him.”
They sprinted back towards Hogsmeade, all of them with one thought. It was going to be a long day.
A/N The boys certainly have their work cut out for them. What are your thoughts? Will James and Ella find out? Ta for now! :)
Disclaimer: Everything you recognize belongs to J.K Rowling. Now if you'll excuse me...i'll just go cry in a corner...
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