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Canis Major by atellam
Chapter 3 : The Result of Intimidating Eyebrows...
 
Rating: MatureChapter Reviews: 36


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azimuth@TDA


Chapter III - The Result of Intimidating Eyebrows...



We bumped into Rae, Alice and Mel on the stairs between the common room and the dormitory, where they had been more than happy to turn around and head back up the tower with me and Lily.

Alice had ducked into our room on the way to grab her secret stash of Licorice Wands. She really must have been in a good mood if she was willing to share. I had a feeling it had to do with Frank greeting her at breakfast.

Lily continued to twirl Levi until Leah came rushing out of their dorm at the sound of his yowls, snatching him out of the air, while the red head snickered right through her friend’s lecture on animal cruelty.  

Less than twenty minutes later, all eight of us – Rebecca, Leah, Mary, Lily, Reyna, Alice, Melody and myself – could be found on the floor of the seventh year girls’ dormitory, Butterbeer and Pumpkin Pasties in hand. The windows creaked occasionally while the autumn wind continued to whip around the tower outside, but inside on the squishy red and gold pillows Lily had conjured, we were happy. 

“Lils,” Rebecca whined when she finished yet another bottle, “when’s our next Hogsmeade visit? You and Potter are in charge of that now, aren’t you?”

“Oh, shut it, Becs, don’t remind me!”

Rebecca laughed heartily, while I saw Mel giving her former teammate a look that I'm sure would have gotten us kicked out of the of older girls’ dorm had it been seen. 

“But it’s true, Lil. You and Potter are going to have to spend loads of time together now. Shame, really. Maybe he’ll use it to his advantage and you’ll finally admit you like him.”

“You say I like that bigot one more time and I’ll set Leah’s cat on you, Simmons.”

Rebecca almost fell backwards in her laughter this time and Leah gave her a curious look from behind her long blond hair. She reached for Rebecca's empty bottle and held it up close to her face, examining it. “How much beer is actually in Butterbeer? I’ve never thought to think about it before now, but suddenly I feel I should be very cautious,” she said in her airy voice.

Thought to think about it. Her sentence took me a moment to work through but I eventually got there. "Maybe Abra gave me a bad batch?” I mused out loud, giving Rebecca a worried look as she continued to giggle.

“Abra?”

“House-elf I met in the kitchens. Merlin, she’s the cutest thing since puppies –" The ginger animal hissed at me from under Leah's bed, but I ignored it. That thing was more trouble than it was worth, in my opinion... “ – completely adorable. Reminds me of a five year old. You know, when they follow you everywhere before they reach that stage where they think they know it all? Completely gorgeous,” I gushed.

“I swear, next time you go to the kitchens, I’m coming with you. I’m going to stock up on Licorice Wands," inquired Alice, suddenly worried. "They do have Licorice Wands, right?”

“I was offered at least three roasts in the 10 minutes I was there. If you want Licorice Wands, I’m sure they’ll be more than accommodating.” Her concern was almost as cute as Abra.

Lily agreed with a laugh, her red hair bouncing around her face, and Alice relaxed, knowing that she had access to an endless supply of her favourite food.

“I don’t know how you do it, you know? Eat Licorice Wands by the dozen and stay as skinny as a stick.” Mary Macdonald sighed, eyeing Alice’s tiny waist.

I nearly choked, staring at the seventh year. She had to be joking, surely? Mary was perfect. Don’t even get me started on how much I wanted legs as long as hers. Not to mention the long, wavy, dark brown hair that fell to her shoulders. With a light complexion, a button nose, and large hazel eyes, she was the epitome of gorgeous and she was one of the few girls Sirius Black had had repeat ‘flings’ with. Even the school playboy couldn’t resist looks like hers. But as he was currently seeing some fool of a fifth year Ravenclaw; they had pretty much ignored each other lately.

Though none of the other seventh year boys seemed to mind that Mary was single...

"Seriously? I can't even... I just can't. You are amazing. Anyone would love to be you. Any one of you." Melody looked around at all of the older girls in disbelief, meeting their gaze. "Evans, you've had Potter after you for how many years now? And Macdonald, one of the very few girls Black has been interested in more than once - if that's not an achievement, I don't know what is. Simmons, I’ve known you how long? And Crawford, have you seen yourself? This is your last year! Bloody hell, stop worrying about eating and have fun!"

Leah had a dreamy look in her eye and a slight look of amusement on her face, while Mary skill seemed skeptical about her own appearance.

I smiled to myself as Mel concluded her rant. I knew this was something she was passionate about, but I seriously hoped she hadn't come across too strong to the others. Her personality often seemed grating, as not many people were used to her lack of filter. She always said what was on her mind, and didn't really mind what she said. Lily had been incredibly kind inviting us to spend the afternoon with her and her friends, and I was paranoid that Mel's animated speech would result in an 'it was lovely to have you, but your dormitory is downstairs...’ Not wanting to be part of the conversation when we were kicked out, I stared out the window, just able to see the top of the trees in the Forbidden Forest. 

The dark green tops of the trees moved gently in the wind, and Henry's face filled my vision, while I wondered where he was. I was tempted to write to him, but I didn't want to distract him from the time he was spending with his family. He'd elected to stay on longer after the ceremony, before he returned for his N.E.W.T year for a reason; none of us knew who would be the next to go in this war, and we all had suddenly felt the urge to make up for lost time.

I missed him though.

I missed him a lot, but I knew I would have made the same decision had it me. Just because they were Purebloods didn't make his family any safer if they were classified as Blood-traitors for not caring about blood status. Hell, he was dating me wasn't he? A Muggle-born. And his parents supported Muggle rights. Yeah, they had Blood-traitors stamped all over them. 

“Alright, alright! I’ll organise a Hogsmeade visit soon so you can all stock up on your sugar. Godric help me, I’ll talk to Potter.” The redhead held up her hands in mock defeat, rolling her eyes as she did so.

I snapped out of my thoughts and grinned at Lily as she muttered something that sounded like “bigheaded tosser” under her breath.

We stayed in the dormitory for the rest of the day, laughing, telling each other stories, explaining in-jokes, munching on food and exchanging tips on classes. Mary had placed refilling charms on our Butterbeers, but by dinner, we had eaten all the snacks Lily and I had brought. Although none of us were particularly hungry, Lily agreed to show Alice the way to the kitchens to see if Abra could conjure her some more Licorice Wands. We appeared to have eaten all of them and Alice wasn’t impressed.

As Lily’s red hair disappeared through the portrait hole with Alice, I turned back to face the others. We’d all moved down to the common room together and Leah was sitting in the window seat; Levi was purring in her lap, and her blonde hair was shining in the glow from the lanterns. Rebecca was arguing with her about - Umgubular Slashkilters? I didn't even know. All I could tell was that Leah was upset because our Care of Magical Creatures course apparently wasn't up to standard. 

Mary was pointedly ignoring her two friends, and was practising some spell out of an open book next to her. I heard her mutter "Multicorfors" and her hair changed to a charming bright pink. I gave her armchair a wide berth after that, liking my hair the way it was far too much to risk a stray spell. 

Dismissing Melody and Reyna’s conversation next to me, I stretched, grunting as I heard my back crack. 

Charming. I was getting old. Sixteen and I’d be in a wheelchair before I knew it. I made my way across the common room to the staircase, wondering why I’d never seen a wizard in a wheelchair.  

Lost in my thoughts about why Dumbledore, a wizard who was at least a hundred, didn't use a walking stick, I failed to remember that Gryffindor Tower was a dangerous place.

“MERLIN!” The words escaped my lips as something solid collided with me at speed.

“Oh, sorry – Nox, wasn’t it? – my bad, my bad.  Didn’t see you there. You haven’t seen Evans by any chance, have you? I haven’t seen her since breakfast…”

Nyx, Potter. Keira Nyx. Not Nox. I am not a light. And watch where you’re going next time! You too, Black.” I rounded on him as he began to snicker at James’s side. “I nearly became part of the carpet all because you both take the stairs at a hundred miles an hour,” I snapped without thought.

They both blinked for a moment, staring at me, before I realised what I’d just said. I needed a good Bludger to the head. Maybe the impact would give my brains the rattle they needed. Nobody talked to these two like that. I may well have just signed a warrant for my social death. 

“So you haven’t seen Evans then…”

“Huh?” I blinked, more focused on the knot forming in my stomach than on our conversation. “Oh – Yeah, sorry. She left not too long ago.”

“Ah. Shame.” James frowned toward the portrait hole, and Sirius – damnit.

“Face. Up here,” I said in a warning tone and Black snapped his vision away from my chest. The grey eyes met mine with a look that was gone in half an instant, replaced by a blank expression and a shrug of indifference.  I didn’t know what the look meant - and later I would quite easily convince myself that it had been nothing - but it made my stomach drop suddenly. I felt a little light-headed.

“C’mon James, let’s go find Moony. Evans isn’t here.”

“Alright, alright Pads. I just wanted to know where she was. I haven’t seen her since breakfast – “

“And the world will end as we know it. Yeah, yeah. If you’ve gone ten hours without seeing her, I’m sure you’ll survive one more. Lets go, Prongs,” Sirius urged as he pulled Potter over towards the portrait hole.

James laughed as his friend pulled him away, grabbing Peter Pettigrew by the arm as the small boy entered through the portrait hole. With a look that suggested he had no idea what was going on plastered across his face, his two friends dragged him back into the corridor.

*


“I saw that.”

“What?” I spun around to see Melody leaning in the doorway, chuckling to herself.

“That display downstairs. I think half of Gryffindor Tower saw it. I, myself, found it quite amusing.” Mel still sported a large grin.

“Now, did you just? Bloody Potter and bleeding Black, nearly squashed me!”

“Mmm, but it was your reply that I found entertaining.”

“Oh? I'm glad you liked it. Might be the last one you ever see.” Images of what I might have looked like from someone else’s view filled my mind’s eye, and I winced to myself. Yeah, may as well permanently Disillusion myself now...  “Thanks, by the way. For what you did this morning. You know, dragging me down the table at breakfast. It was what I needed, I suppose. I still didn't like it though...” I smiled weakly at my best friend and she stopped laughing, opting to give me a soft smile and join me by my bed.

“Hey, I meant what I said; it’ll be nice to have someone on the team with more than half a brain cell.”

My own smile grew as we both sunk onto the mattress. “If I make the team, Mel. IF.”

“Oi, I told you I saw what happened downstairs. Potter likes sass. Why do you think he’s been chasing after Evans all these years? He’ll like you as a person when he gets to know you, and he’ll love your flying as soon as he sees you on a broom. Besides, he’ll be down yet another chaser if he rejects you for the spot.” She crossed her arms over her chest and gave me her ‘Mel look’. My insides cringed.

“There is no way you’ll quit the team!” I protested. “You need to be out there if you want the scouts to see you, Mel. You won’t get offered a spot with the Harpies if you’re sitting in the stands. They don't want a player that'll sit out just because the Captain chose a good player over your friend.”

“Yeah, you’re right. I wouldn’t quit. But I’d threaten to, and I think that'd get the same reaction from Potter…” Mel grinned with a wicked glint in her eye.

I went to elbow her in the ribs, but she dodged it easily and we both fell back laughing.

“Merlin, I just can’t stop thinking about Sirius’s face when you yelled at him for staring at you. I know it’s the second day back, but I have a good feeling it’ll stay the highlight of my term. And then when he was so eager to get out of there? Seriously, I nearly died, Keira! Reyna had her hand over my mouth so no one would hear me laughing.” Her eyes danced at the memory.

I pulled my gaze away from the drapes at the top of my four-poster bed and looked at her, confused. “What do you mean ‘his face’?”

Melody was still grinning as she pushed her honey brown hair out of her eyes so she could look at me properly. It was sprawled all over the pillow and I batted at it to get it away from my face. She laughed a bit, before blinking a few times when she realised I honestly had no idea what she was talking about.

“You know, when you told him to stop staring at your chest? And he looked up at you? Before he shrugged and pulled James away? C’mon Keira, surely you saw it!”

Maybe Melody had fallen on her way up the stairs and had hit her head really hard? Or perhaps it had been a bad batch of Butterbeer that Abra had given me, and it had just taken longer to affect her than it had Simmons? Because surely she and I were not talking about the same Sirius Black.

“Honestly and truly, I have no idea what you are talking about Melody Andrews.”

“Forget it then. Just know that you kill me sometimes.” She shook her head, exasperated. I rolled my eyes, and elbowed her, resulting in a pillow to the face.

“How’s Jack?” I asked, finally, cutting across the tune she had begun to hum to herself. That’s what I liked about Mel. She and I never had awkward silences. We could just sit there and think about our own things, never needing to fill the space with aimless words.

“Hmm? Oh, he’s great actually. Haven’t seen him much, but meh. Suppose that’s the price of having the Keeper of the Stingers as your brother, eh?”

Jack Andrews was quite possibly one of the most stubborn, caring, passionate, focused and unluckiest people in the world. Exactly the same as Mel.

I stared at my best friend with a sad smile as she lay next to me, still humming to herself, eyes closed.

Walter and Grace Andrews had both been Gryffindors, who surely would have made Godric himself proud. They were Hit Wizards, and two of the finest the Ministry had ever seen. Dying in an ambush thirteen years ago, by some of the earliest Death Eaters, it was terrifying to think that Mel and her brother, Jack, had felt some of the first repercussions of the war.

Jack had packed up their stuff and move him and his sister, along with the house-elf, to live with their dad's cousin. Mel had limited memories of when they'd arrived, she'd been so young, and had absolutely no recollection of before then. Using the claim that as their guardian, he wormed his way to unlimited access to one of their parents' Gringotts vaults. Though of course, Jack and Mel never saw the benefits of the money he withdrew; all spent on Firewhiskey and other things I’m sure we'd never know.

And it had stayed that way. Until Jack had turned seventeen, when he’d packed his little sister’s bags, grabbed the house-elf and took them back to their parents’ estate in Surrey. 

Not for the last time, I wondered how on earth he’d managed to raise Mel and still get signed to the Wimbourne Wasps. Jack Andrews was an amazing person, caring for his sister when he was at home, and trying his best to be there for her, even when he was away at school, though Mel had developed a special relationship with their house-elf, Polka, who had hated living with their cousin as much as Mel had, and had taken upon the role of raising Mel the way her parents would have wanted. 

“Do you miss your mum?” I asked, my eyes staring into the canopy above my bed.

Mel was silent for a moment. “Every day. Every bleeding day.”

Her eyes were still shut and I placed my head on her shoulder, mentally kicking myself for bringing it up. “I’m so sorry, Mel. I shouldn’t ha – OW!” I rubbed the ribs that her elbow had collided with.

“Shuddit will you? I don’t mind. It’s good to talk about her. The less I do, the harder it gets. Jack doesn’t like to – not that he’s around much – but he and I talk about other stuff. Quidditch, Polka, how amazing that House Elf’s food is…” She trailed off, and I looked up at her to find her with a wistful expression on her face. “My parents died for being blood traitors and you, my best friend, are the type of person their killers wish to get rid of. I hate them, Keira. I hate them all, but until we leave Hogwarts for good, there’s nothing we can do.”

I thought about her words. About the war. About the sick and wounded. “We need Healers, Mel. St. Mungo’s is so overworked, and so many people are dying. All I need are passing marks for N.E.W.T.S next year and I’m there. I should hopefully get everything else, its just Potion’s I’m worried about.” I paused for a moment, thinking about my grades. “Maybe if I buy Slughorn a lifetime’s supply of Crystallised Pineapple, he’ll learn my name…”

Mel laughed at that, and I sighed, glad the gloom was gone from the air. The war was becoming a more and more pressing topic each day. Particularly for the older students who were soon to leave the safety of Hogwarts, and join the fight, regardless of whichever side they chose. 

Helpless. That’s what I felt, here in the castle unable to do anything.  Yet I was petrified of the idea of actually leaving Hogwarts and becoming part of the fight.

“Maybe on that Hogesmede trip Evans is planning? You can pick it up some pineapple from Honeydukes then.”

“Sounds like a plan. I just hope it’s soon. Sorta want to get it to him before Christmas. Any point after that, and I fear it will already be too late for my grades.” Mel rolled her eyes, ignoring me.  

“Deep and meaningful? Or am I welcome to join?”

I didn’t take my eyes off the canopy above my bed, but I grinned at Reyna’s words. “Of course it’s a deep and meaningful. Get your arse in here.”

She chuckled as I heard her make her way across the room, opting to sit on the end of the bed.

“Where’s Alice?” I asked as I sat up.

“If she’s back from the kitchens, and she’s not here, I’m guessing with Frank.”

Reyna laughed, giving Mel a small applause. “Ten points for Melody. Well done.”

“I’d like to thank my owl, for always being there for me, and my – “ She was cut short by a pillow to the face.

“Merlin, what is it with you and throwing stuff today, Rae?” I asked in exasperation.

She shrugged before grabbing the same pillow she had just thrown at Mel, and hauling it at me. “You’re all just easy targets.”

I scowled, batting it away.

*


First transfiguration lesson of the year, and I managed to get on McGonagall's bad side.

“Miss Nyx! You will pay attention in my class,” Professor McGonagall snapped.

“Hmm?” I blinked, tearing my eyes away from the window behind her desk. I hadn’t been listening and she knew it.

The classroom was cool. The windows were open and a slight breeze swirled through the ancient teaching space. Autumn was well and truly on its way, while only soft sounds of scratching quills and murmured conversation could be heard from where I was sitting in the middle of the room.

Wednesday killed me; it was a constant reminder that I still had half a week to go and I couldn’t slack off yet. So of course, that’s exactly what I had been doing, already exhausted from the amount of homework i'd complied.

“Transfiguration is a very systematic, exact magical discipline, Miss Nyx. It is one branch of magic that works best for the scientifically inclined mind. Even the best Witches and Wizards can deem Human Transfiguration very hard work. If you wish to pass this class my dear girl, then you must start to pay attention.”

I looked down at my parchment, hiding a smile, as the Purebloods in the room began asking each other what 'scientifically' was. 

“Yes, Professor… sorry, Professor.”

Why did she have to be so intimidating? I mean, McGonagall was fantastic; we were incredibly lucky to have her as our Head of House. But Merlin,did she have to peer over her glasses like that? Seriously, she could take the warmth out of a room faster than a Dementor if you put her in the wrong mood.

“36, B Miss Nyx.” Hell.

I pretended to scan my parchment, looking for my answer. But let’s be practical here; she and I both knew I hadn’t done it. I was about to tell her so too, when Benjy Fenwick kneed me under the desk. Still facing at the parchment in front of me, I darted my eyes over to where he lifted his arm, ever so subtly, showing me his answer. Oh Godric, I could’ve kissed him.

Pretending that I’d finally found it, I looked up. “The difference between Transfiguration and the Animagus transformation is that an Animagus can change into an animal whenever they want, without a wand or an incantation. Being an Animagus is an ability, that can be performed at will, while Human Transfiguration requires a spell and a wand.”

Oh dear, she could totally tell I’d read Benjy’s answer. That eyebrow? Yeah. It knew.

However, she gave me a once over, daring me to lose concentration in her class again, and turned back to the board. I visibly relaxed into my chair, and heard Benjy chuckle under his breathe next to me.

“Close one, Nyx,” he whispered.

“I owe you. So badly.” I kept my eyes down, not looking at him as I replied.

“Nah. Just make the team on Saturday and we’ll call it even.”

“How’d you know about that?” I hissed, not wishing to attract McGonagall’s attention again.

He was Beater on the Gryffindor team, and good friends with Frank. Tall for our year, same as his friend, but Benjy had one of those smiling faces you just couldn’t help but love. Light brown hair, blue eyes, and a nose that had been broken a few too many times by stray Bludgers. He was a Half-blood, and he had been one of my earlier friends when we’d both started in our first year. We used to argue about all sorts of things, such as Muggle Rugby. I supported Australia, where my grandparents lived, and he hated me for it.

He still hasn’t forgiven me for when the Kangaroos whipped Britain’s arse in the 1970 Rugby League World Cup. Especially since his team was playing on home ground. Even though it had been two years before we’d started Hogwarts, as soon as he’d worked out I went for Australia, he’d stopped talking to me for 3 months. It was rather traumatic as an eleven year old.

“Potter came and saw me about tryouts. He wants the rest of the crew there so they can all see the new recruits in action before he picks out the best. Anyway, he mentioned one of Andrews’s friends was trying out. I knew it wasn’t Foster,” he gestured to Alice in the row in front of us, “and I could safely rule out Wilkins as she avoids flying like the plague.”

A small smile crept across my face as the memory of our first flying lesson sprang to mind. Reyna had gotten on fine at first, but that had been before the Hufflepuff she’d liked had lost control of his broom and knocked her unconscious for three days. Needless to say, she hadn’t liked brooms, or him, ever since.

“Right…” I murmured.

“You talking about me, Fenwick?” Rae leaned over from my other side.

“Perhaps.” I snorted at the look on Benjys’ face. Merlin, I was so lady-like. “Just saying you hate me almost as much as you hate brooms,” he continued, ignoring my outburst.

“Oh, no! Godric, no.” Rae looked taken back by his statement, while Benjy was eyeing her suspiciously.

“Really?”

“Really. There’s no ‘almost’ about it,” she deadpanned, before squealing as he leaned over me to swipe at her.

“MR FENWICK! MISS NYX! MISS WILKINS!”

Super. And I hadn’t even been doing anything this time.

We all looked up at McGonagall though, who was now standing right in from of my chair. 

“The both of you can serve detention with Professor Slughorn this evening.” Her lips grew thinner and thinner as she stared down her nose at Rae and I. “Maybe then you’ll learn not to disrupt your fellow students. And don’t think I’ve forgotten about you, Mr Fenwick.” She turned on Benjy. “I believe you are already serving detention this evening with Mr. Filch? Shall I inform him that you are to join him tomorrow night as well? Or would you prefer I find something else for you to do in retribution? Though I can assure you now, it will not be with the two ladies to your right.”

The rest of the class giggled, and I wanted to kick the Hufflepuff that wolf-whistled. Or he could get one of those looks from McGonagall... that would work too. Seriously, that woman has intimidating eyebrows.

“I’ll serve another detention with Filch, Professor.”

She continued the lesson, with no interruption from any of us, as we all figured keeping our mouths shut until lunch was a good idea.  

I left Transfiguration with the girls and Benjy and his friends.

“So Ben… no detention with the two ladies –” Caradoc started before he received a swipe from not only Fenwick, but Rae and I as well. 

Caradoc Dearborn was the other Beater for the Gryffindor team. He wasn’t as tall as Frank or Benjy, but was still a good half head taller than I was. His ruffled blonde hair was on the longer side, but still short enough that you could see his blue eyes. He had a lopsided grin as a result of a shattered cheekbone two Quidditch seasons ago, but everyone agreed it added to his charm.

“Shut up, Car. Filch will have me hanging by my thumbs if I have one more detention with him. Bloody hell.” Benjy sighed.

“If Dumbledore lets him do that, I’ll eat my sock,” Frank called from the back of our group.

From where I was, I could just hear Alice say, “That’s sort of disgusting,” followed by Frank’s laugh. I pulled a face not putting it past the boy to actually do it. He spent far too much time with the seventh year boys for his own good.

We wandered into the Great Hall, and I drew my robes tighter around me. The tremendous scale of the space combined with the breeze drifting in through the Entrance Hall left the room cold.

I slid in next to Alice, and promptly began searching through the food on offer for something hot, when Frank sat down across from me.

"Cold, huh?" he asked as he took the serving spoon off me and began to place chicken onto his place. 

"Tell me about it. Normally we have a few weeks before the cold sets in but it's early this year."

Alice piped up next to me. "Maybe it'll get better next week? Merlin knows I can't stand this so early in the year."

"Ha!" Frank laughed. "What is it Muggles say, Nyx? Fingers crossed?" 

"Something like that." I rolled my eyes at him. 

Frank Longbottom was taller than Caradoc Dearborn, and only slightly shorter than Benjy Fenwick, but was a total sweetheart. He had short black hair, which was slightly curly at the ends, a round face, and dark brown eyes. There was a prefect badge, shining on his robes.

He was the best in our year at Herbology too, and tutored Alice in it after Professor Sprout lost it at her for close to the millionth time. I don’t think either of them had a problem with that arrangement though, as Alice didn’t even like the subject. We all knew she had only taken it so she’d have yet another class with Frank, although she denied it profusely. Her hatred of soil was a dead give away however.

I looked at dark haired girl next to me, trying to contain my urge to yell at her. If she wasn't deliberately trying not to look interested in him, then she'd be watching Frank out of the corner of her eye when he wasn't looking.

Mel caught my attention and rolled her eyes. I nodded, knowingly, before turning my focus back to my food, leaving her to her conversation with Benjy. 

"So, heard your trying out for the team? Seeker, eh?" Caradoc started from my other side. He flicked his long, blonde hair out of his eyes as he continued to eat, waiting for my answer. 

Bloody hell. How did everyone know?

*


"Do I have to?"

"Yes! Merlin, just do it already."

"But it's damp! It could be growing poisonous mold or something!"

"Knock on the damned door, Keira."

"Humph." I rapped on the dungeon door before waiting for Slughorn to open it. "He's probably forgotten. We should have just stayed in the common room."

Reyna rolled her eyes at me. She was tapping her foot, clearly agitated at the Professor's delay in answering. 

I knocked again, and we heard movement before the large door opened, presenting us with an equally large man. 

"Professor. We're here for our detention? Professor McGonagall sent us..." Rae trailed off as Slughorn held up a finger to quiet her. 

"Ah, yes. I do think I remember her mentioning something about students for detention... of course, I told her I was far too busy this evening, but now that you're both here, I suppose there's nothing else to be done about it. Follow me - Oh! What were your names again?"

"Keira Nyx, Reyna Wilkins."

"Right. Yes, yes. This way - Kelly was it? - good, good. I know just the job for the two of you."

I heard Reyna groan behind me as we followed the impossibly proportioned man out of his office and down the corridor to the storeroom. Surely it was ridiculous to be only 5' 4" and that wide? And that moustache really did nothing to help the rumours that he was half walrus. 

"So, Remy," Slughorn adressed Reyna as he opened the huge storage cupboard, and I rolled my eyes behind his back, "your friend and yourself can empty this, clean it out, and then restack it alphabetically. It really will make such a difference for my advanced potions class..."

He was already halfway back to his office when his sentence became mere noise bouncing off the cold stone of the dungeons. 

Rae and I looked at each other once, before getting out our wands. We weren't supposed to use magic, but I doubt Slughorn would remember about us, and there was no way I was touching half those things. The containers were sticky looking and I could see a few too many jars of Flobberworm mucus for my liking. 

“So… Kara.” Rae raised an eyebrow at me as we wandered along the corridor, heading back up to the Entrance Hall. 

“Yes, Rachel?” I replied using one of the names Slughorn had used when he'd dismissed us.

“Heard you’re pretty lousy at Potions. Apparently the teacher thinks you’re so terrible, he wiped painful things like your name from his memory…”

I gave her a look of mock offence before responding, playing along with the act. “As if you can talk, Raven. I was informed that you’re so terrible at the subject, that the Professor misses your name on the roll on purpose; because he just simply wishes you’d take the hint and not turn up.”

“Kate! What a horrible thing to say!” She’d copied my snooty tone. It sounded so much funnier coming out of Reyna’s mouth that I had to close my eyes for half a moment, trying to control my laughter. “Perhaps it’s your name he misses on the attendance. In fact, I’m certain it is!”

“Then maybe, my dear friend, we shall be forced to come to a truce? We must simply agree that he thinks of both of us terribly, and his only with is to have those of his elite membership in every class, not riff-raff such as ourselves.” My snooty tone had turned into almost Victorian style English, and as soon as Reyna agreed with my previous statement, by way of a huff, I simply couldn’t contain my laughter any longer.

Rae joined me as we fell against the wall at the end of the corridor, laughing far too loudly considering it was now past curfew. I looked at my friend, her black skin almost disappearing into the damp stone in the poor light, and smiled.

“What’re you grinning at?” She was still trying to control her amusement.

“Nothing." I shrugged, still smiling. “You’re a good friend, you know that right?”

“And you’re a fool, but thanks anyway.” She beamed at me, dismissing my statement, but I knew she appreciated what I'd said.  

Rae was amazing like that. Gush compliments at her and she’d throw it off not really caring, but effortless words, such as how good a friend she was, were the things that made her really happy. It was part of why I loved her so much. She was so incredibly loyal, and tried to do the best by everyone. The simple things were the ones that made her the happiest - hit the closest to home. She was a beautiful person, inside and out.

“What time is it?”

“Dunno. Must be close on ten though,” I replied, peering out into the Entrance Hall. The main doors were ajar, letting in the cool autumn breeze. Tendrils of it reached to where we were still sitting at the end of the corridor, and I relaxed as they broke the stale air from the dungeons. For the first time today, I was grateful for the cold wind. 

“Dormitory? Or kitchens?” I asked finally.

“Ooh, tricky question. Seven flights of stairs, or food?” Rae held up her hands like balancing scales, and pretended to weigh her options, thought I already knew which one she’d chosen. “Stairs…food…stairs…food. Stairs? I think food wins.”

I rolled my eyes, grinning at her, as I pulled myself up off the floor of the passage. She checked for any prefects, and when the coast was clear, we made our way lazily across the marble stone floor, to the corridor next to the Grand Staircase.

I steered Rae towards the passage with the fruit painting now that I knew it lead to the kitchens. How many other things did Lily Evans know about the castle? I made a mental note to find out. 

“Nyx, where are you headed? I know your common room isn’t that way…”

I gasped at the words, spinning on the spot. 

A brown haired figure stood just inside the Entrance Hall, a large brown leather travel bag on the floor next to him.

It took a moment for my eyes to confirm what my mind had been screaming since I'd heard his words. I ran across the marble floor, not caring if a teacher saw me, not caring if a prefect gave me another detention for being out of bed, because as I flung myself on him, all thoughts went out the window. 

It was Henry.



Authors Note:
Well, there we go. Finally wrote this and uploaded it. Hope it's okay. I ended up re-writing it around three times (four times. I just re-wrote it again, even though i'd already submitted it for validation...(kidding, make it five)) before I was happy with it. More new characters - please don't kill me D: - but these are the boys in Keira's year. Besides, I'd had the girls talking about Frank in the last chapter, and I felt he needed to make an appearance. Oh, and Henry. Cant' forget about Henry. ;)

So, my dear readers, let me know what you think. Favourite characters, quotes, all that good stuff. Seriously, the more feeback you give me, the easier it is for me to improve. ^_^

Remember, reviews are better than hopeless teachers on detention.
- Adele :)



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