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Her Smile by thecoolestdork13

Format: Novella
Chapters: 3
Word Count: 6,116
Status: Abandoned

Rating: 12+
Warnings: Mild Language, Mild Violence, Scenes of a Mild Sexual Nature, Contains Spoilers

Genres: Fluff, Humor, Romance
Characters: McGonagall, Albus, Hugo, James (II), OC
Pairings: Other Pairing

First Published: 10/06/2008
Last Chapter: 01/09/2009
Last Updated: 01/09/2009


Maria, the leader of the fifth-year Slytherin girls, doesn’t smile. James, a Gryffindor goofball, gets on her last nerve. What are they going to do when they’re paired together in an “Inter-House Unity” competition, and James gets it into his head to make Maria smile at any cost?

Merlin, I think I just might end up murdering him.


Chapter 1: I don't do nice.
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Disclaimer: J.K. Rowling owns the setting and the characters you recognize. I'm not her, no matter how much Polyjuice potion I take. 

Chapter One: I don’t do nice. 

“Good morning, Maria! Isn’t it a wonderful day? I bet this year will be our best year yet!” I cringed. It was way too early in the day to handle Penny Pucey’s peppiness. I gave her a quick, but scorching, glare and returned to my eggs. Penny, silenced, sat across from me and began to carefully select her breakfast.

“Remind me again what’s so wonderful about bloody O.W.L. year, Penny, because I forgot,” Charlotte, my best friend, suggested sarcastically. Penny blushed and wisely decided not to answer, instead focusing her attention on her food. She obviously didn’t want to piss Charlotte off on the very first day of school.

“It’ll be a year full of homework, homework, and more homework, topped with hellish exams,” Nicole complained between bites of toast. I nodded in agreement. I wasn’t looking forward to O.W.L.s at all. In fact, I was dreading them. I’ve never been a good test-taker.

“Hellish,” Gail Harper, who was never at her best in the morning, muttered darkly. “Abso-bloody-lutely hellish.” I nodded again, keeping my eyes on my eggs. I was afraid if I looked up, my classmates would see the faint flush across my face. Just thinking about any sort of test made me nervous. I knew I was going to bomb the O.W.L.s. However, these girls looked to me for advice and guidance, and I had to put up a brave front.

“We’ll make it,” I assured them with confidence I didn’t feel. “I’m sure everyone will get all O’s.” The four girls around me nodded, and the subject was closed.

“So, have you seen that Roxanne Weasley’s hair? I know all those Weasleys have red hair, but hers is ridiculous! It’s neon orange, and that fringe. Ugh,” Penny said. Charlotte nodded in agreement, and the girls launched into a discussion of the dos and don’ts of red hair. I tuned out, chewing listlessly and scanning the crowded Great Hall distractedly. None of my friends even had red hair, so I didn’t really see the point of the conversation. I was rather proud of my own hair, which was down to the middle of my back, dark blonde, and slightly wavy. It was nice and healthy, and generally stayed under control without too much effort.

Suddenly several boys came barreling down the space between the Ravenclaw and Slytherin tables, barely looking where they were going. I almost smiled as an idea quickly came to me. I leaned back as far as I could without falling off the bench and stretched my legs out so they were sticking out into the aisle. I glanced at the boy in the lead, James Potter, who wasn’t watching where he was running. Perfect for tripping, I thought smugly.

Charlotte noticed their approach and my plan and grinned manically. Since my face was mostly covered by the table, I gave her a quick evil grin of my own, before I felt my foot connect with another’s and. . .

“OW!” James Potter exclaimed as he hit the ground with a thud. I quickly pulled my foot out from under him and straightened up, ready to act innocent. To my delight, the two boys that were chasing after him, that I now recognized as more Gryffindor fifth years, had fallen as well, and now lay on top of him.

“Ugh, boys, I know we’re attractive, but that’s no reason to fall all over each other,” Penny quipped after she noticed the dog pile behind her. I snorted, which is about as close as I come to a laugh in public. Penny flashed me a quick smile at my recognition and then nudged a fallen Gryffindors with her foot. One of them let out a groan in response.

“I didn’t fall, I was tripped,” a voice I recognized as Potter’s complained. I snorted again.

“Tripped, fell, what’s the difference?” Charlotte asked sarcastically. With many grunts and groans the boys untangled themselves and stood up. Potter, his red hair flopping in his brown eyes, immediately glared accusingly at me. I widened my eyes in fake innocence.

“There’s a world of difference,” one of the boys, whom I was pretty sure was William Finnegan, stated, glaring at all five of us in turn. I just gave him a smug look and returned to my breakfast, ignoring Potter’s eyes still on me.

“Oh go take a long walk off a short pier,” Penny retorted.

“You Slytherins, always so mean,” Potter admonished mockingly. “Why don’t you try being nice?”

Penny smirked, tossed her white-blonde hair and looked Potter right in the eye to deliver her comeback, “I don’t do nice.”

The other Slytherin girls all snickered loudly, and I had to have a coughing fit to hide my laughter. The boys just groaned and walked back to their table.

“That James Potter is such an oaf,” Nicole said after they were gone.

“Agreed. All the Gryffindors are oafs, but especially him,” I said. Potter was constantly irritating someone or another, and it was often me. He just wasn’t happy unless he was getting on someone’s nerves. Needless to say, I despised him. Well, maybe not despised, because that would give him too much control over my emotions, but I definitely didn’t like him. He was kind of like an irritating itch in the middle of our back that you can never quite reach, but you occasionally forget about.

“Attention, attention students,” Professor McGonagall stood up from her place at the head of the staff table and addressed us in a loud, carrying voice. I frowned in confusion. She usually said everything she need to say at the start of term feast, why did she have to talk to us at breakfast? “Quiet please!”

Silence fell immediately. No one wanted to get on the Headmistress’s bad side. Nicole nudged my ankle, shooting me an inquisitive look when I glanced at her. She too was wondering what was so important it called for a breakfast announcement.

“The staff and I have made an important decision. We’re going to try something different this year. Since last year’s Inter-House Unity event was such a success . . .,” I rolled my eyes. Last year’s “Inter-House Unity event” was a gift exchange. If McGonagall considered several third years breaking out in purple hives “a success,” then yes, it was a success.

“we’ve decided to hold another Inter-House Unity event,” McGonagall declared grandly. Most of the student population groaned, I among them. I hated last year’s gift exchange. I was forced to give some Hufflepuff a present. I gave her socks. James Potter, on the other hand, got creative with my gift, and sent me a present that exploded with what smelled like dung all over the dormitory. Needless to say, that didn’t exactly “unite” me with the students in other houses.

“Well this will just make the school year even better,” Charlotte whispered in my ear, sarcasm evident. I nodded, scowling at the Headmistress who obviously took delight in torturing us.

“This year there will be a school-wide contest,” she continued. I perked up slightly at this and instinctively knew that my friends did too, even though I was gazing intently at McGonagall. All Slytherins loved a little healthy competition. Or, not so healthy competition.

“Every student will be paired up with another student in their year, but in a different house.” I groaned, as did everyone around me. “The pairings will be males with females, to limit physical inequality.” Well, if I was with a good-looking bloke, that wasn’t irritating, it might not be so bad. A Ravenclaw might be alright. “And they will be random. The competition will be made up of rounds, and each round two pairs from each year will be eliminated. Eventually there will be one pair from each year. Those fourteen students will then compete for one final prize.” And what’s the prize? “The prize will be announced later in the competition.” Blast.

“Each round will be different. There will be an obstacle course, riddles, and other mental and physical struggles. All of them, however, will call for a copious amount of teamwork.”

McGonagall cleared her throat once before continuing, “Before I announce the pairs, I would like to remind you that they are completely random. I’ll announce the pairs starting with first years.” She picked up a long scroll of parchment off the table and read the first names off it “Hufflepuff Emma Crush with Ravenclaw Jake. . .”

I zoned out immediately. I didn’t care who silly first years were with; they were all going to lose anyway. I, on the other hand, was going to win. I fervently hoped for a competent partner who wouldn’t ruin my chances of winning spectacularly.

On my left, Nicole had her eyes shut and seemed to be chanting something under her breath that I could only assume was a spell to ensure she got a good partner. I pushed back the smile that came at her serious expression and began to scan all the boys in my year, wondering which one I would be forced to work with.

All the Gryffindor boys were complete hooligans. They seemed to fancy themselves as above the rules, and loved goofing off, flirting with girls, and causing general disturbances to the fragile peace of Hogwarts. I wouldn’t be able to stand having one of them as a partner.

The Hufflepuff blokes varied widely. There was the twitchy and paranoid Zachary Webber, the short and squeaky Peyton Coleman, the average Petree twins, and the good-looking, Quidditch hero Kyle Malone. I was pretty sure none of them were very bright, but the one of the Petree twins (whom I could never tell apart) or Kyle Malone might be alright.

The fifth year Ravenclaw males, besides all of them being intelligent, were also different. The one I knew I couldn’t have as my partner was Christopher Roberts. He was overweight and looked like he never set foot outside the library, except for meals and classes. He would never do for the rounds that require moving. The rest of them were all acceptable, especially a fit one named Anthony Flood.

I was eyeing Anthony when Charlotte jolted me back to reality with a swift elbow in the ribs.

“Ow,” I muttered, glaring at her. She shrugged unapologetically.

“They just started on fifth years,” she whispered in explanation. I snapped to attention, staring at Professor McGonagall.

“ Slytherin Charlotte Bletchley with Ravenclaw Christopher Roberts,” she announced. I burst out coughing (laughing) as Charlotte’s jaw dropped in dismay.

“No, no, no, no, no, no,” she muttered, looking horrified. “There has to be some sort of mistake.”

Unaware of Charlotte’s dilemma, McGonagall continued, “Gryffindor Sarah Dachtler with. . .” So, they were going in alphabetical order by girls. That meant I would be one of the last ones called. I leaned back in my chair, settling in for a wait. Charlotte was still gaping in horror. I looked over at Christopher Roberts and saw that he didn’t look at all upset with his partner. In fact, he had turned around in his seat and was giving Charlotte a thumbs-up. Charlotte finally looked at him and groaned when she saw his eager expression.

“Maria, please kill me,” she said, dropping her head onto the table in defeat. “Just make it fast and painless. I promise I won’t haunt you.”

“Sorry, I’ll pass. Roberts just looks so happy, I couldn’t crush him like that,” I whispered slyly. She let out a moan and didn’t remove her face from the table.

“Slytherin Gail Harper with Gryffindor William Finnegan,” McGonagall announced. Gail groaned. Penny patted her sympathetically on the back, but I was just glad I wasn’t stuck with Finnegan. He was the leader of the Gryffindor pack, and almost as bad as Potter.

Professor McGonagall rattled off a few more names, and then, “Slytherin Penny Pucey with Ravenclaw Anthony Flood.” Bugger. Penny smiled widely and turned around to give Anthony a flirtatious wave. Charlotte kicked her in the shin.

“Lucky,” she shot at Penny, clearly irritated. Penny just smirked and continued eating her breakfast with a self-satisfied smile. I frowned. My choice partner had just been taken, and I hoped there were some decent ones left.

“Slytherin Nicole Urquhart with Hufflepuff Zachary Webber,” McGonagall called. Nicole’s reaction was almost as funny as Charlotte’s, and very similar. The only difference was, instead of asking me to kill her, she looked like she might kill McGonagall.

A few more names, and then it was my turn at last, “Slytherin Maria Warrington with Gryffindor. . .” No! Not a Gryffindor! This couldn’t get much worse!

“James Potter,” McGonagall finished. Apparently, it could get worse. Much, much worse.

“Oh dear Merlin,” Nicole whispered, looking at my stunned face in alarm. “This can’t turn out well.”

“We might want to warn Potter,” Charlotte chimed in, smirking. “She looks like she’ll end up murdering him.” McGonagall was saying something about good sportsmanship and a “get-to-know-your-partner-event” but I was too stunned to listen.

“Cheer up, Maria, maybe it won’t be so bad,” Penny chirped, blue eyes glistening with obvious delight at getting a better partner than me.

“Not so bad? Not so bad? Yes, it well be ‘so bad’! It will be absolutely horrid! I can’t work with, with, that, that, miscreant! There’s no way we’ll win, and we’ll probably end up driving me crazy!” I cried hysterically. Luckily, McGonagall was done calling out the partners and the usual chatter had filled the Great Hall, so no one heard be breakdown besides the girls around me. Somewhere in the back of my mind, I dimly registered that I was overreacting, but I was too upset to care. My dream of winning this competition was shattered into a million pieces on the floor.

Okay, so it had only been my dream for about five minutes, but it was still shattered into a million pieces. I pushed my breakfast aside, appetite gone, and collapsed onto the table with my head in my arms. My friends didn’t seem to know what to say to comfort me. That, or they were scared of setting me off again.

After five more minutes had passed, and I decided I was under control, I raised my head from my arms and dared a glance over at the Gryffindor table. Potter was looking right at me, grinning cheekily. I narrowed my eyes and shot him my patented death-glare that usually worked like a charm. Potter’s grin just widened. He waved and mouthed something at me. My forehead wrinkled in confusion; I was horrible at reading lips. He mouthed it a few more times and I finally got it.

“Hello, partner.”

Charlotte was right. Merlin, I think I just might end up murdering him. 

A/N: Woot! New story alert! So, read, review, send gift baskets with assorted nuts, and tell all your friends about how fabulous this story is! Hah, seriously though, review please. Reviews make me smiley. Oh, and the next chapter will be in James's point of view.

NEXT CHAPTER PREVIEW: “Why don’t you ever smile?” I asked Warrington suddenly. Her frown deepened, but for some reason I thought she was suppressing a smile.

“I don’t have any teeth,” she answered. If I hadn’t known any better, I could’ve sworn she was teasing.

“I’m serious.” I really was.

“So am I.” But she wasn’t, I could tell. Her eyes were smiling, even if her mouth wasn’t. “I have no teeth.”

“If you had no teeth you couldn’t talk normally,” I pointed out. “So tell me what the real reason is.”

“I’ve got a reputation to uphold,” she answered with a careless shrug. This time I knew she was teasing. I rolled my eyes.

“Well that’s---“

Chapter 2: Some of Us Really Can’t Turn Down a Dare
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Disclaimer: I'm not J.K. Rowling. If I was, Albus Potter's name would so be Elvendork. 

Chapter Two: Some of Us Really Can’t Turn Down a Dare

“Aw, bad luck, mate, you got sourpuss Warrington,” Tad said with what he must’ve thought was a consoling pat on the back. However, I didn’t need to be consoled. I was too busy enjoying Warrington’s reaction at the news. She seemed . . . disappointed.

If my ego was more tender I would’ve been insulted by her obvious irritation, she seemed to be near-hysterics, actually. I watched her with a smile, I was congratulating myself for getting her so upset without even trying. This competition was turning out to be a blast, and it hadn’t even really started yet.

After what seemed like ages, she looked up at me. I grinned at her. She glared back at me in what I assumed she thought was a menacing glare. Only, it wasn’t menacing, it was funny. I grinned wider and mouthed “Hello, partner,” at her.

She didn’t get it. I enunciated this time. “HELL-OH, PART-NER.” After two more times, she got it, and she sure looked livid. I got up, hoping to go over there and say my greeting in person.

“Eh, Jimmy old pal, unless you have a death wish, don’t go over there,” Bryan told me, looking concerned for my sanity. I rolled my eyes.

“Her bark’s worse than her bite. I bet you Warrington couldn’t hurt a fly,” I assured him.
“James, think about it. Her name has the word ‘war’ in it. And she looks like she’s about to hex you into oblivion. And you can’t hex a girl,” Bryan persisted, the poor deluded soul.

“Relax Bryan, I won’t have to hex her. And, she’s not going to hex me,” I said confidently. “Deep down inside, she’s madly in love with me.”

All four of my year-mates rolled their eyes at once.

“James, you think every girl is madly in love with you deep down inside,” Adam informed me. I nodded knowingly.

“That’s because they all are,” I replied, before turning and making my way over to the Slytherin table. I ignored the dirty looks several fourth year Slytherin boys sent at me and sidled up to Warrington. She was now glaring at me, standing, with her hand clenched in a fist around her wand. She was left-handed.

“What. Do. You. Want. Potter,” she said through clenched teeth. I smirked. She was pretty cute when she was bloodthirsty. Her blue-green eyes were shiny with anger and some hair was coming out of her bun.

“I just wanted to . . .” Shoot. What did I want? I really had just come over to irritate her, but that sounded slightly lame. “give you a chance to apologize for tripping me. I think since we’re definitely going to win this competition, we need to start out on the right foot.”

For a minute, Warrington seemed to be choking. Her face was bright red and she looked like she was having a hard time getting any words out, or deciding what to say at all.

“Problem?” I asked her innocently.

“Yes there is a bloody problem!” she exclaimed. I shook my head in mock dismay.

“Tsk, tsk, such language isn’t necessary,” I scolded her. Her eyes narrowed and her face got even redder.

“The problem is, you can’t go five minutes without trying to irritate me, and that means we’ll lose,” she managed to get out. “And I’m not sorry I tripped you. You need to learn to watch where you’re going.” I smirked. I had known it was her.

“I can so go five minutes without trying to irritate you,” I countered. I plopped down onto the bench next to one of her friends. The dark-haired girl I sat next to gave me a look of disgust and slid over into Warrington’s vacant seat. Warrington was looking at me like I had just sprouted horns. “Starting . . .” I glanced at my watch, “now!”

She sat beside me, looking confused. “What on earth are you doing?” she asked, trying to sound like she didn’t really care, and failing.

“Not irritating you for five minutes,” I answered pleasantly. Her eyes immediately narrowed with suspicion. I was slightly aware that the Slytherin girls around me, her friends, had completely stopped talking and were staring at as both.

“Yeah, right,” she said sarcastically. I just mimed zipping my lips shut, then folded my hands on the table innocently. “Well it doesn’t count if you don’t talk to me.”

“Well that’s a last minute rule but I suppose it’s fair,” I said (very agreeably). “So Maria, how’s life treating you?”

She gave me a look that clearly said she thought I was mental, before answering, “Fine.”

“Really? That’s brilliant, really brilliant,” I said with a smile. She frowned at me. A minute or two of silence passed, seeing as I had run out of things to say.

“Why don’t you ever smile?” I asked Warrington suddenly. Her frown deepened, but for some reason I thought she was suppressing a smile.

“I don’t have any teeth,” she answered. If I hadn’t known any better, I could’ve sworn she was teasing.

“I’m serious.” I really was.

“So am I.” But she wasn’t, I could tell. Her eyes were smiling, even if her mouth wasn’t. “I have no teeth.”

“If you had no teeth you couldn’t talk normally,” I pointed out. “So tell me what the real reason is.”

“I’ve got a reputation to uphold,” she answered with a careless shrug. This time I knew she was teasing. I rolled my eyes.

“Well that’s---“

“It’s been five minutes,” one of the girls interrupted before I had a chance to say exactly what I thought of her ‘reputation’. I would’ve smiled at my triumph over not irritating her, but I was irritated at being interrupted. “Bye, Potter.”

“Ha! I did it, I went five minutes without irritating you!” I exclaimed with fake enthusiasm. This time it was Warrington’s turn to roll her eyes.

“Congratulations. Now, good bye,” she replied shortly, returning to her breakfast. Since I had so obviously been dismissed, I got up and headed back to my table, but not before shooting a quick hex at her bag so it would fall apart as soon as she lifted it.

“Congrats on not being killed,” Bryan greeted me when I reached me table. I grinned and helped myself to some more bacon. “What’s your secret?”

“My amazing charm and wit,” I replied between mouthfuls. Will, who was sitting next to me, shook his head. I stopped shoveling food to give him a questioning look on why he doubted my charm.

“Jimmy, Jimmy, Jimmy,” he began, assuming the stance of someone full of worldly wisdom.

“Don’t call me Jimmy,” I interrupted. Will frowned and dropped the ‘wise’ act.

“Fine, then, be no fun. James, your charms, or lack thereof, almost always fail,” he said bluntly. I poked him with my fork for that true, but still mean, statement.

“No they don’t,” I argued, even though I knew he was right. Will was the charming one, or maybe Tad, but not me.

“Yes, they do.”

“No! They don’!”

“Oi! Stop it you two, or you’ll be at it ‘till lunch!” Adam cut in, speaking from years of experience as moderator in chief. Will ignored him.

“I dare you to make Warrington smile!” he exclaimed. I smiled. Let it be noted that James Sirius Potter never turns down a dare.

“Done. Is there a time limit?” I replied, while my friends all groaned.

“Wow, we made it ‘till breakfast of the first day before Will created one of his crazy dares, and James was stupid enough to agree,” Tad commented sarcastically. “That’s a new record. Last year the first dare was on the second day of term.” Of course, Will and I ignored him.

“Winter break. I really doubt you can get her to smile before then,” Will answered. I scoffed, confident in my ability to never back out of a dare. “And if you fail, well, you know the consequences.”

Of course I knew the consequences, they were always the same. “Yeah, yeah, give Filch a big ole hug, Mate, you really need to come up with better consequences.”

“Whatever. You’ll probably chicken out this time, or she’ll be too stubborn for you,” Will replied. Again, I scoffed.

“Too stubborn for James? Not possible,” Bryan put in. “He’s the most stubborn person in the world.”

Too true, Bryan, too true. 

Chapter 3: Go Ahead, Be a Little Naughty
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Disclaimer: Anything you recognize isn't mine. Duh.

Chapter Three: Go Ahead, Be a Little Naughty

It had been two days since Potter and I had been declared partners, and I had managed to keep well clear of him so far. The only class I had with Gryffindors was potions, and I had only had that class once, and I ignored him all through it, and he, for some reason, decided not to irritate me. It was a smart move by his part.

But, unfortunately, I had potions again, and this time, Potter decided the time of me staying clear of him was over. I swear, the boy has a death wish.

I was sitting in potions class, minding my own business, trying to take notes, when a scrap of parchment hit my ear. I whirled around, insults and death threats ready in my mouth, and found myself face to face with a certain infuriating redhead. Now, normally, I’m a very level-headed person, but when someone messes with me, I let them have it. Needless to say, most of the school knows not to mess with me.

“Potter, if you value your life, you will apologize for chucking that bit of parchment at me, and never ever do it again,” I hissed at him, careful not to raise me voice too loudly, lest Professor Eschels hear me. Next to me, Nicole, who is not a small girl, turned around to give Potter a death glare.

Unfortunately, his only response was a cheeky grin and a slight nod. I was hoping for fear or something, but he didn’t seem at all alarmed. I turned back around and resumed taking notes, but by then I was considering just copying from Gail later.

Two minutes later, a wad of parchment hit my back. I sighed and threw my quill down, before turning around to give Potter another glare. He just smiled back at me. “Stop it,” I whispered, and then turned back around. I didn’t pick up my quill, just stared at the Professor, barely listening.

Another bit of parchment hit me. I did nothing, just clenched my jaw. Maybe if I’d ignore him, he’d stop.

Three minutes, and two bits of parchment later, I realized he wasn’t going to stop just by me ignoring him. But Professor Eschels was right in front of my table, still blabbering on about poisons, so I couldn’t really do anything else.

So I just had to sit there and take it while Potter chucked bit of parchment after bit of parchment at me, all the while wondering if Eschels was blind, hated me, or was just oblivious, and where he was getting all that parchment from.

“Leave me alone, Potter!” I finally whirled around and yelled as yet another parchment wad hit me square in the back.

He was grinning ear to ear. I was about to tell him off again, but ---

“Miss Warrington!” exclaimed Professor Eschels. I cringed, belatedly remembering the stupid teacher. I turned around slowly and planted an innocent, with a hint of confused, expression on my face. Eschels looked furious. Bugger.

“Yes, Professor?” I asked, my voice innocent. I could hear Potter sniggering behind me and flashed him a rude gesture behind my back.

“Why were you yelling at Mr. Potter? You disrupted my class!” Her expression was stern. I fought the urge to roll my eyes (because everyone had been so engrossed in her lecture), and kept the guiltless expression on.

“He’s been throwing parchment at me for fifteen minutes now,” I answered matter-of-factly. Eschels raised her thin and graying eyebrows.

“It wasn’t fifteen, it was ten!” Potter put in. Que another rude gesture.

“Miss Warrington and Mr. Potter,” Eschels began, looking more angry than before, “Detention.” My face fell. I had never gotten detention, ever. It wasn’t that I had never broken the rules, it’s just that Slytherins do not get caught. “Tonight, at eight, meet me in the trophy room.”

“Can’t wait,” Potter said, sounding surprisingly un-sarcastic, “I haven’t had detention yet this year with you, Professor, it’s been too long.” Considering it was only the third day of classes, I didn’t consider this much of a feat.

“But---“ I started to protest, but was silenced by the death glare Eschels gave me. I slumped in my seat and the Professor continued with her lecture on bloody poisons. I would’ve liked a vile of poison for Potter, because five minutes later, a folded up piece of parchment landed on the table with “read me” written on the front in nearly illegible handwriting. Swallowing a scream of anger, I unfolded it. It read:

Warrington, there’s no reason to be so touchy.
P.S. See you tonight!

“If I make it through this year without killing Potter, I should be canonized as a saint,” I muttered before crumpling up his note and tearing it into pieces.

Luckily, I didn’t have a class with Potter for the rest of the day. Unluckily, I had History of Magic next, and spent the whole class seething about getting detention. Slytherins don’t get detention; they’re too smart and cunning to get caught! Well, maybe the occasional half-wit got detention, but not me!

Charlotte and Nicole knew I was a in a bad mood, and didn’t say much to me, just informed me they would hex Potter if they wanted me to. I told them I’d consider it, but really, them hexing Potter wouldn’t give them the same satisfaction as me hexing him.

And boy, did I want to hex him. I wanted to hex that grin right off his face.

Finally, History of Magic was over, and I had a free period before dinner. I headed to the grounds, telling Charlotte and Nicole I’d meet them in the Great Hall for dinner. I needed to release some anger, alone.

I didn’t know what it was about Potter, but he sure knew how to push my buttons. I wasn’t looking forward to the detention that night in the slightest. In fact, I was absolutely dreading spending a prolonged amount of time with Potter. If Eschels stayed in the room, I’d probably end up with a whole months worth of detentions.

After reached the Black Lake, I searched the shore for some flat rocks, just right for skipping. I found a handful and chucked them one by one into the lake, trying to get them to go farther each time. About ten minutes had passed before I was interrupted.

“Hi, Maria,” a nauseatingly cheerful Penny greeted me. I groaned. She walked up beside me and beamed, seemingly unaware of my foul mood. Here was another person who knew how to push my buttons.

“Hello, Penny,” I said wearily. “Has dinner already started?”

“Oh no, I just came out here to see what you were up to,” she chirped. I resisted the urge to massage my temples. I could feel a headache coming on. Penny’s presence had a way of inducing headaches. “So what are you doing?”

“Skipping stones,” I replied shortly, giving her a not-so-subtle hint to leave. She didn’t take the hint.

“Ooh, I’ve always wanted to be able to do that, but I never have. Will you teach me?”

“No.” There was a moment of silence.

“Oh. Well then, what time’s your detention with Potter tonight?” I ground my teeth together. Penny’s voice may be sweet and innocent, but I wasn’t fooled, I knew she was trying to irritate me.

“Eight,” I answered. Penny made a noise of fake-sympathy, and patted me on the back.

“That’s really awful, you have horrid luck. Potter’s such a loser for chucking all that parchment at you,” she said, pretending to be oblivious to the way I was getting redder by the second. “I mean, it was completely unfair for you to get detention too, that Eschels is such a---“

“You know what?” I said suddenly, interrupting her before she made me start dreading the detention even more. “I think it’s time for dinner now. I’m starved, let’s head back.” Penny nodded happily and linked her arm with mine before practically dragging me back to the castle, chattering the whole way about how she thought she failed the Transfiguration essay we turned in that morning. I offered one word responses, and when we reached the Great Hall, darted away from her and over to Charlotte and Nicole.

“Hello, Maria,” Charlotte greeted me, judging me warily for any sign that my bad mood had decreased. I growled something unintelligible and stabbed the meat on my plate with a bit too much gusto.

“We tried to stop Penny from going out there,” Nicole said at once, “but she’s getting really good at Shield Charms.” I stopped hacking at my meat and started cutting it like a normal person.

“We did manage to delay her for a bit,” Charlotte added, “by telling her that we thought she might’ve lost weight over the summer. She spent the next five minutes checking out her bum in a suit of armor.”

I couldn’t help it, at this I snorted, and my bad temper was forgotten for a moment. Charlotte and Nicole exchanged triumphant looks, and then engaged me in a conversation about whether or not Pince and Filch had a secret love affair going on. I was actually enjoying myself until Penny showed up and plopped herself down across from me.

“Hello all, sorry I’m late, I was just talking to Justin,” she said, naming an attractive Slytherin in the year above us. “I hope he asks me to Hogsmeade, his eyes are just so dreamy.”

Three sets of eyes rolled at this comment.

“So where’s Gail?” she asked, smiling perkily. I shrugged.

“Library,” Nicole replied. “She’s stressing about the insane amount of homework we have. O.W.L. year isn’t going to be a walk in the park, that’s for sure.” I sighed, wishing this hadn’t been brought up. I had been ignoring the teachers’ lectures on O.W.L.s for the past few days, and pretending it was just like any other year. Sadly, it wasn’t really working.

Dinner passed without me contributing much to the conversation, and it was soon time for me to head to, ugh, detention. I trudged down the empty corridors to the trophy room, moving as slowly as I possible to make it on time.

“Hello, Miss Warrington, so pleased you could join us,” Eschels said once I pulled open the door to the trophy room with a grim expression on my face. A thousand sarcastic remarks flashed through my mind, but I chose not to say anything aloud.

“Hi, Maria,” Potter said with a lazy grin. I reached reflexively for my wand, but Eschels saw where my hand was headed and stopped me.

“You will both give you wands to me,” she said quickly, “because you will be cleaning all these trophies, without magic.” I groaned, but handed my wand over.

“Here you go, Professor,” Potter said cheerily as he handed her his wand. She took it, and examined it suspiciously.

“This isn’t another one of your fake wands, is it?” she asked, giving him a mistrustful look. He put on a look of fake-hurt.

“Would I do that to you?” he asked in a would-be-affronted voice. I rolled my eyes.

“Yes,” I muttered. Eschels shot me a sharp looked and then turned back to him.

“Yes, you would, you’ve done it before,” she said, before waving the wand in the air and summoning a bucket of rags. “Well then, seems to be the real thing,” she admitted, and then pocketed both our wands.

“Now, there’s the rags, and cleaning solution,” she said, “get to it. I’ll be back in about two hours, and I expect you to be done by then.” With that, she turned and left, shutting the door behind her. I heard the lock click and sighed. Being locked in a room with Potter, wandless, and being forced to clean, was going to be hellish. 

A/N: So....what do you think? I'm a little dissapointed by it, it's just kind of a filler chapter, the next chapter will hopefully be much better, with lots of Maria/James action. Remember to read and review!