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Author: Calex
Title: The Saboteurs
Rating: 15 + /Mature
Disclaimer: Not mine, everything belongs to JKR. No profit is being made, I own nothing but the Saboteurs and some of the other unheard-of concepts within this story that JK Rowling did not write herself (i.e. the Duelling Club, Newsletters, School magazine etc ad nauseum).
Notes: Again, the reviews and reviewers have been fantastic. Thanks for following this story guys, and for being as enthusiastic as you have been. It’s made several of my days. And now, without further ado, chapter 5…




Chapter 5: Men are from Mars

School ended. The day was done. It was over.

Freddie was too exhausted for even one lousy hallelujah, though she could’ve sworn that some poor sod had actually whimpered out an Amen. DADA? Tough. Pretty though the teacher might be, notorious for pranking as he was, Fabian Prewett was a fantastic candidate for Professor of DADA, and it certainly looked as though Freddie had nothing to worry about in that respect. If Professor Prewett worked them as hard as this all year, she would have no problems with her N.E.W.T.S. Unless she collapsed in a mass of quivering stress and nerves before that. At the end of lesson, Professor Prewett said a brief goodbye, then proceeded to ignore them as he packed up. They took that to mean that the lesson was over… only to realize that the door wouldn’t open. Another blasted test. Professor Prewett told them cheerfully that they had to figure out a way to open the door in twenty minutes, otherwise they’d be stuck in the classroom for two hours. Then he’d simply disappeared into his office, the door closing with an ominous click.

The Saboteurs had looked at each other in alarm. Two hours? Not exactly what they’d call ideal and besides, supper was in an hour and a half. They’d thought to relax a bit beforehand. The Marauders looked none too happy as well, and neither did any of the others in the class. For some reason, the Marauders and the Saboteurs had seemed to form an uneasy truce during DADA because frankly, if Professor Prewett took a liking to giving out these tests, they’d have to work closely together. Remus was the one who’d gone immediately to her, but she noticed that Black didn’t look too adverse to the notion. Potter followed with nary a grumble. And as the majority of them were already grouped up, the others followed suit.

Lily Evans, Severus Snape, Dominic Grenier (a Ravenclaw) and Lucia O’Connor (the lone Hufflepuff) walked over to the group, seemingly wary. In fact, Evans seemed to be ignoring Potter, though that wasn’t anything new. Snape stood, mutinously silent, sullenly staring away with his arms crossed. Grenier was looking grim, but attentive. One thing you could always count on was a Ravenclaw, if there was a task that needed doing, they’d give their all. It was just not in their studious nature not to do so. O’Connor looked slightly nervous, but determined. Freddie remembered that rumour had it she wanted to be an Auror. Fair enough, not the career Freddie personally wanted to follow, but it was applaudable, especially considering the current political climate of the wizarding world. Voldemort was a large concern, and Freddie knew how dangerous the nutter could be. She’d seen how many of her friends’ and housemates’ parents were in his pocket. It was frightening.

“Alright,” she said, breaking the silence. “Anyone got any ideas?”

“We should start from the most basic spells then go up,” Grenier suggested. Some people nodded, but it was surprisingly O’Connor that pointed out something else.

“The earlier exercise was to prove that we couldn’t use our wands all the time. Perhaps we should also think up muggle means of escape.”

“D’you reckon he’d be pissed if we broke the door?” Black joked. Freddie shot him a quick grin.

“Seeing how he fixed that table up, probably not. But hold off on the mass violence unless we can’t do anything else, ay? Don’t want McGonagall to walk pass and think we’ve gone crazy or something.”

“Right,” Nate nodded. “Let’s start, shall we? Alohorama!.” The door jiggled in the door frame, but didn’t open. He expelled a sigh at that, tucking his wand back into its sheath. “Didn’t really think that’d work. Would’ve been too easy.”

“Level two spells.” Charlie took in a breath before releasing it. He stood before the door and tried another spell. It jiggled a bit more, but again, that was it. Instead of disappointment, he just looked even more grimly determined. He turned to Oli.

“You’re up next, Oli.”

“I’m working on something,” Oli said, absently, staring at the door. “Saz, could you go first?”

“D’you need any help?”

“Nah, just thinking about it.” He smiled at her. Freddie looked at her usually strong minded and hard to please friend in shock as spots of colour appeared on her high cheekbones. Saz ignored Freddie’s open mouthed incredulity and walked forward. She tried a level three spell, but that didn’t work either. She looked frustrated, but Oli clapped a hand reassuringly on her shoulder. “Don’t worry about it, Saz. I don’t think it’ll work.”

“You got a better idea, Hardy?” Grenier snapped, seemingly stung that his idea was being trashed by Oli, his own housemate. Grenier had never been particularly pleasant to Oli, not only due to the rivalries between the Ravenclaw students. Freddie had never understood it, but as Grenier had never been openly hostile, she never worried about it. Oli, however, seemed used to the sensitivity of his own housemate and rolled his eyes.

“I don’t think it’s a bad idea, Grenier,” he said, slowly, eyebrow raised. “I just said that I don’t think it’ll work. It might, then hallelujah and praise the gods. It might actually be that simple. And I’m sure that if any of us knew a level eight spell, it might open, but personally I think that Professor Prewett is a bit more sneaky than that. He’s got something else planned for us. So while you think up on this, let me concentrate on a backup plan, eh? We’ve only fifteen minutes to go and if we left the backup plan ‘till after going through various spells, it might be too late.” Then he turned away and Freddie could’ve sworn that he muttered ‘daft prick’ under his breath. Then was sure of it as Saz snorted with laughter.

Nate was smirking, but he turned to Chloe, who easily stepped into place. The level four spell she tried failed, and Chloe couldn’t help the disappointment that showed on her face at that. Prue gave her sister a quick hug before she stepped forward and tried a level five spell. Lily did a level six, Snape attempted a level seven. The rest of the students stood stumped. No one knew level eight spells until University, and since they’d just started seventh year…well. Potter sighed, and turned to the group.

“Anyone got any other bright ideas? Hardy, the backup plan?”

“Give me another second,” he muttered, walking towards the door. “Try something else, will you?”

“Like what?” Grenier snapped irritably. Freddie glared at him. She was starting not to like the little shite. He was not so nice to her friend, and Freddie was very protective of her friends. She didn’t like his tone to Oli, but Oli just ignored it. Prue sighed.

“What about a combined spell? We’d learnt how to do that in fourth year, remember? What if we did exactly the same, but tried a combined spell for each level?” The smile on Nate’s face was wide and he pulled the girl into a hug that had her letting out a small squeal.

“Prudence, you’re brilliant!” He kissed her soundly on the cheek. “Oi, you heard her!” Then he turned to Black. “Your idea about breaking the door down might just be needed, though.”

“Right,” Black murmured, an unholy gleam in his eyes. He’d even started to rub his hands together in glee. “Wonderful. Always a favourite of mine, breaking down doors. Much fun.” Freddie just looked at him incredulously, then shook her head, unable to believe the sight. Even Remus was looking slightly excited by the prospect. Nate had shot them looks of understanding and equal excitement. Boys bonding over the… breaking of a door? Weird.

“Boys are so strange.” she muttered. All girls present nodded in agreement. All the boys looked affronted by the show of feminine unity on that subject. Nate and Black, Freddie noted, distantly amused, were both crossing their arms in a bizarrely similar fashion. She raised her eyebrow at them and when the boys realised what they had done, both flushed and dropped their arms, Black running his hand through his hair and Nate carefully straightening his tie. Freddie just snorted.

Then sighed as Grenier and O’Connor walked forward to the a combined level one spell. Even at the lowest level, the spell took lots of concentration. It called for the students to reach out to each other with their power so they had an open source, then to fire out. It was more powerful than just two level one spells being thrown at the same time, but Freddie had never really understood the mechanics of it, and Professor Flitwick had just shrugged and said that it was hard to explain, and the theory of it didn’t really come up until University. It helped if the people who were doing the combined spell was skin on skin, though, something about a conduit for the inner power, or some such rot. A good Auror could do so without touching, because if you were holding someone else’s hand, it was pretty damned obvious what you were up to.

Grenier held out his hand and O’Connor took it without hesitation. The tips of their wands glowed. Both of their eyes were closed and she could see O’Connor’s moth moving as she repeated the spell silently. Suddenly, a yellow light burst out and hit the door solidly as both students cried out ‘Alohorama’ in unison. The door shook hard in the frame for a few seconds, and Grenier had a look of fierce triumph on his face… then it stopped. She knew it would not do to laugh, but oh lord his face. The utter disbelief that his spell didn’t work had Freddie biting at her cheek to prevent from laughing. She saw that Potter was having the same trouble, and seemed to be choking on his own suppressed laughter. Grenier flushed and glared daggers, but Potter just ignored it. It was true to form of the new Head Boy.

Chloe and Prue walked forward next. The twins’ hands were clasped tightly together. They had looks of great concentration on their faces, their wand hands lifting up simultaneously. There was no hesitation as both yelled out the level two spell at the same time. Twin ESP, or something like that, she would think. The door seemed almost to shake out of its hinges, but once again, after a breathless moment, it stilled. With a resigned sigh, the Valens twins walked back. Charlie and Saz shot each other a look as they stepped forward. They were both more than decent at Charms. Not the best of the Saboteurs, perhaps, but decent students nonetheless. One of their best had already gone with little success, so it made a body nervous. Saz straightened her shoulders. Charlie wrapped an arm around his friend’s shoulder, then they stood, backs rigid, facing the door. The level three spell that they shot made their wands glow brighter than the previous two groups, and there was a creaking sound as the door was hit. Nothing. Saz let out a frustrated shriek.

“What is it going to take to open this goddamn door?” Saz hissed, dark eyes flashing. “We’ve less than ten minutes to get out. Two hours spent in this classroom is not exactly where I planned to spend my afternoon.”

“Don’t fret, Saz,” Oli came up to her to give her a one armed hug. “Just a little more. I think that level three really started to shake the door.”

“It still looks solid, though,” Evans noted, gloomily. She glared at the door. “I don’t think I’ve ever hated an inanimate object more.”

“Oh Evans darling, don’t tell me you’ve finally warmed to my plentiful charms?” Potter grinned smarmily at the redhead, and she rolled her eyes before looking disdainful.

“I said inanimate object, Potter. Though if you’d drop dead, you might take over that prime position.”

“You hurt me Evans. Deeply.” Potter deadpanned. And though his mouth was smiling, Freddie was shocked to note that his eyes held the slightest edge of hurt. She always thought that he was being obnoxious when he started chasing after Evans at the end of fifth year, just to get the pretty girl riled up. Because to be completely honest, Potter wasn’t bad on the eyes, and he didn’t lack admirers or dates on Hogsmeade weekends. She thought he just liked to make fun of the straight laced, hot tempered girl. Apparently not. And apparently it seemed that as much as Evans denied it, she had softened to Potter. Because she too had seen the slight hurt in his eyes and had hesitated. A split second only, of course, but hesitated nonetheless. And Freddie made it her business to take note of people. It was a hobby of hers.

Evans stepped forward next, seemingly to just gloss over the fact that she’d had a hiccup over Potter. Snape lingered at the back, but the irritated look that Evans shot him made him sigh loudly and walked forward, like he’d rather be anywhere else than there at that moment. It was obvious that he wouldn’t though. Rather be anywhere else, that is. Freddie was almost sure of it. Snape had a crush on Evans, likely because the redhead was so pretty and smart and always stuck up for him. People had crushed on others for lesser reasons, but oh boy would that end up badly. Potter was all but breathing fire as he looked at Snape, and the way Evans was carefully avoiding looking at Potter only showed how much she actually was warming to the prat. Oh dear. She just hoped that the blowup wouldn’t be that bad… Freddie scowled. Oh who was she kidding? The blowup would be huge. And bad.

Then came the surprise. Potter walked forward on Evan’s other side. The redhead shot him a startled look at Potter just smirked at her. Snape looked nearly murderous as the Marauder took Lily’s pale hand in his, but he followed the other boy’s example. Lily clearly looked disturbed by the fact that Potter had her hand in his, but the slight squeeze from Snape made her snap out of it and glare ferociously at the door. If looks could kill, the door would fall down. It didn’t. The three of them concentrated, then three wands lifted simultaneously. Freddie wondered if it would work, after all, a three person combined spell had hardly been practiced when they had studied it for O.W.L.S. In fact, they’d only tried it out the year before, but Potter was a stubborn arse. She just hoped that their wands wouldn’t explode in their faces instead. They shouted the level four spell and Freddie almost swore that the door was going to topple over. It didn’t.

Snape cursed, and let go of Lily’s hand. Freddie noticed that Potter still hadn’t and that Lily didn’t noticed. The two of them stood there, staring at the unmoved door and holding hands. Even Black didn’t make a crack of it, for fear that it would make the redhead (whom the boys had christened ‘Tigerlily’) realize that she was still holding on to Potter. In fact, it was that little shite Grenier that made them aware of it.

“As wonderful as it is that you two are holding hands, could we please get back to the task at hand?” Grenier snapped. “We have seven minutes.” Lily looked horrified and immediately pulled her hand away from Potter’s. The look Potter shot Grenier actually made the other boy shrink back. Potter stalked towards Black and Remus, looking angry, disappointed and elated all at once. Freddie guessed that he hardly got a chance to have a nice moment alone with Lily, the other girl was so adamant at hating him. Freddie couldn’t believe it, but she started feeling a pang of sympathy for Potter. She snorted at herself. First making friends with Remus, then tolerating Black, now feeling sympathy for Potter? What was next? Baking cakes with Pettigrew? At this rate, their prank wars would be mutual pranks to the school! Not bloody likely. The Saboteurs had a particular signature to their pranks. She’d like to think that they were more sophisticated.

“That almost did it,” Oli sounded happy, for some reason. “Alright, I think I’ve got it.”

“Finally, Hardy. We were wondering when the genius would pour forth from your tongue.” Potter snapped. The good feelings she had towards him disappeared in indignation for her friend. She stepped in front of Potter, and crossed her arms, glaring at him.

“We know you’re a mite pissed that Evans won’t be your girl, Potter. You don’t have to take out your frustrations on Oli. Use your right hand, Merlin knows it’s familiar enough with you.”

Remus choked. Potter’s eyes bugged. Black started out and out laughing. Potter’s head whipped around to glare at his best friend, then at her. Nate had started laughing hysterically, as did Charlie. Saz was snickering and Prue and Chloe giggled. O’Connor was blushing, as was Evans. Snape had a less sour look on his face, looking gleeful that Potter was being picked on. Grenier looked irritated. Oli just grinned and draped an arm around Freddie.

“Ladies and Gentlemen. And Marauders,” he said, goodnaturedly. “My knight in shining armour.”

“Get off it,” Freddie laughed, shoving him slightly. “Arse.”

“No, no. Go on. We’re all quite amused by your acid tongue. You know you never fail to delight, especially when you’re defending one of those that you’ve taken under your wing.” Freddie blushed and looked down, embarrassed beyond belief. Oli hugged her to his side for a moment more before letting her go. He turned briskly to the others. “As I was saying before Potter interrupted me, and we had this wonderful little piece of entertainment from Miss Danvers, I have a plan.”

“Let’s hear it,” Nate clapped him on the back. Oli’s eyes were gleaming, unencumbered by his glasses. He only wore them when he worked, so now the light green gleamed with intelligence and excitement. He clasped his hands together and rocked on his heels.

“Lucia made a really good point about using Muggle means to get out, but in this case, I don’t think that’ll work. And trying to use various levels of spells was a good idea, Grenier, by the way. But it just lacked… something. Something small and possibly very sly. Something obvious and at the same time, not. Now, what took me so long was the fact that I wondered if the enchantments holding this door locked would prevent the plan from working, but I think I’ve figured out a way to counter that.”

“And?” Grenier asked, impatiently. “Do go on, Hardy.” But the hostility was leaving his voice. Curiosity filled it instead, a scholar through and through. He may have hated to lose out to Oli, but if he learnt something new out of it, he’d shrug it off… a little. Oli grinned.

“Hinges, my dear audience. Every door has its hinges.”

“Hinges…” Black muttered. Then he looked at Oli with newfound respect. “Brilliant idea, Hardy. Wonder what prevented us from thinking of that. Well, what are we waiting for? Five minutes to go.”

“Right. I think it’ll take more than just getting rid of the hinges, though,” Oli cautioned. Freddie raised her eyebrow.

“What else do we need?” she asked curiously, all professionalism, now.

“A combined spell. I’ll explain the specifics. Freddie, you’re good with charms. Help me?”

“Of course.” Freddie walked forward. He looked to the rest.

“It would really be better if all of you could try an unlocking charm together.”

“A twelve person combined spell?” Grenier’s brow furrowed with his frown. “We haven’t done anything to that scale, before.”

“Please, just try it. That level four looked to be closest, though it might be because it was three people that tried to perform it. Hence why I’m almost sure that this will work. Try a level five. Can all of you comfortably perform a level five charm?” The twelve slowly, but confidently assented. Oli nodded. “Brilliant. Our charmswork is going to take longer, so when I say ‘go’, the twelve of you connect. At ‘now’, you try the level five. Is that clear?” Again, they all nodded. He looked satisfied as he turned to Freddie. “Come on, Freds. This will take a little more effort.”

“What do you want me to do?”

“Point your wand at the hinges.” She did as he instructed. “You’re good at silent spellcasting, right? Excellent. Okay, hold my hand, try to connect to me. Good. Now, try to imagine the hinges, one at a time. The one you’re pointing to. Now imagine it slowly twisting out. You’ve got that image?”

“Yes,” Freddie said, her teeth gritting. It was actually a lot of effort. It felt like she had this large sum of power at her disposal. Something in her head told her that if she wanted to, she could use all of it, all at once. An uncontrollable amount of power. This was why combined spells were so dangerous, but so vital to learn quickly on. The person casting it… you were tempted to take your partner’s power. It was lying dormant, just within reach. Her body had always been a vessel of power, but now the vessel was doubled. Then she felt Oli’s familiar, cool mind connect to hers. He leant her his control, and again what he wanted her to do ran through her mind in a series of images. Freddie felt sweat forming. The hand clutching Oli’s tightened. The tips of both their wands started glowing. The hinge started shaking. It was slowly ripping out of the wood! A fierce sense of accomplishment hit her, but then she was blanketed by Oli’s calm. It was a warning, she needed to focus.

The first hinge was torn out of the wood. They moved to the next one. Like Oli had predicted, the door hadn’t even moved. The spell was holding them in place. As the second hinge started being pulled out, Oli grated out ‘go’, which had the twelve concentrating, connecting to each other. She could feel them, their consciousness merging from twelve embodied auras slowly going into one. There was so much power. Her subconscious was telling her to merge with them, not Oli, but she stubbornly held on. Half done… Done.

They moved on to the third and last. She was feeling faint. She could sense the pool of power was straining from the complex spellcasting. Oli was, after all, making her practice several types of spellcasting, not only her O.W.L.S. level combined spellcasting, but silent spellcasting. Not only that, but spellcasting based on visualising. It wasn’t really their type of magic, it was earth based, Wicca magic, but using inner power as opposed to the power of the Earth. It took a large toll on a wand witch to do Wiccan magic. Like Wiccan magic, it took the magic out to do the spell, and depleted the store of power the witch had taken from. She felt herself wilting, but stubborn determination made her go on. She was also aware that the time was passing far too quickly for her own liking. She gritted her teeth. Almost… almost…

Now!” Oli roared as the last hinge broke. He pulled Freddie into his arms as he dove back, the twelve bellowing out the level five spell. The door burst from the frame, hitting the wall on the opposite side and shattering upon impact. The fourteen students looked shaken. The hallway was empty, thank fuck, but… Oli had paled considerably. He hadn’t thought…hadn’t considered… he didn’t realize it would be that strong. But then, he should have. Twelve of the most talented students of DADA, quite a few of them in Advanced level Charms as well. It made sense that it was that powerful. What if a student, or a teacher had been walking past… He started shaking. Then he felt arms enfolding him and the scent of wild roses filled his nose. Freddie. He clung to her, let her stroke his hair away from his face.

“It’s alright.” She soothed. “You did it, Oli. You did it. With thirty seconds to spare. You got us out.”

“Fuck.” Black looked shaken, staring at the door – or rather, the pieces of the door. “Fuck.”

“I third that fuck,” Potter looked stunned as well. He looked at Oli, then at the door. His hand ran through his hair agitatedly. “Merlin, Hardy, that was…”

“Intense.” Lily finished. She looked shellshocked. “I can’t believe we… that you… Great Godric, Oliver, you did it.”

Oli heard a low female laugh before he felt someone pounce on him. Both he and Freddie let out startled shouts at this, but the figure was unrepentant. Saz placed both hands on either side of his face and gave him a smacking kiss. Right on the mouth. He looked at her dazedly. She just grinned down at him.

“You did it, Oli. You fucking did it.”

“Yeah,” he said, voice unsteady. “Guess I did.”

*


By comparison, what happened next wasn’t quite so exciting. Professor Prewett came out, looked at the mess with a raised eyebrow, and proceeded to give ten point to each person who came up with an idea and a further ten to everybody that helped out (which was everyone, in the end). He also gave Oli another ten to ‘a bloody brilliant piece of charmswork’. He gave her five for pulling it off, but Freddie knew that it was all thanks to Oli. He had been the one to come up with the idea, and to help her execute it. He didn’t even say anything about the door, other than a wry word of caution to make sure no students were around, next time. It made Oli start to shake again. Freddie could do nothing more than glare at the teacher half-heartedly and squeeze his hand in hers.

The group of fourteen walked silently together back towards their dormitories, and split off accordingly. Finally, it was just the Saboteurs walking towards the dungeons. The drain on her power was becoming more evident as time went on, and Freddie found herself pale and stumbling after awhile, but she managed to keep it away from her friends. She stumbled again, though, catching Charlie right in the back, making him stumble with her, but his reflexes meant he caught her easily enough. He laughed.

“Easy on, Fredpet.” Then he took a look at her face, and he became alarmed. “Freddie, sweetheart, are you alright?”

“I…” she started shivering. “I’m just…t.tired. Really tired.”

“Shit,” Nate swore as he pushed through to get to her. He lifted up her fringe and stared into her eyes with a frown. “Your pupils are dilated. What was that spell that Oli had you do?”

“B.based on Wiccan magic,” she managed to stutter out. “D.drain.”

“Hell.” Nate sighed, but he looked genuinely worried. “You need chocolate for the shock, and warmth. And you need to sleep.”

“I’m f.fine,” she insisted, stubbornly, but Nate just glared at her and she shrank back. But squeaked when he lifted her up and swung her into his arms. She grabbed him out of reflex. “N.Nate!”

“Conserve your energy,” he said, voice tight. “I can’t believe you… You could’ve hurt yourself!” He sounded so angry, and he wasn’t even looking at her, which made it worse. “Dammit, Freddie, you didn’t have to put so much effort into it. You saw how far the door flew with the twelve of us. And besides, two hours in the classroom isn’t that bad.”

“E.easy for you to say.” She glared. “And we d.didn’t know we didn’t need that m.many people.”

“Not the point.” Saz looked at her sternly. “I’m with Nate on this. You’re not to risk life and limb, Freddie. Who are we, the Marauders? I think not. I believe our nickname is the Saboteurs. No ‘M’ in sight, at that. We’re not a bunch of vigilantes. And besides, it was a school task. No more risking your neck, alright? Freddie.”

“Fine,” she acquiesced, but she looked and sounded sullen. Saz glared at her. Nate didn’t even speak, but his jaw was worked tight. He barked the password to the startled portrait, and carried her straight towards their couch in front of the fire. People cleared out of their way as they came in, looking with unabashed curiosity at the group. Freddie was placed with surprising gentleness on the sofa, then Nate barked for a blanket, which was immediately brought by a concerned and terrified second year. Freddie smiled her thanks at the little girl, but that turned into a grimace as Nate tried to tucked it around her. She slapped at his hands feebly. “Stop it, Nate.”

“You hit like a girl,” he said, with a glare. “That’s an insult, because you normally don’t. You lack your usual strength, so you’re going to lie down and take it, because we’re not letting you go anywhere until you’re better.”

“What about Supper?”

“We’ll bring you some food,” Charlie said firmly, after a pointed look from Nate. “Look, you’ll be fine. You’re our Freddie, Fredpet. We can’t be having you ill and fainting all over the place. You must stay and get better. Nate and I will make sure that you get everything you need.”

“What about us?” Saz glared at the two. “Are we supposed to stay here and twiddle our thumbs?” They looked affronted.

“Of course not. You’re to take care of Freddie.”

Freddie just stared at Charlie, who said this as though it were the most natural thing in the world. She felt like she had been transported into a different dimension. He wanted Saz, Prue and Chloe to take care of her while they went a-fetching? Why?

“We have arms and legs, you know. We can walk and carry things too.” Prue pointed out, quietly.

“But Prue, you lot are much more suited to the mothering business.”

Oh dear. Freddie was feeling shocked herself, but could see the humour in the situation. Besides, Saz looked like she was about to erupt, and one angry person was more than enough. Saz stood up quickly, back rigid, hands balled into fists and eyes flashing darkly at them. Nate and Charlie seemed to realize that they said something wrong, or else they were just naturally cautious and they took a step back. Then another.

“Now, Saz…” Nate said, trying to alleviate her anger.

“Don’t you ‘now, Saz’ me, you bloody prick!” Saz hissed. “ ‘you lot are much more suited to the mothering business’, you said. Mothering. Why is that, Nathaniel Chase? Hmm? Don’t tell me it’s because we’re girls or I will kick your arse, friend or no. And you know that I can do that.”

“Sazzy, don’t let’s be hasty – ” Charlie started to say, but froze when Saz whirled around to face him. Chloe had stood slowly to stand by Saz, and so had Prue. In fact, quite a few girls who had heard the argument were glaring at the boys. Some smarter males were being quiet, though they shot the boys sympathetic looks, secretly glad it was Nate and Charlie, and not them. The boys wilted.

“Sorry,” they muttered. Saz still had an angry gleam in her eyes, though, and had raised and eyebrow, looking impatient. Nate matched her look. “Well, what more do you want?”

“Delegate, oh second-in-command?” Saz suggested, sweetly. “Since our de facto leader is out of the count, wouldn’t you like to delegate some tasks for us to do while Freddie recovers? Or is that too difficult a concept for you? Maybe you’d like to sit down and think about it for awhile while we get things done, ay?” Nate glared at her sullenly.

“Fine. Saz, you’re on food duty with Charlie. Prue, this isn’t because you’re a girl, but I’d be more comfortable if you’d look after Freddie. You’re the best at healing spells.” Prue nodded. “Chloe, chocolate duty. Make sure that there’s always some at hand for her. And if she doesn’t show any sign of getting better in ten minutes, I want you to go to Madame Pomfrey and ask for something to treat shock and magic depletion.”

“And what will you do?” Chloe asked, archly. Nate rolled his eyes.

“The grunt work. Some professors will have to be informed that Freddie is unable to do her prefect’s duties, tonight. I’d have to talk to the two Heads. She might not be well enough to attend lessons tomorrow. I need to find out how long it usually takes to restore a witch’s magic to full capacity. Is that alright with everyone? Happy now?” with an irritated sigh, Nate looked around the group, who nodded slowly. “Good. Chloe, you’re going to have to get the chocolate now. I’m needing to go around as well. Inform me of any changes.”

“Aye, aye, captain,” Saz muttered and Nate whirled around, glaring at her. She just grinned at him unrepentantly and soon, his glare melted into a smirk.

“And don’t you forget it.”

With that, he whirled around and left them all staring at his back. When the portrait door swung to a shut, Freddie lifted herself up to her elbows, glaring at the helping hands. Then she looked wryly about the group.

“You know, that boy is a holy terror. Fear the day that Nathaniel Chase needs to rule or lead something. Quite the Nazi.” Charlie and Saz started snickering, as did Prue and Chloe. It was true. Nate usually left the leadership stuff to Freddie, but when he did, he took it very seriously. It was a fearsome sight, Nate Chase as leader. And it was one that they had gradually gotten used to, as Freddie pulled him up as equal, and as he started to be the captain of the Duelling Team/Club. Nate pretended that authority didn’t suit him, but he was a truly fearsome sight when he accepted his responsibilities. And it was pure crock. There was none better suited to leadership than Nathaniel Chase. He was a natural at it. It just sat awkwardly on him, at times.

With a smirk, Freddie leaned back and allowed herself to be waited on hand and foot. It happened so rarely, and they seemed to get such pleasure from it, that she had to let them do it. Though knowing her group, the pleasure was a sadistic one, coming from the fact that they knew she hated the special attention with a passion. Freddie grimaced. Sometimes being a Slytherin was bloody annoying. But then again, she thought with an inner smirk, it just meant that it’ll give her time to think up a suitable revenge plan. And oh, revenge would be sweet. Especially to the boys and their lapse into Neanderthal-ism. What utter shite. Mothering, they’d said. She’d teach them a thing or two. Freddie had been seen as the leader for far too long to accept macho bullshit from Charlie and Nate. They also usually knew better than to show her said macho bullshit.

And what was up with the unholy glee in DADA that day? With the breaking of the door? Bloody hell, boys were strange, strange creatures. They often seemed to be from a completely different planet. With a shudder, Freddie felt glad that she was born a girl. Far more sensible creatures, girls were. And far more sneaky.

end chapter

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