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A/N: Chapter five is here! Now I get to introduce some new characters (my favorite part). The plot thickens when James finds out he may have some competition. Thanks for reading and as always reviews are greatly appreciated.

Chapter Five:
Spills and Thrills


 






“Now let me assure you that this year is not meant to be taken lightly; the O.W.L.’s play a vital and pivotal role in your future job choices. You will be learning your most difficult magic to date and will be asked to prove your level of learning in both written exam and practical demonstration. So I ask you to help yourselves out, please do not leave studying until the last minute.”

Done trying to scare his students into studying, Professor Marks began to hand out raccoons in small wooden crates. Alex observed his clean and tidy look, his coke bottle glasses, and his neatly combed hair and arrived at the conclusion that he was going to be a difficult grader. Indeed, after an entire double period of changing the raccoons into hats, half the class was given extra work because their hats still had whiskers or squeaked when worn.

“I can’t believe that you got out of extra work,” said Naomi to Alex.

“When you introduced yourself, you forgot to mention you were a genius,” added Halie.

“I am not, and you never asked,” defended Alex.

“Somehow I don’t believe you,” said Naomi smirking.

“Remind me again how to get to Ancient Runes?”

“You’re the genius, you can figure it out,” said Halie as she and Naomi turned left and headed towards the north tower for Divination.

Alex set off towards what she thought was the general direction for Ancient Runes. Not too surprisingly, she was lost in less than five minutes. Then the bell rang, and she still had no idea where she was heading. She tried to remember the instructions, first a left, then a right, two flights up the staircase behind the burned tapestry, two more lefts and it was the class at the very end of the hall. Alex followed these directions and came out right next to her Charms classroom, which was in the opposite of the direction she wanted to be. She turned down a corridor that she had never taken merely hoping to find someone who could give her directions. A few minutes later, the air was rent with a ripping noise as Alex’s bag tore along the bottom. Its contents went skidding onto the floor. Several ink bottles shattered, her schedule flew several feet away, and her Transfiguration notes sprung open.

She stooped to repair her bag and pick up the mess. A lock of pink hair fell into her face, and as she went to sweep it back, she noticed a pair of feet standing in front of her. She stood quickly to face who it was, but slipped on a spot of ink and fell backwards, her head banging off the stone floor.

“Are you okay?” said a distant voice.

Alex had her eyes closed as the pain reverberated around her head, “Yeah, I think I’m okay.”

“That was pretty graceful,” said the stranger and Alex felt two hands grab her arms and pull her upright.

Finally opening her eyes, Alex’s jaw dropped ever so slightly. She had no idea who this boy was but the only word to describe him was gorgeous. He had piercing gray eyes and black hair that hung moodily in his face. Alex mechanically pushed her hair behind her ear saying, “H-hi, my name is Alex.”

He let go of her and responded, “Hey Alex, my name is Lyle. It’s nice to meet you.”

Alex looked around at the mess that she had created and he interjected, “Do you need some help.”

“That would be great, thanks.” Together they repacked and repaired all of her belongings.

“Oh wait, is this yours?” Lyle crossed the hall and picked up the stray schedule. He looked down on it to see what classes she was taking.

“Wow, that’s a bloody full schedule. Are you a genius or something?” Alex frowned in response, but this only made her look more attractive.

“No, my mother thinks that making my schedule hard will keep me out of trouble.”

“So you’re a trouble maker?” he said with a smirk that didn’t at all cover his interest.

“I have been known to raise a few eyebrows.” A silence fell between the pair and Lyle looked down at her school bag where he noticed the Ireland Quidditch pin.

“You’re a quidditch fan?”

“Fan and player, I was thinking about trying out for Gryffindor’s team.”

“Well you’re in luck.”

“Oh yeah, why’s that?”

“Because I am the Gryffindor Quidditch captain.”

“Then it is my lucky day. Look, I really need to get to class, but thanks for your help.”

“No problem and I look forward to seeing you at tryouts.”

Alex turned on the spot to walk away but once again realized that she had no idea which direction she was going in and she had four to choose from.

“On second thought, would you be able to tell me where the Ancient Runes classroom is?” asked Alex.

“So you are a genius then,” he said with a smirk, “Make two rights, go down the staircase at the end and it will be the first class you come to one floor down.”

“Thanks, see you later,” and Alex walked quickly down the hall as Lyle watched her go.

Alex managed to make it all the way down the stairs without getting lost. She heard the teacher inside explaining something as she went to turn the door handle…

“You’re Alex right?” the voice came out of nowhere and Alex jumped slightly and spun on the spot. The boy looked like he could be no older than a third year student and he handed her a piece of parchment.

“Professor McGonagall wishes to see you in her office.” He turned on the spot and walked away quickly.

“Wait, I don’t …know where her office is.” She trailed away for the messenger had already disappeared. Alex turned on the spot and went back the way she came she might be able to find the entrance hall if she started from the Charms classroom.

~




Alex had given up the fruitless search and merely stood in the middle of an unidentifiable corridor waiting for someone to pass. She had been standing there for ten minutes and was about to give up, as a sound of whistling echoed off the floor and ceiling. She turned in the direction of the noise, glad that she was finally about to get directions. But as she identified the approaching person her stomach sank, no longer grateful for their presence.

“Cunnings! What are you doing out here?” James called out.

“Trying to find Professor McGonagall’s office; why are you here?”

“Same, but I actually know where it is” he said with a smirk.

“Good, then you can help me.”

“What makes you think that I will do that, I am pretty sure I still have pudding in my hair.”

“You’ll do it because I am asking you to.”

“You’re right, I can’t say no to a pretty lady,” added James with a wink.

“You have got to stop that Potter.”

James frowned slightly and walked away. Alex made to follow but he stopped quickly before a cracked and ancient gargoyle. It blinked a few times and James said, “Time-turner.”

“You mean it was here the entire time.” said Alex in indignation. The gargoyle moved revealing a spiraling staircase moving upward. Alex went up first and knocked on the highly polished door. Inside she heard a muffled, “Come in.” She and James entered the immaculate circular study.

“Well, I can’t speak to you both at once, so Potter, please wait downstairs in the hall.” said Professor McGonagall.

James turned and left the room shutting the door as he went, leaving Alex alone and slightly nervous. For the first time ever, Alex was slightly sad to see James leave because now she was completely alone. Alex took a seat before the large desk and folded her hands into her lap nervously about what was going to happen next.

“Miss Wood, am I going to regret allowing you to attend Hogwarts?”

“No, Professor.”

“Well I was just checking because after your little incident last night I am starting to have my concerns.” Alex did not respond she merely waited to hear what else McGonagall had to say.

“This is your last warning Miss Wood. If you act up again, I will contact your mother.”

Alex grimaced at the threat and responded, “Don’t worry Professor. It was the first and last, it won’t happen again.”

“Good, now you may return to class and please send Potter up.”

Alex turned from the desk and headed out the door. At the bottom of the stairs, she passed James, who looked just as worried as she did. Then the bell rang somewhere off in the distance, but there was no point in trying to find the dungeons for Potions, she would just have to wait for Potter. The students began to mill about heading off to their next classes. Several people pointed and said audibly, “That’s the pudding girl.”

Alex only had to wait several minutes before James reappeared at the bottom of the spiraling staircase.

“Cunnings, I am touched you waited for me.” Alex’s eyebrows rose slightly, did he really think that?

“Oh, I see, you’re just using me to find your way down to potions.”

“So you’re not as stupid as you seem.” said Alex sarcastically.

The unlikely pair headed off together, James leading the way and Alex following close behind. They managed not to fight until they reached the stairs leading down into the entrance hall. Alex forgot to jump the vanishing stair and her leg was sunken in up to the knee.

“Potter, come back here and help me!”

“Umm, what’s the magic word?”

“NOW!”

“No, you’re going to have to be nicer than that if you want my help.”

“Fine; James will you please help me out?”

“See that wasn’t so hard, was it?”

“Can you get me out now?”

“Nope, I don’t think so.”

“Are you kidding me?”

“I don’t know am I? You’re the one stuck in the staircase.”

“Fine; what do I have to do?”

“You have to swear to be nice to me.”

“NO WAY!”

“Fine, enjoy waiting for someone else to come along.” And James began to walk away.

“Fine, I swear to be nice to you,” said Alex between her clenched teeth.

James walked to where she was stuck and helped her step out of the stair. She walked down the rest of the stairs and headed towards the dungeon steps when James called out, “See Cunnings, first step civility, then friendship, and friendship can lead us all kinds of places.”

Alex brandished her wand and spun on the spot, she was just about to say an incantation when an unfamiliar voice said, “Expelliarmus!” Alex felt her wand fly from her hand and she turned to face the person who had disarmed her. The stranger stood there with a foreboding glare. She had sleek black hair that went past her shoulders and her school uniform was immaculate. She glared at Alex with jet black eyes that would have been pretty if not currently filled with cold distain. “Five points from Gryffindor, Miss Cunnings; there is no magic in the corridors.”

She then held out the taken wand. Alex walked to where the girl stood and took back her wand with a vicious grin, “Funny how prefects break their own rules.”

James sniggered at Alex’s remark.

“Excuse me?!” said the prefect.

“I asked what your name is,” clarified Alex.

“Cali Sapphire, a prefect for Slytherin.” she said in an emotionless tone, but then her expression changed abruptly as she turned to talk to James, “How was your summer, James?”

“Fine, yours?” asked James slightly confused.

“Good. You two should get to class, you don’t want to lose any more points for Gryffindor.” Cali gave Alex one more glare and James a flirtatious smile and headed up the marble staircase.

“No wonder you have such a big head, every girl at this school falls all over themselves for you,” added Alex.

James was frowning, “All except for one… come on we need to get to class.” And he led her wordlessly down to the dungeons.

~




Alex trailed behind after Potions, but made sure to ask Halie and Naomi to wait for her so she could find her way back to the Great Hall. As she approached Professor Mansfield’s desk near the front of the class, she got an unexpected nervous jump in the pit of her stomach.

“Is there something you need, Miss Cunnings?”

“I was told to give my name to the Head of House if I wished to tryout for Quidditch?”

“That is correct what position will you be trying for.”

“Keeper.”

“Very well, Miss Cunnings; I will but your name on the list.”

“Thanks,” finished Alex and she hurried from the dungeon to meet up with Naomi and Halie.

Dinner was surprisingly uneventful. The girls sat at the table eating their lamb chops. Naomi and Halie had gotten a laugh out of Alex’s encounter with Sapphire. They found her promise to be nice to James even more entertaining and began to take bets on how long it would last.

“Do you guys know a seventh year named Lyle?” asked Alex.

Halie spit out a mouthful of pumpkin juice, “You mean Lyle Belmont?”

“I don’t know. How many Lyles are there?”

“Just one and he’s so HOT!” added Naomi.

“Not to mention the captain of the Quidditch team,” said Halie.

“How do you know him?” asked Naomi.

“Bumped into him in the hall today, he seemed nice,” blushed Alex.

“Nice? Nice? Lyle is only nice to some of the hottest girls in seventh year?” said Halie.

“Oh my gosh, Lyle likes you Alex!” squealed Naomi.

“You really think.” said Alex.

“Look, here he comes.” whispered Halie just as Lyle walked into the Great Hall for dinner. He spotted Alex and gave a small wave. The three girls immediately broke down into fits of giggles. Halfway up the table, quite unnoticed by the three, James sat head in hands looking quite depressed.

A/N: And so the plot thickens… I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it! So tell me what you think about our two new characters. Please review!

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