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I got more than enough hen talk and distractions from Lily, Ana and Alice.  In fact by the end of the day I was doing myself a favor and forgetting that anything had happened earlier.  It wasn’t until the next morning that I couldn’t help but remember what had happened, at least with Sirius.


 
                Rita Skeeter.  Royal bitch, pain in my arse and Hogwarts’ one and only gossip columnist.  I don’t know why Dumbledore even let her write for the school paper when all she would ever do is spread rumors and lies about various students.  I personally hated her with all my being though she had never waged an attack on me.  Well not until that morning at least.

                The bi-monthly edition of the Hogwarts Periodical was finally being printed and distributed through the ranks of students.  Once I walked into the Great Hall for breakfast and the hall busted into feverish whispering I should have known something was going on.  I, however, decided to play dumb and go on like nothing was wrong.  I cheerfully greeted Lily and Alice, who had already found us seats at our usual spot at the Gryffindor table.  “Morning,” I chirped.



                “Uh, Soph, there might be something you want to hear,” Lily cautiously spoke, looking nervously at Alice.



                “Morning lovelies,” James’ loud and brightly announced as he, Sirius and Remus all came bounding over to them.  “Mind if we join you?”



                “Sure right after you Avada Kedavra me and put me out of my misery,” I mumbled, all cheeriness quickly dissolving right out of me as I noticed that they hadn’t listened to my request the night before.



                Sirius grinned cheekily at me, plopping down next to me on the bench.  “Ello, love,” he greeted happily before beginning to fill his plate.


 
                “I think I’ve lost my appetite,” I mumbled, making a move to flee the table.



                “Wait,” Lily stopped me, dragging me back down to the bench.  “They’re going to be talking about it for the next few days so you should probably know what you’re up against.”  She apprehensively handed me a copy of the Hogwarts Periodical.



                I looked down at it, surprised to see a picture of me and James on the front cover.  It must have been taken when we weren’t paying attention because it was of when he was busy throwing me around like an old toy he had just had a reunion with.  I gulped, before beginning to read out loud, “Sophia Knight: Hogawarts’ Resident Slag or Simply Seeking Retribution For Being Attention Deprived by Rita Skeeter.”  I paused long enough to control my slowly pounding anger before continuing to read.  “Who is Sophia Knight?  Well some might say she’s an angel, a civil servant and a blessing.  Others might say that she’s an attention depraved limelight stealer with an immense crush on none other than ladies’ man, Sirius Black.  I personally have to agree with that latter.  Though it’s every day that we find girls flinging themselves at Mr. Black, but Knight seems to have topped them all.  I might even dare to say she is a bit of an exhibitionist, a fact clear after she jumped him just yesterday and made an ill attempt to cover it up as some sort of muggle life saving ritual.



                “Can we blame her, though?  I mean it’s not like the poor bird is getting much action, is she?  Yet again that’s not exactly her fault, now is it? I mean if you had to compete with Lily Evans’ perfect glossy auburn hair and emerald eyes or Ananaya Mastriva’s exotic beauty?  In fact even little Alice Prewitt’s sprite-like appearance seems to be getting her more attention than Knight’s ringlets of brown hair or her sincere looking big brown eyes.  Honestly Knight’s appearance would probably do her wonders if the fates had down her a favor and she was born a dog.



                “Does the lack of attention that blokes manage to spare Knight give her an excuse for publicly jumping Sirius Black?  No, well at least not a good one.  If going off and snogging the lights out of a dying bloke is bad enough then her attacking his best mate nearly an hour later is enough to condemn her as Hogwarts’ most easy and desperate bird.    As a word to the wise, Remus Lupin and Peter Pettigrew, if it’s true that she has an never ending appetite for Marauders I’d hide under your beds until she finally grows tired of the hunting scene.  I suggest all you girls out there start keeping your blokes under lock and key, figuring that you never know when Knight might be back on the prowl.”


 

                “Ouch,” James eloquently breathed.



                I promptly stood up, discarding the paper on the table.  “I’m just gonna go perfect my killing curse or hide under a rock, haven’t quite decided which…” I trailed off before quickly exiting the Great Hall.  I couldn’t handle being around people while I was trying to deal with all the conflicting emotions let alone be bothered to go to my lessons.  I just needed a little breather, some time all alone.



                You can’t honestly skive off a second day of classes just because some bleach headed fuckwit with a gossip column decided to have a go at you, I scolded myself or rather the logical side of my brain did.  I wanted to believe that I could just get through the day without listening to all the whispering and name calling that would happen if I attended lessons, but I knew I couldn’t do it without physically assaulting Skeeter and anyone else who had the nerve to call me a slag.



                Was I embarrassed by Skeeter’s accusations?  Extremely, but mostly because I couldn’t prove her wrong.  I mean, knew I hadn’t jumped Sirius or James and that I wasn’t the tart she had me looking like, but when it came to my attractiveness I couldn’t exactly prove that she was wrong.



                I hadn’t had a boyfriend.  Ever.  I was sixteen years old and never had a boyfriend or even a guy I could just take to the broom closet and snog senseless when I fancied to.  I was a romantic failure no matter what Lily and Ana tried to do about it.



                I collapsed onto my bed in a fit of nerves, irritable, angry and victimized.  I couldn’t believe that I was suddenly being thrust into a less than receiving limelight of the gossip column circuit.  I never got that kind of attention from anyone.  It was strange to be gawked at by the student body like I had some sort of unusual growth protruding from the middle of my forehead.  I rubbed said area, just to make sure there really wasn’t something growing there.


                I let out an indignant growl, who the fuck does Rita Skeeter think she is?  I jumped off my bed, pacing feverishly around the dormitory, trying to come up with an answer.  She’s not pretty, she’s not smart, she’s just…vicious.  Well two can play that game.  Oh she’s going to pay for this.  My inner revenge-seeking demonic side began to surface with an evil grin.  Well I should probably get some out of this frustration out before I even consider going back to civilization.


                I smiled at the thought, pulling out my wand.  “Lilly can kill me for this later,” I muttered.  “If she asks I was working on my non-verbal spells.”  My excuse seemed foolproof and I began casting a nonverbal confrigo curse, also known as the blasting curse, at anything in the dormitory I could get my hands on.



                Once the dormitory was in shambles around me, I dropped back onto my bed feeling significantly better.   “Wow, I didn’t know that the girl’s dorm had turned into a warzone,” I heard an amused voice comment.



                I sighed, wishing that they had just let me rest in peace.  I shot upward, shooting glares at my new visitors.  Remus looked slightly contrite though entertained while Sirius and James just gave me grins.  “You know when I said that I wanted you to pretend that yesterday never happened that was a nice way of saying that I wanted you to leave me the hell alone,” I snapped, my new good mood going back down in the dumps.


 


                “Ouch.  Is it just me or am I feeling some marauder hate?” Sirius teased.

                “Not hate, just a well informed inkling that even being within a few meters of you is going to end with my life more complicated than it already is,” I told them truthfully with a shrug.  “Even being on first name basis with the alleged princes of Hogwarts when you’re a girl is enough to make every fan girl hate her.”



                “Okay so we’re too popular is what you’re saying?” James tried to reason through my logic.



                “No, your fan club is too vicious,” I didn’t know if I was lightening the blow or hitting below the belt.  “Comes with the popularity package as a side effect I’m afraid.”



                Remus seemed almost incredulous.  “So you’re saying you won’t be friendly with us because of something we don’t even have control over?”


 


                I thought for a moment before nodding.  “Life isn’t fair, but that’s the way it is.  Now if you blokes will excuse me I have a gossip columnist to murder.”  I shot them a fake cheery smile, though I doubt that the maniacal gleam in my eye made it impossible to even fathom that it was a true smile.  I gave them a slight wave before practically skipping out of the room in my own little state of homicidal bliss.


 
                “Sophia Marie Knight!” I heard James’ voice exclaim from behind me.
                I didn’t bother turning around to ask he was yelling or tell him yet again to back off.  Instead I did the one thing I know that none of the Marauders can standing, I ignored him.  I just kept walking down the dormitory stairs and out into the Common Room.  I could hear whispering about me coming from the huddled masses in the corners, gossiping about me like I was some sort of slag.



                I couldn’t be bothered to take offense, my mind had suddenly become one of the one track variety and I was hell bent on revenge.  Nothing else mattered as long as I got to destroy Rita Skeeter from the inside out.  I stormed out of the Common Room, faintly hearing the three present Marauders trailing behind me. 



                I continued marching into the corridor, heading for the stairs when I was stopped by a few Hufflepuffs with smirks permanently plastered on their faces.  I tried to pass right by them without really paying attention to their stares.  I would have been successful too if one of them hadn’t grabbed me.  I didn’t know who he was or what year, but if I had to guess I’d say he was a seventh year by the way he acted like he was some sort of bloody god or something. 



                I gave him a quick shove, trying to push him off as I continued on my way to physically destroy Rita Skeeter.  He didn’t let go though, he held on tighter.  “What?” he sneered.  “You only put out for Marauder boys?” His friends snickered at this.



                “Haha,” I rolled my eyes.  “Now you’ve pulled the big macho act in front of your mates, you can let go of me now.”



                “You’d better let go of her,” one of his friends sniggered.  “Wouldn’t want her boyfriends to come after you now would you?”


 
                “No, you wouldn’t want us to do that now would you?” I heard a tense voice behind me nearly made me jump out of my skin.  I had never heard James Potter use that kind of dark tone before and I was thanking my lucky stars that it wasn’t directed at me.


                “Whatever,” the Hufflepuff scoffed before violently letting go of my arm and pushing me away.  He and his cronies shot a look at what I’m sure were Remus, Sirius and James standing behind me before slinking off.



                “Are you okay?” the attention quickly turned to me, Remus looking me over like he was trying to find some sort of battle wounds.

                “Peachy,” was my effortless reply.

                “He didn’t hurt you, did he?  Because if he hurt you I’ll-“ Sirius began to threaten, practically cutting off into a growl.

                “No,” I shook my head.



                James looked at me skeptically before throwing his arms around me, “Thank Merlin you’re alright.  That’s it, I swear later when he’s asleep we’re going to sneak into his Common Room and kidnap him.  Then at breakfast we’re going to hang him up by his toes in the Great Hall and put a sticking charm on him so they can’t ever pull him down.”


 

                “James-“ I began to say.



                “I’m telling you, Sophie, no one’s ever going to think about ever doing something like that to you again,” James continued to blather.  “Not if-“


                “James-“ I tried to say yet again.



                “-I have anything to say about it,” he kept rambling on.  “And if that doesn’t teach them next time I’ll-“



                “JAMES!” I exclaimed, irritated of being cut off so many times.



                He looked at me in surprise, “What?”



                “Thank you for what you just did and all, but Merlin, mate, you need to calm yourself,” I told him.  “Honestly I know you’re new to this and all but I’m fine, it’s all under control now and you need to let it go.”



                “Right,” he nodded as though he were trying to convince himself, though I doubt he really believed me.  He gave me a concerned look, “Are you sure you’re okay?"


                I rolled my eyes, “Yes, James I’m fine.  Geez, I thought I didn’t have to deal with anymore big brothers at school after mine graduated four years ago.”

                “Well it’s just your lucky day then,” James grinned at me.  “Because from the looks of it you’ve just got yourself a few more.”



                “Oh boy,” I said sarcastically.



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