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a/n: wow, this was a quick update. it seems my writer's block has been officially cured, and i contribute this to the Hallows premier. it was amazing, i loved it.





I stifled a laugh as we walked on our tiptoes, the three of us dressed in all-black, much like Muggle catnappers, the magical camera Cragun Creevey had lent me grasped firmly in my hands. So, what we were doing wasn’t exactly the most tactful thing in the world, but hey, we had to find a way to break it to James somehow.




Sirius stopped and turned suddenly, causing me to run into him, and Remus rammed into my back a moment later. I swore quietly, and jammed my elbow into Remus’s rib cage. Smiling with satisfaction as he cursed behind me, I looked up at Sirius, expecting at least a grin, only to find him glaring, unamused, at the both of us.




Gee, someone’s got their knickers in a twist.




Rolling my eyes as he put a finger to his lips for about the thousandth time, we started again on our midnight mission. Since none of us wanted to be the one to tell James the news, this was our brilliant solution. I myself thought of it, and I was quite proud.




Okay, well, Sirius had kind of contributed, but James would have never been convinced by an anonymous note! He would’ve just scoffed and blamed one of his fan club members {he’s quite the modest one} or perhaps one of us, since we always complained whenever he mentioned {ahem, obsessed over} Lily. 



Silently, we started again, creeping against the ancient stone walls of Hogwarts. Remus checked the Map every few meters, and he was whispering directions to Sirius and I. Finally we approached a broom closet, located towards the end of the hall on a third level corridor. It was illuminated by the crescent moon, giggles and even *shudder* moans emitting from behind the carved oak door. Trying not to gag, Sirius pointed his wands towards it, silently mouthed alohomora, and Remus placed a hand gingerly on the knob. He looked towards me, and I positioned myself directly in front of the door, giving him a thumbs up.




This was the improved {my} plan. Catch Lily and her brand-spanking-new boyfriend Eric in the act, take a little snapshot, develop it, and have an anonymous owl deliver it to James. It was quite brilliant, if I do say so myself.  




Wordlessly Sirius counted down to three on his fingers, and as his pointer finger touched his palm, Remus ripped the door open and I pushed down on the camera’s capture button, the flash catching Lily and Eric in a very cozy {not to mention convincing} position. Before the latter two could react or see who we were, we booked it, the three of us running through empty passage ways and hallways, passing the Ravenclaw common rooms and nearly knocking into a couple prefects, who shouted profanities at our retreating backs.




At last we reached the portrait hole and we began to laugh uncontrollably, tears rolling down the three of our cheeks, Remus and Sirius falling to the floor laughing as I clutched my stomach. The image of a shirtless Eric Wood trying to rush after us was still fresh in our minds, as was the picture of Lily trying to pull her blouse back on.




James was going to shit his pants {and possibly kill Eric?}.




Peeves flew past us, cackling merrily and giving us an appreciative nod. If we’d been any other students, we would’ve gotten plundered with the water balloons he was holding, filled with who knows what, but we were the Marauders, and for some reason dear little Peeves had always held a special place in his twisted, slightly insane heart for us.




Catching my breath, the Fat Lady glared down at me, reluctantly asking, “Password?” I gave her my cheekiest grin, quite proud of our accomplishment. It was too bad Pete had to miss out on the fun, but he was still in detention for taking part in the McGonagall football game at the Feast {apparently, he was the quarterback when she was finally able to calm down enough to re-Transfigure herself back to normal}.




“Merlin’s saggy-.” The Fat Lady frowned, annoyed and obviously disapproving of the new password, but she swung open, whilst saying something about informing Dumbledore about how much she hated us, but the three of us heeded no attention to her and scrambled inside. Not wanting to run into Eric or Lily, who would surely walk into the common room any minute now, we climbed up the steps and I walked into the boy’s dormitory for the second time that day. I wrinkled my nose as the stench hit me like a brick wall, and I gingerly sat on the only made bed in the room.




“I see you’ve become accustomed to being in Remus’s bed, Rae,” Sirius winked at me, and I threw him my ever-so classy hand gesture, immediately reminded why I detested him so much. Not one to let him have the satisfaction of irking me, I played along.




“You know it’s my favorite bed to be in,” I purred, giving Sirius a knowing wink. Both his and Remus’s jaws just about touched the floor, but before I could double over in hysterics, James came rushing out of the bathroom, dressed only in a towel, and as steam rolled out of the bathroom behind him, he vaguely reminded me of a Greek god. {James’s body is fantastic, okay? So Merlin help me that I’m female and I notice things like this.} {Note to self: mention seeing his godlike body to Lily.}




“Cara! Wha-?” His sentence dropped off, and he looked at me, confused. Okay, so maybe he was a little thrown by my drooling, but really, did Remus have to tackle James? No, he didn’t. Sharing an eye roll with Sirius, I exited the testosterone filled room, and decided to go find Cragun and ask him the soonest I could get the film developed. This posed a small problem as he was in Hufflepuff, and it was after hours, but I grinned as I threw the Cloak {I had nicked it when the boys weren’t looking} over my head, exiting the portrait hole with ease.




~




Though Hogwarts is already slightly intimidating in the daylight, it becomes even more so when its enveloped in the shadows. Every time a portrait coughed, or someone’s owl hooted in the distance, I jumped. I didn’t know why I was so on edge, but nevertheless, I was grateful when I entered the little door to the side of the main staircase.




After about a zillion steps {I really dislike stairs}, I reached the only Muggle portrait in the castle, and I was immensely relieved that Ervin Macmillan had craved a late-night snack. As he muttered the password I slipped inside behind him, entering the Hufflepuff common room. I looked at all of the little tunnels that led to their dormitories, and soon I realized I should just follow dear Ervin, since he was in the same year as Cragun and I, and therefore they most likely shared a dormitory. 




Oblivious to my presence, Erv took the second tunnel to the left, which curved several times before finally opening up to a circular room filled with beds, trunks, and sleeping boys. Instantly noticing the lack of stench {Hufflepuff boys, it seemed, knew what soap was}, I silently {I was quite proud of this} cast a Muffliato charm around Cragun’s bed and plopped myself down, pulling off the Cloak and stuffing it under my robes, closing the curtains around us {apparently, quite loudly, since Cragun opened his eyes, clearly shocked and a little frightened to find me in his bed}.




“Um, Cara?” He inquired, rubbing his tired eyes. I smiled at him, giving a little wave.




“Hi Craig.” He looked at me like I was loony, and perhaps I was acting a little strange.




“Whatcha doing?” He asked, looking not altogether that surprised, and sat up, leaning against his headboard. Did I mention that Cragun was very good looking? As in hotter than Amos Diggory and almost as attractive as Eric Wood? Well, if I didn’t, he is. He has dark, short hair, an olive skin tone, and Lily and I have obsessed more than once over his dark green eyes.




Oh, and he’s the Captain of the Hufflepuff Quidditch team, so his body’s gorgeous. He’s a Keeper, and he’s the only one whose ever managed to block a considerable amount of the Quaffles James chucks at him.  What’s most extraordinary about him, though, is his obsession with photography. Which was why I was there to see him.




“I brought your camera,” I told him, handing it over. He took it gingerly, examined it, and nodded, placing it on the table beside him. I noticed it had many photo frames, but they lacked any pictures. Well, that was odd. Before I could ask him about it, though, he started talking.




“I can get them developed by tomorrow night,” he told me, and I grinned appreciatively.




“Thanks, Craig.” I grinned, and he shook his head at me, laughing. “What?!” I asked, exasperated. “It’s the only way James is going to believe it!”




“It’s not a problem, Cara,” he chuckled. Almost as if an afterthought, he added, “Not that I mind a late-night visit from a lovely Gryffindor, but why, may I ask, couldn’t you wait until tomorrow morning?” I knew he was teasing, because he poked me on the nose, but I still felt embarrassment rise to my cheeks.




“I was just, you know, around…” I trailed off, fully aware of how lame I sounded. He shook his head at me, smiling, but I could tell he wasn’t buying it.




“What’s wrong, Cara?” Damn. How could he always do that? Read my mind, I mean. You’d think he was the Seer here. Hesitating only slightly, I told him about Remus, about our kiss on the train, Sirius’s comment, and the whole tackling James thing. He listened without interrupting, and when I was done venting he considered me for a moment.




“Well,” he said, pushing a hand through his hair, “Maybe he’s just a little confused. I mean, you’ve been best friends for a long time, Car. Perhaps just act like nothings out of the ordinary? If he likes you, he’ll act on it. He’s a Maurader, for Merlin’s sake.” He gave me a wide grin and pulled me into a hug, petting my hair like my father did when I was younger.



“Thanks Cragun,” I whispered, and as I untangled from his arms and got up to leave he reached out and grasped my wrist.



“Cara?” He whispered, his voice cracking in the darkness. I smirked, giving him a grin as he blushed. A cracking voice, apparently, was a big insecurity for blokes. “See you tomorrow in Runes.” I gave him a small little smile and turned to go, but as I was leaving he spoke to me again. “One- one last thing.”




I stopped and turned, his gorgeous eyes catching mine. “Any guy would be lucky to have you. Myself included. Just remember that, okay?” Confused as ever, I nodded wordlessly and left, making my way back to the portrait hole in a daze. I was so out of it, I had forgotten to put the Cloak back on. What in the name of Merlin was that about?



‘Any guy would be lucky to have you?’



‘Myself included’!??!?!?!



Just as I was about to wake the Fat Lady, to my great surprise, Lily appeared suddenly beside me, causing me to jump and place a hand over my heart.




“Jesus, Lily!” I hissed, giving her the Look. She waved her hand, unaffected, a suspicious look clouding over her face. 




“And where have you been, Carolina?” Oh damn. Lily’s Look was even more frightening than mine. As I racked my brains for a legitimate excuse, she continued to glare at me, her eyes narrowed and lips pursed.




“You see, I was, ah-”




“Save it,” she scoffed, crossing her arms over her chest, “I know it was you.”




For some reason, even though it was true, I became angry. Which cause me to say: “I have no idea what you’re talking about, Lily, but for your information, I’ve been in the Hufflepuff’s boys dormitory with Cragun for the past two hours.”




If you asked me now, I wouldn’t have been able to tell you why I said it or what I’d been thinking. Because truthfully, I had no idea. All I know is that Lily squealed, woke up the Fat Lady without hesitation {which irked her quite a bit}, and pulled me up to our dorm, making lots of noise and unfortunately waking up the rest of the girls.



That night was spent with me telling them all they were blowing it all out of proportion, that we just talked {which was true}, and that all I wanted to do was go to bed.



This caused Hazel Brown to cheekily say, “Yeah, mates, shagging really wears a girl out.” Which caused me to chuck a pillow at her head, leading to an all-out, no mercy, pillow fight. While it was quite fun, I’ll admit, it struck me the next day that staying up until three in the morning the night before term started wasn’t the best idea.




~




Shay Hadlington woke up first, followed closely by Nicole Petty and Lily, but Hazel, Chelsea, and I all stayed in bed until the very last second. Which was all very normal, but it should have dawned on me that letting Nicole and Shay go down to breakfast before I did was a very, very bad idea.




~




After I had brushed my teeth, thrown my hair up into a messy bun, pulled on my uniform, and applied some mascara, I made my way downstairs and towards the Great Hall, only to be received with glares and hushed whispers as I walked by. What the bugger was going on? I’d always gotten some attention, being a Seer and all, but never like this. Confused, I entered the Hall, only to have more faces turn towards mine.




Decidedly ignoring them, I made my way to our end of the table, where all the Sixth Year Gryffindors sat. I walked in between the Gryffindor table and the Hufflepuff table, as always, but this only seemed to make the whispers grow louder.




Just as I was halfway towards my seat, Cragun stood up suddenly from his seat, and grabbed my arm. I looked up at him in confusion, but he just smiled down at me.




“Hello, Cara.” He said pleasantly. My eyes brows furrowed, and I noticed that the whispers in the background were no longer whispers but full-blown conversations. I thought I vaguely heard words like, “slag”, “whore”, and “two-timer” thrown around, but I could’ve imagined that.




“Hi Cragun,” I said cautiously, noticing his hair was quite ruffled and his smile managed to be as bright as the sun was that morning.




“So,” he began conversationally, and I noticed how nicely shaped his lips were, “did you know that we are secretly dating?” They’re so soft looking, too, I wonder if he uses Chapsti- wait, what?




“Wait, what?!” I voiced my thoughts aloud, unable to think clearly to make a more eloquent response. He just nodded, continuing on.




“Yup. Our late night escapades are all over the school.” I felt my cheeks flush with embarrassment. Well, that sure explained the whispers and looks. Mortified, I looked back up towards him.




“I’m so, so sorry,” I whispered, hastily trying to explain, “It’s just- Lily caught me, started accusing me, and you’re the first thing that popped into my head.”




“Glad to know I’m always on your mind,” he winked, and I felt my face getting even redder.




“Like I said,” I mumbled, “I’m sorry. I’ll talk to my, uh, lovely roommates, threaten them a bit, and this whole thing will be done by lunch.” He laughed.




“Sorry, love,” he shook his head, “But no one’s going to buy it. They say we’re keeping it a secret because we’re ‘rivals’, and that if James found out you’d be kicked off the team. Denying it will just be adding more fuel to the fire.” He stated everything so matter-of-factly, while I found myself growing more and more impatient.




“How can you be so calm about this?” I sighed, exasperated. He shrugged, sending me a grin that had me dazed for a few moments.




“It’s not like I mind. Now I don’t have to worry about being bombarded with girls asking me to save them a seat in class. They,” he jerked a thumb towards the Hufflepuff table, where a group of girls were staring at us rather sulkily, “Are quite intimidated by you. They won’t mess with your boyfriend.”




I laughed, still in a bit of shock.




“Yeah,” I replied, the idea catching on in my mind, “I guess I don’t really mind. Maybe now my roommates will stop badgering me about finding a bloke,” I mussed.



“And you’re sure you’re alright with it?” He asked me, and I nodded. "What about the Mauraders?"



“It’s not like James will really care. He can’t really talk, either, since he shagged that Ravenclaw chaser last term. Pete, well, he'll just be bummed he can't chat me up anymore, and Sirius doesn't give a rat's arse about me either way. Besides, not like any in my house minds.”




He shook his head, nodding towards something over my shoulder.




“I think he may mind quite a bit.” I turned to see Remus storm out of the Hall, followed closely behind by James, Sirius, and Pete.




“Bullocks.”













a/n: so, what do you think? cara has gotten herself in to quite a predicament, huh? i have to ask: team remus or team cragun? and what's james going to do when he gets that scandalous picture of lily? leave me some thoughts [:

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