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 I obviously do not own Harry Potter or anything else from pop culture. Sob.


The Paintball Gun of Doom




"Be quiet, Albus!" Kai screeched from his couch. "I'm trying to sleep!"

"I'm ready, Al, I'm ready," I said, walking down the stairs. "How do I look?"

I was wearing black skinny jeans (courtesy of Zelda), a black designer jacket (Xander's), wearing black socks (mine), and black leather gloves (Jag's). To cap it all up, Zelda had smeared my face with ash from the dead Gryffindor fire. Xander had nearly burst out crying at this, seeing my "beautiful skin" being "tainted".


Al nodded approvingly. "Now, all y'need is...a...PAINTBALL GUN! MUAHAHAHAHAH!!!"

"SHUDDUP!" a voice yelled.

"Sorry, Kai," I called exasperatedly. "Al, is all this necessary?"

"Hell yes!" Al was smiling with a disconcerting amount of glee. As I watched, he proceeded to Transfigure the futuristic Men In Black gun he had used in the Welcome Feast prank. It wasn't silver, metallic and shiny anymore. Now, it had turned into a paintball gun. I edged away. Paintballs HURT. And I speak from the experience from years of being shot in the gut with ones by my sweet little brother.

Al flourished the gun toward me. "All yours. You know what to do with it."

I took it hesitantly. "Where are the cartridges, or whatever the hell you load 'em up with it?"

Al handed me a little, wrapped package. "This. This is the ammunition. With a bit of magic, it can be turned into paintballs or any kind of object that you wish to fire out of the gun."

I stared at my cousin. He was mental. "And you want me to give all of this to Peeves to Poltergeist WHY?"

"Because then Peeves will tell the hag that you were behind it, and then you'll get detentions!"

"Or I'll get EXPELLED!"

Al frowned. "If, and only IF the hag threatens to expell you, I'll turn myself in."

"You'll what?" I was stunned.

"I'll tell her that I made you do it. She can give me as many detentions as she wants."

"You'd do that?" I felt myself tearing up a bit. I flew at my cousin and hugged him. "I LOVE YOU!"

"Lord!" Kai yelled. "This is like listening to a very bad late night TV show!"

I ignored him. "Do you have the dungbombs and firecrackers?"

Al waved his wand. A box appeared at my feet. "Here you are."

"I can't carry all that!"

"Just dump it on Filch's head. No biggie."

"Isn't giving Peeves the godfather of all paintball guns ENOUGH? Why do I have to attack Filch, too?"

"Because Jag's gonna kill me if I don't make you do something more. And Filch deserves it."

I grumbled and began to stock up my pockets with firecrackers and dungbombs. "If I were Filch, I'd make you clean chamber pots, too. Why aren't you and Jag in detention right now? Don't tell me, you skipped."

"Well, Jag and I figured it would be a good idea not to show up." Al coughed. "By any rate, you're going to do so much damage that Filch'll forget all about us."

"Good for you. I'll go now, and this is probably the last time you'll ever see me alive."

Al grinned. "I'd give you a hug and a pair of black glasses, but I don't think those two would help very much."

Considering the fact that every available area on my body was bulging with bombs and firecrackers, no, a hug wouldn't help. "I'll see you later."

"Don't die at McGonagall's hands!"

"Love you, too," I said wryly. The portrait hole swung shut.

Right, now, Filch's office.

His office was a little, dank room off the Entrance Hall. Whoopee, this was going to be fun. To my relief, I met no resistance in the halls. Whenever a ghost or a teacher walked past, I concealed myself behind the nearest tapestry or suit of armor. I don't know why the teachers never think to check behind them. I crept into the Entrance Hall and slid along with my back pressed along the wall, until I reached the door to Filch's office. I listened carefully, trying to discern something other than my own pounding heart.

Shuffle, shuffle. Someone was mumbling angrily, “Two mangy, scummy, little—”

I forced myself to breathe. Filch was in there alright. With every muscle tensed, I extricated a couple firecrackers from inside my sweater, and arranged them in a cluster around the open door. I added some dungbombs into the mix as well, so everything would go off in a nice, big, putrid BANG!!

I took my wand out of my belt. The firecrackers were of the Extra-Hot Wheeze's variety, and I knew from experience that I had only 15 seconds to run. I lit the ends.


I pulled out the last remaining dungbombs and chucked them as hard as I could into the office. The air became thick with Filch's enraged yells, the putrid smell of dung, and thick, gray smoke.

I turned and ran for my life—


—and then ran into someone’s chest.



I groaned and propelled myself out of his arms. “What are you doing here?”

He just gaped at my soot-covered face.


Great. Malfoy turned into a vegetable. With the clock ticking in my mind, I grabbed the back of his shirt. "RUN, you moron!"

Well, I could’ve let him get blown up, but that would just mean more paperwork.

"Wha—?” Finally, the dumbass noticed the lit firecrackers and Filch's frothing face peeping around the office door.

"WEASLEYYYYY!!!" Malfoy roared, and we sprinted up the marble staircase.



From the high steps of the marble staircase, we watched the entire Entrance Hall go up in flames, gray smoke, and multicolored, rainbow sparks. It was a beautiful scene really. The smoke brought tears to my eyes. Who could’ve thought that I had the ability to set off a mini-gay Vesuvius in the Hogwarts Entrance Hall….

“How the hell?” said Malfoy in a rather awe-struck voice.

A deranged smile spread on my lips. "Al gave me too many firecrackers. I was only
supposed to blow up Filch's office."

Malfoy didn't answer. He was staring at a space over my shoulder in horror. I had a feeling I knew what he was looking at.


I screamed and ran up the stairs, Malfoy on my heels.

"You snotty, little children! I'll twist your necks and hang you by your knuckles from the dungeon—”

“Damn you, Weasley!” I heard Malfoy swore under his breath.

“Take the right corridor, I’ll take the left,” I said to him as quickly and quietly as possible, at the same time fleeing for my life.

“NO WAY!” Malfoy redoubled his pace and caught up to me. “It’s your fault! I’m not getting caught by Filch!”

“Fine, then! Do what you want to!” I roared and dashed down the Charms corridor, took a random right, and then immediately found myself in front of the girls’ bathroom.


I burst through the door of the lavatory, and looked and frantically for a hiding place. Sinks, washroom, toilets…TOILETS! I made a beeline for the nearest stall, but at the same time I heard the door of the bathroom creak open. My heart froze. Filch dared to come inside the girls’ loo?

“Weasley, I will murder you until you’re dead!”

I exhaled and turned around. “You prat. This is the girls’ bathroom!”

Malfoy shrugged and dived into the stall I had been planning to hide in. “Beats being tarred and feathered.”

Growling in utter frustration, I hid myself in the stall next to his. I sat on the toilet seat, and pulled my feet up so they couldn’t be seen. Malfoy, that idiot, was breathing so loudly and raggedly that I could hear it through the stall.

I opened my mouth to ask him whether he was having an asthma attack or not, but then, quite clearly, I heard the door to the lavatory open.

But there wasn’t any sound of footsteps.

I sat, frozen, on the toilet seat. Who had come in? It wasn’t Filch (we would’ve heard him wheezing and cursing from a mile away), but had he asked on of the female teachers to investigate the bathroom?

“AHHHHHH!!!!” Malfoy yelled. He scrabbled over the top of the barrier between the two stalls, and then fell down spectacularly in front of my toilet.

I down looked at him in askance. “Pardon?”

Malfoy roundhouse kicked my stall door open with a BANG! “Get out of here!”

I started to raise my eyebrows, “Why—?”

But then, I saw why. Mrs. Norris was sitting directly in front of our stall. Malfoy and I froze like deer in headlights. The mangy furball gave a, “Mraww!” and then scurried off.

Malfoy and I said the same thing at the same time.


We looked at each other in surprise, and I covered my mouth with a hand, or I would’ve burst out in giggles. But, by this time, Mrs. Norris had already reached the door. Malfoy put on a burst of speed and with a loud, “EAT THIS!” he gave the cat a smashing kick in the ribs. Mrs. Norris screeched and fell prone on the grimy bathroom tiles.

“Excellent!” I said, running to the bathroom door for a quick getaway. “We have to slip out fast! Flich’ll be here any second now—” I threw the door open— and froze. “EEEEEEEK!”

Filch’s face was snarling at me. “Where is my sweet?”

“What’re you standing there for?!” Malfoy yelled from behind me. He pulled out his wand and roared the incantation of some spell. Orange sparks erupted in Filch’s face, making him shout and fall backward. Malfoy grabbed my elbow and we shot past Filch into the corridor while he was distracted.

We ran on and on. Filch was still managing to keep hot on our tails. We heard his hoarse, threatening croaks echoing in the empty hallway. Panting, we reached the nearest staircase. I had no idea what floor we were on; all I could make out was that we were pretty high up, since I saw lot moving staircases beneath us.

“We have to jump,” Malfoy said under his breath. He gave me an intense look from under his white-blond bangs.

I heard the words “YOU KILLED MY SWEET!!!” echoing ominously behind us. Filch’s footsteps were getting closer.

My heart skipped a beat in terror. “Do what you have to do, Malfoy.”

“Climb onto the railing!” He hoisted himself up, and after bit of swaying from side to side, he stood up on the thin railing.

“Are you mental?” I asked. If I wanted to, I could’ve pushed him to his death, but I really didn’t feel like it at the moment.

“Aww, Weasley’s scared. Here, want me to hold your hand?”

“Shut it, bastard!” I snarled, climbing onto the railing. I swayed precariously. “Damn, if I fall—WHOA!” I tipped forward into thin air, but managed grab Malfoy’s arm at the last moment.

Filch was right behind us now, chanting death omens under his breath.

Malfoy breathed in deeply.


“THIS ISN’T GOOD!” I hollered frantically.


I closed my eyes, and we jumped.

“GEROMINO!!!” I cried, wishing I had a parachute.

I didn’t even bother looking down to see where we were jumping to. All I knew was that if Malfoy’s stunt killed us, I would come back as a ghost, find a book on necromancy, and I’d bring him back to life and I would kill him AGAIN!

The feeling of falling a great distance through space is something I really can’t describe accurately. It seemed my ears had stopped working, since all I could hear was my own voice screaming. To my utter embarrassment, I was gripping Malfoy’s arm like a lifeline.

We landed gently on a small landing, four-to-five floors below. And I know you’re thinking, gently? I was wondering that too.

“Urgh, Malfoy, why aren’t we dead?”

Groaning, I pushed myself straight and sat up against a wall. My head was spinning and I had the strongest urge to puke up some treacle tart, but other that that, I felt just fine. I moved my arm around gingerly. No broken bones.

“Cushioning Charm…cast it when you were screaming your lungs out…” He raised his head groggily. “Can you get your legs off my chest?”

I kicked him instead. “Why did we have to jump off? WHY? Did you want to kill me along with yourself?”

“Well, we’re still alive and we’ve lost Filch.” He sat up straight and squinted his eyes to look at me. It was getting pretty dark. “Doesn’t that count for something?”

I folded my hands and looked the other way. “We could’ve been smashed into pulp! Does that fact penetrate your puny, little mind?”

“Seriously, Weasley,” he sounded angry now. He leaned over me and slammed his hands against the wall over my shoulders.

“Hey—what’re you trying to—”

“You,” he breathed. “I saved you! Filch wasn’t hunting me, was he? I could have just gone along my merry way!”

My heart was beating fast again, just like it had done when Filch was chasing us. For some reason, I didn’t trust myself to look into his eyes. I stared at the open collar of his shirt. The first three buttons of his shirt were undone. I would see a silver chain glinting around his chest. Oh, he smelled… really….

“WELL!” I said in an unnecessarily loud voice, distracting myself from my own treacherous thoughts. “I—I, well I’m…Could you get off?”

“Look at me!” he said in a low voice.

I wrenched my head up. His face was illuminated with the harsh, flickering light from a torch near our heads. Those gray eyes were gleaming and dancing with the flames…watching my expression. Funny, why hadn't I ever noticed it before? Scorpius Malfoy...he was rather handsome.

Who am I kidding? I'd always known it. Malfoy was probably the hottest guy to strut along the halls of Hogwarts.

I gritted my teeth. Thinking this would DO ME NO GOOD! "Malfoy, can you remove your hands?" To my horror, my voice came out rather weak.

He smirked; curled the corners of this mouth. A predatory light appeared in his eyes. "Why aren't you looking at me?"

I forced myself to open my mouth. “Fine. I’m looking at you. What now, hmm?”

His hand moved closer to my ear. “Say it.”

“Say what?” I said back in the most spat-iest way my tongue could manage without getting tangled.

He kept on smirking and lowered his lips to my ear. I blew Mafoy-hair out of my eyes. “You know,” he said in a low voice, “those two words people use to show undying gratitude?”

I said two words. I didn’t think anybody used them to show gratitude, though.

Malfoy made a noise in his throat. I didn’t know whether it was a sound of pent-up rage, stifled laugher, or severe constipation. “Weasley, I never knew you wanted to see me get f—”

“Can you get off me?” By now, I was getting pissed-off. “I will kick you in the nuts!”

“No, you won’t,” he said, shifting his legs, so that I couldn’t get a clear hit. “Just say it!”


He sighed raggedly. “That’ll do.” He withdrew his hands and his beastly face. I took this opportunity to kick him in the ribs, to make up for a teensy weensy bit of my lost dignity.

He staggered back, caught himself, and massaged his chest, mumbling something undoubtedly malevolent under his breath.

I raised a fist threateningly. “Honestly, where did you get those seducing moves from? Gone With the Wind?”

He strode on ahead and didn’t answer. I ran up to catch up with him.

“Why were in the Entrance Hall at that time? It was way past curfew! Are you stalking me? Are you—”

“I was waiting for YOU!” Malfoy growled, spinning around to look at me.

I was genuinely shocked. “Me?”

“Prefect patrolling, remember? Judging by your stupid expression, you obviously forget! Remember, third-floor corridor? Wednesday night? We were supposed to meet out partners in the Entrance Hall!”

“Oh.” Yeah, amid everything that was going on between me and Al, my ensuing Prefect duties had completely slipped from mind…

…Wait! I just remembered! Don’t I still have to give that damn paintball gun to Peeves? HELL! The paintball gun was currently Transfigured into a neon pink, unicorn-patterned napkin and stuffed inside my pant pocket. Had it fallen out? I patted the pocket, and exhaled in relief and irritation.

“What?” Malfoy was watching with narrow eyes.

Suddenly, a brilliant and very idiotic idea popped into my mind.

“Nothing!” I replied in a chipper voice. “Shall we go patrolling?”

Raising his eyebrows, he said, “Really? I’d have thought that you would’ve wanted to bail out.”

Damn. How does Malfoy know me so well?

“No, I don’t want to get in trouble with the ha—I mean, McGonagall. And I’m sure you don’t, either. Shall we?”

Malfoy was looking suspicious, but still followed me up a flight of stairs to the third-floor corridor. It wouldn’t be good if he got too suspicious—then I wouldn’t be able to play out my superb scheme.

“Sooooooo,” I said in a conversational tone. “Why are you reading Gone With the Wind? You can tell me, you know.”

“Why are you being so friendly?”

My mind whirred in alarm. I am SUCH a bad actor.

“Who’s being friendly? I wouldn’t be friendly with YOU if my life depended on it! I mean, I’d get Zelda to smack me with a Bludger twenty times if I ever even thought I was being friendly with you! I’d sing emo ballads and I—”

“Weasley, I stopped believing it after the ridiculous exaggerations. No Quidditch player would voluntarily get hit even five times with a Bludger.”

“Well, we can be chums, right?” At this point, I threw my arm around his neck. And at the same time slipped the cartridge to the paintball gun inside his robe pocket.

“Weasley—?” he was flustered by my sudden, chum-like gesture. He didn’t notice the cartridge.

I leapt away from him and flipped him off. “Sucka!” Crowing with absolute delight, I ran off into the night.

Yes, I was SUCH a genius! If my plan went right…

Now, where was Peeves?

Any Hogwarts student—face it, everybody knows not to go looking for Peeves. It’s like going and looking for death by smutty jokes, bad poetry, and ink pellets. Not to mention, he’d probably find some way to hang you by your tail from a chandelier. What was Al thinking…giving him a paintball gun? Hogwarts is going to be hell from now on. Pure. Hell.

After a knocking several times into random walls, suits of armor, and the like (I couldn’t light my wand or Filch would be on me in an instant), I finally managed to track down Nearly Headless Nick by the kitchens, where he was having an argument with the Fat Friar over disembowelment vs. dismemberment. Sunny. I waited until they finished, and then immediately cornered Nick.

“Rose, this is the worst idea in the world! Let me guess, Albus put you up to it?”

“Just tell me where Peeves is!”

“If Filch comes to know, I won’t be able to stand up for you!”

“Where is he?”

“Oh, very well. I believe he’s in the dungeons—”

I was already dashing away. “Thanks, Nick!”


I didn’t reply. Dungeons, dungeons! Take a left, go down the stairs

“OW!” I had smacked clean into a stone wall. I rubbed my nose in pain. “Dammit!”

I couldn’t see a single thing. Should I risk lighting my wand? No! I wouldn’t put it past Holly B to be sleepwalking. I couldn’t risk it. I inched forward slowly, making my way down the hallway by feeling the wall.



Excellent. Seems like I found Peeves. Now, all I need to do is to follow the direction of the noise… And what d’ya know? Peeves was in our Potions classroom. Now, I seriously need some wandlight…


“Who’s there?” Peeves said sharply, swinging around in midair. To my delight, I saw that the poltergeist had been smearing the dungeon walls with random potions ingredients. The resulting cave painting highly resembled Holly B’s face.

“Nice,” I said appreciatively.

“Hmph.” Peeves turned back to squirting pomegranate juice onto Holly B’s teeth. “What’s a liddle student like you doin’ up so late? I should get Filchy, I should, I should!”

“I want to make a deal,” I said. Why does something tell me bargaining with Peeves isn’t such a good idea…?


“Give me back the camera you stole from McGonagall. It’s my camera.”


“I’ll give you a paintball gun.”

Peeves spun around and did a few cartwheels. “Gun?”

“Not just any gun,” I said. “A paintball gun.”

“Balls of paint? That ain’t lethal!”

With my mind frantically warning me otherwise, I went into a detailed description of exactly HOW lethal paintballs could be. Peeves seemed to be listening intently to my words. “—and with the cartridge, you can fire whatever ammunition you want. It just doesn’t have to be paintballs.”

“So, where is this gun?”

“First give me my camera!” I countered.

With a smirk, Peeves reached inside his purple and orange, star-spangled shirt, rummaged around for a moment and brought out my camera. I stared at him. How the hell did he fit that inside his  shirt?


“Yes, that!” In turn, I brought out the unicorn-patterned napkin, tapped it with my wand and watched as it transformed into a handsome, black, double-barreled gun. “I’ll give it to you when you give me my camera.”

“Here you are,” Peeve said indifferently, tossing the camera at me. “Rubbish doesn’t work.”

“Thanks,” I said sarcastically. I handed over the gun, sealing my death sentence.

As I expected, as soon as Peeves got his hands on it, he pointed it at me and pulled the trigger. Nothing happened.


“I didn’t say I had the cartridge,” I gave the angry poltergeist a sweet smile. “You know the Slytherin student Scorpius Malfoy? You can find the ammunition cartridge in his pocket. I suppose he’s in his dorm right now, fast asleep.”

Peeves cackled evilly and bounced away. I watched him go with a wide smile. My plan went perfectly…Now, all I need to do is wait for McGonagall to call me to her office.

Meanwhile, why not go check up on the Slytherins?

With a happy, little bounce, I ran off toward the entrance to the Slytherin Common Room. Arriving at the blank wall, I looked around furtively. Peeves was nowhere to be seen. I assumed that he had gone inside. Now, what could the password be…?

“Slytherins rule,” I told the wall. It didn’t open. “Aw, come on! Slytherins are gods, Gryffindors suck, Malfoy is king, Weasley sucks, pureblood, purebloods rule, Slytherins are awesome, Slytherins aren’t, I mean, Slytherins are sex-gods, Holly B’s mustache, Malfoy is hot, potions, snake— URGH, JUST OPEN!” I kicked the damn wall. OW!

Suddenly, a wave of boys came through the wall and nearly stampeded me. I jumped out of the way and watched in amazement. They were all Slytherin boys from my year, and were wearing nothing but their underwear and howling at the top of their lungs. Several of them had bright splashes of paint on their chests, faces and legs.



“Who gave him a paintball gun?”


I stuffed my knuckles inside my mouth. This was just TOO HILARIOUS. Avery, for example, was half-naked and jumping from foot to foot in pain, Gamp, on the other hand, had fainted dead away. After a few seconds, I managed to control my laughter, and I brought out my camera. Contrary to what Peeves had said, it was working fine. I snapped about twenty pictures. I am SO mailing this to the Daily Prophet.

Then, out of nowhere, Malfoy came running into the crowd. He was screaming, and I mean screaming in the funniest, girliest voice possible. Behind him flew Peeves, shooting paintball after paintball like a crazed madman. Malfoy looked around wildly, found the nearest pillar, and jumped behind it.

He jumped on me.

Did I mention he was wearing only black boxers? Gross.


I forced him to the ground and slapped a hand over his mouth. “Shut up! Or I’ll tell Peeves to shoot you!”

He wrenched my hand off and hissed, “You put the thing in pocket?”

I nearly started laughing. Nice Malfoy, You put the the thing in pocket? “Well, duh. I knew Lysander was lying about your underwear!”

Malfoy bristled angrily. “HEY, EVERYONE, WEASLEY’S THE ONE BEHIN—”

I kicked him between the legs, effectively shutting him up, and then ran away from the scene as fast as possible.


“You kicked Mrs. Norris? YOU KICKED MRS. NORRIS?!”

“Malfoy did, not me. Why do you care, anyway? That furball’s evil I tell you, EVIL.”

“She’s still a cat!”

“It’s Filch’s mistress!”

“She’s a CAT!”

“SHUT UP!” said Jag. He yawned heavily.

Al, Jag, Xander, Zelda and I were sitting in the Common Room. It was almost midnight, and McGonagall still hadn’t sent for me. What was going on? There was no doubt Peeves had blabbed my name. Why hadn’t she called me to her office yet?

“Is she still alive?” Zelda asked worriedly.

“It’s EVIL! I don’t care the least if it’s still alive.” I stifled a yawn. Nearby, on his couch, Kai tossed around and gave a grunt.

Xander, meanwhile, was flicking through the photos I had taken with Al and Jag. They were bursting out in random fits of giggles. “Look at Moon’s underwear!” “They’re tartan! Ewwww…” “Rose, are you going to make posters of these?”

“Why?” I asked indignantly.

“I want to plaster them in the Entrance Hall,” begged Xander.

“We already did that with the professors’ underwear. I was thinking of sending them in to a teen magazine …or maybe the Daily Prophet.”

Underwear-Clad Young Men Get Assaulted By Paintball Gun-Wielding Poltergeist,” said Al, chortling. “I would dig that.”

At that moment, the portrait hole swung open, and Professor Nevvie walked toward us. I hastily snatched the photos back and stuffed them under a pillow.

Neville eyed the pillow. “I won’t ask.”

“What happened?” I asked innocently. I tried not to giggle at the mint-colored pajamas peeping out from underneath the big, clack cloak he was wearing.

“The Headmistress wants to see you, Rose, and you, too, Alexandrina.”

I was surprised. “Xan—?”

“What does McGonagall want with me?” asked Xander, the red flush ebbing away from her face to be replaced with an indignant expression. “I didn’t do anything! It was R—”

“We’ll go,” I said quickly, standing up. “C’mon, Xander.”

Without looking at the others, we left the Common Room. Xander and I trailed a few feet behind our Head of House.

“Don’t say anything,” I hissed to her. “There’s something weird going on.”

“What’ll happen if she blames me?”

“She can’t, trust me.”

We finally arrived in McGonagall’s office. Our dear hag was sitting behind her desk, fingers steepled and looking naturally stern, and, to my surprise, standing next to her with a foul expression on her face and with her blood-red hair in a knot over her head, was the Crow.

“Miss Voss, Miss Weasley,” said McGog in acknowledgement. “Have any of you heard of anything that has to do with Peeves and er…a ‘paintball’ gun?”

“No,” Xander and I said immediately at the same time. Xander pretended to gasp loudly. “Peeves got hands on a paintball gun? No way, Professor! Now we’re all dead!”

“Thank you for the insight,” McGog said dryly. “Yes, Peeves has a paintball gun. The question is who gave it him.”

So, Peeves didn’t spill my name. I’m starting to like him.

“Professor McGonagall,” I said hesitantly. “Why is Professor Ravendale here?” I dared not look at the Crow.

McGog cleared her throat. “Peeves… well, Peeves accused Professor Ravendale of giving him the gun.”

“What?” Xander said in amazement.

“Really?” I asked, trying not to sound pleased. Forget like, I LOVE Peeves now.

“Yes, really, Weasley,” McGonagall said sharply.

The Crow scowled. “I don’t like the tone of your voice, girl!”

McGog coughed. “Peeves’s actual words were ‘A girl. Some redhead. Coulda been the Crow.’”

I hastily wiped the smirk off my face. “Why did you call me? I don’t know anything about a paintball gun, and Xander doesn’t either. We were in the Gryffindor Common Room, taking pictures of each other.”

“I can attest to that,” Neville put in. “I did find her in the Common Room with a camera.”

I smiled widely.

“Very well,” McGog said. “Miss Voss, Neville, Cordelia, you may depart.”

“Thank you, Headmistress!” the Crow snapped. She spun on her heel and strode out of the room. Neville gave Xander a small smile and they left together.

Like usual, I was the last one left. “Professor? This is about Filch, isn’t it?”

“Is everything he says true?”

“Yeah. I put firecrackers and dungbombs around his office door.” Man, was Gay Vesuvius a sight to see.

“And Mr. Malfoy?”

I opened my mouth to say that Malfoy had been a part of it too, but my tongue froze. “Well…he didn’t set off the firecrackers. He wasn’t a part of that. He was the one who kicked Mrs. Norris, though.”

“I see,” McGonagall scrutinized me carefully. “And did you two really jump off a staircase?”

“That was Malfoy’s idea,” I said grimly. “He used a Cushioning Charm.”

“Also, wasn’t today supposed to be your first after-hours patrol date?”

“We did patrol. In a manner of speaking.” I stifled a yawn behind my hand.

McGog’s mouth almost twitched at that. “Detention every other day until Christmas, that’s all I can say to you, Miss Weasley.”

“Thank you,” I said gratefully. I blinked to keep myself awake. Now, Al would finally get off my back and forgive me.

“‘Thank you’?”

I waved a hand. “Oh, it’s nothing. Can I go to bed?”

“Goodnight, Miss Weasley.”

“G’night, Professor.” I ran out the door, past the gargoyles, reaching the Gryffindor Tower in record time. So sleepy...

…and I hadn’t finished Holly B’s essay. Damn. Whatever.

I staggered into the Common Room and collapsed dead away on the first couch I saw that didn’t have Kai Evergreen in it.


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