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Operation Lion Fire


By the time Sirius ran down to Dumbledore's office the clock had reached 10, and it seemed that Jasmine was still talking comfortably with the Head Master. At first, while his adrenaline was still rushing through him from his fast run, Sirius paced back and forth in front of the gargoyles guarding the office entrance. After ten minutes though his heart rate has slowed so instead he leaned against the wall and stared at the opening. After another ten minutes Sirius sat on the hard castle ground tired with exhaustion from both his emotions and physical activities of the day.

He promised himself not to fall asleep worrying that if he did he would be caught and not allowed to play in the Quidditch match, but still his head would droop and his eyes seemed to shut on their own accord.

After an hour of sitting on the ground, Sirius was about to give up. If it had been any other night of the year he would have been willing to wait outside that office until the sun began to rise, but he couldn’t imagine the look on his mates faces if he showed up to either their prank or the game half way asleep. He decided he would give it another ten minutes and if Jasmine still hadn’t come down from the office he would leave and write her another letter in the morning demanding he tell her the truth.

Sirius peered down at his watch seeing there was still five minutes left when the floating labels of Jasmine and McGonagall caught his eye as they moved closer to the exit. Sirius sprung up from his seat prepared to follow the two until he got Jasmine alone.

As he intently watched the map, Sirius could hear voices from the top of the entrance.

“Goodnight, Miss Potter,” he heard Dumbledore say, “You’ve made some excellent points tonight.”

“Thank you, Professor,” Jasmine said kindly.

“If you don’t mind, I have some things to discuss with Albus before returning to my office. You’re free to either use the fireplace in here to return to your home or you’ll have to walk off the grounds before Disapparating,” he heard McGonagall say.

“Actually, I’ve booked a room down at The Three Broomsticks for the night so I could walk there. I was hoping you would allow me to come back to the campus tomorrow to watch my little brother and his Gryffindor team play their match of Quidditch,” Jasmine said.

“Of course, feel free,” Dumbledore approved.

“Thank you, Professor, that means a lot to me.”

“Just remember to remain unseen. We don’t want any questions popping up about why you’re here or why other family members can’t visit,” Dumbledore instructed, “The school tried a visiting day once and it was a complete disaster.”

Sirius heard Jasmine give a tinkling laugh, “No one will ever know I was here, sir.”

The door to the office clicked shut and Jasmine slowly descended from the stairs. When she walked out from the protection of the gargoyles, Sirius watched her as she let out a deep breath and then threw one of her fists into the air.

“Yes!” she hissed. A knot tightened in Sirius’ stomach knowing that she had obviously gotten what she had wanted.

She began skipping her way down the hallways towards the giant doors of the castle while carelessly twirling her wand between her fingers. The image made Sirius want to laugh and followed her as she went.

Jasmine began to calm down after they had gone down a few hallways and now only walked with a giant grin on her face. Despite Sirius’ careful and quiet steps, Jasmine could feel his eyes on the back of her head.

Her steps stayed the same pace, but then with a twist of the heel she turned and said, “Stupefy!

Sirius landed on the ground with a thud and cursed himself for once again getting beat up by Jasmine. The invisibility cloak had come down with him, but had shifted enough so that Jasmine could see his feet. She walked up to Sirius with her wand still at the ready and with a flick of the wrist made the cloak uncover his face.

She gasped when she saw it was Sirius before stomping her foot on the ground and cursing. “Ennervate” she mumbled.

“Why are you so good at surprise attacks?” Sirius muttered rubbing the back of his head.

“What are you doing here?” she snapped.

Sirius stood, his eyes widened at her tone and took to the defensive side. “I think I should be the one asking you that. You told me you hadn’t been here- you lied to me!”

“I didn’t lie to you,” Jasmine hissed, “I never denied it-”

“But you played it off to sound that way. It’s the same thing.”

“Who told you?”

“No one.”

“That’s ridiculous, someone had to of. You don’t just know when someone is here.”

“Why does it matter?”

“Because that would mean that someone is already leaking information, and we can’t have that.”

“What are you getting yourself into?” Sirius said. He could hear the raw desperation in his own voice begging for an answer.

“Sirius, no offense, but it’s not your business.”

“That’s bullshit,” Sirius spat, “Of course it’s my business! I know it’s got to do with Voldemort and those damned Death Eaters. I know it’s some kind of fight against them, and I know you want to be apart of it.” Sirius paused so he could try to catch his breath. “You think I came to stay with your family for fun? It was because of them! I know what they’re capable of. They could kill you.”

“I know that,” Jasmine muttered.

“Then how could you think it’s not my business. You’re...you’re mine

Jasmine let her head fall backwards and took a few random steps. “Sirius, you’re great, but I’m doing this no matter what, and if you can’t accept it then maybe we should stop seeing each other.”

Sirius felt like he had been punched in his stomach. He had expected the two of them to have a small spat, but didn’t know it would so quickly lead to a break up. “It’s not that I can’t accept it, it’s that I wish you would think about this more, or at least talk to me about it.”

Jasmine couldn’t help but feel sympathetic towards the boy. She had known from the start that the age difference between them would make things difficult- especially if she was accepted into the Order. Now she cursed herself for letting her emotions get ahead of her mind because as much as she enjoyed being with Sirius, she knew being in the Order would complicate things.

“Okay,” she whispered, “We can talk.”

Together they found an empty classroom to avoid being caught by any professors and sat on the desks why Jasmine explained how much it meant for her to be apart of something that she knew would make a difference. Sirius noticed how careful she was to avoid telling him certain details like what it was that she was actually joining and the specifics of her duties, but she did tell him it would be helping putting the Death Eaters in their place. Finally, she also told him that while there was a probability of her getting hurt or worse, she would be with Dumbledore and that gave her enough confidence that everything would be okay.

“And that should be enough comfort for you too,” she said.

Sirius sighed and nodded his head, “Alright. I guess I have to trust you. Especially since me and James plan on joining once we’re out of school anyway.”

“What?”

“We’ve been trying to get ahold of Dumbledore since the summer so we could start getting ourselves set up. We really just need the fine details before we’re officially in.”

“You can’t join.”

“What?” Sirius laughed, “Why not?”

“You’re too young,” Jasmine said as if the idea was ridiculous.

“I’m turning seventeen in just a month. By the time I graduate I’ll be free to do whatever I want, including taking up arms with Dumbledore.”

“But-” Jasmine sputtered.

“But what?”

“You’re too young!” she repeated with emphasis.

“I’m hardly three years younger than you!” Sirius exclaimed not believing Jasmine’s hypocrisy, “I’ll be learning the same things as you.”

“It’s different. I’ve been out of school for longer and I’m nineteen.”

“Voldemort wasn’t as prominent when you graduated as he is now, or else I’m sure you would be doing the same thing.”

“Whatever,” Jasmine stood from the desk she had been sitting on.

“Jasmine,” Sirius followed her. She stopped and turned to him and Sirius took the time to place his hands on the sides of her face to look her in the eyes, “I want to be there next to you. I can’t let you fight this thing alone. Have some faith,” he ended with a laugh.

Jasmine’s eyes had only slightly watered before she got her emotions under control. “You’d better be getting back up to the tower. It’s getting close to one by now.”

“Shit! Already?”

“Yeah, and you’ve got to get up early for the game,” Jasmine grimaced.

Sirius scratched the back of his head mumbling, “Among other things... Are you really coming to the game tomorrow?”

“I was planning on it,” she shrugged.

“Lets meet afterwards,” he wrapped his arms around her waist.

“No way,” Jasmine laughed, “I cant be seen on the campus.”

“I can meet you in Hogsmeade.”

“How?”

“Don’t worry about it. The Three Broomsticks sound good? Just give me till an hour after the game ends and I can be there.”

“Alright...” Jasmine said unsurely.

With that Sirius gave Jasmine a soft kiss on the lips before forcing himself to leave. If he was tired for the game in the morning James was going to kill him! He might be able to try to blame it on the earliness for Operation Lion Fire, but he would really have to put in some acting...
________________________________________________

“Awaken, my dear Marauders!” James’s voice rang through their dorm, “The time has come! This morning we will officially begin the reign of terror of the Marauders!”

“I have to say,” Remus mumbled stretching in his bed, “I think we timed this pretty well. People are just starting to think that maybe we’ve all become domesticated, but today will give them a good jolt!”

“Wormtail, Padfoot, get up! Don’t you know what day it is?” James scoffed.

Peter incoherently mumbled something in his pillow, while Sirius didn’t even move. This made one of James’s eyebrows go up. It was well known that Sirius loved to sleep, but he had always put pranks ahead of his own well being!

“Oy,” James shoved his shoulder, “Get up, Padfoot!” Sirius lazily swatted away James’s hand before trying to put himself into a new comfortable position. “We cannot fall behind schedule! Moony, the honors?”

“Of course,” Remus nodded. He pulled out his wand and with a swish made Sirius go tumbling out of the bed. He turned to do the same to Peter, but he had already sat up in his bed and violently shook his head ‘no’ at Remus.

Sirius groaned from the floor, his body widely sprawled. “Really?” he grumbled.

“You’re taking too long to wake up. We need to get this going,” James lectured him.

Before pushing through the Fat Lady’s portrait, Peter transformed into a rat and climbed into Sirius’ pocket. The other three huddled closer than they ever had underneath the invisibility cloak while also trying to keep their fireworks hidden.

Slowly, but surely, they made their way down to the dungeons where the Slytherin Common Room was. The stone snake that guarded the door to the Common Room hissed when they were uncovered from the cloak, but let them in wordlessly when they spoke the password, emendatio, which Remus had researched to find meant ‘pure blood’.

“Typical,” Sirius rolled his eyes when he heard the meaning.

The Slytherin Common Room had a stone ground with tight leather couches and chairs around the room. It was very organized looking with the lounging area strictly in one spot of the room, and small individual study tables on the other.

The boys didn’t spend much time looking over the room though, instead Peter scurried to the stop of the steps leading up to the dormitories to keep an ear out for anyone while the other three climbed to the top of the book shelf that was next to the dorm entrances and took out three small fireworks from their bag.

“This is going to be great,” James practically squealed.

Sirius barely was able to crack a smile from his tired lips, but tried his best to pay attention to what Remus was doing. He set up the fireworks to go off in the direction of the dorm entrances and whispered a flame onto their wicks.

He then began whispering even faster and cast a bubble around the wick making the flame freeze before getting too close to the exploding point. All three of them sighed in relief that the charm had performed correctly, and with a small snap to Peter, they got out of the Common Room.

“Phase one is complete,” Remus said happily, this time putting Peter in his pocket, “Now we just have to deliver the big boys to the Quidditch field.”

It had always surprised the boys that professors frequently forgot to lock the doors to the castle while on patrol. They supposed it could be because they felt so safe with Dumbledore near, and also played with the thought that it could be simply because they were at Hogwarts, and it would be stupid for anyone to think they could barge into a school bustling with capable wizards and witches.

It was still dark outside as they made their way to the field, though the sky was now turning into more of a dark violet instead of the black that it had been all night.

“These are going to be great playing conditions,” Peter remarked, “There’s going to be no way they can beat you guys.”

“I sure hope so,” James said with a twist in his stomach.

“We’ll be fine,” Sirius said, “Not to mention that they’re going to be too pissed off to really play well. They’ll just be especially violent instead!”

“Oh yes, everyone does love a violent Slytherin,” Remus laughed.

“Violence doesn’t matter for anything if it doesn’t score you points or catch you the Snitch. As long as our team stays level headed we’ll be fine.”

“Right,” James mumbled. They reached the Quidditch field and took a good look around the stands. Again they opened their Zonko’s bag, but this time pulled out fireworks the size Quaffles. “Well, lets do this, boys.”
___________________________________________________

“Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the opening match of the Quidditch Season,” McGonagall’s stern voice rang across the Quidditch field. She had yet to find a new announcer since she had fired Peter from the job the previous year. Peter swore up and down that he had been giving a fair report during a Raveclaw/Hufflepuff game, but McGonagall wouldn’t stand for it.

“Calling the Hufflepuffs, Hufflepussies is unacceptable!” she had screamed.

He was given a month’s detention for daring to say the nickname over the intercom, and couldn’t find anyone else trustworthy.

“Coming from the south side of the field, the Slytherin Snakes!” A quarter of the stands thundered with screams and chants from the Slytherin House as their teach flew into the air, grumpily nodding their heads. “And from the north side, the Gryffindor Lions!” Before the team flew out, a booming roar echoed through the stadium. Two fire rockets flew into the air, barely missing the Slytherin team, and exploded together to take form as a lion’s head. The lion’s mouth opened and another roar rang in the air. Its head turned and flew towards the Slytherin team, who immediately began flying back to the safety of the tunnel.

Not again!” one of them screamed. The lion was too fast for them though and exploded into the air as it chomped over their heads.

The school erupted into a mixture of laughter and applause, and the Gryffindor team came out onto the field, with Sirius and James feigning a surprised look.

“Oh for goodness sake...” McGonagall muttered into the microphone, “Will someone get them back out here?” Madame Hooch ushered the Slytherin team back onto the team, despite their singed looking hair and robes and insisted that they fly back into the air.

James, Freddie and David all took their places in the center of the pitch, the Slytherins already seething from every inch of their being.

“Looking good there,” James laughed to them.

“Your team is as good as dead, Potter,” their chaser, a sixth year named Seth spit.

“Bring it,” Freddie answered for James.

“You all better play fairly. I won’t hesitate to stop the game if I see any foul play,” Madame Hooch arrived with the quaffle.

The six players nodded their heads and with that the bludgers and snitch were released and the quaffle was thrown into the air. The Gryffindor Twist immediately went into effect and David spun into the air with the quaffle in hand as James and Freddie sped down the field in preparation for him.

The Slytherins angrily chased after them already screaming at their beaters to do something. David threw the quaffle ahead to James who caught it with ease and with a quick aiming, threw it through the left hoop.

The Gryffindor stands went wild- Lily put her fingers up to her lips for a long and loud whistle- but the chasers didn’t waste any time doubling back to their side of the pitch in anticipation for their attack.

James halted on his broom, and immediately had to duck down to avoid a bludger.

“Sorry ‘bout that cap’!” Blake shouted chasing after the ball.

James looked around for Sirius and was pleased when he saw him sticking close to Lucy, but grimaced when he also saw the Slytherin Seeker with them.

“Lucy!” James yelled. He whirled his index finger in the air giving her the sign to shake off the Seeker.

With a mischievous grin she tore away, the other Seeker chasing after her, but Sirius stayed in his spot knowing that she’d be okay as long as she was moving. Looking at the incoming Slytherin Chasers he targeted a bludger and sent it towards the Chaser with the quaffle. It hit the tail of the player’s broom sent him spinning around the air. In an attempt to keep himself in the air he dropped the quaffle, which Freddie didn’t waste any time diving down to catch.

David stuck close to him waiting for a pass, but had to break away from an incoming Slytherin Beater, who ruffly pushed him to the side. The Slytherin Chaser who had lost the ball had found his balance and chased after Freddie with revenge in his eyes.

He tried to attack Freddie from behind, throwing his hand forward to pop the ball from Freddie’s grip, but his reach was too short and instead Freddie swerved out from him and with a swift motion threw the quaffle towards the Keeper. Instead of going through one of the hoods though, the Keeper’s broom tail swung around and blocked it from going through.

James hovered near the Keeper’s post looking for the rebound, but the Keeper sent it over his head and to one of the Chasers. James bent close to his broom trying to move through the air quicker, but the Chaser was sleek and easily avoided a bludger sent over from Blake and flew out of James’s reach. Robby prepared himself in the middle of the goal posts to go either way, but even as he dove to the right to stop the quaffle, it went right past him.

Robby cursed, but didn’t stop for long so that he could retrieve the quaffle and pass it to a ready David. Blake hurried to his side to beat off an incoming bludger, and kept by his side seeing the Slytherin Chaser already charging.

Meanwhile, Sirius had returned to his post next to Lucy who had made the Slytherin Seeker frustrated with her false chase. The opposing Seeker aggressively nudged against Sirius trying to get him out of way, but Sirius pushed back refusing to be bullied.

The Gryffindor stands went wild as David scored another goal, but was followed by groans as bludger hit him from behind.

“Oh, come on!” James yelled, “He wasn’t even in possession of the quaffle!”

“I didn’t mean to, Madame,” the Slytherin Beater swore, “He had the quaffle when I first hit it.”

Madame Hooch gave the Beater a warning finger, “Watch yourself, Marrion,” she said.

The game went on, and though more warnings were given out the Slytherins continued to escalate the violence with not only the precision of their bludgers, but with their bats and claws that they called hands.

At one point, James’s uniform became ripped from the Slytherin Chaser’s desperate attempt to slow him down. He had flown right next to James and after realizing he couldn’t keep up with him grabbed the tail of his uniform and slammed on the breaks.

“My hand got caught!” he played it off to Madame Hooch.

“Everyone is to keep their hands to themselves!” Madame Hooch instructed to the players.

Finally, after an hour of playing with the score at 120-140, Slytherins in the slight lead, the crowd gasped as the Slytherin Seeker sprinted for the opposite side of the field. Lucy, having been busy trying to avert him, quickly fell in next to him as they abruptly turned downwards toward the field.

James tried to keep focused on his job as a Chaser, but looking ahead he saw Freddie had the possession of the quaffle, so he watched the race.

“GO LUCY, GO!” he yelled, practically bouncing on his broom, “YOU CAN-”

And that was all he remembered.
______________________________________________________

The Hospital Wing was full of the Gryffindor Quidditch team much to Madame Pomfrey’s distaste, but they all refused to leave while James was unconscious. It turned out that while James was rooting on Lucy, the Slytherin Beater took a cheap shot and pretended to swing at a bludger, but instead missed and hit James’s head instead.

James had immediately fallen off his broom, but had thankfully been seen by Sirius, who luckily caught James before he had hit the ground. The crowd had gone wild, half praising Sirius for his miraculous rescue, and the other half for Lucy who had managed to pull ahead of the Slytherin Seeker to get her hand around the Snitch.

“I can’t believe I didn’t even see him falling!” Lily said feeling horrible.

“Aren’t you supposed to have like a sixth sense when your other half is in trouble?” Freddie laughed.

“It was the first time I was actually into the game! Lucy was going so fast and I thought for sure that slimy Slytherin was going to try to do something I couldn’t look away! Then I look over to see James’s face and he gone!” she tried to explain herself.

“I was going pretty fast, wasn’t I?” Lucy prided in herself.

“It was pretty amazing,” Robby nodded.

A groan came from James’s bed and the group all turned to his attention.

“Great Merlin’s beard,” he muttered. His eyes were still closed, but his hand tentatively raised to his head, “Which fucking bastard was it?”

“Collins,” Sirius answered, “He’s only a few beds down if you want me to put a few boils on his mug.”

“What?” James snapped, his eyes cracking open, “Why the hell is he in here?”

“Him and some other bloke. They’re complaining of smoke inhalation. Apparently the fireworks on the pitch weren’t the only ones they’ve seen today,” Sirius chuckled.

“Ha,” James laughed dryly.

“How do you feel?” Lily asked.

“Like... I have a really bad hangover.”

Hearing James’s voice, Madame Pomfrey hurried over, scattering the visitors to the side so she could get to his bedside. “I’m not going to ask how you know what that feels like, but drink this,” she shoved a potion at him, “and you’ll be back on your feet in no time.”

“Thanks, Madame,” James tried to wink.

“Now the rest of you get out of here. I’m sure you have better things to do than stick around here like it’s his deathbed.”

The Gryffindor team all said their farewells, only leaving behind Lily and Sirius with James.

“So did we win?” James asked.

“I’m honestly surprised that wasn’t your first question,” Lily laughed.

“Yeah, Lucy beat him out big time. I wish I could’ve seen him face, but I was too busy saving your life,” Sirius said off handedly.

“Thanks for that, by the way,” James said.

“Anytime, Prongsie!” Sirius let out a big yawn. It had been a long and exhausting day for him, and yet he still had one more thing to do. “Well, I’m glad you’re awake and all, but I’ve got a few things to get done today. I’ll see you in the Common Room, yeah?”

“Yeah.”

Sirius hurriedly left the Hospital Wing, and while Lily saw this as slightly suspicious, she trained her sight on James.

“How are you feeling?” she asked again.

“Fine, Lils,” James laughed, “You act like this is my first time in here.”

“I know that, but it’s the first time I’ve cared you were in here!”

James let out another dry laugh and set himself in a sitting position. “This is nothing, trust me. In fact, I’m ready to leave.”

“You can’t possibly be,” Lily said, “You just drank the position. Give it a minute or two more.”

“It’ll be fine.”

James turned his body and threw his legs over the bedside. Before they were able to hit the floor though, Madame Pomfrey yelled, “Mr. Potter, you stay put in your bed or I will drag you back in here by your ear!”

Knowing she would be true to her word, James slowly put his legs back onto the bed and frustratedly laid back onto the bed.

“Told you,” Lily sang with a smug look in her eyes.

“Shush you,” James pointed his finger at her making Lily promptly stick her tongue out at him.

“Well, that’s just adorable, isn’t it Jamieson?” Collins, the Beater, called out to his teammate.

“You know things like this never last, Collins. Purebloods are just too good for...her kind,” Jamieson called back.

Lily could already see James’s jaw tightening in reaction to their conversation. “Ignore them,” she whispered.

“If you two have something to say spit it out,” James said.

“Not really worth our time,” Collins shrugged.

“Besides, from what I hear the situation is already being taken care of,” Jamieson said.

Taken care of?” James muttered.

“Don’t act stupid, Potter, we all know here you got the same visit our families did this summer.”

“What visit?” Lily mumbled so only James could hear, but he didn’t acknowledge the question.

“Just because they came to my house doesn’t mean I’m going to fall at their feet,” he said.

“Doesn’t mean they’ll stop at anything to get you to join them either,” Collins said.

“Fuck this,” James muttered. He got out of his bed grabbing his wand from his robes pocket and pointed it dangerously between the two Slytherins.

“James,” Lily gasped standing from her seat.

“Mr. Potter, what in the world do you think you’re doing?” Madame Pomfrey entered the room.

James’s face softened at the presence of the old lady and lowered his wand, “Nothing, Madame. I’m leaving now.”

Without waiting for permission he grabbed Lily’s hand and went out the Hospital Wing’s door.

“What were they talking about?” Lily asked once they were down the hallway.

“Nothing,” James muttered. His head and legs felt woozy from the potion he had drank now that the adrenaline from before was slowly leaving his body.

“Slow down,” Lily pulled on his hand, “Talk to me.”

James came to a complete stop and grabbed his head in an attempt to steady himself. “I-I need to sit.”

Lily led him to a stone bench where he put his head between his knees. “Do you want me to go get Madame Pomfrey?”

“No...I’ll be fine,” he breathed.

“James Potter, I never knew until this year that you made it a habit of getting sick in the hallways,” a voice laughed towards them. Lily rolled her eyes as Naomi came down the hallway. “And again so close to the Hospital Wing! Do you need a hand?”

“He’s fine, thanks,” Lily answered for him, “A potion took him by surprise is all.”

“Yeah, I’m okay,” James lifted his head, “Thank you though, Naomi.”

“Of course! What’s a Prefect for, right?”

“Right,” Lily plastered a smile on her face.

“That was nice of you to actually be with him this time Lily,” she smirked beginning to continue her walk, “Feel better, James.”

Lily’s glaring eyes followed her until she was out of sight. “That was ridiculously rude.”

“What?” James said.

“Didn’t you hear her? Nice of me to actually be here?”

“It is nice of you to be here,” James said naively.

Lily let out a huff. Boys hardly ever understood the language of girls. Naomi had just taken a direct hit at Lily, and James didn’t even notice!

“It was the way she said it,” Lily tried to explain, “Like I left you to die last time you were sick or something.”

“How did you get that out of her saying it was nice of you to be with me?” James laughed, “I think you’re over analyzing, love.”

“Whatever,” Lily muttered, “How do you feel?”

“Well enough, I think. Lets give it another go.”

“Maybe I should go find Sirius or Remus to help,” Lily suggested.

“Why? You can carry me if I fall,” James shrugged standing to his feet, “I saw you lift boxes of bananas at the Market. It’ll be just like that!”

Lily laughed and wrapped her arm around James’s waist as a precaution. “Yes, I’m sure you’re just like that.”
______________________________________________

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