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°~*◊*~°

“What happened to your face?!” I heard a voice shouting near my ear.

I closed my eyes tighter as if I could pause time and squeeze a few more minutes of sleep from my eyelids.

“Cass!”  I heard my best friend shouting as she shook me vigorously.

I groaned, rubbed my eyes, and then opened them slowly.  Ama’s amber eyes were insanely close to my face.  “Amaris Maria Pena, the world better be ending,” I muttered while blinking.

“Your face!” she urged as I took my time adjusting to the sunlight assaulting my eyes.

“I thought I healed it,” I groaned while nudging Ama away from me.

Ama’s jaw dropped as she arched her eyebrows.  “It’s a huge red scar now.  What was it before?”

I sighed.  “Last night during patrol, I saw Lance Goyle and Alex Flint bullying Lily Potter,” I recounted quietly.

“You were patrolling by yourself last night, right?”  Ama asked while biting her lip.

I nodded my head.  “I told Lily to run but then it was two against one and Flint used the Bombarda spell... it hit my face,” I whispered.

Ama gasped loudly.  “Are you shitting me?” she yelled.

“You guys okay,” Emma Taylor, one of our roommates, asked from her bed.

“Fine,” Ama responded while scratching her nose.  “Cass was just telling me about... about... her... new crush?  Her new crush.  Her new crush!” she declared louder and louder and while scratching at her skin more vigorously.

“Who?” Emma whispered excitedly.

“Yea, who?” I asked Ama while crossing my arms.  I was too tired and amused to be mad at her for digging this hole.

Ama grimaced as if she smelled something sour and I nearly laughed at the face she was making.  “She... won’t tell me,” Ama responded while scratching her arms.

Emma smirked.  “He must be embarrassing then!  Keep trying to get the scoop,” she advised with a wink before heading into the bathroom.

I yawned and grabbed my eyeglasses sitting on the table next to my bed.  I slid them on and the world looked a bit clearer.

“I am sooo sorry,” Ama whispered frantically as she closed the curtain and crawled onto my bed.

I waved it off.  “With James and Freddie rumors circling the mill, no one will care about a mystery bloke.  And, Emma has the attention span of a fish.  She’s already forgotten,” I responded with another yawn.

“What are you going to do about Lance and Alex... and, and Lily?” Ama asked getting under the covers with me.  She casted a silencing charm so no one could hear us this time.

I scooted over to make room for her.  “Addie’s going to kill me,” I stated while frowning.

“And your grandfather?” Ama asked slowly.  I knew she was watching my face intently as the words came out of her mouth. 

My stomach dropped but I tried to keep my face even.  My relationship with my grandfather was... complicated.  When I got sorted into Gryffindor, he didn’t speak or write to me for an entire year.  When he did speak to me, one of the things he made clear was that there were certain families that Addie and I were “not to cross.”  The Goyles and Flints were two of those families.

Ama sighed after I had not said anything for a few seconds.  “Cass, it’s going to be fine.  You did the right thing.  Remember, Rose was in the hospital when she was attacked?  Something like that could have happened to Lily if you weren’t there.”

“I know,” I sighed.  “But, why does this year feel like a weird dream?  Why did it have to be Goyle and Flint on the one night I was patrolling by myself?” I asked as I closed my eyes.

“Well, if you’re going to make enemies with close friends of your family, might as well get it out of the way now, yea?”

I opened my eyes and hit Ama with a pillow.

“Hey! Rude!” she protested.

“That’s for making me sound like a slag before,” I laughed. “I’m now hooking up with three guys,” I reported with a proud face and a posh accent.

“Hmmm, I think I like Freddie the best,” she responded with a smirk. “I wasn’t responsible for that rumor and he’s the funniest.”

“I like the mystery man the best,” I quipped back.  “He’s the handsomest obviously.”

“He should be American!  Can he have a New York accent?” Ama asked with a giggle.  “What do you think of my nails?” she added.  “I painted them this grey color this morning.  It’s called Comfy in Cashmere.”

I observed Ama’s nails for a couple of seconds.  “They’re okay,” I said with a shrug.  “I’ve definitely seen better colors on you though.  And, obviously mystery man has a Southern accent, works on a farm, and can cook really well.”

Ama gasped and dramatically put her hand over her heart.  “Can I steal him from you?”

“What?  How dare you!” I retorted.

Ama shrugged.  “You do have three,” she responded in a deadpan tone.

We both laughed as I hit her with a pillow again.

“Okay, time for... real life,” I sighed.  “Can you cover this up?” I asked pointing to my face.

Ama’s face lit up.  “Make-over!”

“No, that’s not what I…” but it was too late she had already ripped open the curtain and was running toward the bathroom.

°~*◊*~°

Hide. 

That was my plan. 

My master plan was to just hide. 

That’s why I was sitting behind the stone Gunhilda of Gorsemoor statute on the third floor.  I even had a book to read with me.  This was perfect, a great plan.  The longer I stayed back here the easier it was to pretend that dust and possibly spiders didn’t surround me.  I reclined and crossed my legs as I got to chapter two of my book.  It was a Nancy Drew book I found in the back corner of the library.  I loved finding mystery muggle books especially ones with female detectives.  

“Uhh, hi,” I heard a voice say. 

I snapped my head up to see a figure with untidy black hair and emerald green eyes staring down at me.  He looked just like James Potter except for his eyes and the fact that his jaw line was slightly more rounder.  Albus Potter was hovering over me.  Behind him was James with his eyebrows furrowed. 

I jumped up quickly.  “How did you find me?” I asked looking around the corridor frantically.

“We have our ways,” James responded cryptically while tucking something into his pocket.

“Mmmm,” I managed to respond while leaning over to look behind Al.

“Are you looking for someone?” James asked me while trying to follow my line of sight.

Al crossed his arms and started smirking. “Do we make you nervous?  We have that effect on ladies sometimes.”  I rolled my eyes.  Al, a Fifth Year, liked to practice his flirting skills on me during our tutoring sessions.  It was honestly the most ridiculous thing ever.  I had no idea how or why girls fell for this nonsense.

I squinted my eyes as I stared at him. “I can’t tell if you’re joking or if you just suffer from acute brain damage,” I deadpanned.  I made it my mission to put Al in his place.

James looked momentarily shocked by my words but his mouth formed into a huge smirk of approval. 

Al rolled his eyes at me.  “You know you love me, Cass.”

“False.  I love the galleons your parents pay me when you need a tutor,” I replied easily.

Before Al could retort again, James stepped in and interrupted our “lovers’ spat” by clearing his throat.  “We just wanted to say thank you for what you did for Lily last night.”

“Oh.”  This is surprising.  “It’s no…”

“CASS!”

“Shit!” I whispered.  I ducked behind James and Al gripping onto the fabric of their pants.

“What are you doing?” James asked looking down at me like I was crazy.

“Shh!”

“Cassiopeia!  I can see you!” 

I cringed and leaned around James.  “Seriously, Addilyn, we’re going to just yell embarrassing full first names in public?” I asked.

She flinched at the mention of her full first name but then rolled her eyes.  “I’ve been looking everywhere for you!  What have you been doing?” she asked taking long strides toward Al, James, and me.

“Just… hanging out,” I said slowly.

“Then why are Goyle and Flint saying that you attacked them last night?” she asked while placing her hands on her hips and coming to a stop in front of us.

I rolled my eyes.  “Drama queens,” I muttered under my breath.  “I was on patrol and I saw them hexing someone and... then things got out of hand,” I explained quickly.

Addie looked confused.  “Why would they duel you and another prefect?  They’re not that good at DADA.”

I swallowed hard.  “I wasn’t with another prefect,” I said while cringing and cowering behind James again.

Addie threw her hands up in the air.  “Do you know how dangerous that is!?  Cass, do I need to remind you how many enemies you have at this school just for being a Nott and a Nott in Gryffindor?”

“Nope, I think I’ve got that all figured out.”

“And you realize Grandfather is going to go crazy, right?” she rambled on. “He might actually disown you this time.”

I was just about to comment that maybe that wasn’t the worse thing ever when the signal for the end of Saturday detention rang.  Mimi walked out of the Charms classroom in the corridor and froze when she saw the group of us.

“What are you doing?” she asked with a scowl on her face as she craned her head to stare me down.

I frowned wondering what I had possibly done to Mimi. “What are you talking about?”  I asked slowly.

“I’m talking about the fact that your face is near my boyfriend’s arse!”

“Mimi,” James chatised while Al loudly scoffed in response. 

Mimi either didn’t hear or pretended not to hear as she continued to stare me down. 

I looked up slowly and sure enough from my position, crouched down behind James, I was right under his arse, which is nicely toned in case you were wondering.  I jumped up and away from James as I smoothed out my clothes. 

“Are you done?” Addie drawled addressing Mimi.

Mimi looked slightly taken aback.

James sighed.  "I'll meet up with you later, Mi?"

She puckered her lips for a second.  "Fine," she said addressing James with a tight smile but then she went back to glaring at me.  “Maybe you should cake on more make-up so you could be pretty enough to be in my presence,” she said while storming away.

“Maybe you should eat make-up so you could be pretty on the inside,” I yelled after her.     

Once Mimi had turned a corner, Addie started shaking her head. “Really?  Really?”

I rolled my eyes. “I know.”

“That was a terrible comeback,” Addie commented.  I could see Al and James hiding their laughs from the corner of my eye.  Why were they still here again?

“I know,” I groaned.  “It was all I could think of with such short notice.”

“Like that was… really bad… 'maybe you should eat make-…'  Wait, why are you wearing make-up?” Addie asked while leaning toward me and squinting.

I gulped.  “Ohh, you know, just wanted to try something new.”

“Yea, I do know you and I know that’s a load of bull.  I have been trying to get you to read my magazines and wear make-up for years.  Since when do you wear anything more than gloss unless I force you?”

“You know, Ama can be super persuasive sometimes,” I tried to say as nonchalantly as possible.

Addie held out her hand in front of Al and James.  “Handkerchief.” 

I shook my head vigorously.  They seemed torn for a couple of seconds but then Addie glared at them and snapped her fingers.  “Now,” she demanded.  They each conjured up a handkerchief using a quick spell.

“Seriously?  I saved your sister from two idiots and this is how you repay me?” I cried out while staring at them.

Addie paused for a second after taking Al’s handkerchief. “You saved a Potter?” she asked me slowly while eyeing the Potter boys.  “Maybe grandfather will disown you,” she said only half jokingly.  “I don’t even understand how you get yourself in these situations,” she said while shaking her head.

I crossed my arms. “We knew the whole disowning thing was coming any… OW!”

Ade wiped the make-up off of my face revealing the scar on my cheek.  There was a collective gasp from my sister, Al, and James.

Ade’s jaw clenched. “Which one of them did this to you?” she asked in a low voice.

“Ade, don’t do anything stupid.  Grandfather is already going to disown me.  The two of us need to live off of something,” I said with a forced laugh.

“I’m much more discrete than you are.  Which one?”

I sighed.  “It’s actually not that bad,” I said quickly but then I winced as my sister lightly touched my cheek with her fingers.

“Is this a burn from a spell?” she asked slowly and still in that eerily low, creepy voice. “They burnt you!  They used fire spells on you!”

“Technically, Flint tried to use a fire spell on me but I did this really cool dive out of the way and…”  I didn’t even get to finish explaining my heroics because my sister had already stormed off toward the dungeons.

I sighed while closing my eyes and leaning my head against the wall.  As I started thinking about my failed plan not to have Addie overreact, I realized that I was being watched.  I slowly opened my eyes to see Al and James staring at me.  Al with an obvious look of concern and James with an oddly blank look on his face.  I quickly pushed myself off the wall.

“Well, this has been fun.  Hope Lily’s doing okay,” I stated before turning on my heels and walking away.

°~*◊*~°

The rest of the week went on as slowly as humanly possible.  There was not-so-quiet whispered speculation about whether or not I was being trained in the Dark Arts.  Apparently, the idea of a short, unassuming witch taking on two large blokes using regular magic was too much for the corridors of Hogwarts to handle.

“Sexism is a social disease, you know,” Josh chirped loudly making a few heads turn toward us as we pushed our way through the crowd toward Charms.  Josh had been randomly shouting feminist quotes and slogans all week. 

“You’re about as subtle as a Bludger, Joshua,” I responded while leaning on the wall outside of the classroom and taking out my notes.  “I think I’ll need your help with the Disillusionment Charm today,” I added while frowning. 

Josh was insanely brilliant when it came to Charms.  Not only was he well versed in the charms in our textbook, but he also knew how to modify spells and create new ones.  Over the summer he filed three new spell applications with the Ministry.  He still complained about the fact that he hadn’t heard back about his spell that could play Spice Girls music without the use of a radio or a WizPod.  I made the grave mistake of suggesting that maybe, just maybe Ministry employees had better things to do than approve spells regarding Muggle female musical groups.  Never again.

“It’s not that hard,” he responded with a shrug.  “You’ll get it without me.”

“Easy for you to say.  You’re much better at.... without you?” I asked looking up at Josh who was fidgeting.

“Look, so don’t hate me...”

I groaned in response.

“...but Evan Garcia asked me to partner with him today.  He gave me the nod.  The noddddd, Cassie,” he said biting his lip unable to hide his smile.

I made a face.  “Are you abandoning me in my time of need to get some arse? J’accuse, Joshua, J’accuse!”

“I absolutely am,” Josh responded immediately while nodding his head.

I tried appealing to Joshua’s sense of loyalty by pouting.

He smirked in response. 

Apparently, he didn’t have any sense of loyalty. 

“See what I want.  Slip slide to it swiftly.”

“What?”  I asked completely confused.

He sighed with a look of utter disappointment on his face as the bell rang.  “You’re hopeless.  Shoop?” he asked.  “Here I go, here I go, here I go again!  Girls, what’s my weakness?  Men!” he rapped while swinging his arms.

“Who sings that song?” I asked as we walked into the classroom.

“Salt-N-Pepa,” Josh said with a smug look on his face as he grabbed our regular table in the first row.

“Yea, let’s keep it that way,” I responded before sticking my tongue out and heading to the back of the classroom.

“Rude,” he replied unamused as his flavor of the month, Evan, sat down next to him.

“Cassie,” a gruff voice stated pausing me from my proud stroll.  I frowned whirling around.  A guy with a dirty blonde modern side quiff haircut was waving at me.  His blue eyes appeared to be looking directly at me but I looked around just to make sure.  He smirked and pointed at me.  “Cassie, sit here,” he said in a slight Australian accent.

I looked over at Josh who looked like he was about to burst as his head swiveled from me to the guy and back to me.  I slowly made my way over to the Hufflepuff that was waving me over.

“Hi,” I stated unable to mask my feeling of mistrust.

“Hey,” he responded scooting over to the chair next to him to make room for me.

“Do you know who I am?” I asked poking the seat to make sure it wasn’t charmed.

“Yes.  And I didn’t do anything to the chair,” he responded with an easy smile.

“You do realize that I...”

“...completely embarrassed my half-brother by beating him up last week?  Yes, I’m aware,” he responded with the smile still on his face.  “It sounded pretty badass.”

I opened my mouth to respond.

“Sorry I’m late, sorry I’m late,” Professor Flitwick squeaked as he scurried into the classroom.  He looked out at the students in the classroom.  “Ms. Nott, please sit,” he stated before waving his wand toward the chalkboard.

I slowly lowered myself in the seat next to Grayson Goyle.

°~*◊*~°

A/N:  So, what do you-all think of the chapter?  I’ve gotten “in trouble” for not using the word, “bloke” correctly.  Have I used it right, here?  Let me know! 

“Shoop” is a song performed by Salt-n-Pepa.  (It also makes a hilarious appearance in the movie, Deadpool.)

“J’accuse” is a nod to Emile Zola’s open letter published in 1898 to the President of France at the time, Felix Faure.  (It was also used in an episode of New Girl :).)  (It translates to “I accuse,” in case you were wondering.)

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