They found her hours later.
She had skipped most of her classes, run from the stairwell and avoided Gryffindor Tower at all costs.
Cassie needed air, needed to see the sky.
She sat alone watching dark shapes swirl over the treetops. They soared silently over the forest, wings never beating, never slowing or stopping.
It was like some black spell had been cast, they were beautiful.
She stood and wandered to the edge of the parapet, looking down on the grounds.
The Thestrals didn't see her, or maybe they did.
Footsteps rattled up the steps behind her, slowing as they spotted looking out at the sky.
"You've got half of Gryffindor out looking for you. Must have done something really bad this time Cassie."
Somehow she hadn't expected that voice. She twisted round to look, glassy eyes blinking back into focus.
"Not bad, just not thought through."
"Well. I heard that you cursed Sirius Black so badly that he was taken to the hospital wing... but that isn't true because five minutes later he was storming out of the castle with the small one running to catch up." Pyra lent against the railing, fidgeting with the ends of her hair.
"The small one's called Peter."
Eddie crept around the other side, leaning over the parapet in a mirror of Cassie.
"I really couldn't care less." He looked over the grounds, eyes drifting towards the forest.
"How did you find me then?"
"We worked out where the highest place in the castle was and went there." Eddie rubbed his hands together. He was in a t-shirt, not the warmest for the Astronomy tower. "That's where you always go."
Cassie laughed, half to herself.
"Do you remember when we got onto the roof at your grandmothers?"
Eddie and Pyra both grinned, giggles and chuckles giving way from both of them.
"You mean when you forced us out of the window after you?"
"Was that what happened?"
"I just thought you followed me." Cassie laughed. "Cissy was so mad. She thought we were running away from her."
Eddie bowed his head against her shoulder. "I am sorry about what happened."
"Why? You weren't in control of him." She gave him a dark look. "Were you?"
"No, but you were upset." Pyra reached out and grabbed her hand. "We can't have that."
"You want me to curse him?"
"No!" Cassie gave Eddie a judge with her elbow but he was laughing... So was Pyra.
"Merlin sake, if your going to take the piss then leave me alone."
"Come on." Eddie stood straight up and pulled her away from the wall. Her legs had gone stiff form the cool wind, her hands numb.
"There's food in the common room and you can tell us about beating Black a you want! Payment for not chucking out a Gryffindor."
Cassie crept back into the dorm room. She hadn't gone to dinner.
Pyra had let her camp out there for an hour or two. Away from questions and girls demanding explanations.
Three pairs of eyes fixed on her as she opened the door.
All silent as the grave while she turned and dumped her bag on her bed, pulling her tie loose and snaking it off her neck.
"Where the hell have you been?" Lily was on her feet.
"All over really."
"I spent half the day looking for you. Emme spent half the day looking for you! Remus and Sirius had a huge argument. Where were you?" Lily strode forwards, pulling her around. "You could have been hurt. You said yourself, don't walk around alone."
"I was fine Lily."
"We didn't know that!"
Lily was glaring at her. Hair pulled back to show her pale face, etched with worry and bright green eyes fixing her with a death stare.
Cassie sighed, looking to Emme.
Emme, dramatic as she was, had to back her up.
She shook her head. "Not this time Cass. I agree with Lily. That was super stupid."
"But nothing was going to happen to me!"
"Why is that?" Sophie spoke, perched awkwardly on the edge of her bed. She cocked her head to the side, frowning slightly. She looked out of place sitting on her own bed.
"Because I can look after myself."
Emme's face cracked a smile at that. "So we heard! How long did it take you to floor Black?"
Emme laughed and shrugged. "Let her go Lily."
Lily breathed out, her eyes holding Cassie's for a moment longer.
"Okay." she let go and wandered back to her bed. "By the way Potter's looking for you down at the Pitch. He's been waiting a while."
"It's about bloody time!"
Waiting might have been a strong word to use for what James was doing. He was pacing obsessively, his broom already floating beside him. Going by his hair he had already been for a ride, but then again...
James ran a hand through his hair messing the black mass up even more.
"How long did your tantrum last? Sure! Miss practice, hide with the Slytherins and why not... Let's curse Black while we're at it!"
Cassie rolled her eyes and swung a leg over her broom.
She kicked off the ground and made an easy spin around Potter, pulling her broom to a stop next to him.
"So... What are we doing? Where's everyone else?" Cassie let her grip go, allowing herself to swing low on the broom, hanging upside down with her long hair almost touching the grass.
James said something that might have been "Show off." but Cassie ignored that. Coming from Potter that was practically a compliment.
"I just wanted to talk to you." He shifted uncomfortably. Really, Potter hated any conversation he had to be serious during.
"If this is about Sirius then you can forget it. I don't want to know."
"No. Not about him. Look... I don't know if you thought much about after Hogwarts and it isn't even certain if we'll be able to do anything but... Well..."
He stopped and turned to face her. "McGonagall's inviting some team coaches here to speak to the seventh years." He took a deep breath and looked at her expectantly.
She didn't react.
James brow creased. "And... You were meant to be happy?"
"Are you kidding?" Cassie was gaping at him. "Please tell me this isn't a joke Potter because if it is I swear on Godric Gryffi-"
"It isn't a joke."
Cassie let her breath out in a low whistle, pulling herself upright on her broom.
"The Harpies, Montrose Magpies. The Tornadoes, Puddlemere."
"The Magpies!" She looked at James with wide, clear eyes.
He grinned and nodded. "I thought you would like that one."
The Montrose Magpies. Cassie could feel her heart beating fast in her chest.
This wasn't the plan! Well... It had been, but current circumstances had forced her to change that.
She needed a team far away from this stinking island where neither the Ministry or the Dark Lord could ever find her.
"Cassie... They're coming to see you." James gave her a look, pulling her out of her spiral.
She couldn't help it, her face broke into a smile.
She fired off her broom, jumping on James and pulling him into a hug.
"Thank you!" He laughed, running a hand through his hair and giving her a tight hug back. "Why didn't you say sooner?"
"Because I didn't know for sure until today. Then you went off on one and it took a while to track you down. In the dungeons."
"Idiot. Potter we might actually do this."
James laughed, rubbing the back of his head.
"So. Get on the broom. Extra practice whenever we can?"
"Cassie. I know it wasn't your plan and all... Lily said you wanted to get out of here pretty sharpish but who knows... Give it a try?"
And in that moment, Cassie saw it.
"You like her that much?" She laughed at the look on his face. "You do! You did this because she mentioned that? "
"I-" James was flaming red, he choked on his speech, failing miserably to appear cool.
"I don't care why you did it Potter, but thank you."
"Okay. Okay." James let out a sigh. "That's done now... Quidditch?"
She vaulted onto the broom and soared over the grass. Higher and higher.
She glowed in the dying light.
The sunset turning her skin a warm gold and bringing out the hints of hazel and the tawny strands in her hair. Wind was suddenly blowing all around her, whipping strands of hair over her face, her eyes closed against the warm setting sun.
James roared from somewhere far below. "YAXLEY. GET THE BLOODY QUAFFLE."
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