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"So..." Lily started with a sense of drama usually monopolised by Emme. "I said yes."

 

Cassie froze, half way through taking a sip of boiling hot coffee, Emme dropped her fork with a clatter to her plate and both of them turning to stare, open mouthed at Lily.

 

"Are we thinking of the same yes?" Emme raised a perfect, dark eyebrow.

 

Lily took a deep breath, preparing herself for whatever was about to come at her and took the seat opposite them. "We are."

 

"Gaaahhh!" Emme and Cassie's screams bounded around the great hall, making heads snap around and wands be drawn.

 

"Oh calm down! I'm not dying again!" Emme shouted, earning a few eye rolls across the room. She moved to get up, wincing as she stood too fast. The wound on her ribs wasn't fully healed yet. Still, she persevered. Climbing to stand on the bench and cleared her throat loudly.

 

"Sorry Lily." Cassie laughed, realising exactly what was about to happen.

 

"Witches and Wizards of the Great Hall!" Emme held her wand to her throat, her high voice echoing through the hall and probably half of the castle. "To those of you who have been following this stupid saga for six years, I have an announcement to make..."

 

"NO! Emme don't!" Lily was bright red but smiling, half heartedly attempting to stop her. If she was really trying Emme wouldn't have a voice.

 

"FINALLY, Evans is going on a date with Potter."

 

There was a second of silence, the older pupils digesting the newest piece of gossip and the younger ones wondering what was going on. Then the laughing started.

 

Cheers, wolf whistles and shouts of "WELL DONE POTTER!" echoed up into the sparse white clouds that formed the ceiling.

 

Even the teachers were chuckling to themselves. It was a joke to half the school, largely because the huge number of attempts he had made to convert his opinion of her, no matter how elaborate they had become, had, up until recently, failed.

In their fourth year Sirius has set up a school wide betting shop on how long it would take for Lily to acquiesce.

In sixth year the proposal-like decoration of love half way through the sorting ceremony had kept the castle talking for months.

 

Everyone knew of the ridiculous lengths James had gone to over the years and now-

 

"Go on then! How did he do it?" A sixth year girl shouted from the Hufflepuff table, giggling with her friends.

 

"He stopped being a dick about it and asked nicely." Lily snapped, a bright smile spreading across her face.

 

"You know, if this goes badly she's going to hate you. " Cassie said, helping Emme back into her seat.

 

"I do. But it was worth it, we all needed a laugh."

 

"But really," Cassie looked back at her beetroot best friend. "It's about bloody time!"

 

 


 

 

James was treated like a king in the days leading up to the Halloween Hogsmeade visit, something ridiculously bad for the size of his ego.

 

He strolled through the corridors, flanked by Black and Pettegrew, grinning everywhere he went.

 

"He'd better not fuck it up now. He's only got to last until Saturday." Cassie mused as she walked behind with Remus. The pair observed a group of fifth year boys stop to watch James go past, both rolling their eyes at James's re-energised popularity.

 

"So are you looking forwards to Hogsmeade? It must be good to get out of here."

 

"I don't know if I'm going. Emme can't leave the castle and Lily's going to be off with James."

 

"Sophie?" He suggested.

 

Cassie looked at Remus like he was really quite stupid.

 

"What about us then? You'll have to hang out with Sirius, but things seem... alright now?"

 

"Alright is a word for it." In a week and a half she had had exactly three conversations with Black. Polite, short conversations that hadn't meant much, but hadn't resulted in an argument or a fight. He just didn't seem interested in her all of sudden, which was hardly a bad thing as Cassie kept reminding herself.

 

"I actually wouldn't mind that. Do I get to see all the Marauder secrets?"

 

Remus cringed. He hated the name they had given themselves back in third year. Much to the mockery of everyone else.

 

"No you do not! You're a guest only."

 

"Oh come on! Do I not get a stupid nickname?"

 

"No!" He gave her a light shove. "You don't."

 

"Fine."

 

She turned away to hide her smile, letting her gaze drift along the hall past the groups of Potter-fanboys and younger girls tossing their hair over their shoulders, or else going slightly pink, as the trio walked by. Amidst everything else she almost missed him, the boy with a pale, drawn face, chewing his lips he watched them pass from the edge of a huge tapestry.

 

She probably shouldn't have gone after him but it was the first time he had appeared since that night and Cassie couldn't help herself, she switched direction straight away, weaving through the morning rush to class until she reached the same hanging and pushed it aside.

 

"Reg?" Cassie called out, her voice echoing along the dark, tunnel-like corridor the tapestry concealed. He was already at the other end, moving as quickly as he could to get out the other side and not turning although he had definitely heard her.

 

"Regulus!"

 

He didn't stop.

 

There was a light breeze of air and a flash of daylight as the tapestry moved once again, slow footsteps walking to greet her.

 

"Cass? What is it?" Remus asked.

 

"Nothing, it doesn't matter."

 

She didn't know what she had been thinking, going after him like that.

 

"Leave him, he's not worth it." Remus said too softly for the expression on his face.

 

Cassie watched Reg vanish, expressionless, then turned to Remus and nodded back the way they had come.

 

"Shall we? We're going to be late for Flitwick."

 

 


 

 

On Saturday morning Cassie woke up to frost on the window.

 

"No snow. I checked." Emme, never normally a morning person, was curled up on the windowsill with a blanket and a charms textbook.

 

"What are you doing?" Cassie yawned. Shaking dreams of dark wings from her head, she forced herself up onto her elbows.

 

"Homework. I thought I'd do something useful while you go off and have fun." She sounded a little resentful, having been alright up until now, but then again she was missing one of her favorite days of the year.

 

Cassie felt a bubble of guilt in the pit of her stomach. Emme couldn't leave the castle on strict Healer orders.  She had only just left the hospital wing. It had taken Bones and Pomfrey a long time to work out the correct counter curse. Even then, it had left Emme with a livid scar across her ribs and down her stomach that hurt whenever she moved.

 

"I can stay if you want?"

 

"No, don't be stupid! I need you to get me supplies!"

 

Cassie forced herself out of bed and climbed into the window alcove beside her.

"I don't know if I want to go. I honestly don't think I can spend a day with Sirius. Remus, yes. Pete, maybe. Not Siri."

 

"Eugh. Yes you can! You used to do it all the time."

 

"When I was ten, and I'm pretty sure I trapped him on a roof once."

 

Emme laughed at that, her smile tightening at the pain. "Perfect! I think the astronomy tower would work this time around." She offered Cassie some blanket so they were snug together. "He isn't going to say anything. Not after the whole Regulus thing. He owes you now."

 

Emme had been blissfully understanding about everything. Never one to miss an opportunity to skip class, she had been more focused on complaining about the pain rather than the cause of it.

 

"James wasn't too happy about that."

 

"James adores Black. If Sirius wanted to protect Regulus, then that's exactly what James will do. Anyway, I need a new bottle of Sleekeazy's and literally as much chocolate as you can get into your bag, new quills and shit- I wanted some new robes and you're too short to try them for me... I'll get some at Christmas. That alright?"

 

"On the condition that you stay in the dorm or the common room. No wandering around until I get back."

 

"Okay. Deal." Emme flashed her a smug grin. "You could also get yourself a birthday present from me. Owl orders aren't going to get here on time."

 

"Don't even try! I don't want one."

 

Cassie hadn't realised how close they were now.

 

Four days and she would be eighteen.

 

"What do you want to do? I mean, we could always do a party in the common room but that's a bit dull and I think Sirius got his reservation in first."

 

Sirius's birthday. Every year Cassie tried to forget about that.

 

Annoying as ever, by some sick twist of fate they were born on the same day. Which had only turned out as a nice comparison for their mothers: who spoke first, walked first, who showed signs of magic first, who the Dark Lord seemed to show an interest in first.

 

Cassie. Cassie had done everything first. Sirius did it with more grandiose flair.

 

"We'll see next week. Whatever I do, I'll wait for you to be better."

 

"You don't have to wait. I'll be fine! Also I think it's time to wake up Sleeping Beauty. She's got a date in less than two hours." Emme shook her head as she turned her attention to Lily.

 

"I'm awake." came the mumble from Lily's bed.

 

"Good." Emme threw back Lily's curtains. "Well get up! At least I get to see what you're going to wear."

 

As far as boys went there was little and less experience in the room.

 

Mary had been the girls' go to for everything on that topic. She would give an easy laugh and jump into bed with you, demanding to know who it was you fancied and did he like you back and were you going to make a move and what would you wear?

Her bed still stood as an empty tribute to her, ever present and constantly catching Cassie's eye as she went about everyday life.

 

When it came to boys Lily was sure all of them were scared off by Potter (Or Snape. Or both.) and Emme just wasn't interested. She was gorgeous, funny, loud, easily able to get whoever she wanted but whenever someone tried to chat her up she just shrugged and kept walking.

 

The only person Cassie had ever paid much attention to hadn't noticed her until she practically won the Quidditch Cup for him the year before. A drunken victory party had lead to a snog in the corner and a few weeks of dating. Richard Carter was nice, but then he graduated and got a job with the Tornadoes. That was the end of that.

 

Apart from Ric there was just Eddie, and she had been avoiding him all week.

 

Since she had last spoken to him relationships between the Gryffindor side of the hall and the Slytherin table at the far end were worse than ever.

Although there were no official punishments for the gang who had attacked Lily and Emme, everyone seemed to know exactly who it was. Fights had been breaking out all over the school, in every year, in every house.

 

Cassie didn't realise how far word had gotten until she overheard a first year group whispering about James Potter, or as they put it "The Quidditch Captain? That James Potter?", having an unforgivable curse used on him right under the nose of the teachers.

 

But today wasn't about that, Cassie reminded herself.

 

Emme had demanded she get to do Lily's makeup, while Cassie snuck off to the bathroom to scrape together a look and mentally prepare for the day ahead. She got away with a jumper, boots and a leather jacket thrown on with a Gryffindor scarf. Cassie insisted she be allowed to wear jeans. A day with the boys almost certainly meant running at some point. She didn't want to be caught in a skirt if it came to making a fast getaway.

 

It was nothing compared to the treatment Emme subjected Lily too.

 

They had raided all three trunks to pull together a red cord dress that didn't clash with Lily's hair, a white woolen jumper, tights and a thick overcoat in black. Her hair fell down her back in soft waves. A dusting of makeup, and Lily was perfect.

 

 


 

 

All four boys were lounging around the marble stairs when they got there, James's face lighting up as he saw Lily. She really was beautiful and going by the look plastered all over his face, James clearly thought so too.

 

"Looking good Evans."

 

"So you always say Potter." She rolled her eyes, blushing slightly as she strolled down the final stairs to meet him. "Right, are we going?"

 

"Yes! See you later." James practically bounced out of the hall, Lily following close behind.

 

Sirius laughed, still leaning back against the banister with his hands shoved into the pockets of his coat. He had an easy smile on his face, glossy black hair falling with an annoying amount of elegance onto his shoulders. The Black family looks started to shine though again as the stress subsided. He looked relaxed for the first time in weeks.

 

Cassie had gone down to the hospital wing with the others the morning after the incident. She had stood beside the boys as they stopped at James's bed.

 

The boy, groggy and full of sleep potions had half opened his eyes, looking up at Sirius and grinning.

 

"So, you missed saving my life so you could shag Sophie Wilson?"

 

Sirius had been stark white, he nodded.

 

"Was she any good?" His grin got wider.

 

"I didn't in the end" Sirius let out a long breath, smirking to himself. "Bit embarrassing really."

 

"You're all talk Pads. Remind me to thank you, apparently Evans was crying over my lifeless body." James folded his arms behind his head.

 

Sirius had barked out a laugh and reached over to hug James. "Thank me once she's agreed to go out with you."

 

Cassie would have payed to be there when Lily had agreed to go out with him. His reaction would have been something worth seeing.

 

Remus, Pete and Sirius stood up as Cassie strolled past them, looking out at James and Lily as they made their way across the castle grounds.

 

"I reckon we give them a head start then head off? Where are we going?"

 

"The Shrieking Shack." Sirius shrugged, he moved to stand next to her. Close enough that his elbow brushed her jacket as he passed. Both of them flinching back at the contact.

 

"You're mental."

 

"No?" Sirius winked over her head at Remus. "How about the Three Broomsticks instead?"

 

It was nice to do something normal.

 

She sat with the boys in the Three Broomsticks, sipping a butterbeer as they were planning their raid on Zonkos, going through the strange list of ingredients and props they would need for their next, Cassie rolled her eyes at the word, project.

 

From the sound of it there were small explosives involved.

 

"What are you planning on doing?"

 

"Revenge." Sirius muttered, his voice full of malice and a dangerous smile creeping onto his face.

 

"I don't get to know anything else? As in... Where in Hogsmeade are you going to get explosives."

 

"I can't reveal my sources, Yaxley. There has to be some mystery... Just stay out of the dungeons tonight."

 

"A bloke called Mundungus. He gets us whatever we need, courtesy of James's Gringotts vault." Remus lent over and whispered to her.

 

"You're going to get yourself killed."

 

"Nope. We'll maybe get some detentions." Peter said with far too much excitement.

 

"Detention must miss you."

 

"It has been a while..." Sirius mused as though he lusted after days spent cleaning the marble staircase by hand or crawling along the lawn pulling out weeds, a far away look on his face.

 

"For God's sake." Remus smiled indulgently. "What happened to turning over a new leaf?"

 

"It got boring." He swung back in his chair, his eyes glancing around the room and stopping on an attractive girl at the bar.

He smiled at her, making her blush and give him a suggestive smile back.

 

Cassie had never seen the Sirius Effect up close, she had never played that much attention before. It was magnetic. He just had to give someone a look and they were all his.

 

Her eyes moved to the group who had just entered. Snape stood awkwardly, looking over to the boys with some hesitation, frowning when he realised James wasn't there. He was quickly joined by Rosier, the Carrow twins from sixth year, and Avery.

Eddie ignored her and walked, to the bar to order a round of drinks.

 

Cassie looked away, throwing herself into a conversation with Peter about how to steal Gillyweed from the potion stores. She didn't look around until she and the boys were leaving, ignoring the eyes that watched her go.

 

They trailed around the village to get supplies both mundane and magical.

"So when do you meet Mundungus?" Cassie asked Remus as they left Zonkos.

 

"James is sorting that. He likes him more than anyone else."

 

"I can't do it. I'm not that good of a swimmer." Peter interrupted as they wandered to the edge of the village, to the boundary where the Shrieking Shack sat.  

 

"You don't need to be. If Yaxley's right this will fix that." Sirius insisted. "I need to be in the dungeons. Prongs and Moony need to be as far away from this as possible."

 

"You don't think this is a bit dangerous Padfoot?" Pete muttered, going a little pink around the ears and constantly looking to Cassie and Remus for a second opinion.

 

"Nope." Sirius strode along confidently.

"I really-"

 

Remus stopped, grabbing Sirius's arm. He pointed to a couple a way down the path, clearly unaware that they were being watched.

 

Potter and Lily were holding hands, walking and laughing together. Though she couldn't see Lily, even from here the smile on Potter's face was obvious.

 

"Let's go back. Before they see," she whispered to the others. "They don't want an audience."

 

They all agreed, making an about turn.

 

Somehow, Cassie found herself walking beside Sirius. They didn't talk, didn't even look at each other, but it felt alright.

 

She could see her breath as she walked, regretting not taking a warmer jacket instead. They should be getting back now anyway, she thought as Remus took a shortcut through the Hog's Head Lane and ducked around to get back to the main road.

 

"Been abandoned have you? Has Potter found some better friends to gallop around with?"

A voice shouted from behind them. Cassie would have recognised the sneer in the voice anywhere, and evidently, so would the boys.

 

"Sirius don't!" Remus whispered but it was too late. Sirius spun around, brandishing his wand.

 

"No Snivellus. He's off on a date with Evans right now." His voice was bright and chatty, as if it was a close friend he was sharing the good news with. "I don't know if you heard."

 

Severus's mouth fixed into a hard line, his eyes blazing.

 

"You're lying."

 

"Not lying." He kept up the sunshine-filled tone, seeing the way it ate into Severus. "You see, she prefers her boyfriends not to be slimy, greasy gits."

 

Sirius raised his wand, not fast enough.

 

"Expelliarmus." Severus slashed his, pulling Black's wand from his hand.

 

"On you go then!" Black taunted him. "I've no wand! Do your worst."

 

Snape growled and raised his wand. "Sect-"

 

"Portago." Cassie cast a shield before Snape could finish the curse.

 

He blinked for a moment, as if he had just registered the girl hidden amongst them. Confusion morphed into suspicion, and then finally to utter glee.

 

"Got yourself a new girl then, Black? I know someone who'll be very interested to know about that." He nodded to Cassie with a sick smile spreading over his face.

 

Eddie wouldn't have told him. He would not have told them about that, for his own ego if no other reason.

 

"Don't you dare." She pointed her wand at Severus.

 

"You know she's snogged Avery, don't you?"

 

Cassie snarled slightly as Remus and Peter both looked at her with wide eyes, their wands lowering.

 

"I don't know why Avery would want a someone like her." Severus looked at Cassie. Disgust distorted his face, which did nothing for his overall appearance. He laughed. "Blood Traitors are almost as bad as Mudbloods, if you ask me."

 

She flinched at the term, admittedly one that she had used for many wizards in the past. But never her, that was new. And new, at least as Cassie saw it, was dangerous.

 

He, along with Remus, Pete and Sirius all waited for her to react, and smiled when she didn't move.

 

"Fine." Snape hissed. "Levicorpus!" Peter was hoisted into the air and in almost the same breath a spell flew past Cassie's ear. Shit.

 

"Stupefy!" Remus yelled, sending Snape flying back as Sirius dove to grab his wand.

He had Peter down, blocking spells and pulling him back out of the alley, towards the main road.

 

"Traitor!" Severus screamed, sending another curse at Cassie.

 

She ducked, backing out of view as quickly as possible and giving herself a moment to run. Fast. She wheeled around and bolted for the main road when-

 

Eddie leaned back against the wall of a shop, watching with narrow eyes.

 

"Cassiel." He nodded in greeting.

 

Rosier and Mulciber leaned on the wall beside him, both watching her with murderous glares. He spun his wand between his fingers, the point casually directed at Cassie.

 

She didn't know what to do, to run or try and explain but whatever she decided, she couldn't fight him.

 

"I thought I told you to keep your temper." He called out with a self assured confidence.

 

It was all too perfect. He happened to be there just as one of his little bitches had started another argument.

 

"I..." She stammered over her words, shrugging as if to say ‘What can you do?'

 

There were footsteps beside her, someone running past, grabbing her as he went. Sirius caught her hand and pulled her with him as he sprinted down the main road and away from the feet pounding on the ground behind them.

 

They didn't stop until they passed Honeydukes, Black wheeling around and diving into the shop.

 

"Fucking hell, Yaxley. Don't just stand there next time. Get in a good shot."

 

He was laughing, dragging her through the shop and ducking behind a group of third years, using them as cover to sneak through the door to the stockroom. Cassie bit her tongue and followed him down the stairs, taking her hand back and keeping an eye for any shop assistants spotting them.

 

He marched straight across the room, pointed his wand at a floorboard with an unnecessary flourish, and a trap door popped up, revealing a grubby tunnel underneath.

 

"Get in." He barked.

 

"I'm not going in there."

 

"Yes you are. Get in! Would you like to walk back to the school only to be met by your boyfriend and his, to be very honest, shit-crazy friends?"

 

She hesitated. A small part of her didn't want to get down there only for Sirius to leave her. She wouldn't put that past him.

 

He sighed and climbed down first, waving for her to follow.

 

Cassie shook her head, taking a moment to grab a box full of chocolate bars on her way. She dumped a handful of gold coins onto the floor and jumped down after Sirius.

 

"They're for Emme- He's not my boyfriend." She highly doubted he was her friend any more.

 

"But you kissed him?" He teased, fixing the trapdoor.

 

"NO!"

 

Sirius lit his wand and started along the passage, his pace was far more relaxed now that they were out of sight. Cassie had had no idea the passageway was there, she doubted anyone else would think to look in a Hogsmeade cellar.

 

"Not exactly."

 

"I always thought you had better taste."

 

She didn't say anything to that. The bizarreness of her current situation was only just catching up with her.

 

"Does this always happen to you?" she asked, watching as Sirius waltzed down the tunnel, clearly at home in his dark surroundings.

 

"Yes. It doesn't to you?"

 

"Not until recently."

 

"Well... Get used to it." Sirius turned to grin back at her. "You're having a good time."

 

"I don't pick fights with wannabe Death Eaters."

 

He nodded. "You should start. You're enjoying this!"

 

"No I am not!" Cassie lied swiftly.

 

"I hate to say this, but it's the first time all year you haven't looked like a miserable cow."

 

"And who's fault is that?" she snapped.

 

"Your own. Now hurry the fuck up, Yaxley. I'd like to be back in the common room before those twats make it to the school."

 

"Cassie."

 

He turned and gave her a look of amusement muddled with a lot of confusion.

 

"Sorry?"

 

"Stop calling me Yaxley. It's Cassie, or Cassiel if you want to sound like my Mother. We were friends before, you could act like it occasionally."

 

"Whatever."

 

Cassie grit her teeth and followed him, making a mental note of where the passageway came out.

 

 


 

 

"It was actually really nice, surprisingly so." Lily told them over the Halloween feast. It was just desserts left, every student had eaten just as much as they could, with a few picking at the remains and waiting to be let go.

 

"The Hog's Head?"

 

"Is not that bad! And James was right, no students watching everything we do." Lily hadn't stopped smiling once. "Then we went on a walk and really, he's grown up a lot!"

 

She glanced down the table at James. He was equally smiling and chatting away, still digging into a plate piled high with cheesecake, chocolate gateau, ice cream and more things that would have made Cassie sick. Remus was looking around nervously, chewing on his bottom lip while Peter and Sirius held up their end of the conversation. Looks were cast in their direction every few minutes, mostly at Lily. Once or twice, James looked at Cassie with a lot of shock and a little admiration.

 

She groaned silently to herself. She wanted to kill Severus.

 

"So how was the day with the boys?" Emme stabbed a profiterole with her fork, dipping it into  thick caramel sauce in a golden bowl. "Eventful?"

 

"Not really. They just do the same as everyone else but make it all seem bigger!" Cassie decided to leave out the important part of the day.

 

"Examples?" The girls both leaved over the table, intrigued.

 

"We ended up getting back to the castle in a secret passageway."

 

"What! How do they find these things?" Lily looked over to James, half impressed and half horrified.

 

"Where?" Emme demanded.

 

"I can't tell you. I solemnly swore." Cassie grinned, knowing exactly the way to wind Emme up.

 

"Eugh, you're as bad as them now." They watched as Peter and Sirius got to their feet, casually strolling out of the hall.

 

"Right. I've got chocolate to eat and I need to hear more about this in the dorm!" Emme started to get up when Casssie stopped her.

 

"Wait."

 

"What?" She frowned down at her.

 

"No... You'll want to be here for this."

 

The feast was ending, the last of the food being scraped from massive golden platters and  drinks being swallowed. The smell of burning pumpkin was starting to overtake the hall, the hundreds suspended above their heads starting to roast from the candles buried inside them.

 

A group got up from the Slytherin table as soon as Dumbledore dismissed them, setting off for the dungeons before anyone else.

 

Cassie held back for a moment, the girls joining James and Remus.

 

"Ten." James muttered. "Nine... Eight."

 

They wandered towards the entrance hall.

 

"James. What is going on?" Lily had her Head Girl voice on, following him though the doors as he continued to count.

 

"Four. Three. Two."

 

Remus started up the marble staircase, the rest following at a slower pace.

"One." The smirk on James's face only got wider as a BOOM sounded somewhere below them, followed by the instant sound of far off gushing water. Then came startled screams, the sound of running feet and suddenly the water got louder.

 

Lily's eyes went wide, looking at James in horror. "You didn't..."

 

"Nope. I didn't. Cassie did though."

 

Lily and Emme gaped at her.

 

"I had some suggestions." She shrugged.

 

The first student ran out of the dungeons corridor, soaking wet and dripping muddy water onto the floor. He looked up at the group on the steps, his sodden black hair half covering his face, not disguising the expression.

 

They started coming fast, everyone from second years to Rosier, completely soaked.

 

Teachers were running from the great hall, Slughorn aghast at the state of his students. He stuttered, sputtered and then finally found his voice.

 

"Everyone into the hall. Make sure everyone is here. Slewin I said into the hall!"

 

Lily rushed down the stairs, helping him to usher dripping first years back to the Slytherin table.

 

"POTTER!" McGonagall shouted, catching sight of James laughing away. "I have given you warning after warning but never did I think-"

 

"Professor. I've just left the table." James claimed, wide eyed and innocent.

 

She stopped, narrowing her eyes and turning a true Gryffindor red, anger bubbling under the surface. But James was telling the truth and she knew it.

 

"You blew up the dungeons?" Emme giggled.

 

"Someone may have caused a small explosion... Say, just enough to break a magically reinforced window under the Black Lake." Sirius was suddenly beside them, appearing from nowhere.

 

He nodded to Eddie as he appeared from the dungeons. Looking very much as if he had been completely under water a few minutes before. He stormed into the entrance corridor, shaking water from his hair, his shoes squelching and gushing water whenever he took a step.

"I thought we'd wait until he was in his dorm. He had to swim out."

 

Cassie couldn't help it, a laugh burst from her lips. She covered her mouth, trying to choke it back but she couldn't stop herself.

 

Pyra followed a moment after Eddie, catching sight of Cassie on the stairs. She frowned for a moment, working out exactly what had happened. Then her face lit up.

 

"You bitch! It was you, wasn't it?" She grinned up at her.

 

"Zabini! Language!" Slughorn shouted.

 

"Sorry Sir." Pyra giggled. She wrung remnants of the Loch out of her hair, pushing past Eddie where he had stopped to glare up at Cassie. His eyes passed over James and Sirius either side of her, his lip curling back in a sneer.

 

Cassie felt her blood run a little colder. That was the end of that then.

 

"Why?" Emme wasn't even fighting the laugh now.

 

"I made sure all the greasy little gits got a shower for once. Nice touch Cass, making Pete eat gillyweed. It made all the difference." Sirius glared back at Eddie.  

 

"Don't mention it. It was worth it."

 

They turned from the sight of soaking Slytherins and started back to their dry, warm tower, finally letting themselves dissolve into a pile of giggles.

 

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