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Disclaimer: It all belongs to J.K. Rowling, except my Original Characters and the plot—which are mine.

You Hate Me
Chapter 1: You Demand Respect Though I Give You None

“Well, well, well, gents, it looks like we didn’t run Red out last year.”

Piper Redden cringed upon hearing the taunting drawl of Sirius Black behind her. She was never in the mood for Black and his haughtiness, nor did she like or appreciate it. But, since Piper was enjoying a splendidly dreadful day she had no intentions to allow this particular group of Gryffindors to make it worse, which, coincidentally, is what they had planned to do.
It had been too much to pray they would not find her. The first time she passed, Piper ducked under her seat and examined old, rotten gum for a quarter hour. The second time she heard their footsteps, Piper slid down so far in her seat she was on the floor. Now on their third round they were desperate, and Piper had been foolish to think sitting very still and trying her best to blend into the décor of the compartment would be enough to fool the Marauders.

Piper pulled her slim wand from her jeans pocket. Thankful that she had read ahead in her Charms textbook over the holidays, she mumbled, “Aguamenti.” A jet of water poured from the tip of her wand. It formed a small, slippery puddle at the closed compartment door and slowly seeped into the carpeted floor.
Her conscious began to hiss angrily, and Piper half expected to see a miniscule version of herself dressed in white robes and bearing a harp sitting on left shoulder while her right would have donned a horned and pitchforked version of herself. The harp strumming Piper said, “Don’t start, Piper, term hasn’t even started yet.” The horned Piper said, “Don’t you want to get them before they get you?”
Piper sided with the later.

Rain came down in hard bursts outside, pounding the window and rattling the train. The rain made the sky seem darker and swirling black clouds hid the almost full moon from view. The window had turned into a mirror against the dark contrast of the night, and through it Piper saw the four dubbed the Marauders in the corridor, swaying with the train. Piper exhaled into the window, fogging it up. She drew a design into the fog, while secretly surveying the four outside the door.
They smiled innocently when Piper turned in her seat to face the still closed door. She had grown sick of drawing on the window and wanted to get the encounter over with. Several tendrils of soft charcoal curls had escaped from the tight bun Piper kept them in and fell around her seemingly delicate face. On closer inspection one would see that her features were quite hard.
Her sharp and chiseled complexion was as emotionless as marble. She had learned quite early to void her visage of any feeling. Once, her face was soft and angelic but the daunting life as the only daughter of a prosperous pureblood family had stolen that complexion from her. And if any emotion did reveal itself on her stony countenance it was always anger, and her anger was caused by only the Marauders.

“Well you see, boys, I knew I would miss you too much if I left Hogwarts.” Piper paused, “I thought to myself, ‘What would I do without my four favorite people in the world?’”

One more step, Black, I dare you

Sirius opened the door. Instead of looking at the ground, where the puddle loomed dangerously at his feet, he kept his eyes trained on Piper. She was too quick with her wand to let their guard down even for a second. He recalled an incident the year previously when Piper wore a particularly revealing blouse. The moment Sirius looked at her cleavage Piper had her wand out and was setting his Transfiguration essay on fire before he could even get a good look. Not that Piper would be first in line in the cleavage department, but who was he to pass up free cleavage goggling?

Piper’s endearing words had been as false as her grandfather’s teeth. The Marauders were not her favorite people in the world (not that she had many favorites). In fact, she could not think of any more deserving of being pushed off a cliff. An ocean cliff. With sharks swarming in the water below. Blood thirsty sharks that had nothing better to do than wait for four annoying boys to fall to their demise.

Piper and the Marauders had never gotten along.
In their first year, Professor McGonagall needed only to say Piper’s last name to insure dislike.

Piper was a pureblood through and through, though her immediate family’s pureblood mania was only for show. Piper’s father, Heath, was a quiet supporter of Muggle rights—not too many rights, but certainly they deserved the opportunity not to be blown to bits by wizards. The Reddens were, as many had said before, the equivalent of the Wizarding mafia. After a long and quiet war, it was the Reddens who were victorious and ruled vice in the Wizarding world. No one ever acknowledged the strange disappearance of one who offended a Redden, and they closed their mouths tightly when the Minister listening to everything the Redden family had to say. Their blood being as pure as even the Malfoys only secured their authority.
The Reddens appreciated the Dark Arts and valued them as a unique portrayal of the soul other Magic could not compete with. It was the older men of the family who were most well known for their expertise in the Dark Arts, few other members actually learned them with the vigor of Julius Redden I, the head of the Redden family; Richard Redden III, his brother; and Cordelia Redden, their sister who had refused to change her surname. The terrible acts of these men and women overshadowed the generous acts of the rest of the family. It was therefore the reputation of the Reddens to dabble in Dark Magic and surely any daughter of witches and wizards as seemingly Dark as the Reddens would be trouble at Hogwarts, or so Sirius thought.

Sirius Black had been desperate to make it very clear that he would not tolerate any Dark Magic anywhere near him (as if Piper, as a first year, knew this kind of magic). He had never agreed with his family’s policies and rules (he never much liked being told what to do) and when he was sorted he had to plead the Sorting Hat to place him in Gryffindor. Sitting down at the crimson and gold table solidified his narcissism; he had taken the first step to break out of his parent’s ideals. If there was something they hated more than Mudbloods and half-bloods, it was Blacks who were Gryffindors.

Piper’s sorting was slightly different. She did not want to be a Slytherin, nor would she take kindly to being a Ravenclaw if they were such a studious bunch. She was hardly loyal, but she couldn’t even qualify as brave. Her brother, Rhett, attended Durmstrang, so asking him for advice had been terrifically unhelpful, while her father could hardly even remember being sorted he did mention something about being a Slytherin, but, as he had said, “That’s no place I want my little girl, but I don’t want you in Gryffindor either, they’re snobs. So are those Ravenclaws now that I think of it. What was that other House again?”

Piper deliberated for the sorting hat longer than anyone else that evening.

But I’m not brave She thought to it.
Yes, you are. The Hat contradicted.
No, I’m not.
Yes, you are.
Can’t you just make a new House just for me? There must’ve been some unknown Founder out there who was covered up.
There wasn’t.
What do you know, you’re just a hat?
“GRYFFINDOR!”
Piss.


The hat was as far as “GRYFF,” before Black spat out the water in his mouth.

Piper had no idea who this person was that was showing such outrage at her sorting. But as Piper got closer to the Gryffindor table she remembered something that Alexander McClure (also in Durmstrang) had said to her brother over the summer while recounting his tale of his attempted wooing of Bellatrix Black, “The Blacks all look the same: dark hair, grey eyes, they’re the perfect aristocrats with their looks. But the most distinguishing factor is their goddamn arrogance. Especially Bellatrix. God, I can’t believe she rejected me. Look at this scar she gave me.” Alexander, apparently, had as much contempt for the Blacks as Sirius had for Piper.

So Piper wasn’t all that ridiculous thinking Black would identify with her. They were in the same boat, weren’t they? Black had no intentions of carrying on the pureblood ideals and nor did Piper. They were both Gryffindors and purebloods. The first lesson her father taught her was that purebloods stick together no matter what.
For a few fleeting seconds Piper thought her and Sirius could be friends. He smiled and Piper felt instantly lighter. She had made a friend. Then Black’s hand moved and Piper felt pumpkin juice running down her robes.

“Go sit over there with the other purebloods.” Sirius had pointed to the Slytherin table. No one else had seen Black push the goblet down but Piper and three others: James Potter, Peter Pettigrew, and Remus Lupin. With tears in her eyes, Piper found the least crowded area of the bench and ate in silence as Sirius explained why he had spilled the juice on Piper’s robes. “What’s that pureblood doing in Gryffindor anyway? Doesn’t she know where Dark witches belong in this school?” Sirius had said by way of clarification. Piper was deaf to the rest of the conversation, keeping her trembling body from breaking down was all that she concentrated on.

That night in her dormitory Piper ran to her bed as quickly as she could to avoid Sirius Black. She cried all night. How can anyone be so cruel? She thought. No real pureblood would have done that to her. She had seen pureblood manners at their best and worst and never, in all her life, had she been treated that rudely. Everyone Piper had ever met had been obsequious and kind to her, showing her the respect she had been taught she deserved. Her family name protected her. Piper easily could have written home to either her father or Rhett and the Blacks would have been planning a funeral, but she didn’t. If she did that, she would be as low as Black. No, she thought, wiping the tears away. I’ll handle this on my own. Piper’s naïveté fell away that night, as did her soft face. The mistreatment of Black had turned it hard.

Their fights started out subtle, hardly noticeable by the Professors or other students. Piper was thankful the boys had found Severus Snape to taunt a week into term. It gave her a break. She wished no real harm on Snape and loved it when he performed magic beyond his years to put the Marauders into their places.

The Marauders, as they named themselves a month into their first year, never would have tormented a girl, but Piper Redden was a different. Nor would they have hexed a housemate, but she deserved it—according to Sirius. But Piper always stood her ground, which was unnerving. She never told a Professor or her family, she never complained, but she always, always retaliated. The ongoing feud between Piper and the Marauders had lasted all of the last six years; Piper had been foolish to think they wouldn’t resume it again the moment the term began. It had been too much to hope the Marauders could finally mature enough to realize how petty their hatred of Piper was.

“I would probably drop down and die if I didn’t go on seeing our beautiful faces for a long time.” Sirius cut in, just as sarcastic. He propped himself up against the door way of the compartment, blocking the exit. “I have to admit that we were terribly frightened you wouldn’t be coming back this year.” Sirius bit his lip. In his pocket, his hand was clutched around his wand.

“Now what would give you that idea?” Piper said coldly. She rolled her eyes and pretended to think hard. “Oh,” she said, coming to a fake understanding, “Maybe you thought I would be too afraid to come back after being lit on fire. Or maybe you thought I would be afraid you would try to sabotage my O.W.L.’s again.”

Piper smiled knowingly. Despite their best efforts, Piper had managed to scrape at least an E in every subject except Divination and Herbology. She didn’t exactly have friends to distract her from studying. Everyone in the castle was wary of Piper; she wasn’t entirely amicable towards her peers. “Did you Neanderthals even get an O.W.L at all?”

“Come on, Red, we only lit you on fire because you cast a spell on Sirius to make him cry while giving that presentation on the goblin massacres.” James cut in, crossing his arms. He leaned against the other wall of the compartment. “Then you framed me and told Filch that I kicked his kitten.”

Piper rolled her eyes. Their positioning was more over rehearsed than the play Piper’s family had taken her to the week before; Black and Potter’s placement in the doorway blocked her out while Pettigrew and Lupin served as reinforcements. “You did, kick his kitten, idiot.” Piper snapped, standing in her seat. The reaction was instant; four wands were aimed at Piper before she even straightened her knees. She didn’t let the four wands pointed in her direction hinder her in the slightest. “Besides, I only told Filch you kicked his kitten because Pettigrew back there tried to feed me a love potion.” She pointed over Black’s head at Pettigrew.
Lupin and Pettigrew stood like badly carved statues, arms crossed and expressions displeased and in Lupin’s case: bored.

The chain of pranks and fights had going on for so long it was impossible to tell who had started it. It seemed never ending. One trick could be led back to another. Each party was certain the other had instigated it. Both were too stubborn to admit defeat. So, the pranks continued.

Piper held her hands in the air to show she wasn’t armed. She had slid her wand into her back pocket before she stood. “Anyway, from what I hear those goblin massacres were very, very sad.” She flashed Sirius a merciless, crooked smile, challenging him in the way only she could. Sirius made as if to move forward and give her a good punch, then stopped abruptly. Even if she deserved it, he couldn’t go around punching girls; he did have a reputation to uphold after all.
The quick step forward had been enough to propel him into the puddle of water.

With a great crash, Sirius Black fell to the floor. He threw his arms out to regain his balance, clutching Lupin and Potter. With a domino effect, Sirius took Potter and Lupin down, who fell back into Pettigrew.

Outside, lightening struck, illuminating the world outside the train compartment. The silhouette of the Hogwarts castle lay before them, growing closer every moment. She looked down at the pile of wet boys in the corridor and sighed once more, a disappointed look on her deceiving face.

“Bad news, boys, but I haven’t changed into my robes yet.” Piper raised her already curved brows. “Forgive me, but I take my leave.” With that, she slammed the compartment door. Even while being ruthless Piper could give off a polite, distinguished air; it was the first thing she was taught to do. Before she could walk and run properly Piper could curtsey and smile gracefully even when filled with rage.

Even with the door closed, Piper heard a voice say from the pile, “I wouldn’t mind staying to see that.” A second passed when she heard a punch land and the voice say, “Ouch!” They seemed to untangle themselves with some difficulty, leaving the corridor noisy for several minutes.

“I hate them.” Piper growled, clenching her fists. She shook her head angrily, prowling the small compartment to satiate some of her anger. With irritated hands Piper fastened her robes up to her neck, increased the severity of her bun by trapping the wisps of hair that had escaped, and placed her pointed black hat atop her head.
It was with a heavy heart Piper left the train and stepped onto the carriage that would carry her up the hill and to the castle where she would spend the next nine months being tormented for something she couldn’t even control.

* * * *
.

Piper was roused from her half sleep by the thundering applause as the Sorting Hat finished its song. She joined in with the clapping, getting in one or two very unenthusiastic claps before the noise died and Professor McGonagall unrolled a worn scroll and began to call the first years names in alphabetical order. Piper tuned the woman’s voice out and concentrated on not falling asleep. All she wanted was to go upstairs to her warm blanket and comfortable bed, close her eyes and—

“Oh, dear,” Piper reluctantly opened her eyes. She had never wanted to hex James Potter more, and he hadn’t even finished his sentence. “There’s no more empty seats. Don’t mind, do you, Red?”

Given the choice, Piper would have screamed, “YES I MIND!”

Unfortunately, James, Sirius, Peter, and Remus sat themselves strategically around Piper while she had been dozing. Piper may have only been half awake, but she did not it when the four exchanged smirks, saying, “Cleverly done, fellas, we’ve got her now!”
Piper furrowed her brows. Do they practice things like this? Piper privately laughed at her own joke. She could see the Marauders in her mind’s eye plotting how next to best her.

They hadn’t been lying. Almost every place setting was filled. Piper balled her small hands into fists. School hadn’t been in session for more than an hour, she couldn’t risk getting a detention yet, which would be her fate if she remained where she was. Before she boarded Platform 9 ¾ her mother reminded her that if she caused trouble she would be sent to Beauxbatons or Durmstrang where “they practiced real discipline.” It was this threat, and only this threat, that prevented Piper from casting the Jelly Legs Jinx on the Marauders where they stood.

Piper stole a quick glance at the other open spaces. The closest was directly next to Lily Evans. Piper weighed her options. Lily or the Marauders, Lily or the Marauders. It was a difficult decision. Lily’s group of friends hated Piper almost as much as the Marauders did, but the girls wouldn’t humiliate her—she hoped they wouldn’t humiliate her.

“Oh,” Piper looked up at James. She had to act fast before the spot was taken. “I don’t mind. Not at all.” Piper swung her legs over the bench and stood up. As it often did around Piper, Black’s jaw dropped. Her outrageous tactics were enough to make even the sturdiest of jaws fall to the ground.
Piper sat down next to Lily. The girls stopped giggling.

Piper had never bonded with the Gryffindors. It seemed odd that they had hardly spoken the past six years, but it wasn’t, given the circumstances. Piper was not looking for friendship or companions. She didn’t need a best friend or a boyfriend. Six years at Hogwarts as an outcast had diminished Piper into a shell of a thing. She wouldn’t know how to bond with a person, even if the opportunity arose. Piper rarely spoke. It was only when the Marauders were near that the cat released Piper’s tongue and she let loose. It was only to them that Piper had any sort of semblance of a bond and that bond was hatred.
Piper had spent her years at Hogwarts living in the shadows. She knew more dirt than Professor Sprout. The girls of Hogwarts held nothing in their jar of secrets compared to the gossip Piper harbored, but she very rarely spilt any. It wasn’t her business to tell. Piper was above every single person in the House of the great Godric Gryffindor. Living as a pureblood had taught her who she was superior to. Even in pureblood society outcasts were included in everything. Piper often thought the school needed a serious lesson in mannerisms from her mother. Within two hours she would have them either whipped into shape or bored to death. Either would be preferable to Piper, although she wouldn’t shed a tear if the Marauders were one of the ones to die.
Gryffindor House was a social hierarchy. On the bottom were first years, second years, third years, fourth years, and fifth years who divided into their own chain of command. Above them were the sixth years, Piper’s peers.

Firstly, there was Korey Kayhart, a snobbish Muggleborn who had made it her personal mission to undermine everything Piper did or said. She was Lily’s second in command and loved the position. Korey was an attractive girl with an ugly heart and mind.

Then there was Sanaa and Raine Horrows, twins with pale skin, pale eyes, and pale hair. They were both much prettier than Korey, but too shy to put their looks to good use. Raine and Sanaa were much more likeable than any other sixth years only because they never talked much. They could have easily been sorted into Ravenclaw they were so intelligent. They did everything together and so it came as no surprise that when Raine was sorted into Gryffindor Sanaa followed.

Lastly, there was Lily Evans. The queen of the Gryffindors. She was studious, beautiful, she got along well with everyone, head of the class, sickeningly witty, the only thing James Potter couldn’t have, and the only thing he wanted. Lily was the only person who even spoke to first and second years, and she was the only person who had tried to befriend Piper, and tried all the way through third year. It frustrated Lily to no end that Piper was seemingly impossible. She was the Muggle Born on the mission to prove everyone wrong.

The Marauders. They demanded respect, and if it was not received, the one who stood up to them suffered. Severus Snape was a fine example. All four of them knew that the school would bow down to them, and they loved it. It was hard not to like the Marauders. Each was handsome, clever, and got away with pranks that were previously unheard of. It was funny when one of them got a detention, or else heartbreaking when one broke up with a long term girlfriend. The Marauders were the heart of the Gryffindor’s pride, even if most of their jokes were more malicious than funny. They were more powerful than even the seventh years of the school. It was with their influence many girls became popular and by their will that reputations were destroyed. Any spiteful girl knew if she could woo a Marauder she could kill a person socially.

Piper didn’t fit in with any of these equations. Had she been a Muggle born, James and Sirius would have accepted her. Hell, she thought vindictively, I’d probably be dating one of them. And had she allowed the hat to sort her into Slytherin life would have been entirely different.
Piper looked at the Slytherin table and laughed to herself. She could imagine sitting next to Severus laughing merrily with him. She imagined herself in silver and green rather than red and gold. She saw herself being justly harassed by the Gryffindors. She saw herself fitting in at Hogwarts for the first time in her life. Her dream was so tangible she could almost feel David Detweiller’s arm around her shoulder and whispering in her ear.
No, she was a pureblood who was sorted into Gryffindor, which wasn’t as odd as the school made it. Somehow, Black, who was in the same predicament was swooned over and sought after. It made Piper sick.

Piper blushed and squirmed in her seat. She was only human. Black and Potter were still gaping at Piper with their mouths open. Lupin laughed into plate. Piper heard him mumble, “You two might think you’re clever but I think you’re the single dumbest dunderheads that ever walked the earth.” His voice drew Sirius’ and James’ stares away.

“Sorry,” Piper said, still trying to stop her blush from spreading too much. “I’m trying to get away from Sirius.” She faked a smile and focused all of her attention on the sorting. Fake, fake, fake, that was all Piper was.
It was the first words many of the Gryffindors surrounding them had ever heard Piper say. It was shocking.

“WHY!?” Sanaa and Rain shouted in unison.

“Maybe I’ll go take you’re place then, Piper.” Sanaa said. She frowned when a first year took the open seat and shrugged. She wouldn’t have gone anyway.

The first year was terrified. Piper figured him for a Muggleborn. Sirius, James, Remus, and Peter huddled near the boy, whispering to him.

“Oh yeah, the lessons are effing hard.”

“And there’s lots of rules to follow. Don’t worry though; I’m sure you will learn all of them in a few years. It only took me about two.”

“But you’re a fast learner, Sirius.” Peter added. “What I would be worried about is getting to the damn classes on time. I can’t begin to count the number of detentions I have gotten just because I was a few bloody seconds late.”

With each ridiculous affirmation the boy became more and more traumatized.

“They are ridiculous.” Lily muttered, shaking her mane of red hair.
Lily’s friends talked over her. “They are so funny!”
Piper braced herself against the table to keep from taking drastic measures. The knife in front of her was looking increasingly friendlier. She looked around for any metal; it was still lightening outside and Piper could spare herself by being struck. Dumbledore’s calming voice saved Piper from almost certain suicide.
“Welcome, first years, and welcome back second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, and seventh years. And welcome, welcome back Professors; or as I like to call them: Super Seventh Years.” The Professors bowed their heads at Dumbledore’s childishly loving words, hiding their faces from the students who would undoubtedly harass them for this nickname. “There will be time this year for me to aggravate you with speeches on discipline and banned objects,” he beamed meaningfully at the Marauders, who began to shift anxiously in their seats, “but that time is not now. Eat up!” Dumbledore clapped his hands twice.

The occupants of the Great Hall groaned in delight as Dumbledore finished his speech. Plates layered with food, beverages, and dishes Piper didn’t recognized appeared on the table, waiting to be eaten. Piper grabbed some of her favorites and ate them quickly, hoping that maybe, if she ate fast, the feast would go fast as well.

“So, Piper,” Lily said, “Good summer?”
Piper looked up from her plate and turned to the side. Lily smiled sheepishly, then tried to hide her eagerness by taking a long gulp out of her goblet. Piper sighed. Would she have to sit Lily down, shake her by the shoulders and say, ‘I don’t want to be your friend, Evans!”?

Piper shrugged. “Like usual.” No elaboration was enough in most social circles to call for no more prying. Maybe if Lily had offered her hand in friendship back when they were eleven and she was dripping with pumpkin juice things would have been different. That little eleven year old in Piper yearned for all her heart to be Lily’s friend. But no, on the first day of classes Lily disliked Piper instantly when Piper answered a question correctly that Lily had been wrong about. Piper’s father had told her to show off how intelligent she was and make the Reddens proud. Lily cornered Piper after their first Charm’s class after Piper had been the first to levitate a feather and told Piper to stop stealing her thunder. They were eleven and it was forgivable. Everyone does things that are heinous as adolescents but that encounter had scarred Piper. She nearly never participated in class and chose to sit quietly next to Snape or by herself. Lily had tried to make amends in second and third year but it did no use. Piper could not forgive someone who contributed to her alienation.

Piper had spent the summer in Egypt with her family and their close friends. It was enough to make Piper wish to be back at Hogwarts. She had grown so used to being shunned and ridiculed that being loved and adored felt foreign. While Piper was interested in the ancient curses placed on the tombs and the exotic creatures, Piper’s mother had interests in prospective husbands for her daughter. Piper was a Redden no matter how hard she tried to disguise it. Most of her hard exterior came from her not wanting to be asked about her family or home life. The Reddens valued privacy nearly as much as they valued the Dark arts. Piper’s cold attitude had kept friendship seekers at bay fairly well for as long as Piper could remember. That is, until she sat down next to damn Lily Evans.

“Oh.” Lily didn’t know what to say. She was always ending the conversation with awkward silences when she was with Piper. Piper was too different from Lily and each time Piper walked by, Lily went rigid with intimidation. Talking to her was worse. Lily had a hard time speaking when Piper was near; the girl’s stormy eyes dissected every word that came out of Lily’s mouth. Lily waited for Piper to ask how her summer was. The question never came. Again, Lily hid how keen she was to be talking to Piper by taking a energetic gulp from her goblet and scratching her head.

“Mine was the same.” Lily said, speaking with deliberate slowness, examining her nails to seem blasé, when, on the inside, she was closer to piddling than a stimulated puppy that wasn’t housebroken. Piper’s face didn’t change expressions. It never seemed to. Lily willed herself not to sound like a fool.

Piper’s eyes were the only part of her that moved. They flitted down the table. No one looked ready to leave, they were too engaged in their chatter about what they did during the summer, new clothes, new broomsticks, and in the case of Holly Whorton, a new nose (her father was a Muggle plastic surgeon).

Piper made herself yawn. The awkward situation heightened as she moved. Piper stretched her arms above her head. “I think,” she said, rolling her shoulders, “I’m going to go to bed, classes tomorrow and all.” As Piper got up she could feel the tension leave the air.

“Wait,” Lily stood up, “Won’t be able to get to sleep without the password.” Lily smiled, testing Piper’s limits as a socialite. “It’s kit kat kabootle,” Lily said.

Piper nodded as a ‘thank you’. As she left, she stared ahead of her without letting her eyes wander to the Marauders. However, she did not miss it when Peter stuck his leg into the aisle as a means to trip her. Piper jumped it nimbly, mouthed some well chosen swear words to Pettigrew and continued out the door. She did not turn around, but if she had, she would have noticed the Marauders huddled deep in conversation.
“If you don’t go Charm her pants to fly or something, Padfoot, I will.” Peter said.
Sirius considered levitating underpants for several seconds, but dismissed it. That joke had been played too often before.
Remus, not looking up from his chocolate mousse said thickly, “I’m at a loss.”
“Just use your imagination, Paddy.” James mockingly ruffled Sirius’ hair.
Sirius’ imagination was running wild. It was going a speed equivalent to a cheetah on the chase for some tasty gazelle. Twice already, before term even began, had Piper gotten the better of them. Stalking silently behind his quarry, Sirius thought. He decided it would be for the better to wait until Piper had made it to the common room to retaliate, then, he would only have Minnie to fear. Yes, Sirius would wait, for it was best to play it safe with Piper Redden.

He could see how it would go now:

“’Allo, Red!”

BANG! Red hexes him into a jillion pieces.

No, he would much rather play it safe.

“Kit kat kabootle.” Piper said to the portrait of the Fat Lady guarding the Gryffindor tower. The woman swung open revealing the gold and scarlet décor of the common room. The fire roared in the hearth. Piper’s feet brought her to the high back chair closest to the fire.

“Finally.” She breathed as she collapsed. It had been a long day. Well at least I only had one encounter with Black today. Trying her best to relax, Piper wrestled her long hair out of its prison and placed her hair elastic on the table next to the chair. It was comfortable to be back at the castle even if she hated its occupants so much. Piper shook out her mane of dark hair and worked on untangling its knots with her fingers.

“That was a good feast.” Sirius said from the portrait hole.

“Black, I swear I will throw you in the fire if you do not shut it.” Piper swung around. She was aware that Sirius had not done or said anything offensive…yet, at least. She pulled her long hair around one shoulder, stood up, and pulled out her wand.

“See, this is why people don’t like you, Red. Someone tries to have a mature conversation with you and you go off threatening them.” Sirius tutted and shook his finger, the picture of a disappointed parent. He had emphasized ‘mature’ saying it, “Ma Tuure.”

“You’re pretty hostile, Redden. Maybe I’ll make you a potion to cure that.” Sirius said, closing in.

“And maybe I’ll make you a potion to cause leprosy. I’m sure Filch would love to have you oozing around the castle.” Piper stepped forward as well, eliminating what little space there was between them. She had just enough reach to raise her wand if it came to that. “What are you doing here anyway, Black?” Piper lowered her shoulders and raised her arms. “You know what? Never mind, whatever prank you have to play on me, or whatever hex you’re going to do save it for tomorrow. I’m tired.”

“I wasn’t going to hex you!” Sirius slipped his wand back into his pocket. Piper had caught him; he probably was going to hex her.

“Yeah, sure.” Piper said, her face revealed traces of sarcasm. She shook her head. “It’s pretty pathetic that you have to hex a girl to get your thrills. Am I really that much of a threat to you, Black?” Piper had been halfway to the stairs when she turned. She faced Sirius with the perfect posture her mother had drilled into her brain; she squared her shoulders, and stuck her jaw like her father had taught her to do when arguing; and she narrowed her eyes in the same manner her brother had once told her was terrifying. “I’m about a foot shorter than you, probably fifty pounds lighter, I have no muscles, no coordination, but you still find it important to humiliate me every chance you get. You really are a charmer.”

“From what I hear you aren’t even a girl at all.” Sirius said. He was a big groggy also, it was the best he could come up with.

The jest on Piper’s sex did not come with the sting Sirius had intended.
“Oooh, nice one!” Piper laughed coldly. She held her hand up for a high-five, putting a mocking, congratulatory appearance on her countenance.
Instead of hitting his hand against Piper’s in the way best mates do, Sirius picked up Piper’s hair elastic dramatically and tossed it into the fire. The flames brightened where the object had landed.
“Oops.” Sirius said.
Piper pulled the arm of her robe upwards, revealing a wrist that had no less than three more hair elastics on it.

Sirius felt his face go hot. “We’re going to get you this year, Red.” He threatened. Sirius spoke more confidently than he felt. Piper’s words had seriously gotten to him. She was only a girl after all. Why did he hate her so much? He had first thought Piper would grow up to practice Dark magic, but he knew she didn’t. Dark wizards bear a mark Sirius knew too well with his family history. But he couldn’t hold out a white flag now. He was in too deep.

Piper felt her stomach drop. This year wasn’t going to be any different. It would be like all the same, a big blur of embarrassment and revenge. She bit her lip and her head clouded. She was worried. Part of her was established by her feud with Sirius and she waited for his jokes to come. But that other part, that eleven year old part of her, wanted to capitulate. She couldn’t give up now. She had dug herself into a hole and there was no getting out.

“You know where to find me,” she said. Narrow hips swinging, Piper strode up the stairs, loudly stamping each one to accentuate her ascent up the stairs.
Piper fell against the door of her dormitory once she was inside. She slid to the floor against it and exhaled for what felt like the first time in hours.

~ * ~

Well this chapter has been edited and edited again. I always take stuff out and put more stuff in, so if the odd name comes up I probably included them in this chapter but took them out. But anyway, what did you think? Let me know in a review : )

--Serena

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