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Chapter 1: Lassie Come Home
James walks backwards in front of me. Not an unusual occurrence; and neither is the self-satisfied smirk on his face which implies that he either knows something nobody else knows, or is up to something.
However, all those things together make me nervous. Very nervous.
“What are you hiding, James?” I ask.
“Ohhh, nothing. Nothing at all,” he says in a voice that was far too innocent.
I raise a disbelieving eyebrow, and he affects an offended tone. “Why are you always so suspicious, Sarah?”
“Why wouldn’t I be?”
“I am a Prefect of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry!” he says, keeping up the injured tone.
“More proof that Flitwick needs to retire,” I say back.
James sticks his tongue out at me. Our friendship consists entirely of insults and light-hearted banter, and after two years of patrolling the corridors at night with James, I am quite quick with the retorts.
It is Hallowe’en, and we are expecting a lot of rule-breakers tonight- we know of three planned parties, and two trips into Hogsmeade, so it is anyone’s guess how many we don’t know about. Therefore, nearly every Prefect has been drafted to keep watch on the corridors, as well as a couple of older, more trusted students. There are teachers posted outside the Room of Requirement and most of the secret passages- Professor Longbottom, the deputy Head, has even threatened to call in some favours with the Auror Office. James and I are in charge of the third floor on the east side, including the trophy room, which we are just passing through.
I lift up my wand to cast light into the dark corners, and see a reflection of James’ back in one of the glass cases.
“Please tell me that is not the sword of Godric Gryffindor behind your back.”
James can’t help himself, he lets out a tiny high-pitched giggle.
“Manly,” I comment.
He brings the shining silver sword around to his front, and pokes it at me, one arm raised above his head. “Am I... manly enough for you now?” he asks in an Italian accent.
I just look at him. “You seem to have lost two of your musketeers,” I say.
“I’m Zorro,” he says. “Can’t you tell?”
I shoot a withering look at him as we continue to walk, him still pointing the sword at me.
“Come off it,” he says, “You are impressed.”
“James, we are here to stop trouble, not contribute to it. And you sound Italian, not Spanish.”
He waves away my concerns. “I’m Zorro,” he says, in a worse accent than before. “I will stop rule-breaking!”
He flicks his robe around like a cape, and holds it up to cover his face, leaving only his eyes free. “I will find vagrants and miscreant and rule-breakers, and I will make them beg for mercy!”
I point behind him. “Vagrant,” I say in a bored voice. “Fetch, Lassie.”
James scowls at me, and I hide a grin. If he didn’t want to be insulted, he shouldn’t teach me insults. He holds out his sword, and mock-gallops off after the small child, whose eyes are wide in terror at the madman pretending to ride a horse.
I watch, scanning the room. A child as small as that will not be alone in the Trophy Room at one in the morning. I see movement, and shoot a Stunning Spell at it.
If James can hunt down first-years with a sword, then it’s only fair that I can hex them.
A small girl falls to the ground, frozen, as James comes trotting back, pushing the boy in front of him.
“Well done, Sarah, you finally Stunned someone! And they were only half your size.”
“And Lassie caught her rabbit,” I retort.
He sticks his tongue out at me.
“I’ll take these kids to base,” I say. “You carry on patrolling, and I’ll catch up.”
It doesn’t take long to shepherd them both to the Great Hall, where at least thirty other kids were being shouted at amongst the leftover Hallowe’en decorations. I leave them to the mercy of the Head Girl, a ferocious blonde Weasley, who looks utterly frustrated.
I make my way back to the trophy room, where James’ patronus, an excitable spaniel, waits for me, chasing its tail.
“Show off,” I mutter- no matter how many extra lessons the great Mr Potter holds, I can never manage anything other than a stream of silvery smoke.
The spaniel jumps up at my legs, so I gently push the half-solid dog off my legs, and it bounds off down the corridor, occasionally looking back to check I’m following. James’ patronus is so much friendlier than he is.
“AHAHAHAHAHAHA!” I hear in the distance, and the spaniel rushes off towards to sound. I run after it, and skid to a stop to see James holding off a seventh year Ravenclaw with his sword.
“JAMES!” I yell, half-annoyed and slightly amused. “What the hell are you doing? Steve is a prefect!”
“Yeah, well, he scared me!” James says defensively. The spaniel sniffs at Steve’s heels, goes back to James and dissolves.
“Heel, Lassie,” I say.
James scowls. It’s always been a sore point that his patronus wasn’t something fierce, and he doesn’t know that Lassie is actually a collie dog.
I give Steve a small wave, and then he backs away, and James looks at me accusingly. “How do you know ‘Steve’?” he said in a girly approximation of Steve’s voice.
“I sat next to him about two hours ago, at the emergency Prefect’s meeting which you didn’t turn up to,” I say.
James shoulders the long blade. “I was otherwise preoccupied,” he says, indicating the sword. He continues to walk, and I follow, keeping out of range of the sword, however.
“I can’t believe you stole it,” I say. I am quite impressed, and also astounded at the rule-breaking lengths James goes to. He is a Prefect!
“Technically, it’s not stealing,” he says.
I raise an eyebrow, indicating for him to carry on.
“Well, technically, my dad pulled it out of the Sorting Hat, and then Dumbledore gave it to Dad in his will, so technically, it’s mine.”
“That would not stand up in a court of law,” I say. “And besides, if any of that were true, then that would mean Mr Potter could take the sword, and not you.”
James rolls his eyes. “You are so stuck-up, Sarah.”
I turn my wand on him, and he holds up his palms in surrender.
“In a good way!” he says, quickly backtracking. “You are stuck-up in a lovely kind of way!”
By way of apology, he holds out the sword, hilt first. “Go on,” he says. “I know you want to.”
I deliberate. I would love to hold the sword of Godric Gryffindor... and I would also like to mock-swing it at James’ head...
I take the sword, hefting it in my right hand. It’s unbelievably heavy, but seems to become lighter the longer I hold it. Within seconds, I can lift it easily.
“Cool, huh?” James asks, his voice coloured with pride, and I think, admiration.
I also see why James was being an idiot with it. It is nearly impossible to hold a full-size sword and not pose- it was taking all my strength not to attack James with a shout of ‘en-garde!’.
I hear footsteps from down the other end of the corridor, and then-
“Is that the sword of Godric Gryffindor?” I hear, in the unmistakeable tones of Professor Longbottom.
James shakes his head slowly at me. “Sarah!” he says, disappointedly. “How could you break into the Head’s Office and steal the sword of Godric Gryffindor.”
He places his hand on his chest, and affected a wounded tone. “I trusted you!”
I make a silent promise- later, James will pay.
“SARAH!” Professor Longbottom’s voice is harsh as he slowly, purposefully, walks towards us.
James takes back the sword with a wink and runs off down the corridor, shouting a strange war-whoop. Professor Longbottom is close, and I don’t really have an option- so I run after James.
Four corridors, a set of stairs and a hidden passageway later, James and I slow to catch our breath.
“You are completely insane,” I pant.
“I think that’s relative,” says James. “Compared to, say, Bellatrix Lestrange, I’m completely normal.”
I stare at him.
James starts to walk down the corridor. “If we can get this back into the office without being seen or heard and before Longbottom, we’re in the clear for stealing it.”
“We?” I ask, but he doesn’t hear.
He is now skipping, swinging the sword around his head in wide circles and chanting ‘God Save the Queen.”
I’m so dead.
A/N: This is for LiveLarge's 'Things I Will Not Do At Hogwarts' Challenge. Hugs and thank-yous to CloakAuror9 for helping me with this entry! Credit to Eric Knight for 'Lassie'.