Thanks for reading my first chapter. I hope you like this one as well. Although it is a bit disappointing considering I only got one review...then I looked at my favorites and I saw ten. Wow. Thank you so much! I hope you enjoy the rest of the story just as much. :)
Cassie woke up earlier than any of the other girls in the dormitory, heading down the Common Room to get some reading done before breakfast and classes. She reread the first chapter in her fifth-year Potions book unnecessarily, already having practically memorized the book cover for cover. She also flipped through her Transfiguration book, but slammed it shut, being reminded of how Malfoy glued her nose to the exact same book the other day. Finally, sleep-eyed Ravenclaw students began to drift down, their robes on and books in their hands.
Cassie retreated from the comfortable chair she was sitting in to the Great Hall for breakfast, where several students were already gathered. Taking a seat at the end of the Ravenclaw table, she grabbed a plate and scooped some eggs on her plate and placed a piece of toast there as well. She picked up her fork, prepared to eat her usual breakfast alone in peace when her plate flew away from the table and above her head, where in hung, suspended in midair. Cassie glanced around in shock, looking for the person who had bothered her breakfast.
Sirius Black stood by the Ravenclaw table, his wand held aloft a wide grin on his face. “Hello, Beckett,” he greeted her as she stood up, his wand still aimed at her plate. James stood behind him, chucking, as well as Peter, who was bouncing up and down in excitement. The only person who wasn’t smiling was Remus, who was frowning slightly, standing far behind the others, watching the scene in front of him.
Cassie stared at her plate in horror, humiliated that half the Great Hall was staring at the scene going on at the Ravenclaw table. Her cheeks grew red behind her limp hair and large glasses, her hands shaking, wishing that this would end. She stood silently, waiting for Sirius to grow bored and put her plate down.
Sirius lowered his wand and Cassie’s plate dropped a few inches. She gasped involuntarily, letting a sigh of relief as Sirius lifted his wand and stopped it, laughing loudly.
“Come on, Beckett,” said Sirius. “Just say please and you can have your plate back.”
Cassie felt as if her tongue had been glued to the roof of her mouth. She couldn’t even move, just watch the scene that was playing out before her. She never spoke to anyone if she could avoid it, especially Sirius Black. She hoped he could read her eyes, telling him to leave alone, and put her plate back down.
Sirius scowled, looking extremely annoyed with Cassie. “Fine,” he said irritably, pocketing his wand. “Have it your way.”
Cassie’s watched as if in slow motion as her plate dropped swiftly to the ground. She stood there stupidly, in utter humiliation and disgrace, feeling too heavy and stupid to even think of drawing her wand and stopping the plate’s decent.
Suddenly the plate froze, inches from the ground. It hovered there for a few seconds. Cassie looked up, expecting to find that Sirius was toying with her again, only to find that he had a look of surprise on his face identical to hers. She looked beyond him to find that Remus had drawn closer, his wand held out this time, pointed as the plate.
Sirius turned around, looking confused and annoyed. “What the hell, Remus?” he said in an undertone, eyeing him strangely.
Remus flicked his wand, wordlessly returning the plate to the table in front of Cassie. Cassie gave Remus a small but thankful smile, slipping back into her seat, happy to not be the center of attention anymore. She was embarrassed, unaware that the entire Great Hall was still staring at her.
Although she was merely too afraid to speak to Sirius, he and the rest of Hogwarts took it as a challenge from her. She was the only person in the history of the Marauders’ reign at Hogwarts who had challenged Sirius and won the game.
Sirius stormed back to the Gryffindor table, brushing into Remus as he went. James followed, looking confused, and Peter trotted along behind them. Remus pocketed his wand, still frowning slightly.
“What was that?” snapped Sirius, now extremely angry that Cassie had humiliated him in front of the entire school. “It was just a plate. She could get another one.”
Remus’ light-blue eyes lacked their usual clever sparkle as he sat down at the Gryffindor table. “Sirius, even though I’m a prefect, I let you do what you want to Snape and the other Slytherins. I am not, however, going to let you harass Cassandra merely because she won’t speak to you. She is shy and this goes beyond just having a little fun. It becomes cruelty.”
Sirius huffed as he sat down with James and Peter. “Nobody asked you to be my Mum,” he said, stabbing into a pile of pancakes and slapping several onto his plate. “Beckett is a stuck up prat who thinks she’s too good to speak to us, and she needed to be taught a lesson,” he said, trying to convince himself that what he did was right.
Just as Remus was about to interject, James glanced over at the entrance to the Great Hall, his eyes widening with mirth. “Don’t look now, mate,” whispered James to Sirius, “but here comes Scarlet Edwards.”
Sirius whipped around, watching in something akin to terror as Scarlet entered the Great Hall, her long silvery-blonde hair pulled back in a high ponytail and a confident smile on her face as her eyes swept the hall for Sirius.
“Oh Merlin, hide me,” hissed Sirius, diving beneath the table as Scarlet spotted him, letting out a squeal and running toward him. While almost every guy in Hogwarts agreed that Scarlet was quite attractive, she had also had obsessively stalked Sirius since their second year. Once she had even hired Catherine Creevy to follow Sirius around the school like the wizard paparazzi, taking pictures of his every action. No matter what he tried, he couldn’t get her to leave him alone.
“Sirius?” came Scarlet’s high voice, glancing under the table as Sirius. “What are you doing under there?”
Sirius hid his annoyance and flashed Scarlet a winning smile. “Nothing,” he said, clambering back up to his seat, “Just looking for something I dropped. But I found it now.” He turned his back to her, wishing her away.
James was looking as if was trying quite hard not to laugh, while Peter was staring at Scarlet dreamily. Even Remus’ eyes were sparkling once again, the corners of his mouth twitching ever-so slightly.
“Oh, good,” said Scarlet, fluttering her eyelashes dramatically at Sirius. “I just noticed how you grew out your hair this summer. It looks good. Really good,” she said, reaching out running her hands through it, ruffling it up.
“Okay, I think you’ve felt my hair enough,” said Sirius uncomfortably, standing up and trying to pull away.
By this point, tears of silent laughter were pouring down James’ cheeks, and he was clutching his stomach, shaking silently. Even Remus was smirking slightly, and Peter looked quite jealous of Sirius.
Scarlet reached down and ran her hands over Sirius’ chest and arms. “So strong,” she said breathlessly. “Do you work out?” Her hands traveled lower down his body.
Sirius leapt back in horror, batting Scarlet’s hands away. “What do you think you’re doing, woman?” he yelped.
Scarlet frowned, her lower lip jutting in a pout. “Just admiring your body!” she said, looking slightly offended. “Do you want me to stop?”
“Yes!” exclaimed Sirius. “Now get away from me. Now.”
Scarlet walked away, looking quite hurt as James fell the floor, clutching his stomach in noisy laughter, and Remus chuckled softly.
“Talk to you later, Scarlet?” Peter called after the girl hopefully. She ignored him.
Sirius looked as if he was ready to vomit. “Merlin,” he said, sitting back down red-faced, “I feel so violated.”
James looked at Sirius from the floor. “I think she fancies you, or at least your-“
“Shut up now, or I swear I will hex you so badly you they’ll have to scrape your remains off the Great Hall walls,” said Sirius, scowling darkly and stuffing his mouth full of pancakes. Remus raised his eyebrows and took a bite of toast.
James leapt up from the floor, patting Peter on the back as he sat back down.
“Better luck next time,” he the despondent boy, grinning.
Cassie was confused, wondering why every student at Hogwarts seemed to be shooting her an almost reverent look. All she knew was that she hated the staring, so she tried to hide her eyes behind her glasses and thin hair as she made her way to her first class of the day, Potions. Although Slughorn would fawn over her for her decent Potion-making skills, which she hated, she knew that there was an upside to class – no Malfoy. The thought made her smile slightly, holding her books a little tighter as she entered the Potions classroom, taking a seat in the back of the class. There were various tables with four seats spread out across the room, and Cassie chose an empty one.
Emily, beaming brightly, plopped into a seat next to Cassandra, brushing her short blonde hair from her eyes as she did so. “Hey Cassie!” she greeted her, pulling out her quills. “Was there some sort of essay due today?”
Cassie nodded, pulling out her own ten-inch parchment on the Draught of Living Death and taking a second look at it, scanning it for errors. “Ten-inches on the Draught of Living Death,” she said simply. She was not trying to be short or rude, she just disliked talking, which is why she kept what she said to a bare minimum.
“Damn,” said Emily under her breath. “I completely forgot! Slughorn is going to kill me…that is, if he even notices between his compliments to Lily Evans.” She hastily whipped out a piece of parchment, scribbling frantically with her quill as students slowly filed into the room. “The Draught of Living Death is very…deadly,” Emily said under her breath as she wrote. “If you drink it, you will…suffer a living Death…um…”
Cassie sighed lightly. Potions was not Emily’s strong point. Actually, school in general was not Emily’s strong point, but she usually tried her hardest, despite her forgetfulness. That was probably the reason she had been placed in Ravenclaw – for her quick mind, despite the fact that she rarely used it.
“Hey, Beckett,” came a friendly, low voice from in front of Cassie. She looked up to find the smiling face of Sirius Black, his hair falling into his eyes with a kind of casual grace. “Looking…good,” he said with an extra-large grin, placing his hands on either side of the table in front of her.
Cassie just stared, worried that this was another one of his tricks. After breakfast, she had grown even more afraid of Sirius, watching her back every second. She had no idea what he was talking about, but had no desire to know.
Remus and James entered the room with Peter at their heels, heading straight for where Cassie and Emily sat. Emily sat up slightly straighter, her eyes pinned on Remus.
“Come off it, Sirius,” said James, nudging Sirius. “She’s not going to talk to you. You nearly chucked her breakfast across the Great Hall this morning. I wouldn’t talk to you either.” James rolled his eyes, plopping down at the table beside Emily and Cassie’s. Remus followed, placing his books on the table before sitting down, sighing slightly. He had been looking quite peaky lately, Cassie couldn’t help but notice. Undoubtedly that only increased his attraction for Emily, who was looking thrilled that his seat was only inches from her own.
Before Sirius could say another word, two girls entered the room that made both Peter and James look up and stare. Lily Evans, her dark red hair pulled back in low ponytail entered the room, books in hand. James’ hand drifted to the top of his head, ruffling up his already messy hair.
The other girl was Scarlet Edwards, who smiled winningly at Sirius, who glanced at James in horror. Peter was staring after her, practically drooling, Cassie couldn’t help but think. He stood up like a robot, heading over to her as she approached.
“Hey, Evans,” James called out to Lily, who glanced over at him with distaste, “come and sit with us?”
“No, you prat, there won’t be any room for me!” hissed Sirius, but James ignored him.
“No, thanks,” said Lily coolly, taking a seat with several Gryffindor fifth-year girls. James’ face fell, taking a seat sullenly across from Remus.
Sirius snorted once, but did not say anything else.
“Hey Scarlet,” said Peter in what he obviously thought was a low, masculine voice, but came out more cracked and gravelly than not.
James smirked, and Sirius gave an odd bark that sounded suspiciously like a laugh.
Scarlet glanced over his short, pudgy frame with obvious disgust, wrinkling her nose. “Pettigrew,” she greeted him hastily, trying to squeeze past his chubby belly and reach the table with Emily.
“You’re hair looks really nice today,” he said, grinning to reveal his set of mouse-like, crooked teeth. “All long and yellowish. Really good.”
“Er, thanks,” said Scarlet, looking like she would very much like to vomit. “Look, I’ve need to sit down now so…could I get by?”
Peter took a step back quickly, nearly tripping over his own feet and hitting the shelf behind him. Several potion bottles rattled threateningly, but did not fall. Scarlet darted past him, taking a seat next to Cassie with a horrified expression on her face.
“I think he fancies you, Scarlet,” said Emily. “Oh, don’t look so disgusted!” she said, noticing the revolted look on Scarlet’s face. “He has his good qualities. I think…” she trailed off, trying not to smirk. “You might be wonderful together!”
“Please tell me you’re not serious,” said Scarlet, flipping open her Potions book. “I think I might be sick.”
Cassie just watched, amused. This is how she liked to live her life. Listening to others and not having to feel the pressure of needing to speak like Sirius Black gave her day after day.
“Smooth, Wormtail,” snickered James as a despondent Peter plopped down at the table, flipping through his Potions book with a frown. “You really have a way with the ladies.”
“You didn’t do so well with Lily either,” Peter shot back sulkily.
James looked quite angry for a moment, but after a while his scowl turned to a discouraged frown. “Yeah, I suppose you’re right,” he said. “She barely looked at me.”
“And after you ruffled your hair and everything,” said Sirius with a bark of a laugh.
James chucked a quill from across the table at Sirius, grinning reluctantly.
“Honestly, Padfoot, do you really have that much room to talk?” said Remus in his quite voice, setting up his scales. “You’re not having much luck trying to get Cassandra to talk to you.”
Sirius rolled his eyes. “Come on, Moony, just give it a while. Who couldn’t give in to the irresistible charm of Sirius Black, eh?”
James opened his mouth to make what was obviously going to be a witty reply, but before he could do so, Professor Slughorn entered the room, his great belly preceding him. The students quieted, some of them taking out their Potions books and essays.
“Quiet down, and textbooks and scales out please,” said Slughorn, making his way to his desk.
Sirius watched as James cast a furtive glance Lily’s way, watching as she studiously laid out her ingredients and set up her scales carefully. Chuckling, he pulled out his own essay.
“Your ten-inch essays on the Draught of Living Death are due today,” said Slughorn cheerfully, scanning the class with his gooseberry eyes and flicking his wand to collect the essays.
Sirius watched his sail through the air toward Slughorn with confidence. He wasn’t necessarily the best potion-maker, but he prided himself in his decent grades. He was no Remus Lupin, he though, or he would have to study all the time, but schoolwork came easily to him. Usually, everything came easy to him. Schoolwork, friends, girls…then why was it that he could not get that infernal Cassandra Beckett to so much as speak to him?
He glanced over at her, watching her sitting there so calmly, her expression hidden behind those ridiculous glasses and that thin hair. He thought he was decent-looking and had a fair amount of charm. So he had played pranks on her occasionally, so what? He was a Marauder! That was what he did. She had no right to silently spit in his face in front of the entire Great Hall. All he wanted from her was a “hello, Sirius” or maybe just a greeting of “Black”.
Oh, how smug she looked. She most likely thought she was entirely better than anyone in Hogwarts. Ha! That was a funny thought. She was one of strangest girls he had seen. Most of the girls in Hogwarts spent hours on their hair, clothes, and makeup, but Cassie always looked the same, like she never took care of herself. There must be something attractive behind those glasses and hair. Come to think of it, she did have rather nice eyes. They were an almond-shape, deep brown with just a touch of green. Her hair could be nice, if she would get it cut in a different style that did not hang in her face. And she had a cute button nose, with a barely-visible splattering of freckles across the bridge. And her mouth, with her pink, slightly downturned lips, was also quite lovely.
Was he finding Cassandra Beckett…attractive?
“Urgh,” said Sirius in a muffled voice, realizing that he had been staring at Cassie for ten minutes. Of all the people to stare at!
James, Remus, and Peter had already started on their potions, and Sirius realized he must have missed Slughorn’s entire lesson. Frantically pulling out his ingredients, he scanned the instructions on the blackboard and began to create the potion, watching in satisfaction as a silvery vapor rose from the cauldron. It wasn’t perfect, but it was decent, and Sirius was satisfied. He gave a sigh of satisfaction, placing a sample of the potion into his flagon and labeling it. Standing up, he followed after Remus and placed his potion on Slughorn’s desk for grading, returning to his seat, realizing there were still fifteen minutes to spare. He would have to wait for the other, slower, Hufflepuffs to finish up their work.
“Oi, James,” whispered Sirius, pulling out his wand slowly, “what do you say we make Snape’s cauldron explode on him?” he said, raising her eyebrows and looking in the direction of Snape, who was sitting at a table with three other sullen Slytherins.
James grinned back at Sirius, and Peter nearly squealed with excitement, clasping his hands together in anticipation, but Remus gave no indication that he had heard Sirius, although he certainly was close enough to have heard something.
Waving his wand, Sirius muttered a spell under his breath and watched as Snape’s cauldron exploded magnificently, just as Cassandra walked by, a labeled flagon in her hands.
“Bloody hell,” whispered Emily, throwing in a handful of eel’s eyes and watching as the contents of her cauldron hissed menacingly, “why won’t this work?” Her blonde hair clung to her cheeks from the heat of the blackish steam that rose from her cauldron, and she gritted her teeth in frustration.
“Add a dash of salamander juice,” said Cassie quickly, labeling her flagon in satisfaction, staring at the silvery, nearly clear vapor that was rising from her potion. She had nearly messed up her potion halfway through making it because of Sirius Black. She could have almost sworn that he was staring at her, but guys didn’t stare at her, ever. She must have seen imagining things. Standing up, she made her way to the front of the room.
A cauldron next to her exploded with a loud bang, splattering the contents on the walls, floor, and even on her robes. She nearly dropped her flagon in surprise, staring at the cauldron and wondering what the source of the problem was. Snape, who had just come back from Slughorn’s desk, let out a yelp of anger, siphoning the potion off his desk and robes rapidly. He turned to Cassandra furiously, glaring at her. “What did you do?” he hissed.
Slughorn looked up from his desk in confusion, his eyes resting upon Cassie and Snape. “Now, now, what’s going on here?” he said, rising from his seat.
“Professor Slughorn, sir, she did this to my potion!” said Snape in a low, dangerous voice.
Cassie’s eyes widened, horrified that she was going to be accused of something she had nothing to do with.
Slughorn turned to her, looking quite surprised. “Did you do this to Mr. Snape’s cauldron, Miss Beckett?” he asked.
Cassie just stood there, not able to find the words to defend herself.
“Ha! That was bloody brilliant, mate!” laughed James in a low voice, watching Snape’s howl of rage. Sirius gave a quick bark of laughter, then stopped as Snape accused Cassie of hexing his potion.
“Think Slughorn will give her a detention?” said James. “No, he wouldn’t. She’s bloody perfect in class, he would never.”
Sirius watched the scene in front of him, unable to stand it any longer. He felt a rare stab of guilt somewhere in his chest. Standing up, he said in a clear voice, “Professor, I jinxed Snape’s potion.”
James’ mouth fell open in surprise at what his friend was doing. “Why are you turning yourself in?” he said, as if Sirius had completely and utterly lost his mind.
“Very well,” said Slughorn, looking extremely bothered, “I’ll have to assign a detention for you and Miss Beckett,” he said, flicking his wand once to clean up the mess, then walking back over to his desk and writing up two detention slips.
“But, Professor Slughorn, Cassandra-“
“No excuses, Mr. Black,” scolded Slughorn, finishing off the detention slips with a flourish of his quill. “I’ll except you two at my office by nine o’clock tomorrow night,” he said, holding out the slips for them to take.
Cassie took hers with an unreadable face, her eyes hidden behind the glasses. She made her way back to her table, wordlessly scooping up her books and making her way out of the room.
Sirius strode forward angrily and snatched the slip from Slughorn as well. He couldn’t believe that he had been stupid enough to say something when he could have gotten away with his prank. And now he was going to have to spend a whole detention not with James, but with Cassandra Beckett, who never said a word if she could help it. Bloody effing brilliant.
Cassie walked down the hallway as students filled out of their various classrooms, tears running down her cheeks. Why couldn’t she ever speak up for herself? Why did she freeze when something happened? But even though she was hurt, she was surprised by one thing.
Sirius Black had stuck up for her.