Dumbledore’s voice boomed over the heads of the curious students. They were all packed into the breakfast hall for an announcement.
“I must announce,” said Professor Dumbledore predictably, “that the Hogwarts Ball has been, as of this day, cancelled, due to an unfortunate incident. I must thank the anonymous student who informed our own Professor McGonagall so that we teachers can take the appropriate actions. Although,” he added, “this student seemed rather unhappy at the abandonment of the dance.” Emily began to cry silently. Her three friends led her quietly out of the hall, with an encouraging glance from Professor McGonagall. Sirius appeared concerned, and gave Peter a very dirty look.
“Hey, hey, hey, hey, hey…” repeated Lily in a hushing, sympathetic tone. Em tried to pull herself together.
“You know what, Emily,” said Bex, looking about ready to get angry, “it’s been a day or so. Maybe you should get over it.” Emily glared reproachfully at her, and began to sob into Jess’s arms. “I mean, seriously. It’s getting kind of tiresome.” Emily began to hyperventilate. “And really, really pathetic. It was a stupid kiss. It’s nothing to be sad about.”
“What, you think I should just let it go? Ignore it?” asked Emily tearfully.
“I never said that,” Bex said, grinning evilly.
“What should I do then?” asked Emily. Her breathing had calmed and her tears had gone.
“Get mad,” volunteered Lily.
“No,” Jess said, the only one to understand what Bex was talking about.
“Don’t get mad. Don’t get depressed. Get even.” Emily rose from her seat on the Grand Staircase, and began to smile slightly.
“I see!” she exclaimed. The joke they played on Pettigrew cannot be written here, because they used no magic for it, so muggles like you could perform it. This means if I wrote it down, you could play the joke on someone, and it wasn’t a very nice joke. Let’s just say it consisted of several tonnes of milk, a few rotten fish, and the entire contents of the Hogwarts compost bin.
It was another Slumber Party. All of the girls were on a sort of sugar-induced high after Emily’s ‘I Got Back At Peter’ celebration, so they couldn’t really be expected to sleep. Suddenly, a huge green flash flung itself into the room. A second followed.
“What was that?” asked Bex, dropping Emily onto her bed and rushing downstairs, pulling on jeans as she went. Sirius was already down there, his nose pressed to the window. A third flash emanated from the Forbidden Forest. James, Lily, Jess, Remus, and Emily joined the two teenagers.
“Should we wake Peter?” asked Remus.
“No,” Emily ordered them. Lupin looked a bit taken aback at Emily’s decisiveness, but Sirius’s face suddenly clouded, and Remus knew it wouldn’t be a good idea to bring the smallest Marauder with them. For he knew what they were going to do.
“C’mon,” Sirius and Bex said, leading the group out of the Hogwarts castle and into the grounds. They wove their way among the trees. Tall, skinny ones towered over them, and their existence seemed small and insignificant. Moss and ferns clothed the forest floor, and where it wasn’t covered by plant life, the ground was paved with dead and soggy leaves. Waist high bushes protruded from the earth like moles on the surface of a tree-y face. A fourth violent lime flash took place, brighter than before. Then, abruptly, a voice spoke.
“Stop it! We’re here for Dumbledore, there’s no need to kill off the native fauna.”
“You’re so soft.”
“No I’m not. I just don’t want us to be noticed. Can you believe they forgot to wall off the forest?”
“They didn’t forget, they just assumed we’d have been killed off before we reached the castle, by that native fauna you’re so fond of.”
“I’m not fond-“
“Shut up, you idiots!” whispered a low voice. “There are only three of us. We have to get to that old codger before anyone notices us!” Emily bristled. She was particularly fond of Dumbledore, and correspondingly objected to people insulting him.
“Yeah! We’re going to put paid to him!” said one of the Death Eaters loudly. Bex put her hands on Lily’s and Jess’s shoulders, and they sank to the ground. When the others saw what they were doing, they quickly followed suit.
“Whadda we do?” asked Emily worriedly.
“Go and tell a teacher,” said Remus immediately, but just then, the Death Eaters strode silently past, and then they were between the teenagers and the castle.
“Hey, remember when we killed that little boy?” asked one of them.
“No.” said what sounded like the youngest one.
“Remember? The one that was shrieking for his mummy?” said the other.
“Little did he know, she was never going to respond!” said the clueless one. “She was dead!”
“And so was he a second later!” laughed the Death Eaters together. Bex stood up. She looked livid.
“What the heck are you doing?” whispered James hurriedly. The Death Eaters had heard the rustling of leaves though, and turned around.
“Oh, lookie here!” said the low voiced one. “A teenager! What are you going to do? Levitate us?” Sirius stood up too, followed by the rest of them. The Death Eaters looked slightly less sure of themselves.
“Well… this doesn’t change anything. Do you know any Unforgivable Curses? ‘Cause we do.” The Death Eaters advanced towards them. Bex didn’t move. She didn’t even look worried.
“No, we don’t know any Unforgivable Curses.” Rebekah said pleasantly. The Death Eaters paused, unnerved by her confidence. She was even smirking slightly.
“What do you want?” spat the youngest Death Eater.
“We want you to go,” said Bex conversationally.
“We’re not going to go,” replied Voldemort’s employee.
“Yes you are.” Sirius said promptly. Bex changed into a black panther (unfortunately Jess hadn’t managed animagi yet), but didn’t attack. She merely sat on the path, her tail swirling menacingly. One of the Death Eaters squawked and tripped over, dragging the other behind him.
“Shut up!” ordered the last upright one.
“A… a… avada…” said the youngest worker, climbing haphazardly to his feet. Bex leapt at him, and pinned him to the ground, her huge black paws on the Death Eater’s shoulders. Even through her claws barely punctured the man’s robes, he screamed deafeningly. Alight in his eyes was a fire of raw desperation. Suddenly his eyes closed. The man had passed out.
“AVADA KEDAV-“ began one of the remaining Death Eaters, who had tripped over the log, but Sirius yelled,
“EXPELLIARMUS!” and the deadly spell never happened. James caught the Death Eater’s wand and clutched it tightly. His knuckles were white.
“Get the-“ here James swears, “-out of here!” he commanded. The last Death Eater with a wand tried once more to kill one of them, but Bex turned back into a human and cast a spell on him. Her wand slashed the air, and the Death Eater fell over, seemingly pinned to the ground by the force of Bex’s charm.
“Oh bother,” the Death Eater muttered. Well, he actually muttered something much more obscene, but I’ve replaced it with a less offensive word.
“Oh, shut up!” commanded Bex as Remus and James performed a binding spell on the two other Death Eaters – both the one hurt by a black panther, and the one without a wand.
“Well, that worked out,” commented Emily, her eye brows raised. Suddenly the events of the past few minutes caught up with her and she slumped to the ground in a state of shock.
“Bex and I’ll stay here.” Sirius said. “You’d better go and get a teacher. Hopefully we won’t get a detention.” The others filed off through the forest, cautiously making their way through the bush. Several times, a pair of eyes appeared, and blinked, but when they cast ‘Lumos,’ there was nothing there. Back at the Death Eaters, Sirius and Bex were leaning against a tree. Bex was thoroughly exhausted. She gave a huge yawn.
“Why did Voldemort send them here?” asked Bex as she casually waved her wand over the Death Eater who had fainted. His eyes snapped open and he struggled helplessly, as though he were still restrained by a panther. Oh course, it was merely one of Rebekah’s more advanced spells.
“Dunno. He must’ve known these idiots weren’t exactly up to it. They were taken down by a group of teenagers.” Sirius said. “There’s no chance they could’ve gotten Dumbledore,” he continued.
“Maybe it was… like… a test? To see if he could get in?” Bex suggested.
“Or maybe he got sick of their uselessness and sent them on a suicide mission?” proposed Sirius. “I expect to someone set on world domination they’d be more of a hindrance than a help.”
“That’s true,” remarked Bex, sitting down beside Sirius and yawning again. A weak, warm wind swept through the forest, carrying voices with it.
“They’re this way!”
“I still can’t believe…”
“How did you…”
“I just can’t understand…”
“Never, in a million years, have I…”
“It’s absolutely appalling, in many ways!” Bex’s raised her head off Sirius’s shoulder and looked towards the noise. Four professors entered the clearing.
“Oh my!” exclaimed Professor Flitwick, as Professor Dumbledore smiled faintly.
“Goodness me!” Professor Kettleburn said amazedly.
“Oh, thank the Lord, you’re all right!” shrieked Professor McGonagall, very uncharacteristically. They were led by Remus, James, Jess, Emily, and Lily.
“You’re okay? You’re fine? No harm done?” Professor McGonagal babbled.
“We’re fine!” answered Sirius. The teacher reverted to her normal self.
“Well, if that’s the case… I’m disgusted! After all the warnings you’ve had about He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named, when you see something out of the ordinary, what do you do? Not go straight to a teacher as instructed, you drop everything, climb out of bed, and go off to duel Death Eaters on your own! Well, I must say, you’re very, very lucky! If they’d been a little bit more skilled…”
“Well, actually Professor, they’d have to be quite a bit more skilled to beat Bex in a duel…”
“WILL YOU BE QUIET WHEN I’M SPEAKING, MR BLACK!”
“Yes, Professor McGonagall.” Sirius mumbled, frightened. The tirade continued for several minutes, until Dumbledore, having examined the Death Eaters and checked out the surrounding environment, spoke.
“Perhaps that’s enough for one night,” he suggested to her. She stopped shouting. Sirius stopped looking terrified. Emily stopped quivering, Remus and James stopped wincing, Jess and Lily stopped looking bored with the entire matter, and Bex fell asleep. Sirius caught her before she hit the ground.
“Well, she has had a fairly draining night,” commented Flitwick. He didn’t look at all surprised. Sirius carried Bex back to the common room. Half way there, he and James dropped back to speak.
“Why don’t you just levitate her?” Potter asked.
“Hey! I’m enjoying this,” Sirius protested, looking down at his burden. When they got to the Gryffindor common room, the group of students and teachers decided to discuss and organise things the next morning. Lily levitated Bex up to her bed, collapsed onto her own mattress, and fell into a deep slumber immediately. All four girls woke in the morning feeling much refreshed.