[A/N] I apologise now for the long wait. It’s no excuse but I’m in my last year of school and all the works just caught up on me. This chapter isn’t perfect – I haven’t had time to make it so – but I hope it’s enough for now :)
“Don’t call me that. I don’t like it!”
“That’s the only thing I ever hear Sirius call you. Ohh!”
Jennifer looked down unable to look him in the eyes.
“Of course HE CAN CALL YOU JEN!”
Her anger was reaching boiling point. When had Warren gotten like this? “HOW DO YOU THINK I FEEL? HUH?! YOU THINK YOU’VE GOT PROBLEMS, WELL YEAH YOU SORT OF HAVE. I HAVEN’T HEARD FROM YOU ALL HOLIDAY AND THERE WAS NO WAY FOR ME TO CONTACT YOU BECAUSE YOU DIDN’T GIVE ME YOUR ADDRESS. YOU HAD MINE!”
“No, I had James’!”
Jen stopped short. He was jealous. “When are you going to get over this?”
“This? – ”
“This jealousy. The Marauders are like my brothers and always will be. In fact, I will be James’ sister soon – his parents are adopting me.”
“Well, then I hope you and your brother will be very happy together.” They glared at each other in silence for a while before Warren turned towards the door and stormed out if the dormitory.
“Ohh, we will, don’t you worry!!” Jennifer made sure to shout loud enough for him to hear before he was out of hearing range. She knew to expect company soon though because of it; the Marauders really were too protective for their own good.
“Jen . . . a-are you okay?” There was no answer from Jen, though she didn’t realise it was because she couldn’t from crying until safely protected in Sirius’ arms. “Shhh . . . shh, it’ll be alright. We won’t let anything happen to you with him around. Little git thinks he can harm you with The Marauders as friends – well, he has another thing coming to him, right?!”
The Gryffindor common room was filled with students that had returned only that morning, not forgetting – of course – Jen and the Marauders, who had accommodated Hogwarts for the last few weeks.
“Drink, drink, drink . . .” was heard every half an hour as Sirius was challenged by a student hopeful to be the one to beat him in the continual drinking competitions. Sirius, unsurprisingly, had had too much practice over the years to be beaten; it’s just like the saying: practice makes perfect.
Sirius, not at all affected by the large amount of drink he’d consumed, stood with Jen in the centre of the room. She had taken to drinking her problems from this morning away, though she also didn’t seem to be much affected.
“ . . . ”
“So . . . here’s to a brand new start, yehh Sirius?”
“Yehh, Jen. Happy new Year.”
Sirius only hoped that her definition of happy meant the same as his.
“Students, I believe it is time to head to your lessons. Though, may I ask all fifth years to please stay behind and wait for further instruction?”
The students left to leave, stood swiftly with their friends and did as they were told. Some seemed to have already left, however, including Lily Evans who preferred to arrive at lesson early. No worry though, she would soon realise her mistake and join the others.
“Fifth years, listen up please,” professor Dylex announced, pausing to check there were no stray students still yet to head to class.
“Today it has been arranged for a group of Aurors to come in to do a few team building activities with you. Please go change into more suitable attire as quickly as possible and set out to the Quidditch pitch where the Aurors will be waiting.”
A murmur of talk erupted in the Great Hall, fading as students left to prepare.
“Jen – be in my team please?”
“Of course, Sirius!” Jennifer replied cheerfully.
“Wouldn’t have it any other way than to be in a team with my boys.” Jen linked arms with James and Sirius who were closest, and flashed her best smile to Remus and Peter.
“ . . . ”
“What?! What do you mean we can’t pick our own teams?!”
“We will put you into three teams of eight and one team of nine.”
“I say house Vs house,” someone shouted from the back.
Probably a Slytherin scared of working together with students they believe to be below them, Jen thought.
“Five push-ups now!”
On their arrival, the Aurors had clearly explained to the students their dislike for hands in pockets. This meant penalties for everyone if just one forgot this one important rule.
“Right - ”
“Really, Peter you need to listen to people.”
“You never listen!”
“Shhh, pleas – ”
“Come on, guys. I don’t mean to forget. It’s h - ”
“Okay, seen as you can’t all shut up and listen to instructions, you can run to the other end of the Quidditch pitch and back. Last four can do it again.”
Wizards and witches ran for their life, feeling unable to run another lap if they were one of the last ones. A few had muddy bums from slipping in the sludge that had appeared due to the continual rain, but soon all students formed a perfectly straight line facing the Aurors. All were grateful that re-runs were not necessary.
“Right, after that little interruption, let’s put you all into your teams. 1 . . . 2 . . . 3 . . . 4 . . . 1 . . . 2 . . . ” That went on until each student was numbered a number from one to four. “All number one’s step forward.”
These were Sirius, Remus and Jen from Gryffindor; Narcissa and Snape from Slytherin; Warren and a girl named Jade from Hufflepuff; and Joe and Kadie from Ravenclaw.
“Please stand together over there” – he pointed to a spot on the Quidditch pitch – “now could all the number two’s stand forward please?”
Those that stood forward were Lily and James; Avery and Rosier; Emma and Laura; and Hannah and Logan.
This repeated so that group three was made up of Frank and Tess; Kirsty and Macnair; Stephan and Tom; and Taylor and Vanessa.
And group four – Mary, Marlene and Peter; Terry and Lestrange; John and Darren; and Annabel.
“There are six activities that you in teams are expected to complete as a muggle would - ”
“Is he serious?”
“No, I am, ahaa!” *Smack*
“I know it’s hard to believe, but Aurors can be put in situations where we are not able to use magic.”
“Ohh, yeh? Like what?”
“Well – we could be working in disguise as a muggle, so therefore any sign of magic could give us away - ”
“I - ”
“-OR, if a wand is lost or broken on a mission, then there is a need to be able to help the rest of your team without your wand.”
This shut the smartass Ravenclaw up.
“It’s nearly time for your lunch, so we’ll get started with your first activity then let you go.”
“See Jen – fate has brought us together once again.”
This was something Jen couldn’t deny, it really did seem to be doing that a lot lately.
Warren rolled his eyes from behind where Jennifer was unable to see.
“Your goal in this mission will be to cross the river where the bridge has collapsed. In the bridges place are three blocks spaced different distances apart. To assist you, are two different sized planks of wood. If any of you or the planks of wood touch the river you will all be required to start again – except the people who are already safely across. You have fifteen minutes, starting now.”
Work started immediately with Sirius, being the obvious strongest of the group, joining the block nearest to the river bank with the longest of the planks of wood. Suggestions were made, resulting in a place for the shortest plank of wood to go.
“Some of the girls should go stand on the second block.”
This was done with the help of the shortest plank and soon Remus had joined Sirius to help lift the wood.
“Now take the longest piece and put it from the middle of the short piece to the last box so that Sirius can go to alternate the planks until all the girls are safe. Then repeat the steps for us to get over.”
All members agreed with the plan, which soon got underway.
“Thirty seconds left.”
Remus was the last to head for the safety of the river bank.
“I never saw anything,” reassured the Auror as the moving plank of wood skimmed the surface.
“10 . . . 9 . . . 8 - ”
“Woooo, we did it!”
It was understandable that they would be excited; not many witches or wizards were known to accomplish things the way a muggle would; wand-less.
“What’s up with you?!”
“Had to run laps for failing.”
“You failed with Evans on your team?!”
“Surprising, isn’t it?”
“James . . . shouldn’t you be used to all the running from Quidditch practices?”
“You can say that now, but wait until you fail. Then you’ll see what it’s like.”
“I highly doubt that. Our team is far too good at achieving our goal to fail.”
“Okay, off to lunch then. We expect you back in half an hour.”
“HALF A BLOODY HOUR!!”
“Sirius, calm. That’s plenty of time to eat. Come on.”
“Yehh . . . calm,” Sirius chanted quietly, taking deep breaths as if recovering from a panic attack.
“Why are you all back so early? There’s still ten minutes of your lunch break left.”
“To be honest we thought that if we were just a little, teeny, tiny bit late we would have to do more push-ups.” Jen finished in haste; she was on her own as she was unable to drag the Marauders away from their food. Even Remus, as he was only just recovering from a transformation. She wrapped her arms around her body.
“Freezing, ye.” Other students around agreed.
“Well then, why don’t you . . . er . . . run to the other end of the Quidditch pitch and back? Last three will run again.”
“You all want to go back in the castle to do classes?”
This got the early students running, with some with only the energy to walk.
“What happened to you?”
“He made us run to warm us up because I said I was cold and everyone agreed with me.”
“HA! Told you it was hard work.”
Jen retorted by sticking her tongue out at James. “O, very mature.”
“Awww . . . why?”
“Because . . . that kid in the stands has his hands in his pockets.”
“Hey!! You – midget in the stands, get your bloody hands out of your pockets!” The third year would have been saft to ignore Sirius. “I’m not doing push-ups. Simple.”
“Yehh, me neither.”
“One, we aren’t even meant to be back yet and two, that kid isn’t even in our year. It. Does. Not. Count!”
“I expect ten then.”
“Nope. No way.”
“The answer’s still no!”
“Forty. I’ll keep doubling the number until you all do them.”
“Uhhh!! Fine, but I’m only doing five, right people?”
The second activity soon got underway as the supposed to be half an hour lunch break ended.
“Hello team. I will start by saying that the group here previous failed – ”
“ – Ha! That was James and Evans’ team – ”
“ – so be warned. This task will not be easy; in fact, the square area of pitch is a mine field. As supplies were being delivered to your team they were dropped in this area. You have a piece of rope and a hook to get your supplies to you safely. If the rope, hook or supplies get knocked so that they skim the area, you will get blown up and die. Not literally, of course, but for your slip up you will have to run to the Quidditch hoops and back, savvy?!”
All nodded their heads to show some form of understanding.
They started as soon as with the task. Four of the team grabbed one end of the rope and another four did the same with the opposite end. The ninth person orientated their team mates so as to make sure the rope or hook touched the ground.
They did quite well considering the foreign ways they were expected to complete the tasks. Three was the number of times they were required to run to the Quidditch hoops and back.
The next task came, entailing the group to squeeze the nine of them in a muggle car which they learnt was known as a mini. “What is that thing!!” came from many of the mouths of the group except for the muggle borns and some half-bloods.
“This is a car; muggles use it to get from place to place. You may need to be able to drive one of these sometime in your career if you decide to be an Auror. Now, with a wand you would be able to use an enlargement charm for you all to fit in comfortably, but as you are unable to use your wands, your aim is to all fit into this car. You have five minutes - ”
“Yes. I believe that is enough time for all to be able to achieve this.”
The Auror was indeed correct; the team easily clambered into the normally four seated mini. Though there was of course times when their completion was questioned, as Slytherin’s and at one time when Warren was nearly asked to allow Jen to perch on his lap but was saved the trouble as Sirius had room on his still.
“Well done team. You’re doing quite well today, I would say.”
So far the students had managed to impress all the Aurors after completing all the tasks they had been set. The fact that they were in a large group would have normally seen to be a disadvantage for other teams, but this one took it in their stride, unable to let any obstacles get in their way.
“You would say?! We haven’t failed one yet, Woooo!” The rest of the team joined along with Sirius, cheering for all to hear.
They were half way through the activities, with only three left to complete. The next task was named ‘Acid River’. There task was to use any of the equipment on the floor to cross a section of concrete, that represented an acid river, without touching the surface. This sounded simple. Right?
Two car tyres, a long piece of rope and a plank of wood were given to assist the group of teenagers in crossing the river. It was decided pretty soon that the plank of wood would be of no help so it was down to the tyres and rope to get them across. “Tie each end of the rope to a tyre,” someone suggested which seemed to be a good plan of action. The good teamwork continued as four people successfully crossed the river.
Though not without difficulty ... “Uhh, this is really hard!!” moaned a ditzy blonde scraping the tyre along the grass section that halved the concrete area off of the side of the Quidditch pitch. She was the first to attempt the cross. “Don’t tell her this, but she’d find it a lot easier on the concrete!” The team erupted at this piece of information from the instructor. “What?! What’s funny?”
It was now Jennifer’s turn. She placed each foot in the tyre. “I don’t know if I’ll be able to do this you guys. The tyres really heavy.” Her friends encouraged her and off she set to reach the target.
Warren had the end of the rope, ready to drag the tyre back for his turn when she was finished.
Time slowed as Jennifer flew to the floor, unable to get her hands out in front of herself to break the fall. Warren’s hands fell from the rope, his face shocked as he witnessed her face plummet to the concrete.
“Jen!! Are you okay?!” Sirius was the first to be heard and rushed to her limp body. Hands shook her body with no response from Jen.
“I’m sorry!” Warren defended once Sirius picked her up; her head lolled to the side down his arm.
“You, stay away from her.” Pure hatred filled Sirius’ voice. He turned to the instructor. “She’s unconscious. I’ll have to take her to the hospital wing.”
“Of course. Go straight away ...” Even the instructor seemed worried for her health.
“Thanks for coming guys. I just need a minute to think and I didn’t want to leave her alone.” It had been an hour since Sirius had brought Jennifer to the hospital wing. Madame Pomfrey had filled her with all sorts of potions including one that would make her sleep. She’d said that sleeping would allow her to heal quickly.
Remus and James sat at the chairs at her bedside as Sirius slipped just outside the door.
“Please, I just saw red. Please, you have to believe me; I didn’t pull that rope for her to fall. I love her!” Warren seemed like he’s really beaten himself up over this.
“You may not have done it on purpose, but you caused her pain. My best friend is lying in there dazed and confused. They’ve had to keep her asleep because of the seriousness.”
“I understand. Guess I just need to give you time.” Warren turned to leave, pausing just a second and facing Sirius for a second time. “Do you think you could get me in to see her?”
*Bang* Sirius had punched Warren. The cheek, Sirius thought. “I can’t decide for her whether she wants to still see you after today. But bring her back to me injured one more time – your fault or not – I swear I have worse in me than that punch. “Thanks for that guys.” Sirius smiled at his friends, returning to Jennifer’s bed.
Midnight was drawing closer. A person peeping in through the key hole would have seen before them Sirius dozing in the arm chair beside Jennifer’s bed. His breathing steady, at peace though his eyes told a different story, the dark rings under them showing the worry and lack of sleep for the person that meant so much to him who was asleep on the bed.
They would have seen him catch the attention of the eyes that flickered open. The small smile that tugged at her lips, giving her reassurance to go back to sleep.
[A/N] Okay, so first of all, this actually did happen to me. The army came into my school and my friend tugged on the rope thinking I’d gotten out when I hadn’t. So I wasn’t injured quite as much as this, it did result in a black eye and a few scrapes around it. In a way I’m glad it happened having given me the overall idea for this chapter :)
If anyone spots any mistakes please tell me. I haven’t had time to really check through it properly and I would appreciate any help anyone has. xx
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