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Chapter 1 : Charming Minnie
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I scrambled down the hallway as fast as my feet would let me, arms flailing in wild rhythm to my frantic heartbeat. I could hear the quick tread of the Prefects’ feet behind me, their heaving breaths, their aggravated yells. It was the soundtrack to my life, I tell you.
But as much as I relished the melodic sound of trouble, I was slightly worried that this would be the time I wouldn’t get away. A momentary pause to consider that possibility. Ah well, there was nothing I couldn’t charm Minnie out of.
I cut a quick corner and sprinted after Remus, chuckling to myself as I passed Peter huffing and puffing his way along the hall. “Better speed it up there, Wormtail.”
He muttered something I couldn’t quite hear, and shook his fist in an unconvincing manner.
“Uh, Moony?” I said, as I caught up with him.
“This isn’t the time for conversation,” he panted at me, hazel eyes wide.
“Yeah, yeah. But where’s Prongs?” I inquired.
“He’s hiding somewhere. You know he’s Head Boy and Minnie’ll skin him alive if she finds out he’s been causing trouble again. Especially in the middle of the night.”
Well that was a bloody long response for someone who didn’t like running conversation. “Right.” I nodded, or nodded as well as I could while sprinting down the hallways of Hogwarts.
“Remind me-” Remus stopped and sucked in a deep breath- “why we decided to let Peeves in on a Gryffindor party?”
"Excellent question." I paused. "I think it was James’ idea."
“And now we’re letting him hide so he can escape Minnie’s wrath?”
I gave it a moment's consideration. “Pretty much.”
“We’re going to catch you!!!” came a frenzied scream from one of the Prefects, who were hot on our heels.
“No you’re not!” I screamed back, eager to raise my voice to an obnoxious pitch.
“Yes we are!”
Remus stopped me with a raise of the eyebrows. “Padfoot, just let it go.”
“Fine,” I muttered angrily.
Suddenly, an earsplitting squeal pierced the air of the dark hallways. “Help! They’ve got me!”
“Peter,” Remus and I spoke simultaneously.
I didn’t slow my pace a bit but Remus skidded to a halt. “We’ve got to let them take us!”
“Are you crazy?” I stopped my full-out sprint only to turn and glare at him.
“No, I’m not. Are you? You and I both know he’ll never hold up under Minnie's interrogation. Poor Pete’s never had the gift of glib like the rest of us,” he said quickly, as we heard Peter’s screams get louder. As Remus talked, I was picturing the Prefects surrounding our pudgy friend and dragging him down the hallway towards our Head of House’s quarters.
I sighed. “So we’re going to turn ourselves in. To save Peter.” My tone was incredulous.
“No. We’re going to turn ourselves in to save all of us. We can talk Minnie out of anything, but Peter...he’s gonna need help.” Remus was wearing that obnoxious ‘you-know-I’m-right-but-don’t-want-to-admit-it’ face. I had to restrain myself not to punch it right off.
“Great. Let’s just turn ourselves in then! Splendid. All that sprinting for nothing,” I grumbled, following Remus back in the direction from which we'd run.
“Hey, tossers!” Moony yelled after the Prefects who were retreating down the dim hallway, Peter clasped tightly between all four of them.
The tallest, Barry Callahan of Ravenclaw, turned to face us. “So the culprits unveil themselves at last.”
I raised an eyebrow. “Uh, sure.”
“Are you going to come quietly, or will we have to drag you like we’re dragging your screeching comrade?” Barry continued, an evil gleam in his eye.
“As if you could drag us!” I shouted, making a lunge for Barry before Remus grabbed me by the shoulders and gave me a fierce shake.
“Padfoot,” he whispered, “This is not the plan! Stick to the plan!”
I stopped struggling after a minute, laughing at the irony of the situation. Usually it was me restraining Moony from killing people, not the other way around.
“We’ll come quietly,” Remus announced over the sound of my scuffling.
Barry was a tosser. No doubt about it.
The group of Prefects formed a little circle around Remus and me, shoving Peter in between us, and I felt like we were part of some crazy tribal ritual as we shuffled down the hallways of Hogwarts by torch light.
We were paraded along in this humiliating manner until we reached McGonagall’s office. I always wondered how Gryffindor had lucked out and gotten her as our Head of House. Life just wasn’t fair.
Barry knocked on the door, his lips still pursed in that disgustingly disapproving line. After a moment, the door cracked open to reveal McGonagall, resplendent in all her midnight glory. Her dull brown hair was wound tightly in sensible-looking curlers, and her robe was its unfailing tarlatan plaid.
Her eyes barely widened when she caught sight of us. “Oh my Merlin,” she whispered. Heaving a great sigh, she opened the door. “Bring them in.”
I shook free of the weak grips on my arms and barged into the office, feeling quite at home in the red and gold room.
Remus had put on his best apologetic face, I could see, as he herded Peter into the room and away from those wimpy Hufflepuffs who had been holding him captive. This whole thing was entirely too dramatic, in my opinion. It was one prank, one firework – well, more like four or five fireworks I guess – and one sodding Peeves who had spoiled it all. There was no need for all this rigmarole.
As we gathered in the office and McGonagall moved to stand behind her desk, I began arming myself with all the charming one-liners I could find roaming my brain.
With an imperious wave of her hand, our Head of House dismissed the Prefects. All but Barry looked quite glad to be headed back to bed. If it was up to Barry, he’d probably spend every minute of every day chasing 'criminals.' Some people are just loons, what can I say?
When they were gone, McGonagall surveyed us slowly. “Have a seat.” Her voice was slow and menacing.
Peter dropped himself into the nearest chair with a plop.
I exchanged a look with Remus, who perched tentatively on the edge of a chair.
“Mr. Black?” The Scottish accent bore holes in me.
“Ah, I’m fine, thanks anyway, Minnie.”
“I said, have a seat.” Each word was enunciated carefully.
Remus’ glare was almost as bad as McGonagall’s. “I think you should sit down,” he whispered.
I sat with a huff.
“Gentlemen. Boys. What do I have to do to impress upon you the necessity of behaving yourselves for your last year here?”
“Too many big words,” I told Remus under my breath.
“Shut up!” he hissed back.
“But-” I began.
“I’m serious!” he whisper-yelled, eyeing McGonagall - who was eyeing us - with an apprehensive look in his hazel eyes.
“No, I’m Sirius!”
Remus’ stony face silenced me at last, and I folded my hands in my lap, waiting for the rampage to begin.
“You need to learn some responsibility! You have been at this school for almost seven whole years and yet you all still act as though you’ve never even met the Sorting Hat! What is it that-” Suddenly, her angry words faded out. “Where is Mr. Potter?”
I gulped. “Er. Not quite sure. Isn’t he here?” I glanced around as if I was looking for him myself. “Oh. I guess not.”
Remus’ nostrils flared at me like he was trying to send some sort of a Morse-code message with his nose. “He’s in bed, Professor.”
“In bed? You mean to tell me that Gryffindor had a party, with fireworks, with pranks on other Houses, and Mr. Potter is in bed? Something about that is terribly hard for me to believe.”
“Maybe so, and I can understand that,” Remus began, “but, for once, it’s true.” I could see him silently hoping that James was, indeed, in bed. Remus was the sort of bloke who was uncomfortable with lying.
Minnie raised her eyebrows. “Very well. But as for the three of you-” she paused, I think for dramatic effect.
Suddenly, the door swung open to reveal –
“'Ello all. Fancy meeting all of you here.”
I rolled my eyes. The charm was running thick tonight.
“What on earth are the three of you doing here?” he asked, eyes roaming the room and lighting on all of us. I almost believed that he was surprised. He was good.
“These three just finished telling me that you were sound asleep in your bed, Mr. Potter. Would you care to explain just when sleep-walking became one of your hobbies?” The sardonic tone fit perfectly with the robe and the curlers.
“Oh no, I’m quite awake. I’m not sure what these tossers – er, blokes – were talking about. I’m afraid there’s been quite a misunderstanding, though, Minnie – er, Professor.”
A thin eyebrow rose. “A misunderstanding?”
“Yes, exactly!” I spoke up. “A misunderstanding!”
“Right, a misunderstanding,” Peter squeaked.
“If someone says misunderstanding one more time!” Remus yelled forcefully, losing his apologetic face.
All four sets of eyes turned to stare at him.
“I mean, that’s what it was, I just…don’t like…the sound of the word...that’s all,” Remus finished weakly. It wasn’t like him to stutter. It amused me.
Minnie sighed. “Boys. I learned long ago that it is impossible to understand the four of you. I will never fully know every problem you have caused, every prank you have pulled, nor every time you pulled the wool over my eyes. I accepted that fact long ago. But it is your seventh year, boys! And I had hoped you would have outgrown your old pranking ways. Clearly that is not the case. However,” she paused, and something like a smile crossed her face, “I’m not sure Hogwarts would be the same without your high-pitched yells, weekly fireworks displays, or all of these midnight meetings in my office.”
“How touching,” I whispered to Remus, who shushed me.
“Somehow I find I simply can’t be too angry with you.”
Something strange was up with Minnie, that much was obvious. Maybe she’d been hitting the sherry a little too hard.
“You each have a week’s worth of detentions.”
Minnie was feeling particularly kind.
“Now you may all go.”
We were getting off practically free of charge! I couldn’t believe it. And I hadn’t even been that charming! I followed Remus to the door, pulling a still-whimpering Peter along behind me, when the Scottish accent broke the silence again.
“And boys, Merlin knows why I’m saying this, but thank you.” The tiniest of smiles – yes, an actual smile! – appeared on her face. “It’s been a good seven years.”
Some things were just too crazy to explain. And this night was one of them.
Author's Note: Hope you liked this slightly pointless one-shot of mine. I'm trying to wake up my poor muse with some random stories like this...I wrote it for the Writathon at TGS. Please leave a review and let me know what you thought :)
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