Chapter 2 : It's War!
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That night, Marion returned home fuming after spending the whole day with Kyle. She slammed the front door behind her as she entered and threw her cardigan on the sofa before storming up the stairs towards the room where James and Sirius were sleeping. She banged on the door impatiently, calling out, completely intent on waking them up and not caring much who else heard. Not that anyone would dare cross her seeing her in this particular mood. Marion was nothing short of dangerous when she was angry and everyone knew it. Her size and cute face weren’t to be underestimated. If you did, it was very likely you wouldn’t be doing much else in the foreseeable future.
"Black!" She cried, pounding the door so it shook in its frame. Sirius answered the door lazily, wearing nothing but an open robe that he had evidently just thrown on, and some boxers, leaving little to the imagination. His sculpted chest would’ve distracted any other girl, but not Marion. She had never drooled over him like other girls. He looked at her groggily, rubbing a hand over his tired face, but changed his tone when he saw her expression. He knew he was in trouble.
"Hey, what did I do?" He asked, suddenly more awake and raising his hands in pre-surrender, trying hard to get her to calm down without using the actual words, which he sensed would make things worse. Marion looked seemingly baffled by Sirius' apparent stupidity. She folded her arms tightly across her chest.
"What did you do? What did you do!?" She repeated angrily, as if it was obvious and she was insulted that he was acting like he didn’t know. Sirius honestly had no idea.
"You told Kyle embarrassing lies about me behind my back, Black! He told me what you said this morning, you little turd!" She cried. Sirius now smirked in satisfaction; his piercing grey eyes met her turquoise ones in a brave lock.
"Hey, you had it coming and you can't say I didn't warn you. I told you I'd get you back." He giggled, crossing his arms around his waist and leaning against the door frame coolly.
"Fine, if that's the way you want it, then let the games begin." Marion glared at him with eyes of steel. The corners of his mouth twitched in anticipation of what she would say next. He hoped it would be what he thought.
"Meaning…?" he prompted her to give him the answer. His eyes glistened brightly in the dim corridor at the thought of what was to come.
"Meaning: its war!" sneered Marion. She then turned on her heel and walked to the staircase down the hall that led up to her attic room. Sirius stared after her, already planning his next prank. This is what he lived for: a chance to show how clever and mischievous he was, and messing with Preston.
The next day, Marion was up and dressed before the boys, which would be odd on any ordinary occasion. She and Lily sat in the kitchen. They eyed each other knowingly, struggling back secretive laughter as the boys slumped down the stairs and into their midst, settling down in front of ready-made bowls of cereal and still wearing nothing but their boxers and loosely tied robes. James tucked into his straight away but Marion and Sirius' eyes were locked. They both looked at each other suspiciously, expecting the other to give something away, before Marion raised her eyebrows and returned to her copy of the Daily Profit in waiting, trying to look inconspicuous. She bit her lip anxiously as the anticipation grew.
There was then a loud bang and a splash as Sirius' bowl exploded, showering him with milk and fragments of cereal. Then there was a snap as Lily took a picture, with a camera she had been hiding from view behind her copy of Witch Weekly. She and Marion burst into fits of hysterical laughter before darting out of the kitchen, Lily waving the camera behind her, and Marion flashing James and Sirius the now-empty vial of erumpment powder she had poured into his bowl before he came down. At first Sirius went to run after them, but James stopped him, throwing him a towel.
"You'll only make it worse, Padfoot." He insisted while flicking cast away cereal from his shoulder. He did enjoy these pranks as they were all in good fun, and he was friends with both Marion and Sirius, but he knew they could get carried away seeing as they weren’t as good sports as he was. They seemed intent on embarrassing each other to the maximum, whereas he was in for the pure fun of it.
"She's in for it now." Sirius vowed as he used a kitchen towel to clean off his face. James bit the inside of his cheek nervously. He knew he meant it. He always meant it. Neither one of them would back down until the other one forced them.
In the afternoon, everyone was in the garden sitting under a tree. This tree was meant to be an apple tree but it hadn't bloomed since 1856, long before the house was owned by the Atwood family. Sirius smiled to himself as, behind his chair, James handed him a sling shot and a stone he had picked up from under the table. The sling shot was one he had purchased from Zonko’s the previous school year, and it was incredibly hard to miss with it.
Sirius aimed it at the tree from under the table, making sure he had a clean shot, using his instinct as a quidditch chaser. He then moved his drink on top of a pair of chopsticks lying over each other in different directions to be used as a catapulting device. Gazing at Marion in front of him, he locked his target, and fired. The stone hit an apple that he had tied to the tree (which he had used to hide things in plain sight) which fell onto the chopstick, launching his drink at Marion, who gasped as the liquid splattered all over her lap.
She looked up, spotting the frayed piece of string still hanging from the tree. She then looked down at Sirius, who smirked in triumph. He high-fived James as she and Lily got up. Mischa and Ryan looked as though they were trying not to laugh themselves. Val barely looked up from his book and merely rolled his eyes at the noise. Johnny appeared to be biting his tongue to keep from rocking with laughter. Persephone seemed not to have noticed, as she was lying face down in a bikini on a sun-lounger, the back of her head hidden under a big floppy sun hat. Marion hit both boys around the back of the head hard with a rolled up issue of Witch Weekly before heading upstairs with Lily. They examined her now filthy dress.
"Oh now it's time to kick it up a notch." Marion swore with her hands clenched to tight fists.
"What are you going to do?" Lily asked, now worried. Marion looked up at her, turquoise eyes sparkling mischievously.
"You'll see." She grinned knowingly.
The next day, it rained hard, breaking the long streak of sunshine. Autumn was coming and they only had a week until school started again. Sirius got up and went straight into the shower and James went downstairs. When he left, Marion snuck into the bathroom and stole Sirius' clothes that he had laid out for himself. She met Lily outside, whose own arms were clutching every piece of clothing from their room. As they heard Sirius turn off the water, they scurried away hurriedly. When Sirius got out and saw that his clothes weren't there, he muttered angrily.
He ran into the bedroom wearing nothing but a towel and rummaged through his drawers, the wardrobe, and James’ drawers. They were all empty, with not even the ghost of a t-shirt in sight. He went on his way downstairs in his towel as fast as he could when, through the window, something caught his eye in the rain. He dashed down the stairs and out into the pounding rain and stared dazed at the trees.
All their clothes were hanging out in the rain on the branches, soaked through. And just us he thought his problems couldn't get any worse, he felt his towel whip away from under his grip. He turned in the direction it had fled in, covering himself as best he could with his hands. He saw Marion, Lily and Mischa laughing their heads off. Mischa was standing with the towel in one hand, wand in the other. Marion waved at him cheekily and he ran to the door, pounding at the glass.
"OPEN THIS DOOR NOW PRESTON YOU GREAT COW!" he roared.
Marion could hear all too well what he was saying, but wanted to humiliate him further, so mocked deafness and pressed an ear to the glass with a huge grin on her face. Lily and Mischa played along. All three of them seemed to be enjoying themselves thoroughly. Sirius was shivering against the cold and banging his fist against the window hard.
"I-I can't quite hear him. What's he saying Lily?" She asked, her voice muffled but still audible through the glass, so it was clear she could hear him perfectly clear at the volume he was speaking. She smirked at the naked and shivering Sirius.
"I think something along the lines of an apology." Lily looked at him sternly.
"And that he thinks you are the better pranker." Mischa added. Marion gazed at Sirius, mocking pity perfectly.
"Well if he said that a little louder I may consider letting him in." She relished in the triumph, putting a finger to her ear. Sirius looked at her with annoyance and distain but it was freezing and wet and so he reluctantly complied.
"Preston, I'm sorry for what I said to your idiot boyfriend and I think you are the better pranker." It took all his might to do it but it was worth it. Marion unlocked the door and he stumbled in, grabbing the towel back from Mischa and wrapping it around himself. She muttered something about him suddenly being so shy.
"Ok, Preston. How about we call a truce?" He suggested, holding out a wet hand. Marion considered for a moment, and then shook it. Now she had won she hardly had anything to lose.
"You have a deal. I was running out of new ideas anyway. Ok, Misch, get the boy’s stuff back in here - dry please. I don't need mum biting our heads off about that too." Mischa nodded and got to work with her wand and Lily wandered off. Sirius, whose hair was dripping and sticking to his face, eyed Marion.
"You need my help to get even with your mum?" He asked. Marion looked surprised.
"You want to help me pull a prank?" She asked. Sirius nodded, his hair shaking water on the floor like a dog. Mischa passed him a dry t-shirt and he pulled it over his head. Marion continued to think as she watched him dress, and then nodded her head.
"Sure. You might need my cunning expertise to team up with that almighty brain of yours." He smirked with blue lips. He seemed to have a remarkable ability to look handsome even with chills and hair that looked like that of a shaggy dog.
"Not to mention your wittiness and charming modesty." She added sarcastically with a wry smile, but she nodded, knowing if anyone was going to be able to help her, it was him.
"Ok then, Black. In honour of our new truce, I propose that we do pull a prank together. Meet me in my room at 8 and we’ll have a little discussion.” She smirked. Sirius nodded, seeming to forget what she had just done to him and look impressed at her.
"You've got yourself a deal, Preston." He agreed as Marion left and he waited for some of his clothes to be dried. James walking into the room and saw what was happening.
“Why the hell are all of our clothes soaking wet?” he asked.
“I’m working on it!” snapped Mischa, who was busy charming them dry again. James then turned to the half-naked Sirius whose hair was still dripping. He handed him some boxers from the dry pile and turned around politely to allow him to change, turning back when he said he was decent. He then handed him a pair of jeans.
“So I’m guessing Marion won?” he said. Sirius snapped his head up looking annoyed as he put his feet into the jeans, but nodded none the less.
“Yes, technically she did best me this time –” he began.
“And almost every other time.” James muttered.
“-anyway she and I have called a truce. Valid until, well until we piss each other off again, I suppose. The details weren’t clear. But whatever the case, we decided we’re going to team up for once rather than fight.” Sirius finished. James raised his eyebrows in disbelief. He had seen them put aside their differences before, but only on the quidditch pitch. They even had moments where they could be friendly to one another, but never had he even fathomed that they would work together voluntarily.
“You sure you can handle it?” he asked Sirius, who stood up, now fully clothed and shook his head from side to side, spraying James and many other things with water. He looked at him with an unamused expression.
“I’ve been handling her for six years, I think I’ll be fine.” He huffed. James raised his eyebrows.
“Okay, okay, your life, mate.” He surrendered. “But just so you know, I’ve known her over twice as long as you and let me tell you; six years might not cut it.”
“But you’re forgetting one thing, Prongs.” Sirius said cheekily.
“And what’s that?” James asked.
“You’re not me.”
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