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Chapter 7 : When You Anger The Beast, This Is What Happens
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The next day, Sirius seemed to be extremely pleased with himself. It had taken him all night but he had pulled it off; he had made what he needed to prove himself right. He sat at the Gryffindor table in the large Great Hall at breakfast with his three friends who looked on at him feeling rather scared. Whatever it was he had thought up it was surely going to tear a huge rift in the peace they had only managed to maintain for one day. Remus turned to Sirius, whose brilliant silver eyes were glowing bright in anticipation and delight of his own pure genius. That look was never good. That look was usually followed by detention, letter home to parents, and the wrath of Marion Preston.
“What are you going to do, Padfoot?” he asked, exercising caution as he didn’t want to be included in his scheme. He knew how these things ended.
You’ll see when I do it, Moony.” Sirius replied with the same look emblazoned smugly across his handsome face. The other three looked at each other and exchanged nervous looks as Sirius thought through his simple plan. Then they all turned to the entrance as they heard three familiar voices coming from the door.
Four girls were walking over to them. One, a red head who was contributing to most of the conversation, another was a girl with dark hair in a pixie cut who was doing most of the talking, a girl with a sour face who wasn’t talking at all, and then there was the mark. Sirius eyed Marion as she entered with Lily, Alice and Mary. He smirked knowingly as she sat with her friends opposite them. She grinned at him, clearly finding amusement in remembering what he had said the day before. While she was occupied talking to her friends, Sirius slipped something out from the pocket inside his robes and showed it to the three next to him. It was a small vial containing a bubble-gum pink liquid. James couldn’t help but grin at his friend, impressed. Peter patted his back and Remus looked absolutely horrified.
“What is it, Padfoot?” asked James as he gawped at the tiny bottle in Sirius’ hand.
“I thought you’d never ask.” He whispered with an eager glint in his eye. “It’s a hair tint potion. You need to have the antidote for it to come out, so it should stick for the day at least because we don’t have Potions today.” He explained, revelling in his genius. James and Peter were impressed but Remus was shocked. He didn’t see anything funny about what he was planning to do.
“There are two things you should take into a count before you go through with this genuinely stupid plan.” He said. Sirius raised his eyebrows, more interested in finding out what his friend was going to come up with to try and stop him rather than cautioning himself. He didn’t see any hole in his plan.
“And what’s that, Moony?” he quizzed with sarcasm.
“One, that she will be able to get the antidote from Slughorn without any questions asked, and two, you do this and she’s gonna make your life a living hell. She hasn’t even told anyone because if she had everyone here would be taking the piss out of you right now. Do you really need to go through all of this just to prove you don’t fancy her?” Remus listed, hoping to God somewhere in that thick skull of his Sirius had heard him.
Sirius eyed him once, almost convinced by what he was saying, but he wasn’t going to listen to logic. He never did. Sirius always thought himself far too clever to listen to someone else when he thought he had the answers. That was a lesson he never learned no matter how much trouble he got in. He knew that this was Preston he was talking about and he did have to do this or he would be the laughing stock of the school. This was a never-ending war and he knew it. They all did. His face broke out into that handsome smirk again.
“Yep.” He answered with relish. Remus sighed, wondering why he’d even tried. But there was nothing he could do about it now.
“I can’t look.” He said nervously, averting his gaze from the four girls sitting opposite them.
While Marion was facing the other way, Sirius subtly stretched over the table and popped the cork out of the vial with a flick of his thumb. He poured the liquid into her pumpkin juice, which turned pink momentarily, then returned to its normal orange colour. After slipping the empty glass bottle into his robes again, he looked up at who was approaching Marion. He had bouncing sandy curls and blue Ravenclaw robes. It was David Berkeley, who strode over, running his fingers through his blond tresses flirtatiously before sitting with the girls. Marion was giving him all her attention, along with Mary, who was trying her hardest to bat her eyelashes at him every time she thought his eyes left her friend.
‘Perfect,’ thought Sirius, knowing she would feel so humiliated if he was there when it happened. He could just picture the look on Marion’s face as David laughed at her as her rippling pleasant chestnut locks turned a synthetic bubble-gum colour. Marion reached for her goblet and held it in her hand, swilling the liquid inside but not drinking anything. Sirius’ face fell as she put it back down onto the table as talking to David seemed to become the priority. He was just about to take the cup and think of something else when David rose the goblet to his own lips and gulped down the entire contents.
All the marauders, even Remus, couldn’t hold back their laughter as David walked away, his blond locks turning bright pink as he did so. In some ways, that was a lot funnier than if the prank had gone as planned. Marion gaped as she saw his hair change colour and then stared daggers at the cackling marauders, her bright eyes turning hard and cold. She glared at Sirius in a mixture of annoyance, anger and confusion as he spoke through his fits.
“S-sorry, it was m-meant for you.” he barely managed before he burst back into raging laughter. Remus had stopped laughing at the sight of Marion’s face, as did James and Peter when they saw it. That was very clearly not a face to be laughed at. Marion got up and slapped Sirius clean across the face with an audible clapping sound that seemed to echo through the entire hall. His laughter halted and he looked at her with eyes of rage. Everyone on the Gryffindor table was staring, not to mention the others.
“You stupid bastard! What the hell did I do to you?!” she screamed at the top of her lungs, causing neighbouring people to turn their attention to her, both students and teachers. Sirius rubbed his aching face where a red mark had now erupted and stood up. Her turquoise eyes were blazing with anger.
“Keep your knickers on, Preston at least it wasn’t you that got pinked!” he shouted, now as livid and she was and frustrated from the aching pain in his cheek. Marion glared him up and down, disgusted and then left in a huff, Lily following close behind after giving James a nasty look. As Sirius looked around angrily, the people who had looked quickly averted their gaze, not wanting to be in his line of sight. He was even angrier now. Remus didn’t want to say I told you so, but luckily he didn’t think he’d have to. Sirius got the message, but what he planned to do next was anyone’s guess.
Later that day at quidditch practice, Lily watched with Alice and Mary from the stands as Marion and the Gryffindor team were practicing their moves. Marion was by far the best of the bunch. She usually loved the drills James made them do even though they were hard. No one on the team had the same focus she had, not even James himself. James threw her the quaffle and she caught it first time, did a swerve around two other chasers, dipped, rose and shot the odd ball straight through the middle hoop. The keeper, Michael Paulson was no competition for her.
In the next play, Marion, Sirius and Daniel Letterman were attacking the backup chasers for possession of the quaffle. The backup chasers weren’t nearly as good as anyone on the actual team, and therefore weren’t usually that big of a challenge, but they had little choice when it came to practicing. Marion knocked it out of the chasers hand with a simple punch of her gloved fist and continued on to the goal posts, Sirius and Daniel forming a defensive V behind her. Soon, the other chasers were back on her tail. She swerved expertly and without error, but never passed the quaffle.
“Preston, pass!” he bellowed to her, she took no notice and continued on her own.
“Preston!” he cried again. Marion hairpin swerved and completely passed him, heading in the position of the goal posts. Sirius trailed her, furious. Flying after her with all his speed, he called out again.
“Preston pass me the fucking ball!” he called over the wind roaring in his ears. Marion rolled her eyes.
“No, I can do this!” she called back. At this point, Sirius had caught up to her and dived for her. He lunged off balance due to his frustration and knocked the quaffle clean out of her grip. They both dived for it but had to stop about 8 feet off the floor as the quaffle was already down. By this time, the other players had come on their way down too.
“What the hell, Black?!” she cried, gripping her broom so hard that her knuckles were white.
“Would it kill you to pass once in a while, bitch!” Sirius shouted, dismounting and angrily throwing down his broom. Marion did the same and squared up to him.
“I suppose I just don’t trust people who try to turn my hair pink for no bloody reason to get a goal!” she threw back, her pretty face contorted with anger. Her brilliant eyes locked with Sirius’ in blazing heat.
“Oh, that’s what you want to talk about?! For Gods’ sake, Preston! You may be first string chaser but sometimes you are so stupid! What the bloody hell does that have to do with training?” Sirius yelled. James landed at this point and stood in front of his friend.
“Sirius, calm down, it’s just practice.” He said softly, putting a warning hand on his chest.
“Yeah, calm down, moron.” Marion snapped shrilly, her nostrils flaring. James turned around to face her instead.
“Look, Marion, I’m sorry about the hair tint, but you were hogging in that last play.” He said, trying to keep the peace.
“Yeah, you see? I’m not the only one who thinks you play like a one eyed hag with a broom and an enormous ego.” Sirius barked. Marion pushed James away and stepped closer to him, looking angrier than ever.
“Alright sniffer boy, bring it on!” she growled. Sirius stepped closer and looked angrily down at Marion, his grey eyes interlocked with her bright turquoise ones. James stepped in again despite their best attempts to keep him back. He wasn’t about to put up with this on his first practice of the year.
“Guys, will you stop it! It’s just a prank and a bad practice. You’ve both had those before. Can you please just leave it for outside quidditch?” He spoke quietly. Marion sniffed and walked off. Sirius did the same in the other direction, shaking his head in disproval. James was left in the middle, staring at the floor in disappointment.
That night, when Marion had changed and eaten, she arrived at the common room after having a bath and strolled right passed the marauders, who were slouching on the red sofas. They were lounging spread out, leaving no room for anyone else like they owned the place as usual. They were the last thing she wanted to see at that moment. She held her head high and went to walk passed them without saying a word, but Sirius saw her approaching. And of course, he just couldn’t resist saying something.
“Well if it isn’t the quaffle-hogging one-eyed hag with the massive ego.” He said, putting down his copy of the Daily Prophet and walking over to her.
“Well if it isn’t the neck-sniffing, hair-dying, second string moron.” She threw back. Remus sighed and left the room as Lily entered from the girl’s dormitories.
“What’s going on?” she asked.
“Sirius and Marion are having yet another blow out.” Replied James, looking from one to the other nervously.
“Really? Yeah, I can see that.” Lily said bitterly, lacing her words with sarcasm. “What did you do this time, Black?”
“What makes you think it was my fault?” Sirius snapped, redirecting his anger to her.
“Don’t start on her!” Marion warned, jabbing a finger into his chest repeatedly with her words. “It’s always your fault.”
“Who do you think you are, Preston?” Sirius snarled, pushing her finger away. She went to reply but Lily cut in, not wanting to have to witness yet another pointless argument.
“Don’t waste your breath, Rio. C’mon, let’s go.” She said, leading her brunette friend out. Sirius made an obscene gesture that Marion reciprocated as they left before heading off to his own dorm. James looked at Peter, who seemed to be more nervous than anyone else.
“We have to fix this before someone gets hurt.” He stated. Peter said nothing, but nodded in complete agreement.
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