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Flavor Physics by darwinquark
Chapter 1 : Quark Down
 
Rating: MatureChapter Reviews: 23


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flavor physics

chapter one: quark down







The bonfire was tumultuous and festive, its bright orange flames licking up toward the night sky in rhythm with the scattered laughter and music surrounding it. Kids of varying ages were gathered around the roaring flames, dancing and singing, celebrating the successful closure of another wily year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

Tests were over, assignments were finished, and classes had finally come to a close, which left everyone—particularly the N.E.W.T. and O.W.L. veterans of the school—in a particularly celebratory, if not a tad wistful, mood. The result of this nostalgic fervor? An impromptu, unruly party thrown by the seventh year Gryffindors boys at the Black Lake.

Everyone was going home the following morning—the Express boarded at seven A.M. sharp—so naturally, the Marauders decided, “Why not go home piss-drunk?” Or, at the very least, delightfully hung-over. Hence, halfway through the leisurely day, they decided to throw something together: they sent owls to thirty or so Gryffindors telling them to meet by the Black Lake at 10:00 P.M. for a goodbye get-together.

It wasn’t meant to be huge, just a pack of Lions reminiscing on the good ol’ days with a bottle of Firewhiskey in hand. However, seeing as though the Marauders were involved, word spread—and it spread fast. Friends told their friends, who in turn told their friends, who in turn told their second cousins thrice removed, who in turn told their next-door neighbors…

Bottom-line: it was now one in the morning and the party was completely out of control. What seemed to be every Hogwarts student and their mother were gathered down on the dewy grounds, swaying and dancing wildly, talking in animated slurs and gesturing with reckless abandon. Heads were tossed back in laughter, girlish shrieks were piercing the air, abandoned bottles of Goblin Rum and Firewhiskey were littered across the floor—all in all, it was chaos.

And standing in the center of it, catastrophically furious and stone-cold sober, was none other than Avery Whittaker. Her arms were shaking. Her nails were biting into her palms. Her eyes, normally a relatively easy-going hazel, were molten, seething—flat-out livid.

That. Fucking. Asshole.

The scene before her was enough to make her want to strangle the life out of every single person partying merrily around her, just as she had been doing mere minutes ago. Finnegan O’Reilly, her very much now decidedly ex-bloody-boyfriend, was grinding up on his Hufflepuff slut of a Potions partner, Tamara Ryde—or Tammy Give-Me-A-Ryde, as Avery liked to call her.

Although questionable (Finn was always off working on Potions assignments till the wee hours of the night with her), Avery would’ve been more than willing to let the situation slide with little more than a pointed look and a firm yank of the ear if it had just been dancing. Everyone was pretty tipsy by this point and thus making stupid decisions.

The fact that he had his hand up her shirt changed things a bit.

“Oh, Finn,” Tamara murmured breathily, slowly grinding her hips against his as his left hand disappeared beneath her flowery halter top. The slaggy blonde tossed her head back against his shoulder, purring, and he quickly silenced her with his mouth, kissing her sloppily and disgustingly, all tongue and no lips.

Avery was honestly too enraged, too disgusted, too bloody horrified, to react. It wasn’t like she was emotionally hurt or anything—hell, she’d been meaning to break up with him for months now (Finn was fit and all, but he was an immature idiot)—but this, the sodding nerve! He hadn’t even given her a chance to break it off!

Christ, and to think she’d been prolonging it to avoid hurting him. What a joke. He’d probably been at it with Tamara for weeks now, shagging in random broom closets whilst she struggled with the guilt of their impending break-up. Her vision went scarlet with rage, cuttingly fixated on the slimy pair, the image burning in her mind for eternity—she had been cheated on.

Cheated on, by some two-bit Irish Slytherin with nothing more to offer than a smashing bum and mediocre kissing skills. God, how could she have been so moronic? She knew what he was doing those late nights, she simply knew it, but she was too busy feeling bad about what she was about to do to him to acknowledge it. And to think, people always called her the smart one, the quick wit, the one who saw through all the bullshit—obviously not!

“Mm, Finn, do that thing you did last week with your tongue—” 

And that was really all it took for her to snap. Without warning, without prelude, without any attempt whatsoever at ladylike grace or decorum, she marched right up to the scruffy brunette, yanked him around by the shoulder, and before he could so much as react, swung her furiously clamped fist right into his slimy, drunk, disgusting excuse for a face.

Crack!

Fucking hell!” he cried as he stumbled back a bit, the sickening sound issuing from his nose as blood starting gushing out in tumults. Tamara shrieked in horror, instantly wheeling around to inspect the damage, whereas Avery merely shook out her throbbing hand with a grimace, trying to appear tough and enraged whilst wincing like the pansy that she was—Merlin, perhaps she should’ve gone for the traditional slap…

“What is your problem!?” Tamara screeched, rounding on her and staring at her as if she were a psycho, but Finn seemed to have gathered his bearings enough to intervene, holding a hand out to fend the girl off.

“Avie,” he began, pleading look in his bleary eyes as blood dribbled down his chin, “love, I can explain—”

This was enough to make her forget all about the pain in her hand, and her anger flared up tenfold. “Oh, no, don’t worry; I understand,” she growled viciously. “You were just working on Potions, right?”

“It’s not like that!”
 
“No, you’re right—it’s like this.” And without warning, she punched him in the nose yet again, rearing her arm back further to pack more force into the blow and immediately wincing upon contact—hot damn. This looked so painless in the cinema!

“Bloody shit!” Finn wailed, hands instantly flying to his nose as he staggered back in pain, and a few rowdy spectators started cheering. Tamara was instantly at his side, hysterical and useless, though his eyes cut up to Avery’s with wide-eyed resentment, “You are such a fucking bitch!”

She merely scowled at his muffled cry, tossing him a disgusted look before turning on her heel and storming off, adding a little sashay into her step. She was dying to add something badass and memorable like ‘And don’t you forget it’ over her shoulder, but that kind of thing only really worked in films—it was just corny in real life.

Hence, hand throbbing more than she’d like to admit and anger still pretty much fully in tact, she made her way through the gyrating crowd, headed toward the old oak tree off to the side of the lake. It was a good distance away from the bonfire, shadowed and somewhat hidden from the party raging beside it, and a small, rather exclusive smattering of students was gathered beneath it, relaxing and having their own good time.

To think, that had been her not five minutes ago. “Lily,” she called out as she neared the group, eyes skimming over the various sprawled out forms for a tumble of scarlet hair. Remus Lupin was lying on his back, arms crossed beneath his head, smiling in his dry-as-ash way at something James was saying as he stared up at the night sky. Emmeline Vance was draped perpendicular to him, head propped up comfortably against the side of his chest, laughing as she took a swig of her Butterbeer.

Peter Pettigrew was sitting cross-legged on the grass, guitar in hand, strumming a vaguely familiar melody and looking somewhat lost in thought. James, on the other hand, was gesturing about enthusiastically, eyes cutting about to everyone’s faces, expression wild and dramatic—undoubtedly in the middle of a harrowing prank story. He was lounging back against the trunk of the tree, Firewhiskey in hand, arms casually draped around the waist of the pretty redhead nestled between his legs.

“Lily,” Avery repeated upon spotting her, and a few pairs of eyes turned to meet hers—one of them a bespectacled, charismatic hazel.

“And she returns!” James announced with a wry grin, having abandoned his story at the sight of her. “Finally come to your senses and realized O’Reilly’s a prize idiot, have you?” It was no secret that James and Finn didn’t get along.

“I just punched him in the face twice, if that answers your question,” she responded without hesitation, and this time all eyes snapped over to her.

What?” Lily gasped, followed by James’ guffaw of delight and Emmeline’s choke of laughter. “You didn’t!”

“Oh, but I did,” Avery replied, once again shaking out her hand to ease the throbbing and fighting back a wince, “and it hurt like hell.”

Emmeline lapsed into a fit of giggles, ever the bubbly one, “But… why!?”

James snorted. “Because he’s a piece of Hippogriff shit?”

Lily elbowed him irritably, scrambling out of his hold so that she could eye Avery in that fiercely rapt way of hers that mildly terrified her. “What did he do?” she demanded.

“I think you mean who,” she replied, attempting to keep the anger from her voice and failing miserably.

Lily’s eyes went wide, and then cut into sharp slits mere moments later. “Hold on a moment. You’d better not be talking about…”

“Oh, but I am.”

“No!”

“Yes.”
 
“Give-Me-A-Ry—!”

“Yep.”

No!”

“Dead serious.”

Lily’s face flushed a sudden, terrifying red, and little electrical spitfires seemed to spark off her fire engine hair as she violently scrambled to her feet and cried, “I’M GOING TO KILL THAT STUPID HUFFLEPUFF SLAG!” And before anyone could even think to stop her, she was off, charging toward the party, temper rampant and out-of-control and vibrant hair billowing behind her.

James watched her go with a rumpled expression, head cocked to the side, adorably perplexed. He then shot a glance at Remus. “Explanation?”

“No clue,” Remus shrugged. “Wormtail?”

“PMS?” the shorter boy offered.

Emmeline shook her head, laughing. “Boys. So simple-minded. Basically, Avery’s class A troll of a boyfriend—”

Ex,” the brunette cut in darkly.

“—was having it off to the side with Tamara Ryde, and Lily’s pissed because that bint has a history of going after other girls’ boyfriends.” She paused for a moment and turned to Avery, cheeriness melting into heartfelt concern with shocking speed, “Are you okay, Aves?”

That was the thing about Emmeline Vance—she wore her emotions on her sleeve to such a degree that people always thought she was being fake. She could go from thoroughly depressed to excited about a new pair of shoes in less than two seconds, and when you didn’t know her well, you were a bit blindsided by the shifts. The fact that she was pretty, blonde, and unrelentingly bubbly didn’t help her case, either.

Really, she was one of the most refreshingly genuine people Avery had ever met. She wasn’t as good of friends with her as she was with Lily, but they were decently close nonetheless. This was partly due to the fact that, despite Lily’s insistence on the contrary, Avery had written her off as an insincere bimbo like everyone else had for a quite long time, and it wasn’t until sixth year that she’d really started getting to know her.

And now here they were, the final night of their seventh year, great—if not quite best—friends.

“Yeah, you alright, love?” Remus also asked, propping himself up on his elbows to eye her more thoroughly. He was the polar opposite of Emmeline—subtle, guarded emotions, shadowed eyes, and a cautionary layer of cynicism that he draped over any of his vulnerabilities. “O’Reilly’s a tosser and a half—don’t let him get to you.”

“Here, here,” James agreed, swinging his bottle up in toast, and Peter lifted his own drink in accordance, promptly downing it afterwards.

“I’m fine, guys,” Avery replied, and it was mostly the truth. A large part of her was still pretty furious, a medium part of her felt the blow to her pride, and a small, tiny, buried part of her felt the slightest bit—she’d grudgingly admit it—hurt. Sure, Finn was a smarmy sleaze and a pretty lousy snog, but he’d still been her boyfriend for six months. Most of her friends didn’t like him too much, but hey—he was pretty to look at and he added a bit of spice to her life.

He definitely wasn’t the world’s best conversationalist, and when it came to brains, he wasn’t at the top of the food chain, but he was just so spectacularly different from all the guys that she’d dated in the past that it made him incredibly appealing. Every boyfriend of hers aside from Finn had been a to-the-bloody-T Ravenclaw. Studious, ambitious, literary, smug—the kind of blokes that quoted Nietzsche on a daily basis and thought they were Merlin’s gift to academics.

It got annoying very quickly. Thus, when Finn came along, all one-track-minded and stereotypical-Irish-bad-boy-Colin-Farrell sexy, the contrast charmed her. When she mentioned Hemingway, he asked if it was a band. When she’d make a corny joke, he’d laugh instead of getting all patronizing and asking, “Where’s the mature girl I fell in love with?” She didn’t have to be the intellectual 24-7; she could be the idiotic four-year-old, too.

Though, truth be told, she could only be the idiotic four-year-old with Finn. Her drier comments always flew right over his head, and any literary or political references were guaranteed to elude him. What she really needed was someone who enjoyed both sides of her; who could easily fall into a quiet, philosophical discussion at three in the morning, but could also throw a muffin at her head at the breakfast they ended up going to since they talked till morning.

Alas. If only.

“…it mental that I find her tantrums sexy?” James was asking as she tuned back into the conversation, brow furrowed. “I mean, it’s really getting to be a problem—she’ll get angry at me and start screaming, but instead of feeling bad or yelling back, I just snog her, and then she gets even angrier. What am I supposed to do?”

“Beats me,” Peter said with a shrug, picking out a new melody.

“Have you considered apologizing?” Remus tossed out, voice spectacularly dry, though it was the next comment that drew her attention.

“Just keep snogging her, mate.”

The low drawl startled Avery, though a flat look instantly replaced the surprise on her face as a tall, raven-haired boy waltzed into view from behind her—cocky, self-indulgent, and resplendently handsome. He cracked a wolfish grin as he grabbed another Firewhiskey from the cooler, expertly cracking the top off with his teeth and spitting it out. “Get her all hot and bothered till she forgets what she was angry about.” He waggled his eyebrows as he took a large swig from the bottle, drawing a large grin from James.

“See? Sirius understands me,” he proclaimed, motioning toward the tall boy. “I can always count on you for moral support, mate.”

Remus scoffed. “Because Padfoot’s just the epitome of morality.”

“I happen to be exceedingly moral, Remus.”

Peter snorted at this, glancing up from his guitar. “Did you come to that conclusion before or after you two-timed the Parkinson twins for a month?”

The corners of Sirius’ lips curled into a roguish grin. “Details, mate. This party’s insanity, by the way—you lot should see it for yourselves instead of being all exclusive and antisocial. Everybody’s piss drunk, and all the girls are making delightfully bad decisions…”

Peter perked up like a bloke who only ever got any when girls were making ‘delightfully bad decisions’—which, incidentally, he was. “Really? How so?”

Sirius’s stare grew self-satisfied as he eased down the collar of his shirt, revealing rather prominent bite marks. “Let’s just say a few uptight Ravenclaws might regret some things in the morning...”

“Gross,” Avery muttered to herself, distaste laced within her tone, and his playful grey eyes instantly flickered over to hers. She glared. She couldn’t help it—she’d never been able to stomach Sirius Black, and it wasn't just because he'd turned her hair into mini-cobras for kicks in third year Charms. He was a smug bastard who went about life like it was a fun little game, and he made no apologies for his Hedonistic lifestyle. Sure, he had his funny moments from time to time, but none of them were enough to redeem the way he treated people—namely, girls—like toys. Aside from his best mates, he didn’t care who he hurt, and it really got under her skin.

Especially now, when she’d just experienced what it felt like to be toyed with first bloody hand.

“Whittaker, love,” he drawled, smirk growing considerably less charming and considerably more sardonic. “My own personal ray of sunshine. Tell me, how’s your shit-for-brains boyfriend doing?”

If James, Peter, and Remus disliked Finnegan, then it would only be apt to say Sirius loathed him with the blaring, blinding force of a thousand exploding suns. The two boys utterly despised each other. They said it had something to do with some girl they both chased after in third year, but Avery knew it wasn’t that noble—it was a total pride thing. They were both competing for the same title.

You see, both Finn and Sirius were notorious for the way they went through the female student body of Hogwarts. Granted, they had slightly different tastes when it came to their conquests—Finn usually went for the buxom blonde whereas Sirius had a thing for exotic beauties—but more often than not, their hunting grounds overlapped. Hogwarts was only so large, after all.

Thus their rivalry. Avery really didn’t see what the big deal was—Sirius was the clear winner, he always had been. It was a competition of who was the biggest prick, after all. She’d liked to think that Finn had grown out of the whole thing while he was dating her—his first ever foray into the land of smart brunettes—but she could now see how stupid a thought that had been.

They were the same. In fact, the only thing that made Finn marginally better than Sirius was the fact that he was honestly just dim. He didn’t scheme or play mind games, he didn’t premeditate his moves, he didn’t even really know what he was doing—he just liked girls and went after them.

Sirius, on the other hand, was a calculating son of a bitch. He knew exactly what he was doing. He was devilishly clever and witty as hell—he could charm the pants off bloody McGonagall with that mouth of his. When he went after a girl, it didn’t even seem like he was going after her—he’d play it so expertly, so brilliantly, that by the end, it seemed like the girl had gone after him.

He was smart. Rather unbelievably smart. So when he destroyed hearts, friendships, sisterhoods, he knew that he was doing it. He simply didn’t care. And that made him all the worse.

“Don’t mention that lousy cheat,” Emmeline replied with a grimace before Avery could say anything, shuddering in disgust, and Sirius’s face flooded with amusement.

“Cheat, yeah?” he goaded, eyes going smug as they strayed back to hers. “So you finally realized he’s been shagging Tamara Ryde in the fourth floor broom closet for the past three weeks, then?”

Anger ripped through her like a lightening bolt, starting from her head and streaking to her toes. He knew about it and he didn’t even care to say anything? Christ, she knew they weren’t the best of friends or anything, but he could’ve at least told Remus or James to tell her! “You knew?” she growled, hazel eyes cutting into slits, and he arched a goading brow.

“You didn’t?”

“Sirius—” James began warningly, but Sirius continued undeterred.

“Because honestly, that’s far more surprising. Everyone knew. Just like everyone knew that before Tamara, it was Erin Pierce in the abandoned classroom by the dungeons, and before that, it was Cindy McLaggen in the Room of Requirement. But don’t feel bad, love,” he said, adopting an insincere tone of consolation, “the Cindy thing had been going on since way before you started dating, so it wasn’t like he sought her out. It was more like a ‘why stop a good thing’ kind of deal.” He smirked. “Nothing personal.”

Silence followed the words.

“That was a git sodding move, Padfoot, even for you,” Remus scolded under his breath after a few moments, the sudden tension in the air stilting the previously light-hearted and intimate atmosphere. Emmeline was chewing her lip anxiously, Peter had stopped playing his guitar, and James was eyeing Remus warily, prepared for the worst.

Avery merely stood stock still, eyes locked on Sirius’s. To say that she was seeing red was an understatement. It was more along the lines of three bloody Mary’s, Lily’s hair, Tamara’s Fuck-Me lipstick, and Emmeline’s six-inch stilettos all thrown into a blender and pureed—that was the color clouding her vision.

She debated her next move—she could either attack Sirius like her body was itching to do, pitch an absolute fit, decimate him with the most cutting words her tongue could string together, or pull a classic and slap him in the face. She realized her anger should’ve probably been directed at Finn, but for some reason, he was completely at the back of her mind; her rage was telescoped onto Sirius.

But then, out of nowhere, a wave of rationality struck her, and she realized that freaking out was exactly what he wanted her to do. He wanted her to go absolutely mental and throw a wobbler—he wanted her to break down and go rabid on him. So she had to do the exact opposite.

Thus, with an incredible amount of willpower, she forced herself to push aside her rage and instead squared her shoulders, tilted her chin up, and growled, “I need a bloody drink.”

Sirius’s brows flew upward, and the surprised expression instantly vindicated her. “That’s the spirit!” James cheered, holding his drink up in toast, and Emmeline giggled in relief, the tense atmosphere steadily dissipating.

“No more talk of O’Reilly tonight—I don’t want to hear that bloody name even once,” Remus ordered, settling back down into his lounging position with a barely noticeable sigh of relief. His face said it all: crisis averted.

“Sirius, redeem yourself and get this girl a drink,” James called out, to which Avery scoffed.

“Please, the sodding Pope couldn’t redeem him—and I can get my own drink, thanks,” she snipped, carefully sidestepping the sprawled out bodies as she made her way to the cooler. Her anger was far from gone, that was for sure, but for the sake of her pride, she could mask it behind testiness for the time being.

Sirius watched her with curiously amused eyes as she reached down and opened the lid, inspecting the contents for a moment before deciding on a bottle of Goblin Vodka and Cranberry. She felt his stare and resisted the urge to punch him like she’d punched Finn—he knew she was still upset. He knew it and he also knew it would only take a few more buttons to make her explode.

And it irritated the fuck out of her.

“Does someone have a bottle opener?” she asked, glancing around for the metal appliance or even just a wand, but before she could find one, a warm hand closed over hers. She glanced up in surprise as Sirius guided the bottle in her fingers to his mouth, expression roguish and dark, and her face quickly flooded with distaste.

“Watch and learn, love,” he drawled, hooking the edge of the bottle cap along the bottom row of his teeth and cocking the bottle upwards, the fresh hiss of escaping carbon following the action. He kept the cap between his teeth as he held the bottle back at her, coarse fingers enclosed over hers, and for a rather unsettling moment, he didn’t let go.

She held his gaze guardedly—what the hell was he doing? She distantly became aware of the striking contrast in the sensations on her hand; the inside of her palm was flattened against the freezing, foggy glass of the bottle, prickling with cold, whilst the outside was engulfed by the radiating heat of his large, calloused hand, and she didn’t know what to make of it. It was a strange sensation, but she’d be lying if she said she hated it.

“And that’s how it’s done,” he murmured, cap clenched in his teeth, grey eyes dark and smoky. She quickly extracted her hand from his grip, irritated.

“How very kind of you,” she muttered with a scowl, bringing the Vodka to her lips and taking a sizable swig. It burned all the way down her throat and she winced. “Should I bow or curtsy or what?”

He spat the cap out in a careless motion. “Normally, I’d just take a snog, but seeing as it’s you,” he smirked when she shot him a dark look, “I’ll take a ‘Sirius, you’re the sexiest bloke alive, and if it weren’t for my inexplicable need to be a loudmouthed feminist all the time, I’d shag you senseless’ instead.”

Her glower veered into a grimace. “I’d rather eat my own liquefied organs.”

“Well, that’s one way to be unappreciative.”

“Here’s another—fuck off.” And with that, she swiveled about and made her way back to her previous spot near Peter, settling down with her drink to re-join the conversation. Sirius merely rolled his eyes, muttering something about perpetual PMS before eyeing James with a wicked gleam in his eyes—and before anyone knew it, he had collapsed onto the poor bloke’s lap.

Oof—”

“Tell me you love me, Prongs.”

“Gerroff!”

“Admit it first.”

“Fine, I love you!”

“With gusto, mate.”

“Get the hell—”

“Does that sound sincere to you lot?” Sirius demanded to know, laughing his bark-like laugh and struggling to keep on James’ lap as the latter boy attempted to shove him off.

“Nope,” Peter chuckled.

“I’d give it a 2 out of 10,” Remus drawled.

“Don’t be mean!” Emmeline tried to scold through her giggles, “I think it was sincere enough!”

“You don’t count, Em,” Sirius grinned, wincing as James elbowed him in the back.

What? Why?”

“Too nice,” he gritted out, James apparently putting up quite a fight now.

“And what exactly is this?” a pointed voice asked from behind them all, and Avery glanced over to see Lily—all of a sudden the picture of calm and poised—eyeing the scene with brilliantly amused green eyes.

“Foreplay,” Avery replied, to which Remus snorted.

“We’re eloping,” Sirius drawled as he reached back to ruffle James’ hair lovingly, who in turn attempted to bite his hand. “Isn’t it brilliant?”

“Spectacular,” Lily responded, cocking her head to the side and smiling fondly at James. “You know, I always knew you were a poof, James. I was just humoring you all year.”

“Oh, really?” James stilled, arching a sly brow and seemingly forgetting all about the obnoxious bloke in his lap as he leaned forward. “So that night when we won the Slytherin match, you were just humoring me when you—”

Potter!” she snapped, slipping into her old habit of calling him by his surname as her face went bright crimson.

James merely smirked. “That’s what I thought.”

Remus rolled his eyes and James and Sirius shared smug looks, though the latter was promptly shoved off the bespectacled boy’s lap in light of the leggy redhead who was scowling quite fiercely. Lily scoffed at the gesture, stubbornly plunking down next to Avery and ignoring James’ kicked puppy look.

“Aw, c’mon—”

No.”

“Lily flower—”

“I hate it when you call me that!”

“Padfoot, go sit on her lap until she hates you enough to forget she’s mad at me.”

“This is hopeless,” Remus muttered as his eyes veered skyward, once again settling on the gloriously vast night sky. Many a time, Avery had tried to pinpoint the exact emotion that filled his eyes when he stared up at the moon, but she never quite could. He was just so damn subtle.

“So what happened with Tamara?” Emmeline asked, blonde hair fanning out across Remus’s chest as she tilted her head to look at Lily.

The redhead instantly grew hesitant. “Oh, er, I couldn’t exactly find her.”

Avery noticed she was pointedly avoiding her gaze, and her suspicion sparked. “What about Finn?”

Lily bit her lip, glancing at her warily. “I couldn’t find him either.”

Right. So they went off together. Avery tried not to feel the stab of anger, but it was impossible—didn’t Finn care at all about what she was going through? He couldn’t even wait thirty bloody minutes before taking off to go shag the girl she’d just found out he’d been cheating on her with? Trying to keep her anger from showing, she merely snorted dismissively, though her subsequent swig of vodka was jerky and vicious.

James, ever the showman, sensed the festive mood once again stilting and knew he had to salvage it. Thus, after a few moments of racking his brain, a slow, sly, renegade smile curled onto his lips, and his eyes darkened with mischief. “Oi,” he said, calling everyone’s attention, “how do you lot feel about one final round of Wizarding Truth or Dare, for the sake of tradition?”

Lily instantly rolled her eyes, whereas Sirius’s expression grew sly. “We’ve got plenty of Firewhiskey left.”

“And I’ve got my wand to swear everyone in,” Peter chimed in.

“That game is so juvenile,” Avery muttered, which turned out to be a giant mistake.

Four pairs of differently colored male eyes turned to stare at her, each one glittering more brightly than the last. There was something unsettling about the wicked shades of hazel, grey, blue, and brown boring into her, and she felt herself shrinking back the slightest bit.

Sirius was the first to speak, and his voice was a low, satisfied purr: “That’s because you’ve never played it Marauder style, love.”

And so it began.

 

A/N: Hullo, all! What's crack-a-lackin'? Just thought I'd pop in with a quick note to lay out some points for this story: first of all, it was originally meant to be a one-shot, but given the length (circa twenty long-winded pages and I'm not even near close to being finished) I decided to extend it to a short-story. No use in making the War and Peace of one-shots, now. Second of all, I know the characters seem a little flat at the moment, but this entire fic is aimed at characters developing into three-dimesional people and unraveling each other's stereotypes, so I promise it'll get better! Third of all, the staggeringly nerdy title will be explained... eventually. Does anyone actually know flavor physics? It's the coolest thing ever. Anyway, thanks for reading and drop a review if you can! Feedback = love.

 


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