Chapter 9 : Surprises
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I turned around, and Sirius abruptly stopped laughing. “Since when do Slytherins have a sense of humour?” he asked. “I thought you all appreciated humour as much as a bag of dried flobberworms.”
“You hit the nail on the head,” I said, attempting to not crack a smile. “I hate fun.”
Sirius looked at me pensively for a moment, then decided to play along. “Yeah, fun’s pretty rubbish, isn’t it?” he said. “Quite overrated.”
“What have you done to him?” James asked me. “I don’t want you corrupting him with your fun-hating ways.”
“Me, corrupting him?” I laughed. “That’s a good one.”
“I don’t know what you mean,” said Sirius innocently. Peter snorted with laughter, ruining whatever illusion Sirius was going for, as Professor Alvers put an end to our conversation by arriving and letting the queue in for class.
Before long, though, I felt like we were actually becoming friends. Sort of. We never made any plans together, as friends do – it was just that we kept appearing in the same place at the same time, and then enjoying it. They had plenty of other friends, but they still made time for us, which I figured meant something. And after a few weeks I started to see James, Sirius, and Peter as my friends, rather than just Remus’s friends. Even Sirius was not as bad as I had used to think. He wasn’t that arrogant when I actually talked to him – that was just part of how he joked around.
One day a couple of weeks later, after I had given up on my Potions homework, I decided maybe I’d visit the Gryffindors in their common room – after all, Mandy and I knew their password. I propositioned this idea to Mandy.
“Do you think we’ll get kicked out?” asked Mandy as we walked up to the seventh floor.
“I hope not,” I said, shrugging. “It’s not like we’re doing anything wrong, we just want to talk with our friends, and you want to stare at Sirius.”
“Oh, shut up,” she mumbled.
I smiled and we approached the portrait of the fat lady in the pink dress. “Blueberry muffin,” I said, and her picture swung out to reveal the portrait hole. Mandy and I walked inside.
The Gryffindor room had a much better atmosphere than ours. Gryffindor Tower was one of the tallest in the school, so the view outside was beautiful. The windows were very tall and framed by long red curtains, and all around the room were lots of comfortable old chairs and a crackling fire.
Lily Evans was sitting at a table working with a seventh-year girl I knew only by sight. James and Remus were playing wizard chess at a table near the fire; James was losing horribly because he had an eye on Lily the entire time. Sirius was leaning on the table, looking bored, and Peter was trying to vanish Remus’s chess pieces so James could have a chance at winning. He hadn’t quite mastered the Vanishing Charm yet so several of the pawns were disfigured.
“Hi,” I said, flopping into a chair. Mandy sat in a chair next to mine.
“Hey,” said Remus, looking up from the chess board. “All right?”
“How’d you get in?” asked James, once again distracted from the game. “This room is for Gryffindors.”
“This room is for people who know the Gryffindor password,” I corrected him. “And we know what it is.”
James frowned. Remus shook his head, and said, “I should be appalled at Slytherins in here, but I don’t really mind. You’re definitely welcome to join us anytime. Checkmate, Prongs.”
James turned back to face the game and groaned, pushing the remaining pieces aside. “Who wants to work on Transfiguration with me? Evans, you look like you need a partner,” he said, and moved over toward her table, ruffling his already messy black hair.
Lily scowled. “I’m helping Tara study, this is important information and it’s probably all going to be in her N.E.W.T.s.”
“N.E.W.T.s?” asked James incredulously. “It’s only November!”
“Yes Potter,” Lily said with irritation in her voice, “some people care about their grades and actually do their work, rather than messing around. Now if you will excuse me, I believe I was busy before you interrupted.” She glared at him, her green eyes flashing dangerously. James held his hands up in defeat and turned back to us, noticing that we had been watching. He sighed, and smiled uncertainly.
“Oh well,” he said. “I’ve got no reason to work on Transfiguration now, who’s up for something fun instead?”
“Me,” said Sirius. “I’m bored.”
“What about your work?” Remus asked. “We’re all working, so you’re not going to miss anything if you do your work now too.”
James appeared to consider this. “All right, Mum,” he said resignedly as he reached around in his bag for a book. “Padfoot, have you got your Transfiguration book?”
“Padfoot?” I asked, confused. They would sometimes refer to each other by nicknames and I still hadn’t quite got who was who yet.
“Sirius,” James clarified without an explanation. Sirius lifted a book out of his bag and dropped it on the table unceremoniously, an inch away from my fingers.
“Everyone, I vanished a chess piece,” Peter told us excitedly. But I saw a piece on the floor right next to him.
Eventually the six of us all got to talking and enjoying ourselves, and even occasionally working on our Transfiguration, and I appreciated Gryffindor friendliness. I improved quite a lot that day; all four of the Marauders were very skilled in it, despite how little they said they studied. Peter was a bit behind the other three, but he was still better than I was. And it didn’t help that Mandy kept recounting the story of the time I had turned my table into an alligator.
“Moving on, please!” I said. “Something I can do, for once. Charms, anyone? Ancient Runes?”
“None of us are taking Ancient Runes,” said James. “I think Evans is, though,” and he turned around so fast in his chair that I heard his neck crick. “Evans?”
Lily sighed. “What, Potter,” she asked, rolling her eyes.
“You sure you don’t want to come sit with us? Melanie’s in Ancient Runes, you two can work together on it.”
“Weren’t you listening the first time? I’m working with Tara!” She sounded exasperated. “Sorry, Melanie, it’s nothing against you… We can work on that later if you want…”
“Lay off, Prongs,” Sirius muttered to James.
I nodded. “I’ll be fine with this rune stuff, trust me.”
“Potions, everyone,” said Mandy brightly. “Something we’re all rubbish at!” She set her book on the table with a thud.
As we all moved on to Potions, James took one last glance at Lily, who seemed flustered and her auburn hair was coming out of its neat ponytail. Sirius followed James’s eye and said, “Are you ever going to give up on her, mate?”
“Never,” said James firmly. “Some day, Padfoot, when you fall in love, you’ll understand.”
Sirius faked a girly swoon and then said to James, laughing, “I doubt I’m ever going to ‘fall in love’.”
As he said it he looked up briefly and his eyes met mine. I turned away quickly and pretended I hadn’t just been listening in on their conversation about their love lives.
I felt bad for both James and Lily at the same time. Lily had been constantly annoyed or asked out by James Potter at least three times a week since fourth year, and he tended to act like a prick around her. James had been rejected countless times and never got more than a glare from Lily, whom he genuinely cared about. I couldn’t decide who I pitied more. I sort of hoped they’d get together eventually – maybe then they’d both be happy. And no one would have to listen to them bickering anymore.
I looked at Mandy, who was slightly red in the face but persistently tackling her Potions essay. She and Remus both had something written down – I had nothing. As silence descended upon our group, I started writing on my blank parchment.
Soon we finished, and with perfect timing because it was time for dinner. All six of us packed away our books, stood up and prepared to leave. I slung my bag over my shoulder and started to leave the common room.
“Wait,” said Lily, calling me back. “Did you want to work on Ancient Runes with me later?” I walked back over to Lily’s table, where she and her friend were cleaning up the various parchments, quills, textbooks, and a few gum wrappers. Mandy waited for me.
“Sure,” I agreed, “that sounds good, how about after dinner?”
“Sounds good. So… I hear you’re now one of Potter’s friends?” she added uncertainly.
“Yeah, I suppose. I’m not allowed to be friends with him and you at the same time?”
“I know you don’t like him,” said Mandy. “But Melanie isn’t James. She’s not going to be asking you out every five minutes, so I’d say it’s safe to be friends with her.”
We all laughed. “That wasn’t the issue,” Lily said. “I was actually just surprised; maybe Potter isn’t as much of a bigot as I thought he was. He’s just never been particularly kind to Slytherins in the past.”
“We’ve always had rivalry, just a sort of friendly one,” I said. “The whole group of them really – they’ve never been that cruel to us. I think they reserved that for Snape and his cronies.” I paused, seeing Lily tense up. “I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have mentioned him, I know how things ended with you…”
“Severus is part of the past for me,” said Lily. “He’s chosen his way, and I don’t care anymore.”
“You two are Slytherins?” asked Lily’s friend Tara, eyeing Mandy and me.
“Oh, I completely forgot,” said Lily. “This is Tara, she’s a seventh year. Tara, this is Melanie and Mandy, they’re Slytherins in my year.”
“Hi,” we all said. Tara looked slightly confused as to why there were Slytherins hanging around in the Gryffindor common room, but didn’t say anything.
Mandy seemed to notice, and told Tara, “We met on the train in first year, and Lily and I know each other from Slug Club,” she paused to make a face.
Tara laughed. “Yes, I’ve heard plenty of stories about that…”
“Shall we go down to dinner?” Mandy asked.
We left through the portrait hole and went down on our way to the Great Hall. At the entrance Mandy and I hesitated, glancing over at the Slytherin table.
“Come on, join us over here today,” said Lily, and so we all walked to the Gryffindor table.
Dinner was the most enjoyable it had been in a long time. Lily was such a friendly person, and all of her friends who sat with us at dinner were equally nice to us. Afterwards I worked on Ancient Runes with Lily, but then I had to race back to the Slytherin common room before any prefects would catch me out after curfew. Upon reaching my dormitory, I collapsed on my bed and tossed my bag carelessly onto the floor.
“So…” said Mandy, who was sitting on her bed, watching me.
“So,” I repeated.
“I don’t know… you said ‘so’.”
Mandy sighed. “I’m just thinking.”
“About what?” I asked, although I thought I already knew the answer. “Or should I say whom?”
Mandy was silent.
I laughed. “You have a boyfriend. I suppose you’ve been way too focused on Sirius to notice that?”
She turned to me, looking indignant. “I can’t believe you’d say that; of course I’m staying with Russell!” Then she frowned. “But I can’t exactly keep away from Sirius, now that we’re friends with the Marauders… It’s so complicated. I don’t know. I’m tired of this.”
“Everything,” said Mandy dramatically, sighing and leaning back on her bed again.
I got out my wand and started practicing Transfiguration. When I pointed my wand at a piece of parchment on the floor and attempted to vanish it, sparks flew out of my wand and hit Mandy’s small mirror on her bedside table, cracking it.
I looked up at Mandy, stuttering an apology, but she didn’t seem concerned. She just grinned and said, “Seven years bad luck!”
I laughed. “I give up.”
“You’ll get better.”
“Peter is better than me, and you saw how well he did at Vanishing Charms this afternoon.”
Charlotte entered the dormitory at that point. “Another deep discussion, ladies?” she inquired.
“Nah,” said Mandy.
“Scheming against the Marauders?”
“No, we already told you—”
“Yeah, okay… I still don’t get why you’re spending time with them. Right after they got you two caught… I don’t trust them.”
“Neither do I, Charlotte, and I’m sure they don’t trust us either,” I reasoned.
“Anything new downstairs, or is everyone still acting like idiots?” asked Mandy.
“Idiots for the most part…” said Charlotte. “Oh, did you hear? Remember Lucius Malfoy?”
“Of course I know him, he’s one of Nathan’s best friends.”
“Well, he proposed to Narcissa Black! I got this long letter from her today. And she said yes! She’d better invite me to her wedding.”
“That’s fascinating, Char, but I’m tired,” I said. “I’m going to bed.”
The next morning I walked into Transfiguration and took my normal seat next to Mandy. The Marauders came in late to class, though. I figured they had been off playing some prank. However, during class when we were practicing a new spell, we had time to talk to them.
Mandy was talking with Sirius, so I moved over next to James, since he was the next closest. “So what were—” I broke off. James had a huge gash on his arm and several more on his face. “What happened?” I gasped. I noticed similar scratches on Sirius; Peter seemed very tired, and Remus looked ill.
“Oh… um, just fancied a stroll in the Forbidden Forest.” He grinned.
“All four of you?”
“That’s why you were late to class?”
“I see… well, what was it like?” I asked.
“Oh, well… forbidden, dark, you know. Lots of trees, animals with claws.”
I raised an eyebrow. “I always knew you were all weird, but I thought you’d have more sense than that. That’s your idea of a fun pastime? Be careful, I’ve heard there are werewolves in there!”
He laughed. “I’ll keep my eyes open for that. If we do happen to see one, I’m sure we’ll be careful.” Peter giggled and then looked back at his snail. I looked up to see McGonagall glancing in our direction, and turned around to face my table again before she could tell me off for not paying attention in class.
Sirius and James mastered the spell very soon, winning ten points each for Gryffindor, and spent a good amount of time after that talking, and occasionally distracting Mandy when she was getting close to turning her snail into a saucer. By the end of class she was quite frustrated with the both of them, and during the last five minutes of class when we both finally mastered the spell, she even called Sirius an arrogant berk, something I had known he was for ages, but that seemed to have been lost on Mandy.
As we gathered our stuff, I raised my eyebrows at Mandy and told her, “I’m impressed.”
“You just called Sirius a berk. I never thought I’d see the day.”
Mandy giggled. “I know, it was terrible of me,” she said. “But he wasn’t laughing at my jokes. Well, I’m off to meet Russell now.”
Friendship with the Gryffindor boys was an interesting venture. Sometimes, though, it didn’t work out quite as well as we had intended – or at least, as well as Remus, Peter, and Mandy had intended.
The Marauders sat across the room from us in Charms, and after I’d quickly mastered the Silencing Charm on the raven on my desk, so that it sat there opening and closing its beak mutely, I couldn’t help but feel smug as I looked over at the boys. They all had noisy birds perched on their table, although they had neglected the birds and were instead laughing at Peter, whose raven was flying around his head as he ducked and waved his hands helplessly at it.
I turned back to Mandy, who was struggling as well. “Don’t wave your wand so gracefully, it’s more like – this,” I Silenced her raven as well.
“Excellent, Miss Hastings! Ten points to Slytherin!” exclaimed Professor Flitwick, a short tiny wizard who had to stand on a stack of books to see the class properly. He waved his wand at Mandy’s raven to lift the charm and have her try it again.
Mandy grinned at me, then went back to attempting the Silencing Charm on her raven. I smirked across the room at the Marauders. Who had just won ten points? Not them.
When Mandy attempted the charm again, altering her wand motion, Sirius strolled over to our table and grinned mischievously. “I know how it’s done. Allow me,” he said, and Mandy dropped her wand and gladly moved aside. Sirius muttered something, pointing his wand at Mandy’s raven, and all of a sudden, it turned orange, and its cawing was magnified ten times.
“Did you mean to do that?” Mandy inquired.
“Yep,” said Sirius. “Don’t know if you’ll be able to fix it though…” He laughed.
“You lousy git!” said Mandy, talking loudly over the raven’s magnified noise. “Go away!”
Well, if that was how Sirius was going to be… “Allow me,” I said, smirking. “Silencio.” I pointed my wand directly at Sirius.
His eyes got wide. “Hey, wha—” he began, but couldn’t finish. He continued to open and close his mouth for a moment.
“That ought to keep you quiet for a while,” I said coolly. “I wonder if you can handle it? Now go away and leave Mandy alone. By the way, you look like a fish.”
James, Remus, and Peter had been watching and were all howling with laughter. Lily looked up, probably thinking some foul trick had been played during class, and saw Sirius silently mouthing like an idiot. She laughed as well and raised her eyebrows at me in surprise.
Professor Flitwick noticed the disturbance in the classroom and made sure Sirius went back to his own seat. Despite Sirius’ silence, the room still sounded like a zoo as Mandy’s magnified raven continued to screech, until she made me switch with her.
After class, as I walked out the door with Mandy, Lily Evans ran up behind me. “That was great! It really did us all a favour,” she laughed. “In fact, I loved your idea and did the same thing later on in class when Potter asked me out again.”
“Great! That should teach him.”
Lily rolled her eyes. “Unfortunately, I don’t think it will… Oh well,” her face brightened, “it was hilarious to see the expression on his face! I caught him by surprise.”
Before I could respond, I suddenly found myself hanging upside down in the air by one ankle. My bag slipped down onto the floor, where I saw Sirius standing nearby, pointing his wand at me. I frantically pinned my arms to my sides to hold up my robes, but based on the smirk crossing Sirius’s face as his eyes darted up towards my legs, I hadn’t been very successful. With my free leg I tried to kick him, but he was slightly too far away.
“BLACK!” I exclaimed furiously. It was the best I could do, until I managed to extract my wand from my pocket, still gripping my robes, and perform a quick colour-changing charm on Sirius.
He looked down at his hands, then at Lily, and then both of them glanced up at me again – Lily grinning, Sirius shocked.
“You’re green!” said Mandy.
“Let me down,” I growled at Sirius, “or we’ll both end up in detention.”
“Detention’s not that bad, I go there all the time.”
“I don’t want to spend a detention with you.”
Sirius faked a very hurt look and then sighed. I swung back down onto the floor.
Remus left the classroom at that moment and spotted us. “So much for that Marauder alliance then, huh, Padfoot?” He raised an eyebrow.
“This was because she used a silencing charm on me! She started it!” he said defensively.
“Oh, that’s mature,” said Lily.
“Come on,” I said to Mandy and Lily. We started to leave.
“Hey! There’s no need to get worked up over it! It was just a bit of fun!” Sirius said after us.
I turned around, continuing to walk backwards. “Maybe you shouldn’t get so worked up over a simple silencing charm, and stop being such a hypocrite! Have a nice afternoon,” I said frostily, and we turned the corner.
“Really, Sirius,” I heard Remus admonish Sirius far behind us. “She’s right. What was that about?”
Mandy and I did our homework in the Slytherin common room, although we ate dinner with the Gryffindors again, at Lily’s request. We sat far away from the Marauders, which worked well for all of us.
As we ate, I started wondering why we had ever made the truce with the Marauders. It clearly wasn’t working out. Well, at least Mandy was starting to get over Sirius. It seemed that way, at least. And Remus was becoming a close friend of ours, and even James seemed to be much nicer than I had thought. Peter had never been too much of a problem to us. So, after all, the only problem was Sirius.
There really wasn’t a reasonable excuse to end our friendship though, and besides, it was because of them that we’d met so many friends in Gryffindor. We would just have to wait and see how everything turned out.
“Ugh, Potter and Black are looking over here again,” said Lily, turning so she was facing the other end of the table.
“Sirius?” asked Mandy. “But, he…” She looked up, puzzled, and both boys immediately looked down and began shoveling food in their mouths. Lily rolled her eyes.
“All ready for the Ancient Runes test tomorrow?” I asked, changing the topic.
“Yeah, I think so,” said Lily. “Professor Newbury said it was going to be hard, though. I hope I do well, I’ve studied a lot for that one.”
“It’s so hard these days finding time for all the studying. I’m just glad O.W.L. year is over with. Next year will be awful, though, with N.E.W.T.s, and even with all that I still want to be on the Quidditch team. I hope we have a better Captain next year…”
“I know, I’ll still have prefect duties.”
“No one’s died yet of too much work, so I’d say you’ll be fine,” said Mandy. “Well, dinner is over, we should go back to our common room.”
“I’ll see you two later,” said Lily, waving. As many of the students stood up and left, Mandy and I found Charlotte.
“You should have joined us,” said Mandy.
“I was with Rachel and Alanna.”
“Okay. Well, you should join us again next time we go to the Gryffindor room, you’ve only come with us a few times.”
“I’ve told you, I don’t trust the Marauders,” said Charlotte.
“Neither do we,” I said as we approached the bare stretch of wall that concealed the Slytherin common room. “Anyway, Viper.” A door formed and we walked inside. It was the sixth password we’d had in a row that was a type of snake.
Despite our quibbles, several days later in mid-November, we found ourselves back in the Gryffindor room, studying with the Marauders. I was working on an essay with James and Sirius, and Mandy was sitting with us as well, but she had finished her homework. It didn’t help that she kept asking Sirius random questions about a different essay.
“Mandy, go talk to Lily, or Mary, or Remus, or Peter, or someone,” I finally said, after Mandy remarked loudly that she liked Sirius’s new quill.
“Oi! Moony!” Sirius called. I still hadn’t managed to grasp which nickname referred to whom yet. Remus looked up. “Have you started the Herbology thing yet? I think Mandy wants to help you with it.”
Mandy pouted. “You can stay if you want,” said James, “but I don’t know if we would be paying much attention. We’ve got to get this done, sorry.”
I nudged Mandy. “Oh, go on, he doesn’t bite,” I said. James and Sirius laughed a bit louder than seemed necessary. Mandy smiled, rolling her eyes, and walked across the room to join Remus and Lily at their table. She came back in only a few seconds, though.
“You never said it was your birthday!” she exclaimed. “Happy birthday, Sirius!”
He grinned. “Thanks.” And then, noticing Mandy was still lingering at our table, he added, “Look, I’ll come join you over there once we finish.”
And so, when we finished about an hour later, Sirius put his and James’s books away in their dormitory and came back carrying a stack of coloured party hats. James, in the meanwhile, left the common room, saying he would be back later. Sirius handed a particularly repulsive yellow and pink striped glittery party hat to Remus, who politely refused it.
“Hey,” Sirius protested, “Prongs and I spent a while trying to fix this nice hat for you.”
“It’s not my birthday. Where’s yours, eh?”
Peter looked up from his seat near the table where he was reading. “You can always just make one for him, too.”
“Where’s James?” I asked.
“He should be back soon,” said Sirius casually. And sure enough, in about five minutes, James came through the common room door with a bag full of Honeydukes sweets, which he threw around the common room, telling everyone the occasion. I wondered how James had managed to get all this. But I put that out of my mind as I enjoyed the celebration. A group of third-year girls came up to Sirius, blushing and giggling madly, to congratulate him on turning seventeen. I laughed to myself, remembering Mandy had once been very similar. She kind of still was.
We had a wonderful evening – and I was pleased to see that Remus and Mandy made an even more horrible party hat for Sirius, which was lavender and had unicorns frolicking on it. After a while of festivities, I realised we had to be back in our common room before curfew, so Mandy and I left.
The rest of November passed by like normal. The Slytherin Quidditch team kept practicing for their upcoming match against Gryffindor, which was to be in January. James, as Quidditch captain for Gryffindor, kept reminding us how excellent his team was and how badly Slytherin would be squashed, but otherwise we got on well. Together we pulled a few remarkable pranks on the entire school, but it was difficult because the Marauders wished to play tricks on Slytherin, and we wouldn’t allow it.
Even Charlotte sometimes joined us when we went to join the Gryffindors, but not often, because she enjoyed her popularity in Slytherin. Our fellow Slytherins had begun to notice that we disappeared all the time. Our friends, like Hector and Russell, didn’t mind, but others were less understanding of our friendship between two rival houses.
One day in late November after I had made a complete fool out of myself in Transfiguration with my lack of skill, whereas James and Sirius had perfect transfigured teapots on their tables, Professor McGonagall announced an upcoming event which had not happened in a while.
“The Yule Ball,” she said, “will take place on Christmas day. It has a rather interesting history; it used to be a traditional part of the Triwizard Tournament, which, as some of you may know, was discontinued long ago because of the death toll. However, the Yule Ball is the only component that remains, although it’s not the same as it was in the past, when other wizarding schools would participate. As there will not be another for four years, I suggest if you feel like going, you stay at Hogwarts for the holidays.”
She looked as if she was most displeased with the thought of a ball at Hogwarts, but a buzz of discussion broke out in the room immediately. As the bell rang, many girls moved out of their seats to discuss this exciting prospect, carelessly leaving ink bottles and quills on the tables as they moved in packs out of the room. I made sure to collect all my stuff as Charlotte and Mandy and I left the room.
Mandy would likely be going with Russell, but Charlotte and I were single for the time being. I was secretly hoping Luke would ask me, but I knew there was no chance of it happening. Would it be that bad if I went without a date?
Some people came up with elaborate schemes to ask people to the Yule Ball. James would strategically place himself beneath floating mistletoe whenever Lily was near, but she ignored him every time. Once, I even ran straight into Peter and Sirius as they were levitating mistletoe over Lily from around a corner, and somehow they roped me into helping them charm the little plant. It was all for naught anyway – somehow Lily suspected that James had had something to do with mistletoe following her around from class to class.
One day about a week before the Yule Ball, the Marauders and the Anti-Marauders were sitting together at a table in the Gryffindor common room. We were discussing the Yule Ball, like nearly everyone else. The only ones who didn’t have a date were me, James, and Peter. James had asked Lily, but she refused to go with him and instead accepted a random Ravenclaw. And I had turned down Hector Branstone in the hopes that Luke Wilcox would ask me instead. I had begun to lose hope now, as Luke still had not asked and there wasn’t much time until the dance. Hector had already found another date, so he wasn’t even an option anymore.
“I’m getting kind of tired of this Yule Ball stuff,” James declared, yawning.
“Only because Lily won’t go with you,” said Peter.
“Hey,” said James defensively, “I’m pretty sure you don’t have a date either, Wormtail.”
“Yes, I do,” Peter said. “I asked her yesterday, my friend Sarah, she’s a fifth-year Hufflepuff.”
“You’re still going to go, right?” Mandy asked James.
“Yeah,” said James. “I don’t need a date. I’m going stag!” He laughed loudly, and Sirius gave him a high-five. I wondered if I had missed something, because it hadn’t been a very funny comment.
“Why don’t you ask someone?” Mandy suggested.
“Padfoot will give you twenty Chocolate Frog cards if you do,” Remus said slyly. Sirius punched him lightly on the shoulder.
“All right,” said James, smirking. “How about it then, Melanie? Do you want to go to the Yule Ball with me?”
“What?” I sputtered. “Seriously? Or is this just because of the Chocolate Frogs?”
James laughed. “No, I’m serious. We’re the only ones without dates, anyway.”
“Really?” interjected Sirius. “You’re Sirius? I thought I was!”
“Shut up, Sirius.” I said. I turned back to face James and paused. The truth was, I had been waiting so long for Luke to ask me, but with only a week until the dance, I had to accept that he would not be asking me. I needed to just forget about him, I couldn’t keep waiting. “Sure, I’ll go with you,” I said.
I laughed. “What are people going to think of you now? One of the people most responsible for playing tricks on Slytherins and now you’re going to the ball with one. I can’t believe I’m going with a Gryffindor.”
“Life is full of surprises.”
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