Chapter 24 : Burn
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Aubrey was pointedly ignoring Anthony Snow at the other side of the classroom when Sirius took the seat next to her in Transfiguration the next morning. This was one of the classes that Gryffindor shared with the Ravenclaw House and that meant Anthony Snow. She hadn’t spoken to him since their argument outside the Headmaster’s Office.
“Didn’t see you at breakfast.” Sirius said, stuffing the last bite of toast in his mouth as he sat down.
“Looks like you brought breakfast with you.” She commented, fighting a smile. “An d I was at breakfast. I went at a normal time and I didn’t see you there.”
He grinned. “I may have overslept a bit. I made it to the Great Hall in time to grab a piece of toast. I had a bit of a late night.” He nudged he elbow with his.
“Seriously though, thank you for last night.” Aubrey told him quietly. “My dad was really grateful to hear from me. I went to the owlery this morning and sent him a note as well.”
“Quit thanking me.” Sirius commanded. “Do you think James thanks me every time we sneak out of the castle together?”
“I sure don’t.” James remarked cheerfully, walking past them to take the seat next to Lily. “I usually just say ‘Sirius, you old dog, there’s no one I’d rather sneak out of the castle with.’”
“Want to rethink that statement?” Lily asked dryly.
“Besides,” Remus broke in, obviously listening in. “If they thanked each other every time they snuck out, that’s all they’d ever be saying to each other. Which might be an improvement on the usual drivel of conversation we have to listen to.”
Sirius tossed his quill at Remus, who stopped it in midair with his wand and sent it back.
“Yes, but I really-“ Aubrey began.
“No more thank yous.” Sirius repeated firmly, snatching the quill and setting it back on the desk.
Aubrey rolled her eyes, but she was smiling. The class quieted down as Professor McGonagall stepped into the room. Sirius winked at her as they turned to the front as the lesson began. Aubrey was acutely aware of Sirius next to her during the lesson. She knew when he was shifting in his seat, when his knee brushed against hers under the table, when his eyes glanced over to catch hers.
“And once you hand in your essay, you may leave.” McGonagall finished, transfiguring a book on her desk into a basket to collect their scrolls. “Class dismissed.”
Aubrey sent her neatly rolled essay to the front. She looked next to her in expectation for Sirius to send his up. Usually he tried to race James to see who could fly theirs into the basket first. Or he would just try to knock Peter’s out of the air. Today however, he was doing neither, merely slinging his bag over his shoulder.
“Aren’t you going to turn your essay in?” She asked. As soon as she said it, she remembered his blank page sitting in front of him in the library the night before. She had asked him to help her get to Hogsmeade and they had left immediately. By the time they’d gotten back last night it had been quite late and they’d gone straight to bed. “Oh no…”
“Black,” McGonagall said, also noticing his lack of assignment. “Where is your essay?” Her eyes were sharp behind her glasses.
“Unfortunately Professor, I don’t have it completed.” Sirius replied, not sounding too concerned about the whole thing. Aubrey cringed, feeling guilty that he was getting in trouble.
“Five points from Gryffindor.” McGonagall announced. “For your tardiness. I’d like a word, Black, please stay a moment. The rest of you may go.” She said, noticing the majority of the students had hung back to see Sirius get in trouble.
Aubrey pulled a sad face at him, and he just grinned back. She followed James and Lily out to the hallway. She felt horrible. He certainly would have finished that essay last night if she hadn’t asked him to take her into Hogsmeade. She should have realized.
“Great pick for a partner, Aubrey, really.” Anthony Snow sneered, approaching her outside the classroom. He undoubtedly had heard the exchange between McGonagall and Sirius as well.
“Go away.” She snapped.
“Black can’t even be bothered to turn in homework on time and you expect him to show up to all the Ministry meetings?” He laughed. “Black will probably be too busy gallivanting through the castle to-“
“Shut up.” Aubrey said through gritted teeth, her hand tightening on her wand.
“-worry about something as inconsequential as homework or your Ministry internship.” Anthony continued. “And this is the person that you picked to be your partner for the most important assignment of your academic career. What were you thinking? Were you distracted by his eyes, or his supposedly dreamy smile?” He rolled his eyes. “Merlin, girls are so easily-“
“I said shut up!” She yelled. “Petrificus totalus!” She threw the petrifying hex at Anthony, causing him to freeze and topple to the ground, stiff as a board.
“What is going on out here?” McGonagall demanded, coming into the hall with Sirius at her heels. “Miss Daniels?” She asked in surprise, taking in Aubrey’s raised wand and Anthony’s prone body. “Someone unfreeze him.”
One of his fellow Ravenclaws quickly said the counter charm and Anthony got to his feet, glaring daggers at Aubrey.
“Both of you will join me for detention this evening.” McGonagall told them. “And really, as Hogwarts representatives to the Ministry, I expect better from you.”
“Both of us?” Anthony repeated. “Why am I being punished? She’s the one who attacked me!”
McGonagall raised her eyebrows. “And you expect me to believe that she did so unprovoked? I have taught Miss Daniels for seven years now Anthony, I know her character enough to say that she would not act so rashly without a reason. Yes, Mr. Snow, you will join her in detention.”
“But-“ Anthony spluttered. “I’ve never had a detention before in my life!”
“It appears, Mr. Snow, that there is a first time for everything.” She said curtly. Aubrey snorted. McGonagall’s eyes swept the hallway and took in the crowd of onlookers. “I would hate to have to assign more detentions to everyone who is late to their next class.”
The crowd dispersed down the hallway immediately. “Aubrey!” Lily shrieked in surprise. “Another detention?”
“I think this may officially make you a Marauder, Daniels.” James teased. “We have a yearly quota for number of detentions you have to receive to get in, and I think you’ve just reached that. Sorry, Peter, you’re booted from the group.”
“Why me?” Peter whined. “Boot Remus, he’s Head Boy. He can’t be part of a troublemakers club anyways.”
“Thanks, Peter.” Remus drawled, rolling his eyes.
“Aubrey!” Sirius caught up with them. “Did you really just curse Snow in a hallway full of people?”
“Clearly.” She rolled her eyes. “He is irritating.”
“What’d he say now?” Sirius asked. “More comments about my unsavory and dastardly character?”
“Where do you come up with these words?” Remus muttered.
“He was making fun of you, mate.” James elaborated, grinning. He’d heard the whole exchange between Aubrey and Anthony and had been about to hex the little git himself until Aubrey took care of it herself. “I distinctly heard something about you galloping through the school. I think he might be under the impression that you’re a horse, mate.” He grinned. “I was going to inform him that you’re not the whole horse, just a horse’s-“
“Gallivanting.” Lily cut in, rolling her eyes. “He said gallivanting, not galloping, honestly. He’s not your biggest fan. He also told Aubrey that she only picked you as her partner because you’re pretty.”
“Aw, you’re a pretty horse, Sirius.” Peter sniggered.
Sirius ignored them, as Peter and James began neighing behind him. “That’s not the only reason she picked me. I have other worthy attributes.” He turned to grin widely at Aubrey. “ So you were sticking up for me, eh Daniels?”
“Someone’s got to.” Aubrey commented, shrugging. She turned to look at his friends. “Obviously, your friends aren’t going to.” She teased.
“You’re alright, Daniels.”
“Besides, it’s my fault you didn’t get your essay done and got in trouble.” She apologized. “If I hadn’t kept you out last night-“
“McGonagall assigned that essay a week ago.” Remus reminded.
“Shut up Moony.” Sirius told him fondly. “It’s not your fault, Aubrey. It’s not the first time I’ve been late to turn something in, and it certainly won’t be the last. “He slung an arm around her shoulders, pulling her closer to him. “So you couldn’t take Snow making fun of me, so you hexed him.”
“Haven’t we been over this already?” She muttered, but she couldn’t help smiling.
“I know, I just like to hear you say it.” He pressed a quick kiss against her temple. “I knew I liked you, Daniels.”
* * * * * * * * * * * * *
“C’mon, trouble, I’ll walk you to detention.” Sirius said after dinner.
Aubrey groaned. “I hate detention. I don’t know how you can handle going to so many of them.”
“Lots of practice.” Sirius teased, holding the portrait door open for her.
Anthony Snow was waiting outside the transfiguration classroom when they got there. He scowled when he saw them and turned away, staring resolutely at the door.
“Ah,” Aubrey remarked. “Now I know why you wanted to walk me.”
“What? Getting to smirk in that arrogant little git’s face is just a perk.” Sirius remarked, loud enough for Anthony to hear.
“Black,” McGonagall said, coming up the hallway towards them. “Do you have your essay completed?”
“Nearly there, Professor.” He answered cheerfully.
“Well then I suggest you go and finish it.” She remarked curtly. “Otherwise you will find yourself in detention as well.”
“Duly noted.” He grinned. “See you in a bit.” He winked at Aubrey and set off back down the hallway, whistling merrily.
Aubrey couldn’t help but smile as she watched him go, shaking her head. She looked up to see McGonagall watching her. She cleared her throat and stepped into the classroom to take a seat.
“I can’t begin to tell you how disappointed I am to see the two of you in detention.” McGonagall began. “Not only are both of you exemplary students, you’re also very looked up to in this school. I hope that we are in agreement that I will not be seeing you in detention again.”
Aubrey looked down at the worn desktop in front of her. She couldn’t promise that, she was finding herself in detention more than she was comfortable with. Next to her, Anthony was nodding fervently.
“I’m glad we are in agreement.” McGonagall sighed. “I would like you to spend the next hour grading these first years homework assignments. I have obscured the names so it will be objective. Please use red ink. The incantation to change the color of your ink is ‘rufum markam’.” She sat down at her own desk, sending two piles of papers towards them.
Aubrey looked down at the pile in front of her in surprise. It was certainly more interesting than copying lines. She tapped her ink well with her wand to change the color and began grading the papers. Some of the first years answers made her smile. It was crazy how long ago it felt like it had been since her own first year.
Before long, the clock on McGonagall’s desk chimed the hour and she dismissed them, her eyes lingering on Aubrey.
“Anthony, wait up a moment, please.” Aubrey called as they left detention. Anthony had hurried ahead, obviously trying to get away from detention as quickly as possible.
He turned, eyeing her warily. “Yes?”
She sighed. “Listen, I’m sorry about hexing you earlier. I lost my temper.” She admitted.
“Yes, I heard you have a temper.” He hedged.
“What do you mean?” She asked, her eyes narrow
“I’m still in touch with Sebastian Silver. I reached out to him when I got the internship since he works in the office that I’m going to be in. Your name came up. He said you went postal when he tried to end things with you.”
“Postal?” Aubrey repeated, not believing what she was hearing. She supposed she shouldn’t be surprised that Anthony was in contact with her former Ravenclaw boyfriend.
Anthony nodded. “To be honest, I didn’t really believe him because you’ve always been so polite.” He shook his head. “But with the way you’ve been acting lately, hanging around with Black and his crew all the time, I’m starting to think he may have been right.”
“I’m not crazy.” Aubrey insisted. “Sebastian, like always, is only explaining his side of things.”
Anthony shrugged. “You did hex me in the middle of the hallway.”
“Which I apologized for!” She reminded. “And if you remember correctly, you were insulting my friend.” She sighed. “I just think that McGonagall is right and we shouldn’t be fighting like this.”
“Well then I accept your apology. Now, no offense, but I’d like to get to the library. I lost an hour of studying due to that detention.”
“Of course.” Aubrey muttered, stepping out of his way.
She watched Anthony walk down the hallway, thinking again that he reminded her of Sebastian. She turned to head up to the Gryffindor common room. She had some of her own homework that she wanted to get started on, but she didn’t want to have to run into Anthony again tonight.
Remus was the only Marauder in the common room (hopefully Sirius was in the library finishing his essay) as she passed through to her room.
She sat in the alcove next to the window, looking down into the dark ground below. The Forbidden Forest was close to this side of the school, looking like a giant sea of trees away from the castle. She sighed, leaning her head against the glass. “Stupid Sebastian.” She whispered, wishing that he would leave her thoughts.
* * * * * * * * * * * * *
“Aubrey?” Lily asked in surprise as she came into their bedroom with Mary behind her. Her friend was sitting in the alcove of the window, her head pressed against the glass. “You okay?” She asked, fully expecting Aubrey to smile and say she was fine.
“No.” Aubrey admitted instead. “I’m feeling a bit down actually.”
“What’s going on?” Lily asked cautiously, looking to Mary. She expected Aubrey to clam up any minute. The only person that Aubrey was open with seemed to be Sirius.
“Short version?” Aubrey offered. “Sebastian is telling people that I’ve gone crazy since we broke up. And maybe I have.” She laughed sadly.
“Well, I think Sebastian’s the crazy one for breaking up with you.” Mary said loyally.
Aubrey just sucked in a breath, looking to them for a minute before looking away. “I don’t want to be sad anymore.”
“Of course you don’t, but it’s natural to feel-“
“No.” She cut Lily off. “I don’t want to feel sad right now. I need to snap myself out of it but I don’t know how.” She looked to them with wide sea blue eyes. “What do you do when you’re feeling sad?”
“Well,” Lily began. “I remind myself of all the great things in my life. I take a moment to evaluate what’s making me sad, recognize it, and then let it go. I focus on the positive.”
Aubrey shook her head, turning to look at Mary beseechingly.
“Honestly? I do something to take my mind off it, something silly or irresponsible. Like, eat loads of ice cream, play loud music, jump on the bed.” She shrugged.
“Yes!” Aubrey said, getting to her feet. “I need to do that. Can we do that?”
“Which part?” Mary asked, laughing.
“All of it!”
“Okay,” Mary said slowly, starting to smile. She kicked off her shoes and pointed her wand at the radio, twirling it until she stopped on an upbeat song. She used her wand to raise the volume until the room was shaking with the song.
“Mary!” Lily yelled over the music. “A bit loud!”
“Can’t hear you, Head Girl!” Mary yelled back, winking at Aubrey.
Mary majicked the curtains away and stepped up onto Aubrey’s perfectly made bed. “Ready, Princess?” She asked, reaching her hand out.
Aubrey kicked her own shoes off and took Mary’s hand, clambering up on top of the bed, already giggling.
Between gasps of air and random bits of singing along with whatever was playing on the radio, she and Mary bounced on the bed as the room resounded with music and laughter.
Lily stood next to the bed, torn between disapproval and amusement. She couldn’t remember the last time she had heard Aubrey laugh like that.
“Lily!” Mary yelled as she bounced. “Get up here!”
“I don’t think so.” She couldn’t help a smile as she watched her two friends. Mary had a rather off key singing voice and usually controlled hair was turning into a tangle of curls.
“Lily! Please!” Aubrey yelled.
“Oh, what the hell.” She muttered, sending a quick enlargement spell at the bed before she scampered up with them, to delighted squeals from her friends.
“What in the name of Godric is going on in here?” An astonished and amused voice asked from the doorway.
The girls barely paused, turning to see the Marauders at the door of their room. “Hello!” Mary yelled, waving at them between jumps.
“We thought you were having a party and forgot to invite us.” Peter accused.
“What are you doing?” Sirius asked curiously.
“Not being sad!” Aubrey yelled back.
“Okay…” Remus said, turning to send a mystified look at the boys.
“Girls.” James muttered, grinning.
“We were just having a bit of fun.” Lily said, hopping down, trying to catch her breath.
“Clearly.” James remarked, smiling at his girlfriend. Lily looked adorable with wild hair and color in cheeks.
Sirius eyed the open spot on the bed, kicking his shoes off and vaulting up onto the bed, falling into an easy bouncing rhythm with the girls. He sang along with the sappy song that was blaring through the radio, which made Aubrey and Mary giggle helplessly.
Aubrey caught his hand as they jumped, her happy smile the only thing that he could see.
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