Yeah! Okay, a bit (who am I kidding? A lot!) late, but it’s here. Guess that’d teach me to promise producing anything decent more than once a month. Well, here’s the first fic that I promised, one that I’m currently working on, and haven’t quite planned well yet. So any comments, questions, suggestions (specially regarding the plot and the kind of romantic scenes you guys want to see), and constructive criticism are welcome. Flames will be used to make smores.
Any warnings I think you should be made aware of will come at the top of each chapter, along with the author’s notes, if there are any.
The only warning for this chapter, I think, may be about its length.
Let’s carry on, shall we?
Siriusly Bothered, Severely Annoyed, Remuneratively Curious
Chapter 001: Train Rides, Books, and Silence
Five years. Five bloody years. One would think that would be more than enough time to hex the arse off the bloody prats. But no, the bloody Gryffindors had to be pranksters too. Well loved and welcome pranksters. Whoever heard of such a thing? A rowdy, mismatched group of boys who prance around calling themselves the ‘Marauders’. No matter how many hexes they dole out or get, no matter how many detentions, people still thought them wonderful. Students and teachers alike. And the people they usually prank on are received with more taunting and embarrassment.
Where was the justice?
There was a tug and the compartment door slid open. An open book shifted enough for coal black eyes to dart to the door in narrowed suspicion, a curtain of greasy black hair framing a scowling face.
“Excuse me, may I?”
Blue-painted nails meticulously filed to long ovals. Ridiculously long, straight black hair. Lightly tanned complexion. Lips with an annoying seemingly omnipresent smile. Sea green eyes that appeared oblivious to the sufferings of the world.
‘Another pampered brat,’ Severus Snape thought bitterly. He kept his face hidden by the book, but could still see enough to notice the amused look crossing feminine features when the person saw no other occupant besides himself. He saw that she was already wearing her school robes, as the hems were a whirlwind of fabric as she randomly tapped her foot on varying points on the ground. He thought the action completely frivolous and unnecessary.
“The other compartments are occupied,” she said, as if by way of explanation. She was already getting in and placing her luggage on the rack. Presumptuous, wasn’t she? “And I really don’t want to be at our carriage before the Gryffindor and Slytherin prefects finish exchanging their…preliminary greetings. I don’t want to stay there either after they’re done with it.”
Interest piqued, Snape took to closing his book and looking at the girl who disrupted his peace. She was already in her robes, bronze and blue tie and the blue interior of her cloak indicating her membership to the Ravenclaw House. On the lapel, a bronze badge glinted in the light.
‘Prefect,’ he read silently. That explained the attitude. At least he wasn’t stuck with arrogant Gryffindorks or annoying Snifflepuffs.
A hand was extended. “Lightwand. Alessa Lightwand.”
He went back to reading.
She cleared her throat.
He continued reading.
“Oh bloody hell.” Snape heard something land on the opposite seat. “Another wall on legs.”
Snape read on.
Ephira Greyson took out a book from her pouch and sighed in exasperation when she saw that it was for Transfigurations. The book was tossed aside, landing randomly among the growing pile of books, quills, and parchment strewn across the seat and compartment floor.
“Okay bag. I want my Potions book. Where is it?” Ice blue eyes glared at the offending lump of leather. She held out a pale hand. “Fine. You like it like that? Accio Potions book!”
Almost immediately, a thick volume soared out of the open bag and landed on her waiting hand. She grinned. Another book came flying out of the bag, followed by another. And another. And another.
The compartment door slid open.
“Good mor – Whoa!”
From where she was half-buried by the growing mound of varying potions books, Ephira jumped to hide behind a bewildered group of boys. “Gyahh! Help!”
There were four of them. The two by the door were James Potter and Sirius Black, both with dark hair so glossy and gorgeous, it made girls jealous. Brown and storm grey eyes, respectively, were gawking, but their brows were raised in obvious amusement. The two others a little behind them (because everyone knows James and Sirius lead their little group) were staring as well. The short, pudgy Peter Pettigrew with almost colorless hair squinted as he tried staring past the growing mound of books. His beady eyes, coupled with his somewhat lickspittle personality, always made Ephira edgy. He could be really creepy…without even trying.
The other, Remus Lupin, with brown hair and who was quite a looker himself, glanced surreptitiously at Ephira to make sure she was uninjured. Unlike the rest of them, he was already in his worn and patched school robes, a golden badge pinned on. He looked kind, and while Ephira knew this to be true, she also knew he enjoyed the odd (okay, maybe not odd…How about hourly?) prank here and there. He was, after all, part of the Marauders. There was also a sort of haunted look in his eyes that made him look twice his fifteen years. Ephira found it highly disconcerting and would always try to make it disappear, if only for a time, resulting in varying degrees of success and accidents.
“Potions again, Effie?” Sirius Bloody Black Who Managed to Look Unruffled Even While Dodging a Set of Vengeful Books Flying About asked. “I’d think you were a slimy Slytherin the way you seem to enjoy smelly fumes and moldy little dungeons.”
“Except you’ve seen her one too many times in her bathing suit to think she dislikes the sun,” James Potter quipped with a grin. “Not to mention without it.”
Ephira felt her cheeks burn at the reminder of what happened just last year before summer break, when the knot of her halter bikini top snagged on something or another and came undone as Sirius threw her into the Black Lake. Mortified, she had not immediately resurfaced and tried in vain to free the straps from errant rocks that seemingly insisted on keeping them, causing her companions to worry and Sirius to jump in to ‘rescue’ her. Needless to say, the only thing Ephira had needed to be rescued from was the absolute embarrassment of having the hottest boy in school free her bikini from the rock bed. Mercifully, she had kept her hair long enough to cover her – ahem – girly bits in preparation for the ball they knew would come in their next year. Any other time, she would have had barely enough to hit her shoulders.
She had decided right then and there to keep her hair long enough. You know, in case of, err, emergency.
Other than color in shame at the memory, Ephira had little time to react to James’ teasing. She had even little time to check Sirius’ reaction. As the onslaught of Potions books from her bag continued, Ephira somehow found herself tripping on nothing and ended up sprawled on the floor by the boys’ feet. The last hardbound volume that the vicious leather bag coughed out landed on a conveniently placed head of sandy blonde curls on the floor.
Sirius was laughing his bloody arse off. “Oi, Effie, why do your books seem to hate you?”
“What’s all this commotion about?”
Everyone turned to see most of the compartment doors open and the students within them peeking out at the source of the racket. A girl stood at one end of the corridor, her emerald eyes wary and her wand out and poised. Like Remus, she was already in her school uniform, the same gleaming golden badge pinned on her red- and gold-accented robes. Her demeanor, together with her curly, waist-length, flaming red hair, made her look rather like a righteously angered lion.
“The term hasn’t even officially started yet Potter,” she said, managing to frown and narrow her eyes at the same time. “Don’t tell me you’re so bored now that you’ve started hexing people from your own House.”
“Evans, no! We were just…” James looked around at his companions and the mess around them, probably wondering what to say that would make the girl believe them.
“The boys were only at the wrong place at the wrong time, Lily,” Ephira offered. James shot her a grateful look. He probably thought – correctly – that it would be more credible if it came from either her or Remus. If it had come from him or Sirius, Lily would have shot it down without even batting her long lashes.
Lily was eyeing them suspiciously, probably wondering whether Ephira was covering up for the boys. “Really?”
The blonde nodded. “I was actually summoning my Potions book but, err…I wasn’t too specific so…” Her lips twitched in an embarrassed smile. “They had nothing to do with it.”
“Well, if you’re sure…” Lily still looked unsure, and was giving the other girl a look that plainly read ‘If you need me to hex these guys into oblivion, just say so.’
Ephira’s smile widened at the prefect’s kind and protective nature. It was natural to expect it of her, after having shared a room with her for four years and running. She was a brilliant roommate. “I am, Lils. Come join us in our compartment?”
Ephira saw James’ smile widened by a good margin when he heard her offer. He fancied the arse off Lily Evans, had fancied her for ages. The whole school knew it; they had seen James ask her out and get shot down. Repeatedly. For four years. And yet James pursued her like a loyal dog.
It would have been romantic in Ephira’s eyes if she didn’t hear Lily gripe and complain of the more idiotic things the Quidditch player had done. Like the time when he had bewitched the candles in the Great Hall to spell ‘I Heart Lily Evans!’ and had the wax drippings fall on the Slytherin table. Half the Slytherin students had to go to the Hospital Wing with various degrees of burns and other injuries. Afterwards, Ephira had practically heard Lily snarling like the lion on the House Banners pinned to their walls.
Lily’s frowning reply brought the blonde from her musings. “Sorry Ephira, I’m already sharing a compartment with Severus. If you wouldn’t mind joining us, though, you could stay there.”
“Oi, oi, oi, who’s spending time with Snivellus?” Sirius interjected then. He was frowning as if he thought the idea barmy. Which he probably did. The Marauders seemed to hate Lily’s Slytherin friend with a vengeance. “Certainly not our Ephira!”
“His name is Severus, Black.” Lily’s expression was that of disapproval. She had been quite protective of her friend. Childhood friend she had called him. Only Ephira couldn’t really see the normally broody Slytherin doing anything child-like the way Lily was prone to doing – and dragging others into – once in a while. “And it’s not really your choice where others are staying.” Turning to Ephira, she added, “Well, Ephira?”
Blonde hair swayed as she shook her head; she still couldn’t get used to the feel of long her long hair. Ephira smiled apologetically. “I think I’ll stay here. I’ve to clean up the mess I made anyway.”
Lily nodded and made to move away. She nearly collided with another body moving toward their direction.
“Ewww, a Mudblood just tainted my robes!”
At the sight of green and silver, James and Sirius were instantly on their feet. Their wands were out, and they were brandishing them threateningly. “Watch it Blishwick.”
“Cavorting with your fellow blood traitors again?” Beside the growling mousy-haired Slytherin girl was another with platinum blonde hair and pale face. She had the same haughty good looks that Sirius had, and exuded the same arrogant confidence. At the sight in front of her, she wrinkled her nose. “Such unappealing behavior from a member of the House of Black should not be–”
Sirius cut off with a nonchalant wave. “If you find it so unappealing Cousin Cissy, then by all means, remove yourself from our sight.”
The expression on Narcissa Black’s face turned sour. In Ephira’s opinion, none of the Blacks knew how to take an insult lying down. “You bring nothing but shame to the ancient and most noble House of Black! Integrating yourself with filthy blooded Muggle scum–”
Another girl stood a little behind the two, partially hidden from view. Unlike the two who were in their casually expensive everyday robes, she was already in her school ones, Slytherin green with a silver badge on her chest to complement. Everything about her expression and stance indicated a certain aloofness and even a bit of inattention, but her sharp, dark eyes held a hard edge. For whom, Ephira could not quite tell.
“I think it would be better for the two of you to return to the compartment with Montague. You can change your robes later,” she said to her two fellow Slytherins. “I rather think she would want to further appreciate your new robes.”
Blishwick, the one with the mousy hair, frowned. “But what looking into why your potions books were going off on their own?”
The response she got was flat and held a tone of finality. “I see no issues there, Blishwick. As it is my property, I will be the one investigating the matter.”
Narcissa glanced uncertainly at the other. “Do try to be quick Kira. I don’t want you exposed to more filth than absolutely necessary.”
A corner of her lips twitched in what might have been a wry smile. It was gone before Ephira could register the gesture, so she had to wonder whether or not she had imagined it.
“And you.” The blonde Black turned to Ephira and regarded her with an accusing glare. “Know your proper place, half-blood.”
With a final nod to their companion and a sneer in the Gryffindors’ direction, Narcissa Black and the Blishwick girl swept out of the train car back to theirs.
For several tense moments, people looked from one end to the other as if half-expecting the hexing to begin at any moment. But as soon as they realized who the witch clad in Slytherin robes was and that she was moving toward the group, the heads that were peeking out hurriedly ducked back inside. However much they wanted to see the results of the impending hexing, their own sense of self-preservation still won out. The Marauders were known to show even less mercy for Slytherins and Fanatics after all.
Sirius stepped forward as if to face the oncoming girl. James took the opportunity to position himself in front of Lily who had yet to move. “Where do you think you’re going Kokuchou?”
“The other end of the corridor,” was the blunt reply as she took uniformly long loose strides. If Ephira didn’t know better, she would have even said she heard a hint of amusement in the Slytherin’s tone.
Sirius, however, didn’t seem to find it as amusing. There was a sound coming from the back of his throat, and if Ephira didn’t mind having her hair charmed to become snakes, she would have said that it sounded like growling.
“If you wouldn’t mind moving out of the way, Black, it would be greatly appreciated.” There seemed to be a minor scuffle between the two, but a gracefully executed sidestep around Sirius later, Ephira found herself staring at green and silver robe hems.
She saw movement in her peripheral vision, probably Sirius or James moving to block her from whatever hex was coming her way, or Peter scurrying to hide behind Remus who was standing frozen a little to her side. Lily had looked undecided on what to do, the earlier insult probably still upsetting her.
A thin leather bound volume was lowered to her face level. “I think this is yours.”
Ephira took the book slowly, keeping a wary eye on the people around her for any sudden movements. “…Thanks.”
She nodded curtly and straightened her stance. Ephira could swear she saw a glimmer of amusement in the other girl’s black onyx eyes when she saw the gobsmacked expressions on the boys’ faces. “If you would be so kind as to bestow a favor on the world, Black, I’d rather not see you on my way back from patrols.”
She started walking, paused, and looked around. Ephira saw her eyes scan the area, lingering on Sirius and the two other girls in the corridor. Eventually, she turned her gaze forward. “Try not to let it get to you.”
With that, she walked off.
The compartment door slid open.
Narcissa looked up from the latest issue of Witch Weekly in time to see a certain raven-haired prefect slide the door closed. She didn’t miss the door closing with a tad more force than necessary. “That was a long patrol.”
“Several first years were causing a disturbance.” Narcissa did not miss the way her lips were pressed together either.
“It’s always ickle firsties causing trouble, isn’t it?” Claire Blishwick, one of their roommates, sneered at the next part. “Mostly Mudbloods who have to be put in their proper places by their betters.”
Narcissa agreed fully. Then she turned to the prefect and, knowing the answer as soon as she saw the other’s expression, asked, “Is that all though?”
Kira was silent a moment before responding. “Black.”
The single word was explanation enough, but it still made Narcissa frown in contempt. That blood traitor cousin of hers was always giving them grief.
“Bl – Sirius again?”
At the near miss of using the surname her wayward cousin unfortunately shared with her, ice blue eyes had turned sharply to the other occupant of their compartment. It was a good thing that Claire had enough sense to know her mistake and correct it. There was no need to declare their unfortunate kinship more often than was strictly needed. Like when telling off the blood traitor, for example.
“Narcissa, has Black been…”
Blue eyes lost its reprimanding edge. Narcissa turned to Kira and nodded for her to continue. Kira’s dark eyes were unfathomable to even someone who had known her since before Hogwarts. (‘Purebloods should stick together, after all,’ Narcissa had thought as a child. And still does.)
The compartment door slid open yet again, this time banging hard against the frame. A familiar giggling strawberry blonde got in and collapsed in laughter beside Claire.
“That was…bloody brilliant!” Mary Montague managed to get out between fits of giggling. “Sirius looked like…like…!”
As the newly-arrived girl lost to another round of laughter, the other two occupants of the compartment looked at their prefect companion. Narcissa even went as far as raising a delicate brow at her longtime friend.
“A jinx.” Kira paused to reconsider her statement. “Actually, no. A few jinxes.”
“You jinxed him?” Narcissa asked in spite of herself. Kira usually diffused situations with her presence, talk, reputed skill and ruthlessness, but seldom any actual wandwork. Unlike a certain disgrace to their family, her friend actually had discipline and control over herself. Plus she acted so prim and proper that there were times that the blonde almost forgot that her mischievous streak almost rivaled that of a certain blood traitor cousin of hers. “And those ‘few’ jinxes would be…?”
Kira pursed her lips but said nothing.
Intrigued, Narcissa shot an inquiring glance at the girl beside her then at the mess of laughter on the other side.
They would later hear rumors about a monster aboard the Hogwarts Express and near the carriages, with glow-in-the-dark green skin, tusks, and tentacles coming out of his cheeks.
*Narcissa was actually born in 1955, but for the sake of this story, she’s a bit younger. Lucius retains his age; born in 1954, in this story, he’s already twenty-one.