The Midnight Marauder

Dear Snivellus

March, Maya’s 2nd Year

They were all laughing so hard that they were having trouble breathing. It was the “thank-god-we’re-alive” type of laughter after hurtling down the stairs as fast as they dared; fleeing the scene of the crime – a corridor now filled with water. A sopping wet Mr. Filch and equally soaked seventh year Slytherins were searching in vain for the people that had transported the entire contents of the Prefect tub on the fifth floor to the floor above it.

As soon as they had realized that their spell had worked – but not in the way they intended for it to work – the Mauraders and Maya had ran. Now, they collapsed at the base of the stairs on the first floor, laughing.

“That was the stupidest thing we’ve ever done!” Maya gasped, holding the stitch in her side and shaking with mirth.

“I’m sure we’ve done something stupider,” Peter said, wiping his streaming eyes as he chuckled.

“Maybe Maya hasn’t,” James said, still lying on the floor where he had collapsed.

“Welcome, officially, to the Marauders, little Midnight,” Sirius told her grandly, giving Maya a little bow.

She giggled and gave him a little curtsy. “Thank you, kind sir.”

Thomas came running down the stairs ahead of the crowd of students leaving their classes and common rooms to go to the great hall for dinner, caught sight of the group, and jumped to join them.

“Was that you guys?” he demanded in an excited whisper.

“Was what us?” asked Maya.

“Half-drowning all the Slytherins on the sixth floor…?”

“You mean there were people up there?” asked Maya in alarm.

Thomas nodded.

“Well,” said Remus after a slight pause. “They got wet.”

And then they were all laughing again. Laughing so hard that Sirius’ voice went all high and squeaky, the way it did when he was really happy.

“Damn it!” he groaned, covering his face. But he couldn’t stop laughing. Which just made his friends laugh even harder. Even Thomas was laughing, and the students that began to flood the hall looked at them curiously.

“What the bloody hell is that?” someone said from the top of the stairs. “You sound like a drowning rat…” A burst of laughter – not all of it kind – broke out after this statement.

Sirius’ face went bright red and Maya spun around to give Severus Snape a warning look.

“Say that again, Sna…Snivellus,” Sirius spat.

“Snivellus?” Peter whispered.

Maya tugged on Sirius’ robes. “Sirius! Cut it out!” she hissed.

Snape’s cheeks had flushed. Sensing that the crowd was turning away from him and desperate to not look like a fool he said, as coolly as he could, “Your laugh sounds like a mouse, Black. Too bad – I hear that lions don’t like mice much. Think they’ll let you into your Common Room tonight?”

Laughter broke out again and Sirius leapt to his feet, his cheeks red with embarrassment.

“You’re one to talk, Snivellus,” Sirius snapped at him. “Crying in a corner by yourself the other day.”

“Ooooo,” went the crowd. More cruel-sounding laughter broke out.

“Sirius,” Maya begged, tugging on his robes. “Stop.”

“Come on, mate,” James said, putting a hand on Sirius’ arm. “He’s not worth it.”

“I don’t need your help, Potter!” Severus shouted down the stairs.

“Trust me,” said James, a bit haughtily. “You do.”

Sensing danger, Remus grabbed onto Maya and gently steered her away from the crowd. Peter followed them. Severus glared after them – trying not to curse anyone or shout or…God forbid…cry from the humiliation. Sirius continued to glare at him as James led him after their friends.

No one stopped to comfort Severus, standing at the top of the stairs. Even in the crowd, he felt completely alone.

“I hate him,” Sirius muttered to James.

“I know,” James whispered. “We’ll get him back. But not in front of Maya, okay? She’s friends with him for some reason…and so is Lily Evans.”

Sirius nodded curtly. Too upset to notice how James’ mind had wandered, once again, to their gifted classmate who still refused to hold a normal conversation with them. He wouldn’t forgive Snape for making him look like a fool, though. This wasn’t the first time, and he was sure it wouldn’t be the last, that he and Severus Snape would butt heads in front of a crowd.

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