Food for Thought
The exam couldn't possibly have been this easy. It was a continuous thought going through Mary's mind when she was looking down at her Defense Against the Arts-OWL. She had only just finished scribbling down the answer to the final question (Please describe why Erklings are most dangerous to children and what the German Ministry of Magic has done to bring down the number of attacks.) and was now flicking back through former questions to see if she had missed something.
Mary frowned and scratched her head in confusion. Now she knew that Defense was her best subject, but was she missing something here? Could there be some trick questions in this exam? She studied it once more before deciding that there really wasn't anything difficult about this OWL and leaning back in her chair to relax. She closed her eyes for a moment to enjoy the pleasant warmth of the rays of sunlight that was streaming through the high windows. When she opened her eyes as one of the supervisors was walking past her table, she felt that she was being watched and looked around.
Steven Ashby, a student from Hufflepuff with short curly blonde hair and green eyes, was grinning at her. Mary smiled back at him, wondering why he was looking at her like that, and quickly turned back before anyone would think she was cheating on the exam. She searched the crowd for her friends and found Brice, who was sitting right behind Remus Lupin. She was currently rereading her answers while she absent-mindedly twirled a lock of her shoulder-length blonde hair around her index finger, something she always did when she was in deep thought.
Mary looked at Remus, who was frowning at one of his answers, scratching his chin thoughtfully with the end of his quill. His friend Peter was sitting a few rows next to them. He didn't look that comfortable, rather nervous as he was scuffing the ground with his toes. Mary hastily stifled a snort into a cough when she noticed that he was hopefully glancing at his neighbour's papers whenever he could. She shook her head. If one of the Professors caught him…
Mary sighed and wondered where Lily would be. She spotted her within seconds: her best friend was sitting in the row next to Peter's and Mary instantly knew that she also had already finished her exam. She was leaning on her elbow as she stared up at the enchanted ceiling of the Great Hall, admiring the bright cloudless sky as she waited the exam to be over. Several seats ahead of her, near the front of the Hall, was James. Apparently he had also finished the exam, because he was yawning hugely and rumpling up the back of his hair as he always did when he thought that Lily might be looking at him before he turned back in his seat and grinned at the boy sitting four seats behind him, who gave him the thumbs-up.
Sirius Black, of course. Who else? Mary suppressed the urge to roll her eyes when she saw that he was lounging in his chair at his ease, tilting it back on two legs. She actually did roll her eyes when Rissa Bell, who was sitting a few rows behind him, was eyeing him hopefully. Sirius didn't seem to have noticed and even if he did, pretended he hadn't. Mary thoughtlessly twirled the end of her hair, which she was wearing in a long plait to the side, as she thought about her recently mild feelings towards Sirius.
Sure, she still detested the way he treated his girlfriends once he was done with them and hadn't forgiven him for what he did to Brice either, but ever since they spent a detention together, things sort of seemed to have calmed down between them. He was still teasingly complimenting her on her looks and occasionally even asked her out (which she had declined every single time), but Mary was under the impression that he didn't really mean it.
In fact, she suspected that if she would agree to go on a date with him, he would get a heart attack out of shock and die on the spot. Her mind got jerked back to the present when she heard Professor Flitwick call: "Quills down, please! That means you too, Stebbins! Please remain seated while I collect your parchment! Accio!"
Mary watched as her parchment zoomed into the air along with over a hundred other exams and ended up in the outstretched arms of Professor Flitwick, knocking him backwards off his feet. She laughed along with everyone else as a couple of students from the front helped their Charms Professor get back to his feet. "Thank you… Thank you!" he panted gratefully. "Very well, everyone, you're free to go!"
Mary put her quill and question paper into her bag and got up, only to get almost knocked off her feet by Severus Snape who was brushing past her, completely absorbed in his own answers. He didn't even apologize and she glared at his back before calling loudly: "Well, excuse you!"
Lily was standing next to her table, shooting her a curious look and Mary hesitated. She had never liked Snape, let alone understood why Lily befriended him. He was a Slytherin, rude to every student who wasn't a member of that house with the exception of Lily, knew more dark magic than most of the Professors and it also wouldn't hurt him to wash his hair a little more often. But most of all: Mary didn't trust him. She had repeatedly tried to convince Lily to break off her friendship with him in previous years, until Brice had – justly - scolded her for trying to boss Lily around and decide who she could hang out with. Mary shot her friend another look before she shrugged. "Just some guy who bumped into me and didn't have the decency to apologize."
Lily frowned. "Well, that's rude."
"I know. Hi Brice."
Their friend was walking behind the Marauders, who were loudly discussing the question on Werewolves as they passed them, and paused next to Mary's table. She shot a somewhat longing look at Sirius's back as the guys disappeared out of sight through the doors before asking "How did you guys do?"
"Pretty good," Lily said as they started to walk out of the Hall themselves. "You?"
"Not bad," Brice said. "I wouldn't say I got an Outstanding on this, but definitely and A. Maybe even an E. What about you, Mary?"
"Honestly?" Mary said. "I actually thought it was just too easy. I spent about twenty minutes searching for a trick question or something."
"You dork!" Lily snorted. "You knew Hornswoggle said there wouldn't be any trick questions in his exam."
"Well, who knows Hornswoggle was telling the truth? He doesn't seem to like students at all. Maybe this was his masterplan to let everyone fail on their Defense OWL."
Brice laughed and gave her a friendly push. "How I love it that you manage to turn anything into a conspiracy theory."
Mary grinned. "It's not impossible either, right? He does hate us."
"Yeah, with compliments to Potter and Black who magically made the back off his robes disappear so that he ended up teaching us in his boxers with a Flubberworm pattern," Lily said darkly.
Brice shuddered. "Oh Godric, don't remind me."
Mary laughed as they walked through the Entrance Doors into the bright sunlight and headed out to the lake. "You've gotta admit, that was a good prank."
Lily huffed, clearly disagreeing, and Brice shot her a curious look. "You know, this whole "Sirius isn't so bad after all"-development you've got going here is confusing me."
"It's ridiculous, you mean," Lily chimed in.
Mary shrugged, shooting a glance at the Marauders who were sitting down in the shade of a large beech tree on the bank of the lake, before spotting Alison near the other end of the water. "No, it isn't," she defended her sudden change of mind about the most numerous womaniser Hogwarts had seen in years. "He is still a total prat when it comes to girls, but other than that, he's not so bad."
"There I respectfully disagree," Brice mumbled. She hated that she was still having feelings for Sirius, who had ditched her after only going out for ten days.
"Me too, Brice," Lily said, shooting another reproachful glare at Mary (who mouthed back "What?" in a defensive manner) before sitting down next to Alison. "Hello."
"Hi guys," their only friend from Slytherin house said cheerfully. She was holding her Transfiguration-book in her hands while enjoying the sun, whose rays made the tiny black curls on her head sparkle in the light. "That OWL was a piece of cake, don't you agree?"
"It was alright," Brice and Lily said simultaneously, but Mary, who was still feeling some hostility from her friends, merely nodded and walked over to the water before taking off her shoes. She stepped in the lake and let the cool water wash over her feet before she sat down. "Gosh, I love this weather. I wish the exams were over."
"Well, they're not," Alison said as she said down next to her, pointing to her book. "I could test your skill of Transfiguration if you want."
Mary shrugged. "Nah, I already know that stuff. An advantage of sharing your dormitory with Lily Evans."
"I heard that," Lily said. She tried to sound annoyed, but there was a note of amusement in her voice. She was putting her head in Brice's lap and stretched out on the ground, sighing contently. "I'll get back to studying soon, but it's such a nice day."
"I could sit here like this forever," Brice said, enjoying a cool breeze that was blowing her hair from her face.
Mary shot a mischievous look at Alison before splashing some water over her friends. Lily shrieked before conjuring a shield so she was unable to do it again. "Spoilsport," Mary muttered.
Alison laughed and was about to say something when she got distracted by some loud shouts. She wasn't the only one; Brice was already looking back over her shoulder and when Mary followed her gaze, she spotted James and Sirius a little ahead of them. They were shouting and casting spells at someone, but she was unable to see who they were duelling with. Meanwhile, Lily had sat up straight and turned to see what all the commotion was about.
Alison was narrowing her eyes. "What are those two doing? And to who?" She gasped. "Hang on, is that…?"
"Oh no, they don't!"
Lily had jumped to her feet and was stalking off, her dark red hair billowing behind her. Brice, Alison and Mary exchanged worried glances before they also got up and hurried after her. Brice got there first because the others still had to put on their socks and shoes. When they finally caught up with their friend, they walked into a rather disturbing scene.
Snape was on all fours, struggling to get up as if he was battling some kind of spell, while pink bubbles of soap were streaming from his mouth, the froth covering his lips, making him gag, choking him. Lily was standing between him and James and Sirius, who both had their wands out. She was looking at James, staring at him with every sign of great dislike. "Leave him alone," she said angrily. "What's he done to you?"
"Well," James replied, and it looked like he was to seriously deliberate the point, but Mary knew was he was mocking her. "It's more the fact that he exists, if you know what I mean…"
Many of the surrounding students laughed, including Peter and Sirius, but Mary wasn't and when the latter noticed she was watching him with an angry look in her eyes, he instantly turned back so that he didn't have to deal with her intense gaze.
"You think you're being funny," Lily said coldly, narrowing her eyes at James. "But you're just an arrogant, bullying toerag, Potter. Leave him alone."
"I will if you go out with me, Evans," James replied quickly, and Mary shot a desperate look at the sky. He was about to get lynched by her feisty friend and he didn't even recognize the danger. She waved in an attempt to draw his attention and he shot her a brief look before continuing confidently: "Go on… Go out with me and I'll never lay a hand on old Snivelly again."
Mary closed her eyes, waiting for Lily's outburst to come, and she didn't notice that the jinx on Snape was wearing off. She just heard Lily snap: "I wouldn't go out with you if it was a choice between you and the giant squid."
Mary heaved a small relieved sigh, grateful for the fact that Lily hadn't cursed James, and was just opening her eyes when she heard Sirius laugh. "Bad luck, Prongs," he said briskly before turning back to Snape. "OI!"
But it was too late. Snape had already gotten hold of his wand and directed it straight at James. There was a flash of light and a gash appeared on the side of James's face, spattering his face with blood. Mary was still trying to process what she had just witnessed Snape do, but James's response was very quick: a second and a flash of light later, Snape was hanging upside-down in the air. His robes were falling over his head to reveal a pair of skinny and pallid legs and a pair of greying underpants. The crowd cheered loudly, James, Sirius and Peter were roaring with laughter and even Mary couldn't prevent a giggle escaping from her throat. Clearly Snape's hair wasn't the only thing that needed a decent wash. Lily, whose furious expression had twitched for an instant as though she was going to smile, said: "Let him down!"
"Certainly," James said as he jerked his wand upwards, causing Snape to crash to the ground in a crumpled heap. Mary thought it was impressive how quickly he managed to get to his feet and got hold of his wand, but Sirius seemed to be prepared for that. "Petrificus Totalus!"
Snape keeled over once more, stiff as a board, and Lily looked as if she was about to explode. "LEAVE HIM ALONE!"
She had her own wand out now, and James and Sirius were eyeing it wearily. "Ah Evans, don't make me hex you," James said earnestly.
"Take the curse off him, then!"
James sighed deeply as if he contemplated what would be the right thing to do next, before turning back and muttering the counter-curse. "There you go," he said as Snape struggled to his feet. "You're lucky Evans was here, Snivellus-"
"I don't need help from filthy little Mudbloods like her!" Snape snarled.
There was a moment of stunned silence. Several people in the crowd gasped, including Mary. How dare he say something like this about Lily, the only person in their year who cared for him? Without noticing, she had reached for her own wand, ready to curse him for saying something this rude to her best friend in front of all those people and she stepped forward. Sirius looked at her and she only stopped when Brice held her back by her arm. And indeed, as she could have known, Lily seemed perfectly able to deal with this on her own. "Fine," she said coolly. "Then I won't bother in the future. And I'd wash your pants if I were you, Snivellus."
"Apologize to Evans!" James roared at Snape.
"I don't want you to make him apologize. You're as bad as he is."
James looked utterly stunned. "What?" he yelped. "I would never call you a – you-know-what!"
But Lily had only just started. "Messing up your hair because you think it is cool to look like you've just got off your broomstick, showing off with that stupid Snitch, walking down corridors and hexing anyone who annoys you just because you can – I'm surprised your broomstick can get off the ground with that fat head on it. You make me SICK."
And with that, she turned on her heel and stalked off towards the castle. "I'll go and check on her," Brice whispered to Mary and hurried after their friend, pointedly ignoring Sirius who had been watching them attentively.
"Evans!" James shouted after her. "Hey EVANS!"
When she refused to look back and disappeared from view, James turned back to Sirius. "What is it with her?"
Sirius snorted. "Reading between the lines, I'd say she think you're a bit conceited, mate."
"Right," James said, clenching his fists at his side. "Right…"
There was another flash of light and Snape was once again dangling upside-down in the air. "Who wants to see me take off Snivelly's pants?"
Sirius leaned back, grinning as he shot an appreciative look at his furious friend and there were several supportive cheers in the crowd. Even Mary felt that Snape needed to be punished for calling Lily a Mudblood, although she had the sense to not cheer and when she exchanged a worried glance with Remus, she actually felt really bad for what she had been thinking. Alison had turned around and was walking away. "Where are you going?" Mary called after her.
"To fetch a Professor," she replied. "This has been going on long enough."
But apparently that thought had already crossed another student's mind, because right when James was aiming his wand to pull down Snape's repulsive-looking underpants, Steven Ashby called: "Watch out, it's McGonagall!"
James was quick enough to lower Snape back to the ground with another crash and the crowd of students quickly spread over the grounds to make it look like nothing was going on. Snape collected his wand and bag at top speed and stormed off. Mary half-expected him to run to McGonagall (that's what she would have done), but he didn't: he hurried straight past her and disappeared through the Entrance Doors. She was just wondering if he was going to find Lily (again, that's what she would have done), when she heard Peter say: "Well, that's a shame, Prongs."
James growled and stuffed his wand back in his robes. "I'll finish the job later on. I'm not done with him yet."
Mary stared at him and for a brief moment, she really felt for Snape and truly hated James. "You know, James," she said, stepping up to them and crossing her arms. "You really can be a bullying toerag."
He shrugged. "He got what he deserved. Don't tell me you're going all noble when it comes to Snivellus."
"I dislike him as much as you do," she replied coolly. "Yet I don't make him look like a fool in public. I wonder why that is."
"Isn't that obvious?" Sirius said. "Because he's the biggest nosy prat to ever set foot on Hogwarts."
Mary glared at him and clutched her wand. Sirius's eyes dropped to it momentarily before he looked back up and smirked. "You don't seriously believe you can take me, right?"
"Oh, I don't just believe I can, I know. I just don't think you're worth the energy."
She brushed past him and walked off without looking back. Sirius didn't follow her, but did shout: "Come on now, Mary! I thought we were alright!"
"Yeah," Mary muttered to herself as she headed up the stairs of the Entrance Hall. "So did I."
She spent the rest of the day trying to find Lily, but was unsuccessful. By the time she headed down to the Great Hall to have some dinner, she had looked everywhere she could think of: the library, owlery, dungeons, the Common Room, their dormitory… She even stopped by Hagrid to ask if he had seen her. No such luck, though.
On the bright side, she couldn't find Brice anywhere either, so she assumed that Lily wasn't alone. She sat down at their end of the table and loaded her plate with steak, roast potatoes and a lot of vegetables, but she didn't really taste the food. It didn't help either that she was sharing the table with the Marauders on her own. James was repeatedly firing questions at her about Lily and her answers varied from shrugging to a listless "I don't know, James."
"I bet she's hooking up with Snivellus somewhere," Sirius said viciously as his eyes scanned the Slytherin table. "Can't see the bloody git anywhere either."
Mary grinded her teeth, but forced herself to keep her mouth shut. Sirius isn't worthy of my attention, he isn't worthy of my attention she thought repeatedly while she angrily chewed on her vegetables.
"But," James started again. "You must have ran in to her somewhere to talk. I mean, she's your best friend!"
She was about to snap that she had been looking for Lily everywhere and that it was his fault that she had disappeared when Remus, who was sitting next to her, stepped in. "Leave her alone, James," he said as he put down his cutlery and pulled a hand through his hair. "She wouldn't be here if she knew where Lily was."
Mary shot him a grateful look and he smiled back while James muttered something intelligible. She noticed how pale and tired he looked and put a hand on his arm. "Are you feeling okay?" she asked kindly, ignoring Sirius who was shooting them an icy glare.
"Eh fine, thanks," Remus replied, shooting a brief look at Sirius. "I just think I feel a flu coming up, so you better not sit too close to me."
Mary smiled, but nodded, and pushed her half-empty plate to centre of the table. "I'm not hungry anyway, so I'm going for another round to find Lily."
"Will you be careful?" Sirius asked and she was surprised to see that there was actually a note of sincere concern in his eyes. "Better not wander the corridors alone while Mulciber and friends are out there as well."
Mary blinked, momentarily taken aback by the fact that he hadn't forgotten about Mulciber poisoning and attacking her a few weeks ago while she wasn't thinking about it at all. She had only thought about Lily the entire day. "Eh…" she said hesitantly. "I will, thanks. I have my wand on me, anyway."
"And you better use it this time too," Remus said, also shooting her a worried look. "Maybe one of us should go with you, just in case."
He was about to get up from his seat when Sirius beat him to it. "I'll go."
"Sirius," Remus objected. "I don't think Mary-"
"-I'm stronger than you right now."
"That's not really the point."
"Then what is the point?"
"You. You're acting like a ridicu-"
"Oi!" Mary intervened, clapping her hands twice. "If I wanted a chaperone I would have asked for it. This isn't bloody Death Eaters-land we're in, so thank you, but I'll be fine on my own."
Sirius shrugged moodily and dropped back to his seat to practically murder the steak on his plate. Peter eyed him anxiously and James was frowning, clearly wondering what this was all about. That's what Mary would like to know too, but she got distracted by Remus who said: "Alright then, just watch your back."
"Yeah alright," she said, shooting one more confusing look at Sirius before walking out of the Great Hall. Her second search for Lily and Brice was just as unsuccessful as the first time round. It was well after dark by the time she headed back to the Common Room, hoping she would find her friends there. She had already decided that if she wouldn't find them here, she was going to alert McGonagall and Dumbledore. Who knows what could have happened to them?
She was just rounding the corner of the corridor to the Fat Lady when she got suddenly pulled into a dark corner. Mary screamed in horror, terrified that she was being harassed by Mulciber again, but then she remembered Remus's words and – realizing her wand was out of reach – she scratched her nails over her attacker's face. However, instead of feeling the short mousy hair that belonged to Mulciber, her hands were grabbing an oily mass of long hair.
"For Merlin's sake, Woods!" t hissed angrily.
Mary froze. "Snape?"
He pushed her away. "Who else?"
She made a derisive sound. "Oh, I don't know. Your good friend Mulciber, perhaps?"
He shot her an angry look, and although they were standing in a dark corner, she could still see that his dark eyes were glinting dangerously. "I had nothing to do with that," he said quietly.
"But you did nothing to prevent it from happening either," she replied.
"Didn't you hear what I said? I didn't know. Besides, it was just a joke."
Mary shot him an incredulous look. "Just a joke? He poisoned me! If that is what you Slytherins call a joke…"
He rolled his eyes and didn't reply, and when Mary started to make her way to the Fat Lady, he followed her till they were standing in front of the portrait. She already knew what he wanted from her, but asked it anyway. "What do you want, Snape?"
"I need to talk to her."
Mary shook her head. "No."
He stared at her. "Oh, and that is something you decide?"
"Tonight I am."
"It's not up to you to tell her what to do," he said, grabbing her upper arm.
She turned to shoot him a cool look. "I guess not, but it is up to me to decide whether or not I'm telling her you're standing in front of our Common Room. And tonight, I just don't think that's such a good idea. She needs a few days to cool off, Severus, and you would do well to give her that time."
Mary turned back to the portrait to give the password but Snape roughly turned her back so that she was looking at him. His face was only inches away, his dark intense eyes boring into hers. "I need to see her."
"Well, we all want things we can't have sometimes, Severus."
His grip intensified. "No, you don't understand, Woods. I… Mary, please listen. I have to talk to her."
"I will stay out here all night."
She glared back and was about to tell him he could spent eternity in front of the portrait for all she cared. But then she remembered what Brice had said about leaving this up to Lily. She realized that Snape had made a terrible mistake by calling her Mudblood, but he was feeling very sorry, she could see that, and it was up to Lily to decide how to deal with this. She nodded curtly. "I'll go get her."
He nodded and she walked through the portrait. She noticed that all four Marauders were sitting in their usual spots near the fireplace, but she couldn't see Lily and Brice. She quickly hurried up the stairs of their dormitory and when she opened the door, Brice and Lily was already in bed, the latter pretending to be reading a book, although her eyes weren't moving. "Good God Lil," Mary said, walking over to her. "I've been looking everywhere."
Her friend sat up straight. "Sorry, Mare."
"That's okay. How're you feeling?"
She looked at her, and Mary noticed that she had been crying. "Terrible."
"Understandable," Mary nodded. "Look, I realize this is the last thing you need right now, but Sev- Snape is waiting in front of the Common Room and-"
"-I don't care," she said stiffly.
"I think you do care, Lil," Mary said soothingly.
"No, I really don't."
"He said he would be spending the entire night there waiting for you."
"I don't care," she repeated.
Mary sighed. "Look, you know how I feel about him, but if he stays there and James and Sirius find out, he is dead meat. And I know you don't want that to happen. In your heart, you don't."
Lily shot her a look, biting her lip, before she sighed and got out of bed, slipped on her bathrobe and slippers and followed Mary downstairs, who made sure she was making enough noise as she approached the Marauders while Lily slipped out of the portrait unnoticed. "Found Lily?" Peter teased.
She shot him an intense glare and he seemed to shrink several inches in his seat. Satisfied with that result, Mary replied cheerfully: "Apparently she was already in bed."
"Did you run into any of the Slytherins?" Remus asked.
"No," Mary lied.
"So why are you so late, then?" James asked.
She smiled mysteriously. "Oh, who knows? Perhaps I've been snogging a certain Hufflepuff guy in a distant broom cupboard or something."
Where on earth did that come from? The effect, however, became clear soon enough as Sirius jerked up his head and glared at her. "You what?"
She arched her eyebrows at him. "Pardon me? Last time I checked my lips are my own."
He shrugged moodily. "Yeah whatever, I get that."
Mary glared at him. He had no right to treat her like this, like she belonged to him. "You know what, Black, you have quite the attitude for someone this childish who gets a kick out of bulliying fellow students."
"Snivellus is not a student," he replied, glaring at her. "He's lowest of the low, unworthy of breathing the very air surrounding us."
"Yet he is worthy to mess around with, right?"
"Merlin Woods, why are you standing up for him? He called your best friend a… thingy. Well, you know what I mean."
"After you humiliated him in front of the entire school!" she yelled, feeling the anger and frustration rise up in her chest. How could he be so unaffected by what he had done to Snape? "After making soap come out of his mouth and dangling him upside-down in the air!"
The rest of the Marauders and the other students in the room sat very still, watching how the two of them were yelling at each other. Sirius didn't seem all that intimidated by Mary's rant. "In case I need to remind you, I wasn't alone in that."
"I am mad at him too," Mary replied, pointing at James, who stared down at his shoes in an attempt to avoid her reproachful gaze. "You know, you think you're so great, Black, but you don't even have the guts to take Snape on your own."
"I would!" he protested.
Mary made a scornful sound. "Sure. It's always four against one. That's not heroic or even fair, it's weak."
She had hit a soft spot there. Sirius glared at her; he seemed ready to hit her and for some odd reason, he was reminding her of a dog preparing itself for a fight. James recognized the danger and jumped up from his seat before Sirius could do anything and seized him by the arm. "Don't."
Mary shot him one last cool look, feeling victorious, and turned to walk away. It was at that moment that Sirius chose to speak up again: "You know, Woods, I think I already know what this is all about. If you so desperately want me to get in your pants, you could have just said so. Anytime, anywhere, love. Just ask nicely the next time."
Mary froze on the spot. Something just snapped in her, right then and there. The bloody nerve of him to say something like this in front of all their housemates. Something so untrue it would have been funny if it wasn't so utterly humiliating.
A frustrated growl escaped her mouth and she turned back, grabbing the first thing in reach, which happened to be a heavy Charms-book. She cast it straight at Sirius, who wasn't prepared for anything like this and got hit right in the face. He barely had time to recover because Mary had already taken off one of her shoes and threw it, closely followed by a porcelain vase on a side table which she swung right at him. This time Sirius did duck in time and the vase hit James's butt instead. "Ow!"
Another book flew through the room.
There went her other shoe.
A spare Quaffle was the next thing to fly right at his head.
She was about to hurl an antique candleholder when Remus had finally reached her and he took it from her, putting it back down on the table before he gently pushed her back. "Calm down," he said, pushing her down in one of the arm chairs, where Mary sat, looking bemused at the mess surrounding them. The mess she had created. "Oops," she mumbled, looking embarrassed, before reaching for her wand and cleaning everything up with a simple "Scourgify."
Sirius was staring at her as if he was seeing her for the first time. He looked mostly stunned, but there was also a note of admiration in his eyes. James was still examining his - probably badly bruised – backside, Peter, who had dived behind the couch in the process, finally dared to peak over the edge and Remus had placed a soothing hand on her shoulder. "I think we've all had a pretty rough day. Let's just get some sleep and talk about things tomorrow." He turned back. "Hi Lily. I didn't know you were still up."
"Yeah," she said absent-mindedly. "I had to go… do something." Mary could almost sense her frown and she cringed when Lily asked: "What happened here?"
"You mean the tornado formerly known as Mary Woods?" Peter asked.
Lily poked her head around the arm chair. "Mare?"
"Ask Black," she replied darkly.
"Black?" she said, her eyebrows raised. "What happened to calling him Sirius?"
Mary shrugged and got up from her seat. "I'll explain later." She looked at Remus. "Thanks and… I'd better go."
He nodded. "Just get some sleep, you'll feel b-"
"-I think there's something else she could use a little more, Moony," Sirius interrupted loudly.
Remus closed his eyes in despair and Lily narrowed her eyes at Sirius, but no one (except Peter who saw it coming and dived back behind the couch on time) could expect what was happening next. Mary only needed the instant of a second to point her wand straight at Sirius's face and she fired the most powerful Bat-Bogey Hex she ever thought possible.
The best thing of it all was that she didn't even stay to see if it worked. Lily's gasp and the shockingly loud cries of Sirius already sounded like music to her ears. "Come, let's go to bed," she said, hooking her arm through Lily's and walking up the stairs without looking back, determined to never even think about befriending Sirius Black again.
~*~ The End ~*~