A/N: Hello and welcome to chapter three! If you like what you're reading please consider leaving me a review, I always love reading them. This chapter is also where I started not really taking chapter titles seriously.
ForeverACharmedOne, Oh man, Snape was based on a real teacher somewhere? How upsetting, ha. Yeah, I remember when I was writing that chapter being like "This is not as fun with everything happening IRL" but hey, here we are. Glad you're enjoying Frank and Alice, and also get used to that "why the hell aren't you dating yet" frustration when it comes to this story.
She twisted around a pair of suits of armor taking a leisurely stroll and for a moment considered that if she attended a muggle boarding school, she would be where she wanted to go already.
Chapter Three: Hot Tramp, I Love You So
James had found it difficult to focus the next few days of class with the knowledge that his first duty as Quidditch Captain was quickly approaching: tryouts.
It was Friday afternoon in the handful of hours between the last class of the day and dinner. James had rushed to Madam Hooch's office as soon as he could to book this time, hoping to get the Gryffindor tryouts done as soon as possible. This way they could practice more with the new recruits.
The current lineup consisted of himself and Wanda Rourke, a fourth year, as chasers. Third year Lawrence Baker and fourth year Douglas Alexander were the skilled beaters that kept the bludgers away from pregnant Jolene the previous year. Marlene was, of course, keeper.
With Jolene and Adrian Brown graduating and vacating the last chaser position and seeker position respectively, it was now up to James to find replacements.
A small crowd of students stood before him and the others that had already secured a position, watching him expectantly.
A few were muttering amongst themselves.
"So, wait, why did he wear eyeshadow to class on Wednesday?"
"The whole class did because MacPherson made a comment about Marlene McKinnon's makeup the first day."
"Why did Sirius Black draw a lightning bolt on his face then?"
"I don't know, some muggle reference."
"They need to be careful with the muggle stuff anymore, they're gonna get hurt."
"They don't give a shit."
"I heard they filled MacPherson's desk drawers with glitter that exploded all over him when he opened it."
"Yeah that's never coming out of the carpets, but he couldn't pin it on them and the eyeshadow didn't technically break any rules."
"So no detention?"
"Black got one for calling him… what did he call him?"
"A hot tramp?"
"Another muggle reference, apparently."
"Welcome!" James said loudly, causing a hush to fall over the group. "We're filling just two positions today, but those of you that don't make the cut may be considered as alternates if the need arises. But please, make sure the need doesn't arise," he cast a glance Marlene's way. She smiled innocently. "Now, Quidditch is a rough sport. Games have been known to last for days. Stamina is a vital part of success when it comes to this game. So, take a lap."
James swung his arm around as though to gesture the path those trying out should take around the pitch. They began to mount their brooms.
"No, no," James said. "On your legs."
"Around the whole pitch?" one of them said.
"It's not even a mile," Marlene said.
"Good point, McKinnon," James said. "Three laps, go."
"This has nothing to do with Quidditch!" Eric Schnell, a sixth year, said.
"If you can't handle a few laps around the Quidditch pitch, how are you going to handle an actual game? Jolene used to make us do lunges around the pitch," Wanda cringed.
"Yes, but our arses looks great now," Douglas said, turning about to show his off.
Scattered groans erupted among the hopefuls. Little Mary MacDonald in her third year was the first to hoist her broomstick over her shoulder and start running, however, and reluctantly, the others followed.
James handed Douglas a stopwatch and a clipboard, "Here, you're good at math, yeah?"
"I mean I didn't fail Arithmancy," he said.
"Good, keep tabs on them and make sure they do all three laps. The rest of you, help me set up the obstacles," James said.
"You're not gonna make us do lunges, are you?" Marlene asked.
"To be determined," James laughed. "Be sure you're warmed up by the time we have to test the chasers, though."
"Yeah, yeah, I'll… stretch or something. Just remember you'll have to do the lunges, too."
A series of hoops of various sizes were lugged out of storage and carefully, James and the others began to levitate them. They needed to roughly form a path, and it was important to vary the height of each hoop to really be able to test the potential recruits.
"Psst. Prongs. Prongs!" came a voice from James' pocket. Handing the next hoop to Marlene, he stepped aside, pulling out a small mirror. Sirius' face stared back at him.
"I can't talk long, I'm in the middle of try-outs, Pads," James said. "How's detention with MacPherson going?"
"I'm writing lines. 'Professor MacPherson is not a hot tramp.'"
"That's what he's making you write? You're joking."
"I'm… serious," the other boy said with a grin. James rolled his eyes. "Anyway, Dumbledore came by to check in on how things were going after the first week and they stepped outside the classroom to talk. I don't know why he thought leaving me here alone was a good idea."
"What are you going to do?" James asked.
"That's the thing, I'm drawing a blank. That's why I'm asking you, I can't let this opportunity pass me by," Sirius said.
"Well, make him draw a blank," James said. Sirius cocked a brow. "Charm his chalkboard so the next time he writes on it, the words disappear. Or better yet, the chalk."
"That'll work! Maybe his quills, too. This is why we're best mates," Sirius said. Judging by the movement of the scene in the mirror, Sirius was heading for the blackboard to make use of James' suggestion. "How're try-outs going?"
"I'm making them run laps right now, that should weed out the weak pretty quick," James said.
"Oi! Captain! We set up the rings, are you really primping right now?" Marlene called.
"I've got to go, Pads, talk to you at dinner," James said.
"See ya, Hot Tramp," Sirius said with a wink.
Pocketing his mirror, James mounted his broom and kicked off into the air, examining the hoops the others had set up. Leaning forward, James flew through the hoops, making sharp turns and ducking low to fit through the smaller ones. After adjusting the position of a few of them, the team landed just in time for the first few hopefuls to finish their laps.
A few collapsed on the ground, gasping for air and wiping sweat-soaked brows. Those that were still upright went straight for the water station, helping themselves.
"Time the next part too," James said to Douglas, who was about to hand him back the watch and clipboard. The other boy pursed his lips, but nodded.
"Well, none of you have vomited yet, yeah?" James said to the group, still catching their breath. Various groans were his response. "Next is flight competency, you wanna show them how it's done, Wanda?"
Wanda mounted her broom and kicked off, gracefully speeding through the hoops. She faltered a little at a tight turn but made it nonetheless, arriving back to the start shortly after she had left.
"You will be judged on accuracy and speed. If you touch a hoop or skip it, it will turn red," James said. Wanda tapped her hand against the nearby hoop to demonstrate it turning from the grey metallic color it was initially to a bright red. "Showing off will earn you extra points with me. Who wants to go first, then?"
Mary MacDonald rushed forward, hand in the air.
"What position are you going for, MacDonald?" James asked, noting her obvious enthusiasm.
"Seeker," she said immediately. He nodded, pointing to the rings. She kicked off and followed the same route Wanda had taken, adding a few twirls after glancing back at James with a nervous grin. She landed after completing every turn and moving through each hoop.
The process continued, each hopeful maneuvering the hoops with varying levels of success. Once that was through, everyone ran through chasing exercises, which included things like passing drills, catching, volleying, and recovering. The chaser hopefuls tried to get the quaffle past Wanda and James, acting as opposing chasers, as well as score past Marlene. Each hopeful got three tries.
Three people were trying out to be seeker. James released four snitches and sent them off to find them. Mary brought back two with a grin, a boy named Rick brought back one, and no one could find the last one until James spotted it by the locker room door and caught it himself.
"Thanks for coming out," James said when it was all over, about a half hour before dinner would began. "The list will be up in the common room tomorrow morning."
Once those trying out had shuffled out, James examined the clipboard that Douglas had given him and turned back to the team.
"So what do you think?" he asked.
"MacDonald is a no-brainer," Marlene said. The rest of the team murmured in agreement. James nodded.
"Yeah, the run didn't phase her and she aced most of the drills, it was the chasing drills that threw her for a bit of a loop," he said.
"She trained all last year for this," Wanda added.
"Didn't she used to come watch the practices too?" Lawrence asked.
"I thought she just had a crush on James," Douglas shrugged.
"She has a crush on Quidditch," Marlene said.
"Okay, congrats to Mary MacDonald, our new seeker," James said, circling the girl's name on the clipboard. "Chaser's a little harder. Watson bumped two rings but she made two of her three goals and never dropped the quaffle."
"Bloomer made it through all the rings, he's got great form… but he only made one goal," Wanda said.
"Schnell did well with the rings and made two goals," Douglas said. "But he also looked like he was gonna die after the run and was complaining the whole time."
"Schnell is annoying. Lancaster dropped the quaffle, but she recovered it," Lawrence said.
"She only made one goal, and that was because I had a poorly-timed sneeze," Marlene said.
"I'm leaning toward Watson, her attitude is good and her agility can be fixed with practice," James said.
"I mean, you're captain, you're the one that has to deal with everyone that gets mad they didn't get a spot," Marlene said cheerfully.
"Yeah, I mean, it's nice you're consulting us but it is your decision," Douglas said.
James nodded. "Okay. Mary MacDonald, Gwen Watson, welcome to the team."
"And Gryffindor becomes an estrogen-dominated team!" Marlene cheered, giving Wanda a triumphant high-five.
Sirius set a stack of parchment down before MacPherson, who glanced up from his novel as though Sirius was inconveniencing him by doing so.
"There, ten rolls of parchment, front and back, 'Professor MacPherson is not a hot tramp.' Can I go to dinner now?" Sirius said, his stomach growling as though to add emphasis to his request.
Painstakingly slowly, MacPherson marked the page he was at before closing his book. Leisurely, he took the stack of parchment and carefully examined both sides of each page. His eyes scanned the pages as though he were reading each individual word. Sirius massaged his wrist and didn't bother hiding the annoyance in his face as MacPherson reviewed his work.
MacPherson stacked the pages atop each other and lightly tapped the stack against the table to make certain they were all aligned. Finally, he looked back up to Sirius.
"You may go. Professor McGonagall would like to see you before you eat," MacPherson said.
Sirius groaned dramatically. His stomach whined in protest.
All he wanted to do was eat. There was nothing in the world more important than sitting down at the great hall and devouring everything in sight.
Sirius Black, being from a wealthy family, had no idea what it was like to be starving, but at that moment he felt as though he hadn't eaten in days. Maybe even weeks. How was he still upright? Were his bones showing yet?
He could eat an entire roast by himself right about now, he was sure of it. Would he immediately regret such a decision? Yes. But was he hungry enough to do it? Yes.
"She's in her office," MacPherson said, gesturing for the door.
Sirius turned his heel and marched out of the classroom, trying to think of anything but the vast amount of food that was currently being eaten by everyone else that was at dinner. Why did McGonagall want to talk to him anyway? He hadn't done anything criminal in her class yet!
Was this preemptive, perhaps? Was McGonagall trying to get through to him before he and his friends did something stupid?
Why wasn't McGonagall at dinner?
Sirius knocked quickly on McGonagall's office door, crossing his arms immediately, impatient. Maybe if she didn't respond, he could leave.
What was the rule, the class is free to go if the professor isn't present for fifteen seconds? Wait, no, it was fifteen minutes, wasn't it? This wasn't a class anyway, but Sirius sure as hell would try to apply that rule if necessary.
"Come in," came a voice from inside, less than fifteen seconds after he had knocked. Sirius pushed open the door. "Hello, Mr. Black, please sit."
Sirius plopped down at his preferred chair before McGonagall's desk (though it wasn't as fun without James in the seat beside him) and she set aside the papers she had been grading when he arrived.
Before Sirius could utter a word, McGonagall pushed her tin of cookies in his direction.
Sirius had been through the motions of being sent to McGonagall's office before. He knew the drill. Cookies meant you weren't in trouble. You might be getting some bad news of some sort, but you weren't in trouble. His shoulders relaxed.
"Bless you," Sirius said dramatically, prying off the lid and helping himself. "I'm withering away, professor, withering away."
"Oh, yes, you can tell," McGonagall said sarcastically.
"So why am I here and not eating dinner?" Sirius asked.
"I just had a chat with Professor Dumbledore and Professor MacPherson a short while ago. They've requested I speak to you about your behavior," the woman said.
Sirius cocked a brow, carefully chewing the full cookie he'd just shoved in his mouth. Dumbledore? Ask McGonagall to discuss his behavior? A week into term?
The boy swallowed, wiping crumbs from his lips. "You mean, MacPherson requested you speak to me about my behavior?"
"I did not say that," she said, though tilting her head in such a manner as though to say, yes, that is basically what happened.
"Well! This is a nice change of pace for you," Sirius said, plucking another cookie from the tin. "You never talk to me about my behavior."
"Yes, you are in fact a model student," the professor said dryly.
"I know!" Sirius said, as though he were appalled that other professors could not see this.
McGonagall sighed. "Black, did you call Professor MacPherson a 'Hot Tramp'?"
"I was quoting a song, professor," Sirius said.
"Did you also tell him that you worship the devil?"
"I told you that too, remember the end of last term? 'See you next year, professor, I'll be worshiping the devil all summer,'" Sirius said, recalling his departing words the previous school year.
"I trust you are not actually worshiping the devil," McGonagall said.
"You know I'm not," Sirius said. "MacPherson has no sense of humor."
McGonagall sighed again, clearly exhausted. "You know not everyone picks up on sarcasm, Black."
Sirius leaned forward, propping his elbows on the desk as he watched his head of house carefully. "Professor… does he really think I sacrifice virgins and worship the devil?"
"He… sounded concerned," McGonagall said. She began to roll her eyes, but seemed to think better of it partway through, closing them instead.
"Oh, Merlin," Sirius said with a grin. "Don't tell him I don't."
"Black," McGonagall said, unamused.
"You have no idea how much I want to be known among his circle of friends as, 'that student that paints his face and tries to summon demons.' It would be hilarious."
"Why did you wear makeup and face paint to his class?" McGonagall asked, seeming to be honestly curious.
"Act of protest, Professor," Sirius said with a nod before stuffing another cookie into his mouth.
This time McGonagall did roll her eyes. Fair enough, it sounded like an excuse Sirius or his friends would come up with to justify something stupid they'd done. "And what were you protesting?"
"Oh, the first day MacPherson made us do a stupid 'getting to know you' exercise and he referred to Marlene as 'the girl with too much eyeshadow.' So, the rest of us decided to wear 'too much' eyeshadow, seeing as there's no rule against it."
McGonagall's spine straightened and her eyebrows rose. "He said that?"
Sirius nodded. In any other case he might have told her not to worry about it, but he knew for certain that Professor McGonagall would be on the students' side with this issue. McGonagall was a feminist, plain and simple.
"Interesting that he neglected to mention that when telling me and Professor Dumbledore about the incident," McGonagall said, not a bit of amusement present in her face.
"I don't know why he would have to report that to the headmaster anyway, since, again, there's no rule about eyeshadow. There's a few rules about the uniform, sure, but makeup is very absent from the rulebook," Sirius said matter-of-factly.
"If only you applied the effort you put into finding loopholes in the school rules into your homework, Mr. Black," McGonagall sighed.
"Hey, I get great marks in your class, McG," Sirius said, feigning offense.
"And Professor Binns' class? Professor Sprout's? And didn't you turn your charms homework in consistently late last year, and always folded into a paper airplane?"
"We're not talking about that," he said with an innocent smile.
Besides, the charmed paper airplanes always delighted Flitwick.
"I'll speak with Professor MacPherson," McGonagall said. "It's beyond inappropriate to comment on a student's appearance like that. Not to mention, unprofessional."
"Well, it's also not professional to take points away from a student for knowing more than you do," Sirius shrugged.
McGonagall cocked a brow.
"He took points from Remus because Remus corrected him during a lecture that was supposed to be a discussion," Sirius said.
"I'll speak with him about that as well," McGonagall sighed, shaking her head. "And I'll tell him that I spoke with you about your behavior and it went as well as one could hope."
"Does that mean I can go?" Sirius asked, already getting up from his seat.
"Yes, Mr. Black, go enjoy dinner," McGonagall said. "And do not call Professor MacPherson a 'hot tramp' anymore."
"I mean, the 'hot' part was pretty generous, yeah," Sirius nodded.
"Do not call him anything outside 'Professor MacPherson' and 'Sir,' do you understand?"
"Can I still call you 'Hurricane Minerva?'"
McGonagall simply gave him a look.
"Only when appropriate, got it. If that's all, I'll be off to dinner. Can't summon demons on an empty stomach," Sirius said, heading for the door.
"Fine, fine, I'll try to only summon one demon, better?" Sirius said with a wink.
McGonagall rolled her eyes and shooed him out of her office. The boy merely grinned before pushing open the door.
"See you around, McG."
Lily had gotten a letter late in the day, the owl pecking at the window she had been sitting by in the library and nearly getting her thrown out for the noise. It was from her parents, which was odd, because she hadn't sent a letter home to them yet, so they had obviously went out of their way to track down an owl.
In a panic, Lily tore open the letter and read it hastily, her heart pounding in her chest and hands trembling, fearing the worst. She cocked a brow at what was written before looking up and realizing she recognized the owl.
That was when Madam Pince walked over and told her to get rid of the owl unless she wanted to be banned from the library for the remainder of the week. Lily shooed the owl out the window and gathered her things together, rushing out of the library.
Her footsteps echoed off the castle walls as she went; most students were already at dinner. Marlene had been at Quidditch tryouts and was in the habit of taking the longest showers imaginable after practices, but she should certainly be in the great hall by now, right?
Lily started down the stairs, dodging around a dark-haired boy as she went. She was about to reach the bottom of the staircase when there was a jolt and it began to move to the side. She grabbed blindly for the railing, momentum wanting to send her spiraling off the bottom edge as it moved. She was yanked back as someone grabbed a handful of her robes to keep her going off the edge.
"Thank you," Lily said before turning back to see who had kept her from falling. She frowned slightly, recognizing the dark-haired boy from earlier as none other than Sirius Black.
Truthfully, James Potter and Sirius Black irritated her so much that even the occasion of one of them doing something nice was irritating.
On that note, it was strange seeing Sirius without James Potter at his side. Perhaps that's why she didn't recognize him when she'd been rushing by.
"Careful, Evans," Sirius said. "The stairs always change when you're starving, it's like they know."
"Mm," Lily said noncommittally. She wasn't starving, she just had to find Marlene. Now that the staircase was changing direction she had to take a longer route to the great hall.
The stairs had hardly slid into their new position before Lily had darted off again, ignoring Sirius as he shouted, "they never run out of food, Evans, calm down!"
A ghost called after her in offense when she turned a sharp corner and stumbled through them by mistake. She called back a rushed apology before continuing her sprint toward the great hall, rubbing her chilled arms as she went.
She twisted around a pair of suits of armor taking a leisurely stroll and for a moment considered that if she attended a muggle boarding school, she would be where she wanted to go already.
The girl was nearly out of breath by the time she shoved the doors to the great hall open, looking around frantically to see which table her friends had decided to sit at this evening. She spotted Dorcas first, settled at the Hufflepuff table, with Emmeline immediately to her right. Seated across from them was Marlene, her blonde hair still damp from her post-practice shower and pulled back in a clip rather than in its usual curls.
Lily darted over, still clutching her letter in her hand.
Emmeline was the first to see her coming. "Hey Lily! We were wondering if you were going to show up."
"Did you lose track of time again?" Dorcas questioned. Lily had a habit of getting distracted with her homework or a book and would often find herself arriving late to meals and other events. It was why she often went out of her way to be early to class.
Lily didn't respond, however, opting to collapse onto the bench beside Marlene and toss her arms around the girl, nearly knocking both of them over in the process. Marlene dropped her fork and nearly knocked over her goblet of water, looking at Lily in surprise.
"You're the best," Lily said, still clinging to the girl.
"Not that I disagree, but what did I do?" Marlene asked, hugging Lily back in amusement.
Lily released Marlene and held the letter before her. "Your parents' owl just delivered this letter from my parents."
"So I'm the best because my parents lent yours their owl?" Marlene asked, confused.
"You're the best because the letter says that Max went to the house to cast some protective spells," Lily said, grinning.
"Oh! Well, he didn't waste any time, I only wrote him on Monday," Marlene said, seeming vaguely impressed. "Don't worry about it, what's the point of having four older siblings if I can't get a favor out of them once in a while?"
"This is more than just a favor, I actually have time to try and earn the money for a sneakoscope without worrying that they've got no protection whatsoever," Lily said.
"Well, you were so worried, all I had to do was send a letter back home," Marlene shrugged.
"Thank you, thank you, thank you," Lily said, pulling Marlene into a hug again. "I mean it, this makes me feel so much better."
"I'm glad, Lily, I am, but also I can't eat when you're holding on to me like this," Marlene said with a pout. Lily let Marlene out of her grasp and the girl immediately went back to her mashed potatoes.
"I'll have to see if the house elves will let me make those cookies Max likes as a thank you," Lily said.
"He'd love that," Marlene smiled. She turned to Dorcas, "I can probably have him do the same with your parents, if you want."
"The only problem with that is that my mum is awfully suspicious of wizards she doesn't know. Maybe over the holiday? That way I can be there and calm her a bit," Dorcas said.
"Honestly, I haven't met her many times but if there were a fight between a Death Eater and your mum… I think I'd be a bit more concerned for the Death Eater," Emmeline smiled.
"I don't disagree," Dorcas laughed. "My dad can throw a punch, too, but he is very easily impressed when it comes to magic."
"My dad's not a fighter, he's… an accountant," Lily shrugged, beginning to fill her plate.
"That means he works with money, right?" Marlene asked. "I always forget."
"All the unfun parts of money. The numbers and the taxes and all that," Lily said. "I'm sure there's probably tough accountants out there, but my father's not one of them."
"Now I'm just picturing Hagrid in a cubicle with a tie," Emmeline said, glancing in the groundkeeper's direction.
"With pictures of all his exotic creatures he definitely isn't hiding in his hut all around his desk," Dorcas added.
"Sounds nice, actually. He'd be horrid at it, of course," Emmeline said. "But nice."
"Maybe I'll frame a picture of my broomstick for my bedside table," Marlene mused.
"How'd Quidditch try-outs go, by the way?" Dorcas asked.
"Oh you'd love to know so that you can report back to the Hufflepuff team!" Marlene said in mock-outrage.
"I doubt whoever joins your team is going to make a difference in our practice routine," Dorcas said.
"Oh, these Gryffindors have such an ego," Emmeline tsked.
"Potter's got enough of an ego for the whole team," Lily said with a roll of the eye.
"How's he doing as captain?" Dorcas asked.
"Well, we haven't had a real practice yet so I guess we'll see how that goes," Marlene shrugged. "But he seems to be taking it seriously."
"Quidditch seems to be the only thing in the world that he actually cares about," Lily said.
"That's not true, he cares a great deal about keeping his hair messy," Emmeline smiled.
"He also cares very deeply about Severus' happiness and preventing it," Marlene added.
"He cares a lot about Sirius. I mean, Remus and Peter, too, yeah, but I'm waiting for Sirius and James to declare undying love for each other," Dorcas said.
"They did that third year," Emmeline said.
"Oh right! On Valentine's Day, I had forgotten," Dorcas said. "After they mocked Severus for not having a Valentine and he said 'yes well I suppose you two idiots will always have each other,' so they rolled with it."
"Oh, he also cares about you, Lily," Marlene teased.
Lily rolled her eyes again. "He doesn't care about me. He might think I'm pretty but anything else I think is just a game for him because I turned him down."
"I dunno. He's quite distressed that you keep turning him down," Dorcas smiled. "He asked about you on the train."
Lily cringed. "What did he ask?"
"Why you don't want to date him. I told him you thought he was annoying and he should leave you alone but again, boys are stupid," Marlene shrugged.
"Ooh, but he thinks about you when you're not around! How sweet," Emmeline cooed. "He wants to hold your hand through the halls like he did with Sirius third year."
"Oh that's right, they really committed, didn't they?" Marlene snickered. "Severus was so uncomfortable."
"Black got Potter flowers and everything," Lily recalled. "I think he stole them from the greenhouses and got detention."
"Well, it was very short notice," Emmeline pointed out.
"See, you could be a part of that, Lily," Dorcas laughed.
"That's quite all right," Lily cringed. "The day I walk hand-in-hand with James Potter is the day I've officially lost my mind, and I expect you all to have me committed."