Thread: Fire Burns
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Old November 18th, 2009, 6:27 pm
Purple Banana  Female.gif Purple Banana is offline
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Join Date: 29th March 2004
Location: Behind you
Age: 31
Posts: 48
Re: Fire Burns

Chapter 3 – Poker face

Katherine, Nicki, Cassie and Juliet were sitting in the common room finishing last minute essays. As Katherine flicked through her Ancient Runes textbook, trying to find the quote she knew was in there somewhere, she listened with half an ear to the story Juliet was telling about her something she’d done over the summer. It wasn’t of particular interest to her, but she listened just enough to nod in all the right places and react appropriately, and Juliet didn’t seem to notice.

At last Katherine found the quote and copied it onto her roll of parchment, casting a glance over at Nicola, who was scratching her chin with her quill, lost in thought. Apparently the gorgeous, hot Spanish boys had taken up far too much of her friends’ time for them to be bothered about doing a trivial thing like school work, for which she was glad – it made them less inclined to ask her why she’d failed to complete any essays.

“I think I’ll go to bed, it’s getting late,” murmured Juliet at last, gazing absently at the fire. “Goodnight.”

“I don’t think she’s quite all there, that one,” said Cassie, sitting up from lounging on the couch and looking at the closed door Juliet had just disappeared behind. She dipped her quill into the ink pot on the floor and scribbled a bit more at the bottom of her paper.

“Yeah well, that’s how Regulus likes them, isn’t it?” shrugged Katherine, staring pensively at her essay. She’d only managed one scroll and knowing her luck, it’d be due in tomorrow. Next to her, Nicki wrote the last line of her Transfiguration essay and threw down her quill with a flourish.

“Finished!” she exclaimed, collapsing in front of the fire dramatically. Cassie laughed and rolled up her own Potions essay carefully, also finished.

“How about you, Kat?”

“Done as much as I’m going to tonight, I suppose,” sighed Katherine, rubbing her eyes tiredly. It had been a long day and she was having trouble concentrating on anything but the soft mattress of the four poster bed she knew was waiting for her in the girls’ dormitory.

A distant thudding of feet coming from the corridor which led to boys’ dormitories hailed the arrival of the other seventh years and a moment later Robert Avery, Damon Nott and Evan Rosier appeared, looking slightly breathless. Even at such a late time at night, the boys seemed to be full of some energy, though Katherine wasn’t sure why.

“Been racing each other, have you? How very childish,” commented Cassie haughtily, but she was grinning all the same. Robert made a face and threw himself down into the nearest chair as Severus entered the common room at a walk; evidently he had declined to join in the game.

“So, how are you lovely ladies, may I ask?” questioned Robert, leaning over the arm of his chair and looking at Cassie. “I didn’t get a chance to talk to you at dinner. Had a good summer in- where was it again? Spain?”

“Yes, a fantastic summer thanks, filled with gorgeous, hot Spanish boys!” pronounced Nicki, propping herself up on one elbow from her place on the floor. She hadn’t stood up from when she had thrown herself on the floor, finding the warmth of the fire oddly comforting.

Something about Katherine miming the last few words from behind her friend’s back, told Robert that they had obviously caught up on this particular fact already; he smirked as Katherine grinned up at him from beneath her dark black hair, that was falling into her eyes.

“So,” said Evan evenly, steering the subject abruptly away from Nicki’s holiday romances. “Who’s up for a game of poker?”

“At this time of night?” asked Nicki, arching finely plucked eyebrows.

“Best time,” winked Robert, settling back in his chair and producing a battered pack of cards from his shirt pocket. “No danger of teachers bursting in and no goody-two-shoes youngsters running to tell on us.”

“This coming from the boy who’s been House Prefect three years running?” questioned Cassie, narrowly stifling a yawn. Robert shrugged, deftly shuffling the cards with quick hands.

“How people are and how they appear to be are two very different things, mon petit chou. You should know that by now,” he added, throwing a significant look at Katherine, who gazed back mildly.

“Did you just call her a cabbage?” asked Damon, tossing another log onto the fire and giving Robert an odd look.

“It’s a term of endearment,” said Robert lightly, placing the cards on the table, and sitting back. “Means something like ‘sweetheart’.”

“It means ‘my little cabbage’,” said Katherine, suppressing a grin as Cassie eyed Robert with a slightly bemused expression on her face, as though she didn’t know whether to be flattered or insulted.

“I didn’t know you spoke French,” said Evan gruffly, looking at Katherine in surprise.

“What? You think only spoilt rich boys with tutors can speak another language?” asked Katherine with a mocking grin. “Or just didn’t think the mudblood could?”

From his position behind Katherine’s chair, Severus winced and caught Robert’s eye. The blond boy shrugged, his expression clear: if Katherine wanted to pick a fight, he wasn’t about to stop her. Severus looked heavenwards despairingly as Evan leaned forward in his seat.

“I merely wasn’t aware that you spoke it, although I must say knowing a couple of words hardly constitutes fluency,” he said quietly, with a bland smile. Katherine leaned forward too, so that they were facing each other across the table and smiled sweetly.

“Pourquoi ne pas vous fermer la bouche, connard, ou voulez-vous me la fermer pour vous?” she asked softly, eyes wide with feigned innocence.

“So,” said Severus loudly, walking around Katherine’s chair and placing a hand on her shoulder. “Who’s in?”

“What?” asked Cassie, tearing her worried gaze away from Katherine, who had relaxed a little, though she was still giving Evan a dirty look.

“Poker,” Severus explained, gesturing to the cards that lay untouched on the table.

“Not tonight, I don’t think,” said Nicki carefully, exchanging a look with Cassie. “Probably time for us to turn in.”

“Yeah. Gotta be up bright and early for the first day back, right?” agreed Cassie with forced cheerfulness. “Coming, Katherine?”

Katherine didn’t move for a moment, then sank back into her chair and gazed up at the ceiling. “Sure, why not?”

“’Night, then,” said Severus quietly, and she glanced over at him, a small smile on her lips.

“’Night, Sev.” She pushed herself out of the chair as Nicki and Cassie also struggled to their feet, and paused just before she headed towards the girls’ dormitories, leaning her head towards him conspiratorially. “By the way, Robert fiddles with his ring when he’s bluffing.”

Severus frowned a little, and she winked at him before following her friends.

“Make sure you’re all down here by eight, then we can go to breakfast together,” Evan called after them, as they disappeared. “That’s eight o’clock, girls.”

Robert dipped his head so that Evan wouldn’t see his smirk and reached for the pack of cards. “You guys playing?”

Severus glanced over at him, about to decline, but then the glimmer of gold on Robert’s right hand caught his attention and he stopped. He’d never been that good at card games, but if Katherine’s tip was good…well, he could do with some extra cash.

Robert’s hand hovered over the deck, looking expectantly up at him. “Sev?”

Severus hesitated a second longer, then nodded and took Katherine’s vacated seat. “Deal me in.”

xxx

Almost as soon as they’d stepped into the room, Cassie keeled over onto her bed without undressing and shut her eyes. Nicki chuckled softly and stumbled towards the end bed before bending over her trunk, searching for her pyjamas. Katherine walked over to her four poster on the other side of the room and sat down in the middle of it. The hangings were already drawn around the bed opposite Cassie’s and she could hear faint snores emitting from it; Fiona must have come straight up after the feast, not having had much to distract her from homework duties over the summer.

As Nicki jumped onto her bed and drew the hangings around her, Katherine couldn’t help smiling a little when she saw Cassie hadn’t moved an inch. She got off her bed and went to wake her friend up; she’d be awful tomorrow if she didn’t get a proper nights sleep. Reluctantly Cassie changed into the clothes Katherine threw at her and snuggled into her covers cosily. Nicki poked her head out from her hangings.

“You ok, Kat?”

“Fine. Why wouldn’t I be?” answered Katherine, digging through her own trunk to find some nightclothes.

“No reason,” said Nicki, just a little too quickly. “You just seemed a bit…off.” Katherine sighed, closing her trunk with a soft click and turning to face her.

“Evan just rubs me up the wrong way, that’s all,” she said with a small shrug.

“Well if you’re sure that’s all it is…” said Nicki quietly, not sounding entirely convinced.

“That’s all it is,” affirmed Katherine, rolling her eyes. “Night, Nic.”

“Night Kat,” said Nicki, withdrawing her head from the curtains surrounding her bed; Katherine pulled her own drapes closed and climbed in-between the soft sheets. She rolled over into her pillow and buried her head in it, screwing her eyes tight shut and taking a few deep breaths, thinking about the past day.

Just fourteen hours had passed since the train had pulled out of Kings Cross, and she’d already annoyed Remus’ friends, failed to complete even one essay and nearly come to blows with Evan Rosier (twice); what a brilliant start to the term. She turned onto her back and stared blankly up at the darkness above her; with any luck, things could only get better.

xxx

James stared out of the window of his dormitory, thinking. Lily had been almost friendly towards him earlier; he hoped that would continue - he couldn’t bear the thought of not talking to her for another year. That would be a fate worse than death. He was still brooding on the subject when Remus stuck his head round the door ten minutes later.

“There you are,” Remus exclaimed, leaning against the door jamb. “We didn’t know where you’d gone.”

“Sorry Moony, I must have lost track of time.” James told the other boy, a faint smile playing on his lips

Remus smiled at him knowingly. “Thinking about anyone in particular?”

“Huh?” He asked absently, then Remus’ words registered and he scowled at him. “Oh shut up.”

There was the sound of footsteps coming up the staircase and Remus turned to see who it was, then he opened the door wider to let Sirius, Peter and Frank Longbottom, the fifth boy in their year, into the dormitory.

“Does anyone else feel like we’ve been here for days already?” asked Sirius, stifling a yawn and stretching luxuriantly.

“Not particularly,” frowned Remus, sitting down on the end of his bed. “Why?”

“Because we’re all totally exhausted and I’m dreading tomorrow.”

“As you always do,” filled in Remus, as his friend launched himself onto a scarlet four poster by the door and drew the hangings. “What homework haven’t you done this time?”

“I’ve done my homework thank you very much!” came Sirius’ indignant voice from behind the velvet curtains. “It’s just I saw McGonagall earlier and she said we’ve got double Potions first thing tomorrow morning.”

“Oh.” Remus intoned, as James scowled.

“Precisely. Why do teachers always do that? When they sit down to figure out the timetables, why give us double potions on a Monday morning?”

“Well we did choose to take the subject, Pads. I think some of the blame has to be laid at our own feet,” Remus said with a small smile, flopping back into the feather comforter of his warm Hogwarts bed.

“Stop being reasonable, Moony,” muttered Sirius. He resurfaced from behind his hangings, now clad only in his boxers. “Still, seeing Snivellus again should be fun.”

“I bet he’s thinking exactly the same thing,” said Remus, suddenly sleepily, eyes drooping closed as he sat up in his bed, and propped himself up against the wall. This didn’t help, as his eyelids continued to lose their battle with sleep regardless.

“I think we’re keeping Remus awake,” grinned Frank, digging a crumpled pair of pyjamas out of his trunk and pulling them on. When there was no response from Remus, James threw his pillow at him.

“Oi, sleepy head!”

Still no answer.

“Are you ignoring us?” asked James, in a mock hurt voice. “Pads, I think he’s ignoring us.”

“It’s impossible to ignore you, Prongs. Lily’s been trying for years,” muttered Remus, opening one eye and grinning at James’ glare as the other three boys laughed.

“That’s low, Moony,” chided Sirius, but he was grinning all the same.

“Sorry, I couldn’t help it,” laughed Remus, throwing James’ pillow back to him and rolling over, burying his head in his own soft pillow. “’Night guys.”

There were sleepy murmured responses as everyone clambered into their beds, forgetting to extinguished the lights. The boys had snuggled down into their beds and punched their pillows into a more comfortable shape before any of them had realized their mistake. There was a moment’s pause before James sighed and said: “I suppose it’s up to me then, is it?”

No one answered so he reached across to his bedside cabinet and fumbled around for his wand, knocking a few scrolls of parchment and his glasses to the floor before his fingers finally closed around the smooth stick of wood. “Nox.” The candles flicked out, leaving the room in darkness.

Through the window the stars glittered in the night sky and he could see the blurred constellations twinkling gently against the blackness. Draco, Cepheus, Cassiopeia, Ursa Minor...

Five minutes later, everyone was fast asleep.

xxx

“They’re late,” said Nicki, with an air of mock indignation.

Katherine looked at her watch, it was eight o’clock - or to be more precise, it was ten seconds past eight. Eleven seconds, twelve seconds...

Cassie mumbled something incoherently from where she was hunched up in an armchair, eyes drooping. The other two had practically had to drag her out of bed and carry her downstairs to get to the common room on time; Evan didn’t like people being late - he considered it a personal insult. Fiona Parkinson, sitting on the arm of a chair a few feet away, just gazed vacantly out of the window and said nothing.

Katherine fought to stop herself smiling as she watched Nicki’s darkening expression and looked instead towards the door to the boys’ dormitories which was still devoid of any approaching footsteps.

“That does it, I’m going up to get them,” Nicki said decidedly and marched off.

Katherine half thought about stopping her friend but, as she heard the echoes of shouting come filtering into the room from along the winding corridor beyond the door, she resolved that perhaps it was better not to get in the way.

Three minutes later they were all on their way to the Great Hall, discussing their horrendous timetable.

“I don’t see why we can’t still have lessons in House groups,” moaned Fiona, linking arms with Evan as they strode in front of the small group. “There’s loads of Gryffindors taking Potions – why can’t they have their own class?”

“Probably trying to get us to make friends,” sighed Katherine, adjusting the satchel on her shoulder. “The founders had a lot in common - weren’t Salazar and Godric supposed to be best friends at one point?”

“You think I listened in History of Magic?” Fiona asked, somewhat dubiously.

“No, but I thought you knew a bit the origins of the school,” replied Katherine, stifling a yawn. She wasn’t a morning person though she was coping better than Cassie, who kept bumping into things as they turned corners, her eyes still half shut.

“Doesn’t matter now anyway,” said Severus. “We’re not taking History of Magic anymore.”

“Thank heavens for small mercies,” said Robert, holding out an arm to steady Cassie as she stumbled over her own feet.

“Yeah, now we’ve just got Potter and his cronies to put up with,” muttered Severus, looking sullen.

“Oh I think we can handle them,” said Katherine, grinning wickedly at him. “‘Specially since Nic’s got some inside info, now.”

“What inside info?” asked Damon, casting a confused look at Nicola who smiled knowingly.

“Oh this and that,” she shrugged airily, shaking her dark head of hair.

“And how did you acquire this information?” asked Severus, one eyebrow slightly raised in query.

“She dated Black last year,” replied Cassie, glancing back at him. “Don’t you remember? Then they broke up ‘cause she-”

“Started flirting with Simon Ashdown,” cut in Katherine, stepping on Cassie’s foot. Cassie frowned for a second, confused, then appeared to realise something and nodded vigorously.

“Yeah, that was it.”

“You sure?” asked Robert, eyeing the girls’ overly innocent expressions with some amusement.

“’Course we’re sure,” said Katherine smoothly. “I distinctly remember that that was the sole reason for their break up.”

Next to her, Cassie sn!ggered, casting some doubt on the veracity of this statement, but the others knew better than to probe further; there were some things you just didn’t want to know.

xxx



NB:Pourquoi ne pas vous fermer la bouche, connard, ou voulez-vous me la fermer pour vous?” means “Why don’t you shut your mouth, idiot, or would you like me to shut it for you?

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Last edited by Purple Banana; November 19th, 2009 at 3:48 am.
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