The Sugar Quill
Author: Anione Graton  Story: A Battle Worth Fighting  Chapter: Chapter 1
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“Never, in all of my years of teaching, have I seen such disobedience

“Never, in all of my years of teaching, have I seen such disobedience! Such disrespect! I cannot believe we have students like this at one of the greatest schools of wizardry in the entire world!”


Sirius Black and James Potter stared at their feet, trying their hardest not to snicker. Their Head of House, Professor Minerva McGonagall, was so angry that her thin lips had disappeared in her constant pursing. Her eyes were fiery as they glared menacingly over the rim of her glasses. She had her hands folded in front of her. Sirius had a sneaking suspicion that she was trying her hardest to keep from grabbing her wand and zapping them to oblivion.


“You will both serve detention tonight and for the rest of the week. Yes, Mr. Potter, that means you have to skip Quidditch practice. You’ll survive. I’m very sure that the team will survive as well. Mr. Black, you are to serve detention with me, at the end of dinner until I see you are ready to leave. Potter,” she said, pausing as she turned to look at the young boy.


“Professor McGonagall, I am begging you, you can’t…”


“I’m afraid so, Potter. You will serve your detention with Professor Tobias in the Potions dungeon. I’m very sure he’ll have something worked out for you.”


“But, but, Professor!” he cried in protest. “I can’t serve it with him! He’s awful! He’s got it out for Gryffindors, you know that!”


She stared down her nose at him. “Perhaps you should have thought that over before you and Black decided to have a go at Severus. Breaking someone’s nose is not something I take lightly. You are both sixteen years old; it’s time to start growing up. You are both dismissed.”


Sirius and James exchanged regretful looks as they departed. They made it out into the hallway in a solemn silence, neither of them looking up at all.


“So,” Sirius said, breaking through the rough barrier of silence, an evil grin spreading across his face. “Shall we use the mirrors?”


James did not share Sirius’ enthusiasm. “No. You know Ol’ Toby. He’s going to be hovering over me the entire time, it’s best not to use it.”


Sirius’ face fell a little as well as his spirits. “Well, I wonder what Toby’s going to make you do. You’ll probably just have to wash cauldrons without magic. McGonagall will most likely give me homework to do. I hate serving detention with that old bat. She makes my ruddy hand fall off.”


The two entered the Great Hall and rejoined their two best friends, Remus Lupin and Peter Pettigrew at the Gryffindor table.


“So, how bad did was it?” Remus asked, not looking up from the pumpkin juice he was pouring carefully into his goblet.


“Dammit,” James mumbled, running his hands through his already messy black hair. He took his glasses off and set them on the table, rubbing his eyes.


“That bad, eh?” Remus piped up, staring at his friend concernedly.


“Yes,” Sirius joined in. His friend’s bad mood had gotten him down as well. “I have to serve a week with McGonagall and he has to serve a week with Tobias.”


“Ooh,” Remus said, scrunching his face up. “Not good. Not good at all.”


“You can say that again,” James mumbled, piling food onto his plate. His hazel eyes kept casting furtive glances toward someone at the other end of the table.


There was a strained silence between the four friends that night at dinner. Sirius only spoke up once throughout the entire thing to tell Remus and Peter that he and James had to serve detention that night as well as the rest of the week. Remus shook his head slightly and looked back down at his food. Peter wanted to laugh at his friends’ misfortune, but found the mood too grim to even be able to crack a smile.


Once James was done, he shoved his plate away from him uninterestedly and stood up. He looked at his friends and rolled his eyes. “See you later,” he said, walking away.


“Goodnight, James,” Peter called. He set his empty goblet down and looked at Remus. “Finished yet?”


Remus nodded, closing the book he had brought to dinner. “I was just waiting for someone else to be finished as well. Are you, Sirius?”


Sirius shrugged. “Just trying to put off detention, you know.”


Remus smiled encouragingly, standing up and shifting the book under his arm. Peter stood up to follow, and Sirius only scoffed at Remus.


“You are the only person I know crazy enough to bring books to dinner. Isn’t there enough going on in here to keep you preoccupied?”


“Not if you have a beastly Arithmancy test to study for,” he rolled his eyes, waving at Sirius, and leaving the Great Hall.


Sirius sighed dejectedly, standing up and tossing his hair back confidently. He was going to make it through this horrific detention. He threw a look over at the Head Table. Professor McGonagall was engaged in a spirited conversation with Headmaster Dumbledore, and not even finished with her dinner.


He knew that if he skived off detention it would mean fifty points for Gryffindor and something more severe than simply essay writing. He shook his head and headed to her classroom.


Within the next ten minutes, McGonagall appeared at the door and she nodded toward Sirius. “Thank you for showing up, Black. As soon as you get in, I want you seated at the first table. I will give you a quill and parchment to work with, and the subject matter will be up to me.”


He nodded, walking in and doing exactly as she instructed. She gave him a quill and a piece of parchment and then set up another on the desk opposite him. He frowned curiously. Who else was coming?


Just as he was about to open his mouth and ask, the door to the classroom flew open and a girl walked in. He had trouble seeing her at first. She was speeding up through the line of desks, her hair flying in her face. She stopped in front of a crossed looking McGonagall.


“Sorry,” she whispered.


Sirius looked at her more intently. Her voice was quiet and sweet, like the delightful tinkling of a Christmas bell. She sat down at the table facing Sirius and when he got his first full on glimpse of her, his breath caught.


She had long, golden blonde hair that curled slight at the ends. Her sky blue eyes scanned the parchment and quill pen quickly before looking up at Sirius briefly. He couldn’t help but smile at her. She had appealing pink lips that stretched into a wide smile. The color of her skin was cream, much unlike the olive tone to his.


She was magnificent. How had he never seen this girl before?


He surveyed her cloak. She was wearing a blue and bronze tie. She was a Ravenclaw. That was how.


“Cassiopeia Reye,” McGonagall announced.


Sirius smiled. Cassiopeia. Like the constellation.


“Sirius Black.”


His smile faded and he looked up at McGonagall guiltily. She was looking upon them in that oh-so-familiar condescending manner.


“Both of you are here for defiance of school rules, and therefore, you must pay for your mistakes. You will write me a three-foot essay on the subject of my choosing, to be reviewed by me once you are finished. You may not leave until then. You will have a brief break to use the lavatory every hour, but otherwise, you are not to speak.”


She turned around and grabbed two enormously thick books. She slammed one down next to Sirius, causing him to jump out of his daydream. She handed the other to Cassie. She reviewed it carefully and set it next to her parchment, folding her hands in an almost professional manner.


Sirius stared at the edge of his book. He groaned out loud as he read the side.


“Yes, Black. You’re going to write me an essay about snake breeding.”


“But, Professor, don’t you have something… more… humane?”


He could have sworn he heard Cassie giggle. McGonagall only peered down her nose at him haughtily. “This is no laughing matter, Black. Did you honestly expect that after the stunt you pulled today that I was going to allow you to study whatever you wish in detention? You are going to write an essay about snake breeding. Is that clear?”


Sirius stared incredulously at the book and then back up at McGonagall. His shoulders sagged and he nodded in agreement.


“You may begin.”


Sirius picked up his quill and stared at the book disgustedly for a few seconds, debating whether or not to open it. He looked up to see Cassie had already delved deep into her essay. She was also casting secret glances at him every so often.


Finally opening the book, Sirius grimaced. He couldn’t believe that it was going to take him nearly four hours to do this essay. With his luck, it would take eight.


When McGonagall calmly told them they could take a five-minute bathroom break, Sirius set his quill down shakily and held his cramping hand. It had been the longest hour of his entire life, but luckily, he’d gotten almost a whole foot of parchment filled. He followed Cassie out into the hallway and couldn’t help feel the hundreds of thoughts fill his brain.


Who was she? Why was someone who looked so sweet in detention? Where had she come from? He should have noticed her sometime in his six years at Hogwarts, but he’d completely blanked on her face.


“Sirius Black,” she whispered, turning to look at him.


His eyes widened for a second and he shook his head. “Yes? I’m Sirius Black.”


“I’ve heard that name a great deal,” she said, smiling slyly.


He walked closer to her, dying to touch her. “Oh? And how is that?”


“Girls talk, you know,” she told him. “A girl from my house, in our year, said she dated you for a couple weeks. I know the infamous team of Potter and Black. I’m not daft.”


Normally, hearing such a thing would make Sirius burst with pride. Potter and Black, infamous throughout the school of Hogwarts for their ‘good looks and pranks’ as they liked to call it.


But somehow, coming from Cassie’s mouth, it cheapened the effect. It made him sound like he was just a living legend, not a real person.


He shrugged. “Oh, well, we’re trying to tame it a bit.”


She shook her head knowingly at him. “Sure does sound like it. You’re in detention. Does that prove anything’s changed?”


“Well, it’s the first time neither James or I have looked forward to a detention. I think things are changing.”


They stopped outside the bathrooms. Cassie shrugged. “You are sixteen. It’s time to start changing. You can’t be eleven forever,” she finished, disappearing into the toilet.


McGonagall had said the same thing to him not two hours ago, but somehow, coming from Cassie, it made much more sense. It had a deeper impact. Hell, he didn’t even know this girl. If she had that affect on him when she had just met him, how would he feel when he’d known her for longer?


He waited for Cassie outside the restroom after he was done. He was pleased to see the look of happiness on her face when she returned to the hallway and saw him waiting for her.


“Why are you waiting out here? You’ve got an essay to work on.”


“I didn’t want you to walk back by yourself,” he said, flushing.


“It’s just down the hall, I think I can manage,” she said, nudging him playfully.


He shrugged. “I was just wondering… why are you in detention? You don’t seem like the type who…”


She sighed and looked down at her feet. Whatever she had done, she obviously didn’t want to discuss it. He coughed awkwardly.


“Sorry, I didn’t mean to pry―” he stopped abruptly. She had paused in mid step and turned away from him. Her shoulders were shaking. Sirius couldn’t believe this. She was… she was crying.


“Cassie, what is it? I’m sorry, I didn’t know…” but he stopped again. She turned around to reveal that she was laughing. He stepped back from her and stared at her, unsure of what to say or do.


She waved her hands in front of her face. “No, no, it’s okay,” she said through her laughs. “It’s not a big deal,” she said, giggling again.


“Well, what happened?”


She straightened and shook her head. “Well, see it all started when I was taking this test in Charms. There’s this really foul boy from my house in there who never does his work and is just… obnoxious as all get out. But he’s passing the class with better marks than me. It’s only his ability to suck up to Professor Flitwick that gets him ahead, I swear it. Anyway, we were in the middle of this really grueling Charms exam, and I hear this obnoxious prat snoring next to me. So I, uh,” she started, and began giggling again. “I took my wand out when I was done and pointed it at him, muttered some charm I’d picked up, and he started levitating a few feet in the air.”


Sirius’ eyes bugged out. “You did what?” How ingenious! He hadn’t even thought of something like that.


“Yeah. I was sick of him constantly getting good marks for being a dozy cow, so I decided to just… take him down a few notches.”


“By lifting him up in the air?”




Sirius laughed, the bark of a laugh that he was known for. “I cannot believe that! What happened?”


“Well, I think the snickering gave it away. Flitwick turned around and yelled at me. I was the only one in the entire classroom not laughing, so when he yelled, it startled me and I broke my concentration. My… er… victim… fell onto the floor and broke his nose.”


Sirius’ jaw dropped. “Your victim broke his nose? Well, I guess our victims are probably neighbors in the hospital wing.”


Cassie laughed out loud at this. “Don’t tell me…”


“Severus Snape. We put the Leg Locker Curse on him and when he fell over, we made it so his robes would never get untangled. He finally stood up and when Professor McGonagall got over there to fix the mess, she saw all the blood on the floor and realized his nose had been broken in the fall. James and I couldn’t stop laughing. She knew it was us. It was too easy. We always give ourselves away.”


“You’re also known for doing stuff like that.”


He felt the cold feeling in the pit of his stomach once again. The feeling that made him feel childish and stupid. Somehow, he wanted to be more adult around Cassie.


Professor McGonagall stepped out into the hall and glared at them fiercely. “It’s been six minutes. Get in here and finish your essays.”


They both immediately obeyed, walking in and taking their seats once again. Sirius found himself working doubly hard on his essay for no apparent reason. He was shocked, at the end of an hour, to find his essay completely finished.


“Finished, are you, Black?” McGonagall asked amusedly as he stood up to hand her the paper.


“Yes, Professor,” he answered, walking over to the desk to close his book.


“Before Miss Reye, I see. Don’t tell me you and your marauding friends are planning another mess of intolerable pranks?”


Sirius looked up quickly and stared at the professor for a moment or two. There was no way she could know. He played it off by sweeping his hair out of his eyes with a shake of his head, much the way a dog would do, and carrying the heavy book to her desk.


“Whatever gives you that idea?”


She shook her head at him. “Goodnight, Black. I’ll see you tomorrow.”


No sooner had Sirius sauntered out the door than it opened once again and Cassie came walking out. He slowed down to walk with her. She caught up to him fairly fast.


“So, you’re going to be here all week as well?”


Sirius nodded and his face lit up. “You’re going to be here?”


She nodded. “Unfortunately. But I guess it’s all right, you know. At least I’m making a new friend. Goodnight, Sirius,” she called, touching his shoulder briefly before disappearing down a foreign corridor.


Sirius watched her depart as her words rolled over and over in his brain. It’s all right, you know. At least I’m making a new friend.


Sirius was not the type of guy who had girl friends, just platonic friends. He wasn’t sure how to handle it, but he knew for sure that it was a great thing to have Cassie Reye in his life.


Cassiopeia Reye of Ravenclaw.

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