chapter twenty two - rumours

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The next day, the girls were in their dormitory, unpacking, when Marlene brought up a subject.

"Guys, you know Emmeline Vance, that girl in Ravenclaw?"

They all nodded grimly. Emmeline Vance had been the new center of attention in Hogwarts ever since her release from the Hospital Wing. She was the girl who had been hexed with the sectumsempra spell.

"I heard someone say that she said Avery and Mulciber said they're going to attack all Muggle-borns."

Dorcas and Lily, the only two Muggle-borns in the dorm, looked pale. The worse thing that had ever happened to Lily concerning her blood status was being called the m-word by a few Slytherins, including her ex- bestfriend, Severus Snape.

"Dumbledore's not going to adress this? I'm sure he heard of it." Laurelle asked.

No one answered.

"Guys," Lily said hesitantly. "Remember when Mcgonagall asked Potter and I to go with her? She took us to the place where Emmeline Vance was cursed. It didn't look good at all."

She felt sick.

Marlene's face hardened into a determined look. "Don't worry, you two, we'll keep you safe."

She sat next to Lily on the bed and threw her arm over Lily's shoulder protectively.

***
And she did. Late in the night, when she was sure the girls were all asleep, she crept out of the dorm and snuck up to the boys dormitory. She didn't bother knocking; they were clearly still awake, judging by the whispering coming from inside.

She opened the door.

"Marlene?" James asked, being the first to spot her. "What are you doing here?"

She sat down next to him on his four-poster bed and looked around at the messy room. "You guys could clean up more, y'know."

"I take it you aren't here to critisize us, Marly." Sirius said from his bed.

"No, I'm not." Marlene replied. "I don't know if you've heard about Emmeline Vance?..."

"Yes," the boys all said grimly in unison.

"She was the girl Evans and I had to take to the Hospital Wing." James said.

"Well, she said that Mulciber and Avery told her she isn't the only Muggle-born they're attacking. Said they're going to attack all the Muggle-borns." Marlene explained.

James stiffened beside her and Sirius, Remus and Peter looked disgusted.

Marlene continued. "And I was wondering if you guys would do one little favour for me..."

***
The next day, after the girls had showered and dressed, they headed down to the Common Room and were about to walk out to go down for breakfast when a loud voice called out, "Wait for us!"

Sirius was walking towards them, his shirt ironed but untucked, his tie hanging loosely on his neck and his jumper on. Remus came out from behind him, looking neat and tidy, with his shirt tucked in and his tie properly put on. Peter looked just as neat as Remus, except for his shirt, which was wrinkled. James, like Sirius, had his tie hanging loosely over a neat but untucked white shirt. His sleeves were rolled up to the elbows.

"G'morning," James, Remus and Peter chorused. Sirius saluted them.

As soon as they were out of the portait hole, Sirius slinked up to Lily's side.

She glanced at him. "What's going on, Sirius? Why are you guys suddenly so protective of us?"

"Have you not heard about what happened to Emmeline Vance?"

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