Dawn broke over Gryffindor tower, and particularly the sixth-year girl’s dormitory, entirely too bright and early for at least one occupant. Ceilidh tossed about, trying in vain to go back to sleep. After another half hour of cursing the tiny ray of light that streamed through a chink in her bed curtains, finding her eyes no matter how she tried to avoid it, the redhead finally gave up the ghost and got out of bed.
Finally dressed, the redhead stomped down the stairs and into the common room.
“Morning.” Tom smiled as he looked over an open daily prophet at his girlfriend.
Céilidh grumbled as she slumped into one of the couches. “Coffee afore ah hex ye.”
Tom rolled his eyes and flicked his wand. A moment later, a carafe that looked amazingly like like one from the Great Hall and two mugs appeared on the coffee table in front of the couch.
Tom lazily pulled the paper back upright and continued to read. “There you go.”
Céilidh charged the carafe and poured a cup. “Whit teuk ye sae lang?” She smiled at Tom as she took a long pull from the mug.
“Sorry, dear.” He said not looking up from the paper. “Don’t forget you have your duel today.”
“Lik’ ah cuid forget.” Céilidh grumbled as she took another sip of coffee. “That prat Porsblat haes bin giein’ me clatty looks a’ bloody week.”
“I doubt you have anything to worry about from him.”
“Doubt?” Céilidh gave him a look of mock disbelief, “A real boyfriend wid be sure, noo wouldn’t he?”
“Well then,” Tom said putting the paper down to stare at Céilidh, his lips curled into a smile, “I am sure you will flatten the little toe rag.”
“Noo that’s whit a proper boyfriend wid say.”
“Make sure and remember,” Tom mimicked casting, “Porsblat drops his shoulder before he casts.”
“Oi!” Orlando MacFoozle’s voice announced his arrival to the Gryffindor common room long before he came in from its foyer. “Paging Miss Céilidh MacAllister o Hoose Gryffindor.” He stopped at the opening and looked around the room. His eyes locked on to the fiery redhead and he clapped his hands together. “Thare she is!”
He crossed over to the couple, grinning. “This is a guid day. This micht be the best day in the history o Hoggy Warty Hogwarts.” He stopped and sang the first line of the school’s song, doing a little dance as he did. “Are ye excitit? Ahm excitit.”
Céilidh winced at the exuberance spilling forth from her brother Scot. It was almost painful to her early morning mind, but didn’t fail to bring a slight smile tugging at the corners of her mouth. “‘N’ whit, pray tell, urr ye sae excitit aboot?”
“Whit am A-” He stopped himself short and shook his head. “You, Miss Céilidh Grear MacAllister, hae a deul wi ane Peter Porsblat the day.” He gave her a poke in the chest with his finger. “Tha means you git tae whump the holy hell oot o tha bas fernent the hail schuil an no tak a lick o’ punishment fer it.”
The redhead choked on her coffee. She gave Lando the devil with her eyes as she wiped her mouth with her sleeve. “Thanks a lot ye arse! Tis nae enough that A’ve bin dealing wi’ th’ Snakes a’ week, then thir’s mah boyfriend ‘n’ his ‘doubts,’ Céilidh smacked Tommy in the chest, sloshing the dregs of her coffee into his lap, “‘n’ noo ye huv tae gang ‘n’ jinx mah duel!”
Foozle leaned over and looked at Tom. “Ye hae doubts?”
“I’m a very loving boyfriend,” Tom flicked the paper opening it wide again, “I have no doubts at all.”
The Hufflepuffe looked at Céilidh once more. “This is in the bag, ginger. It’s a bonnie day. An efter the duel is ower and ye hae plantit yuir foot oan the heid boy’s chest Ahm gauntae get. Ye. Blootered. Richt proper.”
“Och, weel, wi’ incentive lik’ that!” The redhead let out a sigh. “A’m gaun tae git something tae eat.”
“Brilliant idea.” Tom jumped up out of the chair. “I’m famished.”
After breakfast, the tables of the great hall were pushed aside and the platform set for the dueling club.
“Alright beautiful,” Tom rubbed Céilidh’s shoulders, “no pressure, but I bet that toe rag Lathan twenty galleons you would win.” He kissed the back of her head, becoming slightly dizzy on its smell of cinnamon.
Danny and Rose walked up, grinning at the Gryffindors. “Guid luck, nae that ye’ll need it, hen. An’ mind,”he said, flipping through a pocket notebook, “Porsblat dips his shoulder afore he throws a jinx.”
“But it doesn’t matter,” Rose added, looking around at the boys. “Céilidh’s going to beat him because she’s Céilidh. She doesn’t need tips or tricks. She’s going to be amazing.”
“Aye,” nodded Foozle who flashed the fiery Scot a wink, “juist mak it embarrassing, yeah?”
“Ah’ll dae mah best.”
The redhead stepped up onto her end of the platform. Porsblat had yet to arrive, so she made the best of the time by loosening up; rolling her shoulders, head and neck, and stretching the rest of her body. Professor McGonagall, Céilidh’s Head of House made her way over to the dueling platform.
“How urr ye feeling, Miss MacAllister?” A rarity indeed, the transfigurations professor’s usual proper diction falling away in favor of her native Scots dialect. Without waiting for a reply, McGonagall turned to the huge double doors at the back of the hall, “Porsblat’s keekin tae mak’ some grand entrance na doubt.”
“Na maiter,” the elder Scot waved a dismissive hand, “Ah huv a’ th’ confidence in ye, dear. Och, ‘n’ he tends tae drap his shoulder richt afore he casts.” McGonagall gave Céilidh a reassuring squeeze on the shoulder. “Guid luck.”
No sooner had Professor McGonagall set off to take her seat, then Professor Flitwick ambled over from his referee’s position. He made a show of greeting Céilidh formally, but couldn’t seem to meet her eye. As he waved to his Ravenclaw charges in their seats, Flitwick’s squeaky voice whispered in Céilidh’s ear as though he had his hand cupped to it. “I know I shouldn’t be telling you this, but Mr. Porsblat tends to drop his shoulder before he casts.”
Céilidh rolled her eyes, but gave the diminutive professor a polite smile. With a wink and a nod, Flitwick went back to the center of the platform as quickly as his little legs would carry him.
With a deliberate avoidance of the primarily silver and green populated side of the room , punctuated by a dismissive flick of her hair, Nicolette Ainscough joined her friends. Despite glares and murmurs, she had come without escort to what was becoming one of her favorite pastimes; watching Céilidh hit Peter. Granted, this was a magic only bout, but that wouldn’t detract from the enjoyment of each and every hex, curse, and jinx her newest friend blasted right in that insufferable connard’s face.
Without her opponent present, the Gryffindor still had a few spare moments to be stolen before it all began. “So, just how many people have told you about his shoulder by now?”
“Ainlie aboot, um, a’ body.”
“Well, I’ve never seen you have a problem handing him his teeth before.” Nic glanced over Céilidh’s shoulder to the belligerent crowd. “I doubt you need any help now.”
“Cheers, loue. Ah -” Céilidh’s gratitude was cut short when the doors to the great hall boomed open.
Nicolette mouthed a ‘Good luck,’ and made her way over to sit next to Orlando. Conversation throughout the hall was drowned out by what could best be described as an honor guard, complete with standard bearers carrying the Slytherin house crest, along with a fife and drum corps escorting the Head Boy into the hall. The snares tapped out a tattoo reminiscent of a rattlesnake tail while the fifes droned a snake-charmers melody, all the while moving at a snails pace up the aisle.
Laun had slipped in with the other Slytherins but was not taking part in the overt display of house pride. He sidled up to his friends and took a seat.
“I begged them not to do this. Its just so sad.” Laun said stifling a chuckle.
The cacophony finally fell silent when Porsblat reached his end of the platform. He vaulted to the stage to cheers from the Slytherins and jeers from the rest of the assembly. Clearly agitated, Professor Flitwick stepped forward. “Quite an entrance, Mr. Porsblat.”
“Thank you, Professor,” Peter bowed deeply. “I was going to include bagpipes in honor of my opponent,” his eyes met Céilidh’s, “but I couldn’t find anyone willing to gut a sheep.”
“Dinnae ye worry, Petey, a’m mair than happy tae shaw ye howfur tis dane. Then ye kin shove it up yer -”
“Alright then, it seems the two of you are more than ready,” Professor Flitwick interrupted. He moved back to the referee’s position. “Please bow.”
The duellists complied, neither taking their eyes off the other. Porsblat’s lip curled into a sneer as he settled into his stance. Céilidh shifted her left foot back, settling into her usual sixte stance, though instead of raising her non-wand hand over her head, she placed it on her hip.
Tom caught Céilidh’s eye and winked. The redheaded Gryffindor returned the wink and returned her attention to Peter. Tom let his gaze land on Peter’s retinue and grinned wickedly. “Lads,” Tom said jovially, “I have twenty galleons on Céilidh, any takers?”
“Please,” Foozle shook his head, “the odds are sae stacked ye winnae mak a hauf a sickle in profit.”
One of the green and silver clad boys threw his head back and laughed. “You must be joking. She doesn’t stand a chance. That is the School’s Head Boy.”
“He’s schuil’s Arse Boy, A think ye mean.” Foozle rolled his eyes.
The boy narrowed his thick black brows. “I’ve got 40 galleons that says different.” He folded his arms across his chest. “If that’s not too rich for your mudblood.”
Tom and Orlando looked at each other for a moment, their eyebrows raised and then Tom’s eyes returned to the Slytherin. “You’re on.” The two shook hands.
Tom then turned back to Céilidh and whistled. “Oi, Ging,” Tommy called out over the din of the other duel club members, “you win this and you are going to have one hell of a good time our next Hogsmeade trip.”
Professor Flitwick cleared his throat, “Well, quite,” the little professor squeaked, “Begin the duel on my whistle.” The Professor stepped back and blew his whistle.
Before the sound of the whistle faded from the air, Céilidh winked at Peter, blew him a kiss, and screamed a silent Everte Statum!
Her fallacious show of affection might as well have been a stunning spell, freezing Porsblat’s body and mind and allowing Céilidh’s hex to strike with the full force of a charging rhinoceros. The impact hurled the Head Boy from the dueling platform arse over teakettle. For a split-second the Great Hall was as silent as a tomb. Then, the collective voice of the assembled Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, and Ravenclaw students exploded in raucous cheering and applause.
Professor Flitwick’s pronunciation of Céilidh’s victory was lost in the din. Also lost to the commotion was a barely audible whimper from Forster Barclay, Céilidh’s potential next opponent.
“Weel,” Danny smirked as he elbowed Tom in the ribs, “it looks lik’ he didnae drop his shoulder.”
“No,” Tom shook his head in shock, “no, he did not.”
“Toldja she didn’t need to know about it,” Rose added with a grin. “She’s Céilidh.”
Orlando raised his hands, giving the champion two thumbs up. “Tha wis juist stoatin.” He shook his head. “Absolutely stoatin.” He turned to the Slytherin. The boy seemed to have lost all of that confidant bravado that had inflated him not even minutes ago. “Weel, Ah dinnaken if we kin say tha yuir lad wis a dueler juist than, but tis sauf tae say tha he lost. An whin A say he lost, Ah mean th’ match an his dignity.”
The boy’s nostrils flared and his cheeks reddened. “She cheated!”
“Oi,” Foozle poked a finger at him, “It’s no cheating gif yuir opponent is as overconfident as he is stupit.”
“Not only that, lad,” Tom placed his hand on the Slytherin’s shoulder, “Petey boy there is Head Boy. That little toerag should have the wherewithal to defend against one silently cast spell. He lost fair and square,” Tommy squeezed his shoulder tightly, “now pay up.”
The Slytherin gritted his teeth as he threw Tommy’s hand from his shoulder. He swirled around to face Tom. He snarled as he pulled a bag of his robes and handed it over. “You better watch where you spend that, Gryffindor,” he said threateningly before turning on his heel and storming out of the great hall.
“Charming chap,” Tommy bounced the sack of gold in his hand, “gracious loser and all that.”
“Quite.” He smiled as Céilidh approached.
Tom threw his arms around the redhead’s neck, “Well done, love, very well done.” He kissed her on the forehead.
Céilidh beamed, “Aye, weel, th’ prat needed tae ken that he wasn’t th’ ainlie yin wha cuid pat oan a shaw.”
“He certainly did.” Tom nodded. “Now I need to find that toe rag Lathan to get my twenty galleons before he slithers back into the Slytherin common room.” He kissed Céilidh on the lips and grinned. “Care to join me?” He arched his eyebrows slightly.
Céilidh glanced over to the group of Slytherin’s crowded around the still-prone Head Boy. She wasn’t particularly welcome near the Slytherin common room on a good day, and the dark looks she was receiving from many of the green-clad students made it apparent that a trip to the dungeons would most likely end badly. Céilidh’s grandfather always said there was a difference in running from a fight and looking for one.
She shook her head, “A’ve hud enough o’ snakes th’day. Howfur aboot ye catch up wi` me at th’ victory pairtie we’re aboot tae huv at th’ cave. Ah promise nae tae be tae blootert by th’ time ye git thare.”
Orlando threw his arm around Céilidh’s shoulder and gave her tug. “Ah cannae promise the same.”
Tommy shrugged, “I can always catch up to him later.” Tom gave the group a large smile, “Shall we retire to the cave then, my dear?” He held out his arm for her to take.
“Aye,” Céilidh hooked her arm in Tom’s and looked around at the rest, “Let’s gang git blue-blind paralytic drunk…”
Ambrosia and Nicolette looked at the Gentlemen and the Lady, then back to one another. “Oh dear.”