Peggy Carter had already been waiting in the Defense Against the Dark Arts classroom for fifteen minutes with her friends, Angie Martinelli and Timothy "Dum Dum" Dugan, when the rest of the students started trickling in. It was the only class the Gryffindor Seventh Years had to share with the Slytherins. Angie couldn't stand any of them and she had already started her grumbling when she saw Dottie Underwood and Antony Yauch enter. Peggy and Dum Dum had indifferent opinions on the Slytherin. As long as the pair wasn't bothered both by any of them that was.
But not even Peggy could restrain herself from rolling her eyes when she saw Jack Thompson, the most arrogant of the Slytherins, enter the classroom. Her eyes narrowed to slits as she watched him wave Daniel Sousa, one of her fellow Gryffindors, through the door. Daniel nodded to Thompson in gratitude as he slowly hobbled over to join the other three at the table they typically shared together.
"How's the leg today… So'n'So Sousa?" Dum Dum ventured hesitantly. The others groaned.
"It just got worse when you said that," Daniel replied, sitting down with a sigh.
"It's just hard to find a nickname for you. And Peggy. You two don't like any of the ones I give you," Dum Dum sulked.
"'Peggy' is a nickname, Dugan," Angie corrected, popping in a stick of gum.
"For what?" Dugan retorted. The bell rang and he immediately scrambled in his bag for his quill.
"Margaret. How did you not know my name was Margaret?" Peggy asked, handing him her extra quill, as well as an inkpot.
"Oh, thanks. Well geez, Peggy, you just moved here beginning of this year; I must have forgot."
She snorted. "It's been three months. I moved here from America, not Mars; the names are the same there as they here in England."
"Yeah, but with that accent, I probably couldn't understand it."
"Mister Dugan, do you understand how to get out your book and turn to page 154?" Professor Dooley inquired from his podium. There was snickering from the Slytherins' half of the room as Dugan whipped his head back and forth and saw that everyone else had their book out, including Peggy.
"Yes, sir, I understand," he murmured and drew out his book from his bag, flipping it to the required page.
"Mister Thompson, is something funny?" Professor Dooley asked, turning his attention to the mocking student.
Peggy glared as she watched Thompson stifle his laughter.
"No, sir," he answered, getting serious.
"Good. Now, if everyone's ready, we will begin. Today, we are starting the partner projects we discussed. You and another student,"- people started pointing and nodding at each other- "of my own choosing,"- groans filled the room- "will be studying your partner's technique and reaction time. Which spells do they use, how accurate do they appear to you, are they fast or slow, do they actually remember anything I have been teaching?" Dooley waved his wand over a stack of papers on his beloved podium.
"Depluso," he incited, sending a paper to each student. "This is the rubric for the project. You will be writing a five page paper on this project." Hands shot up. "Two papers from the pair of you; ten pages total. Lucky for you all, this isn't an experiment that takes a few days. This will count towards your N.E.W.T.s and should take you until the end of the school year. To make sure you are actually making progress, I expect a short essay to be turned in at the end of every week. Questions?"
There was little movement in the room. The students sat- some slack jawed and some hyperventilating. Peggy blinked slowly several times; she could practically hear Angie's heart attack and tried to ignore Dugan's gagging cough.
"Alright, no questions, so I'll tell you all your partner.
"Miss Martinelli and Miss Underwood." As a loud scoff came from the Slytherin, Peggy quickly leaned over and covered her friend's mouth to muffle the foul language that was bound to come from it. Angie slapped her hand away and scribbled angrily on the table as Professor Dooley kept listing names.
"Mister Sousa and Mister Li." David let out a quiet sigh and leaned back with a thud.
"Mister Dugan and Mister Yauch." Dum Dum just shrugged. He and Peggy had no problem with Yauch; he was a good kid, besides being a Slytherin.
"Mister Jarvis and Mister Stark." Peggy shifted in her chair to see the two boys, who were already quite good friends, scratch ideas down with their quills onto parchment.
"Miss Carter and Mister Thompson." Peggy took a deep breath. She figured she would be paired with a Slytherin-all the pairs were a Gryffindor with a Slytherin, but she didn't think she'd be paired with him. Out of all the Slytherins, she had to be paired with Jack Thompson.
She could barely hear Dooley finish listing off students. David tapped her on the shoulder.
"Peggy. Hey, Peggy." She jerked and then smiled sheepishly at him.
"We're splitting up with our partners to discuss the project," he said, gesturing to the students who were shuffling without eagerness around the room. Angie and Dugan had already wandered off to their partners.
"Oh. Alright then," she answered standing slowly and picking up her bag.
"Sorry you're with Thompson," Daniel offered. She flashed a quick smile.
"It's fine. I'm sorry you're with Li," she replied. Daniel chuckled, rubbing the back of his neck.
"And I'm sorry you two lovebirds aren't with each other," a familiar, snarky voice butted in. Peggy turned to face Thompson.
"Let's just get this over with, okay?" she said, nodding a good-bye to Daniel as he started walking away. Thompson eyed her, giving her the feeling that he doing more than taking in her appearance. It was more like he was examining how she was feeling, what she was thinking.
"Yeah, let's," he responded after a moment. They sat down simultaneously. Peggy pulled out parchment and her quill. To her surprise, Thompson set an inkpot down in front of her.
"Can't have you take all day," he said with a shrug. She raised an eyebrow, examining their assignment list.
"Why don't we do the easy stuff first and get it out of the way? There's a boggart on the second floor, in a closet near the stairs," she said, marking her parchment near the top were it listed a fear nonfatal magical creatures.
"I'm not interested in seeing you crying when Sousa tells you he's not in love with you," Thompson retorted.
"Well, I don't care to see you sob like a baby when a girl tells you she thinks you look like a boiled toad, but I want to get my N.E.W.T. so why don't we meet Thursday at 5 o'clock and get this over with?" she said forcibly, stabbing her quill into the table.
Thompson scowled at her and crossed his arms. He exhaled slowly. "Make it seven. I have Quidditch practice."
Peggy nodded, scribbling a reminder down. "It's a date," she replied with a smirk. He glowered, but nodded. This will definitely be an experience, Peggy thought to herself as she gathered her things as class ended.