Marlene McKinnon let out an ear-shattering shriek! At the same time as the siren of alarm left her lips, her right arm spasmed, sweeping the crystal orb that rested on the table in front of her to the floor where it promptly shattered into a million shards. Each shard sparkled, catching the light and twinkling like an amused glint in the eye of someone who had just seen something that made them smile. Marlene wasn't smiling, though. She was still screaming.
"What the hell, Marlene," Sirius Black complained, clapping hands to his injured ears. "Stop that! What'd you see?"
"Twenty points from Gryffindor for swearing, Mr. Black."
Severus Snape smirked happily at Professor Trelawney's pronouncement, but for once, Sirius didn't notice. He was too busy clutching his ears and glaring at Marlene McKinnon.
For her part, Marlene McKinnon was staring in horror at James Potter and still screaming her head off!
"Miss McKinnon...you must calm yourself and tell us what you have seen." Professor Trelawney breathed the words out in a dulcet sigh as she glided over to rest her hands soothingly on Marleen's shoulders.
"Ooh," Marlene moaned. "It's bad...Really bad...James!"
"What?" James leaned forward in his chair toward Marleen, horror beginning to creep over his own face. "What is it? Do I die or something?"
Marlene nodded vigorously. "Oh yes, but it gets even worse than that!"
Jame's eyes nearly bugged.
"Ur..." Remus Lupin murmured. "What's worse than dying?"
"What's worse than dying," Sybill Trelawney echoed the question, tone practically quavering with drama.
"What's worse than that is what the Muggles will write about you after you die," Marlene told James.
"But do I have to die," James wanted to know, mind still very focused on that bit.
"Everything can be changed, my boy," Professor Trelawney quavered, continuing to lay on the drama. "That's the point of the divining gift. To change the future with knowledge."
"How does James die, Marlene," Lily Evans spoke up.
Her face was tight with concern and white with shock as she reached to squeeze James's hand.
The two weren't overly into public displays of affection even though they were finally dating, but apparently prophecies of death could change that.
No one noticed the satisfied glint in Severus Snape's eyes at talk of the impending death of one of his enemies. Everyone was too busy staring at James or Marlene.
"So what is worse than death," Peter Pettigrew asked.
"Yeah," Sirius chimed in. He'd taken his hands down from his ears when Marlene finally stopped screaming.
"It's so horrifying, I can't even say it," Marlene said, her eyes squeezing shut as her entire body shuddered.
"It involves your dreadful little brother, Sirius," she added, muttering the words reluctantly.
"I can believe that," Sirius growled.
"I bloody hate him," he announced as if everyone in the room wasn't already aware.
"He'd say anything foul about me or my friends, even after they're dead, because that's just how he is," he ranted venomously. "If it's not Slytherin, or Dark Arts or Voldemort, it isn't respectable. So what does Regulus do after James dies?"
"It's not what he does," Marlene replied reluctantly. "It's what the Muggles say...about him and James...But he also dies too." She added that last bit nearly as an afterthought.
Sirius was entirely unmoved by the news of his little brother's impending death.
"They die together," Lily gasped. "But why? They don't hang or anything!"
For his part, James raised his brows skeptically, but made no comment for the time being.
"No, they don't die together," Marlene said. Suddenly her eyes filled with tears as they fell on the shattered shards of crystal on the floor. "You die with him," she sobbed and Lily gasped.
"I die with Regulus? But why? Does he kill me or something?"
"NO! You die with James," Marlene practically shouted, her frustration becoming more and more evident as her agitation grew. "Don't be ridiculous."
"Oh," Lily said in a small apologetic voice. Then she gave James a tiny smile. "Well that's at least romantic."
"But how do we die," James asked, exasperated.
"You all die, but it gets worse," Marlene insisted. "I can't say it! I just can't!"
"But how do we die," James asked again. "You know, so we can avoid it. That's the point, after all."
"And if we avoid it, we can also avoid whatever horrible thing you saw the Muggles saying because it happened," Lily said brightly. She gave Marlene a coaxing smile. "See? It will all be alright."
"It can be a project," Dorcas Meadowes said. Out of everyone, she was the one in their group of friends to entirely keep her calm, eyes concerned but watchfully observant as she took everything in.
"A project," Lily enthused, beaming at Dorcas gratefully. "That's a wonderful way to think of it!"
Dorcas nodded. "There's only one thing we need to know before we begin," she said, turning to Marlene, who was still staring in glazed-eyed horror at James. "Marlene, we need to know what has you so...upset."
Marlene drew in a shuddering breath, then began to cry. "I ca'...can't...sa-say it," she wailed. "It's too mean! James doesn't deserve it! Regulus is a dreadful prat and..."
"Tell it all day, Sister, and I'll agree all day," Sirius said happily.
"Class is almost over, so just spit it out already," Severus Snape snapped in open exasperation.
Though he hated to admit it, he was curious. That and he was Regulus's friend and felt he deserved a heads up concerning the impending madness that was certain to come in light of Dorcas's little project.
"Shut it, Snivellus'," Sirius snapped, before turning back to Marlene.
"Just say it fast," Lily advised. "You'll feel better once it's out."
"Or I'll feel worse that I actually had to hear the words," Marlene groaned.
"Should we guess," Dorcas asked and Marlene shook her head.
"No. That isn't fair. You'd never guess in a million years." She sighed. "I'll just say it fast...It's Jegulus!"
"It's what," James asked.
"It's the Muggles writing stories about you and Regulus being in love like Romeo and Juliet." Marlene spoke rapidly, the words tumbling out over one another as if she couldn't get them out fast enough.
"I mean guys dating can be hot, but Regulus and James," Dorcas snickered.
Marlene gave Dorcas an odd look. "How is that hot? Boys dating one another means they won't ever be dating you."
Dorcas nodded. "Exactly! Which means I don't have to go through any effort to flirt or fix my hair to enjoy the eye candy," she grinned, poking Marlene in the ribs, but the other girl didn't want to be amused at the moment.
Sirius and Remus exchanged a glance full of eye rolls.
" Weird," Sirius mouthed.
"You look nice without doing anything special to your hair, Dorcas," Remus said and Dorcas smiled at him absent-mindedly.
"Ah thanks, Remus."
"Let's go back to the James, Regulus thing, though," Peter said with a snicker. "It's actually funny!"
"Is not," Marlene sniffed. "We have to stop it from happening!"
"It won't ever happen, trust me," James said with a shudder. "He's not that pretty," he quipped, winking at Lily, who tried to smile, but failed.
She was still worried about the bit where they were going to die, and wasn't in the mood to clown around.
"You won't stop it from happening, because you'll be dead," Marlene pointed out with an exasperated scowl. "Makes me think Old Grindelwald had it right about the Muggles," she muttered under her breath.
"Marlene," Dorcas chastised, giving her friend a rare glare of disapproval.
"Sorry," Marlene muttered unconvincingly.
"So how is it that we're Romeo and Juliet," James asked, struggling to keep the sudden amusement from his face.
"You're like on different sides of the wizarding war and your families hate one another, but you're still in love," Marlene explained.
"But why are we in love? Sirius is my best friend, and I think the world of him. Regulus, on the other hand, while indeed Sirius's brother, is nothing like him, and I don't think the world of anything Regulus does, believes or stands for."
Marlene waved a dismissive hand. "Yes, but the Muggles don't care about that! They're going to write tons and tons of epic Jegulus love stories that take you both entirely out of character! You die, then go down in Muggle history as being a completely different person than you actually are! That's just dreadful and unfair."
As class came to an end, she began crying again.
"But you know what this means, right," Dorcas asked, glancing excitedly around at everyone. "Marlene! It means you're extremely psychic! Which is amazingly useful!"
"If it's even true," Severus sneered. "Which I'm sure it isn't. It sounds utterly ridiculous, even by Muggle standards. Besides, how would Muggles know who James or Regulus are to write stories about them?"
"I didn't get that far before the ball broke," Marlene muttered, casting down her eyes in embarrassment.
"Before you broke it, you mean," Severus pointed out.
"We have to assume it's true, considering she also saw James, Lily and Regulus dying," Dorcas said firmly. "If we disregard it and they all die..."
Lily nodded. "For sure. Marlene, how did we die?"
Marlene drew in a breath. "Regulus drowned in a lake of Inferi."
Sirius laughed harshly. "Sounds about as weird as he is. He probably deserved it."
Marlene shot a frown in his direction, but turned back to Lily nearly at once. "And you and James were killed by Voldi...you know HIM, while protecting your unborn child."
James stared at Lily. "We're having a baby? Why we haven't even..."
"Not yet," Marlene shouted. "You get married first, silly."
"I was planning to ask after graduation," James grinned.
"Oh," Lily grinned back foolishly and blushed. "I had no idea!"
Dorcas snapped her fingers in front of Lily's eyes. "Focus! We have three deaths to prevent."