Chapter 6: When Karma Bites

Tears of a Lily

Summary: It has been three years since James Potter was captured by the Death Eaters and presumed dead. Three years since Lily Evans was engaged to be married. What happens when he returns, barely alive and wakes up with no memory of who he is?

Author's note: Thank you once more those who reviewed.

Disclaimer: I don't own those you recognize.

Chapter 6: When Karma Bites

It had been three days since the article about Cassandra Rayne appeared on the front page of the Daily Prophet. Three days of Rita preening and bragging in her loudest, screechiest tone that she deserved a Golden Quill Award, First Class.

Three days of Sandy, trying to ignore the disgusted looks her colleagues were giving her.

And three days for two certain Marauders to set up a revenge plan.

"Can't wait for the fireworks to start." Sirius grinned at Remus, from under their mustached deliverymen disguises.

"Me too. She deserves worse than this for what she did to Sandy."

Remus adjusted the many large bouquets of flowers he was carrying to a more comfortable hold.

They were waiting outside the room that housed the Daily Prophet's offices. Derrick had gone inside about ten minutes ago.

This was going to be a sweet comeback on Rita 'Hagface' Skeeter.

(break)

"Hey, love." Derrick plopped a container of food down next to Sandy's in-tray and gave her a chaste kiss on the lips that drew jealous glances from the other single lady writers of the Prophet.

"Hi," Sandy looked up from her parchment and smiled at him. "What are you doing here?"

"Thought I'd bring you lunch." He indicated the container he brought. "It's lasagna."

"Thanks." Sandy grinned and conjured up a chair for him.

Before he sat down, Derrick leaned in close so no one else could hear what he was going to say.

"Sirius and Remus said we ought to have front seats to the show."

"Show?" his girlfriend looked up from her lasagna.

Derrick only smiled again and pointed his wand at the wall that separated Rita's cubicle from the rest. It went transparent.

In the next moment, an owl came soaring through one of the windows, carrying three large envelopes in its beak. It headed for Rita's cubicle.

"Fanmail!" Rita screeched out in an enraptured falsetto. She stood up and accepted the envelopes from the owl, shooing it away immediately. She opened the envelopes, completely unaware that all of her colleagues could see her because of the suddenly transparent wall of her cubicle.

The envelopes suddenly smoked purple steam and turned red.

"Derrick…" Sandy tried to swallow a mouthful of lasagna. "Are those…?"

"HOWLERS?!" Rita managed to shriek before all three scarlet envelopes burst open and--


"-- YOU EVIL, TWISTED, LOONY OLD HAG! YOU SHOULD BE ROLLING IN THE DIRT YOU WRITE SO YOU CAN COME OUT AND LOOK LIKE--"

"--TRY AND RUIN CASSANDRA RAYNE'S NAME AGAIN AND I'LL MAKE SURE YOU'RE STUCK CLEANING OUT DRAGON DUNG IN ROMANIA, YOU MAGGOT-FILLED BIGMOUTH --"

"--I'LL PERSONALLY MAKE YOU EAT ALL THIS BILE YOU WROTE, YOU TWO-FACED BANSHEE --"

Sandy had to muffle her laughter as she recognized Derrick's, Remus', and Sirius' voices issuing out from three of the largest Howlers she had ever seen.

The Howlers finished bellowing out their messages and erupted into flames than singed Rita's eyebrows, making her slap her face many, many times.

Everyone in the office was trying very, very hard to keep a straight face.

Rita put her cracked spectacles back on and saw to her dismay that more owls were flying in through the window.

"This can't all be hate-mail." She said, confidently. "After all, I--"

Rita didn't get to finish because a tawny owl dropped his package onto her desk where it erupted open and scattered grey furballs all over Rita's cubicle.

"What on earth--?"

Suddenly, the furballs all came to life, growing four legs, a twitching nose, and a long skinny tail. Squeaking loudly, they swarmed the space Rita called her own.

"MICE!" she shrieked. As the hairy little critters began to crawl all over her and her desk. She tried to swat one that was chewing up her next gossip article and got a bite on her finger for all her trouble.

"Hope she tries Vanishing them," Derrick said through tears of laughter. "Remus said they turn into giant rats when you try--"

Everyone in the Prophet office laughed even harder as Rita really did try to Vanish the squeaking, scurrying mice. The rodents turned in the air and grew larger as the spell hit them.

More envelopes and packages dropped onto Rita's desk and began to open of their own accord.

One envelope emptied itself over Rita's head, staining her bleached blonde hair an inky black. Another package burst open and littered Venomous Tentacula seeds that covered her cubicle in vines. An envelope containing a Stinging Hex caught Rita on the cheek, plastering a pink welt on her heavily powdered face.

It seemed it was only her cubicle that was in pandemonium. Sirius and Remus had timed their prank to the newspaper staff's lunchtime so everyone could enjoy their meal with live entertainment.

"Here it comes." Derrick leaned forward and pointed out a green envelope to Sandy.

"What's in there?" Sandy clutched her stomach. It was already hurting from laughing so much.

She got her answer at the next second. The envelope opened and littered its contents all over Rita and the rats, which were having quite a hard time in the Venomous Tentacula vines.

"ITCH POWDER!" Rita screamed, as the green envelope shook itself out all over her.

Now, the Venomous Tentacula vines did not appreciate being sprinkled with Itch Powder. The plants began to wave and shake themselves, spattering more powder on Rita and causing rashes the size of chicken eggs to appear all over her skin.

Rita shrieked with all her might. She had lost her wand minutes ago, when the Venomous Tentacula was waving about and one vine smacked its stinging teeth into her wrist. She rubbed her hand over her eyes, trying to get the worst of the mess out of her eyes.

A big grey owl dropped another large package. It wiggled and ripped open. A black blur suddenly latched itself on Rita's wrist.

"A niffler!" Sandy exclaimed.

Laughter erupted around the office once more. Derrick fell of his chair from laughing and began rolling on the floor.

The niffler tried to bite off anything shiny Rita had on, which was unfortunately one-tenth of her outfit. The reporter broke about four of her inch-long nails trying to pry the niffler off her.

"Sirius and Remus saved the best for last." Derrick stood up from the floor.

"There's more?" Sandy asked, over the loud laughter of her fellow writers.

Derrick winked and lifted his wand, causing a spare piece of parchment from Sandy's desk to fold itself into a paper airplane. With another flick, the parchment turned bright red. Derrick pointed his wand at the door and the paper plane zoomed toward it and exited.

(break)

"That's the signal." Sirius nudged Remus as a red paper airplane zoomed out of the office doors.

With last adjustments to their disguises, the two Marauders walked into the Daily Prophet office.

"Delivery for Miss Rita Skeeter!" Sirius called out in a high alto.

A bedraggled, bespectacled woman heaved herself out of a cubicle that looked like a jungle and turned to face them.

Remus had to elbow Sirius, who could not keep from snorting.

"Flowers? For me?" Rita came forward.

"Says so on the card." Remus held up the two large bouquets he was holding.

"Someone must have liked my articles." Rita snatched the bouquets from Remus and Sirius who immediately ducked from her sight and into Sandy's cubicle.

"Flowers?" Sandy raised an eyebrow.

Sirius and Remus removed their disguises and only gave her roguish grins and pointed towards Rita who was leaning in to sniff the four large bouquets she managed to squeeze on top of the mess on her desks.

One of the staff, Paisley Gridlock, writer of the 'Herbology and You' column, immediately ran forward.

"Rita, don't! Those look like--"

ACCCHHHHHHPHOOOEEEEETTHHHHHHH!

"-- Sneezing Peonies." Paisley finished, lamely.

Rita threw her head back and let out her loudest scream yet.

"PUS!! UNDILUTED BUBOTUBER PUS!" Rita slopped away from the hissing puddle that was forming from her dripping clothes.

The stinging liquid was causing boils on her face, neck, and hands. The pus was also eating away at her sick-yellow robes.

"UGH!" Rita screeched, trying unsuccessfully to swipe herself clean, amidst all the laughter around her. She trudged towards the bathroom, leaving wet footprints in her wake.

When she passed Sandy's cubicle, she found three people who were definitely not part of the Prophet's staff.

"Nice to see you getting so much mail, Rita." Sandy finished the last of her lasagna.

Her rival could only open and close her mouth.

"Wow, that's a first." Derrick twirled his wand in his fingers. "At a loss for words?"

Rita gave them a hateful look before slopping away.

Sandy began to clap her hands as soon as Rita disappeared into the bathroom.

"Bravo. Meet me after work hours, boys." She grinned at the three men in her cubicle. "Butterbeers are on me."

"Thanks." Sirius grinned.

A shriek form inside the bathroom caused them all to turn their heads toward it.

"We forgot to tell you." Remus' smile would have let him swallow a slice of watermelon.

"We rigged the sinks to a septic tank."

Rita burst out of the bathroom covered in slime and you don't want to know what else. She ran, shrieking, through the rows and rows of cubicles and out the door.