Wow, bit of a hiatus there. But here is a brand new Chapter for A Side I Much Prefer. Enjoy!

Our transfiguration class was in quite a stir today. We were in pairs turning pocket watches into canaries, so the class was full of chirping watches and the fluttering of wings. The noise was chaotic and the frustration boiling over from students unable to perform the task was palpable. Professor McGonagall was grading papers at her desk and assisting those that needed help, but mostly ignoring the class. As Remus's watch was now a perfect canary flying around the room, he was helping Marlene and Emmeline and I was making my way towards the green eyed witch that held my heart. It had been a few days since I had thoroughly embarrassed Lily in the common room after the quidditch tryouts. After my little stunt of whispering in her ear, she had promptly called me a git and ran off to her dormitory. She had ignored me since. I decided that giving her some time to cool off was a good idea, but she still hadn't come around and I was beginning to get annoyed. Having no contact with the girl you're crazy for is insufferable. And having her in all your classes, and eating her meals at the same table that you do, makes it all the more worse. So this Tuesday morning, I have decided to end this stalemate. Transfiguration is not a very difficult class for me, I am, well you could say that I am quite advanced at the subject. But luckily for me, Transfiguration happens to be a subject Evans needs extensive studying in to excel. So it seems that now makes for the perfect time and place for me to get back in her good graces.

"Evans?" She turned from Dorcas whom she was partnered with for this class. As soon as she saw it was me that wanted her attention her face fell. It was obvious I was not at the top of her list of people she wanted to see at the moment. She promptly turned back to Dorcas, ignoring me completely. Now, even though she was dismissing me, I knew it was not because she was still mad at me. It was because she was utterly failing with her watch. Lily was very entrenched in her academics, and her frustration had put her beyond her trifle with me. Another point in my corner, if she's mad at something besides me I have a better chance. I made eye contact with Dorcas, trying my best to convey to her that I needed to be alone with Lily. She rolled her eyes, but I knew she would help me out. Dorcas was in favor with whatever made things run smoothly for her. And having all the 6th years in her dormitory on friendly terms made things run smoothly. I saw Dorcas get her things ready, Lily was too concentrated on the watch on the table in front of her to notice. With Dorcas ready to move I tapped Lily on the shoulder, she turned to me again again.

"Yes Potter?" Yeah, she wasn't happy. But out of my peripherals I could see Dorcas slowly get up and walk away over to where Peter and Sirius were sitting with their canary hopping happily on their table. Sirius and Peter were also quite, well, let's just say as "experienced" at Transfiguration as I. So in fact, Dorcas was getting something out of helping me after all. Knowing her, she knew this, and it was a part of why she was conspiring with me.

"I was wondering if you needed help with changing your pocket watch into canary." A weak start I know, but all I needed was an in to start some kind of communication. Also I needed to hold her attention long enough so that Dorcas could make a clean get away.

"Actually, no I do not need the help of the great and powerful Potter." I simply smiled at her sarcasm. Her eyes flashed with fire when she was angry with me, I loved that look. Lily continued "Dorcas and I-" Lily turned back to the now vacant seat beside her to find her friend had abandoned her post. I could hear Lily mutter "traitor" under her breath. She slowly turned back to me with a look of great annoyance in her vibrant green eyes. I had her and she knew it. She wouldn't risk a row in the middle of class, Lily would have to talk to me civilly. But, that didn't mean I couldn't have a little fun with the situation.

"Great and powerful Potter, eh?" I looked towards the ceiling and rubbed my chin, pretending to contemplate what she had called me. I could hear her grumbling as I gloated. "I rather like that one Evans, I'll have to start calling myself that." I looked back to Lily to see that her standoffish attitude was wavering. She was starring at her desk, hands folded in her lap. It was a perfect window, I dropped the arrogant tone in my voice. "But really Evans, do you need help?" She sighed, resigned to no longer be mad at me. I walked behind her and took up the seat where Dorcas had originally been. I looked to see that the watch they had been practicing on was haphazardly flopping around the desk. It had both legs and a beak but only one wing. The rest was still the shining circular gold face of a watch. I could see the defeat in her face as Lily looked down upon the poor bird-watch. Lily was a proud girl, and she was most prideful in her academic abilities. So I would tease her no longer, and just do my best to help her. I smiled sympathetically and went about changing the half finished creature back into a watch with a flick of my wand.

"Potter!" She screeched, grabbing my arm. "Why? We had gotten so far!" I smiled at her complete desperation. Her anger with me was long forgotten, replaced with her academic concerns. The watch, once holding the fleeting life of a bird, lay still on the table. Its gold hands showing the early morning time, slowly ticking. Lily's burst of anger left her as quickly as it had appeared and she laid her head on my shoulder. She looked utterly defeated, and it made me intensely sad to see her like this. I completely understood where she was coming from, sometimes the most simple, innocuous thing could frustrate somebody to their breaking point. I brushed a red lock from her face and placed it behind her ear, she looked up at me quizzically. Green eyes traced my face, she was looking for the angle. I hadn't given her a reason these past 6 years to believe that this was anything but a ploy, so I did my best to show no emotion but sympathy

"Better to start from the beginning." I explained confidently putting my wand away and placing my arm around her shoulders. She went from suspicious to shocked, and stiffened under the contact. I couldn't blame her for being so sure I was trying to put a move on her. But I quickly reassured her by taking her wand hand and guiding it towards the small pocket watch, adding a genuine smile to ease her nerves. Her breathing calmed and softened, her tense shoulders loosened backwards into my arm. I muttered instructions softly into her ear as we began to turn the watch into a yellow bird.

"Look at him!" I exclaimed, arms outstretched towards James and Lily. I couldn't believe Prongs had put the moves on Lily, and so easily! He walked up to her as easy as you please, and then somehow non-verbally got Dorcas to come over here with Peter and me. And now he's putting his arm around her and the most amazing thing about all of this is Lily's letting him. If he had tried this a few years ago there would have been a James shaped hole in the wall behind me. My hands went from gesturing to the unbelievable event taking place on the other side of the classroom to being intertwined in my hair. It took all my will power to not pull out my gorgeous raven locks. I turned to my two companions, looking for some sort confirmation of what I was seeing. Well really I just wanted them to pay attention to me, I don't do well when I'm not the center of attention. Dorcas was busy letting Peter tutor her in Transfiguration. Peter better be careful, Dorcas is one hell of a detective. She might get suspicious about why one Peter Pettigrew, who isn't remarkable at anything, could somehow be amazing at Transfiguration. I turned back to Prongs and Lily, and reiterated my point. "Are you two not seeing this?" Peter answered without looking up from Dorcas's work on the watch.

"Well, they got on pretty good last year until the Snape incident after O.W.L.'s. And isn't it a good thing that they aren't actively trying to kill each other?" I had to admit Peter had a point, with those two on civil terms last year was pretty fun. Also, if they became friends, we'd hang with the girls more. That meant more time around Marlene.

"But still," I continued, "What a slick git." Dorcas laughed quietly under her hand, trying not to let on she was amused. As usual she was trying to keep things close to the vest. She had now successfully turned my watch into a canary and was leafing through a book. Dorcas was my favorite girl in our year. Not in a romantic way, that was for some reason a girl that wanted nothing to do with me, Marlene. Dorcas was just fun to be around. She was as sharp as a tack, and always made the best quips. She also was a great resource of information on everything. I wouldn't admit it to the guys, but I learned a lot of what I know about Hogwarts from her. Some people have theorized she has a vast underground network of spies, but in truth, she's a brilliant detective. But for as much as I know about Dorcas, there is one hundred times of that I don't know.

"Yeah, well Prongs just better watch himself, if he keeps pining after one girl he'll end up alone." I could feel Dorcas's eyes on me as I watched my best friend with the girl that continuously spurned his advances. As much as I acted aloof and conceited, I would do anything for my friends, even put myself in constant danger to keep one company. Letting Dorcas see me a little vulnerable may have been a huge mistake that could come back to bite me, but I didn't really care. I was always comfortable around her when most were afraid she had something on them. Dorcas leaned he back against my shoulder, joining me in observing the Marauder and the Prefect. Wormtail rolled his eyes, shook his head and wandered off to most likely talk to Emmeline. That boy was obviously mad for her, why couldn't he just realize it.

"Are you gay for James?" Wow Dorcas, really? That dark sense of humor she has is amazing. She knows that the James and me jokes bug me, but if she held back she wouldn't be Dorcas. She is amazing at pushing people's buttons. Knowing every dirty little secret that inhabited the halls of Hogwarts, and using that knowledge to twist people to her will was her specialty. Come to think of it, she would have made an amazing Slytherin.

"Dorcas," I began leaning against her in return, "you may be the devil." Her back moved against my shoulder as she chuckled. I looked at the back of her head. Her short bob haircut revealed the smooth nape her neck, I traced it with my eyes as it gave way to her clavicle and then her slender shoulders. If it wouldn't completely mess up things with Marlene I might have gone after Dorcas. What? Did I just think that?

"Do you think James has a shot in hell?" I startled at Dorcas's question, luckily she was turned away from me or it would have been quite apparent that I had been checking her out. I did my best to compose myself before answering, hopefully she wouldn't hear the tremor in my voice. Then I realized I didn't truly have an answer. James had pined for Lily these past 6 years, and her rebukes had done little to quell his advances. But, by now, was James even interested anymore? Was he just going after her because she was the only girl at school that would say no?

"Dorcas love. I have not the faintest idea."

Marlene was not listening to me at all, I was trying to help her and Emmeline with their watch, but she was consistently looking over my shoulder at Sirius. I sighed heavily and turned my attention to Emmeline, who was actually trying to accomplish her assignment. Emmeline was a talented duelist, but when it came to some of the other classes she needed some help. Luckily each of us Gryffindor 6th years were very good in at least one subject. The Marauders specialized in Transfiguration and were more than happy to help the girls. In return they would help us with Charms and such. Lily especially excelled in History of Magic and Muggle Studies. But all of us seemed to be extremely talented in Defense Against the Dark Arts. I was directing Emmeline in her wand work when she too stopped paying attention to me too. I sighed heavily but stopped when Emmeline's jaw dropped and she pointed past my ear. I turned to see James with his arm around Lily. Somebody must have transfigured into Lily because this was impossible.

"Emmeline, I'm really seeing this right?" I had to ask because the sight in front of me was ridiculous. I looked to Sirius and he was starring at James looking as confused as I must have. Dorcas was with him and Peter, James must have gotten her to move so he could sit with Lily. I shook my head at Prongs antics an turned back to Emmeline to continue tutoring her on making this watch a canary like mine that was currently perched on McGonagall's desk watching her grade last nights homework. She was shaking her head in a similar manner as me, and we shared a smile.

"Those two," She began, "never know what's going to happen next. How long do you think until the next row?" I contemplated this with a smirk. It was possible that as soon as lunch they could be in a screaming match. I chuckled and looked down to the clock with wings in front of me.

"Friday," I answered. "Do you feel up to making a wager?" I grinned, bets among the eight of us were a common affair. Things put on the line varied from dares, to completely paid for trips to Hogsmeade, and sometimes a simple Galleon or two. But whatever the bet, it was always intensely competitive. The word "wager" caught Marlene's attention. She and Sirius always attempted to tip the scales in their favor. They were ruthless, especially when the stakes were high. Once the bet between the two of them was whether Sirius could go a month without hooking up with a girl. The item on the line was Kingsley's Nimbus 1001 when he graduated. Sirius tried locking himself in our room whenever not in class or at meals. But Marlene started sending girls from all over school at him. It even got to the point where Marlene was running out of time and threw herself at him personally. Sirius caught on before anything happened, and therefore won the broom. He never let it show, but Marlene throwing herself his way truly hurt him. Padfoot had confided in me that he still harbored feelings for the blonde, and seeing that she held a broom higher than his heart sent him into a funk that an amazing broom couldn't bring him out of.

"I'm in." Marlene said committing to the bet, Emmeline and I laughed. "What?" She asked at our sudden outburst of guffawing. Emmeline's train of thought must have been along the same line as mine. We both knew Marlene would definitely be in on this one. Emmeline waived off her friend as our laughter died down. "Whatever, you two are weird. So what's it going to be? A couple Galleons? A couple butterbeers at the Three Broomsticks on our first Hogsmeade weekend?" I thought the butterbeer idea was a good one.

"A couple butterbeers for what?" I turned to see Peter walking toward us. I looked past him to see the table where he was coming from, Dorcas and Sirius were acting almost as cuddly as James and Lily. I guess that's what was catching Marlene's attention. Oh no, this could get messy real quick, I'll have to talk to Sirius about it later. I turned my line on sight back to Peter to answer his question.

"On when Prongs and Lily go back to tearing each others head of." He turned to the two aforementioned Gryffindors and hummed to himself. Then he turned back to the three of us sitting down.

"Dinner tomorrow." Peter's guess was on and the other three of us rushed to get ours in as well.

"Dinner tonight." Marlene went for a quick turn in events.

"Breakfast tomorrow." Emmeline quickly followed. Then they all turned to me. I had waited too long and missed out on the most likely bets. So I took my time in deciding.

"Friday night." I decided that if I couldn't nab a bet that called for James and Lily to start going at it in the next 24 hours, I would go for the long bet. I then turned to look at Sirius and Dorcas, they would want in on this. He had shifted in his chair so her back was resting against his chest now, and he was whispering something into the back of her head, his face almost buried in her short hair. Dorcas was laughing at whatever he was saying, I'd never seen her laugh with anyone else. Then Dorcas bit her lip, I snuck a glance at Marlene and saw she was looking out the window. She was doing her best to purposefully ignore Sirius and Dorcas's actions. I went back to my self note of talking to Sirius and underlined it. Then Sirius looked up and saw me looking, he instantly pulled his head back, away from the black bob haircut he was just moments before burying his nose in. I motioned for him to come over to where we were, he gave me a quizzical look. Sirius must have thought I wanted him to stop cuddling with Dorcas, I rolled my eyes and sighed. I pointed to Lily and James, and then I made a money in my fingers gesture. His eyes lit up, he said something to Dorcas and her face grew into a devious grin. They both got up and walked over to us.

"So what's the bet?" Sirius asked when he arrived at our table. We explained the bet, and each of us rattled off our wagers. Sirius seemed disappointed he missed out on getting tonight at dinner as his bet. Dorcas was the first of the two to make their own bet.

"Lunch today." This raised all of our eyebrows, Dorcas believed that those two would begin fighting again in the next two hours. A bold move but a good one. Sirius sighed loudly and ran his hand through his hair. Then smiled deviously.

"The next Hogsmeade weekend." We all gasped, Sirius really believed those two could go another month without a fight. Well, I guess if you have last pick you need to go all or nothing. We finalized that we would each owe a butterbeer to the winner at the next Hogsmeade weekend. It was on, if they hadn't fought by dinner tomorrow night, it would be down to Sirius and me. We all looked deviously at the subject of our bet, and I wondered how far Sirius and Marlene would go to win. If nothing else, it would be fun to watch Sirius, the king of instigators, try to keep peace for a month.

How was that? Read and Review please!