"Actually, Mr. Filch, your timing is impeccable. Could you please escort Miss Parkinson, and the rest of Slytherin house out?"

"Where exactly will I be leading them to, ma'am?"

"The dungeons should do."

The cheer coming from the Gryffindors was overwhelming. So overwhelming that no one heard a lonely Slytherin's shout of protest.

"Oi, what?"

Before she could say much more, her house was being herded down the hallway. Upset with this turn of events, the girl jostled through the crowd, searching for a companion. A hand on her arm caused her to jump, but when she turned, she smiled at the boy holding her. They continued walking on, holding hands delicately.

"Jack, what do we do?" she asked, eyes still roving the group.

"We go home?"

She stopped abruptly, causing a few green-robed students to run into her. Her eyes hardened towards Jack, and while he seemed to ignore the look, the people around her visibly shrank away.

"We aren't going home," she hissed.

"Jessica, we need to get to safety. There's no point being a hero."

"Some of my friends are still out there, and dammit I'm going to help." Her voice rose at the last, catching the attention of a passing Slytherin girl.

"Planning something stupid, are we Jess?" the girl asked brightly. Jack and Jess dropped hands quickly, but the newcomer had already seen. She rolled her eyes at them, smiling.

"Always, Tara." The teasing tone didn't spread to her eyes, which she kept locked onto Jack. He tried to avoid her gaze, but eventually he had nowhere else to look. Jess stared him down for a few moments until he sighed compliantly.

"Fine. But if we die I'm killing you."

Jess smiled half-heartedly at him. "Deal." Her triumph was short-lived, as Filch came up from behind, ushering the last bit of the Slytherins down the hall.

"Get on there, you lot!" he yelled, "Professor McGonagall wants all you in the dungeons, where you won't be troubling no one."

"Anyone," Jack muttered. Tara punched him in the arm playfully. Filch waved his arms at them, shooing them down the stairs.

Once they were out of ear-shot, Jack turned to Jess. "Now what?"

Jess's eyes darted around. They were on the last flight of stairs before they entered into the Slytherin common room. She figured that as soon as they entered in there, the wall would seal and only open for the professors. Filch was only about 20 yards behind them, so time was running out. A tapestry hung on the wall, their only tool. Jess caught Tara's eye, then coughed and rubbed her nose. The other girl nodded, then immediately fell down wailing.

"Ohhhhh how could this happen to me? Just wait 'til mum hears about this!" she howled melodramatically. Filch hobbled up to her, peering down at her. Jess held her breath, hoping that the old caretaker's morality would win out over his irritability.

"What's wrong, miss?" he asked, stooping down to take a look at the weeping girl. While he was distracted, Jess and Jack darted behind the drapery. Tara's barely-believable sobs were muffled, though just slightly.

"Well, I…" she started. Suddenly, Jess and Jack heard a whoosh, then a cry from Filch. Throwing the tapestry off of the wall, Jess aimed for where she hoped the old man would be. Sure enough, the blanket dropped on top of the man, who stumbled around awkwardly.

Tara sat blinking on the stairs. Jess grabbed her arm and hoisted her up. "Did you miss again?" she laughed as they ran down the hall. Jess kept a tight grip on Tara's hand, leading her as she stumbled blindly.

"That powder… I can never seem to get it away from my face." Tara held up a bottle labeled "Peruvian Instant Darkness Powder."

"Well… maybe you…. should take it up… with the boys who… run that shop…" Jack said between breaths. Jess motioned for them to stop. They immediately began taking off their robes, knowing full well that if they were caught wearing Slytherin green, they would be considered the enemy.

"But they're so brilliant!" Tara argued as she wrenched off her tie. "Speaking of brilliant, nice trick with the tapestry, Jess."

Jess gave a mock bow, then led the other two up the stairs towards the Great Hall. "I figured it would focus it better… maybe save you from being blind for a while." Tara stumbled. "But it didn't really work did it?"

Tara shook her head and looked right at Jess. "No, I can see fine now, that was just my natural grace."

"Just like your natural acting skills?" muttered Jack. Tara glared at him.

"I'd like to see you try!"

"He might have to…" Jess breathed, staring up the stairs at someone. The other two slowly followed her gaze, fear creeping through them. At the top of the stairs stood McGonagall, who appeared less than happy to see them.