Minerva McGonagall stared down the two unrepentant boys in front of her. They fidgeted as she spoke severely.

"Boys, let me get this straight with you. Mr. Snape is not, nor has ever been a bat, and hanging him upside down from the ceiling in a dark dungeon does not let him get in touch with his 'natural self.'" Standing next to the two offenders, Peter giggled and was quickly shut up with a nudge from Remus.

Minerva glared. "Alright boys, your punishment will be–"

"Wait!" James Potter extended his hand in a 'hold everything' gesture. Then he smiled. "Excuse us for a moment." The marauders went into a rapid huddle.

"I'm thinking one week of detention with Min-min," James said intently.

Sirius frowned. "I'm going with three nights. It's not like we did much to the greasy git!"

Remus sighed and explained patiently. "You gagged him so he couldn't make any noise and be discovered, which lead to his dangling there all night. He's in the hospital wing right now having his ankles treated. I'm thinking two weeks with Filch."

"He's not nearly as bad as he was after the Great Cauldron incident of September," Sirius replied. The boys snickered at the memory.

"I'll go with ten days," Peter, added diplomatically.

The boys nodded and began to fumble in their pockets. Peter pulled out seven knuts, Remus had three sickles, James found one galleon, and Sirius produced ten sickles.

"Done!" beamed James. He swiveled back around, gulping as he caught sight of the transfiguration professor's rapidly reddening face and narrowed eyes. "Woah, kitty!" he exclaimed, which probably didn't help.

"Boys . . ." Everyone on that floor heard the exclamation that followed "Are you betting on your punishments? I feel ashamed to be your head of house! Three weeks detention!"

It was quiet for a long moment after Minerva stormed off, then:

"Guess that's another bet going to the pot."


"Actually, I think mine was the closest–"

"Oh, shut it, Moony."

"She loves us really."

"I know."