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Chapter 20: Changing
chapter image by inexplicable@TDA!
If you would have told me I would be sitting where I was today, I would call you a liar. If you would tell me that I’d have friends, I would laugh at you. If you were to tell me that I was slowly falling for Sirius Black, I’d call you a nutter. If you told me I wouldn’t be as close to my brother as I used to be, I’d shake my head. Yet all of this was happening right in front of me. All of this had happened in three measly months of a school year.
I watched as Teddy nibbled on the end of his quill, his eyebrows nearly touching in concentration. He had studied so hard for his OWLs in our fifth year that the wrinkle that had appeared between his eyes didn’t go away all summer. He had looked like Old Man Ester from next door. Teddy quickly dipped his quill in an ink bottle as the thought came to him, scribbling down on the parchment. I felt like he was a stranger. I felt like I barely knew him anymore. The twinge in my heart was something that I didn’t expect to feel.
“Lenny, what’re you writing your Defense’s paper on?” Teddy asked, glancing up at me. I looked down at my own parchment to find it blank. We’d been sitting here for a half hour and I had nothing. Not to mention the paper was due in two days.
“Uhm…how long does it have to be again?” I asked him. Maybe if I just wrote a little bigger than normal, I could pull it off.
“Two feet. Surely you have something done,” Teddy responded, grabbing my roll of parchment. He looked at the blank roll and frowned at me. “You plan on being an eighth year or something?”
“That’s not such a bad idea,” I mumbled, taking my parchment back. I dunked my own quill in my ink and let it drip onto the parchment. Nothing was coming to mind.
“Come on, you can’t think of one single dark magic item or creature to write about?” Teddy asked, placing his quill down for the first time since we got here.
“Normally you tell me what to write about,” I explained. It was true. Teddy normally did that kind of work. He even wrote openings for me and sometimes I could convince him to write the entire paper.
“This is your seventh year, Lenora. I think you should be able to handle it by now,” Teddy mumbled. I felt the sting of his words. Not only had he called me Lenora, but he had hit home.
“I’ll figure it out on my own, then,” I grumbled, beginning to pack up my scattered books and parchment, throwing it all into my bag. Well, now I understand how my bag got so messy.
“Oh come on, Lenny. Just stay and write your essay,” Teddy wasn’t even looking up from his parchment. The sting hit me right in the chest again. He wasn’t even looking at me as he talked.
“I’ll pass. Why not just invite McKinnon do study with you? Sure she’d love it,” I snapped. He finally looked up at me with a dramatic eye roll.
“What has gotten into you now?” He asked, though I could see he wasn’t interested at all.
“I don’t even know my twin brother anymore,” I told him. I swung my bag over my shoulder more, turning away as I started to make my way out. If there was one thing that I knew about Teddy, it was that he would want the last word.
“Look who’s talking! I’m not the one who changed, Lenny!” Teddy called. The librarian shushed him, but he was on his feet, making his way over towards me. I stopped, turning towards him, my arms crossed.
“I haven’t changed,” I lied. Even my lies sounded better than before.
“Think about the beginning of this year, Lenny. I was the only person you had. Now you have Lily, Alice, Mary, Marlene, the Marauders, and you definitely have Black! You don’t need me anymore.” I could see the pain in his eyes, but his voice was full of fury. I tried to bite my tongue, tried to hold back the pricks of water that were fighting to come out.
“Now you know how I felt for the past six years,” I whispered, rushing out of the library as I felt the tears threatening to fall. I felt blinded. I wasn’t just blinded by the tears in front of me, but by the fact that I didn’t even know my twin brother anymore. He didn’t know me either.
I wiped a tear away as it slid down my cheek. Bollucks, I was turning into a wimp. I realized I cried more than I’ve ever cried in the past few months. Grams would be very disappointed in her weakling granddaughter. She yelled at Teddy for crying when he broke his arm. She was probably staring through the clouds in heaven and frowning at me, shaking her head the way Grams did. I could hear her yelling “Suck it up, you banshee!”.
“Lenny?” I heard someone ask. I quickly swiped at my eyes only for more tears to fall into their place.
“What?” I snapped, leaning against the wall in a huff. I didn’t bother to look up. I felt pitiful.
“Are you alright?” They asked. I looked up and through the tears I could see Sirius looking at me. His face was full of concern. I slid to the floor. Great. Now Sirius bleeding Black was going to see me cry.
“I’m bloody fantastic,” I mumbled. I made a quick swipe at my eyes, but I knew the damage was done. Sirius crouched in front of me. I curled my knees in on myself and concentrated on them.
“You sure look bloody fantastic,” Sirius said sarcastically. He chuckled lightly to himself, but I didn’t feel any type of humor bubbling in me. I frowned. He sighed, sitting down on the floor directly in front of my knees.
“You can talk to me, you know,” He insisted. I concentrated on my knees. This wasn’t the Sirius Black I knew. The Sirius Black I knew didn’t care about anything or anyone other than himself
“What is it you want from me exactly?” I asked. Even when I wasn’t looking at him I could feel his confusion radiating off of him.
“I don’t want anything, Lenny,” Sirius said softly. That was the thing. Sirius never used to talk soft. He used to be boisterous and loud and obnoxious. He used to be the guy I despised seeing whenever I was hung over because he was so loud.
“You’re a Marauder. More importantly you’re Sirius Black. You’ve always had a hidden agenda. Especially when it came to me,” I mumbled. I glanced up to see Sirius smiling at me. No, he wasn’t smirking, he was bloody smiling. See why everything is so messed up lately? It used to be just Teddy and I against he world. Now Teddy wasn’t even here.
“Things change, Lenny,” Sirius said, not even glancing up as a few girls walked by. I nearly was baffled by that simple movement, but didn’t bother saying it out loud.
“But I’m not supposed to. My life is supposed to stay the same,” I whined, more to myself than to him. I heard him chuckle again at me, but when I looked up, his face was like a stone.
“You want what we used to have? Fine,” He said, shrugging as he got to his feet. “Get your fat arse off the ground and stop feeling sorry for yourself, Crowley. You’re wasting my breathing room with your sobbing. Better yet, go into Moaning Myrtle’s bathroom. Myrtle needs a loopy stall mate anyways.”
“Don’t you have somewhere better to be? Like up Pothead’s arse?” I suggested. Sirius grinned at me, unable to contain it much longer. His grin was contagious, because I was smiling moments later. I wasn’t sure why, but I found myself feeling slightly better all of a sudden.
“Ah-ha! Love that smile,” He said, giving me his hand. I took it as he helped me to my feet. I smacked my cheeks a few times to bring color to them so it didn’t look like I had been tearing up at all.
“Thanks,” I mumbled, smiling lightly. It was strange and surreal that I felt this calm suddenly after feeling so overwhelmed all day.
“Let’s get down to lunch. Evans said your brother had you in the library all through your free period,” Sirius said. In response, my stomach growled. We both laughed as he took my bag from me, slinging it over his shoulder. I didn’t protest. In fact, I barely noticed it when he put his hand on the small of my back as we made our way to the Great Hall.
“So Crowley,” someone drawled. I glanced up to see Marlene leaning on my desk. She was smirking at me, giving me that look that meant something was up. I raised my eyebrow, setting my quill down.
“McKinnon?” I questioned. Her smirk grew as I acknowledged her. Something was up her sleeve and I didn’t particularly like it.
“The Masquerade Ball is a week away,” she said nonchalantly. I didn’t like the way this was headed.
“Uh-huh,” I said, picking my quill back up so that I could have something to play with.
“Have a date?” She asked me a little too loud. I blinked a few times before glancing around to see a few people who had just made it to Charms glancing at us suspiciously.
“No,” I mumbled, looking down at my empty desk.
“Why not ask-?” she started, but was caught off by a swift cough coming from Mary. Marlene shot her a cold glare, but took it as her cue to leave. She smiled at me, winking. I knew she wasn’t done with this conversation. Mary took the seat next to me, pulling out her Charms book.
“She’s right though. You should ask him,” Mary said, not glancing up once from taking things from her bag.
“Why would I?” I asked, feeling my heart beat pick up. I pictured slow dancing with Sirius, fairies floating above our heads and smoke rolling over a marble floor. I shook my head. Let’s be realistic, Lenny.
“Because you don’t have a date and rumor is he doesn’t either. He’s turned down half the school already. You better get a move on before he’s gone,” Mary finally looked up at me, smirking upon seeing my face. Was I that red? Bollucks.
“Well, who are you going with then?” I asked, trying to get the attention away from me.
“Lupin asked me. Figured why not,” She said with a shrug. Double bollucks.
“Lily and Alice?” I asked hopefully.
“Longbottom asked Alice and Evans finally said yes to Potter,” Mary said, leaning back in her chair. Suddenly, I felt panic crawling up my back. Normally I wouldn’t go or wouldn’t consider even bothering finding a date, but things were different. I couldn’t ask Teddy to go with me because he probably would find a date or already had. I couldn’t just sit lonely in our room because someone would bring their date in there to shag. I was screwed. Maybe I could just take a house elf. Yes, they’d make a lovely date.
“Did I just hear right?” Potter said, coming up behind me. I nearly jumped straight out of my skin, but managed to hang onto her skin.
“Hear what?” I hissed. James chuckled, taking his normal spot in front of me, except he turned around this time. Bother, he wasn’t going to leave me alone.
“You don’t have a date? Can’t say I’m not surprised, Crowley,” James said, sending me an innocent smile.
“Me either,” I mumbled, placing my chin in my palm.
“Wasn’t one of Lily’s conditions to going to the ball with you was you had to be nice?” Mary questioned. James blushed, turning away from both of us and facing the front of the room.
“Today we’ll be learning how to cast a bubble-head charm!” Flitwick said enthusiastically. I wanted to groan along with the rest of the class. Another charm meant more homework. More homework meant more to add to the pile that was forming at the bottom of my bed. The bigger the homework pile, the less comfy I was at night and the less likely I was to get a good night sleep. See the logic?
“Now, the charm is-“ Professor Flitwick began, but was interrupted by Sirius slamming the door open and walking briskly in as though nothing had happened at all. He took his usual seat next to James and in front of me, only looking up at Flitwick once he had completely unpacked his bag.
“Uhm…hi Professor,” Sirius said, smiling wide at him. Flitwick didn’t look impressed at all.
“Mind explaining to the class why you feel the need to arrive so late to class, Mr. Black?” He asked as everyone was staring at Sirius. He wasn’t nervous at all. He never was. He didn’t skip a beat.
“Had something I needed to take care of,” Sirius said, opening his book to a random page. Professor Flitwick wasn’t going to give up that easily.
“That something was more important than class?” He asked.
“Yes.” Sirius said simply. Everyone in the class seemed to inhale at his words. A few people chuckled under their breath.
“Detention, Mr. Black!” Flitwick called, his face red with anger. He turned back towards the board, forgetting what he was doing all together.
“You’re just in time, mate!” James said to Sirius, clapping him on the back.
“For?” Sirius asked. I looked down at my paper, copying down what Flitwick was writing on the board.
“Crowley is dateless for the Masquerade Ball!” James whispered, but both Mary and I heard him. Mary chucked a piece of parchment at the back of his head. James barely flinched. There must seriously be something wrong with that bloke.
“That true, Lenny?” Sirius asked, turning around and looking at me with furrowed eyebrows. I felt my face flush. Of course I didn’t have a date. Did I ever? Did that really come as a shock to people?
“Unless you want to change that, Black. Heard you don’t have a date either,” Mary said. I felt a bubble in my stomach rising to my throat. It was panic and it was taking over me. Sirius glanced at me, smirking.
“Anyone know the answer?” Flitwick answered. We all immediately turned our attention to him. My hand shot up in the air. “Yes, Ms. Crowley?”
“Uhm…” I mumbled. I hadn’t actually heard the answer. Oh well, time for Lenny-ness. “Dragon dung can clean an oven.”
A few people looked at me like I was loopy. It was actually useful! At least I think it was dragon dung that I saw Mum cleaning our oven with over the summer. I couldn’t be sure. She was probably lying when she said it was dragon dung. Oh well, I suppose the weird looks I was getting meant I was getting my reputation as Loony Lenny back. Merlin save me now.
“Even if that is true, it was not my question, Lenny,” Flitwick said. “Ten points from Gryffindor.”
“Don’t worry, Lenny,” Sirius whispered, turning towards me. “I’ll save a dance for you.”
I think my stomach just flipped a little.
I dragged my bag very un-ladylike behind me up the girl’s staircase. Oh how I hated school work. Why couldn’t I have a nerd who had a crush on me? Or why couldn’t I be intimidating like Slytherins? Or why couldn’t I be fantastic at copying charms? Even mind erasing charms would suffice. Though I’m sure someone would catch on if my teachers kept forgetting things. Nevertheless I wish I had some sort of extraordinary talent. Yet I don’t. Sigh.
I pulled open the door and heard the girls’s giggles immediately stop once I entered the room. Lily, Alice, and Mary were all huddled around my bed, having been giggling at something upon it. Probably a pair of my birthday knickers I got last year from Mum. She thought it would be funny to get me bright yellow knickers with purple and pink unicorns on them. Oddly, they were extremely comfortable. So sure, I have worn them a few times. Sue me for picking comfort over how good my knickers look. Who is going to see them anyways? Who am I going to be shagging?
Except when I got a closer look at what they were staring at, I gasped. It was not my knickers, but was something entirely different. There was an elegant crystal vase resting on my bed. It shone in the candle light. Carving its way up from the bottom were indents that accented the vases beauty. The vase wasn’t even the most beautiful part. Flashing within the vase was a bouquet of beautiful roses. Not only were they roses, they were flashing different colors. Red, violet, green, blue, black, white, yellow, pink, orange, and so on. It didn’t stop. I don’t think I even recognized some of the colors it was changing.
Then resting right below the vase was a letter. A letter with the initials “L.C.” written on them. I glanced at the girls who were awaiting my reaction. I leapt for the letter and tore it open without another thought.
Lenny isn’t exactly crazy, she’s just…creative. I used to think she was completely mental, to be honest. She’s actually not, though. She’s just easy to fire up and can be very entertaining when she’s flustered. When she gets mad, she throws things at me. That tends to happen a lot. She says the weirdest things and you’re always wondering what’s going on in her head. She’s just…Lenny.
What would you say to going to the Masquerade Ball with me? You don’t have to say yes, but I want to meet you. I lost out on that. Wear the most elaborate mask, it won’t matter. I would just love you as my date. I would have the most beautiful date in all of Scotland (that’s saying something since I haven’t even seen you). I obviously couldn’t do this in person, but I am trying to be romantic. Bear with me. I’m no good at being sappy and all that nonsense. I sent you the roses to show you that I could be romantic for you. I thought you weren’t a red rose type of person. You’re a million colors, like these. Modestly beautiful, but so many layers. So what do you say?
“You have to go!”
“If you don’t accept, I will!”
“That was so charming and romantic and-“
“You have to shag him now.”
“She doesn’t have to shag him! Just go to the ball with him!”
”I don’t think I have to do any of that,” I mumbled, plopping down on my bed. The girls all turned to me with wide eyes.
“What?!” Mary questioned. I think she was questioning my sanity as well as my comment.
“I can’t go with him.” I answered her. Alice blinked a few times, picking up the roses and admiring them longingly.
“Why not?” Alice asked. I smiled at her, shaking my head.
“I’m just…I’m….” I couldn’t find the right words. Sirius didn’t want to see me. I wasn’t the girl he wanted.
“Lenny, you two are destined to be together! Don’t let anything get in the way of that. Go on this date. It can be your own Cinderella story,” Lily said, sitting down on my bed next to me. I frowned at her.
“What’s Cinderella?” I questioned. She waved her hand dismissively at me.
“What I mean to say is: you are going on this date. We won’t allow you not to. Give us one good reason why you don’t want to go,” Lily insisted. I racked my brain for anything I could think of.
“I don’t have anything to wear,” I tried.
“We will go shopping this weekend. I need something too,” Mary said, smirking as she crossed her arms.
“I need all the time I can get to get caught up on my homework. McGonagall said I have until the day I leave for Christmas Break to get all my late assignments turned in for all of my classes,” I said. Both Alice and Mary glanced at Lily.
“I’ll do them,” She said, reaching over towards the large pile of homework on my bed. I went to protest, but she glared at me. Lily’s glares can get scary.
“He’ll recognize me…I want him to find out who I am after he meets L.C….you know?” I tried one last time. All three seemed stumped.
“I have something.” Alice whispered. She crossed the room and threw open her trunk, starting to dig for the bottom. “You remember my costume back in fifth year for Halloween?”
“That’s brilliant!” Lily chanted, grinning like a mad woman at Alice. Alice came out of her trunk holding a plain black mask. She held it up in front of me grinning.
“It’s magically enchanted. It hides your identity. Sirius will still see you for you and how beautiful you are, he just won’t be able to put a finger on who you are,” Alice told me. “I’ll decorate it for you.”
“Brilliant,” I murmered. The three girls immediately began to cheer when they realized I was out of excuses. I shuffled my feet uncomfortably. How hard could it be, right? Just one night. One night until midnight. If I was having a bad time, I’d leave at midnight. I don’t need you, Teddy. I’m fine on my own.
Screw Cinderella. This is going to be my night.
Author's Note: So was it worth the wait? I say this all the time, don't I. You guys don't deserve how horrible I've been! I'm so sorry :(. But Lenny is going to the Masquerade Ball with Sirius! Aren't you excited?! Teddy and Lenny are fighting, that's no good. Lily and James are going to the Masquerade Ball together too ;). Little things are falling into place slowly, but surely. So, tell me your predictions. Tell me what you think. Is the Masquerade Ball going to go well? Are things going to blow up in their faces? We're almost there, ladies and gents! Almost to the place where everyone has been waiting for!
On another note, I got engaged! That's why I've been away for quite some time. I got taken away to Italy on a romantic getaway and then proposed to. I'm extremely happy. Now only two more years left of Law school! Then I'll be a lawyer and watch out ;). I'll be defending one of you some day!