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Chapter 21: Dresses and Being Lenny
chapter image by inexplicable@TDA!
“Just because this is a social get together does not mean you are allowed to misbehave,” McGonagall called to the Gryffindor common room. Every Gryffindor was scattered within, listening to the thin, strict head of house. No doubt every other house was getting this same speech.
“I expect the house of Gryffindor to be chivalrous and modest. That does not mean getting intoxicated or doing promiscuous things.” McGonagall glared around at each student. Even at the first years.
“Professor, when you say promiscuous, what do you mean?” Potter asked innocently. Too innocently.
“Potter, I think you understand what I am implying,” McGonagall said, crossing her arms. James shared a look with Sirius as they both looked back at Professor McGonagall with identical confused expressions.
“Promiscuous covers such a wide variety of things. You’re going to have to elaborate, Minerva,” Sirius said. A few people snickered at him. Mary elbowed my side, grinning like an idiot. I looked back at Professor McGonagall as her face was getting redder with each passing moment.
“The two of you can consider that wide variety as your spectrum. You do one thing any of the staff considers as a misrepresentation of Hogwarts, you will be kicked out of the ball. Understood?” A few people nodded at McGonagall, others grunted their responses. I shifted on the edge of the armchair was I was sitting on.
“Professor?” Lily asked, raising her hand. James sat up straighter, staring straight at her. It seemed the whole room turned to hear her question.
“Yes, Ms. Evans?” McGonagall said, just as interested in Lily’s question as everyone else.
“What’s the curfew?” She asked. A few people snickered at her innocent, obviously Evans, question. James looked at her with furrowed eyebrows.
“And you call yourself my date?” James asked. Lily threw the nearest couch pillow straight at his head.
“Oh yes, I nearly forgot!” McGonagall said, folding her hands in front of her. “The dance is over at midnight. We expect everyone back into their common rooms by one at the latest. If you are not back, you face the punishment permitted by whoever finds you.”
“Want to find me, Evans? I’ll let you punish me,” James asked Lily, who threw yet another pillow straight for James’s head. How she comes up with so many pillows is beyond me.
“That’s enough, the both of you!” McGonagall shouted. Both ceased their actions. I chuckled under my breath. Lily and James fighting were always entertaining. To think they were going to the ball together was just hysterical. Something as going to blow up in their faces and when it happened, I’m sure everyone would get a good laugh out of it.
“We are holding this ball because it has come to our attention that house rivalries have become more of an issue than ever before,” McGonagall continued once the common room quieted down. “Not only will you be interacting with students from other houses, but every student will be wearing a mask. It is your choice if you wish your mask to be magical or not. Now I assume a lot of you already have dates, but I promote intermingling with other houses. That does include the Slytherins.”
“So you want me to dance with my brother?” Sirius questioned.
“No, that’s not what I meant, Mr. Black,” McGonagall scolded. Sirius blinked a few times, shooting her a grin.
“So you want me to dance with my cousin?” Sirius asked. McGonagall’s face turned slightly red as the common room bursted with laughter.
“I do not expect you to dance with any member of your family, Black,” McGonagall told him, talking over the laughter.
“I don’t want to dance with his family either!” James chipped in. Suddenly the whole common room was yelling things about how they did not want to dance with Sirius’s cousins. Lily rolled her eyes from my side, mumbling something under her breath about immature seventh years.
“That’s enough!” McGonagall shouted. She sighed once everyone had quieted down, pinching the bridge of her nose in frustration. “Why do I even bother with you lot?”
“Because you love us, Minerva!” Sirius said, getting up and wrapping his arm around McGonagall’s shoulders. McGonagall may be a tall woman, but Sirius was still a bit taller than him.
“Get off, Black!” McGonagall hissed, peeling Sirius’s arm off of her shoulder.
“Oh right. No affection in front of the students. Forgot about our little rule,” Sirius whispered, but was loud enough for the whole room to hear. People began to snicker to one another at his comment. I found myself holding in my laughter as McGonagall’s face turned red yet again .
“Detention, Mr. Black! Keep this up and you won’t be allowed to go to the ball!” And with one final huff, McGonagall stomped from the room.
“Wouldn’t want to get kicked out of the ball, Black! Heard you have a hot date,” Mary called, nudging my side. I felt my face flush, but kept quiet.
“Yeah right. I bet she won’t even show up,” James countered, elbowing Sirius in the side too. In retaliation, Sirius shoved James off of the back of the couch. No one seemed to mind it all too much as James lay on the floor, shouting wandless curses towards Sirius.
“She’ll show up. I know she will,” Sirius mumbled, but it seemed like he was trying to reassure himself more than James.
“Trust us, she’ll show up. Right girls?” Lily said, turning towards Alice, Mary, and I. Except I knew her eyes were looking directly at me.
“Of course she will!” Alice chipped.
“Who wouldn’t?” Mary questioned.
I paused. I opened my mouth, closed it, then opened it again, but nothing came out. I didn’t know what to say. I didn’t know whether or not I would show up. I wanted to, I really did, but I wasn’t quite willing to let Sirius know who I was. With or without Alice’s magical mask. I stared down at my feet, willing myself to say anything, but the only thought that crossed my mind was blurting out who I was. Who L.C. was
“COMING!” I shouted, darting for the staircase. I didn’t stop until I reached the top of the staircase. I listened below to hear absolute silence.
“Does she realize that we are all down here?” Alice asked.
“That’s Lenny for you,” Lily responded. A few people mumbled things of agreement before it got quiet.
I suppose I still had it in me. I approve of that.
I groaned and tossed another gown back over the top of the changing room door. I didn’t like this. I didn’t like it one bit. For one, it was harder than skinning a bowtruckle to get into these godforsaken monstrosities. Not to mention they were frilly and I kept getting poked in the eye with frill. That damn frill was out to get me, I’m telling you. Who the bloody hell would wear frill anyways? Mary and Marlene really needed a reality check. I would knock them a good one in the eye if they threw one more bloody deathly frill dress over the top of this dressing room.
“You can’t say no to them all!” Marlene protested from the other side of the door. I heard her stomp away to find another one.
“Can’t he just be the one to wear the dress?” I asked hopefully. Maybe Sirius would. I have always had a theory that he had a feminine side. He did have an obsession with his hair after all.
“You’re very close to going naked, Crowley!” Mary hissed, pulling open the door partly and slipping another dress in the room. I didn’t even bother to look at this one. It was damn pointless. They had absolutely no taste whatsoever.
Mary was going in a low cut, silky, shag-me-now dress. It had a slit all the way up to her hip for Merlin’s sake. It was peach, bringing out her tanned skin. It hugged her all too much, but men liked that sort of thing I suppose. She had already planned on tying her hair up in a huge fancy bun to show off the size of her chest. She had the matching shoes and jewelry already tucked in a seat outside the dressing rooms.
Marlene had actually chosen something a little classier contrary to popular belief. The corset of her dress was dark blue with black stripes through it. The skirt flowed all around her, making her look like a princess (something I knew I’d never pull off). She had asked my opinion of it because she was going with Teddy (what the bloody hell was she thinking?), but I refused to give an opinion. I was still mad at him. If I could, I’d transfer my blood into Marlene so that I didn’t have to be related to him.
Alice had a dress that was… well… very Alice. Modest, yet beautiful. Plain, yet so extraordinary that you didn’t even notice how boring it really was. It was grey and looked far too much like a wedding dress than a ball gown. Frank Longbottom would love it. More importantly, he’d probably love Alice. It’s weird sometimes how perfect two people are for one another. You just can’t let a bint like Mary get in the way of that.
Lily’s dress was positively stunning. She went with something simple, but completely mind striking. It was a green that matched her stunning eyes. It flowed all the way down to her feet in ringlets. It had a bare back, but was very modest in the front, covering up her cleavage pretty well. I could already see Potter drooling over her (though I’m still not sure why she agreed to go with that toerag). Her dress, along with all the others, was sitting on the waiting room chairs.
And here I was, not being able to find a bloody dress. How hard could it be? If Mary and Marlene threw me one decent dress, I might be tempted to buy it, but no. They have to throw me slag dresses and horrible bridesmaid’s dresses. What did they think we were going to, the club or a wedding? Bloody hell, someone save me now. I shouldn’t have ever agreed to go to this bloody ball with bloody Sirius Black. I regret sending him that letter saying I’d come. I swear, I was forced by Lily. She can be pretty scary when she’s determined.
“Come out already, Lenny!” Lily called in frustration. I groaned, pulling the dress as hard as I could over my butt. It just barely came over it.
“If you don’t come out, we’re coming in!” Marlene yelled.
“That’s a little drastic, don’t you think?” Alice’s soft voice asked. Bloody dress. I can’t fit it over my chest.
“That’s it! We’re coming in!” Mary shouted, pulling open the door just as I managed to get the dress over my breasts. She gasped loudly, turning towards the girls. “You have got to see this!”
“No!” I shouted, trying to shut the door on Mary. I was hideous. I probably looked like a half eaten troll. Since when did trolls get eaten, may you ask? Since I was put into this dress, that’s when.
“Let me see!” Lily shouted, shoving the door open with the help of the other girls. From the force, I fell backwards, toppling over onto the ground. All the girls gasped as they stared down at me. Oh come on, they knew I was clumsy!
“Oh my Merlin…” Alice mumbled, her eyes nearly out of their sockets.
“Lenny, that’s just..” Lily tried, but fell short of words.
“You’re buying that one.” Marlene said simply. Mary smirked to herself, pulling me to my feet. I felt the dress ruffle around my feet. Oh no. No fluffiness.
“I don’t think so!” I told them, shaking my head and trying to pull the dress off of me in a hurry.
“Lenny, just look,” Mary sighed, turning me towards the mirror. What I saw shocked me. The corset of the gown was black with red vines flowing through it in an unorganized pattern. The dress then pirouetted from there, flowing down to my angles in many different layers. The large skirt didn’t jet out like a wedding gown, but actually stayed pretty close to my body. Every single layer was either red or black. I blinked a few times at my reflection.
“She loves it!” Marlene squealed.
“She hates it,” I confirmed.
“Why?!” Mary exclaimed, grabbing me and hoisting me up with barely a problem. I stared at my reflection again. Why didn’t I like it?
”It’s not very Lenny,” I mumbled. All the girls stared at me in shock. Lily came up next to me, staring at my reflection as well.
“But it’s very L.C,” She whispered to me. I smiled lightly. Sirius wasn’t going with Lenny, he was going with L.C. Though we were the same people. I had to be different than Lenny.
“Okay, I’ll buy it,” I told them. All the girls immediately began to squeal. I never understood the girl squeal. I know it means they’re excited, but did they have to be that excited?
“It’s too cold!” I shrieked, my fingers nearly freezing to my broomstick. James shot me a warning glance, then went back to passing the quaffle to Alice who tucked it under her arm. Probably for warmth.
“I agree with Lenny!” Michael said from above me as he grabbed the snitch between his trembling fingers.
“We keep practicing until I say so!” James shouted at the both of us. I groaned as Alice shot the quaffle towards me rather weakly. I caught it with ease, but I swear my fingers immediately were glued to it.
“Well, then say so, Potter! We’re freezing! It’s got to be the coldest day Hogwarts has seen in long time,” Ludo whined. I found his voice incredibly annoying during practice lately.
“Are you done whining, Bagman?” Sirius hissed. I could see him glaring at Ludo from here.
“I’m complaining,” Ludo corrected.
“Take a little break,” James sighed, knowing he was getting no where. I darted for the ground before James could even move. I ran straight for the warmth of the girl’s changing room.
“Ahh sweet, sweet warmth!” I cried, curling next to the fireplace that was blazing. So there was a purpose for a fireplace in the locker rooms.
“A bit dramatic, Lenny,” Alice commented, walking over towards the fireplace and kneeling down next to me, placing her hands as close to the fire as she could without putting them in it.
“This cold makes you dramatic,” I told her, curling up tighter. We sat in silence for a moment, both letting the warmth melt our limbs. I felt myself turning back into a person, not an icicle anymore.
“You know you don’t have to go with Sirius to the ball if you don’t want to,” Alice said in a soft voice. I looked over at her to see her head resting on her raise knees. She was staring at me, studying me for any sign of emotion. I blinked a few times. Did I want to go with Sirius to the ball?
“I actually think I do,” I said slowly. Alice smiled at me.
“I knew you were going to say that. I had to make sure you knew that too,” Alice said, getting up and jumping around a bit. “We should get back out there.”
“I’ll catch up,” I told her, watching her walk out.
I brushed a strand of hair out of my face. I watched as the flames from the fire licked at the wood like a hungry hippogriff. I frowned to myself. If you would’ve asked me a few months ago if I would be agreeing to go to this ball with Sirius Black, I would think something was horribly wrong with you. I felt like something was horribly wrong with me. How did I get here? Where did I lose my brother and gain friends? When did I lose myself?
I stormed out of the locker room and straight up to James who was standing on the side lines, staring up at the hoops. My hoops. When he saw me coming, his face immediately froze and turned to stone. Yet I didn’t stop, I shoved straight past him, to the boy’s locker room. I slammed it open to see Sirius and Michael talking on their benches. I didn’t give my mind a chance to see the differences between our locker rooms.
“Black?” I managed to say. He turned towards me, furrowing his eyebrows.
“What’s up, Crowley?” He questioned, getting up and leaning against a locker. Yes, he did look very attractive doing that. Merlin.
“Uhm…I, uh…” I stuttered. Why had I even come in there in the first place? I couldn’t tell you.
“I’ll just go back to the pitch,” Michael said, getting up and all but running out. I blinked a few times at the door. Sirius crossed his arms at me. The silence was deafening.
“Are you okay, Lenny?” Sirius asked, coming forward a bit.
“I’m Loony Lenny.” I declared. Sirius blinked at me, but didn’t say anything. “I’m still the same person I was a few months ago. I still go to Lennyland whenever I need some time to myself. I still will try to find nargles on Christmas day, but this time by myself since my father is in Azkaban. I still bite my quills to their tips. I may not have Teddy by my side and I may have friends now, but that doesn’t change that I’m Lenny Crowley.”
Sirius stared at me, furrowing his eyebrows. I’m sure I startled him. He blinked a few times from the position he was in. He didn’t put his eyes off of me, though. It was like he was looking into my soul, looking for a reason as to why I said what I said. It was the truth, though. I wasn’t a fake person (other than L.C.). I was Lenora Crowley, as much as I hated that. I was the person he used to hate, not this person he now is friends with.
“Lenny…” Sirius said, coming forward. He stood right in front of me. I could see the grey of his eyes and the brown flecks in them. “The person you were a few months ago was an amazing person. I would never expect you to change and I know you haven’t. As for those nargles….I’ll go with you this year. You might have to teach me a bit about nargles. Teddy will come around, but I’m here for you too.”
He was right in front of me. My heart was pounding in my throat. He was sweet. Charming. I had a bloody crush on Sirius Black. Who would have thought? He looked down at me and I felt my legs tingling (this could be from the cold). Sirius reached forward, brushing a strand of my dark hair from my face, except he didn’t move his hand from my cheek. I saw his eyes flick down to my lips. Did he just move forward? He was moving forward. I froze, feeling the foot move to inches, to an inch, to a few centimeters….
“Are you two coming?” James asked, causing us to jump apart. Now there were feet in between us. I stared down at the floor in embarrassment.
“Y-yeah. I’m coming,” Sirius stumbled over his words. He grabbed his broom that was resting on a locker and crossed the room. I was still frozen on spot. He looked at me, smiled a bit, then returned to the pitch.
Well, Merlin. I was going to the Masquerade Ball with Sirius Black. My heart fluttered a bit.
Author's Note: SO WHAT DO YOU THINK?! I won't get another chapter out until after the queue closure, but I'm super excited I got this in before then. Fourth of July, here I come! The next chapter will be the ball ;D. Are you excited?! I know I am. I'm going to perfect it over the queue closure, so hopefully it'll be my best yet. So.... Lenny's dress? Sound pretty? Sirius and McGonagall having an affair?! What?! (That was seriously just a joke). Anything else you can think of? Let me know ;D. SIRIUS IS GOING NARGLE HUNTING WITH LENNY!