Chapter 7 : The Swan, the Duck and the Pigeon
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The boys ran out of the classroom in order to catch up with the girl’s departing forms.
“What, in Merlin’s name, was that for!?”
Lily looked at Sirius, unfazed, as she walked down the corridor, away from the Charms classroom, “You looked like you needed a little, refreshing.”
James scoffed, “It wasn’t even us who sent the blasted pig at you, it was her!” he gestured wildly at Lesley.
Lesley brushed off some water that had hit her during the boys’ rampage. Pretending to have just realized James meant her, she covered her mouth with her hand and mocked horror, “Me?! How is this, my fault? I merely wanted to include others in the humour, the more the merrier! It wasn’t up to me what they did with the thing!”
Alice rolled her eyes, “Why don’t you guys just dry your selves off?”
The boys all stopped, and looked to each other, seemingly surprised that no one had done so yet. Peter bit his lip and then cast a quick drying spell on them all.
“We had wanted to maintain the evidence, thank you very much.” Remus stated, like it was the simplest thing in the world, and not at all a lame excuse, “But now, because we know how to be civil and polite, I’m going to thank Peter for having the courtesy to dry us all off: thank you Peter, you’re a good man.”
Lesley involuntarily winced at this and had to turn away, “Come on I’m hungry, someone come with me to the kitchens.” she looked deliberately at Lily and Alice who nodded and turned to leave.
The boys seemed to realize that they had lost their cause, but James shouted one more desperate taunt at the girl’s retreating forms, “If you had actually eaten at breakfast you wouldn’t be!”
Lesley turned but didn’t stop walking, “But then I wouldn’t have an excuse to get away from you!” she grinned broadly and spun back around quickly disappearing around a corner.
Sirius sighed and turned to Teddy, “Is she always like that? Or is it just a faze because you’re new?”
Teddy furrowed his brow, “Like what? Oh… you think that’s bad?!” He laughed “Merlin, just wait till she actually settles in!”
Peter’s eyes widened, and James groaned, “Great, just what we need; another gorgeous, outspoken woman who can outsmart us, running around the halls of Hogwarts…”
Lesley laughed as she ducked behind the counter top, dodging the ball of chocolate ice cream Alice had aimed at her. From the other side of the cupboard, she heard Alice scream and guessed that Lily had hit her once again with one of the many treats the house elves had happily prepared for the girls.
Lesley peaked around the corner, trying not to reveal herself before she had any ammo, but before she could pull back; a slice of apple pie hit her directly in the face. She swore at the redhead’s brilliant aim, and looked around quickly for something to retaliate with.
Suddenly Alice yelped in warning, “Lesley, watch out!”
Lesley frowned in confusion; she was safely hidden behind the cupboard for at least a little while longer- then, perfectly arched over top of the counter, treacle tart landed squarely on top of her head.
Lesley groaned and stood up, “LILY!”
The red head smiled innocently and dropped the popcorn she had raised above her head, “Yes Lesley?”
“Are you or are you not on the Quiditch team?!”
Lily’s face contorted into one of revulsion, “Merlin no! Never would I do that to myself!”
Lesley gasped loudly and her brow wrinkled.
Slowly, Alice stood from the other side of the room, “Oh no, oh no… She’s, She’s a-a QUIDITCH PLAYER!”
Lesley’s eyes widened, “What do you mean ‘I’m a Quiditch player’? It’s only the most spectacular creation ever!”
Lily shook her head frantically, “Oh no, it isn’t! You should have seen what it did to the students of Hogwarts! First year was all fine and dandy, but then Second year and bloody Quiditch came along and BAM! Half the class lost their minds to the blasted game!”
Lesley laughed, “I guess I’m a bit hooked on it, but I haven’t ‘lost my mind’ to the game!”
“You better not have!” Lily warned, wagging her finger at Lesley.
“Or else we’ll have to exile you to the Marauders!” Alice yelled as she jumped onto the counter top wildly.
Lily grinned and climbed on as well, “And we certainly wouldn’t want that…”
Lesley smirked playfully as she picked up her wand. She flicked it lazily and all of the treats in the kitchen rose. Lesley spun them around teasingly, “No, no we wouldn’t… Now what were you saying about Quiditch players again?” A slice of chocolate cake narrowly missed Alice’s head as she yelped and ducked.
Lily’s eyes widened, “You wouldn’t!”
Lesley grinned as she used her left hand to grab a pumpkin pastry, “I wouldn’t? I don’t know… you called Quiditch a blasted sport…”
“But then we explained our selves!” Alice cried in defence, “We didn’t mean it always was! It just messes with some people’s minds!”
Lesley pretended to think about it as Alice and Lily squirmed in suspense. Finally Lesley burst out laughing, “Okay I won’t, but you guys should see your faces! You look like it’s the end of the world!”
Alice huffed as Lily helped her down and turned to Lesley, “I just didn’t want to have to change my uniform, but it looks like I might have to anyway, if we have enough time. But now we’ve wasted our entire free period, we have lunch and then Transfiguration right after.”
Alice frowned, “I’m not in NEWT Transfiguration, I’ve got Herbology instead.”
Lesley smiled at this, so Professor Longbottom had inherited his gift in Herbology… “I guess we’ll see you after then?”
“Not quite, it’s only a single class and you guys have got double Transfiguration.”
“It’s okay, we’ll just meet up after, but we should really get going now…” Lily suggested as she looked around the messy kitchen.
Lesley noticed her worried expression and shrugged, “The house elves will enjoy cleaning the mess up, they like that sort of thing.”
Lily nodded and began to follow Alice out the door. At the last second Lesley grabbed a slice of rhubarb crumble, “Hey Lily!”
Lily turned, but before she could say anything rhubarb crumble was dripping down her face.
Lesley smirked, “That was for the treacle tart.”
Lily looked like she was going to argue, but then shrugged her shoulders and continued out. Lesley laughed and followed.
Once she caught up with the other girls, they all quickly fell into a straight line and walked in step.
Alice laughed as she whipped some rhubarb off Lily’s nose, “You guys look like you blew up a bake shop.”
Lesley laughed as she too surveyed herself and Lily, “The best damn bake shop I’ve ever seen!”
Lily laughed and rolled her eyes, “We had better clean up before we get to the Great Hall. I can just hear Potter’s stupid comments and that atrocious smirk.” her smile was replaced with a grimace, but Lesley was curious,
“Really, you can hear his smirk?”
“Yes, and it’s revolting.”
Lesley laughed, and reached across Lily to wipe some whipped cream off of Alice’s shoulder, “Mmm, you’re good Alice. I don’t think even Potter could make this stuff taste bad.”
Lily was still scowling, “Oh trust me; he could.”
Alice rolled her eyes and snorted, “Just like they think you could make any situation boring?”
Lily just frowned deeper, but Lesley raised her eyebrows, “Oh yeah, what’s this about you and an obsession with libraries that Sirius was talking about?”
“Nothing, they just think I like libraries is all, and it’s true.” Lily didn’t make eye contact as she clarified; instead she stared intently at the tapestry ahead.
Alice rolled her eyes and sighed, “In Second year she sought shelter from the Marauders in the library, where they swore they’d never go, and now they still think she’s a little bookworm… well except Remus I guess, but that’s just because he never actually believed her and they were partnered for Prefect duties in fifth and sixth year so they became sort of close then. It doesn’t help that Lily has never bothered to correct them.”
Lily just shrugged, “Doesn’t matter, it’s not like we talk to them a lot anyway…”
“And why would we want to talk to you?” A voice taunted from around the corner.
The voice didn’t sound like any of the Marauders though, instead it sounded feminine, and slightly elegant, if a voice could sound elegant…
Lily and Alice scowled as they rounded the corner, “What do you want, Black?”
Lesley wasn’t used to the roughness in Alice’s voice, but soon realised the reason when she spotted Bellatrix Black leaning against the wall, flagged by a slightly shorter, extremely pretty, yet cold looking blonde girl and the one and only Regulus Black.
Bellatrix laughed coolly as she stood straighter, “Now, now Jamieson, no need for the harsh tones. We merely heard your wail of a voice around the corner and decided to wait for you. You haven’t even had the chance to say hello yet this year and you’re already fidgety around us?”
Alice narrowed her eyes as Lily snorted, “I’ll wait till the day I die before I greet you Black. Except of course if you chose to greet me first then I will return the favour willingly, as is only civil. But that is a very unrealistic expectation; you could never do anything humanly civil.” Lily paused as she raised her eyebrows, “And I believe the only fidgety one here would be Black, the other one that is.”
Bellatrix turned her head slightly to look at the two behind her and rolled her eyes, “Narcissa stop playing with your hair.”
The younger girl glared slightly, but dropped her hands to her hips.
Bellatrix rolled her eyes and turned back around sharply. She looked down her nose as she surveyed their appearances. She stopped on Alice and grimaced dramatically, “I must comment on your dreadful outfit, whoever decided that cream white was your colour was horribly mistaken.”
Regulus spoke up, “Whatever war you were in it looks like you lost. Did you happen to have a really fat, disgusting person against you? Someone who perhaps likes their treats? I think they might have vomited on you.”
The blonde girl added her opinion as well, “Not that you would have noticed though, I suspect your used to smelling horribly.”
Regulus smirked, “Come to think of it, it was most likely her,” he nodded towards Lily, “who did the vomiting, she’s the only one who could humanly eat that much.”
“Ahh, but Regulus, I believe that’s just what she is… exactly human, lacking anything, per say… magical. Don’t worry though, you have some other, er… qualities” Bellatrix smiled icily.
Alice stepped forward, “Don’t be jealous Black. Its okay, everyone knows that Lily has some Goddess qualities, no one expects you to be nearly as… oh… pleasant, as her. Why do you think the Slytherin common rooms are in the dungeons? They want to make sure you meet the rats; they get along splendidly with… things… like you.”
Narcissa narrowed her eyes, “I’m sure Bella was thinking more along the lines of those rats when referring to Evans qualities.”
“Well I have a little test we could run that would decide who’s more like a rat… Black or Lily...”
Bellatrix turned to Alice, expecting her to continue, when she didn’t she growled, “Are you going to tell us your little plan, or not?”
“Sure thing,” She ignored Bellatrix’s aggressive tone and continued, “Rules are, no rules.”
There was silence and then Regulus groaned, “Are we actually doing this?”
Lily looked over at him “Do you have anything else to do?”
He seemed disgusted that Lily had merely talked to him and turned away, ignoring her question.
Bellatrix groaned loudly, “Are you going to start this test or not, Jamieson?”
Alice grinned and then squealed, louder than Lesley thought was humanly capable.
Lily winced but didn’t move, as Bellatrix covered her ears with her hands. Finally Alice stopped and Bellatrix looked at her like she was insane,
“What, in Merlin’s name, was that!?”
Alice grinned, “AHA! Rats have better hearing than people, they can hear ultrasound. And you heard that! Lily did you hear anything?”
Lily smirked, “Um, no I don’t think so, when did you make the noise?”
Bellatrix growled, “That doesn’t prove anything. She clearly just lied, that’s what all filthy scum like her do.”
Alice scowled, “Watch your mouth, Black. But I do have one more test.”
“Hurry up with it then,” Regulus sounded annoyed as he shoved his hands into his pockets.
Alice’s mouth twitched into a harsh sneer that Lily was glad she wasn’t on the receiving end of. She had never seen her best friend’s face look more like a Slytherin’s and realized that many people underestimated Alice.
No one dared disrupt the silence, but it seemed to extend forever, creating an air of uneasiness for everyone. Then, finally, Alice spoke, “Welcome Lily.”
Bellatrix’s eyes widened, “What?”
Alice just shook her head.
From what had been nothing at first, Alice had suddenly blown into huge proportion. The test wasn’t simply a joke about being rat’s any more; it was about their beliefs and crossing them.
Bellatrix turned back to Lily and narrowed her eyes, “I wouldn’t greet you, Mudblood, if my life depended on it.”
Lily sucked in a deep breath and held it, staring Bellatrix directly in the eye. Alice gasped but didn’t step forward further.
Lesley had frozen long before that, almost as soon as she had spotted the murderess down the hallway, she had stopped thinking, and started sizing her up. She had listened vaguely to their ‘test’ but couldn’t decide that if she knocked some sense into the girl now, if it would make an impact on what happened 20 years in the future.
Although once Bellatrix had called Lily, something that was considered punishable by law back home, Lesley was snapped out of her trance,
“It just might Black.”
Bellatrix broke out of her staring contest with Lily and turned to Lesley, “What was that?”
“Even if your life depended on it… you never know when an estranged person could kill you for not being friendly, I might just take the risk and say hi to the girl. Or else someone might take it as more than not being friendly… they may take it as prejudice, and there are a lot of people out there who are willing to risk their lives in the name of equity.”
Regulus snorted and Lesley turned to him, “You too Buddy, most murderers kill in numbers.”
The irony of talking about murderers to these three was not lost on Lesley and she tried to emphasize her point,
“Walking around late at night might just fail you one day, and then you won’t have midnight meetings with amazing people, like us, who could save you. Or maybe you will still walk around at night. Except there won’t be anyone there for you to talk to, because everyone you’ve placed your trust in doesn’t care. And anyone who does care doesn’t trust you. You will be killed, right then, right there. All because you didn’t say hi to one girl way back when you went to school.”
He narrowed his eyes, “You’re more insane then I thought you were.”
Bellatrix spun on the spot and stared daggers at Regulus, “You know her?”
He shrugged, “She tried to talk to me once.”
Lesley snorted humorlessly, certain that it had been him who had first initiated their Owlery conversation, if you could even call it that.
Bellatrix had spun back around and was focused intently on Lesley, “So that’s two chances you’ve had now, Lucas, one on the platform and one with Regulus. It looks like you’ve blown them both. It would seem that you have picked the losing side, the Mudblood side, with that ghastly thing.” She nodded towards Lily.
Lesley took a step closer to Bellatrix, so that there was barley enough room for either of them to draw their wands, “You know what Black?” she spat the last word, not wanting it on her tongue for longer then necessary,
“I’ve had enough of your attitude and your repulsive mouth. It would seem that your parents failed to teach you any manners or social skills except for those used when trying to impress a malevolent creature. So let me tell you a story that will catch you up on what even all the little muggle children know.”
Bellatrix would have been able to kill with her penetrating stare, but Lesley didn’t back down, she stayed strong with a cold, hard glare. She had to be careful not to change her appearance with so much emotion.
Suddenly she had an idea and for one, quick second, she deliberately changed her iris’ to black, and back again.
Bellatrix’s eyes widened in surprise, letting her guard drop, if only for a moment.
Lesley smirked, and raised her eyebrows, but Bellatrix quickly covered her surprise with another façade of anger. Lesley began her story with the smirk still lining her lips,
“One day there was a beautiful swan” She jerked her head slightly toward Lily, but didn’t break eye contact with Bellatrix,
“And a … pigeon.” She nodded slightly to Alice.
Regulus snorted slightly and Bellatrix raised an eyebrow.
Lesley continued, ignoring them, “They were amazing birds, each excelling in their own ways, then one day a new bird came to town, a migrating… duck.” her smirk widened slightly into a grim smile, but quickly altered back.
“The three birds soon found that they got along… magically. They were praised by the entire pond that they lived near. No on disliked them, except for the horrible, ugly, warty, disgusting… toad.”
Lesley narrowed her eyes pointedly, and then continued,
“The toad was a hideous, atrocious thing that no one even gave a second glance, except for the reeking, fat rats, that tainted the pond. One day, this toad decided it was going to try and make some cutting remarks about how the swan had… perfectly white feathers.”
Bellatrix raised her eyebrows questioningly, but didn’t interrupt.
“The toad tried to make the swan feel bad because it had white feathers! How stupid is that, hm? But the damn toad wouldn’t shut up! It kept going and going, never realizing that no one cared what it thought. It enraged the other animals at the pond, but the stupid toad could just never learn its lesson, no matter how many times the animals warned it to be quiet. And so one day, when the awful toad came back for the swan, even though the duck had warned it not to, the duck decided…”
Lesley took another step closer to Bellatrix, so that their bodies were flush, “to peck out its eyes.”
With that Lesley stepped back and stood beside Lily once again, her arms crossed over her chest.
No one said anything. Silence rang as Lesley led the way around the Blacks, Lily and Alice following quickly behind.
They continued walking in silence for what felt like forever, finally Lily burst out laughing, “Peck its eyes out? Are you actually mental or just five-years-old?”
Lesley just grinned as Alice started laughing as well, “It was terribly anti-climatic. But then again, Bellatrix would look better without eyes.”
“I did like my perfectly white feathers though.” Lily choked out.
Suddenly Alice sobered up and stopped walking. She put her hands on her hips and looked pointedly at Lesley, “Why was I a pigeon?”
Lesley finally started laughing, as Lily laughed even harder.
“Sorry, it was the only thing I could think of, and anyway, I think it suits you.” Lesley shrugged her shoulders in emphasis and continued walking.
Alice quickly caught up with her, “But a pigeon?! Why not a crane? Or a… cardinal, or something pretty? Anything but a stupid pigeon! All they do is sit in Muggle parks and peck bread crumbs that old people scatter for them!”
Lily was still laughing as she pushed the Great Hall doors open for them.
Many eyes seemed to be on them as they entered, Lesley quickly deducted it was because Lily was laughing so hard and Alice still had a confused look on her face.
She quickly sought out Teddy and guided the other girls towards him and the Marauders.
When they arrived all the boys were watching them with surprised expressions, all looking like they wanted to say something but weren’t quite sure what. The girls stood there, with their eyebrows raised.
Finally Sirius pinched himself, “I must be dreaming.”
James shook his head, “If you are, I’m having the same dream.”
“Uhh, Lily?” Remus asked hesitantly.
“Yes Remus?” Lily answered sweetly.
“Why were you laughing hysterically, and uh… why are you guys covered in desserts?”
Lesley looked down at herself and burst out laughing. They had completely forgotten about their attire after their run in with Bellatrix.
“I think they’ve finally cracked.” Peter supplied.
Lily snorted and waved her wand so that the girls were cleaned. Alice then sat down next to Frank and Lily next to her. Lesley took the seat across from Frank, in-between Teddy and James,
“We had a food fight over something or other in the kitchens…”
“EVANS HAD A FOOD FIGHT?!” Sirius asked with wide eyes as his jaw dropped, “Why didn’t you invite me?! Are there pictures at least!? My Merlin, this will go down in the record books!”
“Then how come Evans only had one red thing on her?” James asked curiously, completely ignoring Sirius.
Lesley grinned, “Oh that was pay back.”
“What for?” Peter asked as he took a bite out of a drumstick.
“Two things,” Alice supplied, “One she had hit Lesley with some nicely aimed Treacle tart, and two she said something against…” Alice seemed to realize who she was sitting with and stopped talking in fear for her best friend’s safety.
“What did she say something against?” Teddy asked looking straight at Lesley who just smiled and shook her head.
“I said something against being home schooled.” Lily supplied as she took a spoonful of soup.
“Oh…” was all Sirius said, seemingly disappointed that it wasn’t something more.
There was a comfortable silence as everyone started eating, but then Lesley took a rather large stack of bread. She began tearing each slice into little bits, and throwing them in the general direction of Alice, sometimes going too far and hitting the Ravenclaws at the table behind.
Gradually everyone slowed their eating to watch Lesley’s little performance and finally Remus spoke up, “Um, Lesley? What in Merlin’s name are you doing?”
Suddenly Lesley threw an entire slice of bread so that it landed directly on Frank’s lap.
She looked up innocently and shrugged, “Throwing breadcrumbs for a pigeon.”
Lily chocked loudly on her pumpkin juice, spraying it all over James as Alice blushed a deep, Gryffindor red.
A/N: So another chapter, slightly longer wait for this one but I thought because the last three were so close you wouldn't mind as much. I hope you enjoyed this one a bit more than the last which was a tad boring... Leave a review if you'd like, they make my day = )!
*smallest edit in history 02/13/08
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