A/N: I don't get it. I mean, I know that there are people reading this story but why is it so hard for any of you to leave a review? Just one small comment telling me whether you hate it or not would do. Please?
Disclaimer: I hold the paintbrush, but JKR supplies the paint, paper, subject, and imagination.
Chapter Four: Don’t Mess With Me, I Bite
If there was one thing that Céline couldn’t care less about trying to understand, it was politics. The way she saw it, everyone was corrupt everywhere and probably had been for a very long time. She knew that she wasn’t the only one to have come to this conclusion and a lot of other people would take it as reason to get involved, but Céline couldn’t really be bothered. If humanity had survived all these years of dishonesty and evil, it could probably survive some more. That was what she said anyway. Not that she knew what she was talking about.
From what Céline had learned in Civics, the people who had written the Constitution seemed to have had the right idea. The problem, of course, being that it was forever and a day ago and now half of the laws that the police enforced went against it. It was Céline’s oh-so-humble opinion, then, that she should live her life avoiding the law as much as possible. Avoid breaking it. Avoid following it. And most importantly, avoid those who enforce it. It was the same rule that applied when dealing with Jeannette.
Though many of her friends aspired to sovereignty over the entire universe, Céline had never been one of those kids who wanted to be president or make much of a difference in the world. Actually, by the time she was nine, Céline wanted nothing more than to be left alone by the rest of the world. It was also her belief that politicians weren’t that smart because, really, only stupid people thought themselves capable running an entire nation better than anyone else.
“You know what, Céline?” George said with a manic grin when she stated this over breakfast one morning. “I think you are absolutely right.”
Fred nodded energetically, grinning in the same foolish fashion and making Céline regret saying anything. This thought was almost as unnerving as the looks she received from the twins. When had she ever regretted speaking her mind? Céline usually scoffed at those who chose bite their tongue rather than be sincerely impolite. If she had a problem with something, she would do her damnedest to make sure everyone knew it. But “everyone” really only meant her friends and family. It made her uncomfortable to have a bunch of strangers paying attention to her and ever since she had arrived in England, she found herself feeling as though she was a bug trying desperately to get out from under a microscope. Becoming rather flustered by her inner conflict, Céline changed the subject to something she hoped would have less to do with the twins.
“So, I’m going to start trying to do actual magic today, aren’t I?” she asked Mrs. Weasley brightly, looking anywhere except at the twins.
“Yes, dear, but you’ll start with small things, like transfiguring matches into needles and levitation charms,” Mrs. Weasley told her.
“But don’t worry,” Ginny added in a whisper. “We’ll be teaching hexes in no time. That will give you some leeway with my brothers if you tire of them ogling all the time.”
Céline just smiled and winked at the perceptive redhead. It was already obvious that Ginny was going to be one of the most helpful people she met in Britain.
“You know what? Maybe I’m not a witch…maybe I just have a weird force of energy around me that makes things blow up from time to time,” Céline said, putting the Hippogriff feather wand down carefully. She felt like slamming it down on the kitchen table just to hear the resonant sound of the wood cracking. It wouldn’t be long before all of this pent up frustration caused that weird force of energy to show up again.
Céline was still sitting with Sirius and Remus, whom the mysterious Dumbledore had placed in charge of cramming four years of magic in one summer. (Well, he had only asked Remus, as a former professor, and Sirius just preferred the task over cleaning with Molly Weasley.) This, however, was proving to be even more difficult than they had expected. The past half hour had been spent trying to teach Céline various “simple” spells and charms, none of which she was capable of working. It didn’t make sense. She had read and re-read everything they had told her to so far, making notes in the numerous Muggle notebooks she had brought. She was saying the words just as they had. She was waving the stupid wand in exactly the right way. Still, none of it was fucking working.
Behind Céline, the glass cabinet door shattered. She turned around and glared venomously at the shards of glass that now littered the floor. They trembled slightly.
“No, you’re definitely a witch,” Sirius said, looking amused.
“You’re just having a bit of trouble controlling your magic,” Remus told her in a soothing tone that Céline found, if possible, even more irksome than her inability to perform magic. “It takes everyone a while to get a handle on their magic when they start out. Just try to relax and concentrate on the words. Why don’t you try the levitation charm again?”
Céline looked at him doubtfully. He seemed so calm and perfectly confident that she would learn everything in time. There was an essence of unpolluted power in his deep turquoise aura. There was something that she had to respect about the amount of self-control he must have to be keeping that power in check. On the other hand, she was also very skeptical about people capable of self-control like that What would they do if they had the chance to let loose? What would happen if they just lost all of that control?
“Okay,” Céline sighed, though her mind focused, at first, much more clearly on some choice French profanities. Taking a deep breath, she concentrated on the words Wingardium Leviosa, practicing the swish and flick motion with her wand once more.
The test book sitting in front of her rose into the air and floated directly in front of Céline, who dropped her wand in shock, sending the book back to the table with a thump. Brilliant.
“Oh,” she said stupidly, staring at the book in shock. She looked up at the two wizards whose expressions mirrored how she felt. “Did I say that aloud, then?”
“No, you didn’t,” Sirius said, now sounding impressed. “Were you thinking about the spell?”
“Yeah,” Céline said confusedly. “But I thought you had to say it.”
“Yes, usually when one is beginning to learn magic they can only work spells by saying the words aloud,” Remus explained. “But once you get into more advance magic, you should be able to do magic silently. Hogwarts starts teaching nonverbal spells in sixth year.”
“But I am going into fifth, right?” Céline asked.
“Yes, and it seems as though you may even be advanced by the end of the summer if you can keep up the nonverbal spells,” Remus said, smiling.
Céline, on the other hand, narrowed her eyes. “Advanced? Does that mean extra homework? Because I’m already working through most of the summer, so I’ll be willing to play dumb if it means less work at school. Lying isn’t exactly hard.”
Sirius laughed, though it sounded more like he was barking in Céline’s opinion. “No, it doesn’t mean extra homework. If anything, it could mean less in the long run.”
“Oh, alright then,” Céline grinned, picking up her wand once more to levitate various objects around the room.
By the time the Weasleys came down for lunch, Céline had mastered a few simple spells but wasn’t able to perform any of them verbally. She felt a prick disappointment. It was stupid, really, since she should have just been happy that she had made progress, but Céline had thought that she might not have anything to make her stick out in the magical world. I guess I’m just weird everywhere I go.
Céline was torn from her thoughts as she felt her hat yanked roughly from head. Snapping upwards, she saw Fred spinning the hat on his fingers with an impish grin. She was not about to reach for it just so he could dangle it out of her reach for them to play a game of cat and mouse. Instead, she crossed her arms and raised a single eyebrow.
“Why do you always where a hat indoors, anyway?” Ron asked curiously.
“Yeah, and why does it say D.J. Massey inside of it?” George asked, taking the baseball cap from his twin and inspecting it closely. “Did you steal it?”
“Of course not!” Céline said indignantly. “D.J. is my brother—hence the name Massey—and he gave me that hat because it’s lucky and I needed a bit of luck.”
Wow, she was getting really good at understatements. Céline’s eyes stayed trained on her hat as she felt a tugging at her stomach. She’d always been very protective of that hat and didn’t like people touching it. Damien had been so sweet to give it to her and she had grown incredibly attached to it over the past seven years. Probably more than was healthy.
“Why did you need extra luck?” Ginny asked.
Despite the innocence in Ginny’s voice, Céline scowled.
“Because the birthmark on my ass just wasn’t doing it for me,” she said sharply, snatching at the hat.
Not sure whether or not she was joking, the Weasleys chose not reply to this and George tossed Céline back her hat. They could see in her expression that her temper was slowly rising even though she kept her eyes—as always—void of any real expression. It probably came off as odd—not that she really cared, but she had made a huge effort to be cheerful and good-humored her entire time there. Even when she was being painstakingly sarcastic, she kept a hint of wry grin around her features. That grin was still there, of course. It just now had a sort of “don’t mess with me, I bite” feeling added to it, which, of course, was exactly what she wanted.
Mrs. Weasley cleared the food from the table with a swish of her wand and her children grudgingly started to get up from their seats at the table. Céline gave a small, self-satisfied smirk. Even if learning magic was unbearably frustrating, at least she didn’t have to clean the filthy house.
“Céline, there’s one more thing I need,” Remus said, standing up as well. “Your mother mentioned that you had your school file with you. If you could give it to me now, I can give it to Dumbledore when I see him tonight.”
The smirk vanished instantly. Karma much?
Damn. Céline had hoped that she wouldn’t have actually had to give the file to anyone. Hogwarts was supposed to be a fresh start. What the hell did a wizard school need with her abysmal math grades anyway?
Grudgingly, she went upstairs to the room that she shared with Ginny and retrieved her school file, a pale, uninteresting folder that would have looked like any other student file from her school if it hadn’t been for the neon orange and green writing across the front.
Hey! This is my file!
Where did you get it?
They took it out and left me here with it. I must be getting suspended.
Again? What’s happening to Tucker?
Dunno. They’re probably suspending him, too, but you never know with the Dude. Why are you in here?
I have to wait here until lunch to go see Teeth Freak.
Ewww! I think I’m better of with the Dude.
Whatever, braceface. Don’t you think you should take off your hat?
NO!!! Why would I?
Dunno. Guess it doesn’t matter anyway since you get away with it. I still don’t get that.
Has the last year and a half taught you nothing? I never get in trouble for the hate for the same reason that Bugs never gets in trouble for sleeping in class.
Yeah, and why’s that?
Because they know it’s a waste of time to keep punishing us for things we’ll do regardless.
Is it just me or is Patty giving us the Evil Eye?
Whoa, what’s up with that?
Maybe because we’re writing on your file…
“You would have thought that they would’ve changed the folder,” Céline said sheepishly as she handed Remus her file.
The Weasley boys and Ginny howled with laughter upon reading the words that Céline had written over a year before to her friend, Simon, while awaiting punishment in the school office. She had been incredibly bored and, unable to speak under the caustic eye of the school secretary, had thoughtlessly taken a couple of markers from her pocket and tossed one over to him. It had been exactly what they did during class lectures except that she used her own notebooks so that no one else would see.
“You got suspended?” George asked in awe.
“More than once?” Fred added, looking at her with a newfound respect.
“It wasn’t my fault!” Céline said defensively. “The Dude hates me. He even told me so.”
“Who’s the Dude?” Ron asked.
Céline couldn’t help but give a small snort at the nickname that her own brother had bestowed upon the authority figure. “The Dean of Students,” she replied.
Ginny giggled. “Why does he hate you?”
“I’ve no idea,” Céline said, sounding as though the very idea was preposterous. “He told me, though. He said straight up that I was the worst student he had ever had. I said ‘Oh, how nice.’ He said ‘detention.’ Story of my life.”
“So, how many times have you gotten suspended?” Ron asked.
“Just twice, and both times it was just because of the Dude’s supercilious hatred of people who are smarter than him. Not that’s even saying much….”
“Why, George, I do believe that we have underestimated this young lass,” Fred told his twin.
“I do believe you’re right, Fred,” George said seriously. “I think we may even have a rebel on our hands.”
Céline, however, was looking beyond offended at their dialogue. “Underestimated me? What time have you had to estimate me at all? What kind of judgments have you been off making since I got here? You aren’t even remotely close to knowing what I’m capable of!”
Though she was more than a head shorter than both twins, she seemed to have grown ten feet in her anger and her bright eyes were flashing with a harshness that had so far gone unseen by the redheads. The last bit of cheeriness she had kept constant for them was gone and it was obvious that they were thrown off by this sudden burst of ire. Ginny looked rather impressed.
“It looks like you boys hit a nerve,” she commented blithely.
“Tell me about it,” Ron snorted and then paled at the vicious glare that Céline sent him.
“So what did you get suspended for, Céline?” Ginny asked.
“Well, the first time is because I told the Dude to ‘chillax,’” Céline recounted.
“You told him to what?” sniggered George.
“I told him to chillax,” Céline repeated, shrugging. “But honestly, I meant it as a heartfelt piece of advice. He was having some kind of conniption. The vein in his forehead was actually starting to scare me.”
“But why was he having this conniption in the first place?” Fred asked.
Céline scowled. Because I slapped Amy Henderson in the middle of the gym wearing only a towel…. “It’s a long story,” she decided on after a moment.
Ginny raised an eyebrow but said, “And why did you get suspended the second time?”
This time, Céline laughed. “That was hilarious. Me and my friend Tucker got in trouble for this assignment that we did in Humanities. (Even though that in itself wasn’t really fair because the teacher hadn’t made any restrictions on what we had to do, but never mind it.) The Dude made us give a safety demonstration to the elementary school kids about crossing the street and stuff. Well, when we were up there we kind of…went off script a bit. Anyway, the Dude said we had turned our punishment into a joke and suspended us both. That time at least I had someone to hang out with while everyone else was still at school.”
“What did you do when you were suspended?” Ron asked.
“We went snowboarding about seven hours a day for a week,” Céline shrugged. “It was more of a reward than a punishment, really.”
She smiled. Of course it had been a reward. Out of sheer luck, Amélie had been at home when the Dude called and he had just assumed that she was Jeannette when she picked up the phone. Far be it from Amélie to correct the principal of her little sister’s school and Jeannette had gone to France for the week (which was why Amélie was there in the first place). There had been no need to inform their mother of such trivial things. Especially when Jeannette had left explicit instructions not to phone her unless Céline had died. Apparently that was much more likely or important than the death of Ethan, who had also been there. Well, okay, it was much more likely and everybody knew it.
Celine turned to the Weasleys a lip-biting grin that they would learn could mean three things. One, she was telling you a juicy secret. Two, she had broken (or was breaking) some sort of rule and wasn’t the least bit rueful of it. Or three, she was getting away with something that her mother would have murdered her for. In this case, it meant all three.
Hardly able to hide her grin, Céline stepped onto the small platform set up in the middle of the gymnasium for the safety demonstration. It was the type of thing that she and her friends would have found disturbingly stupid when they were made to watch from the cold floor under the stern eyes of their teachers.
It was almost too hard to look at Tucker across the platform. He kept on making ridiculous gestures at the nerdy crosswalk uniform that she had been made to put on for demonstration. Tucker got to wear normal clothes as he was just being a pedestrian school kid. This seemed to make him think that he somehow got the better end of the punishment. Idiot. For her amusement, he kept on striking “debonair” poses when the elementary school teachers had their backs turned and trying out his many wannabe-slick smirks.
That stooge is going to get us into even more trouble than we are already in….Céline thought.
Slowly, teachers started ordering kids to quiet down and pay attention to the two freshmen in front of them. Céline knew that none of them were really listening to anything. She could see a few little girls scoot together to start playing with each other’s hair and boys trying to thumb wrestle without being caught under the strict glares from their teachers.
Finally it was time for them to begin and, under the blank stares of many bored children, Tucker stepped up and started to walk across the platform. He made a point of not stopping when he came to cross the “street” in the middle. It was her cue.
“Stop!” Céline shouted, her voice nearly shaking with laughter as she tried (and failed) to resist adding, “In the name of love!”
Tucker, dear, sweet, and slick to the point of slimey Tucker, was not one to be thrown off by the sudden outburst and quickly changed his demeanor. He threw out his arms dramatically and cried, in a mock-pained voice, “Love? What is love but a bunch of piña coladas and walks in the rain?”
The kids were starting to laugh. Out of the corner of her eye Céline could see a few teachers looking outraged, but her own art teacher was howling in mirth. She had to keep going before someone called them off.
“Love is a battlefield!” she shouted, throwing away the stop sign she had been holding up and thrusting herself out towards Tucker spectacularly.
“American woman! Stay away from me!” Tucker shouted, quickly changing his expression to look appalled before the Dude stormed onto the “stage.”
That was it. They were busted.
The Dude was huffing around his office in front of them, his face an unflattering shade of puce. He had already spent a quarter hour yelling at Tucker in private, and then an entire twenty minutes shouting at Céline. Now, she and Tucker sat in uncomfortable wooden chairs, watching their teacher with impassive faces as they waited for the punishment the Dude wished to give them. The noise issuing from the man was getting to be unintelligible and very easy to block out. Neither could tell whether or not he would ever shut up nor had they any patience for his melodrama so they contented themselves to just kicking each other under the Dude’s desk until he started to slow down.
“Well, I don’t suppose either of you have anything to say for yourselves before I call your parents,” the Dude puffed.
Anything to say for themselves? Was he kidding?
Tucker pressed his foot down over Céline’s as if warning her to keep her mouth shut. She didn’t care. He had just said the magically obnoxious words of all adults giving out their retarded “punishments.” The words she detested even more than “I just don’t know what to do with you.” Honestly, what did he expect her to say for herself?
She could say she was sorrry, but she wasn’t. She could say she regretted it, but she never would. She could say that nothing like it would happen again, but it surely would. Hell, she could beg for his forgiveness on bended knee, but it wouldn’t mean any more to her than a rat’s fart in space. So, what was the point? And why did adults always want to be lied to? Céline hated lies.
Well, one thing was sure. He asked for it.
So, Céline stood solemnly and raised her head so that she was looking directly into his ugly face.
“Damn it feels good to be a gangsta.”
Shivering slightly, Céline tried to refocus her attention onto the Weasleys. Her thoughts remained pretty far away for the rest of the evening, however. It wasn’t as though she had been away for very long, but she missed her friends like crazy. She missed going outside, shouting and jumping about for the hell of it, and hanging out with her brothers and sister. Homesickness was driving her crazy and she felt as though the life she had made for herself in the past six years was much more important than she had ever realized.
Running her fingers along the brim of her hat, Céline felt a cold weight sink into her chest and almost rounded her shoulders as if to collapse into it. Almost. She wouldn’t do that, though. She was still a ballerina. Even slacking off with skaterboy stoners half the time hadn’t had an affect on her posture. Homesickness wouldn’t break her. Nothing would She was still Lee-Lu. She would continue to be Lee-Lu forever after, too. Six years had gone by since she made that decision. There wasn’t a snowball’s chance in hell that she would go back on it. Not for England. Not for magic. Not for anything.
“Hey, Céline, are you alright?” Ginny asked, looking a bit concerned.
Céline beamed at her, even letting her eyes sparkled for an instant, “Yeah, I’m great. What were you guys talking about? I was kinda spacing out.”
The twins simultaneously raised their eyebrows.
“Split personality much?” Ron said.
Céline gave a rich laugh and winked. She felt empowered by her newfound determination.
Hogwarts wouldn’t know what hit it when Lee-Lu stormed in full-blast.
A/N: So, scroll down a bit farther and you will find a magical place where you can give me your opinion on the story. It will take me a couple of days to get chapter five out but don't worry. It's ready and coming. Reviews might even help it along. *HINT*HINT*
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