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Chapter 9 : Endings and Beginnings
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Disclaimer: I don’t own anything! This is all J.K.Rowling
A bead of sweat slid down the side of my face and I quickly wiped it away. Hopefully we would be there soon. My mother refused to open the windows because of her hair and the heat was on the verge of making me hallucinate. My sister, Petunia, had opted not to come, even though I wouldn’t see her for another eleven months. Which was fine, really. Who needed her anyways?
The month I had spent at home had not been pleasant. Petunia, who normally acted as though I didn’t exist, had changed strategies and instead spent the entire month berating me about my life. She tried insistently to convince my parents that I was, in her words, “a demon sent straight from hell”. My parents however, ignored her antics and continued to praise me on my once again perfect grades.
My sister, then, never failing in her quest to out-do me, announced that she was engaged to her newest boyfriend and they were getting married the following summer. I had to admit, she had me there; I was nowhere near being engaged.
After what seemed like an eternity, which in reality was only four hours, we pulled onto the sunny street just east of Southend-on-Sea. The house we stopped in front of the last house in a row of five houses facing a large open field. There were trees out front and there were no other houses behind this row of five. I stepped out of the car and breathed in the salty sea air. We were just a short walk from the beach. I went around the back of the car to pull out my school trunk and duffel back since I wouldn’t be going home again before school. I heard the front door to the house open and steps running down the walk.
Before I could prepare myself, the wind was knocked out of me as Pippa tackled me in a hug.
“I’m so glad you’re here!” She squeezed me until I couldn’t breathe and I had to break free before I answered.
“Me too,” I said flashing a huge smile at her. It had been a long month without Pippa or any of my other friends around me. Emilie would be joining us in a few days, but Marley was still visiting family in France and she wouldn’t be here for another week. Pippa’s father had graciously agreed to let us stay with them since Pippa’s sister, Elsa was at one of her friends’ house for the remainder of summer as well and he would be busy with work, leaving Pippa alone most of the time.
Mr. Birch strode out of the house to greet my parents while Pippa and I dragged my trunk and duffel inside and up the stairs to her room at the end of the hall. Her room was large with a queen-sized bed and a large vanity. She had a sliding glass door that led out to a small balcony with wrought-iron rails. The backyard was enclosed by a small stone wall and beyond that was a large meadow that served as the backyard to a church. Across the meadow was an unused functions hall that looked out onto the sea.
After a quick goodbye with my parents, Mr. Birch announced that he had to do inventory at the store all night and he wouldn’t be able to return until the next evening for dinner. We watched as he walked into the kitchen and grabbed a muffin from a basket on the counter before disappearing with a tiny pop!
“So,” Pippa said as soon as he disappeared. “My dad said he could get me the books we need for this confessional book idea. When he asked me what I needed them for I told him we were doing a kind of yearbook for all the students to remember our class by. He totally bought it. So we should be getting them all in a week or two.”
To be honest, I had completely forgotten about the books, but now that Pippa brought it up it seemed like the perfect distraction for me. This would definitely keep us busy for the rest of the summer. I put my still uneasy feelings on the legality and practicality of this project aside and responded with enthusiasm to Pippa.
There was no use arguing. She was too motivated.
We ended up spending what was left of the day walking to the beach and catching up on each other’s lives from the past month. By this time I had already told Pippa and Emilie what had happened the night of the firewhiskey and their reactions varied only slightly from Marley’s. Pippa was surprised that I’d even let Potter that close to me, but she was otherwise supportive of either decision I made. Thankfully, she didn’t say “I told you so”.
“So Lily… how are you doing and all?” Pippa asked reluctantly after she finished explaining how Elsa had accidentally set the kitchen on fire while trying to make dinner the previous week. “I know this was the week you were supposed to visit Chris…”
“I’m fine, really,” I assured her.
I had broken things off with Chris two weeks into the summer. I had never told him what happened between Potter and I. I had been wracking my brain those two weeks to find some kind of solution in which no one would get hurt. But in my inability to make a decision, I selfishly concluded that I couldn’t stand to hurt one and not the other so I would hurt them both. I broke things off with Chris and hadn’t spoken to Potter since that night.
“I don’t know if I made the right choice here,” I confessed, digging my toes into the sand. “But I couldn’t lead Chris on. I don’t miss him as much as I thought I would.”
“Well, maybe that’s your answer then,” Pippa said, staring out at the choppy waves. “If you don’t miss him then you know he wasn’t right for you, Lily. Whatever you decide to do about Potter, you know I’ll stand beside you.”
“Thanks, Pip,” I said earnestly, linking my arm through hers.
* * *
The next week went by quickly. First Emilie arrived with her mother, who had driven her from Bristol and then Marley arrived, fresh from her visit to France. It was the perfect way to end the summer, with my best friends.
We were all sleeping on the floor of Pippa’s room a week later when the doorbell rang. Pippa’s father had been working late last night again and had not come home so Pippa, grumbling, got out of bed and went downstairs to see who was there.
A few minutes later she burst into her room, stepping on Emilie in the process and pulled all the covers off of us.
“Get up!” Pippa screeched. For a second, I thought something was wrong and I sat straight up and looked around for Pippa. But instead of finding fear on her face, she was smiling and kicking Marley off to the side of her room. “I need your help!” She called as she ran from the room and down the stairs.
Curious, we followed her, all of us still in our pajamas. At the bottom of the stairs we found two large boxes. We reached the bottom of the stairs and navigated ourselves to the front door to see a large purple mail truck. We wandered outside and down the walk to find Pippa. The doors at the rear of the truck were open and when we looked inside, all of us gasped.
What should have been a decently sized trunk of a car was actually a dining hall sized room, no doubt enlarged by magic, filled to the top with rows upon rows of boxes, held in place by nets. Off to the left side of the truck appeared Pippa holding a large brown box. She dropped it into Emilie’s hands, who staggered under the weight.
“Come help me!” Pippa shouted gleefully as she disappeared into the truck once more. We followed her and saw that a tiny man was at the top of a ladder lowering boxes down to her with his wand. We each grabbed a as many boxes as we could and quickly put them in the house. After one last trip, the tiny wizard assured Pippa that that was all and we watched the purple mail truck speed away and disappear into thin air.
As soon as the truck was out of sight we raced into the house. Pippa whipped out her wand and aimed it at several of the boxes.
“Pippa, you can’t do magic outside of school! I accidentally turned Petunia’s teacup into a frog last year when she made me angry and I got a warning letter from the Ministry,” I said urgently grabbing her arm.
“Relax, Lils,” Pippa said rolling her eyes. “This is a wizard house. The Ministry can’t actually tell who has cast a spell, only the area in which it was cast. They never bother with Wizard houses like mine since they expect the parents to take care of keeping it under control. Besides, you’re seventeen aren’t you? And so is Marley. You have nothing to worry about.”
She carefully levitated each of the boxes up the stairs and into the spare room next to hers where her family kept all of their “wizard” stuff. There were four broomsticks, two cauldrons, a box of small silver contraptions, a large glass jar labeled “Extra Floo Powder”, and one wall completely devoted to books.
“Our neighbors are all muggles,” Pippa explained as she walked into the room after levitating the last box. “My mom was good friends with all of them and they still stop by from time to time so we usually keep our more obvious magic stuff up here.”
There were 15 boxes in all. Pippa tore the closest one open and lifted out a small black moleskin notebook. The pages were a creamy white and completely blank. She looked up at us, her hazel eyes sparkling with excitement.
We counted out the books. There were thirty in each box giving us a grand total of four hundred and fifty books: more than enough for the student body of Hogwarts, giving us some extra in case we made mistakes.
“I don’t really know where to begin,” Pippa confessed and she looked up at me.
“Ok, well I suppose we should start by using a Protean charm to bind all of the books to each other…” I suggested, picking up a small black book and turning it over in my hands. “The tricky part is that the Protean charm only binds a group of objects to one so that if changes are made to the one, they are made to the rest. I suppose I could do the charm on all of them...but that would take a long time.”
“A Protean Charm? Merlin, Lily how do you learn these things? That’s like, beyond N.E.W.T.S. level,” Emilie said, digging through a box and taking out several of the books.
I blushed slightly. “It’s nothing really, I just read about it in a book…”
“What book?” Pippa asked giving me an accusatory look.
“Theories of Transubstantial Transfiguration,” I admitted. “It was just a bit of extra reading, that’s all.”
“You’re too smart for your own good, Lily” Pippa sighed shaking her head. “But at least you know what you’re doing. So how do we go about this Protean charm?”
“Well, I’ll start with just a few of these books as practice. If it works I should be able to cast a collective charm on all the books so I don’t have to do them each individually,” I explained. I pulled my wand from where it was stuck in my jeans and aimed it at the four books in front of me.
“Proteo Totalus,” I said quietly, trying my best to remember the proper wand movements. “Hand me a quill, will you?”
I snatched up one of the books and opened it to the first page. Marley handed me a quill from the large jar of them on the desk in the corner of the room. I hesitated, nervous that the spell hadn’t worked, even more nervous if it actually did. I dipped the quill in the bottle of ink Marley had placed next to me on the floor and wrote my name at the top of the page
Quickly, I flipped open the next book in line and saw, to my amazement, my name written exactly as it was in the first book. Pippa squealed in joy as I flipped open the other two to see my name reflected identically on their pages as well.
“Merlin’s beard, I can’t believe that worked,” Emilie hissed as she inspected one of the books closer. “You’re a genius, Lily.”
“So how are you going to get the writing to look the same for each person?” Pippa asked sticking her tongue between her teeth as she emptied the last box of books onto the floor.
“I have an idea, but I’m not sure if it will work,” I admitted, picking up my wand again. “I’ve never seen an actual spell for it before but I know the basic words to use and the theory behind it, so I guess it wouldn’t hurt to try…”
I pointed my wand at the four books in front of me and said in a shaky voice, “celo signum totalus”.
I looked up from the books to see Pippa, Marley, and Emilie all staring at me with their mouths open.
“You’re seriously like, the smartest person I know,” Emilie said, still staring at me.
“Well, don’t say that until we see if it actually worked,” I muttered picking up the first book again. I scrawled my name again and watched in amazement as my curly signature morphed quickly into a generic script that could belong to anyone.
Marley grabbed the book closest to her and signed her name below my two signatures. I glanced down at the page to see her name appear below mine in the same generic writing.
“I honestly can’t believe that worked,” I breathed and I watched Pippa and then Emilie write their names underneath as well.
“Lily, I have another idea,” Pippa said as she doodled a little star in the corner of the page, which then appeared on all of our pages. “What if we kept these four books for ourselves? Like just for fun, but it would make passing notes in class so much easier and it wouldn’t be so obvious. It would just look like we’re taking notes.”
Marley and Emilie agreed enthusiastically with this idea and I reached out my hands for their books. They looked at me questioningly.
“So I can reverse the anonymous script,” I explained and performed what I thought to be an adequate counter-spell. I flipped open the cover of one of them and saw that each of our signatures had returned to its original form. “This way, we’ll know who’s writing.”
“Oh, good idea,” Marley said and then her eyebrows were drawn together in concern. “What if someone else thinks of that counter-spell and then the books won’t be anonymous?”
I thought about that for a second. “I suppose I could put a permanent binding charm on them, so only I could change it. I’ve never tried it before, only read about it, so I’m not sure if it will work.”
“Well, let’s get to work on the rest. Lily, do you think you can do the rest of the books at once?” Pippa asked excitedly as she moved all of the boxes to the edge of the room and piled all the books in the center.
“Wait,” Marley said collecting our four personal books. She marked each of them with the tip of her wand with an M, P, E, and L and handed them back to us. “So we can tell the difference between our private notes and our public ones.”
“Good idea,” I agreed and turned my wand on the rest of the books.
* * * *
I leaned back against the wall next to Marley and slid down into a sitting position. I had just finished casting the last of the permanent binding charms on the giant pile of books in the center of the room.
“So explain to me how we’re getting these to all the students?” I asked, turning my head towards Pippa who was carefully inspecting the books.
Pippa bit her bottom lip and quickly busied herself with stacking the books neatly. “I hadn’t actually thought about that yet. I was hoping you would help me…?”
“Pippa,” I let out an exasperated sigh and shook my head. “I thought you were the genius mastermind behind this whole thing.”
“Fine,” she snapped, crossing her arms. “I’ll figure it out myself.”
“How are kids gonna know what to do with these things?” Emilie asked, picking up one of the books and flipping through the pages.
Pippa threw me a hopeful look.
“Hand me a book,” I sighed, holding out my hand. Marley handed me the closest book and I picked up a quill off the floor.
I flipped the cover open to the very first page and poised the quill over the parchment, waiting for words to come.
“How about this,” I said, pressing the tip of the quill to the paper. “‘Hogwarts Confessional’ – is that a good name?” The Clique nodded. “’Hogwarts Confessional is the newest way to express yourself at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Feel free to write a secret, confession, or wish on the following pages. Each book is linked to the rest so any secret you write will appear in the rest. Everything is completely anonymous; there is no way to trace the author of any secrets. The only thing we ask you to keep in mind is that the secrets on here will be read by your peers so let’s keep it classy Hogwarts—no names, please.’—does that sound good?” I finished.
“It’s perfect,” Pippa smiled, a mischievous twinkle settling in her hazel eyes.
The days of Hogwarts as we knew it were long gone… enter the reign of the Hogwarts Confessional.
A/N: Ok I'm back (finally) with another revision. The only thing I changed here (aside from a few spelling errors) was the last line. I had originally had a problem trying to figure out a way to end this chapter and i couldn't think of anything so before, i'd had Marley say "Ok, we’re done. Can we go to the beach now?”
... yeah so I had to change that haha. Anyways, that's about it! Hope you liked it!
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