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Chapter 17 : Nimbus 2000s and a New Name
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"Lucy, may I ask a favor of you, please?" Flitwick asked, blowing his nose directly after speaking. Lucy smiled and nodded, turning away from her food to give the small professor her full attention. "If it's not too much trouble, can you cover a few of my classes today? I know that you have a full day and all, but........ none of the other Professors can do it and I'm hoping you could........" Lucy nodded brightly and popped a spoonful of scrambled eggs in her mouth.
"I'd love to!" Lucy agreed cheerily, after swallowing. "How many? All of them?" Flitwick, who had beamed, now looked shocked.
"All of them? Lucy, that's too much! You have your own classes as well! How in the name Merlin can you teach two classes at once? And they're so different! I can't impose!" Lucy shook her head with a chuckle.
"You're not imposing, silly!" Lucy exclaimed, Flitwick blinking, he unable to think of a proper response to her eagerness. "I love your students! It won't be one blink of trouble, don't you worry your sick little head about it!" Lucy's eyes shone brightly at the challenge. "This'll be fun for me, don't you worry. Just get better." Lucy winked at Flitwick. "I'm pretty sure Poppy can have you all fixed up in no time!" Flitwick let out a startled laugh and nodded.
"Yeah........ Okay, yeah. I'll head down to the Hospital Wing now. Thanks, Lucy, I really appreciate it........ Here are the lesson plans, but since you'll be over-swamped, I don't expect you to finish everything....... Hmm, what else......."
"Go to the Hospital Wing and get some rest, okay? Leave everything to me." Lucy grinned broadly and Flitwick nodded again, dazed and confused. He shook his head, more to himself than anyone else, and left the Great Hall. Lucy Whit. Who could understand that woman? Girl, Flitwick corrected himself. Lucy was only a girl, not even a teenager yet. Flitwick paused in his walking about halfway to the Hospital Wing. He just realized that he'd not only referred to Lucy as a woman and saw her as a fellow adult and colleague, but he'd just left a—technically—child in charge of........ Oh, no. Mustn't think of such stressful things when one is sick....... Just get better, then attempt to prepare to be ready for classes again. And whatever you do, Flitwick reminded himself tiredly, do not think of Lucy or her age or how she's in charge of many, many, many students today.
"Ohh......." Flitwick groaned, putting a hand to his head. "My head......."
And back in the Great Hall, Lucy was laughing quietly to herself. "Today's gonna be fun!" She sang under her breath, before rising to her feet. Breakfast was about half over, and she had an announcement to make. She was teaching Charms today, right? Well, she kinda needed a wand for that. Preferably hers. "Headmaster Dumbledore, may I please make an announcement?" Lucy asked pleasantly, the whole Great Hall already silent and waiting for her to speak to them.
"Of course, Professor Whitaker." Dumbledore said with a smile and a nod, and Lucy beamed at him before turning to face the students, many of them waving at her.
"Hullo everyone." Lucy greeted them cheerfully. "I hope you all are enjoying your breakfast. I just have a little announcement." She paused thoughtfully. "Okay, well two little announcements, I guess, but they're related." Lucy licked her lips and took a deep breath, not nervous but pausing to think of how to phrase her next words. "I will be taking over Professor Flitwick's classes today—" Cheers from Flitwick's students, loud and boisterous. Lucy smiled slightly before continuing. "but seem to be missing a rather important tool for teaching Charms. My wand." There were loud gasps down at the Gryffindor table that not many noticed through the murmurings. Lucy continued quickly. "I lent my wand out late yesterday and it seems to have disappeared. I'm not sure what happened after I lent my wand to yesterday's PIC, but if anyone knows where my wand is, well........" Lucy shrugged. "I'd like to have it back. Please." She grinned a little and laughed. "I can assure you that—"
"Whoever is found with Professor Whitaker's wand will be in a great deal of trouble!" Minerva interrupted, furious. How dare someone take a professor's wand?! "There will be point deductions! There will be detentions! There will be letters home! I can assure all of you that—"
"No trouble will come to the person that returns my wand." Lucy interrupted pleasantly, sounding as if she were agreeing with Minerva but making so sharp a U-turn in the tone of the announcement that the startled Transfiguration professor stuttered slightly and blinked in confusion at the girl. Lucy smiled easily and nodded. "Thank you, Professor McGonagall, for your assistance in this matter, but I have it covered." Lucy smiled brightly at Minerva before turning back to face the students. "No trouble will come to the person that returns my wand. It doesn't matter quite when I get it back, but I would appreciate it before I begin teaching Charms today. If not, well, I'll simply borrow a student's wand to show everyone how to do whatever spell I need to." Lucy's eyes twinkled mischievously. "I can assure everyone that the wand I borrow will be returned immediately." Laughter from the students. Lucy noticed a look of intense relief wash over Alison's features and fought a smile. One of the best parts in Lucy's adventures was that she never needed to lie. She could always find a way around whatever obstacles were placed in front of her. And laugh about them afterwards. "Thank you all greatly for listening. Enjoy the rest of your breakfast." Lucy shot a wink so quickly at Alison that no one else noticed it. "I'll be in my office merging Divination and Charms until classes start, if anyone needs me. Oh, and can all my first class students report to the Quidditch Pitch first thing? Thanks!" Amidst many confused looks from her colleagues and anticipated glances from the students, Lucy left the Great Hall to, as she'd previously stated, merge her two classes of the day.
"Okay, so the other day I was looking over my funds," Lucy began her first class—sixth year Divination students and fifth year Charms kids—cheerily, getting many a confused look in return. "and I noticed that I have quite an amount of money that I can use for resources in my class." Blank stares. What in the world was she talking about? Divination took basically no funds at all. Lucy grinned, reading their minds. "I'm sure you're all wondering why we're out on the Quidditch Pitch; let me explain." She began, seeming to go in a completely different direction as she plopped to the ground, settling comfortably on the grass and motioning for all the students to join her.
"As you all know, today's class is Divination/Charms........ Or is it Charms/Divination, alphabetically?" Lucy paused, actually thinking that over for a moment as her students exchanged bewildered glances. "Anyway, most would believe that there is no fathomable way to merge Divination with Charms." Lucy grinned. "And Quidditch." Jaws dropped, eyes widened....... it was actually rather amusing to see. "But I," Lucy continued after a brief pause in which she assessed the expressions of her students, "have found a most delightful way to combine the three........" Lucy pulled out her wand, it having been returned to her by Alison just before breakfast let out—free of chocolate pudding, of course—and Summoned quite a few somethings that left the watching students even more flabbergasted than they'd been previously.
Brooms. And not just two or three, no. There were enough brooms for what looked like all of them to use....... And then some. And they weren't the school's ratty old Cleansweeps, either. They were Nimbus'! Nimbus 2000s, to be precise. Each and every one, which was almost more of a shock than hearing Lucy say they would be playing Quidditch during class. The Nimbus 2000 wasn't even supposed to come out for Merlin knew how many years! How on Earth had Lucy gotten a hold of one, let alone so many?!
Lucy stood and caught one of the brooms before it could gently lower itself onto the ground as the rest of them did. She smiled softly and stroked the broom as if afraid it would break under too rough a touch. For a moment, each and every one of her students could see something in her eyes that wasn't there before, almost a memory, then, it was gone, Lucy's eyes back to normal in an instant. She grinned at her seated students, only the right side of her mouth pulling up, the left seeming to be busy with some other thought. It was an entrancing little grin, almost shy and childlike in its quality; endearing and heart-stopping in its own way. Lucy looked down at the broom, biting her bottom lip absently, then spoke. "I bought these for the school," She began slowly, looking up at the fifteen- and sixteen-year-old boys and girls. "I saw how bad the old brooms were—dangerous, too—so I went out to a broom shop and bought the lot of them........ Well, the Nimbus 2000s, anyway." Lucy smile sheepishly and shrugged, looking almost embarrassed. She didn't look at the students as she continued, instead looking up to the sky or down at the broom in her hands. "I, um, just didn't want anyone getting hurt on the old Cleansweeps, and figured that maybe if I was gonna buy some new brooms anyway I might as well buy some better ones...... You know, because some of the Quidditch players might not have their own brooms and have to use the school ones, so there's that........ And, well....... Yeah. It wasn't that big of a deal, not really. I mean, it's just a couple brooms, no biggie....... And I figure that I could always work on the old Cleansweeps—you know, fix them up, make them safe, make them run better and handling and whatever else—so that they're always there, just in case, you know....... Somebody needs them, or wants to take a fly around Hogwarts or something....... Whatever......" Lucy shrugged, studying the grass at her feet. "You know....... Just because......." There was a long silence as Lucy shifted, looking uncomfortable in her own skin for a moment as she admitted what she'd done and was doing; there'd been rumors of the origin of the new school brooms, and here was the answer. Lucy had done it....... And told them, basically, why, knowing they'd ask and not wanting to withhold information or lie to them.
Lucy cleared her throat loudly, still not looking at her stunned students. "Let's, um...... Let's start class, shall we?" Silence. "......I'll just, erm, explain how everything's gonna work for today......."
And so she did, slipping into a more comfortable skin than the almost itchy one Lucy had been feeling trapped in. She often did things of such kindness for others; admitting that she had done them was something entirely different. It made her feel awkward, weird—as if she wasn't really there, or as if everyone could see clear through her down to her very memories; the ones that she kept even from herself. It wasn't a pleasant feeling; Lucy would've been happier digging her own grave—or being forced to remain within twenty feet of her aunt—than admit one of the many kindness' she performed, unnoticed, to anyone, let alone those who were affected by it. She just didn't like it; Lucy would've rather not told anyone. But she was not a liar, and Lucy knew her students; they would've asked. And Lucy figured it was easier to just come out with it—all of it, all at once—than avoid their questions.
And yet, for all her own modesty and humility, Lucy was always the first to assert a person's best qualities to them in hopes that they'd appreciate themselves, never realizing that maybe, just maybe, she needed to do the same for herself.
"Okay, so what I had in mind was almost a study technique thing," Lucy said, offering her words in such a way that they almost begged for those listening not to speak to her of what she'd just admitted or how she'd bared herself so openly to those watching. "Okay, so what I was thinking was that we could do a type of Quidditch—no Bludgers or Snitch, which rules quite a lot out, to be honest—and for ever point scored the scoring team needs to ask the other team a question based on their class. For the Divination teams, it'll be a trivia type thing. For the Charms teams, it'll be a spell of some sort they would be learning today." Lucy paused, taking a deep breath as she relaxed more fully into her job, the death grip she had on the broom loosened until she was barely holding it at all. "Then, after a certain amount of time, the game will be over and the team with the most points will win....... Unless the team with the least amount of points wants to challenge them. Double or nothing. Each team gets the lesson plan for the other team's class; if they're challenged at the end, they can choose anything from today's class—or a class from before—and question each other. Whichever team gets that last question right, wins that round." Lucy paused, stretched somewhat, rolled her head around before shaking it. "It'll be like a mini-tournament, if we can do this quickly enough." She said, glancing at her watch. "So what do you guys say? Let's do this?" She asked, holding out her broom, surrounded by the rest of the brooms.
"Yeah!" Was the unanimous reply, the students rushing at the brooms and breaking into small teams of five—Lucy explained this as they began splitting up. One to guard the goal posts, three as Chasers, and one to handle the lesson plans and choose possible questions. Lucy counted the number of groups then split the Quidditch Pitch a accordingly, pausing for just a moment to assure them that she'd set it to rights before classes ended for the day. Extra goalposts rose from the sectioned Pitch, as well as sand appearing. Not only that, but magical barriers were set to keep the Quaffles from falling into other games.
Lucy did this all without even her wand as help, though no one noticed, they were so excited to get up in the air.
Lucy took note of how fast the games were going—scores were being made left and right, questions hurled at other players at blinding speed—that it barely took fifteen to twenty minutes for points to pile up so quickly that Lucy had to whistle loudly in order to both get attention and stop all the games simultaneously. The students froze where they were flying, previously airborne Quaffles drifted to the grass, questions were cut off half spoken...... And Lucy smiled, motioning for everyone to gather round. They did so compliantly, though more than one of them—and not just the boys, either, Lucy noted—looked put out. Lucy assured that the games were not over, instead having each team tell her their points, then asking if anyone wanted to Challenge the other team. All of the loosing teams wanted to do so, obviously, and this was where Lucy needed to pay attention. One by one, the hardest questions were picked and fired at the winning teams from the teams they were beating as Lucy watched closely. Some won, some lost. But, she noticed, everyone was paying attention. Which was good. Very, very good.
Once the Challenges were over, Lucy switched around the teams so that not only were there different players on each team, but they were facing different teams altogether, then let them go at it again.
That was pretty much how Lucy's classes went that day—they were shockingly efficient, to be honest. One would think that, with the two very different classes and all the different ages that were there—along with the fact that Quidditch was a rather crazy sport in itself—the classes would've been a mess. But no. And the best part? They got through each and every one of Flitwick's lesson plans for that day.
Lucy couldn't help but hum as she made her way to the Hospital Wing that day after classes, an obvious spring in her step. It was only through an amazing amount of self control that she kept from skipping her way down the corridors. She had swung by Hogsmeade, borrowing one of the school brooms to get there more quickly, and picked up some flowers and candy before heading back to the castle. Now, with candy in an inside pocket, flowers swinging gently in one hand, and a large, opened bar of chocolate poking out of an outside pocket, Lucy was on her way to visit with Flitwick. The chocolate, though, was for her; Lucy broke little pieces off of it with her free hand, popping the delicious sweet into her mouth where she let it melt slowly, the taste of it coating her tongue, before swallowing what was left and repeating the process. It was a habit that Lucy had adopted when she was very, very young—a way to make whatever sweets she got last as long as possible. Sweets, after all, were a rare commodity for Lucy to come by at her aunt's house. It was only after she started coming to Hogwarts that Lucy realized she had somewhat of a sweet tooth. Too used to not having access to so much candy and chocolate left the girl rarely eating it even at Hogwarts, where she could've probably eaten nothing but sugary foods and gotten away with it.
This bar of chocolate was a little treat that could last a long time, if Lucy ate it as she ate chocolate at her aunt's house.
"Oh, hey Professor Whit! Where ya goin?" Lucy blinked and looked up at the cheery third year that'd almost run into her. He was taller than her, of course: Many first years had at least a couple inches on Lucy. There were some who swore the girl could be a first year, she was so small.
"Hello, Mr. Williams." Lucy greeted the boy easily. "I'm on my way to the Hospital Wing. Professor Flitwick hasn't been feeling well so I figure a nice little visit oughta cheer him up some." The third year, John, nodded.
"Wow Professor, that's really nice of you." Lucy looked down, breaking eye contact with John for the first time, confusing him slightly. She shrugged noncommittally but did not answer.
"John! Hey, John! Guess wha—oh, hello Professor!" Lucy looked up at a girl who had, before her teaching job, been her classmate. Now she was her student. Lucy smiled.
"Ah, hello, Miss Abbot, how are you? How is your brother doing?" She asked pleasantly. Hannah shrugged.
"Okay, I guess. I think he's hanging out with his girlfriend in the common room right now." Lucy nodded; Hannah's brother was a fifth year Hufflepuff, as was his current girlfriend.
"Give them my regards, will you? I'd drop by myself, but I'm on my way to see Professor Flitwick, as I'd just finished telling Mr. Williams here before you joined us." Hannah grinned and nodded.
"You're just too nice, Professor Whit." She said with a wide grin, shaking her head lightly. Again, Lucy looked away and shrugged, confusing Hannah and John.
".......Thank you," Lucy finally said slowly, "but I'd best be on my way before these flowers get too thirsty." John and Hannah nodded, exchanging odd glances as Lucy gave them a cheery wave and went on her way. They watched her until she turned a corner before speaking to one another.
"So, what were you gonna say?" John asked curiously. Hannah's eyes lit up and she launched into an avid retelling of her Charms class that day, the two beginning to walk together, heading in the opposite direction as Lucy had gone.
When Lucy arrived at the Hospital Wing, she didn't enter right away. Instead, she poked her head through the door and knocked softly. Poppy came out curiously, wondering why anyone was knocking, and saw Lucy leaning in the doorway. "Hello, Mi—Professor Whitaker. May I ask what you are doing here? Are you feeling alright?"
"Lucy." Lucy corrected, then continued. "I'm here for a quick visit with Filius." Poppy nodded and pointed to a cot.
"He's over there. But he's sleeping, so please don't wake him." Lucy nodded and made her way to where Flitwick was sleeping. His face had more color in it than it did that morning, and his sniffles seemed to be gone; Lucy decided that he must be feeling worlds better. Poppy was magic....... And not just in the obvious sense.
Lucy Summoned a vase and filled it with water, putting the flowers in it and placing it on the part-Goblin Charms professor's bedside table. Humming softly to herself, Lucy put the candy she'd gotten at Hogsmeade by the flowers, as well as a large card she'd had basically everyone sign who's attended either her classes or lunch sign. "Feel better, Professor Flitwick, sir." Lucy whispered, feeling very much like a student at the moment and not the faux teacher she was during Knot's absence. It was great being a professor at Hogwarts, but Lucy was, after all, just a kid, really. She was having fun, true, but she was tired. So, so tired.
Lucy sighed and sat on a free cot, suddenly feeling exhausted. She'd had a long day so far, packed, but all the other days as Divination Professor, as well as her severe lack of sleep, was finally starting to get to her. She let out a breath and shook her head. It was Friday. To the students, it meant two whole days to relax. Lucy did not have that luxury, especially not with all that she herself had planned. Nope.
Lucy stood and stretched pained muscles that she hadn't noticed were aching. She groaned slightly as a sharp prick of pain appeared quickly, disappearing just as fast. She needed a rest; Lucy could admit that much.
"Lucy, are you feeling quite alright?" Poppy asked, concerned, having heard Lucy's light groan of pain as she made her way from her office.
"Oh yes, Poppy. I'm doing just fine, thanks." Lucy assured her with a smile.
"Are you sure? You look like you could use a long rest, dear." Poppy said, not convinced and perhaps the only adult in Hogwarts at the moment who recognized Lucy still as a child, regardless of the phenomenal job she was doing as a professor. Lucy nodded.
"Yes, don't worry." Lucy flashed Poppy a brilliant grin and slipped out of the Hospital Wing quickly.
She needed a long rest; Lucy could admit that much....... To herself, anyway. As far as she was concerned, everyone else could see her as indestructible. It was better that way, then having people worry about her. She was strong, after all. She could handle whatever. No one needed to know that she was exhausted, beginning to feel strain on her muscles, mind, and possibly even magic at the rate she was going.
There was no need to worry anyone needlessly. Or at all. Especially not if it was about her. Lucy shook her head. She was fine, no need for anyone to worry. Even me, she assured herself, quickening her pace slightly. I'll be fine soon enough. No need to bother Poppy with anything; I'm sure it's all in my head or something. I'm okay. Lucy nodded slightly, convincing herself...... Or trying to, anyway.
Before Lucy could continue to reassure herself of her health, she came across a group of boys who seemed to be setting up some type of elaborate prank. She couldn't help but smile at them, shaking her head lightly. Those four, always causing trouble.
Lucy silently crept up behind the four boys, waiting until she was directly behind them to clear her throat as loudly as possible, thus effectively scaring the crap out of them.
"AHH!" James, Sirius, Remus, and Peter shouted at the top of their lungs, whipping around so quickly that their necks cracked loudly. "Whit?!" They exclaimed in disbelief. Lucy carefully kept her face impassive, eyes dancing.
"Boys." She said calmly, voice carrying only the slightest hint of laughter. She gave them a slight nod as she continued on her way, pausing not too far from them. "And it's Professor Whit." Lucy turned slightly, winked at them. "Have a good day; I'll be seeing you four later, I'm sure."
And she did. At the detention the got that night from Minerva for the prank they pulled that had exploded during dinner. Lucy had generously offered to take over their week's worth of detentions for Minerva who, enraged and flustered, had no choice but to agree to Lucy's offer.
"Hello, Misters Potter, Black, Lupin, and Pettigrew. Nice to see you all on time." Lucy greeted James, Sirius, Remus, and Peter, ginning widely. They, too, seemed on the brink of laughter as the filed into Lucy's classroom. Detention with Professor Whit? Bring it on; should be fun. Probably the easiest detentions ever.
"Sup, Professor Whit?"
"How's it goin?"
"Please, take a seat." Lucy said cheerily, James, Sirius, Remus, and Peter plopping into a couple seats easily, grinning. "Now, Professor McGonagall was very clear about the type of detentions she believed you four deserved." Lucy paused thoughtfully and read from a piece of parchment. "'Those four troublemakers should be forced to scrub every inch of Hogwarts as well as clip every blade of glass by hand! Not only that, but they should be made to polish each and every stone in this castle without magic! And after they've finished with that.....'" Lucy paused, took a breath, shook her head. "I think you four get the gist of that....... Do I really need to continue?" The four boys shook their heads in silent unison. Lucy let a little grin twitch at the corners of her mouth before continuing. "I, on the other hand, felt as though her suggestions were just a bit over the top, personally. Myself, I'd rather design a different punishment for you four." Lucy's eyes danced merrily. "Follow me, please?" She said, pushing off from her desk and leading them from her classroom. James, Sirius, Remus, and Peter climbed down the ladder. Lucy jumped, transferring the motion into a stride with ease. "This way." She sang cheerily, leading four of the worst troublemakers Hogwarts ever had in the direction their prank had been set up in—they didn't know it, of course, or what she was planning, but followed their professor. Silently, for a bit, then they four began whispering to one another. Their voices climbed slowly, almost imperceptivity. Lucy let them talk.
"We're here." Lucy announced suddenly, stopping dead in her tracks so abruptly that James had to leap back to keep from smashing into her, Sirius, Remus, and Peter crashing into him in a much rougher way than they would've had his reflexes and instincts not have moved him so quickly.
James, Sirius, Remus, and Peter looked past Lucy in confusion. They were in an empty corridor. The corridor their prank had gone off in, true, but nothing was there. What were they supposed to do? Just stand there?
"Uh…… Professor Whit? What're we supposed to do here?" Remus asked; Lucy smiled, eyes burning brightly.
"What do you believe you are to do here, Mr. Lupin?" Lucy asked instead. Remus shrugged, confused.
"There's nothing to do here, ma'am!" Sirius exclaimed, confused; Lucy was the only teacher he addressed as such with no sarcastic or playful inflections at all.
"Yeah professor…… I don't understand." James agreed with a nod, pushing his glasses up the bridge of his nose some after they'd slipped down. Lucy said nothing, only turned to look at Peter. Certainly not the smartest, that was true enough, or the four of the boys with the most common sense, that much was obvious, but he wasn't completely hopeless at the same time, either. And besides, Lucy had faith in him.
"………Are we just supposed to…… keep walking?" Peter hazarded, wincing immediately after speaking as if waiting to hear his answer was all wrong. But no; Lucy beamed at the boy and nodded proudly.
"Exactly! Good job, Mr. Pettigrew." Peter sighed, looking relieved. Then the realization that he was the only of the four who'd answered correctly set in and Peter beamed brightly, face lighting up with pride. He was still confused as to why, but he'd gotten it right! James, Sirius, and Remus gave him congratulatory pats and grins, nodding and complimenting him for getting it right. Lucy couldn't help smile at this exchange; despite everything, James, Sirius, and Remus really were good friends to Peter. They were genuinely happy for the boy, praising him with easy grins. It was a truthful rumor that the three older boys could probably be friends with anyone in the blink of an eye, but they accepted Peter just as he was and never mistreated him. Teased him yes, as well as other things, but always in a joking manner. They always helped Peter out—in school, in sports, in everything. Lucy had as well and still did, despite being a "professor", but the four boys were almost a package deal they were so close.
A word popped into Lucy's head: A name. Briefly, for a short moment it raced across her mind. Then, the four boys walked down the corridor and set off their own prank, and Lucy forgot what she was thinking about as James, Sirius, Remus, and Peter burst out laughing at the trick their favorite professor had pulled on them. A fitting punishment, and a fun one at that. It was the best detention they'd ever had, even if they had to clean up the mess afterwards. They would've anyway, they were in such great moods. And besides, Lucy let them use magic to speed it along a bit. After they'd finished cleaning and still laughing and praising Lucy for the great idea, the five of them headed to Lucy's office. She had the four boys sit wherever they wanted in the comfy—there was really no other way to describe it—office. There was only one last thing she needed to have them do before she let them go, and it was write a letter of apology to Dumbledore. It was more for Professor McGonagall than for the Headmaster, she explained, but it would probably be wise to write it nonetheless. Also, if they could tell her the different spells they'd used to set everything up, that'd be great.
James, Sirius, Remus, and Peter nodded and wrote a joint apology letter, managing to make it sound sincere though everyone in the room knew that they were anything but. As the four boys wrote their letter, they explained the different spells they'd had to use, laughing and telling Lucy of the many things they'd had to "borrow" for their prank to work. Confiding in her was more like it, as so many other students did, knowing she wouldn't repeat what they told her to save her own soul.
The word crossed Lucy's mind again at the mention of the boys' "borrowing". So, interest piqued and with nothing to distract her now as James, Sirius, Remus, and Peter's quills slowed, the scratching sounds ending as they reached the end of their letter, Lucy looked it up in a large dictionary she had in her office. She read the definition slowly, then pulled out a Thesaurus for the heck of it, just to make sure she had it right.
Lucy paused a moment, fixed the synonyms in her mind to sound softer, nicer. More like the actual word, so they fit—so perfectly that Lucy didn't even notice that the four boys she'd been supervising had already finished their letter, said goodbye and goodnight, and had left for Gryffindor Tower……. These synonyms were perfect, nothing like the rough, mean, insulting words before them.
There. Much better. Now for the actual, original word, just to see if it really worked as well as she thought and felt it did.
Lucy smiled, spoke the word aloud. "Marauder." Repeated it, tasting it, picturing James, Sirius, Remus, and Peter. "Marauders." Lucy laughed happily. "James Potter, Sirius Black, Remus Lupin, Peter Pettigrew. The Marauders." Lucy beamed. "The Marauders."
And they were, really. They were the Marauders. Their names were the perfect synonyms to the basically never used word. Not "raider" or "looter" or "prowler" or even "intruder", though one Minerva McGonagall would undoubtedly protest to that quite viciously, Lucy was sure. James, Sirius, Remus, and Peter weren't anything bad; They were Marauders.
"The Marauders." Lucy laughed, reverting now that she was alone back to her real age, away from her professional professor self. She was wholly herself at this moment; it felt good. "My family; the Marauders and the Evans."
For what could've been the first time since she was placed in their care, Lucy completely and totally forgot that the Whitakers existed.
And that, when she looked back on it later, also felt good. Great, even.
Lucy hummed softly to herself, a soft little tune. A lullaby she'd never heard before in her life but she had not created. It had just appeared in her mind that morning when she'd woken and had remained there all through her morning classes. Now, Lucy was headed to lunch, the words forming carefully in her mind in accordance to the tune. She was so lost in her little songworld that she didn't notice Dumbledore until she bumped into him. "Oh, I'm terribly sorry, Albus." Lucy said, voice and eyes so bright that they betrayed the verity of her words. Albus smiled and nodded.
"Not a problem, my dear." My dear. The first term of endearment that Lucy had ever heard directed toward her, ever since her life with the Whitakers had begun. Dumbledore called her Lucy 'my dear' every now and then, mostly when they weren't in front of the entire student and staff body, but not always when they were alone. It made a special place grow inside her that was reserved only for the old Headmaster; it was as if he were the grandfather—a real family member—that she'd been denied for perhaps longer than the girl could remember. "And may I just ask, what is that lovely tune you were humming?"
Lucy blinked at the question, mouth opening of its own accord. The words slipped fluidly from her mouth in a tongue she'd never once spoken in her life, accompanied not a moment after by the words. Lucy sang with a quiet, lilting simplicity; in French, when before this day she wouldn't have known the meaning of oui or non. She sang the lullaby beautifully, in a voice that was a cross between a small child and…… Something else. She had a pleasant voice; not the best ever, but pretty and light. Almost entrancing, in a way as well, as the small child sung so beautifully in French that it seemed she'd never spoken anything but it. She sang the French lullaby as if she were the one who'd written it, knowing every dip and twist in the tune and change in the words as if they were a part of her…… And she sang it happily, as well, with a bright light, a fire, in her eyes.
Albus Dumbledore was not a man who showed his surprise; he did not do this now. It was not good for a leader to show too broad an array of emotions: Surprise, fear, and other emotions of the like were not helpful in just about all of his endeavors. But hearing this child begin singing in pretty, perfect French out of literally nowhere was quite the shock, testing his mask better than many of the other moments in his life. But Albus Dumbledore was a man of control, and he passed this test with the ease that came with years and years of practice.
Lucy finished the song quietly, ending it and immediately loosing the French tongue with which she'd sung it. Confusingly enough, this strange burst of French did not surprise or disorient her at all. Quite the contrary, actually; Lucy felt more normal now than she had all her life. She'd never before felt so at ease within her own skin, as if she'd finally reached a place, even for a moment, where she belonged in every way.
Then, Albus spoke, and the moment disappeared, making Lucy's skin return to its almost itchy normality, once again just small enough for her to feel as an imposter in her own body. As if there was something missing…… Or something that a part of her refused to acknowledge, thus making her life that much more impossibly difficult. It was as if there was another Lucy out there, somewhere. Lost. Alone. Desperately fighting for a foothold, to regain her place. To be herself.
But for now, Lucy had to ignore the intensely uncomfortable feeling that had always plagued her, that she was all wrong, that her skin was too small. As she had always done, and now did with more ease than Albus hid his emotions.
Albus had been silent for only a moment before speaking, noticing the slightest flicker in the back of Lucy's eyes; as if a light, an important flame, had been put out. An odd, heavy feeling momentarily touched his heart, then was gone by the childlike smile Lucy gave him at his words. She was so much a child it was amazing that anyone believed she could even be old enough to attend Hogwarts. "I don't really know where I heard the song, sir." Lucy said in her light voice, so much like a child's that it made Albus instinctively want to protect her from all harm. "In fact, I don't believe I've ever heard it in my life." Lucy let out a light, silvery, twinkling laugh. "To tell you the truth, Grandfather, I've never spoken a word of French in my whole life." That little laugh again, the accidental endearment slipping by unnoticed at the enormity of Lucy's words.
"Never before, Lucy? But how, then, did you come to know of that song? And even more, how can you sing it?" Lucy shrugged, a sunny smile on her face and in her eyes.
"I have no idea, sir. I woke up this morning with it in my mind." Lucy cocked her head at the tall man, looking for a moment like a puzzled puppy. "I knew the answer just a moment ago, sir, I'm sure of it. But I don't know it anymore. It left before I was able to get it completely." Lucy spoke with the wide-eyed, complete honesty that one would expect of a toddler who was trying to explain why they'd disappeared for hours on end, making their parents frantic with worry, only to come home around lunchtime with a fistful of flowers and mud stains all over their clothes, the small, yet impossibly endearing eyes wide as they tried to understand what the confusion was about and why so many people hadn't done the same themselves upon seeing the wonderful day. "Why are you crying, mummy?" The small child would ask, then hold out the flowers. "I picked these for you when I saw them. They made me smile and I like it when you smile, so I brought them home....... Why are you so pale, daddy? Did you want to chase the frog with me that I found in the woods? You can come next time if you want....... But why aren't you at work?" The child brightens. "Are you staying today to play with me and mummy? Can we go to the park?" And already, the morning trip forgotten, the child cannot possibly fathom what a proper explanation would be, for they wouldn't be able to remember it for all the world, not right then. Because they'd already forgotten, the information gone from them to the place where lost socks gathered to play, and broken, forgotten toys got together to dance, their pieces coming back together there. Trying to remember was pointless; the child knows this and does not bother. The others don't understand and thus want to know what has just happened even more than before.
"I'm……. not quite sure I understand what you mean, my dear." Albus said, clearly intrigued. "How can you not remember something that just happened?" Lucy blinked, and Albus once again saw something go missing. She seemed for a moment to truly forget; not just what had gone on in her head, but everything. Who she was, where she was, and what she was doing in a sunny, brightly lit corridor of a castle older than all of its occupants combined. Albus could literally see when it all came rushing back; light and understanding flooded her eyes, recognition appeared as she looked at him. He wondered where she had gone and what had triggered the sudden lapse. He was about to ask what had just happened, but almost at the same instant he was to speak, Lucy's own words literally blew his mind.
"Oh, hullo, Albus. Are you heading to lunch now?" Albus blinked. Gone. It was all gone. The French lullaby she'd sung for him, the conversation they'd had, the forgetting. It was gone. As if it'd never happened.
Lucy cocked her head at Albus, again the ever-puzzled and curious puppy. So he spoke, deciding to go with whatever it was that'd just happened than confuse her more…… and needlessly. "Well, thanks, and you, Lucy?" He asked instead of the billions of questions he wanted to. They began walking in the direction of the Great Hall and lunch.
"Oh, nothing much. Heading to lunch instead of teaching, which is always a bit of a downer, truth be told." Lucy added with a laugh, a thing that no other teacher had ever said to Albus before. She continued, as if sensing his thoughts. "I love teaching, Albus. It's the greatest thing since air, I bet." She laughed again. "I could do nothing but teach here at Hogwarts for the rest of my life; literally, nothing else. And I'd be happy as a clam, though I've never really understood how a clam can be so happy all the time as to be constantly referred to as such." Lucy shone with an inner light as she spoke, truth ringing in every word she spoke. "I never thought I could be so happy doing something so downtrodden by so many, really." Lucy laughed again. "I never really pictured myself with a future, but I suppose I must've inwardly believed if I ever made it that far I'd be doing something different. Helping people or something." Lucy shrugged brightly as the doors to the Great Hall came into view. She sighed softly as they began their descent to aforementioned doors, a piece of her slipping out accidentally, an admittance. "I'm going to hate it when Professor Knot comes back." She whispered softly, and with so much sadness in her child's countenance that it near broke Albus' heart. Before he could so much as think of what to say, though, they'd gone through into the Great Halls and Lucy was back to being her 'Professor Whit' self. Not very far from her student self, Albus had noticed, but enough to make a distinct difference. Very distinct, very clear. Very there, although no one else seemed to want to acknowledge it. Including him.
Well, I hope you all liked it! ^-^ And hey, Happy Reading!
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