Chapter 28 : Bludgers, Llamas, And Bad Haircuts
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It’s not so much disastrous as it is obnoxiously loud. The rain’s been pouring all day. If this keeps up, I'll be without an eardrum. Next week is our Hogsmeade trip with the entire upper class, too! That’s the only thing I’ve been thinking about today: what if we can’t go because our tents might catch fire from all the sparks via lightening? Will we be using tents? Are we going to be in cabins? Are we going to make our own beds with twigs and leaves? Wait, this isn't a mountain trail... Hold on, now. We're wizards. Weather can't stop us! Right?
They haven’t informed us of a thing - only the month and the week we are going, and how long we’re staying. Plus what to bring. The administration never mentioned what we'd be doing, or what would happen if the weather wasn't good. What if the lightening catches on to the roof of my cabin? OF COURSE THAT WOULD HAPPEN TO ME.
“Oi,” Sirius snaps his fingers in front of my face. “I called your name three times and I got no response.”
I rub my eyes and realize where I am. In the common room. Morning. After my first class, before my second. Thirty minute grace period in between both. Book in my hands, on the couch.
“Sorry,” I respond. “I was just thinking.”
I look down at the book in my lap. War and Peace? I read this back in First Year, how did this end up in my hands again?
“No worries,” he tells me, taking a seat to my left. “I was just wondering if you wanted to take a walk with Emma and I.”
“Oh.” That’s so cute.
“Yeah. So are you up for it? I mean, before Muggle Studies and the worrisome events that will accompany it?”
You mean before Muggle Studies and the colossal damage that will ensue once you walk in?
“Eh, no thank you. I’ll just,” I eye up the book in my lap, “Stay here and finish up on my book.”
“I won’t take no for an answer, Red,” Sirius informs. Then he beings to jump up and down on the sofa cushion. "Don’t be a buzz kill. When Sirius Black invites you to something, you accept, damn it," he whines.
“Are you speaking in third person again?” I taunt, my eyebrow lifted.
He shifts his eyes. “Maybe,” he says in a Sherlock Holmes impersonation.
“What can I say? Come on, Evans. Go with us. Be my Watson!”
I laugh. “I’m sorry, Black. But I’m going to have to put down my British tobacco pipe and hang up my peacoat for this one. I need some alone time.”
“Sirius, that’s not grammatically correct,” I point out.
“You’re not grammatically correct! OH, BURN!”
This is the part where I look the room in the hopes I’ll find someone else in Gryffindor to talk to. Preferably someone a bit more sane, and who doesn’t use your own sentences against you.
“I’m not going for a walk,” I repeat again. “I told you, I’m just going to stay here for the rest of the time I have left before Muggle Studies. You go. Enjoy your walk with Emma.” I almost said ‘before hell’ instead of ‘before Muggle Studies’, which is actually quite funny.
Sirius shakes his head, “Whatever, Red. You’re missing out.” He wiggles his eyebrows for effect. I give him a reassuring face, telling him I’m going to be fine.
“See you later.” He rises from the couch and ruffles my hair like my dad used to do when I was five. Except Sirius leaves my hair looking like a rollercoaster’s rushed through it and then crapped on me. Sirius didn’t just use his hand and ruffle my hair a bit - he used his whole hand and moved around all five fingers, taking a hold of my head. Then moving my hair around. Craptastic.
I lift my book up, ready to chuck it at his face, but he scurries away before I can do anything.
Sirius Black is like the annoying older brother I never had, or wanted. I wonder where they are going to place him next week on the camping trip, provided that the weather doesn’t stop us. I wonder if they have a Loony Cabin…
You’d think that pounding rain and thunderous lightning wouldn’t be going on in November, but no, the weather’s decided to beat the lard out of my already semi-shitty parade. This trip is the only thing that I came to school for this year (minus the actual school part and my two good gal pals and, okay, the occasional funny jokes that make my life). If the rain doesn’t go away, or worse, doesn't decrease in size, and they cancel the Hogsmeade trip… Dumbledore’s gonna meet my backhand. You can quote me on that. I will strike who need be!
Gasp, what if I get partnered up with Leslie Toudren in a tent? Oh, shoot me in the face with a rifle! I can already see her presetting her curls in her hair and taking up three pillows on each side of her graceful presence. Whilst I will probably be face down in the dirt. Inhailing the ants.
Er, maybe I should stop instigating things in my mind. I do that too often and that may be a problem in reality, so let’s leave in the instigating to-
“Why did you just give me that look!? Don’t look at me like that!”
“I didn’t give you a look!” Frank snaps, throwing his hands in the air like a poker player.
He’s playing wizard’s chess with a Third Year. I think they’re playing for 100 galleons (Frank is ever so the gambler) and the fourteen year old kid looks about ready to vomit. He’s concentrating so much on the chess pieces that he’s turning blue, not that the mounds of sweat protruding from his forehead wasn’t a dead giveaway of his discomfort.
Jessica, whom I have sadly titled as my sister from another mister recently, was walking across the room, from the stairs down to the fireplace, when Frank locked eyes with her for a nanosecond. But, you know, in girl world that’s like 3 and a half minutes. Apparently a look was issued on Frank’s part, and Jessica has become highly offended.
“Bastard!” She points at him as if he is the Claudius to her Hamlet and the truth must be revealed.
“You gave me an evil eye kind of look, and your brow was crooked,” Jess observes, walking towards him, completely oblivious to the boy sitting across from Frank.
“Er, the game,” the Third Year Pipes up with the point of a finger.
“Hush, boy,” Jess presses her perfectly manicured hand against the kid’s forehead and pushes him away.
Frank looks at the Third Year, then back at Jess, with a face that seriously questions whether or not sanity is even an issue in the argument anymore.
“Don’t go around pushing people around!” Frank barks.
Why is he so upset that she did that? If it wasn't for Jess, he'd probably have done that himself. Oh, who am I kidding… he’s mad because he’s supposed to be. I swear, one of these days, they’re going to realize that they’re just role playing. Kinky, I know.
“I’ll push around who ever I want, especially if it ticks you off,” she snidely remarks.
Frank Longbottom pushes his chair back.
“Oh, so you’ll admit that this whole ‘you gave me a look’ thing was just a simple made up excuse that your mind concocted because your imagination thought it would be okay to do so, and thus having a reason to start a fight and to begin an argument just so you can claim that I’m wrong and you’re right, when- IN FACT, you started the argument, and in addition decided to bully my mate Bruce here, who happens to be a rookie in the gambling business side of wizards’ chess, just to continue trying to push my buttons, just so you can do something near me that can piss me off enough to insult you, so you can be the one to say that I’m the insufferable one, but I’M NOT FALLING FOR IT!” He sticks his tongue out for effect.
Jessica just scoffs and stomps on his shoe. “Do I have to physically assault you? Because you’re honestly asking for an arse-whooping.”
As soon as the word ‘arse’ passes from Jessica’s lips, I swear I could have seen the corner of Frank’s lip raise slightly like he was going to laugh. He enjoys that too much.
He snaps out of it and looks straight towards Jessica, standing up in the process. “You know what, don’t take things out on little boys half your size, Finelly. They aren’t trained to handle your kind of bitch yet.”
“Excuse me, I just turned fourteen!” The Third Year boy squeaks out, clearly annoyed.
No one pays any attention to him.
Keyword: No one.
Ah, we have something in common.
“Oh, stop trying to cover for him. You’re just using him to pretend that I’m being the bully so you make him feel like the victim, when in fact you probably don’t care two chocolate frogs about him!”
Frank looks at her, squinting one eye, as if he’s considering something. “You’re going to turn in to a decrepit old lady, Finelly,” he predicts.
Not expecting his comment, Jessica’s mouth does a weird lip movement before her eyebrows raise. “Ah-” She shuts her mouth, not knowing what to say. Her neck is craned back in an awkward position.
“…Just saying,” Frank Longbottom shrugs.
“Whatever, you’re probably going to grow in to one of those wanna be war veterans when you’re a senior citizen. Those guys that, you know, pretend they actually fought in the war or something, and only have one working eyeball. The kind that tell pretend stories. In reality you're gonna want to seem like one of those guys that lose limbs because of bombs, just so people will feel sorry for you. But really you’ll just get into a lawn mowing accident and just lie about it,” she snaps. “I can tell.”
I bite my bottom lip and stick out my chin, trying to comprehend what my best friend’s just said. Nonetheless, my eyebrows meet and say hello in confusion.
“Right, because who DOESN’T lie about how they lose their limbs when the title of ‘war veteran’ is involved,” he responds flatly.
“Exactly!” Jessica concludes accusingly, and a tad too loudly.
I’m obviously the only one who is confused on why their always talking about their futures in their arguments, specifically with negative comments.
“Oi, lovebirds-” they turn and glare at him.
“Mates, I mean,” he fixes quickly, “I kind of have 100 galleons hanging on the line so if we could just pause this for a second-” But the Third Year is cut off in an instant.
It takes Frank one cool second to reach behind him and place his hand next to the chessboard. He taps it and mumbles something incomprehensible from my distance from the sofa, and moves his queen in to a position that makes him nearly unbeatable.
He doesn’t even look behind him. All he’s doing is watching Jess, who is watching him back; she’s a bit aggravated at his badass-ness. But I know secretly that she finds it incredibly sexy. Frank, on the other hand, looks completely satisfied, smirking with out having to smirk, know what I mean? His smile isn’t even fully genuine but he is directing it at her, with his eyes twinkling at my best friend.
An ear splitting scream hit’s the entire atmosphere like a gun shot. I shudder responsively and everyone in the room does something of the same extent. We all look at the Third Year boy whom Frank has epically beaten at a game of wizards’ chess. Jess and Frank turn to him with Merlin knows what faces, I can’t see them from here.
“Sorry, I have a problem with anger…and screaming,” he says, breathing heavily as if he’s just ran a marathon. The entire population of the common room at this current time is still silent and unresponsive.
“Hi,” he raises a shakey hand. “My name’s Bruce, by the way.”
“Hello, Bruce!” is what half of the Gryffies in the room say. I could almost laugh if it wasn’t so demented…and real. I feel like I’m in a rehabilitation group and we’re introducing each other around the room.
Hi, my name’s Lily Evans. And I have a drinking problem.
Some of the students start talking to Bruce and say hey to him at different intervals, and they soon become a mix of messy greetings and incomprehensible messages. Then someone in the crowd yells out, “You’re a tool!”
The low slam of the portrait hole veers me away.
Someone, who looks strangely like Peter Pettigrew, walks in to the common room. No, walking is the wrong verb- he stalks into the room in a complete huff, breathing heavily and looking at the ground. Not long after his presence, Remus Lupin comes in through the portrait hole, following the strange boy I still can’t recognize. Remus seems upset and guilty.
“I didn’t mean to, Peter!” he calls out.
I close my book and set it down on the coffee table, and get a better look.
That’s him!? The boy has jet black hair cut in the shape of a bowl on his head! It can’t possibly be him!
“Like that means anything, Remus! Look at me!” The mystery guy finally looks up from the ground, completely red in the face…and it’s definitely Peter Pettigrew.
“Oh my…” I gasp, covering my mouth.
“Cheers, Lily,” Peter sarcastically directs at me, in a sullen tone.
“What the bloody hell happened to your hair?!”
“I’m sorry!” Remus screeches, clawing at his face.
Sweet apples! Where did that come from!?
“Oh my God, Jess, you scared the living shit out of me,” I spit out like fire. Frank and Jessica somehow found a way to walk over here undetected (maybe I wasn’t being observant enough?) without interrupting my line of vision. Frank and Jessica are now sitting on the couch, on either side of me! How the hell…?
“Give me a minute to restart my heart.” I breathe in and out, freaked by the sight before me. I have Peter Pettigrew with a really bad haircut, or style, or something- in front of my eyes, and my two good friends on either side of me, nonchalantly sitting as if they’ve been laying there watching the telly for hours. Frank looks like a poster child for popcorn and a movie.
“Holy hell, you look hilarious,” Jessica continues, chuckling. “What’s with the coconut head?”
“Christ, you look like Ringo.” Frank pauses for a second, and relaxes himself on the couch, putting his arm behind my head on the sofa's frame. He then adds, “I don’t think jet black is your color, Pettigrew.”
“I hate all of you,” Peter says simply.
Peter turns to Remus. “You should be, Moony! I have to walk around looking like an old Beatles member! You better fix this…”
“Now wait a minute,” I stop. “What’s going on?”
“Er, what happened, is the question we should be asking,” Frank quirks his eyebrow.
“Who cares? He looks funny.”
“Jess,” I say warningly. She rolls her eyes and grabs the remote, clearly bored with the conversation. I turn to Remus meanwhile.
“I’m guessing you did this?”
“All by yourself?”
More nodding happens.
“Why?” I ask, losing my patience.
“He jinxed me!” Peter bursts, pointing all fingers at his best friend.
Remus Lupin’s mouth drops. “I didn’t!”
“Okay, sure, tell that to the planet that is now part of my head!” Peter points to his globe of a haircut.
“Look,” Remus counters, turning to Frank and I, “I had an old book from the library on Transfiguration in my hands. And it had a whole bunch of chapters on how Charms and Transfiguration can coincide with each other under certain circumstances… someone scribbled a spell on the side of it, so I kind of tried it out-”
“Moron,” Jessica blatantly speaks.
Remus grimaces in her direction. “It wasn’t my fault Peter decided to walk straight up to me when I was pointing outwards with my wand, right in front of my face! I was staring at the textbook, trying to read the scribbles when I did it, I swear. I was reading off the spell, I mean- okay, I was curious, and I shouldn’t have done it. But I was curious! Who knows what else could have happened though? Let's just be happy about how things turned out... I may have conjured up a freaking hurricane instead of what I did conjure up.”
Is the haircut on Peter the only thing he’s conjured up? Because I'm thinking not.
“That actually has nothing to do with Transfiguration, that’s a part of nature,” Frank points out. "Hurricanes aren't that easy to conjure up, buddy. You'd have to part the Red Sea and have a death match with Mother Nature before that happens."
I cross my arms in a motherly way and ignore Frank. “That’s damn straight, Lupin. You could have seriously hurt Peter. Why did you do it in the middle of the corridor?”
Remus runs a hand through his hair. “Merlin! I didn't plan it, Lily, I just did it in the spur of the moment. And I didn’t know what would happen. I may have said it wrong-”
“Well, OBVIOUSLY,” Peter shouts.
People are beginning to stare.
“I tried to create some sort of counter spell, but nothing’s worked. So I tried reading through the book, thinking I could find another spell that could reverse it, or at least lessen the haircut somewhat.”
“Oh, no, Remus…Tell me you didn’t experiment further,” I plead.
“I did,” he covers his face with his hands. “I hate myself sometimes.”
“Serves you right,” Jessica spectates, eyes glued to the screen.
Peter’s been panting AND pacing back and forth for the past five minutes now, pulling at his hair. I am the only human in the room noticing this enough to care to some extend.
“What are you watching?” Peter asks curiously, and stops pacing.
“Some show called Dr. Phil.”
He continues pacing with a grunt.
“Oh my God, I love that show!” Remus exclaims. I raise an eyebrow, my face giving off my What The Fuck expression in it’s full colors.
“Pay attention,” I remind him.
“Right,” he agrees, scuffling his feet around a bit. “Well, I kind of conjured up something else…”
My heartbeat is beginning to quicken. I knew it!
“What was it, then?” Frank asks Remus, tired of the suspense.
“I’m…wait, what?” Frank asks, “Was that even English?”
“Sounded like Aztec to me,” Jessica comments yet again, her eyebrows crossed in frustration at the marriage counseling going on by some bald guy on the television.
“Speak slower,” I advise. Before I beat it out of you.
“A dead llama,” he says quickly, but I hear it ever so clearly. In fact, I hear it in time to rise from the couch, with my shoe already off my foot.
“Shit, mate! A dead farm animal?” Frank asks, gesturing me to calm down (and put my shoe back on) at the same time.
“No, Frank! He needs a serious smack in the head with a tall rubber sole!”
“You’re turning in to Jess, put your shoe back on!” He scolds, but not in a mean way. In an ashamed way. Actually, in a way as if I’m the toddler in the store that’s knocked all the toys off the shelf, causing everyone to stare. “You women think violence fixes everything, jeez…”
“Okay, MOM,” I mock.
“Let me get this straight,” he speaks to Remus, and to Peter who is still pacing. “You conjured up a dead llama in the middle of the corridor because you accidentally turned Peter into Ringo Starr?”
“Stop calling me that!”
“I didn’t just bring a dead llama in to school just because of this mishap! I obviously had a reason, Longbottom. I just tried to make another Transfiguration happen but it was messy, and things got complicated, and I didn’t have everything I needed for the incantation… I was working under pressure, okay!? Peter was having a hissy fit while I was frantically searching for a cure!”
“I’M NOT DISEASED!”
“Shut up, Peter,” we all say in unison.
“I can’t believe there’s a dead llama in the school hallways…” Oh, freaking Merlin’s training bra. How am I supposed to fix this?
“Don’t worry, I’ll go back tomorrow-”
“TOMORROW!” I leap off the couch, seriously ready to kill him. “You fucking idiot! That’s an animal! You can’t leave a dead animal in the hallway, it…it has feelings! Or it HAD feelings, rather. And you’re telling me that you LEFT AN ANIMAL IN THE HALLWAY AND YOU ARE GOING TO GO CHECK UP ON IT TOMRROW. Do you know where you’re standing on your life line? Here’s a hint: You’re on a cliff, and you look about ready to base jump. GUESS WHAT HAPPENS.”
I’m seething by the time I’ve finished yelling at him, and Frank starts clapping. “Well done, Chief!” He shouts out with pride.
“Frank,” I snap, “Now is NOT the time.” I’m the one that has to fix this damn problem, because I’m the only one that cares two shits enough to really do something. Or fix it, at least.
“Hey, no one’s asking you to help! Don’t just make this YOUR problem, you crazy broad! You’re two steps away from turning into the bag lady that circles around London in a poncho,” counters Remus, getting heated.
“Why does everyone assume I’m going to be homeless?!” I cry, then snap out of it, remembering the certain situation at hand. I take a deep breath and exhale out of my nose. “And for the record, Lupin, I have to take this under my wing. I don’t have a choice. You doing something, anything at all, to fix this, is going to end in more of a disaster. And if I won’t take responsibility for YOUR careless mistake, you are most definitely going to get in trouble with the administration at this school. Don’t think I don’t know you’ll rat all of us out, saying we were involved. It’s like a crime scene. As soon as you spill the beans to someone, they become part of it. Besides, why else would you have come here? To find advice or some sorta solace, right?”
“Of course,” Peter snaps sarcastically, at the brink of tears. “Because I have nothing better to do than go find solace in the most soft spoken person in school, the most angelic Lily Evans, when my hair has turned in to such a horrific catastrophe, that the consequences of me looking at myself in the mirror involve causing my own bowel movements.”
I narrow my eyes at him. Someone’s put on their pissy pants.
“Look, let’s just stop fighting, okay? We’re all screwed if we don’t pitch in. And we all know that, too. Remus, you can’t do this alone.” Frank turns to Peter. “I know that you hate the way you look, and trust me, it’s not a festival for my pupils either, but you’re going to have to deal with this for a while. Maybe not all day, but a couple hours. At least until we have a plan figured out.”
I mentally thank Frank for his collaboration skills. He was probably a boy scout.
“Why don’t we just shave his head?” Jessica offers. She shrugs and looks at us honestly.
“Are. You. MAD!?” Peter throws his fists down like a kid, with the whole ‘stooping with the bent knees and stomping his feet’ thing for every syllable. Not to mention, I’ve noticed a certain moistening in his eyes, and it's giving him a twinkle of the lunatic in him. Either that, or he’s crying.
“I had hair like Edward Cullen before all this!” he whines, utterly upset.
“Are you crying?” I ask, disgusted. Or flabbergasted. The little shit-stirred man inside my head can’t decide.
“NO,” Peter screeches strongly. Dear God, his screeching is worse than when Petunia was trying to learn to play the harmonica when I was six. Merlin.
“Okay, let’s focus on the current situation,” I announce, steadying everyone with both of my hands. I put a hand up to Peter. “You… you, calm down.” I put a hand out to Remus. “You’re first going to give us that book on the combination of Charms and Transfiguration to help Peter’s current, er, hairy situation. Potions is my best subject but I’m good with Charms too.”
“And I’m not too rusty with Transfiguration. It’s a step away from Herbology, not gonna lie, but it’s up my alley,” adds Frank, leaning back on the couch again.
“Then,” I continue, “You will help us remove the body of the llama for a little while. How you conjured up a bad haircut and a llama trying to fix it is just beyond me-”
“You’re getting off hand,” Remus icily reminds me.
“Regardless,” I emphasize, “We probably won’t be able to fix the llama thing until we get the Peter thing solved first, because Peter’s a bit of a diva.”
“Don’t be snarky,” Peter buttss in immediately, crossing his arms. He starts pacing again, and Remus takes a seat on the coffee table.
“No, Lily’s right.”
I raise my eyebrow and glance at Remus Lupin.
“Oh, really?” I am dumbfounded.
“We can hide the llama temporarily, somewhere no one will look. That’s going to be the easier part. People are going to notice you’re hair, and your bogus attitude. Hell, everybody’s already staring at you. It’s smarter and wiser to fix what is visible to the public, first. As bad as this may sound, the llama’s just a llama, and we can move the dead animal any damn place we want for the time being.”
“Are you thinking what I’m thinking?” I ask.
“Room of Requirement.”
Perfect! We can hide the llama (which, just saying, I’m going to be nowhere near) in the Room of Requirement, whilst Frank and I will search for a supposed ‘cure’ or counter-spell.
“I still think he jinxed me,” Peter says, acting caddy.
“Oh, lay off it, Pettigrew,” Frank tells him, annoyed to the rim with his immaturity. “He couldn’t have jinxed you anyways. The result doesn’t add up to the laws of Jinxing, nor does it seem too far stretched out to be a Charm. It’s definitely a spell, but we need to classify it first. There are four basic rules to jinxing that clash with the first two rules of Transfiguration. Charms is a whole different ballgame. Which is why it’s a big deal when two subjects of magic like that clash together.”
"SHIT," I spill out, my thoughts not making sense. “Crap, Frank, you’re dominating as hell.”
“Mmmhm,” Jessica mumbles towards Frank, very impressed.
He cocks his eyebrow towards her, putting on his handsome charm. “You like that, huh?”
She smirks in, dare I say, a flirty manner. “Not in the slightest, Longbottom.”
OH, GET IT ON, ALREADY.
The portrait hole decides to open at this particular moment, and the two people I weren’t expecting to see walk through. They’re holding hands and they’re presence almost knocks the room off it’s feet. People stare for a few seconds, pausing conversation, just to look at them. The female (whose haircolor is a too-fake-and-too-bright-to-be-human-blonde-that-even-Barbie-would-find-insulting) is being obnoxiously loud. Her laughter is echoing the walls in such a bothersome way that just hearing her, and not looking at her doing it, gets on your nerves. The male, oddly enough, is seeming to be interested in making her laugh more. His face is pretending to care, in fake happiness. But the wrinkles on the corners of his eyes are not honest, and I can sense his façade as soon as we lock eyes.
James Potter doesn’t like her laughter, or holding her hand. No, he doesn’t care about her obnoxiousness, because he’s too busy pretending that it’s okay. James’s smile falters as soon as he sees me, because he knows that I know this about him. He thinks he can pretend in front of me. Hah, touché.
I tried to hide my annoyance with him all these years, but yet he had seen me clearly and knew that he got on my nerves. That’s how this whole relationship, or lack thereof, started. He sensed that I couldn’t stand his pestering, so he kept doing it. Why? Because I pretended that it didn’t pester me at all. And he loved that he could read through me. That’s how things like this are always initiated. Pretending is a big factor.
“Oh my God, you’re hilarious! AHA, AHA, AHA…” Leslie bubbly rejoices in to more fits of throat-slitting laughter. Remus rolls his eyes secretly to himself and turns his back to the ‘it’ couple of the week.
“I have enough problems as it is,” he murmurs. I’m pretty sure I wasn’t mean to hear Remus say that.
But I sense his discomfort, so I ignore my back-and-forth glancing seminar with James Potter. One of the two of us is about to flip if we keep staring at each other. I don’t need more build up, my volcano’s going to blow on it’s own, thanks.
I choose to be the bigger person and look away. Luckily, James does the same, and they walk past the five of us without an attack. This time, though, when he passes me, he doesn’t look at my lips, or my eyes, or at me at all.
James is looking at the ground, and he isn’t looking to please.
Leslie tugs him along and he is forced to follow. They sit on the farthest side of the common room, polar opposite from us. Thank the heavens!
“How convenient,” Peter comments. “Bubble-gum-kissykissypoopoo-luscious has decide to join us.”
I involuntarily shudder at his nickname for her. I thought that Sirius was the one that disliked her the most? Guess things change in a matter of hours…
Man, don’t I know it.
“Don’t worry about them,” I dismiss, although Peter’s still aggravated by Leslie’s presence.
“Guys, listen to Lily. Enough drama. Don’t worry about Potter and his lack of dateable women, alright? Now’s not the time. We have a dead llama to…incarcerate?” Frank bites his cheek.
“Confine would be a better term,” shrugs Remus.
“Whatever, let’s just get this going quick.” He snaps his fingers. “Remus, where’s it located?”
“Near the stairs on the fourth flo-”
“What the…an ANIMAL OUTSIDE THE PORTRAIT HOLE?” Someone horrifically shouts, in the middle of Remus Lupin’s somewhat alibi.
I zone out and hush Remus with my hand. Wait…what did I just here?
My eyebrows knit together as I try to listen to what some random student’s just yelled. It takes me two seconds to realize it’s Bruce, whose conversing with someone who has just ran through the portrait hole and inside the common room.
“Shhh! It followed me from the fourth floor!” his friend hushes, looking around to see if anyone else heard him. “I don’t know what to do, Bruce. I’m going to be in so much trouble!”
My eyeballs. My eyeballs are almost falling out.
Frank, Remus, Peter, Jess, and I get up and form a straight line of sorts. We lean towards the portrait hole, on our left side, making our bodies face the same spot: the entrance. I don’t have to look around to see our faces. Because what we see looking back at us is enough to send us to St. Mungo’s for a year.
“Is- is that a llama?” Jessica quivers, tugging on my shoulder.
“Yes,” I squeak back, terrified out of my mind. I hear that llama’s spit on you if they don’t like you! And if nice ones do that when they first meet you, then I can only imagine what this crazy dragged-out-of-hell looking beast has planned for us.
Bruce walks closer to the entrance of the common room, to get a good look for himself, not believing his eyes. Half the llama’s face is visible. “What the…”
He opens the door fully to find a sitting llama, a bright beige sort of color, right in front of him. His breathing goes erratic again, as if loosing 100 galleons to Frank Longbottom didn’t do the job, the boy is about to go into cardiac arrest. And it’s not just because there’s a llama in front of him. But it’s because of the state he’s in. Every student, Gryffindor or not, in the common room, stops what they’re doing. A haystack could roll across the lobby and no one would notice. Everybody’s mouth is agape, including mine.
Because Bruce has positioned himself to be the first target.
Yes, first target. See, my general thought when I saw the llama less that five nanoseconds ago was: Oh my God, the llama’s alive and it's followed a student back to Gryffindor Headquarters! But then it occurred to me: The llama in front of the portrait hole is vicious, and looks a tad bit…aggravated. That explains all the bucking he’s doing with his back legs.
“That’s-that’s-THAT’S A LLAMA!” Bruce, who is standing there, pointing at the huffing llama with red eyes, is shocked and can’t move. His eyebrows are receding towards his hair line and his scrawny legs are not moving an inch to get out of the way. The people surrounding me in the common room have followed my lead and half the students of Gryffindor are all leaning towards their left.
The llama makes a terrifying sound, scruffs it’s front hoof like a bull in the streets of Spain, and glares ever so strongly at Bruce. And I’m pretty sure that Bruce just… oh, what’s the word? Sharted? Yes, he’s just sharted himself. The llama, who is alive and very well, gnarls at him, showing a full row of ice-cube sized teeth, before charging.
“You are the biggest fuckup on the face of the planet.”
Frank couldn’t have said it better.
“You know, one day your comments are going to send me over the edge and I may just get seizurific on your arse. Or set fire to the school.”
Great. Now I’m going to have to look out for Remus committing arson in the near future. Because I’m sure there’s a whole new set of comments Frank is planning to say to the irresponsible marauder.
“Well, at least the llama’s settled,” I throw in hopefully. “Half the drama is gone.”
“I still look like coconut head!” Peter tells me spitefully, as if we didn’t just complete a nearly impossible task. We just fixed a very big dilemma involving Remus and him. And this is what we get? More complaints? What a brat.
“Ungrateful bastard,” I murmur under my breath, leaning deeper in my seat. I fold my arms.
“Hey, Pettigrew, stop being a bloody prat,” Frank lazily tells him, and flicks a rubber band at his forehead.
Remus, Peter, Frank, and I are sitting outside the Hospital Wing. I’m sitting next to Remus on a wooden bench against the wall, which is facing the Hospital Wing double doors.
Peter and Frank are sitting on the other wooden bench right next to the double doors, across from us. Peter has his hands in his lap, looking completely annoyed that his situation is still not fixed. Frank is leaning over himself, arms on his knees, hunched forward. Remus is looking as tired and as sullen as ever. Jessica isn’t with us because, as traumatizing as this was for her, she had to go to do her prefect rounds with James at just about he same time I stunned the llama.
Let’s start from the top, shall we?
So everyone basically shit a brick when the llama came in and attacked Bruce. Jessica was kind of bewildered, but soon got over it. She announced she had to do prefect rounds. She marched over and grabbed a shocked James by the collar, prying Leslie’s hands off of him. At this point I had already stunned the animal that was actually never dead in the first place and Bruce was crying tears of joy that the llama (he later named it ‘the devil’s horse’) stopped munching on his ear aggressively like it was a piece of lettuce. But I waited too long, and the damage was done.
Bruce had no shirt, as it was ripped to shreds. His school pants were missing seams down the BOTH pant legs, and he was missing a shoe. And the physical damage? A black eye from where the llama head-butted him, a bent finger that’s been bruised so badly he can’t bend it back in place (the llama also stomped on his hand), and one bruised ear, where the animal gnawed on until it went black and blue.
I’m pretty sure we were so initially shocked at what was going on in front of us, that the whole room sorta…looked at him getting mauled by this vicious creature. Sad, I know. But at least I cut off the llama before it started chewing on his foot.
Frank carried the llama on his back, stiff as a rock, all the way to Dumbledore’s office. Ironically, McGonagall was already in his office, and she was the one to open the door to find us. And what did she see? Why, Frank and I, of course. With our expressions dry as the Saharan Desert, with our arms stretched out straight, holding the stunned llama together by its hooves. Needless to say, I think we just promised her re-subscription to some more anti-wrinkling cream and anti-aging foundation, due to stress in the workplace. The girl really needs a spa day, if you ask me.
Surprisingly, Professor Dumbledore was kind of…nonchalant about the whole thing, really supportive and helpful. He didn’t punish us at all, well, except for Jess. Turns out that she kind of skipped her prefect duty of ‘missing the first Hogsmeade trip of the year’ to a pulp of deceit. Or so McGonagall says. James had immediately been incarcerated before the day of Hogsmeade saw the light of it’s first day. But Jess totally bailed and they didn’t catch her in time. As punishment, she AND JAMES have been assigned another extra hour next week for prefect rounds. Jess and James are both doing rounds right now, and they don’t know yet about their punishment, except us. But I’m sure they’ll take the news horribly.
As for Hogsmeade, James did his time, so he’s allowed to go to the rest of the trips to the village. But Jess has to skip the next one this coming up Saturday. The last trip before Hogsmeade Camping begins with the Sixth and Seventh Years! It was going to be our shopping day, to get ready to cram on essentials. Like tampons.
…And that’s how we got to here: in the middle of Muggle Studies, the class right before lunch, after the ‘grace’ period - if you would even call it graceful in the slightest.
Dumbledore was understanding enough to help us accompany Bruce to the Hospital Wing, and gave us extra time. So we can go to Muggle Studies whenever we please. As soon as we hear from Madame Pomphrey on how Bruce is doing, we’re free to go to class. Or skip it.
But that was Frank’s idea.
“Ugh, I’m just soooooo tired right now.” I rest my head in my hands, rubbing my eyes raw.
“I know what you mean, Lily.”
Of course he does. Frank knows how I am. I’m not tired just physically, because - let’s face it, only I could deal with this much drama before lunch - but mentally, too. Why can’t there just be one minute in my life of peacefulness? There’s always something going on. It’s like what Frank told me the other day.
In my life, there’s either a battle of never-ending proportions happening, or a silent war of the worlds going on.
“Hey, I know something that might cheer up your gloominess,” Frank proposes.
“Finelly wanted to go to the Quidditch match tonight. Gryffindor versus Ravenclaw. You game?”
I haven’t been to a match in ages.
“Actually, that sounds really great.”
Surprisingly, Frank’s taken aback by my answer. “Really? Good!”
I eye him wearily. “Why are you excited?”
“Oh,” he mumbles, shuffling his feet. “Nothing, I was just worried that you had nothing to do tonight.”
“You mean you were afraid to go by yourself with Jessica to the match tonight,” I correct.
I ruffle Frank’s hair. “Don’t worry, Frankie boy. I got ya. Besides, I need to relax. Some sport watching may do me some good.” Regardless of the party in the common room that comes with it.
He grimaces. “I hate it when you call me that.”
“Kelly Ormandy’s got the Quaffle!”
It’s a cold night tonight, and I’ve got my scarf wrapped around my neck and my hair in a knit hat. I’m sitting next to Jessica (on my right) and Frank (on my left). Ironically, neither of them wanted to sit next to each other. Weird, right? Thought they’d be on a date right now. Although this is kind of a date, but not official.
Oh, and I’m here. There’s THAT factor.
“She’s going…going…going… STOPPED! interception! By Brianna Foxtrot! What luck!” The announcer bellows, and for a second, I smack myself in the face for realizing what I had been missing.
Why didn’t I go to a single match this year? This may be the fourth match so far, but still! I forgot how wonderful they used to be. Maybe it was my way of pushing James away? Maybe...
I can't decipher why, honestly.
But whatever. All I can do now is just inhale the wind and the cold and the excitement, letting the happiness spread itself around. So that's what I'm going to do. And I’m here with my two best friends, which is the best part of it all.
I turn to Jessica, who’s in a red peacoat and a scarf taking up half her face, plus the ear muffins dominating the planet. She’s beyond adorable.
“I’m so glad I did this,” I smile at her.
“Good,” Jessica smiles back, rubbing my arm. “I’m happy you’re here, I’ve missed you.” We do the girly squeal-arm-holding thing and giggle. Frank rolls his eyes. He has a black beanie on his head and a black fluffy jacket. As you can tell, he tried really hard to stand out. I don’t even think he owns a Gryffindor pattern scarf.
“Oh, please! You love us!” I wrap my arms around both Jessica's and Frank’s shoulder chuckling. I give them a big squeeze and kiss them both on the cheek.
This is the best night ever!
I exhale quickly and try to keep watch of the players out in the field. Everyone in the stadium is shivering in excitement, their breaths turning into a white fog when it hit’s the cold night air. I think I’m kind of happy right now. I gaze at the Gryffindor Quidditch players in both awe and appreciation. I forgot the feeling of what going to a match felt like. The unity and the satisfying need to know that you’re a part of something. The matches used to be one of my favorite parts of Hogwarts when I was younger. Even if I avoided the celebrations in the common room and not party with the rest of the team, I still thought the matches were significant…or at least important, in my Hogwartian life.
I wonder what’s important to me now?
“Well, the night’s been going off splendidly, folks. Kasey Marley’s just blocked a goal from Arnold Bell and- WOW! BLUDGER TO THE HEAD! By Jon Peruvian, everyone, straight into Connor Elizabeth’s face! Connor’s been captain of the Ravenclaw team since Sixth Year, unlike our captain, who’s been the boss and running this place since Fourth Year.” You know, Samuel McLaggen is quite the entertaining sports announcer.
Speaking of James.
He looks like he’s at the top of his game, I hate to say. I see him make contact with Leslie in the crowd and she blows him a kiss. But awkwardly enough, he turns away from her before she’s fully touched her hands to her mouth. Strange. James loves the attention he gets from people in the stands, especially the girls.
“We’ve got James Potter, captain of the Gryffie Clan, and number one captain in my position, playing for seeker. He’s looking brooding tonight, everyone. But let’s face it, all of us Gryffindor lads are quite dashing, I can’t lie about that. Event though I thoroughly appreciate the amount of females surrounding me at the moment…Ladies, close your jaws, this isn’t a boy scouting convention-” McLaggen gets cut off immediately by Professor McGonagall, and he returns to his mic with a sullen look on his face.
The players whiz passed the Gryffindor stands and everybody goes nuts.
“What I meant to say, is that all the players on the team are all wonderful people. And that I am not biased, nor do I favor my House in this game whatsoever,” he says in strict robotic monotone, with an annoyed expression.
The roaring of the crowds send me into a small dose of euphoria as I chat with Jess and Frank as the game continues on. Suddenly though, in the most rarest moment, I turn my head to look up and it just so happened to be the same moment that James eyes the snitch. But I don’t notice it at first, because out of the corner of my eye, I catch Jessica and Frank staring at each other. I stand up straighter and leaned my head out of their way on purpose, to see if they’ll look. And they do.
I’d be lying if I said I didn’t care James Potter has already sighted the snitch, but I was too satisfied with my result.
Jessica blushes. Frank blushes. They look away in a huff, their breaths gust out white smoke. I smirk on the inside, and loop my arms through both of their arms, while their hands are shoved down their coat pockets. It took a second for them to look at each other, but I saw it. I saw it.
It was pure infatuation. The moment lasted a second but it was enough. I saw what I knew I’d see.
Smiling inwardly, I disguise myself to make it seem like I’m staring at the game. But for a momentary relapse, I think about Jessica Finelly and Frank Longbottom for real. They know it. They MUST know that they like each other. See, I want a love like that. Maybe not replicating Frank and Jessica’s relationship, but I want what they have. I want what they don’t know they have.
I know Jessica. I’ve known her for years. I know how she works and how she thinks, and this guy was the first to turn her so topsy-turvy that I didn’t even understand her sometimes. Where she didn’t understand herself. There’s a reason for this. There has to be. I wouldn’t go as far as saying they were ‘in love’, but maybe the potential is there. Maybe they’re getting there. I just wish they knew what kind of blessing was in front of them. They could make it work if they just STARTED with admitting they liked each other! I can only hope that one day I’ll have what they have. Because I want it. Jess and Frank are just too shy to let the other know- but they want it just as much as me.
“Bell’s got the ball and he’s going for it! HE’S CLOSE, ALMOST THERE- SCORE! TEN POINTS FOR GRYFFINDOR!”
I actually get up and scream like a banshee out of hell.
“Both Ravenclaw beaters are whacking the pigeon out of their bludgers! Beatrice Reynolds, Gryffindor’s prized possession chaser is practically in intensive care, thanks to those jerk-offs in Ravencl-”
Professor McGonagall stands up abruptly and shouts at Samuel McLaggen, hands flying around. Is it just me or did Professor just make a gesture to kill him? I turn my head for a better look.
Oh, no, she’s just reaching for his ear. Once she gets a hold of it, she yanks Samuel and drags him out of his seat. But not without him trying to rip the microphone away. Stunningly enough, McLaggen pulls a 10 Things I Hate About You maneuver and starts dancing on the bleachers, trying to get away from McGonagall. She chases him around hastily.
“Folks- FOLKS! It seems that”- intake of breath - “I am unfavorably being dismissed, but- BUT I HAVE TO ANNOUNCE- OH, MY! One of Ravenclaw’s beaters, Birch Berkley, has whacked off a huge bludger directed at…uh, oh!” He points off into the field and everyone stops what they're doing, even Minerva.
On the pitch I see Sirius Black diving toward the bludger. I see James shift his head, and we actually lock eyes for the first time today. My mind is twisting in confusion and by the time I get it why Sirius is trying to collide with the bludger, it’s already too late.
To say that I heard the sickening crack would be an overstatement, but I felt it. I guess that’s a little strange, but it’s as if I felt the bludger hit me right in my back, too. James hadn’t looked at me at all until now, when he decided to look behind him and find me on his left side in the stands, and it had to happen like this. It’s as if I saw it happen in slow motion.
“JAMES POTTER'S BEEN HIT WITH A BLUDGER!”
A plunging in my stomach occurs and the most horrid feeling gushes over my body as I jump up, unable to scream, and just stare at James. Who has fallen off his broomstick because of the momentum of the hit. His limp body is quickly making its way to the ground.
Usually, when players get hit, there is a mix of emotions on the Pitch. But it’s different with James Potter. Out of all the ways he could have gotten hit, he had it the worse. It didn’t hit his face, but his back- square in his back. It rolled off his shoulder and out of his sight before Sirius even reached him. Everybody in the crowd is stunned. Even Samuel McLaggen’s stopped trying to get away from McGonagall. The crowds are 80% paralyzed, and the simmering down of conversation brings more awareness to the game. I gasp involuntarily, knowing I was the last thing James saw before the bludger hit him.
Author's Note: Man! I hope my Quidditch lingo was accurate :] I'm actually kind of proud of this chapter. I'm not too confident, but I talked about everything I planned on putting in, so I feel satisfied ^_^
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