Chapter 25 : Painting Talk and Butterflies
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Beautiful Chapter Image by RyleeAnn @ tda.
I was walked down the forth floor corridor, when I realized something. I was walking alone; there was no one else in the corridors. There was no sound either. No howls came from the forest, no laughter came from children. It wasn’t quite curfew yet, there was at least half an hour, so why was no one out? A silent wind blew, moving trees in the distance. But still nothing could be heard.
I stopped right before a wooden door, the detention room. Behind me was the prefects bathroom, small giggles could be heard from behind the door. I didn’t particularly want to know what was going on. Next to me, I heard a sigh. It came from a painting.
“Charisma Price?” It questioned. “Am I correct?”
I nodded nonchalantly. “Yes, yes you are.”
“Quite the talk of the school you turned out to be.” If its words were meant to be reassuring, it was surly doing a terrible job. I turned to the golden frame and faced the small and plump man in the painting. A frilly white collar surrounded his neck and a long purple sheath was wrapped carelessly around his broad shoulders. “I have seen you around the school you know, you’re quite hard to miss.”
I raised a brow critically. “What do you mean by that?”
“Nothing bad, I promise.” He recognized my forlorn expression and resumed carefully. “You’re noticeable by your demeanor. You’re quite the talk between the paintings at times. ‘The blonde one is approaching’ we would say. It’s your happiness of which we notice.” I sighed, knowing this would quickly turn to a lecture. “Every student has troubles; they parade them on their faces. Their expressions would show all. But you…you were different.”
“Because I’m a dog and I am apparently having a secret affair with Scorpius Malfoy after feeding the fingers of student to Hippogriffs?” I snapped, remembering rumors.
The painting’s expression froze. “I was going to say because you smile. But if you wish for that to be your legend, then so be it.”
“Wait!” I ordered in a panicked tone. “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean that.” I took a deep breath. “You’ve probably heard by now.”
Nonchalantly, he looked at me with a blink. “I am a painting; gossip is all that I live for.” I smiled, he returned it. “I used to be a Professor here, you know, a charms one, one of the many. I was only thirty when I died, only hours after being painted in this portrait.”
“Would I be tactless to ask how you passed?”
He gazed at me with much enthusiasm. “If anything, Miss Price, it’s welcomed.” I nodded and leant my side against the doorframe. “It was a charm gone wrong, a student had almost blown up my room and I had to correct it. Unfortunately, I didn’t realize that the charm I cast would react in that way with the one he had performed.” I gasped and he waved it off. “My death opened up an entirely new era of charms, people soon discovered hundred of new spells, along with fixing old ones that were possibly dangerous. My life was a small price to pay for the many new options that have been discovered.”
“What does that mean Professor?” I asked. “Does your death not sadden you?”
He shook his head with a smug grin. “Of course it does, I am dead, forever to be stuck in a painting and watch that bloody Flitwick teach the charms wrongly - stupid dwarf!” I suppressed a smile. Although Flitwick was an adorably lovely man, he had no control over students. “But I stick by what I said. My life was meaningless until I made an impact.”
I shook my head in a confuzzled manner. “So what you’re saying is that your death helped millions after it.”
“It will.” He smiled. “Eventually. When it reaches those numbers.” I looked to the date of the painting, 1701; it had probably attained those numbers already. “Miss Price,” I tore my gaze away from the shining plaque and to him. “I am only an old kook in a painting, but my story can help anyone.”
“I promise that I will try harder in charms Professor.” I said with a solemn expression.
“Although that would be good, that’s not was I was asking.” If it were me, I would have been frustrated by now, although he seemed to have kept his cool. “Life is too short not to make a difference.” I blinked. He really was an old kook in a painting. “Whether or not the difference is to yourself or to others, it doesn’t matter. But Charisma, m’dear, you have just had your biggest secret traveling around the school. We paintings look forward to your presence; it gives us something to smile about. Don’t loose yourself in this silly façade of other students. Be yourself, and work on helping yourself out before anyone else. Be selfish for a change.”
I smiled. It was similar to what Dixie and Lily had advised. “What should I do?”
“I would recommend beginning with the Potter boy.” I had a feeling that this conversation wasn’t going to end well; it might involve the Painting Hospital Wing. Does everybody know about my unhealthy infatuation with my best friend? “We have seen the way that he looks at you; he likes you, more than a friend.”
“I knew this would be your reaction.” He said bluntly, yet still with a warming smile. “Most people think that when best friends get together, it will ruin what they have. But as I have said before, I have been here to many centuries, I have seen so many friendships been brought together over things such as this. Think about it, Miss Price. Don’t dispose of the idea straight away.”
I nodded with a small smile. The Professor had it the wrong way round, if only he spoke the truth. I smiled a goodbye and pushed down the black twisted handle on the door. Pushing it aside, I stood in the doorway, still leaning against the frame.
I saw James, more of a lazy student than anything. His black sweater vest was tightly pulled against his muscled back, while the sleeves, along with the ones to his shirt, were rolled up his forearm. He was hunched over a desk with the tops of his boxers showing as his shirt had hitched up. 60s pin up women were plastered all over them, brown and blonde models could be seen across the elastic. I tore my gaze away from his pants, knowing that I am a newly found pervert and coughed. I hated to interrupt his sleep, but moments like this were treasured.
He shot up, sitting up suddenly straight. Grabbing the rag and trophy from infront of him and began to polish. “I wasn’t sleeping.” He denied, still looking at the work.
“You should try harder, Mr Potter.” I ordered in a scarily stern tone.
A painting in the room walked from its frame and in to another. James began to deny his accusation before looking in my direction. He was lost for words. “Charisma?” he breathed, shoving back his chair and walking over to me. His hair was unbelievable messy, a small patch at the front stuck up where he had been resting his head on his arm.
His green eyes reached my blue ones as he pulled me in to the classroom and shut the door behind him. His arms wrapped tightly around me once again; pulling me in to the smell that I adored so much. His tight hold was so familiar, yet I felt as if I didn’t feel it enough. I looked up as I felt his face come towards mine. His movement stopped only a centimeter away from my face.
I could feel his breath; it was a ragged tune against my features. It tickled my nose. For a moment, I thought that he was going to kiss me. That same feeling that ran through me all those months ago in the Common Room repeated itself, only it intensified itself by a million. It was as if hundreds of Hippogriffs were trampling over my chest, crushing my lungs. While his breath jolted, mine seemed to stop altogether.
A white wash of pain stabbed through me. This jealousy that I had been feeling for months suddenly all flew back at once. Lewis had, had James for all those months, while I had to watch, and cry and experience the unnatural want to rip off her limbs and remove her hair. Dixie and I had experienced the theory that if you removed all her hair, she would look like a Swedish man. Dixie wanted to try it. I couldn’t think of an objection. It was only on the way out that Freddy caught us and sent us back to bed.
I regrettably pushed James away and stepped past him to the stools in the classroom. I picked up the dirty polishing cloth and wiped it in to the pot of polish. While rubbing it forcefully over the cup of the silver trophy, I felt James slip on to the stool next to me. He took the corner of the rag and held it still.
“Charisma,” he asked. “I’m sorry.”
I pulled the rag from his possession. “I know, you said that already.”
“It’s perfectly understandable that you’re still mad at me.” My eyes widened and flooded with sadness. I was calmer than I had been in a while. James’s gorgeous green eyes made sure of that, paired with his perfect smile that made me melt, it was ten times better than anyone else’s that I knew. The beautiful bastard, why did he have to have this effect one me? “I would actually be incredibly shocked it you weren’t.”
“Then allow the shock to commence.”
He heard my muttered, and forced my rubbing hand still on to the cold silver of the trophy. “I’m sorry?”
“I’m not mad at you James,” I said. I was so quiet; my charismatic demeanor had seemingly disappeared. “Annoyed, a little. But, not mad. I could never be mad at you…not for long anyway.”
James was one of the sweetest guys that I had ever met, despite this year being absolutely horrific; he was still James Potter, my best friend. He looked at me and cleared his throat. “But why aren’t you?”
“Mad?” I asked. “I don’t really know. If you tried to speak to me directly on Saturday, I would have clawed your eyes out.”
His hand touched mine slightly on the table, I pulled mine away. The colour of my cheeks must have burnt a scarlet colour, I could see his smirk. “So, why the change of heart, love?”
“Daniel,” I answered with a shrug. I could see his eyes sadden.
A curious look developed on his face. “The Ravenclaw assclown?”
“The Ravenclaw assclown to which I owe my life,” I echoed with irony. “Yes, James, that would be the one.”
The bright smile on his face faded in a moment and he let out a sigh. A small burst of shame. We sat for a moment; silence tore through the room before he finally said something. “What did he do now?”
I ignored the unnecessary addition of ‘now’ and the simple ignorance of his tone and picked the rag up from the table. “Daniel gave me Wolfsbane, James. Not only did he save my life, he also made me realize something.”
“How to have an attitude?”
With disbelief I threw the rag down on to the table, back to where it was. “No, James, you managed to achieve that perfectly on your own.” Once again, my response turned his face away. “I am not the same Charisma that I was last year, I have matured. I can’t skip around in a dress with a complete ignorance of the world around me. I have to grow up. I am a possible danger-“
“Now, hang on just a second…”
“-I realize that now.”
“…You’re anything but a danger Charisma.” He put his hand on my thigh for reassurance. I felt my insides jolt, blood halted in my veins and I am pretty sure minimalistic brain functions were lost. “You’re my girl; this is why I don’t like you talking to Wilkins.” I felt compelled to point out that I am in no way, in appearance to others, his girl. But if he wanted me to be, I would fully comply with no questions asked.
“Dan has a girlfriend James.” He smirked. I could tell he had an ulterior motive for his dislike, most likely a Quidditch rivalry.
He cupped his hands around my face, his right fingers gently brushing over the top of my neck. “You may have matured in dress sense and attitude – of which I happen to like, both of them – but you will always be completely ignorant to the things that you don’t want to see.”
An astonished look appeared on my face. “That’s a good thing!”
“If you wish.” He pulled his wand from his shoe and smiled. “I figured something out for you.”
I raised a brow. “Does it involve dangerous magic?”
He shook his head and smiled. “Not at all, just concentration.” From his pocket he pulled a flower. He held it in his hands and cupped them together. My eyes lit up…it couldn’t be? He blew in to his hands, closed his eyes momentarily and smiled.
The flower broke in to a mass of vibrant multicoloured butterflies that flew around us, the little ‘flits’ of their petals could be heard over the silence. I looked to James, he was smiling at me. When he looked in to my eyes, those butterflies he had just transfigured seemed to appear in my stomach.
“You learnt it.” I breathed.
With a nod his smile grew. “I learnt it.”
It was our second year, only two days after the moon and the tiredness was getting to me. James and I were in Care of Magical Creatures when we saw two students, seventh years, skipping class. Hagrid had overlooked it, and resumed to introduce different species of bark to our young and untrained class. I remember the force compelling my eyes to shut, but I kept them open, barely.
James wrapped his arm around my waist, a little muscleier than expected for a third year; he was the schools best chaser after all. I laid my head on to his shoulder and peered over at the students, they ran around the edge of the lake. I soon realized it was a boy and girl, obviously in love. The tall brunette boy fell in to the lake and jumped back out, spraying the girl with the water from his clothes and ripping a hand full of little flowers from the earth beneath them. He cupped his hands and blew in to them while running. From the small gap between his fingers, butterflies flew.
Masses of colour merged through the sky as they flitted in to the air. James could see that I loved it, it woke me right up. I continued to try it until my hands were numb and raw. It wasn’t until two days later that James showed me its trick. He could produce a butterfly with his wand, but it couldn’t fly. He joked that we should get it a broom stick. At the expression on my face, he quickly turned it back in to a flower and planted it in to the ground. What did he expect? He had shown me a butterfly with an unthinkable birth defect and he was its creator. How was I supposed to react?
For years he had continued to try it. But the butterflies would always turn out wrong. Something would be different with every go. It wasn’t until the summer that a breakthrough was made; the butterflies would be produced alive, but they would fall very quickly. It wasn’t until fourth year, that we realized the two we saw were infact Dominique and Lysander.
No matter how much James begged, Xander would not give up his secret. With a simple blow in to his hands, he could create butterflies from a flower. James was desperate to do it. I knew that he was doing it for me and that only enhanced the excitement.
Every care of magical creature’s lesson, we would wait for the two seventh years to come back out and play. We quickly realized that it was their free period. After we knew that, we waited for the boy to create butterflies. He only did it when the girl was sad.
Just like James.
“Do you like it?” he asked.
I raised a brow. “Do I like it?” Echoing his words, I threw my arms around his neck. “I love it! Thank you so much!”
He laughed. “On that note,” he caught a butterfly in his hands and held it with care. “For you.” It fell from his finger to mine and squirmed around hastily. I blew on it lightly and it flew to the ceiling and out of the open window.
“I still can’t believe that you learnt it.”
His smirk toyed with a coy smile. “What can I say…Lysander finally gave up his secret.”
Who thinks they know Lysander’s secret? I do, I do!
Here’s a bit of Chapter 26 for you. Due to a certain amount of requests (loads :P) it’s all from James’s Point of view.
“It’s a natural reaction to punch a boy if he’s shagging you against a tree. I would do the same if a boy was doing Lily or Albus – hopefully more likely Lily considering it would be incredibly awkward if a boy was having sex with Albus up against a tree.”
It’s called ‘Astronomy used to be Easy’. I hope you all enjoy it. Don’t forget to drop me a review.
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