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Coming Back a Swan by Ginny_RED_Potter
Chapter 17 : Surprises; Part Two
Rating: MatureChapter Reviews: 38

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(Okay guys, I know it's short and I know it took forever. BUT I just got back into writing my fics again after fighting through the hardest year of my academic career- though I'm positive college will be much worse- and everytime before this that I've sat down to right I just couldn't. And if I tried to force myself to write it comes out crappy. I didn't want to give you a crappy chapter.



However, this is not edited or beta'd and it was written over a long period of time so it might be crap anyway. {Let me know if it is.} I couldn't make you wait any longer though so here you go... I really hope you enjoy it, no matter how mad you are at me =[



Love RED




P.S. I have songs I imagine are playing during some of this and songs that are similar to the ones I imagine playing and when the next chapter comes out I'll post a list of those too =]  AND I also had formatting issues as I was trying to post. Which would be why it's all spaced out so much.)



Chapter 17~ Surprises; Part Two


Seventeen, livin’ on crazy dreams
Rock and roll and faded blue jeans
And standing on the edge of everything
~ Seventeen, Tim McGraw




          Unsurprisingly, the ear-piercing screams coming from both Beauxbatons and Hogwarts girls (though I suspected the two groups were screaming for entirely different reasons seeing as most of the girls from my school had been present for belching contests involving certain band members) nearly drowned out what my old friend, Archer Delray, the lead singer, said as his band mates got ready. Melinda Marquis waved excitedly from behind her fancy drum set at me and Derrill L'Angley (the older version of Tre) winked -whether at me or the hordes of teenage girls yelling for him remains to be seen- while he began tuning his bass. The other two band mates, Samir Remi and Kyle Channing- who I'd only met once or twice- got on keyboard and another kind of guitar that looked identical (to me at least) to the one Archer was holding. 


          Archer, Melinda and Derrill had been the resident music geniuses at Beauxbatons until they graduated in my fifth year. None of us had been surprised when they'd made it big after acquiring two more band members they met in some German hostile. But all of us had been surprised- pleasantly so- when we heard old songs that they'd played and written (with the help of several others in this room-including me, ahem hem) at countless Beauxbatons balls and bonfires playing over our wirelesses. Those, along with all of the new ones they'd popped out over the past year or so had made them a sensation in nearly every country in Europe. For the past few months they'd been touring in North and South America, furthering their success.


           Yet, here they were, back in France on stage at my seventeenth birthday playing their latest hit Rudiments. Melinda's short fire truck red curls bounced with her to the beat and her dress poofed around her chair so much that I was surprised she could see what she was playing. Derrill and Archer both wore new dress robes that looked far more expensive than the ones they'd donned for the parties and balls at school. 


          I cheered loudly for my friends once the song ended but stopped mid-scream when Archer pointed one finger at me then curled it towards him.



          Oh no. No, no, no, no, no, no! No and NO!
I was NOT, under any circumstances going up there. Had it been just my friends and family I would have jumped up immediately. But as this party had turned more towards an event held by my mother to show off to all her friends there was no way in hell I was going to entertain them too.



          "Allez, Angel. Vous savez que vous le souhaitez," ("Come on, Ange. You know you want to") Archer said to me in his magically enhanced voice.



          I shook my head tenaciously



          "S'il vous plaît, Angélique? J'ai besoin de vous pour celui-ci. Et vous êtes la fille d'anniversaire! Vous devez venir vous!"



          "Do not!" I yelled to him.



          Everyone who knew French laughed at my petulant reply. But I was not joking. There was no way in hell I was going up on that stage with all of these people here. Especially when I'm almost positive I saw Rita Skeeter and a few other journalists lurking around here somewhere (due to the amount of high profile witches and wizards who decided to come).



          "Do too!" Derrill yelled back making our audience laugh again.


          "Vous êtes international superstars! Qu'est-ce que l'enfer de sang avez-vous besoin de moi?" ("You're international superstars! What the bloody hell do you need me for?")


          "You wrote one of the verses!" Archer exclaimed, sounding indignant that I even had to ask.


          "And we need someone to blow the whistle!" Melinda added with a wicked grin.


          This simple statement- that I was absolutely positive made no sense to anyone but the Beauxbatons students- caused an excited uproar from my current and former schoolmates. Because that could only mean one thing. The song that, for some reason, had yet to be released to the public- a particular favorite at bonfires- was going to be played for the first time outside of Beauxbatons' walls. It was practically a historical moment. How could I resist that?



          "You lot don't play fair!" I shouted back, as I grabbed Bee's wrist and began to drag her up on stage with me. She grabbed Leah and Leah quickly latched onto Lynnie's hand. A low chuckle echoed throughout the guests as they watched all four Beauxbatons Angels end up on stage. How all of the other people that were there with us by the end of the song did I'm not sure.



          "Never said I did," Archer grinned cheekily as I stomped up the stairs, making sure to mind my dress in the heels Bee made me wear. 


          "Alright let's get this over with," I grumbled holding in the smile that was always contagious when around them. "Where's my whistle?"



          A smatter of cheers from the Beauxbatons students erupted again at this statement. Derrill handed me the familiar silver signal and Melinda counted off the beat with her drumsticks.



          The music started singing the song we'd informally dubbed "The Escape Song". I felt blush stain my cheeks as the verse I wrote echoed off the tent walls, to the ears of the very people I thought would never hear it.
                   Misery and darkness. 


                    Clouds in my eyes. 



               But I found an escape route. 



                   Took me by surprise.


             Now you're probably wonderin'.

                   What became of me. 



                And I just sit here laughin'. 


               In a world you'll never see. 


                       Escaping you.



            Was best thing I could ever do. 


                       Escaping you. 


             Now I'm happy and carefree. 



                      Escaping you. 


             Found my own kind of paradise. 


      And now the only thing that I worry about. 


         Is why I never thought of getting out. 


                  Before escaping you



          Cheers from my current and old classmates rang out singing the little bridge Melinda had started as a joke "Ooo-wooah- ooo woaaa-aaaoh! Ooo-woo-o-o-oaaah!" 



                   Now I see things clearly. 



                      No fog in my eyes. 


              You caused me pain for pleasure. 


                         Not very wise. 


          Cause you sing along as we carry on. 

                And you know I mean you. 


             You never tell that when I fell,



                 You used me like you do. 



           Ooo-wooah- ooo woaaa-aaaoh!







          The voices got more excited, knowing what was coming. And right before the second chorus I blew the whistle, the signal for all who knew it to sing along. They did so, with the rowdy enthusiasm and electricity that we had on so many occasions at bonfires on the beach. If I didn't know better I would have sworn I could hear the old fire crackling and the waves crashing onto the shore near us.



          Then, as Archer sang the chorus again, the jesting crowd repeated after him, a cappella. Derill, dropped his instrument, as if he and Archer had planned it (which they most likely had, knowing them) and came behind Leah, taking her arms and waving them in the air to the beat Melinda was playing. Samir and Kyle following suit with Bee and Lynnie and Archer doing the same with me.


          "Escaping you!" Archer sang.  


          The crowd repeated, "Escaping you!" 


          "Best thing I could ever do!" I sang loudly, beating Archer to the punch.
          We laughed together and I was so into the old favorite that I forgot about all the people I'd escaped from that were standing in this tent hearing the song I'd helped pen, thinking of them with the sweet venom of escape in my words. I forgot I was no longer a fourth year, sitting next to Archer at the dinner table, our heads together over his parchment. I forgot that I wasn't a wild fifth year elated and free, dancing around the fire. I forgot that it wasn't just my friends and I singing at the top of our lungs, voices getting carried off on the waves of the sea.



          "Best thing I could do!"



          "Escaping you!" Archer and I yelled together.


          "Escaping you!"



          "Now I'm happy to be!" we sang, dancing like maniacs.


          "Happy to be-ee!" 


          "Away from you!"


          "Far from you!"   



          "Found my own kind of paradise."





          "And you'll never know!"


          "Never know!"



          "Just how good it feels ---after escaping you!"



          Whoops and hollers from the Beauxbatons people filled the tent as the song ended and I wasn't sure if my face was hot from dancing or embarrassment as realization brought me back down to Earth and the reality of the situation.


          I'd just sang the song, I'd been sure-at the time that we'd written it- no one at Hogwarts would hear, in front of them. Or, at least, I'd thought if they heard it they wouldn't know that a fair bit was written by me with the bitter aftertaste of their bullying still in my mouth. They wouldn't know that it was a way I'd tried to grasp some of the revenge I would never have. But there they stood and now, if any of them had half a brain (which was admittedly debatable), they would know.



          I tried to flee off the stage to go drowned in my embarrassment in a dark corner somewhere but putting the strappy heels I'd kicked off back on proved to be difficult and my friends wouldn't let me disappear. Instead, we stayed up there as Archer sang the next few songs. I sang along and put on a happy face as my mind whirled.



          Why was I worrying about the people my mother invited thought of the song I'd helped write? Why did I care if my old classmates knew that an internationally famous band was singing about what scum they were? Why were my cheeks still flushing bright red at the thought of being watched in my natural habitat by people who I'd harbored a justified grudge against since I was eleven?



          I shook myself mentally. I shouldn't care and I wouldn't let this ruin my party. I was seventeen, for Merlin's sake! This was my prime and I intended to take FULL advantage of it!



          I swallowed my mortification and let defiance seep into my chest, for my parents and my siblings and for all of my old Hogwarts schoolmates who were not welcome here. This was my party and I would not retreat like I would have done when I was eleven. Especially not when they were on my territory. I called the shots on this Quidditch Pitch and if they didn't like it, they could leave.



          After several songs, Archer announced that the band would be taking a break. As I'd expected, he came directly to me. Swooping me into a hug and spinning me around. I shrieked in childish delight and tried not to blush upon meeting the doting eyes of several onlookers. 


          I knew what they were thinking. It was what people always thought when Archer and I were together. And it was quite possibly the single most hilarious concept on the planet.



          Me and Archer, a couple? Ha! It was absurd.


          Not that my friend wasn't attractive because (as the thousands of squealing fans he now had proved) he was! But we were and had always been purely platonic. He was too much a big brother type to ever catch my interest in a romantic capacity. Plus, I had also been present for the aforementioned belching contest.


          "So you don't write for months, get too big for your trousers while touring the world and show up here singing my favorite song and expect me to forgive you?" I teased, "I don't think so, Mr. Delray."



          Melinda laughed maniacally, "Told you it would be the first thing out of her mouth! Pay up, boys!" She held out her child like hands and the three of her band members present dropped three galleons into them.
          "Three galleons?" Jocelyn said dryly raising a perfectly arched eyebrow. "International wizard rock stars and you still only bet three measly galleons?"



          "Hey," Melinda chided, "three times four is twelve, missy. And once Derril pays me that is what I will have. Do you know how many pairs of dragon hide heels that can buy?"






          I turned around to see Lynnie's brothers grinning at me.


          "'Bout time you stole yourselves away from the International Professional Quidditch Players' Convention over there and came to greet the birthday girl," I said, the defiance I'd let sink into my chest bringing out my usual knack of sarcasm.



          "You’re very bossy tonight, Ange. I like it,” Archer teased, wiggling his eyebrows. This is why people always thought we were together. The boy was a flirt with a dirty mind to rival even those in the boys at Hogwarts. 


“How d'you know how much dragon hide heels cost?" Melinda teased Antoine after giving her old classmate a hug. 


          Antoine shrugged, "Had to buy them for a girl once."



          "Sure you did," Lynnie smirked dubiously.

        "Your mother?" I asked at the same time. 

        Everyone laughed and a warm sort of glow settled into my chest, replacing my anxiety.


          "Where'd Leah run off to?" Derrill asked coming up to the group with a mountain of food piled onto the plate in his hands. Did he ever stop eating?



          "Hi Derrill, nice to see you again too!" I said in fake cheerfulness. "Too bad all your owls got lost, never can rely on those animals they see a piece of meat and there goes the attention span!"



          "That doesn't count, Mel! It's not the first thing she said to Archer!" he defended quickly.



          Mel just grinned wickedly.



          Knowing why immediately, Derrill swore and dug in his pockets for three gold coins. "I was going to use it to take this fit girl from our Marseille concert out tomorrow night!"


          "Three galleons for a date?" Brigitte smirked. "Classy, Derrill. Real classy."


          He stuck his tongue (which held a lump of half chewed food on it) out at her. After several exclamations at how disgusting he was he said, "Yeah, yeah, I know I need manners. Now seriously, has anyone seen Leah?"



          It didn't seem to surprise anyone that Derrill was inquiring after his ex even though he'd just said he was taking a girl out tomorrow night. It was how he worked. He was a strangely lovable playboy who'd taught Tre everything he knew. But, to the surprise of no one, he'd always had eyes for Leah. When they'd dated in our fifth year he'd been the most faithful and loving boyfriend I'd seen. She'd been heartbroken when they'd decided to end it once he graduated and I'd always thought no one could compare to Derrill in her eyes. No one, that is, until Michael came along. Thinking of it now gave me an uncomfortable twinge, despite how angry I was with my brother.



          What if he and Leah hadn’t broken up? I couldn’t image how awkward it would’ve been for Michael to see an internationally famous musician flirting shamelessly (because the boy had no shame) with his girlfriend (though, in all fairness, Derrill was with her first).



          Looking around the tent, all of us gave him clueless shrugs and confused looks before concluding that she must've gone to the bathroom to wash up or something.


          It was in the absence of any If-she-messes-up-her-ensemble-I'll-strangle-her speeches (from Bee) that I knew my fellow Anges were both thinking the same thing I was.



          Something was wrong. Very, very wrong.


“Allie!” Grandmere simpered over before I could suggest to my friends that we go look for Leah. “Allie, come here. Sit down.” She put her long fingers on my shoulders and steered me gently towards my table, to the chair I’d been sitting in earlier. I noticed in my peripheral vision, Henri making his way towards the stage and my stomach dropped to my toes.


I groaned. This could not be happening. Wasn’t I supposed to enjoy my party? Why then, did my friends and family keep surprising me? I was worried about Leah, Annoyed about the Hogwarts people and I couldn’t handle anymore tonight.





Bonne soirée à tou.” (Good evening everyone) He said with a crooked grin. The tent went quiet. “Mon nom est Henri. Je suis un ami d'Allie et j'ai un petit cadeau pour elle.”


I groaned. This is exactly what I’d feared.


Je pense que vous serez tous en profiter aussi,” he told them.



I noticed that he did not say that I would enjoy this. Which I doubted was a coincidence. So, why exactly did he think this was okay? I would have been perfectly happy if he’d given me a book or candy or even one of those little Eiffel Tower key chains that those pushy African guys are always selling in the touristy parts of Paris.


“C'est quelque chose que j'ai mis en place, avec l'aide de beaucoup de personnes proches de Angélique, pour commémorer dix-sept ans de sa vie.” (This is something I put together, with the help of many of the people close to Angelique, to help commemorate seventeen years of her life.) 


Oh. My. God.



I finally knew what the damn projector screen was doing there but it was too late to stop it. So, I sat there frozen. I felt my face getting hotter and knew it must be the color of a tomato right now.



A sweet, familiar melody began to play as the first of my baby pictures appeared on the screen. The party guests cooed and I felt my stomach roll nauseously.


This… could not… be happening.



I felt like I was having a bad dream. Maybe I hoped I was having a bad dream. Some nightmare that I’d soon be roused from so that I could start getting ready for my real party. A Hogwarts-free, surprise-free, embarrassment-free party.


But, unfortunately, this was creation of my subconscious. This was horrifically real and all of my old Hogwarts tormentors and all of my new Beauxbatons saviors were currently watching every awkward stage of my life unfold on that giant screen for them in high resolution pictures and videos.



Shoot me. Someone just shoot me and stop the torture already.

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