Chapter 6 : Cherry Drops
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Chapter 6: Cherry Drops
October 7th, 1976
“I can have father talk to Slughorn personally.”
Lucille sped up her pace.
“I can owl him tonight, if you’d just allow me to-”
She smacked her lips together in annoyance. “Really Rabastan, let’s not be dramatic.”
“I’m not being dramatic. This whole idea is ludicrous, you don’t need to be partners with a disgusting creature like him.”
Lucille’s head snapped sharply towards Rabastan at his choice of words. Creature. But he didn’t notice. She studied his face closely for any clue of anything that would reveal the thoughts behind his wording but the only thing she could see was concern for her. She turned away before he could notice her stare.
“Right. Foul creature or not, he’s going to be my partner. You heard Slughorn, Dumbledore decided the list. Don’t you think I would have already changed it if I could?”
Rabastan just scowled as he held the Potion’s classroom door open for her. “And I don’t like those filthy Gryffindors you keep sitting with during meals either.”
“I’m a Gryffindor too, Rabastan.”
“That’s not what I meant.”
She chose to ignore him and headed towards her desk where Lupin was already setting up their cauldron. She spun dangerously on her heels as Rabastan followed her. “I don’t think you should follow filthy Gryffindor’s around Reb, it might just jeopardize you’re reputation.”
She made a face and turned back towards Lupin, all thoughts of the Slytherin already gone. But Rabastan and her other friends had been rather annoying every time she’d left them during meals. Did they really think it was of her own free will that she chose to sit near such putrid beings? Who did they take her for?
Lucille was too submerged in her own thoughts to notice Remus visibly stiffen when she sat next to him.
The ingredients for their potion appeared on the board and a few students had already begun working. The two of them sat there rather awkwardly (from Remus’s point of view anyways) for a few heartbeats before Lucille pointedly looked at her partner. “The ingredient’s aren’t going to get themselves, you know.”
He jumped at her voice, clearly having thought she would be ignoring him completely.
“Err, right.” Lupin looked at her uneasily before making his way to the cupboards.
“The draught of Edrius.” She read off the board dryly. “How lovely.”
She surveyed the class, not too far away sat Rabastan and Black. Rabastan looked as if he were moments away from drowning his partner in their potion, while the knife Black was chopping with was inching closer and closer to Lestrange. She rolled her eyes and sent a non-verbal spell at their cauldron. Immediately brown goo exploded onto both of their faces.
“What on bloody earth did you do that for!?” Sirius hollered, rounding on Rabastan.
“Me?! You probably put in the wrong ingredients, you berk!”
“You clearly charmed the potion!” Sirius waved his knife around dangerously, “I saw you handling that wand in your pocket.”
“Watch what you say Black, you don’t realize who you’re dealing with here.” Rabastan picked up a utensil from their table and jabbed the air in front of Sirius’s face. Too bad it was a wooden spoon – not quite as intimidating as Black’s knife.
“Oh? And who exactly am I dealing with? Please do tell.”
“Don’t tempt me, Black.”
“Or what?” The two were moments away from pouncing on top of each other before Slughorn jumped in between them.
“Boys, boys,” he chuckled anxiously. “Put those away at once,” he looked at Sirius’s knife and quizzically at Rabastan’s spoon. “Now shoo both of you, off to Dumbledore’s office you go.”
Rabastan glowered at his opponent, grabbed his book bag and stalked out of the classroom. Black wasn’t far behind.
“No magic in the hallways!” Slughorn shouted after them, but it was futile. Lucille was sad she couldn’t see the rest of, what was sure to be a very promising, show.
Lupin, who was back at the desk with the ingredients, gave Sirius a sympathetic smile as he stalked past them. Lucille looked around the room again. Most of the students were still whispering about what had just happened so no one noticed that Potter and Malfoy were a hair away from forgoing the very same situation. She toyed with sending another spell their way but was distracted by her partner before she could. A piece of grassroot had just landed on her lap. Lupin was attempting to cut them but they kept slipping out from under his knife and flying about.
And she thought he was supposed to be the smart one out of those Marauders.
“Are you daft?” she snarled as another piece nearly hit her cheek. Again he jumped at her voice.
“Oh stop with your jitteriness, it’s getting old real quick.” He just scowled at her, so she pointed at his knife. “The potion's more pure if you put those in without chopping them. Takes less time too.”
“But the book-”
“Really? You’re going off of what a crazy man locked up in his basement brewing herbs wrote like two hundred years ago?”
“Not to mention he used to be in Hufflepuff.”
“I thought not.” She snatched the ingredients away from him and dumped them into the pot.
“And how exactly do you supposedly know the right way for making this?”
Oh good, so he could string together a proper sentence. “What potion are we brewing, Remus?”
He was slightly startled by the use of his first name.
“The Draught of Edrius?” He said reading off the board.
“Exactly. And what is the Draught of Edrius?”
He looked down at his book, reciting it’s contents: “one of the magical world’s most potent potions, it causes it’s victim to be paralyzed as their insides are slowly burned by the potion making it’s way through the body...” His words trailed off. “Merlin, why are we learning this?”
“Well technically, we’re only learning a part of it so we can brew its antidote, which is used to treat burns or something as equally useless. Of course Dumbledore wouldn’t dare teach us the whole potion.” She leaned towards him and whispered softly: “but could you imagine…feeling every intestine in your body being seared to dust as you lie there slowly dying helplessly?”
His face paled.
“I’m just kidding, Remus.” She laughed and straightened up. “Lighten up. It causes a quick death really, not much pain after the first sip. Everything just kind of goes white.”
She smiled wickedly at him and turned away.
Remus slumped down on his stool, unable to form any words.
“A week! A whole week of detention with that idiot!” Sirius slammed down his books at the Gryffindor table. “I didn’t even do anything!”
“That knife of yours was coming pretty darn close to him, Sirius.” James laughed.
“It’s bullocks. If I wanted to kill the miserable bastard, I would have done it already.” He dropped in between James and Remus. “At least I got him good on the way to Dumbledore’s.”
James eyed his friend’s bruised cheek and cut up arms. “Sorry mate, but looks as if he got you better.”
Sirius rounded furiously on his friend causing James to throw up his hands defensively. “Just kidding! Just kidding! He definitely looks worse.”
They all looked over at the Slytherin table. Rabastan looked as mad as Sirius and was clearly fuming to his friends…but he didn’t look like he had a single scratch on him.
Sirius scoffed. “He’s clearly been treated by Madame Pomfrey already.”
James and Remus sniggered but quieted down at the sight of Sirius’s nasty glare.
“Oh great as if I wasn’t having a bad enough day. The wicked wrench of the south has decided to grace us with her presence again.”
“It’s the Wicked Witch of the West, Sirius.” Remus laughed looking over at Lucille who had just sat at the table. The closest student to her was a full three seats away, and the second year boy still looked as if he were about to burst into tears. “And anyways, you should be used to this by now, it’s been over a week and she’s been at every single meal.”
“Obviously Dumbledore’s got something to do with it. Don’t you think?” Lily slumped into the seat next to James. Sirius rolled his eyes. Ever since Lily had started being on a ‘friendly basis’ with James, she had a way of popping up out of nowhere, always with an opinion to add into any conversation. Not that he minded too much, it made his friend entirely too happy for him to really care.
"And why's that?"
“Well you see the scathing look she gives Dumbledore every time she sits down. And really, why else would she choose to sit with us after six years of completely avoiding this table…unless she absolutely had to?”
“To make our lives miserable?” Sirius glared over at the blonde.
Lily shrugged. “Well there’s that too.”
“Poor kid,” Remus nodded to the young boy near Lucille.
“His fault. She sits there every time; he should know to avoid it by now. Everyone else has.” And it was true; a very defined space around Lucille was always void of people when she sat at the Gryffindor table.
But their talk of the blonde was quickly interrupted as Dorcas ran over to the table with her arms flailing about. “Look! Look!”
Her blonde mane was dangerously frazzled and her cheeks flushed a bright and blotchy red.
They would all have been alarmed if she didn’t have a wide grin on her face while she practically screamed: “Look!” She slapped down a piece of parchment on the table. The group crowded around it.
James and Peter were the first to throw their fists up into the air. “Yes!”
“First Hogsmeade trip of the year!”
“This Friday! Brilliant!”
“Lily, my beautifu-”
“Don’t you dare, Potter. Lily is mine Friday, we have to get our dress robes for the Halloween Ball!”
"It's not even a Ball, Dorcas. Just some silly get together for the older students."
"It is not silly!" Lily interjected. "And for your information I am head of the committee this year."
"Why does Hogwarts insist on having a dance for every single bloody occasion?" Peter grumbled.
"Don't you worry, mate." Sirius put an arm around his friend's shoulder. "We'll find you a date."
"Either way, Potter, Lily is mine for Hogsmeade whether you like it or not."
James nearly snarled at Dorcas before slouching in his seat, a deep frown plaguing his face.
A few seats away a similar frown was etched onto Lucille’s features. She too was looking at a piece of parchment, but this wasn’t about the trip. It had materialized onto her lap seconds before,
Please join me in my office after you have finished your meal.
I also insist that you bring me a couple of those Cherry Drops. They are rather addicting, don't you agree?
Lucille’s hands shook as she crumpled the parchment and tossed it onto her plate. The second year boy near her let out a yelp when the note suddenly burst into angry red flames. But before he could point it out to his friends, the paper was already in ashes. He whimpered lightly before scampering out of the hall.
This went unnoticed to the enraged Lucille who was positively fuming. She clenched her jaw and turned towards the teacher’s table, but the Headmaster wasn’t there to meet her deadly glower.
Why? Why did he insist on wasting her time? This had been the fifth letter she’d received from him just this week. She’d refused to reply and she certainly had not showed up to any of these meetings he continued to plan out for them. Sitting down with him once while he berated her about spending “entirely too much time away from your housemates” had been enough. She was doing everything that he’d asked of her so why would he not just leave her alone?
Well, this was the absolute last straw. Lucille had had enough of these nonsense letters popping out of nowhere. She grabbed her book bag and stormed out of the hall. Rosier and Lestrange stood to pursue her out but reconsidered upon seeing her livid face.
“Cherry Drops.” She snarled at the gargoyle, nearly blasting the darn thing out of her way as it moved much too slowly aside. Lucille flew up the staircase and didn’t bother knocking on the door as she stormed into Dumbledore’s office. But he looked completely at ease behind his desk and even smiled at her dramatic entrance.
“Ah, Miss. DuBlanc, so happy that you have finally made it.”
“What,” she growled wasting no time, “is so important that you continue to harass me?”
“Please do sit.”
Lucille continued to stand, so Dumbledore carried on. “I was just inquiring to see how you were adjusting.”
“You were inquiring to see how I was adjusting?” She repeated, her voice deadly low. “Adjusting to what exactly, Albus?”
The headmaster chuckled. “Professors usually do prefer to be called by their surnames, but I’ve never seen the need for that. Too impersonal in my opinion.”
Lucille didn’t say anything and Dumbledore pointed at the chair in front of him again. “I can assure you that the chair will not harm you, it’s rather comfortable if I may say so.”
She paused briefly before finally sitting down rigidly on its edge. While she did this she opened her mind fully for the first time and poured the most insulting of terms into it. Dumbledore just chuckled, clearly having caught onto her thoughts. “No need for that, Lucille. You should be happy, have you not heard about the Hogsmeade trip?”
“And you will be going of course.”
“With Mr. Lestrange I presume?”
“Your presumptions are irrelevant.”
“Quite right. Now as I said I’ve been wanting to meet with you to inquire about how you are adjusting.”
Are you losing your memory or do I have to repeat myself? Adjusting to what? She thought rather than spoke.
“Adjusting to your housemates, of course.”
“To my housemates?”
“Indeed. I believe this is the longest you have spent around them since first year?”
She looked at him quizzically.
“And it must be quite a change.”
“Yes, I can feel my IQ dropping every second I am around them. Quite a change.”
“And you and your potions partner have been earning top marks, Professor Slughorn tells me.”
She heaved a dramatic sigh and stood up. “I don’t have the time for this. Is there anything else Professor or can I leave?”
“You may leave at any time you feel fit.”
She turned on her heel and was about to open the door when he said from behind her. “But I would appreciate it if you spent your Hogsmeade trip with some fellow housemates.”
Lucille’s hand tightened on the brass doorknob, her knuckles turning white. “Absolutely not.”
“I think it would be kind of you to reconsider.” Dumbledore’s breezy voice almost pushed her to whip out her wand and sew his wrinkled mouth shut.
She turned around slowly, her face a dangerous shade of red that had never graced her skin before. “Listen Albus, I have done everything that you have asked of me so far. I have sat with the traitorous Gryffindors at every torturous meal, I have accepted the potions partner you have forced upon me, the Hufflepuff boy you have made me sit with in Transfiguration, the annoying Ravenclaw girl I have magically been paired with for every Defense class. I have done it all, but this…this is not going to happen.”
“And I certainly do appreciate all your effort. But I do insist on this.”
“And if I refuse?”
“If you refuse I’m afraid that Mr. Filch has been wanting a hand to help him clean the fifth floor lavatories.”
“I can have my father toss you from this job in an instant, Headmaster. Do not tempt me.”
“Yes. Yes. As I’ve repeatedly been informed by you, Miss DuBlanc. But my dear, you have had years to do so and to this day I am still your Headmaster. So until that unfaithful day occurs, I insist that you follow my instructions.”
She closed her eyes for a moment, imagining blasting off that smile from his face. It was a satisfying picture but not enough to calm her down. So she blinked…and when she opened her eyes half of the furniture in the Headmaster’s office was ablaze.
Lucille sauntered out without a second look while Dumbledore continued to sit at his desk watching the fire with an unfamiliar frown etched onto his face.
"You're taking me to Hogsmeade."
Lupin dropped his knife into the boiling caldron, making the potion spray everywhere. But the searing pain of the concoction on Remus’s skin went unnoticed. He opened his mouth once, twice, and then again…but nothing came out.
“Close you mouth, Remus. The dying fish look doesn’t go so well with your features.”
“What?” Remus finally choked out.
“I said close you mouth.”
“Oh right, you’re gunna take me to Hogsmeade.”
“And why on earth would I do that?”
“Because I am telling you to do it.” Lucille turned back to stirring their potion. It was a shade of scarlet red similar to that of Remus’s face at the moment.
“I liked you more when you couldn’t string together proper sentences around me.”
“Why on bloody earth would we go together?”
“Why not?” She shrugged.
“I have plans already.”
“Cancel them.” Lucille didn’t bother to face Remus as she continued on with their assignment.
“I don’t want to cancel them.”
“Are you taking a girl?”
Lupin bit back a choked cough. “What? No.”
“Then I don’t see the problem here.”
“The problem is that I’m going with my friends who I’d rather spend my time with.”
“Don’t be so harsh, Remus. My feelings are hurt.”
He scoffed. “And why aren’t you going with Lestrange? Or Rosier? Or one of your other minions?”
“Don’t let them hear you calling them that, they can be really sensitive.”
Lupin just raised his eyebrows at her.
“I’m not taking them because they bore me, alright?”
“Fair enough.” Remus shrugged.
“So it’s settled, Friday at four. I’ll meet you in the common room.”
“Wait. What? No–”
Unluckily for the boy, the bell rang and they were dismissed. And as quickly as the conversation had happened, Lucille was out the class doors…leaving behind a bewildered Remus.
"What in Godrics name just happened?"
August 11th, 1995
Present Time at Grimmauld Place
Harry pulled out of the pensieve with a shocked look.
“You took her on a date!?”
Remus rubbed the back of his neck sheepishly. “Er- no, not really. It wasn’t exactly a date.”
“Did you know?”
“That Dumbledore had put her up to it?”
Remus laughed. “Did my face look like I knew what on bloody earth was going on?”
“No, I guess not.” Harry took a moment to sit down. They were in Mr. Black’s old office again. They hadn’t done much cleaning down there yet, so the room still gave Harry the creeps. It actually kind of reminded him of Lucille…he could see her down here, cackling as she stroked the stuffed house elf in the corner. On second thought she’d probably never dare touch the thing.
“She’s horrid.” Harry stated shaking his head.
“Well she certainly didn’t win any congeniality awards.”
“What a surprise.” Harry responded darkly. All of a sudden his eyes widened and he jumped to his feet. “Who's watching her right now? She can't be trusted! She’s in the Order’s headquarters! She could easily be working for them!”
Remus’s almost smiled at Harry's overly dramatic reaction. “No, Harry. She’s not a spy.”
“How do you know? You saw it first hand – she was best friends with scum like Lestrange! She’s horrible!”
“Harry,” Remus kept his voice calm. “I would trust Lucille with my life. You don’t know how much she’s done for us…how much she did for you father.”
"For my father? What did she do-"
"That can be left for another time."
Harry looked at the pensieve; the memories were floating around idly on its surface. “But-”
“Like I told you before, you shouldn’t be so quick to judge. That’s why I’m showing you these memories in the first place. Lucille isn’t the person she once was.”
“I just can’t see how anyone can go from…from being that,” he waved towards the penseive, “to anything with even an ounce of humanity in it.”
“I can’t really blame you, she wasn’t exactly an angel back in the day.”
“You don’t say.” Harry laughed warily and then pulled a face. “You said my Dad was related to her?”
"Jame’s Mother was Lucille’s Mother’s distant cousin. Not sure how close of a relative that really works out to be in the end. Either way your grandmother was disowned the moment she married you’re grandfather, I don’t think the DuBlancs approved of his sympathetic tendencies towards muggle borns.”
“Err...so her family’s royalty then?”
“Uh, well not really royalty. It’s all complicated really; it wasn’t as if she was a princess or her uncle a king. But they did own a lot of magical territory that their family had accumulated for thousands of years.”
“Is that why Voldemorts after her? Because of her family?”
“It’s quite a mix of things, really. But yes, family is a major part. The DuBlancs had a lot of loyal followers themselves, an army of sorts that Voldemort wanted. And he desperately wanted Lucille on his side. You saw that type of magic she was capable of, and at such a young age at that.”
Harry’s mind was pounding with all of the new information so he gladly accepted Remus’s offer to eat lunch before seeing anymore from the pensieve.
As the two walked back upstairs they were unaware that a few floors up a certain broody wild-haired man was stalking down the stairs from the attic with one goal in mind. His pace was fast and his eyes were set with determination.
Where would she be?
He decided to check his old bedroom first, even though in hindsight it was a stupid idea. Dumbledore would never have put her in there; she’d been through enough already.
It was because of Sirius’s preoccupied mind that he didn’t see the door at the end of the hallway opening, and it was because of his fixated stare on the floor that he didn’t notice the blonde mane emerging from the room, and it was because of his thoughts of Lucille that Sirius Black ran straight into the very girl he was looking for.
A/N: i really appreciate all of your nice reviews, they make me smile :)
The chapter image is done by lionel @ TDA
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