Chapter 4 : FOUR
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As James and the rest of the Marauders finished their bountiful breakfasts in the Great Hall, they made their way down to the dungeons for an hour long Potions class with Ravenclaw. A flock of second year girls passed by the group, swooning as Sirius gave a wink in their direction. Peter waved politely, unnoticed.
"This really screws things up," James sighed, trudging beneath the over-hanging laterns that lit the way. He attempted to keep his eyes out for Olivia as he went, methodically searching through the hoard of students that wandered about, but it was no use. She was no where to be found. Finally, as the boys entered the dark and dreary classroom, James and the others noticed her chair was sitting empty near the back row. Hiding out in the library no doubt, he figured. Come on Olives, don't make me chase after you too.
"Well done, mate," Sirius laughed with a pat to James' back. "Looks as though you've officially scared her off. Honestly, I don't know what you expected. Her to come groveling at your feet or something?"
"I wouldn't use the term 'groveling'... but yes!"
"Dare I ask your next course of action?" Remus questioned, preparing his own quill and parchment, before customarily handing over his extras to Peter.
That is a good question, James thought. But if the many years of being a Marauder had taught him anything, besides those wonderful passageways out of the castle, or the best way to inflict harm upon one slimy Severus Snape, it was that any plan, no matter how big or small, can be pulled off successfully if one only puts their mind to it.
"Or do you not see this giant obstacle in your way as a sign that says, 'well Prongs, I think you may want to reconsider this one.'"
"Excuse me? What happened to 'obstacles are put in our way to see if what we want is worth fighting for,' hmm? You preached that phrase back when we were trying to help you out with - your furry little problem - didn't you?" Remus couldn't argue as Professor Slughorn arrived, a small tin of crystallized pineapple in tow, and informed the class about what they'd be working on for the duration of the afternoon. It was true, in any case. The boys spent months upon months trying figure out how to become animagi so that Remus wouldn't have to transform alone during full moons. It was, without a doubt, the most difficult wizardry they had ever done in their time at Hogwarts, and the most complex planning for any Marauder task they'd undertaken. It was the only thing Remus could do to provide them with any inspirational words of wisdom when the going got tough. After all, "fall seven times, stand up eight,' his mother always said... There was also, 'chocolate is not a breakfast food!' but that never seemed quite pertinent.
"Look, this is just a minor detour in route to the overall goal," James continued quietly. "We just restratagize around the fact that she's obviously not desperate enough for our help yet."
"I do love how he says 'our' help. As if we're in this together," Sirius chimed in, only to receive a deathly glare.
"Marauder Code, rule three," James said with a stern whisper. "We are in everything together."
"Mister Potter, I do believe I said page 122," Slughorn said in irritation, stopping in mid-sentence of his lecture. "I trust you don't need me to move your seat a bit closer to the front so you can hear me adequately?"
"No, sir. 122, got it."
As James opened his book, the chapter largely printed "LOVE POTIONS," stared back at him.
Love Potions, in the simplest terms, are brews commonly made from aswinder eggs, rose thorns, peppermint, and powered Moonstone, that cause a drinker to become infatuated or obsessed with a certain individual, though cannot actually create the unbreakable, eternal, unconditional attachment that alone can be called 'true love.'
— Hector Dagworth-Granger
Drastic as it seemed, James knew there was only one thing that could fix the misstep he had fallen into. His eyes read over the text once more, step by step putting together what would ultimately get Olivia's agreement. He was sure of it. It would be a bit complicated, of course, and timing would be crucial, but it could be done. It can always be done, he reminded himself, confidently.
"So what's the plan, Prongs?" Peter turned around and asked quietly. Sirius snorted.
"Yes, what is the next step in 'Operation Win-Miss-Evans-By-Recruiting-Deranged-Gryffindor?'"
"Simple. We make that deranged Gryffindor come to us."
Three days passed uneventfully after Olivia's encounter with James, and much to her surprise, he remained true to his word. There was no obnoxious pleading, begging, or other embarrassing attempts to get her to change her mind. Only the occasional nod of acknowledgment when they passed one another on the staircases or had class together. Out of Lily's watchful eye, that is.
Even with James' lack of attention, however, Olivia still felt the need to hide herself away in the library for as long as she possibly could, briefly leaving only for classes she couldn't bare to miss and quick meals or trips to the lavatory. It was silly, she knew, but she had come to the conclusion that laying low for the time being would probably be best. It became especially clear after a more than humiliating encounter with one of Fiona's tarty minions the morning before that had her rethinking, several times, about running back to Potter and begging him to help her. Until it was safe to come out, she'd stay put right where she was, surrounded by the only thing she really needed: reading material. Maybe she'd return to society when Rigby forgot she had ever existed due to some sort of mild head injury, or when Potter found a different way to reach Lily so they could both live happily ever. Maybe she'd just wait until graduation rolled around. Not before any such opportunity showed itself would she again be noticeable to the naked eye.
As she sat in a low lit area near the Restricted Section, Olivia couldn't help but wonder what James was planning on doing now that she wouldn't be of assistance. Surely he wouldn't let Lily go that easily, but what else, after all this time, could he possibly have up his sleeve? He's obviously getting desperate if his trying to pull in people outside of his circle, she thought. He never lets anyone in but Lupin, Pettigrew, and Black... Ugh, that insufferable Black! 'I thought you said she was supposed to be smart?' The absolute nerve!
She debated about running through her short, albeit moderately impressive, list of academic achievements with him the next time they met. Whenever that might be. For example, there was the Outstanding marks in ten out of twelve O.W.L.s she got last year, which she had always maintained would have been twelve for twelve if it weren't for the general uselessness of Divination and Arithmancy. And she was, in fact, appointed the secretary of the Charms Club by Professor Flitwick for her impeccable note-taking skills and moderate enjoyment of the subject. A few years back she even won The Daily Prophet's Young Writer Award for an investigative report on the origins of chocolate frogs that garnered family wide attention. What did he have apart from a precious band of hoodlums and some ridiculous blithering fangirls?
Is he capable of grasping the concept behind something as mindless as a word search puzzle? she wondered. Has he ever read a book? Can he put his robes on by himself in the morning? She scoffed at the thought. Mister "I'm such a gift to the female population, and much to gorgeous and charming to... What are you saying? NOT gorgeous. Most definitely NOT charming. Contrary to popular belief, Hogwarts is filled with much better prospects for potential relationships than a boy whose name is actually an adjective!
Olivia stared inconspicuously across the dozens of tables throughout the library. Amos Diggory, she noted, as he chatted with other Hufflepuff's and worked on a lengthy essay. Now that is a reasonable specimen of what a gentleman should be! Nice, wispy hair, she observed. And that time I brushed up against his arm during Care of Magical Creatures, his skin was pretty soft. High marks. Caring and considerate. No overwhelming need to create chaos and devastation where ever he goes. You would think that is what would be unanimously deemed attractive, but no. How absurd. People can be so ignorant!
She didn't know what was bringing out the animosity in her, but Olivia didn't like the feeling one bit. It had been all wrong the last few days. She was getting immature, bitter even. Like some sort of foreign virus was systematically attacking her good sense and attitude. She hoped it was only the stress and that she wasn't starting to snap like her great-uncle Wallace, locked away for almost thirty plus years because he thought he was Andros the Invincible reincarnated. Anything but that, she prayed. I better take a minute and go get some fresh air.
Yet, with her belongings in hand, and only two steps in the direction of the door, Olivia paused as a storm of papers floated in a mass down from the library's ceiling. While some students got up to investigate and others danced about as if it were a snow shower, Olivia caught of glimpse of one of the falling flyers and snatched it in midair.
Was that just...
What in the world...
Sure enough, her picture was on the sheet, next to a boy she didn't even recognize, blowing him seductive kisses that he graciously accepted. Surrounding them was an obscene amount of hastily drawn red and purple hearts, and what appeared to be Olivia's very own handwriting.
MR. AND MRS. ELI BECKETT
O.A. LOVES E.B. FOREVER
Her pulse quickened and she tried to find her way to the nearest exit, avoiding a screeching Madam Pince, but a fuming blonde reached her first, throwing a half eaten box of chocolates that narrowly missed her head by inches.
"Do you think this is funny, Avery? Slipping my boyfriend a love potion? What the hell are you playing at?" Olivia's heart stopped and others couldn't help but quiet down watch the show that was unfolding before them.
"Get her Daphne!" one of them urged with a laugh.
She remembered quickly what James had told her.
Oh, Merlin, no!
"I can't believe you!" the girl shrieked, red-faced and waving her wand about. Olivia fought the instinct to cover her ears. Inherently, she knew the aspect was only true of ancient dinosaurs, but nevertheless, there was an irrational hope inside her that insisted if she didn't make any sudden movements, Tengrove would retreat back where she came from. Slytherin! Snake! Reptile! T-Rex! It would make sense, she thought hastily.
"Stop it!" another voice shouted before Olivia felt a pair of rough hands on her face. She looked into the eyes of who she knew was the boy with her in the picture. "Don't worry, my love, I won't let them hurt you!" Her head was starting to spin and her vision getting fuzzy with delirium.
"Eli, get off of her!"
"You will have to KILL me before I let her go!"
Olivia barely had a moment to respond, let alone reach for her wand when the spell hit her.
Hair unmanageable, and much to her discontent, bright as ever, Olivia paced briskly about the top of the owlery until dinner hours were well past over. Alone. Cold. And bored.
Back and forth.
Back and forth.
Back and forth.
Look at me, she sighed, steam coming from her breath. Hiding like a child again. Why do I do this to myself? I should go back down there and - Merlin, who am I kidding. I'm never coming out here. Flich will probably find my frozen body in the morning.
While she contemplated various diseases should could convince Madam Pompfrey she had to go home to get treated, a familiar pair of tan feathers abruptly perched themselves on the post beside her, package in tow.
"Well, Penguin, don't you have excellent timing," she said a light pet to his head. "You've got no clue how nice it is to see a friendly face." He gave a pleasant hoot. "What'd you have for me there? Please don't be another batch of Dad's lemon squares. That's the last thing I can handle right now."
Carefully opening the envelope tied tightly around the small package, Olivia recognized the stationary immediately. It was from her sister, Penelope. Her heart swelled as she read.
Olivia, my dear!
I wish I could put into words how much I miss you, but they just wouldn't be able to do me justice. I know it's only been two weeks since I last heard from you, but the lack of your presence is killing me. The house is lonely, the vacuuming never gets done, and your fish keep eyeing me as though they're planning some sort of escape. Please don't panic, I think they're just having a tiny bout of separation anxiety (that's a fish thing, isn't it?). I assure you, I've been feeding them those repulsive little flakes every day, and against my better judgment, I've been talking to them regularly just like you told me to. Honestly, you don't have the greatest pair of conversationalists, and they're manners are abhorrent. I will have you know Atticus promptly turned his back on me and swam away into his castle when I mentioned that I was going to wear my yellow shirt out to the store today instead of the blue. On the bright side, I think I may have convinced Mum and Dad to let you get a dog.
Apart from missing you almost as much as I am, and working loads during the week, they're both fine as frog's hair. Here's an interesting news tid bit though, that probably won't surprise you - Mum has become positively enthralled with a new club down at the Community Center. You know what that means, don't you? Yes, the backyard can finally breathe a sigh of relief, as winter takes hold, for the Garden Club is now resting peacefully alongside the Knitting Club, the Chess Club, the Abstract Painting for Beginners Club, and my personal favorite, the French Cuisine Club. Naturally, the only thing that can fill the gap left in her heart is the comfort offered from the BOOK Club. I think it's an attempt to feel a little closer to you while you're gone, so I'm sending you something I hope you'll enjoy. For the next two weeks, the reading selection is what's wrapped up in the box: Anne Rice's Interview With The Vampire. All I've heard out of Mum is what a monster Lestat is, and how Louis is just a victim of circumstance, so when you get the chance to make your read through, think of her fondly bantering about, as she is of you. Funny thing though, Dad's whole heartily sure that she and the rest of the Muggle club members are actually reading Amarillo Lestoat's A Vampire's Monologue! He tried to explain to her that it was written to bore readers senseless so that they would be easier prey to bite, and has spent days wondering how it could have winded up in their hands, but he can't get a word in edgewise once she starts! It's incredibly entertaining.
Unless you count the three strawberry shortcakes I had for desert today, I'm afraid I must disappoint you when I say that the life of your favorite sister has been rather dull since we last spoke. Not to mention, all that really matters to me right now is your problems with Fiona and her miscreants. I'm so sorry that you're having to go through this and that I can't be there to help you sort it all out. Believe when I say that if you were to give me the word, I can be there in a few hours and put this nonsense to a quick end. I have no issue - I repeat, NO ISSUE - with coming down there and giving the bitch a piece of my mind. It will be an excruciatingly embarrassing, pain induced escapade, and she will never again even utter the Avery name. It is my solem duty as your loving, utterly extraordinary, brilliant, and beautiful older sibling to at least get you that far. If need be, I even know a little place past the park where we could hide the body. You know, if you want to take that kind of route instead.
I know it seems so hard right now, but please try to keep your head up. Know that there's a big, fabulous world outside Hogwarts waiting for you, where people like Fiona don't stand a chance. You just need to put your mind over matter. Look past what everybody says and just live your life the way you want to live it. Don't you remember my start of sixth year when Elise Hazelwood tried to make my life miserable for four straight months just because I was picked at quidditch tryouts for Chaser instead of her? I ended up missing the bloody Yule Ball because I didn't want to come out of my room! I don't want that to happen to you, Livvy. I don't want you to let people walk all over you like your some sort of doormat. I just want you to enjoy what you've got, or you're going to be kicking yourself later for letting other people dictate your actions.
With that being said, I'm dying to know; with that brain of yours, you've come up with something fitting to exact a little revenge, right? Don't scowl at my parchment like that, Olivia Mae. We can't all live like Gandhi. It's perfectly natural and completely necessary for a bit of payback every now and again. And after what you've been though, I think it's safe to say that you deserve it. I'm not sending you on a search and destroy mission, I just think it'd be good for you to make a stand. Show them you're not going to let them bother you anymore. So, come on, do tell? What are your devious schemes against Miss. Rigby thus far? I've made you a small cheat sheet just in case your too bogged down with schoolwork to formulate anything proper. I think these really shout, "I am Olivia, hear me roar!"
1. Intercept mail from family - send back a notice of her pregnancy.
2. Cut her hair off while she's sleeping (for extra effect, get the eyebrows too!).
3. The ever classic diary steal and blackmail.
4. Three words: Bed. Of. Dungbombs.
5. Lure her down by the lake and sacrifice her to the merpeople.
Know that you have my full support in whichever you choose and am with you in spirit always. Just don't tell Mum and Dad.
Before I go, and please don't take this the wrong way as I'm doing it out of sisterly love, there's one more thing I wanted to talk to you about. Given this whole situation you've found yourself in, there's something I think you should work on that could make things a little easier for you. While I was at school and able to be by your side, it didn't seem to be such a big deal that you were - I don't know - a bit of a loner? But don't you think this would be the perfect time to find yourself some alliances? Sure, Slytherins are out of the question (not that I'd want you hanging around them anyways) but the other houses can't be completely horrified by the thought of your company. What I'm trying to say, as nice as I possibly can, is that you need to have friends, Liv. You can't spend the rest of your life talking to fish. I don't know if you've realized this, BUT THEY CAN'T TALK BACK. Don't hate me, I just want you to be happy.
I'm always here for you if you need me, sis. And know that I'm as proud of your as ever. Love you by the millions.
Penguin nudged against Olivia's arm as she read the letter once more. Earlier in the week, she had been so dead set on turning James down and keeping her life at Hogwarts as quiet and insignificant as possible, but reading her sister's words now threw her for a loop she hadn't expected. It turned out there was much more to take into consideration than she had thought, and a growing backbone that she didn't think she had in her.
Besides, what Lily didn't know wouldn't hurt her.
Author's Note: * Love Potion information taken from Harry Potter Wiki *
I don't normally do these little side notes, but I just wanted to give my advanced thanks for anyone just clicking A Marauder's Proposition for the first time, as well as, and most especially to those who have bared with my during my much longer than anticipated hiatus. I do apologize that it's taken so long for me to update this story, but my plate has been absolutely filled trying to juggle day to day life the past few months. Not to bore you with all the details (i.e., moving cross country, acquiring my first house, working forty hours a week, and still trying to keep up this thing that kind of resembles a social life), but being an "adult" is totally way harder and more stressful that it sounds.
Thankfully, while it has taken me a bit to get a better handle on things, I've finally reached a prime time to add to this story on a more frequent basis and get all these major plans I have running around in my brain written and posted. That being said, please keep checking back here with me, and do continue to enjoy AMP as much as I'm enjoying writing it. I love you all by the bucket loads for reading and reviewing, as any and all support really helps fuel my cranium for better, quicker, more awesome-filled updates. Do know that you all are undeniably the most sensational people ever!
Your humble, motivation-regained, diligently working on chapter five, friend ~ B Sirius