Chapter 1 : a remarkable unremarkable girl
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This is surely not what you thought it would be.
Only one class stood between me and lunch. One measly class - not even a double period. Then I could eat to my heart’s content. All I had to do was survive Care of Magical Creatures.
Easier said than done. Of course, the fact that I was petrified by even owls did put a damper on the whole subject. Still, I had survived two years of lessons previous to this year, and I was determined to survive this one, too.
How was I to know that this one measly little class would end up changing my life?
Most of my mind was focused on lunch - I had overslept (first day of classes and I’d already started to do it - this boded well for the rest of the year) and so I hadn’t been able to have a very large breakfast. Still, I was mildly curious about the new professor - Professor McGonagall had mentioned that Professor Hagrid had retired and would be staying on only as a gamekeeper. Not entirely surprising - he had to be ancient by now, he had gone to school with Voldemort, for Merlin’s sake.
(Although... I’m surprised McGonagall hasn’t kicked the bucket yet. She’s probably been around for even longer... If Uncle Harry hadn’t gotten rid of the Philosopher’s Stone, I’d wonder. Our family currently has a bet on whether or not she’ll come back as a ghost to haunt Hogwarts. I say yes. Uncle Ron hopes not.)
All I knew about Professor Wallace was from the little I had seen of her during the Welcome Feast. She was small and young looking and had merely grinned and smiled when introduced, before sitting back down again. A fairly agreeable woman, upon first glance.
I hadn’t heard anything about her from the large network of cousins at my school - I was the lucky one to have a new professor Monday morning, making it my duty to spread the news. Not that there would really be much need, anyways. The younger ones hardly listened to me, and Molly scoffed at Care of Magical Creatures - it was a soft option, according to her, and as Head Girl she had bigger fish to fry.
Of course, it was a bit of a soft option, and that was why I was taking it, but I did manage to feel affronted when she brought it up over the summer. No need to rub her superior intelligence in my face.
I scampered down the lawn, my bag baning repeatedly against my back. Behind me, I heard the heavy breathing of Heather. “Slow... down!” she panted as she trailed a few feet behind me. “For Merlin’s sake, Lucy!” she attempted to shriek. Unfortunately, it came out closer to “F...or Meeeeerlin’s.... saaaake.... LUCY,” the only part clearly enunciated being my name, which was uttered like a curse.
I love my friends.
I slowed down as we reached the bottom of the hill. Heather did not.
Bam! With a shriek, she crashed into me, arms flailing as we tumbled down the rest of the hill. I sent up a brief prayer to Merlin that we were - hopefully - far enough from where class was that none of our fellow house members (or, even worse, Ravenclaws) saw us.
Heather’s cheeks were bright crimson. “Lucy Weasley, I am going to kill you someday,” she growled.
Morosely, I dusted off my skirt (already messy, and not even done with the first day of classes. It was a record) and nodded. “You’ll have to get in line,” I sighed.
“Bloody hell,” Heather muttered. “Is getting to class on time really that important, Luce?”
“Yes,” I argued. “It’s the first day of classes. I mean, we’re always late,” I admitted as I pulled Heather off the grass and we started walking again, “but we could at least try once in the year- and it’s a new teacher. And secondly, there are no secrets in my family.” I sighed again. “Someone will find out, it’ll get to Molly, which means my parents will know, which means I’ll get a letter from my parents, all before the end of the first week of school. Do you really want to do that to me, Heather?”
I unleashed my pouting eyes. Heather laughed at me. “You look ridiculous,” she informed me.
I thought I was supposed to be in the nice house. If Heather is nice, then I shudder at what must go on in the other houses.
“And it’s not our fault Flitwick let us out late, either,” she continued, keeping up with my brisk pace. “And Molly wouldn’t necessarily find out.”
I answered grimly, “Molly finds everything out. Seriously. There are no secrets in my family.”
Heather sighed, but let that go for the moment. I could see a clump of people forming around the Forbidden Forest, but for the moment it didn’t appear as though there was a professor.
“One more year and I’ll be done with this,” I said brightly, moving on to a happier topic, the thought of discontinuing Care of Magical Creatures instantly cheering me up. There was no possible way that I wouldn’t fail my OWL - I might be able to scrape an A if I was lucky in the written, but the practical would just go down the drain as soon as I ran screaming out of the room.
“You’re bonkers,” Heather said, shaking her had. Really, the support from my friends is incredible. “You’re bloody terrified of owls. You make me take all your letters for you. And you’re taking Care of Magical Creatures. Right.”
Well, yes, that did sum up my thoughts concerning the matter.
I shrugged. “It’s the easiest thing next to Muggle Studies, and I couldn’t do Divination because incense gives me a headache.”
“So you went for the class that’s full of things you’re frightened of.”
“Yeah, pretty much.”
Heather’s far too critical for a Hufflepuff, I think. I have to speak to the Sorting Hat about this.
“Besides, I got The Talk again,” I added glumly. Heather gave me an appreciative grimace. She knew what it entailed and had gotten quite good at giving sympathy looks over the years.
So maybe she can be a Hufflepuff on occasion after all.
For most people, The Talk refers to the birds and the bees. For me, not exactly.
It wasn’t as if I had missed the moment of disappointment flash across my parents’ faces when I opened a flat envelope this summer, and only a letter with supplies was inside. But it was wiped off quickly when my sister opened hers to find a familiar bump in it.
Head Girl Molly was the center of attention this summer. Nana Molly (the first, that is) was practically bawling that her namesake was the first grandchild to receive the honor. I swear my dad was choking back tears too. Mum was positively chuffed.
Honestly, the badge didn’t come as a surprise. Molly had been waiting for this moment more or less from the moment Dad first mentioned being Head Boy when he was little. If she hadn’t gotten it - well, I might have fled the country for a year or so, while the disappointment and anger died down.
For doing what was expected of her, Molly received: two pairs of new school robes, one pair of new dress robes (her choice of color), 10 Galleons of spending money (she bought books), and a homemade meal, courtesy of Nana Molly (all the cousins were invited, of course, and naturally it was delicious).
For the beginning of school, I got: one pair of new school robes, two hand-me-downs of Molly’s (they were in almost impeccable condition, of course, because Molly never was messy), most of Molly’s old schoolbooks (also in impeccable condition), another copy of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by Newt Scamander (Molly never owned it, and mine had fallen apart after a rather nasty incident involving a puddle and a bet), and some sighs from my parents about how I needed to apply myself this year.
Quite honestly, they had given up on me a while back. Dad’s encouragements were half-hearted, though Mum insisted that I’d find the perfect job. I’d been disappointing them far back even before I turned eleven, but my Sorting might have just confirmed it. I was ordinary. Perhaps the first ordinary Weasley - maybe that was what made me special.
Honestly, though. My one claim to fame is that I’m the only Weasley in Hufflepuff. Not exactly something to brag about.
It’s not that I dislike being in Hufflepuff. Being a Puff is fun. Low expectations, nice people, a cheery common room... it could be much worse.
But when you’re surrounded by noble Gryffindors (read: Teddy, Vic, Dom, James, and Fred), brainy Ravenclaws (that would be Molly and Louis), or even going-against-the-grain Slytherins (Albus and Rose were the first Weasleys to make it into Slytherin, thus creating family history), being the only Hufflepuff just feels a little... well, plain.
I’m sort of used to it. Such is the curse of being born awkwardly into the middle of a very large family. You learn certain things: that there’s no privacy or secrets; how to deal with people with tempers; and that arguing with a Weasley is a lost cause.
Which is why I gave up and finally agreed to take Care of Magical Creatures my third year, since my parents told me I had to choose two classes.
Which is why I found myself walking there now.
Heather and I managed to join the back of the clump of students just as our new professor walked up, successfully melting in behind the eager Claws.
Professor Wallace strolled in with a happy grin, looking genuinely excited, immediately making me feel on edge. No one should be this excited about Care of Magical Creatures. Nor should anyone be so excited about the first day of classes, unless you’re a Ravenclaw or something. It just isn’t right.
“Good morning!” she said brightly. “My name is Professor Wallace, and I’ll be taking over Professor Hagrid’s classes now that he’s retired. I’m looking forward to this year with you and guiding you in your quest for knowledge about the various creatures in the Wizarding world!”
Someone please Avada Kedavra me.
The enthusiasm. It’s sickening.
“Now, fifth year will be difficult, because of your OWLs, but I feel confident-”
A rumbling of my stomach distracted me, and I mentally counted down the minutes until lunch. Only my second class, and already I was sick of hearing the whole fifth-year-is-so-hard-OWLs-blah-blah-blah shtick. I’d heard it plenty from my relatives - heck, even my father admitted it was difficult, and if you know Percy Weasley, that should mean something. I’d heard it from everybody - and by everybody, I mean down to the last aunt, uncle, and older cousin.
(With the notable exception of Aunt Hermione, who insisted that OWLs were perfectly fine as long as you studied hard enough, a slightly crazed look returning to her eyes. Uncle Ron, on the other hand, was standing behind her simultaneously rolling his eyes, miming cutting his neck, and mouthing ‘crazy’ at me. I took the hint.)
(Then, of course, Aunt Hermione went on a rant about the shoddy quality of teaching her fifth year, particularly in D.A.D.A., and nothing stops Aunt Hermione on an educational rant. I tuned out.)
Heather beside me was diligently copying down the syllabus that Professor Wallace had conjured with a flick of her wand, large letters floating in the air, so I allowed my mind to continue wandering. I’d copy it off of her later. That’s what friends are for, right?
(Don’t try to give me any of that friends-don’t-let-friends-copy-homework business. Not even the Claws buy that nowadays.)
And it was a lovely day for September, besides, with a nice breeze blowing. The trees looked quite pretty - just beginning to change colors, the very tips of the leaves being stained bronze, inviting the imagination to take off.
Suddenly there was murmuring among my fellow students, and I was brought (a bit violently) back to the present by a sharp jab in the side, courtesy of Heather’s elbow.
“Nuts, I think,” she whispered in my ear, lips barely moving. We had long ago mastered the art of talking during class. “A project like that? We’re not even post-OWL students, for Merlin’s sake. And at the beginning of the year!”
“Huh?” I most eloquently whispered back.
Heather hit me on the head. “Pay attention, Lucy! We haven’t even finished a full day and you’re not listening. Did you hear a word she said?” Heather accused me, shaking her head.
“No,” I meekly said, cringing away from her in case she decided to elbow me again. (I keep telling her to take out her frustration in other ways, but this normally just earns me another elbow. Why don’t I have sides of steel yet?)
We have a loving relationship, Heather and I. It’s very healthy.
With a huff and an eyeroll, she acquiesced to fill me in on what I’d missed. “A project. A semester long project on a creature of our choice, to be done with a partner of her choosing, in a nutshell,” she rattled off. “To be done mostly independently and to be turned in right after the Christmas holidays. Preferably after some hands-on experience with said creature.”
Bugger it. A partner project for an entire semester, plus the regular workload? We weren’t even all here because we necessarily liked the class! (That would be me I’m referring to, yes.) We couldn’t officially give it up until after our OWLs! Batty woman.
And, to add insult to injury, she was choosing our partners. Which meant I couldn’t just do something on Flobberworms with Heather and call it a day. No, that would be convenient.
My life does not do convenient.
“Please listen for your pairings!” Professor Wallace called out, an a hush immediately descended over the group - the moment of truth.
She began rattling off names. I noticed the trend of a Hufflepuff and a Ravenclaw being paired off with each other, and I couldn’t decide whether it was excellent or horrible - maybe I’d get one of the OCD ones who’d want to do it all on their own, but it meant that I wouldn’t get to do something easygoing with a fellow housemate.
“Heather Macmillan and Russell Boot,” she announced, and I heard a quick sigh of relief escape Heather’s lips. Russell Boot was perfectly nice, a Ravenclaw, and someone she could get along with easily. And not bad-looking, either, which definitely didn’t hurt.
“Lucky,” I whispered under my breath.
She gave a tiny nod and raised her eyebrows in assent.
I shifted my weight from foot to foot impatiently. I didn’t give a rat’s arse about who Georgina or Nicholas ended up to - I just wanted to hear who my partner was.
Finally, she said, “Lucy Weasley and-” This was it. Oh, please Merlin, let them be a Ravenclaw. Let them be smart. And, if you’re still listening, I wouldn’t mind if they were male and nice to look at. “-Lysander Scamander.”
A little anticlimatic. Well, I could do a lot worse.
She finally rolled up her parchment, and students began to find their partners. I started to look around for Lysander through the sea of people suddenly moving, only to be tapped on my shoulder. Turning around, I saw Lysander standing behind me with a grin on his face. “Hey, Lucy.”
Where in the name of sweet Circe did he come from? Holy Hippogriff. Sort of creepy.
Then again, he’s Aunt Luna and Uncle Rolf’s, so maybe it’s okay.
“Hullo, Lysander,” I said, blinking a bit, adjusting to his sudden arrival.
He launched right into talking. “I’m quite excited about this. Have you thought about what you want to do yet? We don’t want to do anything boring, I mean.” Oh, we don’t? That’s news to me. I was hoping for Flobberworms... “This could be fun, though, don’t you think?”
Lysander loved to talk, I remembered now. His twin, Lorcan, also talked quite a bit - but Lysander always won the gold.
“Um... well...” I struggled to come up with a suitable creature on short notice. Unlike Lysander, I did not seem to have a list of the Wizarding world’s animals memorized. Something preferably not scary - though, okay, I could probably do better than a Flobberworm. “We could do grindylows?”
“We could,” Lysander agreed, but I could already tell from the tone of his voice that it wasn’t likely to happen. “Or we could do something a little more... I don’t know, adventurous.”
Right, well, you’re talking to a Hufflepuff here. Adventure is not my specialty. Try, I don’t know, James. Or Fred. Or Dom. Or any Gryffindor, really. But I’d really, really much rather to just get this project done without any injuries or... adventure.
“Kneazles?” I said halfheartedly. No way he’d go for that - Aunt Hermione’s old cat was part-Kneazle. If it could be domesticated, I sensed that Lysander wouldn’t be very interested in it.
“We-ll,” Lysander said, and I appreciated that he was at least attempting to be diplomatic. “I had thought maybe ramoras - Mum’s been talking about them lately.”
I gave him a blank stare. What the hell was a ramora?
He sighed, seeing my utter confusion. “Magical fish with protection properties. Lives in the Indian Ocean. But anyways, Mum’s probably going to study them, so that wouldn’t work out.”
“Plus,” I added helpfully, “you know, the Indian Ocean’s far away.”
“Eh,” he shrugged, “It could be farther.” I’m no geography champion, but I’m pretty sure the Indian Ocean is, you know, by India. Which is in Asia. Which is pretty far away from the Atlantic Ocean. Oh well.
“Think outside the box!” he pressed, giving me a crazy grin.
All right, so he’s a little bit off of his rocker. Still, he’s a Ravenclaw, so he has to have some semblance of normality.
Actually, scratch that. Aunt Luna was a Ravenclaw too.
“Well, what do you think?” I said, proud of how even my voice was. Must not let any irritation show. Not his fault that magical creatures terrify me.
Cocking his head to the side, he thought. “Well,” Lysander shrugged, “I’m not totally sure. But if we’re going to work on it for a while, it has to be interesting.”
I think Flobberworms are very interesting, thank you very much.
“Define interesting,” I said to him warily.
“Like... dragons, you know? That would be interesting.” Lysander began to warm up to the idea, and the sense of dread began to start in my stomach. “Seriously misunderstood creatures, dragons.” His eyes brightened as he continued on the topic. “I mean, they’ve been forced into secrecy due to the Statute, and a lot of them are endangered. We could do something on that-”
“Dragons?” Professor Wallace interrupted us. Holy Merlin and Circe, where the hell did she just come from?
The year’s barely started and people are already appearing out of nowhere. This is going to be a long year. (But seriously. Where did she come from? And why does this keep happening to me?)
I guess she’d been walking around and listening into groups’ conversations, because she continued, “One of the most original ideas I’ve heard so far! Very interesting, very interesting. Could make for a lovely project! Though,” she admitted, “I’m a little concerned about you being able to get your hands-on piece in. You can’t exactly find them in the Forbidden Forest.”
“True,” Lysander admitted, and his face crumpled a bit. I was doing the salsa inside - no dragons, no dragons, no dragons, yes!
Just about as I was going to cheerily say, “Oh well, we best try something else!”, his face lit up like Christmas, and my salsa celebration stopped as he turned to me. “Wait, Lucy - your Uncle Charlie!” he cried, like he had a sudden stroke of brilliance.
“What about him?” I said, playing dumb. What Uncle Charlie? I have a lot of uncles, after all. Just can’t keep track of them all, what a pity!
I begged inwardly, Please, please don’t let him say-
“He’s a dragon keeper, isn’t he?”
He said it.
Now the pair of them looked liked little third years seeing Honeydukes for the first time, turning towards me. “Really, Miss Weasley?” Professor Wallace said excitedly.
I gave an incoherent squeak.
“Yeah, he is, I talked to him one Christmas about it!” Lysander suddenly remembered. How bloody conveinient. “Where does he work again?”
“Romania,” I mumbled finally. “But it’s far away, surely we couldn’t go to-”
I was cut off by Professor Wallace. “Excellent, then! Dragons it is,” she scribbled down on a piece of paper. “Wonderful idea, you two!” She strode off.
Lysander turned and grinned at me widely. “That’s out of the box, eh, Lucy?”
Oh my Merlin. What in the world have I gotten into?
Sod it all, I could’ve sworn I had this under control. How did Kneazles turn into dragons? This is so not okay. I am most certainly in over my head.
Oh, Avada me now.
A/N: Again, the line "Seriously misunderstood creatures, dragons," was said by Hagrid in GOF. I couldn't resist using it. :)
This is so completely not what I'm used to writing. I am not funny. I'm about as romantic as Ron. Nor am I very witty. So this is a stretch! Hopefully it'll turn out all right - I'd love to hear feedback. Good? Bad? Feel free to send some tomatoes this way!
And this was a lengthy-ish chapter, but I really wanted to get to the main plot of this at first, and Lucy is a rambler.
Thanks for reading! :)