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Chapter 2 : Celebrating Freedom
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I just wanted to say that some things may be a bit confusing at the moment, but! everything will be understood soon enough. What kind of story would this be if just told you everything when we're only in the second chapter, eh? Remember to R&R!
Sounds great right?
Well, trust me, it isn't.
Just take a look at me now. I'm standing in the middle of great room, full of nobles, rich Pureblood families, members of the Ministry, and oh! There's also a kid that won't stop trying to spread caviar down my leg. Lovely.
And sure enough, I'm wearing a dress that's probably worth more than your home, I'm the daughter of the Queen of the Wizarding World, and everyone must adore me.
The dress I'm wearing is itchy as hell, and my feet are killing me, what with the four inch heels I'm wearing. My mother, Merlin knows where on earth she is right now, positively hates my guts, and the false adoration everyone feels for me is actually jealousy masked with a smile. And that annoying little boy is still whipping mangy orange fish eggs on me.
Yeah, that's how truly wonderful my life.
"Would you stop?!" I snapped more than a little irritated at the seven-year-old. He looked up at me, his big blue eyes twinkling mischievously. He grinned maliciously, and burst out laughing maniacally. "What the..?" I soon realised that the reason that the little prat was laughing so hard was because he had successfully covered my leg in caviar, and ripped the end of my dress. My eyes widened at the state of it. "You little..." Thankfully, Bella arrived just before I was able to utter the words that would most probably be that talk of the evening amongst todays guests.
"Either you get out of here now, or I hex you so far out this room that the last seven years of your life will flash before you. Now move!" Bella threatened through gritted teeth as she arrived. The boy's eyes widened in terror, and he scurried off quickly, most likely in search of his mother.
"Pathetic." Bella muttered as she followed him with her gaze. Then all of sudden, her mood changed abruptly, and she turned to me, a big smile plastered on her face. "So, apart from the food spread down your leg, how's your evening going?" She asked.
I rolled my eyes, "cut out the sarcasm Bels, and help me out would you?" I asked motioning down at myself. Bellatrix giggled, but after I glared at her for a second she sighed and took out her wand.
"Reparo." She muttered carelessly, pointing at my dress. Almost instantly the fabric was magically sewn back together, and it seemed like nothing had ever happened to the beautiful, yet extremely itchy, dress.
Bella just shrugged and started playing with her hair.
Let me explain this before we go any further. Yes, Bellatrix Black is my friend. Actually, we're really close. Not like it should be that much of a surprise. She's a Black after all, and they always attend our parties. Bels and I actually met at one of them, back when we were nine years old. She threatened to kill me, I whacked her with my brother's broom... ahh good times, good times.
"Oh Merlin." Bella sighed, putting a hand in front of her forehead, as if she were supporting her head.
"What?" I asked, wiping the sticky orange food off my leg.
Bella's frown soon turned into a malicious smirk as she swiftly pointed into a direction. I looked up, and suppressed a groan.
Amycus Carrow was approaching us.
The boy had been obsessed with me since we'd met six months before. Where? At another one of my mother's party's of course. Amycus was repulsive, squat, lumpy, unfit, and creepy. And the worst thing? He had developed a crush on me. Obviously Bella never passed the opportunity to make fun of me because of this.
I really hated her sometimes.
And now, at a slow rate, stopping a few times to catch his breath, but never changing direction, Amycus was coming towards us... or rather me.
"You could at least attempt to hide your giggles." I whispered to Bella, who was laughing freely now. She completely ignored me. As usual.
I frantically searched for an escape as my gaze darted between guests, luxurious furniture, fake smiles, and delicious food. But before I could even try to get out of the awkward situation that was about to take place, Amycus reached me. Damn, Merlin must hate me.
"Hey Amycus," I mumbled, whilst I glared at Bella, who was not helping me out at all.
"Leah!" He huffed. "I've been looking all over for you."
Aren't I one lucky girl?
"Well, I think I'll leave you two alone. I know how much you've been wanting to talk to Amycus Leah." Bella sniggered, as she said the last bit. My glare towards her intensified quite a bit, as I watched her walk off, while she still laughed.
Amycus, who seemed completely oblivious towards Bella's sarcasm, smiled his lopsided grin. "Have you really?" He asked hopefully. I bit my lip. Wondering on whether I should tell him how much he irritated me, or whether I should just smile and nod. The judging looks I got from a few old, Pureblooded woman, who were whispering to one another, made my decision.
"So how have you been, Amycus?" I asked, changing subject, and smiling forcefully. This seemed to set him off, as he started narrating a series of things he had done over the Summer, accompanied by his sister Alecto. It made me briefly wonder where she was. Alecto and Amycus always seemed glued together to each other's side. It seemed that she only ever left his side when he came to talk to me.
Yet more evidence of my undoubtable bad luck.
As Amycus carried on talking while I downright ignored him, my gaze swept the entire room. It was spectacularly decorated. The House Elves had worked really hard to make everything spotless, and they had, indeed succeeded. The white marble floor was completely immaculate. There was not one single pile of dust anywhere. The golden curtains hung heavily at the sides of the large speck less windows and doors that led to the garden. There were a series of paintings (which moved of course) that were hung rather artfully on the walls. Glasses of champagne, firewhiskey, butterbeer and even pumpkin juice had been set up in piles that resembled pyramids, and every time one of the guests or a waiter took one, it was immediately replaced. The same happened when one of the guests drank all of the contents of their glass; it was refilled instantly. There were also several tables (which floated a little) containing a wide variety of food. There were balloons of several colours hanging in mid-air, from where music was also coming out of. The whole room just seemed to glow.
As I inspected everything my hazel eyes locked with Bella's brown ones as she exited towards the garden. I frowned in frustration.
I'ts rather unfair, that I should have to stand here, listening to Amycus rant on about whatever it was, that he was talking about, in my party. Yes, my party. This was a party held in my honour to celebrate the fact that I was finally-finally!- going to attend Hogwarts. My family has many traditions, like a lot of Pureblooded families, although perhaps our traditions were a little more strict and created a bigger talk than others, what with us being the Royal Family. Anyway, one of those traditions, was that Hogwarts was our school. All members of the family attended Hogwarts. My grandparents had, my father and mother had, my older brother and sister Matt and Elisa had, and now, I was. There had been a few... complications, when I'd turned eleven and was supposed to go. But now, five years later, much wailing, and thanks to my insistent persuasion skills, I had finally convinced my mother to let me attend the school. And now, just a week before the oh-so-desired day that I left my imprisonment (and I'm not even exaggerating), I was stuck in a place I didn't want to be at, in a dress I didn't want to be wearing, and listening to a person I didn't like at all. So, instead of subtly making up an excuse that would make me look mildly good, and politically correct like my mother would have wanted me to do, I simply left. Yep, I left Amycus standing there, his mouth shaped like a perfect 'O' in mid-speech, as he watched me walk away without a single word thrown his way. Call it rude, call me mean, but there's no reason I had to put up with someone ever so irritating. I'd been raised to use people for my benefit, and then throw them away when I didn't need them. I was better than everyone else here. Or so I was constantly told.
"...cannot believe you left me there with him!" I yelled at Bella as I finally caught up with her. I'd followed her outside into the garden, and started shouting when we reached the fountain, where no one was within earshot and so I could start yelling my head off at her if I wanted to do so.
Or so I had thought.
"Whoa, calm it down Blondie, as much as I love the sound of your voice, hearing it all the way from the other side of the castle might upset other guests." A familiar voice spoke behind me. I whirled around immediately as Bella simply rolled her eyes.
"Evan!" I smiled and hugged him tightly. I heard him chuckle as his breath tickled my ear.
"Missed you too, Blondie." He said calling me by the nickname he'd made for me way back, when we'd met. Evan Rosier is a Pureblood, but he absolutely adores muggle music. Whenever I went round his home, we literally spent countless hours listening to it. He'd so kill me if he knew that I'd told someone this.
"You've gotten taller." I noted as I pulled away and saw that he effectively towered over me.
"You've gotten prettier." He told me winking. I grinned as I imitated Bella's famous eye-roll.
"Is that even possible?" I asked playing along. Evan laughed and caressed my face for a moment.
"I see your still as arrogant as always." He replied, instead of answering the question. I childishly poked my tongue out at him, and his grin widened.
"Honestly! I think I liked it better when Leah was shouting at me." Bella complained. Evan's gaze left me and swiftly inspected Bella, much to her irritation.
"Nice to see you too, Ross." Bella automatically scowled at the nickname. That's right, Evan's nickname-giving skills had stretched out to Bella too, in fact they had stretched out to much of the Wizarding population, although most of them had no idea what he was on about, especially if they were Purebloods. As you may have guessed, Bels' nickname was after Diana Ross, although Evan preferred to just call her Ross, because he thought it gave her a more masculine air, which she deserved due to her toughness. It really got on her nerves, but I guess that's kind of the point.
"You didn't write to me!" I accused him, as the three of us started walking deeper into the garden. He looked away as he answered.
"Sorry, I was really busy during the whole Summer." He said. I frowned, not believing him at all, but Bella quickly caught my attention.
"Well my Summer was completely and utterly boring!" She complained. "My parents insisted on visiting my uncle Orion's and his wife Walburga's manor constantly. And there's nothing to do there!" Although I wasn't mildly interested in this, Bella deserved at least for me to fake curiosity over her 'disastrous' Summer.
"What's so bad about that? I thought you liked your uncle and aunt." I asked her.
She snorted in response, "yeah, I liked to go round there because they're manor is so much damn bigger than us, and there's a ton of muggles I can scare where they live." Bella said matter-of-factly. I rolled my eyes, you got used to Bella always insulting muggles and planning out loud ways to terrify them further after you got to know her for a while. "But now that they've let the traitor of my cousin back into the family, I can't stand being there!" This sparked my interest a little. I'd heard seas of stories about Sirius Black, and Bella had recently told me that, for some unknown reason, his parents ad accepted him back into the family after disowning him for running away.
"Do you know why Orion and Walburga have let him back into the family?" I asked. Bella snorted again. I should really tell her how awful she looks when she does that.
"They say it's because they care more about him than about the Black family's belief for Pureblood supremacy. It's complete bullshit though. They've obviously got something going on that they need Sirius for, so they're pretending that everything's all right so that he'll do what he's told like the good obedient dog he should be." Bella let out a bark of laughter after saying this.
Merlin she worries me sometimes.
"Black," Evan said, and he wasn't referring to Bella, "he isn't worthy of being a Pureblood, all that crap about how muggles and muggle-borns are as good as we are. It's ridiculous." He said. I frowned deeply at them both. Evan and Bels were normally okay until they started talking about Pureblood supremacy. Then it was them who got ridiculous. I really did not see how being a muggle-born or a Pureblood made you a better wizard. I'd been raised to believe that the blood didn't have anything to do with a wizard's skills. I kind of agreed with Sirius Black, although I don't think I would have been brave enough to run away from my family even if they thought like that.
"You guys," I started saying, but they quickly cut me off.
"Yes we know how you feel about this subject." Evan said to me.
"But that's how you've been raised, you really don't know any better, you've never met a muggle-born in your life, you wouldn't know the filth they are." Bella continued. I opened my mouth to argue back, but once again they interrupted.
"And there's all that crap about the Royal Family not being able to be biased, afterall you're all Purebloods already, so you have to support both muggle-borns and Purebloods." Evan seemed like he was talking more to himself than to me.
I think we must have had this conversation a thousand times. Evan and Bella are all for Pureblood supremacy (as you may have noticed) unlike myself. All of what my friends had previously said, excluding their extremely biased opinions of course, was true. My father and my mother alike (much to my surprise) had taught all their children that Pureblood supremacy was absolute crap. This had created a few problems when I'd first met my two Slytherin friends, which stood in front of me now, especially when we had been younger. It had gotten so bad that sometimes the adults had to stop us from physically harming each other. But you know, all children are more violent when they're young. Well, actually that may be a lie. I don't think that any of us three would have minded a good duel if we felt that someone was insulting us.
Thankfully though, after several long talks from their families, both Evan and Bella, had been led to think that I only supported muggles and muggle-borns because I knew no better, what with me never having met an actual muggle or muggle-born.
It was really stupid, but hey, if that kept us from arguing, fine by me.
"Leah!" A voice I knew well (since I'd been having to hear it everyday for the past sixteen years) called me. To accompany the voice, my older sister Elisa (whom the voice belonged to), came out into the garden. This really must've been a miracle. Elisa never went out into the garden. Too wild for her I suppose, although the House Elves trimmed down the bushes (into rather artistic shapes too, I must say), and de-gnomed it constantly. "Mother wants you to come back inside, she wants you to meet a few people." Elisa told me. I fought back the urge to roll my eyes and simply nodded. I didn't feel like arguing.
"'Kay, come on guys." I said motioning my two friends to come with me. Elisa's eyebrows shot up, and she looked at me disapprovingly, but didn't say anything. She probably thought that, since the presence of Evan and Bella hadn't been requested, they shouldn't come.
I really could not care less.
As the four of us re-entered the large ballroom, we were greeted by my mother and a good-looking, yet extremely snobby couple all dressed in black. Typical Purebloods.
"Leah darling," my mother greeted me broadly, a giant smile on her face. Yet again, I fought back the urge to roll my eyes.
"Mother." I said nodding her way, and almost automatically switching to polite-princess behaviour. I turned to the man and woman that were eyeing me up critically, and smiled at them. "I'm afraid I don't know you." I said.
"Leah, these are Orion Black and Walburga Black." My mother introduced them. A surprised look registered on my face, but I immediately turned back to looking calm and beautiful.
"It's a pleasure to meet you Mr. and Mrs. Black."
"The pleasure, I fear, is all ours." Orion Black said smoothly, as they both bowed slightly at me. I smiled awkwardly. "Oh and please call us by our first names." Orion insisted. I nodded.
"I would like you to meet..." Walburga started saying, but it was right at this moment that Bella and Evan situated themselves behind me, and Bella, being Bella, started talking.
"Aunt Walburga, uncle Orion, what are you doing here?" She asked loudly. I almost cringed of embarrassment, and the glare that my mother sent me made me want to go hide in my room.
"Bellatrix." Orion said severely. The tone made her shut up immediately.
Walburga glared momentarily at Bella, but quickly continued with what she had been saying. "As I was saying before, princess Leah, I would like you to meet one of my sons." I felt Bella stiffen beside me. I really didn't want to know what would happen if Sirius Black suddenly strode up to us. She probably wouldn't be able to control herself, and would hex him straight away.
Thankfully, when an average height quite fine-looking boy with dark hair and a bored expression walked up to the Black's, Bella sighed with relief.
"This is our youngest son Regulus Arcturus Black." Walburga introduced the boy.
What is it with Purebloods introducing themselves and others by their full names anyway?
"Regulus, it's a nice to meet you, this is my daughter Lissandra Emilia Regia." My mother said.
And my mother has just joint the club.
Gee thanks mum, apparently I'm incapable of introducing myself.
"It's Leah." I told the boy who looked up at me. His grey eyes widened, and his bored expression now included a small smile.
"You can call me Reg." He replied. He had a nice voice, quiet and raspy, but not too much.
"Reg?" Bella looked baffled.
"Bella?" Regulus questioned back. It seemed like he had only just noticed her.
"Evan!" Evan's mother exclaimed as she spotted her son and now moved towards us.
"Mother." Evan replied in a bored voice.
"Leah!" I exclaimed wanting to join in.
I failed miserably as everyone turned to me and looked at me as if I was a hippogriff without wings.
"Leah hello. Queen Caroline." Evan's mother saluted me and my mother with a small bow. "Orion, Walburga." She nodded towards the Black's, and then turned to Evan. "Evan, can you come a moment? Your father wants you to meet the Minister of Magic." Evan's curiosity perked up immediately, and he followed his mother after excusing himself. I smiled after him. He was always interested in meeting people in high ranks in the society. Perhaps that's why we'd become friends in the first place.
"Orion, Walburga, please let me introduce you to Mr. Barty Crouch Sr." My mother said as she led Orion and Walburga off, in an attempt to have them forget this disastrous introduction to her daughter. Her being me.
"It really was a pleasure to meet you Lissandra, I do hope we'll see each other again." Orion said to me, and both he and his wife smiled slyly, as if they were laughing at a private joke. I didn't particularly like this, and it seemed that neither did my mother, since she frowned deeply at them for a moment, and then returned to smiling a radiant smile.
"Regulus, can I talk to you for a second?" Bella asked the boy, and without even waiting for his response, she dragged him off.
This left me alone.
The first time in the whole evening.
It felt... weird and peaceful.
I walked around the room for a while, and ended up in front of the coat of arms of Hogwarts.
It was a big reproduction that had been made especially for the celebration. It had the symbols of each House; a golden lion on a scarlet background for Gryffindor, a silver serpent on a green background for Slytherin, a black badger on a canary yellow background for Hufflepluff, and a bronze eagle on a blue background for Ravenclaw. Then in the middle there was the large, capital 'H' for Hogwarts.
"Are you impatient to leave for Hogwarts princess Leah?" A voice asked me from behind. It made me jump but when I turned around I smiled almost instantly. Albus Dumbledore studied me with his twinkling blue eyes, his long silver beard shining in the light. He had visited the family a lot, since he and my father had been really close. I was used to seeing him constantly in Summer.
"Yes sir." I replied.
His eyes crinkled as he smiled kindly.
"What House do you think you will be Sorted into?" He asked me. I smiled, by now I knew Dumbledore well enough to know that his questions weren't meant for him to discover the answers to them (he knows pretty much everything), but for me to discover my own answer.
"The tradition states that I should be Sorted into Gryffindor." I replied. He nodded, he already knew this of course.
"But is that where you think you'll be Sorted in?" He questioned further.
I thought before answering. "Gryffindor values courage, bravery, loyalty, nerve and chivalry." I repeated off by heart. I had been made to learn the values of each House long ago.
Dumbledore nodded again. "And do you believe you possess these qualities?" He asked me.
I grinned back at him. "I sincerely hope so!" This made his smile widen too.
After a few seconds, and as my thoughts raced ahead of me, my smile faltered. "No matter what House I am in, just being in one means I'll be in Hogwarts, and finally out of here." I whispered. I always felt like I could open up to Albus, he was like a second father to me, or a grandfather perhaps, would be more suited. He was extremely patient, and always listened to what I had to say. "Although I do want, with all my heart, to be in Gryffindor." An image of Bella and Evan flashed through my mind. Would they be angry with me if I was put in Gryffindor? It was most likely, although they did already know that the tradition marked that I would be put in Gryffindor, and they hadn't showed any signs of antagonism towards me. Yet. "It would have made my father proud." I said the last bit quietly, but Albus still heard me.
"I'm sure you will do a great deal of things that would have made your father proud." He said to me. "But you must do what you think is right for yourself." He paused, letting me take in his words. "Is Gryffindor and Hogwarts what you really want? What you think is right for you?"
I didn't hesitate in answering.
"Yes. Gryffindor and Hogwarts are definitely right for me." I nodded, "they're what I've always wanted."
Albus Dumbledore smiled at me once more.
"Then I'm sure they're what you will get."
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