Chapter 1 : The Game
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Beta'd by Giola
A boy running down the corridor outside my silent bedroom woke me up at 6am - usually I wouldn’t be able to hear it, but today was different. I was listening for it, for the screams that were now loud enough to be heard from next door.
Next door is 2 miles away.
Now, these screams were coming from my dear 16 year old brother. It may not seem like it by his extremely high-pitched scream but it most definitely is him, after he finds a baby Acromantula in his bedroom.
“Muuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuum!” He screamed, running and falling down the stairs towards the kitchen and as far away from the Acromantula as he could possibly get.
It’s a blissful feeling to have, when you know that there are times when you can get your overly popular and ‘good-looking’ Gryffindor brother out of his comfort zone and into a state of complete panic. Gives you a sense of hope for all those Slytherins out there.
Smirking I jumped out of my warm, green bed and slowly trudged into the bathroom so I could get ready for the call I was evidently going to receive once my parents went down stairs, to inspect and query Albus on why he woke the entire neighborhood up so early in the morning.
I turned the shower on, so I could at least look like I hadn’t been up all night, finding an Acromantula and then planting it in my brother’s room without him waking up. I heard the doors to my parents’ and my other older brother’s room creaked open and then, with the continued high pitch screaming from down stairs, the stamping of footsteps as all three of them ran down to the kitchen to find out who was making the overly girly screeches. Stepping into the shower I let the water wash away the smell and the hairs of the Acromantula and all proof that I had been involved. Getting out of the shower after 10 minutes, I could hear my mother yelling for me from the kitchen but I ignored it and relaxed, as I got ready for the day ahead.
I knew how it was going to turn out, the same way it always did. Mum would yell at me for scaring my brother, and then she would talk to Dad about how I should be punished. They would walk off and as Albus sulked in the corner, James and I would eavesdrop on what they were discussing and inevitably my punishment. Which was usually being grounded for two days.
“Lily!” I heard my mother scream for the fifth time.
Sighing I opened the door to my bedroom and slowly made my way down to the kitchen, through the hallway covered in the photos of our lives. Normally I would wait until she had called me seven times before moving, but a giant spider prank seemed like it deserved much less time dawdling and more time acting innocent. I wasn’t exactly going to get out of this one easily.
“You called, Mum?” I exaggerated a fake yawn, just to give the ‘I just woke up and got ready’ look that extra boost in the right direction.
“Care to explain why your brother was running through the hallway screaming 15 minutes ago?” Mum questioned, well more accused - she knew I had done it, they all did, but it was tradition to go through the motions before grounding me.
“James was running through the halls screaming? Wow, I am so disappointed to have missed that.” Sarcasm was dripping from my voice as I acted as though I really didn’t know what had happened. I heard James snickering under his breath. He was getting just as much enjoyment out of this as I was.
My mother, finding none of this to be funny, put her hands on her hips and gave me a stern look. She looked so much like Grandma Molly when she did that. “Your other brother Lily, I know you know full well what happened. Care to explain why there is an Acromantula currently occupying Albus’s room?” This was always the tricky part. Coming up with an excuse that is entertaining and completely full of half-truths. Honesty will get you nowhere.
“ Explain? Isn’t it obvious? The Acromantula climbed up the side of the house and into Albus’s room so it could wait for him to wake up and scream like a girl” I said, I thought this was a lovely excuse, not as far fetched as usual. Mum seemed to think otherwise.
“Oh really, and how did this giant spider get down here, there definitely aren’t any around Godric’s Hollow, they would have been seen before now.” Damn, this is where it got tricky; it was all a bunch of mind games, whoever got out on top would end up either giving extra punishment or having said punishment reduced. It’s a game of tag really, only with more consequences.
“Well the only place I know of Acromantulas being present is the Forbidden Forest at Hogwarts, and that’s in Scotland, which is forever away. Although it could have hitched a ride on the Hogwarts Express.” I tried to look like I was truly thinking about the situation, how someone may have gotten a not so Giant Acromantula all the way to Godric Hollow without it being seen. Really I was just coming up with a nice response for Albus.
“Albus, you didn’t tell me they person you said you fancied wasn’t actually a person but an Acromantula, I think it feels the same for you, so cute.” Albus glared at me, which he isn’t very good at. It’s like a little white rabbit trying to tell you off for ruining their burrow. I was just trying to contain my laughter. James was failing miserably at it, until I glared at him. He shut up straight away. He knew I would get him next if he fueled our mother’s anger.
“Lily, this isn’t a funny matter. There is a Giant Spider in your brother’s room. How is he meant to ever feel comfortable in his own bed again if you are placing deadly spiders in his room? Are you really wanting him to become an insomniac?” Mum questioned, this was the guilt part of the game.
It would work on anyone who wasn’t a Slytherin and actually cared for other’s well being on a regular basis. Pity she got the lovely Red head cunning Slytherin daughter instead. Oh the sweet justice of a life almost completely without guilt.
“Albus an insomniac? Really mum, he wouldn’t wake up to a fire alarm or an earthquake, I am sure he will definitely find a way to fall asleep in his room again.”
I had made this point many times now, how it’s dangerous for him to sleep because he just doesn’t wake up unless a elephant sits on him… or I let Lucy and Molly loose in his bedroom.
“Lily Luna Potter, I do not appreciate your stories, I will ask again. Why did you let a Acromantula free in your brother’s bedroom?”
Mum’s cheeks were growing redder with every word. And the full name had been used. That usually meant she was getting close to storming off to the other room to ‘decide my punishment’, Dad trudging behind her. Guess it was time to come up with my final explanation for this ordeal… time for the real lies.
“Look mum, I really have no idea how a Acromantula got into Albus’ room, let alone where to find them. We don’t learn about them till this year and the only ones I know about are the ones from Dad’s stories. I wouldn’t have the skill or time to catch a Acromantula and get it here without it biting me. I am sorry but I really can’t tell you how it got there.” The apology softened her up a bit.
I don’t mean them, they are complete lies, but it means less grounding time for me which, in my opinion, is great. Also not all of that was a lie, most of it yes. But some was the truth - I couldn’t tell her how it got there, cause it would rat me out. Simple as that. Sometimes I think I am too smart for my own good. If I wasn’t so power hungry I would be a Ravenclaw.
“That’s it, you will wait here while I go and determine your punishment, young lady. I don’t want to hear a single word out of any of you.” She started at all three of us, well, at James and I anyway. Albus was too busy crying silently to be paid much attention during her rant. Funny how I was getting punished for the crime against Albus but no one seemed to bother comforting him. Dad would have, but he’s too scared of Mum when she yells at me. I could here James stifling a laugh at the breakfast table, trying to reduce the amount of glares he received from our mum.
As usual Mum marched off into the adjoining living room and after Dad slowly made his way into the room, slammed the door on the kitchen, trying to keep the conversation quiet.
As soon as the coast was clear, and they had started ‘discussing’, James was running up the stairs and retrieving one Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes products from inside a chest underneath his bed. This product just so happened to be the object we used every time one of us would get in trouble. The great Extendable Ears, I say great, mostly because compared to other pairs of Extendable Ears these were special. Especially designed by George himself to get past the basic silencing charm. Perfect for our weekly blackmailing stunts, getting out of trouble and as we are about to do, finding out just how much trouble we (mostly I) were going to be in.
Placing the Extendable Ears up against the door we put our head close enough to the other end as possible without clinging heads. This was the hard part, trying not to snicker while listening to Dad trying to placate Mum’s anger. It was like a grown adult trying to make excuses for why he didn’t attend one of his mother’s social events. It was like a drama show in there.
“… But Ginny dear, you know how the kids are, always playing games with each other, it’s how they pass the summer holidays. It is just a harmless joke.”
I flinched, that last part was going to get him in trouble, he should never say to mum it was harmless, especially when a deadly spider is involved. This was looking bad, yet it was still going to be extremely entertaining. I was just not going to get out of this prank as victorious as I had hoped.
“Harmless, HARMLESS, in what world is an Acromantula harmless? You have witnessed their deadliness yourself and you are saying they are harmless? Lily went to far this time, she needs to be punished properly for once.” Fumed Mum, she was on a role tonight.
I heard James snickering beside me, turning to peer at whatever he thought was funny I hear him mutter loud enough for me to hear, but quiet enough that Albus remained oblivious and weeping.
“Dad is so in for it now. I mean a common caveman could have placated mum better.”
He continued to snicker and I retaliated and defended Dad with a nice punch in his arm. I got a justifying ‘ow’ as my reward for defending someone else. The bliss.
“You didn’t have to punch me, I was only saying the truth.” He defended; seriously he was asking to be tickled now.
It was the best thing against James, if you came anywhere near him with the intention to tickle he would run for the hills. Not kidding, he has done it before.
“James,” I hissed under my breath, “Say another word and I will tell everyone just how ticklish you are. Don’t you dare think I won’t. I will announce it to everyone first day back.”
I looked him directly in the face, making sure he believed every word of the utter lie I just threatened him with. For some reason I had a soft spot for my brothers. Sure it didn’t extend very far, I mean I found that I was allowed to prank or be mean to them, but as soon as someone else started attacking them with insults or just plain rudeness I would get revenge. I really liked revenge. What can I say, I like to be in control. It’s nice and all knowing and commanding.
“But Ginny, it was just a prank, you and I used to play pranks on people all the time at Hogwarts. You even used to get help from Fred and George and participated with the pranks in Fifth year, we can’t apprehend her when we were just as bad. It wouldn’t be fair.”
Dad was getting good at this, I guess the amount of annoyance at home and the constant letters being sent by owl that are either complaining about me or James really gave Dad some practice, but I wasn’t sure it would work.
“Harry, I know we were rowdy when we were kids, but an Acromantula is going too far, she needs to learn that sometimes her pranks can be dangerous. And what happens if next time someone gets critically hurt? I don’t want her to go through with that.” Mum had calmed down considerably, and it made me realize that maybe she was right. Don’t get me wrong I don’t want to get in any sort of trouble. But I am not cruel. I don’t want people to get hurt, I just want to make people laugh. Class clown I am. I went back to listening.
“I think we should give her a long grounding, just to show her that not everything she does is ok. She needs to learn Harry, I don’t want something bad to happen. Or for her to be expelled.” Mum reasoned. She sure knew how to twist dad’s arm. Wait, long grounding? Is she trying to force me to draw all over the walls in permanent marker to entertain myself? All it would say is ‘Gryffindor sucks’ or something along those lines. Hmm, that would be a good prank for the common room.
“Ok Ginny, I understand where you are coming from and I would have to agree, our children’s safety is of the utmost importance and I think you are right that she needs to learn when to stop.”
What is this, Dad is agreeing with Mum? This has never happened before; the whole game is falling out of balance and into another field. I don’t know what to make of it. Is this the end of my games and plotting? I don’t want to have to find a new routine.
I felt James nudge me, trying to gain my attention. I turned to face him. He smiled apologetically and mouthed ‘this is it’, referring to the final result, the punishment. It could cause the end of my summer vacation and a one way trip to my room for the next 3 weeks. I just hope it was only a few days.
“I am thinking 2 weeks Harry, it seems appropriate.” Mum announced, the finality in her voice indicating that she was not about to change her mind. I couldn’t believe it. 2 weeks? I had never got that before. What is this world coming to!
I stormed into the living room, ignoring the looks of shock on both my parents and James’s face, as the door slammed against the wall and ricocheted back to an almost closed position. “You’re going to ground me for 2 weeks? Why? I didn’t even do that much wrong! The damn thing had no teeth.” I huffed, almost in tears from the anger and confusing running through me. I didn’t understand these new rules. They were change and I didn’t like change.
First Next gen. Must say I love writing this :)
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