Beta'd by Giola :)
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I have had a week of boring, painful solitude since my punishment had been painfully announced to me. Grounded for, quite possibly the best prank I have ever pulled off, it was just an extra bonus that it had been planned out for Albus. If I hadn’t been set on getting the smallest grounding possible I would have bowed, like that weird man Elvis Presley does in all of Mum’s movies (she has been addicted since dad bought the T.V and gave her the first movie of him the disco man). It was extremely fine work on my part, I mean, an Acromantula. Do you know how bloody hard those things are to find, if you’re not actually running around the Forbidden Forest at Hogwarts? Not that I do that, cause I am a good angelic child.
I heard a knock at my door, only faintly due to the blaring music I had playing on my radio. The drums were really deafening and made it almost impossible to hear over. It made my life very peaceful and free of complaints. I finally climbed off my bed and headed to my bedroom door to unlock it. As I grew closer I heard my mother calling my name from the other side of the thick wooden door. I opened the door and listened as it creaked on the old and rusting hinges. I was about to ask my mother why she was here when she barged through the now half opened door and stood close to my bed.
“Of course mum, just come right in, no need to ask,” I whispered.
I could already tell from the way she held her body I was not going to be able to get out of whatever it was she had planned for today. Originally I was hoping for a quiet and peaceful day, filled with loud music and popcorn. Extra buttery popcorn and I have stash in my room for the ever usual occasion that I am stuck in my room, grounded or ignoring the incisive whines of my brother. Today was going to be different though, I could tell by the look in her eyes that she was going to tell me something dreadful. Probably something about family coming over for dinner or even worse, for the day. And that I would have to be sincere and smile and play with all the little kids so mother and aunty could talk and gossip about every other bleeding wizard that they were related to.
“Lily, Rose and Hugo are coming over today and I want you to take them out into town and spend the day there so Hermione and I can talk. Now don’t complain, if you do this I will cut time off your grounding and also let you have that owl you wanted for Hogwarts in a couple weeks.” She reasoned with me.
Bribery was evil and mean but it was my best friend. I used it on people and my mother used it on me. It was how I got what I wanted without having siblings complaining that they wanted something as well. Sort of the benefits of babysitting someone older then you, and related to you.
“Mum...” I said, giving an exasperated sigh. “ I will do it, but only cause I am running out of stashed food and need to buy more. It has absolutely nothing to do with the owl that you just said I could have,” I lied through my teeth, it was all about the owl, well I did need more food, the food I had in my supplies was defiantly not meant for more the 4 days. If I had of known that I would eventually get grounded for this long, I would have bought a lot more. But seriously, it was almost completely about the owl. I needed that owl, I was so sick of going to James and borrowing his. I am fairly sure he reads the letters every time before they are sent. Just to make sure there is nothing about a boy. He says it’s because he doesn’t want anyone hurting me or whatever it is overprotective brothers do, but really it’s just that he wants to annoy me with lovey dovey noises until I end up hexing someone. Usually Albus.
“Why thank you Lily, I thought you would be a lot harder to persuade then that. I know you get along with Hugo but do you really get along with Rose as well?”
She was so skeptical about everything. If I said I liked someone as a friend, to her it wasn’t true and I was making it up. I think she has issues. Lots of issues, maybe because her only friends are relatives. That must really suck. Who am I kidding, it amuses the hell out of me. It’s payback for all the times she has yelled at or grounded me or James. Pure and utter bliss that she really has no life.
“Oh, Mum it’s ok, I understand you want to spend time with Hermione and Ron, they are family, it’s expected.” I said, sympathetically. I really didn’t care, I was a Slytherin after all.
“They will be here in 10 minutes” Mum stated, and then conveniently disappeared from my room at a fast pace. 10 minutes? Was she kidding me? I was still in my pajamas.
Running around my room, looking at all my clothes that were lying around the floor. Conveniently all of it was my black and green pieces of outfits, the only clothes I wear. There is pink, but if I had a chance to burn it and get away with it, I would. I was in shambles, giving a girl 10 minutes to get ready is nasty and cruel. I have to look good if we are going out into town. It would ruin my reputation if I were to go out into town without looking my finest and, well, maybe a little bit stuck up.
I finally found some clothes to shove on and quickly tied my hair into a pony tail as my toothbrush was being held between my teeth, I swear I was about to start jumping up and down and fall over if I tried to do anymore things at once.
“Lily, Hugo and Rose are here!” I could hear Mum yell from the bottom of the stairs.
I raced to my bathroom, cleaning my teeth. Grabbing a random pair of shoes, I closed my bedroom door and, as gracefully as I could muster while being completely flustered, I walked down the stairs to find Rose, Hugo and James at the bottom waiting patiently for me to grace them with my presence. The only one that looked like the wait was annoying and bothersome was Rose, but she was always expecting people to be on her time. Never late, if you arrived after her then you were late, before, you were early. To Rose everything revolved around her, but I still loved hanging out with her. She was one of my only cousins apart from Fred that I did; she understood how annoying Albus was and always enjoyed the good revengeful prank.
Hugo on the other had, was a sweet innocent Hufflepuff, completely void of ill feelings and loved by most and to Rose and my disappointment, very forgiving. He was the sort of boy you would protect, even when you really didn’t want to, cause you were more concerned with your own appearance in front of others.
“You get roped into it to?” I asked James. He sighed and nodded, it was how it always was, James and I would be on Babysitting duty while little precious Albus would sit in his room doing god knows what, probably studying.
“Yeah, she offered me a new broom, my old one was getting a bit damaged.” He shrugged, he could never say no to a brand new broom. Brooms were an addiction of his, he had 5 or 6 of them now.
“I don’t even want to keep my old one, it was terribly off balanced and slow” James stated, crinkling his nose with distaste.
“Give it to Albus, I am sure he would love to get a new broom, if you give it to me first day of school I could make it look brand new, then we can just give it to him, saying mum brought it and asked us to give it to him.” I smirked, if he went along with it, like I thought he would then this was going to be brilliant and hilarious for all but him.
“Genius, I will give it to you on the train ride there, do you know the spells or do we need to make someone go to the library?” James asked, he was almost bending over with laughter; the thought of us going into the library was unheard of. The only Potter to venter into such a place that held books that attacked you if you mistreated them was Albus, you could always find him in there, usually Hugo at his side. I turned to look at Hugo, just now remembering that he was in fact still here and listening to our every fleeting word. Glaring, I was ready to intimidate him into staying quiet and keeping our newest prank a secret from our victim.
“Hugo, am I going to have to force you to keep quiet?”
I pronounced each word, slowly and meaningfully. Trying to make them all seem like their own sentence. Rose and James also turned to Hugo, helping with the intimidation of the sweet fourteen-year-old boy. I could hear James swear under his breath and Rose threaten him with the loss of toys or games. It almost made my taunt face break into a smile, that we were all ganging up on the one child that could ruin such a lovely plan that could make Albus the laughing stock of the school for a few days. It’s cruel yes, but pranking is what we are good at.
“I promise I won’t tell him” Hugo stuttered, growing smaller under our combined stares. We all looked at each other, mentally agreeing on whether it was a believable statement or if we left him alone for longer than a minute, that he would run up to Albus screaming or whispering what we planned to do.
After long deliberation, we decided that he was being truthful. I looked at Hugo not showing any emotion, hiding our verdict until I was ready to tell him. He cringed under the stare. I looked at him again, and smiled sweetly.
“Ok Hugo, we believe you, lets go into town” I cheerfully added, breaking any tension that was in the room from our intimidation tactics. I grabbed my coat from the coat rack at the front door and followed James out. Rose and Hugo trailed behind, not yet overly confident that they could find the way into town on their own.
It was a sunny, warm day outside and I must admit I was enjoying the warmth as it hit my white skin. Being shut inside for days on end makes you really miss the small things in life that seem so plentiful. To someone like me, they are rare and a gift. We walked silently down the path, James kicking stones in his way, hands in pockets and slouched forward, this was all very boring to him. Rose was walking aimlessly behind me, thinking of something, probably her boyfriend Scorpius, they were always seen together during school.
Hugo was the last person in our group, straggling behind the rest of us, keeping his distance so that his sister wouldn’t yell at him. He was slouched down, head looking at his feet. I sighed and slowed my pace so that he would catch up, I saw out of the corner of my eye Rose looking at me and then at her brother. I swear I caught a glimpse of a small smile playing at her lips but the second I looked to check it was gone.
When I reached Hugo, he looked up briefly before looking back down at his shoes and continuing to walk in silence, as if I wasn’t there staring at him. I watched him for a few minutes waiting to see if he was going to tell me what was up or whether I was going to have to start the conversation and coax him into spilling whatever secret was making him act different than his usual self. I would have said it was the way we treated him before, but all the other times we have intimidated him into keeping a secret have never affected him like this. He usually bounces back within minutes, as if nothing has happened. Something different was up. I placed my arm on his forearm to make him look at me and he glanced back up, staring into my eyes, trying to divulge a message that I was just not completely receiving.
“Hugo, what’s up? Did someone hurt you? Be mean? Tell me, I promise I will listen and try to help.” I coaxed, trying to get him to open up a bit, it worried me when people acted differently. They’re not supposed to, they are just meant to be their usual selves. I really couldn’t handle change. Not ever. Change would always be bad.
“It’s nothing Lily, I am just thinking.” He reasoned, trying to reassure me with a smile that was way too fake.
“Hugo, don’t lie, I am the queen of using that smile, what’s up squirt?” I joked, pushing him slightly to try and cheer him up. It was all I could do, I wasn’t really good at comforting people, I was better at making them smile even when they were low. That’s what I do for them all. I may be mean as well most of the time but I can be nice to the people that matter to me.
“Hey, I am not a squirt! I am only 4 months younger then you, not to mention I am taller!” He exclaimed, I smiled -he didn’t even realize that I had made him forget whatever was stressing him. He pushed me back and I laughed, It may not seem it by the way I treat Hugo half the time but he meant a lot to me and I would defend him in a heart beat. He balanced me.
“You have no sarcasm, that makes you at least 10 in my books.” I fought back; friendly banter was everyone’s best friend. It had always been mine; since I was little I had used banter for everything. It was my back up for getting out of trouble. If you use it enough and for long enough people forget that you are meant to be in trouble. It’s all about the way you play it, never over exaggerate, but never make it too accurate otherwise it just brings more tension.
“Well you’re immature with all your pranks, that at least makes you 9!” He countered. I acted hurt, crossing my hand over my heart and pretending to cry. It just made him laugh more.
We were almost at the town now. It was a lovely place, even though it was usually boring. But on this hot summer’s day it was nice to be out and getting fresh air. I think James was going to end up taking us to the park, or at least I was going to make him agree to go to the park so we could sit on the swings and bridge and not let any of the little children actually use them. Sweet bliss, especially with ice-cream.
“Ok guys, what do you want to do; go annoy the old man that lives down the end of this street or get some ice-cream.” James asked, he had stopped walking and I would have bumped into Rose if it wasn’t for the fact that Hugo had grabbed me by the arm and pulled me back.
“Ice-cream, ice-cream, ice-cream” I yelled, acting like a 5 year old who just been told that they could have a pony. I never wanted a pony when I was little. I always wanted a pet Dragon. I still haven’t got one yet. I will when I have my own place. Mark my words.
“Lily, you do realize you just proved my point right?” Hugo whispered from behind me. I whipped around to face him, hitting him with my hair cause he was so close, then I proceeded to stick my tongue out and skip away towards James, who was now walking towards the ice-cream store. I could faintly hear Hugo’s laughs behind me, and couldn’t help but smile. He had completely forgotten. My goal was complete. This trip hadn’t been a complete waste.
“Thank you Lily.” I heard Rose whisper, as we got closer to the shop. I smiled in acknowledgment but didn’t turn round. I just kept up my pace and watched as Rose sped up to meet James.
It was going to be an interesting trip. One I haven’t had in at least 4 years. I didn’t linger on the thought that something was different. I was too busy deciding on what ice-cream to get. Or maybe I would get multiple flavours!
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