Chapter 1 : Perfection
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Everywhere I go, people look at me. Critically, disappointedly, despairingly, proudly. They look at me in awe most of the time, as if I’ve done something particularly amazing. Evaluating and judging. Constantly. Is it this shiny Head Girl badge on my chest? Is it screaming out; look at Lily Evans, the picture of perfection! They whisper and gossip about me, watching my every move. I have to look perfect, act perfectly, laugh at all the right jokes, be seen with the right people, be perfect. How I have come to hate that word. Because no matter how many times I get full marks in the exams, or how many boys ask me out, how many different styles I fix my hair in, perfect just isn’t me. It’s the person everyone wants me to be. And I can feel my real self slipping away, being painted over with dry brushes.
The Owlery was always the place I went to. When I wanted to get away from the staring, whining, complaints and gossip. When I needed a break from the pettiness of human life.The soft hooting of the army of owls calmed me and made me feel like home wasn’t quite so far away as it seemed. My parents were only a letter from reach. Maybe Petunia would grow up a bit and stop sulking over the fact that she wasn’t magical. How I loathed her constant whinging and fits of ignoring me. It’s not like I’d done anything to her. She was just a spiteful bitch sometimes. But there was always hope. I sighed and buried my face in my perfectly manicured hands. Why was everything so complicated? Why couldn’t life be simpler? My owl, Apollo, flew down and landed on my shoulder. I fondled his silky feathers affectionately. Owls really had it easy.
I heard footsteps clomping up the stairs. I glanced around, wondering if I could be bothered to hide somewhere. Before I had time to act, the person burst noisily into the room. I stole a quick glance to see who it was invading by little paradise and saw James Potter clomping over. I groaned inwardly as James crouched down next to me and asked softly,
“Lily? Are you ok? You’re not behaving like yourself so much,” He was probably just sucking up to me so that I would agree to go out with him. I looked up before shaking my head and curling myself into a ball again. Through the fabric of my robes I murmured,
“Just leave me alone, James!” He frowned,
“But I just-“
“Go away!” I yelled. He looked at me carefully, his eyes glazed with hurt, then walked out slowly. I hated him so much, yes, I hate him. You hear that everyone? I hate James Potter! I do. I growled and stamped my foot on the floor. I had the worst life ever, a miserable half existence where I could never be who I truly was. My hand inched towards the little notebook that I always carried around with me. I flipped it open and critically scanned through the lines of text and ideas that were written out in my neat handwriting. Half finished poems, notes for inspiration, hurriedly scrawled sentences. This book contained my secret desire. Poetry. Yes, I Lily Evans, did not want to be Minister for Magic. I didn’t want to be an auror. I knew, deep inside, that I was a poet. It was the last fragment of my true identity that I kept a vicious grip upon, holding it tightly, locking it into the small bundle of parchment that I now held in one hand. It was a desire that would probably never become a reality for me; I was being pushed and pulled in so many other directions.
I got up sadly, brushing feathers off my legs, and walked over to the open window. The light was slowly draining from the sky, stars emerging and turning the Black Lake into molten silver in their gentle light. The water rippled gently and I could feel the caressing touch of a soft breeze. As I watched the clouds softly go about their business, someone let off a firework in the grounds. The colours exploded in a glorious spurt, splattering the dark sky with vibrant drops of colour. The sparks merged with the stars and reflected off the silvery waters. The sudden beauty, instead of calming me, merely made me feel more miserable than before.
I turned away from the window again, and surveyed the now darkened Owlery. I wanted to get out of there now; it was a bit spooky up here on my own in the dark. But as I was hurrying out, I caught sight of a small, black parcel that was lying in the corner of the room. I stopped, driven by curiosity, and knelt down beside it. Someone had viciously ripped it open, revealing the contents; a thin silver chain that was threaded through a glass orb, almost like the ones that Professor Galaxia used in Divination lessons. This seemed different though, it seemed to be almost pulsing with pale energy. The lights inside it glinted and winked at me…beckoning. I turned over the packaging and saw with a jolt that it was addressed to Severus Snape. What had Sev ordered…this for? I examined the ball more carefully. I had no idea what it could be but I was entranced. It was so beautiful.
And that’s when it whispered my name. My lips tingled and my harsh breathing fogged on the glass. The lights inside grew larger, capturing my dazed eyes, leading them into a passionate dance. When I looked inside that crystal, I felt powerful. I felt like I could do anything, be anything. I just needed to touch it. To feel the cool surface glide underneath my skin. Slip the chain over my head. Before I knew what I was doing, I had lovingly collected the object in my hands and was running my finger through the silky chain. I undid the clasp and fastened it round my neck. It tightened to fit the shape of my throat and the orb rested perfectly in the hollow under my chin. It felt like it was made for me. I smiled.
A second passed where time seemed to stand still. The sound of my heart beat was echoed around the room. The assembled owls were still and I could see every feather upon every back; the wind making shapes as it whistled through the open window.
Then time sped up again. Fractures of moonlight were surrounding me and piercing my skin. The wind howled around me, whipping my hair into a wild frenzy. The cold seeped into me. It was a dark cold that attacked my heart and ran through my veins as ice. My body crumpled to the floor, and all I could do was watch helplessly, as if I was looking down on the scene. But I could still feel.
The pain attacked me from all sides. Images flashed in front of my eyes; my mother’s smiling face, Petunia, Severus, Hogwarts, James Potter. I tried to will my writhing arms to take off the necklace. How had I been so foolish? But the shards of moonlight punctured my flesh, driving into my soul with an intensity that frightened me. It felt like my very being was being unravelled, forced in upon itself, being turned inside out.
Then there was nothing.
The first thing I realised was that I was lying down in an awkward position. My back was hunched and twisted with my arms above my head, as if I had fallen from somewhere very high up. The pain was gone; in fact my body felt fine. I opened my eyes cautiously, afraid of what I might see.
The roof of whatever strange room I was in seemed to be made of curving glass, like a window high above me. In the centre of the glass was a little circle of silver, like a muggle ceiling ornament. I could see a smoke filled sky outside and heard the excited chatter of hundreds of small children. I stood shakily, wondering how on earth I had got here and where exactly I was. Looking down at myself I established that I was wearing exactly the same clothes as before. My wand and notebook were both with me, so no great amount of time could have passed. The only thing missing was the necklace. Severus’s necklace. I would be having words with him about this when I got back...if I got back.
I looked ahead of me to find myself in a very familiar place. The scarlet Hogwarts Express was in the background, surrounded my throngs of excited first years and chatting seventh years.Luckily the area where I was was empty so I hadn’t been trampled as I lay on the floor. I grinned happily; all I had to do was find a Professor and explain what had happened to them.Then I stopped, realising that something couldn’t quite be right. It wasn’t the first day of term today; we had been about to break up for the Christmas Holidays. What was going on?
I started, hearing a familiar voice from behind me. I turned around to see my smiling mother looking straight at me. I noticed briefly that she’d had a gorgeous hair cut, before waving back at her happily,
“Mum! What are you doing here?” She ignored me which was strange, so I spoke slightly louder. She probably hadn’t heard the first time,
“Mum!” I walked forwards. I had only taken a few steps before I realised that my feet weren’t touching the ground anymore. I’d walked up some sort of transparent slope. I felt in front of me and my hands met cold glass. Anxiously, I tried to step forwards again, only to fall over and slide down to the floor, which didn’t actually feel like cement and was in fact also glass. I felt the panic rise in my chest as I looked around and confirmed that I was in a glass ball. But surely someone would be able to see me? To notice me, sitting here in a hamster ball? Why did no-one seem to care that Lily Evans, Head Girl, daughter and the most popular girl in the school, was trapped in a ball? I glared at the glass and punched the sides desperately; only succeeding in making my hand hurt a lot. Taking out my wand, I tried some complicated spell work. The glass stayed as firm and cold as ever. I just didn’t understand it and my head was starting to hurt from the confusion and noise all around me. It seemed that I was invisible and inaudible to everyone.
I turned back around to watch my mum. She was adjusting the familiar blue hat on her neat curls and looking around in awe and slight bewilderment. Why was she so bewildered? She’d been bringing and picking me up from platform 9 ¾ for years. She spoke nervously to someone behind her and my dad came into sight, looking equally as astonished as mum. Dad was holding the small hand of another child, I had no idea who. He must be helping her find her parents or something. I strained my eyes, trying to see if it was anyone I recognised, my Head Girl duties kicking in. As my mum moved to one side, my mouth fell open in horror and shock. I was looking at a much younger version of my sister, Petunia. She was looking around herself excitedly and gripping my dad’s hand tightly. I dropped to the floor with a thud as I took in every detail about her.
She was wearing Hogwarts robes.
A/N How was that? This is just the start of a short little story that I hope you enjoyed. I wanted something original and different. It may seem a little unbelievable but, hey, we’re at a school for magic. Pretty much anything goes. Pleeease review! LWG x