Beautiful chapter image by noxxx @tda :D
This is my entry for CherryBear's The Perks of Being a Wallflower Challenge. I was given the quote, "Everyone is always comparing everyone with everyone." This quotation is from the novel The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky; I do not own this. Also, the idea of being ambitious and lazy at the same time is from the novel It's Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini which I also do not own. And lastly I do not own Harry Potter, as we all know, J.K. Rowling does.
His breakfast is unceremoniously interrupted when a package lands in the middle of his plate, scrambled eggs soaring through the air like shrapnel into the faces of those seated around him. His fellow snakes hiss in displeasure at the friendly fire, but he doesn’t say anything. He never does.
Up above his family tawny owl can be heard wailing in approval, having made her mark, and the boy shoots her a glare. But the gesture is lost as her hind feathers come into view and she is off – to the owlery, no doubt, where she will sleep all day until called again for duty. Bloody useless bird
Shaking his head, he allows his gaze to drop downwards to where his meal had previously been, which has now replaced by a lumpy package of sorts. It is clearly from his mother, the crudely drawn Crumple-Horned Snorkack on the crinkled paper a dead giveaway, as is the blue ribbon that is wrapped six times around to ensure proper security. Either that or a nine year old is sending him mail every Tuesday. But he – unlike the classmates around him – knows it to be the former and with a small sigh, he begins the painstaking job that is disentangling the package and card from the web of trimming. This task is routine but his instinct to take shortcuts soon kicks in and before three minutes is spent, he has given up on untying all of the intricate knots all together in favor of severing the ruddy strings with a knife. He finds this to be far more satisfying.
The attached note is filled with his mother’s familiar handwriting of squiggles and swirls, inquiring of any change in his condition since he last wrote the previous Tuesday, wishing him luck on his studies, and signed with love from Mum and Dad. It’s the usual letter of sorts with nothing curious or particularly eye-catching sans the enclosing remark: A one of a kind sweater, for a one of a kind boy
This may seem like a typical sentiment filled with seemingly sweet motherly affection to most, however this statement sounds the alarms in the boy’s head for several reasons: the first being that this means his mother has misguidedly taken it upon herself to manufacture home-produced clothing, and the second, most important, being that the latter half of the note is completely untrue.
The fact of the matter is that Lysander Scamander has never been his own person. There is another boy in the room just like him, three tables away, huddled with his fellow lions. He has the same blonde hair, the same unruly curls, the same silver gray eyes, the same slight build, and even the same initials. He is indeed not his own person, but rather an exact copy of another.
He decides to look across the room at this moment, as he does most mornings when his mind is plagued with thoughts of his twin, and easily spots him settled in his usual seat amongst the brave at heart. He is holding up a newly unwrapped red and yellow sweater, showcasing it for all his mates to see, the whole lot of them with tear-filled eyes in their fits of animated laughter. No one, however, is chortling harder than Lorcan himself.
Lysander lets his eyes drop to his own package, a feeling of dread bubbling in the pit of his stomach, but with a deep breath, he takes the plunge, and tears the paper from its seams to reveal a sweater that is every bit as horrible up close as it was from a distance. It’s as particularly ghastly as one would expect from his mother with pulls and clumsy stitching – and dear Merlin, is that a gaping hole in the collar? His pinky finger peeks through the loose threads as confirmation and he sighs. These are the finer details that he could not detect when viewing his brother’s sweater from afar, but he imagines Lorcan’s to be of the same quality – or lack thereof – the only noticeable difference between the two being that Lysander’s is green and blue. As if using different color schemes qualifies these otherwise identical messes as a “one of a kind.”
Or as if having his own colors gives him the same effect in being a “one of a kind boy.”
The more he thinks about it, the more it becomes clear to him that it’s actually done quite the opposite, seeing that it’s given Lorcan and him a common ground. The sweater is absolutely dreadful and while he’d much rather that it be out of his possession, he cannot help but wish that for once in his life he could despise – or even have
– something all on his own, rather than having to share it with his brother. He eyes his new clothing – which he most certainly will not
wear – with disgust.
And as the boy broods, troubled and scorned, Lily Potter is opening a package of her own at the Hufflepuff table, one that contains a sweater made with love and signature perfection by her Nana Weasley. And while debating whether or not he should somehow “lose” his new sweater sometime before classes, Lysander misses her smile.
If he had known, he would have been sorry.
The ongoing competition between Lorcan and Lysander is not a fair one, seeing that the former of the two has demonstrated qualities of being both steadfast and delightful since practically birth. Poor Lysander never even stood a chance. When Lorcan runs, Lysander treads behind in his shadow, and when Lysander flies, Lorcan soars.
Life is a series of food chains and for the Scamander Twins, Lorcan always comes on top, the act of devouring his brother in anything and everything, not only thoughtless, but also easy. This was only made worse when the pair was eleven and Lorcan was sorted into Hogwart’s Home for Noblemen. He wore the Sorting Hat like a crown for the few moments it sat atop his head, when a roar suddenly erupted from the old hat – both sealing his fate for greatness and condemning his misfit brother as it echoed through the Great Hall. Gryffindor. The House of glory, of heroism, of chivalry.
And as for Lysander?
It was off to the dungeons.
He sees them sitting together in the library, heads thrown back, tear stained cheeks, having a good laugh. He quickly ducks behind a bookshelf in the Arithmancy section so as to not be seen and he is immediately swamped with the memories of when he
used to be the one to make her laugh.
But that was a long time ago. He needs to get it out of his head that she will once again be his. He knows perfectly well that he lost her the moment she became a badger and he a snake.
She runs with a lion now. His twin. His brother. The one who always bested him at everything.
And it kills him inside.
The sweater is currently being stuffed into the bottom of his trunk, rolled up into a tight ball. If it doesn’t remain there until the sun has swallowed the earth whole, he’s going to lick the bottom of his shoe.
On Thursday, he blows up a cauldron in Potions. Ten points from Slytherin for carelessness. One trip to the Hospital Wing to treat the swelling caused by the Bulgeye Potion. When asked, he tells the Matron he had been distracted. By something across the room. And he leaves it at that. He keeps quiet – as always.
What he fails to mention is that the cause of the distraction was his brother’s arm.
It had been wrapped around the shoulders of Lily Potter.
He doesn’t remember the last time he did his laundry. He’s running low when it comes to acceptable clothes to wear but he’ll get to it later. For now he’s fine with rummaging through the dirty pile on the floor of his dormitory until he finds something with the least amount of stains and odor.
Hogsmeade is in two days. He should ask someone to go with him. He should do his laundry so that he has something nice to wear.
He’ll get to it later.
He will. He swears.
Tonight. He’ll do his laundry tonight. Forget the stupid date; he’ll do his laundry tonight.
He should have done his laundry last night.
His quarter of the room is in chaos as he turns the place upside-down, looking for something, anything
at this point, to wear to Hogsmeade. So far he has found a clean pair of trousers stuffed underneath his mattress – he does not know how it got there, but he does not question it – however, he has yet to come across a clean shirt that’s suitable for the bitter January air.
He decides to look through his trunk for the third time as a last resort, digging deeper through the rubbish than he had done so previously. And at the very bottom, rolled up into a tight ball, he sees it. And he freezes.
Really he ought to be licking the bottom of his shoe.
Despite his sour mood, he finds himself to be quite grateful for the dim lighting in the Hog’s Head, the obscurity providing proper protection from the bar’s many prying eyes. The table in which he sits is off to the side, unnoticed, and tucked into the corner near the bar where he watches his fellow patrons nurse their booze and fall in love with the infinities of courage and pretty girls it leaves at their very fingertips.
And he’s bitter.
He’s bitter and angry and cold and everything that is the opposite of wonderful and everything that his brother is not because he doesn’t have that alcohol or that courage or that pretty girl. In his underage hand is a butterbeer rather than a firewhiskey because he isn’t charming enough to obtain the latter, and his drink is held in a cold hand attached to an exposed wrist because the sleeves on this fucking
sweater are too goddamn short.
His grip tightens around his mug. He finds her across the room with his hurricane eyes, and she’s wrapped in the plum colored wool sweater that hugs her very form and sports a dainty “L”, the script trailing down her chest and following through across her abdomen.
She is beautiful and he can’t have her.
He can’t have her just like he can’t have the firewhiskey. Or the courage to fight for either. Lorcan is the brave one, he always has been, and it’s no use trying to amend the laws of the universe when branded a coward long ago.
And so he glares. He glares because in that moment there is nothing more hypnotizing than the swivel of her hips and he can’t have her. He glares because his butterscotch drink lacks the flame he so desires to drown out all thoughts and he can’t have her. He glares because his sweater is laughable and he didn’t do his laundry so he had no choice but to wear it and he can’t have her.
But most of all he glares because everyone is always comparing everyone with everyone and he is the worst of them all.
Because Lysander Scamander is in fact his own person. He has a scar that outlines the left side of his jaw that is uniquely his. He has an understanding of numbers and formulas and discipline that his brother has yet to master. He has a curve to his shoulders as a result of sinking into the background for far too long. And he has a love that is written on his sleeve and a soul too worn out to fight for it.
He is a boy who is endlessly ambitious and endlessly lazy.
He is a complete mess. And he is a one of a kind.
He comes to this realization as she catches his eye from across the room, from underneath his brother’s drunken arm. Calm water connecting with gray turmoil. They gaze at each other for a moment. And then she smiles.
And maybe, just maybe, it is enough.
A/N: Thanks for reading! I hope you enjoyed it; please let me know what you thought in a review :)