Chapter 10 : To Be Good
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To Be Good
My new mantra of being honest was both painfully difficult and blissfully easy.
The first thing I did was tell Professor Dean I had to drop Care of Magical Creatures and Ancient Runes. I took Magical Creatures to feel close to Ellie, because she loved fluffy little monsters so much, and Ancient Runes because it was difficult and therefore highly valued by the Department of Mysteries, or so I thought. Professor Thomas promised the changes would be effective immediately, and the respective teachers notified.
After a few days of actually having free lessons, in which I could do my homework and not worry about staying up until gone midnight every day to do it, I felt the benefits. It was easier to get out of bed, I felt far less irritable and irrational, and concentration wasn’t something I had to really work for anymore. In the end, the numerous benefits of additional sleep and less stress was what influenced me to resign from my position as Head Girl. Again, Professor Thomas was very sympathetic and told me he’d find a suitable replacement- I didn’t have to worry about my duties for much longer.
I wrote and told mum, and she said she was really proud of me, and that Ellie said hi.
In my first lessons of that first day, Teddy moved me surreptitiously away from Jack. I told him I needed some time after that letter, and he completely understood. He said he’d told Jack he’d given the letter to me but he wasn’t sure if I read it, and he should leave it alone for a while, and thankfully he did. He kept his eyes to his work in class and never asked anything more than clipped, professional questions in Potions and none of his friends, Veronica included, made any attempt to talk to me. It was both comforting, to not be stared at, and lonely.
The whispers and jeers of other students continued for a few weeks around me- that is, until Professor Gardner followed through on her promise. Four of her class- three boys, one girl- were allowed to be cursed rather viciously by Roxy after they started asking her graphic and bitchy questions about me. Roxy was awarded twenty house points, and all physical evidence of their encounter removed.
Roxy assured me it was true, but the faculty seemed very unwilling to discuss it at all, even when I brought it up with Teddy.
“There’s no evidence except the word of the four students,” he said uncomfortably, “so technically we can’t do anything.”
I hugged him and said no more. It appeared that most of the school eventually turned against any person who dared talk against me, and it became ‘cool’ to discuss how it was no one’s business anyway. I heard one girl say to her friend, ‘-and it’s not like she’s slept with a lot of guys! She’s... yeah, she might have been a bit of a slut, but she’s not a whore, and even if she is, none of the boys should be talking about it-“
She missed the point, but small victories.
Ellie tended to write once a week, the letter landing on Saturdays and me having answered usually by Monday. Mum was right:
-and I’ve started reading up on Magical Creatures again! It’s so fun, I completely forgot how much I love Nifflers-
-I’m hoping next school year I’ll be able to start studying my NEWTs, and maybe even go back into Hogwarts for the second year. I’m not going to play Quidditch, though, I’ll only do that at home. I’m really not as fit as I used to be-
-AL IS GOING TO BE FULLY QUALFIED SOON!!! I’M GOING TO BE DATING AN AUROR- help me, I think the sexiness of the situation is going to make me burst-
...she really was happy.
Sometimes, the guilt crept up on me. The black cloud of blame, of shame, of my own human weakness- if I hadn’t made her wear that damn ring- so I’d find Roxy, and sob into her shoulder, and wish I’d done differently until I felt okay again. I’d write to mum, or dad, or even James sometimes, and he’d always answer my owl, and on one really bad night, when I really couldn’t stop crying, he broke into Hogwarts via Professor Dean’s office and threatened the Fat Lady with apples just to give me a hug, and hold me until I was feeling better and he tucked me up in bed. I later found out he left the Gryffindor common room to be faced with half of the faculty, ready to attack him.
My honesty policy was terrifying, but it was working.
“Miss Potter? May I speak to you a moment?”
The rest of the class quietly left, and I approached Professor Gardner at her desk.
She concluded a letter before she spoke to me, and the scratch of the quill on the paper was the only sound in the room I could focus on for a while.
“Now, Miss Potter,” she said finally, looking up to me.
“I heard about your... misfortunate, regarding the Department of Mysteries.”
I bit my lip. “Yes. Well, I’m hoping to reapply next year.”
She leant towards me. “Really? I heard, unofficially of course, that Miss Woods is feeling remarkably better.”
“She is,” I smiled. “But I still feel that my future lies in potions- and besides, my theories surrounding a cure for magically-induced insanity are not invalid now my friend is better. I want to help, but now it’s a little less... frantic.”
She shuffled her papers to the side, and pulled out an envelope.
“You dropped this outside the classroom, the day you found out.”
I stared at it, and realised it was the Department’s answer. Their rejection.
“Yeah. About that day- I’m sorry if I hurt you. I kick you, didn’t I? I didn’t mean to, I just sort of lost it-“
“It’s perfectly fine, Lily, I’m more than capable of healing myself. Now, I have to apologize.”
I frowned, eyebrows deepening.
“ I read this letter.”
I was surprised. “Oh! Umm, that’s okay. As long as you didn’t publicise it, or anything.”
“Well, not as such.”
At that, my eyes narrowed. “What did you do-“
“I wrote to them. Melina York, to be precise. I wrote to her.”
“Because, Lily, you are the best potioneer I’ve ever taught. You’re exceptionally talented, and to be rejected on the basis that you haven’t enough practical experience is ridiculous.”
“Are you forgetting your own achievements, Lily?” she asked, clearly frustrated, as she leant over the desk. “Are you forgetting that you made a potion that cured a tampered Draught of Living Death in your fifth year? Are you forgetting the 247 patients that were released from St. Mungo’s after your discovery? Some of those people had been living in St. Mungo’s for years, Lily. Their families had given up on them.”
“Lily, sometimes I see very little point in you even turning up to my classes at all! You could do all the assigned potions with your eyes closed and you know more about them than I’ll ever know! If anyone deserves to get this job, it’s you.”
I blinked at her.
“So I wrote to Melina York, and told her as much. I told her what you did for Ellie, and what you’re trying to achieve now, and how you’re going to spend the next year studying it with or without them.”
She leant back a little, and pulled a different letter out of her robes. She held it out to me. The seal was broken, but it was the same one.
“They sent this letter back.”
Dear Professor K. Gardner,
We received your letter last week, and I thank you for your patience, as we’ve been thoroughly investigating the matter that you’ve brought our attention to.
I have found that your suspicions are correct: we did not know Miss Potter’s achievements extended into ones such as these. Whilst it is alarming that we did not, the information regarding this discovery was very well hidden- I imagine associates of hers saw to that- but I assigned three well-practiced investigators to the task, and they found the details of it rather quickly.
Your letter makes plainly clear how talented and exceptional you believe she is. It is refreshing to see an educator so invested in her students’ future, it has to be said. I imagine actually seeing her work is something astonishing, wasn’t it?
Anyway, I must thank you for bringing this very important achievement of Miss Potter’s to our attention, and I feel we will be reconsidering our decision regarding her application as soon as is feasibly possible.
Head of Recruitment
“I got it this morning.”
“They’re reconsidering me?” I whispered, meeting her slightly-pleased smile.
“Lily, you can’t believe they don’t want you. Your discovery changed potioneering- surely you’ve been keeping up with The Most Extraordinary Society of Potioneers news?”
I was quite glad, too- could they have thought of a more pretentious name if they tried?
“They’ve practically called out a manhunt for you! They want to know who created that potion, how, and can they please induct you into their group as soon as possible? Lily, in wake of your discovery, eight more potions have been created!”
It’s a lot of information to take in on a Monday morning, let me tell you.
“So- they’re probably going to ask me to come?”
“Lily, if you don’t get a letter in the next day begging you to work full time, I will drink an entire cauldron of Pepperup Potion.”
Sure enough, at breakfast the next morning, Melina York came to Hogwarts in person and apologized. If I accepted, I wouldn’t be an apprentice, but a fully paid potioneer-in-training.
I thought about it for all of thirty seconds.
It was that day that I decided to approach Jack: I wasn’t angry or sad anymore. I just wanted to talk to him.
When he saw me, he dropped his head as though embarrassed. He didn’t look me in the eye, and he wasn’t smiling.
God I missed him.
My courage almost failed me, but the last fizzles of excitement in my stomach forced me to walk to him. He kept his eyes trained on his paper.
“I thought you should know; the Department of Mysteries changed their minds. They want me.”
Jack finally glanced up.
“And Ellie’s getting better. A bit.”
Strained and faint, he smiled. “I’m happy for you, Lily. And Ellie.”
A girl behind him, stretching on her tiptoes, couldn’t quite reach a book on a high shelf. Out of nowhere, a tall boy swiftly pulled it down and handed it to her. She blushed.
“How are you?”
Without missing a beat, I began to speak, but cut myself off before I’d barely begun.
Always tell the truth.
“I’m- getting there.”
“I heard you’re not Head Girl anymore.”
I smirked proudly. “Yeah. Turns out I’m not cut out for it.”
The way he was watching... I think he was waiting for the punch.
“I quit,” I continued. “And I dropped Care of Magical Creatures and Ancient Runes.”
“That’s a lot to give up.”
“There’s a lot to gain.”
Jack properly grinned- a wide, toothy, completely beautiful grin that lit up the room. I smiled back.
“You’ve changed,” he noted, gaze sweeping over me once.
“You haven’t,” I shot back, raising my eyebrows challengingly.
He checked me out again, so I punched him on the arm.
“Eyes to yourself,” I ordered.
Unfortunately, I checked the clock and sighed. I needed to go.
“Listen, I have to be somewhere- five minutes ago, actually- but do you want to hang out?”
Butterflies. That’s what was in my stomach.
“It’s not a Hogsmeade weekend.” He paused. “It’s not a weekend, full stop.”
He wanted to see me tonight. The fluttering of nerves increased a little, but I coolly smiled anyway.
“I’m a Gryffindor and a Potter. I have my ways.”
“Where should I meet-“
“Don’t worry. I’ll find you at... ooh, eight o’clock? Be ready.”
I swept out of the room and did not wait for an answer, or to see the smile that would definitely be his face, or even for him to see mine.
I sat down and wrote the letter.
I know you ended up with the Map. I need it, pronto.
It’s gonna get me laid.
Ellie watched as I released Amata out of the window. She smiled from her chair.
“Feeling better?” she asked as I plonked ungracefully down onto her made bed.
“The life, the universe and everything?”
“It’s been better.”
“It’s been worse.”
“Don’t I know it.”
James managed to answer quickly enough.
I hid it under Ellie’s mattress. It was the only sensible place.
NO SEX UNTIL MARRIAGE. If it’s loverboy Jack, tell him if he hurts you I’ll hunt him like dad hunted Voldemort.
LOVE YOU TOO, OH SHORT ONE.
PS. Chelsea wants you to be a bridesmaid. Are you down with that?
I chucked it over to Ellie, who giggled appropriately and took the cup of hot chocolate Al presented her with, kissing her forehead fondly.
“You okay?” he asked softly, and she handed the letter to him.
“I better be the best man or I’ll kick his arse.”
Ellie hugged his waist. I turned away, not wanting to ruin their time together. After a few moments, mum had a very different idea, however, and hustled him out for ‘spoiling’ mine and Ellie’s time together.
No time spent with Ellie could ever be damaged; no matter what, it was still time.
“Call if you need anything,” she told us.
The door closed, and Ellie turned back to me, a little more energetic.
“So. You wrote about Jack.”
“I may have mentioned something in regard to him.”
“And I talked to him...”
“And killed him?”
“No, surprisingly. But I think he thought I would.”
“I think I would too, if I was him.”
Somehow, our hands were clasped firmly, and Ellie let James’ letter flutter to her lap.
“Are you happy, Lily?”
“I think I could be.”
To all those disappointed with the end of In My Blood:
Thank you guys so much. In the middle (and the beginning, but not the end) this book was a struggle, and as is becoming the norm your faith and kind words kept me going.
This book was really personal to me, and to quite a lot of you as well, and I’m really grateful you support my writing even though sometimes I read it back and shudder. I’m going to miss these characters- they’ve been great fun, particularly Ellie, Lily and James, but I have new projects and ideas all the time, so I’m sure I’ll be back with this particular novel that’s been haunting my thoughts for a while now! Never fear- I’ll only stop writing when I’m incapable of it.
So, the gorgeous reviewers: Lilah, kgrl, Ih8Voldemort, JJFuzzyhead, Fawkes394, ZOZO, Pheonix_Feather49, bester_jester, aadf, EllaShanti, Sugar Quills, Harry and Ginny, ines0803, Becca, Kathrynen, SG, SourGrapeSnape, Abzii, YOUR NEW BEST FRIEND, Kc, Avis12, Leeny, MissMoneypenny, Cas, MilkShakespere, rez, UniQuorn, Younger Wand, TabithaRose, 1_madeline_3, LilliBeaumont18, BBWotter, HarryPotterFan_1 and AriPotter thank you so much. Every single one of you have made me smile, particularly you more-than-once kind of reviewers :)
And of course, the fantastic favourite-rs: 1_madeline_3, aadf, Amulya_HPfan, angelroo92, AriPotter, BBWotter, bester_jester, dannylove_3459, Danosycatwith7livesleft, EllaShanti, eye of the beholder, Faerynn, Fawkes394, FireboltSword32, flower77, FOREVERwithYOU, GracieBagel, Gryffy Girl917, harrietm, Harry and Ginny, HarryPotterFan_1, honeybadger, JJFuzzyhead, just jennifer, Kathrynen, lucylu, lunaisepic, MadIce, MagykNargle, marskaw, melswimms, MilkShakespere, MissMoneypenny, Polyjuice_, quicksilver, Rain or Shine, Remembrall, sieb, SoaringPatronus, SwiftPotterhead, TabithaRose, TroubleFindsMe, WishesOfWeasley, Younger Wand, and _A_. Thank you for giving me the unwavering support I needed.
And I’ve found need for a new section in this book! The people who’ve stunned and flattered me: you, who have favourite-authored me: 1_madeline_3, aadf, BBWotter, fanfic1484, Fawkes394, G3ntle, GracieBagel, ines0803, JJFuzzyhead, Lunasroaringlionhat, MagykNargle, megz, melswimms, MilkShakespere, Pheonix_Feather49, QuillIce97, Rain or Shine, sieb, Snitch In Time, and TweetyByrd. I just... can’t even begin. Thank you.
A special shout out to Olivia and Michael as well, for reading my stuff even though it could have gone terribly wrong and I’m sure we’ve all been threatened with death at some point, for giving me great reason to laugh on the bus, and making me realise just how real my readers are.
Don’t forget to be awesome, brilliant readers. See you soon.