Chapter 5 : Histrionic (adj.)
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“I need you to help me steal James’ cloak.”
Lily Potter’s eyebrows flew so far up her forehead that they disappeared.
“Do you have a death wish?” She asked me bluntly.
“No,” I replied. “Which is why I’m talking to you.”
When I first told Roxy my plan to steal the cloak, she laughed for a good five minutes, thinking I was joking. When I finally convinced her I wasn’t, she laughed for another good five, thinking I was completely off my rocker. Then when I managed to dissuade her of that idea, she told me that I needed to talk to the only living person who had managed to steal James’ cloak and get away with it: Lily Potter.
“Why do you need it?”
“Because I need to stalk your brother and figure out why he’s mysteriously disappearing because apparently I’m a push-over and without actually agreeing to it I somehow managed to agree to help Savannah Dewhurst win him over.”
Clearly I could only pull the suave, secret agent act for so long before my real self appeared.
“Oookay,” she replied slowly. If Lily Potter were a lesser person, she probably would have taken a step backwards at my outburst. As it was, she just gave me a funny look.
Truth is, Lily Potter intimidates me a little bit. Actually, a lot. Yeah, she’s only a Fourth Year, but the kid’s tough as nails. I guess that what you get growing up with two older brothers, a badass dad, a Quidditch-star mum, and a gigantic family. She played Seeker for Gryffindor and was absolutely beast at it, and she didn’t take shit from anyone.
Also, she had managed to steal James’ precious cloak and get away with it – and get this – more than once. So if anyone was going to help me get out with the cloak alive, it was Lily, which is why I had skived off the last 5 minutes of Charms and cornered her outside of her History of Magic classroom.
“So how did you do it?” I asked impatiently. I had Potions next period all the way in the dungeons, after all.
“What makes you think that I’m just going to give all my secrets away to you, Liz?” She replied with an evil grin. Seriously, evil. Also, this is a minor roadblock. I wasn’t suspecting resistance. Normally people were putty in my hands. Putty, I tell you.
“Erm, I’m charming and relatable and have a overactive imagination?” I grinned hopefully.
“You’re going to have to do better than that,” she told me, rolling her eyes. Hey! That’s my move!
“Erm, because I want to save your eldest brother from potentially contracting a STD and to set him up with someone who has actual brain cells?” Lily paused for a moment, her head cocked to the side as she considered my latest proposition.
“That’s actually one of the best reasons someone has asked me to help so far,” she replied, breaking out into wide smile. She may be barely fifteen, but Lily Potter was on her way to becoming quite the little heartbreaker.
“So that means you’ll help me?” I flashed her my most winsome smile. She rolled her eyes.
“Come with me.” She grabbed my arm and dragged me down the corridor, only stopping when she reached a rather ratty looking tapestry. She glanced quickly around the rest of the hallway, determined that the few people around weren’t paying any attention, and lifted the corner of the tapestry.
“Alright,” she said, dropping my arm once we were safely ensconced in the secret passageway behind the tapestry. She crossed her arms over her chest. “You want to know how I stole James’ cloak?”
“No,” I rolled my eyes. “I wanted to borrow a tampon.”
Lily’s eyes narrowed. Whoops. Note to self: don’t sass the girl you’re trying to get information from.
“Enough with the sarcasm, Lizard,” she told me. “This is serious.”
“Right,” I replied, tugging the hem of my shirt. “Serious.” Why did it feel like the roles were reversed in this situation – like I was the 4th year and she was the 7th year imparting her wisdom? Bloody hell, I needed to work on my intimidation skills. I couldn’t go around being intimidated by bloody tiny redheaded girls for the rest of my life!
“So the hardest part was figuring out where he hid it,” Lily began. “Lucky for you, I’ve already done the legwork on that. The first time I took it he figured out it was stolen, but he never could prove it was me. He moved it after that,” she explained, “but I figured out that hiding spot as well, and as far as I know, it’s still there.”
“Brilliant!” I grinned. This was going to be a cinch.
“So the key is picking a time when no one will be in the dorm,” she continued. “Class is a good opportunity, but who knows when any of those blockheads have free periods. I’ve found that dinner works best – everyone in the Great Hall, not many witnesses.”
“Dinner time,” I repeated. “Got it.” I’d have to sneak down to the kitchens later and get food. I hated missing a meal. Then again, I’d have the cloak by that point, so sneaking down to the kitchens would be a cinch!
“Two options from there.” Lily reached up and tucked a strand of hair behind her ear before re-crossing her arms. This girl meant business. “You can either use a Disillusionment charm in your dorm, sneak down the stairs, through the Commom Room, and up the boys stairs without anyone seeing you.”
Solid option. I nodded my head slowly.
“Option two,” she continued, “figure out which window is the 7th year boys on Gryffindor tower and fly up from Grounds. Those idiots never close their window. The smell would probably overpower them.” I stifled a chuckle. “Fly in, grab the cloak, fly out. No chance of anyone in the Common Room seeing you, but you run the risk of being seen by anyone from the ground or looking out a window. So it’s up to you.”
“I like the first option better,” I answered. I could fly decently, but why add a complication to an already complicated plan? Plus if someone dumbarse was looking out the window and saw me, I was toast, burnt to a crisp.
“Alright then,” Lily said crisply. “That’s pretty much all there is to it. Once you get the cloak, you can use it to sneak back into your dorm. Find a good place to hide it,” she advised me. “He’ll probably sneak up to check my dorm first, but given Rose and Roxy, he’ll probably do a sweep of the Sixth and Seventh year girls’ dorms as well.”
“Noted,” I replied with a nod. She opened her mouth as if she were going to say something else, but then paused. Her bright brown eyes that looked so much like her eldest brother’s swept over me again.
“Promise you won’t tell anyone this next part?”
“I promise,” I replied, as seriously as I could.
“Not even Roxy?” Lily pressed.
“Not even Roxy,” I swore solemnly.
“Alright,” she conceded, taking a deep breath. “He used to have it hidden in the wall, under a loose panel, but after I found it he got a bit trickier. There’s a secret compartment under his bed,” she explained. “The cloak is hidden in there.”
A secret compartment? Holy shite, this was becoming more and more like a spy novel than I thought!
“The key to getting it open is on the bedpost at the headboard on the left – closest to the door,” Lily told me. “You know how it’s all carved and shite?” I nodded. “The center of the carved flower right by the pillow is actually a button. Press it and the drawer will pop out from under the bed. Grab the cloak and push the drawer back in and it’ll snap into place automatically.”
“Wow,” I replied, taking it all in.
“Yeah,” she gave me a little smile. “My brother might be an idiot sometimes, but he can be surprisingly crafty when he wants.”
“Tell me about it,” I replied with a snort. “And that’s it? All I need to know?”
“Yeah,” Lily answered. “That should be it. Oh, actually,” she looked back up at me. “One more thing: if there’s a piece of parchment in the drawer with the cloak, just leave it.”
“Okay,” I nodded, not really knowing what she was talking about. Why would there be a piece of parchment in the drawer? Why would I want it? I shook my head – it didn’t matter. I had the secret to stealing James Potter’s invisible cloak, and I was going to find out who he had been sneaking off to snog without telling anyone.
We turned towards the tapestry, Lily’s hand reaching out to grasp the old, threadbare material. Suddenly, she paused again, looking at me. Even in the half-light, I could see her eyes shining.
“Don’t fuck this up, okay? If you get caught, James will know it was me who told you and he won’t be happy.”
“I won’t, Lily,” I told her seriously. “I promise.”
“Good,” she replied with a grin. “And if you find out what’s making my brother act so strange lately, tell me, will you?” Ha! It wasn’t just me who thought he was acting strangely! Lily had noticed it too!
“Will do, Lils,” I answered, smiling at the younger girl.
“Good,” she nodded, pulling back the tapestry just enough to peer around it. Once she determined the coast was clear, she pulled it back farther and the two of us stepped down into the corridor. I hiked my bookbag over my shoulder and prepared to go make my excuses as to why I was late for Potions. I had to said, I think being late and risking detention was most definitely worth what I had just found out.
“See you later Lily!” I called over my shoulder as I set off down to the dungeons.
“Bye Liz,” she replied, walking in the other direction. “Have fun later!” I turned briefly to see her flash me an evil grin, and I just laughed.
Oh yes. Definitely worth it.
“Yoohoo! Maisie!” I yelled down the length of the Gryffindor table towards my youngest sibling. She and everyone else sitting within a ten meter radius turned to look at me, half-standing up from my bench in order for her to see me better, waving a piece of parchment in the air.
I watched her sigh heavily, standing up from where she was sitting with Rose and Emilia, who was the other tolerable girl in Sixth year. (Megan Corner was a slag and her mate, Frieda something-or-rather, was a frightful bitch). I noticed Mark Sheffield sitting close by and grinned to myself. Wonder how that little relationship was coming along!
“Lizard,” Maisie greeted me with a customary roll of the old eyeballs. “Must you always make a scene?”
“Must you always be so pretentious-sounding?” I retorted with a histrionic sigh.
“Always,” she replied without missing a beat. “Now why did you summon me?”
“Letter from the parental units.” I handed her the piece of parchment. “Apparently you’re not worthy of your own letter.”
“I don’t know why mum always insists on sending them to you!” Maisie whined. “I mean, everyone knows I’m the most responsible one in the family!”
“But I’m the cooler child.”
“I think Williams wins that title.”
“Fine!” I huffed. “I’m the best-looking.”
“Also Williams,” Maisie pointed out.
“Fuck Williams!” I cried. “He is most definitely not the best-looking!” Why the fuck did Williams always get everything? It wasn’t fucking fair.
“Liz, people are staring.”
“So let them stare!” I shouted.
“Lizard, shut the fuck up.” Gee, thanks Roxanne. I glared at her.
“See, even your friends think you’re weird!” Maisie grinned.
“Don’t call me that.”
“Mum and Dad call you that,” I responded.
“You’re not Mum or Dad,” Maisie responded. “What crazy project is Dad getting into now?” My dad was big on hobbies. He was a lawyer and spent a lot of time working and reading and travelling and once we all went off to school he decided that he was missing out on life and decided that now that he didn’t have kids to take up his time he needed a hobby.
It’s been six years and he still hasn’t found one to stick with yet.
“He’s building a birdbath,” I responded drily.
“No!” Maisie gasped.
“I shit you not, he’s building a fucking birdbath.”
“I liked it better when he played in that adult football league,” Maisie laughed. The games were very amusing to go to; I most definitely inherited my father’s lack of athleticism.
“Me too,” I replied. “Also Mum wanted to remind us to write Grams for her birthday next week.”
“Will do.” Maisie folded the letter in half and stuck it in her pocket. “I’m off to go finish my toast. Catch ya on the flip side, Lizard.”
“Deuces.” I watched her walk back down the length of the table to Rose and Emilia, who were deep in conversation about something that looked important. They hardly looked up when Maisie sat back down.
“Did you just say deuces?” Fred asked me incredulously. I looked back at my mates, who were eating breakfast in various stages of sleep-deprivation.
“Yeah,” I replied defensively. “Do you have a problem with that?”
“For someone who knows as many big words as you do,” Fred shook his head. “You sure do use some odd ones.”
“Don’t hate the player, Fredwick, hate the game.” With that, I poured myself another goblet of orange juice, ignoring the strange looks my mates were giving me.
(10 points to Liz for the snappy comeback.)
“So your mum said no?”
Gwen was telling Marge and I some story about something that happened over summer hols which was somehow just being brought up now. I think something I said triggered the memory but to be honest I wasn’t really paying attention. We had just gotten out of Transfig, where I understood what we were talking about and therefore had worked on Thursday’s crossword under my desk, and my mind was still puzzling over some of the clues.
I mean, I ought to know the answer to the clue “finesse”, but I just couldn’t think of the word.
“Mums can be a right cow sometimes,” Gwen nodded solemnly.
“Agreed,” I chimed in absentmindedly.
“Aw, your mum’s the coolest, Lizard!” Marge said. Marge’s mum died when she was younger – dragon pox – so I think she’s a bit biased when in comes to mums.
“When she’s not grounding you for sneaking in late or sassing or getting too drunk at a holiday party or some shite like that,” I scowled.
“Ah, true,” Marge grimaced. “One of the perks of being the youngest. Dad always too busy yelling at Chris for something to get mad at me.”
“Not that you ever do anything to get in trouble, Sarge,” I pointed out. This was true – while she knew how to have a good time with the rest of us, she was pretty clean-cut. Intelligent, brave, loyal, fucking awesome on the Quidditch pitch, and able to keep all of us heathens in line. Fucking perfect.
“Whatever,” she flicked me.
“You could be a only child like me,” Gwen added. “Then you don’t really ever get in that big of trouble. Only lots of talks about why you did what you did and how it made you feel.”
“That’s probably because your parents are therapists more than because you’re an only child,” Marge laughed. It was true; Gwen’s parents were Muggles and they were both therapists. Needless to say, we didn’t like going over to dinner at Gwen’s all that often, but it was probably why she always managed to divert our crises.
“It’s the curse of being the middle child, let me tell you,” I bitched. “Williams got in trouble but he’s still the golden child, and my parents think the sun shines out of Maisie’s arse.”
“The sun basically does shine out of Maisie’s arse,” Gwen pointed out. “She’s awesome.”
“But not as awesome as me, right?” I grinned, elbowing Gwen.
“Oi! Fuck you lot!”
“Shut the fuck up, Lizard,” Ruby drawled from behind me. I turned around and shot her the bird. She and Piers were five meters behind, as per usual. Fucking slow walker. I really have no idea how Piers put up with it.
I didn’t know where the rest of the boys were. They had been in Transfig with us, and we all had History of Magic next, but they didn’t seem to have walked in the same direction we did. My eyes narrowed; that could only mean trouble.
“Where did the rest of the blokes go?” I asked Marge and Gwen. The both shrugged.
“Beats me,” Marge replied.
“Never a good sign,” Gwen added.
A classroom right in front of us let out, students streaming out of the doorway and heading off in all directions, laughing and chatting with their friends. We walked silently for a moment, weaving our way through the throngs of people, Marge, Gwen, and I, and Ruby and Piers behind us. After a moment, we passed through the bulk of the crowd, and the volume in the corridor returned to a normal level.
“Hey Lizard!” I looked up to see Trixie walking down the corridor in my direction, flanked on either side by some of her 6th Hufflepuff friends.
“Hiya, Trix!” I replied brightly, giving her a smile. I always felt the need to be extra friendly around Trixie because I usually felt like such a bitter harpy in her presence, always picking on Jensen and just generally being a sarcastic little twat. She and her friends passed by, but the smile remained on my face for a bit longer.
“How’s today’s puzzle going?” Gwen asked kindly. Out of everyone, she was the most supportive of my hobby/me having another group of pseudo-friends. Roxy hated it the most, I think, which was odd as she and I were probably the closest. She just tended to be a judgmental cow a lot. Fucking bint had also dropped History for Divination, and was currently traipsing up to the tower alone to gaze into crystal balls and other shite like that.
“Pretty good. I’ll probably work on it some more this period, since History’s such a joke,” I shrugged.
“Good,” she replied, more out of politeness that any actual comprehension, but I appreciated the gesture. Our steps slowed as we approached the door to our classroom; I glanced behind me to see that Ruby and Piers were still a good ways back, so I pushed door open.
Immediately, an ice cold bucket of water fell on my head.
“Are you fucking kidding me?” I screeched loudly, though it was hard to hear it over the sound of raucous laughter. Wiping the water from my eyes, I opened them to see Fred, James, and Liam about pissing themselves laughing, perched on the desks of the classroom. Fred was laughing so hard he almost fell off, which made me think he was the mastermind behind this.
Max was sitting off to the side, a bemused little smile on his face. It disappeared when my eyes narrowed. I pulled my wand out of the waistband of my skirt and with a flick, dried myself off. Marge and Gwen (Piers and Ruby had yet to arrive) were still standing in the doorway as I took a step forward.
“Really, boys? What is this, First Year?”
“The look on your face!” Freddy gasped. I raised my wand and pointed it towards the three of them. Immediately, they stopped laughing.
“You’re going to regret that.”
(Fred, James, and Liam had to sit through the rest of History with cat ears.)
(Sucks to suck, boys.)
(10 points to Liz.)
AN: Dun dun dun. Now Liz knows Lily's secret! Will she be able to prove her super-spy skillz and steal the cloak? Will we figure out why James is acting so weird? Will Liz and Maisie's dad ever finish his birdbath? So many questions, so little time. As always, thanks for scrolling down this far, and feel free to holla @ your gurl using the review box below. Deuces.
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