Chapter 12 : L is for Lysander
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I've always wondered, but I was afraid to voice it. What would people think? I mean, my twin would be supportive, bit he wore a gillyweed belt, so I wasn't sure how much his opinion counted...but I'd be in a load of trouble if Mum or Dad knew I said that, so I'd appreciate if you'd keep it on the down low. But, come on, I was thirteen years old and people took the mickey out on me for even spending time with my brother because of that dang belt. I can only imagine what would happen if that lot knew I was curious about this. So, I couldn't tell anyone. Leastways, not anyone my age. There was one person who might help, though.
"Lily!" I hissed from behind the one-eyed witch. "Lily, I need help!" I was fully aware that I was taking a risk, but I had to know for sure.
Lily Potter's flaming red ponytail whipped around as she turned to find where I was at. She was sixteen years old, approaching the end of her sixth year here, so if she went turncoat, O would be doomed. But this was Lily. She was fiercely loyal enough to be a Hufflepuff or Gryffindor, although the tie around her neck gave away her true colours. "Lysander?" She asked in a fierce whisper, "What're you doing out at this hour?" I noted her Prefect's badge, hoping she wouldn't use it against me.
"I just wanted to talk to you," I answered nervously, "But I couldn't during the day."
She sighed and pulled out her wand to tap the statue I was hiding behind and say, "Dissendium." To my shock, its hump swung back. "Get on," she indicated the hole atop the one-eyed witch.
Very glad I wasn't getting a detention for lack of planning, I clambered in, only just tall enough not to need a leg-up. Lily swooped in behind me, closed the hump, and nonverbally lit her wand. This was rather fortunate because it really was quite dark in here. "Lys, why couldn't you just ask to talk at supper?"
I shuffled nervously. That would have been all well and fine of she'd been in any other house. Or even if Derrick Lehman hadn't threatened to curse Lorcan if I ever came near his table again. "I just couldn't. But I need help."
She sighed once more. "Lysander, dear, you can't let Lehman push you around like that. His threats don't hold any weight--"
I wasn't sure how she knew what I was thinking, but she was making me feel very young. "Okay, okay! That's not what I wanted to talk about!" My face felt extremely warm. Here it went. "I've spent my whole life being told by my mum that there's such a thing as a Crumpled Horned Snorkack, your aunt that there isn't, and my dad that I can never know for sure! But I think what Dad said is bollocks and I want to know."
Okay, having her laugh at me wasn't helping. I waited impatiently for her to stop. At long last, she said, "Okay, what am I supposed to do about that, then?"
"Well, I want to look for one, but I'm gonna need some help. One second year can't do that all on his own!"
Her bright brown eyes bore into mine. "Why me? Why don't you ask Lorcan?"
"Lorcan has a gillyweed belt."
"So do you." I know what you're thinking, but it's not what it sounds like. I don't actually wear the belt. Not my fault my mum doesn't know how to give good gifts.
"Not the point! Look, will you help me or not?"
Lily leaned back against a wall and asked, "What's in it for me?" with a smirk on her face reminiscent of her eldest brother. I cursed the day that she actually started to develop that Slytherin ambition. When it was clear that I had no answer though, sh groaned, "All right, then. C'mon." She turned on her heel and began to stroll down the long pathway we were standing in. I wondered where we were going.
As it transpired, we were going the the cellar of a sweets shoppe in Hogsmeade, Honeydukes. Why, you might ask? I hadn't the foggiest. She put an arm out as I made to walk out, blocking my way. Put of her bookbag, she pulled her invisibility cloak out and threw it over us, then grabbed my arm to pull me along. I soon understood. We had to walk by what looked to be the owner of Honeydukes in order to get outside. Lily then led me to the Hgsmeade branch of Weasley's Wizard Wheezes, finally throwing the cloak off.
"Wait here," she ordered. With surprising ease, she skirted the side of the store, pulling herself up to the flat on the second floor. She tapped on the window. Eventually, she climbed in. It was several minutes before the front door opened and a very tired looking Fred Weasley grumbled, "Get in here, Scamander." I obeyed. "Now, what do you two want?" Fred asked, trying to run a hand through his dark curls, but getting it stuck in the tangled.
"We're looking for a Crumple-Horned Snorkack," Lily grinned. "We could use your help."
As Fred collapsed into laughter, we heard a grumpy voice groan, "Are you barmy? Looking for an imaginary creature at one in the morning?" Louis Weasley was standing by the flat door upstairs, clad in nothing but his skivvies, his strawberry blond hair sticking out at odd angles. He climbed down the stairs. I wondered how he always managed to move so gracefully, even when he was half asleep. He clapped a hand on Fred's shoulder, beaming at how his cousin couldn't manage to get shops of him.
"Maybe a bit mad, yeah, but imagine the leg-in I'll get to the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures if I find one?" Lily smirked, her brown eyes flashing in excitement.
"Why d'you need us?" Louis asked, looking very tired. "I don't want to encourage your attitude. If you were doing it out of loyalty to the little Scamander kid, that'd be one thing, but for your own gain, Lils?"
Lily scowled, the freckles on her nose scrunching together. "You've been out of Hogwarts for half a decade. Put your old prejudices behind you."
"We'll be Gryffindors until the day we die," Louis answered, indicating the co-owner of the shoppers who was breathless on the floor, still laughing. It only then occurred to me how much courage Lily must have had to be sorted into Slytherin. It almost made me wonder how she wasn't a Gryffindor.
"And I love you in spite of it, dear cousin. Now, we could use your help."
Louis looked rather ashamed and, kicking Fred so he'd quit laughing, answered, "Oh, alright. We'll help. But do I have to get dressed?" Fred, who had just pulled himself together, burst into laughter again at Louis' question.
Lily, looked somewhat disgusted and snapped, "Yes!" Louis, looking scandalised, stormed up to his flat.
Taking several deep breaths, Fred straightened up, his caramel skn still flushed with laughter. Clearly fighting to keep a straight face, he said, "So, Crumple-Horned Snorkacks. Where're they supposed to live again?"
"No, wait, maybe it was supposed to be Venice."Fred looked at me incredulously. "But you said Vatican City!"
I know what you're thinking, but they're really quite easy to mix up because...aw, forget it. No, they're not. "Well, they both start with a 'v'?" I tried.
"Alright, then take us to Venice," Lily demanded of her cousins.
Louis' pale blue eyes widened. "If I'd known you just wanted us to come along to apparate you, I'd have said no!"
"Please?" I asked, worried he'd just leave us standing in front of the Vatican. "I need to know for sure!" I really did, but I didn't know what I could so to convince them it was true.
"Okay, keep your hair on, we're in it to the end," Fred smiled easily. "Get over here, short stuff." Short stuff? I was only thirteen and I was just a few centimetres shy of his height!
"Hey--" I tried to argue but Fred grabbed my wrist and turned on the spot. I felt like I was being squeezed through a very small tube then, quite suddenly, my feet made contact with the ground. I stumbled badly, wondering how Fred could keep his footing so well.
"Well done. Didn't vomit this time." Fred grinned. Hey, it's a weird feeling. I'd like to see you apparate for the first time without chucking your supper.
"Yeah, I didn't," I answered, feeling rather queasy nonetheless. I rummaged around in my bookbag until I found my last Christmas present from my granddad. If there really were Crumple Horned Snorkacks here, it would make a sound like a boiling teapot. "Alright, let's poke around...this'll tell us if we're near one."
"That's weirder than your gillyweed belt," Fred eyed the contraption suspiciously.
"I don't have a gillyweed belt! Lorcan does!"
"I thought your mum gave one to each of you."
"Ugh! What is wrong with you people?"
"Me people?" Fred asked, feigning offense. "Oh, hey, that's--"
Granddad Xenophilius'invention was making a squealing sound. I whirled aboit, looking around. Where was it? Where was it? Something moved behing Fred. I scrambled towards the movement, scrambling over Fred to scramble after it. I ran over an ornate bridge between buildings, towards an opening to a canal, the older boy trailing behind me. There it was! I grabbed Fred's arm. "Look--it's right there." I pointed, although I needn't have. The thing was huge. Looking up at Fred, I could see that his dark blue eyes were wide.
"It could be a dragon--"
"But granddad's invention--"
"But Inclement Charlie's told me about them and...and...wow." He seemed at a loss for words.
The creature was nearly a hundred metres long with colossal claws, legs like tree trunks, and enormous plates of armour to guard it from assault. It's snout was short and blunt, looking rather as if it had been squished down. On its crown sat three horns wich were, fittingly, crumpled in appearance. Leathery wings sat on its hunched back, strewn with odd feathers, all different colours. It let out a yawn that made the very ground shake.
"Fred," I choked in a hoarse whisper, "Fred, where's Lily? She has the camera!"
"Er--huh?" I seemed to have snapped him out of his reverie. "Hang on." He pulled out his wand and shot something silvery from the tip. "I've just sent for them." After a moment, he murmured, "Let's move closer to it."
Was he completely daft? We'd be killed! I shook my head violently, but he stepped forward all the same, paying no notice. Sure. Okay. He could move close enough to be trampled. I'd stay at my nice, logical, too far away to be eaten. The young man was within half a metre of the beast when two pairs of footsteps surried up behind us. The Crumple-Horned Snorkack made a start and, with a flap of its wings that created wind enough to send Fred flying, it was off. In mere seconds, it was out of sight.
"Was that really--?" Louis' voice came from behind me. For the first time that night, he didn't sound upset.
"Blimey, and here I thought you were off your hat."
"Lily!" I was shocked. "Then why did you help me?"
She shrugged, moving to help Fred to his feet. "Figured I could always do with some rule breaking." Her cousins both smiled at her fondly.
"Glad to hear being a slimey Slytherin prefect hasn't gotten to you," Fred grinned.
As a way of response, Louis grumbled, "Can I go back to bed now?"
I didn't get back to my dormitory until nearly four in the morning but even then I couldn't get myself to sleep. Instead, I stayed up all night sketching pictures of the Crumple-Horned Snorkack and thinking about the stories I could tell my mum next time I saw her.
A/N: I'm sorry for the wait...I've had this chapter done for months but my computer decided it didn't want to connect to the internet, then shortly after break in every other way possible so I had to save up to get a new one. But the next chapter should be out shortly after this one =)