Chapter 16 : The One with the NGCP Banquet
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I opened my eyes and saw nothing. Not even a little mist. I hadn’t managed to conjure anything.
Well that was anti-climatic.
“Why didn’t it work?” I asked in frustration.
“Lily this is a really hard spell, you’re not going to get it the first time around,” Nicola said. I watched as she tried to conjure a patronus but it didn’t work for her either. I did feel a little better at that.
“So what is the plural for patronus?” I asked Nicola. She thought for a minute.
“I always thought it would be patroni,” Jess cut in, making her way over to us.
“I guess patroni makes sense.”
“I actually read somewhere,” Remus said, following Jess. “That it was just patronus. You know like sheep or fish.”
“One patronus, two patronus, three patronus, four,” Molly sang, waving her wand in the air.
“Five patronus, six patronus, seven patronus, floor!” Sirius finished, pushing Remus over.
“Stay focussed,” Henning barked from his desk.
The rest of the lesson proved to be just as unsuccessful and infuriating for all of us, once we started focussing again. When the bell finally rang an hour later, we grabbed our bags and dragged ourselves to the Great Hall, red-faced and irritable. I had so wanted to see what my patronus would be. So instead of walking away from a lesson feeling a sense of achievement all we got was a 3ft essay on the effects of a dementor attack.
We trudged to dinner, all feeling rather downtrodden. Even the magical Halloween decorations weren’t doing anything to lift our sour moods. The hall was decorated with jack-o lanterns and candles everywhere. There were ‘spider-webs’ in all corners of the room and the ghosts were floating about looking particularly cheerful. I sat down at Gryffindor table next to Sirius and Abi and immediately reached for the Shepherd’s Pie. Not extremely festive I know but I was allowed to be a little moody.
Just as I was about to dump the ladle of food onto my plate, Jess slapped it out of my hand, causing me to drop it on the floor. I watched it roll away underneath the table, leaving a trail of gravy behind before I turned to Jess.
“What was that for?” I demanded. She ignored me for a minute whilst she swatted away Peter’s hands as he reached for the chips.
“It’s our Gobstones party tonight, we’re serving dinner there! How could you forget?” Jess answered, looking putout. Oh it is. It would appear that I had conveniently forgotten.
“So it is…”
“No Sirius, not for you.” Molly took away Sirius’ plate full of every type of food known to man and passed it to a second year. Sirius scowled.
“Give me back my food woman!” he growled. Molly patted his cheek.
“You can eat at the party.” Molly and Jess shared a look before standing up and grabbing their bags.
“We have to go make sure everything is in order for tonight,” Molly said.
“So we can have the best time EVAH!” Jess finished, throwing her hands up in the air for effect.
“Remember, eight o’clock sharp,” Molly added sharply before they left and we all stared sullenly at our empty plates.
After doing some studying in the library I decided that it was about time that I got ready for party. I reluctantly gathered up my books and slipped them into my bag. Giving one last proud look at my mostly completed essay, I added it to the contents of my bag as well. I shot Madam Pince a smile and a wave before taking a slow walk up to Gryffindor Tower. I went up the stairs as slowly as possible to try and draw out my freedom before the party.
I sighed when I got to the portrait hole. Well I couldn’t really prolong it any further could I?
“Godric Gryffindor,” I muttered. The Fat Lady swung open and I climbed into the common room. The fire crackled and the three armchairs closest to it were surprisingly empty. The common room was at a decent noise level and it all looked so inviting. Oh this is so unfair.
I forced myself up the stairs leading to the girl’s dormitories and I found our one. I pushed open the door and was met with absolute chaos. Abi was chasing Nicola around the room and brandishing her wand. There was a determined look on her face and I almost turned around and slipped back out. Then they saw me lingering by the door.
“Hey Lily!” Abi chirped. Nicola nodded in my direction before falling onto her bed.
“This is going to be horrible…” I nodded and flopped onto my own bed.
“Well,” Abi said. “If we have great outfits then it shouldn’t be too bad.” I rolled my eyes.
“Great outfits don’t solve everything you know,” I commented dryly. Abi flipped her long hair over her shoulder.
“I know, but they make you look good and that solves a lot of my problems.” I didn’t see the point in arguing with her.
“So what exactly are we wearing?” I asked.
“Well I was thinking that we should wear dresses,” Abi replied. I nodded.
“I’m down with that, what about you Niki?” Nicola shook her head and scrunched her nose up in disgust.
“So dresses it is!” I foresaw the drama that would inevitably ensue due to Niki’s reluctance to wear a dress so I hurriedly got up from my bed and walked towards the door.
“I’m going to go and make sure that the boys know the dress code.” I left the room and took the stairs down two at a time. I ran up the boy’s stairs and found their dorm room. I pushed the door open and screamed.
Sirius and James were sat in their boxers on a bed, chatting. Remus was doing what looked like our Defence homework and Peter was rummaging around in his trunk with a pair of underwear on his head.
“Ohmygod!” I shrieked, covering my eyes with my hands. I heard what sounded like James shout out in surprise and then a thud and a groan.
“James you twat get up!”
“Lily what are you doing in here?!”
“I just wanted you guys to know that we were going to wear dresses,” I said meekly.
“Fantastic, would you mind leaving now?” Oh I’m pretty sure that was James and he sounded a little more than pissed.
“Right, sorry…” I backed out of the room but I smacked into something hard. Ah, there’s a wall there.
“Lily you can open your eyes.” Sirius?
“No Lily don’t!” James.
“James she’s going to fall down the bloody stairs otherwise.” I turned around and then opened my eyes.
“Problem solved! By guys, see you in fifteen!” I tried not to run from the room but I couldn’t help that my legs were carrying me rather quickly. Within seconds I was back in my dorm room.
“Do the guys know?” Abi asked, wrapping a strand of Nicola’s hair around her wand.
“Oh they know…” I shuddered. As I slipped on my dress, I couldn’t help but recall how well toned James’ body was. His boxers fit him very nicely and hugged his muscular thighs so well that they left little to the imagination.
“Did you ever notice that James isn’t ugly?” I asked casually, rummaging in the drawer for my mascara. Nicola quirked an eyebrow and put her shoe down on the bed.
“Lily I don’t do relationships and even I realize that James hot.”
“I never used the word hot,” I said defensively. “But he is kind of isn’t he?”
“Well every single girl in this school seems to think so,” Abi replied, towel-drying her hair. The girls continued to get ready and I was left to ponder why I had never seemed to notice James’ gorgeousness before. Girls had always been attracted to him; I just gathered it was because he was a good kisser or something.
About ten minutes later I was ready. I had thrown on a summer dress which my mom had bought for me last year and it had been shoved to the bottom of my trunk. It was a white strappy dress which came in at the waist and then flowed gracefully to my knees. I had applied a little bit of makeup but that was it. I wanted to try and make it look like I had sort of made an effort for Jess and Mol but I hadn’t really tried too hard.
Nicola had been forced into a pretty blue dress which was similar to mine only it came down to about mid-calf. Abi had curled her hair a little more (getting rid of the usual frizz) and had tied half of it up. The Fashion Queen herself was wearing a green dress which was about the same length as mine but had short sleeves and a thin brown belt.
We were all wearing flats because Nicola and I didn’t see the point in wearing heels and so it was two against one. We made our way down into the common room just before eight and met the boys by the stairs. James and Sirius were sharply dressed in black dress robes and it was obvious that James had attempted to somewhat flatten his hair. Remus’ robes were nice but a little shabby looking. They were a deep brown and they were fraying slightly at the edges. Peter’s robes were new looking but were at least two sizes too large. He appeared to be drowning in them.
“Ready Ladies?” Sirius asked, taking Nicola’s arm.
“Not really,” I replied as James took mine. Abi gingerly accepted Peter’s proffered arm and Remus was left to walk alone. We made our way through the common room, out of the portrait hole and up to the seventh floor in silence. I would have said something but I was still mulling over James’ good looks. I glanced up at him every so often and for the first time ever, I truly appreciated his high cheekbones, chiselled jaw, nice sized nose and twinkly hazel eyes. It amazed me that although I saw James every day, I had never really taken the time to actually look at him. To be honest, if I had to have someone on my arm I was glad it was James.
“You look gorgeous,” James bent slightly and whispered in my ear. I couldn’t stop the grin which spread across my face.
“You don’t look too bad yourself,” I whispered back.
When we reached the seventh floor, we all stood still and stared. There was a massive line leading all the way around the corner. Everyone was lined up on a red carpet and a nylon rope marked where the line was. People were pushing and shoving to get in there and they were all dressed in ball gowns and fancy dress robes, looking like they should be at a ball with the Minister of Magic. I was the first to regain my bearings and speak.
“Do we -err queue up or what?” I asked, looking around at everyone.
“Why should we line up like mere commoners?” Sirius declared, puffing out his chest importantly. “I say we march straight to the front and demand immediate entry!” He’s been spending far too much time around Molly.
Sirius led us round the corner and we followed behind him, a little meekly. Guarding the door was two big men, around “6 ft. 6” and built like bulldozers. They were both bald and dressed in black t-shirts and jeans, showing off their massive biceps. Both men sported official and scary looking sunglasses and had a coiled wire wrapped around their ears.
I gulped and edged closer to James. “Oh god, we’re going to be kicked in the face aren’t we?”
Sirius marched up to the bouncer and crossed his arms. He looked so small compared to them.
“Name?” One of the men asked him in a gruff voice.
“Black, Potter, Evans, Johnson, Bell and Pettigrew,” Sirius replied confidently. The bouncer checked his list and nodded. He unlatched the purple velvet rope, blocking entry and gestured to the door.
“In you go sport.” Sirius blushed furiously.
“I am a man!” he shouted back. The bouncer smirked.
“If you say so.” James left my side and quickly grabbed Sirius’ arm.
“Okay buddy let’s go,” he muttered to Sirius as he opened his mouth to say something more. Smart one James, Sirius would never win in a fight against one of them. The rest of us went through the door after they did and for the second time in the last few minutes, we were struck dumb.
The Room of Requirement seemed stretched to its limit in size; it was roughly as big as the Great Hall, maybe even larger. There was a grand chandelier hanging in the middle of the ceiling and it was incredibly extravagant. The walls were decorated with deep purple drapes and they were lined with cases full of trophies. A white tiger was prowling along the back wall in a jewel encrusted cage, licking its lips menacingly. And in the centre of the room was a large and fancy water fountain. A massive bronze gobstone sat in the middle of the bronze basin and spewed gorgeously blue water. Waiters skirted in and out of the crowd, laden down with trays covered in miniscule entrees and tall flutes of what looked like champagne and firewhiskey. Guests were milling about, the women in elegant and somewhat eccentric ball gowns and sparkly jewels, the men in smart dress robes. A banquet table was positioned on the right side of the room, bright, colourful and artistic floral centrepieces and pretty candles were dotted along it.
“Oh my god.” I muttered.
“Holy shit.” Sirius mumbled under his breath.
“Oh hi guys, so glad you could make it.” Jess and Molly swanned up to us and gave each of us a quick hug. They looked absolutely stunning. Jess was wearing a long figure hugging red dress with only one strap and had her hair in an elegant up do. Molly was wearing a strapless purple dress which cinched in at the waist and then flowed to the floor. She had her hair straightened and had dotted it with flowers.
“What is this?” I asked still in shock, staring round at everything. Jess grinned.
“We told you, this is the gobstones club!”
“What is this huge party for?” Abi asked, in awe.
“We prefer banquet and to celebrate a successful season!” Molly answered. Raised voices could be heard over the usual party din and Molly shot a worried look over her shoulder. “Oh no, the French and German ministers have found each other again.”
Jess shot us a pained smile. “Sorry guys we have to run make yourselves comfortable and we’ll be sitting down to eat in about ten minutes.” Jess and Molly then picked up their dresses and hurried over to where the French minister was currently standing on a chair in an attempt at being eyelevel with the German minister.
“You listen ‘ere!” he squeaked. “You were the cause of the Second World War, you German sausage you!” The German minister stepped forward menacingly.
“Don’t you take that tone of voice with me you dumme kleine Franzose!” The German retorted angrily. “Es ist nicht unsere Schuld, dass du so feige!”
“’Ow dare you!” The Frenchman hissed. “We ‘ave honour. We would ‘ave paid our debts! Where are the reparations you owe us German?” he cried, shaking his fist. “Où sont mes réparations?”
“Okay gentlemen I think that’s enough,” Jess soothed, finally reaching the angry pair. She gently took the Frenchman’s arm and helped him off of the chair. “Come Monsieur, maybe a drink yes?” She pulled him away in the direction of the bar.
“Kaspar, how long has it been since we last met for tea?” Molly asked, guiding the German minister in the opposite direction.
“Someone’s stuck in the past,” Nicola commented.
“I’m sorry but am I the only one who’s freaking out here?” I asked in a shrill voice. “Jess and Molly know the French and German ministers for magic! This ‘banquet’ is huge and obviously incredibly elite. They have a whole other life!” James put his hand on my shoulder.
“Lily, I’ve learnt from past experiences to just go with it.” Why am I the only one freaking out? This was unreal.
“I’m gonna go search for food,” Sirius said before rushing off to trail after a waiter.
“Ohmymerlin!” Abi squeaked. “There’s Alexandra Monet, my role model!” Abi’s eyes were wide and shining. “She’s the woman who introduced the velvet cloak, she’s a legend! I’m going to go and talk to her.” Abi rushed off muttering, “Just be cool Abi, be cool.”
The others eventually wandered off as well, leaving me on my own. I walked over to the trophies which were adorning the walls and inspected them. The first five I looked at were exactly the same with a golden gobstone on top of a cylinder with the plaque at the bottom. Upon closer inspection I realised that they weren’t gobstones sitting atop the trophies, but bowling balls!
“What on earth,” I muttered. I read the plaque at the bottom and engraved on it was; 1st Place Winner in the Scotland Bowling Tournament.
I moved further along the shelf and studied each trophy and came to the same conclusion.
None of them were for Gobstones.
I directed my gaze to the shiny pictures, framed on the walls. Each one was of Jess, Molly or Dumbledore shaking someone’s hand with a medal around their necks and a cheque in hand. I assumed Dumbledore was the Gobstones clubs’ supervisor. But it was quite obvious that pictures of their heads had been cut out and stuck onto the photograph. It was done very badly.
“My god, what is this?”
“It’s the Gobstones Club Lily.” I let out a small shriek of surprise and turned around, coming face to face with Jess. I put a hand to my chest and took deep breaths.
“You scared the living daylights out of me Jess!”
“Sorry Lily didn’t mean to scare you.”
“It’s alright but Jess- none of these trophies are for Gobstones.” Jess cocked an eyebrow.
“Sure they are; they’re all vaguely ball shaped aren’t they?”
“Well yes,” I replied uneasily. “But they’re for bowling. I mean one of the ones at the back is a congratulatory trophy to Justice Everett for turning 21!” Jess waved a hand dismissively.
“Oh that’s nothing Lily; you’re going crazy I tell you!” Jess laughed. I put my hands on my hips.
“I am not! And you’ve just stuck your faces on some random photographs!” Jess shook her head.
“Lily that is quite obviously us,” she said pointing to a picture where dark black hair was sticking out from underneath the picture of Jess’ face. I looked at her incredulously until she smiled. “Come on, time for dinner.”
I took a deep breath, grabbed two flutes of champagne and followed her.
Dumme kleine Franzose - Silly little Frenchman
Ou sont mes reparations? - Where are my reparations?
Es ist nicht unsere schuld, dass du so feige! - It's not our fault you were so cowardly.
A/N- I'm so sorry for the god awful wait for this chapter. School and exams and revision and course work and blah blah blah got in the way. And some terrible writer's block. And I also apologize if the German and French was horrifically inaccurate, I did use some knoweldge but mostly Google Translate (shame). Reviews and favourites are as always, absolutely adored!
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