Chapter 15 : The Metamorphmagus
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Genius is another word for magic,
and the whole point of magic is that it is inexplicable.
Hillary and Anna didn’t let go of the embrace. They almost cried with happiness. And when they cried, I cried.
“It was so beautiful, Lily. I started crying when you did that pirouette… I’m so proud of you, girl!” Hillary smiled into my shoulder.
I had been about to change when Anna and Hillary had stormed into my changing room, bringing flowers and beaming like the sun.
“But what happened before that? You didn’t seem like yourself in those other dances, Lily...” Anna pointed out, her face turning slightly anxious.
“Does it matter? She’ll be the next prima ballerina after that last one! I was stunned, I was amazed, I was… out of breath because it was so brilliant!”
We all collapsed on the floor, laughing and crying at the same time. It took a long time to calm down, because the minute we stopped laughing and exchanged looks, we started laughing all over again.
“I was almost afraid you’d never come onto the stage again after the second dance,” Hillary said. “What made you do it anyway?”
I almost stopped breathing. “I’ll just change, ok? I’ll tell you later,” I smiled.
Anna seemed reluctant, but agreed after a little persuasion.
I locked the door when they had left, sitting down on the floor.
The moment I had stepped out into the music I had forgotten all about what made me do it in the first place, for a short time. But now it all came welling back to me. How James had entered, placing a kiss on me before leaving.
‘Wait a second… Did I just think of him as ‘James’ and not ‘Potter’? Ok, maybe we’re more on terms now than we used to be. Fine.’
Then the shudder that had raced through my body when he had kissed me came back for a brief moment, and how it had calmed me down. His little smile when he passed through the door right across me…
‘You let him kiss you! How could you do that, Lily Evans?’ My inner voice whispered.
‘You were upset and miserable, that’s why,’ the same voice answered.
I sighed deeply and stood up, starting to undress with my head full of thoughts. I was about to put my leotard in my bag when I noticed the reflection of my own upper body wearing nothing in the mirror … I turned away, feeling my breath quicken.
“Don’t swim naked, Lily! You know people are just going to turn away and leave if they see you… Put some clothes on before someone gets disgusted!” My father hissed at me on the sunny day at the beach.
“You can’t say that to a six year old child, Charles!”
My mother scooped me into her arms, but tears were already running down my cheeks.
I wrapped my arms around myself, trying to hide as much skin as possible. The scars in my soul was not healed yet. Mother had told me over and over again that absolutely nothing was wrong with the way I looked. That my father didn’t really mean all those things he said. I knew she was right, but a part of me never forgot his words. It wouldn’t seek in. After all, I hadn’t always been the swan I was now, as my mother would call me.
I couldn’t take it when people gave me compliments about the way I looked. It didn’t seem right with me. Nobody could ever know…
I pulled some clothes on and walked in quick steps out in the narrow corridor leading up to the stage. I felt slightly shaken by the thought of that man. How he had tormented me… squeezed my confidence down to nothing. Telling me every day to lose weight, colour my hair or get a fake tan.
“That’s why we put you in ballet in the first place, darling! So you could get rid of that ugliness lying around on your body…”
I quickened my speed even more. An angry expression was dominating my face, and the grip around my bag got tighter.
It was a miracle I hadn’t developed an eating disorder, or become suicidal. If it hadn’t been for mum opening my eyes slightly to realise my body was perfectly normal and slim, I would have gone mad.
When I entered the door to the stage-area, I saw Lindsay walking around, picking up things and preparing to put the stage down.
“Lily! I was looking for you,” she said brightly, stopping me up and hugging me.
“I know what you are going to say,” I said hurriedly. “I was great.”
Lindsay creased her eyebrows. “You don’t sound very happy… You should be. Did you hear all the hands clapping for you? All the screams and yells? Did you see the flowers thrown onto the stage?”
“I know, but I have a lot on my mind right now,” I said sadly.
“You always have, Lily,” she sighed. “Just try to forget about it, and try to just live and have some fun instead of burying yourself in thoughts and problems.”
That was my problem. I always did. It was one of my best qualities. If that could be called a quality…
“I’ll try,” I whispered, giving her a weak smile.
When I saw James in the common room late that evening I was almost nervous. I didn’t say anything as I sat down in a chair, lying my pointe shoes on my lap to sew on new ribbons. I knew I could have done it magically, but it somehow felt better to do it by hand.
I saw him come closer and closer to me through the corner of my eye, and I almost jumped as he leaned down and rested his elbows on the side of the chair.
“Perfect, Lily. You were perfect,” he whispered.
I turned around and smiled at him, feeling a blush enter my face. “Thank you.”
I pulled slightly away because he was so close to me. I was almost afraid he’d kiss me again. I broke the eye contact and continued to rip the old stings away to remove the old ribbons attached to the shoes.
“I’m going home for a couple of days,” he then said, sitting down in the chair next to me. “Because of Laura, you know.”
I had almost forgotten about that.
“I’m so sorry, James… I think it will be good for you to calm down a couple of days now that she’s gone, though.”
He looked oddly at me.
“Why do you think that?”
“Because that was good for me when my father died,” I replied, smiling a little.
“You lost your dad? When?” James sounded surprised.
I felt it jump inside as he said ‘Your dad’… I never dared to, or wanted to, call my father ‘dad’. It simply didn’t fit his character.
“When I was fourteen, two years ago,” I answered.
“I’m sorry,” James said.
“Don’t be,” I whispered. “I’m all right.”
After a long silence his familiar grin was back on. He tapped my shoulder and I looked at him, almost piercing the tip of my finger with the needle.
“You didn’t feel uncomfortable earlier, did you? When I kissed you?”
I felt my face grow hot. I lowered my eyes and didn’t say anything to him. Then I decided to stand up to myself, and the pink colour slowly crept away.
“I wouldn’t have let you if I wasn’t in such a bad state,” I defended myself.
James eyebrows was raised and he looked at me in assignment.
“Sure you wouldn’t…” he said, finding an apple in his pocket.
“I would not!” I hissed, sewing faster. “I didn’t know what was going on, suddenly you just …”
“…Kissed me,” he finished for me. “So you’re saying that if I kissed you now, you’d react differently? You’d… slap me or something? Yell at me? Swear at me? Leave the room and despise me for all eternity?”
I laughed a little at that. “Probably.”
‘No, you wouldn’t. You would have loved it…’
I gasped at myself and slapped a hand over my lips. Before James realised what was going on, I had slipped out of the chair and hurried up the stairs to the girls’ dorm.
“That was risky,” I heaved at myself. “Too risky.”
‘And he didn’t even kiss me this time.’
I put the unfinished pointe shoes in the drawer of my cup board and sat down onto my bed. Why wouldn’t the familiar delightful shudder go away from my body? Why wouldn’t James’s hazel eyes disappear from my mind?
Wandering around in my own thoughts, I thought about Lily Evans for the umpteenth time that evening. Her solo had been perfect in my eyes, and I loved every minute of it, but something bothered me.
I had been sitting right behind Potter and his gang in the audience, and it had been disturbing. Parts of their conversation didn’t want to leave my head. Evans had obviously been turned down by Remus Lupin, for God knows what reason. But it had been even more disturbing to watch Potter get up from his seat to rescue Evans when she went off stage.
“I’m going back stage to find her…” he had said as he left.
I wondered what had happened. What they’d been doing there backstage, before Potter returned right after the ten minute break with a smile on his face.
“What happened?” Black had asked him.
“She’ll dance. I’m sure of it,” Potter had replied.
And it was something about the way they had exchanged looks. If they only knew I was sitting behind them… and even worse if they knew who I were. At least Lupin would give me ice-cold stares. I was sure of that.
I looked at myself in the mirror of my dorm, grinning at myself. I had really done it. After many attempts I could see James Potter staring back at me from the blank surface. I reached for my temple, rumpling up my now black hair the way Potter did when he was around the opposite sex. I was going to screw up their fresh friendship so badly Lily Evans wouldn’t even speak to him anymore. I knew which buttons to touch… I knew Evans in a way he didn’t. I was one step ahead of the great, perfect Quidditch-Captain Potter.
Remus Lupin was much easier to copy the appearance of, because we weren’t as different as Potter and I. Evans hadn’t hesitated when I came into the Great Hall on her dress-rehearsal. She really thought I was her beloved Remus. But what was really odd was when she asked me what week it was, as if that mattered. When I didn’t know she reacted as if I had said something wrong. But that didn’t count? It felt so good to embrace her slender body, knowing she wouldn’t turn away. I fooled her once, and I could do it again.
I couldn’t be busted, though. Professor McGonagall knew I was a metamorphmagus, and she forbid me to play around with it after I misused my abilities back in fourth year. I never told anyone about myself… I had always wanted it to be my little secret, that I could change my appearance without spells or polyjuice potion. I could change it at will. Just by concentrating and making an image in my head could I change my looks. Some people were harder to imitate than others, though. Like Potter… He had been a challenge. But I had been watching how he behaved, talked and how he was. After lots of attempts I had managed to copy the face hundreds of girls found attractive…
If there's anybody who doesn't remember what a metamorphmagus is, it’s the ability to change appearance at will. Like Nymphadora Tonks.
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