Absolutely perfect CI by the brilliant JaydScarlett <3
Job 5: Find the Fates and Challenge them on my Destiny of ‘Death Before 17’
“Betty… Be-tty… Bessie-Boo… c’mon, Betts!” I was on my hands and knees in the middle of Louis’ junk yard of a room, calling for Betty, my disappearing Pygmy Puff. We had been at Shell Cottage for two days now and were all ready to move to my house… except for the fact that Betty had gone.
Actually, so had Shrek my lazy tortoise, but Al and Louis were on that. He only had three spots he could possibly be in anyway.
Betty, on the other hand, had about a million, each more unusual than the last. So much for owner love, huh?
Al grabbed my shoulder and spun me around, plonking a sleeping Shrek into my arms. “He was in the usual spot in the airing cupboard.”
I was trying to recover from my momentary heart failure. Damnit, Al can move silently!
“Uh… great. I mean, thanks. Ooh, Al?”
“Yes, Pepper?” Al sounded dubious as he glanced behind him nervously at the door, then looked again at my Will that was still on Louis’ walls.
“Pretty please help me look for Betty?” I pulled out my best puppy-dog eyes.
He sighed, attempting to not look at my face, but four and a half seconds later, he cracked. “Gah, fine!”
“Yay! Thanks, you’re the best!”
I did a quick victory dance (the shortened version) and pulled Al down with me to look under the bed. I kind of regretted it when we both landed our elbows in some gross green sludge, though. I was kind of tempted to engorgio
it and slap some in Al’s face, but considering his Seeker reflexes, I had a strong suspicion that it would be a fight I couldn’t win if I did.
After a few minutes of me calling Betty and Al grumbling, I decided she wasn’t under the bed, and decided to pull Al under it with me instead, for my own evil uses.
No, I wasn’t seducing him, you dirty-minded people.
“Wai – what
– Pepper!” Al flailed as I jerked him under and forced his wrists to the ground so he couldn’t escape.
“Right, I want to be told and I want to be told now
. What happened two mornings ago? And no more ‘betraying people’ crap; you three know and I need to know too. Tell me. NOW.”
After Al refusing to tell me for the last three days, Louis being in a foul mood because his parents were getting angry every time they saw him, and Rose just denying anything happened (uh, how thick do I look?) I was close to breaking point, and ANGRY with it.
“Uh, do we have to - ”
Al sighed, and took his glasses off to rub his eyes. “Ok. Well, Rose was beating the crap out of me and we were falling through the floo system madly, except that it took us to my house, because she screamed ‘Albus Potter’ when we fell in, and it took us to the Potter Mansion. And of course the wards were down, because we have the spells and stuff to let us through.”
I nodded – it was a safety measure put in place after the first few suicide death eater bombers tried to kill Harry and themselves.
“Of course, Mum and Dad were out, and James was off somewhere else with his quidditch mates, but Lily was home. And we came crashing through the kitchen – you know, me running and Rose hitting what she could – and into the sitting room, but as it turned out… Lily wasn’t alone.”
Al screwed his face up disgustedly, and I felt kind of sorry for him. Lily’s a firecracker that guys love, but because mostly James and Al scare away anything remotely male away from her, I didn’t think she got much of a chance to indulge her slightly sluttish ways. Apparently, au contraire
, she’s just a lot more sneaky than anyone gave her credit for.
“Oh, God. How bad was it, Al?”
“Well, I think they were at second base… it was so gross and wrong
… oh God… anyway, I went and asked them what the hell they thought they were doing – I mean, he was groping her in the bloody sitting room! – but Lily full on slapped me and started screaming stuff. But she’d been like this for the summer, so I was kind of used to it by now.
“But then Rose went over to her and asked what the hell she thought she was doing, and Lily went proper crazy on her. Screaming, calling her names, and there was a load of gibberish I didn’t understand, but it seemed to go real deep on Rose, because her face went all white and she seemed like she couldn’t move while Lily just went mental.
“Then a bit of our
Rose came back, and she socked Lily one in the face, called her a heartless bitch, and tried to walk out, but Lily couldn’t let her go; she leaped on her back and scratched all down her face and ripped out some hair. So I had to proper punch Lily, and she still wouldn’t let go, but then the boyfriend pulled her off Rose, and I just grabbed her and apparated here.”
I was silent as I took in that bitch’s wild behaviour. I couldn’t believe it. Lily had always seemed nice enough; a bit angry, but funny with a reckless streak. She was friendly, and polite when she needed to be. Most of all, she loved her family.
“But I mean… Lily and Rose have had loads of what they call ‘girl time’ over the holidays, haven’t they? And Lily’s been moody all summer. Since the ride home, really.”
I thought for a moment over this news, and put it away in my head to take apart later, as well as to question Rose (nicely) about.
“Ok. Well, how did you guys meet up with the Delacour-Weasleys then?”
Al grimaced and rubbed the bridge of his nose, replacing his glasses. “When we apparated, Rose was starting to break down over some of the stuff Lily had said, and I was trying to keep a hold of her as well as not splinching, so I was kind of not paying very much attention to where we were going…” Al trailed off awkwardly and guiltily.
My suspicions were aroused. “Yes, Albus Severus?”
“Eh… well, when we landed it was pretty much on top of Louis, who was being chased along the seaside by both his parents. And Fleur’s iron. And Rose ended up knocking Louis into the sea ‘cause she landed on top of him. Then his parents got a hold of him and Fleur started screaming in his ear and Bill was trying to get a crying Rose to move and I didn’t really know what to do.
“But Louis wouldn’t tell his parents where the trunk was, so you’re safe, Jammy. And then somehow we all ended up back here.”
It was a mark of how close we were that we both sighed at exactly the same point, right then.
It looks like I have a new job to do or two.
Pepper’s List of Stuff to Do
Find out a way to summon the knight bus off the top of muggle houses
Stop telling Rose stuff and never challenge her again
Find out a way to normalise my eyebrows
Investigate the Lily Potter situation
Talk to Rose
I thought for a moment. “Al, do you know who Lily’s boyfriend slash snog buddy was?”
Al thought, before saying, “Well, I think it might - ”
“PEPPER!” Rose’s voice from above made us both jump and bang our heads on the bottom of Louis’s bed at the same time… owww.
“Urgh, what are you two sillies doing down there? Come on out.” Rose’s face blocked the light that was coming from the gap and Al and I slowly belly-crawled over to her before hauling ourselves out.
Our hands and arms really weren’t a pretty sight. Covered in that green goo, they smelled disgusting, and felt it too. Rose wrinkled her nose.
“Honestly, what a stupid idea to go down there, you dipshits. Anyway, I found Betty. I just accio
-ed her and she zoomed into my hand, so... here she is!”
I grinned as she held out my dusty, pink pygmy puff. “Thanks! And great thinking on the Summoning charm.”
“Come on, then – we’ve got her, let’s go!”
“I honestly don’t know why you’re so eager to get to my house.”
“No, it’s really not.”
“Is too!” Rose huffed and ran ahead to the fireplace while I grabbed my suitcase and lagged behind, a pet under each arm.
I’m sure my ‘home’ would be fun to visitors who get to visit once a year for two days. However, it was not fun growing up in.
As we each traipsed into the fireplace to shout the name of my (mercifully unblocked) fireplace, which Rose’s Dad had had the ministry connect to the floo network, I hung back reluctantly.
My home life wasn’t easy. And none of my friends seemed to properly appreciate that, because theirs were so very different, and so much more desirable.
As first an enthusiastic Rose, then a weary Al, then a grinning Louis (whose bad mood seemed to have vanished with the last moments home) disappeared, I looked to Victoire and Bill, who were, as usual, sitting at the kitchen table drinking coffee before their work.
I think that’s actually what they do for a living, to be honest.
That would be an awesome
job… although you’d get really shaky from all the caffeine, and it probably wouldn’t get paid much. But it would be easy!
But as I looked over to them, Bill smiled and Tori just said softly, “Don’t worry, Pepper. They need you too, and won’t ever abandon you.”
It helped me more than I could say, and my throat kind of choked up, so I just gave a big smile and nod of thanks before stepping into the green flames.
Why couldn’t I have been born a Weasley?
This is so not fair.
I mean, the one time
I would actually enjoy an absence of my parents – even if it did land me with the 101 siblings – would be right now. So that my friends and I can play parents TOGETHER for once, and they can see exactly how much they would like it for a whole freakin’ lifetime, while still being reckless teenagers and sneaking out on my siblings to have fun.
Yeah. It was a pretty boss plan I had, right?
But of course it couldn’t go right. After all, this is MY life.
Instead, when we arrived through the fireplace, Delilah and Crusoe were sitting in a horrific-smelling circle and chanting with a group of their equally-weird mates. Some are even weirder; and that is talking seriously weird
here. I mean, some have even won awards for their ‘individuality’ aka. Weirdness that nobody else could possibly match. It’s scarring and scary, let me tell you.
But even when I stood in the middle of the circle with my hands on my hips, to ask my parents what the hell they thought they were doing, they just carried on their glassy-eyed chanting.
I mean, I’m used to having no attention from them, so it was no biggie, but I was already angry from wishing I had a pair of Weasley parents. Even Percy and Audrey would be way better than this.
And even when I lightly slapped Delilah about the face, she ignored me.
And as my three amazing best friends stood outside the circle, suddenly uncertain, something snapped.
I know, it happens quite a lot around my parents, but this was proper major.
I stood upright again and stalked around the circle. “Hey, honey! How are you doing? Have you had a nice holiday at your friends’ houses? Yes, actually, MUM, I had a great time. I even got my OWLs! Wow, honey what did you get? Well actually, it looks like I’ll be taking NEWTs of Astronomy, Charms, Defence, Divination, Tranfiguration and maybe Care of Magical Creatures.” My voice started rising.
“Oh, but didn’t you want to take Potions, sweetheart? Actually, DAD, I’m pretty awful at Potions, and Louis and I only passed because we copied. And, do you remember, my three best friends are actually here right now with me. Oh; Rose, Albus and Louis, I’m sorry I ignored you there! Come in and I’ll get you some tea, because I do
know your names and realise that we have been terrible parents all our lives and really shouldn’t have had kids because YOUR DAUGHTER PEPPER IS FUCKING SICK OF IT!”
Nobody even batted an eyelid. Not a single twitch, or anything to indicate they’d heard or cared.
I stood up, and shook my head at my friends. “Not listening, as per usual. Come on, I’ll fetch the siblings and make a start on breakfast.”
My friends just followed silently as I led the way into the kitchen. There, my day brightened up a little.
“PEEEEPPPPPYYY!!” Lolli shouted gleefully, running towards me with her arms outstretched and looking so happy I was here that it almost made me sorry for screaming at my parents.
I wasn’t, though.
“Hey Lollipop Rainbow! How you doing, little princess?” I hugged her hard and twirled her around, before pulling my head back to get her answer.
She shrugged. “I am good, but Ruby,” her hidden dog, “is upset because there was no pot nooooodles left when you left. But now I am happy because YOU are home!” And she buried her face in my cardigan.
I hugged her. “Me too, Lolli.”
Then Pea appeared at my leg, already clamped on before I’d realised and gurgling away in some language I had no idea of. It’ll be a miracle if she ever learns to speak at all, because there’s not many people around to learn English off.
Then Pigeon wandered through the door, and though we hate each other, we still smiled to see each other there. For him, when I’m home, it means a lot less responsibility on his 12-year-old shoulders. For me, it’s just nice to know he’s still around and kicking.
“Hey, Pige. How you doing?”
“Alrigh’. Will you let me get my name changed?”
I was surprised. Pig never asked my permission for anything, though his usual blunt manner I was used to.
“Sure. If I need to sign anything, I can forge Delilah or Crusoe’s signatures, or pretend to be a parent with Al or Louis if you want? It’s a good idea to change your name,” I offered.
“Yeah. Ta.” And he wandered off again.
Suddenly, Lolli looked up from my shoulder and caught sight of my friends standing there, and squealed higher than I’ve ever heard in my ear. “EEE! ROSIEE! ALLIEE! LOUIIIS!”
She jumped off and ran over to them while Pea shuffled over after her.
Well, that certainly made my job easier.
On the plus side of this situation, I could go out when I liked and hand over responsibility to my parents. I also had my friends with me to help.
On the minus side, I couldn’t actually
leave my siblings with my parents. I have no idea how they manage for the rest of the year. And I don’t like my friends feeling all pitying for poor-little-Pepper, or for envying me.
Observe my life, and leave without judging, thank you very much.
It was the next day before anyone came out of the trance. I had been washing up Ruby’s new dog bowl in the kitchen with Rose (Pea and Lollipop were with the boys in the garden. We had been out at an amazing muggle fair all day today, and yesterday evening we had all even slept out in the garden, under the stars) when a random old woman came into the kitchen. She looked ancient, her skin more in folds than on display.
She looked a hundred years older than anyone I’d seen in the weird chanting circle. On the other hand, I hadn’t stared too hard.
If I stare too hard at my parents, it generally causes an attack of hay fever and throat tightening, or just general eye watering. It depends on how long.
So I was kinda surprised when, as I laughed at Rose’s impression of Gregory Macmillan doing the washing up (she is too dang good), a claw-like hand descended and clamped onto my shoulder out of nowhere.
I admit it; I squeaked loudly. Rose jumped too, at my squeak while she pretended to wipe the dish in a really camp way (hip swivels included).
Gregory Macmillan doesn’t do the washing up in a very conventional way, you see.
But we both gasped and turned to face this old crone, who came right up close into my face, peering up into my eyes (and incidentally my nostrils; I’m fairly tall and she was pretty tiny) and then started rocking backwards and forwards and side to side.
I got a bit freaked out. This woman was seriously odd!
Then Rose decided to point out that “Her eyes aren’t blinking.”
The woman was a friggin’ seer.
“Fuck my life,” I muttered under my breath, and Rose gave me a weird look before stepping forwards to lightly slap the woman.
Note to self
: tell Rose more stuff so she doesn’t injure OAPs unjustly ever again.
But it was ok. The woman just opened her mouth, and I muttered “Finally” (earning me another weird look) and she made a choking sound before clearing her throat and making the prophecy. Still staring and rocking and unblinking creepily.
“You think you have the sole responsibility for family, but really it’s easier than that.
You may not want it, but you’ll soon have plenty more, when your friends help you into your fate
Others will flock for the words from your heart, but don’t be too hard on yourself
Don’t waste your time – there’s not much that’s left – you’ll never see the dawn of Seventeen.”
Well, wasn’t that a fantastic prophecy?
And I have to admit that I’m a little bit peeved. I always imagined that if I ever did get a prophecy, it would be all rhyming and iambic pentameter-y (the type of rhythm structure that Shakespeare used) and I would be wearing a beautiful ruby-red satin dress, and it would be on an overgrown balcony at night when all the stars and moon and stuff could be seen. Also my hair would be blowing backwards, all glossy and shiny, like in a L’Oreal advert.
I guess we just can’t all get what we wish for, Betty (yes, I teach life lessons to my pets. It’s what I have to resort to when I can’t get to my trusty sidekicks who don’t exist as of yet… oh Merlin, that made no sense at all
. This prophecy has messed up my brain).
But there you go. I got an ancient granny, in my crummy kitchen, and my old scrappy kaftan.
Rose was glaring fiercely at the old woman as she cleared her throat, backed off me and then stumbled out of the kitchen.
I probably looked quite gormless, up until I realised that I needed to store this prophecy somewhere.
“Rose – prophecy – storage – NOW,” I commanded incoherently.
She dithered for a moment, then ran out the room screaming “ALBUS POTTER! COME HERE NOW!” I felt kind of sorry for Al that I had dragged him into this.
Then I suddenly realised all that had just happened to me. It hit me like a tidal wave, knocking my senses out as I slid down the cabinets to the floor, and put my head in my hands.
Prophecies like this were never wrong…
And the last line of the whole stupid thing was the worst in the entire awful prophecy (I mean, did I really
need more responsibility in my life? NO!).
What had she said? You’ll never reach the dawn of seventeen…
I was going to die before I became Of Age.
Well, it was certainly a good thing I had put my funeral plans down on Louis’s walls then, wasn’t it?
You know, I’d quite like to challenge The Fates about this.
Pepper’s List of Stuff to Do
Find out a way to summon the knight bus off the top of muggle houses
Find out a way to normalise my eyebrows
Investigate the Lily Potter situation
Talk to Rose
Challenge the Fates about my destiny of ‘Death Before 17’
Not quite all in a day’s work, methinks. More like a life’s
work, considering this is the last I’ll have of it, apparently.
*A/N: … hello, lovely people! I would just like to say that I’m really sorry for this v. gloomy ending for Pepper. It will pick up next chapter, honest! Incidentally, the next chapter is “Job 6: Get a Brilliant Evil Plan”. We meet the Potters – yes, this means James II and Lily II too – and there’s plenty of madness from Pepper. Toodles,