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Lucy Potter by fullmoontonightO

Format: Novel
Chapters: 19
Word Count: 134,745
Status: WIP

Rating: 12+
Warnings: Mild Violence

Genres: Drama, General, Action/Adventure
Characters: Lupin, Snape, Sirius, Lily, James, Regulus, Pettigrew, OC
Pairings: James/Lily

First Published: 04/19/2008
Last Chapter: 05/07/2010
Last Updated: 05/07/2010

Summary:
Just an update to my readers:

The laptop I had Lucy's story in crashed; I just got it back recently, but everything on it was wiped. It may take a while to rewrite everything I had ready to post, but I'm back.

Fans of both my stories have my deepest apologies.


Chapter 1: Meeting Lucy
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"Ma...........ma............"

"Oh, come here, Justin! I think she's trying to talk!"

"Ma............ma............"

"Say Ma-ma, Lucy! Say ma-ma!"

"No, Luce! Say da-da! Say da-da!"

The little baby, Lucy, looked up at her aunt and uncle confusedly. She peered up at them through her curly black hair, blue, green-and-gold-speckled eyes concerned. Though she was barely a year old, she knew they weren't her parents, so why were they trying to make her address her as such? Besides, that wasn't what she was going to say.

"C'mon, Lucy! Say ma-ma!" Her aunt, Olivia said eagerly. Olivia had light blonde hair and hazel eyes. She was currently pregnant with Annie, Lucy's future cousin.

"Luce! Say da-da! C'mon!" Her uncle, Justin said, also very eager. He had soft brown hair and warm brown eyes.

Lucy thought a long moment about the word she was trying to say. She repeated it, over and over, in her head. Finally, she thought she could say it.

"Ma..........Ma...........Magic."

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Lucy, barely a year old, had been living with her aunt and uncle for about a month. Though Olivia and Jake were good people, they did not like Lucy's biological parents in the least. They believed her parents to be irresponsible-good-for-nothings who got lucky and made it rich. They never bothered to try and stay in contact with Lucy's parents after they had moved, and hadn't even known Lucy was born.

Of course, that changed about a month ago.

See, by some strange line of incidents, Lucy had somehow ended up in the arms of a policeman, standing on the Whitaker's front porch. The policeman said that a bunch of people had found Lucy somewhere, and had brought her into the station. The people mentioned that, close to where they'd found Lucy, there'd been blood and the signs of a struggle. They believed that the parents were dead, and the police searched for living relatives, until, by some miracle, they came across the Whitakers.

The police dropped Lucy at the Whitakers, and went off to investigate the site of the so-called struggle. There were, indeed, signs of a long and tenuous fight, and no bodies were found. The policemen, as well as the Whitakers, all believed Lucy's parents to be dead, and two small gravestones were placed in a graveyard.

Olivia and Justin decided to keep Lucy and raise her as their own, she was young enough not to remember her parents, after all. Now, they hadn't been able to find out when exactly was Lucy's birthday. They just assumed that she was about two, and they celebrated her birthday the day she was brought to them; June 31. (Of course, this was neither her birth date, nor her age. But that cannot be helped. We will go into this later, and the Whitakers may one day see their mistake.)

Lucy was a pretty baby. She had (as was mentioned before) curly black hair and beautiful blue eyes, flecked with green and gold. Not only that, but she was very intelligent as well. She recognized colors, sounds, and words quite easily, although she did not talk as much as other babies did. Lucy was very good-tempered. She hardly cried or fussed, and always behaved perfectly for her aunt and uncle. She almost never made messes, and was always smiling cheerfully, though she seemed slightly shy at times. Lucy seemed to be the perfect baby, which delighted both Olivia and Justin immensely.

Unfortunately for them, not everything is as it seems.

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Ever since Lucy learned how to speak, she spoke of magic. She would announce every day something new she'd "seen". Now, neither Olivia or Justin could believe her, since magic did not exist (in their eyes), as well as it was mornings when Lucy would speak of these things most. For example, one morning, at breakfast, Lucy had tottered to her seat in the table and said this: "Aunty Liv? Can I play Quidditch?"

Exactly.

Now, Olivia and Justin Whitaker were two average, ordinary people. They had good jobs, made good money. They had a good house, and Olivia had just given birth to Annie, their daughter, a few months ago. The two of them did not believe in magic. They believed in facts, good hard evidence. To them, magic, witches, wizards, and wands did not exist. There were no fairies, elves, goblins, or dragons. They knew this, and would not believe otherwise if they would see it with their own eyes.

So, naturally, when little three-year-old (two, actually, but they didn't know) Lucy came down to breakfast talking about some non-fictional nonsense, they thought it to be a dream. But, when they asked her what Quidditch was, she proclaimed it a sport. Of course, neither Olivia or Justin believed her, but they did believe in imagination, and dreams. So they asked her to tell them all about Quidditch, and her dream.

This ritual went on every morning for a year before Olivia and Jake began to worry about Lucy, as well as how Annie might be affected by her wild tales.

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"Aunty Liv, Aunty Liv! Guess what I saw!" Lucy exclaimed, roughly two years after her first mention of Quidditch.

"Dreamed, you mean, Lucy. You dreamed it." Lucy shook her little head excitedly, curls bouncing across her face and everywhere.

"No, no, Aunty Liv! I saw it! It's real!" Two-year-old Annie turned to look at Lucy, eyes bright.

"Weal?" She asked, smiling. "Weal, Lucy?" Lucy nodded.

"Uh-huh, Annie!"

"No, Annie." Olivia jumped in. "Lucy had a dream."

"No I didn't!" Lucy exclaimed, somewhat angrily. "It was real!"

Now, even though Lucy was normally shy and quiet, when she got on the subject of magic, she became completely different. Lucy became fired up, easily excitable. Lucy firmly believed that there was a hidden world of magic right beside their own, and nothing Olivia-or Justin, for that matter-said could change her mind. When it came to magic, Lucy's eyes lit up like no other time, and she could talk for hours. She bounced around and became so happy she seemed to shine.

But if anyone tried to convince her magic wasn't real, tried to deny her facts with theirs, she'd become angry almost instantly. Lucy had a firm belief that lying was the worst possible thing to do, and when people told her magic wasn't real, she thought them calling her a liar. Not only that, but Lucy would (unexpected, from such a normally shy child) start arguing immediately. It didn't matter who it was, how old they were, or even if they threatened her with trouble (day-care). Lucy would stand up and argue for what she believed in. Mainly, magic.

But, since Lucy was believed to be only four years old, not many people took her seriously, and rarely challenged her beliefs. On the contrary, they'd just laugh and chalk it up to her "vivid imagination". But there was no fooling Lucy with lies. For some odd reason, Lucy always knew if someone was lying. She would walk right up to the person-even if they were complete strangers-and tell them that they were bad to lie. Then she'd turn to the person being lied to and inform them-very politely-that the other was a liar, and should not be trusted until they told the truth.

Unfortunately, as people believed Lucy was only four, no one ever took her seriously, and not one of them believed her at all. It didn't help that she spoke in a small child's voice and had big eyes that were full of innocence. Almost everything that came out of her mouth was from "her imagination".

But, back to Lucy, Olivia, Annie, and their breakfast.

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"It was real, Aunty Liv." Lucy repeated stubbornly. Olivia rubbed her forehead tiredly. She loved Lucy, it was true, but there were times when she reminded her so much of her parents...........Not only that, but Olivia had been gently trying to wean Lucy off of magic, just a bit, and steer her towards truth.

Now, it was not that Olivia minded Lucy having an imagination, no it was not that at all. It was just............Lucy didn't seem to believe in the tooth fairy, Santa Claus, or the Easter Bunny, like every other child. No, Lucy believed in wizards, witches, goblins, giants, trolls................the list went on and on.

"Lucy............"

"It was, Aunty Liv!"

"Why don't we take a little trip together today, Luce?" Olivia asked suddenly, changing the subject. It worked. Lucy's eyes lit up.

"To where, Aunty Liv?" Olivia thought a bit.

"We could take a walk together. Maybe go see the birds at the park?" Lucy nodded happily. She loved going to the park, as well as the birds. Whenever they went to the park, Lucy would slowly crawl over to the flocks of birds until she was right up next to them. Then she'd slowly reach out a hand and pat them. Sometimes, the birds would land on her hand. Not only that, but sometimes she'd convince her aunt to let her bring birdseed, and then Lucy would have the birds all over her.

"Can I bring some birdseed, Aunty Liv?" Olivia nodded, happy to keep Lucy off of the subject of magic.

As Lucy went off to get ready, Olivia finished giving Annie her breakfast and called to Justin. Olivia handed Annie off to Justin and told him where they were going just as Lucy came bounding down the stairs, clutching a bag of birdseed in her little hands. Olivia and Lucy both give Annie and Justin kisses, then left.

The two of them chatted about everything they saw (none of it about magic), such as colors and names of things. Once in sight of the park, though, Lucy asked for permission, then ran off. Once Lucy was in sight of the birds, though, she seemed to freeze completely. She dropped to her knees in slow motion, eyes focused entirely on them. She slowly got down on all fours, then began crawling in more of a slow, sliding motion, towards the birds, dragging the birdseed with her.

Once Lucy was about a foot away from the flock of birds, she carefully sat down, pulling the bag of birdseed into her lap. Then she slowly ripped off the top. Lucy scooped a handful out of the bag and dropped it in a pile in front of her. She continued doing this until there was a half-moon circle around her front. Once the birdseed was in front of her, Lucy began pouring birdseed onto her legs, head, and hands.

Then she waited, motionless, for the birds to come to her.

It didn't take long. Lucy went to the park as often as she could, and there were some birds who recognized her. Lucy was very careful and quiet around the birds, moving slowly, or not at all, and the birds trusted her. Soon there were birds almost all over her. In her lap, on her shoulders, on her head, in her hands, in front of her, everywhere. All sizes and types of birds, too. Big and small, colorful and gray.

Today, by some chance, a new bird fluttered up and sat on the very end of Lucy's nose. It was a small bird, roughly the size of a walnut and golden in color. It had a long, thin beak and tiny feet. It's wings seemed to be in rotational sockets and moved around in all directions. It's little head was much like its feet, attached to its body by nothing. It had no neck, no legs. The little bird had an intelligent gleam in its red eyes.

Lucy's own eyes grew wide as she looked at this tiny bird, something in the back of her mind telling her its name. "Golden Snidget?" She asked softly. Just then, a small tabby cat appeared in her peripheral vision, and the Golden Snidget disappeared from sight, as well as the rest of the birds. Lucy frowned and looked at the cat, shaking birdseed from her hair. The cat seemed to be watching her closely. Lucy stared straight back at the cat, head cocked and curious. Had it seen the little bird, too?

It was an ordinary-looking tabby cat, really. Except for the odd markings around its eyes that made it look as if it were wearing glasses, it seemed like any other cat. Lucy shuffled a little closer to the cat, studying it closely. The cat didn't move, but its eyes narrowed somewhat, and it watched Lucy even closer.

"Your not a kitty!" Lucy exclaimed, shocked. "You're a lady!" The cat blinked eyes widening. "You-" Before Lucy could continue, Olivia came over.

"Lucy! Get away from that kitty, it might scratch you!" Lucy shook her head.

"It won't scratch me, Aunty Liv." She said, matter-of-factly.

"How do you know?"

"Because its not a kitty."

There was a moment of tense anticipation, then Olivia laughed. "If its not a cat, Lucy, then what is it." Lucy didn't laugh. She looked dead-serious, actually.

"It's a lady, Aunty Liv." Olivia's laughter stopped abruptly. She eyed the cat.

"Lucy, that's a kitty-cat." Lucy shook her head.

"No, Aunty Liv. It's a lady. She'd hiding."

"From what?"

"You. And everyone else. She's hiding, but I don't know why. But she can't hide from me! I can see her." Olivia shook her head.

"Lucy, that's a cat." Lucy shook her head furiously and stood, scattering birdseed everywhere.

"No it isn't, Aunty Liv! It's a lady, and I know it! She's hiding! The lady is just pretending to be a kitty!" Olivia shook her head, but Lucy continued. "I know she's a lady!" Lucy whirled on the cat. "Tell her! Show her, lady! Stop hiding and stop pretending!" The cat did nothing. Olivia grew impatient.

"Lucy, stop this, right now. That's a cat." Lucy shook her head, anger growing steadily, rapidly, as she glared from her aunt to the cat.

"Show her, lady!" Lucy demanded the cat, who did nothing.

"Lucy, stop. This is nonsense."

"No it's not!" Lucy cried, frustrated.

"If that's a lady, then how come she looks like a cat?" Lucy was ready for this one.

"She's a witch!" Stony-faced silence. "I'm telling the truth! She's a witch, and she's pretending to be a cat! I know it!" Olivia shook her head.

"Lucille Whitaker-"

"My name's not Whitaker! It's yours!" Olivia looked taken aback, but Lucy kept on before she could speak. "That lady's a witch! And..........so am I!"

Olivia's mouth dropped open. Lucy seemed to be frantic now. "I am! I am a witch! I see things no one else does! You never believe me, but it's true! It's true! I'm a witch!" Lucy began crying. "I'm a witch, and I have powers! I always make funny things happen, and I always see all these magical things in my head! I see all these people, and they do magic, Aunty Liv! They do magic! You tell me I'm dreaming, but I'm not! I.........I see it! In my head! All the wizards and witches! They're everywhere! They're all hiding, just like the lady that looks like a cat! I can see her! She has brown hair and glasses and-"

"That's quite enough." Olivia's voice cut through Lucy's, in a deadly dangerous tone. "I don't know who put these ideas in your head, Lucille, but you've got to get rid of them. All of them. There is no such thing as wizards, or witches. There is no such thing as magic. You are not a witch, and that is a cat."

"That's not true! It's real, all of it! I see it all! In my head! Everything's different than you think, Aunty Liv!" Lucy spun around, pointed far off down the road. "That way! That way, in London! There's a..........a............pub? It's called the Lea-Leaky Caul-Cauldron!" She shouted, crying and frantic. "I've seen it!"

"No you haven't! You've never even been to-"

"But I've seen it, Aunty Liv! I've seen it, in my head! It's hiding in an alley, and no one can see it right! But it's there! And right across from it, there's a brick wall!"

"Now, Lucy-"

"No! There's a brick wall! And if you tap on it like this-" Lucy broke off, did tapping gestures in the air. "-It opens up! It really does! And there's a place called. Di-Di-Diagon Alley! AND THERE'S MAGIC THERE!" Lucy seemed to have finally lost control. "THERE ARE SHOPS AND A BANK AND WIZARDS AND WITCHES EVERYWHERE! THERE'S MAGIC FLYING BROOMS AND POST OWLS AND WANDS AND ROBES AND-"

"Lucy! Stop this instant!" But Lucy couldn't seem to stop.

"THEY SELL EVERYTHING!" She swung around and pointed in another direction. "AND THAT WAY! AT KING'S CROSS! THERE'S AN EXTRA PLATFORM! 9 3/4! YOU RUN THROUGH THE WALL! I'VE SEEN PEOPLE DO IT!"
"Lucy! You've never even been to-"

"BUT I'VE SEEN IT, AUNTY LIV! I'VE SEEN IT!" Lucy dropped to the floor and buried her head in her hands, crying and crying. "They take them to a school! All the kids like me! All the kids who can do funny stuff! The witches and wizards! They teach them there! They learn how to hide!" Lucy spun back to face the cat, pointing at it angrily. "You! They taught you how to hide, didn't they! Stop pretending! I know your a lady! Stop hiding! Stop lying! YOU'RE A LIAR!"

"LUCILLE!" Olivia roared, finally silencing Lucy. "I have heard quite enough of this nonsense! I'm quite tired of all your ramblings-on about magic! None of it's true, none of it exists! There is no such place, or school-"

"YES THERE IS!" Lucy shouted, jumping to her feet. "AND I'M GOING THERE AS SOON AS I'M OLD ENOUGH! I'M GOING THERE AND I'M NEVER COMING BACK! YOU'LL SEE! THEN YOU'LL HAVE TO BELIEVE ME!"

"LUCY! I AM TIRED OF ALL OF THIS! EVERY DAY, YOU MENTION SOME WILD DREAM YOU HAD THE NIGHT BEFORE, INSISTING IT AS REAL! NONE OF IT IS REAL! IT'S ALL IN YOUR HEAD!"

"It's real! It's real!"

"NO IT'S NOT!"

"YES IT IS!" Olivia slapped Lucy's cheek sharply, making her gasp.

"I'm going to get this out of you, child. I swear, you'll end up just like your good-for-nothing parents."

"DON'T TALK ABOUT MY MUM AND DAD LIKE THAT!"

"I'LL TALK ABOUT THEM HOWEVER I FEEL!" Olivia raged. "I took you in at the beginning because you seemed good! But you're going to end up just like them! You're the devil's child, Lucy, do you hear?! The devil!" Lucy tried to pull away, but Olivia grabbed her arm tightly, drawing tears into Lucy's eyes. "I'm going to stamp all of this magic rubbish out of you, no matter how long it takes! You're going to learn to be normal even if I have to lock you in your room for the rest of your life!"

"You're hurting me!"

"And you're not to talk to Annie about any of this magic rubbish anymore, either! You're not to talk to anyone about magic! Never again, do you hear?! If I catch wind of you disobeying me, I'll flay you alive!" Olivia had finally snapped. She had finally lost patience with Lucy and her talk of magic. She would straighten her out, if it was the last thing she'd do. Lucy would be normal!

"Let me go! Let me go! You're hurting me!" It was true. Olivia was holding Lucy tighter and tighter, and a bruise was already starting to show.

"We're going home!" Olivia said instead, ignoring Lucy's attempts to free herself. Olivia began dragging Lucy away from the park, Lucy turning back to look at the cat.

"Please!" She shouted, teary-eyed. "Show her! Show her!"

The cat did nothing.

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In that day, Lucy was introduced to many a horrible thing. Her aunt's views of her, and her family. Her aunt's rage and strength. Being locked in her room, not being allowed to speak, not eating, and much more.

But the absolute worse thing Lucy learned................

Magic people could be just as bad as regular people.

And to Lucy, this was a bad enough piece of news to kill her.

Chapter 2: The Sorting
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Roughly seven years later, Lucy got a letter in the mail.

Well, not in the mail, actually. More like.............an owl flew through her bedroom window. It was a surprise to her, that's for sure. Especially what the letter contained. Information. About a school called Hogwarts. Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. When ten-year-old Lucy read that, she dropped the letter on the floor. She didn't move or blink for several minutes, just stood staring down at the letter as if it were some kind of cruel practical joke. It took a bit, but Lucy finally bent over and picked up the letter with trembling hands. She looked it over and almost cried.

In all those years, ever since her aunt had snapped, Lucy had never stopped believing. She wouldn't let herself. Each and every morning, Lucy would wake with fresh images of the wizarding world in her mind, and all day, new ones would appear. Lucy remembered each and every detail of every image. She'd watch as people would fly, or transform, or make spells in cauldrons. There were some people that Lucy watched most, and Lucy felt as though they were more her family than the Whitakers were.

Lucy had no idea how to control these visions she kept having, but she didn't really care, either. Their world kept her out of hers, and she was grateful to them for it. Without them, these visions, Lucy wouldn't have lasted all those years of torment.

Lucy could always see wizards and witches wherever she went, even if they were animals. Of course, Lucy didn't try and talk to anyone, especially the people pretending to be animals. (She also hated cats.)

But this..........actual proof that she was right, that she wasn't crazy, or the devil's daughter.................that she was normal, at least somewhere................

Lucy collapsed onto her bed in tears, clutching the letter tightly.

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The rest of the summer passed by in a blur. Lucy had contacted whoever had sent the letter, asking for financial help, and they had agreed. The person sent her a bag full of odd coins that she remembered to be money, and said not to worry about paying them back any time soon. Lucy had written back her thanks and snuck off to downtown London for the day. She managed to locate the Leaky Cauldron, and get into Diagon Alley. Lucy cried a couple times that day. A lot, actually. At one point, Lucy just couldn't stop crying, and sat down outside an ice cream shop. The owner had come out and tried to comfort her, finally giving her free ice cream. He asked her what was wrong, and she explained to him that nothing was wrong, she was just happy. Lucy talked to the man while she ate her ice cream and he seemed to understand.

When they'd finished talking, he'd patted her arm, reassured her that things would go nowhere but up, and told her to come back any time for free ice cream. Lucy nodded and went on her way much happier now that she had a friend here.

Lucy had just enough to buy everything on her list, right down to a wand. When Lucy had finished shopping, she went back to the owner of the ice cream shop and asked him for help. He shrunk all of her purchases for her, gave her more ice cream, and sent her on her way, making her promise to come visit when she could.

Lucy managed to get back into her room without a problem that day.

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"Can you drive me to King's Cross, Uncle Justin?"

"Why, Luce?"

"Don't you remember? I got accepted into that one private school? On scholarship?" Lucy hated lying, but if she'd mentioned magic, she would've been locked in her room without food or water for a week.

"Ah, yes, of course. I looked up that school, but I couldn't find it."

"It's very private. Doesn't like publicity." Justin nodded, then stood up.

"Okay then. Grab your trunk and we'll be off, then." Lucy ran off and grabbed her trunk. Justin drove her to King's Cross and dropped her off. Lucy waited until Justin's car had turned the far-off corner before going off to find Platform 9 3/4.

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It took a bit, but Lucy found the platform easier than other first years who'd lived with Muggles. She went right for the train, getting in and storing her trunk away quickly, not bothering to "find" a compartment, as most of them were empty anyway. Once Lucy was properly situated, she climbed onto a seat and pulled her legs up to her chest, tailor-style. She leaned her head out of the window and looked out at all the families.

One family in particular caught her eye. There were three people; a mother, a father, and a boy who looked about eleven. The mother had dark brown, curly hair and was wearing glasses. Her eyes looked blue, but Lucy couldn't really tell from her seat. She was very pretty. Standing next to her was a rather tall man, with messy black hair and brown eyes. They were talking to boy, probably their son. He had messy black hair, just like his father, but blue eyes like his mother. He was wearing glasses and looked slightly tall for eleven. He was smiling excitedly and looking around. The mother gave the boy a kiss, and the father tousled his hair affectionately. He hugged them both tightly, then ran onto the train, disappearing from Lucy's view.

The parents' eyes followed their son onto the train, then scanned the windows lazily. Both pairs of eyes widened considerably when they saw Lucy. Their mouths opened slightly. Lucy drew back away from the window, startled, and wiped the tears that sneaked out of her eyes when she hadn't noticed them.

Outside, the boys' parents seemed ready to dash onto the train, but, just then, it began moving. The mother was shaking slightly and began crying, and the father drew her into a hug, rubbing her back. He glanced over her head at Lucy, eyes glistening, then both of them disappeared.

Lucy couldn't explain it, but the boys' parents had struck something deep inside of her. She was shaking and crying silently, tears streaming down her face. The way they'd looked at the boy...........the way they'd looked at her. It was all so confusing. Lucy felt as if her nerves had been shattered. She pressed her forehead onto the cool window and forced herself to go to sleep, waking up much later, to an announcement that students should change into their robes.

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"First years over here! This way now, c'mon then!" A tall, giant-of-a-man stood with a lantern in one huge, dustbin-lid sized hand. He had dark, wild bushy hair, and towered over every student getting off of the Hogwarts Express. He was waving all of the first years over to him with his empty hand. He was smiling brightly, beetle-like eyes shining happily, oblivious to the terrified looks he was getting from the already-nervous first years. "Come on now, we haven't got all night!" He called good-naturedly, the first years hurrying to follow him, the older students heading in another direction.

The man took all the first-years to the edge of a dark lake, which he said was Black Lake, where a countless number of boats were waiting for them. "Go on now, climb aboard! No reason to be afraid!" The first years began climbing cautiously into the boats, none of them wishing to tip one and end up in the lake. Once every first year was seated, the man climbed into the last boat alone, and they set off.

Lucy ended up sharing a boat with only one girl, a fiery redhead with beautiful emerald eyes. "Hi!" She said cheerfully. "My name's Lily Evans."

"Lucy. Lucy..........Whitaker, I guess." Lily looked confused.

"You guess?" She asked. Lucy thought a moment, then nodded.

"Well," she began slowly, "I've lived with my aunt and uncle for half of forever. Their last name is Whitaker, and it's what I've been called, too. Especially school. And I really can't do anything about it, seeing as they never let me know my real last name." Lily nodded thoughtfully.

"But..........don't you even know your parents?" Lucy was quiet a moment, then shook her head somewhat hesitantly.

"Not........really. I mean, any time I can remember before Uncle Justin and Aunt Olivia is too fuzzy for me to really understand." Lily nodded sympathetically.

"Did your parents die when you were little?" Lucy hesitated, unsure of how to answer.

"I don't think so." She said quietly. "But everyone else says they did. But I don't think they are. Not really. I believe they're out there somewhere, looking for me. They love me, and miss me, and want me to come home."

It was quiet for a bit, Lucy and Lily riding along in a pensive silence.

Then; "Lucy?"

"Yeah?"

"I think you're right." Lucy looked up at Lily, surprised.

"You do?" Lily nodded firmly.

"Yes." Lucy's face broke into a huge smile.

"You know what?" Lily smiled back.

"What?"

"I like you."

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When all the boats had crossed the lake, and all the students had climbed out, the huge man opened a large door and pointed down the large corridor.

"Keep goin that way, till you come to a huge door. Professor McGonagall'll be waitin for you there." Most of the students nodded, Lucy and Lily thanked the man. He smiled and nodded, then turned to leave.

As they were walking down the rather large corridor, a boy came over and began walking alongside Lucy.

"Hey." He said.

"Hey." Lucy replied, looking over at him. He was a couple inches taller than her, with smooth white-blonde hair and cold, calculating blue eyes. His skin was somewhat pale, but matched his features perfectly.

"I'm Lucius Malfoy." He said after a moment or two of silent walking.

"Lucy Whitaker..........And this is my friend Lily Evans."

"Hi!" Lily said cheerfully, smiling at Lucius.

"Hi." It was odd the way Lucius spoke. His voice had a cold edge to it, and it sounded as if he believed himself to be higher than everyone around him.

It was quiet again, until Lily noticed a bunch of staircases moving down another hallway. "Wow!" She exclaimed. "Does everything move here?"

"What do you mean?" Lucius asked, somewhat nastily.

"Well," Lily began matter-of-factly, "I've never seen any of this before. Both my parents are.............what's the word for non-magic people again?"

"Muggles." Lucy replied absent-mindedly.

"Yeah, that's it! Muggles!" Lily agreed cheerfully. Lucius sneered disgustedly over at Lily.

"Oh, so you're a Mudblood."

Lucius was on the ground before he could blink. The second Lucy had heard Lucius call Lily a Mudblood, she'd kicked him in the back of the knees, which caused him to collapse backwards to the ground. Lucy was glaring down at Lucius with an angry snarl on her face. Lucius was gaping up at her, shocked beyond belief.

"I believe," Lucy growled, eyes flashing, "The proper term is Muggle-born." Lucius didn't respond, still too shocked at finding himself sprawled across the corridor floor. Lucy glared at him for another moment or two, then grabbed Lily's hand and pulled her down the hall. "C'mon, Lils. We need to catch up with the others."

The two of them hurried down the hall in silence, leaving Lucius alone to pick himself up. They caught up with the rest of the first years just in time to see a lady walk up to them. She had brown hair and eyes. She was wearing rectangle-shaped glasses, green robes, and a green witches' hat. Her mouth was set in a stern line, and her eyes took in the group of nervous first years carefully, as if looking out for potential trouble-makers. Her eyes lingered on the boy from the platform and three others standing close to him.

"Hello students. My name is Professor McGonagall. I'm sure Hagrid had informed you of this." Almost everyone nodded, and Lucy realized that Hagrid must be the man from who'd taken them across the lake.

McGonagall continued talking, but Lucy had stopped listening.

There was something oddly familiar about McGonagall. Lucy studied McGonagall closely, from her hair to her eyes to her glasses.............wait! Her glasses! That was it! In a flash, Lucy remembered the cat at the park, seven years ago. It was her! It had to be! McGonagall was the cat! Lucy's mouth dropped open, and her eyes widened. The shock of the realization hit Lucy like a ton of bricks, numbing her completely.

Which was a good thing, really. Because if Lucy's mind hadn't stopped working properly when it did, she would have started screaming.

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"Abbot, Hans." McGonagall called. A nervous-looking boy stumbled foreword, and she put a hat on his head. He was sorted into Hufflepuff.

The Sorting had begun, and Lucy was still in shock. No matter how many times she tried to comprehend it, her mind just couldn't wrap around the idea. McGonagall. Cat. McGonagall. Cat. McGonagall. Cat. McGonagall. Cat. It just didn't make sense!

Lucy shook her head roughly. McGonagall was not the cat from the park seven years ago. McGonagall was not the reason she was locked in her room for three weeks. McGonagall was not the reason her aunt had snapped. McGonagall was not the reason she-

"You okay, Luce?" Lily asked, concerned. Lucy shook her head again, then turned to look at her friend, nodding slightly.

"Yeah, I'm okay.............." Lily gave Lucy a look that clearly said that they'd talk more later. Lucy just shrugged. The two of them turned back to watch the Sorting.

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Lucy could hear faint whispers. Looking around, she saw the boy from the platform huddled close to the three that were standing with him before..............they seemed to be friends. The boy standing to the right of the boy from the platform had shaggy black hair that half-hid his gray eyes. The boy to the left of him had sandy brown hair and warm honey eyes. The last boy was standing to the right of him. He had a mop of sloppy light, dirty blonde hair and clear brown eyes, and seemed to be doing more listening than talking. All four boys seemed to be quite excited about something.

"Black, Sirius." The boy with the gray eyes went up to McGonagall. She placed the Sorting Hat on his head, and he was immediately sorted into Gryffindor. A wave of surprise and murmurings started almost the exact second the hat closed its mouth. Sirius merely shrugged and grabbed a seat at the Gryffindor table. After a few minutes, Lily was called up and sorted into Gryffindor as well.

"Lupin, Remus." Was the next person called that Lucy had seen before. The sandy-haired boy left his friends and went up to McGonagall. He got sorted into Gryffindor, and sat over with Sirius. It wasn't long after Remus had sat down that Lucius was called up. He was put into Slytherin, and sauntered over to the cheering table with a smug look on his face. A couple more, then the blonde-haired boy (who's name turned out to be Peter Pettigrew). He was also in Gryffindor, and sat with Remus and Sirius.

When "Potter, James" was called, the boy from the platform went up. Lucy felt odd when she heard his name. It struck something deep in Lucy's very core. There was a loud buzzing in the back of Lucy's mind, a whisper of words, too soft to understand, but much to loud to be ignored.

Lucy tried desperately to understand, to grab hold of the words which were so very important, but couldn't. It was like trying to catch air, or to hold a snowflake. Every time she came close, it disappeared, until finally it was gone.

Lucy wiped her stinging eyes fiercely, forcing all the thoughts, memories(?), to go away, to quiet. She heard her name called, and went foreword.

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The Sorting Hat never touched Lucy. It barely went near her at all. It was at least a foot away when it screamed "GRYFFINDOR!", louder than it had done all throughout the Sorting. Lucy jumped, startled. She rubbed her ears as she stood, throwing the Hat an odd, confused look. Their was a loud burst of applause after Lucy stood, the shock of her Sorting gone. Lucy grinned and went over to the Gryffindor table, choosing a seat across from Lily, still rubbing her ears a bit.

 

After every first year was Sorted and seated, a tall man stood from his seat at the center of the teachers' table. He had long white hair, accompanied by a long white beard. He had blue eyes that twinkled merrily at the students from behind his half-moon spectacles. He was wearing long blue robes and a blue wizards' hat.

Lucy recognized him immediately as Albus Dumbledore, Headmaster of Hogwarts. In her "visions" of the wizarding world, she'd seen him before, as well as heard many people talking about him. Dumbledore was a very powerful wizard, undefeated as far as anyone knew. He loved candies of all kinds, and no one knew how old he actually was. There were people who doubted Dumbledore himself knew anymore. A lot of people believed Dumbledore to be crazy, but nearly all of them liked him anyway. Just about every time Lucy had "seen" someone referring to Dumbledore, or even Dumbledore himself, they'd either called him crazy, or praised him.

Those who did not like him were few and far apart, though very viscous and firm in their dislike and prejudice of him. Most every witch or wizard that did not favor Dumbledore was a rich pureblood. They spoke ill of him and how he ran Hogwarts.

This was where Lucy had come across the word "Mudblood".

Dumbledore waited for the Hall to quiet, then began. "Welcome to Hogwarts, first years! And welcome back, second through eight years! I, for one, am quite happy to begin a new school year here." Lucy silently agreed from her seat across from Lily. "Good things are going to happen this year! Friendships shall be formed, magic shall be learned! Though," and here Dumbledore paused briefly, smiling, "predictions are Professor Knot's area of expertise." A lot of the older students chuckled appreciatively, even the teachers hiding smiles with their hands.

The first years just look confused.

"But there is plenty of time for speeches later, no? For now, I say; Welcome to Hogwarts! I'm sure this year will be one of our best! .........If not, exciting, at least! Now, let's eat!" Dumbledore raised his hands, and food appeared all over the long tables. Every first year gasped, and every eye lit up in the Great Hall. Dumbledore sat down, and the students began piling food up high on their plates.

"Isn't this awesome, Lucy?" Lily asked excitedly. "I just can't wait to learn magic!" Lucy nodded happily, only dimly aware of Lily's words. She took in her surroundings, from the teachers' table to the enchanted ceiling, a look of reverence on her face. Lucy's face shone with a light that had only been seen in her earlier years, when she spoke of magic. Her eyes were bright, sparkling with joyful tears. Everything was finally beginning to come together. Magic was real, she had a friend...............everything would be okay.

Lucy's world grew a little brighter that night.

Chapter 3: Ten Names, Tea Dregs, and Dancing Toast Men
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"Rise and shine, Lucy! We get our schedules today!" Lucy awoke with a groan and a yawn, looking up at Lily's excited face.

"Do I have to, Lils?" Lily nodded.

"Yes! Now! C'mon!" Lucy groaned.

"But my bed is so warm!" Lily pulled Lucy's bedcovers off and threw them aside. Then she grabbed Lucy's arm and pulled her to her feet.

"Up! Get ready! Now!" Lucy couldn't stop herself from grinning. She threw on a plain white t-shirt and a pair of jeans and brushed her hair.

"Hurry up, Lucy!" Lily complained. "Get your robes on!" Lucy laughed as Lily rushed her, Lily finally loosing patience and digging in Lucy's trunk for her robes. Lily found Lucy's robes in a flash, then threw them at her. Lucy laughed again and pulled them on, Lily pulling Lucy down the stairs before she could even close them.

Lucy caught sight of the two of them in a passing window and laughed. Lily had finally let Lucy go, and was talking up a storm, emerald eyes bright and looking very neat. Lily's fiery hair was neatly brushed, pulled back in a ponytail. Her robes were neat and even looked like they'd been ironed recently. Her robes were closed, though Lucy knew that Lily was probably wearing an outfit close to her own.

Lucy, on the other hand, looked like Lily's exact opposite. Lucy's raven hair-though brushed-was everywhere. It half-hung in her face and had a neat-but-messy look to it............like it happened that way on purpose. There wasn't a time when Lucy's hair didn't go crazy. Her hair looked positively wild. It was always everywhere, hiding her face most of the times, even though her eyes could always just barely be seen. Lucy's bright blue eyes were just as luminescent as Lily's, if not more. Her t-shirt was somewhat rumpled, her jeans had a large rip across her right knee, and her robes were flapping at her side like wings as she hurried after Lily.

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Lucy yawned somewhat and put her head down on the table.

"Lucy!" Lily admonished softly. Lucy looked up at Lily through a mass of curls pitifully. Lily bit back a laugh and tried to look serious. "Sit up and eat! We're getting our schedules soon!" Lucy sighed and sat up. She shook her head to try and get her hair out of her face, but only made the curls worse. She groaned loudly.

"Lily!"

"What?"

"My hair........."

"What about it? It's nice." Lucy turned to look over at Lily..........or tried to, anyway. Lucy pushed her curly hair out of her face, but at least half of it fell back into her eyes. She groaned and tried again, but to no avail.

"It won't stay!" Lily tried-and failed-not to laugh at the immensely frustrated look on her friend's face. Lucy grinned sheepishly and shrugged.

"Look at the bright side, Lucy." Lucy jokingly made a face.

"Which is?" Lily thought a bit, eyes landing on James.

"Your hair is nothing like.............oh, wait..............never mind." Lucy turned and saw who Lily was looking at. James Potter. His hair was everywhere, too. It was sticking up like crazy. Lucy laughed.

"Lily! That's what my hair would be like if it was straight!" Lily shrugged sheepishly and continued looking.

"How about.............never mind." Lucy turned again. Sirius Black. Lucy laughed again, shaking her head. Sirius' hair was in his face, basically hiding his eyes from view.

"Lily! That's how my hair is now!" Lily gave up.

"Fine, fine. You win."

"Awesome!" Lucy cheered happily. "What'd I win?" Lily rolled her eyes.

"Complaining rights." Lucy thought about this.

"But I already have-"

"The schedules!" Thousands of owls flew into the Great Hall, each dropping off a piece of parchment to a student.

"-complaining rights!" Lucy finished. "I want whining rights!" She complained, whining purposefully. Lily rolled her eyes, smiling, and studied her schedule.

Lucy yawned and picked up her schedule. First class was Double Potions with Slughorn. Lucy folded her schedule and put it in her pocket.

"What're you doing? You couldn't have-"

"I don't need this till after Double Potions!" Lucy said cheerily, grabbing a plate holding a small tower of toast before all the food disappeared. "And now, I eat!"

Lily couldn't help but laugh. "You should've eaten when we got here." Lucy chewed a bite of toast thoughtfully, before swallowing and grinning at Lily.

"I could have, yes. I should have, also a yes. But did I?" Lily shook her head. Lucy grinned again. "Which means I can do this." Lucy spread her toast out on the plate. She picked up her wand and carefully drew outlines into the toast. The outlines looked much like the outlines of gingerbread men. Once each toast had an outline in it, Lucy tapped each one with her wand. Each outline cut itself out of the toast and stood.

"Now dance!" Lucy ordered them cheerfully, eyes bright with anticipation. The little men did so immediately, looking quite funny dancing across the table. Both Lucy and Lily began laughing as two little men waltzed across the plate, while another break-danced on Lily's schedule.

All in all, there were nine little men, each of them dancing in one way or another.

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"Hey............what's she doing?"

"Who?"

"Over there. Her."

"The redhead?"

"No. The one with black hair."

"What do you mean?"

"Well she-bloody hell!"

"How'd she do that?!"

As Sirius had been looking over his schedule, he had heard laughing. He looked over to see two girls; a redhead and a raven-haired one. They were hunched over the table and laughing at something. Sirius had immediately grabbed James and pointed them out, only to have something that looked like a man made out of toast go skidding across the table. The girl with the black hair grabbed the toast-man, and he began to break-dance on her hand. More laughter.

"Who did that spell?"

"What's going on?"

Now Remus and Peter had joined in, and both of them spotted another toast man go flying. Once again the girl with the black hair's hand had shot out, this time catching the little man in mid-air. The girl brought her hand together, and the two toast-men began to dance together, causing her and her friend to laugh some more.

All four boys stood staring as more toast-men came into view as the two girls leaned back some. There seemed to be at least nine of them, and they were all dancing in one way or another. The black-haired girl said something and pointed her wand at them, and they stopped dancing. Instead, they began doing gymnastics, and clown routines all over the table, causing her and her friend's laughter to double.

The nine little toast-men all climbed one on top of the other, in a tall, swaying tower. The black-haired girl held out a plate, and, one by one, they all jumped on it, their movements ceasing as soon as they did so.

The bell rang, and the two girls stood up, the black-haired one still holding the plate. She picked up one of the little men and bit off its head, making a face at the redhead, who laughed.

As the two of them passed by the four boys, the black-haired one paused. She turned to look at them, smiling brightly. She held out the plate of toast-men. "Want one?" She asked cheerily, pushing her hair out of her face, revealing very interesting looking eyes. Blue, with flecks of green and gold. Her hair fell back into her face, but she just shrugged and continued grinning, holding out the plate.

"It's yummy............." She said in a tantalizing kind of voice, shaking the plate slightly. "And very talented.............." At this, her and her friend began laughing again.

After they stopped laughing, the girl set the plate down and grabbed four toast men. She took Peter's hand and opened it, placing one toast man in it. She did the same to Remus and Sirius, pausing slightly to look up at James, a confused look in her eyes.

"Eat." She said, after they each had one. She picked up the plate, which now had four toast-men on it. She handed one to her friend, put two in her pocket, and the last in her mouth. She crossed her eyes at the boys, then her friend. Her friend laughed, and the two of them headed out of the Great Hall.

"Wait!" Sirius called suddenly. The two girls half-turned, surprised.

"Yeah?" The black-haired one said, pushing her hair out of her face to look over at him. It fell back into her eyes the second she moved her hand.

"What's your name?" The two girls exchanged looks.

"I'm Lily Evans," the black-haired one said, grinning, eyes sparkling, "And this is Lucy Whitaker." The redhead, Lucy(?) threw her friend a confused glance, but she merely shook her head, eye bright and laughing. "See you in class, Sirius Black, James Potter, Remus Lupin, and Peter Pettigrew!" She called, laughing. Her friend looked even more confused, but she just grabbed her arm and pulled her out of the Great Hall, pausing at the door to wave at the four boys.

It was quiet for a long moment, all four boys feeling the sneaking suspicion that the girl had been lying to them.

"...........Is it me..............." Remus said slowly, looking at James, Sirius, and Peter, "Or did that girl just trick us.................."

"Yeah.................and how did she know our names?"

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"Lucy!" Lily cried, as soon as she and Lucy were far away from the Great Hall.

"Lily!" Lucy said back, grinning.

"Why'd you do that?" Lucy crossed her eyes at Lily.

"Cause I wanted to! ............And this'll be more fun!"

"Why?" Lucy beamed.

"We have Potions with them!"

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"Hello, class. I'm Professor Slughorn." A somewhat short, round-bellied man that strongly resembled a walrus smiled at them. "I will be your Potions teacher." There were some murmurings after this obvious statement, but Slughorn ignored them. Instead, he flicked his wand to the board. The chalk began writing the day's lesson, as if by an invisible hand.

"Wanna be partners?" Lucy and Lily asked each other unanimously. They laughed together and nodded, Lily offering to go get the ingredients. Lucy nodded and used this as a perfect time to sneak one of her toast men out of her pocket. She ripped off small pieces and put them in her mouth, chewing them inconspicuously.

As Lucy ate her toast man, she carefully scanned the room for anyone she recognized. To put it simply, the four boys from before. It didn't take long. They were at the table directly across from where Lucy and Lily had chosen to sit. James, Sirius, and Peter were bent over a piece of paper, while Remus was rolling his eyes and working on the potion, occasionally kicking them under the table until they looked at him. They seemed to be saying something, but Remus just shook his head firmly. The three other boys groaned loudly, and, mumbling to themselves, began working. Remus caught sight of Lucy watching them and grinned over the other three's heads. Lucy returned the smile, finished off the rest of her toast man, then turned back to Lily, who had just gotten back.

"Hey Lily?" Lucy asked suddenly, in the middle of cutting up some roots.

"Yeah Lucy?" Lucy studied James for a second, then Lily. A huge grin broke out on her face, her eyes gleamed. "What?!"

"Oh, nothing............" Lucy turned back to her roots, carefully chopping them exactly the same length. Before Lily could say anything more, Slughorn came by and watched them work for a bit, praising Lily before he left, making her forget what she was going to anyway. Lily continued to work silently, while Lucy began humming and carefully taking aim at her cauldron, throwing in ingredient after ingredient.

After it was obvious Lucy wasn't going to stop, Lily turned to her. "Lucy!"

"What?" Lucy asked innocently. She picked up her next ingredient, took aim, and tossed it into her cauldron, it landing with a small splash dead center.

"Stop that! We're supposed to be working!"

"I am working!" Lucy said indignantly. "Look! I added them all in order!" Lucy showed Lily the recipe, and it indeed proved that she'd been adding them correctly. "In the right order, in the right amount of time, everything!"

"What about stirring?" Lucy pointed wordlessly at the wooden spoon she'd enchanted that was stirring the potion in the cauldron, waiting for the next ingredient. Lily's face flushed red. She turned to apologize to Lucy, who cut her off.

"No worries Red." Lucy said calmly, shrugging. She picked up a piece of root, aimed, and landed it in the perfect center of the cauldron. "I appreciate the concern."

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"What's your name?" Sirius demanded. He, James, Remus, and Peter had cornered, Lucy and Lily after they'd exited the Potions room. Lucy grinned mischievously.

"My name is Ebony Raven Patricia Tatiana Amber Sara Kaitlyn Emma Alex-" Lucy rattled name after name until the boys cut her off.

"Stop that!" All four boys cried in unison.

"Stop what?" She asked, feigning innocence.

"All those names! Which one's the real one?!" Sirius demanded. James, Remus, and Peter nodded. Lucy grinned again, sneaking another toast man out of her pocket.

"All of them are real. None of them are mine. Though I did give you enough names to last the rest of the week...............if not more.............." Lucy trailed off, taking a bite of the toast man and counting off the names on her fingers silently. "Yup!" She exclaimed brightly. "More than a week!"

Lucy took another bite out of the toast man as she watched the boys figure out if she was right. She knew they'd figured it out when they groaned. "Yup! If you count this morning, that's ten, my friends! Know what that means?" The boys shook their heads warily. Lily bit her lip to keep from laughing at her friend.

"That means I don't need to think up of anymore until next Wednesday!" She said cheerily. "C'mon, Lils! Next class is Divination!"

The four boys checked their schedules disbelievingly.

"Hey, wait up!" James called, shocked. "We have Divination next, too!"

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"Okay................so how do we get up there?" Peter asked, looking up at the trapdoor in the ceiling.

"Maybe there's a password?" Remus offered doubtfully.

"Or something we have to press?" James asked.

"Maybe it's not here!" Sirius said hopefully. Lily shook her head.

"Maybe we should just wait until someone else gets here." She suggested. The guys seemed to agree with that, but all four began looking around for a button anyway. Lucy was the only one who had not spoken yet. She was looking up at the trapdoor carefully, trying to think of a way to get it down.

"I'm not waiting for this door to open!" She exclaimed, frustrated, startling the boys and Lily. "Get down here! Now!" She commanded. The trapdoor flew open and a ladder unfurled. "That's better!" Lucy climbed up the ladder. When no one followed her, she stuck her head back through the hole and looked down at the astonished faces of Lily, James, Sirius, Remus, and Peter. And grinned.

"C'mon then!" She called happily. The five of them followed slowly.

The Divination room was a large, circular room. There were candles and large poufs everywhere, along with squashy chairs and tables. Odd-smelling smoke filled the room, and everything looked oddly pinkish. Seated at the front of the room where the smoke was strongest, was what appeared to be Professor Knot.

Knot had wispy white-ish hair and glasses. Her eyes were a clear hazel. She had a ridiculous, gaudy gauze shawl thrown over her shoulders, and many long, beaded necklaces. Knot's robes seemed to be too big for her, as well as an odd pinkish color, matching with the room and her shawl.

"Everyone please take your seats." Knot said mistily. Lucy took a long, hard look at Knot before she did so, choosing a seat far in the back next to a window. Lily asked if anything was wrong. Lucy shook her head and stared down at Knot, a somewhat fierce expression in her eyes. Knot cleared her throat, unnerved, and looked over at Lucy a moment before continuing. "In this class, you will learn to un-fog the future, and.............." Lucy had just caught Knot's eye again, causing her to stumble over her words and forget them entirely.  Knot cleared her throat again, then spoke, careful not to look at Lucy again. "If everyone would take a teacup and fill it. Drink it and swill the dregs................" Lucy had somehow managed to catch her eye again. "Switch with your partner. Then open your books and study them to see what you can find in your partners' future..............." Knot trailed off, Lucy giving her what could only be called a withering look, before getting up and getting tea cups for her, Lily, James, Sirius, Remus, and Peter.

"Here." Lucy said shortly, handing out the teacups.

"What was-" James began.

"Drink." Lucy answered shortly, tapping each cup and filling it to the brim with tea.

"But-"

"Now." There was an edge to Lucy's voice as she spoke and a fire in her eyes. The five decided not to try their luck and began drinking their tea, which was scalding hot. Lucy stared down at her tea for a long moment, then brought it to her lips and downed the entire thing in one gulp. "Done." She muttered quietly, then began swilling the dregs as per Knot's instructions, glaring down at them.

Lily, James, Sirius, Remus, and Peter took much longer to finish their tea. The five of them had been quite surprised to see Lucy drink hers so quickly, but knew better than to say anything at the time. Something about Knot had set Lucy off, and they sure didn't want to get caught in the crossfire.

Lucy finished swilling her dregs and waited for the five of them to finish theirs. Once they'd finished, Lucy switched with Lily, James with Sirius, and Remus with Peter. The six of them got out their books and began trying to decipher the pictures they saw.

"That's not bowler hat, it's a-" Lucy checked her book, laughed. She had just leaned over to help James figure out what was at the bottom of Sirius' teacup.

"What's so funny bout my tea?" Sirius asked defensively. Lucy shook her head and dropped her book onto the table in front of them, pointed.

"It's the Grim." She whispered quietly, sending a short glare in Knot's direction. "Supposed to be an omen of death." Peter, who was listening in, gasped. Lucy rolled her eyes, but smiled kindly at him.

"Peter," she began gently, "It's nothing to be afraid of. It's just an old superstition. It doesn't mean anything. Trust me. Nothing bad's gonna happen to Sirius. All it is, is a big black dog!" Peter whimpered, nodding, giving Sirius' teacup a wary glance nevertheless. Lucy laughed softly, then leaned over and gave Peter a hug, smiling kindly at him. "Don't worry, Pete. It's just tea dregs."

Chapter 4: A Chat with the Cat
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"That was pretty decent, you know." Lucy shot Remus a confused look over the rim of her book. "For Peter, I mean. He seemed pretty freaked out, you know?" Lucy closed her book, nodding thoughtfully.

"Yeah. He seems like the kind to get scared pretty easy...........But he's sweet, you know?" Remus nodded, Lucy continued. "I mean, sure he's a little............shier than James or Sirius...............or you." Lucy concluded, giving Remus a look. Lucy, Lily, James, Sirius, Remus, and Peter all had free period now. Lily had shot off for the library, but Lucy had decided to go outside. She had been sitting against a tree near Black Lake, reading a book that Lily let her borrow; Hogwarts; A History. It was quite interesting, and Lucy had been quickly lost in its pages.

So she hadn't noticed when Remus walked up behind her and sat down next to her. Well, not at first, anyway. Remus hadn't really done anything after he'd sat down, just read over her shoulder for a bit before speaking to her............but by then, Lucy had had time to realize he was sitting next to her, so he hadn't startled her.

Remus nodded thoughtfully, understanding what she was talking about. "Of course, I'm pretty sure that James or Sirius would have jumped at the chance to scare me. Which you didn't. What are they doing now? Planning pranks? Making trouble?" Remus shook his head, grinning.

"Can't tell you. Sworn to secrecy."

"Aw, c'mon, Remes. Please?" Remus shook his head, and Lucy pouted playfully at him, which made him laugh. She grinned sheepishly.

The two of them sat there for a long moment, just looking out onto the lake water, watching the Giant Squid laze about. Then Lucy opened up Hogwarts; A History and they continued reading together until lunch.

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"So what do you guys have next?" Lucy asked Lily, James, Sirius, Remus, and Peter. All six of them checked their schedules and answered at once.

"Transfiguration." They said unanimously.

"Who's the Transfiguration teacher, Lily?" Lily checked her schedule again.

"Professor McGonagall."

"Who?" Lucy looked confused.

"McGonagall. Remember? The lady who Sorted us?" A frightening change happened to Lucy when she heard this. Any and all hints of happiness left her face and eyes, angry darkness all that was left. She swiveled slowly in her seat to glare up at McGonagall, eyes flashing. "...........Are you okay?" Lucy tore her gaze away from McGonagall and turned to face Lily, still glowering darkly.

"Oh yes. Just peachy." Lucy replied, in a strained voice that said otherwise.

"Are-" Lucy, who had been looking down at her plate, whipped her head up to look at James, eyes flashing dangerously, daring him to continue. James swallowed and said nothing. Lucy turned back to her plate, glaring at it until lunch was over.

Once lunch was done, Lucy stormed out of the Great Hall, Lily close behind. The four guys decided that now was a good time to back off a bit and plan some pranks. (There was one boy in particular they didn't like.) They waited until the girls were far off before beginning to walk, none of them admitting that they were afraid of Lucy.

"Lucy? Lucy, stop!" Lucy froze. She slowly turned to face Lily, who looked very concerned. "What's wrong? Please tell me." Lucy sighed and pushed her hair out of her eyes, it falling back once she removed her hand. Lucy slid down a wall until she was sitting on the floor.

"I hate her." She said simply.

"Who?"

"McGonagall."

"Why?" Lucy hesitated, wondering whether or not to answer. Lily, as if sensing this, kneeled down next to Lucy. "You don't need to-"

"I met her once, a long time ago." Lucy said abruptly. Lily looked surprised.

"Really? What happened?"

"I got in trouble...........See, she was...........a cat."

"Huh?" Lucy shrugged.

"A cat. She was disguised as a tabby cat. Anyway, I tried to tell my aunt, but she didn't believe me and I got grounded for a long time. My aunt and uncle are Muggles. They don't believe in magic. My aunt lives for facts and stuff, hates magic talk. She doesn't even know I'm learning it here. She thinks I'm at some private boarding school or something." Lucy shrugged again. "My aunt used to not mind me talking about magic, but after that row we had about the "cat-lady", well............I don't like her, you know?" Lily nodded sympathetically.

"My sister's like that. Hates anything to do with magic, hates me being a witch." Lily stood and helped Lucy to her feet. "Probably hates me."

"No, she's just jealous." Lucy said, shaking her head as the two of them continued on their way to Transfiguration. "I mean, deep down, who doesn't want to be able to do magic? Who doesn't want to believe in dragons and pixies and elves................." Lucy trailed off as they reached the classroom.

Lucy and Lily picked an empty table about middle in the classroom and sat down. Kids began filling in it, James, Sirius, Remus, and Peter being some of the last. "They're planning something." Lucy said suddenly, looking over at them. It was true. The four of them had their heads bent over a piece of parchment and were whispering like mad. Peter looked up and saw Lucy watching them. He waved at her, smiling. She did likewise, and he returned to the parchment beaming.

"Books and wands out." McGonagall said sternly as she walked to the front of the room. James, Sirius, Remus, and Peter snapped away from the parchment, James hiding it in his school bag. Lucy looked at McGonagall and felt a tidal wave of hate and resentment wash over her like no other.

Now, Lucy wasn't an angry person. On the contrary, she was always smiling and happy, even if her aunt would lock her in her room. Lucy forgave quickly and easily, and was friendly to everyone and everything. Except in certain matters or conditions, Lucy was easily the nicest person to be around in the world.

Lucy had forgiven McGonagall a long time ago, or so she thought. Whenever Lucy had thought back to that day, she'd always feel angry. But Lucy would always stop herself before she lost control. Lucy had forced herself to forgive McGonagall, tried to make up reasons for why she hadn't helped her, but..........none of them worked. None of them made her feel any better. So Lucy had just stopped trying. Lucy put the entire incident out of her mind and went back to being herself.

But now every part of that pain was back, full force. There was no way Lucy could hide from the fact that McGonagall was the reason she'd almost lost all hope of happiness. For magic had been the only thing that let Lucy smile each day, believe in the goodness of everyone and everything around her. Magic let her forgive and forget, magic comforted her against her aunt's harsh words and occasional beatings. Magic was everything to Lucy, and McGonagall had almost taken it all away from her that day.

And it still hurt.

Only now, right now, Lucy wasn't hurt. She was angry beyond belief, more so than ever before. She couldn't believe that she'd have to learn from McGonagall, and for seven, eight years?! As well as having her as her head of house! Lucy wondered angrily if McGonagall even remembered her, if she'd ever cared.

Lucy shut her eyes tightly and forced herself to take slow, deep breaths. She unclenched her hands from the table's edge, where she'd been gripping it so hard that her knuckles had turned white. She rested her head against the cool wood and didn't let herself move. Because if Lucy would move, she'd scream, shout, loose all control.

And if Lucy lost control, bad things happened.

After Lucy had managed to calm herself down, she lifted her head to look up at McGonagall. Lucy shut her eyes tightly the second she saw her. Where McGonagall stood, Lucy had seen the cat in her mind's eye. Lucy forced the memory out of her mind and tried to concentrate on McGonagall's words.

It didn't work. Nothing McGonagall was saying was getting through to her. All Lucy heard was a loud, muffled roaring in her ears. Her head was pounding with words she dared not say. She was holding onto the table's edge again, knuckles whiter than before. Sitting in front of her on the table, Lucy's wand began shooting out angry red sparks from the tip. Lucy quickly grabbed the wand and shoved it in her pocket, where it continued to shower sparks, as well as emit a whistle so high that Lucy could barely hear it.

Lucy's hand shot in the air, cutting McGonagall off. "Yes?" McGonagall asked, eyebrows raised.

"I need...........to get out. Now." Lucy said, struggling to keep her voice under control.

"I'm sorry, Miss..............." McGonagall checked her list. "Whitaker. But you must-"

"I need to get out!" Lucy repeated firmly, desperately, her wand shaking in her pocket. McGonagall's nostrils flared angrily at the interruption.

"Miss Whitaker! I believe-"

"I need to go out! Like now!" Lucy half-shouted, desperately trying to control her raging wand.

"I said-"

"I NEED TO GET OUT! PLEASE! IT'S AN EMERGENCY!" Lucy shouted, as her wand continued to go crazy.

"Why?!" McGonagall snapped. "What could be so important that you think you can-"

"THIS!" Lucy shouted, pulling her wand out for McGonagall to see. The second she'd touched it, her wand began screeching and screaming, the sparks doubling, non in all different colors and very high in the air.

"What the-?!" McGonagall gasped. "How-"

"Can I go?!" Lucy asked loudly, interrupting her again.

"Why-I-Yes, of course, but-"

"BYE!" Lucy shouted. She grabbed her bag and ran out of the room, wand screaming louder than ever. The class could hear something that sounded a lot like glass shattering, then Lucy shouting something no one could understand. Her footsteps echoed through the halls as the door slammed shut, leaving them in silence.

There was a moment of shock, where everyone was silent. Sirius and Peter were staring at the door, while James and Remus stared at Lucy's seat.

Lily rose her hand timidly. McGonagall nodded at her questioningly. "Um........Lucy's my friend..............can I-I mean, um................" McGonagall nodded and Lily packed up her stuff and left hurriedly. McGonagall assigned them some reading material and the class remained silent for the rest of the period.

-----------------------------------------------

"Lucy! Lucy!" Lily called as she ran through the halls after her friend. It didn't take long for Lily to find Lucy, as every window she passed shattered, and Lucy had to stop and fix them. But Lucy ran fast, and by the time Lily had caught up with her, Lucy was outside. Lucy's wand was still on the fritz, Lucy trying to stop it.

Lily dropped her bag next to Lucy's and helped her hold down the wand. "What happened to it?!" She asked, surprised at how............strong the wand seemed. Lucy turned to Lily, eyes wild.

"I don't know! I think it was McGonagall or something! It just started going crazy, and I couldn't stop it!" Lucy looked scared.

"It'll be okay, Luce. I think it's stopping!" Lily exclaimed, looking down at the wand. It was true. Slowly, slowly, the wand was returning back to normal. When it was back to normal, Lucy pocketed the wand and ran a hand through her hair. "What happened, Lucy?" Lily asked, seeing the distressed look on Lucy's face.

"I lost control." Lucy half-whispered. "I lost control."

Lucy wouldn't say anymore, and she and Lily stayed there until the end of the period, before getting up and heading to Herbology with Professor Sprout. They couldn't really talk there, since they were repotting Mandrakes, but Lucy and Lily had History of Magic with Professor Binns next.

Not surprisingly, so did James, Sirius, Remus, and Peter. The six of them had long since realized that their schedules were exactly alike.

James, Sirius, Remus, and Peter sat in the row behind Lucy and Lily. Lucy was sitting directly beside the window, Lily on her left. Remus was sitting behind Lucy, James, Sirius, and Peter sitting to the left of him in that order.

Remus tapped Lucy's shoulder once Binns had begun speaking. Everyone knew that he was a ghost, as well as that his classes were always boring, so Remus was taking this to his advantage, just for today. Lucy turned around and Remus leaned foreword, concern written all over his face. "Are you okay?" He asked carefully, not wanting her to snap at him. "I saw what happened with your wand." Lucy nodded slowly.

"Yeah, I'm fine, I guess."

"Was there something wrong with your wand?" Lucy shook her head.

"Nah, I don't think that was it. I think I just lost control over it is all." Remus nodded thoughtfully.

"Can you tell me why?" Lucy thought a moment.

"Maybe later, kay?" Remus nodded.

"Got it. Later."

"Maybe later." Lucy corrected Remus, who just grinned.

-----------------------------------------------

"It's later!" Remus announced cheerfully at the end of classes. Lucy groaned and rolled her eyes, but smiled all the same.

"Your crazy, you know that?" Remus grinned and fell down next to her. They were sitting in the common room, James, Sirius, Peter, and Lily outside.

"Like a fox." Remus retorted, smiling happily. Lucy laughed.

"Yeah, like a fox."

"So, you gonna tell me, or what?" Remus asked, nudging Lucy with his elbow. Lucy furrowed her brow, pursed her lips, and tapped her chin.

"Hmm...........I don't know, Remes.........." Remus laughed at the face Lucy was making, knowing perfectly that she was just messing with him.

"C'mon, whatever-your-name-is. Tell me." Lucy grinned.

"I'm sorry, you have to know the password first." Remus raised an eyebrow.

"Oh, really? And what is this password, Miss No-Name?" Lucy grinned wickedly, a mischievous gleam bright in her eyes.

"The password," she said slowly, "is my name."

Remus' mouth dropped open. "No fair!" He complained. Lucy shrugged, grinning. She stood up and pulled Remus to his feet.

"Well, Mr. Fox, I guess you have two options now."

"Which are?" He asked, slightly suspicious. Lucy grinned again.

"One; You can try to find out my name. Two; You can wait till I tell you." Remus opened his mouth, but Lucy held up a hand, eyes gleaming. "I've already informed the teachers that I would like my name kept private for certain reasons and made Lily swear that she won't tell you. Or James. Or Sirius. Or Peter."

"You covered your tracks pretty good, Whitaker." Remus mumbled good-naturedly. Lucy nodded, beaming.

"Of course I did, my little Fox." She tapped the side of her head. "You're not the only one who knows how to use their brain around here."

-----------------------------------------------

In the following months, Lucy became very close to James, Sirius, Remus, and Peter. She and Lily were best friends, yes, and always got along, but Lucy held a certain soft spot in her heart for the troublesome four. Lucy and Lily were best friends in every way, Lily only dealing with James, Sirius, Remus, and Peter for Lucy's sake, as they frequently annoyed her............Well, except for Remus, anyway.

And maybe Peter.

Lucy always watched out for the four boys, letting them copy her work and covering for them on their midnight strolls around the grounds. She never outright helped them in their pranks, or let them cheat, but she'd find subtle ways of helping them. Like if they needed to copy her work, Lucy wouldn't just give it to them. No, she'd find her way into their room, stay and chat a while, then leave, "accidentally" forgetting her homework as she did so. Or with their pranks.

If they would be talking about a way to distract a teacher so they could set up a prank or two, Lucy would stand up and announce that she needed to talk to that teacher. For about as long as they needed, if not more. About school work.

Which was always a lie. Lucy never needed help. In fact, she, Lily, and Remus understood the work better than anyone else in the entire House. Everyone knew that...............it was kind of obvious by the three's perfect marks.

But Lucy sure could act like she didn't have a clue what was going on. Sometimes the guys would watch her after their pranks were set up, Lucy never failing to impress them. It was amazing, really, how good Lucy was at pretending she didn't understand the work. She'd look truly confused, frustrated. There were times when she would even get tears in her eyes (which she admitted was a time-release potion she'd nicked). Lucy was so convincing, that even the guys believed her................Or they would, if they didn't know that Lucy was covering for them. Again.

Lucy and Remus had grown especially close since the first day of school. They didn't fancy each other, no, but they were close. They spent a lot of time with each other, and every month when Remus would leave, Lucy worried about him. Once Lucy had asked him where he went every month. He'd said that he had a very unstable, elderly aunt. "Even an untended cold could kill her." Remus had said uneasily, not looking at Lucy as he spoke. Lucy knew he was hiding something from her, and he knew that she knew. But Lucy never pressed the matter, to which Remus was grateful.

Instead, Lucy would ask how he was doing. Because every month, around the time his aunt got sick, so, it seemed, did Remus. He would get dark bags under his eyes. He would look dreadfully tired all the time, and snapped at the oddest things.

The change in Remus' temper was the thing that concerned Lucy most. Remus was normally on the quieter side, but every once in a while, he would change completely. It was like he became a completely different person. Remus would become enraged at the simplest of things, things he otherwise never cared about. One minute he'd be sitting quietly, and the next he would be on his feet, screaming at the top of his lungs.

He threw things, stormed out of places, yelled at his friends.................Remus' eyes grew wild and crazy................he became unapproachable.

Not that that stopped Lucy. Quite the contrary, actually. The more Remus would behave like some kind of crazed animal, the more Lucy would try to comfort him. It didn't matter what he did, Lucy would never leave him alone, as he so often ordered her.

If Remus broke something, Lucy would be there to fix it.

If Remus stormed out of a room, Lucy was right behind him.

If Remus yelled angry, hurtful things at her, Lucy would hug him.

The times that Remus changed so completely were the times that Lucy would be at his side the most, even more than usual. Lily seemed to understand her need to be with Remus, and never questioned Lucy's actions. James and Sirius couldn't understand why Lucy didn't just leave Remus alone like he told her to, while Peter said that Lucy was "the bravest person he'd ever met". Lucy tried explaining to James and Sirius that Remus didn't really want to be alone, but they always shook their heads at her disbelievingly. Not that they weren't there for Remus, no. James, Sirius, and Peter always stuck with Remus, always tried to control his outbursts. They were good friends, James and Sirius and Peter were, and the only times that Lucy would leave Remus' side was when she was sure that they were there.

After a while, it seemed that James, Sirius, and Peter just might know what was ailing Remus, but if they did, they kept it to themselves, and Lucy never asked.

-----------------------------------------------

Lucy stifled a yawn as she finally finished a very long, complicated essay for Transfiguration. It was due in less than a week, but Lucy had been determined to finish it that night, so she could relax later. Lucy made a copy of her essay, the one she'd "forget" in the guys' room. Once Lucy had given them the real one................she could've sworn that their room ate it. Lucy had to do the entire thing over again. But when Remus found out what had happened, he gave Lucy his essay to copy and went to yell at James, Sirius, and Peter for losing hers.

Lucy stifled another yawn as she watched the fire dance in the hearth. She had been working by the fire's light in the common room for the past couple of hours. Lucy checked her watch. It was about midnight, and the boys still weren't back. James, Sirius, Remus, and Peter had gone out to set up some prank, and Lucy wanted to find out what they did, how they did it, and which places of the castle to avoid.

As Lucy watched the fire dance in front of her, felt its heat creep up on her, she couldn't stop herself from falling asleep.

-----------------------------------------------

About an hour later, James, Sirius, Remus, and Peter came bursting into the common room, laughing loudly and congratulating each other. Which woke Lucy up, who sat up and yawned widely, checking her watch. It was about one.

"What'd you guys do this time?" She asked tiredly, rubbing the sleep from her eyes. The four boys all grinned at her wordlessly. Lucy sighed. "Okay, which place do I stay away from tomorrow?"

"I, for one, would not recommend anywhere near the Astrology Tower." James said cheerily.

"What about Divination?" Lucy asked.

"I wouldn't worry too much about Divination if I were you, Lucy." Sirius said, grinning broadly.

"Yeah, don't think Divination'll be a problem." Peter piped up. Lucy turned to look at Remus, who was grinning somewhat guiltily.

"Fox.............." Lucy began slowly, Remus' smile only getting bigger.

"So, what do you want to do tomorrow?"

Lucy, James, Sirius, Remus, and Peter all hung out in the common room for a bit longer, making plans for the next day.

"Hey, wait a minute!" Remus said suddenly, looking over at Lucy.

"What?" She asked, surprised.

"Since when do you wear glasses?" James, Sirius, and Peter looked over at Lucy and nodded, the three of them only just noticing. Lucy reached up and took her glasses off slowly, a sheepish smile on her face.

"Must've forgotten to take them off before." She said cheerfully, folding the legs and putting them in a case. "I always seem to forget I have them on."

"You need glasses, Whitaker?"

"Just for reading," Lucy replied easily. "I just forget to take them off sometimes.............. And sometimes I forget to put them on." She shrugged. "I'm getting better at it now. Having reading glasses gets hard sometimes."

It was quiet for a moment as the guys nodded, mulling over what she'd said. Peter frowned suddenly, looking at Lucy closely.

"What? What is it?" She asked, confused.

"Can you...............put them back on?" Lucy put her glasses back on and looked at Peter, who was studying her closely. "You look familiar with them on. I can't quite place it............." Now all four boys were looking at Lucy closely.

Sirius was the first to see it. "James!" He declared triumphantly. "Those glasses are exactly like yours, James!" He turned to Lucy. "With those glasses, you two look exactly like brother and sister! ...........No really!" He added when both James and Lucy stared at him in disbelief. Remus and Peter nodded slowly.

"Stand up, you two, and stand next to each other." Lucy and James did what they were told, and the three other boys declared them a match.

Both Lucy and James burst into fits of laughter, sure that they were just kidding.

They weren't.

Lucy and James' laughter slowed, then stopped completely. They stared at each other, then Sirius, Remus, and Peter in disbelief.

"You're kidding!" James exclaimed.

Lucy, still staring at Sirius, Remus, and Peter, shook her head. "I don't think they're kidding, James." She said slowly.

"I don't believe it!" James exclaimed, shaking his head. "We look nothing alike!" Sirius, Remus, and Peter looked from James to Lucy and back, shaking their heads.

"Black hair......."

"Blue eyes........."

"Glasses........."

"So?!" James and Lucy asked unanimously. "Lot's of people have black hair, blue eyes, and glasses!" Sirius, Remus, and Peter shook their heads.

"The hair and glasses, yeah, but what about your eyes?" Remus asked. James and Lucy exchanged confused looks.

"Move your hair out of the way!" Sirius demanded. James and Lucy did so. "Now look at each other!" They did so, and were shocked.

Lucy and James had the exact same eyes. Sky blue, with flecks of green and gold sprinkled through them. Their mouths dropped open, identical eyes widening. The two of them stared at each other for a second or two, before dropping their hair back into their faces and turning back to Sirius, Remus, and Peter.

"So?" James and Lucy asked together.

-----------------------------------------------

"We have a major problem." James muttered nervously to Sirius and Peter, who nodded worriedly. It was very close to Remus' monthly visit to his 'aunt', and McGonagall was patrolling right outside the Fat Lady's portrait. Which was not good. McGonagall was already suspicious of them and would be paying extra attention to the portrait hole. James, Sirius, and Peter needed to smuggle Remus out of the school, and soon. (Remus was sleeping in their room right now, resting.)

"But even with the cloak, we can't get out of the common room without opening the door." Sirius reasoned. James had an Invisibility Cloak, which his father had given him at the beginning of the year. "Not to mention her crazy hearing. The cloak won't cover our footsteps..........and even with a Silencing Charm............." The three boys lapsed into a tense silence as they clambered through the portrait hole into the common room, where they saw the answer to their problems sitting in an armchair near the fire.

Lucy.

Lucy hadn't been in any classes today. She was really sick, and had stayed in her room practically the entire day, not even coming out for meals. Her face was flushed, her eyes bright with her raging fever. She'd barely had any sleep the night before, let alone any that day, no matter how hard she tried. Lily had, of course, spoken to the teachers of Lucy's illness and collected her homework for her. Lucy, unable to sleep, had decided to try and work on it in the common room.

Lucy looked up as the boys clambered into the room, instantly knowing something was up. And, by the desperate looks on their faces, as well as the panic in their eyes, it wasn't good. The boys knew that Lucy was sick and had fretted over her before, so Lucy knew that she'd officially become a last-ditch effort. It comforted her, knowing that the guys cared about her enough not to pull any pranks while she was sick, or to ask her to cover for them. But she also knew that there was some kind of emergency, and that they needed her now.

So Lucy turned back to her work and waited, the three boys having a silent discussion as she worked. It only lasted a second or two, such was the severity of the situation. James, Sirius, and Peter quickly decided what to say, and made their way over to some armchairs near Lucy's own. She didn't look up, but they knew she was listening.

"Remus' aunt is sick again." James said in a forced-casual voice.

"Yeah, really bad this time, too." Sirius agreed, voice strained.

"Shame he can't get on the train now, right now. He could get there by morning to be with her." James looked over at Lucy as he spoke. Lucy was the only one who knew the lie for what it was. Even if she didn't know the truth, she knew they were lying to her, to everyone. She never said anything to anyone about her suspicions, though. Not even the guys. They could just see it in her face when she looked at them.

Lucy was holding her quill tightly, shoulders tensed. She was holding her quill to the paper, but it wasn't moving and her inkwell was closed tightly.

"Yeah, we could sneak him out to the train under the Cloak no problem, but.........." Lucy also knew about James' Invisibility Cloak. She'd walked into their room one day with an assignment they'd needed and found it lying on the floor. Lucy had tossed it over her shoulders, shocked when all but her head disappeared. She had just thrown it over her head when James, Sirius, Remus, and Peter walked in. James immediately began asking where his Invisibility Cloak was. Lucy had taken it off, giving them the scare of a lifetime, handed them the homework, and left.

She hadn't told anyone about James' cloak, either.

It was Peter's turn to speak. He was going to mention McGonagall. He was dead nervous, though. He (along with the rest of the guys and Lily)  knew that Lucy despised McGonagall with every fiber of her being.

So Peter wasn't that enthusiastic about being the one giving her the news. It took three tries before Peter was able to speak.

"Yeah," he said shakily, "McGonagall's going to be right hard to get past."

-----------------------------------------------

All  four boys heard Lucy's quill snap in her grip. She'd clenched it so tightly in her surprise that she'd snapped it clean in two, the top piece falling onto the table she was working on. She bit her lip and let go of the bottom half. Lucy shut her eyes tightly and forced herself to remember that James, Sirius, and Peter wouldn't be asking her if they could handle it alone. This must be an emergency. A major, life-threatening, end-of-the world disaster kind of emergency.

And that it was for Remus.

Lucy stood up slowly, staring hard into the fire to keep herself calm. The flames danced a wild, merry dance in the hearth, crackling loudly and jumping around. It calmed Lucy down beyond understanding, watching the fire.

"Where are you going, Whit?" James asked, acting as if she hadn't heard every word that they'd just said, knowing perfectly well that she'd did.

'Whit' was a nickname Remus had given her way back near the beginning of the school year. Since Remus couldn't find out her real name and he was completely against calling her Whitaker, he'd came up with a nickname for her. Whit. James, Sirius, and Peter immediately began calling her Whit as well, even Lily resorting to calling her that more often than not.

"Gotta talk to McGonagall about something." Lucy muttered quietly, keeping her eyes locked on the dancing flames. "Like now." James, Sirius, and Peter nodded, relieved and grateful beyond belief.

Unfortunately, none of them had seen Remus enter the room. "Talk to McGonagall? Why?" James, Sirius, and Peter looked up at him guiltily. Remus was looking straight at Lucy, though, who was having a hard time looking away from the fire. "You hate her." He said, confused. Lucy looked over at him.

"No reason, really. Just need some help with-"

"No way!" Remus shouted angrily, eyes wide with understanding. "You're sick, Whit! You shouldn't be going out now! You should be resting, in bed, asleep! Anything is better than wandering around the halls to look for someone you-" Lucy was at Remus' side and hugging him tightly in an instant, cutting him off.

"Don't worry about me, Remes." Lucy said gently, the animalistic anger in Remus' eyes disappearing as she held him. "I'll be just fine. Just concentrate on getting yourself and your 'aunt' better, okay?"

"Okay, Whit." Remus mumbled grudgingly. Lucy nodded.

"Right then. I'm gonna go have a chat with the cat."

=====================DFJIAFUBIALBF=============================

"Professor McGonagall? May I have a word with you?" Lucy stood in front of the portrait hole, far off to the side. She was holding the frame tightly, leaving a huge gap between her and the entrance to the Gryffindor common room.

"Yes you may, Miss Whitaker. Come with me to my office." McGonagall paused. "I am to assume that this is important?" Lucy nodded. "Well then, let's be off." McGonagall had learned something from the wand fiasco in the beginning of the year.

If Lucy Whitaker said something, you listened.

Lucy waited a moment or two more until she was sure James, Sirius, Remus, and Peter were long gone, then let the portrait fall shut. She fell into step with McGonagall and the two walked in silence to her office.

Lucy sat down without looking around, in a chair in front of McGonagall's desk. McGonagall sat at her desk and waited for Lucy to begin.

Lucy was silent for a moment or two more, eyes locked on the floor, thinking about whether or not telling McGonagall what she was thinking was worth staying out of trouble. But, with all the courage of a true Gryffindor, Lucy decided to speak to McGonagall, to tell her the truth............Because the truth had been eating away at Lucy all year...............not to mention the fact the Lucy could never pay attention in Transfiguration class. If it weren't for Lily's notes, Lucy would be failing.

"Do you know who I am?" Since Lucy's eyes were on the floor, she missed the look of utter confusion flit across McGonagall's features.

"I'm not sure what you mean, Miss Whitaker." McGonagall began slowly. Lucy said nothing, so she continued. "I know of your school records. First year, Gryffindor, top in class with Miss Evans and Mr. Lupin...........But I don't think that any of that is quite what you mean, or want to hear."

Lucy shook her head.

"No." She said simply, quietly. "Not a word of that comes close to what I'm talking about." Lucy closed her eyes and rubbed the bridge of her nose wearily. "First things first Professor. The only reason I'm bringing this up is because I'm having problems in class." Lucy didn't mention she was doing her friends a favor. Lucy looked up at McGonagall, who nodded, then continued. "See, you've met me before."

This time Lucy could see the confusion on McGonagall's face. "Seven years ago, ma'am." Lucy said quietly, sadness and hurt evident in her eyes. "At a park. You were............there as a cat. I was the only one who recognized you." McGonagall's face paled and her eyes widened as she began to remember. Lucy nodded somewhat bitterly. "You're beginning to remember, aren't you? All the yelling, the screaming. The slap." Lucy was quiet for a long moment, a pained, faraway look in her eyes. She shook her head roughly, turning back to McGonagall. "Left a mark on my face for a week, you know."

Lucy touched her cheek softly, as if she could still feel where her aunt had slapped her. She blinked hard a couple times, keeping the tears stinging her eyes at bay. Lucy got up from her seat and began pacing in front of McGonagall. "I didn't really feel the pain, not right then, anyway. It was after, while I was in my room. Sometime during that week, way before she let me out." Lucy's eyes went faraway again. "I guess the shock kept me numb for a good while. See," and here she turned back to McGonagall, "I always knew, deep down, that my aunt didn't really like me. I think the true shock was the little tabby cat that refused to help me."

Lucy's eyes were bright with tears now, as well as fever. She blinked hard, but never looked away from McGonagall. "Up until then, magic had been my life. It was all I cared about, and I believed that everything and everyone involved in magic was wonderful and lovely." An odd sort of laugh escaped Lucy then, bitter and strangled. "Was quite a shock for me to learn that I was wrong. Nearly crushed me, it did. The whole time I was in my room, that was all I could think about. I memorized the picture of that cat, along with the witch I saw within it. Haunted me for a good couple years, yes it did. I almost gave up, you know. Magic, hope, happiness. Almost gave it all up that year, that week, that day." Lucy paused, eyes glassy and farther away than ever before.

"I almost died, I did. Magic is what kept me alive, and has been keeping me alive. I've known it since I was little, you know." Lucy seemed to be talking to herself more than McGonagall now, eyes still glassy and faraway, a few tears slipping down her cheeks. "Magic is all I've ever known, I'm sure of that. Witches and wizards, spells and potions, wands and quills............Dragons and pixies and elves...............Mermaids, trolls, goblins, unicorns, giants.............." Lucy closed her eyes, continued. "Lethifolds, dementors, centaurs, billywigs..............I was stung by one of them once, you know." Lucy said, opening her eyes, which seemed slightly less hazy. "Best I'd felt in awhile. Floated for a good time, yes I did. I got a beating that day.............."

Lucy closed her eyes again.

"I think there were only two real things that kept me from just giving up everything I loved and cared about to do what my aunt said." Before McGonagall could ask, Lucy had answered. "Magic, and my family." Lucy caught sight of McGonagall's face. "Not the Whitakers, no. My real family." McGonagall looked confused. "I live with my aunt, uncle, and cousin. They say my parents are dead, always have." Lucy laughed an odd, dry laugh. "I never believed them, not once. Wouldn't tell me their names, I could never find out for myself..............."

Lucy's eyes, which had begun to clear, clouded over again.

"I get dreams sometimes, but it's all too blurry to tell what is all in it. Me, as a baby. A boy, older than me. My brother? I don't know. My parents.............Kidnappers." Lucy shuddered. "Nightmares, all of them. Nightmares that keep me up at night, tossing and turning and fearing sleep." Lucy shuddered again. "I always believed my real parents were looking for me. Not once in all my life have I given up hope. They're out there, somewhere." Lucy opened her eyes and looked at McGonagall, hope, pain, and immeasurable sadness encased in them. Just looking into Lucy's eyes nearly broke McGonagall's heart, made her wish she hadn't remained a cat all those years ago, regardless of whether or not it was illegal.

"I mean, I was right about magic, wasn't I?"

-----------------------------------------------

For the first time in her life, Minerva McGonagall couldn't think of a single thing to say, let alone do. Here was this child, only in her first year, that had been so affected by a single decision, a law. Animagus' could not transform in front of Muggles. One of the first rules they taught aspiring Animagus'. Memory Charms would have to be applied, all humans tracked down. If one wasn't careful, there'd be a full-scale Muggle riot thrown at the Ministry of Magic.

McGonagall was shocked beyond belief when that little girl had spotted her. Only people who knew the marks of a specific Animagus could identify them. But according to the row that Lucy had had with her aunt, she was being raised by Muggles. Not only that, but Lucy did not know of the pattern McGonagall's cat form that identified her from other cats. And even if she did, how, for the sake of Merlin, did she see McGonagall?! '"Brown hair and glasses and-"'

Lucy had seen McGonagall, not just her cat form.

No witch or wizard in history had ever been able to do that. At least, no known witch or wizard. Not only that, but Lucy had seen-and identified-a Golden Snidget. A Golden Snidget! A tiny child-a baby, really-that was being raised by Muggles knew what a Golden Snidget was! Impossible! It was all impossible.

It wasn't like McGonagall hadn't wanted to help the poor girl. A Memory Charm would've just worked fine. McGonagall had just been too shocked and, to be honest, a bit scared to react properly.

Lucy obviously held a great quantity of strong magic and potential, being able to see right through McGonagall's Animagus to her core human form. Not to mention what Lucy had said about seeing other witches and wizards in her head..................

McGonagall was torn from her thoughts by an odd sound that came from Lucy, almost like a dry sob. Looking up at her, McGonagall felt a stir of fear.

Lucy was bent over, clutching her stomach as if in great pain. She was not crying, but her eyes were watering as if she was about to. Lucy's nails were digging into the skin on her arms so hard that her knuckles were white, blood seeping out of the cuts. McGonagall got up to help her, but Lucy merely bent over further, moaning softly. Lucy's shoulders were hunched up to her ears and were shaking. He hair was hiding her face completely, all except her eyes, which McGonagall couldn't seem not to see.

Lucy's eyes were bright with her raging fever, shining with her pearly tears. There were so many emotions running through them, too fast to be properly noted. Pain and sadness seemed to be the two ruling emotions, frequently presenting themselves in her eyes with such a force that Lucy would groan in pain.

Lucy gritted her teeth against the pain, shutting her eyes tightly. She rocked back and forth, nails digging deeper into her skin as she tried to stop the stem of emotional pain and turmoil she was going in. Her thoughts were whirling around her mind with such a force that it sent Lucy reeling backwards into her previously-vacated seat. Lucy screamed a silent scream, lip bit so hard to contain it that Lucy tasted blood.

McGonagall touched Lucy's shoulder and she cried out, more in fear than anything. Lucy started so badly that she knocked the chair she was sitting in over backwards, falling out of it herself. McGonagall tried to come closer to Lucy, who shrieked and skittered away from her, eyes alight with an almost animalistic panic. The look in her eyes was enough to send McGonagall a few paces back fearfully.

Lucy staggered to her feet, shaking uncontrollably. She fumbled behind her for the doorknob, eyes locked onto McGonagall's. When Lucy's hand connected with the knob, she gripped it as hard as she could, shaking subsiding somewhat. McGonagall could see, behind all the fear and panic in Lucy's eyes, pain, hurt, and confusion beyond belief. Lucy was watching McGonagall closely, but her eyes seemed faraway, and she was acting as if she were being tormented by some outside force.

McGonagall made to move closer to the frightened girl, but Lucy ripped the door open with such force that she almost tore it off of its hinges, then took off down the hall at top speed, skidding around the corner without looking back.

McGonagall could hear loud crashes and shouts from the portraits and suits of armors, then silence as (or so she guessed) they saw Lucy's wild and unimaginable fear and panic. She listened to Lucy's pounding footsteps until they disappeared completely, knowing that Lucy was probably heading back to Gryffindor Tower.

McGonagall stood silently, just outside the doorway to her office, looking down the corridor in the direction that Lucy had run off in. She ran over everything that had just happened in her head, not surprised to find that she, too, was shaking, silent tears stealing down her cheeks like thieves in the night.


Chapter 5: The Day After
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

Author's Note: This is my first A/N! Yay!
After reading all the lovelyfull reviews from the last chapter, I just had to thank you all! I mean, here I am, not asking for any, but you all still send them! I am a highly appreciative person and answer them all! And to thank all the reviewers I've had so far...................
THANK YOU!
(Note-would personally thank each, not allowed. T T You all get special sugary treats though! Like cookies and candy! Yay!)
 You all make me feel so special! I'm writing for you! Everytime I read the reviews, I can't help but smile! (Dances in circle around room thinking
They like it! They like it!) So here is my very first A/N, just for my reviewers, who deserve a little extra non-story crazy appreciation!
TO THE STORY!
Lucy slept quite fitfully that night, tossing and turning and being startled awake by something she'd dreamed that she couldn't remember. By the time Lucy had settled into a deep sleep, she was being shaken awake by a bright-eyed Lily.

"Lucy? Lucy!" Lily cried happily. "How are you feeling? Do you think that you can go to classes today?" Lucy sat up painfully, running a hand through her hair.

"I guess so, sure................" Lucy trailed off, wincing.

"Are you sure, Luce?" Lily asked, concerned. "You still look a bit sick..............." It was true. Lucy's face was still flushed, her eyes bright with fever.

Lucy waved off Lily's concern, forcing a smile. "I'm fine, Lils. Besides, I missed enough class." Lily looked at Lucy, disbelief written across her face. "I'm serious, Lily." Lucy said, noticing the look. Lily shook her head.

"I don't think-"

"I need to do this, Lily." Lucy interrupted her quietly. Lily studied her friend closely, sighed, then nodded.

"Fine, fine. You can go to classes today, but once their over, you go straight to the Hospital Wing!" Lucy shrugged and began getting ready.

"Okay, whatever you say."

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"James? Sirius? Peter?" Lucy asked, sticking her head into their room. The three boys groaned loudly and turned under their covers. Lucy noted Remus' empty bed, worried. She went over and sat in it. Lucy bit her lip, instantly regretting it. Lucy yelped as she bit through the newly-covered cut she'd put in her lip the night before.

James, Sirius, and Peter all jumped, sitting up straight and looking over at her. Lucy put her hand up to her now-bleeding lip, grimacing. "You okay, Whit?" James asked, concerned. Lucy nodded.

"Yeah, I'm fine."

"You bit through your lip!" Sirius exclaimed.

"How'd you do that?!" Peter questioned, shocked. Lucy shook her head.

"Accident. Complete and total accident. Stress, pressure, worry, etc. Get up and get ready for class. Or," she said, eyeing the boys' tired demeanors, "I could always say that you three aren't feeling well.............."

"Really?!" They exclaimed delightedly. Lucy nodded.

"Just go to the Hospital Wing and fake it, okay?" The boys nodded, and Lucy made her way to their door. She paused in the doorway and half-turned, looking at of them. She shook her head, grinning. "I'm too nice to you guys."

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Lucy yawned hugely, covering her mouth with one hand before dropping her head back onto the table.

"Lucy, you have to eat."

Lucy groaned.

"You'll never get better if you don't eat.

Another groan.

"If you don't eat something, I'm taking you to the Hospital Wing now and leaving you there." Lucy sat up grudgingly, glaring at Lily with all the rage she could muster............ which wasn't much.

Lily just laughed and pointed at Lucy's plate. Lucy put a bunch of scrambled eggs and toast on it, pouring herself some orange juice.

"Happy now, oh threatening Queen of Food Consumption?"

"No." Lily said, laughing. Lucy groaned mockingly.

"I have to eat it too?!" Lily nodded, and Lucy pouted. "Fine. But if I choke to death eating this forced meal, you stay away from my funeral."

"You won't choke, Lucy."

"How do you know? Traded Food Queen for Life Management?" Lily laughed.

"No, I haven't. But if you just look over at the teachers' table, you'll see at least eleven witches and wizards who can easily save you the second you start choking."

"Always goes back to the teachers for you, huh, Lils?" Lily grinned.

"Yes it does, and rules, and schoolwork. But stop trying to change the subject and eat." Lucy rolled her eyes and began eating.

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"Getting close to summer." Lucy commented casually as she splashed water from Black Lake onto her face. It was her free period. Next was lunch, then Transfiguration................ the whole reason she'd gotten out of bed that morning.

"Yeah, it is. Now get away from the lake." Lucy grinned, stood up, and crossed her eyes at Lily.

"Why? You Queen of Black Lake now?" Lucy's eyes lit up and she grinned wickedly. "If you're a Queen, you have to have a King, you know."

"So?" Lucy looked at the lake, then at Lily.

"This lake is called Black Lake." Lily's eyes widened in horror.

"Lucy!" She exclaimed, whacking her with her backpack.

"What?!" Lucy exclaimed, dodging another blow of the backpack.

"You know what!" Lucy paused, pretending to think.

"Why yes, actually, I do!" She exclaimed. "Now, if you would excuse me..............." Lucy turned and tore back to the Castle, Lily close behind.

Just as Lily caught up with Lucy, she ran into the Great Hall. The two of them ate lunch quietly, Lucy occasionally grinning and lifting her eyebrows at Lily. Lily returned fire by transfiguring Lucy's food, plate, cup, and utensils while she ate.

When lunch was over, the two of them headed to Transfiguration. Halfway their, Lucy's breath caught in her throat, a sharp pain beginning in her chest.

"Lucy?! Are you okay?!" Lily asked worriedly. Lucy held up a hand, shaking her head. She forced herself to breathe, to concentrate on something other than McGonagall. Lucy shut her eyes tightly, James' parents coming to mind almost instantly.

Slowly, slowly, the pain receded and was gone. Lucy opened her eyes, blinking. She looked over at Lily, rubbing her chest. "I'm fine now."

"But-"

"I'm fine now." Lucy repeated, in a voice that said the discussion was over. Lily nodded, concern written across her features as she looked at her friend. The two of them began walking to Transfiguration again, this time in silence, Lily worrying about Lucy, Lucy focusing on the image of James' parents.

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Lucy and Lily sat down in their regular seats; up near the front, where Lily could take notes and answer questions. Lily had frequently offered to sit in the back, knowing of Lucy's problem with McGonagall, but Lucy always refused.

Today, however, Lucy marched right up to her seat and sat down. She ripped open her satchel and pulled out her book, some parchment, a quill, and an inkwell, determined to keep her own notes today.

McGonagall was watching Lucy closely from her desk. Classes had yet to begin, yet she already had her things out and ready. McGonagall was surprised that Lucy hadn't looked at her, especially after the night before, but Lucy's eyes never moved from the tabletop. Lily was looking over at her worriedly, saying something, but Lucy shook her head the slightest bit. Lily continued badgering Lucy, until Lucy began writing.

What do you want, Lils? Lucy looked over at Lily, motioning for her to write.

What's going on with you? Are you okay? What was up with that in the- Lucy pulled the parchment out from under Lily's quill an began to write.

Last night the guys needed my help. I went to talk to the cat. I- Lily pulled the parchment away from Lucy.

What?! Why?! Hopefully to report them! Lucy laughed when she saw what Lily had written. Lily sighed and shook her head. Lucy would never report the guys.

Of course I didn't report them! They didn't want me to help, anyway! I just did it. Lily made a move to grab the parchment, but Lucy pulled it away from her. I talked to the cat. For a while, I don't know how long.

WHY?!

Stop taking the parchment, Lils, or I'll stop writing.

NO! DON'T STOP!

You're doing it again!

Sorry.

That's better.................anyway, I talked to the cat for a bit. I really don't want to talk about it now, so I'll just say it could've gone better. I got rid of some demons, but it could've gone better...............I'm gonna try my own work today.

Really?!

Yeah. I healed some old wounds, I guess, in a way. I think I can deal today. Thanks for all your help, Lils. I really appreciate it.

Not a problem, Luce. I know you'd do the same.

You're doing it again.

What?

Stealing the parchment.

Lily looked up at Lucy, who was grinning and crossing her eyes at her. Both of them laughed. McGonagall called the class to attention and Lucy quickly set their conversation on fire, the parchment burning to a pile of ashes in a matter of seconds.

McGonagall wasn't happy about that. She'd wanted to see what was written on that parchment. Lucy didn't look up at her, instead choosing to focus her gaze onto the table. McGonagall sighed inwardly and began the lesson.

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Lucy took strict notes that day, copying down every single word McGonagall said, as well as anything on the board. She accomplished the day's assignment easily and began working on the homework.

The entire time, Lucy had managed not to look at McGonagall once.

After Transfiguration-as well as the rest of the days' classes-were finished, Lucy burst out onto the grounds, cheering.

"YES! IT'S OVER! IT'S FINALLY OVER!" She shouted at the top of her lungs, beaming. Lily looked at her friend oddly, but chose not to ask. Lucy took a deep breath and looked at Lily, eyes shining. "The world is so bright!"

"Yeah. It's called the sun, Luce." Lily said, smiling. Lucy crossed her eyes and stuck out her tongue at Lily, who laughed. "What made you so happy today, anyway?" Before Lucy could answer, someone tapped her on the shoulder.

"Are you Miss Whitaker?" A small, serious-looking boy said. He had black hair and grey eyes, looking remarkably like Sirius. Lucy nodded. "I was told to find you." The boy informed her solemnly.

"Oh, okay..............For what? And by who?"

"Whom." Lily corrected Lucy, before the boy could answer.

"Sirius, James, and Peter." Lucy's face lit up. She hugged the boy, who looked both pleased, but confused.

"Thanks! Do you go to school here?" The boy shook his head.

"No, I don't. I just dropped by to see someone. Sirius and James.................'convinced' me to find you." The boy grinned. "I had to go through a bunch of girls to find you, you know." Lucy grinned. She gave the boy a kiss on the cheek.

"Thank you." The boy beamed.

"Your welcome!"

"Regulus! Time to go!" The boy winced.

"I gotta go." He said, frowning slightly.

"I hope I get to see you again, Reg!" Regulus grinned again, nodded.

"Yeah, me too."

"Regulus!" Regulus winced again.

"Coming mum!" He shouted. He turned back to Lucy and Lily. "Well then, this is good bye, at least for now." Lucy nodded. Regulus turned and began running.

"Bye Reg!" Lucy called after the boy. He paused in his running, turned, and waved over at the girls. Then he disappeared, going in the direction of the carriages.

"Why do you think they wanna talk to you?" Lily asked, after a moment's silence. Lucy shrugged.

"Who knows?" Lucy's eyes lit up. "Let's go find out!"

Lucy bounded into the school, dashing down the first available corridor, Lily doing her best to keep up.

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"WHIT!" James, Sirius, and Peter shouted unanimously, jumping on Lucy as she entered the common room. The four of them fell to the floor in a huge pile, the three boys on top of Lucy, who was laughing.

"What?! What'd I do?!"

"We have major plans, Whit!" James crowed happily.

"MAJOR!" Peter agreed, eyes shining.

"Like, total catastrophe major!" Sirius agreed, nodding his head rapidly, hair whacking Lucy's face. She laughed and pushed them off of her, starting with Sirius.

"I don't need your hair adding to the mess that is mine, Sirius Black!" Lucy exclaimed, trying to move her hair out of her eyes.

"Aw, but we like the mess!" Sirius whined. Lucy rolled her eyes, grinning.

"Only because you can't tell when I'm glaring at you!" The guys laughed, Lucy crossing her eyes at them.

Just then, Lily came bursting through the portrait hole, panting.

"How can you run so fast?!" Lily exclaimed, wheezing somewhat. "You practically flew through those halls!" Lucy shrugged nonchalantly, then grinned.

"Faster than a fully grown stag, I am." Lucy said, eyes gleaming. "Care for a race?" Lily shook her head rapidly.

"Not unless it's a race to see who falls over first!" Lucy laughed.

"I gotcha beat there, too, Lils!" She crowed happily. "Those three," she pointed at James, Sirius, and Peter, "knocked me straight to the floor! So there!"

"You guys!" Lily complained. "The only race I could have a chance at beating her in!" Lucy crossed her eyes and grinned at Lily. She took out her wand, transfigured her quill into a cup, and filled it with water.

"Drink. Now." Lucy commanded, giving the cup to Lily, whose eyes were wide. Lucy poked Lily sternly until she drank. When Lily finished the first cup, Lucy filled it again. Lily drank three cups of water until she was done.

"No more!" Lily gasped, as Lucy tried to fill it again. "I'll explode!" Lucy laughed and downed the cup herself. She transfigured her cup back into a quill, then put it in her bag, crossing her eyes at Lily again.

"Water's good for you, you know. " She said, grinning. Lily rolled her eyes.

"I know that! Jeeze." Lucy crossed her eyes and stuck out her tongue. "You always do that, you know." Lily pointed out. Lucy looked confused.

"Do what?" She asked.

"Cross your eyes at people." Lily said matter-of-factly. Lucy was quiet a moment, thinking.

"Thanks for noticing, Lils." Lucy said, grinning and crossing her eyes at her friend, who could only laugh.

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Lucy was the first to greet Remus when he came back from his 'aunt's house'. He had just walked through the portrait hole, only to get knocked back through it.

"Remus!" Lucy shouted, arms thrown around his neck.

"Whit?" Remus asked, bewildered. He and Lucy were on the hallway floor, the Fat Lady's portrait swung wide open. "Is something wrong?"

"I missed you!" Lucy said, hugging Remus tighter. He grinned.

"I missed you too, Whit. But I can't breathe."

"Oh, sorry." Lucy got up off of Remus and helped him to his feet, smiling brightly, too happy to look apologetic. She hugged him again, but not so tight.

"I was only gone a couple days, Whit." Remus said, hugging Lucy lightly. She shrugged and released him, the two of them climbing through the portrait hole together.

"So?" Lucy asked. "I can't miss you when you're gone for a couple days?" Remus laughed.

"Well of course you can, Whit." Remus said reasonably. "But it was only a couple of days. Summer's soon, what about then?" Lucy's eyes widened.

"No!" Lucy cried in agony. "I can't be away from you and Lily and James and Peter and Sirius for three months!" Remus laughed, but gently.

"There's always owl post." Something changed behind Lucy's eyes. She looked afraid suddenly, if only a bit.

"Yes, there's that............." She began slowly. Remus, sensing her hesitation, spoke.

"But?" He asked quietly. Lucy turned her gaze to the fire.

"But I think, if you do send an owl, it has to be sure to land in my window and stay in my room. It can't fly all over the house looking for me."

"Why not?" Lucy hesitated visibly.

"My aunt. She doesn't really like..............birds. She might hurt them." Remus nodded thoughtfully. Lucy had told the truth, yes, but not all of it. Her aunt didn't mind birds, it was owls she had the problem with, ever since Lucy had told her that magic people used them to deliver letters.

"Oh, okay, no problem." Lucy visibly relaxed after Remus' words, James, Sirius, and Peter thundering down the stairs only moments after.

"MOONY!" They cried happily. Lucy turned to look at them, confused.

"Huh? Who's Moony?" She asked. Remus turned slightly red, while James, Sirius, and Peter seemed hesitant. Lucy, sensing the tension in the air, stood up. "I think I'm gonna go talk to Lily." She kissed the top of Remus' head. "See you four later."

The four boys mumbled something as Lucy left the common room, heading up the girls' staircase, humming carelessly.

"That was close." Remus muttered, sighing heavily.

"Knowing your nickname isn't gonna reveal your secret to her, you know, Moony." James said practically, as he, Sirius, and Peter sat in armchairs near Remus.

"I know, Prongs, but still." James, Sirius, and Peter looked confused. "Whit's smart, you know?" They nodded." It wouldn't take that long to figure it out...............especially with a hint like that."

"She'll find out sooner or later, Moony." Sirius said.

"Yeah. Why don't you just tell her?" Peter agreed questioningly. Remus shook his head fiercely.

"No way! I'm not telling Whit anything about................that. You know how she is, guys! She'll want to help, to come with us. That's be bad. She could get hurt!" James, Sirius, and Peter said nothing, none of them wanting to admit that Remus was right. "You know I'm right! How would you feel if you knew that Whit got hurt, or worse, because we told her my secret?!" The three boys looked uncomfortable now.

"Sorry, Moony." James finally muttered.

"Yeah, sorry." Sirius agreed.

"We didn't mean it like that." Peter said hesitantly.

"I know, I know." Remus muttered miserably. "It's just that.................we all know what Whit is like, especially when it comes to helping us. Can you imagine if she tried to, and ended up like................me?"

The silence that enveloped the four friends was heavy with secrets, and lies.

PS: Last chapter, I accidentally combined two chapters together. (Silly me!) It was meant to be a cliffhanger after Lucy says she's going to have a "chat with the cat" (hence the name). Which is why there were those random equals signs and letters! Good luck for you, though, my lovelyfull readers! No cliffhanger to suffer through! You get a dramatic exit, AND a fight! Yay! (Let us all cheer for the absent-mindednes of the author!) Seriously though, the one chapter I didn't proofread in the least before submitting it! Oh, well. You guys enjoyed it, and deserved a little extra, anyway. Happy Reading!
PPS: I love ending in dramatic sentences!
PPPS: If you loved "A Chat With The Cat", you'll love the chapter after this one! Another burst of screaming from the normally-quieter Lucy Whitaker!
PPPPS: I should stop writing now, shouldn't I?
PPPPPS: Yep.
PPPPPPS: If you're still reading this, you are both very patient and understanding. You also must like my writing. Or are looking for a hint of the next chapter.....................you know what? You kept reading, here's a preview!


"IT JUST ISN'T RIGHT! UNLESS AN ANIMAL ATTACKS YOU FIRST, OR A PERSON, YOU JUST LET THEM BE! WHAT HAS THIS LITTLE RAT DONE TO YOU, HUH?! HAS IT HURT SOMEONE YOU LOVE, HAS IT KILLED SOMEONE?! HAS IT KIDNAPPED A KID, PULLED THE TRIGGER ON A GUN?! HAS IT MURDERED, HURT, RAPED ANYONE?! I DON'T THINK SO! THIS LITTLE GUY HASN'T DONE ANYTHING BUT TRY TO LIVE, AND ALL YOU WANT TO DO IS KILL IT! THAT MAKES YOU A MURDERER!

"DO YOU WANT TO BE A MURDERER?! DO YOU WANT TO BE RESPONSIBLE FOR TAKING A LIFE OUT OF THIS WORLD?! ISN'T THIS WORLD BAD ENOUGH ALREADY! WELL?! ISN'T IT?!" Lucy didn't wait for an answer. "YES, IT IS! AND YOU WANT TO KNOW WHY?! BECAUSE OF PEOPLE! YEAH, THAT'S RIGHT! PEOPLE! IT'S PEOPLE WHO MURDER, STEAL, RAPE, BEAT, TORTURE, ABUSE, BURN................IT'S PEOPLE WHO DESTROY EVERYTHING GOOD LEFT IN THE WORLD! IF THERE'S ANYTHING TO FEAR IN THIS HORRIBLE PLACE, IT'S PEOPLE, NOT A POOR, DEFENSELESS LITTLE RAT! 'HE'S JUST A RAT'! THAT'S WHAT YOU THINK? WELL, I'M JUST A PERSON!

"I'M JUST A PERSON, A HUMAN BEING! KILL ME, WHY DON'T YOU?! GO AHEAD, DO IT! KILL ME, LIKE YOU WOULD IF I WERE NOTHING BUT A LITTLE RAT! GO AHEAD, I'M WAITING!" Nothing. "I SAID I'M WAITING! WHAT, DON'T WANT TO KILL ME?! I'M NOT DOING ANYTHING, AM I?! THERE'S NO REASON TO KILL ME, IS THERE?!" The girl shook her head shakily. "THEN WHERE IS THE REASON TO KILL THIS RAT?!" Lucy shouted angrily, whipping around to glare at the rest of the girls who were watching the scene with interest.

Patience is indeed a virtue, no?
ENJOY YOUR PRIZE, READERS!


Chapter 6: An Eventful Train Ride Home
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

"Can you believe it's time to leave already?!" Lily asked excitedly. Lucy shook her head mournfully.

"No, I can't. Where's the year go?!" She asked, throwing her clothes into her trunk. Lily threw Lucy an odd look.

"What's wrong, Whit?" Lily asked, concerned. Lucy shook her head, packing her clothes into her trunk quickly and snapping it shut. Lucy scanned the room, Summoning anything that was hers. Nothing came, so she figured that everything was packed......................seeing as her trunk almost knocked her over.

"Are you sure?" Lily asked, studying her friend's face carefully. Lucy didn't look at Lily, instead focusing her eyes down on her wand. "Lucy?"

"I'm fine, Lils. Really." Lucy's voice was tight and strained. It was obvious she was lying, but it was also obvious that she really didn't want to talk about it.

"Okay, Luce. Whatever you say." Lily said, letting the subject drop for now. Lucy visibly relaxed, eyes coming off her wand and back up to Lily's face.

"Great! Then I say we sit with the guys!" Lucy said brightly, jamming her wand into her pocket. Lily groaned miserably.

"Do we have to?" Lily whined, wordlessly begging for a no.

"Yup-yup!" Lucy cried happily, picking up her trunk easily. "It was bad enough for me the first time there, I want to be with my friends on the way back!" Lily groaned again, but did not protest, knowing perfectly well that Lucy had been alone coming to Hogwarts and did not want to leave that way.

The two girls made their way down the stairs with their trunks, Lily complaining good-naturedly about her older sister. They got onto the Hogwarts Express and found an empty compartment, stowing their trunks up in the carry space. The train began moving before long, both girls knowing that the boys would find them sooner or later. Suddenly, out of nowhere, screaming could be heard just outside the compartment. Lucy and Lily exchanged a brief look before dashing out of the compartment. Outside, girls were dashing here and there, screaming and pointing at the floor. Lucy and Lily looked for the source of terror and saw a little brown rat. Lily screamed and jumped back, Lucy just looking confused.

"That's what you all are afraid of?" She asked incredulously, words barely out of her mouth before someone else spoke.

"I'll kill it!" A girl who looked about fifteen or sixteen yelled, dashing foreword and cornering the poor, terrified little rat. Her foot lifted into the air to squash the poor little thing, coming down at top speed..................

Only to land on the back of Lucy's neck. The girl screamed in shock, jumping backwards. Lucy sat up, one hand cupped around the little rat. She put one hand to the back of her neck to find that it was bleeding slightly. "Ow." She commented, in a tone that people used to talk about the weather. Lucy wiped the blood now on her hands onto her robes before standing up and looking down at the little rat.

"Are you okay, little fella?" She asked softly. The rat squeaked, sounding as if it were close to a breakdown, if that was possible.

"Are you okay?! Why'd you jump under my foot?! Are you bleeding?! Why'd you save that rat?!" The girl that had accidentally hurt Lucy was frantic and confused. Lucy looked over at her calmly, holding the little rat close.

"I'm fine. You were going to step on him. Yes. He's important too." Lucy said, answering all of the girl's questions in order.

"What do you mean, 'He's important too'?!" The girl asked, the shock of hurting Lucy gone, replaced by bewilderment.

"I mean, his life is just as important as yours, or mine."

"What?! He's just a rat!"

"So?!" Lucy asked sharply, eyes suddenly alight with fire. "So what if he's a rat, huh?! Does that mean he's not alive?! Does that mean that killing him doesn't make you a murder?! Huh?! Does it?!" The girl seemed too flustered to answer, so Lucy continued. "This little rat didn't do anything to you! It couldn't hurt you if it wanted too, and you're trying to kill it?! Why?! What in the world could this little guy do to you, huh?!" Lucy was furious. She was holding the rat gently, but her eyes were blazing. "There's no reason for you to be afraid of him! He's never done anything! How would you feel if you were surrounded by huge, screaming beasts out to kill you?! You wouldn't like it, would you?! I know I wouldn't!" The girl opened her mouth angrily, seemingly ready to defend herself. Lucy didn't give her a chance, though, cutting her off before she could begin. "No! I don't want to hear it! You think, just because you're afraid of this little guy, you can kill him?! I don't think so! It's not like he hurt you! You should only ever hurt someone in self-defense, if even then!" Lucy was trembling violently, rage evident. "Unless this little rat attacked you, you shouldn't bother it!"

"But-"

"Don't even think about defending yourself to me!" Lucy's voice was razor-sharp. The green and gold flecks in her eyes seemed to catch fire and dance in her eyes, her hair falling into them wildly, making her look even more violent and unpredictable. "I don't want to hear it! Nothing you can say will make me believe that what you were about to do was right! You were about to take another thing's life! A living, breathing thing! With a heart and a mind! You were about to crush him! You were about to cause this little guy unimaginable amounts of pain, letting him know his day was done. IT ISN'T RIGHT!" Lucy was really shouting now.

"IT JUST ISN'T RIGHT! UNLESS AN ANIMAL ATTACKS YOU FIRST, OR A PERSON, YOU JUST LET THEM BE! WHAT HAS THIS LITTLE RAT DONE TO YOU, HUH?! HAS IT HURT SOMEONE YOU LOVE, HAS IT KILLED SOMEONE?! HAS IT KIDNAPPED A KID, PULLED THE TRIGGER ON A GUN?! HAS IT MURDERED, HURT, RAPED ANYONE?! I DON'T THINK SO! THIS LITTLE GUY HASN'T DONE ANYTHING BUT TRY TO LIVE, AND ALL YOU WANT TO DO IS KILL IT! THAT MAKES YOU A MURDERER!

"DO YOU WANT TO BE A MURDERER?! DO YOU WANT TO BE RESPONSIBLE FOR TAKING A LIFE OUT OF THIS WORLD?! ISN'T THIS WORLD BAD ENOUGH ALREADY! WELL?! ISN'T IT?!" Lucy didn't wait for an answer. "YES, IT IS! AND YOU WANT TO KNOW WHY?! BECAUSE OF PEOPLE! YEAH, THAT'S RIGHT! PEOPLE! IT'S PEOPLE WHO MURDER, STEAL, RAPE, BEAT, TORTURE, ABUSE, BURN................IT'S PEOPLE WHO DESTROY EVERYTHING GOOD LEFT IN THE WORLD! IF THERE'S ANYTHING TO FEAR IN THIS HORRIBLE PLACE, IT'S PEOPLE, NOT A POOR, DEFENSELESS LITTLE RAT! 'HE'S JUST A RAT'! THAT'S WHAT YOU THINK? WELL, I'M JUST A PERSON!

"I'M JUST A PERSON, A HUMAN BEING! KILL ME, WHY DON'T YOU?! GO AHEAD, DO IT! KILL ME, LIKE YOU WOULD IF I WERE NOTHING BUT A LITTLE RAT! GO AHEAD, I'M WAITING!" Nothing. "I SAID I'M WAITING! WHAT, DON'T WANT TO KILL ME?! I'M NOT DOING ANYTHING, AM I?! THERE'S NO REASON TO KILL ME, IS THERE?!" The girl shook her head shakily. "THEN WHERE IS THE REASON TO KILL THIS RAT?!" Lucy shouted angrily, whipping around to glare at the rest of the girls who were watching the scene with interest.

"The way to deal with something you are afraid of," Lucy began, struggling hard to keep her voice level, "is not to get rid of it."

"How, then?" A girl about fourteen asked bravely, shrinking back as Lucy looked over at her. Lucy carefully took the and held it close to her, looking into its little brown eyes.

"Easy. Just stop being afraid."

"What if it's not that easy?" A thirteen-year-old demanded.

"I was of something once, before. I'm still afraid of it now, but I've come to terms with it. The only way to win is to face it, accept it, and move on." Lucy kissed the little rat. "This little guy is hardly worth making a fuss about." Lucy looked up at the staring faces solemnly, eyes shining with unknown sadness and pain.

Lucy turned and walked back to her compartment, not bothering to look back.

-----------------------------------------------

"Wormtail's been gone awhile, guys." Remus said worriedly. "I don't think it was a good idea sending him out like that. You shouldn't have dared him, Padfoot." Sirius laughed, a bark-like laugh.

"He'll be fine. We'll give him a couple more minutes." Sirius asked, grinning.

"Yeah, Moony. What could possible happen?" James asked cheerily.

-----------------------------------------------

"Hey, little guy, how're you feeling?" Lucy asked behind her closed compartment door. The little brown rat was trembling slightly. Lucy held it close to her. "Don't worry, you'll be fine, I promise. I won't let those girls hurt you, okay?"

It took a good while, but Lucy had finally managed to calm the little rat down. When she was sure he wouldn't run off, Lucy put him on the sweets table, next to a box of Bertie Botts' Every Flavor Beans, which he immediately began eating. Once the rat had finished off the box, it climbed into it and fell asleep. Lucy picked the box up carefully, holding it in her lap, the opening facing her.

"What are you going to do with him?" Lily asked, startling Lucy, who hadn't realized she was in the compartment. Lucy shrugged.

"I don't know, find him a home? If I can't, I'll keep him myself." Lily's eyes grew wide, but she said nothing. Lucy didn't notice, looking down at the box again.

"Whit?" Lucy looked up.

"Yeah?" Lily hesitated.

"Why risk your neck for a rat? I mean," Lily began hastily, seeing the fire light in Lucy's eyes again, "You could've really got hurt." Lucy didn't answer right away, thinking. She tipped the empty container, sliding the little brown rat into her waiting hand. She cupped her hands around its little body as if holding water.

"Look at it, Lils." Lucy said softly, holding the rat out. "Could it really be dangerous? Could it ever hurt anyone?" Lily shook her head. "Does it deserve to die?"

Lily shook her head.

-----------------------------------------------

After about ten minutes or so, even James and Sirius were growing frantic. Peter still hadn't come back. They set out to search for him, asking in each compartment if the occupants had seen Peter, or a rat. As they got nearer to the back of the train, girls in compartments had panicked at the word rat, so the they figured Peter had been around. In one of the last compartments, when James, Sirius, and Remus mentioned the word 'rat', a girl looking about fifteen or sixteen almost lost it.

"The rat?! Where is it?! That girl isn't around, is she?!"

"What girl?"

"The girl! The one with the curly black hair and blue eyes! She went insane! All I did was try to kill that bloody rat!" James, Sirius, and Remus' eyes grew wide.

"You didn't though, right?!" They asked desperately.

"No! I couldn't! That insane girl jumped in my way and saved the bloody pest! I couldn't believe it! She was bleeding and everything, all to save a bloody rat! Then she started screaming, and........................" The girl trailed off, mumbling to herself. Around her, girls were nodding vigorously. James, Sirius, and Remus exchanged looks, all three of them knowing the only person who would save a rat.

Lucy.

James, Sirius, and Remus now had a specific person in mind to look for. The three of them hurried to the very end of the train, checking in compartment windows for Lucy. In the very last compartment, they found her. She was curled up in a chair, holding something and looking out the window. And there, nestled in the crook of her neck, was a little brown rat. The guys almost collapsed in relief.

Remus knocked on the compartment door, James and Sirius bursting in without waiting for an answer. Both Lucy and Lily looked dreadfully confused, but it was Lucy, as usual, who noticed something odd.

"Where's Peter?" Lucy asked, standing up and looking out behind the guys.

"In the loo." James responded immediately. Lily believed him, but Lucy just shook her head. "What?"

"You're lying, James Potter." Lucy announced simply. "I don't like liars. If it's a secret, just tell me." Lucy petted the little brown rat absently as she spoke. Shock was written across every face in the compartment. Lucy, not paying attention to any of them, carefully set the little rat on top of her head. It ran across her head, half-falling off, getting caught in her bangs. Lucy laughed and untangled it from her hair. "Again?" She asked. It shook its head and Lucy laughed again.

"Why are you talking to it?" Lily asked, confused. Lucy looked over at Lily calmly, stroking the little rat's fur and holding it close.

"What? Just because he can't talk doesn't mean he can't think." Lucy held up the little rat to her face. "You understand me, don't you?" She asked, kissing the top of the rat's head. The rat squeaked and Lucy laughed. "You're a sweet little thing, aren't you?" The rat nodded happily. Lucy's face darkened suddenly and she grew silent. "I won't let them hurt you, okay?" She whispered softly to the little rat.

The compartment was completely silent as Lily, James, Sirius, and Remus all stared at Lucy, the boys' mouths wide open.

Lucy studied the rat carefully for a moment or two, looking slightly confused. Then she beamed. "You remind me of someone!" She exclaimed happily. The rat stared up at Lucy wordlessly. "Peter Pettigrew!"

James, Sirius, and Remus gasped simultaneously, causing Lucy, Lily, and the rat to jump. Lily glared at the boys while Lucy comforted the little rat.

"Do I even want to know what that was about?" Lily asked, somewhat sharply. The boys shook their heads rapidly. Lily and the boys looked over at Lucy to see her reaction and were somewhat surprised. Lucy had put the little brown rat on her head again, and it was running around and getting tangled in her hair. The weird thing was............the rat seemed to be enjoying itself.

"That's not natural." Sirius choked out. Lucy laughed.

"Why not, Sirius? My hair is fun to play with!" To demonstrate, Lucy shook her head lightly, curls flying everywhere. The rat squeaked in protest, gripping her head tightly. Lucy grinned as she took the rat off of her head. "Isn't that right, Peter?" She asked the little brown rat.

The compartment was silent for a long time, tension swallowing everyone. James, Sirius, Remus, Lily................even the rat seemed to be shocked. Only Lucy was blissfully unaware of everyone else, humming to herself softly.

"That's not Peter!" Remus exclaimed moments later, James remaining silent after being caught in his lie. Lily spoke before Lucy could.

"Well of course that isn't him!" She sniffed in a superior, know-it-all way. "Peter's a boy, not a rat."

"Now hold on a second." Lucy said abruptly, still playing with the little rat. "What makes you think this couldn't be Peter?" Lily looked confused.

"Because people can't be animals?" She asked hesitantly. Lucy shook her head.

"Here, hold him for me, will you?" Lily shrank back from the rat instinctively. Lucy rolled her eyes and turned to the boys, looking at each of them carefully. "Sirius." She decided, handing him the rat. "Don't let him go." Sirius nodded.

Lucy reached up into the carry space above their heads for her trunk, pulling it down and throwing it onto a seat, with some difficulty. She opened it and rummaged around in it for a good while, before pulling out a book with a triumphant air.

"Here it is!" Lucy said cheerily, closing her trunk. Lucy held up the book for the others to see. It was their Transfiguration book. Lucy hopped up onto her closed trunk, opening the book and placing it in her lap. Lucy turned the pages slowly, humming to herself and swinging her feet like a small child.

"Here it is!" She exclaimed, after having searched for a bit. "Listen!" Lucy propped the book up some so she could see it better, slipped on her glasses, and began. "There are some wizards who, with much practice, can transform into an animal. The few witches and wizards who accomplish this task become known as Animagus'. An Animagus can be any animal at all, but only one. For example, a wizard may be able to become a stag," Here James turned pale, but no one noticed, "and may be able to stay in that position for an unlimited amount of time. An Animagus who can turn into a dog," Sirius' eyes grew wide and he gulped audibly, "can live with a family their entire life unnoticed. Animagus' can turn into both domesticated, and wild animals. Very, very rare is it when an Animagus' transformation results in a magical animal, such as a unicorn, dragon, or phoenix..............." Lucy paused, eyes skimming the page. "There's more after that, but it's not really that important..............hold on." Lucy read something, laughed.

"What? What is it?" Lily asked, intrigued.

"I guess it's not really that funny, but.............."

"But what?"

"They make it sound so............so serious! As if it really matters!"

"What is it?!" Lily asked impatiently. Lucy shook her head, snapping the book shut.

"Not important." Lucy repeated. Lily frowned.

"Then why don't you read it?!" Lucy didn't answer. She hopped off of her trunk, opened it, and threw her Transfiguration book in it. She rummaged around in her trunk again, taking out her Defense Against the Dark Arts book. Lucy opened it without bothering to sit down, flipping through the pages, eyes skimming them with amazing speed. She stopped suddenly, read a few pages at lightning speed, then slammed the book shut, a look of disgust on her face.

"What? What is it?" Lily asked, surprised. Lucy shook her head and slammed her DADA book back into her trunk, closing the lid with amazing force. She locked the trunk and shoved it back in the carry space.

"Gimme Peter." Lucy demanded Sirius, who held the little rat tighter.

"What?! This isn't-"

"Gimme Peter."

"That's not its name!" Sirius looked slightly panicked now.

"Is he yours?" Lucy asked, confused. Sirius hesitated, then nodded his head furiously. Lucy said nothing, the look in her eyes clearly stating that Sirius was lying to her. But, once again, Lucy would do nothing to him, or any of the other boys, instead choosing to sit down in the spot where her trunk had been.

There was an odd tension in the air as the boys waited for what would come next, Lily watching everything with a slightly suspicious air about her. Lucy leaned back into her seat, eyes on the little rat. Sirius quickly moved it to his pocket. Lucy looked up at Sirius' face searchingly, but mentioned nothing.

"Sirius." He jumped.

"Yeah Whit?"

"Go find Peter." Sirius nodded and tore out of the compartment, leaving James and Remus standing by the door uncertainly. Lucy raised her eyebrows at them. "You two sitting down or what?" They nodded and sat.

Sirius came back with Peter not long after he'd left, Peter looking flushed but very, very happy. Lucy took note of this, but mentioned neither Peter's appearance or the little rat to either boy about them as they sat down. The four boys sat on the seat across from Lucy and Lily, Lucy watching them carefully. It was clear that she suspected something, but, as she'd always done before and would continue to do, she ignored her suspicions and turned to other things. The four boys loved her for this, each of them appreciating her all the more every time she did so.

"What are you five doing this summer?" Lucy asked casually, arms behind her head. She was smiling easily at Lily and the boys, but her eyes looked somewhat troubled. There were conflicting emotions in them, ranging from sadness, happiness, acceptance, even a slight bit of fear lingered in them. She was looking at her friends as if drinking them in, to last her throughout the summer. A surprising amount of pain flashed in her eyes. But she blinked, and each emotion was wiped from her eyes.

But not before Lily, James, Sirius, Remus, and Peter had noticed.

"Hello? Anyone gonna answer me?" Lucy asked jokingly. Lily, James, Sirius, Remus, and Peter shook their heads, the boys exchanging glances. The five of them had been caught up in studying Lucy and hadn't answered her.

"Well, you know what I'm gonna be doing." Lily said, answering first. "I'm gonna be hanging out with my family, which includes Petunia. Who hates me." Lucy smiled sympathetically, Lily just shrugging.

"What about you four?" Lucy asked, turning back to the boys.

"Pretty much the same. Me and my family. We haven't decided on whether or not we'll be doing anything this summer. I might get to visit some friends." Peter said, throwing glances at James, Sirius, and Remus, who grinned. "Other than that, I don't know." Peter was a pureblood, though not as rich as most. He was a middle-class pureblood, his parents not really known well in society. They were good and kind, yes, and would be perfectly happy if Peter wanted to visit friends over the summer.

"Cool." Lucy said happily. "Remus?"

"Me? Oh..................I probably will stay at home." Remus didn't look at Lucy when he spoke, looking a bit uncomfortable.

"What? Not going anywhere? Visiting anyone?" Remus shook his head, the look on his face clearly asking Lucy to stop. She saw this and switched her focus onto Sirius. "What about you, Sirius?" She asked, catching the grateful look Remus threw her. Sirius, on the other hand, scowled.

"Family." He spat angrily. "I'll probably be stuck going to a bunch of bloody pureblood parties, listening to what a disappointment I am." Lucy looked surprised. "My mum sent me a Howler in the beginning of the year, when she heard I was Gryffindor. I was out by the Forbidden Forest, though, so no one heard but me."

"What's a Howler?"

"A red letter that lets the sender scream at you louder than humanly possible."

"Oh." Lucy said quietly, eyes searching Sirius' angry face. "You know it's not true, though, right?" Sirius looked confused.

"What's not true?"

"You're not a disappointment, Sirius." Sirius said nothing, looking away from her. It was silent for a moment before he spoke again.

"Might visit friends, though." He mumbled, shooting a glance at James, who nodded discreetly. Sirius saw this and smiled, bad mood gone.

"What about you, James?" Lucy asked curiously.

"Definitely staying home." James announced firmly. "I want friends over this summer." Sirius, Remus, and Peter grinned. "And as soon as possible, too. I'm gonna talk to my mum and dad and find out how soon I can have guests, then I'm sending owls out." James grinned. "My parents are awesome. They'll probably let me have as many friends over as I want, for as long as I want."

"Awesome, James. Sounds like you four are gonna have fun." Lucy said cheerily.

"What are you doing this summer, Whit?" Lily asked. Lucy fell silent, smile disappearing somewhat. She didn't look at her friends, instead focusing her attention on looking out the window. There was a long silence before she finally answered.

"I'm going............." Lucy's mouth couldn't form the word 'home'. "I'm................"

"What?" Lily asked curiously, the four boys listening carefully.

"I'm....................."

"Anything off the trolley, dears?" A lady asked. All of them jumped. They shook their heads. "If you want something, I'll be up front. We're almost there, might want to get changed." The lady left. There was so much tension in the air that the six Gryffindors could almost taste it. Lily opened her mouth to say something to Lucy, who bolted out of the compartment as if she was on fire.

Lily sighed, concerned. She got up and left, leaving the boys to change. The four of them changed into their Muggle clothes quickly, Lucy and Lily returning not long after they'd finished. Lucy remained silent, staring out of the window, every once in a while running her hand through her hair. Lily tried to talk to Lucy many times, finally giving up and pulling out a book to read. The four boys looked at Lucy, unsure of how to approach her. James and Sirius began playing chess when they were sure that Lucy wouldn't talk for the rest of the ride, Peter watching them closely.

Remus, on the other hand, moved to the seat across from Lucy, watching her intently, waiting for her to talk. Lucy felt his gaze on her and half-turned from the window to see who was staring at her. She looked at him silently for a bit before turning back to the window. Remus had the feeling that Lucy had no idea what she was looking at. Her eyes were slightly glazed, a troubled look in them.

Remus felt worried, and he wondered what could be so bad about Lucy's house that she wasn't telling any of them. He knew why he didn't like talking about his house. It was because his parents who, though they loved Remus, feared him greatly. They had moved him from his room on the second floor to the basement many years ago, often locking him in at night, using a thick padlock they'd bought just for that reason. But what could be so wrong in Lucy's house, that she did not want to go home? It was obvious she wasn't happy about going home, just as it was obvious that he didn't. Neither of them had wanted to talk about it, although James, Sirius, and Peter knew perfectly well why Remus didn't want to go home.

Remus said nothing to Lucy, just sat across from her, thinking, for the rest of the ride.

Chapter 7: The Potter Parents Meet Lucy
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

A/N: I'm so so sorry that it took so long for me to update you guys! I feel so horrible, you wouldn't believe it! I mean, I know I have some kinda author-ish right to take as long as I need, but this chapter's been finished for a while! My stupid phone got shut off which got my stupid internet shut off! You all must feel so abandoned! I feel horrible! Please please please forgive me?
-The Very Guilty Feeling Author Lady

 
The Hogwarts Express pulled up to Platform 9 3/4, a loud whistle announcing their arrival. Remus helped Lucy pull down her trunk, James helping Lily. They thanked them for the help, the boys leaving to get theirs, which were in another compartment. Lucy and Lily headed off of the train along with the rest of the students. It didn't take long for them to get off, the two of them moving out of the way.

"There are my parents!" Lily exclaimed excitedly, pointing. Two people, a man with flaming red hair and a woman with brown hair spotted Lily and began waving excitedly at her. There was a girl who looked about sixteen or so, with brown hair, glaring at Lily sullenly, arms crossed. Lily's face fell some when she saw her.

"That's Petunia, huh?" Lucy asked, not missing Lily's reaction to the girl.

"Yeah, that's her." Lucy studied her for a moment.

"I don't like her." Lucy said decidedly, to which Lily laughed.

"I'm gonna head over to them, okay?" Lucy nodded. Lily gave her a tight hug and headed over to her family. Lucy watched as Lily was hugged by her parents and ignored by her older sister. Lily's parents said something to Petunia and she muttered something to Lily. They left, Lily waving once more before disappearing through the barrier.

"Whit!" Lucy turned to see James, Sirius, Remus, and Peter getting off of the train with their trunks. Lucy grinned, the four boys headed over to her.

"Hey guys. Where are your folks?" The boys scanned the platform, Peter finding his parents first and pointing them out.

"There are my parents." Peter said, pointing to his parents, both of them having mousy brown hair and big smiles. They came over to the group.

"Hello. You must be Peter's friends." Peter father said, smiling, as his mother gave Peter a huge hug and fussed over him.

"Hello mum, dad. These are my friends; James Potter, Sirius Black, and Remus Lupin. And this is Whit." Peter's parents looked momentarily confused at Lucy's name. Instead of asking, though, they just shrugged it off and grinned.

"Glad to meet you all." Peter's mother said warmly.

"C'mon, Peter, we've got to get going if we don't want to get caught in traffic." Peter's father announced. Peter rolled his eyes.

"This isn't America, dad." He complained. "I'll see you all later."

"Bye, Peter." James, Sirius, and Remus chorused. Lucy gave him a hug.

"See you in September, Peter!" She said cheerily. Peter's dad nudged him pointedly, grinning, to which Peter turned bright red.

"Yeah, bye!" Peter said hurriedly, James, Sirius, and Remus trying not to laugh. He and his parents left. Lucy shrugged, not knowing what had just happened.

"Oh, no....................." Sirius groaned, looking at three people who didn't look happy to see him. "I found my folks." The three people, a man, woman, and boy, walked over to them. The man and woman both had black hair and mean demeanors. Lucy was shocked when she saw the scowling boy. He noticed her at the same time she noticed him, and his jaw dropped.

"You!" They exclaimed in unison, James, Sirius, Remus, and Sirius' parents looking on in confusion.

"You know him, Whit?" Sirius asked incredulously. Lucy nodded, beaming.

"I didn't know you were Sirius' brother!"

"I didn't know you were Sirius' friend!" The two exclaimed in unison.

"You know him?!" Sirius repeated again, louder. Lucy nodded again.

"Yeah, of course! Remember before, when you sent him to come get me?" Sirius thought a bit, then nodded.

"But you actually like him?!" Sirius exclaimed, confused. "That slimy little-"

"Sirius!"

"What?!" Sirius didn't like his brother much, the feeling obviously mutual as Regulus glared at his older brother.

"Don't talk about your brother that way!"

"Why not?!" Sirius complained.

"Because I said so!" Lucy ordered. "It's rude to talk about your brother like that, and right in front of him!"

"Then can I talk about him when he's not around?" Sirius asked. Regulus cut Lucy off before she could speak.

"Forget it." Regulus spat. "It's not like I don't talk about him when he's not around." Sirius glared at his younger brother. "We all do! He's nothing but a filthy-"

"BOTH OF YOU JUST STOP!" Lucy shouted, making all of them jump. "What is the matter with you guys?! Sure, you don't like each other, but is this any way to act?! And out in public, where everyone can see you?!" That seemed to shut both of them up, but only because Sirius' parents announced it was time to go. Sirius said a quick goodbye to all of them, Lucy giving both him and his brother quick hugs.

"That went well." Lucy said reflectively, causing James and Remus to burst out laughing. Lucy grinned and joined them.

"Yeah, you're a real miracle worker, Whit!" James gasped. Remus nodded in agreement, the three of them laughing even harder.

"Poor Sirius, though. His summer won't go well, you can bet on that." Lucy said, the three of them sobering up in an instant.

"Speaking of bad summers............................." Remus mumbled, eyes landing on his parents. They were standing near the barrier nervously, looking around as if in mortal peril. Lucy noticed this but said nothing. Remus said goodbye to them and Lucy gave him a tight hug and a quick kiss on the cheek.

"It's only a couple months, Fox." She said gently. He nodded gratefully, then walked over to his parents, the three of them disappearing through the barrier in an instant.

Lucy and James watched them go silently. Once they were gone, Lucy hopped up onto her trunk and began swinging her legs.

"That's dangerous, you know, Whit." James said, leaning against a wall. Lucy stuck her tongue out at James, eyes crossed. He laughed. "You're silly, you know that, Whit? You act just like a kid!"

"I am just a kid!" James laughed again. Lucy stood on her trunk, balancing on one leg. The trunk was standing upright against a wall, about five feet high.

"That's dangerous, you know." James told her, slightly worried. Lucy crossed her eyes at James again.

"Like you don't do dangerous stuff." Lucy said, carefully bending over to balance on her hands. She grinned at James from her upside-down position.

"Yeah, but I haven't gotten hurt."

"Not yet, you mean." Lucy said, grinning cockily at James as she balanced on one hand. He could see her face perfectly for once.

"Ha ha ha. Very funny, Whit." James said sarcastically. "Now get down." Lucy shook her head, causing her to loose her balance slightly. She quickly put her other hand down to steady herself. "See! You almost fell!" Lucy rolled her eyes.

"Only because you distracted me." She said, sticking her tongue out at him. Lucy bent her arms until her nose was almost touching her trunk, then pushed off with all her strength,  landing on her feet with a thud. "Ha! Let's see you try that, James Potter!" Lucy crowed, eyes gleaming as she looked at James' shocked face.

"James! James!" Called a voice, saving James from having to answer. Relief filled his face as he looked past Lucy at his parents. Lucy turned around and saw James' parents walking over to them. She recognized them from the beginning of the school year. They seemed to be very shocked when they say Lucy, but hid it well. Lucy noticed, though, and wondered why. She ran a hand through her hair pensievly.

"Hey mum, dad!" James greeted them cheerily. "You missed out on meeting Sirius, Remus, and Peter! And Lily, but I'm not quite sure if we're friends. This is Whit!" Lucy laughed at the looks of confusion on James' parents' faces.

"Jeeze, James, could you speak any faster?" She teased him.

"Well sor-ry. I haven't seen them all year!"

"What, Christmas doesn't count?" James turned red.

"Ha ha ha. You're a regular comedian, aren't you, Whit?" Lucy crossed her eyes at James, grinning.

"Glad to know it." James rolled his eyes at her, smiling slightly.

"Anyway, mum, dad, this is my friend, Whit." James' parents were looking at her, shock still evident in their eyes, as well as other emotions. Pain, sadness, hope, confusion........... it was all there as they looked down at Lucy. James didn't notice it, but Lucy did, and was very confused. She took a half step back from them, but smiled.

"My name's not Whit, actually." Lucy said suddenly. "He just calls me that."

"Then what's your name, dear?" James' mother asked. Lucy liked her, she seemed to be a very nice person, as did James' father.

"My name's a secret." Lucy announced, eyes gleaming mischievously. James' parents looked confused. "Tell 'em, James." James rolled his eyes, grinning.

"She wanted to see if we could figure it out, but we couldn't. Her last name's Whitaker, but Remus wouldn't call her that. He started calling her Whit, and so did we." James' parents burst out laughing. Lucy grinned broadly.

"How hard could it be to figure out, James?" His father asked.

"None of the teachers would tell us!" James complained.

"Ever thought of checking my necklace, Einstein?" Lucy asked teasingly. James looked confused.

"Who's Einstein? And what necklace are you talking about?"

"Einstein's a Muggle man who was considered a genius. He knew just about everything and Muggles still admire him and use his methods in maths and stuff."

"Oh, right...................But what necklace are you talking about?" Lucy rolled her eyes and pulled a necklace out from under her shirt, careful to cover whatever was hanging from it with her hand.

"This necklace, genius." Lucy said. "I've worn it every day, all year."

"So?"

"It has my name on it, you goof."

"What?! Let me see that!" James exclaimed. Lucy shook her head, tucking it back in her shirt.

"Sorry, James. I mean, really. You've seen the necklace chain enough for you to know I've had one on........................you could've asked to see it, you know."

"No fair!"

"Yes fair." Lucy said teasingly. "And now you have to wait a whole summer before you can try again." James groaned loudly and Lucy laughed.

"At least tell me what's on the necklace!" He begged.

"A ring." Lucy said simply.

"A ring?" James asked, bewildered. She nodded.

"Yup. A little golden ring with my name on it.....................my first name."

It was silent for a moment, no one having anything to say to that. James' parents had never taken their eyes off of Lucy ever since they'd spotted her. Their eyes had widened dramatically when they'd heard her mention the ring.

"......................Whit, is it?" James' mother asked.

"Yeah, Mrs. Potter?" Lucy asked, smiling brightly.

"Where..................did you get this ring? Did your parents give it to you?" Lucy's face fell and she looked down at the ground.

"I guess so. I don't know."

"What do you mean, Whit?" Mr. Potter asked, confused. Lucy looked up at him, eyes bright with pain. She looked back down at the floor.

"I don't know. I.............don't live with them."

"She lives with her aunt and uncle." James supplied, unaware of how uncomfortable Lucy was feeling about the subject.

"Oh?" Mrs. Potter asked, surprised. "Why is that?" Lucy didn't answer, didn't look up. Mrs. Potter sensed that she was uncomfortable and stopped.

"Do you have any siblings?" Mr. Potter asked curiously. Lucy looked over at James, who grinned. She grinned too, both remembering the glasses episode before.

"Oh! My glasses!" Lucy said suddenly, remembering that she'd forgotten to take them off before. She pulled them off and put them away. She ran a hand through her hair, moving it off her face for second before it fell back. Lucy laughed.

"No, leave them on! Let's show my parents!" James exclaimed suddenly. Lucy shrugged, pulled out her glasses, and put them back on.

"There, happy?"

"Extremely. Mum, dad, look!" James and Lucy stood side by side. James poked Lucy. "Hair." He commanded, Lucy obligingly pulling her hair out of her face. "Sirius, Remus, and Peter noticed this before.......................we don't look like we're related, right?" James' parents looked at the two of them, shock now evident in not only their eyes, but their entire faces. This was the first time they could Lucy's eyes clearly.

Lucy pulled off her glasses and put them away again. "Maybe the guys were right............. Maybe we are secretly related." She and James laughed.

"Yeah, Whit. You're my long-lost little sister."

"Hey! How do you know you're not my little brother!" James laughed.

"Cause I'm taller! Seriously, Whit, you could be ten!"

"So?!" James laughed. "What?!"

"We sound like we're related!" The two of them looked at each other, then burst out laughing.

"You're right! We sound like idiots!"

"No, siblings!"

"If we are related, I call younger!" Lucy exclaimed suddenly.

"Why?" James asked suspiciously. Lucy grinned.

"I get Little Sister Rights!" James looked confused. "I get to annoy, tease, and make fun of you without getting in trouble. I get to follow you around and wreak havoc everywhere you go. I get to follow you on dates and badmouth you-"

"Stop!" James pleaded, but Lucy continued as if she hadn't heard him.

"Not only that, but I can blame you for stuff and never get in trouble! And you have to always be nice to me! I call little sister!"

"Noooooooooooo!" James cried out in mock-agony.

"Yeeeeeeeeeeeeees!" Lucy grinned, eyes gleaming mischievously. The two of them were silent a bit, imagining, before James spoke again.

"Oh well." He said, shrugging. "You're cool, anyway. I wouldn't mind being your big brother."

"Yeah, because you know I'd never do any of that to you." James grinned sheepishly, but didn't disagree.

"True. Besides, if I get big brother, I get to be overprotective and in your face all the time." Lucy laughed.

"Yeah right, James. You'd never go Big Brother on me, even if we were related." James shrugged sheepishly.

"Okay, you got me there."

"I wouldn't mind being your little sister." Lucy said thoughtfully. James nodded.

"It'd be just like us being best friends, only living together." He said. Lucy nodded.

"That'd be pretty cool."

It was quiet again, Lucy and James falling into a thoughtful silence. James' parents looked at James and Lucy, then at each other, then back to them. Neither child noticed this silent exchange, both parents jumping when Lucy spoke.

"What time is it?" She asked suddenly. Mr. Potter checked his watch.

"About two." A look of panic swept over Lucy's face.

"I've got to go. I'm gonna be late! Help me with this, James?" James helped Lucy put her trunk onto a trolley, holding it there as she strapped it in. She gave James a quick hug, then turned to his parents. "It was nice meeting you, Mr. and Mrs. Potter."

"Why in such a rush, child?" Fear now joined panic in Lucy's eyes.

"My aunt." She said, then turned and tore out through the barrier at top speed.

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James was chattering away happily in the backseat, telling his parents all about the numerous adventures he'd had that year at Hogwarts, many of them about Remus, almost all of them including Lucy. James admitted that Lucy had been the absolute only person that kept the crazy quartet out of major trouble, protecting them against teachers, handing over homework and much more. In fact, Lucy seemed to play a major part in each and every one of his successful endeavors. James admitted that every plan he, Sirius, Remus, and Peter had tried without her help had failed miserably, landing them in detention. "Which," James said, after a moment's thought, "she usually got us out of."

James talked about absolutely everything, even classes, Lucy somehow ending up the centerpiece of each story. It seemed, at least to his parents, that James' world steadily revolved around Lucy. They asked him, once, if he fancied her. The result was almost laughable. James' eyes had gotten huge, his mouth dropped open, and he stared at his parents from the backseat in silence for a full five minutes.

"I'm guessing that's a no?" His father said weakly, attempting a joke.

"I should say not!" James had exclaimed, rather loudly. "She's like a sister to me! Merlin! How could you two even think that?!" The tone in which James had spoken clearly stated that the matter was closed. His parents chose not to prod, both of them knowing without a doubt that James was telling the truth.

After a bit of silent driving, in which James let his astonishment show without a trace of remorse, he began chattering away again.
 
Okay, so maybe the guilty part of my brain overreacted a little, but hey, it makes for funny reading right? Besides, why should I scroll all the way back up just to correct a potentially hilarious Author's Note? :D Here's the first two paragraphs to the next chapter. (Just cause I feel all happy and niceish!)
Here ya go!
 

Lucy didn't know whether or not her aunt's cold, distant attitude towards her was good or bad. Olivia didn't mistreat her, no, she just completely ignored her existence. It was slightly unnerving, to say the least, and Lucy couldn't stop feeling as if she were walking on eggshells. Lucy had been late in meeting her aunt, who as going to pick her up. As a result, her aunt had left the station, forcing Lucy to walk home alone, dragging her trunk all the way. Lucy was used to worse, though, and was more than slightly relieved that her aunt had not caused a scene at King's Cross.

As soon as Lucy had managed to find her way home, she'd dragged her trunk all the way up to her room, making a mental note to charm it feather light as soon as she got back to Hogwarts. Lucy's room was up in the attic. The attic made up the third, and highest, floor of the house. It was cold in the winter and sweltering hot in the summer. The attic's room temperature varied on the temperature outside. The first thing Lucy did was throw open all the windows in preparation for the oncoming summer heat.
 
BYE-BYYEZ TIL NEXT TIME!

Chapter 8: Summers--Part One
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

A/N: Hey readers! Guess what! This Author's Note is actually gonna talk about the chapter in a way that makes sense! ..........................ish............................

This chapter is, basically, in existence thanks to one mugglegirlly. She'd left a review for Chapter 5 a while back in which she made a very valid point; I seemed to have a tendency to rush through Lucy's friends' characters. Like, Lucy was the deep end of the pool, and Lily and the guys were splashing in the kiddie pool? (Sorry, only comparison I could think of on the spot.......................) Well, that got me to thinking and I decided to take a chapter just for Lily and the guys. After all, they deserve some depth, too! (Wow, I talk like I'm an angry reader of this story, not the author who could actually fix this problem..........................and is.)

ANYWAYS, back to the chatter.
I was originally gonna make this one chapter, but decided (thanks to overwhelming amounts of guilt) that I'd just hand over what I have and attempt to clean all the guilt off of myself. I know I haven't updated in forever: Feel free to yell, scream, and insult me all you wish. (I'll just keep apologizing, anyway, after all.) This chapter's only about Lily, James, and Sirius, as I've come upon a wall in my thoughts.
..........................Too bad there isn't a skilled Legilimens around here to break down the wall.............................. Maybe I should take up Occlumency, the wall is so hard........................... I hurt myself when I crashed into it, you know.
Thanks for having so much patience with me, my lovely readers!
 


LILY:

"So, Lily dear, how was Hogwarts? Did you have fun? Make any new friends?" Mrs. Evans asked her daughter, turning in her seat to look back at her. Lily caught sight of Petunia, who was making a face and silently mocking their mother, which caused her to frown slightly before answering.

"Yes, I made a friend, mum. Her name's Lucy."

"I see." Her mother said enthusiastically. "And was she the girl you were standing with before? The one with the curly black hair?" Lily nodded, once again catching Petunia's sour, mocking face out of the corner of her eye and frowning slightly.

"And what about all those boys standing near you two? Are they your friends, too?" Mr. Evans asked, wishing he'd let his wife drive so he could watch his daughter's reaction. If he had, he would have felt very relieved.

Lily made a face at her father's words. The only reason she even tolerated the four boys' existence was because of Lucy's friendship with them. Granted, Remus was pretty ok most of the time, but he, James, Sirius, and Peter caused way too much trouble for Lily to be anywhere near close to her. Especially James. Lily had spent many a night wondering just what it was that drew Lucy to the troublesome four, before finally giving up and deciding that Lucy would be Lucy. Besides, it wasn't like she and Lily had the exact same personalities. If Lily thought about it long enough, she realized that she probably wouldn't get along with Lucy as well if they were exactly the same. The two shared enough traits to get along, but Lucy was different enough from Lily for them to have fun. If Lily would take the time to step back and look at Lucy, she'd find that Lucy was, basically, the line that separated Lily from James, Sirius, Remus, and Peter. Lucy was, for lack of better words, right smack in the middle of Lily, and the four boys. It would be almost comical to Lily if she were to honestly admit to herself how alike Lucy and James were, seeing as Lily, basically, hated James.

And for good reason, too! Whenever Lucy wasn't around to distract the boy, he fawned all over Lily! It drove her insane, and many of the students at Hogwarts were witness to the surprisingly explosive side of Lily............................the side that only came out when she was around James. Especially if Lucy wasn't around to smooth things over and end the fight before it had a chance to truly begin.

The silence in the car stretched as Lily continued making a face, as well as adding a full body shudder to the act. Her mother snickered and began giggling slightly, turning to face foreword in order to not loose control of her laughter at the sight of her normally unflappable daughter's reaction to her father's simple question. Petunia, on the other hand, scowled darkly at her sister, before turning to glare out the window, silently counting down the days before she could leave her freak show sister and move out.

"Lily?" Her father asked tensely, gripping the wheel tightly. He had all the right in the world to overreact to his youngest daughter's silence. He was, after all, a dad, and this was his baby girl. She would be away at a boarding school for the most part of the year; anything could happen. Not only that, but Petunia was already seventeen. She'd had a boyfriend, Vernon Dursley, for a few good years now, and he knew they were serious. He also knew that, as soon as Vernon was 'financially stable', he would most likely propose to Petunia and whisk her away from them.

"They are not my friends, dad!" Lily exclaimed, just then realizing that he couldn't see her expression. He was driving, and Lily was sitting in the seat directly behind him, Petunia directly behind their mother. "Lucy's my best friend!"

Mr. Evans sighed in relief, receiving a nudge from his wife. At her pointed look, he shot her one that quite clearly asked, 'What?'

Mrs. Evans' response was; 'I think you know what!'

To that, Mr. Evans gave her a look that said, 'No I don't know what!'

Mrs. Evans gave him a disbelieving look. 'You're kidding, right?'

'No!' The indignant look that spread across Mr. Evans' face was somewhat comical.

Mrs. Evans in turn sent him a look that said, 'We'll talk later.'

And Lily, in the backseat, shouted, "Would you two please stop doing that weird eye talking thing so dad doesn't, you know, kill us?!"

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Once the four were home safe, sound, and in one piece, Lily hurried off to unpack her things, as well as get away from Petunia, who had been continually sending hate glares in her direction. Lily felt sad as she unpacked her trunk, realizing just how much Lucy's almost anguished cry of "Where did the year go?" matched her own feelings perfectly. As she reevaluated the scene in her mind, Lily realized what it was that made her ask Lucy if something was wrong. The look in Lucy's eyes when she spoke those words conveyed a different message entirely. Do we really have to go?

Lily found herself blinking back tears as she hung up her clothes in her closet. She hadn't realized that she and Lucy might have more in common outside of Hogwarts, and magic. Lily found herself wondering what it was that Lucy didn't like about her home, as well as where, exactly it was. Oddly enough, the two had never gotten around to exchanging addresses or phone numbers; it just hadn't seemed like the year would end. Even when they were on the train headed home, or when they'd arrived at King's Cross; neither Lily nor Lucy had seemed to believe the goodbye would be for three whole months. A small smile crossed Lily's lips; she was usually the one that remembered stuff like that. She frowned again as she realized that she must've not been any happier about going home than Lucy was; Lily had just been in denial.

It wasn't that Lily didn't like her house, no. Her parents were lovely. She loved them with all of her heart. They were kind, understanding, and had been absolutely ecstatic when they'd learned that Lily was a witch. Lily had a pair of parents anyone would love to have, even though they did have rules. They had, after all, raised Lily well. She wasn't spoiled, but she wasn't neglected or anything. Lily was..........................content.

In a way.

When it came right down to it, it was Petunia that made Lily want to stay far, far away from their house on Rosewood Road. Ever since the second Lily had shared the news of her acceptance into Hogwarts with her family, Petunia had been horrible to Lily. Calling her a freak, making rude comments when her parents weren't around, looking as if she smelt something awful whenever Lily entered the room.........................it hurt, it really did. Petunia was Lily's only sister in the entire world, and here she was, hating Lily's very existence, simply because she was a witch! It wasn't Lily's fault! She hadn't asked to be able to do magic! Why did Petunia always have to be so horrible all the time?

Lily sighed, knowing that Petunia would probably try to pick arguments with her again. Every day since Lily had gotten her letter, up until the day she left, Petunia had been striving to make Lily explode, calling her a coward when she didn't. It was like Petunia lived for the chance to make Lily's life miserable.

Well no more. Lily thought as she resumed unpacking, slamming clothes into a drawer almost angrily. I'm tired of staying quiet and letting her walk all over me! I never have before, and I'm not going to start now! And it was true. Lily had never let anyone walk over her before, and was ashamed to find that she'd been letting Petunia do just that.

Almost out of nowhere, Lily found herself thinking about Lucy, mentally thanking her. Without really knowing that she'd done it, Lucy had put the fire back in Lily's fighting spirit, the pride and almost defiance that made her Lily.

Once she was unpacking, Lily made her way down the stairs to meet up with her family in the dining room for dinner, an almost wicked grin on her face and a determined glint in her eyes. She was back, and she was ready.

Let the games begin.

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"Freak." Petunia spat as she walked by Lily's room, door wide open. Lily looked up from rereading Hogwarts; A History once more. She got up and made her way to the door, ready to close it, as she had done so many times before, then stopped herself. Making a split second decision, Lucy appearing in her mind, Lily stuck her head out of her room.

"AS FAR AS I'M CONCERNED, YOU'RE THE WITCH AROUND HERE!" She shouted after Petunia, who was halfway down the stairs at the time.

"Why you little-" Petunia exclaimed, turning round and storming up the stairs, only to have Lily slam the door right in her face. Petunia kept shouting and pounding on the door angrily, but Lily simply locked it. She leaned heavily against the door for a few moments, before bouncing over to her bed, jumping in it, and beginning to read again, Petunia's angered shouts music to her ears. Lily felt vindicated, free, giddy even, as she read, a huge grin on her face, wiggling around with barely contained excitement.

Petunia only stopped in her shouting and pounding when their parents intervened. They sent her to her room for the rest of the day and knocked on Lily's door.

"Lily dearest? Could you please open the door?" Lily closed her book, putting it on her bedside table as she slipped off of her bed. She had calmed down much during Petunia's outburst, and when she opened the door, her face was blank, questioning, as if she had heard none of Petunia's shouts. Her parents sighed and exchanged looks, before walking in and closing the door after them.

"Yes Mum? Dad?" She asked, blinking innocently. Mr. and Mrs. Evans exchanged another look, before sitting on Lily's bed. They had been worried that something like this would happen. Though they never had any proof, the elder Evans had been worried that Petunia might have been picking on Lily. They'd noticed that Lily had become almost unusually quiet and solemn at home, but when they saw her getting off the train with her friend, she'd looked happier than ever. Mr. and Mrs. Evans both had the nagging feeling that something had happened while they'd been out shopping, proved when they'd gotten home to hear Petunia's shouting at Lily through her room door.

"Would you like to tell us what happened, dear?" Mr. Evans asked. Lily took a long moment to think it over before answering.

"She started it." Were the first words out of the redhead's mouth. Her parents had to suppress smiles at this.

"We don't want to know who started it, Lily. We want to know what happened." Mrs. Evans reminded her. Lily shrugged, as if to say it was the same thing.

"Petunia's always being nasty to me. She called me a freak and I retaliated. If you want to ground me, go ahead. But I'm tired of letting her walk all over me." Lily crossed her arms stubbornly, an angry expression on her face. "I'm glad I fought back!"

The elder Evans exchanged another look, then smiled, shocking Lily quite thoroughly. Leaning in closer to their younger daughter, they whispered words that made Lily fill to the brim with happiness.

"So are we!"

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The elder Evans explained to Lily that, while they weren't happy with her and Petunia arguing, they were glad that Lily was standing up for herself. They weren't going to punish her this time, but suggested that she stay in her room the rest of the day anyway, just in case Petunia got it in her head to use this as an excuse to attack her again. Lily agreed easily, as she had planned to spend the day in her room anyway, feeling as if she could explode she was so happy!

Lily spent the day reading and wishing that she'd have gotten an owl, so she could write to Lucy and tell her all about this wonderful, wonderful day.

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The next few days Petunia remained silent, angry at finally being caught. She stayed in her room sulking, while Lily spent her days chattering with her parents and making plans to go to nearby parks and such. By the end of the week, Petunia was out of her room, if only to go visit her boyfriend, Vernon Dursley. Mr. and Mrs. Evans tried to get Petunia to spend more time at home with them and Lily, but she refused, stating that she didn't want to get infected with Lily's freakishness. This, of course, got her grounded for a week. The elder Evans, now finally being witness to Petunia's mistreatment to her younger sister, were cracking down on her, determined to make her stop.

Lily was overjoyed at this development, though she and Petunia had quite a few rather violent arguments. No matter how much the elder Evans punished her, Petunia never gave in. She simply found other ways to show her hatred for her younger sister, especially when their parents weren't around.

But nothing could stop Lily. She fought back, never harming or truly hurting her elder sister, whom she still loved, deep down, but Lily didn't hold back either. She didn't hold back, yet she didn't go overboard. Lily, unlike her sister, had a conscience, and couldn't say anything as vicious as the things Petunia said to her. Petunia truly hated her sister, but the simple fact that Lily loved her kept her from doing anything truly horrible.

So their arguments, though loud, fierce, and more than a little frightening, never ended in more than one of the girls storming away.

 

JAMES:

James shook his head wildly, hair whipping round frantically. He stuck a finger into his ear, then knocked the side of his head in an attempt to rid himself of the water that seemed to have lodged itself in his brain. After his head was decently water free, James climbed the rest of the way out of the pond, grabbing his glasses as he did so. James collapsed onto the grass and stared up at the sky, relaxing now and letting the sun dry him a bit before he headed home.

Home wasn't that far away, actually. This pond was in a clearing in the woods behind his house. Close enough for his parents to let him come alone, far enough away for him to have some privacy. No one could see the clearing from the house. This clearing was almost like James' hideout, his sanctuary. He came here whenever he needed to be alone, to think, or even just to relax. The clearing filled him with a sense of peace he just couldn't seem to get anywhere else. There was no doubt his parents knew about the clearing, as they'd lived here since before James was born, but they also knew how James felt about it, and left it be. They let James have his space, to which James was eternally grateful. As much as he liked goofing off, James needed time and space in which to think and unwind, just like anyone else.

James had a lot to think about today, which was why he was there. He'd taken a swim first, putting off the inevitable time in which he would concentrate on his problems and try to muddle through his thoughts.

 James closed his eyes and sighed softly, deciding to just start. The sooner he began, the sooner he could get back to harassing his parents on an exact date on which Sirius, Remus, and Peter could come visit.

Should the first thing be the hardest, or should I work up to it? James asked himself, eyes still closed, a breeze dancing across his face comfortingly. Work up to it. He decided after a moment's thought. If I start with that problem, I won't have time for any of the others. James took a deep breath and began with the easiest problem for the time being.

Number One: Getting the guys over for the summer. Well, that was starting off easy. His parents already said the guys could come over, but hadn't given James an exact day, so he wasn't able to invite them just yet. He suspected that his parents wanted to give Sirius, Remus, and Peter some time with their families, and he some time with them. James didn't mind spending time with his parents; they were great. He knew that if his parents gave him a set date, all he'd be able to think of was that day. Which was probably why they weren't telling him anything just yet. James was smart enough to see the wisdom in this plan, though it did not dull his impatience the slightest.

Number Two: Lily Evans. James smiled as he thought about Lily. True, she probably hated him, seeing as how their fights escalated to almost astronomical proportions, especially when Lucy wasn't around. Lucy was most likely the reason James was even still alive right now, to which he was grateful. It didn't stop him from trying to get Lily to go out with him, though. James couldn't explain it, but since the moment he'd seen Lily, he'd known they were meant for each other. Fawning all over her was just about the stupidest way he could go about of showing her, but hey, he was eleven. He'd never had any experience in love, or romance. Which was exactly what he was sure what he felt for Lily was; love. She was all he could think about, after all. When his mind wasn't too preoccupied with the Lucy. Who was his third problem of the day.

Number Three: Whit. James frowned and tried to puzzle out all the things that'd happened during the year, as well as things Lucy did that reminded him greatly of other things. It was odd, definitely odd. There were so many confusing things, or maybe it was just a few things? Maybe it was just the vibes James was picking up from his parents, or just Lucy herself. James couldn't explain exactly what it was about Lucy that put her on the top of his 'Things to Think About' list, which was probably why she was there.

James sighed again and rolled onto his back. He inhaled the scent of the grass deeply, trying to free his mind from the chokehold his thoughts about Lucy had put it in. There just weren't enough facts for him to work off of, not enough information for his brain to process everything just yet. So he wouldn't think about it. Not right now, anyway. Later, maybe, when he had more to work with. Until then, he'd put his Lucy thoughts on hold. James wasn't stupid, not in the least, and he knew that attempting to think about this before he actually could, would only frustrate him. It was a pointless endeavor, in which only one conclusion would surface. Him getting frustrated.

James sat up, rubbing his forehead and grimacing. He'd given himself a headache with his thoughts of Lucy and the circle he'd ended up near the end. He'd been thinking so hard about not thinking about Lucy because it would make him frustrated, that he'd given himself a headache. And he was frustrated.

James laughed suddenly, knowing that laughing was probably what Lucy would do if she were here now. It felt good to laugh, to relieve himself of all that frustration and tension that had built up inside of him. James looked out across the clearing, sighing happily. The pond, the trees, the grass, the flowers...................................... all of it and more were symbols of his sanctuary, his safe place. This was where James had first come to think about his little sister, after she'd been kidnapped. This was where James always came to think about her, because he could always leave his thoughts here. He could think and think and think, then leave, unburdened by them. It was good to know that he could come and sort through his problems, that he could think about his sister, without any pain, at least here. The one place on earth where James could just breathe.

James got to his feet and stretched, wondering exactly how long he'd been out in his clearing. He didn't know, as he was terrible with time. He'd left his watch in the house as well, not wanting to take the chance of ruining it on the off chance that he'd decide to go for a swim. James almost always went for a swim when he came to his clearing. It gave him time to cool down and relax some, before he did whatever he came here to do, unless he needed to be dry in order to do it. Then James would just go for a dip afterwards. Either way, James always got at least a little wet before leaving his clearing.

James located his socks and shoes and looked down at them a moment or two, wondering whether or not it was worth it to put them on. In the end, James just carried them. Both his socks and shoes were soaked anyway. James draped his relatively dry t-shirt round his neck and set off, whistling happily as he did so.

As James passed by the hidden archway that led to his clearing, he felt the weight of his thoughts leaving him as it always did. It made him smile.

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James found himself standing in front of a large wooden door late that night, when his parents were asleep. He looked up at its polished surface, the long unused doorknob gleaming faintly in the dim light. James reached out to touch the doorknob lightly, only to be shocked into awareness be Bear, his House Elf.

"Is young master alright? Is you lost, sir? Sleepwalking?" Bear asked, confused as to why James was here, in front of this particular door. Only Twinkle, Bear's fellow House Elf, even bothered entering or cleaning this room anymore, which really said something about the frequency of which the Potters went in it. The fact of the matter was that this particular door hadn't been opened in just over ten years.

"No, no. I'm alright, Bear." James said, shaking his head and stepping away from the door. "Just a little confused, that's all."

".......................Does master James want to go in little mistress'-"

"No, no. That's fine. I don't really want to go in there." James said hurriedly, cutting Bear off quickly. Bear looked up at James concernedly. James noticed this and flushed slightly. "I'm gonna head to bed, okay, Bear?" James asked. Bear nodded.

"Please call if you is needing my help, sir." He said. James nodded.

"Yeah, sure, I'll do that." He said, backing away from Bear and the door, before turning and heading into his room, directly beside it.

James collapsed into his bed, removing his glasses and placing them on his bedside table. He wondered just what it was, exactly, that drew him to that door so much tonight. There was no real reason for him to bother with it; ten years was a long time. The fact of the matter was that the door enclosed a specific room, a specific memory. Of his little sister. It had been her room, before she'd been kidnapped. After she was taken, the door to her room was shut and never opened again. Sure, Twinkle still went in there and cleaned, but she didn't use the door.

James sighed and turned over to face out his window, as he did every night. This night, though, James pulled his covers over his face and prayed for sleep to come.

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James opened one of his eyes blearily and stared out his window. Over the past few years he'd moved his bed across the room, so that it was nearer to the window. He'd wanted more room to play, so he'd had Bear and some of the other House Elves help him move it over. Now whenever he looked out his window, he could just see the huge P that was on the gates leading outside of his house. His front yard was an eternity long and about three long, so the fact that he could just barely see people at the gate was very good. It was probably because his room was on the fourth floor. James like being able to see whether or not people were at the gate. Ever since he was little, since his sister had been kidnapped, James had watched the gate through his window, safe on the fourth floor. Just to keep an eye out. At first it was a combination of fear, worry, and hope all rolled together in one. James had been two when his sister had been kidnapped, so he'd been terribly afraid that he would be next. His parents assured him that nothing would happen to him, and over the years the fear left him completely. But there was always the smallest burning ember of hope that his little sister would one day return, walking through the front gate as if she'd never left in the first place. The hope had dwindled greatly over the years, but it never left him completely.

James always believed that his sister was out there somewhere, searching for him as he was searching for her. His parents had all but given up; not only were their no ransoms, but there were no signs of her anywhere. He knew that they hoped she was alive, but they were greatly discouraged because of the fact that no signs of her had appeared whatsoever in the ten years since she'd disappeared. But James-no matter how much he tried to ignore it-still believed that his sister was out there, somewhere............................. Alive and searching for him as he was for her, however subtly.

Whenever he thought about his sister, whenever he remembered her, a strong flood of magic seemed to fill him; it was the strange connection that only they shared, he knew. Even when James was little, he'd known that he and his sister shared something no one else in the world had. Even though he was only thinking of past memories, the connection was still there, still just as strong, still just as amazing. It was one of the reasons that James truly believed his sister was still alive and searching, somewhere. If she had died, or given up, James would be the first to know. There was no way James could explain why or how he knew all this, but he did. It made all the sense in the world when he thought it, but James knew his parents would simply check him into Saint Mungo's for testing if he tried to explain the connection.

It was more than an understanding, more than simple love. It was more even than magic. Ever since the little girl had been born, ever since the two had connected eyes, he being the first she looked at........................................ He'd known. the second he'd looked at his baby sister, he knew. He knew that she was special, and that she was making him special each and every day. He knew that she was destined for greatness, greatness that couldn't be imagined or contained. James knew, he knew that she was alive, his beautiful little sister, his angel. His gift from whatever deity existed. James could never explain the reason why he always felt as if his sister had chosen them to be his family, as if he would be an only child had she not chosen them.

James knew that all his thoughts and reasoning sounded completely mad, yet it was with perfect clarity that he understood them. It made all the sense in the world within the confines of his mind, yet he could not help the feeling that, would he try to explain it to anyone, the words wouldn't come. These thoughts, this knowledge that he had, he was allowed to have.................................. it was a gift, a precious and sacred secret that he needed to keep close to his heart, to protect her, to protect his sister.

"James?" His mother asked, sounding slightly concerned. She stepped into the room slowly, followed by an unsure looking Bear. James turned in his bed to face her, startled out of his deep thinking, the thinking he usually left for his Clearing, blinking in surprise at the intrusion. "Bear said he'd been trying to get you out of bed for a while, and I have been knocking for quite a bit as well, dear." James blinked up at his mother blindly, before remembering his glasses and sliding them onto his face. Even then, he simply continued to blink up at his mother, feeling oddly hollow and lightheaded. For a moment there, he'd felt as if he'd almost reached something, a place he hadn't visited in years. His fingers had been outstretched, almost touching what he was sure to be another's. Then his mother had come in and the entire thing, the odd passageway he'd been in had disappeared, the mirror which he'd been standing in front of not fading, but simply being pulled away from him as he soared backwards back into his body, into his room. Back to his mother and reality.

James realized that his mother had been speaking to him ever since he'd put his glasses on, which had been a while ago. He'd simply zoned out, remembering the anomalous moment in which time had been suspended and he'd been alive past the point of life. It had been the most amazing, wonderful, out of this world experience that he'd ever had in his life. James had felt as if he'd been floating on a pillar of air, suspended above the world, above the heavens, higher even than the clouds in the sky................................... It reminded him of how he'd felt when he'd first seen Lily. As if there were no way on earth he could ever forget the moment, as if he'd been alive for the first time ever.

"James? James! James!" His mother shouted, taking him by the shoulders and shaking him roughly, a panicked gleam in her eyes. How long had it been since he'd stopped listening? James was horrible with time, but he guessed it'd been a while.

"Huh? What? Mum, calm down!" James exclaimed, wriggling out of her grasp and jumping off of his bed, eyes focusing on her for the first time since he'd put his glasses on. "I'm fine, Mum, just tired and stuff. That's all. When are the guys gonna get to come over, anyway? Soon, I hope. I think I'm gonna head out on the Pitch today." James babbled, locking his thoughts away in a far corner of his mind for later examination. Now wasn't the time for any more thought, that was for sure.

Not even three days later, Sirius, Remus, and Peter were over at his house.

 

SIRIUS:

Sirius hated everything about his house. It wasn't even a house to him, not anymore. It was a prison, ever since he'd walked in. His parents were furious that he was in Gryffindor. It was mad, they were mad! All they ever did was yell at him and mock him and beat him nowadays. It'd been a few weeks since they and Regulus had picked him up from King's Cross, and he hated every second of it. Sirius couldn't stand his brother, who had become one of his most hated enemies since he'd left Hogwarts. Regulus was even worse than his parents, because he knew just what to say to get that extra little dig. Their parents just shouted at him for being a Mudblood lover and a bunch of other foul things, but Regulus actually thought his through. Sirius could care less what anyone thought about him, but there were just some things that Regulus knew would make Sirius want to kill him. Just little things here and there, really, but Regulus was a cunning little snake and he knew exactly what buttons to push to make Sirius explode.

Sirius had never been particularly close with his brother: It was hard to be close to anyone in your family if you  were a Pureblood. But Regulus was still Sirius' brother. At least they used to get along a little better, but it turned out that Regulus was just as corrupt as their parents. Whenever Sirius thought of this, he felt himself becoming rather melancholy. He'd been afraid of the time when Regulus would be past hope and officially the 'perfect son'. After all, Sirius may have behaved and all, but he'd never been too interested in hating people for the sake of hating, or all of the other things his parents believed. Sirius had always broken the rules, but carefully. He hadn't, after all, wanted to get punished. But even before Hogwarts, Sirius had always felt as if his parents views on the world were wrong............................... twisted even. So that seed of rebellion that had always thrived inside of Sirius' willing and fearless body would have exploded into the proud Gryffindor Sirius was now no matter what House he'd been placed in.

Sirius was actually a lot deeper than most people gave him credit for. True, he was an incorrigible flirt (the thought always brought a wicked smile to his face), but Sirius wasn't an airhead. Just because Sirius would rather have fun and flirt than be, well, serious didn't mean that he couldn't be. Sirius chose not to be. It wasn't worth it, most of the time. True, he would listen to whatever his friends said staidly, if they needed him to. After all, they were his best friends and if they needed him he was there.

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Sirius was brooding in his room one evening when his brother appeared, almost out of nowhere, to question him about Lucy. Needless to say, Sirius was quite thoroughly shocked at this, and had answered his question almost automatically.

"That girl with the curly black hair, what's her name?"

"Who? Whit?" Sirius asked, trying to recall she and Regulus ever meeting. He nodded, not stepping through the doorway.

"Yeah, her. She a Mudblood?"

"Why?" Sirius asked, common sense kicking in. "Why do you care about her? Why does it matter to you?" Regulus shrugged coolly.

"I don't." He said, before drifting off down the hall. Sirius cocked an eyebrow at his suddenly empty doorframe, feeling very suspicious and not at all happy with Regulus' sudden interest in Lucy. He spent the entire night and the next day racking his brain for information and wondering what in Merlin's name his rotten little brother had anything to do with his only girl best friend.

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Sirius exited his house, not bothering to announce that he was leaving, knowing that any comment that came--if any did--would be a snide remark or a suggestion of him not coming back. Sirius let his feet take him around the Muggle neighborhood he and his family lived in. This amused Sirius in the most ironic way possible: His family absolutely detested Muggles, yet here they were, living without notice among them. It was almost as if his parents liked watching the Muggles go about their days, simply to anger themselves further. Sirius on the other hand enjoyed watching the Muggles go about their days, mostly because it incensed his parents so.

Sirius smiled grimly as he hopped off of the curb to cross the street, shaking his head so that his shaggy hair flew from being in front of his eyes to out of them. Sirius loved just about anything and everything that his parents and brother hated, almost as a rule. In the beginning it wasn't because he hated them, but because he actually found some of it enjoyable. But after his Sorting and his parents sudden hatred towards him, Sirius had all but renounced magic and moved into a Muggle home out of spite. But Sirius wasn't so stupid as to run off to the Muggles, or even to run away, no. He depended on magic far too much, and enjoyed using it, as well as the simple fact that if he chose that particular path, he'd probably never get to see his friends or Hogwarts again.

Sirius yawned as wandered along the main road, not really paying attention to where he was going. And why bother? He'd traveled this town enough so far this summer so that he needn't look to avoid even the smallest pebble in his path. Sirius spent most of his time either in his room or stalking about this town. He enjoyed the peace he got from walking around, trusting his sense of direction to send him the right way home when the time came. It was almost laughable, actually. Sirius' family was the only magical family in this entire Muggle town: Even though their house was hidden, all Sirius had to do was follow the growing sense of magic to find his house. Not only that, but it felt to Sirius that he could also sense a growing sense of hatred and anger as he got closer to his house.

Sirius frowned, knowing that this thought was both ridiculous and made perfect sense. His house was full of nothing but hatred, anger, and darkness, while at least out here, among the Muggles, there was happiness. Maybe that was one of the reasons Sirius had never found it in him to hate Muggles. Besides the fact that Muggles had never done anything to him, his house was always so dark and full of, well, evil, that the Muggles carefree ignorance was a breath of fresh air to the poor boy. He'd never been interested in memorizing his family line, nor keeping the line going. In truth, Sirius could care less about his blood line. If it came right down to it, Sirius hoped that he would one day fall in love with a Muggle born witch, though Sirius knew it was a long shot. Not him marrying, but him falling in love. Sirius hadn't known what kindness was until he'd gone to Hogwarts, and he still wasn't sure he knew what love was. Love was something that his friends knew about; something that James said he was in.

Sirius had refrained from truly ridiculing James when it came to his infatuation with Lily, mostly because he had no place to speak. He'd never been in love: Indeed, Sirius had never felt love. How could he know what it was like? How could Sirius ever hope to truly fall in love? The thought of love captured Sirius' interest, yes, but it frightened him all the same. Love seemed almost a dangerous subject, and Sirius was quite sure how he'd react if he found someone that actually cared for him enough to love him.

..........................Like Lucy.

This thought had Sirius freezing in place, head cocked. Did he love Lucy? Did he know enough about love to claim that he loved the girl? He certainly didn't feel the way James felt about Lily, that was for sure, but............................. Was there really only two types of love out there? That of a family, and what James said he felt for Lily? That couldn't possibly be it, could it? For when Sirius thought of Lucy, he felt himself feeling happier and found that breathing became a little easier. He found himself wanting to protect her from harm and keep her safe from anything that could hurt her, yet Sirius felt somewhat sick at the thought of kissing her. And if Sirius did not want to kiss Lucy as James so obviously wanted to Lily, than didn't that meant that Sirius was not in love with Lucy? Well, yes, but Lucy wasn't any relation to Sirius, he knew that much. She was nowhere on his family tree, which was almost a relief to him. Sirius couldn't bear the thought of Lucy being trapped in his family, no. She was too innocent, to good to have to go through something like that.

So if Sirius wasn't in love with Lucy, and she wasn't his family, what did that mean? Did it mean that there were more types of love in the world than that he had already hear of? Was it possible for Sirius to love Lucy, but in a purely platonic way, as if she were his adopted little sister? Was it possible that this was, indeed, a love he had for Lucy? A love for their friendship as much as for her? Was it even possible for Sirius to love anyone, in any way? And if it was, surely he could love Lucy in this way, could he not? For Sirius could not find one thing he didn't like about Lucy, and the mere thought of her made his heart swell in happiness and a peace washed over him like no other. But he did not wish anything past friendship from Lucy, and was quite sure that this would never change in all the years they would spend near each other.

Sirius found himself smiling brightly; his first real smile since school had let out. He began to walk again with a spring in his step as something else he'd never really experienced in his life began to take residence in his heart.

Hope.

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Sirius spent his time since that day to the day he got a letter inviting him to James' house thinking about Lucy and love and hope, and all that she meant to him. Though Sirius was still very afraid and cautious in his use of those two particular words, he knew that what he felt for Lucy was not something that he would feel for any other girl. Sirius knew that he was not in love with Lucy, and he was quite glad that she didn't have to suffer a blood connection to him, but he still loved her. Sirius trusted Lucy completely, which was something new to him as well: He'd only realized the extent to which he trusted her a few days after his long walk. He knew he trusted James, Remus, and Peter, yes, but the fact that he could trust a girl as well surprised Sirius.

Sirius did not repeat it to himself often, but he knew deep in his heart that it was thanks to Lucy that he even knew what love meant, if even in the shallowest sense. The love he felt for Lucy transcended that of any most felt, converting into a fierce and strong flame of hope for a better, brighter future that took up residence in Sirius' very soul. His will and fighting spirit only strengthened when he thought of Lucy: He would do anything to keep her safe, as well as James, Remus, and Peter. It was then that Sirius realized he loved his friends, too, in yet another different way than he loved Lucy. Truly love was an amazing thing, if it could take so many shapes and forms, be so different and yet so essentially the same. Love must be the most powerful of magics, if it had so much behind it; so much power, so much strength, so much unwavering faith that nothing could make it crumble and fall................................. Truly love must be the building blocks for a life in which people could be happy and safe.

The only power worth having, Sirius decided, just before he got his invitation to stay over James' house, must be that of love, for in the end, it does not change.
 
A/N: Hi guys, it's the Still Completely Guilt-Ridden Author Lady back to chat with you all! I just wanted to say that I remembered giving you all a preview last chapter, before I decided to insert the "Summers" duo in here, so consider it a future predection or something. The next chapter will be "Summers--Part Two". I'll be harrassing Remus and Peter in that one, then it'll be a super long chapter in which Lucy will be involved in the entire thing. Yay!
Not only that, but I have been working on the story, aside from just this chapter, so the updates will be much faster after I finish making Lily, James, Sirius, Remus, and Peter 3D, like Lucy.
Thanks again to mugglegirlly! (You can tell I started this chapter ages ago, huh? After all, I'd put a note in my computer about the A/N, and that was before the sight crashed and killed all my lovelyfull reviews......................... which knocked me off balance for a good while, yessiree. I'm okay now, though, and thank all my previous reviewers whose reviews may be gone from my account but not my heart! ..............................Oh, God that was cheesy. Just shoot me now, will you?)
SEE YA NEXT CHAPTER!


Chapter 9: Summers--Part 2
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I won't ramble here: Enjoy 
REMUS:

Remus yawned wearily, stretching his aching body. His yawn turned into a groan of pain as one of the large cuts he was sporting made itself known sharply. Remus sat up and breathed slowly and deeply, eyes closed, concentrating on not passing out from the pain. He stood stiffly after a few minutes, examining himself as he did so. He wished that Madam Pomfrey could appear right there in his room, if even for five minutes. She'd have him fixed in a flash, and then he could sleep for the rest of the day. Remus found himself grinning at the irony of wanting Madam Pomfrey of all people there at the moment: He was in pain, yes, but the potions she fed him were truly foul.

Remus made his way up the stairs, yawning slightly. He felt better than he had when he'd woken up................................. well, happier, anyway. He'd have to tell James, Sirius, and Peter about his odd wish for Madam Pomfrey when he saw them next: No doubt they'd start laughing. Remus wanted to laugh as well, but knew it'd hurt too much. Remus found himself frowning as Lucy appeared in his mind, grinning and laughing along with them. Lucy didn't know Remus' secret, as per Remus' wishes. Though they didn't speak of it, Remus knew that James, Sirius, and Peter must feel as rotten as he did every time they lied to Lucy about Remus' secret. Lucy never lied to them, never hesitated to answer one of their questions. Sure, Lucy never asked them why they were lying to them, or what they were hiding, but still. The only reason Lucy never asked was because she knew how uncomfortable it'd make the four of them feel. Because she knew they were lying: Remus could see it in her eyes. She knew they were lying to her, and still never asked. The thought of this made Remus' heart swell with both pain and happiness. Lucy trusted them, believed in them, even though they constantly lied to her. Remus felt an indescribable amount of sadness well up inside of him as he realized how Lucy must feel every time they lied to her: As if they didn't trust her.

Remus shook his head fiercely, pain shooting through him as he did so. He embraced the pain for the moment, wanting to force the tears burning in his eyes away with the thoughts of Lucy. He knocked on the door he knew was locked on the other side, calling out to his parents as he did so.

"Mum! Dad! It's okay! You can open the door now!" Remus felt glad that he could keep his voice from shaking. This had become a monthly thing now, and the days in which his young self would be crying and shaking were long over. There were muffled footsteps and the sounds of locks being opened. Remus waited a few moments before opening the door, taking a deep breath and steeling himself against the fear he knew he'd see in his parents' eyes. Even though it still hurt as much as that first full moon so long ago, Remus had learned to ignore them by now. He saw his father putting the locks in a box that sat atop a small table that stood beside Remus' door. The locks only came out of the box once a month then were hidden away as if to hide Remus' situation from his parents' minds. Remus frowned and headed for the kitchen.

Whit wouldn't ask about it. He thought sadly, feeling a stronger pain than that of his wounds resurfacing within himself as he poured himself some cereal, not caring that it was past noon. Whit would ignore everything--even if she sitting outside my door all night long. She'd be all cheerful and happy, not even questioning it when she saw me all covered in blood and stuff. She'd leave me alone, knowing I wouldn't want to talk about it. She'd pretend to believe whatever lie I gave her. She'd just ask me if I was alright and hug me like she always does. She'd make sure I healed okay, then she'd stick to me like glue, just like she does every month after I come back. Just to make sure I would be alright. Just to make sure I knew she was there if I needed her. Just to make sure that I knew that she.......................... she cared about me. Remus felt tears filling his eyes and rubbed at them angrily, hating himself for lying so blatantly to one of his best friends. Lucy was always there for him, no matter what. Even when Remus wasn't acting all crazy, she was always there. She was his friend. Lucy was one of Remus' best friends in the world, and it felt like all he ever did was lie to her.

Remus swirled the milk left in his bowl guiltily, pain stabbing at his heart. He wanted to tell Lucy, to end all the lies, but he just couldn't. He didn't want her to get hurt, or put her life in danger for him. She would, too, if she found out. Even if she didn't get an animal nickname out of it, she'd go with them. Remus knew Lucy, and he knew that she could be one of the stubborn, hard headed people anyone would ever meet. How many times did James, Sirius, Peter, and even Lily tell Lucy to stay away from Remus when he was in one of his moods? And she never listened, not once. It had gotten to the point that Lucy didn't even bother to pay attention to them anymore, once they got started. She would ignore them without a trace of guilt or shame, every time. It made Remus feel loved, yes, but it caused him to feel such heartache as well.

Remus leaned back in his seat, both his half empty bowl of milk and pain forgotten. He closed his eyes and pictured Lucy. He remembered the look on her face on the train ride home. She hadn't been happy at all, not in the least. Remus sighed sadly, concerned. He wondered what it was that Lucy was worried about. Was it possible that she, too, had her own secret, one that no one knew about? If she was hiding something, Lily didn't know about it, that was for sure. It was obvious, especially once Remus saw how confused Lily was on the train. Whatever had been troubling Lucy was something that she hadn't spoken about to Lily, either.

So what was it? Remus opened his eyes, frowning at the ceiling. What could possibly be so................................ so bad, that Lucy felt the need to hide it from her friends? Remus felt as though whatever she was hiding couldn't possibly be as bad as what he was, but it still had to be pretty horrible if Lucy of all people felt the need to hide it from them. As far as Remus could tell, Lucy hid nothing from he, James, Sirius, Peter, and Lily. Well, when they asked, anyway. That was when Remus realized just how little he actually knew about Lucy. His eyes widened in surprise as he sat up straight in his chair. What did he know about his only girl best friend? Besides what he saw every day, besides the things that anyone and everyone knew about her? Remus bit his lip as he tried to think, feeling worse and worse every passing second. It seemed as if Remus knew nothing about Lucy. He didn't know her favorite color, her birthday, nothing. He knew James, Sirius, and Peter's favorite colors, birthdays, and much, much more. But he knew basically nothing about Lucy. Remus felt tears of shame pricking at his eyes as he realized that Lucy knew absolutely everything about he and the guys, as well as Lily.................................. Well, everything but the secrets Remus, James, Sirius, and Peter shared, but those didn't really count, not right now.

Remus stood suddenly, picking up his bowl and dumping it into the sink. He felt sick all of the sudden and found himself wondering whether or not his stomach would be able to hold his breakfast down. Remus took care of and dressed his wounds mechanically, not thinking about anything, his mind filled with pictures of Lucy. He didn't speak to his parents, not even seeing the concern in their eyes as they watched their suddenly mute son return to his room, shutting the door firmly behind him. Remus spent the entire day sitting on his bed, unable to rest, legs crossed and head in his hands. He refused to cry, but the guilt was literally eating him up inside. Remus thought about his entire first year at Hogwarts, going over each and detail until he confirmed the fact he was horrible friend to Lucy. All those chances he'd had, all those times he and Lucy had hung out together, alone............................... All those times in which he could've asked something about her, he'd wasted. Instead, Lucy had spent that time asking about him, genuinely curious about him. She'd really wanted to know about Remus, and he'd told her, feeling slightly surprised but eternally happy. He'd never thought to ask about Lucy. Not once did it ever enter Remus' mind to ask the girl about herself, although he'd been curious. Remus had wondered, asked questions to himself, but they passed through his mind quickly and were forgotten. Lost, like the year was. Remus was close to Lucy, yes: They were best friends. But in truth he knew as little about Lucy as his parents knew about him.

Well, he'd just have to fix that, now wouldn't he?

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Remus spent the next few days writing an insanely long letter to Lucy, before he realized that his parents had let his uncle borrow the family owl for the summer. Instead of shouting like he so desperately wanted to, Remus groaned and locked himself in his room, ripping up his letter in a fit of frustration. It was full of questions, things he wanted to know about Lucy. But would he be able to send it? No. Remus shredded the letter, mentally cursing himself for not buying his own owl at Diagon Alley. He doubted that James, Sirius, or Peter would think to send Lucy a letter, as Remus was usually the first to realize such things. They'd think about her, obviously, but other than that Remus knew they'd do nothing else. Remus knew that they wouldn't think to write to Lucy, or ask her questions about herself. They probably didn't even realize that none of them knew anything about Lucy! Remus groaned again.

"What's it gonna take?!" He asked out loud, throwing his hands up and getting silence in return. Remus huffed angrily, frowning deeply, before getting up off of his bed and jerking his shoes on. He stormed up out of his room and left his house completely. Remus stalked around his neighborhood irritably, each step stating how frustrated he was, he turning and heading to the woods in his backyard after just leaving the neighborhood. He had nothing to do, nothing to think about but Lucy, which only made him angrier at himself. He wasn't angry at Lucy: How could he be? Lucy wasn't the type to talk about herself out of nowhere, instead always asking about her friends. She answered whatever questions that she was asked, but never actually offered up information about herself. And on the off chance she did, it was a rare occasion indeed.

It was strange, actually, how thinking about Lucy both ignited Remus' anger and cooled it all at once. It was as if thinking of her made him feel as if she were walking beside him. Lucy was really the only person who'd been able to keep Remus from exploding every month, so it seemed almost instinctive for Remus to think of her to calm down. And why not? Lucy was the unofficial official peacemaker of the group. She was the one that kept the four of them from getting in trouble, kept Lily from murdering James in his sleep. She was the one that could laugh at everything and anything, the one that could make any bad mood or foul thought go away. Lucy was the one that kept Remus, James, Sirius, and Peter from getting expelled, as well as failing. Lucy was the one that, for lack of better words, took care of them, as well as Lily. Though Lucy had yet to say it and the boys might never admit it, they all knew how much Lucy loved them. It was obvious, really: Everyone at Hogwarts knew that Lucy had a soft spot when it came to the trouble makers. Even Lily couldn't deny it. It was as if Lucy's love of the four boys was an unspoken but universal knowledge at Hogwarts. Something that no one spoke of or outwardly knew about, but realized nonetheless.

Remus grinned a little to himself, previous anger forgotten. He thought about what Lucy might say, should she be walking with him. It seemed crazy for Remus to be pretending to speak with an imaginary Lucy, but he couldn't help it. He'd become so used to having Lucy around him when he was angry that he didn't realize he was doing it.

So what's up, Fox? Lucy asked, Remus hearing her speak in his mind, almost seeing her walking beside him. How's your summer been?

"Boring." Remus said instinctively, lying even to this imaginary Lucy. "Nothing out of the ordinary, anyway." There. That was better. His imaginary Lucy cocked her head up at him, before nodding slowly and turning her eyes foreword.

You must be bored then, huh Fox? She asked, to which Remus sighed and nodded.

"Yeah, I am. I have nothing to do all day long and spend every day wandering around my house. I miss Hogwarts. At least at Hogwarts I was never bored. There was classes and work to worry about, as well as pranks to pull and James, Sirius, and Peter there. The year went by too fast. I can't even do magic, which is really annoying, seeing as we've been doing nothing but learning how to all year." Remus turned his head slightly to see what Lucy's reaction would be to his short rant. Lucy just shrugged, looking over at him with a smile.

It's only a couple months, Fox. She said, laughing happily. Not doing magic is annoying, yeah, but it's better to not do magic for a few months than get expelled and never do it again, you know. Remus sighed and nodded at the sense Lucy made. And if you got expelled, who would be the mastermind behind those pranks?

"You, obviously." Remus shot back jokingly, smiling. Lucy grinned and crossed her eyes at the taller boy, sticking her tongue out as well.

Yeah, cause I want Lily to kill me, right? Remus laughed. I can just imagine it now! Lily asking me first of all how in the world Remus John Lupin of all people got kicked out of Hogwarts for illegal magic making, then asking me how James, Sirius, and Peter have yet to stop pranking! She will then find out it's me, and-- Lucy stopped, pretending to kill herself, making Remus laugh even harder.

"J-James and S-Sirius think of pranks, too, you know!" He gasped, to which Lucy just shrugged and grinned.

Yeah, but you're the one that makes them work, Fox. Lucy's face became serious all of the sudden. Don't think you aren't important, Remus. Because you are. For more than pranks, too. Don't you dare think that we don't need you, or that we'd be better off without you around. We all love and care about you a lot, and if the guys ever found out that you thought like that, they'd be devastated. Remus' eyes grew wide and he took a step back. Lucy didn't move, just looked at him with sadness and determination in her eyes. You're smart, Remus, but you can be awfully dumb sometimes. Don't you know how much you mean to everyone? You are just as important to me as Lily, James, Sirius, and Peter are. You're as much my best friend as they are. Just because you have something to hide, just because you refuse to trust me with it, doesn't mean I hate or think any less of you. I trust you, Remus. Why can't you just believe me? It doesn't matter what you know about me or what you don't. Am I your best friend?

"Y-yes, Whit. Of course you are." Remus said, nodding frantically, feeling confused. Lucy smiled at him, stepping closer and patting his arm comfortingly.

Well than why won't you believe that you're mine? Lucy asked, before turning suddenly and looking out in the direction they came, towards the edge of the woods. Your parents love you, you know, Remus. She said, nodding and smiling softly at the confused boy. They just don't know what to do. They're lost. You've got to forgive them, Remus. It'll get better soon enough. Lucy stretched, yawning widely then shaking her head. Oh, and before I go............................. Lucy threw her arms around Remus, hugging him tightly and squeezing him. Remus, stunned, hugged her back. He was both amazed and confused to find that she felt solid. Lucy let him go and stepped back. You'd do well to remember what I told you, Mr. Lupin. Lucy said, grinning. Everything would be better for you if just realize that you're worth worlds more than you think. Trust me on this one. Lucy said with a wink and an even larger grin.

Remus rubbed his eyes fiercely and took a closer look at Lucy, who seemed to be fading right before his eyes, and fast. Remus looked past her and saw the rising sun. As the light went through Lucy, she faded even faster. Remus, though shocked and confused, realized both the meaning and improbability of this situation.

See you in September, Fox. Lucy said with a final wave as she disappeared. Remus stood there, frozen, watching the sun rise slowly, unable to believe what just happened................................................

But unable to believe that it didn't.

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Remus spent the rest of the time he had in his house trying to find out how Lucy could have possibly come to him that impossible night, how she could've known he'd needed her there. Remus spent all his time trying to understand how it had happened. He wasn't able to understand, wasn't able to find one possible way that it could've happened, not even in his school textbooks. Remus hadn't dreamt it, that was for sure. When he'd gotten home, Remus could actually smell Lucy on his shirt. And she'd felt solid. She had actually been there. Remus had even gone back out into the woods and seen two sets of footsteps walking into it, and one leaving it.

Once Remus confirmed that it had happened, though how he didn't know, he began trying to see her again. Every night he'd try to find out what, exactly, had made Lucy come to him so, but every night nothing happened. No matter what happened, Lucy didn't come back. Remus reasoned that she had said she'd see him in September.............................. not that it helped. At all. It was just so confusing. But then again, so was Lucy. No matter how straightforward Lucy was, when one tried to understand her, confusion was imminent. It was as if they weren't meant to understand Lucy, not completely. Remus found that, though not understanding something was deathly annoying, he didn't mind. Not when it came to Lucy. Remus had needed Lucy that night, and, against all odds, she'd come. She'd always been there for him, and she was there for him again. When he truly needed her to be. It was an amazing thought, an amazing revelation that cleared Remus' troubled mind.

Hadn't Lucy always known when Remus needed her? And hadn't she always come, one way or another? So why was it so hard to believe that Lucy had somehow found a way to be there for him once more? It wasn't, actually, and that brought a large smile to Remus' face. It wasn't hard to believe, that Lucy had come to help him.

So maybe Remus wasn't meant to understand Lucy and all her secrets. So maybe she did have some secrets. So Remus might never know as much about her as she did him. So what? Did it really matter? No, it didn't. Remus' smile grew wider. Nothing mattered, except the wonderful fact that, against all odds, Lucy was his best friend.

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It wasn't long after this that Remus got an invite to stay over James' house. He asked his parents and they said yes immediately, Remus ignoring the relief that spread over their faces with practiced ease. He packed his things hastily, making sure he didn't leave anything important behind. Not like there was much important stuff he could leave behind just by going to visit James' house. It wasn't like he was heading off to Hogwarts, after all. The only thing that made him hesitate slightly in his bedroom doorway was the thought of Lucy. James didn't say anything about her in the letter, but Remus instinctively knew that she hadn't been invited. It was nothing personal, of course, because Lucy was as much James' friend as Remus, Sirius, and Peter was. And Remus knew that James probably thought about Lucy just as much he did. But, also like Remus, James didn't think of Lucy. She was always there in their minds, true, but at the same time they didn't think of her. It was hard to explain and didn't make a shred of sense, but it was true. It was almost like how Remus was with asking Lucy questions about herself. He always thought about it but never actually did anything about it.

Remus winced as he thought of how badly the four boys treated their only girl best friend. It wasn't on purpose that they did this, but they still did it. And Lucy still stuck by them, even though she could've been friends with whoever she wanted.

It was exactly as Lucy herself had said, that forever ago: She was too nice to them.

 

PETER:

Peter felt at the back of his neck nervously, remembering what had almost happened on the train ride home and thanking Merlin and whatever other deity that'd sent Lucy to stop that crazed sixth year. He'd almost had a heart attack, although the box of Bertie Botts' had helped clam him down some. He felt an embarrassed smile creep across his features as he remembered playing with Lucy's hair. He knew perfectly well that not even Sirius would mention that incident. Peter felt his face pale as he remembered the scare the four boys had gotten when Lucy read loud from her Transfiguration book. No doubt all of them had shared the same panicked thought then.

But it was a useless thought, Peter reassured himself, because Lucy still didn't know. It was ironic--and somewhat worrying--when Peter thought of how smart Lucy was. She was so much smarter than all of them--even Lily, though that wasn't proven yet--but she still hadn't figured out the quartet's secrets. Or--and here Peter frowned deeply--had she? Lucy was smart: What if she knew? What if she had a secret similar to theirs?

Peter shook his head and wandered down to the table for lunch. James, Sirius, and Remus were always saying that there was no way on Earth that Lucy could find out. After all, not even Lily knew what was going on! True, Lucy was much closer to the four boys than Lily was, but Lily watched them very closely, forever suspicious of them. And with good reason, what with all the pranks they pulled. Peter grinned as he thought of a joke Lucy had made once, upon catching the four returning from one of their pranks. "It'll be a miracle if you don't bring the school down by the time we graduate!" She'd said it in a very Lily-like way, though the sparkle in her eyes had been so very like the one James got in his eyes whenever he was feeling particularly mischievous.

James was Peter's idol; his opposite in near every way. James was outgoing where Peter was shy. James was smart whereas Peter was always behind, needing James, Sirius, and Remus' help all the time. Oh, and Lucy's................................... Especially Lucy, who was always so kind and patient with him, even when his own friends gave up on him. Lucy, who knew when Peter didn't understand a joke and hung back, waited for a time when they were alone, to explain it to him so he could mean it when he laughed, too. Lucy, who always defended him fiercely, against anyone who dare hurt him. Lucy, who could be friends with anyone, yet chose them.....................................

Lucy, who was too good to be real.

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"I want you to tell me a story, Peter." Lucy said cheerily, smiling at the surprised boy.

"A story, Whit?" He asked, confused. She nodded.

"Of course!"

"But................. why me? Why not James, or Sirius, or Remus?" Lucy laughed.

"Because I want a story from you, silly!" She exclaimed. "I think you'd be a good storyteller, and I want you to tell me a story! Please?" Peter nodded hesitantly, unsure whether or not Lucy was joking, although he knew she wouldn't mess with Peter's head as James, Sirius, and Remus liked to. He knew she meant what she said, which only confused the boy more. "It can be about anything." Lucy said quickly, sensing Peter's worry. "It doesn't need to be real or something. Make it up, I don't care. Just close your eyes and tell me what you see. Or better yet......................" Lucy climbed to her feet and took out her wand, pointing at the floor between them carefully. A small fire erupted from the tip of her wand, landing between them. It didn't spread and didn't burn, though it looked real enough to do both. She sat on one side, face Peter through the fire.

"Concentrate, Pete." She murmured, eyes locked on the fire. "Let your mind wander and tell me what you see; whether on your eyelids or in this fire. Tell me a story. Make it all your own, make it a part of you. Take a deep breath and breathe." Lucy gave Peter a warm, kind smile. "Tell me a story, Pete."

Peter did as he was told, though his cheeks were stained red from embarrassment at what he thought was a stupid thing to do. What story was he supposed to come up with? He was never good at essays, why would this be any easier? And not only that, but he didn't want to disappoint Lucy, who seemed to have so much faith in him and whatever she thought it was he could do.

Just as Peter was opening his mouth to apologize, something about the fire caught his eye. It was quite simple, actually, just a slight pop and a spark floating upwards lazily. And yet it caught his attention like nothing had before, almost enthralling him as he watched it descend slowly as if burned out. Without even the smallest of thoughts, Peter began speaking, his words weaving their own type of magic as he told Lucy a story. He wasn't sure what was happening, or how it was that he was speaking so eloquently, but Peter honestly suspected Lucy of doing something to him.

It was quiet for a long time after Peter finished telling his story, the fire slowly dying out as Peter wound down. As he spoke his last word, the fire burned out completely; a candle extinguished by his breath.

"That was beautiful, Pete." Lucy said quietly, getting to her feet and stretching, smiling down at him. She stuck out a hand and helped the boy up to his feet. "I knew you'd be a natural storyteller. It was like I was really there; I almost believed that you were telling me the truth about something." Lucy cocked her head at him suddenly. "It was made up, wasn't it, Pete? Or did that all really happen?" Peter shook his head.

"No, I................ I just made it up as I went along." Lucy beamed at him and nodded cheerily, happy for her friend.

"That's awesome, Pete. Did you ever think of becoming an author or something? You have a gift, you know." Lucy informed him, hands deep in her pockets. Peter was speechless, knowing Lucy would never lie to him--or any of her friends--and about something so trivial as a mere talent. No, Lucy was the exact opposite: If she honestly liked something, she loved it. She said what she thought quite simply, in that innocent way of hers: She never lied.

"N-no, actually."

"Why not? You're good." Lucy asked. Peter stared at her in disbelief. Instead of defending herself as some might, Lucy merely cocked her head at her friend, wordlessly asking him if he honestly believed her to be lying. No able to answer this, Peter looked away from his only girl best friend, face red.

"Tomorrow," Lucy informed Peter, breaking the silence, "I am going to give you something that I want you to read and critique for me. Okay?" Peter nodded, wondering what Lucy meant.

The next morning, just before they entered the Great Hall, Lucy stopped Peter and handed him a thick wad of parchment. Her eyes shone and sparkled with undeniable excitement, and Peter spent the entire day reading. It was a story; quite possibly the best he'd ever read...................... Not that he read often, but still. Peter was so caught up in the story that he didn't notice how Lucy kept him from getting in trouble during classes and slipped copies of her notes into his backpack as the left each class. Peter read and read and read; all day and night, straight through meals. The next morning, Peter's face was flushed with excitement and wonder as he pulled Lucy to a side right before they entered the Great Hall.

"Whit!" He exclaimed, clutching the story tightly. "This may be the single greatest thing I've ever read! How did you come up with this?!"

"I didn't." Lucy said, laughing happily. "You did, just yesterday. All I did, was write it down! It took me a while, but I got it all word for word!" She gave him a cheeky grin and a wink, before turning and skipping off into the Great Hall, leaving the completely stunned boy behind to gape after her.

The two didn't speak about Peter's story much after that; not at all, actually. There seemed to be a silent agreement between the pair that it would remain but a shared memory between them. Lucy had given Peter reign over the situation: If he wanted to speak with her about his story, fine. If not, then she would leave him be and pretend to forget that it'd ever happen.

Peter grinned involuntarily as he fingered the thick wad of parchment covered in Lucy's handwriting. So much more legible than his own messy scrawl. He knew that Lucy had purposefully labeled him a 'storyteller' instead of an author because of the simple fact that the poor boy was never able to put his thoughts down on paper. And even if he did, it was likely he'd not be able to read it later, or forget it instantly. Peter remembered everything that he'd ever said, though. It was odd, really, how perfect his memory was in certain areas, and how horrible in others. Peter literally could not be a writer, but a storyteller seemed to be perfect. And--for he knew she'd do it if he asked--Lucy could always copy down his stories as he spoke them. She wrote wicked fast and managed to keep it perfectly presentable, so she'd no doubt be the ideal person to help him out. Not only that, but Lucy wouldn't ridicule Peter for all the money in the world.

Peter tapped the papers thoughtfully, frowning. He'd shown it to his parents a few nights after he got home. They'd read it together and loved it to no end, asking who had written the story. They doubted it was him, as they could not only read what was written, but because Peter had never shown any interest or talent in writing. Peter told them that one of his friends had written it for him, which wasn't a complete lie........................... But now he was wondering whether or not he should tell them he'd actually made it up. How would they react, if they found out.

Peter made a face, shaking his head. They'd probably ask if he was telling the truth, then get all excited and make a big, insane fuss over it. It'd be downright horrible in every way, and he could already feel himself getting sick at the thought. No, Peter wasn't going to tell his parents anything about his storytelling abilities. Peter put the wad of parchment in a box, which he promptly slid under his bed. As he went to stand up, he noticed an odd glow emitting from the box. He frowned and reached under his bed, sliding the box back out despite his initial fear and caution. He opened the lid slowly, face the picture of surprise when he saw a sheet of what looked to be Muggle paper staring up at him innocently. He lifted it off of his story and put the lid back on, staring at the paper as he climbed onto his bed.

Peter read the short note slowly, a couple times, letting it sink in. It seemed to be a note from Lucy herself. He sat back against his bed, note forgotten in his hand as he thought about what he'd just read. It seemed as though Lucy had anticipated Peter's sudden decline in self-confidence, knew somehow that he'd begin to think she'd tricked him, after all. Indeed, that was exactly how the boy had been feeling as of late. He'd never done anything pass manageable.................................. To do something truly spectacular was just something he could not conceive as possible or true. And yet there it was, right in his hand, the truth from Lucy herself, the one person he knew would downright never lie. Especially not for something as trivial as a story. No, if Lucy had anything to do with this story of Peter's--except prompting him to begin it--she would've said it instead of letting him think it as his own creation.

Peter felt a smile twitch at his lips as he carefully folded Lucy's note in half twice before putting it back in the box it'd appeared in with his story. He carefully took the box and placed it on the highest shelf in his closet, all the way in the back, having to climb upon a chair to reach. He hid it behind some of the miscellaneous junk he had up there, careful to be sure that it was unnoticeable.

His parents called him then, and they went out for the rest of the day.

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Peter got a letter from James a while after that day, agreeing to visit his friend the moment his parents gave him the okay. As he watched James' owl fly back in the direction it had came, he couldn't help but smile. He felt overjoyed that James had chosen to include him, remembered him, but at the same time he felt a tiny pinprick of pride as he thought about his story. He might not be perfect like his three best friends were, but he had something, right? He had his secret something and the person who kept it secret; Lucy. It was weak ground he was standing on, Peter knew, but he also knew that--as long as Lucy was around--the imaginary ground he was on would be far safer than any of the real Earth below his feet.

Peter knew that these few incidents wouldn't change his life, or his character, but they gave him happiness, as Lucy did, so he let it be for the moment.
 
Sorry for the long wait I'm still trying to balance and handle my life some. I know it's a weak excuse and all, but it's true. The only reason you all had to wait so long, really, is because of an ill-timed writer's block and a new story up. Well, that and everything else that I won't put here. Anyways, I appreciate the patience a lot and thanks to all my reviewers who make me happy and encourage me when I'm feeling down! The next chapter is done already and is longer, so the update will be that much faster! "Welcome Home Lucy.................. And Hello Lily" is the title, which is a ginormous hint right there.
Bye til next time!


Chapter 10: Welcome "Home" Lucy....................... And Hello Lily!
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A/n: Hey guys, I've been feeling kinda bad lately, so I'm updating now (which is exactly when I found out that the second summers chappie was accepted) instead of working at my Lexi story. So far it's ten chapters for Lucy Potter and four for Lexi. Warning: When this chapter is approved and posted I'll be adding some Lexi chappies. Just to be fair, you know? Happy reading!
 
Lucy didn't know whether or not her aunt's cold, distant attitude towards her was good or bad. Olivia didn't mistreat her, no, she just completely ignored her existence. It was slightly unnerving, to say the least, and Lucy couldn't stop feeling as if she were walking on eggshells. Lucy had been late in meeting her aunt, who as going to pick her up. As a result, her aunt had left the station, forcing Lucy to walk home alone, dragging her trunk all the way. Lucy was used to worse, though, and was more than slightly relieved that her aunt had not caused a scene at King's Cross.

As soon as Lucy had managed to find her way home, she'd dragged her trunk all the way up to her room, making a mental note to charm it feather light as soon as she got back to Hogwarts. Lucy's room was up in the attic. The attic made up the third, and highest, floor of the house. It was cold in the winter and sweltering hot in the summer. The attic's room temperature varied on the temperature outside. The first thing Lucy did was throw open all the windows in preparation for the oncoming summer heat.

Despite Hogwarts being more of a home to Lucy than her house at number 12 Rosewood Road, she had to admit it was good to see her room again. Despite the dust, heat, low ceiling, and other things of varying uncomfortable things, it was still her room, the one place she'd been safe from the world.

Lucy pushed a pile of boxes out of her way, shoving them in a corner. No doubt they were full of stuff that Olivia hadn't wanted any longer. Lucy's aunt always packed stuff whenever she grew tired of them, which was often. And they always ended up in Lucy's room. It was the attic, though, and Lucy refused to think anything of it.

There was a lot of boxes now, though. It had been around seven or eight years ago when Lucy had moved up here, and her aunt had been piling stuff just inside the door since then. By now, Lucy had boxes lining the walls of her room, packed closely together and piled carefully, as to keep them from tipping. The space in the room was always shrinking, but Lucy managed anyway. The attic hadn't been very big to begin with, really just being the space from the ceiling of the second floor to the roof. It had always been a bit cramped, even more now, as Lucy realized her head would be hitting the ceiling in a few years. It wasn't a good feeling, but Lucy ignored it with practiced skill.

Lucy walked over to one of the open windows, careful not to trip over the loose floorboards, or bang her head on a low-hanging pillar. Having done both of these many times in the past years and learning from her mistakes, Lucy could now navigate through her room blindfolded, never needing to think twice about the many............... difficulties the room provided her with.

Lucy stuck her head out the window, scanning the street below. Rosewood Road was bustling with activity, kids running everywhere and playing, most of them heading to the park, cars driving along, parents smiling. It was a happy time for just about everyone on Rosewood Road, the beginning of summer. Lucy frowned slightly and pulled her head back into her room. Summer was a happy time for almost everyone. A fondness for summer never really found a home in Lucy, for obvious reasons. Lucy turned back to her room, intent on organizing and cleaning up. A lot.

Lucy dragged her trunk to the foot of her bed, which was really just a mattress on the floor, facing the eastern most window. She opened it and emptied its contents onto her bed. Lucy sifted through her things, making a pile of things to throw away. Quills, empty inkwells, bits of torn parchment all went into that pile, along with other trash that accumulated throughout the school year. Lucy dumped all of her trash into an empty box she kept just for that purpose, then re-packed all of her still-usable school things. Once her trunk was finished, she closed it and turned to her room.

Lucy snuck downstairs into the kitchen to borrow one of her aunt's many dusters, as well as a few other things she needed. Once safely back up the trapdoor that led to her room, Lucy began cleaning. All she could really do was sweep, dust, and polish the windows, but it was enough to make the room look bright and clean, which was all Lucy really wanted anyway. She returned her aunt's things to their previous places then turned to the new boxes, pulling them to the center of her room.

Lucy had long ago considered the boxes full of stuff placed in the attic as hers, ever since her aunt had sent up a box of old clothes and food instead of just giving them to her. Lucy knew that, once anything had been put in the attic, it never came back down.................... Like her, for example. Lucy sighed and ran a hand through her hair, ignoring the resentful thoughts threatening to swallow her. Lucy never thought bad of anyone if she could help it, always trying to see the lighter side of things, even defending their actions against her. It was something she'd always done, and didn't plan to stop doing.

Lucy pulled the smallest box to her, wondering what 'hobby' her aunt had come up with over the school year. Lucy frowned when she saw it was just a bunch of Annie's old things, mostly from school. Nevertheless, Lucy sifted through the many discarded papers and assignments, finding at the bottom a beautiful frame with nothing in it. Lucy guessed it had been intended for whatever award her aunt had thought she'd win and hadn't. Lucy couldn't help the half smile that reached her lips. Olivia was always thinking up the most wild and crazy expectations of Annie, who couldn't care less if she flunked every year for the rest of her life.

Lucy picked the frame up carefully. It was a good-sized frame, big enough for a diploma. She wondered if Annie's school had come up with a new award, but simply brushed the thought away as she put the frame on her bed. Lucy had long ago begun reorganizing all of the boxes, keeping the things she wanted on the side of the room she slept on. Lucy threw the rest of the school papers into the box carelessly, knowing that her aunt would never come back up for them anyway. She turned to the next box, which was slightly larger than the first box, but still smaller than the last.

In the second box was Olivia's obvious hobby choices for the year. Or at least what she'd chosen to do while Annie was at school. There were half a billion rolls of unused film in the box, along with all kinds of cameras, varying in size and quality, from digital to disposable. Not only that, but there was about a million pictures littering the box, most of them being of Annie. Lucy sifted through the pictures, film, and cameras until she reached the bottom, where she found three thick photo albums. Lucy was a bit surprised, but guessed they could be interesting to look at and placed them on her bed along with the picture frame, one of many she had by now.

Lucy put everything back in the box and turned to the third and largest box, wondering what in the world could be in it. Not surprisingly, it was full of Annie's old things. Perfectly good toys, games, and books were thrown carelessly into the largest box, Annie being tired of them and no doubt having new things waiting. Lucy couldn't help but frown as she looked at all of the basically brand-new stuff that was sent up to the attic to rot. Like her.

Lucy shook her head fiercely and looked at all of the stuff Annie had chosen to, basically, throw out. Toys and games were really no use to Lucy, seeing as she had no one to enjoy them with, but the books were perfect. Beautifully illustrated, marvelously told stories piled the very bottom of the deep box. The books varied in thickness, some being over seven hundred pages long, others being less than twenty. Lucy pulled each one out slowly, carefully, admiring their beauty and delicately placing them onto her bed as if they were made of the purest of gold and silk. She ran her hands along their covers and spines, not surprised to see that they were all unopened.

Lucy pushed the box away, unaware of it now in the presence of the beautiful books. And they were truly beautiful, each looking as if it were made with the utmost care and delicacy. Lucy knew that her aunt would spend thousands and thousands of pounds on even one book to get Annie to read, and often smiled at this fact. Annie never read them, they were always sent up to the attic, to Lucy. Olivia had gone to a new level, though, these books looking more like art than something to read.

Lucy opened the first book with the utmost care, as gentle with it as she would a newborn babe. It was one of the thicker books, and Lucy sat reading straight through the rest of the day and night, stopping only when the sun's rays hit her back the next morning, escaping into the only world besides Magic that could heal her.

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Lucy was an extraordinarily fast reader, but even so, it took her a full month after she had returned home to finish each and every one of the books, which she had spent every day and night reading, only forcing herself to stop in order for her to eat or sleep for a few hours.

It was how her best summers were spent, really, reading. That and her 'visions' of the magical world, which she'd learned to control at Hogwarts. The stories she read in those books were some of the best she'd ever read, the author's world spinning a web around Lucy, leaving her breathless in a world not her own. It was a beautiful, wonderful place to be, even through the inevitable sadness encased in some of them. Reading was the only escape from the cruel reality that was her aunt besides Magic, which Lucy couldn't do away from school, and she intended to take full advantage of that.

And so it was with an immeasurable amount of sadness that Lucy closed the last book, finished. She sat there quietly for a moment, reflecting on the story. It had been a sad one, yes, but no less beautiful than any of the others. The book hadn't ended on an unrealistic happy note, though, but there was happiness. Acceptance, relief, love.................. it wasn't a Hollywood style ending, but it was one that left Lucy perfectly content and pleased, a warm feeling stirring within her. It was a bittersweet feeling for Lucy, for, though she loved the book, it was the last and final one she'd needed to read.

Lucy sighed and fell back against her bed. She closed her eyes, thoughts still half on the book. After a good while of lying there, Lucy finally tore her thoughts away from the story, placed the book back into its box, and stood up. She wandered over to a window overlooking Rosewood Road and stared out of it thoughtfully.

A warm breeze hit Lucy's face, making her smile. It was the first of July, and beautiful out. Lucy decided that today was a perfect day to take a walk, maybe wander along and visit some of her usual summer haunts. After all, she had nothing to do for next two months until school began but try to avoid her aunt, who was never really happy to see her anyway and would be glad if Lucy wasn't around.

Lucy jumped down the trapdoor with the ease of an acrobat, there being no ladder for her to climb down. She stuck her hands in her pockets and headed for the door, glad that her aunt, uncle, and cousin were out today. Lucy yawned as she stepped through the front door, slightly tired from having barely slept the night before. She had read all night, finally dropping off from exhaustion in the early morning. She hadn't gotten much sleep at all the week before, so she had been dead tired anyway. The few sparse hours she'd slept relieved her greatly, and Lucy knew she could last for the rest of the day until she went to bed that night, which cheered her greatly.

Lucy hummed to herself easily as she walked down Rosewood Road, headed in the general direction of the park. When she got there, though, she saw it was jam-packed with kids and their parents. Lucy decided to come back later, when there wasn't as many people around. She turned around and headed in a different direction, wandering without a destination in mind, as she usually did. Lucy somehow ended up walking past a row of houses on Rosewood Road that she'd never been around before. Lucy read off the names of the houses as she walked down the empty street, the only cars being on it parked. Lucy figured that most parents were either at work or out, which explained the silence, occasionally broken by a child's shout.

Number One, Number Two, Number Three...................the numbers went on and on. These were the beginning houses on Rosewood Road. Lucy's house was more near the end of Rosewood Road, which explained why she'd never bothered to come this way before. As Lucy passed by Number Seven, she heard a loud shout that made her jump it sounded so familiar. She froze in place and turned slowly to face Number Seven. Now accompanying the shouts pounding sounds that signaled someone stomping down a flight of stairs. More shouting, then the door banged open and someone stormed out of the house. The person froze in place when they saw Lucy.

It was Lily.

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There was a long, shocked silence after Lily's exit from the house, both friends speechless as they stared at each other. A large gust of wind blew Lucy's hair messier, and she ran a hand through it and grinned at Lily in disbelief.

"Lily? Is that really you?" Lucy asked, breaking the spell that had seemed to keep both girls frozen, still and silent.

"Lucy!" Lily shouted in response, running at her friend. The two of them hugged tightly, laughing for some unknown reason.

"I missed you so much!" Lucy shouted.

"Me too!" Lily agreed. The two parted, each beaming, eyes bright. "How did you find me?!" Lily asked in shocked disbelief.

"I don't know! I was just taking a walk and I heard some shouting! It sounded a lot like you, so I stopped, and you came out of the house!" Lucy exclaimed, breathless with excitement at seeing Lily again, and so soon. Lily was equally excited, especially as she'd just come out of a particularly horrible fight with Petunia.

"Wait! You live around here?! Where?!"

"I live down farther on Rosewood Road, that way, number 12." Lucy replied, pointing in the general direction of her house. Lily's eyes lit up.

"No way! How far?"

"A couple blocks. Not much, really. Walking distance." Lucy smiled, eyes bright.

"That close?" Lily gasped. Lucy nodded.

"I know! I can't believe it either!"

"How did we never meet each other?!"

"I don't know!" The two girls chatted in obvious disbelief and great excitement. Lily told Lucy all about her summer so far, which consisted greatly of fights with her sister and outings with her parents. Lucy told Lily all about the books she'd read, and laughed at the reaction she got from Lily.

"You got new books?!" Lily asked. "And you finished all of them already?!" Lucy nodded. She got an idea.

"Do you want to read them, Lils?" Lily nodded furiously, and Lucy grinned. "Should I go home and get them?" Lily nodded again.

"Yeah! Can I come with?" Lucy hesitated briefly, before deciding that her aunt, uncle, and cousin should still be out at the amusement park Annie had wanted to go to. Most likely they'd be gone all day.

"Sure. Do you want to read them in my room, or................... nah, let's just bring them back here, okay?" Lily nodded happily and the two of them headed off to Lucy's house, chattering excitedly all the way.

"Here we are." Lucy announced when they'd reached her house. "Number 12 Rosewood Road."

"It's nice." Lily said politely. Lucy just shrugged and opened the front door.

"My room's upstairs." The two of them went up to the second floor into a large closet. Lily looked terribly confused. Lucy pointed up to the trapdoor hidden in the ceiling. That was the great thing about the attic's entrance. It was hidden by an otherwise empty closet, with room enough to climb up and jump down easily.

There was a chair sitting in the closet with a broken leg, as well as an old table. Lucy climbed up onto the chair, then the table. She opened the trapdoor and climbed in. When Lily didn't follow suit, Lucy leaned down the hole, dangling halfway to the table, holding her hand out to her obviously frightened friend.

"C'mon Lils. You won't fall, I promise." Lily nodded trustfully and climbed up to the table, using Lucy's outstretched hand as a balance. Lucy pulled Lily up into her room, and Lily looked surprised as she looked around. She masked her surprise well, but Lucy still noticed the look in her eyes. Lucy shrugged to herself and headed to a large open box sitting on her trunk. She counted all the books, twice, to make sure they were all there. Lily was walking around the room carefully, taking in each detail and surveying the view from the windows. Lucy said nothing and waited patiently for Lily to finish looking around. When Lily had finished, she turned to Lucy, astonishment written clearly in both her eyes and expression. Lucy said nothing, only picked up the box and motioned for Lily to go down the trapdoor first.

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The two of them walked in silence for a bit, Lucy carrying the box easily, no matter how heavy. She had always been rather strong, so carrying the box wasn't a problem for her, nor an irritant. They were, after all, her books. Not only that, but she wouldn't have let Lily carry them. Lily seemed to be thinking hard as they walked. Finally, finally, she spoke. "Lucy, do you like living up in that attic?" Lucy was quiet for a long time, thinking hard about her answer.

"I don't know, really." Lucy answered honestly. "I've been there for half of forever."

"How long?"

"Seven, eight years maybe. I dunno." Lily looked shocked.

"When'd you move in there?! When you were three?!" Lucy didn't answer, instead choosing to adjust the box in her arms a bit. The two walked in silence for a bit, Lily taking Lucy's silence as good as a yes.

Lily's mind was already working at top speed when they reached her house. She turned to Lucy, ready to fire every question in her head at her friend, when Lucy turned to look at her pleadingly, begging with her eyes for Lily to keep silent. Lily complied, using every bit of self-control she had in her. Lucy thanked Lily silently and the two of them walked into Lily's house, heading for her room.

"Lily? Is that you?" A voice called from down the stairs.

"Yeah, Mum. I'm home."

"Where were you?" A woman came into view at the bottom of the steps, looking relieved. "I was worried about you. You just disappeared."

"Sorry, Mum. I went out to visit a friend." Lily's mum looked surprised. "I met her outside the house. My friend from school."

"Oh.................. she lives around here?" Lily nodded.

"Yeah, I was surprised too. I went over to her house for a bit, to get some books she's letting me borrow."

"Did you at least invite her over, Lillian Marie Evans?" Her mother demanded. Lily turned red and Lucy bit back a laugh. "Well?" Lucy was standing further down the hall than Lily was, so her mother could only see Lily. Lucy decided to do Lily a favor and step foreword so her mum could see her.

"Hello, Mrs. Evans. It's a pleasure to meet you." Lily's mother turned slightly red. Lucy smiled pleasantly at her, adjusting the box in her arms again.

"Oh, hello. I didn't see you before. You must be Lucy. It's a pleasure to finally meet you." Mrs. Evans said politely, throwing her daughter a Look.

"As is you, Mrs. Evans. I'd shake your hand, but mine are kind of full at the time." Mrs. Evans laughed, eyes twinkling.

"That's quite all right, Lucy. You and Lily go and have fun. Thank you for letting her borrow all those books." She said, eyeing the box. Lucy smiled.

"It's no trouble, Mrs. Evans. I finished reading all of them just today, and I couldn't wait for the chance to share them with Lily. She's my very best friend." Lucy said firmly. Lily grinned and the look in Mrs. Evans' eyes clearly stated that she like Lucy.

"Well then, I'm glad you met up with Lily today. You girls have fun." Lucy inclined her head some in a half-nod and smiled.

"Me too, Mrs. Evans. Immeasurably." The two girls left Mrs. Evans, who was smiling brightly to herself as she thought about Lily's new friend.

"You made a great first impression on my mum, Lucy." Lily said, once the two of them were in her room, behind a closed door. Lucy grinned.

"Why, thank you, Lily Marie." Lily turned red and Lucy laughed. "I'm just kidding, Lils. I'd never call you that in public." Lily looked relieved. "Then again................."

"Lucy!" Lucy laughed.

"I'm kidding. Anyway, she seems really nice." Lily shrugged.

"Yeah, she is...................." There was a short, comfortable silence then. It didn't last long and was broken by Lucy jumping off of Lily's bed.

"I want to show you the books!" She exclaimed excitedly. Lily jumped off of the bed and ran over to Lucy as well. Lucy opened the box quickly and pulled out the books one by one, laying them out on the floor for Lily to see. Lily gasped as she looked at them, so many and so beautiful. "I knew you'd like them!" Lucy's eyes were twinkling, Lily's were sparkling.

"They're beautiful!" Lily exclaimed, running her hand across the books' covers.

"They're for you." Lucy said decidedly. Lily turned to Lucy, eyes wide, shock and disbelief running rampant across her features.

"Impossible! I can't accept these!" Lucy shook her head.

"No. They're yours. All of them." Lucy added, when it looked as if Lily were about to object. "Seriously, Lils, you'll love them."

"Well, yeah, probably, but-"

"No. I want you to have them, Lily."

"But-but-"

"Lily." Lucy said sternly. Lily looked up at her. "I want you to have these. You'll be able to use them better than I would, and take better care of them." Lily remembered Lucy's attic room and couldn't help but agree.

"Maybe, but-"

"Lily, I love these books, these stories. I don't want them to end up rotting, locked away in a dusty old attic forever. I want you to keep them, as a gift from me. Take care of them, please. Even if you can't accept it now, they're yours. Just please, please promise me you won't get rid of them." Lily shook her head furiously.

"I'd never get rid of these, Lucy! I'll keep them forever!" Lucy looked relieved, as if a huge weight had been lifted from her shoulders. Ever since she'd seen the books, she'd wanted Lily to have them. Lucy knew how much they would probably mean to Lily, who was even more of a bookworm than Lucy. She knew that Lily would love them, and take care of them. And, by the look on Lily's face as she held one of the books tightly to her, Lucy had been right. Lily wanted the books. Badly.

"So they're yours. One more thing."

"Yeah?" Lily asked hesitantly. Lucy smiled.

"I want to read them, too."

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The next two months went by at an amazingly fast pace. Lucy spent most of her time over at the Evans', sleeping over there so often that the family had stopped asking whether she was staying or not. They treated Lucy as a member of the family, taking her out on trips, surprising her with little gifts, even teasing her every once in awhile. Even Petunia seemed to take a liking to Lucy, if not a tolerance, even though she was Lily's friend, as well as a witch. All in all, it was the best two months that Lucy had ever spent in her entire life, and she was surprised to find that she wasn't too happy about having to go to school, although she and Lily had been looking foreword to it all summer. Somewhere deep inside of her, Lucy knew the reason she didn't want this summer to end. It was the first time in as long as she could remember that she'd felt loved. Lucy refused to acknowledge this little fact, though, and continued enjoying her time with the Evans' as thoroughly as possible.

When it was time to leave for King's Cross, the Evans' offered to drop Lucy off along with Lily, and she nodded, smiling brightly. They offered to pick her up at her house in the morning. Lucy had hesitated some, but agreed to that, too. She'd asked them to refer to Hogwarts only as 'school', which confused them. They didn't question her, though, and agreed. The next morning, when the Evans' came to pick Lucy up, they were surprised to find that Olivia, who had answered the door, had no idea who they were.

"We're the Evans. Those are our daughters in the car. Our youngest, Lily, is friends with your.................. niece, is it? Lucy. We've come to take her to school."

"Oh. You're here for her." Without another word, Olivia turned around and left them standing on the porch, door wide open. They were shocked at her rudeness, and obvious lack of care for Lucy. They were just about to go in and have a talk with her when Lucy appeared, looking slightly panicked. Olivia brushed by her without taking notice of her presence, slipping into the kitchen to eat breakfast with her husband and daughter. Lucy looked over at her a second, relief washing across her features, further shocking the Evans. Lucy hugged the two of them without saying a word and dragged her trunk to their car. Mr. Evans helped her load it in the trunk and Lucy got in.

The car was quiet as they drove along, Petunia never having anything to say when it came to Hogwarts, Lucy refusing to talk, Lily worrying about her friend, and Mr. and Mrs. Evans thinking about their encounter with Olivia. They were completely and totally shocked at the way she'd treated Lucy, and wondered how on earth Lucy could have ever turned out as nice as she was. Either way, no one was really up to talking at the time, and by the time they'd reached King's Cross, the elder Evans had slight headaches.

The change that came over Lucy when she saw the train station was every bit as shocking as meeting her aunt had been. Lucy's face lit up and she was out of the car in a flash, already opening the trunk of the car by the time Mr. Evans had shut off the car. By the time he'd stepped out, she'd already gotten her trunk out. Lucy's eyes were dancing as she helped Lily take her trunk out. Lucy dashed off to get them trolleys, coming back moments later with two. How she'd managed to go so fast while pushing two trolleys, the Evans would never know. But they saw how happy Lucy had become at the prospect of going to Hogwarts and couldn't help but smile.

Lucy was chattering excitedly as the five of them headed to Platform 9 3/4, Lucy begging to be let on first. Mr. and Mrs. Evans nodded, and Lucy tore through the barrier at such a speed that, had it been solid, Lucy could have killed herself. Mr. Evans chuckled and Mrs. Evans smiled as Lily chased after her friend through the barrier. They had to push Petunia through the barrier, though, she scowling deeply the entire way.

The sight of the Hogwarts Express awaiting its students amazed the Evans, just as it had when they'd first brought Lily a year ago. They spotted Lily waiting for them in a corner with Lucy, who was scanning the crowds excitedly.

"JAMES!" Lucy suddenly screamed, abandoning both her trolley and Lily to run halfway across the platform and tackle her friend to the floor.

"Woah! Whit, is that you?!"

"Who else would it be?!" Lucy asked, laughing, as she hugged him tightly. "I've missed you so much, James! Have you seen Remus, Peter, or Sirius anywhere?"

"I missed you too, Whit." James laughed. "No, I haven't seen the guys yet." Lucy got up and helped James to his feet, giving him another bone-breaking hug. "Ouch! What have you been doing, lifting weights?!" Lucy laughed.

"What? Embarrassed that little old me is stronger than my 'big brother'?" James turned red.

"You are not stronger than me!"

"Oh yeah? Well-"

"James! Whit!" The two of them spun to see Remus waving at them, his parents looking afraid as they dashed out off the platform without saying goodbye.

"FOX!" Lucy screamed, barreling towards Remus and tackling him to the floor as she had done James. Remus laughed and hugged Lucy back.

"I missed you too, Whit." The two of them go up, Remus rubbing his back with a look of mock pain on his face. "You keep doing that to people and you're gonna get arrested, you know that, right?" Lucy laughed. James joined the two of them, giving Remus a high-five as he did so. Lily came over too, as well as her parents. Petunia stayed by the edge of the platform, looking sullen and angry.

"Who'd lock me up just for giving someone a hug, Fox?" Lucy asked, grinning. Remus rolled his eyes, grinning nonetheless.

"It's not the hug, Whit, it's the delivery."

"What's wrong with my delivery?"

"Well, tackling someone to the ground could make people think you're attacking............." Lucy laughed at that.

"Aw, c'mon, Fox! Would I ever hurt someone?!"

"No, I guess--"

"PETER!" Lucy exclaimed, interrupting Remus. She dashed off towards a very shocked Peter, who had just come through the barrier. She didn't knock him to the floor, though, but squeezed him so tight that his face turned red. He gasped, trying to get air, and Lucy released him, smiling sheepishly. "Sorry, Pete."

"Not a problem, Whit." Peter said, grinning, his parents wandering over to join the Potters and the Evans. Peter and Lucy made their way over to Lily, James, and Remus. The four of them exchanged greetings, as Lucy scanned the crowds, keeping a close eye on the barrier. It didn't take long for her to spot the sullen boy appear onto the platform. It took even less time for her to shout his name and tear over to him.

It was, of course, Sirius.

Sirius, for one, was shocked. He'd just had a huge row with his parents--not to mention Regulus--and was in a terrible mood...................well, had been. It was hard for anyone to stay mad while Lucy was hugging them. She had a healing air around her, as if she were a trouble-enjoying peacemaker. Which she was. Sirius relaxed into the hug, returning it gratefully. When Lucy let go of Sirius, her eyes were shining.

"I missed you, Sirius!" Sirius grinned, he couldn't help it.

"I missed you too, Whit. But, really." Lucy looked confused.

"What?"

"Could you have shouted any louder?" Lucy grinned, pretending to think.

"Well.................."

"Hey." Regulus said, sidling up next to Lucy. Lucy turned to him, smiling brightly. She gave him a hug, though much shorter than any of the others had gotten. Though Sirius was not happy at the budding friendship between the two, he was pleased to see that Lucy was more subdued in her treatment of Regulus.

"Hey, Reg." Lucy said warmly. Regulus smiled, albeit guardedly.

"My brother says your name is 'Whit'. Is this true?" Lucy laughed.

"Kind of. Consider it a nickname."

"Like Reg?" Regulus asked ruefully. Lucy nodded happily.

"Exactly." The two of them chatted a bit, Sirius wandering over to where Lily, James, Remus, and Peter were standing. His parents were but a few feet away from where Lucy and Regulus stood talking, and were eyeing her carefully. They obviously hadn't forgotten her from their previous meeting, and it was clear to Sirius that they were trying to gauge her blood status. Sirius wanted to laugh at their suspicious eyes. He seriously doubted that even Lucy knew her own blood status, seeing as she lived with her aunt, uncle, and cousin. And he knew she didn't care either way. She probably didn't even know about blood status', or purebloods, or any of that nonsense!

Sirius exchanged pleasantries with his three best friends and Lily, the five of them turning to watch Lucy and Regulus immediately afterward.

"Hey Reg?" Lucy asked, looking over at the Blacks.

"Yeah?" He asked, following Lucy's line of sight until his eyes landed on his parents. They were regarding Lucy in a way he'd seen before, many times. Suspicion. Not only that, but their faces clearly showed the proud, haughty look that he, too, used most of the time. The look that said, and quite clearly; 'You should be begging to lick the dirt off my shoes'. The two of them obviously suspected Lucy not being pureblood, and even if she was, not from a respectable line, as old as theirs.

Lucy looked more surprised than uncomfortable under the Blacks' scrutinizing glares. But the moment of shock passed by in an instant, replaced by a determined gleam in her eyes. There was underlying strength and fire as Lucy matched the Blacks' glares perfectly with her calculating stare, quite a feat, considering there were two of them and only one of her. Lucy didn't seem to be afraid, though. On the contrary, it looked as if she were reaching into a well of knowledge, eyes glinting as if she knew exactly who they were, and how to beat them. The Blacks noticed this and backed off, instead turning their heads to look at the Hogwarts Express.

Once eye contact had been broken, Lucy returned to her previous, light-hearted state. It shocked Regulus to no end, but he had been taught long ago how to mask his emotions. Lucy ran a hand cheerily through her hair, eyes finally landing on the trunk next to Regulus. She looked at the trunk, then at him, then back at the trunk, eyes bright. She half turned to look over at Sirius, who too had a trunk sitting next to him. Lucy looked at Regulus again, grinning broadly.

"You're coming to Hogwarts this year, aren't you, Reg?"

It wasn't a question.

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When Reg had nodded, Lucy had automatically invited him to sit with her in their compartment, obviously not thinking about the not-so-secret war he held with his brother. Pureblood Aristocrat that he was, Reg knew exactly how to decline the invitation without arising suspicion, as he had practically been trained in lying. But, even though he figured he could lie to Lucy and get away with it, he hesitated. Of course he wouldn't be sitting with his blood-traitor brother, his brother's friends, and the obvious Mudblood scum standing with them! So, instead of lying as he usually would, Reg merely declined the offer, perfectly polite, his manner showing his breeding as well as he hoped it would.

Lucy nodded, looking somewhat disappointed, but shrugged, deciding it best not to push Reg. He didn't want to sit with them, fine. Lucy knew it'd be better off if he used his time on the train getting to know people more. Offer rejected or not, Lucy smiled at Reg easily, not objecting when he'd said he'd prefer standing with his parents rather than his brother. Another shrug and the two separated, to the obvious belief of both parties watching them closely.

"Hey, guys!" Lucy greeted her shocked friends cheerily. "Everyone say hi to everyone?" They nodded, not saying anything. Lucy, although usually good at picking up on these kinds of things, didn't seem to notice the shock and disbelief emanating from her five friends......................... Or if she did, she ignored it. The five-minute warning whistle blew shrilly. The Evans, Potters, and Pettigrews made their way over, saying goodbye to their children. The Blacks only said goodbye to Regulus, though, and he went on the train without a glance back. The Pettigrews hugged Peter tightly, as the Potters did James, while looking at Lucy somewhat wistfully out of the corner of their eyes. Lucy noticed this but didn't choose to gauge the meaning, as the Evans hugged her and Lily tightly.

Lucy was beaming when she was released, though her eyes held a touch of sadness. She loved the thought of returning to Hogwarts, but hated the thought of not being able to see the Evans while there. The Evans seemed to understand, remembering their encounter with her aunt just that morning and deciding that she couldn't have gotten much out of living with her there. They invited her to spend the Christmas holidays with them, to which they got an excited gasp, an exclaimed thanks, and a huge hug.

The Potters watched the exchange in a wishful silence. Both of them knew exactly what the other was thinking about, neither having to speak a word. They watched Lucy's eyes light up as she almost screamed a yes out, watched the broad smiles on the Evans' faces as she hugged them tightly. It hurt the Potters slightly, to be watching this, now, but they couldn't seem not to, couldn't look away. Lucy's eyes were bright, the specks of green and gold dancing wildly. It looked oddly familiar to Mr. Potter, who looked over at his wife in mild surprise. She, too, was looking at him, having just seen him run a hand through his hair in an even more familiar manner. The looks that the elder Potters exchanged clearly stated that they'd speak more about it later.

The conductor was calling for last-minute students from his spot near the train. He spotted the group of friends and levitated their luggage into a magical containment area, beckoning them to hurry along. The six said another quick goodbye to the adults then hurried over to board the train. The conductor scanned the platform once more, then boarded the train himself. At almost the same time, the train began moving.

The Potters watched the train windows closely, glimpsing the group getting settled in a compartment. Somehow Lucy knew they were being watched and threw open the window. She stuck her head out of it and grinned at the astounded parents. Lucy waved to them once more, before James and Lily pulled Lucy back into the train, both frowning deeply. The two of them began scolding a completely unfazed, grinning Lucy, while Sirius, Remus, and Peter watched on in obvious delight. Lucy said something to them which shut them up pretty fast, turning them both red as Sirius, Remus, and Peter howled in laughter. Both James and Lily spluttered, trying to say something to recover their obviously-lost dignity, succeeding only in doubling the laughter that had engulfed the three boys, as well as causing a victorious gleam in Lucy's eyes that could be seen all the way across the platform to where the Potters stood.

The train chugged out of sight then. The Potters looked around, clearly surprised that they were alone. They had been so caught up in watching Lucy that they hadn't noticed when the Evans and Pettigrews had bid them well and left.

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The Potter family was one of the oldest, purest families in all the wizarding world. Their bloodline ran deeper than both the Blacks, and the Malfoys. There had never been any animosity towards Muggles in the Potter past, no, but their blood had remained pure nonetheless. Never once had there been a Magic/Muggle relationship, oddly enough. Almost every child that bore the name Potter became a witch or wizard, a strong one, along with that. Of course, as in all wizarding families, there had been instances in which a child had no magical tendencies, resulting in a Squib. Unlike most wizarding families with roots as deep as theirs, though, the Potter family had never disowned a child for something as trivial as this, let alone any reason..

Mr. and Mrs. Potter sat down in their living room, both choosing to remain still and silent for a good while. They were thinking hard about everything they'd seen and heard concerning Lucy. Both parents had rising suspicions concerning the girl, but neither could say anything about them at the present time. Mr. Potter was rubbing the bridge of his nose fiercely, as well as running a hand through his hair agitatedly. Mrs. Potter sat wringing her hands, something she only did when deeply upset. Mr. Potter noticed this and abruptly stopped his thinking to turn to his wife.

"Are you all right, honey?" He asked, concerned. Mrs. Potter didn't answer right away, obviously unsure herself.

"Can we.................... look at the pictures again?" She asked hesitantly. Mr. Potter nodded, silently Summoning a set of pictures that they'd hidden long ago.

The first showed a newborn baby blinking sleepily. Already there was a mass of tangled curls covering up the little head. The baby yawned widely, finally able to keep her eyes open afterwards. The little girl smiled at the Potters through the picture, a pair of blue eyes that mirrored Mrs. Potter's own watching them happily. Not long after, the baby fell back to sleep and the whole process began again. They put that picture aside and turned to another one, taken a good couple months later.

The baby had learned to crawl by now. She'd had a nightmare and had crawled over to James' room without a second thought, neither hesitating or thinking of her parents in the least. James was quite young at the time, only a year ahead of the baby girl. The baby had woken James up, wordlessly asking a question to the small boy. He obviously wasn't very happy about being woken up so late in the night, but did not yell at his little sister, or look angry in the least. Instead, he pulled back the covers, answering the question she had so wanted him to understand.

The little girl was now curled up next to her big brother, who was watching her sleep. He had a big grin on his face, full to bursting with love. He carefully covered the sleeping girl with his blanket, snuggling close to her, but carefully, as not to hurt or disturb her. He patted her little head gently, moving some curls out of her face. Determined though he was to stay up in case she needed him, tiredness was quickly overcoming the small boy. He fought it off valiantly, falling asleep in the end, despite his efforts.

Even in his sleep, the tiny boy was careful and very aware of his little sister's presence next to him. One would go so far as to say that the little boy could read his sister's mind, and knew that she needed him. Of course, this had to be impossible, but one never knew, when it came to magic, and the bond between a brother and sister.

The Potters both felt tears burning their eyes as they looked down at the pictures, but continued looking at them nonetheless. They hadn't in a long time.

The little girl, now about a year old. She was blowing bubbles and laughing in delight when they popped on her nose, unknowingly making it so they would. She played happily for a few minutes longer, finally noticing the person taking the picture. The tiny girl grinned. She blew out a few bubbles before crossing her eyes at the person, as well as sticking her tongue out playfully at her big brother, now about two. The taller, yet still small boy only laughed at this, joining her in playing with the bubbles. James, already with a mop of messy black hair and a pair of much-needed glasses, accidentally ended up spilling the bubble solution, looking instantly apologetic.

The girl only laughed at this, as if her big brother spilling out the contents of her favorite toy meant nothing to her. The little boy look relieved and smiled, even though the tiny girl was sticking her tongue out at him again, once more adding a pair of crossed eyes to the face. The boy laughed, then looked down at the bubble spill again. The little girl touched the still-wet grass then rubbed her hands together. She put the bubble wand in between her hands and continued rubbing them. After she seemed satisfied by this, she pulled hard on the bubble wand's opposite ends. This resulted in a perfect duplication of the first. There were two of them now, and they were gleaming brightly.

The little girl handed a wand to her big brother, who had been watching her, wide-eyed, and blew. Bigger, brighter, and shinier bubbles came out of her wand, obviously magical in every way. She continued blowing, the bubbles never running out or becoming smaller. James caught onto the idea in a flash and began blowing as well, giving his little sister a kiss on the cheek before doing so.

The Potters continued looking at pictures for the rest of the day.

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"Black, Regulus!" McGonagall called loudly. The Hall seemed to tense up as the younger Black son swaggered foreword, already knowing which House he'd be placed in. It was obvious that Reg would be put into Slytherin. After all, he and his brother had nothing in common. Speaking of his blood-traitor brother................. Reg had scanned the Gryffindor table before, and had not been happy to see Lucy sitting there, along with his older brother and his friends. Not happy at all. But why would his brother befriend a Slytherin? Scratch that, why would a Slytherin befriend his brother?

"SLYTHERIN!" The Sorting Hat shouted. Reg smirked, sending a triumphant glare over at his brother, who shot Reg a glare full of hate. The Slytherin table was roaring in applause, the other Houses clapping softly, out of respect more than anything. Not that Reg really cared. All that mattered was the Slytherin House's reaction anyway.

He was pleasantly surprised, though, when he saw Lucy clapping as hard as any of the Slytherins, perhaps harder. Anger flared deep within him when he saw Sirius pull Lucy back down into her seat, whispering urgently to her. Lucy looked confused, then slightly put off. She didn't stand up again, but she kept clapping, twice as hard now, shooting Sirius disapproving looks out of the corner of her eye. Which he caught.

Reg felt better suddenly, as he sat down with his Housemates. They all congratulated Reg coolly and without emotion. He shook hands with many of them, focusing his attention on some of the other first years sitting near him.

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By some unspoken agreement, Sirius and Lucy had agreed not to discuss the Sorting. If they had, Lucy was sure nothing good would come from it. Sirius seemed to agree by the way he ate his food. Slowly and carefully, unnerved by Lucy's uncharacteristic silence. Lily, James, Remus, and Peter could tell that this wasn't something they wanted to get into, so the four of them began chatting away about their summers.

After dinner was over, the Prefects gathered up their Houses and led them off. The Slytherins passed by the Gryffindors on the way. This caused a slight delay in progress as the two Houses had a minor clash in the middle of the hall, even the Prefects trading insults. Lucy, instead of joining her Housemates in taunting the Slytherins, used this spat as a chance to meet up with Reg.

Lucy managed to get out of the crowd of students. She found Reg rather quickly, as he was throwing insults at Sirius. She pulled him out of the crowd of hissing Slytherins quickly, before he had time to react.

"Congratulations, Reg!" Lucy said breathlessly, eyes shining. "I know how much you wanted to get into Slytherin!"

"Thanks.................." Reg said carefully, wondering why she was being nice to him now that he was her enemy. Lucy seemed to know what he was thinking.

"You're not my enemy, Reg." She said, looking truly hurt.

"I never said that."

"But you thought it. You were looking at me like I was gonna hurt you or something!" Reg said nothing, choosing not to look at Lucy. "Reg?"

"Yeah?"

"Are we still gonna be able to be friends?"

"....................I don't know." Reg said slowly.

"But we can still try, right, Reg?" Reg nodded, even slower than before.

"But we can't let anyone else know." Lucy looked confused.

"Why not?" Reg sighed.

"Lucy, our Houses are bitter rivals, always have been, always will. If I'm friends with you one of us could get hurt, bad. If you're friends with me, I'm pretty sure you're Housemates will refuse to talk to you." Lucy looked saddened at the thought of having to keep their friendship under lock and key, but nodded.

"Okay then, Reg. I really want to be your friend, and, well, if this is how it has to be, then fine." Reg smiled appreciatively at her. A smirk suddenly crossed his lips. "What?" Lucy asked, confused at the change.

"In a couple years, when you're my girlfriend, the Slytherins won't touch you." He said silkily, eyes shining with a hidden secret. It took a second for her to figure it out, but when she did, Lucy whacked Reg's arm lightly, laughing.

"Already practicing that Slytherin humor, aren't you, Reg?" He grinned.

"Every day."

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Lucy threw herself onto her bed with a loud, over-exaggerated sigh. Lily stifled a giggle as she looked at Lucy sprawled across her bed like a starfish. Lucy grinned up at her friend, head dangling off of one side of the bed. "You're upside down." Lucy informed Lily, a look of utmost sincerity upon her face, as if this information would one day save them all. Lily couldn't help laughing.

"No, you are, now sit up."

"Why?" Lucy whined, rolling herself in the covers. "I'm all warm and comfy-like!" Lily rolled her eyes good-naturedly.

"You promised the guys you'd hang out with them in the common room for a bit before curfew rolls around and we have to go to bed." Lily informed Lucy.

"Then why'd you let me come up here?!" Lucy asked, exasperated. Lily looked over at Lucy to check if she really meant it, only to see that she was grinning broadly, eyes crossed and still upside down. Lily couldn't help laughing.

"Get up, now, before the guys decide to blame me!" Lucy laughed, rolling out of bed as she did so.

"You know I wasn't gonna stay there forever! A promise is a promise." Lily smiled at her friend. "But I'm taking my blanket down! It's all warm and toasty-like!" Lily couldn't help but laugh at Lucy's childish antics. "Come with me?" Lucy asked, both of them already knowing the answer. Lily nodded and Lucy grinned. "The fun way?" Lily looked truly bewildered, which made Lucy's grin double in size. "The fun way!" Lucy decided enthusiastically, not waiting for Lily's response.

Lucy grabbed Lily's hand and dragged her out of their room, which just so happened to be at the very top of the staircase. Lucy threw her blanket on the landing, eyes gleaming. Lily didn't feel too good about where this was going, but before she could voice her opinion on the whole matter, Lucy had already shouted down the stairs. "Oi! Guys!" James, Sirius, Remus, and Peter appeared at the foot of the stairs. Lucy jumped onto the blanket and they grinned wickedly. "The fun way!"

Lily suddenly knew exactly what was about to happen. All four boys put one foot onto the staircase just as Lucy pushed the two of them off the landing.

"AHHHHHHH!" Lily screamed loudly, Lucy laughing next to her as they slid down the slide that replaced the stairs at top speed. Just as it looked like they were going to crash to the floor, Lucy intervened.

"Fox! Ramp!" She ordered. Remus whipped out his wand and a ramp appeared at the foot of the stairs. The two girls flew into the air. "James! Lily!" Lucy ordered. She knew that Lily would probably feel better being caught, at least for now. James caught Lily with easily, gently placing her on her feet once she'd loosened her grip on him

Instead of being caught, though, Lucy slammed into an armchair, knocking it over. She landed on it upside down and began laughing, sitting up and rubbing her head. The armchair had been a recliner. So not only had Lucy knocked it down, but she'd opened it, making an odd-looking bed. Lucy laughed and laughed at this, seeing as how, not two minutes ago, she'd wanted to lie down. Lucy stood up, kicking the armchair back in place with an amazing show of strength that she obviously didn't think much about. The chair snapped back into place, looking as if nothing had happened.

Still chuckling softly to herself about her landing, Lucy located her blanket and wrapped it around her small shoulders. She jumped into the exact armchair she'd knocked over before, nestling into it comfortably.

"Lucy...................." Lily began in a dangerous tone that served not only as a warning, but as a death threat.

"Lily." Lucy said cheerfully. And before Lily could continue, "You had fun."

"What?! Of course I-"

"You had fun." Lucy repeated in a singsong-y tone. "You had fun going down the stairs, going up the ramp, and landing." Lily turned the slightest shade of pink, to which Lucy grinned broadly but said nothing.

"Okay, I had fun. So what?" Lily sniffed, thankful that Lucy said nothing more about her 'landing'.

"So you can't be mad at me!" Lucy said, tone smug, eyes bright. Lily groaned loudly, unable to stop the smile from crossing her lips.

The six of them spent the rest of the time they had talking, Lily forcing everyone to go to bed the second curfew rolled around. The boys grumbled a bit about it, but Lily threatened to send Lucy in the next morning to wake them up if they didn't go to bed and stay there, which caused them to go running to their room in mock terror. Lucy had laughed and rolled her eyes at the boys. Lily threatened to wake Lucy up the next morning, at 5:30, if she didn't get to bed right then, which made Lucy go running up the stairs in actual terror, knowing Lily wasn't joking.

The next few months were filled with classes, homework, and pranks. Lucy was by far the busiest person of the six of them. Keeping James, Sirius, Remus, and Peter from getting expelled was a full time job in itself, not to mention studying, homework, classes, and all her secret meetings with Reg. It was fun, though, and exciting. Lucy never knew what would happen next, even in classes, as she, once again, had all four boys and Lily in all of them. They had some classes with the Slytherins, too, like Potions and Care of Magical Creatures. Lucy's schedule was always full, something interesting happening every second, so it was quite a shock to find that she was free one Sunday.

Reg had said, via Owl Post, that he had to cancel their meeting that afternoon. The guys weren't planning any pranks tonight, seeing as how Remus' aunt was sick. All of her homework and assignments were finished, so that took care of schoolwork. Lily wanted to read from some of the books Lucy had given her today, so hanging with Lily wasn't a possibility. Not only that, but the guys were gone, too.

Lucy collapsed into a chair in the common room in disbelief. It had been, what? Three, four months maybe, since the beginning of school? She'd been busy the entire time, and even if she did have a free moment, she had spent it with either Lily or the guys. Now, though, Lucy had nothing to do, in every sense of the phrase. Lucy wondered what she should do today, finally deciding to wander around outside all day.

It was a good idea. Lucy enjoyed herself very thoroughly that day. She'd wandered all around the grounds, even meandering along inside the Forbidden Forest for a bit. It was a nice change in pace for her. Quiet, calm. Everything was relaxed. Lucy loved being able to spend her day out under the great blue sky. She loved the quiet sounds of nature, the gentle movements. When Lucy was outside, especially in the Forest, a kind of odd peace filled her like never before. It made her never want to leave, although she knew she had to............................ And yet, Lucy knew she could survive in the wild if she really wanted to. But Lucy loved her friends even more than the prospect of disappearing into the wild forever, so that night, Lucy went to dinner as usual.

Lily had brought the book she'd been reading that day with her to dinner, the book having at least half a dozen protection spells on it. Lucy knew that Lily would probably forget to eat and made a mental note to ask the House Elves for a little something for Lily. Extra emphasis on little. Lucy laughed, remembering the last time she'd asked for some food. The House Elves had outdone themselves greatly, giving her trays and trays of food. Not wanting to upset them, Lucy had taken it all and thrown a party in the common room, giving all the credit to the guys, who thanked her for it later.

Lily, on the other hand, hadn't been able to stop laughing.

Lily was already immersed in her book, so Lucy turned to look over at the guys. James and Sirius were deep in conversation, Peter listening intently and throwing in a comment or two every now an then. Remus wasn't listening, though. He was picking listlessly at his food, not even trying to pretend he cared what was going on. Remus looked dead tired and weak, his face pale. Remus looked very, very sick, and it was all Lucy could do to keep herself from sending him to the Hospital Wing. They had gone through the Hospital Wing thing before, though, and Lucy knew not to suggest it.

Lucy spent the rest of dinner keeping a close eye on Remus. He caught her once and smiled without much conviction. After dinner, Lucy gave Remus a tight hug and kissed the top of his head as she headed up to her room, Remus sitting down in the common room. Remus had smiled at her genuinely then, which made her feel a bit better. Lucy didn't like not having Remus around for days after he left. It made her slightly uneasy, and worry about him all the more.

Later that night, Lucy was restless. She usually was, every time Remus left in such a sickly condition, but tonight it was something more. Much more. Her open window was calling her, the full moon beckoning her to come out. The wind whispered sweet promises of peace and beauty. The stars twinkled as if they knew a great secret, and were laughing. Lucy could hear the leaves in the trees in the Forbidden Forest swish together, ever so softly. It nearly drove her insane. That day she'd spent wandering around the grounds, especially the Forbidden Forest. Now, it was calling to her. All that untamed beauty, calling her name, telling her to come.

Years later, when Lucy would look back on this day, she still wouldn't know exactly what made her get up out of bed and leave the safety of the castle. She'll never be able to explain, let alone understand, what it was that drew her to the Forest that night. All Lucy knew was that something was telling her to go to the Forbidden Forest. A voice, if you would. A voice that could not be denied.

Lucy was not cursed, or under anyone's control. She hadn't done anything magical, or been around anyone all day. No one tried to curse her, no one touched her food. And yet Lucy could not resist the call of the Forest. At least, for that one particular night...................... a night that she seemed to be waiting for, if her lack of sleep counted for anything. Which it did, as Lucy was tired from her long day of walking. She had hoped to fall asleep and dream about nature, not be forced to stay awake and dragged into it. 

Lucy made her choice without thinking. One moment, she was lying on her bed, looking out of the window, the next, she was lacing up her trainers. Lucy paused and looked at herself before leaving the room. She had gotten dressed as she would for school. White t-shirt, jeans, black-and-white trainers, and, of course, her robes. Lucy shifted from foot to foot for a moment before setting off on her walk. It would be a quick one, Lucy told herself over and over, as she made her way silently out of the school. One quick go-around, possibly a stop in the Forest. After all, what could happen here, at Hogwarts? Sure, the Forbidden Forest was dangerous, especially at night, but, really................... this was Hogwarts. Besides, James, Sirius, Remus, and Peter came out onto the grounds all the time at night.

Lucy looked up at the full moon as she hurried across the grounds to the Forbidden Forest. It was a clear night, not a cloud in the entire sky. The stars were twinkling merrily and the moon was casting a soft, beautiful white light over anything. Since the sky was so clear tonight, Lucy could see everything perfectly................................. At least until she reached the Forbidden Forest. It was darker there, the leafy tops of the trees keeping Forest from getting as much light as its surroundings. But Lucy, not being a Gryffindor for nothing, strode bravely into the Forest without looking back.

It was slightly difficult to watch her footing in the shaded darkness of the Forest, but Lucy was able to maneuver around the many roots, rocks, and other various things that could pose a problem, or be dangerous. Lucy felt as comfortable in the Forest as she did in her own skin. The Forest, though dark and dangerous, gave Lucy an overwhelming sense of peace. It just felt right, being out in the Forest at night. Lucy smiled softly as she passed by a pair of sleeping unicorns. Without even trying, or noticing what she was doing, Lucy walked around a large stick that would've cracked in half had she stepped on it. Lucy never took her eyes off of the unicorns as she walked away, mindlessly dodging anything that would cause any noise effortlessly.

Lucy continued on her trek through the Forest, going in deeper and deeper without even realizing it. Lucy reached a clearing and gasped, looking first around, then up into the night sky. The clearing was quite large, almost as large as the Great Hall. There was a natural rock formation piled up at one end, at the base of which was a good-sized pond. The rock formation wasn't high up, just enough so that one could jump into the lake without fear of getting hurt. The formation was quite solid, the top hanging over the lake, causing a natural cave underneath it. The little cave-like space at the base of the formation looked big enough for several people to fit in it comfortably, even lying down. It looked hard to get at though, and was hidden by the tendrils of ivy hanging off of the rock formation. Lucy knew she could get under there without having to swim, though, and thought that, with the ivy, it would make a perfect hideaway.

The rest of the clearing had perfectly green grass and was littered with beautiful flowers. There were some logs resting here and there throughout the clearing, as well as some rather large rocks, making perfect seats.

After the shock of finding such a place wore off, though, a strange feeling of trepidation came over Lucy, wrapping its long, icy fingers around her heart. Lucy began seeing things she hadn't noticed when she first found the clearing. Large claw marks slashing the fallen logs and surrounding trees. Clumps of grass, dirt, and flowers scattered around, huge holes in the floor. Blood, some old, some new, staining the grass. And that was not the least of it. It looked as if this place had been ravaged by some kind of monster, intent on destroying the clearing. The only place untouched by this thing was the hideaway, under the rock formation, its ivy curtain swaying gently in the breeze.
 
Yay long chapter! This was originally gonna be two chapters, but I just put them together instead. I figured I'd try n be kind and just give you all a lot before I switched back to Lexi for a while. (No, I am not referring to my other story to try and ask if you guys can read it! It's just so you all know what's going on and I don't feel back later!) Well, I guess that that's it for now, huh? Bye byyez for now!

Chapter 11: Secrets Discovered
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

Okay, so my computer went PFFT and got me mad so here I am again, re-putting this here. Grr, man. GRR!
Anyways, after this Lucy Potter chapter is out of the box (which means is readible) I'm gonna head over to visit Lexi before her readers rise up and attack me (just kidding. I think). Poor Lexi only has, like, four chapters! I owe her, so, yeah. But no, I couldn't help adding one more before I start updating Lexi. I'm trying, readers, honest I am.  I don't want to get you all psshtimidumphy so here's the chapter! Enjoy!
(Oh yeah, and I'll still be working on Lucy while updating Lexi. Pinky promise!)
 
Somewhere deep, deep in the Forbidden Forest, four animals were making their way through the Forest's deep foliage. The smallest animal was a light brown rat, currently making its way across the Forest floor, intent on keeping up with the three larger animals. One of the larger animals, a big, shaggy black dog, was keeping his ears alert for any signs of movement. He was padding along the Forest floor quietly, intent on preventing the four from meeting up with anyone. The next animal was a strong-looking stag. It's horns were not fully grown in yet, but were obviously very powerful.

And there, in the center of the quartet, in between the dog and stag, was a werewolf. It wasn't a fully grown werewolf, not by a long stretch, but it was still a werewolf. Its dark gray coat was matted with blood from the deep scratches it had given itself in the beginning of its transformation that night, under the full moon. Its long, sharp claws were out, its nose high in the air as it sniffed for something to prey on. Two rows of razor sharp teeth bared when it caught a scent in a fierce, sneering grin. Drool began gathering in its mouth as it raised its head high into the air and howled, a long, blood-curdling howl turning the other three animals' blood to ice, even though they knew that the werewolf could do nothing whatsoever to them.

The werewolf began running at top speed the instant it lowered its head, the dog and stag just barely having time to run with it. The rat was scurrying after them as fast as it possibly could, sure that it would not loose the trail, as the werewolf was crashing through the dense foliage, leaving a rather large trail behind. The dog and stag tried desperately to turn the young werewolf off course, but it had gone mad, an untamed, animalistic gleam in its usually warm, honey brown eyes.

Why were the two other animals trying so desperately to run the young werewolf off course? What thought could be so terrifying to these two, to make them challenge the werewolf such? They had never seen this look in the werewolf's eyes before, but both animals knew instinctively what it meant.

The young werewolf had smelt a human.

Just as the young werewolf crashed through a thick clump of bushes, a young girl who looked about eleven whirled around, eyes wide in terror, face pale. Both the stag and dog rammed into the werewolf, knocking it over momentarily, then turning around just as fast to see what the werewolf had been after. If the two animals could've screamed in shock and terror, they definitely would have. As it was, they had to get the werewolf as far away from the girl as possible. The werewolf recovered its balance and hurled itself at the girl, growling deep in its throat, aiming for hers. The werewolf flew through the air, the stag and dog just barely stopping it. In normal circumstances, the werewolf would've turned on the two animals for attacking it, but this was not normal. This was a human. All the werewolf's instincts screamed at it to attack the human, the werewolf's own mind no longer in control of its body. So the werewolf lunged at the girl again.

Now was when something odd happened. The girl, having been momentarily paralyzed, finally reacted. She raised both arms to cover her face, backing up as she did so. A great pillar of light shot out of her arms at an alarming speed and force, slamming into the werewolf and ramming it into a tree on the other side of the clearing. The girl stared down at her shaking arms, two pillars of smoke curling out from them. The girl quickly rubbed her arms, obliterating the smoke from view, as if snuffing out a candle.

The werewolf, which had been shocked into being still, burst into action yet again, running at the girl even faster than before, intent on reaching her this time. The stag and dog jumped at the werewolf again, trying to turn it on them. The werewolf raised a paw and slashed both beasts, knocking them far away from it. It turned to the girl again. She seemed weak now, shaking and pale, unable to move. The werewolf began stalking around the confused Gryffindor slowly, attacking the stag and dog each time either of them tried to get in its way. Finally, when both the stag and dog fell to the ground, too much blood taken from them to move, but not enough for them to slip from consciousness, the werewolf approached the girl, raising its right front paw high in the air, claws gleaming menacingly in the moonlight, prepared to strike without mercy...............

The girl looked up at the paw, then back at the werewolf, curly hair falling out of the way to reveal a pair of wide blue eyes, speckled with green and gold. The werewolf froze in place, its own honey eyes widening slightly. When the girl took full notice of the werewolf's eyes, all the blood ran out of her face, leaving it white, her eyes wider than ever before. The girl had time to mouth one word, before the werewolf's instincts took over and it attacked.

Fox?

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The next day Lucy woke to a white light so bright that it was painful. She blinked and squinted for a time, trying to adjust her eyes to the light, before finally giving up and letting her eyes fall shut. She could vaguely sense that she wasn't in her own bed, but at the same time she felt safe from whatever sent her here................ Wait a minute................ What had happened the night before, to land her in this strange bed? Lucy tried to focus her blurred thoughts, causing herself a monster headache in the process. Lucy found it slightly harder to breathe, finally taking notice of all the bandages wrapped around her.

And boy, were there a lot. There were bandages around her head, her arms, her torso, her head............. there were even bandages around her hands and feet.

Lucy sat up slowly, painfully, eyes finally adjusting to the harsh white light of the room she was in. Lucy pulled off the blanket covering her to find that she was wearing a hospital gown. She also saw all the bandages she had felt. Lucy inspected her feet, legs, hands, arms, and torso carefully, knowing that her back was tightly bandaged as well. She reached up to touch her forehead, which sent a bolt of pain searing through her, blinding her. Lucy shouted out in surprise and pain, as well as her temporary loss of vision. When Lucy was able to see again, she saw a woman standing over her.

"Are you okay? What happened? How long were you up? Where do you hurt?" Lucy blinked up at the woman, confused. How had she gotten there so fast?

"Huh?" Was all Lucy could manage, voice rasping. The woman's eyes softened some, fear draining out of them.

"Here wait a minute, dear." The woman took out her wand and conjured a bunch of pillows, helping Lucy prop herself up on them. "Better?"

"A bit." Lucy admitted, nodding. "Who are you? And where am I?"

"You're in the Hospital Wing, dear. I'm Madam Pomfrey." Lucy smiled up at the nurse, then winced in pain. Madam Pomfrey looked worried. "What happened to you, Miss Whitaker? One moment all is quiet, and the next you're shouting............." Lucy gestured to her bandaged head.

"I touched my forehead and it hurt like crazy. I think I almost blacked out again." Madam Pomfrey nodded soberly.

"Ah, I should've guessed as much. I recommend you not touching there again if you want to remain conscious, Miss Whitaker. You took a hard hit to your head there, and it's still pretty raw." Lucy nodded quietly, digesting this bit of news. She was beginning to recollect her memories from the night before, albeit slowly, but didn't want Madam Pomfrey, or anyone else, for that matter, find out.

"I see. If you don't mind me asking, how did I get here?" Madam Pomfrey looked both shocked and confused.

"What do you mean? Don't you remember?" Lucy shook her head, once again gesturing to her head wound.

"As you said, it's still pretty raw." Madam Pomfrey nodded, obviously relieved.

"Of course, of course. You just had a little accident, my dear, nothing to worry about. All of those cuts and scratches are very shallow. You shouldn't have any scars or............... reminders. Of your accident." Lucy nodded innocently, acting as if she hadn't noticed the hesitation in Madam Pomfrey's voice. And Madam Pomfrey, like every other adult here at Hogwarts, believed her act thoroughly.

"Oh, okay, Madam Pomfrey. So everything's gonna heal fine, right?" Madam Pomfrey shook her head, happy that Lucy wasn't questioning her further. Before either could speak, a third voice was heard.

"Mum? I have those potions you asked for."

"Bring them here, Poppy." A girl entered the room, looking about twenty-two or so. She came over and handed Madam Pomfrey two potions. Madam Pomfrey put one of the potions on Lucy's bedside table, measuring a half cup or so out for Lucy to drink.

"Right then, you'd best be drinking this one first, Miss Whitaker. This'll take the sting out of most of your wounds, especially the bigger ones." Lucy shrugged and nodded gratefully as she drank the potion. Madam Pomfrey smiled slightly at the face Lucy made as the after taste hit her before handing Lucy the second vial. "This one will help your more minor injuries heal faster." Lucy took the potion without question, the first already doing wonders for her head. After she'd finished, Madam Pomfrey inspected her carefully, finally deciding that Lucy could leave the Hospital Wing after dinner. "But you are to stay in bed for the next couple of days, do you understand me? Don't even get up for meals. I'll have the house elves deliver them to you instead."

"Okay. I feel too terrible to go to classes for awhile, anyway.............. Next time I want to skip some classes, maybe I'd better just pretend to have the flu, huh? What a kid will do to stay out of History of Magic............ " Madam Pomfrey laughed at the joke, shaking her head.

"I hope you keep that sense of humor once you've been trapped in bed for a few days." Lucy grinned.

"With all due respect, ma'am, this sense of humor couldn't be beaten out of me."

After Madam Pomfrey left, Lucy fell into a deep, potion-induced sleep. Oh, she had been planning to take a nap, but the potions made her sleep longer than she would have. As a result, Lucy woke up hours later, in the middle of the night. She sat up groggily, rubbing her eyes tiredly. First the Forest, then harsh white light, now dim darkness? Lucy could never get used to life in the Hospital Wing, that's for sure.

Lucy stretched, yawning widely, and looked around for the first time since she'd woken up earlier that day. She noticed that, out of the fourteen other beds in the Hospital Wing, one of them had a curtain drawn around it. Lucy furrowed her brow, puzzling over the bed. It was obvious someone was on the bed, but who? And why the very last bed, far away from all the others? Who was hiding there?

Lucy yawned as she rose to her feet, wobbling unsteadily as she did so. She had to grip the metal bar that held up the curtains tightly to keep herself balanced. Holding onto the bar hurt her hand some, but Lucy ignored it as she made her way over to the bed, noticing as she did so that her bed hadn't been too far away. Only two beds separated her and the person in the last bed. Again, Lucy felt puzzled. Who was hiding them? And why? Sudden realization struck as memories of the night before flooded in, clearer than ever. Every detail played in her mind, up until the very second she'd passed out.

In a flash, Lucy knew exactly who was being hidden behind that curtain, and why, but she had to see it for herself. Hands shaking some, Lucy finished making her way to the last bed, pulling the curtain carefully.

There, looking as if on his deathbed, lay Remus.

Lucy's hands screamed in protest as her grip on the curtains doubled instantly. She started down at one of her best friends, looking weaker and much sicker than she'd ever seen him before. There were only a few scratches on his pale face, much less than on Lucy. For a brief moment, Lucy wondered why, before remembering the reason why so many of her cut were shallow, the only real injury being the one to her head. Lucy put a careful hand to her head automatically, and without thinking about it. Lucy touched her bandage gently, only just brushing her fingers over where her wound was. Even that little touch sent a jolt of pain through Lucy's body, but it was a small shock of pain, just strong enough to jerk Lucy back into self-awareness.

Lucy shook her head softly to clear it before looking back down at her friend. The pain in her hands numbed, and it was only then that the pain in her feet began.

Lucy immediately dropped onto the bed next to Remus' to alleviate the pain she was feeling in her feet, glad for the release of pressure. She rubbed them gently as she continued thinking over the night before, about the things that had happened, as well as the secret she'd unwillingly learned about Remus.

She had always known, deep down, what Remus' secret was. After all, there was no way his aunt could get so sick every month, could there? Lucy had noticed the patterns all last year, as well as this year. But Remus wanted his condition to be a secret, so Lucy wouldn't let herself acknowledge it without him telling her first. Lucy guessed that she must've had a mental block over the whole situation. Any and all information that could tell her his secret to her was quickly disposed of, buried away in the darkest corner of her mind, and forgotten. Lucy respected Remus and cared about him a lot.............. knowing his secret without his permission would be the worst kind of betrayal.

But now what could Lucy do? There was no forgetting what had happened, not now, not ever. There was no way that she could make herself forget this, short of a potion, which Lucy did not want to try. No, magic was not something Lucy liked to associate with her mind.................Well, it was, but not as a shortcut, or a cheat.

"Lucy?" Lucy jumped, startled out of thought by a hesitant voice in the doorway and glad she'd moved back to her bed just a few moments ago. She had been sitting tailor-style on her bed; arms wrapped around her legs, which were pulled up close to her chest, lost in thought, remembering everything, replaying it over and over again in her mind.

There, standing in the doorway, looking shocked and horrified beyond belief, stood one Lily Evans.

"Oh, hey, Lils. What time is it? Shouldn't you be in class?" Lucy looked around for a clock. Lily ran over to Lucy's bed.

"Lucy! What happened to you?!" Lucy didn't answer right away. She seemed to be lost in thought again, rubbing the bridge of her nose fiercely.

"I had................... an accident." She finally answered.

"I should say so!" Lily looked incredulous. Lucy smiled weakly.

"Yeah, guess it's kinda obvious, huh?" Lily stared at her bruised and battered friend a wide mouth and even wider eyes.

"What happened to you, Lucy?!" Lily repeated. Lucy ran a hand through her hair, obviously agitated.

"I.................. can't tell you." Lucy finally answered, after a long silence. "It's not that I don't want to, it's just that I don't think I have permission."

"What?! You need permission to--"

"Lily, please, just listen................. What happened was all my fault. I walked right into it like an idiot. I should've used my head more, but I didn't. I................... guess I deserve this, a little bit. It was supposed to be a secret. I was never supposed to get hurt................. I wasn't even supposed to know! I just................ I can't tell you, Lils. I can't. I'm not even supposed to know!"

"But--"

"And I'm not going to let anyone know that I know, either!" Lucy continued. "It's going to stay a secret.......................... forever if that's what it takes!"

"But Lucy!"

"No Lily! This is something I gotta do......................... This is right. I just can't make things worse than they already are! Everything will sort out in the end, and everything will go back to normal. So, please, just let this go. I'm fine, and I'll be fine long after this whole ordeal is over. It takes more than a couple scratches to take me down!"

This got a small smile out of Lily.

"Fine, Lucy, you win. I get what you're trying to say." Lucy smiled.

"Thanks, Lils...................... Now, why are you here again?" Lily laughed.

"I was in class when, all of the sudden, some kid comes in saying that you're in the Hospital Wing, and I'm allowed to see you. I came right over."

"Really?! You didn't even finish taking notes?!" Lucy asked, feigning shock. Lily laughed, shaking her head.

"C'mon, Luce! You know you're more important than a grade!" Lucy raised her eyebrows at her friend, a small smirk on her face.

"You used that spell I made up to charm a quill and parchment to take the notes for you, huh, Lils?"

It wasn't a question, and, based on how red Lily became, Lucy was right.

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A couple days later, and Lucy was able to go back to classes, although she had strict orders from Madam Pomfrey, delivered by her daughter Poppy, to take it easy. Or else. Though Lucy guessed that Poppy had added the 'or else'. She looked like someone who wouldn't hear a sneeze without strapping the poor person down to a cot. She'd make a good nurse later on, for the next generation.

Lucy had returned to her usual, bubbly self. Frequent questions about all the cuts on her face only got a cheery shrug and a subject change. Everybody figured out that she wasn't gonna talk, so people began making up their own stories. None of them made sense, though, so the rumors were quickly killed, replaced with only wonderings.

James, Sirius, and Peter had cornered Lucy the second they saw her after classes when she was released from the Hospital Wing. They had asked her casual questions about what had happened, and if she could remember anything. Though they acted casual, Lucy could both see and sense their fear. They were afraid she knew.

Lucy hadn't told them the entire truth, but it was truth nonetheless. "I don't think I could tell you what happened that night at all, you guys, even if I wanted to." Lucy had told the plain truth................. she couldn't find the words to describe what had happened, even if she wanted to. It was something that would stay deep within her until Remus, and only Remus, allowed her to retrieve it. But in order for her to be able to find the words to speak of her accident, Remus would have to tell her his secret. Himself.

A few days after Lucy was released from the Hospital Wing, so was Remus. Of course, he wasn't 'released'. He was coming back from his 'aunt's house'. James, Sirius, and Peter had long decided not to tell Remus what had happened to Lucy. It would be hard enough for him as it was, and besides, Lucy didn't remember, and her cuts were already nothing but small, thin lines, barely visible. In a few days they would all disappear, Remus being none the wiser. Of course, that didn't stop the rumors.

"Hey, guys?" Remus asked one day, after hearing some rumors about all the cuts Lucy had all over her face. "What's up with all the rumors going around? About Whit? Was she in an accident or something? Everyone's saying that she had all theses horrid cuts all over her face for a while. Apparently they were all but gone when I................ got back." James, Sirius, and Peter looked uncomfortable.

"Well............. Moony............."

"Fox!" Lucy ran into the room just then, going straight to Remus and giving him a huge bear hug. She was always like this for a couple days after Remus came back.

"Hey, Whit. What's up?"

"I'm glad you're better! I was so worried!" Remus looked confused.

"What do you mean?" Lucy didn't answer right away.

"I can give you copies of my notes, if you want." She said instead, changing the subject. Remus noticed this and frowned, but didn't say anything about it.

"Hey, Whit, what's going on with all these rumors?" He asked, also changing the subject. This time it was Lucy who looked confused.

"Huh? What about?"

"You." Remus stated simply. "Something about cuts all over your face.............." Lucy paled instantly, but covered it up well.

"Rumors are rumors, Fox." Lucy said easily, shrugging. Remus wasn't convinced.

"Oh really now?" Lucy nodded. Remus leaned in closer to her face, eyes narrowed slightly. "Because the entire school can't be lying. Even rumors have some truth in them. The entire school can't be wrong, Lucy." Lucy sighed and began rubbing the bridge of her nose fiercely, in a way that reminded James strongly of his father.

"I was just in a little accident, Remes." Remus' face paled.

"What kind of accident?" He rasped, fear etched in his face. Lucy shrugged, pretending not to notice.

"Nothing of any importance. I'm all better now." Lucy gave Remus a hug and was gone before he could speak again.

It was silent in the room for a long moment after Lucy's abrupt departure. Remus sat watching the door, as if he could force Lucy to come back to them and answer his questions. James, Sirius, and Peter exchanged worried looks behind Remus' back. They knew all to well what would happen now.

"Prongs. Padfoot. Wormtail." Remus said, slowly swiveling in his seat to face his three best friends. Not even James could answer the look of questioning accusation in Remus' eyes. None of them said anything, averting their friend's eyes, giving Remus all the confirmation he needed to start panicking.

"What?! She doesn't know, does she?! Did I do that to her?! What happened?!" No answer met his ears, causing him to become even more frantic. "Answer me!" Remus shouted, half getting out of his seat. "Answer me, you guys! Tell me what happened! Now! I need to know!" Nothing. "Answer me!"

"Moony, nothing--"

"The truth! Tell me the truth!" The silence that met this outburst was deadly, the air in the room suddenly threatening to choke the young werewolf. James, Sirius, and Peter looked up at Remus slowly. He wore a truly horrified expression, as if they were about to tell him that he had tried to Avada Kedavra Lucy.

"Moony..............." James began hesitantly. "I think we'd better go to the ROR to talk about this." Remus' face grew even more horrified. He didn't answer James, only able to nod, his speech temporarily disabled.

The Room of Requirements was something that the four boys had found on one of their adventures. Argus Filch, the caretaker, along with his 'evil' kitten Mrs. Norris had been out prowling the halls. The demonic duo had almost caught up to the frightened four. A door had appeared in the hall only seconds before Filch came round the corner, the four boys dashing into it without a second thought. Luck was on their side that night, as both Filch and Mrs. Norris left without even trying the door. The four boys had continued going to this same place, finally figuring out how to work it. The Room of Requirements, or ROR for short, quickly became their secret meeting place for when even their room wasn't safe from listening ears.

AKA; Lucy.

The four of them hadn't told Lucy about the ROR. It was the one place that she couldn't find them. And, even if they felt guilty about it, they were grateful she didn't know. Especially now, when they were going to talk about Remus and his 'problem'.............. Of course, they didn't know whether or not Lucy knew about the ROR herself, but they guessed not, even though she was smarter than every single Ravenclaw at Hogwarts, even the seventh and eighth years. Lucy did know about the ROR, or at least she had an idea about where the quartet continued disappearing to. But, being Lucy, she stayed out of it, preferring instead to give them space and let them tell her.

As she herself said before; Lucy was too nice to them.

"Now, Moony................" James began, closing the door to the ROR behind him. "This may upset you a bit-"

"Or a lot." Sirius interrupted, preferring the news not to hit Remus too hard. If Remus was even the least prepared for what they were about to tell him, maybe he wouldn't go to crazy. "In fact, I'm pretty sure it'll be a lot."

The four of them told the story of the last full moon slowly, bit by bit, as if Remus would loose interest if they went slowly enough. Remus had demanded full detail from them, under the threat of Veritaserum, and full detail is what he got. Every second from his transformation, to his attack on Lucy. Remus looked like he was going to be sick as they told him Lucy was standing in the clearing, apparently wandless. He looked like he wanted to Avada Kedavra himself when they said that they couldn't stop him.

"Stop. Wait a minute." Remus croaked hoarsely, just before the boys could mention Lucy's amazing retaliation, starting with the white light.

"What is it, Moony?" Remus shook his head, eyes closed. He rubbed his face roughly, as if trying to rid himself of so much dirt.

The three boys sat in a respectful silence, watching the young werewolf recollect himself. When Remus could look at them again, his eyes had a haunted look to them. James, Sirius, and Peter all knew that he was already thinking about the next full moon, something he hadn't done ever since they'd found out his secret.

"Tell me the rest." Remus said, displaying every bit of the bravery that had landed him in Gryffindor.

"Shall we................omit some things?" Sirius asked hesitantly, though it had been James who had been doing most of the talking. Remus shook his head determinedly, Gryffindor bravery again showing as never before. He knew that what would be said next would probably be the most horrible, painful thing he'd ever heard, yet he still chose to hear it. James, Sirius, and Peter felt a great respect for their friend then.

After a slight pause, James launched into the rest of the story, seemingly eager for it all to be over. But, once all of the details fell in Remus' lap, he could see that amazement was what had James talking so fast. Remus' eyes widened as he looked to Sirius and Peter for confirmation of the facts that James was presenting to him. Both boys nodded, they being as stunned as Remus in hearing it all over again. It seemed that Lucy had done some quite impossible magic that night, against Remus................ and without a wand, to top it all off! James kept talking faster and faster, as if he himself couldn't believe a word spilling out of his mouth, though the other three boys could practically see him watching the fight all over again, each detail playing out just behind his eyes.

When James finally finished, silence swallowed the three boys, each of them waiting with mounting trepidation for Remus to speak.

"Everything you said................ all of that was true?" He finally asked, voice sounding slightly strangled. The other three nodded. "But................ does she remember?" Relief spread over his friends' faces as they were presented with a question that had a good answer.

"No, Moony, she doesn't! Whit doesn't remember a thing!" James crowed, happy to be in safe waters again.

"How do you--"

"Know?" Sirius asked, grinning. "We asked!" A look of horror spread across Remus' face. Sirius shook his head rapidly. "We didn't tell her, Moony! We just asked her what happened to her, if she remembered--"

"And she didn't!" Peter said excitedly, jumping into the conversation. Relief spread across Remus' face, though it didn't reach his eyes.

"What................. about....................." Remus didn't need to finish his question. James, Sirius, and Peter all stilled instantly, the question that had been plaguing them now being forcibly acknowledged.

"We don't know, Moony." James said quietly.

"I guess we'll find out next full moon, huh?" Sirius asked, not looking at Remus.

"Oh no!" Peter suddenly exclaimed, drawing all three of his friends' attention. Peter looked horrified beyond belief, fear etched into his face.

"What?! What is it, Wormtail?!" Remus asked, thinking that Lucy was indeed as he feared. Peter shook his head, eyes wide.

"Whit!" He choked out. "A werewolf! Merlin, help us all!"

-----------------------------------------------

The next few weeks were so full of tension that Remus could practically taste it. He, James, Sirius, and Peter had all been extra careful around Lucy, none of them even thinking about pulling pranks. Lucy had been throwing them odd looks for a good while before finally cornering them in their room, just as they were heading to bed.

"Okay, guys. You're gonna tell me what's going on, and you're gonna tell me now." Lucy demanded, quite uncharacteristically. The four boys had been acting so strange that Lucy had been forced to take action, as she hadn't gotten any sleep for a good while, worrying about them. To the boys, though, this was a sign. A bad sign.

None of them looked at her, instead choosing to look at the floor. Lucy slammed the door fiercely, making the four boys jump and look up at her in terror.

"Tell me what's going on!" Lucy repeated angrily. "Why are you four acting so weird, huh?!"

"Wh-wh-what do you--"

"Don't try to pull one over on me, James Potter!" Lucy interrupted him. "I know when you try to lie, and you know it! Now tell me!"

"But--"

"Sirius Black, don't even think about lying to me, either!" The room fell silent. Lucy exploded. "What is the matter with you four?! You're all acting weirder than ever! Even Lily thinks something must be wrong! You haven't pull a prank in ages! Not only that, but you haven't asked me for my homework or my notes or anything! I--"

"Whit--" Remus began, Lucy cutting him off without thinking.

"It's like you four are walking on eggshells around me! It's driving me insane! You barely say anything to me, you don't joke around half as much as before, and not only that, but you four are acting as if you ran into a Dementor or something!

"Well?!" Lucy asked when none of the boys said anything. "Are you guys gonna tell me, or what?!" Nothing. "Argh! Don't think this is over! I'll be back later!" Lucy slammed the door even harder than before as she left, knowing Lily would come soon to drag her to bed. Not that she'd be able to sleep.

Even when Lucy's pounding footsteps were out of earshot, the room remained silent. James and Sirius were staring at their bedspreads as if the red and gold coloring could tell them that nothing was wrong, that Lucy was perfectly fine. Peter was staring, horrified, at the door, looking as if he wanted to throw himself out of the open window. And Remus? Well, Remus was shaking so violently that the very bedposts were trembling.

And why? Why all of these odd reactions to Lucy's outburst? Simple. Lucy had been looking a bit feverish lately, she had bags under her eyes, and the outburst was nothing like her normal self.

Oh, and the full moon was soon.

-----------------------------------------------

Lucy tossed and turned in her bed that night, unable to sleep. Again.

"Lucy?" Lily asked sleepily, propping herself up on an elbow.

"Did I wake you up again, Lils?" Lily nodded.

"Yeah, don't worry about it though................... Lucy?"

"Yeah?"

"Go talk to them. Please."

"Who?"

"You know who I'm talking about. James, Sirius, Remus, and Peter. You're driving yourself crazy with worry. You haven't slept in forever, either. Just go wake them up. Let it all out.................. Then maybe you can get some sleep." Lucy laughed.

"You sure you're not worried about me disturbing your beauty sleep?" Lily laughed.

"You know perfectly well that if you were really bugging me, I could've hexed you ages ago." Lily and Lucy exchanged grins. "Now go talk to them."

"But Lily," Lucy said, eyes wide in mock horror, "it's against the rules."

"Forget the rules!" Lily exclaimed throwing a pillow at Lucy with an amazing amount of accuracy for someone who was half-asleep. Lucy laughed.

"Lily Evans not caring about rules?! Be still my beating heart." Lily rolled her eyes, unable to stop the grin from spreading across her face.

"Yeah, well, when you're finished, go talk to them. I know it'll be hard getting through Potter's thick skull, but--"

"Lily!"

"But it'll be worth it when you can actually sleep for a night!"

"But--"

"Lucy! I need to sleep!" Lucy shook rolled her eyes and shook her head.

"Okay, okay. I get it. I keep you up too much, anyway. Go back to sleep, Lils." Lily smiled gratefully at her friend.

"Thanks................... And remember, you need sleep as much as I do." Lucy shrugged noncommittally, before getting up out of bed and stretching.

"I'll keep that in mind, Lils. Go back to sleep."

"Don't need to tell me twice." Lily muttered, getting comfortable.

"I believe I just did." Lucy said with a grin. Lily threw another pillow at her, laughing. Lucy left and Lily went back to sleep.

Lucy didn't bother knocking on the boys' door. She'd been in there at night enough times to just let herself in. The guys usually slept in pajama pants when they either knew, or thought Lucy was coming, sleeping in boxers when they thought she wasn't. It wasn't like any of them fancied her or anything, or she looked at them, the boys just got embarrassed sometimes. Not that they got out of their beds, anyway.

Lucy wondered how she should wake the guys up. She cleared a spot on the floor and sat herself down in the exact center of the room, cross-legged, head propped up in her hands. She began humming to herself, a song that she remembered from so long ago that all that was left from it in her mind was the tune. It was an old Indian lullaby, magic woven into each letter of the song, each note of the tune. It was beautiful; happy and sad, fast and slow, haunting and comforting.................... It was everything, and all at once. Lucy suspected that her real mother sang that to her when she was a baby, but, try as she might, all she could remember was the humming.

James stirred in his bed, ears pricking at the sound of the tune. He kept his eyes closed as he listened, his half-asleep mind recognizing it from long ago. A picture formed in his mind. His mother sitting in a rocking chair in a light blue room with a beautiful wooden door, long unopened by anyone at his house. She was holding a baby, his little sister, humming the same tune she'd hummed to him every night. James made his way into the light, cheery, airy room directly beside his own. "Mummy?" James asked, looking down at the little baby in her arms. "Is this her?" His mother nodded, eyes shining.

"Yes, James, dear. This is her." James smiled up at his mother before moving some hair out of the baby girl's face. The little girl opened her eyes and looked up at him, face breaking into a huge smile at the sight of her older brother.

"Can I hold her, Mummy?" James asked, smiling back at the little girl. His mother nodded, carefully standing from the rocker. James clambered into it before his mother could tell him to, sitting with his arms out expectantly. James' mother laughed but said nothing, gently placing the little baby into her big brother's arms.

James' arms curled around the little girl automatically, with no thought on his part, and no instruction on his mother's. It was the first time he had held his little sister, although she'd been with them for a few months, yet she fit in his arms perfectly. He wasn't worried about hurting her at all, and began humming the same tune his mother had been. The baby smiled up at him again, blinking sleepily.

"This is our special song, baby sister." James whispered softly, breaking off his humming for a moment. "Just us, okay?"

Though his mother hadn't seen it, James was sure the little girl nodded, her smile growing even bigger. James smiled at the little girl and began humming again, continuing long after she had fallen asleep in his arms.

The song faded into the silence of the room so slowly that James could hear it going on for a few moments after it had stopped. The picture in James' mind melted away with it, leaving him confused and disoriented. The memory was so foreign that it felt as though it belonged to someone else. But he remembered it quite clearly, also remembering his lost little sister, taken away from him and his parents when he was only two. It still hurt whenever James thought about her, so he made it a practice not to.

James sat up to find the hummer surprised to see Lucy sitting in the middle of the room. He smiled upon seeing her, though, never admitting, even to himself, that she had long taken the place of his missing sister. James loved her as much, if not more, as he would a sister. He frowned when he looked at her expression, though. She looked lost and all alone, sadness written all over her face. Before he could do anything, though, Lucy stood, turning to the door abruptly. She stood facing it, hand grasping the knob tightly.

"Lily won't be happy to know I chickened out. But how can I yell at them? Whatever's going on, they'll tell me sooner or later. Right? Right?" Lucy asked the door softly, as if it would answer her. She banged her head against the door once, knowing that she wouldn't wake any of the boys by doing that. "I'm talking to a door." James' lips quirked up in a small smile at the note of hopelessness mixed with laughter in her voice. "Well, door or no door, you're still a magic door, right?" No answer. Lucy slapped a hand to her forehead and opened the door, pausing in the doorway. "G'nite Peter. G'nite Sirius. G'nite Fox................ G'nite big brother. Everything will be back to normal in the morning................ right?" Lucy laughed. "Here I go, talking to the door again." Lucy closed the door carefully, silently making her way back to her room.

James sat up in bed for a long time that night, thinking.

-----------------------------------------------

"Dear Mum and Dad, It's me, James. Everything is going fine over here at Hogwarts, don't worry. I'm not in risk of getting expelled or anything, so don't worry. Remus is doing fine, even though the full moon is in a couple of days. Peter is freaking out a bit, but he always is afraid of one thing or another. Still, he has more reason to this moon than before. Sirius sends his love, as always. How are things over at your end, by the way? Good I hope. Tell Bear and Twinkle I said hi. School is fine................ Which means I'm not failing yet. Little joke, don't worry.

"Sorry if I'm not making any sense, or if I'm rambling, but my mind's not working like it should be right now. I mean, it's working but............... I mean............... oh, just forget it.

"The reason I'm not making any 'logical sense', as Evans would say, is because of what I'm thinking about................. Do you guys--of course you do--I mean............... You remember Baby, don't you?" Mr. Potter stopped reading James' letter at that, both he and his wife shocked beyond belief. James never talked about his little sister, ever. It had been unbearably hard on him to loose his little sister like they did, maybe even harder than Mr. and Mrs. Potter themselves. He and his sister had been kindred spirits, the bond between them so strong that not even Albus Dumbledore could explain it.

James' letter had arrived just that morning, as they were eating breakfast. Twinkle, the house elf that had been meant just for their little girl, had given it to them after taking it from the owl. Twinkle spent most of her days helping the other house elves in the kitchen, as well as cleaning, but she, too, missed her young master greatly. Twinkle cleaned the little girl's room daily, the only house elf who bothered, seeing how the room was, basically, off limits to everyone. A preserved memory.

The Potters had been surprised to get James' letter, that was for sure. It wasn't that he didn't send mail, no, he mailed them quite regularly. It was just that the last letter they had gotten from him was from a couple weeks ago, almost a month, and he usually wrote them every few months or so. It was odd, really. Though his letters came on almost the same day each time, there was still that feeling of inconsistency. And not only that, but this letter seemed to have a rushed, unplanned air around it. Mr. Potter had opened it immediately and began reading out loud.

"Of course you remember Baby," Mr. Potter began again, voice shaking slightly, "I mean, how could you forget her? I know I haven't, no matter how much I want to. It's really hard, you know? Everyone tells me how lucky I am to be an only child, and how much they'd love to get rid of their siblings, but.............. I'm not an only child. And I just want to kill every single one of them. They don't appreciate what a gift they are! Especially the younger ones! Having a little sister isn't a bad thing at all! I just want to ram my fist into every guy in my year that complains about what 'pains' their little sisters are!" James' handwriting grew quite sloppy then, as if he were writing very quickly, to release everything he was feeling and thinking before it left his mind.

"I want her back! I want her back more than anything in the world! I really do! I mean, I know I don't act like it, but it's true! It kills me every time I pass by her room door! You guys probably think I'm lying or something, but I'm not! The only person that keeps me from going over the edge is Whit!" There were a few drops of ink on the paper after that, as if James had paused in his mad rush for a bit, just to think. His handwriting grew much neater, more in control, after that.

"I love Whit. To be perfectly honest, she's................ replaced Baby for me. Not completely, since that would be downright impossible, but as much of my little sister that she could be, Whit is. I worry about her, think about her, want to protect her.......... I don't fancy her, as we've already cleared. She's my............ little sister. There's not way I can make that sound any better. Whit just............. she's a special case, you know? I mean, how can I not see her as my sister?

"I won't go into details; you've met her. I just............. I feel so confused. And guilty. Why should I get a sister, if Baby probably isn't even............... never mind. But she is. Whit's like my sister now, and I can't change it. I keep thinking about Baby now, ever since a couple days ago, especially when I'm around Whit. It's so confusing, Mum, Dad. Whenever I think about one, the other is there too. It's just so hard for me to deal with this all. I'm only twelve! I shouldn't be thinking about this stuff! I should be pulling pranks with my friends, causing trouble, making jokes, helping out Moony.............. But I can't! All I can think about is Baby and Whit. Why is this so hard for me?

"Why is everything so hard?

"Love, James.

"P.S. I didn't tell anyone about Baby yet."

The silence that ensued after Mr. Potter had finished reading James' letter was one that had never before been heard in the Potter household. So quiet were the two elder Potters that they could hear the house elves in the kitchen, down below them, far away, in the center of the house. So quiet that their breathing could not be heard, even by they themselves. So quiet that, upon hearing the soft pop indicating a house elf's entrance, the two Potters nearly jumped out of their skin.

"Bear is sorry, masters! Bear did not mean to scare masters!" Bear was James' personal house elf, as Twinkle had been his little sister's. Bear had taken care of James since he was born, and James had a great deal of respect for the little house elf.

Who was now beating his head into the side of the table.

"Bear! Bear, stop that this instant!" Bear froze at Mr. Potter's command, a rather grateful look on his face.

"Thank yous, sir." Bear said gratefully, rubbing his head. "Did Bear disturb masters?" Bear looked worried, as if he would have to beat himself again if he did.

"No Bear, you didn't disturb us." Mrs. Potter said hurriedly, to which Bear smiled. "Is there something you needed from us."

"Yes. Twinkle found rather interesting things and ask Bear to tell masters." Now, this was confusing. Twinkle and Bear got along perfectly fine, yes, but house elves usually didn't ask other house elves to deliver messages. What could possibly be so interesting that Twinkle couldn't tell them herself?

"Okay then, Bear. Could you take us to Twinkle?" Bear nodded happily and began leading them throughout the house. The Potters were so lost in thought that they didn't notice where Bear was leading them until they were there. Standing in front of their little girl's room. Both Potters' breaths hitched for a moment. They knew Twinkle spent a lot of time in there, how could they not? But they themselves had not been able to enter the abandoned room in a long time.

"This............... this is where Twinkle wanted us to come to?" Bear nodded, eyes sparkling. Whatever was in there had to be good.

"Masters will be happy with Twinkle! Masters will be happy with Bear!" Bear looked brighter and more animated than before, now that the three of them were so close to the mysterious thing Twinkle had found. The good mysterious thing, apparently.

Bear opened the door for them, the first time it had been open in over ten years. The door creaked slightly, as if in protest of having to move again after so long.

And there was Twinkle, standing in the middle of the room, looking happier than she had in over ten years. Happier than the Potters had ever seen her to be, in fact. Her eyes were watery and she beamed at the Potters when they walked through the doorway.

At first neither Potter could see what Twinkle and Bear so obviously wanted them to see. They looked at Twinkle, confused, refusing to look around at the once-nursery.

"Masters, please, look!" Twinkle begged.

"At what, Twinkle?' Twinkle's eye widened in disbelief.

"Masters don't know?! Masters need to look, now!" The Potters were surprised, to say the least. Twinkle was usually a quiet, submissive elf. There were only a few things that she would speak up about, even fewer to the Potters.

"Look at what, Twinkle?" Twinkle looked as if she wanted to yell at them. Bear stood by her side, mirroring her expressions of utter disbelief and incredulously.

"Masters do not see what Bear and Twinkle see?" Bear asked, shocked. The Potters shook their heads furiously. "Look around!"

Ah, there was a more direct approach. Well done, Bear. The four of you may have been standing there for quite a while, had you not spoken up then.

There was a great tension in the air as the Potters lifted their eyes from the two house elves to look around the room. There was an odd feeling hanging in the air. Something was different............ very different............. but what? It was then that they noticed the bed. Where there once stood a crib, which could never keep their daughter in there if she chose otherwise, now stood a bed, much like the ones at Hogwarts. The Potters were at the bed in an instant, each needing to feel it to make sure it was real, and not just a figment of their imagination.

When they were finally able to tear their eyes away from the marvel that was a simple bed, they began seeing other changes, so slight that only a house elf could catch. As it was, the Potters eyes had to go over the entire room twice before they could see the changes that Twinkle had noticed in an instant.

The curtains, the dresser................... it was all changed, but only in the barest sense of the word. A slight change in color, a change in design.................. only the most miniscule changes could be found, sans the bed, which was just plain obvious.

"What........... How.............. Twinkle, did you do this?" Twinkle shook her head rapidly, floppy ears making slapping sounds as she did so.

"No! Twinkle didn't and Bear didn't either! Bear come to find Twinkle when not at kitchen during breakfast! And-"

"Bear find Twinkle in baby master's room, everything different!" Bear said, finishing for her. He seemed to be as excited as Twinkle.

"But how is this possible?! This room can only change if............... if--" Mrs. Potter couldn't finish what she was going to say, so Mr. Potter did for her.

"This room can only change if............... if Baby changes it. We don't even know if she's-"

"Do not say it, Master!" Twinkle suddenly shouted. "Do not even think it!" It was an outburst that even Twinkle could not control, and she was soon beating her head into the floor, oblivious to the fact that a soft carpet was cushioning the blows. The Potters stopped her before she realized this and went for something harder.

"Twinkle is right, Masters!" Bear said furiously.

"But--"

"No House Elf able to change room without permission from a master!" Twinkle exclaimed.

"No House Elf able to change magic room at all!" Bear added.

"Room do itself!"

"No House Elf touch this room!"

The Potters stopped the two little elves before they could continue.

"Okay Twinkle, Bear. If you didn't do this, than explain to us how it happened." Mr. Potter said carefully, looking to see that his wife was okay.

"Easy." Bear said, as defiantly as a house elf was able to. "Room change when it occupant want something different, yes?" Nods.

"Or when occupant grows out of something." Twinkle continued.

"So magic room no need nothing but cleaning."

"Which Twinkle has been doing."

"But if room occupant not around--"

"--or is died--"

"--the room stay same as before."

"But room is not same. Twinkle is here every day, cleaning, and room changed."

"And if room change, means that baby master must be around, yes? Somewhere close by, enough for room to begin?"

"What about link?"

"Link?"

"Link, yes. It possible for link to be opened to house?"

Twinkle and Bear, who had been taking turns talking to the Potters, turned to face one another and began to talk in earnest. The Potters listened on, sure that they had been forgotten. Bear and Twinkle half-argued back and forth about a possible link, the room's changes, and other things concerning their youngest master. When they finally finished their talk, it had been decided that, though such a link had never before been done, it was possible. They all remembered the bubble-wand incident perfectly, after all.

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The full moon was tonight. James, Sirius, Remus, and Peter were, quite literally, on the edge of their seats. The four of them had seen how tired and snappish Lucy was, although she hid it with a great deal of effort. If Lucy wanted to, she could stare down a basilisk no problem, and right now it was evident that she was keeping herself from ripping someone's head off. Those who didn't know Lucy well would just think that she was sick and tired, but would notice no difference. Those that knew Lucy--namely Lily, James, Sirius, Remus, and Peter--could see with complete clarity that Lucy was fighting a loosing battle to regain control over herself.

Lucy was able to keep herself from snapping at anyone, though, which resulted in making her even more stressed and irritable. Most people stayed away from her, now more than before. Especially people who had seen her on the train ride home at the end of last year. They didn't want to be around if--and when--Lucy went berserk.

Right now, Lucy was sitting in a dark corner in the common room. To someone passing by it looked as if she were just working, to someone who looked more closely it looked as if Lucy were trying to destroy her parchment................. Which, in all truth, she was. But no one needed to know that, now, did they? Well, as least that was what she told herself as she ripped at her paper with a sharpened quill. She had a lot of pent-up anger boiling up close to her limit, a thing she didn't know she had.

Lucy reduced the parchment to shreds in mere seconds, the whole roll. When she noticed how much of it she destroyed, she banged her head down on the desk she'd conjured there. Once, twice, three times now. Lucy repaired the parchment, anger flaring up as suddenly as it had disappeared. She repeated the entire process seven times before anyone came anywhere near her.

"Whit?" Lucy jumped as if she had been jabbed by a hot iron. She repaired her parchment in an instant and shoved it into her pocket before looking up. Remus was standing in front of the desk. How had he gotten there without her noticing?

"Yeah, Fox?" Lucy asked, careful to keep her voice under control. Remus' eyes shone with worry, fear................... guilt.

"How are you.............. are you okay?" Out of nowhere, an animalistic anger blew up within Lucy. She shut her eyes tight and gritted her teeth painfully, actually doubled over from her effort to contain it. Her hands were balled into fists so tightly that she could feel her fingernails cutting into her skin. It took a good while for her to look up again, but when she did she could see Remus' thinly veiled horror in his eyes. That, for some reason, sent another unimaginable wave of anger coursing through her, through her very veins. Lucy unclenched her fists, instead holding onto the chair's arms.

"You need to leave. Now." Lucy managed to say, a miniscule amount of her anger attaching itself onto the last word, causing a very noticeable tremor in her voice.

"But--"

"Leave." Lucy growled, eyes flashing. Evan as she said this, Lucy pushed past Remus and ran, faster than she had ever run before, faster than he had ever seen anyone run................ except himself. During the full moon.

A wave of anger suddenly hit Remus and he destroyed the desk Lucy had just vacated. It was just like any other full moon, with him destroying things. Just your average, ordinary full moon normality. Except..................

There was no Lucy there to fix the desk.

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Lucy never went to bed that night. The second she'd left Remus, she'd dashed straight into the Forbidden Forest, found the clearing, and hidden behind the ivy of the little cave hideaway she'd noticed before. She stayed there for the rest of the day and all night. What happened there shocked her beyond belief, as well as confused her greatly. She was late to classes the next day, really late. As in; missed all of her morning classes late. Lucy had shown up to classes sometime late after lunch. Luckily for her it was History of Magic and Professor Binns didn't notice that she was late. He never noticed whether or not kids were late or gone. As long as there was one kid in his room, Binns reported all students with perfect attendance.

When Lucy had gotten to History of Magic, she looked even worse than before. Every bit of visible skin was covered with cuts and scratches. She looked as if she had ran into a group of giants, or trolls. And barely came out alive. She didn't say a word to anyone, only collapsed into her seat and dropped her head onto the table in front of her. Lucy didn't move from that position for the entire class.

Luckily for her, Lucy only had two more classes after History of Magic. She sat through Herbology and DADA with her head on the table. Which, in theory, wasn't that smart, seeing as how they were repotting a certain plant who's scream made people black out. Lucy didn't bother putting on earmuffs, though, and no one could tell whether or not she blacked out. Apparently not, as Lucy stood up and left the second it came time to leave.

DADA was also a bad class to not move in. This year's professor had taken to zapping kids who didn't pay attention, and ended up zapping Lucy for half the class before he finally gave up and left her alone. Partially. He'd still try to call on her, or force her to come to the front of the class, but Lucy was completely unresponsive. It was hard to tell which was more unnerving................... Lucy's lack of movement during classes, or the way she looked at everyone and everything around her.

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"Lucy?! Lucy answer me!" Lucy looked up from her book slowly, eyes meeting Lily's after what seemed like an eternity. "Lucy, what's wrong? What happened to you? Why are you acting so weird? Did someone attack you?" Lucy studied Lily silently for a long moment, before turning back to her book. "Lucy!" Lily said sharply. "You need to answer me! You need to get up and get moving, now! You need to--"

"Whit?!" James had just come round the corner looking for Lucy, but now that he'd found her, he almost wished he hadn't. "What happened to you?!" Lucy looked up at James listlessly, eyes all but empty. She stared at him blankly for a long time, before dropping her eyes back to the book she was reading.

James beat Lily to the punch.

"No way, Whit!" He said, sounding as if he were commanding an army. "You're getting up." James pulled Lucy up onto her feet. He half expected her to drop back into the chair, but she didn't move. James took the book out of her hand and tossed it to Lily. "Get that somewhere safe, kay?" Lily nodded and left. As soon as she was gone, James pulled Lucy close to him, hugging her gently.

"C'mon, Whit," he whispered softly, ignoring the fear that crawled through him at her unresponsiveness, "talk to me. Please. Whatever it is, I can help you with it. Let me help you, Whit." James began rubbing Lucy's back, exactly as someone would do to a sick child. "Please. Please, just tell me. You'll feel better if you do, I promise. It's never good to hold things in to the very end. Just talk to me.

"Please just talk to me."

In the end, Lucy did talk to James. She and James went to the clearing in the Forbidden Forest. It turned out that James had never noticed the ivy-covered cave, surprisingly enough. The two of them sat talking there late into the night. Lucy told James everything that had happened during the last full moon.

Lucy Whitaker is not a werewolf. Though she had taken a pretty bad beating that night, she was not a werewolf, nor would she have any of the characteristics of a werewolf, after this moon. Whoever controlled the fate of people seemed to like toying with Lucy, though, as something very odd happened.

Lucy had, in all senses of the word, turned into a wolf.

The full moon had been high in the sky when it had happened. And oh, how it hurt. It felt as if someone had taken a knife to Lucy, cutting, slashing, and ripping her skin apart. Lucy had clawed at herself desperately, trying to make the evil feeling disappear, only to have it increase. Blood was everywhere, her blood. The next part had been just as bad as the first. All that made Lucy human disappeared, melted away, replaced by fur, fangs, claws, and more. Lucy had blacked out from the intense pain she'd gone through, waking very different than before.

Lucy had been turned into a wolf, a gray wolf, same as Remus. The only thing was that she didn't feel like a wolf. She still felt normal, didn't feel any maddening instincts taking over. She was just a wolf. It was an odd feeling. But Lucy didn't want to be a wolf. She wanted to be human. No sooner than she'd thought of returning to her human form--the only thought in her head--than she did.

If it was possible, her transformation back to her human state hurt even more than her transformation to a wolf state. Everything was being ripped out of her, her body was rearranging itself, even her insides felt twisted. It was one of the most horrible things that had ever happened to Lucy, ever. And, if that wasn't enough, Lucy kept turning from human to wolf to human again and again. It didn't stop all night, until she finally blacked out from all the pain. She'd woken up in her cave, very disoriented and covered in blood. Lucy had been too weak to try to jump around the lake, so she just dragged herself through it, which effectively cleaned her robes. She got somewhat lost on her way back, wandering around in the Forest, finally finding her way out when she was dry again. Lucy guessed that some magic had to be helping her, but couldn't be bothered to think about it just then.

Lucy had felt dead throughout classes, unable to speak from all of the screams that tore from her mouth during her transformations. Even if she had been able to speak, Lucy doubted she would've. After a night like that, what words weren't pointless and stupid? None of them could tell exactly how it felt, only describe it in such a shallow sense that it meant almost nothing.

Lucy had been reading a book on Animagus' when Lily and James found her. She'd been trying to understand what had happened to her, since she knew she wasn't a werewolf. Werewolves lost control. They couldn't think, couldn't rationalize. And they especially couldn't turn from human to wolf on whim. Or half-whim, anyway.

Lucy and James could come to no immediate conclusions. James had suggested that it could be possible that Lucy was a wolf Animagus, though it didn't seem possible. The odd thing was that when Lucy tried to become a wolf again, it didn't work. James suggested that she might be feeling too weak to go through another transformation. Besides, he didn't want her to have to go through that pain again. When James found out that Lucy hadn't eaten anything since lunch the previous day, he took her down into the kitchens and scrounged up food for them. He wouldn't let Lucy leave until she'd eaten a whole meal, from a drink to vegetables. Lucy didn't complain, though, knowing that he just wanted to help her. Besides, she was hungry.

After Lucy had finished her meal, she and James snuck back to Gryffindor Tower. Lucy had been feeling so weak, though, that James had decided to carry her, and no amount of protesting could get him out of it.................. Then again, he wouldn't be a Gryffindor if he wasn't stubborn and hard-headed at times, right?

The two of them--okay, Lucy--rested in the common room for a bit. James wasn't happy about letting Lucy walk up the stairs to her dormitory by herself, but there wasn't anything he could do about it................. or was there? James was so close to revealing one of his deepest secrets, that he didn't notice Lucy slipping up the stairs before he got the chance. When he looked up again, Lucy was gone. She went straight to bed and fell asleep immediately, while James went to his room, too lost in thought to worry about sleep. He'd made her promise to take the next day off of school and said that he'd take her to the Hospital Wing if she wasn't feeling any better. She'd made him promise not to tell the guys any of the things he'd just heard. Not that he would anyway.

Not for a million Galleons.

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Lucy did feel better the next day, though James took her to the Hospital Wing anyway. Madam Pomfrey looked quite scared to see Lucy there, and Lucy knew that Madam Pomfrey must think Lucy to be a werewolf. She had good reason to believe this, no doubt, as Remus had attacked Lucy last moon, and Lucy looked as though she'd been put through some kind of Muggle war all alone.

James had stayed with her the entire time, making Lucy wonder whether or not Sirius and Peter knew where he was. When she asked him, though, James just laughed and told her not to worry about it. After both Madam Pomfrey and Poppy left the two of them alone, Lucy snuck over to where she knew Remus lay sleeping to look at him.

"You know, don't you, Whit." It wasn't a question. James knew the answer.

"Don't tell him." Was all Lucy could think of to say.

The next few months were an odd time for Lucy. She would camp out in her cave every night that a full moon would be out, only to find herself remaining human each night. Yet she'd wake up every morning after with scratches and cuts all over her, just as she did that first time. It was confusing, but Lucy finally figured out how to put the entire mess into words. She wasn't a werewolf, or a danger to anyone, yet she felt all the pain of being a werewolf. This statement might be confusing to anyone else, but Lucy was used to dealing with pain, thanks to her aunt, and was able to accept it as true. As a precaution more than anything else, though, Lucy spent her nights away from people.

It was impossible, really. Everything about the entire werewolf incident should have been impossible in every way. When Remus attacked her, Lucy should have died, plain and simple. And even on the off chance that she survived, Lucy had gotten bitten. She should've become a werewolf. End of story, right? Wrong. Whoever it was that controlled the fate of people seemed to enjoy toying with Lucy.

After a few long days of thinking about it, Lucy decided to become an Animagus, and begin researching Animagus' as thoroughly as possible. It didn't take long for Lucy to find out how to become an Animagus and begin practicing, though she didn't tell James, as she knew he wouldn't approve of it.

Coincidentally, James hadn't told his little secret yet, either. Even though she knew that Remus was a werewolf, he wasn't sure if the guys would be happy having her know. Or if she'd be happy, either. After all, she had kissed Peter when he was a rat................ Either way, it was only a matter of time before she figured it out.
 
Hey guys, me again! Just here for a quick goodbye! If you're confused you guys can either review and ask me (I always answer and sometimes give hints about future pieces of the story) or just email me. My email's over at my author pagey thing, so yeah. Happy Reading and man I forgot what I was just about to say.
Ah, well. This is me. I do the best I can and I doubt I'll be able to change any time soon. But you know what? I'm learning to likeme, even if I annoy the crap outta myself. I mean, you just gotta love yourself, especially if you don't want to. After all, in the end, you're the only one who has to deal with you.
(Man don't I sound like a parent? Someone get me sugar, and QUICK!)
Bye byyez for now!
~~~~~fullmoontonightO~~~~~
(PS: I just realized how appropriate my name is for this chapter! Hahahahaha...................)


Chapter 12: Wild Magic and the Disappearance of Lily's Bed
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Great news everybody! My mom's going back to school! She's gonna get her high school diploma and is aiming to get a job afterwards! She's really happy and I'm super proud of her and all, but, well....... She's gonna be on the internet like a lot so yeah. But on the bright side, look! More Lucy! Yaaaaaay! More laters! Happy Reading!
 

"Gotcha!" Lucy threw her arms around the neck of a huge, shaggy black dog. It immediately went into panic mode, desperately trying to get Lucy off of its back. Lucy laughed softly and began scratching the dog behind its ears. It sunk to the ground without the barest hint of protest, letting her continue on. Lucy scratched and petted the dog, smiling easily. She hadn't been able to sleep that night and she knew that the guys were out doing something, so Lucy had set out to find them. Instead, Lucy had come across this dog in the hallway. It didn't look like it belonged here, and was extremely cautious for some reason. But Lucy had outsmarted the dog. She had snuck through a shortcut, waited until the dog went past, and jumped onto it, arms around its neck.

The dog's tail was wagging speedily, a doggy smile on his face. Lucy continued scratching and petting the dog all over, as well as giving him kisses all over his great black head and rubbing her face in his side.

"You're a good boy, aren't you? So pretty." Lucy said softly, in the same gentle, soothing tone she'd used with the little brown rat from the train. "What're you doing here, huh, boy? Did you loose something? Are you looking for someone?" The dog's tail wagging increased as Lucy found a place on his neck that was particularly sensitive. "You like that, do you, boy?" The dog barked in agreement, causing Lucy to laugh again. "Lucy found your special place, huh?" She paused. "Most dogs have it behind their ears." Lucy shrugged and continued petting the dog. "You're special then, aren't you, boy? Yes you are!" Footsteps approached quickly and Lucy froze. "Don't move. Don't make a sound." She commanded the dog. Lucy held the dog by the neck again, careful not to hurt him. She closed her eyes tightly, and an odd thing happened.

A silvery light began to cover the two of them, spreading from Lucy's hands to the dog, then to Lucy herself. It covered them in glowing brilliance, a shimmering light settling over them like snow on a cold winter's day. The light was so bright that neither Lucy nor the dog could see anything for a long moment. Then an odd warmth enveloped the pair, the silver light dimmed just enough for them to be able to see around them in perfect clarity. The two shone with the silver light, more beautiful than stars.

"Who's here?" An angry voice demanded. Argus Filch, a squib. He was Hogwarts' own caretaker, and had been for years. He, along with his not-so-young-or-little kitten Mrs. Norris, made up a dangerous duo, out to punish students with insane severity.

The dog stiffened in Lucy's arms. She held it close to her, gently smoothing its fur and whispering soft words of encouragement, all the while coaxing it to remain still. The dog obliged, eyes trained on Filch and Mrs. Norris.

"Where are you? I know I heard someone in these halls! And a dog!" Filch whirled around in place, looking everywhere for the noisemakers he'd heard. He began checking the empty classrooms. "Find them, Mrs. Norris. If anyone can, it's you. Everyone knows that nothing escapes your vision." The dog trembled some in Lucy's arms. Lucy stroked it softy, all the while murmuring praises to it for keeping so still under both Filch's and Mrs. Norris' scrutiny.

Filch banged the last classroom door shut fiercely, anger radiating off him in waves, furious that he'd lost the trouble makers so quickly. "Come on, Mrs. Norris! We'll find them yet! This way!" Filch lead Mrs. Norris away from them quickly. Both Lucy and the dog could hear him slamming doors and cursing fiercely.

After a long time, long, long after Filch's footsteps had faded and early morning light was beginning to color the sky, Lucy released the dog.

"Good boy." She murmured softly, stroking its fur. She kissed his head, relief pouring out of her. "Good boy." Lucy repeated, thanking the dog. Lucy stood and held out her arm, open hand aimed at the dog. A beam of silvery light shot out of her hand, winding itself around the dog's neck. The light formed a magnificent collar and leash that fit the dog perfectly. If it was possible, the dog looked shocked beyond belief.

Lucy had to laugh at the expression on the dog's face.

"C'mon, boy, I'm taking you someplace safe." Lucy led the dog through the corridors and into Gryffindor Tower. She led it past the common room and girls' staircase straight up the boys'. "You'll be staying with some friends of mine. James Potter, Sirius Black, Remus Lupin, and Peter Pettigrew. Their room is right........ here." Lucy pushed open the door to the guys' room quietly. She waited until the dog was inside to close and magically lock the door behind them.

"James! Sirius! Remus! Peter!" Lucy hissed. "Wake up!" Nothing. "Look out it's Filch coming with Mrs. Norris!" James, Remus, and Peter shot up in bed, looking properly terrified. When they saw it was just Lucy their expressions went from looks of horror to glares of annoyance.

"We were sleeping, you know." James hissed at Lucy, who was laughing.

"Yeah, we just came back from a full night of trouble-making not to long ago." Remus said, yawning.

"It's five in the morning!" Peter agreed loudly. Lucy just rolled her eyes.

"I found this dog." She said, as if that explained everything. Which, in this case, it did.

James, Remus, and Peter's eyes swiveled to the dog who was sitting next to Lucy. It was then that they noticed the odd silver glow around the both of them.

"What the—?!" The three boys said in unison, staring. Lucy looked down at herself and laughed.

"Sorry, forgot." Lucy closed her eyes. She held her closed fists out in front of her, whipping them open quickly at the same time. The sliver light flew from her, the dog, and the magically created collar and leash into her hands like rushing water. When the last drop of light was in her hands they snapped shut, as if on their own accord. When Lucy opened her eyes and hands again, the room was dark and dimly lit, as a room should be at so early a time. Lucy smiled broadly and flicked on the light, which sent the three boys ducking under their covers in agony.

Lucy laughed again. "Anyway, I need you guys to take care of this guy. Send him home to one of your parents or something. Just make sure you don't get caught, because Filch is out for this dog's blood....... Isn't that right boy?" Lucy kneeled and rubbed the dog's head affectionately. Its tail began wagging madly, earning another laugh from Lucy. She straightened and looked around, suddenly noticing something. "Where's Sirius?" The room went deadly quiet, even the dog's panting coming to an abrupt end. "You know what, I don't want to know. Just as long as he doesn't get himself into trouble and is back by breakfast, okay? Whatever he did, I'll take care of it later." The dog padded over to Sirius' bed and went straight for the covers. Lucy laughed and shook her head.

"I swear, you could be Sirius. You sure remind me of him." The room, if possible, got quieter. Lucy didn't notice this, though—or  pretended not to, anyway. "Well then, g'nite all. Sleep tight, see you in the morning, and do something about the dog. I'd keep him, but........" Lucy trailed off, and all three boys, as well as the dog, could see something bad lurking just behind her eyes. It troubled them greatly but, before anyone could voice their concerns, the look was wiped away, replaced with the usual Lucy smile. "See you in the morning!"

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"Open your books to page 734 and read everything on Wild Magic. An essay will be due in two weeks' time. One foot three inches long. You may begin working on it." The class groaned, but set to work. It was History of Magic, and Professor Binns had just assigned an essay for the class. Apparently Dumbledore had made him change the two weeks' worth of class to study this, as Binns usually just ranted on about, well, the history of magic. Happy though the class was at the change of pace, no one wanted to write an essay. "Don't blame me." Binns said in his usual monotone. "Headmaster Dumbledore insisted I do this. Said it was important for this generation." Binns said no more and sat back down in his desk. The class began working.

Lucy flipped to page 734 and began reading.

Wild Magic is something not seen in the Wizarding World for many generations already. It seems to have disappeared along with Merlin, if that is possible. How, the world may never know. It is said that Wild Magic existed even before Time was created, and would continue on even after Time has finished.

Wild Magic is said to be the most powerful magic that ever existed, as well as the most powerful. Wild Magic does in fact exist, and has been proven to be so by the greatest of witches and wizards. Throughout magic's past, bearers and controllers of Wild Magic have proved again and again its existence. Wild Magic is, quite possibly, the only type of magic known to the Wizarding World that can be almost impossible to control.

Wild Magic is the purest magic known to man. No other magic can compete with the raw power of a Master of Wild Magic. Many born with the power of Wild Magic die almost instantly, or die as they try to develop their powers. Very few have survived and learned to control the power of the Wild Magic contained just under their skin, in their very cores. Even fewer become Masters.

Those who become Masters find that ordinary magic can be done with the simplest thought or inclination. Even a feeling can explode into Wild Magic. Masters of Wild Magic must exercise great caution with their impulses, as nearly anything dealing with Wild Magic can either kill them, or strip them of their magic. That is not to say that all Squibs were once Wild Magicians.

Wild Magic, if in the right hands, can bring peace to the world. Wild Magicians can protect and save almost everything and everyone they chance upon, not matter how large the problem. Wild Magicians can bring a person back from the very brink of Death, although none have been known to bring one back from it. Wild Magicians can speak to animals, plants, even the very Earth itself. Wild Magicians can control weather, people, even alter the future, if they so choose.

There have been Wild Magicians who have, shall we say, 'a foot on both sides'. This expression is not to be used lightly, as it is truly impossible to determine the danger, or the 'sides' the Wild Magicians stand on. If a Wild Magician chose to, he or she could watch your every move inside his or her mind, and you will never know of it. There have also been Wild Magicians who see into the future of others, so far that they visit even their children and explore their lives, before they're even born. For example, a Wild Magician would be able to see your future, even past your death. But not only that, the Wild Magician could also watch your children's lives unfold. And, should this Magician not like something they see, they could change it. But only if it will benefit others. Wild Magic has  rarely be accessed for evil, although it is quite possible.

If you were to research Wild Magic, you would find that not many witches or wizards that possess it used it for evil. In fact, it seems that a true Wild Magician would not even know of their power, let alone acknowledge it. It is only through research and careful questioning that Pure Wild Magicians have been found.

There is, coincidentally, two types of Wild Magicians. The first is an average person of Wild Magic. They can control and use it, but it is hard for them. Accidents happen, whether or not they are controlling their magic. More often than not, these people die as a result of trying to warehouse such a powerful magic within them. If they are not careful, the magic could consume them. This is how many holders of Wild Magic have met their demise. Luckily these live much longer than those who never learn to control their powers, though it is still a sad thing.

The second type of Wild Magician is the pure, unfiltered one. The Wild Magician that is nothing but Wild Magic. The Wild Magician that is in perfect control of their magic their entire life, whether or not they realize it. More often than not, these Wild Magicians never know of their power, strength, or gift. They simply use it because it is familiar to them, and never suspect others as unable to do the same.

Pure Wild Magicians are, ironically, very, very innocent people. They suspect no treachery and are quite forgiving. Trusting, kind....... unaware of dangers. A Pure Wild Magician is always young at heart. They are innocent, childlike spirits who see no evil, though, more often than not, they've been face to face with it. No matter what evils are done to a Pure Wild Magician, they never seem to notice it.

This is not to say that Pure Wild Magicians do not fear. Quite the contrary, actually, as many Pure Wild Magicians live in fear their entire lives. By some odd twist of fate, those gifted with the complete and total Purity of Wild Magic are more often than not those with the most horrid, dangerous lives. Pure Wild Magic seems to be called to those destined with the cruelest of fates. For example, there was one instance where a Pure Wild Magician was raised in a home where the father made 'improper advances' and was later condemned until death for said advances. The odd thing was (and this will prove the innocence of a Pure Wild Magician) that this man was meant to be killed instantly, for the crimes he committed both in and outside of his home were too heinous to believe, and too many to count. The thing that saved his life, was his daughter. She begged and pleaded with the jury to release her father. 'It wasn't his fault! It was an accident! All of it. He didn't mean to!'  The child actually apologized to her father. The jury refused to release the man, instead sentencing him to life in Azkaban. The girl, only a child, really, had to be removed from the courtroom, crying too hard to see. Crying for the man that had almost killed her without mercy.

Pure Wild Magicians have almost no limits to the power, the things, they can do and have. The laws that make certain things impossible, both for average witches and wizards, even average Wild Magicians, do not apply to Pure Wild Magicians. There was one instance where a Pure Wild Magician has walked up and out of the Earth's atmosphere. To observers down on the ground it looked as if the Wild Magician was simply climbing a set of stairs. He continued going until he was nothing be a star in the distance, moving steadily away from the Earth. He came back weeks later, stating that he had been to both the Sun and Pluto, two completely impossible places for anyone to visit. Yet, even under an impressive amount of Veritaserum, the Wild Magician could not say how he had done it, just that he had.

This is another odd trait of the Pure Wild Magician. They do not seem to know how they are able to control their powers, nor notice when they use them.

Another odd trait of the Pure Wild Magicians is the fact that they never believe the fact that they are Pure Wild Magicians. Even presented with facts, even doing any number of impossible things, even while they are talking to animals or forming living creatures out of air, a Pure Wild Magician will never believe that they are what they are said to be. A Pure Wild Magician could spend his or her entire life studying and researching Wild Magic, and they will never, ever believe that they possess it. Not even under Veritaserum will they agree to the obvious fact of their power, as they simply cannot believe it.

Pure Wild Magicians cannot be contained in small places, such as closets, for an extended amount of time. They will begin to panic, and quite possibly hurt themselves. If they remain in such a small space with no means of escape, a Pure Wild Magician just may go mad. Pure Wild Magicians need open space. That is not to say that they need large houses, no. A Pure Wild Magician can live in a small flat in, say, London, just as any other could. But they cannot be locked in a small, contained area for lengths at a time without posing a danger to themselves and others around them. Pure Wild Magicians, as was stated before, are made up entirely of Wild Magic. This means that they need to be outside, and enjoy being outdoors as much as possible. It is said that Pure Wild Magicians are a new type of crossbreed; Wizard and Animal.

It is said that, long, long ago, there were many Pure Wild Magicians. Wild Magic ruled the land, and there was great peace. Nature and Magic lived side by side in perfect harmony. There were no natural disasters, no threats. Even Muggles lived in peace. But, as technology advanced, more and more witches and wizards forgot the magic that they had lived by for so long, thus shutting themselves from it forever. Bad things began happening, things began spiraling out of control. Even Muggles were affected by the time of turmoil that followed this betrayal to both Nature, and Wild Magic. By the time the Wizarding World realized its mistake, though, it was too late. Wild Magic had all but been wiped away.

Fortunately for us, Wild Magic can never be forever erased, or that is what we thought. As said before, no sign of a person bearing the gift of Wild Magic has been found for many generations. It is the hope of the Wizarding World that one will come soon, to restore order and peace, and to heal a much-broken world.......

Wild Magic is too great a topic to be encased into one History book, let alone one book at all. For a more in-depth history of Wild Magic The History of Wild Magic; Pure Wild Magic; The Powers of Wild Magic (Both Pure and Average); How to Recognize Wild Magic; and Pure Wild Magicians are suggested. These books as well as others can give you a greater understanding of Wild Magic and its controllers, as well as lists of traits, powers, and signs that are obvious when encountering Wild Magic.

Lucy sat back in her chair and stared down at her History of Magic book. All those pages, only to be told that they hadn't even scraped at the surface of Wild Magic?! Impossible! How much more could there possibly be in the world?! Were there any Wild Magicians in the world yet? The book said that there hadn't been one in generations, but what if a Wild Magician had been born after the book was published? Was it possible that there was a Wild Magician here at Hogwarts? What about a Pure Wild Magician?

"C'mon Whit. It's time to go." Lucy jumped, startled out of her thoughts by Remus' hand on her shoulder. Things had gone back to normal between the two of them, the beginning of the year all but forgotten to both of them.

"Okay Fox. I'll be right out." Remus nodded and left. It had been his turn to pull Lucy out of the thoughts she always seemed to sink into during classes. All of them, Lily and the guys, wondered how Lucy managed to stay at the top of their classes (along with Lily and Remus). She always seemed to be off in another world.

Lucy packed up her things, making sure to bookmark the section on Wild Magic. She couldn't help but wonder what else Pure Wild Magicians could do. Lucy wandered out into the hall, mind still rooted firmly in her History of Magic book, a thing that never, ever happened, not once in the History of Hogwarts.

"Whit! Hello, anyone in there?" Lucy jumped again. Remus had been trying to get her attention for quite a while now, James, Sirius, and Peter smirking just behind him.

"What?" Lucy asked, confused.

"Honestly, you go out into space so often it's amazing you know you're own name." Lily said from Lucy's side, startling her. Lily grinned. "Wow, you must really be out of it today, huh?"

"Uh-huh." Lucy agreed absent-mindedly. "What did you thing about that chapter on Wild Magic today?" Lily shrugged.

"Interesting, I guess. I wouldn't mind reading up on it more later on." Lucy nodded, mind wandering back to her History of Magic book.

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"Woah! Did you check out the entire library?!" Lily had just walked into her dorm, which was also Lucy's and gotten quite the shock. Piles and piles of library books were all around Lucy's bed, books scattered all over it. The only way Lily could tell that Lucy was in the room at all was because she'd just barely seen the tip of her curly black hair. Lucy was surrounded by books.

Lucy laughed at Lily's comment. "Just about. Everything on Wild Magic, except what's in the Restricted Section. I'm gonna asked Binns for a note, though."

"Wow. You're really interested in Wild Magic, huh?" Lucy nodded vigorously, carefully climbing up to her bed and jumping over to Lily's.

"Yup. Can't say why, but it interests me. Caught my attention." Lucy jumped off of Lily's bed and onto the floor. She looked over to all the books, grinning.

"Aren't you worried about them being late?" Lucy shook her head.

"Nah. I charmed them so that they would return themselves to the library when they're due." Lily looked properly impressed.

"And how are you going to finish them all?" Lucy grinned.

"Easy. I'm not going to sleep, eat, or socialize till they're all done." Lily's eyes widened.

"You're kidding, right?!" Lucy shook her head, curls flying everywhere.

"No way! I want to at least finish half of them!"

"How many books are there?!"

"2, 569." Lucy replied, shrugging as if this were no problem.

"2, 569?!" Lily exclaimed. Lucy nodded.

"That's what I said." Lucy said cheerfully.

"How can our library even have that many books?!"

".......Irma isn't that bad, if you get to know her. I think she likes me. I've helped her fix and reshelf some books before. She showed me some places where there are hidden bookshelves........ Oh, and I used the Room of Requirements."

"Room of Requirements?" Lucy nodded.

"I'll show you later. I think half of these are from there........"

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"Lucy's gone mad." Lily announced to James, Sirius, Remus, and Peter later.

"What do you mean?" Asked James, looking concerned.

"You should just see what she did to her part of the room!" Lily exclaimed. "Books, everywhere!" Remus' ears perked up a bit.

"Really?" He asked, excited. "About what?"

"Wild Magic. It's all about Wild Magic." Lucy answered, shaking her head.

"Why Wild Magic?" Sirius asked, confused.

"I don't know!" Lily exclaimed. "She's gone mad!"

"But........ don't you like reading, Lily?" Peter asked.

"Well, yes, but....... oh, if you four could just see it!"

"You could always take a picture, you know." Remus said sensibly. Lily nodded thoughtfully.

"Okay, yeah, that could work." Lily agreed, getting up and leaving. She came back a short while later with a picture. "Here." The four boys crowded around the picture. It was of the room from the doorway. Mountains of books were piled up all around one of the beds, some of them even on the bed. A hand appeared out from behind one of the piles and waved the person away impatiently. "........And she says she's not coming out until she's done with at least half of them!"

"How many are there?" Asked Sirius, eyes wide.

"2, 569!" The four boys eyes grew as wide as dinner plates.

"She's gone mad!" James exclaimed.

"That's what I said!" Lily exclaimed, putting the picture in her pocket. "And she's already finished three!"

"What?!" All four boys exclaimed in unison.

"I know! I was shocked! She's only been for, what, four hours? Maybe more? And she's already through three! And they're not short either, believe me." James whistled low, shaking his head.

"This is gonna be interesting."

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It took until Christmas vacation for Lucy to finish half of the books, having to return to the library on several occasions to renew them. 1, 285 books on Wild Magic, all finished, all from the library. It was an impossible feat that Lucy had done. Even Lily and Remus' reading combined wasn't half as fast as Lucy's was. Lucy tore through those books day and night. She scarcely ate a thing and read straight through every class, somehow managing to keep her grades up. Lily, James, Sirius, Remus, and Peter were amazed at the rate Lucy was tearing through the books. There was an enchanted board above Lucy's bed that was enchanted to tell her how many books she'd finished. Lily checked this board at least twice a day; when she woke up, and before she went to bed. The numbers kept rising, even through the night, and no matter how hard anyone tried, Lucy would not stop reading. It was the Gryffindor hard-headed stubbornness mixed in with fascination that kept her at her crazy reading, they all knew. Lucy just wouldn't be a Gryffindor if she wasn't stubborn and hard-headed........ at times.

"No way are you done with all those books!" Lily exclaimed when Lucy came down into the common room. Lucy shook her head, yawning.

"Half. 1, 285 books." Lucy collapsed onto a couch, grinning. "All finished."

"And you remember all of it?!" Lucy nodded.

"Yup." Lucy yawned again. "Tired."

"Speaking in monosyllable now, are we?"

"Yes. Lucy speak caveman now. Lucy tired. Lucy read lot book. Lucy steal Lily bed. Lily sleep outside tonight." James, Sirius, Remus, and Peter all burst out into fits of laughter, but Lily paled and ran up the stairs.

"Lucy!" Came the scream from the top of the stairs. The guys stared at Lucy with looks of astonishment mixed with awe and disbelief.

"You didn't!" James whispered. Lucy grinned broadly, eyes gleaming mischievously.

"She did." Sirius confirmed.

"Lucy!" Lily screamed as she stormed down the stairs.

"Watch this." Lucy whispered. She snapped the fingers on her right hand down near the floor, opening her hand as she did so. In the center of her palm a bright light began growing, stopping when it was the size of a Snitch. Lucy closed her hand around the ball of energy tightly and it disappeared within her fingers. She pointed up the stairs with a quick flick of her wrist and a jet of light shot out of her index finger and up the stairs. All this only took a matter of seconds, Lily reaching the common room just as a loud clunk was heard from upstairs.

Lily's emerald eyes were practically on fire as she tore over to Lucy.

"Where. Is. My. Bed!" Lily shouted. Lucy bit back a smile.

"Where it always is. In our room."

"WHAT DO YOU MEAN, 'IN OUR ROOM'?! I WAS JUST UP THERE AND IT IS NOT--" Lily disappeared. James, Sirius, Remus, and Peter jumped up from their seats, shouting.

"Chill out. She's--" Suddenly pounding footsteps were heard on the stairs again. Lily appeared at the bottom, breathless.

"How did you do that?!" Lily asked, panting.

"Did you find your bed?" Lucy asked, unable to mask the grin stealing across her features.

"Yes I found my--Wait, what?!"

"Your bed."

"I landed on it!"

"I know." Lucy said cheerily.

"But how?!" Lucy shrugged.

"Cause I sent you there."

"But how?! Apparation is impossible within at Hogwarts, and I don't even know how to Apparate!" Lucy shrugged, then yawned again, her next words so distorted by the yawn that Lily, James, Sirius, Remus, and Peter couldn't make out what she'd said, except for didn't and silly. Before any of them had a chance to respond to this, Lucy climbed to her feet and hopped up the stairs, calling over her shoulder to Lily.

"Hey Lils, if you wake up on the ceiling tomorrow, would you be mad?"

"Yes! I would be very mad!" Lily yelled after her friend, chasing the younger girl up the stairs to their dorm.

Lucy just laughed.

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The next day, Lily did not wake up on the ceiling, though the redhead was especially careful to make sure it was safe for her to get out of bed. When she was sure Lucy hadn't done anything to her bed, Lily hopped out of it, eyes going towards Lucy's bed. Surprisingly enough, Lucy wasn't in it. It was a Saturday, after all........ Not that Lily had ever seen Lucy sleep late, but still. If she wasn't in bed, chances were that she was running around somewhere with the guys......... Or worse, off on her own somewhere doing something that only Merlin himself might be able to guess at. It made Lily smile, though, knowing that Lucy was most likely having fun wherever she was. Especially when Lily thought of the one time she'd visited Lucy's house and had seen her room. The room, though rather big, was crowded horribly and looked extremely uncomfortable and hard to live in. What really bothered Lily, though, was not just the fact that Lucy had refused to give her a straight answer about whether or not she liked living in that attic, but the fact that she had all but begged for Lily not to question her about it. It bothered Lily: That was the first time in the redhead's memory that Lucy had ever withheld something from her—from anybody, she thought.

Lily frowned thoughtfully as she moved to the window, all thoughts flying from her mind as she realized that the small dot out moving on Black Lake was Lucy. Lily's movement after this realization struck home resembled her the way her thoughts had: All but light speed. And why not, what with the fact that Black Lake not only had the Giant Squid sleeping at the bottom, but no one had tested the ice to see if it was safe.

"Lucy! What are you doing out there?" Lily shouted once at the edge of Black Lake. Lucy turned around, looking surprised to see Lily there. Lily's heart beat ten times faster when she took notice of the Giant Squid surfacing just behind Lucy. Lucy must've sensed the Giant Squid's presence, as she turned around with what Lily was shocked to see a huge grin on her face.

Lily watched in complete and utter disbelief as Lucy slowly climbed up the Giant Squid until she was level with its face, climbing on a tentacle to sit on when offered. Though Lily couldn't hear what Lucy was saying, she could've sworn Lucy was having a conversation with the Giant Squid....... The sight of which left her floored.

It wasn't long before James, Sirius, Remus, and Peter arrived on the scene. Instead of panicking, they stood gaping in Lucy's direction just as Lily was. It wasn't too long after this that Lucy looked back and took notice of her five friends' frozen states. She seemed to bid the Giant Squid goodbye just before it slid her all the way across the ice to Lily, James, Sirius, Remus, and Peter. Lucy hopped to her feet and began brushing herself off with a large grin.

"You five look like you need some hot chocolate. Meet me in the common room, kay?" And with that, Lucy bounded off. James took off after her barely a second later, he keeping her from falling when she turned to look at him. "Thanks Jamie!" She said cheerily, tugging at his sleeve before disappearing into the castle.

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"See you next year!" Lucy called, waving to James, Sirius, Remus, and Peter. The four boys waved back as they left with their parents. Lucy turned to Lily, a huge grin on her face as Lily's parents walked up to them. Both Lily and Lucy ran at the Evans, hugging them tightly. "Thank you so much!" Lucy exclaimed, voice very much muffled thanks to Mr. Evans' coat. He laughed and hugged Lucy back.

"It's our pleasure, Lucy!"

"Yes, we love having you over." Mrs. Evans agreed as Lily released her and hugged her father, Lucy turning to hug Mrs. Evans.

"Yeah, but still!" Both parents laughed at that, but not in a mean way. The four of them walked over to where Petunia was standing. Lucy greeted Petunia warmly, as she did everyone. Petunia said a stiff hello to her, and nothing to Lily, who looked hurt. Lucy pulled Lily into a one-armed hug as the five of them exited through the barrier. 

Back at the train, James' parents watched Lucy leave from the corners' of their eyes wistfully before turning to say goodbye to Peter and Remus' parents, the letter of whom had edged closer upon guessing that their son wouldn't immediately follow them from the platform as he had before. Remus, though shocked that his parents were there with the group at all, was the only one that had noticed the elder Potters' watching of Lucy. Eyes narrowed slightly in thought, he looked closely at them until something Sirius said got his attention and he was distracted, but not enough to forget to file away what he'd seen for later.
 
Gotta love that Giant Squid, ey? I mean, it's, well, Giant! (Aaaaaand the Understatement of the Year Award goes tooooo.......) But anyways, it looks like Christmas'll be good for Lucy this year, huh? Here's to hoping this gets accepted ASAP (and that I get better soon, and that my mom doesn't go insane)!
Happy Reading!


Chapter 13: Knot's Explosion
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

A/N: Okay, so I'm really excited and hopeful right now, seeing as how my computer is actually working!!!!! Yaaay! Have the updating issues ended? (Man, I hope so!)
But ANYWAYS, back to the subject that I didn't start off with but am continuing with........
Christmas at the Evans', Lucy talking to a tree, Reg, secret journals, and the explosion of one divination professor....... **Big Grin** I know it makes me sound really, really mean, but I love messing with Knot.
 
"Lily, you didn't!" Lucy exclaimed, laughing, as she opened Lily's gift to her.

"Oh yes I did!" Lily grinned as Lucy pulled out a large pack of headbands from a gift box. Both girls started laughing, as well as the Evans. "Two straight years of a faceless friend and complaints—"

"Half-hearted complaints!"

"—is enough to make anyone go insane! ......Put one on!" Lucy laughed and ripped open the pack. She picked a headband at random and slipped it on.

"The world really isn't black!" Lucy exclaimed, sending the entire room (minus Petunia) into fits of laughter.

The rest of the day was spent in happy relaxation. Petunia was civil to Lily, Lily and Lucy hung out together, Mrs. Evans cooked, and Mr. Evans worked on assembling some of the toys. All in all, it was a pretty peaceful day. There was a quiet air around the house, and even Petunia seemed to be enjoying herself.

It was around seven o clock when Lucy told the Evans' she was going to visit the Whitakers. Mr. and Mrs. Evans looked concerned, and Lily offered to tag along, but Lucy assured them that she'd be fine. Lucy promised that she'd be back by nine at the latest and left with a bag. It was obvious that Lucy had bought the Whitakers presents, though the Evans' knew that they probably hadn't bought her any.

The first thing Lucy did when she got to her house was to go up to her room. Lucy threw open all of the windows, letting in the bitter cold of winter. She opened the bag she'd brought with her and pulled out five gifts. She lined them up on the attic floor. There was one for James, Sirius, Remus, Peter, and even Regulus. Lucy waved her hand above the presents and they all turned into tiny white owls. Each owl had the initials of its intended receiver's name in large black letters across its chest. JP, SB, RL, PP, and RB. The five owls, upon landing on its intended, would transform back into the gifts.

Lucy touched the tip of her finger to each little owls head, whispering the name of its receiver to it. One by one they flew off, Sirius' and Regulus' owls flying side by side.

After this was finished, Lucy picked up her bag and went back downstairs. She stopped at the Christmas tree in the living room and put three presents under it. She did this every year, although she herself had never gotten one present. It didn't bother her, though. Almost nothing the Whitakers did bothered her. Hurt her, yes, but never bothered. Lucy always forgave them of whatever they did to her, forever turning a blind eye to her horrible mistreatment.

Lucy walked around the house for a bit, looking for the Whitakers. This also happened each year. They would leave each year, just Olivia and Justin and Annie, right after breakfast. The three of them would spend the entire day out together....... as a family. Lucy would usually spend her Christmas' wandering around the house for a bit, before leaving and wandering around outside. Almost everyone was inside on Christmas, and if it was snowing, all the better. Lucy would always end up at the park, though, in the same tree. Every year since she'd moved up to the attic, her Christmas' were mostly spent in that tree. It was oddly comforting for Lucy to go to the park every Christmas. It was something that never changed, that tree. It was always there, waiting for her. She would just sit there, thinking, looking out at everything around her. Trees, streets, the park. The stillness of it all, snow muffling every sound and hiding the ugliness of the world.

Lucy's Christmases, though not normal in any means, were still Christmases. The way she celebrated them may have been odd, but it was how she'd always done it. Lucy escaped the loneliness of her empty house by walking. There were times when Olivia would lock Lucy out of the house, and Lucy had nothing to do but walk. Walking seemed to be the only thing in which Lucy could enjoy herself at home. No matter how many times Lucy walked around her neighborhood, she still managed to find new things to look at. Especially at the park, though she didn't like going when it was too crowded. It was one of the most comforting things Lucy did, walking out under the open blue sky. The outside world filled Lucy with wonder, no matter how many times she'd go out.

Lucy looked around at the silent park. She smiled as she found the tree that she climbed every year. She looked up into its bare branches for a moment, before inclining her head with a slight smile and climbing up.

Lucy didn't stop climbing until she was at the very top of the tree, at the place where two branches intersected. This place made a natural seat and bed, and was where Lucy spent her Christmases, as well as the occasional night or two.

Lucy ran her hand along the tree's rough bark as she looked up into the clear winter sky, already dotted with stars. She smiled as she heard the tree speak to her.

<Has it been a year already, Lucy?>

Yes, it has, Tallulah.

Lucy spoke to the tree in the same way she spoke to the Giant Squid....... through her mind. It was something Lucy had always done and didn't intend to stop.

<I've missed you, child. Must you go to that school each year?> Lucy laughed.

You know as well as I that Hogwarts is my home, Tallulah.

<Yes, well, it'd be better if I could come along.>

You don't think people would notice if a tree like you disappeared? Lucy asked, amusement clear in her thoughts.

<It's just a thought.> Tallulah thought indignantly. Lucy smiled.

I know, I know. I wish you could come, too.

<How was your Christmas this year, Lucy?>

Better than most. I spent it with at my friend Lily's house.

<Good. I always hate that you have no one of your own kind around on this day.>

You're just as good as a person, Tal. Lucy thought absent-mindedly.

<......Though that is true, I still believe that you need to spend more time with other humans, and less time out in freezing conditions to talk to an old piece of wood.> Lucy laughed. She couldn't help it.

You know as well as I do that I like being outside, Tal. And I do spend time with people! Lily and James and Sirius and Remus and Peter and Reg—

<That is the boy that makes you see him in secret, correct?>

Yeah, so?

<So when is he going to man up and admit he enjoys your company? If you ask me, he should be the one willing to sacrifice things for your friendship.>

I couldn't ask Reg to do that!

<I  could.>

Not that he'd listen. Lucy reminded her gently.

<And another thing, why are all your friends boys?>

That's not true! I have—

<Lily, yes, I know. But she is your only girl friend. Is one of those boys your—>

Tallulah!

<Fine, fine, I'll stop. You'd tell me anyway. I know it.>

Then why do you have to ask? Lucy asked, exasperated. Tallulah's gentle laughter filled Lucy's mind, making her smile.

The two sank into a comfortable silence. Lucy ended up falling asleep for a bita force of habit, from spending a good many of her nights sleeping thereuntil Tallulah shook her awake, almost knocking the small girl out of her branches.

"Hey!" Lucy shouted, latching onto a sturdy branch with an amazing amount of speed for someone who had just woken up.

<Time for you to go back to Lily's house, dear. It's five to.>

"Oh, right! Thanks, Tal!" Lucy hopped out of the tree and gave it a quick hug, before turning and running from the park at top speed. Lucy reached the Evans' front door just as the clock struck nine. She knocked on the door then doubled over, hands on her knees, panting. Mrs. Evans opened the door, looking surprised.

"Did-I-get-here-in-time?" Lucy asked, between breaths. Mrs. Evans nodded, stunned. Lucy grinned. "Great!"

"Well, come in! I don't need you freezing out there!" Mrs. Evans said suddenly, as if snapping back to reality. She pulled Lucy into the house, firmly closing the door behind her. "You're ice cold, Lucy!" Lucy shook her head.

"I'm-fine-Mrs.-Evans." Lucy gasped. Mrs. Evans shook her head and hurried off, returning not two minutes later with a thick blanket. She threw it around Lucy, rubbing her shoulders with it.

"There you go, dear. You go upstairs to Lily's room and I'll bring you up a nice hot cup of chocolate." Lucy nodded gratefully and set up the stairs to Lily's room.

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"Woah! Go Whit!" Sirius exclaimed, turning over his gift in his hand. It was a communicator mirror, and the note that had fallen out of it had three words written on it. James, Remus, Peter. Sirius understood immediately. He spoke James' name into the mirror and James' face appeared, looking as excited as Sirius was.

"Isn't this awesome?!" James asked excitedly.

"Whit rocks!" Sirius cheered. "Can you believe she got us these?! And how did she get a four-way?! They usually only connect with one other!"

"Betcha Whit charmed them!"

"No way am I taking that bet!"

James and Sirius continued chatting excitedly for a bit, Remus and Peter joining them not long after. The four friends told each other about their Christmas' and presents, as well as raving about Lucy's gift to them.

And upstairs, Regulus was doing the same.

Lucy had gotten him something similar to the boys' mirrors, only much, much better....... at least in Reg's eyes. It was an enchanted journal. It wouldn't run out of pages, and anything Reg wrote in it, Lucy could read in hers. Lucy had its double, anything she wrote in it appearing in Reg's. It was perfect for the two of them, and would make it a lot easier on Reg for the two of them to continue being friends, as he wouldn't have to sneak out as much. Not only that, but they could talk in classes and late at night.

-I can't believe you got this, Lucy!- Was the first thing Reg wrote in his notebook, quill speeding across the page. -This is awesome! You are the single most best person in the world! You're a genius! You're a saint! I don't know how that ring I got you can possibly compare to this thing! Do you know how much easier you've just made my life?! Oh, who am I kidding?! Of course you do! Thank you thank you thank you!-

He didn't have to wait long to get a response. Lucy had been waiting for him to write, even though she and Lily were talking at the time.

~Hey, Reg. Glad you like it. I figured it'd help. And for your information, I happen to love that ring. It's beautiful.~ Reg had gotten Lucy a beautiful green ring, so pure green in color that it seemed to be made of melted-down emeralds, in the shape of a snake. It had blood-red ruby eyes and a forked tongue of pure silver. Not only that, but there was a thick silver streak going down the center of the snake's back, making it look both deadly and elegant. It was obviously magical, as it moved and slithered, flicking its tongue out like a real snake. It had slithered out from the little box it came in, wrapping itself around Lucy's right ring finger. It hissed at her as it did so, in a friendly way, and Lucy guessed that she'd soon be able to speak to it.

~I'm wearing it now, by the way. Oh, and before I forget, what should I call him? Or does he already have a name?

~I am not a saint, genius, or single most best person in the world. And yes, I know how much easier this'll make Hogwarts for you. I know that you have to keep up 'standards' or whatever, and can't be seen with a Gryffindor~

-Until I date you.-

~but I appreciate the effort anyway.~

-There won't be an effort soon enough.-

~You're silly, you know that?~

-And yet you still deal with me.-

~So, so true...... You're smirking, aren't you?~ Reg's eyes widened. How'd Lucy know he was smirking? ~Simple, my friend. I know how you act. Smirk this, smirk that, cocky grin here, eye roll there......~ Reg rolled his eyes, then caught himself and laughed. He couldn't help it. Lucy had his whole character down. It was hilarious. ~Ha ha! Made ya laugh!~

-No fair! Cheater!-

~Predictable!~

-That's how come you're cheating!-

~Not my fault I can read you like a book.~

-How come you can and not anyone else than, huh?-

~Again, simple. I know you, Reg.~

-......Okay, you got me there.-

~(Insert smirk)~

-Hey!-

~(Insert cocky grin)~

It was well past midnight before either Lucy or Reg got any sleep that night. In fact, the last thing Lucy wrote to Reg that day was; ~Well, the sun's come up. Time for bed!~ Reg had laughed and wrote a quick farewell in the journal before hiding it and going to sleep. Even though Lucy had told him she'd enchanted it so no one else could read it, he didn't want Sirius or his parents to know about it. Over at Lily's house, Lucy did the same. Not because she didn't want anyone to know about Reg, but because she knew Reg didn't want anyone to know about him. And she wasn't going to lie to her best friend.

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The rest of the holiday went smoothly. At Lily's house, she and Lucy spent a fun, peaceful time with Lily's family. Even Petunia was, as mentioned before, civil to her younger sister. Over at the Black mansion, few arguments happened. Sirius stayed in his room for the most part, talking to James, Remus, and Peter through his mirror. Reg stayed up in his room, too, but to journal to Lucy. At the Pettigrew and Lupin houses, all things were normal. Both Peter and Remus did nothing all day, both boys opting to stay in their rooms to chat with James and Sirius. Over at the Potter mansion, James probably the most active of the group, as he did not stay locked up in his room for the rest of the holidays. James went flying out in his enormous back yard, out on the Quidditch Pitch his parents had put in not to long ago. He also spent a lot of his time talking to the guys, while his parents mulled over Christmas' past.

=============================================

"WHIT!" As if out of nowhere, four bodies hurled themselves at Lucy, who had just walked through the barrier. Luckily for the five of them, they got knocked into a pile away from the barrier, instead of going through it backwards and running into Lily, who had came in just after Lucy.

"James! Sirius! Remus! Peter!" Lucy shouted happily, laughing. The four boys had dog-piled her and were hugging her as hard as they could. Lucy couldn't breathe, but she was much to excited at seeing the guys to notice.

"JAMES POTTER SIRIUS BLACK REMUS LUPIN AND PETER PETTIGREW! GET OFF OF HER!" Lily screamed in one breath, the four boys instantly jumping off of Lucy like scalded cats. Lucy, in all her infinite wisdom, sat up and laughed.

"Two things," Lucy said, holding up two fingers. "One; How come I can't greet you four like that, but you can greet me that way?" The guys said nothing, only smiled sheepishly at Lucy, remembering what Remus had said about Lucy's greetings. "And two," Lucy turned to look at Lily, a mischievous grin on her face, "Since when do you yell at people as a greeting?" Lily turned red. Lucy smiled, normally now, and climbed to her feet. She stretched out and took a deep breath. "Ah, there's the air I hadn't been able to breathe!" James, Sirius, Remus, Peter, and Lily all burst out laughing.

Lucy's eyes scanned the platform casually until they fell on Reg. She smiled at him, just the barest hint of a smile, and he did the same. They broke eye contact immediately after that, each of them turning back to their other friends. Lucy snuck a hand into her pocket, where her journal was, and began writing slowly. Her handwriting was terribly messy, as she didn't take it out of her pocket, but Reg could still read the message.

~I missed you.~

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"Where'd you get the ring, Whit?" Remus asked suddenly, just noticing the snake ring on Lucy's hand. Lucy looked at it and smiled.

"Christmas present."

"From who?" Lucy shrugged.

"A friend." There was a moment of silence as everyone waited for Lucy to say who.

"What friend?" Sirius finally asked. Lucy just smiled.

"A friend." It was quiet again as they all waited for her to elaborate. She didn't.

"Do we know the friend?" Lucy nodded.

"Yeah, I'm pretty sure you guys know him...... in fact, I'm positive you do."

"Him?" James asked, looking confused as well as the slightest bit defensive.

"Yup." Lucy said cheerfully, not noticing the look of horror slowly drawing across James' face. It was the overprotective part of him that spoke next.

"Is he in our year?" James asked, looking tense. Lucy shook her head.

"No, he's not in our year, why?" It got very quiet in the compartment then. Lucy twirled the snake ring around her finger absent-mindedly for a moment or two before pulling out her two-way journal. Lucy smiled when she saw that Reg had written.

-Hey babe- Lucy laughed when she read this, drawing odd looks from her friends. -Okay, there's a 99.99% chance that I just made you laugh. I don't know whether that's good or not.- Lucy rolled her eyes, still smiling. -Anyway, this has to be quick. I missed you too. It's great to be able to see your face. I'd thank the genius who got you those headbands, but it was probably a Gryffindor....... and that'd be weird.- Lucy laughed again. Lily and the guys tried to see what was written in the journal, but it was empty...... at least to them, anyway.

-Do you think you can meet me over near the changing rooms? No one would bother changing this early, and we can say hi properly. If someone sees us and I have to be mean, I'm sorry. Just write down the answer and we'll go from there.- Lucy smiled and pulled out a ball-point pen. One of the Muggle things she'd never give up.

~Definitely a yes. Five minutes from now.~ Lucy closed and pocketed the journal and pen. She smiled at the curious faces of her friends.

"Yes?" Lucy asked innocently.

"What were you reading?"

"What were you writing?"

"Who's the friend that gave you that ring?"

"Why can't we see the words in that book?"

"How old is your friend?" Lily, Peter, James, Sirius, and Remus asked their questions together, which made Lucy laugh.

"Words, words, my friend, it's charmed, and does it matter?" Lily and the guys took a second to work out which answers were theirs, then began to protest at how vague they were. Lucy stopped them a couple minutes later by announcing that she had to go to the bathroom. And that she wasn't going to answer their questions.

Lucy left the compartment after that and no one followed her. The guys had turned to pranks and Lily had turned to a book. Lucy walked down the deserted train corridor easily. When she came to the changing rooms they were as deserted as the corridor. She slipped into the last one and waited. She didn't have to wait long. Not five seconds had passed by before Regulus slipped into the room after her. The two of them cast a couple quick wards before embracing each other like they hadn't seen each other in years.

"Reg!"

"Lucy!"

"I missed you so much!"

"Not as much as I missed you!" This was a side of Regulus Black that was not seen by anyone. Though he was a true Slytherin and Black by nature, he couldn't help but become a child again while around Lucy. She brought out the emotional, vulnerable side of Regulus, turning him into 'Reg'.

When they let go of each other, Reg's eyes strayed down to Lucy's hands, zeroing in on the ring in an instant. "You're wearing it!" He exclaimed, pleasantly surprised. Lucy nodded vigorously.

"Of course I'm wearing it, Reg! I told you I thought it was beautiful, and I love it!"

"But...... the snake is the emblem of Slytherin." Lucy looked confused.

"So?"

"......So people will think you're dating a Slytherin."

"And?" Lucy asked, shrugging carelessly.

"Still, none of your House mates will like you much......." It always surprised Reg at how innocent Lucy was to all of this. No matter how many times he tried to tell her, to explain the unwritten rules of society to her, Lucy never understood. She never seemed to believe that immediate enemies should be made, or understood the importance of blood-status. It was like she was nothing but a three-year-old, happy in not knowing and definitely not wanting to learn.

"So?" Reg smiled and pulled Lucy into another hug. Though he worried about her at times, he had to admit that a part of him liked the defiance in her tone when she said that. It was obvious that Lucy didn't care what people said about her, that was for sure. And if the Gryffindor hard-headedness and stubbornness was a part of Lucy, that defiance was pretty well rooted in her character.

Reg kissed the top of Lucy's head. He frowned at the thought of having to leave Lucy and becoming 'Regulus' again. He'd always been comfortable just being Regulus Black, loved it, in fact. But—and this happened a lot when Lucy was involved—'Reg' just seemed to be more fun. Reg pulled Lucy into another tight hug.

"Make sure to write, okay, Luce?" Lucy nodded, smiling happily.

"Every day."

Reg left the room first, as planned. Lucy took down all of the wards they'd put up before leaving, giving Reg enough time to get pretty far down the corridor. He half-turned and gave her a small wave before turning into a compartment up near the front. Lucy smiled and waved back, even though he couldn't see her. She bounced back into her cabin, looking much happier than when she'd left it.

Suspicions arose immediately.

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Lucy yawned widely, then clamped her hands over her mouth, left over right, until she finished. She rubbed her eyes tiredly and grinned sheepishly at no one in particular. She hadn't gotten much sleep the night before, her aunt keeping her from going to her room to 'talk' to her. Lucy had gotten warnings on behavior. It was the talk she got every time she left somewhere, if she couldn't escape soon enough. Mostly threats in case Lucy 'got it in her head to speak of the nonsense she always used to talk about'. Olivia knew that she hadn't broken Lucy yet, but she had to make sure she'd keep quiet. Of course, there was no way Olivia could've known Lucy was going to a magical school, and if she had...... well, it's probably best not to talk about that.

Lucy frowned as she remembered where their conversation had led to. A night in an emergency room, far, far away from Rosewood Road. Lucy had had to go alone, and on foot. It took all night before Lucy was admitted and taken care of, and then she had to disappear. Lucy swore to herself she'd pay back each and every hospital, someday. But for now, it was all she could do to get home in time, before Lily and her parents came to pick her up. Lucy had gotten up to her room literally minutes before the Evans had arrived at her house. A small miracle, a stroke of luck...... Lucy didn't know what had saved her from questioning, but she had silently thanked every force she knew of in her head on the way to King's Cross.

And now? Now, Lucy was bone-tired, last night's events catching up to her. Lucy grimaced in pain as a first year accidentally bumped into her rib cage. The first year apologized immediately, not realizing the pain he'd put her in, and Lucy just smiled and waved off his apology easily. He turned back to his new-found friends without a second thought, and Lucy rubbed her side subtly, wincing.

"Are you okay, Luce?" Lucy jumped, startled.

"Oh, I'm fine, Lils. No problem." Lucy said, smiling weakly at her concerned friend.

"Are you—"

"Look out Whit!" Lucy ducked just as a glop of mashed potatoes flew by. She straightened and looked over at the boys, who grinned guiltily at her. Lucy did nothing for a moment, studying her plate thoughtfully. Then, carefully, carefully, Lucy scooped up a huge spoonful of mashed potatoes.

"Who threw that?" Lucy asked quietly. The four boys' eyes widened as they all pointed to another. James to Sirius, Sirius to Remus, Remus to Peter, and Peter to James. Lucy pretended to consider this turn of events, as three more spoons levitated around her head, fully loaded with mashed potatoes.

"You know, boys," Lucy began, smiling easily and folding her hands on top of the table, the spoon she had been holding floating up to the other three. "if I don't find out who did it, I'll have to punish all four of you." The boys whipped around and pointed at each other again. James to Peter, Peter to Remus, Remus to Sirius, and Sirius to James. They looked slightly frantic now, as an mischievous smile grew on Lucy's face.

"Oh, so it was the four of you......." Lucy said quietly, it being no more of a question than Lily's hair being red. The boys knew exactly what was coming, and ducked.

Lucy did nothing. The boys looked up, only to have mashed potatoes dropped onto their faces. Lucy laughed loudly as the four boys wiped their faces angrily.

"I can't believe—"

"You actually—"

"Did that—"

"Whit!" They exclaimed. Lucy grinned.

"Just be glad it wasn't your drinks, boys." She replied in a sing-song voice, bursting out into another round of laughter at their horrified faces.

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Lucy dropped into her bed gratefully that night, falling asleep the second her head touched the pillow. Unfortunately for her poor, tired self, Reg journaled her early in the morning. Very early.

-Hey Lucy, you up?-

~I am now.~

-Oh, I'm sorry. Did I wake you up?-

~Forget about it, Reg. It's not a problem.~

-Oh, okay, good.-

~So what's up? Why are you awake so early? Feel the need to speak to a long-lost friend...... Laugh all you want, Mr. Black.~

-Is it my fault you're funny?- Lucy yawned, rubbing her eyes tiredly a moment before responding.

~Nah, it's a gift. Now; what's up, Reg?~

-Handwriting's a little sloppy there, buddy. You fallin asleep on me?- Lucy laughed.

~Maybe, maybe not. You woke me up, now you have to try to keep me up!~

-WHY?!-

~Your fault, your responsibility.~ In his dorm, Reg groaned, grinning. One of his roommates shifted in his sleep and Reg cast a quick Muffliato charm around his bed.

-Fine, fine. You win.-

~I always do. Now what's this secret thing that has turned you into a human alarm clock?~ Reg laughed.

-Now, how do you-

~Don't even try it, Reg. Something made you wake me up at 5:30 in the morning!~

-Ouch, it's that early?-

~Yes.~

-Wow. I actually feel guilty.- Guilt was not a normal Slytherin emotion. So Reg appreciated what Lucy wrote next.

~Well, don't. I'm glad you wrote me, even though it's early.~

-Thanks, Luce.-

~Not a problem.~

-......So.-

~So.~ The two of them lapsed into a comfortable silence in which neither of them wrote anything, Lucy doodling in the corners of her journal.

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"I am tired of your insolence, Miss Whitaker." Knot said coldly, having been pushed over the edge when Lucy had fallen dead asleep in her seat. To her respect, she hadn't been able to sleep properly—which meant at all, in her case—for the last few weeks and was completely exhausted. A collapse was imminent, and besides, Lucy had memorized the Divination book cover to cover. Aside from that, everyone knew that Lucy barely ever paid attention to Knot anyway: It was obvious that Lucy didn't like the old Professor. The feeling seemed to be shared but perfectly in Knot's case. She detested Lucy, for Lucy knew that Knot faked most of it: Knot wasn't a real Seer at all, and had never had even one vision of the future. She simply pretended for the sake of an easy job. It wasn't hard for her to pretend to know about the future: All Knot really had to do was know the textbook. Which wasn't a reliable source on its own. There were books out there, real books by actual Seers, but none of them were actual textbooks. Even if the textbook couldn't make actual Seers out of anyone. Knot could care less, but was tired of being bested by a student: Even if none of her students believed a word that came out of her mouth, at least they pretended they did. "Do you think it is so easy to learn to predict and possibly shape the future? Do you believe my position here so simple and pointless that you can take my class in your sleep?" Knot's voice rose near the end, she standing, misty voice traded in for her normal one.

Lucy, for her part, refrained from saying something rude. Though she wasn't fond of Knot, Knot was still a Professor, and besides, Lucy just couldn't do that. But Lucy couldn't very well lie, either. So Lucy, having been given a direct answer by a person who was so obviously waiting for a response, sighed and took a deep breath before beginning. "With all due respect, Professor Knot" Lucy began, letting her breath out slowly. "I do not believe that Divination is something that I will ever use in my life: As for shaping the future, well, I can't say. I am sorry for falling asleep in your class, though to be perfectly honest, I......" Lucy trailed off, at a loss. She didn't know how to continue without sounding horribly rude and impertinent in every way. She sighed once more and closed her tired eyes as she searched for something to say. Before she could think of anything, though, Knot blew her fuse, sensing the drift of Lucy's thoughts and loosing her cool.

"Do you think it is so easy teaching this class, Miss Whitaker? Do you think that, in my position, you could do better? Do you think that you, completely unknowing to the ways of the future, could make each student in this school learn about it?!" Knot's voice got very shrill then, face red as Lucy looked away from her. The entire class saw this as an unspoken agreement to Knot's questions, though they all knew Lucy was too kind to ever say it out loud. Instead the girl focused her eyes on a cloud outside the window. The class, after gauging Lucy's reaction, turned their attention back to Knot, who knew she was in deep now, but couldn't stop herself. "Fine!" The woman exclaimed furiously, pointing at Lucy as if hoping that would strike her dead. "Fine! If you believe you could do better, than I want to see you do it! One month! For one month you will be Divination professor at Hogwarts! Then you'll see!" Lucy turned and looked at Knot, not with the open-mouthed incredulity that everyone else was looking at her with, but with an almost sympathetic, understanding sadness.

"If that is what you wish, Professor Knot, then I cannot deny it. I am, after all, your student and therefore cannot refuse a direct order such as that." She said quietly, looking Knot directly in the eye. Knot turned even redder at this as she pointed to the trapdoor, obviously directing Lucy to it. Lucy nodded once before gathering her things slowly, calmly, as if suddenly becoming a teacher at a magical school was an everyday thing for her. Indeed, Lucy seemed to have been waiting for something like this to happen as she opened the trapdoor and jumped down out of it, landing softly and without a noise. She left her astonished classmates as she headed directly to Dumbledore's office, Knot not far behind, having forgotten to dismiss the class in her rush.

There was silence in the room as, for the first time, the class did not rush to leave the smoky room once allowed. Instead the floored twelve-year-olds simply exchanged dubious looks with one another, as if silently asking if what had taken place before them had actually happened. No one could deny it, though, as both Lucy and Knot were gone, without, it seemed, any intentions of coming back. Slowly, slowly the group began to gather their wits and their things, one by one exiting the classroom after barely a quarter of the actual class time had passed. Now what was there to do? An unexpected free period was always welcomed, but there was much confusion amongst them as they all wandered off to different parts of Hogwarts and the grounds.

None were so stunned, though, as Lily, James, Sirius, Remus, and Peter. They'd been worried about Lucy's sleeping lately, noticing that she hadn't seemed to be getting any at all, and had been secretly relieved to see her crash, if even during a class. After all, it was Divination, and besides, one of the guys could just carry Lucy to the Hospital Wing afterwards, right? Anything to make sure Lucy was okay and sleeping again. But none of the five had thought that Knot would explode at Lucy. What would happen now? Would Lucy really become a professor at Hogwarts, just like that? And what would Knot be doing meanwhile? Could it really be that simple? How would Lucy keep up in any of her other classes? And, more importantly, what would happen if Lucy really was forced to accept this insane order? Was it even legal?

Lily spent her free time in the library, wondering what was happening between Lucy and Knot, and if all the craziness that had happened would be taken seriously, while James, Sirius, Remus, and Peter wandered the school corridors, causing trouble and making mischief. Also thinking about Lucy and the predicament she'd gotten herself into. Needless to say, the only person who got anything done during that time was Lucy herself. What had happened up in Dumbledore's office would've shocked anyone past belief, but not Lucy. She'd taken it all in stride, as if she'd dealt with things like that before and didn't find it out of the ordinary at least. Even Dumbledore had been slightly confused at this, though he didn't show it in the least. Knot, for her part, felt vindicated in her belief that Lucy would fall flat on her face during the next month. True, Knot still had to finish out this one, but come next week, Knot would be having a little vacation while Lucy struggled miserably.

Needless to say, Knot was happy about this.

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When Lucy was finally released from Dumbledore's office, everything having been sorted, she flat out refused to answer any of her friends' questions. Her only reply was a cryptic 'You'll see' which was a better answer than any other might've been. Lucy had basically told them what would happen, or at least given them so big of a hint they'd be idiots not to see it. So it was that the rest of that week was spent in deep wondering by the entire student population, complete disbelief from the professors, and quiet planning by Lucy, the absolute only one that was taking this whole thing in stride.

For the rest of the week, Lucy could be found in the very back of the library reading intently from books whose contents she refused to disclose, back flat on the floor, feet propped up on an armchair. The books were piled around her, as well as stacks and stacks of parchment, making an almost fort around the girl. No one could read what was on the books or parchment, though, as Lucy had obviously put a trillion and three charms on everything. Once the librarian kicked her out, Lucy resumed this position, only in the common room, working by the fire's light, occasionally muttering to herself. Whenever someone would manage to get her attention, they would immediately receive a large grin and wouldn't be able to ignore the fire in the young girl's eyes. The combination of determination and intellect that lit up the smaller girl's eyes reminded James strongly of his father when he got a new project.

That Sunday morning Lucy was taken from Hogwarts so early that no one had even seen her leave, though everyone noticed that McGonagall was not present at the head table that morning, which meant that she, as Head of Gryffindor, had taken Lucy. No one knew why, not even Lily, James, Sirius, Remus, and Peter, but it obviously had to do with Knot's blowup the previous week.

They weren't wrong.

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The next morning when Lily woke up she rolled over and immediately checked Lucy's bed for her curly-haired best friend. Nothing, not even a trunk. And empty bed was all that was left of Lucy, which shook Lily hard. She leapt from her bed and got dressed at lightning speed, ignoring her other roommates' confused questions. She ran down the girl's staircase, half wishing that any boy—even James—would come along and put their foot on it so she could go down it faster. It didn't happen, though, so Lily had to race down them on her own. Without so much as a pause, Lily whipped around and ran up the boy's staircase, not bothering to knock before bursting into James, Sirius, Remus, and Peter's room and looking around frantically for Lucy. Ignoring the screams and shouts of embarrassment and protest. No Lucy, which made Lily really freak. True, this all probably had to do with the whole Knot-explosion thing, but still. Lucy's trunk shouldn't be gone, should it? Didn't that mean that she was expelled or something? But how could that be?! No one had seen her all day, how could she have gotten expelled?!

Lily shouted at the guys to get ready and get ready fast, whipping random shirts at them before tearing back down the stairs, through the common room, out of Gryffindor Tower altogether, and down the corridors towards Dumbledore's office.

Luckily for Lily (and her sanity), Dumbledore was just leaving his office as she came running up. He smiled down at the panting girl and waited for her to catch her breath. Lily, on the other hand, didn't and immediately launched into a frenzied explanation of Lucy's missing trunk and Lily's worries. Dumbledore nodded once in a while, fingers in their customary arch, blue eyes twinkling like mad. He waited until Lily had finished before assuring her that all was well and not to worry, and wouldn't she feel better after she ate something? Lily could only stare up at the old Headmaster, completely dumbstruck, before nodding numbly and following him to the Great Hall.

What Lily saw at the Great Hall left her even more shocked than waking up to find Lucy's trunk had vanished overnight.
 
A/N: So, what does everyone think? Leaving you all on a bit of a (okay, a huge) cliff hanger here (I know, I know--I'm a horrible person). Don't worry, though, I think the next chapter might possibly probably I hope so make you all forgive me. Maybe. ^-^
Please forgive your Crazy Author Lady: I won't make excuses, but if anyone out there is in school and other insanity at once, well....... We're all in the same boat, right? Kinda? Maaaaaaybe?
Okay; ramble over. (Does anyone even read my rambles anyway?)
Well, if you've suffered through this much, I might as well throw in something from the next chapter.......


Lucy spent her breakfast chattering happily to the other professors at the table, not a single qualm standing in her way, the student/professor guidelines of conduct thrown out of a window, off of a cliff, and into an ocean. Lucy treated them as if they were her friends, asking questions and telling them of herself as she ate. She wasn't afraid to tease smiles out of certain professors and, by the end of breakfast, the majority of the professors felt comfortable enough around Lucy to tease her back.

The sight of little Lucy in professional, dark blue professor's robes chattering easily with even the strictest and most foreboding of their teachers caused each and every student in the Great Hall to fall completely silent and stare up at her in shock and disbelief. Which included Lily, James, Sirius, Remus, and Peter. Especially Lily, James, Remus, Sirius, and Peter....... Not mentioning Reg, who had been trying to journal Lucy all week with no result. Well, now he knew what she'd been so busy with, at least. And it confused him greatly.Well, bye! And Happy Reading!

Chapter 14: Introducing...... Professor Whit!
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Author's Note: Hey all! If anyone's been wondering about what happened to Lucy and/or her trunk, you know, or if you're worried about Lily's mental stability now (I know I wouldn't handle something like all traces of my friend disappearing from our room quite easily, personally), then perhaps I should stop talking and allow you to read? Right, okay: Here ya go! Enjoy!
 

"Welcome, Headma—Albus." Lucy cheerily greeted Dumbledore as he took his seat at the head table, he sitting to her right.

"Lucille." Dumbledore greeted Lucy with a broad grin and a prominent twinkle in his eye as he saw Lily's mouth drop right open down by the Gryffindor table.

"Please, Albus, call me Lucy. Lucille makes me feel so dreadfully old." Lucy joked with a laugh, eyes sparkling brightly even as the Great Hall filled slowly, each student that saw her mimicking Lily in the fact that their mouths dropped right open. "As it is, no one has called me Lucille in my life, so it leads me to wonder just what, exactly, is on my real, legal birth certificate." Albus chuckled slightly at this and nodded.

"Ah, alright then, Lucy it is." Albus agreed easily, Lucy beaming. She leaned over slightly and attempted to share her happiness with McGonagall.

"Good morning, Minerva! Isn't it an absolutely wonderful day?" Minerva nodded slowly, tightly, narrowed eyes focused on her plate as she began filling it. Minerva had strongly disapproved of letting Lucy teach, no matter that it was Knot's decision. Lucy, though, had long gotten over her animosity towards Minerva and had long gone back to her normal, bubbly self.

"Yes, Miss Whi—" Albus caught Minerva's eye and she sighed. "Lucy. I suppose it is a rather nice day." Minerva finished her words in a slight grumble. Albus had called a staff meeting beforehand and had explained to everyone—even Binns—that they were to treat Lucy as if she were truly one of the professors. Lucy even had her own private quarters and had gotten to redo the Divination room.

"And thanks again, Professor, for....... well, you know." Lucy whispered, offering Minerva a small, sincere smile that the latter couldn't help but nod back at. "I really appreciate all of your help." Minerva nodded again, knowing that Lucy could probably pick up on what she was silently trying to say. Minerva's guess had been dead on, as Lucy's bright, beaming grin was back in place as she picked what she wanted to eat for breakfast and began munching on it cheerily.

Lucy spent her breakfast chattering happily to the other professors at the table, not a single qualm standing in her way, the student/professor guidelines of conduct thrown out of a window, off of a cliff, and into an ocean. Lucy treated them as if they were her friends, asking questions and telling them of herself as she ate. She wasn't afraid to tease smiles out of certain professors and, by the end of breakfast, the majority of the professors felt comfortable enough around Lucy to tease her back.

The sight of little Lucy in professional, dark blue professor's robes chattering easily with even the strictest and most foreboding of their teachers caused each and every student in the Great Hall to fall completely silent and stare up at her in shock and disbelief. Which included Lily, James, Sirius, Remus, and Peter. Especially Lily, James, Remus, Sirius, and Peter....... Not mentioning Reg, who had been trying to journal Lucy all week with no result. Well, now he knew what she'd been so busy with, at least. And it confused him greatly.

Breakfast went by fast enough and soon Lucy was trotting up to 'her classroom' cheerily, humming some random tune, eyes bright. She climbed the ladder up through the trapdoor, grinning wildly to herself.

When Minerva had explained that Lucy would be allowed to redecorate 'her classroom', Lucy didn't hesitate for even the slightest second. She just got her wand out and set to work. The room looked nothing like it had before. The very first thing Lucy had gotten rid of was all the smoke........ actually, Lucy had cleared the entire room bare then began working from the ground up. Now the normally dark, stuffy, smoky room was bright, cheery, and airy. Instead of dark, muddy colors that made the room dreary and depressing, Lucy had actually made it so when one was in the room they believed they were outside. Lucy had used the same charm that was used on the ceiling in the Great Hall, only everywhere, along with some other modifications. Everything looked as if they were having class out in a clearing in the Forbidden Forest, really. 'Grass', 'logs', 'trees', and more were littered everywhere. Not only that, but Lucy had somehow managed to call some birds in from the Forest to fly around and sing. Which didn't seem odd at all, seeing as how the room looked and felt so much bigger than it had before. If one were to look carefully, they could see different animals on the wall (which looked a denser part of the Forest), taking peeks round trees at them. If they were quiet, of course. The animals on the walls acted just as real animals might.

It was some pretty advanced magic that Lucy had done then, which had left Minerva so floored that it was a miracle the older woman didn't end up on the floor.

The day was interesting, to say the least. Teaching was undoubtedly one of the most amusing things Lucy had ever done. Each and every period was a riot, even the periods in which the small girl wasn't teaching. The entire school knew where she was, after all, she just barely making it to the staff room, looking as if she'd just run the gauntlet. And loved every second of it. Each and every one of her 'fellow colleagues' couldn't believe that the young girl wasn't already begging to be released from her position. It was quite the opposite, actually. Lucy didn't have to tell any of them this; her beaming smile and happy twirling was enough answer for anyone. The small girl bounced around the staff room as if that was all she'd done throughout her entire life, dancing around and chattering to anyone and everyone about anything. The main subject of her discussions was of her classes and different students, Lucy asking many questions of how her colleagues' classes went. Whenever one of them answered, it in a tired, annoyed way, as if they'd rather do anything but teach. Whenever one of them asked Lucy, though....... She came alive, more than any of them had ever seen them, which was a lot. Lucy seemed perfectly content to praise each and every student that she'd taught during her day, even those that disrupted and distracted, as well as the things she had learned from her students. Not what she had taught them—what they had taught her.

"Is it the same for you, Bathsheba?" Lucy asked the Ancient Runes professor cheerily, the older woman shifting slightly and shaking her head. Lucy looked surprised, then curious. "But why not?"

".......Well," Babbling said, clearing her throat and looking around as if for help. "I guess I already know enough. There's nothing students here can teach me. My job is to teach them; I am no longer a student. What is there left for me to learn, and from them of all people?" Lucy's face betrayed no expression besides pure shock and confusion.

".......But........ But Bathsheba........."

The older woman cleared her throat once more, then spoke. "Um, yes, Lucy?"

"What do you mean, there's nothing left to learn? And how can you possibly believe that there is nothing the students can teach you? There is always something new to learn! And as for the students, well, they do know things that you might not!" Babbling cleared her throat again, looking agitated.

"Well, Lucy, it may not apply to me as it would you, seeing as how......." She trailed off, unable to finish. Lucy knew what she was about to say, though, and the older woman could see traces of hurt behind her sparkling blue eyes. Lucy looked at Babbling a moment or two longer in silence, making the older woman very uncomfortable, before looking away. Babbling expected Lucy to leave and quite possibly tell someone of the conversation they'd just had, expected it so strongly that what Lucy actually did left the woman frozen.

Lucy looked back to Babbling slowly, almost carefully, that hurt still there, and spoke. "Professor Babbling, I may be much younger than you, but that does not necessarily mean that I know less. The things I learn from my students....... I don't believe they can be put on an application or will ever be found on a test. But that doesn't mean the things I've learned of them aren't important. On the contrary, I believe that the things I have been learning from my students are more important than any one thing I will ever learn from a professor. Including myself. Why? Because each of them are different, each of them are people. To know even the smallest shred of one person's heart is worth every letter of knowledge in the world. I would rather learn things from them than treat them as if they're worthless. And no offense to you, Professor" Lucy added quietly, eyes still locked on Babbling's eyes, the older woman able to see the truth in them. "there is no age you can reach that will ever allow you to stop being a student." There was silence in the staff room in that moment, each and every professor silencing completely, having heard Lucy's quiet words. The small girl stood as if she were bearing a great weight on her back. As she shook her hair from her face, though, the many years that she seemed to have aged from her speech disappeared instantly, and she smiled slightly, looking her age once more. "If you'd excuse me, I have a class to learn." Lucy's smile grew a bit wider at her words, her eyes loosing the solemn look that had overtaken them as happiness and excitement appeared in them. "Have a good day."

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"Whit! What the—"

"Ah, ah, ah, Mr. Potter. Watch the language." Lucy said, stifling laughter at the looks of incredulity she was getting from her friends. It was finally time for the second year Gryffindors lesson with her. The first year Slytherins had just left—Reg's barely hidden shock had been tickling Lucy the entire period. "If you would all take a seat." Lucy continued, voice even, though not professional. She sounded nothing like the other professors, though that may have been because she hadn't been one before then. All the same, the class sat slowly, looking around the room in amazement. "As you all probably know," she continued in a cheery voice as she jumped onto her desk, settling down onto it comfortably and swinging her legs as she spoke "I have taken over the Divination position while Professor Knot is away. Though you all probably know already, my name is Professor Whit..... ta..... ker." She said slowly, as if reminding herself that her newly christened students couldn't call her 'Whit'. She thought about it a moment before shrugging. "Professor Whit. I'm not gonna be here near long enough, so let's get started!" Lucy clapped and rubbed her hands excitedly. "I have here with me something that could get me in a lot of trouble." She began frankly. The students exchanged looks. James and Sirius grinned; Remus and Lily gave Lucy suspicious looks; Peter just looked worried. Very worried. Lily raised her hand. "Yes Miss Evans?" Lucy asked, Lily blinking at the formal title.

"I, um...... What exactly do you have here, Whi—" Lucy raised her eyebrows smilingly at Lily, who stumbled over her friend's name momentarily before continuing. "Uh, I mean, Professor? Professor Whit?" Lucy grinned, eyes sparkling. She hopped off of her desk and made her way to the back of the room, holding a finger up.

"Before I show you, I think I should answer that second question of yours...... No. No one knows I borrow them, so I'd really rather you all kept this to yourselves." Lucy paused a moment, looking round the classroom. "Course I don't expect you all to make an Unbreakable Vow or nothin, but...... Well, don't tell any of my colleagues, kay? Great!" Lucy exclaimed brightly. "Now if you can see this....... don't scream." Fear levels in the room rose drastically at those words. Lucy continued speaking as if she didn't notice this, hand on a doorknob in the wall that had no door that could be seen. "In olden days there were many signs—omens, really—that promised everything from ill-fortune to death. These could be seen anywhere at anytime, and many people were superstitious. Highly superstitious. At the peak of this long time of fear a witch or wizard would murder their best friend, their brother, even their own children if they thought these people would bring—or had already brought—one of the many omens of horror amongst them. This was a time wrought with death, poison, and many evils. Everything was different. There was no trust, no security. Anyone and anything that was different—even in our world—was out to kill, to betray, to destroy. Fear filled and ruled near everyone. There was not a time when a magical person—even the smallest of children—didn't have one hand on their wands, or some kind of protection. And the protection could be anything, not just a wand: A dagger, a vial of poison, a lethal spray that would murder all but the person who sprayed it........ It was a horrid time, a time when evil ruled with an iron fist and hate crept through the streets like a all-consuming mist. No one was safe, everyone was considered a murderer. There was no innocent until proven guilty, no mercy. There was only self-preservation, and omens.

"If you saw one of these omens and told anybody, you. Would. Die. Why? Because that meant you had been targeted by Death. There was no one at this time that did not fear death, because those who didn't, were killed. If you had seen one of these omens, no one would let you survive. If they didn't report it, and immediately, they could be next, or even die first. The omen might believe that the confident would try to protect the target and change its mind: The omen might tell Death to go after the confident instead. And if it wasn't the omen that chose to murder the confident, it would be that person's family. Their friends. Even the Ministry of Magic wouldn't hesitate to murder that person on the spot.

"Crowds would gather to watch whoever it was that day be killed. Everyone would go to watch. Men, women, even the House Elves were allowed to attend. Parents would hold their children high in the air so that they might get a good view of the deaths. Some of them were quick, some of them would take hours. But either way" here Lucy leaned foreword, still gripping the doorknob tightly "cheers would erupt. Manic cheers, wild shouts of excitement would ripple through the community when the condemned had taken their last breath. There was no sympathy, no disgust....... No humanity. Just wild animals disguised as human beings so as to fool the gullible, and the weak—to teach the children how to be like them, and to prevent change from saving them all.

"If there was ever a time when Death smiled in the privacy of his own home, I think it would have been then. After all, he didn't need to do anything. Death didn't do a thing all those years. It was all. Just. Us. There was no Them, no specific groups of people to avoid. There was nothing except death. There came a point in time when people began to doubt even themselves, didn't trust even their own thoughts." Again Lucy leaned in, everyone leaning closer to her. "People went mad." She whispered. "Positively mad. They would argue themselves, accuse their mirrors of betrayal. Use curses that are Forbidden now....... On themselves." Gasps of shock exploded out of the listening group, they all knowing what Lucy meant.

"B-but Professor Whit!" A boy exclaimed.

"Yes, Mr. Sanderson. What is it?"

"Wh-why would they do that?! To themselves?!" Lucy smiled sadly and leaned back, hand still clutching the doorknob as if it were her life force, as if the story was passing through it into her.

"Because, my dear boy, they had seen something. An omen of some sort. They became afraid that they would tell, would speak up. They thought...... That they were going to kill themselves. And in the end, many of them did."

"But...... Why?!" Lucy shook her head grimly.

"Because it was the only way to assure themselves that......."

"That what?!" The class cried out as one, Lucy actually releasing the doorknob and crossing her arms. She sighed. She gave the class a searching look, as if begging them to understand what she was trying to say.

"That the voices—their voice—that lived within them, that threatened them with betrayal and death, would silence. That they would be safe....... from death. That whatever omen they had seen—or more likely thought they'd seen—wouldn't come to pass."

"......But....... Professor......."

"Yes, Miss Swanson?" Lucy asked quietly, the other girl shaking her head.

"They were the ones making the omens come true!" A boy managed to say, throat constricted. Lucy nodded sadly and uncrossed her arms.

"Yes, I know. There were very few 'bad days' back then, Mr. Calton, and even less times when these days were finished. Too many bad things together at once didn't mean a bad day: They meant an omen of death. Too many things seen as bad, meant you were to die." Lucy cocked her head at the class curiously, as if looking for someone to give the correct answer to her next question, as if she knew someone could. "Tell me, class: Who would die for?" The question threw the class off, but Lucy's encouraging eyes, eyes that told them all she believed in them, that they knew the answer, got a few people to answer hesitantly. After these few answered, more started until the entire class spoke, most of the answers being the same.

"My mum!"

"My dad!"

"My little brother and sister!"

"My best friend!"

"If I ever get married, my husband!"

"If I ever had kids, I'd die for them!"

"My cousin!"

"My best friends!"

"My family!"

"My friends!"

"You." The last response silenced the class as they all remembered that Lucy, though a professor, was still James, Remus, Sirius, Peter, and Lily's best friend. They'd forgotten that she was anything but a professor, but the way James was looking at her from the front of the classroom—as well as Remus, Sirius, Peter, and Lily—reminded them of it quite forcefully.

"Who would you die for Professor Whit?" A girl asked quietly, and Lucy looked down at the ground with a little smile, quiet a moment before answering, looking up as she did so.

"Anybody who would need me to." Jaws dropped, the girl who had spoken spluttering a reply to this.

"B-but...... What if you don't even know them?! Would you step in front of a bullet for a stranger?! Would you honestly jump in front of a Killing Curse for some guy on the street that you never even met?!" Lucy nodded quietly, looking the girl straight in the eye.

"Yes, my dear girl. I would. Without so much as a moment's hesitation."

"But...... Why?" The girl whispered, and Lucy shrugged and sighed.

"Do you want to die?" She asked.

"No I do not! Of course I don't!" The girl exclaimed, affronted, and Lucy smiled and spread her arms.

"So if I saved your life, you're basically saying that you would be happy about it." Lucy said more than asked, the girl opening and closing her mouth wordlessly. Lucy was quiet a long moment before finishing, knowing what the girl wanted to ask and unable to ignore the question. "If I could save a life and make the world even a little better, just by dying, I'm going to. Because honestly, I don't think anyone who has someone die to save their life could do bad. There is good in everyone. You just gotta find it." Lucy put a hand over her heart, looking as if she'd die if they didn't get what she was trying to tell them, as if she knew they could if they wanted to. "As long as someone is still human, they're still alive......"

"Would you die for someone that tried to kill you, or was your enemy?" A boy asked, standing. Lucy looked quietly at the him a moment before nodding.

"Yes I would. A human being is not evil. I will never cause harm if I can prevent it, or if I have any other choice...... But I will never...... ever kill a human being. Not even if it means saving my life."

"But what if they were gonna kill someone else? Like, someone you loved or something? Would you kill them then?" A girl asked insistently. Something flashed in Lucy's eyes then, a hard, razor-sharp edge springing into her suddenly icy blue eyes. The downright glare in her eyes made the girl shrink down into the seat she'd just vacated fearfully. Lucy moved her hair from her eyes and looked around the room penetratingly.

"No one." She began slowly, looking extremely stiff and tense. "Will ever. Bring harm. To someone I love." She proclaimed through gritted teeth, eyes glittering strangely.

"B-but...... But professor, would you kill the person?" Lucy straightened and held her head high, looking around the room stubbornly.

"No. I would die, and that would save them. I don't need to be a killer to stop a killer." An electric silence crackled through the room then, pressing against the students until it threatened to smother them. Lucy broke the silence by grabbing hold of the doorknob and turning it, a door appearing out of nowhere and opening. "Back in those times I described to you all, Thestrals were considered a great omen of death. If you saw one, you were sure to die. Coincidentally, if you were to catch and kill one of these magical animals, you would harness the power to become a great enough Seer to protect yourself from any and all other attempts at your end." Lucy smiled in a way that made a parade of emotions streak across her face. "Many witches and wizards spent their entire lives trying to kill Thestrals so that they might protect themselves. They thought if they did this, if they took the risk of death after sighting one, they'd be safe from the Great Fear that had enveloped them all. They thought that seeing the future would help them. It was rare the time that a real Seer's prediction was actually listened to, was actually believed.

"It's sad, really...... They were so afraid of the very thing that they refused to let go. It's as if they were more afraid of change then killing themselves to the point that magic completely disappeared from the world." Lucy stroked an invisible head at her side, about the height of a horse. "Can any of you see my...... borrowed friend here? Anyone? Just raise your hands if you do." Lucy waited but no one moved. She smiled then, looking immensely happy. "Good. So none of you will be tempted to hurt him in a weak and pointless attempt to see the future." Everyone started laughing and Lucy grinned as the atmosphere in the room lifted to the point that it seemed to disappear altogether. The animals on the rooms walls dashed further into the background.

Lucy waited patiently for the class to settle down, noticing that their time was almost up and that the bell would ring soon. She continued stroking the Thestral as she spoke to the class. "Before the bell cuts me off: Homework time. Groan all you want, I have to assign it. After all, you guys don't want me to get fired because you have no grades, now do you?" The class laughed once more at this, Lucy grinning as she waited for them to settle down. "Alls I need is a foot of parchment. I want you all to write a short essay. It can be about magical animals and what parts of them can be used in Divination; magical animals who were or are thought to help see the future and why; or you can me more about Thestral hunts and why Thestrals were so feared, yet so believed to help witches and wizards see into the future. Please don't write so your words are half foot huge or use your actual foot to measure." Lucy grinned mischievously at her students. "Just write the essay, ok? It's not too hard, and I'll be glad however I can. My rooms are behind the painting of Black Lake and the Forbidden Forest on the third floor. If you need my help—anything, a suggestion on a book, whatever—just go tell Roanus that you need to see me. Roanus is the lion in the painting. You're gonna have to call for him though. If I'm not in he'll tell you and you can just owl me or something. Chances are you'll know where I am. Hmm, what else......" Lucy trailed off thoughtfully.

"Um, Professor Whit?" Remus asked, one hand half-raised hesitantly.

"Yes, Mr. Lupin?" Lucy asked, Remus blinking in surprise at how she addressed him, just as Lily had. Hearing Lucy address him as a professor would threw Remus off quite a bit, but he shook his head and continued.

"Why are you telling us where your private quarters are?" He asked, confused, and Lucy laughed.

"So if you guys need me you can find me. So if anyone chooses to procrastinate until the night before an assignment's due they can come get help. So none of you need to fail or get in trouble." Lucy laughed again. "I'm a professor here at Hogwarts now, Mr. Lupin: I'm not really gonna go around playing Quidditch and shirking work. And besides that, what am I gonna have to do besides plan classes and grade work? I am going to have time left over, and I'd rather spend it helping students with their work than staring at my ceiling and being all bored. Pssh!" Lucy shook her head with a grin. "I may be a professor, but I'm still alive, and I still have a life." Lucy put two fingers to her neck before nodding. "Yeah, yup: Still beating." Lucy threw up her hands suddenly. "Shh! Wait for it, waaaaait for iiiiit......" Lucy leapt onto a rock as tall as her desk as if about to make a serious announcement that would save the world.

"Professor Whit, what are you doing?" Sirius asked laughingly, Lucy's eyes sparkling playfully.

"Three....." She whispered. "Two..... And the bell rings now!" Just as the word had left Lucy's mouth, the bell rang signaling not only the end of specific class but the end of classes in general. Everyone laughed as Lucy leapt to the ground, hopped over to the trapdoor, and opened it with a flourish. "Goodbye, my dear students! Remember: Third floor painting of the lake and forest. And the lion's name is? Go on, tell me."

"Roan-us!" The class chorused merrily as they packed their things and grabbed their bags. Lucy laughed and nodded.

"That's right!" She agreed proudly. Lucy skipped over to her desk, reaching back behind it for something as the class stood to leave. Lucy pulled a bucket out from behind her desk and pulled what appeared to be raw meat from some animal out of it. "Here's for being such a good Thestral and behaving....... And cause you're hungry." She added, throwing a large chunk of the meat towards the back of the room, everyone ducking out of the meat's way. The class watched in shock as the meat disappeared into thin air. Lucy shook her head with a grin as she made her way to the back of the room with the bucket, continuing to toss the Thestral—which the class knew actually existed and was there now—hunks of meat. "What? You guys thought I was kidding when I said I borrowed something that could get me in trouble?" Lucy paused a moment to stroke the patient Thestral, praising it quietly for not going for the bucket. "Since there's no more classes today, anybody wanna feed her? You don't even need to get near her: I'll hand you some meat and you can toss it to her." A few brave students, James, Sirius, Remus, and Peter—once he saw that James, Remus, and Sirius had—included, raised their hands slowly. Lucy grinned and handed out chunks of meat to the braver of the group. "One at a time, starting with you, Mr. Potter." One by one the braver students tossed the invisible Thestral the meat Lucy had given them, watching it disappear into thin air. Once all the meat was gone, Lucy took her wand out and enlarged one of the windows until it was twice as large as a door and stretched from the floor to the ceiling. She opened it and gestured out towards the Forbidden Forest. "Time to go, before I get caught." She pulled one last, very large chunk of raw meat and threw it out the window with all her strength, moving away from the window instantly. Once sure the Thestral was gone, Lucy shrunk the window back to normal and ran her wand across the room in a scanner-like fashion before nodding firmly. "Yup, she's gone." Lucy then waved brightly at her stunned students. "Well, I'll see you all later, I suppose. I suggest washing your hands, people who fed the Thestral. Buh bye now."

"Bye." The class said as one, they leaving in a decidedly shocked manner. Once they were in the corridors full of other students, though, the shock lifted and changed to excited conversations. Only five students remained after as Lucy wandered around the classroom straightening up.

"Oh, is there anything you five need?" Lucy asked the group, all five shaking their heads and staring incredulously at Lucy. Lucy looked at them curiously a moment longer before laughing and shaking her head. She tossed some crumpled parchment into a trash bin before dropping her teacher act and speaking to them normally. "Okay you guys, what is it? If I'm a bad-type teacher-lady just tell me." Lucy laughed again. "I'm actually enjoying this like a lot right now, to be perfectly honest. Me! A professor at Hogwarts! Just cause Professor—or should I just say Knot now?—had a hissy fit and ditched! Oh my gosh, this week has been crazy! Today was the insanest of all, though, by far!" Lucy exclaimed, dropping to the ground and leaning against the wall with a shake of her head and a large grin on her face. "Professor Whit. Can you believe that?" Lucy shook her head again, this time in amazement.

"But—"

"I can't—"

"This is—"

"How—"

"What—" Lucy laughed,

"Don't talk all at once, I'll never be able to answer! Lily, you wanna start?"

".......I don't know what to say, Luce." She began slowly, shaking her head. "I mean, I woke up this morning and nothing. No trunk, no idea. I even ran into their room looking for you!" Lucy smiled guiltily at that.

"Sorry bout that, Lils, but Albus wouldn't let me. He wanted it to be a complete surprise." Lucy shrugged and grinned. "Though I must admit that the look on your face was rather worth it." Lily blinked a moment before laughing and hugging Lucy tightly.

"You're mad, you know that, Lucy Whitaker? Completely mad!" Lucy laughed happily.

"And proud of it!" Lucy exclaimed with a laugh. "James?"

"I just can't believe it! You're my teacher now! You're a professor! That's just, just—"

"Completely insane and impossible?" Lucy supplied helpfully. James nodded.

"Yeah. That."

"This is brilliant!" Sirius exclaimed. "Absolutely brilliant! I mean—"

"I'm not going to give you guys all the answers and a free passing grade just because you're my friends." Lucy informed Sirius, who looked surprised.

"Why not?!" He exclaimed, and Lucy laughed.

"It's like James said: I'm a professor now. I can't. I even have rounds I have to make and have to go patrolling and everything. And besides that—" Sirius shrugged.

"Fine, fine. Truth be told, this is the first time I've ever been interested in this class, ever. I actually paid attention today." He added with a grin.

"How?" Remus asked. Lucy smiled.

"Albus Dumbledore, with help from Minerva McGonagall. I got everything from robes to quills to my wand having the age limit thing taken off. Until I'm a student again, I'm everything but a legal adult. But I am legally a professor: I'm getting paid for my time and everything!" Lucy grinned and leapt to her feet excitedly. "I'm going to be the best professor Hogwarts has ever seen!" She exclaimed feverishly, eyes bright and determined. "I may only be a professor for a while, but I'm going to do something while I can! Even if it's just teach and have someone actually remember something I said, I don't care. But I am going to do something! They're gonna remember me as a good professor, even if it's Divination and just once, but they're gonna remember me! This is my chance to help everyone!" Lucy exclaimed passionately, swinging around to face Lily, James, Sirius, Remus, and Peter with a fire burning so dazzlingly in her eyes that it took them so off guard that none of them could speak for a moment.

".......What are you gonna do next?" Peter asked, finally breaking the silence. Lucy smiled excitedly, fists clenched so tightly that her knuckles were white.

"Everything." Lucy whispered, looking up from the ground to Peter. "Everything I possibly can in the time that I have."

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"Students, please quiet down a moment. There is an announcement that needs to be made." Dumbledore announced, the Great Hall quieting down as the students gave the old Headmaster their attention. He smiled, eyes twinkling brightly, and gestured to Lucy, who nodded with a smile and stood. The Great Hall got even quieter at this. Lucy had seven classes that day, one with every year, and in each one she had left quiet an impression. Everyone knew about what had gone on in each of the seven classes that day, and everyone who had Divination on their schedules were on pins and needles waiting for their next class. "Professor Whitaker, if you would."

"Thank you, Headmaster Dumbledore." Lucy said with a grin as Dumbledore sat down, the older man nodding in reply as he did so. "As it is obvious that I am the one with the announcement, let me begin. First of all, for any of you who, though I doubt this quite a lot, haven't heard, I am Professor Whitaker; your temporary Divination professor. I'll be filling in for Professor Knot while she is on her hiatus. While I am here I have also decided to take it upon myself to start a little club of sorts. I can't really call it a club as it is unnecessary to sign up or in, or come every week. To be perfectly honest, what I am thinking of is more of a...... Three Broomsticks of sorts...... Only with some significant differences." Lucy hummed thoughtfully a moment before snapping her fingers. "I got it!" She paused a moment, then laughed. "I lost it." Laughter rippled across the Great Hall at this, smiles spreading on some of the professors' faces. "As you all can probably tell, I haven't really rehearsed this announcement much." Lucy began once more, shrugging with a grin. "I guess all I'm saying is that I'm starting up...... a something and if anyone wants to swing by, well....... You're welcome to.

"As I am officially wasting your dinner/socializing time, I think it best for me to silence myself now." Lucy said with a mischievous grin. "There are notices up in the common rooms with more information and I'm available to speak to as well. Enjoy the rest of your dinner, then." She finished, dropping down into her seat and raising her glass to the still silent Great Hall, this action causing it to erupt into chatter. Lucy just laughed and took a sip of her pumpkin juice.

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"Okay everyone; robes off." Confusion was evident in the class as Lucy rolled up her sleeves. "Robes off." Lucy repeated firmly, her sixth years proceeding to remove their work robes, leaving them clad in only their school uniforms. "Good. Now girls, to the left. Go on, move." Lucy added when none of the girls moved. The girls moved slowly to the left, Lucy giving them a pleased smile when they did so. The girls couldn't help but smile back at Lucy: Not only was Lucy's smile contagious, but she was an amazing professor, so all her students strove for her approval. The students watched in amazement as Lucy wordlessly waved her wand across the line of girls from a few feet away, each of the girls' skirts lengthening and changing to pants. It was obvious that Lucy hadn't simply replaced the skirts with uniform pants, either, as each pair of pants had the same pattern of the skirts. Despite how simple the spell seemed when one thought of it, it was a truly complicated spell, and to perform it on sixteen pairs of pants—still being worn—was a big deal. "Guys, if you could join the girls?" Lucy asked, genuinely asking the guys if they could join the girls for her, not disguising an order for them to in the least....... Another thing the students of Hogwarts loved about their new professor.

When all thirty-two students were together in a group, Lucy proceeded in changing the rest of their clothes into a more durable sort of dress. The students examined their new clothing in amazement, not noticing the backpacks that appeared at their feet with another casual wave of Lucy's wand. When the backpacks were noticed, however—after Lucy had thanked her students for following her orders with a proud grin, which had caused the entire class to beam in response—curious looks were bestowed upon the small girl, who's identity as anything but a professor had long been forgotten.

"We're goin on a little trip." She explained, the gleam in her eyes telling her sixth years quite clearly that she hadn't asked permission first. This made them laugh in delight, Lucy joining in without pretending that she didn't know that they knew what they'd be doing would most likely not be allowed: It was rare the time that, though this was only Lucy's fifth day of teaching, her classes abided by all the school's rules. Her laughter on the subject, coupled with her openness about her rule-breaking, only endeared her further to her students: Lucy was the first professor of any sort that had not only openly admitted to breaking the rules, but showed the students that she not only trusted her students, but believed that they could handle anything she threw at them. She treated all of her students—not just the sixth and seventh years—as if they were on the same level as she was, treated them like adults. It made them feel good, important. It made them want to prove her right, made them strive to do their best to show Lucy that her faith in them wasn't misplaced.

Lucy was, for lack of better description, a good teacher. She treated her students as more than students, told them all that she knew them to be brilliant. She taught them things in a way that made it all seem interesting, made them remember. She was fair to everyone, and—this was something that had immediately contradicted everything that the students at Hogwarts believed about professors—apologized when she believed herself to be wrong, or when she touched on a sensitive subject in class. She respected her students, treated them like equals, and in return, they gave her something that few instructors ever receive in all their years of teaching: Their complete and absolute trust.

Adoration could be found from students, as well as respect, but the trust that Lucy had been given was something that not even Dumbledore had received. Students came to her from all four Houses, just to speak, to vent. They told her of their problems, of their hurts, their homes. They were not afraid or ashamed to cry, to show their weaknesses and flaws. They hid nothing from Lucy, though—and she would never know how much this meant to the students that came to her for help—she never once asked them to reveal anything to her, only told them that she was there if they needed her. Lucy never pried, never snooped. She never questioned any of her students on anything but school-related things, only mentioning to them that looked as though they needed it that she was there, that she would help however she could. She did this quietly, asking a specific student to stay back a moment—whether to help straighten up the classroom or to help feed whatever it was that she'd brought in to class that day—and told them, quite simply, that if they felt a need to talk to her, for any reason, at any time, they could. She emphasized this, pressing the knowledge that she was their if they needed her—for anything. And, despite all odds, they came. Even those she hadn't spoken to, came. It was slowly in the beginning, but they still came. All ages, both male and female, from Gryffindor to Slytherin. Lucy was no longer a student in the eyes of Hogwarts: She was the Divination professor. Her previous identity as just another crazy Gryffindor had been obliterated—except, of course, for her friends. Even her temporary colleagues had seemed to forget that Lucy was still nothing more than a child dressed in adult robes.

"Where are we going, Professor Whit?" An especially curious girl asked as she played with her pants, beaming happily: It had only been once, and in passing, that she'd mentioned her love for sparkles. Not a lot, she'd said, just a light dusting that didn't attract too much attention. Unfortunately, sparkles weren't part of the dress code. It hadn't even been to Lucy that she'd said this: The teen had been sighing about it to one of her friends in the hall, just before spotting Lucy and saying hello. The girl's pants—only her pants, not any of the others girls'—had a light dusting of sparkles that just barely caught the eye in the sun. The girl couldn't help but beam adoringly at Lucy for remembering her admittedly unimportant words and accommodating the pants for her.

Lucy caught the hidden thanks in the girl's question, replying with a grin and a quick wink before answering her actual question. "We'll be heading into the Forbidden Forest for a bit, in search of the Emplax plant. You all know perfectly well what it looks like and how to find it, so this shouldn't be too hard." The class gaped at her in silence, but slowly began to nod and muster up their courage. They knew they'd be safe with her, but....... the Forbidden Forest?! Had it been any other teacher but Lucy, there would've been an uproar. But it was Lucy, and they trusted her explicitly. So they swallowed their fear and followed Lucy to the Forbidden Forest, knowing perfectly well that Lucy could probably get fired for pulling a stunt like this if something happened. It was a testimony to how much they cared for their new Divination professor that each student mentally swore not to let anything happen that could get her sacked, having long forgotten that she was not there to stay, not permanent. After this Friday, Lucy would only have a mere twenty-six days of teaching at Hogwarts left before she had to become a full time student again....... She wasn't looking foreword to it, not in the least, so she never spoke of it.

"Can anyone give me a description of the Emplax? Tony?" Lucy asked softly as they approached the edge of the Forbidden Forest.

"The tips and edges are a deep purple, with a dark reddish color spreading from the center outwards onto the petals. The exact center of the flower is a lime green while the leaves are a muted yellow." Tony Pomelli answered without hesitation: Lucy had spent their last class speaking of the Emplax and the ways in which it was used, tossing a tennis ball at them at random intervals as she spoke. After she had finished speaking, Lucy had pulled an actual Emplax specimen out and let each of the students examine it, each of them knowing how fragile and delicate it was without her needing to tell them—not that Lucy had, of course. She trusted them not to damage it and, knowing that she was trusting them fully not to, the sixth years had kept the Emplax from damage. Then—and this is what had truly impressed onto them what the Emplax looked like—Lucy had provided them all with magical paints and, hiding the Emplax, told them to paint it from memory as best as they could, in the environment they had spoken about. The class had spent the rest of their time working on their paintings, each wanting theirs to be perfect. None of them had been perfect, it'd turned out, but—instead of being upset about this—Lucy seemed to be happy with them. She explained then that there was no way to perfectly do anything: All anyone could do was get as close as they possibly could. Then she had done something that had left the whole class dumbstruck with awe: Lucy took each of the separate paintings and somehow magicked them into one large painting. Look, she had said quietly, voice full of pride. Look at the beauty you all have made, individually and together. Isn't it....... perfect? And it was. Flawed and impossible as it was, the painting was perfect, and hanging in Lucy's private rooms.

"Wonderful, thank you, Tony. Would anyone like to add to the description?" Lucy asked cheerily, smiling brightly when all hands went up.

It took a bit, but each sixth year got a say in—something Lucy was always sure happened. After this was finished, Lucy explained some of the dangers of the Forbidden Forest, impressing upon them the importance of being as quiet as possible. Unlike the other professors, and even Dumbledore, Lucy listed and explained some of the specific reasons why the Forest was Forbidden. Once sure that her lovely sixth years understood what she had said, Lucy gave them all a smile full of appreciation and pride before leading them into the Forbidden Forest.

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Lucy said nothing, did nothing, as Madam Pomfrey bandaged the whole of her left arm and most of her right, as well the girl's torso and forehead. As she was a teacher and had absolutely refused both to spend the night in the Hospital Wing to recover, or be away from her work and students for even two seconds longer than necessary, Madam Pomfrey was forced to work as quickly as she could, grumbling all the while. Lucy had refused to disclose to the Healer how she'd acquired the mysterious injuries that had her entire sixth year class all but dragging her to the Hospital Wing....... Despite her many protests, of course, and her insistence of her well-being. This had put Madam Pomfrey into quite the huff, all but throwing the worried students out of her Hospital Wing. Only Lucy's cheery "Class is dismissed!" had gotten them to leave—and not by much, either. After they were gone, though, Lucy became very quiet indeed. She was as bright as ever, except for the fact that she refused to look up at Madam Pomfrey.

After Madam Pomfrey had grudgingly given her leave, Lucy stood and thanked the Healer pleasantly, as if her colleague wasn't peeved off at the girl in the least. This shocked Poppy far enough from her previous thoughts that the older woman smiled back at the girl and nodded happily. Lucy had a way with people, that was for sure.

Once out of sight from the Hospital Wing, Lucy ducked into the first bathroom she saw to inspect the damage for herself. Humming absently all the while, Lucy studied the deep, already healing cuts on her face—as well as the terribly painful looking bruises that painted parts of her face, neck, and hands. Letting out a soft "Huh" of surprise, Lucy grinned toothily at her reflection and laughed. The first and only time in her life that the small girl had fought with nature that she knew of, and Lucy was laughing. Her laughter would surprise no one that knew her, though, as laughing was something Lucy could always be relied on to do. The day Lucy stopped laughing, some mused, was the day that they really had to worry.

"Not so bad, not too bad." Lucy said cheerily, carefully undoing some of her bandages in order to check the rest of her injuries. She had known it was probably not wise to, had known it would hurt, and had known with perfect clarity that if Madam Pomfrey ever found out that Lucy had done so, the girl might land in the Hospital Wing simply because the older woman might loose her mind. Lucy barely winced, barely acknowledged the searing pain as she retied her bandages, tighter than they had been. Poppy hadn't tied them as tightly as she could have, Lucy knew, because Lucy had refused any type of pain killing potion, determined to be out of the Hospital Wing as soon as possible....... Her students, they would be worried about her. She had to make sure they knew she was alright, and that what had happened was something that happened less than once in a lifetime. And then, of course, she had to get back to work.

Lucy was always working, even before she'd actually become the Divination Professor at Hogwarts. Before, Lucy had been studying, researching, and planning for her classes. Now she was doing everything else. Literally. When Lucy had told Peter that she was going to do everything she possibly could in the time that she had, she'd meant it. The intensity with which she'd said it had done absolutely nothing to dull the complete shock her actions had left her friends in. They hadn't believed it, not fully, not at the time, despite how much they knew about Lucy. But when they saw and took her classes, when they noticed how she was busy at all times, whether or not the matters she was involved in had anything to do with Divination........ Lucy did it all and more, from teaching her own classes, to covering others, to tutoring, to running the club she'd started—it had no name, but was referred to as "Madness" at times, always affectionately—and more. It was amazing to watch, it really was: Lucy always seemed to be up to something, even during meals, always seemed to be up and going, even late at night. She would always laugh and wave off the concerns others had for both the bags under her eyes and of her becoming sick easily, eyes never ceasing in the constant dance they'd begun her first day of teaching.

Though they missed having Lucy basically to themselves, none of her friends could bring themselves to be unhappy about the current situation. No matter how or when they looked at her, Lucy forever looked as though she were not only happy, but happier than she'd ever been in her entire life. In truth, none of them had ever seen the girl so happy—no one had.

It was clear that Lucy had found her calling, though it was obvious that she was the only one that didn't realize it. She was happy, so happy all the time now.

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"Lucy! What happened to you?!" Minerva exclaimed upon seeing Lucy as the girl took her usual seat at the Head table for lunch. Lucy gave the older woman a rueful grin and a shrug as she took a sip of her pumpkin juice.

"Potions accident, Minerva." Minerva gave Lucy such a skeptical look that the girl couldn't help but laugh.

"Potions accident? This from the Divination professor?" Lucy nodded happily as she waved lightly at some of her seventh year students, tapping her wrist in a reminding sort of way.

"Yup yup, Minerva m'dear. And, if you would believe this, my reason actually makes sense!" Minerva sighed slightly but said nothing, so Lucy proceeded cheerily. "I was working late last night in the Potions room—" Minerva swallowed back the 'why?!' that wanted to burst from her lips with some difficulty, knowing that Lucy would explain herself. The younger girl smiled slightly, sensing Minerva's reaction, and continued with a slight chuckle. "I was experimenting with something I'd read in a Divination book—something I could teach my students, I'd hoped—and I must've made a mistake sometime during the process, which resulted in what could be called an explosion." Lucy couldn't help but laugh at Minerva's incredulous expression. "I cleaned the room, of course, don't worry about that." Lucy grinned easily enough, shrugging carelessly. "The Illusionment Charm I'd placed on my myself must've worn on during my sixth year class, as they all but dragged me to the Hospital Wing. Poppy was furious of course, when I didn't explain myself, and my poor class thought it was something they'd done. Such good people, they are." Lucy sighed happily, eyes bright. "So caring, poor dears. They were so worried about me: A few of them actually cried, thinking it was the their fault." Lucy smiled affectionately, seeming to forget that Minerva was there. "Oh, those sixth years of mine. I'm so proud of them, so very proud. And they're so curious. Such a thirst for knowledge, and the questions they ask!" Lucy shook her head lightly, amazed. "Brilliant, just brilliant." She sighed proudly, looking around the Great Hall at her students. "And I get to teach them....... How'd I ever get so lucky? Me, of all people? How in the world did I ever get the chance to teach so many brilliant minds?

"And they are! They're all so brilliant, Minerva!" Lucy said feverishly, eyes alight with passion and amazement, turning in her seat to face the older woman. "All of them, not just the sixth years! They're all brilliant! So brilliant, and wonderful, and just....... just awesome, in every way! They know so much, and everything they don't know, they just—they want to learn! They want to learn, Minerva! They want to know how things work, they want to know things! They want so much from this world, this life! They want to grow, to succeed! They want to be someone, Minerva, all of them! I can see it in their eyes! They all want to do so much with their lives, with the time they have! Oh, I can see it all! They want change, they want to make things better! They want to learn, and find out who they are! They're all capable of so much good, Minerva! So, so much good!" Minerva blinked in surprise, stunned into silence as Lucy continued in her impromptu heart to heart with Minerva McGonagall, of all people. "Do you know how amazing that is?! Does anybody realize that these students that we have here, that everyone considers as nothing more than children, have the ability to change the world?! It can't be just me that sees this, sees them! I see them, Minerva! Not like children, or students, or even teenagers, though they are all that! They're people, and they're so amazing." Lucy whispered the last word, as if unable to speak it any louder. She continued in a whisper, looking from Minerva out at the students eating their dinners. "They don't know it, Minerva. They don't know how wonderful they are, don't know how important they are. Not just to me, either. To everything. They don't realize that the choices they make define everything. They don't understand that they are more than what they think they are, more than others think they are. They don't see how precious they are, don't see that they are the ones that will one day take our places. They don't see it, Minerva!" Lucy's voice became more urgent as she continued, as if afraid the older woman didn't understand how serious the matter was. "They don't see themselves, Minerva!" Minerva was shocked to see actual tears in Lucy's eyes. "They don't, they don't! They don't see it! Am I the only one that looks into their eyes and see the people they could be, the greatness they hold deep within them? Does nobody realize that how special they are, each and every one of them? Does nobody ever look them in the eyes?" There was pain in the way Lucy asked these unanswerable questions, true pain.

"I want someone to see them, Minerva. I want someone to see them besides me. They don't see themselves, Minerva, they really don't. I want someone—I want them—to look in their eyes and see them. Nobody sees them, nobody sees all the good I do. It hurts, Minerva." Lucy said quietly, eyes lowered, a hand over her heart. "It really hurts."

"........What hurts, Lucy?" Minerva asked, confused and apprehensive. Lucy looked up at the older woman, eyes pleading.

"Knowing that none of them know who they are." Lucy took a deep, shaky breath. "Nothing could hurt a person more than that, more than the knowledge that so many good people, so many great hearts, could go to waste simply because there's no way to prove to them that they have all that and more." Lucy shook her head, looking as though nothing had ever caused her more pain than the things she was speaking about. "I have to carry that with me, forever. They'll never believe me if I tell them, never. No truly good person ever would, so there's no point in trying." Lucy paused, taking a deep breath, as if to steady herself. "The only I can do is try to help them, try to show them without telling them." Lucy looked up at Minerva as if she were being tortured. "I can't tell them. I can't ever tell them. Do you know how hard it is, to look into a person's eyes—even if it's just one, not all of them—each and every day, and be unable to tell them how truly wonderful they are?" Minerva was silent a moment before realizing that Lucy wanted an answer. Feeling almost ashamed, she answered.

"No....... I don't." Lucy nodded slowly, sorrowful acceptance clear on her face, calming her somehow.

".......Ok." She finally said, standing slowly. "Okay." She said again, eyes sad. "I understand." Putting a hand on the older woman's shoulder and squeezing it gently, Lucy repeated herself softly. "I understand." Taking a deep breath and nodding once, more to herself than Minerva, Lucy walked away from the older woman and out of the Great Hall, no one having noticed their exchange.

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"Okay everyone, gather round!" Lucy called cheerily to the large amount of students that had collected for this evening's meeting of 'Madness', as Lucy heard them referring to it. "I know this is a tad odd—" Straight up laughter cut Lucy off, the girl unable to keep from chuckling. "Okay, okay! Sorry, that was a bit of an understatement." More laughter, and Lucy was grinning. She'd left dinner about midway through to get everything set up for this night's craziness: As it was Friday, Lucy had taken it upon herself to make things a bit more interesting than the last couple of days.
 
Author's Note: So? What do you guys think? I think Lucy'd be a great teacher, by the looks of it so far, hmm? And by what else I have written, a fun one at that. ^-^
Okay, okay. Shutting up now.
.......But on other news, school's almost over! Yay for that--more writing time--but ugh! Finals. Wish me luck! (I'm gonna need it, in some more than others.......)
Bye! And Happy Reading!
---fullmoontonightO


Chapter 15: Memories of a Past Forgotten
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Author's Note: I'm not quite sure what to say, so here it is! Hope you all enjoy it!
 
It was about 11:30 that same night when near every student in Hogwarts spilled out of the large tent Lucy had set up out by Black Lake, all laughing. Many of them were coated in bubbles and all of them had hats of varying degrees of oddness. Others, those not coated in bubbles, were either soaked through with an unrecognizable liquid or toting oversized puzzles. These puzzles looked like toys, yet they were each very complicated and intricate brain busters, all different. Each student that was carting one of the immense puzzles had to focus on not falling over as they laughed and stumbled their way up towards the castle. Those who didn't have the extra large, Hagrid-sized puzzles had smaller scale puzzles, amazingly just as hard as the larger ones.........And there, laughing amongst the students, eyes bright and shining as they'd never done before this craziness descended upon her, was Lucy. She looked as though each moment she spent as a professor at Hogwarts made her happier and happier, as if all the time she spent amongst the students brightened her to the point that she seemed to have boundless energy. No one that looked at her, almost laughably small in her professional professor's robes, could deny that, could deny her happiness. It was so obvious that Lucy had found a place where she felt she belonged, though she didn't know or realize it in the least. And yet it was true, all of it. Lucy grinned brightly as she made her way quickly to where the winner of the largest puzzle, one Samuel Preston, shouldering it as she got to his side. Luckily for Sam, Lucy had made it to his side just before the puzzle got too much for him. He grinned his thanks at his favorite professor of all time, she nodding easily and taking more of the weight of the puzzle from him.Once the rambunctious group was inside the castle, Lucy carefully tipped Sam's puzzle into a standing position so that she could address her rowdy club 'members'.

"'Scuse me everyone!" Lucy called gently, the group immediately quieting and giving her their attention. She smiled brilliantly at them and the students glowed under her silent praise. It was always easy to see when Lucy was proud of them, and she was always proud of them, even for the littlest things. It made them try all the harder to earn that special smile of hers, to have her give them that look that no other teacher—heck, most adults—never gave them in all the time they'd been alive.

It had been a long time since they'd thought her one of them and not an adult, their professor....... Even Lucy's 'colleagues' had long forgotten that the arrangement was temporary, having already accepted Lucy into their little 'circle' of adults—even Minerva had completely forgotten everything involving Lucy's student life at Hogwarts. Lucy was, for lack of better words, a professor of Hogwarts. By definition, by belief........

The end of the month would indeed be hard for all, then.

"I know that you're all hyped up and everything, and that we ran later than usual, but let's try to keep ourselves outta trouble, okay?" Lucy grinned, a mischievous spark lighting in her eyes. She needn't explain herself to the large group, all of whom had long learned that when the mischievous light sparkled in Lucy's eyes, something of the like would either come out of her mouth, or happen. "I know it seems a daunting prospect, especially when Mr. Filch is patrolling the halls with Mrs. Norris for any soilers of the castle and all, but I'm sure a detention with me would indeed be a horrible, horrible experience." Laughter, so much laughter. Lucy hadn't given any detentions in the five days she'd been a professor at Hogwarts, but there wasn't one person that didn't doubt that it would be the easiest, most enjoyable detention ever. Lucy's eyes were made of light as she grinned and waited patiently for the laughter to subside before offering her help to anyone that needed it. "I can help carry the prizes back, or clean you off or whatever. Oh, and if you get caught by any of my lovely colleagues, just tell them you were with me, okay? If they don't believe you—and honestly, I would think they would—just tell me and I'll get you out of whatever trouble you landed in." Lucy paused a moment, eyeing James, Sirius, Remus, and Peter speculatively. "And by that, I mean trouble involving returning directly back to your House from here." The four boys grinned widely, some students covering their mouths to hide their knowing smiles: They all knew that Lucy would be willing to get any of them out of any trouble they got into on the way back. Of course, none of them would take advantage of this knowledge—or Lucy—but still. They weren't worried, not about getting in trouble, not if Lucy was involved. It was almost laughable, actually, when Lucy 'warned' them every night about not getting in trouble. One of nights in particular—the one when the Giant Squid crashed the party in an attempt, which resulted in Lucy allowing herself to be dragged into Black Lake just so she could reprimand the Squid for what it'd done, all the while trying not to explode into a bout of laughter—Lucy had to cover her mouth to keep herself from bursting into a fit of giggles. She had been soaked to the bone, as many of the students had been, with lake water, but the laughter in her eyes was so strong that it became contagious without so much as a sound emitting from the small girl's mouth.

Nevertheless, the partied out students bid their farewells to Lucy and separated, those without ginormous puzzles helping those with ginormous puzzles........ Without having to be asked by Lucy, which made the little Divination Professor positively glow with pride and admiration for her students. Not even Sam, it turned out, had needed her help to get his puzzle back to his House. Lucy outright beamed at that, though she had enough tact to refrain from spinning around happily until all her students were out of sight.

Lucy absolutely, positively loved each and every one of the students she got to teach. It wasn't an intense fondness, no, it was pure love. She could see them, see them like no one else had ever seen them, and had been awed by the goodness each one contained, the goodness each was able bestow upon the world. Each and every one of them, regardless of House, age, sex, race, or whatever, was capable of so much good that it filled Lucy with a kind of happiness that she'd never felt before........ Though she obviously couldn't name the feeling then, it would be clear to anyone who'd witnessed the life she lived at home that what she was currently feeling, was hope. Lucy loved the students for everything they were, and everything they could be. They were good, all of them, and they all were wonderful. And for Lucy to be privileged enough to teach them, to help prepare them for what came after Hogwarts........ For them to allow her to give them all she knew, for them to allow her to learn of them........ Each moment was precious........ More precious then gold, silver, anything. Each moment Lucy was given with her students, given to learn, to live, to help, was wonderful. Precious. Delicate.

It wouldn't last, Lucy knew that. Her time with her students wouldn't last, could never last—even if she would be allowed to remain a professor. The point of a teacher, after all, was to teach, not to keep students from living. How could Lucy wish for even a moment to keep them with her, when the world that was waiting for them, was theirs? How could anyone, anyone at all, dare to think that the 'children' didn't deserve it? All of it?

No, the people Lucy had been gifted to teach deserved the world. They deserved happiness, deserved knowledge—all of them. They all deserved not just the best, not just good times, but times in which their character, strength, and minds would be challenged, be tested. They deserved not only the good parts of life, but also the downsides: The troubles, the challenges, the times in which one feels as if they can go no further. They deserved these experiences, these times in which they could learn of who they were. For a person cannot learn of themselves during times of happiness: It was when things began to landslide that people found out whether they could fight against the tumbling rocks, or allow themselves to be carried away by them.

Lucy, for all that she knew and all that she was learning....... for all her wisdom, her insight....... for everything that made her such an amazing instructor in so many ways....... Did not realize that she had long been fighting this same fight against an unending landslide all her life; did not realize that she was....... a good person.

But she did know one thing, now after the student curfew with no rounds to make, and that was this: She had work to do.

Lucy smiled, though she had no idea of how tired she looked.

"Too busy to sleep; I'll rest when I'm dead." Lucy sang to herself with a little chuckle as she all but skipped off towards this night's project.

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~`~
'Jamie'. That had been Baby's first word. 'Jamie'. Not 'ma-ma', or 'da-da'. It had been 'Jamie'. Just Jamie, nothing else. Baby had said it simply enough, as if she'd been talking since she'd been born. There was no pre-word stumbling, or constant repeating once she'd gotten it right. Baby seemed completely unphased by her first word; all she had wanted, it had seemed, was James' attention.

Baby had been quite young when she'd spoken James' name as such: Her older brother had only been but a year or so old.

They had been gathered outside when Baby had spoken her first word, out on the grass. The Potters had decided on a light picnic dinner instead of a boring, normal dinner. They did things like that every so often, just to add some fun into their lives. Not only did the elder Potters enjoy it, but James loved their spontaneous trips here and there to do absolutely nothing. And, though Baby was simply that, she seemed to love nothing more than to be outside, as well. All in all, the impromptu outings that the Potters went on together were quite enjoyed by the whole family.

The elder Potters had decided to skip their normal dinner in favor of a family picnic out in a clearing off in their woods—the one that would one day become James' private hideout. So, the two began making sandwiches and packing things into the well-used picnic basket that was almost like a family friend to the four. James had wanted to help, of course, and had been allowed to do so. He had chosen to make PB+J sandwiches, despite the fact that his parents had chosen ham and cheese for the sandwiches—easy to make, and less mess for the House Elves later. James was resolute in his choice, though, insisting that making PB+J was not only more fun, but that it was easier for Baby to eat. The Potters didn't mind the mess so much; James was enjoying himself and besides that, there wasn't a mess that couldn't be cleaned, right?

After James had made a few sandwiches, though, he became bored and left the kitchen, his hands and face coated in peanut butter and jelly. From a room over,  the elder Potters could hear Baby laughing happily at the sight of James, who was undoubtedly grinning broadly—his laughter followed soon after his little sister's.

Again, the elder Potters had to smile and feel that swell of love that always overcame them when they thought of how wonderful James was with his baby sister. Ever since she had been born, Baby had been James' entire world. He was forever talking to her, playing with her, showing her things. He was always so careful with her, so aware that she could be easily injured. James always seemed to know what Baby needed, and when, and why. He and Baby shared a deep bond, always deepening with all the time James spent with her.

James taught Baby everything he could with his one-year-old vocabulary, which was slightly better than other one-year-olds. He showed and shared his favorite toys with her, told her stories he made up, acted things out for her........ His favorite thing to do, though, was to make Baby laugh. James, at that time, seemed to live for another moment with which he could make his little sister laugh, make her happy. Her laughter was often heard in the house—a sound that made all who heard it smile. Baby rarely fussed or cried, which at times made it hard for the Potter parents to know what she needed, but she was an angel. And, with James almost always at his younger sister's side, he able to understand her better than anyone else seemed to—even Twinkle, who was Baby's own person House Elf—Baby was no problem. For anyone. Which was a good thing, as James was always insistent on helping to take care of her. He knew how to feed her, how to burp her—everything he could do, he did. But, and this the elder Potters considered nothing short of a miracle—James always seemed to know when doing his best at something concerning Baby wouldn't be good for her. If he couldn't do something properly, he allowed his parents to do it, in order to keep her as safe as he could. It was heart-warming, really, to see how much James loved his little sister: Merlin knew the elder Potters could never keep from smiling when they saw how close their two children were, how much of a good big brother James was.

When the basket was filled with sandwiches, dessert, and drinks—as well as a blanket and some napkins—the elder Potters went off to get James, leaving it in the kitchen. There was a mess from where James had been working, but they had already decided to clean it up when they came back for the picnic basket.

There was, after all, a bit of a bigger, walking mess in the house at the moment.

David and Elaine Potter both had burst into laughter when they saw their son with a large bowl over his head, running around the room in a decidedly random manner, making odd faces and grinning at Baby. James had not only a bowl on his head, though, but had somehow gotten covered in flour and paint........ Not mentioning the towel round his neck and the large, upside-down J on his chest.

And there, eyes shining as she laughed at her older brother, was Baby. She was still clean, though it was obvious that she'd wanted to play and get coated, as well. James looked as though he was having so much fun, what with how he was jumping upon the furniture and attempting to stand on his head or hands, only to continually tumble into a roll thing which left both children laughing.

James didn't seem to notice his parents' entrance, though Baby had immediately sensed them there in the doorway, even before they'd burst into the laughter that clued James in to their presence. Baby gurgled in a way that could barely be described as adorable it was so endearing, holding her arms out to them to be picked up out of her high chair. David was happy to oblige, as Elaine caught James up in her arms.

"Mum! Dad! I can fly! Did you see you me fly?!" James asked excitedly, eyes bright. Before either parent could answer, he leaned over and tugged one of Baby's dark curls affectionately, pure love shining deeply in his eyes. "Baby saw me fly, didn't you, wonderful?" He said, quieter than before. He was always quieter when he was talking with Baby, as if the things he spoke with her about were so important that volume was no longer a way to convey their meaning. The smile that lit up Baby's face seemed to light up the room as well as she reached out to her big brother, little hands grabbing for him excitedly. Both James and Baby laughed, and they looked and sounded so happy that Elaine felt a surprising tug of guilt as she carefully took a step away from David. A quick look in her husband's direction told her that he felt the same.

"Sorry little guy: You need to be clean before you go carrying Baby." James looked crestfallen, but nodded nonetheless. When it came to Baby, James was compliant like nothing else could make him. Anything that would help her, or was for her good, James was willing to do in the blink of an eye, without so much as a whisper of a complaint to run through his mind.

Baby didn't look as unhappy, though she became quiet and looked up at David, eyes clearly expressing what her guarded face didn't show. Her father blinked in surprise at how much his daughter's eyes seemed to contain, at such a young age, but when he tried to look again, Baby had blinked, and her eyes had gone back to normal. It was as if he'd only imagined all that he'd seen within them, but David knew better, knew that Baby was special—and he wasn't just saying that as her father, either.

Elaine took James off to get clean while David took Baby to the kitchen with him, so he could clean the peanut-butter-jelly mess James had left behind. It seemed fair, in a way: David was cleaning the mess left behind, Elaine was cleaning the mess taken with. Unfortunately for the fairness, David had arrived in the kitchen too late: The House Elves had already been here and cleaned everything. David sighed slightly, shook his head. He looked at his daughter and gave a helpless shrug. "What can I say, Baby?" He asked rhetorically, looking at where the mess had been. "When you have House Elves, unless you manage to beat them to it, they will clean your messes before you can. Don't get me wrong" David continued with a grin, adjusting Baby in his arms as she poked his nose and tugged at his ears experimentally. "I don't mind it that much, but I would like to feel of more use around here than this." David shrugged again, the motion making Baby laugh as she shifted in his arms slightly. "Remember Baby; cleaning up after your messes—or the messes of someone you care about—is not in any way anything to be ashamed of. Oh, there are people out there who believe themselves above cleaning and responsibility" David said, not noticing how Baby had fallen silent and was looking up at him with intensely intelligent eyes. "but we Potters, we're not like that." David grinned down at his little girl, again startled by the depth of which her eyes contained. She blinked and it was gone again, replaced with the laughing, loving eyes of a baby once more.

Before David could even try to figure out what had just happened, Elaine was back with James, who immediately bounded over to his father and wordlessly demanded to hold Baby. As he was but just over one, James had to sit on the floor in order to do this safely. He could care less, though—on the contrary, James sat without so much as a word from either parent, knowing perfectly well that the risk of dropping his baby sister was not one he would ever take. Again, the swell of love and pride swept over the Potter parents as they handed Baby to James. The smiles that lit the two children's faces filled David and Elaine with an unmistakable warmth as James began whispering softly to Baby, who tugged at his hair with delight.

After a bit longer, it was time to head out to the clearing. James was carrying the large basket proudly, Elaine carrying Baby. David, having felt left out with his wife and son each carrying something, took the blanket from atop the basket and wrapped it around him, draping it over his shoulders and around his head, causing immediate laughter. He looked so silly, with the oversized, patterned blanket wrapped round him, practically hiding him from the sun as David pretended to be a little old woman—made funnier by the fact that he was a tall man.

When they came to the clearing, though, he once more became David Potter—a respectable, kind man whom many admired and had countless great qualities he was determined to teach his two children with the help of his wife, Elaine Potter, whom he loved with every part of his being. He smiled, eyes twinkling, as he grandly let James pick a place for the blanket, sweeping it over his shoulder and bowing low to his son, who giggled at the sight. It made David feel intensely proud of his son when James intentionally picked a spot away from the water so as to be sure that Baby couldn't fall in and come to harm.

After James had picked their picnic spot, the Potters unloaded everything and began eating, James immediately jumping at the chance to feed Baby. True, she couldn't eat the PB+J sandwiches he'd made—though the two children had enjoyed them thoroughly, of course, when James had been parading round for Baby—but she could eat the baby food David had been sure to pack into the basket. Which James had made sure was there before they'd left the house, a gesture which Elaine caught and had no choice but to kiss the little boy for. James was just so thoughtful when it came to Baby, so careful and responsible that it was hard to see anything bad ever being allowed to happen to her while James was around.

James ignored his own sandwich as he gently fed Baby her baby food, making sure to keep a hand on her back to keep her from falling over. Baby allowed him to feed her until the first container had been finished; then, she refused. When James didn't understand what she was trying to tell him without words, Baby made the closest she could get to actually pointing at her age, aimed at James' sandwich. He looked from the sandwich to Baby and back, confused. "You can't eat that yet, Baby." He said, then tapped the lid of one of the baby food containers. "You can eat this." Baby said nothing, though a surprising look of concentration crossed her features, almost comical on the little face. Finally, finally it seemed that the little girl could think of no other way of getting her point across but speaking, so she did.

"Jamie." She said, tiny voice clear and strong as she once again tried to convey what she meant to her older brother. This time, though, he understood perfectly, even without her motioning to his sandwich: She wanted him to eat. Of course, he thought even less about eating now: Baby had just said her first word, and it was his name!

The way that James looked at Baby in that moment was indescribable......... It was a look that would only grace his features twice more in the entirety of his life.

Needless to say, David and Elaine were ecstatic that Baby had said her first word. They immediately set to trying to make her speak more, but the little girl seemed to be done speaking for the day and simply leaned foreword to grab at James' sandwich. James caught her from toppling over without thought, that same look still on his face as he looked down at her little face. His parents hadn't noticed this look, too overcome with the shock of Baby's sudden first word.

Baby was the only one that saw the look on James' face and, unable to do much else, raised her arms to her big brother so as to receive a hug. He picked her up and held her close to him—not tightly, just close—and whispered into her ear, trying not to let tears of joy overtake him. "I love you." The little boy whispered to his baby sister, to which she simply smiled and gave him a look that he immediately understood. He didn't need to say what he was thinking; Baby knew. The little smile grew into an outright grin, almost laughably out of place on her tiny face.
There would be no more words for a while, James knew, but that one word she'd given him had been enough.

James picked up his sandwich, having just been wordlessly reminded by Baby, and ate.
~`~

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"Hey, Professor Whit!" Lucy turned to see James' grinning face and couldn't help but smile back at the taller boy.

"Yes, Mr. Potter?" She asked, to which James' grin seemed to get a shade stronger.

"You're tutoring, right?" He asked needlessly: Everyone knew that Lucy had been tutoring students of all ages in all classes. Why James of all students was asking about anything in reference to extra study time, though........ Lucy felt a little tickle at the back of her mind, as though it were trying to tell her something. It was one word, really, and not something she had been thinking about before. So why had she— "Can you tutor me in Quidditch?" Lucy's face lit up with an all-out grin as she realized just why the word Quidditch had popped into her mind. She wasn't surprised, not really: She always seemed to know what James was thinking, and he her, most of the time.

"Now Mr. Potter, I'm not sure that's within my line of expertise." James laughed.

"Right. Divination's your thing, sorry: I forgot." Most teachers would take off points for being spoken to like that, though it was obvious that James hadn't meant it in an offensive way. Lucy didn't even bat an eye, and he continued. "But I figured since you've been helping people in all different subjects, you could help me in this one." Lucy knew his logic was fine—she'd expected something alone the lines of that, honestly. Just about any other professor presented with it, though, would've ignored it—if James would've been able to get that far.

Before she could answer, Lucy spotted something that made her grin.

"Misters Black, Remus, and Pettigrew? If you could please come out from behind that statue?" Remus' quiet chuckle was barely heard over Sirius' barklike laugh as Peter could be heard whispering as to how she knew they were there. Lucy only laughed at this—she could care less that they'd been spying as they, too, waited for an answer. Unlike just about any adult—most people, actually. Then again, it was Lucy—she was nothing if not terribly easygoing. Only someone who truly wanted to and worked at harassing Lucy could ever come vaguely close to making her flip out on them....... And even then.......

Despite this being in her nature, the way she was raised and being raised did make most of the things she dealt with at Hogwarts seem as important as swatting flies when cornered by a Basilisk with nowhere to run.

Lucy waited for Sirius, Remus, and Peter to come out of their hiding places before answering, James still grinning cheerily. She thought over what he was saying, then nodded thoughtfully. "Okay, then, Mr. Potter. You have a deal. Meet me at the Quidditch Pitch at around four this afternoon, alright?" James nodded excitedly, as did Sirius. And no wonder: James was a Quidditch nut, Sirius also being an avid Quidditch fan. Remus like the sport fine, and could play rather decently, but wasn't as crazy about it as James and Sirius. Peter liked Quidditch as well, though he admittedly wasn't very good—he more liked talking about and watching the sport than actually playing anyway.

Lucy knew perfectly well that James would bring company onto the Pitch, but said nothing. She simply gave the older boy a grin and said a quick farewell.

It was just after breakfast now, and James—as well as whoever tagged along with him—would be meeting Lucy on the Pitch at four. Which meant that she probably should learn how to play the sport properly before he got there.

Needless to say, Lucy didn't show up to lunch that Saturday.

Instead, she spent near all her time out on the Pitch, basically learning everything from scratch except broom basics. It was a good thing she was such a fast learner—and that Quidditch seemed to be in her blood—or else she mightn't have been ready for James and whatever posse would follow him onto the Pitch. She was ready for them, though, which brought a large grin to her face. The last couple of hours had flown by—no pun intended—as Lucy simply had fun with the equipment. She was wearing the school equipment, yes—all but the uniforms. As a teacher, she couldn't pick a team uniform and wear it—it wouldn't be right. Instead, Lucy had donned a more durable robe than she'd been wearing, tweaking it a bit. Or more than a bit........ Not that it made much difference, really, not to her. Either way, she was ready and waiting for James when he walked onto the Pitch at four on the nose. Lucy hadn't needed to check the time to know that James was right on the dot. She'd known he wouldn't be late for their meeting—even if it hadn't been for Quidditch, Lucy knew he would've been on time. Nonetheless, she grinned up at the taller boy mischievously, pretending to take in the large group of guys behind him.

"Now, I was under the impression that it would just be me and you, Mr. Potter." Lucy said matter-of-factly as a grin spread across James' face.

"Sorry ma'am," James said, giving Lucy more respect as a professor than he gave even Dumbledore. "But they heard about our session and wanted to tag along. He shrugged as if to say that he couldn't help them following, though his eyes carried an identical sparkle of mischief as Lucy's as he spoke those words.

Lucy didn't even bother to pretend she was upset, and nodded.

"Then how about we all play a little game later, hmm?" Grins, from each and every boy that was on the Pitch behind James, including Sirius, Remus, and Peter.

"That'd be brilliant." James said with a crooked grin, eyes bright, and Lucy laughed slightly, just as happy as he was. And why not? Why not be happy when there was so much to be happy about, when she was surrounded by what she saw as a bright promise for the future?

Why not be happy, when Lucy had James, her friends, and her students? What more could she want?

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~`~
James was playing with Baby in her room, directly beside his. The large, sturdy wooden door hung open, beautiful in itself, though nothing compared to what lay behind it. No, not the room—though it was a wonderful room for a small child and baby, without a doubt—but the small child and baby that play in the room the door hid.

"Look, Baby!" James said excitedly, showing Baby a perfect, cuddle-sized pillow in the shape of a Snitch. He had already showed her, with great excitement, the small broom that allowed him to fly about a foot above the ground. As he carefully handed the pillow to Baby so that she might become familiar with it, James continued speaking happily. "When you and me are big enough, we can play Quimmitch together!" He enthused exuberantly, his mispronunciation of the word Quidditch making the time he was spending with Baby all the more adorable—it'd be a while before he could pronounce Quidditch correctly. "I'm gonna be the very very very first person you play with! Right Baby?" He asked brightly, knowing without a doubt that Baby would agree with him. He took the glowing smile and wondrous sound of Baby's laughter as the yes it was, and gave her forehead a quick kiss. "Me, I'm gonna practice and practice so I get better and better! I love Quimmitch, Baby!" James informed his little sister cheerily, she smiling at his happiness.

Baby held her hands up to James, who immediately—and carefully—pulled her into his lap so she might sit closer to him. Baby loved sitting in James' lap when they talked: He often showed her things with his hands, or helped her with whatever she was holding at the time. James didn't mind—quite the opposite, actually! He absolutely loved having Baby in his lap. It made him feel as though he were protecting her, keeping her safe. Not only that, but it was almost a reassurance to have her so close to him. Baby was his best friend and his only sibling, and he loved her in a way that could not be accurately put into words—like the look that had appeared on his face when she first spoke his name, it was a rare thing that would only come twice more, that specific love.

Baby made James feel strong, and brave. But at the same time, she also made him feel as though it were okay to be afraid, or to mess up. Though their parents tried hard to teach James this even before Baby had been born—that he didn't need to be perfect—it had been Baby that had brought that to the small boy...... Even before Baby was born, James was always trying to be close to her. He would spend hours on end sitting with his mother, both of his little hands on her stomach as well as his ear, whispering to his little sister.

James was the only one that had thought Baby would be a girl.

"When you get big and we go to Bogmarts—" James had meant to say Hogwarts, of course, but having only heard the name once and, seeing as how he hadn't been paying the least attention, the name hadn't really sunk in properly. "—together, we're going to have so much fun! We can play Quimmitch and have the same friends and never be away from each other no matter what ever." James paused, thinking hard, while Baby played with one of his hands, comparing it to her small ones, the stuffed Snitch laying forgotten on her little lap. "Maybe we can try to go at the same time, even if you're littler than me." James looked somewhat troubled. "I don't want to go to Bogmarts without you, Baby." He said unhappily. The tone in which he spoke registered in Baby's mind instantly, she dropping his hand and attempting to turn around and reach out to him.

She never liked it when James was unhappy—it hurt her, too.

James smiled gently down at Baby, sweeping her up delicately from his lap into a hug. Then, laying down carefully, he set her atop his stomach and made the silliest face he could think of. Baby laughed happily, and so did James.

Baby always made him feel better, even if she couldn't talk and even if she couldn't control a lot of her movements, being only a, well, baby. But she always made him feel better, regardless of what happened.

They continued in their play for a while longer, until James noticed Baby getting tired and carefully put her on the floor. Telling her to stay where she was, he went to her crib and unhooked the side, sliding it out of the way and down onto the ground so he might be able to put her in—without his parents' help. When the crib side was out of the way, James picked Baby up, she having stayed obediently where he'd placed her, and gently deposited her in her crib. She smiled tiredly up at him, and he tucked her in lovingly, smiling right back at her. He looked around a moment before spotting the stuffed Snitch laying on the floor. With a large, proud grin, James grabbed the stuffed Snitch and gave it to Baby, helping her to hold it as comfortably as she could. She already had a pillow, after all—the stuffed Snitch was more a teddy bear than anything to James, who was letting her borrow it. Most likely, though, Baby would end up keeping it....... A lot of James' things were in joint custody with his little sister at this point. He couldn't help himself, honestly: If something brought him happiness, and brought Baby happiness, he at least wanted to share it with her. After all, nothing made him happier than seeing her happy.

Not even Quimmitch.

After Baby was properly tucked in, with a kiss from her big brother and everything, he began singing to her.

"Rock a bye Baby, on the treetop

"When the wind blows, the cradle will rock

"When the bough breaks, Jamie will come

"To catch you, Baby; Cradle and all." Baby smiled, all but asleep already. James smiled too, leaning over and giving her another kiss before closing and securing the opened side of the crib so she didn't roll out of it in her sleep. "I love you, Baby." He whispered.

"Jamie." Baby said sleepily: It was the only word she ever bothered saying, but it was enough. James beamed and watched though the crib's bars as Baby fell asleep, one hand holding one of hers lightly, falling asleep there himself after a time.

David walked by not too long after James fell asleep to check up on his children. He stopped and smiled, shaking his head lovingly as he leant in the doorway a moment, taking the scene before him in. There was James, curled up next to Baby's crib, one hand resting atop one of Baby's. He was barely propped up on the side of the crib, one arm inside the bars and, basically, holding him up. His head was, naturally, resting on his shoulder—though one side of his face was already beginning to copy the lines of the crib's bars.

And there, in the crib, all tucked in and fast asleep, was Baby herself, looking very content and seeming to be clutching at James' hand tightly, even in her sleep. Both of her little hands were holding James' hand, which she was both resting her head upon as if it were better than any pillow, and cuddling, the stuffed Snitch forgotten, replaced with James' hand. Baby, though James had laid her down at the other side of the crib, was right by his side, the only thing between the two of them being the crib's side.

This was how it was every time James put Baby to bed. The two seemed to gravitate to each other in their sleep, just as they did when they were awake. It was just so endearing, so adorable. They loved each other so much, even though they were so young. They, despite their astonishingly young ages, depended on each other so much that it seemed one would die if the other did.

David smiled, eyes shining, as he slowly removed James from Baby, and Baby from James. Baby stirred, a slight frown on her face, but David gave her James' favorite stuffed Snitch and she calmed right down, cuddling and resting her head upon it as she had done James' hand. James, on the other hand, was harder to disturb in his sleep, though he clung sleepily, instinctively, to one of the bars on the crib. David patiently knelt by his son and removed him from the crib, before gathering the boy in his arms and rising slowly to his feet so as not to disturb him further. James slept through being removed from the crib, lifted, moved across the room, and even slept through his father shifting him in his arms so as to turn off the light. When David crossed the threshold of Baby's room, James stirred and half awoke, giving his father a sleepily confused look.

"Daddy, Daddy?" He asked, in that half-asleep voice that clearly said its speaker both didn't know what was going on and probably wouldn't remember later.

"Yes, James?" David asked, shifting James in his arms discreetly. James seemed to be fall back to sleep, but when David shut Baby's room door, he seemed to awaken again.

"Baby caught the Snitch, Daddy. We won the Quimmitch match." James said sleepily, startled slightly. David smiled.

"That's wonderful, James. I'm so happy for you!" James didn't reply, only nodded off—back to sleep. He didn't wake up again until after David had already tucked him in and was leaving James' room.

"Daddy, Daddy, wait!" James said, attempting to sit up and speak through his half-asleep haze. "Daddy."

"Yeah, James?" David asked from where he stood in the doorway.

"Baby's door......" James said, rubbing at his eyes slightly. "It needs to be open. At least a little bit. It needs to be open." David smiled and leant on the doorframe.

"And why is that, James?" James blinked and tried to focus on his father.

"In case she needs me and wakes up; she needs to be able to get out." David smiled and nodded at his son.

"I'll open the door then, son. Don't worry. I'll take care of it."

"Do you promise?" James pressed, words slurred slightly.

David couldn't help it; he laughed lovingly and swept to James' side, tucking his beloved son back in and kissing his forehead tenderly. "I promise, James. Baby's door will be opened—it'll be the first thing I do after I leave your room."

"Leave mine open, too." James reminded his father sleepily, almost back to sleep. "She needs to be able to get in. Baby. In case she needs me." David smiled glowingly and nodded, giving James' forehead another kiss.

"I promise, James. Your door and Baby's will be open. I'll even leave mine and Mum's open, in case either of you want to visit us." James nodded sleepily, already halfway gone.

"I love you Daddy. Tell Mummy I love her, too." He said—no matter who tucked him in, or how tired James was, he always remembered to tell his parents that he loved them.

"I will. We love you too. Goodnight, James."

James didn't answer: He was already asleep, dreaming of he and Baby playing Quimmitch together at Bogmarts.
~`~

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"Woah, Whit! You seriously rock at Quidditch!" James exclaimed, panting. Lucy grinned, unable to speak at the moment. She was attempting to catch her breath after the long and crazy game of Quidditch that had ensued after she had 'tutored' James. Lucy had been the only girl in all the boys—some of whom were in their seventh year—that had tagged along with James. When everyone played—one long, crazy, overcrowded game—Lucy had astounded them all. The game had gone on for quite a while, yes, but in the end Lucy had caught the Snitch—afterwards confessing that crazy mess of flying insanity was the first game of Quidditch she had ever played in her life....... Besides the one-on-one game she'd played with James during their tutoring session. The guys on her team were ecstatic at the win, but, while the other team wasn't happy they'd lost, everyone was shocked and amazed by her. She was a natural, that was true.

A more fun game of Quidditch had never been played, they all were sure, and the guys were all buzzing about it to anyone who would listen as the large, exhausted, ecstatic, absolutely ravenous group headed to dinner.

The group burst into the Great Hall, Lucy coming in last. The guys swarmed to their tables and began eating immediately, properly drained from their who-knew-how-many-hours long game. While they ate, in between swallowing and putting more food in their mouths, the guys who'd played related all that had happened to the girls and whatever guys hadn't been there at top speed.

Needless to say, it was rather loud in the Great Hall.

"Great game, Whit!" James said, to which Lucy raised an eyebrow playfully at him.

"Professor Whit, Mr. Potter." She said calmly, though there was a smile on her face and a twinkle in her eye as she winked at him before turning and making her way to the Heads table. "Hullo, Albus!" Lucy greeted the old Headmaster brightly.

"Hello, Lucy. I didn't see you at lunch today." He said cheerily, to which Lucy gave a happy laugh and began filling her plate, taking a swig of her pumpkin juice before responding, parched.

"Sorry about that, Albus." She said, not sounding sorry at all and definitely not trying to hide it. "I had a tutoring session with Mr. Potter at four this afternoon to help him with Quidditch and thought I might make myself familiar enough with the sport in order to at least present a challenge to him." Lucy grinned, dropping the formal speech that her colleagues used most of the time. "He's awful fast and a wicked Chaser." Albus smiled and nodded.

"Yes, I have noticed that Mr. Potter is very talented when it comes to Quidditch. Does he show the same aptitude in your class as well?" Lucy laughed happily, knowing perfectly well that the other professors were listening closely for her response.

"Yes, as a matter of fact. All of my students show a great aptitude for learning, when they choose to." Lucy paused, so briefly it was barely noticed, to throw a glance in Minerva's direction before continuing in her talk with Albus. "They all want to learn, each and every single one of them—even those not in my class. I know they do: I can see it. They want to learn, expand their thinking, deep down. They either don't know it, or don't care enough to try, or apply themselves."

"But they apply themselves in your class? Divination? I was under the impression—no offence meant to you, of course, Lucy—that most all of the older that have chosen Divination in order to keep themselves from having to try much at all." Lucy laughed good-naturedly this, though a small fire sprung to life in her eyes.

"Well, that was before I took over, Albus." She said, voice light but with a surprising undertone of steel. "They're going to learn with me. And not just learn, but want to learn."

"And why is that? What makes your class so different than all the other classes here? What makes you so different from any other Divination professor?" Lucy was silent a moment, leaning back in her chair and looking out at the chattering students as if surveying something that only she could see.

"They know." Lucy turned her intelligent eyes on Dumbledore, gold and green flecks burning brightly. "They know that I see them, Albus.

"And I do. I see them. I see them, and they know it. I don't bother hiding it—why should I, when they are so smart they need no help figuring it out by themselves? They know it, Albus. And even if they can't see themselves, when they're around me....... They learn." For just a moment, the gold and green flecks burned so brightly they blotted out all blue in Lucy's eyes, combining to form a most beautiful golden green color that none of the professors—or Albus, even—had ever seen as she spoke. Then, as if realizing this, Lucy looked away from Albus and out at the students again. "They know, Albus.

"I see them."

Albus seemed to have naught to say after this, each and every adult at the Heads table seeing a part of Lucy they didn't know existed and finding themselves in awe of the small girl that spoke to them so profoundly, and treated all as her equals. They had seen, for that brief moment when her eyes changed color, something indefinable and great, a force that they instinctively knew could bring either awesome good, or horrid, unstoppable evil. They had seen more than simple power, they had seen....... Lucy.

For just one moment, one heartbeat, Lucy had allowed the adults that had never given her so much as a second thought, the adult that had caused her so much pain and had never apologized for it, the adult that had seen her broken and battered state before and had done nothing to find out how it happened—though he could've helped her greatly—her true self. For that immeasurable moment in time when everything else froze, Lucy had allowed those adults—the adults that thought they knew everything about her, Hogwarts, and everyone that resided in it—to see her. Too short a time to truly learn, Lucy had given them enough time to realize that no, they didn't know everything. She had given them enough time to see her, but that was it. They didn't know her, they couldn't see her, but at least now........ She had taught them something.

........No one had ever said that the people Lucy was hired to teach had to be students.

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~`~
Baby was crying. And crying, and crying. She wouldn't stop crying, and Elaine was frantic. She didn't know what was wrong with her usually sunny, happy baby. She near never cried, so whatever it was it had to be serious for Baby to be trying to tell her mother what it was. Suddenly, Baby's crying doubled and she began shouting, her tiny voice full of despair, "Jamie!" Each time she howled his name, Baby's tears seemed to increase, her sobs getting worse and worse until she shook with them. "Jamie! Jamie!"

"What is it, darling? Jamie isn't here! He went out to play for a bit, lovely. Please stop crying—I don't know what's wrong!" Elaine had tried everything, from checking Baby's diaper to trying to feed her to performing a spell that would tell her if she was sick. Nothing was wrong, but Baby kept crying as if her heart was not just being broken, but destroyed in front of her.

"Jamie!" Baby screamed, sobbing, voice louder than it had ever gotten before. "Jamie!" She was trying so hard to tell her mother something, Elaine knew, but what? James' name was the only word she knew—surely nothing was actually wrong with him.

But that seemed to be what Baby was trying to say, as she continued sobbing her older brother's name as if she were dying, more tears streaming down her face that Elaine thought could possibly fit in her little body. "Jamie! JAMIE!"

That was it. Elaine didn't know what to do, but at this point she was desperate. Whether all Baby wanted was her big brother or otherwise, Elaine was going to go with the only idea she had. So, quickly pulling on a jacket and picking the still sobbing Baby up, Elaine headed outside to find her son—maybe he could stop Baby's tears. She was crying for him, obviously, and besides that he could always make her laugh.

Elaine understood exactly what Baby had been trying to tell her upon finding James a short while later, in the woods.

"Mummy!" Came James' voice at her call for him. "Mummy!" His voice came from him like a sob, pain coloring his words. Baby began crying harder at this, as if she really was dying, or watching someone die.

James came stumbling towards his mother frantically, eyes wild. There were tears in his eyes and streaming down his cheek as Elaine kept him from falling flat on his face, catching him as he tripped over a tree root. "Mummy! My arm! It....... It hurts!" James wailed, unable to move his arm even a small amount to show it to his mother. Elaine saw it and gasped.

"James! What happened to you?! I think it might be broken, darling!" James wept harder at this, shaking.

"I fell out of a tree, Mummy, and landed on my arm!" James sobbed, clearly in a large amount of pain. "I got lost in the woods and it hurt! I didn't know where I was! Mummy, I was so scared!" James buried his face in his mother's shirt, crying desperately. "I was crying and crying, and I thought I would never get home! I—I—" James couldn't speak anymore, tears overtaking whatever part of him that allowed him to speak.

Elaine didn't know what to do. With Baby—still crying, undoubtedly for James' pain—in one arm and James seeming to be in too much pain to walk unsupported, what was she to do? Her wand was still in the house, unfortunately. David was at work, so he couldn't help, and—what was Baby doing?

Baby had somehow managed to wriggle out of Elaine's grasp and down onto the ground beside James, where she'd immediately put her little hands on James' broken, bleeding, dirt covered arm. James gasped in pain, but didn't do anything, the aftershock settling in and keeping him from being able to do much. Baby was crying now, silently, but harder than before as she felt how cold her big brother was. Putting her head down onto his broken arm, Baby continued weeping for his pain, his undeserved accident. She cried and cried, tears landing on James' arm as she half-hugged it, feeling his pain as vividly as if it were her own—maybe more so, because she loved him so much. "Jamie." Baby cried brokenly, barely able to get the word out of her mouth. "Jamie." Baby seemed to moan, as if the word hurt her to say. "Jamie."

"I-it's okay, B-Baby." James shook as he forced the words out of his mouth, rubbing her back gently. "It's okay. I'll be okay. D-don't w-w-worry." Then, James gasped, and Baby released his arm and looked up at him. There was blood on her tear-streaked face, open pain in her eyes, but also something else. A type of knowledge, an intensity that didn't belong on a one-year-old's face. For a moment, her eyes seemed to change color completely, turned golden green, then she closed them and laid her head back down on James' arm, her seemingly endless tears stopped. She gave his arm a kiss and a pat, before reaching for James to come closer and kissing his cheek as best as she could.

"Jamie." She said steadily, eyes that strange color one more instant. Then, she blinked, and time seemed to start again as they returned to their original blue color, and Elaine sprang into action.

With the balance and skill that only a parent can ever truly master, Elaine picked both of her children up at once, rising to her feet fluidly to avoid jostling James' broken arm. Once this was accomplished, she sped off towards the house. Thinking James' silence was because of intense shock, Elaine—again, as only a parent or someone under extreme duress can ever truly master—somehow managed to deposit James in the living room, drop Baby off with David at work through Floo, come back for James, and take him to St. Mungo's. He was quiet, worryingly calm, and Elaine had a Healer looking at him as fast as she could, which wasn't long after she got to the hospital.

Through all this hustle and bustle, Elaine hadn't taken the time to notice that James' arm was perfectly fine, and that he'd used it momentarily in the living room, right before she left with Baby, who'd smiled at James as they'd disappeared from the fireplace.

It had been broken.

Now it wasn't.

Baby, now playing with her stunned and very confused father at work, had somehow healed her brother of his broken arm.
~`~

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"Lucy, I hate to bother you, but can you cover two of my classes later today? I know it's your free time, but—" Lucy held up a hand and shook her head with a smile.

"Not a problem, don't apologize. I'd be glad to cover your class later. Don't worry about it!" Lucy added with a laugh, as an intensely relieved—and slightly guilty—look crossed her colleague's face.

"Oh, thank you, Lucy, thank you. I owe you one, definitely. It's the Slytherin/Ravenclaw seventh year class today, then the Gryffindor/Hufflepuff sevenths. Here's what they've learned so far—just do whatever you want today; I don't care what. I'm sure you'll do great with them. Just—" and here was a hesitant pause, then a shake of the head. "—just don't let them destroy the classroom, okay? Don't teach them anything that they might actually try right away....... And maybe you'll want to stand in the corridor between the two classes? Thanks again." He said, a desperately grateful tinge to his voice, before this year's Defense Against the Dark Arts professor bolted from the staff room top speed, as if afraid Lucy would change her mind.

Lucy could only laugh and shake her head happily—she was looking foreword to her two extra classes of the day. It was a pleasant surprise, despite the fact that her colleague seemed to believe that they'd blow up the school or something.

Ah, well. It only made Lucy look foreword to the classes more—Lucy never believed that their students were as horrible as the professors made them out to be at times.

-----------------------------------------------

"Y'know, Baby, I'm gonna be two whole years old soon." James informed Baby cheerily as he played with her. They had already colored and were now working on stacking squishy toy blocks as high as possible without them falling. "I'm gonna be this big." He said, holding up three fingers. "......Wait......" James stared at his hand, brow furrowed. David had shown him how old he'd be, but it hadn't looked like that....... "Oh!" James exclaimed, as Lucy precariously leant over and pushed one of his fingers down, the already stacked blocks tumbling to the ground in the process. James wasn't upset—instead, he laughed. "Thanks, Baby!" He exclaimed with a wide grin, nodding. Now his age looked right on his hand. Two. "I'm gonna be two. Daddy said that was....... um....... twelve? Ah, well." James said with a shrug, and Baby's smile illuminated her face as she slowly made James hold up both of his hands. Then, still somewhat unsteady, Baby leant over and put one of the fingers on each of her hands beside his. James understood, and laughed delightedly. "You're smart, Baby! Is that twelve?" Baby nodded and sat up proudly—she'd just mastered the art of sitting up unaided not to long ago.

Baby was smart, yes, but so was James. He studied his hands carefully, then began counting slowly, ticking off each number with his fingers, a concentrated look on his face. He'd only had the numbers told to him once, but he could remember them if he tried. "One. Two. Three. Four. Five. Six. Seven. Eight. Nine. Ten." He said slowly, holding all his fingers up. Still concentrating, James kicked his shoes off. Then, focusing on taking his socks off without bending his fingers, James continued counting off on his toes, past the numbers he'd learned, numbers he'd only heard or seen once before, not being taught to him. "Ten and one is el-ev-en. Ten and two is twelve." He said with a grin, eyes sparkling as he looked at Baby momentarily before continuing. "Ten and three make a one and a three squished together........" And so it continued. Ten and four made four-teen; ten and five made fiveteen; ten and six made six-ten; ten and seven made the one and seven all squished together to make a new number, ten and eight made eighteen; ten and nine made nine-ten; ten and ten made the two and the zero all put together to make a new, bigger version of ten.

James grinned proudly as Baby laughed and clapped for him as he held up both his hands and feet a moment before loosing his balance and toppling over.

James wasn't embarrassed. He simply rolled back to his original position—without putting his socks and shoes on—and gave Baby a kiss, before setting to work on the blocks with her once more. "I love you, Baby. I'll love you forever." He informed her, eyes bright and voice steady—more so than an almost-two-year-old's should've been able to get.

James didn't need to hear it to know that Baby felt the same—it was in her eyes.
~`~

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"Happy Tuesday, Professor Whit!" Sirius said brightly, bouncing cheerily into the Divination room. He'd been a lot happier to be in classes since Lucy had become a professor—or at least happier to be in Divination anyway. And why not? Everyone loved her classes, even the students who didn't take Divination! But the changes she brought to the class had brought some major changes in Sirius, as well. All of the sudden it was like he wanted learn. He actually paid attention and answered questions and—this nearly made Remus faint when he noticed it—Sirius took notes. Not a lot, of course, but highlights of each lesson that had all the important facts in them. He'd made jaws drop, yes he did, but Sirius could care less.

They didn't just learn about Divination in Lucy's class. They seemed to learn a little bit of everything, as well as things that the students could actually see themselves using in the future—not just things they were told they'd need one day. More than just advice and suggestions and spells and stuff, but tricks and things they wouldn't normally learn at Hogwarts—one very memorable cooking lesson was proof enough of that. The two DADA classes she had taught had immediately gone wild for her, and had demanded the switching of the two professors—a thing that the DADA professor seemed to have no problem with, in all honesty. But Lucy, though a wistful light burned bright in her eyes, only shook her head and said that she couldn't abandon her Divination students before her due time—and besides, she had nothing planned for Defense Against the Darks Arts, only Divination. This, of course, brought protests that plans didn't matter—look how well Lucy had done in two of the DADA classes that caused the most trouble!—but the small girl only smiled apologetically and shook her head, ending the matter.

It seemed there were only two people that really remembered, at this point, that Lucy was not really a professor at Hogwarts, and that all the excitement and happiness would be over at the end of the month........ One person, not counting Lucy herself, who refused to think of this saddening fact.

"Happy Tuesday, Mr. Black." Lucy said cheerily, happily noting Sirius' great mood that day. "I'm glad to see that you seem to be on the brighter side today." She commented, smiling inwardly when he dropped into a seat right in the front of the room—the much-coveted spot, actually, a thing that astounded each and every other professor at Hogwarts. Sirius beamed and nodded.

"Yeah!" He exclaimed, flipping his hair out of his eyes as he pulled out stuff to take notes with—a thing that still made Remus' jaw drop whenever he saw it, as well as anyone else who took note of it. Then—and this was a thing that Sirius had never once been inclined to say or even think, nor would he ever be again—he said, eyes bright as two stars: "I was just so excited for class today! What're we learning?"

The wave of shock that passed through the room was so strong that Lucy, inwardly laughing at her students' reactions, was surprised they were not felled by it. Smiling outwardly, she decided to joke a bit with one of her most enthusiastic pupils—which was really, really saying something.

Deepening her voice and sucking in a deep breath, Lucy spoke in an over-the-top misty version of the long-since-forgotten Professor Knot, startling not only Sirius but the entire class. "We will be learning to defog the future and—" Lucy broke off at her students' shocked, incredulous, horrified stares. Her completely serious facade was destroyed as she burst into laughter at the true horror that had made her students appear as though they were all about to run and jump out of the windows. At once.

Those looks quickly melted away, replaced with shock, then laughter as the students realized that Lucy had tricked them.

".......Okay, Professor." Sirius gasped, once they'd all calmed down some. "What're we really learning today?" Lucy grinned and leaned back against her desk—which she seldom if ever sat behind, mostly never.

"Did you know........" Lucy began, at which her each and every one of her second year Gryffindors began grinning widely, recognizing the start of a promising lesson. Sirius had his quill poised over his paper, eyes bright and attentive—a feat that would never, ever, ever be performed by any other type of instructor again, ever. Not even a Quidditch instructor would ever command Sirius' total attention like Lucy did then—indeed, an instructor of any kind would be lucky to get a shred of the boy's attention. Lucy had all of it—and not because she was his friend, either, no: Sirius had all but forgotten that Lucy had never been his Divination professor before then, had all but forgotten that Lucy wasn't there to stay, had all but forgotten that she wasn't really supposed to be in a teaching position at Hogwarts. In fact, to tell the honest and quite astounding truth, Sirius—Sirius, who had been so eager to have Lucy as a professor simply in the hopes of easy classes and grades—had been one of the very first to forget that Lucy didn't truly belong where she was, doing what she was; instructing them all. Instead, Sirius was eager. Eager to go to her classes, eager to take notes, eager to learn. Sirius Black, Sirius Black of all the students that had ever crossed into Hogwarts, was eager to learn.

And he was. Not one person at Hogwarts could deny it, be it a student or professor or otherwise. They could all clearly see the astonishing change that Lucy's teaching had brought in Sirius—he was even doing better in his other classes as well, though he obviously still caused trouble and made distractions and didn't take notes. But he actually paid attention at times, and got most of the work done before deciding to wreak havoc on the classroom.

All the professors were in shock.

........But back to Lucy.

"Did you know," Lucy repeated again, a small, crooked grin beginning on her face that—while making her look quite mischievous indeed—usually signified, as did many other things, the beginning of a very, very fun lesson. "that a lot of the ingredients we use in Divination to attempt to predict the future—" Another thing the students of Hogwarts liked about Lucy: She never tried to force them to believe that their tea dregs could tell them whether they'd be Minister of Magic, or would die or something. She simply taught the lesson and asked them simply to learn, and absorb the things she tried to show them with open minds: These and other simple things they did gladly. "—are combustible if put together in the wrong order?"

And thus Tuesday's second year Gryffindor Divination class learnt a great deal of Potions, as well, which turned out to be a very, very good thing and helped to prevent major....... incidents later on.

-----------------------------------------------

~`~
Baby was still sleeping. James had woken up, but she was still sleeping. He could hear quiet voices talking and listened harder, though the thought of leaving Baby's side to go to the stairs so he could hear better never once crossed his mind.

"Why do you call her 'Baby'? Surely she doesn't need a nickname, and even so, why 'Baby'? Wouldn't that be like calling James, oh, I don't know, 'Boy'?" Asked a quiet voice, too quiet for James to recognize properly.

"No." Came the firm answer, and James smiled. His dad. "It is nothing like calling James 'Boy', and not because we do not call him as such. James is James, and it is that simple. He is the one that chose to call her Baby, and I believe James has that right. He loves her so much more than I can explain, and I would appreciate it if you wouldn't—"

"David." Came Elaine's voice, calm and reassuring, stopping whatever was about to happen before it began. She had a gift for that, Elaine did. She could stop near any argument before it began, regardless of who was involved—it was amazing, really. She was a natural peacemaker.

She also gave the best hugs.

"I didn't mean to insult in my asking, David." The voice James didn't recognize said stiffly, and James imagined his dad nodding as he absently moved a lock of hair out of Baby's face. It had been true, though, what David had said to the other, third voice. James had been calling Baby by that nickname since before she was born, when he was the only one that believed his mother was carrying his little sister while everyone else believed another Potter boy was on the way.

James didn't feel particularly bothered by what the voice said; he couldn't care less, actually. James considered Baby his, and if the other person didn't like that, then oh well. Now, if the other person had been speaking about Quidditch, or James' parents, or something else, well, James—young as he was—might've not taken it well. But the person was talking about Baby, and, as far as James could tell, had not said anything bad about his baby sister yet.

Because if he did, James wasn't quite sure what he'd do to the person.

Baby was, after all, his, and James wouldn't let anything happen to her, not if he could help it. No way, no sir.

James, though only just reaching two, loved Quidditch greatly and enjoyed the sport thoroughly.

He would give it up forever without a thought or a backwards glance if it meant keeping Baby safe.

"I love you, Baby." James said quietly, smiling slightly as Baby stirred in her sleep at his words. She still only spoke one word as far as anyone knew—his name, James would proudly tell anyone who so much as thought about asking—yet that didn't matter any to James in the matter of communication. He knew Baby loved him—she told him frequently, in the quiet way of hers—and he told her that he loved her whenever he saw fit. Which was often.

James ran a hand through his hair to push his overlong fringe out of his eyes absently as he yawned slightly. He'd been doing that often, as of late: Running a hand through his hair to push his overlarge fringe from his eyes. His fringe was the slightest too long, but whenever his mother tried to cut it, James refused to allow her to, so it continued growing, and James continued pushing it from his eyes.

Thus the habit of running a hand through his hair had begun, for even long after he consented and his fringe was under control, James couldn't help but run a hand through his hair absently, without really noticing it.

"Jamie." Baby said quietly as she woke up, through a little yawn that distorted the word slightly. Not that it mattered to James, of course—he only smiled brightly; beamed was more like it.

"Hey, wonderful." James greeted her affectionately, as he heard his father greet his mother at times. "Are you still tired? You can go back to sleep, Baby, I don't mind." James offered gently. Baby smiled, but said nothing.

James laughed happily.

"Mummy and Daddy say that we're gonna go take a walk in the woods later...... Yeah, I can't wait, either."
~`~

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Lucy crossed out another box in her calendar with a sigh. It was at this time that she remembered, against her own volition, the great sadness she carried within her.

Lucy's official professor duties ended after her rounds were completed, though she personally was almost always busy. Planning classes, testing theories, planning Madness, etc., etc., etc. Etc. She somehow managed a few hours of sleep a night, though—one, at the very least. Or less. And it was always right before that time when she finally fell asleep that Lucy crossed out the day that had passed.

That was when the surprisingly heavy sadness that rested on her heart and in the back of her mind made itself known quite forcefully.

Though she knew she full well her being a professor at Hogwarts was meant to be a punishment and that it was only temporary, Lucy couldn't help but wish that it....... well, it wasn't. She couldn't help but find herself wishing almost desperately that she could remain teaching here at Hogwarts, forever. But not Divination—not if she had a choice. No, if she could pick, Lucy would want to be the Defense Against the Dark Arts Professor. She could do so much with that subject! Definitely more than she could do with Divination, and that was seriously saying something! Even as Lucy planned her Divination classes, she would find herself sketching out class plans for DADA classes instead, and—despite the fact that she never honestly praised herself as others did—found that they were pretty good.

Despite her longing to be the DADA professor here—curse, shmurse, she thought—Lucy knew, deep down, that it couldn't happen, and would probably never happen. She couldn't remain a professor here at Hogwarts—Knot would come back........ Just that thought was enough to bring pained tears to Lucy's eyes. Knot would come back, and expect Lucy to be miserable, and to behave. And Lucy knew, she knew perfectly well, that she would never misbehave for the spiteful Divination professor again. Not because she was afraid, or felt any remorse, but simply because she not only knew she would never get such a treat as a punishment again, and because—even if she did—she wouldn't be able to handle it.

No....... When Knot came back.......

"Okay, so they can go through the pudding then climb up over the wall of Jello and dive into or swing across the whipped cream and marshmallow pit in order to get their animal flags so they can try to......." Lucy said abruptly, forcing her mind away from her previous train of thought by planning her next 'club' meeting of Madness. She continued in these plans, feeling immensely better as she did so, forgetting her troubles for the moment as she thought of the smiles and happiness she would bring her students—as well as the different things she spells could teach them.

Lucy loved Hogwarts, which was the first home she'd ever known......... Maybe there had been one before her aunt's house, and maybe Lucy would've been able to call it 'home' and not simply a house, but....... That was gone. Lucy could remember nothing of that time. Nothing at all whatsoever....... It was as if—but no, Lucy wouldn't think that. There had been a better time, a time before her aunt. She had been loved, once, long ago, by a family that had been hers.

But that was then, and gone, and now the only home that resided in Lucy's mind and memory was Hogwarts. The old stone castle, with all its drafts, and ghosts, and Filch wandering around just looking for someone to punish, for any reason....... It was the single best place on all Earth to Lucy, Hogwarts was. Every little thing that the other residents at Hogwarts complained about, Lucy simply loved. The castle was her home, plain and simple, and those who lived within it were her family, from the students to the professors to the paintings. Every stone that made up Hogwarts was precious to Lucy, who had never in her memory experienced a place that brought her open happiness—happiness that had no hidden reasons for being there, no threat of being taken away—and to the small girl, this made Hogwarts the most perfect place that had ever existed. Yes, bad things could happen and did sometimes happen. No, Hogwarts was not perfect. But....... Hogwarts was home, and the only home that Lucy had ever truly known—anything that she might've had before had been taken away too soon for her to ever remember it, no matter how good her memory was.

Lucy was happy at Hogwarts, so happy, and she hadn't thought she could get happier in the castle until Knot's 'punishment' came; then, Lucy thought she might die from sheer ecstasy. Now, she was getting paid to be at Hogwarts. True, she would be there either way, being a student there, but it was different once Lucy realized how much she loved being a professor........ And she was good. It wasn't just her students liking her that made her classes good; Lucy's classes were not easy—and making Divination challenging is a lot harder than it might seem, honest it is. They were challenging, and stimulating, and required her students to be at the top of their game at all times. Something was always happening in her classes, always. Lucy's classes and class plans, if looked at by another professor, would be seen as surprisingly hard, actually, but none of her students realized this—they were too busy learning. Honestly, all of her classes were moving so fast that they'd already outstripped a good month or so of lessons that Knot had wanted to teach them. It wasn't that the students simply knew the information, either. If one of Lucy's students were so inclined, he or she could probably teach some of the things they'd learned to someone else as a professor of the subject might.

No one, no one, regardless of whether or not they cared for Lucy's style of teaching, or Lucy at all, could say she was a bad teacher and mean it.

And if they tried to say it to her students, even as a joke, well.........

Let's just say that Lucy's students loved Lucy a lot more than she thought.

........Then again, didn't most people?

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~`~
Baby was crying again, silently, as she spied a tiny baby bird lying as if dead on the grass not too far from her, just in the woods. She reacted without thinking—though that might have been simply because she was but a tiny child, having barely learned to crawl without falling foreword every few moments. Nevertheless and for whatever reason, Baby crawled her way into the woods, alone, and made her way towards the baby bird.

She knew it wasn't dead.

Just before and just as she was reaching out to touch the little bird, Baby was scooped up off of the ground and held tightly by her mother.

"Baby!" Her mother admonished—how had Baby gotten so far away from her so fast? Hadn't her precious, irreplaceable little girl just been at her side but a moment ago?

As Elaine made to move back to the house, Baby began struggling and squirming frantically, trying still to reach to the little bird. Elaine paused, confused, and studied Baby closely. Baby all but leapt out of her mother's arms once she felt her mother's grip on her slacken slightly, Elaine catching her breathlessly as the baby tumbled to the ground in her haste to reach the ailing bird.

Something, who knew what, was telling Baby that the bird was on the brink of death.

She couldn't let it go past that; Baby had to bring the bird back from that edge.

Elaine, knowing already that when Baby got into those certain moods it was better to try to appease her immediately—for her own safety more than anything—than to fight against the tiny girl. So, taking the very obvious clue that Baby wanted Down, Elaine placed her child on the grass. Baby immediately crawled to the bird, ignoring her mother and everything around her in a very un-Baby-like way.

Putting her small hands on the even smaller bird, Baby tears stopped and she looked down upon it solemnly, seriously. Her eyes had changed to that indescribable, swirling green-gold color for a moment as she bent her little head over the bird's unresponsive body.

And then, and then........ A miracle, or what had to be, for Elaine could've sworn that the bird had stopped breathing entirely by the time that Baby had gotten to it.

The little bird opened its eyes, fluttered to its feet, and flew off. Perfectly healthy. All its previous wounds healed. Some feathers still matted in blood.

Yet it flew; it was alive. When Elaine could've sworn it had been dead, the bird seemed more alive than a bird should be able to get—glowing, even, against the blue sky that it was disappearing into.

No baby bird should be able to fly like that. Not like that, not one so young.

Elaine looked upon her baby girl with new eyes, unable to define the emotion she was feeling as she tried to find an explanation for what had just happened that made sense. Looking at Baby only made her more confused, though, for the little girl was lying on her back, laughing happily and watching the trees sway in the breeze above her. The only reminder, the only proof of the extraordinary thing that had occurred, were the tear stains on Baby's cheeks, and the feathers stuck to her hands by a few drops of the bird's blood. Other than that, it was as if nothing had happened in the least: Baby was acting perfectly normal, laughing and smiling and enjoying the outdoors as she always did—so much more, it seemed, than any baby should be able to.

Suddenly, the things David had been saying to Elaine about Baby being different from other children didn't seem like an overly proud father speaking so much anymore. In fact, it seemed to Elaine that David just may have seen or noticed things that she hadn't.

But would he believe what had just occurred? Elaine could barely believe it, and she had been witness to it all.

Her baby, nothing but a baby, had....... saved a baby bird?

Or brought it back to life?
~`~
 
Author's Note: Happy Reading everyone! Hope you liked it! Oh, and three guesses to everyone...... Who are these memories of, haha.....

Chapter 16: Chocolate Pudding Monster
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

Hey! Sorry for the delay: I lost my flashdrive. Don't worry, though, I already made a copy to put in my computer, too. Just in case.
I don't really know what else to say, actually. So here's the chapter!

"Um...... Professor Whit?"

"Yes, Mr. Black? How may I help you?" Lucy asked, smiling welcomingly at Reg, who looked intensely....... uncomfortable.

"Um, I was wondering, if, uh......."

"Yes?" Lucy asked curiously. Reg heaved an impatient sigh, shoved a chair onto the trapdoor that led down to the corridor, and sat down.

"Look," he began bluntly, and Lucy could tell she was going to go through Part 2 of the Friends Confusion Talk. "I don't get it, and I don't get what's going on, and it would help if you told me. Like a lot, you know?" Lucy nodded with a grin and leaned back slightly from where she sat on her desk.

"Yeah, sure, Reg. No prob. It's real simple, actually. Knot had a hissy fit, that's all, and made me Div professor for the month." Lucy felt a pang at those words, a sharp, sudden stabbing pain as what she'd avoided even thinking directly came out of her mouth. She'd never said it out loud, but her term as Divination professor was only for a month at Hogwarts. She knew it, her colleagues knew it...... But no one had said it out loud before, not after everything had been settled. And now, to say them out loud, to hear them sound so very final and real and harsh to her ears...... It was already her second Wednesday. Where did the days go? How could there only be twenty-one more days of her being a professor at Hogwarts after this one had ended, this tenth day that had hardly begun? It hurt Lucy to say, physically hurt her to accept and acknowledge, but she withheld that information with such ease that only one that was used to never sparing an emotion that wasn't allowed to pass across their visage could accomplish, not even flinching as the words fell like dead, sharp things into her. Lucy was smarter, more experienced than to be blank now—she was smiling and looking as cheerful as she always did—but she felt dead inside.

What she had been feeling as of late had been true happiness; it would be gone all too soon.

She wasn't doing enough.

"Oh, okay then." Reg said, not knowing in the least all that had gone on just behind Lucy's perfectly shuttered, still eyes, or how much havoc her simple, casually spoken explanation had wreaked on her insides. No, after bit more time in which the two conversed like the friends they were, Reg left, completely innocent to what had happened inside of Lucy's mind and heart, and what he had done to bring it about. She felt nothing against him for it, though, for Lucy knew it had to have happened sooner or later.

Nevertheless, Lucy locked the trapdoor, put her head in her arms, and sat very, very still until her first class that day, skipping breakfast completely and not being seen by anyone but Reg and the painted animals on her walls—come to investigate the intense quiet and stillness, and wonder as to why the lady in the deep blue robes was so still instead of so vibrant, as she usually was—until her first class showed up.

......She didn't cry, though.

It just made Olivia madder when she cried, so she'd stopped crying ages and ages ago....... not like Lucy had ever really cried, though. It was just that one time, but.......

Lucy shuddered in remembrance, just as the bell rand signaling class. The only thought that went through her mind as she unlocked the trapdoor was a simple one, but one that gave her a slightly haunted look for all of two seconds—a look she was able to hide with the sickening ease of one given much time to practice.

She doesn't like it when I cry.

Olivia didn't like it, the one time Lucy had ever cried, ever, the first time the woman had truly laid into her—how old had Lucy been? Two, three years old? And how long had she gotten beaten by Olivia?

.......That depends. How long had Justin been gone with Annie at the museum? Almost all day, wasn't it? And hadn't Lucy only broken down and begun crying just before Justin and Annie were home, when Olivia had—but never mind that now.

Olivia beat Lucy to hear her pain, see her pain, but that first fury had been etched in Lucy's mind forever, so much so that her only fear was crying in front of her aunt now. If Lucy cried when her aunt lashed out at her now, maybe they would be shorter, less painful. But Lucy did not know that, nor could she believe that. Because that very first time, as Olivia had seen the clock and realized that Justin was due home with Annie any minute, had seen Lucy finally begin crying in pain, had....... No. No, Lucy would never—no, could never—cry in front of that woman, the lady who ran the house of Number Twelve Rosewood Road.

And that was, perhaps, the reason why—but never mind that now. That wasn't of any importance, not here. Not at Hogwarts. Olivia surely couldn't affect Lucy now, she being so far away, being safe. There was absolutely no way for Olivia to have the slightest sway or power of Lucy while the girl was here.

She doesn't like it when I cry.

.......Just teach, Lucy, and forget about your troubles for the next while. Do what you always do little one, and try not to remember. Maybe one day it'll get better, if you just keep believing it will.

She doesn't like it when I cry.

Lucy is perfectly composed, as if nothing is wrong, laughing and joking with her students as she normally does.

She doesn't like it when I cry.

I can't ever cry, not if I can help it.

Lucy knows too well how to act, how to laugh, to smile—she's mastered the art of being herself. She's on autopilot, though, even if no one else in the world is aware of it.

She doesn't like it when I cry.

Lucy's only fear. Not even her aunt.

Crying.

.......And for such an empathetic person, one who felt things so fiercely, sharply, who was so attuned to the feelings of those around her that it was as if they were her own, whose every breath told her of the suffering of others, who possessed intense knowledge that was stored deep inside of her, in a well of pain that continued eating her from the inside out, even when she wasn't aware of it.......

She doesn't like it when I cry.

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Classes came and went that day, blurring into each other slightly, yet somehow each was sharp and clear in Lucy's mind as she thought over them. She couldn't help but smile as she did so, either—all the pain she'd felt in the beginning of the day had been absolved by her students, and all the work she did that day.

And the laughter. So much laughter, shared with such wonderful beings.

Lucy loved Hogwarts like no other place on Earth.

And now, as students drifted to her room—which had become quite the hangout place as of late, believe it or not—Lucy felt perfectly....... okay.

"Hey, Professor Whit!" One of her older students—a sixth year—called cheerily, waving as he ascended into the room. She beamed, seeing not only his, but the rest of the students that came up with him, smiling faces. The large group spread out through the room, leaning and sitting—even laying—wherever they felt like, large grins on their faces. The room continued filling with students of all ages and of all Houses, all chattering cheerfully to one another and, when she stopped by, to Lucy, whose mind had cleared of all the poison that had resided within it all day.

This was where she belonged, right here. Right now. With her students, in her classroom. Talking with them, smiling true smiles as they regaled her with stories of their lives. Showing them tricks, giving them tips, making them laugh.

That was the best. Making them laugh. They always looked so happy then....... Lucy liked it when they laughed; they looked truly happy, inside and out when they laughed like that, like they did then. Real laughs, real happiness. It always brightened Lucy's days when she saw them laughing like that, happy like they deserved to be....... They always looked so bright, so wonderfully light when they laughed....... Even the too-somber Slytherins let out a real, genuine laugh now and then, before they could catch themselves.

It was proof of magic if Lucy ever needed it, that happiness that the students shared but never truly admitted to each other outside of and away from Lucy's presence. It was like a silent, informal truce had been agreed upon, only acknowledged where Lucy was in charge, always ignored everywhere else...... Even when arguments broke out, they never escalated to the violent level they were sometimes prone to becoming....... And not just because of the respect they had for Lucy, or because of Lucy's reactions to fights as such either.

......And not just because they knew that Lucy, who treated them not only as equals, but as if they were friends, was not above taking their wands and taping them to both her classroom and private quarter's ceilings. And refusing to give them back until things were settled and she was sure they wouldn't commence their fighting again...... And Lucy would take some convincing for her to believe that; she could be more stubborn than even James could be—more stubborn than James, more stubborn than a mule....... More stubborn than James if he was combined with a mule....... Really, really stubborn, basically. And that was something that she didn't need to tell or teach to anyone: It was clear, very clear at times that it would probably take a wand to the head to change her mind once it was set. Maybe more.

"Hey Professor! Come check this out!" An ecstatic voice called from the other side of the room, scaring a flock of painted birds from their perches up in the branches of the trees where it came from. Lucy looked up, curious, and saw a girl by the name of Teri Camp motioning her over excitedly. "I did it! I did it!" Teri shouted, bouncing on the balls of her feet energetically. "Look, look! I did it! They changed colors and spun around and they went all the way up there! Oh, and they didn't explode or hit anyone!" Teri's eyes shone brightly as Lucy made her way to where the little brunette was waiting impatiently for her, a proud grin on her face.

"That's great Miss Camp!" Lucy said brightly, none of the pride or the familiarity of a friend disguised by the formal way Teri's name had to be spoken. "You've been practicing for so long now!"

"Yeah! And look, Professor Whit; no one needs to go to the Hospital Wing!" Lucy's eyes were bright as she pulled Teri into a quick but tight one-armed hug.

"I'm so proud of you!" Teri's eyes shone even brighter at Lucy's praise, a large grin spread across her face. "You've been working so hard on getting it right! Can I see? That's so great Miss Camp!" Lucy's excitement was contagious and spread like wildfire throughout the room until just about everyone was itching to see Teri's accomplishment.

Teri shone so brightly under Lucy's praise that she did the spell perfectly in an instant, and the next thing she knew, she was teaching the entire group how to do it.

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"Hey-ey Professor! I'm here for tutoring!"

"We're here for tutoring, genius!"

"Yeah!" Lucy laughed; she had to. The triplets were here for tutoring. Two girls and one boy, they were born within just seconds of each other and looked shockingly alike. All three had soft green eyes, light honey hair, and amazingly delicate features. Even the youngest of the triplets—the boy, Stephan—looked as though he might shatter at the slightest nudge. All three were small and had incredibly childlike looks—they reminded some of porcelain dolls, what with the combination of their looks and size...... But as much as they looked alike, they were that much different. Stephan was a Hufflepuff and on the quieter side; shy and always looking down. He didn't speak much and had few acquaintances; those he rarely had contact with outside his family could in no way be called his friends. He had a smile that could steal hearts, but it was rarely seen: Stephan barely if ever smiled or laughed, his extreme quietness combined with his shyness gave him a rather serious air that belied his actual kind manner—a thing that not many got to witness or experience, as there were few even within his own family that he would willingly converse with.

Megan was the oldest of the three, and a Gryffindor through and through. Stubborn, hard-headed, and impatient were three qualities often used to describe her........ Especially impatient. Megan could hardly wait the two extra seconds it took to actually stop and say hello to somebody she knew, throwing the greeting over her shoulder as she sped away more often than not. She was always doing something, always hurrying to get things done. She liked being in charge, too, often believing that the only way things would get done was if she was the one doing them. She meant well, though, deep down, though her clipped way of speaking and the ease of which things aggravated her oft made people think otherwise. She got on many of her friends' nerves a lot of the time, true, but she was a good friend and had a very caring nature....... deep down, anyway.

Carly was a Gryffindor as well, though she was absolutely nothing like Megan. She was undeniably sweet and was in no way a leader. She was always happy to step back and let someone else take charge, if that was their fancy. She spent a lot of her time among nature and wildlife, Herbology and Care of Magical Creatures being her two favorite classes. She loved helping others, and could near always be found giving assistance to absolutely anybody that needed it, from other students to animals to the House Elves—a thing that the House Elves wished she wouldn't do. Carly spent most of her time helping others, often neglecting herself. More often than not, Megan would find her younger sister up late in the common room, doing homework or studying, not having been able to do it during the day because she'd been too busy helping someone find their favorite quill. Carly was the epitome of gentleness; a peacemaker down to her very core, and a pacifist as well, which made her being Gryffindor's best Beater since Fred and George Weasley a true shock to the system.

Carly was the only one of the triplets that played Quidditch, as a matter of fact, and she absolutely trashed the other teams. Competitive, energetic Megan spent her Quidditch time in the stands, as well as the Quidditch-loving Stephan. For whatever reason she had, Megan preferred watching Quidditch to playing it, and Stephan, who was absolutely nuts for the sport, had a much better time talking about it and suggesting things to Carly than even thinking about trying out for his House's team. Maybe Megan and Stephan saw how great Carly was and didn't want to try their luck against her, or maybe they both saw Quidditch as hers, which was honestly the only thing that she didn't share with her siblings. Carly—sweet, kind, caring Carly—shared absolutely everything with the two of them, and without hesitation. She wouldn't be the least bit bothered if they expressed a want to play—on the contrary, she'd be thrilled, overjoyed, as she always was for them and everyone—but Stephan, and even Megan, didn't want to take that away from her. True, she wouldn't mind, but they would. Quidditch, the silent agreement between the oldest of the triplets and the youngest, was Carly's. It was something Carly both excelled at and loved; neither of them truly wished to play—not officially, anyway—enough for them to feel as though they were taking that from her. Neither Megan nor Stephan ever spoke of their silent convictions to Carly, as they both knew perfectly well that, at the first hint that she got that they'd be happier playing, and weren't because of her, she'd do something rash and impulsive, that would ultimately make her unhappy. Like quitting the team, for instance...... Carly wasn't one to deny others happiness, after all, especially not her brother and sister, whom she loved with all her heart.

One thing the three had in common, though, was a deep, almost profound bewilderment of Divination. True, their grades had improved much when Lucy started teaching, but they still needed some assistance in certain areas, and appreciated help on their harder assignments. Lucy didn't give them the answers, no, but she helped them to understand a lot more than if they would've tried to riddle the work out themselves. All three of them loved Lucy for all the help she gave them; though they were surprisingly good at most all of their other subjects, in Divination they were truly hopeless. Now though, thanks to Lucy's help, they were doing much better in their dreaded class than when Knot was "teaching"....... Which was good, seeing as how handing out easy assignments wasn't one of Lucy's strong suits....... She liked challenging her students, after all.

And boy, did Megan, Carly, and Stephan feel challenged.

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"Okay now, James, what color is this?" Elaine prompted, showing James a large, green plastic cube. James looked at it a long moment, then knocked it over. And laughed. Elaine sighed and smiled; she knew James was smart, and that he probably knew the block was green. The boy just did not like paying attention to most learning-related things. "What about this one, hmm?" Elaine asked, pulling out a bright blue ball. James blinked, then laughed and poked at the ball to get it rolling.

"Trying to teach James his colors, love?" David's amused voice asked, Elaine looking up to see her husband leaning in the doorway. Elaine smiled and stood, James continuing to play with the differently colored toys.

"He knows his colors, David Harry Potter." Elaine said, giving her husband a light whack when he smiled a very smirk-esque smile.

"I believe you, I believe you!" David said, still smiling that smile, hands held up in mock surrender.

"Hmph. You better." Elaine said, arms crossed in mock irritation.

"Jamie." Baby said to her big brother.

"Of course I believe you; after all, you are always right." David said with a laugh. Elaine whacked his arm again, a tad harder than before."

"Yeah, Baby?" James asked Baby, neither of their parents noticing their conversation.

"You say that in a joking manner in order to get around the fact that I am always right." Elaine joked with a smile.

"Jamie." Baby said, in a tone that implied she thought him silly for not understanding her the first time.

"Well, I—look!" David said suddenly, lowering his voice and pointing at their children.

"Oh, yeah. Sorry Baby." James apologized with a slight grin, handing Baby the red triangle and yellow rectangular block. Baby laughed delightedly, eyes bright. As she waved the toys, James laughed. He put his chin on his hands and his elbows on the floor, the rest of his body following soon after. "Show me." He said cheerily. Baby grinned, showing her toothless gums quite happily, and put the toys next to her face. Then, she made what her parents had to assume was meant to be either scary or vicious, and attempted a noise that they couldn't interpret. She was only a year old, after all; most all of the sounds that came from her mouth were in some form of a gurgle. James, though, seemed to understand what Baby was getting at and laughed heartily. "You're silly!" He said in a truly happy way, as if there was nothing he would've rather said to or about his baby sister. He rolled onto his back and looked up at his parents brightly. "Baby's silly, mummy. Baby's silly, daddy." He said, a wide grin on his face as Baby leaned foreword precariously, her little tongue poking out of her mouth. As their parents smiled amusedly down at their children, Baby plopped down on her belly. Before anyone could respond or even show their concern, Baby laughed and began playing with James' hair quite cheerily, causing her older brother to laugh as well.

David and Elaine exchanged looks, then shook their heads, amazed. Those two were really something together.

"James, darling." Elaine said suddenly, remembering something. "What was so funny, sweetheart? What was Baby trying to do that made you laugh?" James looked surprised, as well as slightly confused.

"Why, didn't you see her, mummy?" He asked, eyes wide in the way only children's can get. "She was pretending to be a lion! Course, she said the red was for something else." James thought for a long moment. "Grimindorf?" He asked, then shook his head. "Gurnenmor?" He shook his head again.

"......Gryffindor?" David asked; a complete shot in the dark, but it was the closest-sounding thing he could get to. James' face brightened and he nodded rapidly.

"Yeah! That! Grimmenmorf!" Elaine bit her lip hard and looked away as David grit his teeth together tightly, both to keep from laughing. Poor James; it was as if any and all Hogwarts related words he came across, he'd mispronounce. And badly.

Baby laughed brightly, the sound of her laughter reminding David of not only her presence there, but of something else.

"Wait...... James. Baby didn't say anything." James looked confused again. So did Elaine, actually, so David explained. "Before, James, you said Baby said that the red was there for Gryffindor, not just the lion." David blinked in shock, something else occurring to him just as it occurred to Elaine; they exchanged wide-eyed stares a moment, James breaking their apparent stare-off.

"Didn't you understand her, Daddy?" James asked. "Wait about you, Mummy? Didn't you guys understand Baby?" James paused, letting his head drop back down onto the floor as he looked up at Baby, who responded to this by poking him with what could've been called a shrug.

"Jamie." Baby looked up at David and Elaine, back at James, then over at where the colored toys sat, forgotten. "Jamie?" James laughed and nodded, then rolled over and reached for the white cube—identical to the green cube in all but color. He handed it to Baby and she smiled brightly at him, then began to play with it, turning it around in her hands as if observing it. After a few moments of this, during which David and Elaine felt rather neglected, Baby handed it back to James then rolled on her back to stare up at the ceiling.

"James, honey?" Elaine asked, James looking from Baby to his mother inquisitively. She paused a moment, thinking. Then; "What was that about?"

"Oh." James said nonchalantly, rolling back onto his stomach to watch the ceiling with Baby. "Baby asked me to pass her the white block. She wanted to see it." James yawned, then continued. "She was looking at the black ball just before you came in." Elaine shot David a Look before continuing.

"And...... How did Baby ask for the ball?" Elaine asked carefully. James shrugged, rolling onto his side to face Baby, who was now giving him a curiously intelligent look. James blinked a few times, confused, then nodded slowly before rolling back onto his back. He stared up at the ceiling for a moment, then yawned.

"I'm tired." He said distractedly, then looked back at Baby. "You tired?" He nodded. "I'm tired, too." James turned on his side again, holding out his arms to Baby. She yawned sleepily and sidled closer to her brother until she was close enough for him to wrap his arms around her. He did exactly that; James lying on his side, Baby tilted slightly towards him by James' arm under her back. "Good night, Baby." He said in an almost informative tone; as if he was telling her she was to go to sleep now. She seemed to sense that exact same thing and smiled tiredly; the next instant it seemed, she was asleep.

James waited a long moment, as if to make sure she was soundly asleep, then carefully stood, shifting Baby in his arms until he was carrying her, tongue poking out of his mouth in his concentration. He slowly walked to Baby's crib, not lifting his feet from the ground in order to lessen the risk of dropping or jostling his sleeping sister. Thankfully, the crib's side was already down, so all James had to do was place her gently in it. Then, James covered her with her blanket. He smiled and bent down to kiss her cheek sweetly; it was such a moving sight that both David and Elaine, justifiably forgotten, had to fight hard to keep an "aww!" from escaping them.

James smoothed some hair from Baby's face, patted her arm lovingly, then put the crib side up. James made sure the latches were securely fastened—a funny thing for such a small child to do; maybe he was just copying what he saw David and Elaine do every time they put the crib side up? He held onto the bars momentarily, just watching her sleep, then hummed absently to himself. Then, with another rather large yawn, James turned away from his sister's sleeping form. When his eyes landed on his parents—still in the doorway—James blinked, surprised, as if he'd completely forgotten they were there.

Or existed, for that matter.

"She just asked for it, mummy." He said matter-of-factly. "She just asked me if I could pass her the black ball." James smiled, eyes twinkling. "It's the same color as her hair and mine." He said brightly, eyes going to the black ball that, coincidentally enough, had come to a rest beside the white cube. James went over to and picked the two of them up, studying them like Baby had studied the white cube. He bit his lip and looked harder at them. "Remember when you taught me the shapes, daddy?" He asked suddenly. "And Baby was playing on the couch?"

"Yes......" David answered slowly, watching as James—who hated cleaning his own room—began tidying up the colored toys Elaine had bought for the kids to learn their colors with. The little boy didn't clean very well, but it was cleaning: James moved all the colored toys to one corner of the room, creating a neat-ish looking pile in aforementioned corner.

James paused a minute in what he was doing, thinking, then poked a ball that had rolled away from the pile back to where it belonged, straightened, and looked over at Baby. "So does Baby." James grinned suddenly and made his way to where Baby still slept; Baby still didn't sleep through each night yet despite being a year old already and her parents were becoming somewhat concerned. When she slept, though, it was a surprisingly sound sleep, and there were times when she made it through the entire night...... Or most of it, anyway. James knew better than their parents that Baby had odd sleep issues and patterns, seeing as how Baby would sometimes wake James up at night—always with a most rueful look on her little face, as if truly sorry that she was doing so. Most nights, though, Baby would wake up and stare up at the ceiling, too tired to fiddle with the latches that held the side of her crib up. "She remembers it really good daddy." James informed David with a yawn as he rubbed his eyes tiredly. "I'm gonna go to bed now. Good night mummy I love you. Good night daddy I love you. Good night Baby I love you. Sleep good tonight so we can play a lot tomorrow."

And with those parting words, James took his leave.

......Leaving his parents to stare at each other in wonder.

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Lucy hummed tiredly, leaning back in her chair a moment; she needed a break. Not a long one, nah. Just a moment or two, that's all. A moment to breathe, to rub her eyes. If she only had time to rub the tiredness out of her eyes she'd be fine...... Just a moment. She was so tired.

"One. Two......." Lucy yawned. "Three......" Lucy rubbed at her eyes, pausing a moment to let out a low groan. Her eyes stung slightly; she removed her hands, which had been balled into fists, and blinked rapidly. It helped, but not much. "Tired." Lucy said, leaning back further in her chair. She yawned again; when was the last time she'd gotten a full night's sleep? Lucy leaned back even more and tried to remember, coming to the conclusion that it was most likely before she'd started teaching. "Only Merlin knows." The tiny eleven-year-old—eleven, not twelve, despite what everyone believed—said with a slight grin, leaning back even further in her chair....... Too far, this time: The chair toppled right over, taking Lucy with it. In a way it was a good thing; it woke Lucy up—scared her into full consciousness again.

"Woah." Lucy breathed as she picked herself—and the chair—up. She blinked and shook her head, pushing the chair back under the large worktable she had set up in her living room. "Maybe time for a little walk?" She asked herself, looking at the organized mess of plans she'd been working at. Nodding to herself with a sigh, Lucy mentally agreed. It was definitely time for a walk. Maybe to the Potions lab again? Yes, that should do. Nice little walk—or long walk, if one was to look at it distance wise—down to the dungeons to work on a couple Potions.

Work, work, work....... That was all poor Lucy seemed to be doing nowadays. Of course, she didn't mind it—she was used to overexerting herself, actually. Then again, it wasn't as if Lucy had nothing to do after her duties were done, after all. True, she was adding a lot more than she needed to herself, but she considered that little fact irrelevant.

The entire school knew that Lucy was most likely overloading and overworking herself with all that she did for her classes and the students at Hogwarts—of course, none of the students realized the toll that her continuous stream of work could and was doing to Lucy....... They didn't really understand that all Lucy was doing took any effort on her part at all, actually. And why would they, seeing as how Lucy never complained, or made it seem as if she were being adversely affected by any of it anyway?

But back to the entire school's knowledge of Lucy's hard work.

Everyone knew she spent her time planning classes, assignments, "field trips", Madness, tutoring, Quidditch games, acquiring the things she used—with or without the knowledge of her colleagues—and more. They knew, yes, but what none of them knew was that Lucy was even sharper than they gave her credit for........ And that much more tired, to be completely honest.

See, Lucy didn't spend all her time working on the professor-type things she did. She also spent a fair amount of her time—mostly the time she could've snagged some sleep with—working on schoolwork. Actual school work. As in the classes she would have been taking if she weren't Divination professor. Transfiguration, Charms, Potions. All of them. She still had her schedule and knew what classes she should've been taking and when, and was keeping track of her assignments carefully and in such a way that no one was aware that she was doing it....... She hadn't made it this way purposely, not in the beginning, but figured it was probably best that she not tell anyone she was still working on schoolwork as well as everything else.

Lucy tutored students of all years, Houses, and classes. Which meant that she needed to know all the assignments and work her colleagues had planned for each class. Most all of the other professors had their class plans ready for the entire year, though there were some that worked month by month creating class plans. Either way, it was hard to stay exactly on task—the professors were working with people who were just learning the things that they already knew, after all. So, fully aware that Lucy was helping a great deal of students in more than Divination, the other instructors helped as best as possible. They gave her copies of their lesson plans and lists of the assignments they would be giving, as well as going so far as to give Lucy synopses of what they would be teaching....... In short, Lucy got notes, assignments, and everything else all the students got. Not just the second year Gryffindors, which was what she needed. Which was good, as it aided her greatly in her tutoring, as well as helped her keep on track. What Lucy hoped to accomplish was simple, yet hard to believe in a way: Lucy wanted to finish her time as Divination professor with all of her schoolwork done beforehand, so she could hand it all in her first day "back". Sounded simple enough, and was a good plan on paper—as most bad ideas end up being, but whatever—but it was quite a hard thing to pull off, with all the extra work Lucy gave herself daily, trying to make life at Hogwarts as great as possible for everyone she could.

.......Sleep, conveniently enough, was not to be found on even her mental agenda.

"Ahh! ......Oh. It's you...... Um, I mean...... How are you this evening, Professor Whit? Well, I hope." Lucy smiled and shook her head lightly up at sixth year girl who she'd accidentally come across—and startled rather badly—on her way to the dungeons.

"Miss Travers, do I even want to know what you are doing out at this late hour?" Lucy asked, one eyebrow raised, knowing the answer. Alison Travers shook her head sheepishly, looking embarrassed, but answered anyway.

"A couple of my friends dared me to go to the Kitchens and, um......" Lucy smiled encouragingly up at the taller girl, who saw her as both an adult and a professor, despite their radical height difference—Alison was one of the tallest sixth years, and Lucy was small even for an eleven year old.

"Go ahead, Miss Travers. I can assure you that whatever you were planning to do cannot be any more insane than what the Marauders do." Alison gave Lucy a confused look.

"Marauders? Who are the Marauders?" She asked, distracted, and Lucy laughed.

"Oh, silly me. I forgot." Lucy said with a shake of her head. "You see, Miss Travers, I had mentally dubbed Misters Potter, Black, Lupin, and Pettigrew as 'the Marauders', and have been calling them as such in my mind whenever anyone spoke of them, or I was speaking to them." Lucy smiled brightly, eyes laughing. "I find it a fitting name, after all, and forgot for a moment that I am the only one that calls them as such. Forgive me, please." Lucy grinned. "I guess I'm becoming a tad forgetful at this late hour." She paused a moment, studying Alison's face carefully. "Which brings us back to our main subject: What, may I ask, were you sent to the Kitchens for?" Alison, who had been listening raptly, looked sheepish again.

"Chocolate pudding." She admitted, surprised at Lucy's lack of surprise. The only thing that changed on Lucy's patient, listening face was the level of brightness in her shining flecked eyes. Her amusement seemed to shine right out of her face—but it wasn't the condescending type of amusement that adults often used which irritated most all the students at Hogwarts, but the amusement of a coconspirator, in a way. Which was, in an odd way, what many saw Lucy to be.

"Continue, please, Miss Travers." She prompted with a smile. "I find this to be quite interesting, and you have my full attention." Alison knew Lucy was being completely honest—not only because Lucy never lied, but because it was rather clear that there was nothing else the "professor" was thinking of. Or, it appeared, anywhere else she'd rather be—a thing that made Alison feel much more comfortable.

"Well, Professor Whit, I was supposed to go and get a huge bowl of chocolate pudding and, um......." Alison paused, giving Lucy a repentant look.

"Again, Miss Travers, it's probably nothing that the Marauders wouldn't have done at some point." Lucy encouraged, which made Alison smile slightly and nod.

"Okay, okay...... I was supposed to get the pudding and pull some kind of prank on someone. It didn't matter who, but I had to bring back proof that I'd done it." Alison sighed and shrugged. "Stupid Truth or Dare." Lucy, on the other hand, seemed even more interested.

"Proof? What kind of proof?" Alison shrugged again.

"I dunno. A wand, a picture...... A detention? But something." Alison shrugged once more. "My friends really know how to make a dare."

"I'll say." Lucy murmured, impressed. Alison gave her Divination professor an odd, confused look. Why did it look almost as if she were....... planning something? And then, it happened. Alison saw that smile that meant so much appear on Lucy's face and knew that, crazy as it seemed, Professor Whit was going to....... help her?! No, no! That's impossible! Completely and totally— "I have an idea." Lucy said, an utterly mischievous smirk lighting her face. Alison's eyes widened at those words. Then her mouth dropped open as Lucy told her of her idea.

"But...... But Professor Whit! I can't do that!" Alison exclaimed in disbelief. Lucy's smirk widened as she shook a finger up at Alison.

"Oh but you can, Miss Travers. And you will."

"But...... But what will my friends say when I tell them?!" Lucy's flecked eyes were burning so brightly with mischief that they seemed to light up the dark corridor.

"Where was it said in that dare that you needed to tell them who you pulled the prank on?" Lucy asked, humming to herself happily in the shocked pause that followed her words. "Exactly, my dear. You need proof?" Lucy pulled out her wand and held it out to Alison. "Trust me, my dear, dear Miss Travers...... I'm going to enjoy this as much as you will. Perhaps more." She amended, seeing the scandalized look on Alison's face. Lucy laughed, a shiver of excitement racing up and down her spine. "Now, I believe we need some chocolate pudding. Shall we?" And Alison, stunned beyond belief and unable to protest any more, followed her Divination professor, Professor Whit, to the Kitchens.

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"So? Did you do it?! Well?! Alison!"

"Come on, tell us!"

"What'd you do with the pudding, Ali?"

"Did you bring back proof?"

"I...... I...... I......" Alison stuttered blankly, still shocked out of her mind, the image of the completely-chocolate-pudding-covered Professor Whit trudging brightly towards her private quarters for a long shower all but burned into her mind.

"Ali! Wake up!" Alison shook her head, snapping back to the present.

"I, um, brought back the net. I-it's covered in chocolate pudding. A-a-and I have......." Alison trailed off, holding out Professor Whit's wand dumbly. Her best friends and dorm mates pounced on the wand and net in ecstasy.

"Woah!"

"Go Ali!"

"What'd you do?!" They were all shocked silly at the thought of Alison really doing something so crazy. They hadn't expected her to go through with the dare—after all, Alison wasn't one for pranking. But here it was; proof. But what has she done? And how much trouble was she in?

"I...... Chocolate pudding....... net......." Alison took a deep breath to steady herself, remembering what Professor Whit had said. "I used a couple spells to hide the net and suspend the chocolate pudding up high then waited and made noise until someone came." Alison gave her friends a sheepish look. "I didn't want to come back until I'd finished the dare." She admitted, knowing full well that her friends hadn't thought she'd go through with it....... Neither had she, to be perfectly honest. "Anyway, I hid when I heard footsteps and made sure I wasn't visible when I came out to look." Alison found herself grinning; it had been funny, after all. "I couldn't really tell who was in the net, cause they were covered in chocolate pudding." Alison laughed helplessly, remembering how Professor Whit had looked entirely coated in chocolate pudding. It had been so funny, seeing little Professor Whit pretending to be mad as the diminutive professor laughed so hard she'd started crying.

Alison laughed against her will, remembering all the fun she'd had with what was undoubtedly her favorite professor of all time. Professor Whit had been truly vibrant, eyes lit up like two burning moonstones. She'd bounced around the Kitchen in a surprisingly silent way, collecting some of this and collecting some of that and collecting tons and tons of chocolate pudding. Professor Whit's plan had been awe-inspiring in its foolproof-ness. She had every little detail sorted—had her "i's dotted and her t's crossed", as Alison's grandfather might say. Professor Whit had taught Alison spells that Alison wasn't sure she'd ever heard of before, showing her just how to do this and that, joking all the while. That was something Alison liked best about the insanity she'd been though that night with her Divination professor—Alison couldn't remember ever having that much, or any realy, fun with a professor. Or an adult, actually, which semi-included her family. Professor Whit had kept Alison laughing and in a great mood the whole time. Though she was a professor and supposed to stop and reprimand Alison sharply and punish the teen heavily for not only being out bed and wandering the corridors at night, but for the prank she'd been about to pull, playing a game like Truth or Dare so late—which would've undoubtedly resulted in her friends' being severely punished as well—and probably some other rules Alison might not've known she was breaking....... Professor Whit hadn't. She hadn't bothered much with any of that. It had been clear enough that Professor Whit hadn't been angry or even irritated with Alison at all, and the tiny professor—she was much, much shorter than practically all the students at Hogwarts! ......Not that they made fun of her for it....... unlike poor Professor Flitwick, of course, who's size was constantly a joke—didn't waste one moment of her time pretending to be. Except, of course, when Alison had "caught" her in the net/pudding trap. Even then, though, it had been more of a big joke than an actual attempt at anger.

Professor Whit was more than a professor to Alison that night, more than an instructor, or an adult. Even when she was helping Alison break as many rules as possible in as small a contained space, Professor Whit had seemed even more than a coconspirator...... She'd been more like a....... a friend to Alison that night, which was something that no one expected of an adult and professor. Especially of a professor.

But it was true. Professor Whit had acted as a friend to Alison that night, though they still called each other the formal, distanced titles required of them—"professor", and "miss". Professor Whit had assuaged Alison's fears and worries, helped her to have fun. She'd looked out for her needlessly, joked with her...... treated her like not only an equal, but as if Alison really was her friend. It was a rather pleasant surprise indeed.

Lucy treated everyone with that same open invitation of friendship. Lucy's willing friendship was never forced, or fake. It was real; Lucy really cared about them all, but as much more than students, or kids—Minerva knew this as a fact, the conversation she'd had with Lucy forever burned into her mind. The Transfiguration professor knew perfectly well indeed, what Lucy thought of the students of Hogwarts, knew that Lucy saw them all in a much different light than most people did. As people. Nothing more, nothing less. Which, believe it or not, was actually harder than it sounded. The mind often labeled others as one way or another way until knowing them better—and even after that, the labels often only changed, though most never noticed they did this. Lucy though, a true anomaly if there ever was one, didn't seem to have this instinctual function in her brain, oddly enough.

As Alison began talking more animatedly to her friends about what had happened—leaving out little unimportant details like how Professor Whit was the one that came up with the prank, and was not only "lenient", but wicked awesome the whole time she and Alison had been together....... despite being probably one of the most respected professors at Hogwarts. Conveniently enough, Alison refrained from saying that it was Professor Whit that she'd "pranked", instead saying that the person had been so covered in chocolate pudding that she couldn't recognize the trapped person. Safety first, after all. Professor Whit was most likely the most loved adult in all of Hogwarts. Alison would not be well liked if it got around that she'd pranked Professor Whit, oh no...... Oh Merlin no; Alison would have to beg for mercy if that little detail got out! And protection as well! It wasn't a lie, either, when Alison said she couldn't recognize who it was. Professor Whit had honestly been perfectly unrecognizable. Which was good. Very good, because Professor Whit had told Alison—with surprising seriousness—that she didn't want Alison to lie to her friends. Then she'd winked, and Alison had realized that Professor Whit knew exactly who her friends had been, the ones that'd dared her out into the castle in the first place. Her dorm mates. It had amazed Alison once more, that wink, that sharing of knowledge. Professor Whit knew who was involved—she could've gotten them in deep trouble, too—and yet she still was willing to withhold the information and become a chocolate pudding monster looking thing.

Alison absolutely loved her Divination professor.
So, what'd you guys think? Can you picture Lucy--erm, sorry "Professor Whit"--as a chocolate pudding monster? I did. ^-^ It made me laugh.
Anyways, I hope you all liked it. I'll do my best to post a new chapter up much sooner than this next time, promise.



Chapter 17: Nimbus 2000s and a New Name
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Hey, just a warning: I had to use the Simple Editor, so yeah..... I did my best at making sure everything was done right..... Unfortunately, I can't make any promises, so..... Hey, getting it out, right? ^-^ Either way, I hope you all enjoy it and Happy Reading!

"Lucy, may I ask a favor of you, please?" Flitwick asked, blowing his nose directly after speaking. Lucy smiled and nodded, turning away from her food to give the small professor her full attention. "If it's not too much trouble, can you cover a few of my classes today? I know that you have a full day and all, but........ none of the other Professors can do it and I'm hoping you could........" Lucy nodded brightly and popped a spoonful of scrambled eggs in her mouth.

"I'd love to!" Lucy agreed cheerily, after swallowing. "How many? All of them?" Flitwick, who had beamed, now looked shocked.

"All of them? Lucy, that's too much! You have your own classes as well! How in the name Merlin can you teach two classes at once? And they're so different! I can't impose!" Lucy shook her head with a chuckle.

"You're not imposing, silly!" Lucy exclaimed, Flitwick blinking, he unable to think of a proper response to her eagerness. "I love your students! It won't be one blink of trouble, don't you worry your sick little head about it!" Lucy's eyes shone brightly at the challenge. "This'll be fun for me, don't you worry. Just get better." Lucy winked at Flitwick. "I'm pretty sure Poppy can have you all fixed up in no time!" Flitwick let out a startled laugh and nodded.

"Yeah........ Okay, yeah. I'll head down to the Hospital Wing now. Thanks, Lucy, I really appreciate it........ Here are the lesson plans, but since you'll be over-swamped, I don't expect you to finish everything....... Hmm, what else......."

"Go to the Hospital Wing and get some rest, okay? Leave everything to me." Lucy grinned broadly and Flitwick nodded again, dazed and confused. He shook his head, more to himself than anyone else, and left the Great Hall. Lucy Whit. Who could understand that woman? Girl, Flitwick corrected himself. Lucy was only a girl, not even a teenager yet. Flitwick paused in his walking about halfway to the Hospital Wing. He just realized that he'd not only referred to Lucy as a woman and saw her as a fellow adult and colleague, but he'd just left a—technically—child in charge of........ Oh, no. Mustn't think of such stressful things when one is sick....... Just get better, then attempt to prepare to be ready for classes again. And whatever you do, Flitwick reminded himself tiredly, do not think of Lucy or her age or how she's in charge of many, many, many students today.

"Ohh......." Flitwick groaned, putting a hand to his head. "My head......."

And back in the Great Hall, Lucy was laughing quietly to herself. "Today's gonna be fun!" She sang under her breath, before rising to her feet. Breakfast was about half over, and she had an announcement to make. She was teaching Charms today, right? Well, she kinda needed a wand for that. Preferably hers. "Headmaster Dumbledore, may I please make an announcement?" Lucy asked pleasantly, the whole Great Hall already silent and waiting for her to speak to them.

"Of course, Professor Whitaker." Dumbledore said with a smile and a nod, and Lucy beamed at him before turning to face the students, many of them waving at her.

"Hullo everyone." Lucy greeted them cheerfully. "I hope you all are enjoying your breakfast. I just have a little announcement." She paused thoughtfully. "Okay, well two little announcements, I guess, but they're related." Lucy licked her lips and took a deep breath, not nervous but pausing to think of how to phrase her next words. "I will be taking over Professor Flitwick's classes today—" Cheers from Flitwick's students, loud and boisterous. Lucy smiled slightly before continuing. "but seem to be missing a rather important tool for teaching Charms. My wand." There were loud gasps down at the Gryffindor table that not many noticed through the murmurings. Lucy continued quickly. "I lent my wand out late yesterday and it seems to have disappeared. I'm not sure what happened after I lent my wand to yesterday's PIC, but if anyone knows where my wand is, well........" Lucy shrugged. "I'd like to have it back. Please." She grinned a little and laughed. "I can assure you that—"

"Whoever is found with Professor Whitaker's wand will be in a great deal of trouble!" Minerva interrupted, furious. How dare someone take a professor's wand?! "There will be point deductions! There will be detentions! There will be letters home! I can assure all of you that—"

"No trouble will come to the person that returns my wand." Lucy interrupted pleasantly, sounding as if she were agreeing with Minerva but making so sharp a U-turn in the tone of the announcement that the startled Transfiguration professor stuttered slightly and blinked in confusion at the girl. Lucy smiled easily and nodded. "Thank you, Professor McGonagall, for your assistance in this matter, but I have it covered." Lucy smiled brightly at Minerva before turning back to face the students. "No trouble will come to the person that returns my wand. It doesn't matter quite when I get it back, but I would appreciate it before I begin teaching Charms today. If not, well, I'll simply borrow a student's wand to show everyone how to do whatever spell I need to." Lucy's eyes twinkled mischievously. "I can assure everyone that the wand I borrow will be returned immediately." Laughter from the students. Lucy noticed a look of intense relief wash over Alison's features and fought a smile. One of the best parts in Lucy's adventures was that she never needed to lie. She could always find a way around whatever obstacles were placed in front of her. And laugh about them afterwards. "Thank you all greatly for listening. Enjoy the rest of your breakfast." Lucy shot a wink so quickly at Alison that no one else noticed it. "I'll be in my office merging Divination and Charms until classes start, if anyone needs me. Oh, and can all my first class students report to the Quidditch Pitch first thing? Thanks!" Amidst many confused looks from her colleagues and anticipated glances from the students, Lucy left the Great Hall to, as she'd previously stated, merge her two classes of the day.

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"Okay, so the other day I was looking over my funds," Lucy began her first class—sixth year Divination students and fifth year Charms kids—cheerily, getting many a confused look in return. "and I noticed that I have quite an amount of money that I can use for resources in my class." Blank stares. What in the world was she talking about? Divination took basically no funds at all. Lucy grinned, reading their minds. "I'm sure you're all wondering why we're out on the Quidditch Pitch; let me explain." She began, seeming to go in a completely different direction as she plopped to the ground, settling comfortably on the grass and motioning for all the students to join her.

"As you all know, today's class is Divination/Charms........ Or is it Charms/Divination, alphabetically?" Lucy paused, actually thinking that over for a moment as her students exchanged bewildered glances. "Anyway, most would believe that there is no fathomable way to merge Divination with Charms." Lucy grinned. "And Quidditch." Jaws dropped, eyes widened....... it was actually rather amusing to see. "But I," Lucy continued after a brief pause in which she assessed the expressions of her students, "have found a most delightful way to combine the three........" Lucy pulled out her wand, it having been returned to her by Alison just before breakfast let out—free of chocolate pudding, of course—and Summoned quite a few somethings that left the watching students even more flabbergasted than they'd been previously.

Brooms. And not just two or three, no. There were enough brooms for what looked like all of them to use....... And then some. And they weren't the school's ratty old Cleansweeps, either. They were Nimbus'! Nimbus 2000s, to be precise. Each and every one, which was almost more of a shock than hearing Lucy say they would be playing Quidditch during class. The Nimbus 2000 wasn't even supposed to come out for Merlin knew how many years! How on Earth had Lucy gotten a hold of one, let alone so many?!

Lucy stood and caught one of the brooms before it could gently lower itself onto the ground as the rest of them did. She smiled softly and stroked the broom as if afraid it would break under too rough a touch. For a moment, each and every one of her students could see something in her eyes that wasn't there before, almost a memory, then, it was gone, Lucy's eyes back to normal in an instant. She grinned at her seated students, only the right side of her mouth pulling up, the left seeming to be busy with some other thought. It was an entrancing little grin, almost shy and childlike in its quality; endearing and heart-stopping in its own way. Lucy looked down at the broom, biting her bottom lip absently, then spoke. "I bought these for the school," She began slowly, looking up at the fifteen- and sixteen-year-old boys and girls. "I saw how bad the old brooms were—dangerous, too—so I went out to a broom shop and bought the lot of them........ Well, the Nimbus 2000s, anyway." Lucy smile sheepishly and shrugged, looking almost embarrassed. She didn't look at the students as she continued, instead looking up to the sky or down at the broom in her hands. "I, um, just didn't want anyone getting hurt on the old Cleansweeps, and figured that maybe if I was gonna buy some new brooms anyway I might as well buy some better ones...... You know, because some of the Quidditch players might not have their own brooms and have to use the school ones, so there's that........ And, well....... Yeah. It wasn't that big of a deal, not really. I mean, it's just a couple brooms, no biggie....... And I figure that I could always work on the old Cleansweeps—you know, fix them up, make them safe, make them run better and handling and whatever else—so that they're always there, just in case, you know....... Somebody needs them, or wants to take a fly around Hogwarts or something....... Whatever......" Lucy shrugged, studying the grass at her feet. "You know....... Just because......." There was a long silence as Lucy shifted, looking uncomfortable in her own skin for a moment as she admitted what she'd done and was doing; there'd been rumors of the origin of the new school brooms, and here was the answer. Lucy had done it....... And told them, basically, why, knowing they'd ask and not wanting to withhold information or lie to them.

Lucy cleared her throat loudly, still not looking at her stunned students. "Let's, um...... Let's start class, shall we?" Silence. "......I'll just, erm, explain how everything's gonna work for today......."

And so she did, slipping into a more comfortable skin than the almost itchy one Lucy had been feeling trapped in. She often did things of such kindness for others; admitting that she had done them was something entirely different. It made her feel awkward, weird—as if she wasn't really there, or as if everyone could see clear through her down to her very memories; the ones that she kept even from herself. It wasn't a pleasant feeling; Lucy would've been happier digging her own grave—or being forced to remain within twenty feet of her aunt—than admit one of the many kindness' she performed, unnoticed, to anyone, let alone those who were affected by it. She just didn't like it; Lucy would've rather not told anyone. But she was not a liar, and Lucy knew her students; they would've asked. And Lucy figured it was easier to just come out with it—all of it, all at once—than avoid their questions.

And yet, for all her own modesty and humility, Lucy was always the first to assert a person's best qualities to them in hopes that they'd appreciate themselves, never realizing that maybe, just maybe, she needed to do the same for herself.

"Okay, so what I had in mind was almost a study technique thing," Lucy said, offering her words in such a way that they almost begged for those listening not to speak to her of what she'd just admitted or how she'd bared herself so openly to those watching. "Okay, so what I was thinking was that we could do a type of Quidditch—no Bludgers or Snitch, which rules quite a lot out, to be honest—and for ever point scored the scoring team needs to ask the other team a question based on their class. For the Divination teams, it'll be a trivia type thing. For the Charms teams, it'll be a spell of some sort they would be learning today." Lucy paused, taking a deep breath as she relaxed more fully into her job, the death grip she had on the broom loosened until she was barely holding it at all. "Then, after a certain amount of time, the game will be over and the team with the most points will win....... Unless the team with the least amount of points wants to challenge them. Double or nothing. Each team gets the lesson plan for the other team's class; if they're challenged at the end, they can choose anything from today's class—or a class from before—and question each other. Whichever team gets that last question right, wins that round." Lucy paused, stretched somewhat, rolled her head around before shaking it. "It'll be like a mini-tournament, if we can do this quickly enough." She said, glancing at her watch. "So what do you guys say? Let's do this?" She asked, holding out her broom, surrounded by the rest of the brooms.

"Yeah!" Was the unanimous reply, the students rushing at the brooms and breaking into small teams of five—Lucy explained this as they began splitting up. One to guard the goal posts, three as Chasers, and one to handle the lesson plans and choose possible questions. Lucy counted the number of groups then split the Quidditch Pitch a accordingly, pausing for just a moment to assure them that she'd set it to rights before classes ended for the day. Extra goalposts rose from the sectioned Pitch, as well as sand appearing. Not only that, but magical barriers were set to keep the Quaffles from falling into other games.

Lucy did this all without even her wand as help, though no one noticed, they were so excited to get up in the air.

Lucy took note of how fast the games were going—scores were being made left and right, questions hurled at other players at blinding speed—that it barely took fifteen to twenty minutes for points to pile up so quickly that Lucy had to whistle loudly in order to both get attention and stop all the games simultaneously. The students froze where they were flying, previously airborne Quaffles drifted to the grass, questions were cut off half spoken...... And Lucy smiled, motioning for everyone to gather round. They did so compliantly, though more than one of them—and not just the boys, either, Lucy noted—looked put out. Lucy assured that the games were not over, instead having each team tell her their points, then asking if anyone wanted to Challenge the other team. All of the loosing teams wanted to do so, obviously, and this was where Lucy needed to pay attention. One by one, the hardest questions were picked and fired at the winning teams from the teams they were beating as Lucy watched closely. Some won, some lost. But, she noticed, everyone was paying attention. Which was good. Very, very good.

Once the Challenges were over, Lucy switched around the teams so that not only were there different players on each team, but they were facing different teams altogether, then let them go at it again.

That was pretty much how Lucy's classes went that day—they were shockingly efficient, to be honest. One would think that, with the two very different classes and all the different ages that were there—along with the fact that Quidditch was a rather crazy sport in itself—the classes would've been a mess. But no. And the best part? They got through each and every one of Flitwick's lesson plans for that day.

Lucy couldn't help but hum as she made her way to the Hospital Wing that day after classes, an obvious spring in her step. It was only through an amazing amount of self control that she kept from skipping her way down the corridors. She had swung by Hogsmeade, borrowing one of the school brooms to get there more quickly, and picked up some flowers and candy before heading back to the castle. Now, with candy in an inside pocket, flowers swinging gently in one hand, and a large, opened bar of chocolate poking out of an outside pocket, Lucy was on her way to visit with Flitwick. The chocolate, though, was for her; Lucy broke little pieces off of it with her free hand, popping the delicious sweet into her mouth where she let it melt slowly, the taste of it coating her tongue, before swallowing what was left and repeating the process. It was a habit that Lucy had adopted when she was very, very young—a way to make whatever sweets she got last as long as possible. Sweets, after all, were a rare commodity for Lucy to come by at her aunt's house. It was only after she started coming to Hogwarts that Lucy realized she had somewhat of a sweet tooth. Too used to not having access to so much candy and chocolate left the girl rarely eating it even at Hogwarts, where she could've probably eaten nothing but sugary foods and gotten away with it.

This bar of chocolate was a little treat that could last a long time, if Lucy ate it as she ate chocolate at her aunt's house.

"Oh, hey Professor Whit! Where ya goin?" Lucy blinked and looked up at the cheery third year that'd almost run into her. He was taller than her, of course: Many first years had at least a couple inches on Lucy. There were some who swore the girl could be a first year, she was so small.

"Hello, Mr. Williams." Lucy greeted the boy easily. "I'm on my way to the Hospital Wing. Professor Flitwick hasn't been feeling well so I figure a nice little visit oughta cheer him up some." The third year, John, nodded.

"Wow Professor, that's really nice of you." Lucy looked down, breaking eye contact with John for the first time, confusing him slightly. She shrugged noncommittally but did not answer.

"John! Hey, John! Guess wha—oh, hello Professor!" Lucy looked up at a girl who had, before her teaching job, been her classmate. Now she was her student. Lucy smiled.

"Ah, hello, Miss Abbot, how are you? How is your brother doing?" She asked pleasantly. Hannah shrugged.

"Okay, I guess. I think he's hanging out with his girlfriend in the common room right now." Lucy nodded; Hannah's brother was a fifth year Hufflepuff, as was his current girlfriend.

"Give them my regards, will you? I'd drop by myself, but I'm on my way to see Professor Flitwick, as I'd just finished telling Mr. Williams here before you joined us." Hannah grinned and nodded.

"You're just too nice, Professor Whit." She said with a wide grin, shaking her head lightly. Again, Lucy looked away and shrugged, confusing Hannah and John.

".......Thank you," Lucy finally said slowly, "but I'd best be on my way before these flowers get too thirsty." John and Hannah nodded, exchanging odd glances as Lucy gave them a cheery wave and went on her way. They watched her until she turned a corner before speaking to one another.

"So, what were you gonna say?" John asked curiously. Hannah's eyes lit up and she launched into an avid retelling of her Charms class that day, the two beginning to walk together, heading in the opposite direction as Lucy had gone.

When Lucy arrived at the Hospital Wing, she didn't enter right away. Instead, she poked her head through the door and knocked softly. Poppy came out curiously, wondering why anyone was knocking, and saw Lucy leaning in the doorway. "Hello, Mi—Professor Whitaker. May I ask what you are doing here? Are you feeling alright?"

"Lucy." Lucy corrected, then continued. "I'm here for a quick visit with Filius." Poppy nodded and pointed to a cot.

"He's over there. But he's sleeping, so please don't wake him." Lucy nodded and made her way to where Flitwick was sleeping. His face had more color in it than it did that morning, and his sniffles seemed to be gone; Lucy decided that he must be feeling worlds better. Poppy was magic....... And not just in the obvious sense.

Lucy Summoned a vase and filled it with water, putting the flowers in it and placing it on the part-Goblin Charms professor's bedside table. Humming softly to herself, Lucy put the candy she'd gotten at Hogsmeade by the flowers, as well as a large card she'd had basically everyone sign who's attended either her classes or lunch sign. "Feel better, Professor Flitwick, sir." Lucy whispered, feeling very much like a student at the moment and not the faux teacher she was during Knot's absence. It was great being a professor at Hogwarts, but Lucy was, after all, just a kid, really. She was having fun, true, but she was tired. So, so tired.

Lucy sighed and sat on a free cot, suddenly feeling exhausted. She'd had a long day so far, packed, but all the other days as Divination Professor, as well as her severe lack of sleep, was finally starting to get to her. She let out a breath and shook her head. It was Friday. To the students, it meant two whole days to relax. Lucy did not have that luxury, especially not with all that she herself had planned. Nope.

Lucy stood and stretched pained muscles that she hadn't noticed were aching. She groaned slightly as a sharp prick of pain appeared quickly, disappearing just as fast. She needed a rest; Lucy could admit that much.

"Lucy, are you feeling quite alright?" Poppy asked, concerned, having heard Lucy's light groan of pain as she made her way from her office.

"Oh yes, Poppy. I'm doing just fine, thanks." Lucy assured her with a smile.

"Are you sure? You look like you could use a long rest, dear." Poppy said, not convinced and perhaps the only adult in Hogwarts at the moment who recognized Lucy still as a child, regardless of the phenomenal job she was doing as a professor. Lucy nodded.

"Yes, don't worry." Lucy flashed Poppy a brilliant grin and slipped out of the Hospital Wing quickly.

She needed a long rest; Lucy could admit that much....... To herself, anyway. As far as she was concerned, everyone else could see her as indestructible. It was better that way, then having people worry about her. She was strong, after all. She could handle whatever. No one needed to know that she was exhausted, beginning to feel strain on her muscles, mind, and possibly even magic at the rate she was going.

There was no need to worry anyone needlessly. Or at all. Especially not if it was about her. Lucy shook her head. She was fine, no need for anyone to worry. Even me, she assured herself, quickening her pace slightly. I'll be fine soon enough. No need to bother Poppy with anything; I'm sure it's all in my head or something. I'm okay. Lucy nodded slightly, convincing herself...... Or trying to, anyway.

Before Lucy could continue to reassure herself of her health, she came across a group of boys who seemed to be setting up some type of elaborate prank. She couldn't help but smile at them, shaking her head lightly. Those four, always causing trouble.

Lucy silently crept up behind the four boys, waiting until she was directly behind them to clear her throat as loudly as possible, thus effectively scaring the crap out of them.

"AHH!" James, Sirius, Remus, and Peter shouted at the top of their lungs, whipping around so quickly that their necks cracked loudly. "Whit?!" They exclaimed in disbelief. Lucy carefully kept her face impassive, eyes dancing.

"Boys." She said calmly, voice carrying only the slightest hint of laughter. She gave them a slight nod as she continued on her way, pausing not too far from them. "And it's Professor Whit." Lucy turned slightly, winked at them. "Have a good day; I'll be seeing you four later, I'm sure."

And she did. At the detention the got that night from Minerva for the prank they pulled that had exploded during dinner. Lucy had generously offered to take over their week's worth of detentions for Minerva who, enraged and flustered, had no choice but to agree to Lucy's offer.

"Hello, Misters Potter, Black, Lupin, and Pettigrew. Nice to see you all on time." Lucy greeted James, Sirius, Remus, and Peter, ginning widely. They, too, seemed on the brink of laughter as the filed into Lucy's classroom. Detention with Professor Whit? Bring it on; should be fun. Probably the easiest detentions ever.

"Hullo, Professor."

"Sup, Professor Whit?"

"Hey, Professor."

"How's it goin?"

"Please, take a seat." Lucy said cheerily, James, Sirius, Remus, and Peter plopping into a couple seats easily, grinning. "Now, Professor McGonagall was very clear about the type of detentions she believed you four deserved." Lucy paused thoughtfully and read from a piece of parchment. "'Those four troublemakers should be forced to scrub every inch of Hogwarts as well as clip every blade of glass by hand! Not only that, but they should be made to polish each and every stone in this castle without magic! And after they've finished with that.....'" Lucy paused, took a breath, shook her head. "I think you four get the gist of that....... Do I really need to continue?" The four boys shook their heads in silent unison. Lucy let a little grin twitch at the corners of her mouth before continuing. "I, on the other hand, felt as though her suggestions were just a bit over the top, personally. Myself, I'd rather design a different punishment for you four." Lucy's eyes danced merrily. "Follow me, please?" She said, pushing off from her desk and leading them from her classroom. James, Sirius, Remus, and Peter climbed down the ladder. Lucy jumped, transferring the motion into a stride with ease. "This way." She sang cheerily, leading four of the worst troublemakers Hogwarts ever had in the direction their prank had been set up in—they didn't know it, of course, or what she was planning, but followed their professor. Silently, for a bit, then they four began whispering to one another. Their voices climbed slowly, almost imperceptivity. Lucy let them talk.

"We're here." Lucy announced suddenly, stopping dead in her tracks so abruptly that James had to leap back to keep from smashing into her, Sirius, Remus, and Peter crashing into him in a much rougher way than they would've had his reflexes and instincts not have moved him so quickly.

James, Sirius, Remus, and Peter looked past Lucy in confusion. They were in an empty corridor. The corridor their prank had gone off in, true, but nothing was there. What were they supposed to do? Just stand there?

"Uh…… Professor Whit? What're we supposed to do here?" Remus asked; Lucy smiled, eyes burning brightly.

"What do you believe you are to do here, Mr. Lupin?" Lucy asked instead. Remus shrugged, confused.

"There's nothing to do here, ma'am!" Sirius exclaimed, confused; Lucy was the only teacher he addressed as such with no sarcastic or playful inflections at all.

"Yeah professor…… I don't understand." James agreed with a nod, pushing his glasses up the bridge of his nose some after they'd slipped down. Lucy said nothing, only turned to look at Peter. Certainly not the smartest, that was true enough, or the four of the boys with the most common sense, that much was obvious, but he wasn't completely hopeless at the same time, either. And besides, Lucy had faith in him.

"………Are we just supposed to…… keep walking?" Peter hazarded, wincing immediately after speaking as if waiting to hear his answer was all wrong. But no; Lucy beamed at the boy and nodded proudly.

"Exactly! Good job, Mr. Pettigrew." Peter sighed, looking relieved. Then the realization that he was the only of the four who'd answered correctly set in and Peter beamed brightly, face lighting up with pride. He was still confused as to why, but he'd gotten it right! James, Sirius, and Remus gave him congratulatory pats and grins, nodding and complimenting him for getting it right. Lucy couldn't help smile at this exchange; despite everything, James, Sirius, and Remus really were good friends to Peter. They were genuinely happy for the boy, praising him with easy grins. It was a truthful rumor that the three older boys could probably be friends with anyone in the blink of an eye, but they accepted Peter just as he was and never mistreated him. Teased him yes, as well as other things, but always in a joking manner. They always helped Peter out—in school, in sports, in everything. Lucy had as well and still did, despite being a "professor", but the four boys were almost a package deal they were so close.

A word popped into Lucy's head: A name. Briefly, for a short moment it raced across her mind. Then, the four boys walked down the corridor and set off their own prank, and Lucy forgot what she was thinking about as James, Sirius, Remus, and Peter burst out laughing at the trick their favorite professor had pulled on them. A fitting punishment, and a fun one at that. It was the best detention they'd ever had, even if they had to clean up the mess afterwards. They would've anyway, they were in such great moods. And besides, Lucy let them use magic to speed it along a bit. After they'd finished cleaning and still laughing and praising Lucy for the great idea, the five of them headed to Lucy's office. She had the four boys sit wherever they wanted in the comfy—there was really no other way to describe it—office. There was only one last thing she needed to have them do before she let them go, and it was write a letter of apology to Dumbledore. It was more for Professor McGonagall than for the Headmaster, she explained, but it would probably be wise to write it nonetheless. Also, if they could tell her the different spells they'd used to set everything up, that'd be great.

James, Sirius, Remus, and Peter nodded and wrote a joint apology letter, managing to make it sound sincere though everyone in the room knew that they were anything but. As the four boys wrote their letter, they explained the different spells they'd had to use, laughing and telling Lucy of the many things they'd had to "borrow" for their prank to work. Confiding in her was more like it, as so many other students did, knowing she wouldn't repeat what they told her to save her own soul.

The word crossed Lucy's mind again at the mention of the boys' "borrowing". So, interest piqued and with nothing to distract her now as James, Sirius, Remus, and Peter's quills slowed, the scratching sounds ending as they reached the end of their letter, Lucy looked it up in a large dictionary she had in her office. She read the definition slowly, then pulled out a Thesaurus for the heck of it, just to make sure she had it right.

Raider.

Looter.

Prowler.

Intruder.

Lucy paused a moment, fixed the synonyms in her mind to sound softer, nicer. More like the actual word, so they fit—so perfectly that Lucy didn't even notice that the four boys she'd been supervising had already finished their letter, said goodbye and goodnight, and had left for Gryffindor Tower……. These synonyms were perfect, nothing like the rough, mean, insulting words before them.

James Potter.

Sirius Black.

Remus Lupin.

Peter Pettigrew.

There. Much better. Now for the actual, original word, just to see if it really worked as well as she thought and felt it did.

Marauder.

Lucy smiled, spoke the word aloud. "Marauder." Repeated it, tasting it, picturing James, Sirius, Remus, and Peter. "Marauders." Lucy laughed happily. "James Potter, Sirius Black, Remus Lupin, Peter Pettigrew. The Marauders." Lucy beamed. "The Marauders."

And they were, really. They were the Marauders. Their names were the perfect synonyms to the basically never used word. Not "raider" or "looter" or "prowler" or even "intruder", though one Minerva McGonagall would undoubtedly protest to that quite viciously, Lucy was sure. James, Sirius, Remus, and Peter weren't anything bad; They were Marauders.

"The Marauders." Lucy laughed, reverting now that she was alone back to her real age, away from her professional professor self. She was wholly herself at this moment; it felt good. "My family; the Marauders and the Evans."

For what could've been the first time since she was placed in their care, Lucy completely and totally forgot that the Whitakers existed.

And that, when she looked back on it later, also felt good. Great, even.

-----------------------------------------------

Lucy hummed softly to herself, a soft little tune. A lullaby she'd never heard before in her life but she had not created. It had just appeared in her mind that morning when she'd woken and had remained there all through her morning classes. Now, Lucy was headed to lunch, the words forming carefully in her mind in accordance to the tune. She was so lost in her little songworld that she didn't notice Dumbledore until she bumped into him. "Oh, I'm terribly sorry, Albus." Lucy said, voice and eyes so bright that they betrayed the verity of her words. Albus smiled and nodded.

"Not a problem, my dear." My dear. The first term of endearment that Lucy had ever heard directed toward her, ever since her life with the Whitakers had begun. Dumbledore called her Lucy 'my dear' every now and then, mostly when they weren't in front of the entire student and staff body, but not always when they were alone. It made a special place grow inside her that was reserved only for the old Headmaster; it was as if he were the grandfather—a real family member—that she'd been denied for perhaps longer than the girl could remember. "And may I just ask, what is that lovely tune you were humming?"

Lucy blinked at the question, mouth opening of its own accord. The words slipped fluidly from her mouth in a tongue she'd never once spoken in her life, accompanied not a moment after by the words. Lucy sang with a quiet, lilting simplicity; in French, when before this day she wouldn't have known the meaning of oui or non. She sang the lullaby beautifully, in a voice that was a cross between a small child and…… Something else. She had a pleasant voice; not the best ever, but pretty and light. Almost entrancing, in a way as well, as the small child sung so beautifully in French that it seemed she'd never spoken anything but it. She sang the French lullaby as if she were the one who'd written it, knowing every dip and twist in the tune and change in the words as if they were a part of her…… And she sang it happily, as well, with a bright light, a fire, in her eyes.

Albus Dumbledore was not a man who showed his surprise; he did not do this now. It was not good for a leader to show too broad an array of emotions: Surprise, fear, and other emotions of the like were not helpful in just about all of his endeavors. But hearing this child begin singing in pretty, perfect French out of literally nowhere was quite the shock, testing his mask better than many of the other moments in his life. But Albus Dumbledore was a man of control, and he passed this test with the ease that came with years and years of practice.

Lucy finished the song quietly, ending it and immediately loosing the French tongue with which she'd sung it. Confusingly enough, this strange burst of French did not surprise or disorient her at all. Quite the contrary, actually; Lucy felt more normal now than she had all her life. She'd never before felt so at ease within her own skin, as if she'd finally reached a place, even for a moment, where she belonged in every way.

Then, Albus spoke, and the moment disappeared, making Lucy's skin return to its almost itchy normality, once again just small enough for her to feel as an imposter in her own body. As if there was something missing…… Or something that a part of her refused to acknowledge, thus making her life that much more impossibly difficult. It was as if there was another Lucy out there, somewhere. Lost. Alone. Desperately fighting for a foothold, to regain her place. To be herself.

But for now, Lucy had to ignore the intensely uncomfortable feeling that had always plagued her, that she was all wrong, that her skin was too small. As she had always done, and now did with more ease than Albus hid his emotions.

Albus had been silent for only a moment before speaking, noticing the slightest flicker in the back of Lucy's eyes; as if a light, an important flame, had been put out. An odd, heavy feeling momentarily touched his heart, then was gone by the childlike smile Lucy gave him at his words. She was so much a child it was amazing that anyone believed she could even be old enough to attend Hogwarts. "I don't really know where I heard the song, sir." Lucy said in her light voice, so much like a child's that it made Albus instinctively want to protect her from all harm. "In fact, I don't believe I've ever heard it in my life." Lucy let out a light, silvery, twinkling laugh. "To tell you the truth, Grandfather, I've never spoken a word of French in my whole life." That little laugh again, the accidental endearment slipping by unnoticed at the enormity of Lucy's words.

"Never before, Lucy? But how, then, did you come to know of that song? And even more, how can you sing it?" Lucy shrugged, a sunny smile on her face and in her eyes.

"I have no idea, sir. I woke up this morning with it in my mind." Lucy cocked her head at the tall man, looking for a moment like a puzzled puppy. "I knew the answer just a moment ago, sir, I'm sure of it. But I don't know it anymore. It left before I was able to get it completely." Lucy spoke with the wide-eyed, complete honesty that one would expect of a toddler who was trying to explain why they'd disappeared for hours on end, making their parents frantic with worry, only to come home around lunchtime with a fistful of flowers and mud stains all over their clothes, the small, yet impossibly endearing eyes wide as they tried to understand what the confusion was about and why so many people hadn't done the same themselves upon seeing the wonderful day. "Why are you crying, mummy?" The small child would ask, then hold out the flowers. "I picked these for you when I saw them. They made me smile and I like it when you smile, so I brought them home....... Why are you so pale, daddy? Did you want to chase the frog with me that I found in the woods? You can come next time if you want....... But why aren't you at work?" The child brightens. "Are you staying today to play with me and mummy? Can we go to the park?" And already, the morning trip forgotten, the child cannot possibly fathom what a proper explanation would be, for they wouldn't be able to remember it for all the world, not right then. Because they'd already forgotten, the information gone from them to the place where lost socks gathered to play, and broken, forgotten toys got together to dance, their pieces coming back together there. Trying to remember was pointless; the child knows this and does not bother. The others don't understand and thus want to know what has just happened even more than before.

"I'm……. not quite sure I understand what you mean, my dear." Albus said, clearly intrigued. "How can you not remember something that just happened?" Lucy blinked, and Albus once again saw something go missing. She seemed for a moment to truly forget; not just what had gone on in her head, but everything. Who she was, where she was, and what she was doing in a sunny, brightly lit corridor of a castle older than all of its occupants combined. Albus could literally see when it all came rushing back; light and understanding flooded her eyes, recognition appeared as she looked at him. He wondered where she had gone and what had triggered the sudden lapse. He was about to ask what had just happened, but almost at the same instant he was to speak, Lucy's own words literally blew his mind.

"Oh, hullo, Albus. Are you heading to lunch now?" Albus blinked. Gone. It was all gone. The French lullaby she'd sung for him, the conversation they'd had, the forgetting. It was gone. As if it'd never happened.

Lucy cocked her head at Albus, again the ever-puzzled and curious puppy. So he spoke, deciding to go with whatever it was that'd just happened than confuse her more…… and needlessly. "Well, thanks, and you, Lucy?" He asked instead of the billions of questions he wanted to. They began walking in the direction of the Great Hall and lunch.

"Oh, nothing much. Heading to lunch instead of teaching, which is always a bit of a downer, truth be told." Lucy added with a laugh, a thing that no other teacher had ever said to Albus before. She continued, as if sensing his thoughts. "I love teaching, Albus. It's the greatest thing since air, I bet." She laughed again. "I could do nothing but teach here at Hogwarts for the rest of my life; literally, nothing else. And I'd be happy as a clam, though I've never really understood how a clam can be so happy all the time as to be constantly referred to as such." Lucy shone with an inner light as she spoke, truth ringing in every word she spoke. "I never thought I could be so happy doing something so downtrodden by so many, really." Lucy laughed again. "I never really pictured myself with a future, but I suppose I must've inwardly believed if I ever made it that far I'd be doing something different. Helping people or something." Lucy shrugged brightly as the doors to the Great Hall came into view. She sighed softly as they began their descent to aforementioned doors, a piece of her slipping out accidentally, an admittance. "I'm going to hate it when Professor Knot comes back." She whispered softly, and with so much sadness in her child's countenance that it near broke Albus' heart. Before he could so much as think of what to say, though, they'd gone through into the Great Halls and Lucy was back to being her 'Professor Whit' self. Not very far from her student self, Albus had noticed, but enough to make a distinct difference. Very distinct, very clear. Very there, although no one else seemed to want to acknowledge it. Including him.


Well, I hope you all liked it! ^-^ And hey, Happy Reading!

Chapter 18: Hogsmeade
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What are we going to do when Knot comes back? Albus found himself wondering as he watched Lucy interact with some of the other professors. They were in charge of today's Hogsmeade trip and so were heading out to the gate to help Filch see who was allowed to go and who might be trying to sneak past. Lucy was chattering brightly, using her hands to make vivid descriptions of whatever she was talking about. The professors that were walking with her seemed enraptured by whatever she was telling them; it was clear that they were hanging onto her every word.

Lucy had—surprisingly—become a rather vital part in the day-to-day activity at Hogwarts. There was nothing she didn't help out with, whether directly or indirectly. It wasn't just the students that had some to love the young professor, after all: The staff had fallen in love with the bright-eyed, irreplaceable girl. And how could they not? Lucy clearly cared for all of them and showed it in every possible way she could, all the time. Not just to the students, all of whom adored her, but to the staff as well. Professors, House Elves, even Filch got a winning smile and a warm greeting from Lucy….. Which, to be honest, he hadn't appreciated for a while. It was only when he realized that she was in no way going to let up on the man until he let her be his friend that he gave up his fight and allowed her to voice concerns for him when he felt sick, for example. Lucy was a persistent one, that was true, but it was a genuine persistence that came from truly caring for someone else.

That was the really odd—to put it nicely—thing about Lucy. She actually cared, even if she had no reason to.

Albus watched as all of the students' whose passes Lucy checked stopped to chat with her for a few moments. The temporary Divination professor was just as comfortable with the students as she was with the teachers: It was as if Lucy saw them—each and every person she talked to, no matter the age—was her friend. Granted, Albus didn't know how Lucy interacted with others outside of Hogwarts, but still.


There isn't one living thing inside this castle that wouldn't be devastated if Lucy ever died..... If anything ever happened to her,

"Okay, breathe." Albus said softly, stretching the word "breathe" out as long as he could, forcing him to take a deep breath of air. He frowned to himself. It wasn't good to become so attached to any person to the point that the mere thought of anything happening to them messed him up internally so horribly that he lost all his composure….. Especially not him. Albus, with his position—in the war, in everything—couldn't afford to have such a liability….. Though that hardly seemed the word. It wasn't good to become too attached, especially with Voldemort growing in strength and his numbers growing in size. If it became clear to anyone that he was close to Lucy—erm, a person—then she—um, him or her—would become an instant target that would need to be protected constantly. Albus shook his head sadly. It's a sad day when a person must be cautious about whom he cares about. He reflected quietly. The thought still echoing faintly in the back of his mind, it took Albus a moment to realize that Lucy, done checking passes and chatting with students, was waving brightly at him. A goodbye, Albus noted. He raised a hand in farewell, smiling fondly at the girl as she beamed and headed off towards Hogsmeade. For the briefest moment, Albus felt the sickening weight of an omen, some ominous forewarning, settle onto his heart at the parting: It was almost as if….. But no, that wasn't the thing to be thinking about on such a nice day. Definitely not something to think about….. Not any day. Never, Albus thought, shoving the thought—and the feeling that came with it—back to the furthest corner of his mind.


This is definitely going into the Pensieve.

She'll be perfectly fine. Nothing...... Nothing will happen to her today, or ever.
Albus thought, turning the moment he could no longer even imagine he saw Lucy. This is a moment I absolutely wish to forget..... Or at least not have in my mind. He suppressed a shudder as he made his way quickly to his office. Thoughts like those can haunt a soul...... The image of Lucy saying goodbye struck him again, harder this time than before. She was..... But no. No more bad thoughts, not now. Not about Lucy.Funny, how hope can change instincts so instantly.


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"Nothing will happen." That's what Albus had muttered to himself over and over until he'd believed it. Unfortunately, it was this desperate convincing of himself that kept Albus from taking a little "stroll" around Hogsmeade. Just in case.

So he didn't know about the attack until it was over….. Which didn't help his horror in the least, no it did not. If anything, it made him even more horror-stricken. Wasn't there. He thought numbly for a moment as Minerva filled him in on the information she'd managed to gather from those who'd been there. The information was severely fractured: There was only one person that was there the whole time and could relay every second of what had happened as it had happened. And she wasn't talking. Wasn't there. Albus thought again, nothing showing on his expression to betray the need to empty the contents of his stomach in a most unpleasant way. Wasn't there. Attacked. Hogsmeade. What.....? Why? For some reason, Albus couldn't think of an answer to his question, although it was clear enough. Anyone could figure it out, after all.

"Ah….. I see." Albus said slowly, letting it all sink in nice and slow-like. He got it, alright, and better than he wanted to. "If you could excuse me, Minerva, I think it'd be best if I go to Hogsmeade and question the shop owners. Please continue questioning the students." Albus paused a moment, fighting through the sudden panic attack that hit him, the refusal to say what he needed to say next. None of it showed to Minerva, of course, who believed Albus to simply be thinking. "Do what you can for Lucy while I'm gone. If she chooses not to speak, don't pressure her. I'll speak with her when I get back." Albus paused, hesitated really, though it didn't come off that way to Minerva. "Everyone is alright, I can safely presume?" He asked, keeping the hope he was clinging desperately to out of his voice. Minerva nodded.

"A few bumps and bruises, but nothing too serious. All the students came back fine. They're quite shaken up, of course, but—"

"And the professors?" Albus asked, temporarily loosing his self-control as the question asked itself. Minerva paused a moment, looking somewhat confused, but answered nonetheless, guessing Albus was in some sort of hurry.

"They are fine as well. No one is missing and none of them are hurt….." Minerva noticeably hesitated. Albus waited, swallowing that dark feeling he'd felt earlier today as it threatened to surface. "Well, everyone is fine. The students and professors, as well as those in Hogsmeade because….." Minerva hesitated again; whatever she had to say was obviously eating at her. "Because, well, Albus….. Because Lucy took the brunt of it." Minerva's expression was grave. "From what meager information I managed to gather, she was in the thick of it. Apparently she was very brave today, Albus." Minerva didn't attempt a smile. "She kept everyone safe." Minerva took a deep breath. "I caught the end of the fight, when the Death Eaters were retreating. It was much too late to help at all. It was over by the time I was anywhere near enough to do anything but watch. Either way, I was shouted at not to perform any spells. Apparently there were very strong shield spells." Minerva forced a smile. "I would've done more harm than good. But, Albus….." Minerva hesitated, remembering. She shook her head. "Lucy is pretty beat up at the moment, and from what Poppy told me, she's not letting anyone near her." A pained look crossed Minerva's face as she remembered the state Lucy had been in. Despite the odds, Lucy had won this battle, but not without funneling whatever would've been used against innocents towards her. From what Minerva had heard—and partially seen—Lucy had put up enough of a fight to distract the small group of Death Eaters from whatever task they'd been sent to perform at Hogsmeade. But now the small professor was bleeding profusely and clutching her arm as if it would fall off if she released it.

The only thing Lucy had agreed to do was occupy a bed in the Hospital Wing, until she realized that many of the students were there resting and being looked over for cuts, trauma, and anything else that might've resulted from the day's activities. Seeing this, Lucy immediately removed herself from her bed, gently leading the shaking, crying, hysterical triplets that not too long ago had been laughing happily. They'd asked Lucy if she wanted to go see the Shrieking Shack with them….. No one knew that the Shack would be the only silent witness to part of what had happened.

Then again, Lucy wasn't talking much at all, either. As a matter of fact, Lucy had said not a single word since the Death Eaters had vanished.

Once Lucy was sure that the triplets were resting comfortably—which meant that they were now crying and hugging each other on the bed instead of standing, or somewhere else—she looked for a place she could isolate herself in. Lucy quickly spotted an abandoned corner of the room and took a step towards it. Something, though, tugged at her heart and made her stop. She turned and looked at the triplets again, then all around the room. So much pain. It was everywhere. So much fear. It choked the air, made It impossible to breathe. They will all die here if left like this. Lucy thought, blinking back tears with a gulp. I can't leave them..... I can't leave them to die. I..... They need me. Lucy took a deep breath, mentally stabilizing herself. She started with the triplets, though the ability of speech was still noticeably missing.

She didn't need words, though. Not really. A touch here, a small gesture there. A smile. Soothing, calming things that didn't need words to communicate their meanings. Quiet, voiceless, soundless ways Lucy used to soothe the triplets. She was patient. She understood what it was like, to be scared like that. To be blind with terror, deaf to everything but the frantic beating of your own heart….. The only proof that you were still alive, even for a moment….. Today was most likely the greatest fear they'd ever felt in their lives….. And for that, Lucy felt a bittersweet gratitude.

The triplets slowly calmed down, their need to cling to one another—a reassurance that they were still there—ebbing away gradually. Lucy left, though only when the triplets were able to speak quietly amongst themselves. They spoke in quiet tones, pausing every now and then to gather their thoughts. Shock. Lucy figured, and slipped away unnoticed by the siblings. She moved slowly around the Hospital Wing, soothing each fear and listening to every bit of babble. She allowed whoever needed to break down and cry: Lucy's robes and clothes were soaked all the way through with countless tears cried by frightened kids whom she saw every day. Not caring about the student/professor rule about limited contact—no hugging, no nothing if it could be helped—Lucy opened her arms to each and every student; most of them willingly leapt into her arms and her lap, needing nothing more than what she was giving. And why not? It wasn't as if Lucy followed most of the rules that applied to professors. She'd been told them, and didn't care. Now, if she cared about even one of the rules, that care was ancient history. Binns would be teaching it if it was any less important.

After Lucy had worked her way through the entire, over packed Hospital Wing—so many students at Hogsmeade today—she made her way out into the corridors and began searching for any students that might be about. Anyone who'd gone to Hogsmeade that day, mixed with everyone who didn't. Lucy had less she needed to do with the students who were already talking about what happened, but that didn't stop her in the least. Rather, she stayed with each and every student that she felt needed her there. It seemed that, when she left, they were much calmer than when she'd arrived. This was much quicker than the Hospital Wing. The students were in larger groups, Hogsmeade visitors and those who stayed behind mixed together.

The adults were scattered as well, all of them doing one thing or another. Still, Lucy remained with all of them for a few minutes. Not saying anything, just being with them. Occasionally, she would rest her hand on a shoulder, its owner freezing at the contact, the acknowledgement of pain and fear. Lucy's eyes continually passing messages that needed to be heard. It's okay to feel..... It won't hurt to let it out..... I'm here, if you need me. It was perhaps the last of the interpreted, heartfelt truths that meant the most to the other professors. Though they didn't break down and cry, or even begin spilling out all they felt to Lucy, something changed in their eyes. And that was enough.

There was one more thing that Lucy needed to do in order to feel at peace, though she still had yet to see Minerva or Albus. This was a thing that most likely needed permission to do, but Lucy couldn't care any less about rules than she did right now. So she headed to the owlry. Doing some quick magic that left her feeling oddly drained—maybe it was all the blood she'd lost, and how lightheaded she was feeling after her long trek throughout the castle?—Lucy sent out the majority of the owls, adding a little twist of her own that helped them get to their destinations faster. This extra, unneeded magic left Lucy feeling as though she might pass out. A severe headache made the room spin so violently that Lucy almost threw up. She carefully sunk down one of the walls, her wand in so loose a grip that it almost slipped out of her hand. Shutting her eyes, Lucy rested her head against the deliciously solid, stable, and definitely there wall. Lucy's hand made its way to an inner pocket of her robes, depositing her wand where it would be safe.

That was where Minerva found Lucy, hours later. An innumerable amount of parents and family members had all shown up at roughly the same time, which caused quite a bit of chaos. Students were tearing through the corridors, searching for parents. So many people were crying and babbling hysterically. It was only thanks to Albus that it'd all gotten sorted out some. He'd managed to get everyone into the Great Hall, leading the way and removing the House tables for more room. He'd questioned the parents, most of whom were holding onto their children tightly, as to why they'd arrived. They all said the same thing. They'd gotten an urgent owl telling them that there was an emergency and that they were needed at Hogwarts. Nothing more, nothing less. Just that something had happened and there children needed them. So, as Albus and a number of other professors did crowd control, Minerva was sent to find Lucy….. No other professor could've sent out the owls, seeing as how none of them knew what was going on in the least.

"Lucy?" Minerva asked softly, wondering if Lucy was indeed asleep or not. Lucy's eyes opened immediately, leading Minerva to question whether Lucy was a light sleeper or had been waiting for her to speak. Lucy said nothing in reply to her name, simply stared quietly at Minerva. The silence stretched out longer and longer, until Minerva began to feel uncomfortable. It was only then that Lucy slowly rose to her feet, as if sensing the older woman's discomfort. Lucy still said nothing, making her way to the large window without a sound. She sat on the ledge mutely for a moment, before rolling her sleeve up and checking on a long gash that looked like it would leave a scar….. If she was lucky, that was. The gash, though no longer bleeding, was deep. It was amazing that it hadn't severed something Lucy needed to use the arm….. Or had it? Minerva shook off the thought quickly as she waited for Lucy to speak.

Lucy touched the gash thoughtfully, then looked out into the waning daylight. It was getting dark earlier than usual today. Why not attack at night, then? Lucy wondered blankly. Why in broad daylight? To show power and make fear? Or..... What? What could they have gained by attacking Hogsmeade at all, let alone during the day? Nothing, really...... But what if I hadn't been there.....? Lucy immediately pushed that thought out of her mind. To worry of the past when one had no way of changing it was pointless. All it would do was drive you crazy, Lucy figured as she slid off the ledge, her sleeve falling back down to cover the gash.

Lucy looked over to where Minerva still stood, as if waiting for her to speak. Lucy wasn't sure if she could or not, so she didn't bother trying. She didn't want to speak. Not about what had happened, not now. Preferably not ever.

It hadn't been a bad thing that she'd done. Quite the contrary, actually. Once the shock wore off, everyone would realize that what Lucy had done was downright heroic. But it still affected her, and badly. She'd hurt some of those masked strangers. True, it'd only been in a last-ditch effort to save everyone else—and Hogsmeade—from harm, but still. They'd bled. And, while deflecting what looked to be a particularly nasty curse…. One of them started screaming and writhing in pain. And it'd been Lucy's fault. Not directly, of course—Lucy hadn't tried to hit the person, after all—but still.

It was horrible. And that wasn't the least of it. At one point, Lucy felt as though she shouldn't be able to move for all the shock and horror that froze her blood still in her veins. She was causing pain. She'd done her best only to Stun them, only to stop them, not harm them. But she hadn't had a choice, not really. So her spells increased in ferocity bit by bit, though not by her will. At least I didn't have to throw everything I had at them, Lucy thought numbly. It didn't help. There was blood, and it wasn't all hers. The horror of all she'd done—which, in retrospect, was nothing compared to the things others before her had done in order to protect those they loved—struck Lucy right to her core. Her heart hurt when she thought about it, though a rational part of her whispered that she had been nothing if not merciful in the fight—which could've cost Lucy her life. It didn't help, though the rational part of her that spoke had an oddly Lily-like voice.

"Lucy?" Minerva asked hesitantly, startling Lucy, who'd been staring vacantly one of the walls of the owlry. Her head whipped around to face Minerva so quickly that the girl's neck cracked loudly in the silence. Still, she didn't speak, vaguely wondering if she would ever do so again. Minerva seemed to realize that Lucy wouldn't answer her and simply began speaking. "Albus asked me to find you. I've been looking for you for a long time now. There's a situation in the Great Hall that we would appreciate your help in." Lucy nodded mutely, gesturing for Minerva to lead the way. She did so silently, allowing a tense silence to envelop them. Minerva used this time for her to think, just then realizing the enormity of what had happened, the first to do so.

Minerva froze mid-step, turning quickly to face Lucy, shock written all over her face. It was one of the very rare times that Minerva couldn't keep her poker face up—and she wasn't angry this time. This was pure, unfiltered shock and disbelief, which only doubled as Minerva remembered that Lucy wasn't a professor: She was a student. "Amazing," Minerva mouthed, the word slipping from her lips with the barest whisper of sound.

Lucy gave Minerva an innocent, questioning look, head cocked like a small puppy's would be. She had no idea what was going on in Minerva's head—or if she did, she didn't understand what it was that had th older witch so bowled over.

Minerva shook her head, pivoting on her heel and resumed leading the way to the Great Hall with a much brisker pace than before. Lucy followed just as quietly as she had before, but this time, Minerva sensed something coming from the young girl that she hadn't before….. What it was, exactly, Minerva couldn't name. But it was definitely powerful, that was for sure, and it made Minerva wonder who Lucy Whitaker really was. Where did she come from? Who was her family? Who was she, and what? There was something different about Lucy, something Minerva just couldn't place her finger on. But what was it? What could it possibly be?

They arrived at the great Hall with no further outbursts from Minerva. She opened one of the doors and walked through it, holding the door open for Lucy to follow.

It was then, when everyone in the Great Hall, parents and students alike, turned and gasped, that Lucy first thought about what she must look like. So she looked down at herself, taking quiet notice of the near-rags she was wearing: Lucy had managed to dodge a number of the harsher curses, but they'd torn her robes almost to shreds. Not only that, but everything she was wearing was covered in blood. All hers, thank Merlin, otherwise Lucy would've surely thrown up right then and there. Huh, Lucy thought reflectively. I must not make a good picture at the moment. Lucy looked as though she'd just been through a terrible fight, just barely escaping with her life. And in some ways, that was just what happened, and it answered each and every parent's question as to who, exactly, had protected their children so well at Hogsmeade that day. They'd been told that the temporary Divination professor, Professor Whit, had been today's unexpected hero. Who had been, apparently, missing in action, though not because she was freshening up, apparently.

According to their children, this was also the professor who'd comforted and soothed each and every child who needed her, had provided the loving care they'd needed immediately after she'd finished fighting and driving away the people who'd attacked Hogsmeade, without bothering to wait for medical attention. Not only that, but this was the professor who'd contacted all of them, bringing them all to Hogwarts so they could all be here with their children. This was the professor, the temporary Divination professor, that had done so much and had asked for nothing in return, had not complained in the least. This was the professor who they had to thank for so much that they didn't know where to begin, the professor that their children had been raving about in whatever letters they'd written home. This was the famous "Professor Whit".


This was her? But really? The parents tried to think if this was some type of sick joke, if anyone would be horrible enough to dress a child in tattered, bloodied robes? No, they all decided as one. No, this was a real professor, the one who'd done everything they were told she'd done. There could be no one else. And maybe she was older than she looked. Maybe she was simply small, like Professor Flitwick. Maybe….. Maybe….. Maybe….. Maybe it didn't matter. It didn't matter that then sight of this diminutive professor shocked all of the parents who hadn't expected someone who looked so young. It just didn't. All that mattered was that this woman had been there, had protected their children. She'd comforted and soothed them, was there when they needed her, and had been so wonderful as to write to the parents as well. This was someone who deserved a large amount of respect. This was someone they wanted working at Hogwarts.

"Professor Whit, if you could some up here, please?" Albus asked politely, drawing Lucy's—and only Lucy's—attention to him. She blinked, nodded. Made her way up to where Albus was sitting at the Head table. He gestured for her to take a seat, she doing so without a word, blinking again. Albus smiled at Lucy, who didn't seem capable of doing the same at the moment. Albus seemed to understand this, turning instead to make a speech to those watching, Minerva taking a seat beside him. "Hello, parents and students. Today, as you all should know by now, Hogsmeade was attacked. I have questioned the residents of Hogsmeade, and have confirmed that it was indeed a group of Death Eaters. Their purpose in Hogsmeade is unknown, but we can safely assume that whatever it was that they wanted, they did not get." Albus turned slightly, looking at the still-silent Lucy, who seemed to slowly be recovering from the intense shock she'd been floating around in since the Death Eaters had disappeared. Death Eaters, she thought numbly. What are Death Eaters? And why were they in Hogsmeade? .....Are they okay? She couldn't help this last thought: It wasn't in Lucy's nature not to worry about the safety and well-being of others, even if those others had nearly taken off her arm and would've gladly killed her if given another chance.

"The Death eaters got away, unfortunately, but we must be glad that no great harm was done to anything but a few buildings in Hogsmeade." Albus smiled. "And even the buildings have much to thank our dear Professor Whit for, I'm sure." He turned to Lucy again. "Professor, if you don't mind…..?" It took Lucy a moment to understand what Albus was saying, and even when she did, she took a moment before moving. Blinking, wondering why he wanted her to stand now, Lucy took a deep breath and rose to her feet slowly, wincing slightly as a sharp prick of pain attacked her.

Applause. A standing ovation, those who had been seated in the chairs Albus had conjured for everyone leaping to their feet. Lucy blinked, shock showing clearly in her face. She took a step back as the full force of the noise hit her, obviously not understanding why everyone—even Albus and the other staff members that were present—was clapping so vigorously for her. Lucy immediately began to feel uncomfortable at this, and found herself wondering what was going on and where, exactly she was. She was confused, shocked, and utterly disoriented. Why were all these people clapping for her, and a standing ovation at that? Even Albus had taken extra measures to show respect for Lucy by taking a step away from her as he clapped. It confused Lucy greatly, making her wonder whether she was still in Hogwarts or not. Maybe I'm dreaming? Lucy thought, almost hopefully.

She wasn't used to such recognition or gratitude. It unnerved her some, made her want to hide herself away somewhere, though none of this showed in her face. Her constant shifting made it clear what was going on in her head, though: She was confused, so utterly confused. It stunned many into silence. Why would Lucy be confused? She was a hero! Shed done so much today! It was a big deal for a group of skilled witches and wizards to defeat a group of Death Eaters, and she'd done it alone! Not to mention everything else she'd done! Why was she confused as to the reason for their response to her standing before them?

Albus cleared his throat to make an announcement, Lucy sinking down into her seat immediately, relieved beyond belief. He made a short speech, inviting everyone to stay for dinner as he made the House tables appear, larger than before in order to accommodate the extra people. Those who were staff of Hogwarts that weren't already seated made their way up to the Head table and took their seats, giving Lucy approving nods and smiles as they did so, the stunned girl hardly able to realize that these were sent to her.

Food appeared on all the tables. Everyone happily dug in, the day's horrors past. Only Lucy touched nothing, still confused and unsure of her place at the moment. There was so much she didn't understand, so many questions that she couldn't ask. She felt so tired. Lucy closed her eyes for a moment, trying to gather herself, to bring herself back to a place and a world that made sense. She couldn't, not right then, so she opened her eyes again and spoke to the only person she thought could help her bring a little order back into the universe. Speaking took a few tries, though, as well as a couple harsh coughs to clear her throat. "Albus?" Lucy asked softly, whispered it really. He turned to look at her inquisitively, glad that she had finally spoken. He knew perfectly well that she hadn't said a word since the incident.

"Yes, Lucy?" He asked, just as softly, so as not to startle her.

"Albus, why did….. Why did you all clap for me? I haven't done anything worth clapping for." Lucy's innocent eyes told Albus quite clearly that she was not lying, leaving the man stunned.

"Lucy, you have done a great good today. You protected not only Hogsmeade from a Death Eater attack, but also kept many people from coming to harm, all on your own. You defeated a group of Death Eaters and caused them to go running, and you single-handedly comforted just about every person in this castle. And that's not even everything." Albus paused a moment. "And you believe all that you have done today—and before, during your teaching career—to be worth nothing? To be nothing to be proud of, nothing worth clapping over?" Lucy blushed, shifting uncomfortably in her seat.

"Well, Albus, to be perfectly honest….. No. I don't. I don't believe what I did or what I've bee doing to be worth the response I got today. I chose to do all of that, of my own free will. It wasn't anything outrageous or anything. I really….. For the most part, I wasn't even thinking, Albus. That's nothing amazing. It's nothing for all these people" Lucy gestured around the Great Hall. "to be cheering about. And it's certainly nothing for you to give me respect over." Albus opened his mouth to speak, but stopped, seeing how truly troubled Lucy looked over what had just happened. She really doesn't understand, Albus thought, shocked. How..... sad....."Come to my office later, Lucy, and we will talk more about this, and everything else, alright? Would you mind keeping those thought of yours private until then, Lucy? At least for the students' and parents' sake. You students would be crushed to hear you saying such things, and their parents will undoubtedly want to thank you. Please, just take a moment to compose yourself before speaking to anyone, alright? You need some time to gather your thoughts, and perhaps clean up." Albus paused. "Yes, why don't you do that, dear? Go to your rooms and clean up. That way you'll have time to get yourself together." Albus gave her a sad smile. "Blood is not something you want to wear for longer than needed, dear, even if it is your own." Lucy looked down at herself and nodded slowly. "Then, if you wouldn't mind, please go see Poppy. Let her attend to your hurts, otherwise I wouldn't be able to let you teach on Monday with the thought that you might be in pain on my conscious." Lucy nodded seriously, a light sparking back to life in her eyes. Albus knew he'd hit the right mark—and perhaps the only way that Lucy would let Poppy heal her—by mentioning teaching. It was awe-inspiring, really, to see how much Lucy truly loved and cared for her students, adored her job. She'd do anything for them, Albus knew. It was like they were her family, and Hogwarts her home.

"Yes, I understand. I'll go now. Thank you, Albus." Lucy paused. "After the parents are home and the students are in their Houses?" Albus nodded.

"Yes. That would be fine." Lucy stood up and offered Albus a half-smile that seemed to hurt her a bit, before heading out of the Great Hall and to her rooms to get cleaned up.

It was just as well, really. She couldn't eat now to save her life.


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Lucy had never had so much attention in all her life. Even while Poppy was patching her up, in the middle of dinner, parents and students came to see and talk to her. It was a bit overwhelming at first, to be honest, and it made Lucy somewhat uncomfortable. She met so many parents that it all was a blur for a while: Only her students were sharply visible, and it was thanks to them that Lucy was able to keep focused. When it all had died down some—dessert had appeared on the tables—Poppy made her first comment on Lucy's injuries. The Healer always had a few, reprimanding words to say to anyone who'd landed themselves in the Hospital Wing, but today, for perhaps the first time ever, she was not reprimanding a patient—or complaining about the reason they were injured. Like Quidditch, for example. "Lucy," Poppy said softly, a change in her usual tone. Lucy looked up inquisitively, tearing her gaze away from her bandaged arm to give her full attention to Poppy. "you did a good thing today, and I'm proud of you. You're a good person, I want you to know that, and you deserve some sort of award for what you did. I am so proud of you, and I know Albus must be as well, and Minerva, though neither of them may ever say it. Drink this, dear." Poppy handed Lucy a potion, which Lucy drank without a word. Poppy gently placed a hand on Lucy's shoulder. "No matter what happens later, Lucy, I want you to remember that you did a good thing. There's nothing and no one in the world that can take that away from you." Lucy looked away from Poppy now, eyes filled with tears. Now it really hit her, all that had happened. Now she understood, at least a little bit, why she'd been applauded for.

It was weird, this feeling that Lucy was experiencing….. A combination of emotions combined to make something else, something new that she hadn't known a person could feel. It disoriented her, but she felt so happy at the same time. She felt filled with warmth all the way down to her toes, like she could do anything in the world if she wanted to right then. It was….. the same feeling a little kid might get when he accomplished something that was realistically trivial, but was praised for it so highly that it overwhelmed the boy with so much joy that he couldn't contain himself….. That was how Lucy felt now, listening to what Poppy was telling her.

"You didn't need to do anything, Lucy, but you still acted. You chose to put yourself in the line of danger to save people just as innocent—and some probably less—than you without so much as a thought to your own personal safety. You acted as a true hero, Lucy, and I couldn't be any prouder to know you right now." Lucy gulped, squeezing her eyes shut tightly. Something told Poppy that Lucy needed a moment alone, so the Healer gave the girl's shoulder a gentle squeeze and walked away, drawing the curtains around her bed so as to give her some privacy.

"Thank you, Poppy." Lucy whispered some time later, as she walked by Poppy's office on her way out of the Hospital Wing, eyes red and burning so much that she couldn't not blink. Poppy smiled and nodded.

"I'll be right here, Lucy." She said, a deeper understanding in her eyes of what she knew the words meant to Lucy. "I'm always right here." Lucy bit her lip and nodded jerkily, eyes filling again. She turned slightly and wiped them fiercely, nodding again, and Poppy smiled. Still the only person in the school who saw Lucy as the child she was. Adults didn't need the words children did, not as much. Congratulations like the ones Lucy was getting were more for adults, though it was undoubted that she deserved it. But what Lucy needed was not what she was getting, and that was what Poppy had given her. Poppy Pomfrey may have been a tough and strict nurse, but there was a reason she'd chosen Healing as her profession. No one, Poppy had always believed, could enter the Healing profession without some well of kindness in them somewhere. Poppy reprimanded the students and staff—as well as everyone else—because she cared if they got hurt or not. She really did. And something had told Poppy that there was healing Lucy needed that she most likely couldn't provide. Wounds of the heart and spirit were different than wounds of the body. Wounds of the body were less complicated, and less painful.

Lucy nodded once more, unable to speak for fear of breaking down again. She left quickly, heading straight to a bathroom to splash her face with water in the hopes that her eyes would stop burning. They did: They also lost their red color, which was a relief. Lucy was even happier that she'd had the presence of mind to soothe her eyes the moment she'd stepped out of the bathroom, because it was at that exact moment that a large group of students, with their parents, noticed her. "Professor Whit, Professor Whit!" They called as one, causing Lucy to turn quickly in their direction as they hurried over to her and began talking excitedly. Lucy laughed happily and listened, chattering back to the group, juggling a number of conversations all at once.

That was how the rest of her day went, talking and laughing with a variety of people of many ages. It went on way past eleven which was supposed to be when all the students were supposed to be in bed. It was almost one in the morning when people began noticing how tired Lucy was. She wouldn't be the one to tell them she needed rest from her hectic day, but when one person noticed it, the fact spread to everyone in a matter of minutes. So the students said goodbye to their parents and headed to their Houses, and the parents wondered how they'd get home. Lucy kindly offered to accommodate anyone who felt too tired to go home. Many of the parents politely declined, deciding to Floo or Apparate home. Lucy, feeling as though she were the hostess to this "little" get together, led those who wanted to Floo to her own personal fireplace. They thanked her and left, Lucy glad she'd went out and bought a ton of Floo powder just the week before. When the Flooers were gone, Lucy accompanied those who wanted to Apparate off of Hogwarts grounds and out of the Apparation boundaries. She waved as they Apparated away, this process taking much less time than those who had chosen to use the Floo.

There were still some who decided to accept Lucy's offer to stay with much gratitude, not having the energy to travel home and pleased that Lucy had extended such an invitation. She smiled at the few who remained and led them to her rooms, setting up some dividers and Transfiguring random things she had lying around into soft, plush beds. Lucy warmly and selflessly gave those who stayed not only her private bedroom, but any other space aside from the kitchen that had room for a large bed. Those who stayed tried to protest that they were kicking Lucy out of her home, but Lucy firmly declined. "This is my space, yes, and I choose to share it with you all. I invited you to stay with me, and this is the way that you all will be most comfortable…… Please don't agree to stay with me and then decline my hospitality." She added seriously. Giving what she'd said a moment to sink in, Lucy spoke again, cheerfully. "Now, would anyone like me to Transfigure their clothes or provide anything for them that would make them feel more comfortable? I'd be perfectly happy to." Her guests shifted slightly, looking uncomfortable. "It wouldn't be one bit of a hassle, I promise." Lucy paused a moment. "I'd appreciate it if you'd tell me what you would like. You are my guests and I want you to be comfortable here."

"But you probably will never see us again, Professor Whit." One of the parents burst out, immediately looking embarrassed about it. Lucy thought this over for a moment before nodding thoughtfully.

"That's true. Chances are that I'll never see any of you again. But that doesn't excuse bad hospitality, and it doesn't make me want to be a good host any less." Lucy paused a moment, thinking over her words. "I want you all to be comfortable here. I invited you to stay with me. Even if we never meet again, I'd like it if you remembered me with a smile." Lucy paused again, thinking. "I'd like to be a friend to all of you, if even for one night." Lucy smiled. "Even if you never remember my name, or even what I look like. Even if you remember nothing about me. "Lucy said with a laugh. "I'd like to know that I made you all feel at home and did all I could while you were here."

None of them would ever forget Lucy, that was for sure.


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"Good morning!" Lucy brightly greeted the first to awaken, looking as though it were noon instead of roughly five in the morning. She'd been up far longer than that, of course—as a matter of fact, Lucy had barely slept at all the previous night, though the kitchen floor had been surprisingly comfortable.

"Uh… Good morning, Professor?" A tall, gangly man asked more than greeted Lucy, who looked energetic enough to run the perimeter of the school grounds and Hogsmeade combined. Lucy beamed broadly.

"What would you like for breakfast?" She asked, stunning the man further.

"Excuse me?" He asked. "I thought breakfast didn't start until much later in Hogwarts."

"It does!" Lucy agreed brightly. "But I thought that, since most of you probably have jobs to get to that won't allow you to eat the school's breakfast, I would make you some!" The man blinked, confused but understanding what Lucy meant. "So what would you like?" At first the man tried to persuade Lucy not to cook anything, which ended the instant she showed him all the food she'd already prepared. Still, he tried to pass up the food, feeling uncomfortable as to how much she'd worked already. So Lucy got firm with him, again reminding him that he was her guest, and she fully intended on him enjoying his time in her "house" as much as possible. When this got no response from the man, Lucy walked over to the counter stocked with freshly finished food and picked what she assumed would probably be his favorite from everything, along with whatever she thought he might like. Grabbing a big mug of hot chocolate, Lucy made her way back to where the man was standing. "Here." She demanded stubbornly, giving the man an inkling as to what House she might've been in when she had gone to Hogwarts. "Eat." He gave up with a sigh and nodded, feeling ravenous. It had been the smell of the food that had woken him up, really, and besides, being in such close proximity to it all made him that much hungrier. So the man sat only semi-reluctantly down at the table to eat as more men began awakening, the rich smells of all the food and drinks waking them up. It made Lucy grin as they ate, the first man having warned them the moment's they'd walked in not to bother to put up a fight.

"She'll win, no matter what you say. So just eat and enjoy." He advised them. Advice, it is worthy to add, that the men took gleefully.

There wasn't enough room around the table, obviously, so Lucy simply told the men that they could sit wherever they wanted to, or stand, if that's what they preferred. No one bothered to argue the point with Lucy; they all knew she'd win, in the end. So, as Lucy was leaving with the rest of the food, men hopped right up on the counters or plunked onto the ground. She thought she saw one seat himself on the fridge, but she wasn't sure. She didn't turn around to check, though, glad that they were finally feeling comfortable enough to relax.

Lucy set up the food in front of the fireplace and began going from bed to bed, gently waking whoever was left sleeping—mostly the women, really. Which, in retrospect, was a good thing. There was no more room left in the kitchen for anyone else. They woke up slowly, confused and wondering both of the time and how Lucy could be so awake. It was later than it was when the guys started waking up, true, maybe six, 6:30. Around there, Lucy guessed. Maybe. But still, everyone had gotten to bed late last night. "It's time for breakfast." Lucy whispered to everyone, getting nods in return. "Living room, okay?" More nods, the women too tired to protest….. At the moment, anyway "Eat up!" She exclaimed brightly. When the women seemed ready to protest as their husbands had, Lucy put up a hand and shook her head. "While I am glad to see that there are such polite people in the world, I'd much rather you all simply enjoyed your food, okay?" The majority of the women still seemed hesitant, so Lucy began dishing out the food as she'd done earlier, making everyone take a plate. The drinks came directly after, Lucy somehow guessing everyone's favorite and forcing the mugs into startled hands. "Eat. Drink." Lucy paused, grinning. "Be merry."

"But—"

"Oops! Will you look at the time? I have simply got to go, got to go. Feel free to make yourselves at home. There is more food in the kitchen if you're still hungry." Lucy clapped her hands together once. "But now, I simply must be off. I'll be back as soon as I can be, alright? Anyone who needs to leave for whatever reason may; I won't mind. Tootles!" And Lucy was gone, not allowing her guests even a moment's breathing room for a protest.

"She's pretty smart." One of the women commented, shaking her head. The rest agreed and began eating. After all, they didn't want to offend Lucy….. And besides, it all looked delicious.

Lucy, standing just outside the door to her rooms, listened with a smile to the sounds of chatter and utensils striking plates. "So far so good!" She whispered, beaming. It felt good, really good. Having people over, cooking for people that actually talked back to her and cared if she worked hard or not on something. It was amazing, actually. She felt all warm and fuzzy inside—like a teddy bear under a heat lamp. Lucy laughed at the mental image that conjured. But it was true; that's how she felt. And if she pretended hard enough, she could imagine that they were her family….. Family that loved and cared for her and were all coming to visit just….. because they missed her and wanted to be around her, no other reason. Just because. Because they cared, and they wanted her around them. Just because, needing no other reason or excuse for an unplanned visit. It felt wonderful, even if a little teeny part of Lucy knew full well that pretending to have a family like that—or just a family that liked her—wasn't going to fix anything. But it helped. A little, in a way, to pretend. It took some of the hurt away, if only for a moment.

"Hi, Professor Whit!"

"Stephan!" Lucy exclaimed, pleasantly surprised. Stephan had been a complete wreck the day before, even worse than his sisters had been….. Lucy had guessed that their reactions were more closely linked to Stephan's than anything. Megan and Carly loved Stephan with a ferocity that belied their actions, and seeing him in so much pain—practically in a billion pieces and crying as if his soul had been ripped out—must have destroyed them inside. The way the two girls had been clinging to him made it clear to Lucy that they were desperately trying to protect him, hating themselves for the failure.

But now look at the boy! Happy as a lark, greeting Lucy as if nothing had happened. Or….. No. Not as if nothing had happened. He was looking at Lucy with the eyes a small child might look at a….. hero with?

"How are you, ma'am? Did you sleep well?" Lucy nodded.

"I slept fine. How was your sleep?"

"Oh, not too good. I had a bad nightmare but when I fell asleep again I slept better." Stephan paused, looking serious. "I wanted to thank you for saving my life, Professor Whit. I….. I really appreciate it. That's why I'm out and about so early, in case you were wondering. I couldn't sleep." Lucy blinked, a bit blown back by Stephan's sudden sincerity, then smiled softly.

"You don't need to thank me for anything, Stephan. I'm sure you would've done the same for me, if you had the chance." Stephan laughed ruefully, shaking his head.

"You're wrong, professor. I wouldn't have saved you if I had been in your position, though I would have definitely wanted to." Lucy's confusion was clear. "I would've been too scared, ma'am. Terrified, even. If I would've been able to move, all I would've been able to do would be run. And that's if I could've moved. No….. I wouldn't have saved you if I had been in your place, or if I'd had the chance. I wouldn't have been able to save myself." Stephan winced sharply. "I don't even know if I would've been able to save my own sisters." The thought clearly caused Stephan much pain; Lucy put a comforting hand on his shoulder.

"I'm sure you would've been able to save them, Stephan. I don't think you would've ran." Stephan shook his head, a miserable smile on his face. He ran a hand through his hair raggedly, a tortured grin on his face.

"Thanks for believing in me, but….."

"Stephan!"

"Hey, lil' bro!" Stephan whipped around to see Megan and Carly hurrying towards him. He turned back to Lucy with a pleading look on his face, only to see her smiling and nodding at him understandingly.

"We'll talk more later." She whispered, and Stephan smiled.

"Thanks….. Again, and for everything." Lucy nodded and gestured for him to turn his attention to his sisters. Stephan did so, Megan and Carly running up to him with broad grins.

"What's up, Stephen?"

"How was Hufflepuff last night? Gryffindor didn't fall asleep for hours!" Stephan laughed, glad to be with his sisters. He turned to say something to Lucy, only to realize that she was gone. Where did she go.....? He wondered as his sisters began pulling him along.


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When Lucy got back to her rooms to check on her guests, she found a rather long note waiting for her. In it were thanks from all of the adults who'd stayed with her, as well as overflowing compliments and assurances that none of them would ever forget her. 'If you ever need anything, just send us an owl!' Many of them had written, and many other variations of the like. Lucy could visit whenever she wanted, Lucy had an open invitation to stay with them, Lucy would always be welcome in their homes….. It almost made Lucy burst into tears when she read all the kind words written on the roll of parchment. As it was, she had to wipe her watering eyes fiercely, rolling up the parchment and carefully placing it in a special secret compartment of her trunk that she'd added herself one night when even Albus and the House Elves had been asleep. Just before putting it away where no one but her could ever get to it, Lucy clutched the parchment tightly, right above her heart. She'd never, ever be able to make herself take up one of these wondrous offers, but it was enough to know that they were there. They were real. It was one of the most amazing things Lucy had ever felt. It took less imagining now, to pretend she had a family that wanted her. Even if it still wasn't true.

Later, Lucy made her way up to Albus' office. They still hadn't had time to talk about the event of the previous day and, though she wanted to get some answers, Lucy didn't want to know at the same time. She wanted to forget, but the only thing she was ever able to forget was the only thing she had desperately wanted to remember: Life before her aunt's house. Still….. It was important for Lucy to know all she could about what she had experienced the previous day. The world wasn't all sunshine and rainbows; Lucy knew that perfectly well. Whoever it was that she'd risked her life forcing from Hogsmeade had friends out there, somewhere. It was better to know so much it made her physically sick then to face them again completely ignorant and loose her life. Ignorance was only bliss until one realized the price that would always be paid for it.

There was always a price, whether you chose to know or not.


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"Lucy? …..Lucy, are you al—" Lucy held up a hand, shutting her eyes and turning her head away. She stood as if in pain and made her way from the chair she'd been sitting in for far too long.

"Thank you, Albus. For telling me. I appreciate it." Lucy said quietly, stiffly. She spoke as if making words come from her mouth caused her a physical pain; it was clear that speaking was hard for her to do at the moment.

"Lu—" Lucy shook her head and walked out of Albus' office without another word. As Albus worried about the girl, she ran top speed down the stairs and through the empty corridors. Everyone was still sleeping, for the most part. It'd been a crazy yesterday, after all. There was no way that anyone would be causing any trouble today. Not even the Marauders would have the energy to wreak havoc right now.

Normally, Lucy would set to forgetting, erasing whatever pains had been put into her mind, but she couldn't today. Not just because of the dirty, disgusting feeling that had her feeling sick, either. She couldn't let herself forget this; it was too important to forget. The things Albus had said, had told her….. They were things she needed to know. Not only that, but she'd asked him to tell her all about what had happened and why. So she wasn't just going to forget and pretend that everything was okay. Lucy never asked her aunt to tell her that she was unwanted, but she'd asked Albus to explain. That, perhaps, was the main difference between allowing herself to forget and forcing herself to remember. Lucy had asked for this; she'd wanted to know. It wasn't like she'd asked her aunt to fill her mind with the hate-soaked, poisonous words she constantly spoke to her. Those, well, Lucy could make herself forget them….. or at least pretend that she'd never heard them. This, though….. This was different. This she couldn't deny, regardless of whatever circumstances might appear.


.....What fools these mortals be..... What tortured, miserable fools..... So filled with hate, and anger, and fear..... What fools, these lost souls hidden in darkness..... What poor, piteous fools..... Why must they strike out so? Why must they so fear the very things that allow life to continue going on? Why do they keep their eyes closed to everything around them? What terrible, wretched fools....."What fools these mortal be….." Lucy murmured unknowingly, jumping inwardly when a voice spoke to her.

"That's Shakespeare, right, Professor Whit? A Midsummer Night's Dream?" A Muggle-born by the name of Shannon asked. Lucy blinked.

"Huh? What?"

"What you said, just now. 'What fools these mortals be'. That's Shakespeare. It's from A Midsummer Night's Dream. I know," Shannon added, grinning. "because I love Shakespeare. I read his stuff all the time at home. My whole family loves Shakespeare." Lucy felt confused, but hid it well. Luckily for her, she didn't need to speak. "Well, I'd better be off. I'll see you, Professor!" And with that, Shannon was gone, appearing and disappearing as if her sole purpose had been to inform Lucy of a play and its playwright.

Lucy waited until Shannon was out of sight before speaking, no one else in the corridor.

"I said something?" She asked the air, not recalling having spoken out loud. Not only that, but her previous thoughts had left her with nothing but a faint twinge, a soft tug of longing and loneliness. She had no idea what had just happened, or why. "Why would I use the phrase 'What fools these mortals be'?" Lucy looked around, as if in search of an explanation, or someone who could help her. "Did I even say anything?" No answer came to the confused girl, so she simply shook her head and continued walking, not feeling very hungry at all, despite not having eaten in a while.

Lucy slowed to a stop just before turning the last corner that would lead her to the stairs that would take her into the Great Hall. Leaning on the sharp edge that made that final turn, Lucy pulled out her wand and looked at it in silence. She studied it carefully, as best as she could with her eyes. Then she closed her eyes and studied it in every other way she could, starting with her hands. As she learned her wand as well as she could and far beyond what most people bothered to do, Lucy felt something stirring within her. Two forces pulled at her strongly, the edge she was leaning on feeling as if it were more than a simple stone wall.

She felt something coursing through her wand. Something raw, and powerful. Something that whispered that it could never be tamed; something that had no master and yet…..

"Lucy!" A cheerful voice exclaimed, startling the girl so badly that her heart skipped a few beats. Minerva's suddenly concerned visage filled Lucy's eyes as she opened her eyes. "Are you alright?" Minerva asked, worried. "You're so pale….."

"Wh-what?" Lucy asked, confused. "I'm sorry, Minerva. What are you asking?" Minerva took a step closer, inspecting Lucy closely.

"I'm asking if you're alright. You're so pale….." Lucy blinked slowly, trying to make sense of the sudden fog that had filled her mind.

"I….. perhaps I'm just hungry. I don't feel hungry, but I haven't eaten in a bit….. Maybe that's it?" Minerva's worry ebbed some; her face cleared in relief.

"Oh. Alright, then. Lucy, you had me scared there for a moment." Minerva said with a laugh. "You really should make sure you eat, you know. It's not good for you to starve yourself, especially when so many look to you for guidance. You are, after all, a professor here at Hogwarts; the students are always watching you. You must always be sure to set a good example for them, even if it makes them not like you as much." Minerva added with a shrug. A smile twitched at the corners of Lucy's lips. She knew that Minerva had unintentionally shown the girl a piece of herself that she'd kept hidden. Does she trust me? Lucy wondered, amazed, the thought making her mentally shake her head. What an ironic world they all lived in, for a woman who'd brought Lucy such pain and misery to trust the girl with a piece of her heart….. For it could be nothing else, that simple sentence with the underlying meaning. It was undoubtedly a sacred piece of her heart. How did Lucy know? Simple. She loved her students just as much.

Lucy closed her eyes softly as she walked, side by side, with Minerva down the stairs and into the Great Hall. Minerva continued in her little speech about Lucy needing to take care of herself not only because her health was important but because the students of Hogwarts looked up to her as an authority figure. Lucy listened, not with her ears but her heart, allowing other instincts to guide her as she walked to her seat. Not surprisingly, Albus had managed to beat them both there. Lucy opened her eyes as she sat down. She looked over at Albus, noting the underlying worry in his otherwise calm blue eyes. Lucy also noticed that Minerva couldn't see that anything was out of the ordinary. So it's just me, then. Lucy understood; did no one else look deep enough at the old Headmaster to see that his eyes held more than the rest of him showed? Perhaps their constant twinkle threw people off enough to hide the truth from them. But no twinkle in the world was enough to hide anything like that from Lucy.

There was also pain, and regret in Albus' eyes as he gave Lucy a cheery hello. She returned it with a nod, looking away from him immediately so as to shield herself from those lying eyes. She couldn't bear it, not right now. For whatever reason, something told Lucy to concentrate on eating. Thankfully, Minerva struck up a conversation with Albus which would ultimately end with the subject of yesterday. Until that moment came, though, Lucy was left in peace to eat her food.

Just because she had time to prepare for it didn't mean Lucy was ready to talk about what had happened. On the contrary; Lucy would've rather gargled nails—or worse, fought those Death Eaters again—than speak about it. To believe that no one was going to want to speak about the previous days' happenings would have been foolish, of course. To avoid speaking altogether…… Well, that was always an option.

"Lucy….. What exactly happened out there yesterday?" Lucy wasn't entirely sure who had asked the question; she was already back in Hogsmeade. She couldn't hold back the wince, nor could she stop the grimace of pain from flashing across her features. She'd caused pain..... Not a lot, obviously, but still! Those people….. Lucy had hurt them….. And not just that, but…..

"I've got to go." Lucy said suddenly, feeling as though she couldn't breathe.

"Lucy?" One of the professors asked her, but Lucy was already headed out the door. She burst into a run the moment she hit the stairs, not stopping or slowing down until she was outside and a good distance away. Consequentially, this meant that Lucy ended up somewhere in the Forbidden Forest. Oh well. At least she couldn't get in trouble for being there now; she was a professor, after all.

Lucy dropped to the grass and sat thinking for a while, head on her knees. "What are you doing in our forest?" A stranger's voice asked. Lucy, surprisingly, didn't bother to lift her head in response to being spoken to. She merely sat there, still as death. The voice repeated its question, louder and sterner. Closer. "What are you doing in our forest, human child? You do not belong here."

"This place is as much mine as yours, Centaur." Words in a voice that sounded much like Lucy's could be heard clearly, coming from her own mouth, yet she could've sworn that she had said nothing. After all, she didn't know who or what was speaking to her, and she was too tired to speak.

The voice sounded as tired as she felt. Tired and determined. Sure of its rightness.

"This forest does not belong to you, human child! This forest belongs to my people and I; it will never be owned even in part by humans!" The centaur sounded furious. "How dare you suggest that this forest is as much yours as it is ours?! You are nothing but a pathetic little human child that can easily be killed and even quicker forgotten! What makes you believe that—"

"Silence yourself, Star Reader. Now is not the time for a battle in which none can win." Wordless warnings flowed through the words with so much clarity that it could smack even the most oblivious person full across the face. The centaur went silent with shock. What had the human child just called him? Had he heard her correctly?

"Wha—"

"I will go now. I am tired and do not wish to bother with things that will happen later at the moment. The next time we meet, I hope it will not end in violence or anger. There is already enough of that in this world." Lucy stood in one fluid motion, looking at the centaur for the first time, eyes containing a golden gleam.

"You are—"

"Silence, Star Reader! Now is not the time for such talk! It is still too early! You of all races should know this! Now remain silent; I am leaving." As Lucy walked past the centaur, he bowed his head slightly, not lowering it enough so that he couldn't see the girl. Only when she was out of sight did he speak again.

"Yes indeed…… It is far too early for such things to be in motion." The centaur looked up to the heavens, a worried frown creasing his brown. "I must tell the others."


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Lucy sat up slowly, putting one hand to her head. She felt rested and in terrible pain all at once; she must have slept for a good while, but she had an unbearable migraine. She stood from her couch, where she'd apparently fallen asleep—but when? And why couldn't she remember doing so? Deciding to visit Poppy for a potion, Lucy stretched and headed out of her rooms. Blinking in the darkness, Lucy wondered as to how long she'd been sleeping. It seemed that she'd been out all day. Huh. Must've been more tired than I thought. She figured with a shrug and a smile.

Halfway to the Hospital Wing, Lucy froze, horrified. She's just remembered something that she'd been avoiding thinking about for a long time.

Chapter 19: Crescendo
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It was not long after this—whether a few days or over a week, all time ran as nothing more than a blur after that horrible night's realization—that Lucy woke up with tears in her eyes and no plans in her mind. Her heart was defined only by the sharp, throbbing pain in her chest as she lay in her bed and stared at the ceiling that had become so comfortably, reassuringly familiar, wondering whether it was worth it to get up. There was no question when that was concerned, of course; her students needed her, especially today of all days. Lucy shut her eyes tightly, a small whimper of pain escaping her as she forced herself to get up out of her bed. She got dressed slowly, moving as if her bones were brittle and would fall apart at any instant. She felt like she might crumble and fall to pieces at any moment, actually, now that she thought about it. Lucy felt like every motion she made could be the last she ever made. Whoever said that physical pain was the worst pain to feel? .....There's a reason it's the first to heal. Lucy shook her head sharply to rid her mind of the depressing thoughts. Now wasn't the time to push herself over the edge. It'd be hard enough today; she'd be on the brink of destruction all day. There was no reason to hurt herself more at the moment. Except….. Lucy couldn't stop thinking. Her thoughts ran with more destructive force than a herd of stampeding bulls. Each thought brought her pain, each memory made her want to die. What'll it be like when it's really—no, just stop. Stop that, right now..... Lucy swallowed forcefully as she put her hand on the doorknob leading from her rooms. "I can do this." She whispered softly. Determination and unshakeable courage gripped her as she nodded fiercely. If not for herself, she could do it for everyone else. She could get through this last day without loosing herself completely….. She just hoped she could remain this strong throughout the day, that she could continue to believe it when looking into the faces of her students and fellow faculty members.

"Good morning, Professor!" A bright voice assailed Lucy just as she began walking.

"Good morning." She greeted the boy with a nod as he continued running past her, pausing just before he turned out of sight to wave and beam back at her. She waved to him and he ran off. Clenching her hand into a fist subconsciously, Lucy shoved her hands into her pockets and headed to the Great Hall. She walked with the painful slowness of one heading to the gallows, head hung low, eyes devoid of any emotion that could betray how she felt inside. Well….. She did feel pretty hollow, but she considered that irrelevant at the moment.

"Hello, Lucy! How are you this fine morning?" Flitwick asked the girl professor. Lucy gave the tiny professor a hollow smile, a flash of pain sparking in her eyes. Flitwick blinked, confused. He opened his mouth to comment, but Lucy answered him before he could speak again.

"Not as well as the morning, I'm afraid, Filius." She commented lightly, voice full of an empty cheer that shocked and concerned Flitwick. Before he could speak, though, he was interrupted yet again.

"Professor Whit! Can you come here please?" Albus called. Lucy nodded, turning to Flitwick to excuse herself before leaving him.

"Yes, Albus?" She asked upon reaching him. She noticed the serious sheen hidden under the headmaster's otherwise twinkling eyes and knew what this was about.

"Lucy, do you recall what today is?" He asked her quietly. Lucy nodded slowly, resigned, refusing to hang her head as she had earlier; although she felt an overwhelming sense of defeat, there was no way Lucy would show it.

"Yes, I do. How could I forget?" She asked, laughing humorlessly. The sound of her 'laughter' made Albus flinch. It physically hurt him to see her like this, but what could he do? Her time had already been extended, miraculously. It was over today, though. There was nothing anyone could do to change that. Not even Albus could prolong it any further. It was over. It was time. It had to end at some time, after all….. There was no use in putting it off anymore. It would only create more time that would simply cause more pain and heartache later. Whether it was best that it would be over was unimportant in the face of the turmoil that would come soon.

"Would you believe me if I was to say that I am truly, truly sorry, Lucy?" Albus asked her quietly, sincerely. Lucy looked away from him and nodded, looking out of a window with sightless eyes.

"Yes. I know."

"…..A part of me wishes that all of this would've never happened. Then maybe we wouldn't have to go through this today." He confessed. Lucy surprised him with what she said next, even through the hurt that came from her hollow eyes looking at him.

"I will never regret this, Albus." She said, with such honesty that it made Albus feel as though he were hearing something irreversibly private. Lucy hesitated momentarily before sighing and nodded resolutely. "I'm going to make an announcement at breakfast." She told him seriously. Albus opened his mouth to protest, but Lucy cut him off. "No. It's better this way. Get it over with early. Besides, I couldn't bear doing something so cruel as telling them at the end of dinner. I don't have that hard a heart. Regardless of what it brings, I have to tell everyone at breakfast. I can't just let them leave there without knowing. I can't just lie to them all day, not like that. I could never live it down if I hurt them all like that. No matter what it brings, Albus, I'm doing it." Lucy took a deep breath, and Albus could see the slight trembling that made her shake ever so slightly. She's a terribly brave one, isn't she? Albus thought sadly. "Don't try to stop me." Lucy added, voice cracking. She flinched at the sound, but Albus simply put a hand on her shoulder and smiled, a pained pride in his eyes.

"I would never." He swore. An honest smile blossomed on Lucy's face, tears welling in her eyes. She threw her arms around the older man and squeezed him tightly, knowing that the chances of something like this happening again were closer to zero than they were of her learning to fly without wings. "If it's any consolation," Albus whispered, hugging Lucy back. "I think you were amazing; one of the best I've ever seen in my life." Lucy choked back a sob as she released him and nodded.

"Thank you, Albus." He nodded sadly.

"I'll miss you, Lucy." Lucy nodded.

"As will I." She smiled sadly. "It's like I'm dying, isn't it? This goodbye. Like I'm leaving forever." Something told Albus to refrain from speaking at the moment; the grateful look in Lucy's eyes told him that he'd been correct in his assumption. She entered the Great Hall without another word to him, and Albus felt as if it truly had been a forever-goodbye.

And perhaps it had been, in a way. As Albus felt himself begin to mourn silently for the loss of a wondrous friend, he was filled with an almost desperate hope for the future; everything couldn't end today. Not whilst they were still alive.

"It's not over….. It's just on pause." Albus said aloud, a small half-smile crossing his face as he found himself speaking Lucy-like words. A pang of longing hit him as he found himself already missing her bubbly company. Albus took a deep breath and headed into the Great Hall himself, gathering all the twinkle left in him in order to properly hide his eyes as he did so.

As Albus entered the Great Hall, his gaze went right to Lucy, who was staring mutely down at her plate, unable to properly hide how she was feeling. It was a testament to how badly she felt that Lucy couldn't even pretend that everything was alright. Amazingly enough, Lucy looked only as if she weren't feeling well; she didn't look like she was on the verge of a mental and emotional collapse at all. Good at hiding..... How sad. Albus thought, mentally shaking his head as he took his seat. It was always sad, really, to meet a person so good at hiding what they felt inside. Seeing people who hid their everything behind whatever walls they constructed always made Albus sympathize with them. What was truly sad, though, was that Lucy hid behind such a wall. But what was she hiding? Or was this only a one-time thing, only for today? Was she only trying to be strong for everyone, or was this already a practice of hers?

No time for questions and wonderings. Lucy was rising.

"Hello Hogwarts." She said quietly, a deep sadness saturating her voice and filling the room as a poison would a person. Dead silence fell over the listeners; even the ghosts stilled themselves to stare at Lucy, who was taking a deep breath in a last-ditch attempt to steady herself. "I stand here before you all today for what will most likely be the last time akin to this." Lucy paused, and in the silence the entire room drew in and held their collective breath. A shaky smile found its place on Lucy's face. "I stand here now to inform you of a happening which will occur sooner than you would expect….. It seems to come without warning but has been morbidly anticipated for quite some time." Lucy paused, trying to find her words as horror seeped into the room as some realized where this speech would inevitably lead. "I stand here now to say goodbye to you all, though I will do so tonight as well." Lucy bowed her head as the Great Hall erupted in shouts of outrage and disbelief. She allowed this to continue for a few moments before holding up her hand and stopping them; the first time she'd ever done such a thing. "Today is and will be my last day as your professor and a member of the faculty here at Hogwarts." Lucy paused, taking another deep breath. The adults in the Great Hall stared at her with unchecked horror and disbelief; all but Albus, who'd been ready for this and hadn't forgotten that she wasn't there to stay.

"Hogwarts is now and will always be my home; I hope you all know that. I also hope that none of you will hate or despise me for leaving you. Hurting you was not my intention, believe me. If I would wish for anything right now, it would be that none of you would ever feel a hurt like this, or any at all. But I cannot control this, nor can I stop the need for this goodbye.

"I'm leaving. Tonight. There's nothing I can do to change that. I've already extended my stay as a professor; today it's over. By Monday Professor Knot will have returned and I will return to my previous place as a student here. This cannot be changed." Lucy shut her eyes as if in pain, wincing. "I'm sorry….. After all that has happened, all I have left to say, all I can offer at the moment, are my apologies." She opened her eyes. "If even one of you can understand the depths of my pain and the sincerity of my apology, the overwhelming pain I feel" Lucy put a hand over her heart. "might lessen ever so slightly." She smiled sadly. "Alas, I doubt anyone understands what I feel at the moment." She closed her eyes again, bowing her head slightly. "So much; I'm feeling so much." She opened her eyes and nodded slowly. "The only thing I ask of you all is to remember me, and what I taught you. Not just Divination, either." She pressed. "Everything I taught you; anything I ever said that meant anything to you….. Remember it. That's all I ask for. Just for you to remember."

Truly a teacher's wish.

"I….. I have told all of you this now because I believed it to be a great injustice if I kept this announcement to myself until tonight." Lucy turned slightly to look at the other professors. "All of you." She added. "I know that a day of happiness and bliss spent unaware of this goodbye would have been enjoyed, but….. It would've felt wrong. I wouldn't be able to stand myself if I would've lied to you all about something so big." Lucy said firmly, seriously. "You all are far too special to be kept in the dark about something that will affect you so much." She stated. "Even if it's something as unimportant as my departure, it will affect the entire castle until things settle again. And" Lucy hesitated. "it would've been cruel if I would've just said goodbye and left. I can't do that to all of you; none of you deserve that.

"Also….. I would highly appreciate it if no one would speak to Knot about all that's happened as of now. And….. if she says anything bad—about me, I mean—just don't respond." Lucy looked down. "This was, after all, my punishment for falling asleep in class that one day." She laughed brokenly. "We can't let her know that we actually enjoyed it, right? Or at least I hope we all did." Lucy shrugged.

"I could go on forever with this goodbye, or I could just finish it now." Lucy's eyes shone brightly, eyesight severely blurred by tears. "And, as much as I'd like to keep talking forever—just to keep this from ending, just so you all know how much you've changed me—I can't." She smiled, and everyone saw the pain as clear as if it'd been their own. "It's time for me to say my final goodbye. Why now?" She asked rhetorically, laughing hollowly. "Simple; later I don't think I'll have the strength to go through this again. I may be a Gryffindor, but I'm still just a person. Flesh and blood, like each and every one of you. Cut me and I bleed, right? Just like any of you." Lucy smiled, a mixture of emotions swirling in her visage. "We're all just people, regardless of House, gender, whatever." Lucy made her way to the doors leading from the Great Hall. "People hurt, people feel. People leave large pieces of their hearts behind when the time comes for them to leave." She put a hand on the door, opening it slowly. "People loose their appetites and leave the Great Hall for a time of solitude before classes." A small smile twitched at a corner of Lucy's mouth. "People love other people." She looked back at them, shocking all of them with a small ray of happiness bright in her face. "That's what makes us human, doesn't it? Feeling, loving, living, dying? That's what it means to be truly alive. Not just the happy parts, but the sad and painful parts too." She smiled fully. "All of it; that's what lets us know that we're actually alive.

"…..Goodbye, Hogwarts. By Monday I'll be nothing more to you than another student. I only hope you'll remember my time as a professor fondly. I know I will."

As the door slowly shut behind Lucy, the Great Hall exploded in uproar. No one could believe what had just happened.

No one wanted to believe what had just happened.

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The Monday after this horrid announcement was full of silence, anger, and tears. Despite the many ways everyone—from students to professors—had tried to do in order for Lucy to remain as a professor, she was, as of today, a student once more. Many had forgotten that she'd ever been a student; it didn't make sense that she had to be one once more. All that Friday, many people approached Lucy, hoping that she could do something to change what had to happen. All it did was make Lucy go into hiding during lunch and her free time, returning for classes with burning red eyes and a painful light that canceled out any false happiness she might've attempted to muster up. Dinner had been absolutely horrid; so many students were crying and so little was eaten by many that Lucy had finally risen from her seat, eyes shining with unshed tears, and walked into the middle of the Great Hall. She'd said nothing, only held her arms open and waited. That was all she'd needed to do for many to run to her; even through her own pain, Lucy wanted only to comfort and alleviate others of their own.

The weekend she'd been gone, her faux vacation time; she was supposed to rest, but instead Lucy spent literally the entire weekend working on the assignments she'd missed during her months as Professor. She needed to make them all up, and worked with a wild fervor that couldn't mask her suffering even from herself.

Monday morning, Lucy's entrance into the Great Hall was noticed by all; whatever meager noise there had been, silenced as the doors parted to reveal what looked to be the world's most miserable little girl. Only Knot had a vindictive smirk on her face; now, perhaps, Lucy had learnt her lesson. It hadn't been easy, or fun, being a professor, huh? Look; the deep circles under her eyes clearly said that she'd gotten no rest. The students must have driven her completely mad. True, Knot would have to catch her students up in all they must have missed thanks to Lucy, but it was worth it. The little Gryffindor wouldn't disrespect Knot again.

Just to make sure, and to further her pleasure at the situation, Knot waited until Lucy had seated herself before clearing her throat and speaking, oblivious to the disgusted stares she was receiving.

"Miss Whitaker," Knot called loudly, pleased with the sharp wince that hit Lucy. "if you could come up here, please." Knot's voice dripped with happy acid. Lucy said nothing, only rose from her seat and made her way to where Knot wanted her, turning her empty stare from the table to the floor. What Knot took to be a humbled Lucy was really a Lucy so wracked with pain and anguish that she couldn't bear to lift her head, let alone look at anyone. If seeing Lucy this way wasn't bad enough for everyone but Knot, what came next was worse—so bad that there wasn't any one person who didn't want to severely harm the true Divination professor.

Right there, right in front of the entire school, Knot began tearing Lucy down piece by agonizing piece. She sneered and mocked the poor girl mercilessly, becoming bolder and harsher when no one stopped her. At one point Knot had even risen from her seat so as to address all in the Great Hall to bear witness to Lucy's lesson. Knot was enjoying herself so greatly that she hadn't noticed the silent tears that slipped down Lucy's face, dropping to the ground and wetting her robes as she took everything without a sound, still as death. The only thing that kept the entire Great Hall from jumping down Knot's neck simultaneously was the heartfelt plea of Lucy's from Friday; they would not respond to anything Knot said about Lucy, no matter how much they wanted to. It was one of Lucy's last wishes as a Professor, and they would respect that. Even Dumbledore remained motionlessly, silent and looking pained.

At length, Knot ran out of both steam and words to hurt Lucy with and sat back, satisfied. Lucy remained as silent as she'd been previously, but now she was shaking violently; it had begun with small, trembling tremors and escalated to the point that Lucy was clearly at her limit. Still she said nothing in response to Knot's derogatory words, knowing that Knot wasn't a bad person, really; Knot simply had a pride and ego that couldn't stand to be bruised. The Divination Professor took things a little too far, true, but it was only to reassure herself of her position and to make sure that her pride and ego remained intact.

For a suspended forever, no one moved. Then, Knot spoke once more, bitingly telling Lucy to return to her seat. She stopped the girl on second thought. "Tell me, Miss Whitaker" Knot began with acidic sweetness. "will you so disturb my class once again, or disrespect me in such a way? Have you learned your lesson, dear?" Lucy flinched sharply at the term of affection before shaking her head. "I want to hear you say it. Look at me, as well. Otherwise, how can I know you're telling the truth?" Lucy lifted her heavy head with an enormous show of strength and spoke, her hoarse voice cracking audibly.

"No, Professor Knot, ma'am. I'll never disturb your class again."

"…And the other part?" This, to many, seemed to be going too far, but Lucy's plea restrained them. Just barely, and Lucy knew it. The little Gryffindor took a deep breath, steadying herself and somehow stopping her tears before speaking.

"I…ve… learned my lesson. I'll ne…ver do it again…" Knot gave Lucy an expectant look which sliced at the girl painfully. "Ma'am. Professor Knot." Knot smiled, finally finished, finally satisfied.

"Very well. You are dismissed." Lucy nodded, head dropping; she looked exhausted to the point of no return from what she'd just done. She trudged half-heartedly towards Gryffindor before turning abruptly and simply leaving the Great Hall altogether. No more. I can't take any more. The broken girl thought, sobbing mentally. I just can't..... I've been cut too much; I'm loosing too much blood. I need sleep..... Lucy didn't even have the energy to run; she felt empty, hollow, and yet so, so heavy.

Glares full of hatred and hearts filled with mutiny were all that was left in the students' minds for Knot.

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Lucy had somehow forced herself into the Divination room, feeling as though she was about to throw up the entire time. She even looked sick, though she said nothing. She hadn't said anything at all since breakfast. She took her seat all the way in the back of the once-again smoky room, looking as though she was in physical pain. Knot began the class by bitingly informing them that she wasn't sure if the damage Lucy had done to their education could ever be repaired, or if they'd ever catch up. She also gave the class her sympathies for being stuck with incompetence and the detrimental effect on their entire educational life and future that only a miracle could ever possibly hope to repair. All through this, Knot seemed to be addressing Lucy, pointedly cutting her down and spending what was basically the entire class verbally abusing the silent girl. Never had so much accidental magic had to be reigned in as it had in that classroom.

When what was perhaps the most grueling dose of public humiliation ever given over such a long time was over for the time being, the bell rang, signaling the end of class. Knot told Lucy to stay after and she did so, many staying to listen from outside the open trapdoor. Those who watched were shocked when Lucy carefully shut it as she passed by the trapdoor to the front of the room. When she finally left the Divination room, Lucy was practically in tears as she walked away without a single word.

Not one of her friends, not even James, could comfort Lucy, or get her to talk. She was completely destroyed, and Knot wasn't helping. Lucy still went to every single one of her classes though, including Divination, which consisted mainly of Knot taking jabs at the girl whenever the opportunity arose during her time teaching. Which was often. It got to the point that Lucy would start shaking when anyone mentioned Divination; that was how badly Knot was treating her.

No one could think of a way to help Lucy; therefore they were all forced to watch as she sunk deeper and deeper into a place where no one could reach her. Then a miracle happened, for nothing else could come even close to what the simple exchange did for Lucy and her well-being.

"Hey, Professor!" Lucy jumped instinctively, just barely stopping herself from turning at the familiar title; it wasn't for her, after all. She was no long a professor. "Professor! Professor Whit!" The voice shouted insistently, a hand touching Lucy's shoulder and turning the shocked girl around. There was Stephan, panting heavily and grinning widely. "Sorry to bother you, Professor, but I wanted to tell you something!" He exclaimed happily, eyes bright. He then proceeded to tell Lucy all about the surprise quiz he'd just taken in his last class, which he'd gotten a perfect on. His face shone and he was beaming ecstatically, prouder of himself than he'd ever been in his whole life.

Not two seconds after he'd finished telling Lucy about his test, as well as showing her the paper itself, Megan and Carly appeared at his sides from practically nowhere. They looked indefinably proud of their younger brother and began babbling thankfully to Lucy for helping them so much; all three of them had been doing significantly better since her tutoring. The overjoyed triplets hugged Lucy tightly and continued talking to her, merrily filling her in on how they'd been doing in their classes and telling her how much they missed having her as a professor—she was the best they'd ever had!—and would it be alright if she still helped them out every now and then when they needed it?

Hearing Stephan, Carly, and Megan's easy, excited chatter and seeing that it was to Lucy that they were talking too, many students passing by stopped and added their own words; it didn't take long before the stunned girl was surrounded by numerous of her previous students, all rambling on about how much they missed her teaching and how well they'd been doing since she was a professor and so much more. At one point, as her vision went blurry thanks to the tears she was holding back, Lucy was able to make out Stephan's broad grin and knew that this was all his doing. Without so much as a word of warning, Lucy threw her arms around Stephan and hugged him tightly. He might not have expected so many students to join in, but he'd known that Lucy needed some uplifting and had convinced his sisters to help him out; they'd been happy to, and now look.

Later, James, Sirius, Remus, Peter, and Lily would find Stephan and thank them like no one would ever thank him again, swearing that if he ever needed anything, ever, that they would do everything in their power to help him. He shook his head at their thanks, firmly insisting that he would've done what he'd done for Lucy regardless, but the five wouldn't leave him be until he agreed with them; Stephan made his first real friends that day.

Things got better for Lucy after that, slowly. There were moments when it seemed that she might get lost again, because Lucy refused to skip Divination—even though Knot was purposely failing her—but whenever it seemed that she was slipping away, the entire student body was there to help her right back up. Even the faculty had taken to helping Lucy in whatever ways they could, and it was in this way that Knot gradually lost her grip over the girl. Lucy would never entirely get over the things Knot said to and about her, just as she would never entirely get over the things that happened at her aunt's house, but she healed and got better. She began smiling again, and the light that had previously disappeared from her eyes made the flecks of color in her eyes dance once more. She was talking again, and her assignments began to fill with the life that had been emptied from them. In every way and every thing she did, it was clear to everyone that the dangerous void Lucy had been trapped in had been demolished. It was on that memorable, much loved day months after Knot's return that Lucy burst into laughter that everyone knew that Lucy was finally, finally back. The laughter that had escaped her was the first laughter anyone had heard leave the girl since before Knot had returned, and it was considered to be what was probably the most wondrous sound any of them had ever heard in the entirety of their lives. It was like the hope that had previously been lost had come back once more; Lucy was laughing again.

"Hey Professor!" Lucy, who'd been talking to Sprout at the moment, turned, smiling brightly at both the familiar nickname and the voice that called her.

"Hey Stephan." Lucy said, greeting the boy happily. She loved the boy to bits; he was the one that had brought her back, and had made all of Hogwarts Lucy's family.

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The released eyes of a Wild Magician are unlike any that one will ever see in the entirety of their life. Upon the mortal birth, the main, truer color of the Wild’s eyes are replaced with the first he truly sees; thus is his first connection to the world he is to repair made and stabilized. This is how the process begins--not just the creation of a connection and love for the mortals who dwell in the Wild’s new home, but also the process of hiding the Wild’s true identity.

A Wild Magician is not to know his true status in life. Not a single Wild has ever known; it is inconceivable to believe that one will ever know. Many have tried to convince a Wild of his true power, but none have succeeded.

It is said that the person who can successfully make a Wild acknowledge what should forever be hidden will be blessed with the ability to wield unimaginable power; the power of a true Wild.

The Power that comes with a truly pure being; the Power that must never be controlled by any mortal, whether he be Muggle or Magical.

The Power to move mountains. To shake the very core of the Earth.

To split the world in two, then ten; to rip the sky apart.

It has been told that the Power of an ignorant Wild left even the great Merlin himself frozen in awe and unable to fathom what had just occurred until long afterwards. A Pure Wild, with no clue as to his own real identity, and no clue as to the limitless, absolute control he could seize with the ease that one lifts a quill with.

So what, then, could a Wild who knew the Truth about himself do? What unsurpassable power would he possess? What would become of the Earth, and all its inhabitants? What would happen if he who enlightens and convinces the Wild of the Truth gains this power, along with the influence over the Wild that would surely come with it?

If a Wild did not hide his eyes through that first connection, there would never be the slightest rest. Beings of all ages would flock to the babe, and all through his life, the Wild would grow up hearing words that should be left unspoken in his presence. Young ones, even Pure Wild Magicians, always reach a point where they are especially impressionable; this would be the moment in which the universe could be thrown so viciously out of balance that it would become beyond repair. What if someone was able to reach out to the Wild in this delicate stage, and make him believe the truth? What would happen? Would there be anything left?

Upon birth, the first eyes a Wild makes contact with are copied, and then projected upon another. This assures a familial bond is established and rooted. This bond is needed for more reasons than that of an attachment to the creatures a Wild instinctively protects; this bond also protects the Wild. This bond, this hiding, is the only protection a Wild is offered; and even this can be eventually taken away.

Beware, friends; only two type of beings have ever seen the true power that is contained within the eyes of a Wild. Those being protected, and those who are threatening them.

For a Wild Magician will never act for his own safety. If one ever is witness to the--


“Hey, Whit!” James called, waving as he jogged up to Lucy.

“Yeah?” Lucy asked, giving James a happy grin.

“Me and the guys have found another secret tunnel! We’re going to go exploring! You want to come?” James asked eagerly, practically bouncing up and down in his excitement. Lucy laughed a bit at his excitement before nodding and bouncing up onto her feet. “Oh?” James asked curiously, just taking notice of the book Lucy had been reading. “What’s this?” He mused aloud, picking up the book and reading the title out loud. “The Eyes of the Wild.” James blinked. “Huh. Sounds interesting. What’s it about, Whit?” He asked.

“Wild Magicians, mostly.” Lucy answered with a shrug and a slight smile. “It’s actually really interesting, James. You wouldn’t believe how significant a Wild’s eyes can be!” She said, shaking her head bewilderedly, looking amazed.

“So I’m guessing they can’t be blind like me, huh?” James teased lightly, making Lucy laugh at his words.

“I’d take you up on that bet if it was fair, James, but that book is supposed to talk about a Wild who was actually, literally blind.” Lucy’s eyes glittered enthusiastically as she and James began walking.

“Why do Wild Magicians interest you so much, Whit?” James asked curiously. Lucy thought for a moment before shrugging.

“I don’t really know, James. I guess it’s just because of how they use their magic. They’re strong, and they can do just about anything, but they never hurt anyone. They come here to take care of us, and to fix all the bad things we do to the Earth, and then they leave. They go back to wherever they came from, trusting us to do it right this time, even though we never stop screwing everything up anyway. And they always come back. To take care of us, and to make sure the Earth keeps going. Don’t you think that’s just amazing?” Lucy asked, eyes glowing brightly. James nodded, smiling fondly; Lucy was really passionate about that kind of stuff. Taking care of the Earth, and making sure there was as little suffering going on as possible. It was no wonder that, upon learning about Wild Magicians, she would become enthralled with the subject. Because in all honesty, if one was to really study them, Wild Magicians were unbelievably good.

With all that James had learned about Wild Magicians from Lucy and her books--he did like reading, after all, and Lucy always picked interesting books--he found it hard to believe that these people weren’t just fairy tales told to children over the years. The whole concept of Wild Magicians struck him as something that would be found in The Tales of Beedle the Bard, to be perfectly honest. Not because it sounded ridiculous, but because it was really just too good to be true. There was no way that a person could be that powerful, or even that good. No one was capable of being as forgiving and, for lack of a better adjective, kind as the Wilds were depicted as being.

And who knew? Maybe they were just fairy tales. Maybe they didn’t exist at all.

But, looking at Lucy’s shining face, James couldn’t bring himself to voice these thoughts. Lucy was a good person, and it was easy for her to believe the best in people. Was it so wrong, really, to wish that people like Wilds existed outside of books? Especially when it made someone like Lucy so happy?

James didn’t think so. He didn’t think it was one bit wrong, not if it made the girl he saw as his little sister this hopeful for the world. After all, if it made Lucy this happy, there was no way it could be bad. It was that simple.

So, as James led Lucy to the passage he, Sirius, Remus, and Peter had found, he more than willingly absorbed the--truthfully interesting--information he was being offered. He never once stopped smiling, nor did the happy feeling in his heart lessen even the slightest. Lucy was happy. Which meant James was happy, too.

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