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The Strength in Battle- Tilly Channing



“We should have kept you there. I knew, I JUST KNEW that you weren’t completely healed.”



“Lily, honestly,” Riz rolled her eyes while picking up some potion bottles. “Pomfrey’s letting me out, I’m fine now.”



“You are NOT fine!” Lily threw her hand over her eyes and sighed angrily.



“Actually Ms. Evans, she is.” I turned to see Madame Pomfrey come out of her medi-closet with something I couldn’t recognize. “I admit this is only my sixth year as the resident Healer, so if you feel Ms. Burby needs to return the moment you leave, feel free to bring her back.”



“Oh,” Lily smacked her hand away from her face and looked to Pomfrey, blushing. “I’m sorry, I didn’t know—err, I didn’t mean...”



I hadn’t seen Lily this flustered since the time Potter actually proposed.



“Try not to strain your self dear,” Pomfrey looked at Riz when she said it, but I felt it was meant for Lily. “And I hope to not see you in here for a very long time.”



Riz grinned, “You’re probably the only one who can say that politely.”



“One of the many perks of this job,” The woman smiled, but ushered us towards the doors, “Now GO! I have many patients!”



I glanced quickly around the empty Wing and she winked at me before I was pulled along with my friends.



When we turned the corner at the end of the hallway, Lily stopped us in front of a picture of a horse and carriage; the horses were pulling the carriage along a never ending dirt road with a forest behind it. Wouldn’t it be nice to live in a peaceful world like that? No wars, no evil, simply what you were painted with. As I thought this, a man came out of the forest and fired a small jinx at the horses to make them fall. He then unlocked the carriage door and was knocked off his feet by a spell the woman inside threw at him.



I looked towards the clapping in the next portrait and widened my eyes at the table of drunken monks that were now exchanging money.



“Alright, Tilly?” Riz asked me.



Wait, Riz asked me…



I carefully worded my sentence. “Um, yes. That would be…wonderful?”



“Great!” Lily grinned. “I had wanted to get that done today.”



Heh, guess my wit is building. I followed my friends toward Gryffindor Tower while looking at the paintings.



Before we’d gotten down the hallway I’d seen a fairy hide in a tree, some wizards dueling on a rock, and what looked like Rowena Ravenclaw running into a forest. There are definitely some odd portraits here at Hogwarts.



“Os Malum,” Lily said to the Fat Lady. The kind women in the painting nodded and let us pass through.



When I came through, the first thing I noticed was the fact that the only people actually in the Common Room were the Marauders. Second thing I noticed was that all they did when we entered was staring at us as we walked in. Apparently they noticed us noticing them and they put their heads back down in discussion.



I rolled my eyes at their obvious childish chatter. Probably another prank or something…ugh, if it’s as bad as the hair dye in third year…



When we got to our dorm, Lily was the first one in. Riz gently laid herself down on her bed, though she knew she was completely healed. Pomfrey really did do amazing work, no scars and no side effects. Lily reached to her side table and opened her drawer. She pulled out here note book and wand and flicked the latter. Writing started to appear.



“This meeting has been brought together—”



Riz muttered a quick spell as to not let any sound escape to unknowing ears before Lily continued.



“—to figure out an excuse.”



“Yes, yes,” Riz groaned. “We do this every year, get together, figure out an excuse to get all three of us out of Hogwarts for the Spring Championship, tell Dumbledore, watch him smile knowingly…Merlin, we all know he knows everything!”



Lily sighed, “But we are bound by law, so we can’t outright tell him anything. Now, let’s see…”



I walked over to my own bed and fell face down on it. Riz made a ‘humph’ sound and Lily skimmed through the pages in her diary –thing.



“In the past we’ve used such excuses as ‘Riz’s sister is getting married and we all were invited’ and ‘My mother is ill and Tilly’s visited to help, getting herself ill and they need the daught—’; Basically, I know we can do better and hopefully this won’t be the last one we have to make, so, ideas?” Lily looked up from her book in thought.



Well, she’s usually the one that figures up these ridiculous excuses, and Riz just adds in her sarcasm from time to time. Now is your time to suggest the perfect one!



“Um,” I started. “How about you need to visit your sister, Lily…and uh, Riz and I are sick with a highly contagious forty-eight hour ailment?”



“Dumbledore knows Petunia and I don’t get along, Tilly,” Lily frowned. “But—”



“And he knows where we go and what we do. I’ve been telling you guys this for years,” Riz tilted her head. “I wonder—”



“As I was saying,” Lily continued raising her voice a bit. “The whole sickness thing is a good start, though all the trips to the Wing we’ve been making—”



Riz coughed at ‘we’.



“—RIZ has been making, I have a feeling someone will get suspicious.”



“Can’t we just say there was a death in my family and you both want to support me in this hard time, Dumbledore loves that sentimental rubbish,” Riz smirked.



“Bloody hell, you should’ve been a Slytherin!” Lily gasped.



I laughed in slight shock at her word choice, but grinned as she smiled.



Lily got a thoughtful look on her face and Riz and I looked at her. “Actually though, that’s a really good idea…”



Great, now Riz is having bursts of brilliance…well, she’s always been intelligent…what am I to the group?



“Hey, Tilly, we should probably send the letter, you want to get that for us?” Riz asked me.



“Oh, yeah,” I turned over and unlocked my drawer. Everything the same way I’d left it, I pulled out a white book-like object with silver writing on the cover and side.



Dueler’s Handbook



I opened the book of our secrets and took out the letter I’d left inside. Putting everything back the way it was, I rolled back over onto my back and sat up. My head spun a bit, but I stood and walked over to where Riz and Lily were sitting.



“Here you are,” I grinned and handed Lily the book.



The red-head nodded and Accio-d a quill over to write out everything with.



“Full, Real, Names?” Lily started.



“Grizel Burby.”



“Matilda Channing.”



Riz and I both shuddered when we said our names out loud. That is the only reason I would ever have to dislike my parents—their non-existent naming skills.



“Lily Evans, “Lily flicked the quill when she finished, a little habit I noticed she has had since second year. “Signatures and individual information.”



She filled out hers quickly and passed the parchment and quill to Riz. Already knowing what it would ask, I was ready when it got to me.




Matilda Channing.




8-11-59




Phantom Phoenixes




5’6”




I rolled my eyes when I finished and gave the paper back to Lily who would finish bubbling in the rest of the answers.



Really, I understand they have to keep track of everything and everyone. I understand completely that it’s illegal by Ministry law and probably one of the least safe activities school aged witches and wizards can engage in. Without the information they get from competitors, a Death Eater could be in the midst of all of it. Who knows what goes on in this world now?



Lily stood suddenly with the letter. Her hair fell around her shoulders. So effortless.



“To the Owlery!” Riz widened her eyes sarcastically.



Lily rolled her eyes, but grinned, “Glad that you’re so excited.”



“Honestly I’m still in pain…”



Lily whipped her head toward Riz, “Wha—”



“Bloody hell, I was joking!” Riz raised her hands. “Sorry, sorry, I’ll keep my humor under control.”



“You—ugh.” She shook her head, “Let’s just go.”



We walked out of the dorm and back through the Common Room. The Marauders had left, but judging by the smiles and flushes on the second years in the corner, not very long ago.



On the way to the Owlery, we actually didn’t see anyone. I was surprised every time we rounded a corner to find no one there. I guess they all wanted to enjoy the outdoors…it’s not like we went a secret way or anything.



The three of us began up the short staircase to the Owlery. The railing was cold when I put my hand on it to stop from slipping, Riz wasn’t so lucky.



“Heads!” I shouted for some reason when she slipped in front of me and flailed her arms about. I reached up to stop her from falling back and she steadied herself.



She turned to face me smirking, hair slightly orange, face flushed, “Thanks, Till.”



“Any time,” I nodded.



At the top of the steps, Lily had that look in her eyes, but didn’t say anything. She really does know when to not bother it; I wish I had that ability. When she went around the corner to the large, white-covered owl house, her hair caught in a breeze and a strange sensation pooled in my stomach. 



I’m not jealous…



Well, she has everything I want…looks, brains, and a guy chasing after her. Why is she so lucky? Honestly, she doesn’t even try…or want half the things that are given to her. Not to mention she has a unique fighting style.



And so does Riz, she just goes head-first into anything and doesn’t give a care. Why can’t I be like that? Not to mention she has that hair…she is the epitome of unique.



What am I to our trio? The spare? The one that holds the bags…the ignorant fool without any certain skill whatsoever?



I threw myself down on the one bench in the Owlery that wasn’t covered in any white. It suddenly felt as if the world was on my shoulders…my eyes welled with tears. Oh, perfect.



“Tilly? Are you…alright?” I heard Lily ask.



I looked up, face most-likely red. “Yeah, I’m fine.”



She gasped lightly and Riz looked to me, “What happened?”



“I—nothing.”



“Um…Tills, you know you can tell us anything, right?” Riz looked to me, concerned.



I stood and before I could stop myself from another break-down, I started yelling, “No! I’m not ALRIGHT, alight? I am SICK AND TIRED of not being noticed, of not getting PERFECT GRADES, of not having PERFECT HAIR THAT RUDDY FLOATS IN THE BREEZE!”



There eyes were probably wider than mine, but I continued. “And, I am utterly DONE with being in the shadows. I CAN FIGHT TO! I TRIED TO SAVE you, Riz, I really tried! I’m going to screw up our chances…I can feel it…”



“It’s all just too much, “I finally whispered.



Silence came from the two for a minute.



“Tilly, without you I probably would have been hurt worse. I owe you so much.” Riz put a hand on my shoulder. “And you are not in the shadows, and your hair does float in the breeze…it would a lot more if you took it out of the bun it’s always in, but that bun is YOU. You are unique; you are unique in your own way.”



I looked at my friends and opened my mouth to apologize for another break down, but Lily beat me to it.



“Tilly, I’m sorry for use of it, but this has to be said.” She smiled lightly at me. “Do you know what Matilda means? Don’t give me that look, I apologized before hand.”



I wiped the glare off my face and listened.



“It means Strength in Battle. You will NOT screw up, NONE of us will.” She took a breath and stood to attach the letter to an owl.



“We have not gotten this far for nothing!”



 

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