Chapter Twenty-nine, A Discomforting Letter
Music is an invisible dance, as dancing is silent music.
- Source Unknown
I was walking back to the common room, having just finished Charms-work together with Bryn. He was a quick learner, which suited me perfectly. I was glad Christmas was getting closer by the day, because that meant resting. Lots of resting. If I were lucky, Petunia would spend it at her boyfriend’s like last year, making it only me, mum and her parents. It had been a brilliant holiday last year, I was hoping for history to repeat itself.
Apparently there weren’t many staying at Hogwarts this year, the ones I’d spoken to were going home, except for Jennifer. The relaxing conversation I’d had with Bryn just then flashed in my head as I got closer and closer to the portrait of the Fat Lady.
“Going home for Christmas, Lily?” Bryn had said.
“Yeah, I’m hoping for a quiet relaxing Christmas this year with mum,” I replied.
“Me too. I thought you had a sister as well?” He pointed out.
I had noticed how little he really knew about me. We had dated, and he didn’t know I had a sister?
“Yep, but she was with her boyfriend last year. Hope she will be this year as well.”
“She’s bad? Probably doesn’t beat Mark. When he’s home, he’s all loony. Can’t stand him. All he does is to annoy me beyond possible madness…”
I laughed. Bryn could be funny when he wanted to. Too bad he didn’t show that side of himself as often. It was one of the things I like about him.
I got back, noticing an owl sitting on my bed with a letter in it’s beak.
Christmas is coming soon, and I was hoping you would spend it here with us like you did last year. Petunia has promised on her life she’ll behave, she’ll probably be occupied with her boyfriend. She asked if he could stay with us for Christmas.
I have a little surprise for you, baby… Grandma and Grandpa is coming too! Together with your aunt and uncle and their families… won’t that be great? It’ll be the first time we gather together properly after dad passed away. I’m sorry, but Granny and Papsy can’t come… they promised they’d go to Scotland to visit aunt Ylva.
Please come home, Lily? I’ve missed you, and I need you here with me.
I put the letter from my mother into the box with letters I’d received from her over the years, giving the tawny own who brought it a little treat. I was tempted to just crumple the letter up and tear it to pieces, but I controlled my emotions.
‘Sorry, mum… but I won’t come home to you. Not when they’re there,’
I thought bitterly.
Anything that reminded me of my father reopened the old wounds. His parents were all right, but they were a lot like him still. And with my aunt and uncle together with their numerous kids? Don’t think so…
“Going home this Christmas, Anna?” I said as she entered my dorm.
“Yes, I’m pretty sure I am,” she smiled. “Anyway, I was wondering if you’d come to Hogsmeade with me this weekend. You’ve had a rough time lately, so I figured some make-over would do?”
I walked over to her, giving her a hug. “You’re my angel, Anna! We can shop Christmas presents as well while we’re at it!”
“Great idea,” she said. “I have to go back to the library, actually… Have lots of work to finish. See you later?”
I put the box back in my closet, fetching a book to read by the fire. It was a book I’d borrowed from Lindsay about dancing history.
As I trotted down the stairs wearing a pair of comfy jazz trousers and a loose sweater, I saw some familiar faces in the common room. It was none other than Sirius and James, two of the animagis I’d just uncovered. I expected Remus to be in bed, being a werewolf during winter was a tough business.
A smirk I usually didn’t show was on my face as I walked over to them, hands on my hips. Was I going to have some fun, or what? This was going to be even more fun than busting Sirius and Remus under the invisibility cloak before Halloween.
“James?” I said questionably, looking down on him.
“Yes, ballerina? What do you wonder about?” he said cheerfully.
“You disappeared somewhere else than the castle last night … after you were in Hagrid’s cabin with me… Where did you go?”
He exchanged some brief glances with Sirius before answering, somewhat faint.
“That’s really none of your business, is it? But if you are so curious to know, I was just having some fun with Sirius…”
‘Yeah, that strictly isn’t lying. I bet you were having fun…’
I smiled to myself.
“Ok,” I said problem free, squeezing down between them. “I went to look for you, you know.. I was slightly worried because of the moon.”
“How sweet,” Sirius grinned, setting his grey eyes on me.
I pretended to go all excited, as if I remembered something just then.
“And you know what? You know what?” I said, eyes shining.
“No, Lily? What? What?” James mocked.
I ruffled his hair in irritation, but didn’t really get the least bit offended.
“When I was about to turn back, I saw this very special animal…”
“Really, Lily? There are so few
special creatures out there… what was it?” Sirius said ironically and almost casually. I sensed he tried to put up a play now… to pretend this was very new to him.
“It was a stag, actually,” I answered, fiddling with the tips of my hair.
“A stag? Lily, there are probably tons of stags out there.. c’mon? You saw a stag? Well, guess what? I saw a blast ended screwt in Hagrid’s garden the other day… isn’t that great?
” Sirius joked, and I saw he was getting slightly nervous, he struggled to keep me from seeing that.
“I didn’t just watch it, it allowed me to come over and touch
it…” I said in awe, looking over to James.
His eyes were confused and not really knowing how to react, and I understood him fully. As I looked into his eyes, there was no doubt it had been him. The stag was really James. I recognised that look now… and it was definitely identical.
“How… nice,” he simply said, but I felt him tremble slightly next to me.
‘I’ve got you now,
Prongs… no turning back…
“And… it was so beautiful.. I could’ve stood there for hours just looking at it’s handsome features and feel my fingers go through that fur…”
Sirius was looking oddly at me, and James was finally coming out of his trance. He smiled at me, raising his eyebrows.
“It was that
sexy? Who would know? Are you having some sort of continuously secret moon-rides with this stag, or what?” he said smugly.
my heart sighed.
“No… but I wouldn’t mind seeing it again. It had the most amazing eyes.”
I sighed for real, looking dreamily up in the ceiling.
“Ok, stop talking about that animal, Lily. You’re talking about it as if it was a real person, not an animal,” Sirius laughed.
I saw James looking sternly at him from beside me. I prevented a giggle from erupting my lips.
“Oh, it is
a real person,” I said matter-of-factly. “I’m sure of it.”
“Yeah right, all you have to do is kiss it, and it’ll turn into Prince Charming?” James sniggered, straightening his sweat-shirt.
“Don’t be silly!” I snapped, hitting James playfully in the ribs. “I don’t need to kiss it.”
“Funny… so it can just turn into a person like that?” Sirius laughed.
He must have forgot what he was talking about, because he suddenly was on his guard. He fell quiet only after a short dog-like laugh.
“I know who that stag is, too…” I smiled charmingly.
James looked apprehensive, but then his face softened, I think he thought I was joking. How could I possibly know?
“Ok, let’s hear it,” he said exasperatedly.
I looked into James’s eyes, trying to reveal any weakness. There wasn’t any. I pushed my index finger into his ribs, smiling evilly at him.
“Ouch! What was that for? It hurt!” he moaned.
“It’s you, James!” I said, thinking it was something very obvious.
“It’s me? What did I do now? I didn’t do nothing!”
James kept on protesting, and I was surprised his mind was so slow. Sirius’s wasn’t, though. His face was strangely pale, and he didn’t say anything. But James was too occupied with teasing me to notice.
I bent close, calming him down. I removed some wild hair from around his ear. He didn’t really understand what was going on, and it was highly amusing.
I whispered softly into his ear.
“You’re the stag, James… You’re an animagus, aren’t you?”
His eyes were glittering in front of me, totally stripped of every emotion. He just looked at me in shock.
“W-what did you say?” he said slowly.
I just nodded, confirming my argument.
“How the bloody hell do you know that?” he suddenly let out.
Sirius slapped a hand onto his face, looking thoroughly embarrassed and assigned.
“I borrowed your invisibility cloak this morning, and had a little walk down here.. Hearing something very interesting… and it all made sense…” I whispered, not taking my eyes off his surprised lines.
“I knew it!” Sirius said exasperatedly. “You… You… eavesdropping little…”
I just smiled satisfied at the two boys at either side of me.
“Stop barking, Sirius! People could think you were a dog…
” I winked at him, leaving him even more confused, shocked and irritated.