Ch. 6: You Animal
The lot of them had settled into their routine fairly quickly.
Before Lily knew it, it was time for their first quidditch game. Her cousins Mike and Nick had been replaced by James, for which Lily was very happy, and a burly seventh year by the name of Ralph Glausmeyer, for which Lily had mixed feelings on. Ralph was a nice guy. He just tended to not know his own strength. Several of them had ended up in the infirmary after practice sessions. Lily just hoped he hit that hard when Haden Malfoy was in the air this Saturday... because the arrogant git had made Slytherin seeker.
Perdita was shocking everyone by being as clever as her mother in several subjects. Well, mainly potions, herbology, and her healing class. She was testing out in herbology. Perdi was now taking classes with the fourth years. Professor Sprout was very pleased with her. Snape had grudgingly admitted Perdita and James were too advanced already for second year potions. They now took his class with third years. The good thing was that Bobby Longbottom couldn't harass Perdita any longer. The bad thing about it was that the only third level potions class that fit into their schedules was an all Slytherin one.
Siri was proving that she had a natural talent in Defense Against the Dark Arts. Melusine was second to her. The two of them weren't bad at dueling either. Siri's worst class, however, seemed to be potions.... and Snape seemed not to like her AT ALL. And despite his innate knowledge in class, Snape seemed to also have it in for Remy. Lily felt certain that had something to do with their namesakes and not the students themselves. But even though Snape was harsh on him, Remy was top of his class... even above their cousin Parker the Ravenclaw. Parker was fairly bitter about it.
Starling had quit being so nervous. She was finally starting to settle in. Fearghus and James had been helping her with her flying. It had taken a Herculean effort to get her back on a broom after her first flying lesson, but they had managed. Even Oliver Wood had been remarking on her improvement lately.
Lily was making leaps and bounds in charms. She was still pouring over the animagus diary. It would be some time before any of them would be remotely ready to try any of this stuff. There were so many levels of the process, so many spells and potions to brew before attempting the actual ritual to bind your animal to you. Lily knew what hers would be. She'd had dreams about being a mare before. Hooves pounding against the turf as she sped across wetlands. Yes, Lily knew. Siri had already expressed that she was certain hers would be canine. The others were unsure.
They were doing the first spell tonight. It was the one you cast to see what your spirit animal was. Lily was nervous. And not just because Perdita was stealing supplies from Snape's closet so that they could do the spell. She was nervous because any number of things could go wrong. They really weren't ready in her opinion.
"Who's that?" Perdita snapped to Cara Henry as the two of them were leaving herbology.
Lily had walked up just in time to hear the question. She followed where Perdi and Cara were looking to Sean... Sean who was holding hands with a girl. Lily blinked.
"That's Leanna Ling."
"She just transferred back from a wizarding school in China. She's a Ravenclaw. Chaser."
Lily detected some venom in Cara's voice.
"Why is he holding her hand though?" Perdita hissed.
Lily took a moment to study the other girl. She was tiny. Very petite. Not as little as Lily, but she was older. She had chin length black hair that was straight as a pin. It had a very shiny look to it. Her almond shaped eyes were so dark they looked black. Leanna Ling was very pretty and feminine. Lily felt suddenly awkward and childish looking at her. It was apparent that Perdi was feeling some of the same with the way she patted her wildly curly red hair down.
"She's his girlfriend." Cara spat, saying girlfriend as if it were a swear word. "He doesn't have time for his best friend anymore. Prat."
Perdita looked like someone had struck her.
Lily was hunched over her transfiguration homework at a table in the common room. Siri was next to her struggling with her potions work. Melusine and Remy were nearby coaching Starling on her charms. She was getting better.
"Oy." Fearghus hollered as he and James entered the room. "Where's Perdi?"
James surveyed the table. "Yeah, where is Perdi?"
Lily sighed. "She's up in our room."
"Why? What happened?"
"Stupid!" Siri snapped.
"Sirius!" Lily snapped.
"Ok, what in the hell?" James said as he sat down next to his twin sister.
"Stupid Sean Wood went and got himself a pretty little Ravenclaw girlfriend, and Perdi's all upset about it." Siri whispered.
Fearghus's eyebrows furrowed. "Why?"
"Who knows why Wood wants some old Ravenclaw."
"No, Potter, why's she care?"
"Duh, Finnigan, she likes the great overblown git."
"Perdita has a crush on Wood. Don't tell me you haven't noticed, Fergie." Lily said calmly.
"Why does every girl in this school like that wanker?"
"I don't!" Lily and Siri said at the same time.
"Look, why aren't one of you up there talkin' to 'er 'bout it?" Fearghus asked.
"We already tried." Siri said.
Fearghus glared at them and took off for the dorms, but he went towards the girls' side.
Perdita shot up off her bed, wiping her eyes. "Fergie! What are you doing in here? This is a girls room."
"I thought I might come an' ask ya why yer hidin' up in here."
She turned away. "None of your beeswax, Fearghus Finnigan."
He sat on her bed next to her. "Aww, Perdi, don't be like that. We're friends, aren't we?"
She spun about. "Well, sure."
"Why're ya gonna let that prat spin ya up so then?"
Perdi sighed and looked away.
"Why're ya gonna let what he does bother ya so, Perdi?"
"Why does ever girl in the whole of Hogwarts have to be toe-up for that prettyboy git?"
"Because." She said as she shot off the bed and started to pace.
"Perdi, ya just need to get on over it."
"Oh? Is that all?" Perdita snapped, her blue eyes blazing. "I just need to get over it, huh? Gee, Fearghus, how come I didn't think of that?"
"Look, I'm tryin' ta be helpful 'ere an' yer bein' all nasty now."
She folded her arms across her chest and turned away. "Have you seen her though? How can I ever compare to that? I'm almost taller than she is. God, why did I have to take after my dad in height. I'm all gawky and redheaded. My eyes are too big for my face, and my hair looks like a muggle perm gone horribly wrong. Plus, I'll bet she's graceful. She looked graceful. I'm all thumbs, elbows, and left feet."
"Who's gonna like some giantess with enough red hair for two people?!"
"Now, yer overreactin'."
"But I like him a lot, Fearghus."
"Why can't he just like me... and not Leanna Ling." Perdita whined as she sat back next to him.
"Because he's a git." Fearghus said as he draped an arm about her shoulders. "Ya shouldna let it bother you so, Perdi. Jamie an' Lils are all worried. An' Siri's in a right state. All mad at Wood on yer behalf."
Perdita giggled "Really?"
"Yeah. Let's go down to the common room all righ'?"
"Perdi, ya can't let this get to ya, darlin'. Yer friends want to see yer smilin' face. Come on. Lils and I can tell ya 'bout Bobby Longbottom gettin' detention today. It'll be grand. Distract ya right from thinkin' on that git Wood."
She smiled. "All right."
Then she did something completely unexpected.
She kissed him.
Friendly-like. On the cheek. Just a peck.
He sat stunned for a moment. He'd never been kissed by anyone who wasn't a relative of his. It was weird... and he couldn't decide if he wanted to rub his cheek off or not.
Perdita had dumped all the stolen potion ingredients on the blanket Lily and Siri had spread out on the floor of their dorm room. It was agreed by everyone that Perdi would mix the potion and Lily would do the wand work and say the incantation needed. Currently, the two of them were hovered over a cauldron Siri had swiped from Professor Black's office.
"Look, is everybody REALLY sure about this?" Lily asked.
"We're sure, Potter." Melusine said. "Geez, you're making me nervous."
"Well, this potion is the first step. It's a hallucinogen. It wears off quickly though. We just have to make sure the door's locked, so none of us wander."
"If my dad finds out about this, he'll kill me." Starling whispered.
"You don't HAVE to do it, Star." Perdita said. "No one HAS to do it."
"No. I'm in."
"All right." Lily said as the bubbling potion in the cauldron before her turned a bubblegum pink color. "It's ready. Anyone backing out, now's the time to do so."
She looked at all of them. No one had moved.
"All right, Siri, make sure that door's locked."
Lily held the diary up to read the incantation as she swirled her wand about the cauldron in the motions depicted by her grandfather's handwriting.
"As I say... show the way... here the call... see it fall... animal of heart... depart... and rise... before two eyes."
The potion gave up a whiff of smoke then turned dark red. Lily laid down her wand nervously. She'd done it. Now all they had to do was drink it. She began doling the thing out into five goblets. Each girl took one. Lily doused the magical fire under the cauldron and joined the other four in a circle on the blanket.
"Bottoms up." Siri said with a grin.
And they all five drank.
Lily was running. She could feel the wind flowing through her hair, no mane. She was galloping. Her four hooves pounded against the grass and she sped over a hill. She slowed as she reached a body of clear water. She wandered up to it slowly and peered down. A jet black mare stared back at her. Black as midnight, she was. Lily neighed loudly and kicked up onto her hind legs. Her front hooves pawed the air as she tossed her head defiantly.
She was flying. Starling almost panicked. She was so high up... but the air glided smoothly around her. She was flying past buildings, high above the street. She zoomed lower and flew past shop windows. Starling caught the reflection of a little gray spotted owl as she did. She was startled when she realized she was the owl. She was flying. She hated to fly, yet here she was gliding so gracefully. An owl. Her.
Melusine stretched languidly. Her back popped, and her claws skidded across the floor in the main dining room of Malfoy Manor. Claws? She studied her 'hands'. White fur coated them, complete with a fierce set of razor sharp claws. She gasped, but it came out more of a hiss. Melusine blinked. She tried to speak, but all that came out was a loud meow. She scrambled up and ran. She was much faster. She darted in between pieces of furniture. She darted under and over things in a way no human could. She took a great leap onto the piano in the sun room, the one with a mirror behind it. Melusine skidded to a stop. She was face to face with a snow-white cat with huge gray eyes. She couldn't resist the urge to bat at her own reflection.
She was barking. She was in the backyard of the burrow, chasing sparrows and barking as she jumped about. Siri had known. She had just known it would be a dog. She seemed like a big dog though. She had been expecting cocker spaniel or Chihuahua or some other girlie little dog. She seemed to have some mass here. Siri ran up onto the back porch and peered into the bucket that her grandmother set out there to catch the rainwater. A great hairy golden retriever stared back at her. She was as big as Uncle Padfoot for sure. Sirius Potter laughed. It came out as a series of barks.
Perdita was running in the forbidden forest. She was darting in between bits of underbrush and trees. She was moving fast. She could feel her whiskers running against things. They told her how much space she had. She sprang forth into a clearing that held a little spring. Perdita hurried to it. She was quite surprised by the image staring back at her from the gurgling water. It was rippling, but she could still make out the red fur and sleek face of a fox. A vixen. Interesting. Perdita was startled the learn that her animal was such a beautiful creature. She had been almost certain she would have been something icky like a pig or something gawky like a giraffe. No, she was a sleek little fox with soft red fur, white on her face and the tip of her fluffy tail. Her little black nose gave a twitch.
Someone was pounding on their door.
All five girls sat straight up with a gasp. Lily rubbed her pounding head.
"Lils! Perdi! Open up! You guys missed breakfast and your first classes! Are you ok? Siri! Mel! Star!"
The five of them scrambled up.
"We're fine, Jamie!" Lily called.
"Then open up."
"Can't... er... Mel's naked."
"Why'd you have to tell him I was the naked one?" Melusine hissed.
Perdita, Siri, and Starling were scrambling to get the aftermath of their little spell hidden. When they were satisfied, Lily undid Siri's locking charm and swung the door open. James, Remy, and Fearghus were standing there.
"See? All fine."
"What are you up to?"
"You're all wearing the same clothes you wore yesterday. What's going on?"
"Don't lie, Lils."
"Look, Jamie. It's just girl stuff, ok?"
James frowned. She'd called him Jamie. She was also keeping something from him. Well, he'd find out what it was. He knew Lily better than anybody. He knew how she hid stuff.
The five girls hurried towards their second block of studies.
They had all written down what had happened in their visions as soon as they got rid of the boys. Each girl had her hand wrapped around a piece of parchment now.
"It said in the diary that no marauder named himself. Someone else chose the name based on their animal. Nothing silly." Lily whispered.
They all nodded. The five of them stood huddled in a circle and exchanged parchments. Left to right. Then they ran off to their second classes of the day.
By lunchtime Lily had named Siri Triever, and Perdita had decided Starling was Nightbird.
By dinner Siri was calling Melusine Hiss, and Mel had dubbed Perdita Vixen.
Before they went to bed Starling announced that Lily was forevermore Midmare.
And a new generation of marauders started plotting in Gryffindor tower.