Soooo it's tidbit time for you HPFF watchers of mine. This'll be a Wreckage post because, basically, that's all I'm working on.
In this post:
- original character names/sketches
- a look at the calendar I've sketched out
- a third-person look at chapter one (with maybe comments from me?)
Well, you're probably all (you two readers of mine!) wondering who Irene is by now. So here're some detes that'll capture your interest without giving anything away.
Gryffindor 7th year - pureishblood
Extrovert, compassionate, humanitarian, accident-prone, life of luxury, can't manage money, (yet somehow) resourceful, reckless, unreliable, attention-seeking, arrogant, initiative
made Lily feel at home in first year, improvises spells, interested in history - especially her family's accomplishments, wears thick jewelery
Annnd some new character names for ya: Sharon (who used to be Acadia and was maybe Giselle or Marianne for a while), Betty (brusque), Linda, Nellie, Acadia, Corrine, Bree, mostly very minor characters and note that none of them are male. Hmmm.
Lily will spend the next chapter with Irene for the most part, and though it's only halfway done I'm itching to get back to Hogwarts. So expect that soon. The first two months of school should conclude by chapter nine. Lily'll keep up the boyfriend facade for more than just the summer. And, for those interested, the first full moon of the year 1977 occurring in the school calendar will be Sep. 27. Hmmm some more.
So this is the third-person take that I started with on Wreckage. As you can tell, first person made it more descriptive, less redundant and certainly added more character to not only Lily but also her family. I'll go through and make comments if/when I find time so that it's more entertaining or worth your while, especially if you're not already a Wreckage follower. =)
The Silver Badge
Note the name change. Because I'm lazy, I've decided to go with numbers. Also, they can't spoil what the chapter's about.
The summer air was stiflingly hot the day several large owls swooped in to deliver parchment envelopes to the occupant of a Muggle home, their flurry of wings and their haste to impart their message first stirring up the otherwise stagnant heat surrounding the Evans' neighborhood. Lily couldn't remember the last time it had been so warm, but then, she had spent the last ten months further north in more mild weather to say the least, and so she seemed to be the only one in her family to mind all that much.
Her father had told her that it was much worse in May, but Lily didn't imagine that this was so; there wasn't a warm spell in her childhood memories that could rival this. The word 'spell' probably had something to do with this, since when she was younger she couldn't control her magic like she could now that she attended a wizarding school; indeed, looking towards the past, it seemed very odd that most of the days she spent outside had agreeable temperatures.
This didn't carry through in the rewrite, though it is an interesting concept that I think I come back to for a moment later on - childhood bursts of magic and all. I guess I figure that kids couldn't control the weather ALL THE TIME.
But she shrugged this off as she watched the birds swirl down to her bedroom window (it always surprised her that they knew where to find her), wondering what on earth their envelopes could contain. She had been laying down, fully dressed in Muggle clothing, but still fully tired from the day before – her mother had sent her on a babysitting mission throughout the neighborhood since the day after she got back, as if somehow this would make the entire Evans household look more neighborly and generous. She hadn't gotten paid, but this didn't matter so much – she hated going to Gringotts to exchange coins; it always felt to her like she was being judged for bringing in Muggle money.
I didn't like the owl idea - you'll see why in a moment - but I do sort of like the imagery I tried to get with them. Ah well.
So now, laying back on her bed, she reflected that one good thing to come of the day was the end of her babysitting crusade; no more dinner parties, no more parents' nights out, no more church meetings or lazy strolls in the park. No. These parents would have to find another unlucky teenager to watch their monsters. It wasn't that Lily didn't have the patience for kids, but that since she was away for most of the year, they all seemed to have an endless supply of questions about what upper levels of school were like. Of course, she didn't know. None of them would be going to any school related in any way to anything that she would ever learn.
She took her time watching the owls through the open window, the slight rush of air resulting from their combined wings brushing in, bumping around the air molecules in her room enough to make her realize just how warm she was.
Yeah, after just saying she was hot.
She had not received any mail this early in the summer for as far back as she could remember; it had only been three weeks since her father picked her up from King's Cross, only three weeks since she found out that she would be the only child home that summer, that her older sister Petunia would be spending the holiday with her latest boyfriend.
The first owl to rest on her windowsill – this one she recognized at once as her own boyfriend's familiar family tawny – seemed to be the most eager, by the way it slid in from behind all of the others and batted its way to the front of the pack. He hooted as if he should be acknowledged as the only owl in Lily's life. She laughed as she leaned back from the window, watching the others soar up to circle the house or maybe land on the roof (she didn't know proper owl etiquette, not having one herself).
OK, I'll only mention it now, but how ridiculous is it that more than one owl would come at once? Especially however many I had. It was a lot. And it was ridiculous. She's not owl-popular! She'd get one a day! Probably one a week at most!
The envelope smelled like home-cooking, the sort of food at Hogwarts, and she hesitated before opening it to revel in the smell. Her own mother was a terrible cook, but she knew Mrs. Aubrey to make very good desserts, which she constantly sent to her son at school. She frowned; Bertram had never been much of a writer. Surely he wouldn't send her a letter to say how much he missed her? They hardly saw each other at school, anyway, since he was only taking a few N.E.W.T. level classes, and they had left each other at the train station with the distinct impression of frostiness when Mr. Evans found out that she was dating a pure-blood. Somehow, he found this to be a bad thing, which Bert had found funny; though her father didn't forbid the romance, the idea upset him enough that Lily knew she'd have to be serious about the next pure-blood she found. It wasn't as if she had dated a lot – she had always waited for the right guy, finally giving up last summer and spending most of her Hogsmeade trips with
The seal tore easily.
“Lily, dearest,” she read in her most lovestruck voice (for she had a tinge of theatrical drama still in her from her days before Hogwarts, when she would play dolls with Petunia), “how's summer treating you?” She coughed and took up a conversational tone. “Well, Bert, my love, now that you've written I'm quite well. I must say this is an unexpected surprise.” The Aubrey's owl stretched his legs, reminding her of the others who were waiting. “Yes, well, go on.”
Haha, I actually really like this. But I think it made her too quirky, and though she can be light at times, I wanted her to be a more serious kid.
She decided to silently read the rest, though his handwriting was the sloppy mess that she had come to expect from any male.
I'm working hard on my summer assignments from Slughorn. I don't suppose you'd be able to help a fellow out? Well, that's not very important. I – (there were a few words scratched out) my family's decided that it's not very safe to be in known league with a Muggle-born witch and I KNOW WHAT YOU'RE THINKING! You're overreacting! Don't. I know you will anyway, but try very hard not to. With You-Know-Who becoming more of a threat, I just don't think it prudent to disagree with them. Maybe we can see each other in the fall and talk this over, but for now I'm respecting my family's wishes to cut off all contact with you.
Talk to you later?
Lily made a movement as to begin writing a response, but when she finally looked up from the letter she realized that Bert's owl was no longer in place, but that the second-most-eager owl, a small Scops, was sitting on the ledge with an even smaller envelope. Hoping that it might somehow be another letter from her boyfriend, she wiped her nose on her wrist and leaned forward from her bed to reach the bird. The address on it had been written much neater than Bert was capable of writing.
Yeahhh, about Bert, I just don't like the details. It didn't sound sincere because I'm terrible at writing letters.
She didn't bother reading down to the bottom, having received a duplicate of the letter the previous summer (and the one before that and before that), though none of them had been sent this early in the year. It was from the Ministry of Magic, but since she had already given up her time-turner, she didn't see the need to be cautioned on the dangers of meddling with time; the only way she would be traveling anywhere other than the present time would be to break into the Ministry of Magic herself, since her N.E.W.T. schedule didn't overlap any classes this year or last, or so she had been assured by Professor McGonagall.
But the Scops owl was still waiting for her to finish reading.
“I know to be careful, yeah? I haven't got any treats for you ... ” She stood up, moving towards the bird and looking at its dejected face, suddenly wondering where she could buy some owl treats. “No, I wasn't expecting any more owls this summer than usual. Where're – ?” She poked her head out around the messenger to find the next one, but the last three looked to be content on her roof. She pulled back in to face the Minstry's carrier. “Well. I'm done reading, you can go now.”
She sank onto her bed with a soft thlumph and watched with eager eyes for the bird to fly away (they were always so majestic in flight, as if they weren't messengers but spirits soaring in the wind; she would have to ask for one for Christmas again ... ), but it didn't. Lily held her hands awkwardly between her legs, which dangled down and brushed the ground, for she had no need of a tall bed when she was only there over the summer, and looked around the room, wondering if it might just be a shy bird. She sneaked a glance back and found, much to her chagrin, that it was still there. She leaned back onto her mountain of pillows and picked up the letter again, rereading it for something to do while she waited for the timidness to ebb away.
When she looked up, the next owl was in place. Realization struck like lightning, propelling her from her pillows and out towards the window, where the seventeen-year-old saw a speck getting smaller in the distance, the letter falling, discarded in her excitement, to the floor. It had been trained to make sure she read it, which she must not have realized when she'd gotten the letters because she hadn't been waiting for those owls to leave.
But this next owl didn't look like an owl at all. It looked like a mythical creature from her faded purple storybook (her mother had probably thrown it away already, and she had so wanted to show it to her daughter one day ... ), its wings folded back and its foot sticking out, a familiar-looking envelope attached. Of course. It was from Hogwarts.
Before she could reach for it, the next-to-last owl swooped down and landed, not on the sill like its predecessors had, but on her bookshelf. The red-head hesitated, then grabbed the one off the window's beautiful owl-like creature. Ripping it open with unnecessary force, she was pleased to see test scores, not the news that she had been dreading ever since fourth year when Lord Voldemort had begun terrorizing the community.
Unlike the test scores she had received in the past with her usual letter from Hogwarts, this year's didn't count for anything. Since her sixth year and seventh year both led to the same goal (passing her N.E.W.T.s), the previous year's exams had been more diagnostic than anything else.
Her marks were all very good, but she couldn't help but be depressed by her 'A' in Care of Magical Creatures. She suspected that Professor Kettleburn was still upset with her for the incident in fifth year when he just so happened to lose a digit on her expense.
Only after she had memorized the marks (nine 'Outstandings,' two 'Exceeds Expectations' and one 'Acceptable') so that she could talk about them with her friends should they ask, she approached the owl on her bookshelf. She had to coax it down to her reach. Letter in hand, she pondered what the next news could possibly be.
The moment's hesitation cost her.
She cast a glance around her room, stuffed the envelope into her shorts' pocket and tramped down the stairs. “Yes, Mum?” she answered before she reached the bottom, rolling her eyes. Her mother could be overly dramatic.
“What was that tone?” a middle-aged woman asked sharply, wielding a newspaper through the air like a sword. She was taller than her daughter, and thinner, her face's construction matching more closely to her elder daughter's, her cheekbones practically popping out of her skin. She shrugged her wispy, graying blond hair away from her face and back into her loose bun. “I've just got a call,” she said in a softer voice when her daughter didn't answer.
She stepped back, not stepping on anything in a way that only a mother can know where each and every bit of the mess is, perching herself on the edge of the front room's settee. Lily took in the changes that had been made that day which could only be attributed to cleaning; the dust from the mantel was gone, the hand-woven rugs had been washed and the stacks of papers lying around from her father's work were nowhere to be seen. They must be expecting visitors for dinner.
“Well. You've gotten more letters, have you?”
Lily's eyes snapped to her mother; she was too slow to hide the frisson of realization that flashed across her face.
“The neighbors called again, 'more owls, how strange,' they said. Were they from school already?”
She looked down, her cheeks burning. How was she supposed to get out of this one? Mrs. Evans had never approved of the wizarding means of communication, and she never seemed to understand that Lily didn't ask for each of the owls to come.
“I got my test scores back, yeah,” she admitted in a small voice. She looked up to gage her mother's response; seeing a favorable look, she continued, with more confidence, “Nine 'O's – that's top grade – and two just below that.” She didn't mention the lowest one, knowing that her mother wouldn't care to count her subjects and realize one was missing. She wasn't that interested in her daughter's life.
Her mother smiled. “Well, work on those two, dear. You can bring them up, I'm sure. But,” and her voice was rigid again, “there were 'a whole hoard' of them – those owls – and I'm sure they didn't all come to congratulate you.”
“There was one from the Ministry and another from Ber – a friend,” Lily caught herself. She wasn't sure whether her parents had discussed Bert. Thinking about him seemed too fresh, so she pushed the thoughts out of her mind and watched her mother again. “Uh, Bernice. And there were others that I didn't open yet.”
“What's that you've got there?”
She pointed at her daughter's bulging pocket, her fingers looking positively inhabited by wiggling curiosity. Lily slid it out and shrugged.
“Haven't opened it yet, have I?”
“That tone,” Mrs. Evans snapped. She seemed to think better of it then, and smiled again, patting the space next to her on the puffy, pink settee. “Let's open it together.”
The entire room was decorated in frills out of little girls' dream homes; the white lacy curtains were adorned with red toppers, the low coffee table sprinkled with potpourri, the bookshelves topped with figurines and pink candles and filled with tomes on parenting and romance novels; all together, it looked like Valentine's Day decorations in a gift shop.
At least the last letter was safe above the house ... but this one, the owl had been so eager to deliver. She wondered if it didn't have more important news than the others.
Lily sucked her stomach in and sat stiffly next to her mother. Trying to lean away was pointless, since she could feel hot breath on her neck, and she was already on the far end of her seat. She slid a tremulous finger underneath the lip of the envelope and tore the seal.
“It's from Hogwarts,” she breathed immediately, recognizing the green lettering. A silver badge fell into her lap. “But I've still got my old prefect's badge ... ”
As she bent down to inspect it, her mother took the letter out of her limp hand and began reading. It was shinier than her Prefect's badge, and the details were much more precise, as if it had been delicately etched just for her. They both seemed to realize at once; Mrs. Evans threw her arms around her daughter's neck as Lily stood up, pulling them both to their feet; they shared a shout and a laugh, and then they both seemed to realize themselves and sat back down.
“Head Girl,” Mrs. Evans said fondly, patting a trembling hand. “I always knew you'd be good, but since you went – well, I didn't expect they'd have stuff like – ”
But that seemed to be exactly what Lily didn't want to hear. Through her thoughts she somehow picked out the meaning of her mother. She jumped up, took the letter and badge up from the seat and frowned.
“I've been Prefect, haven't I? You should've expected this, I've always been the best in my year, and you didn't seem to have a problem with me going in the first place – you were thrilled, remember? Dad's still happy for me, I don't know why you don't talk to him anymore but it just might help and – and – I'm going back upstairs!” she said in a huff.
And that she did. Taking the stairs two at a time – she tried not to, really, but her feet seemed to want to land just between that first and second step, and of course she wasn't going to stop herself from going faster – she felt a pang of remorse, but stifled it with a rush of other thoughts and feelings. Sometimes she felt she was headed down the path of her mother: dramatic, overreacting to everything, snooping into other people's business but hiding her own hurts and joys and life. But not anymore. If acting that way led her mother to her father, that wasn't the way she wanted to go; she couldn't imagine putting any man through that ordeal, especially the stiff respectable kind like her dad.
Once she was back in her room, her door securely fastened behind herself, she began to breathe again. It felt good. After all, she did make Head Girl.
It took a moment for her to remember the last owl; the two from Hogwarts had gone, and the only one left was the most regal of them all. It seemed to sing of its own beauty without song.
This one was hard to know; she didn't recognize the writing.
My family and I hope your holiday's going well. You haven't written like you'd promised you would, so I'm taking the opportunity to send our extra owl out. Do write back when you get a chance. She'll stay until you write a response, and I know you haven't got any owl food. You wouldn't starve her, would you?
Confused, she skipped to the bottom. In a rather fancy script, her dormmate had signed her name, surrounded by many doodled hearts. She went back to the letter.
Anyway, I've spent the last two weeks visiting Mummy's parents in Italy. Their manor is really lovely, and the weather is really an accent to it. I've been swimming a lot and working on my tan. That's another reason I'm writing – Finny's driving me crazy, and I'd really like some female company. You need to work on your tan, too! So think about it, I'd like you to visit, and Nonno wants to meet you. He's heard all about your charmwork.
Come any time! This week's bad, we're having this terrible family thing with lots of drinking, and it'd be really embarrassing to see – but come August, it'll just be us! Stay until September, if you like! We have a Muggle address, if your parents want to contact Mummy before they send you off.
XO Irene OX
She sighed, settled herself at her desk, and pulled out some parchment and a quill. It took her a few minutes to decide whether her parents would approve (heavens, she wouldn't try asking them first), and then she tried to recall whether they had any plans for August.
I'd love to visit! My parents are fine with it, as they're not used to having me around, anyway. I've mostly spent my time in my room, but on the plus side, most of my summer work is done already. Could we work on our essays for Binns together? You're much better at remembering that sort of stuff.
Are you sure I could stay the rest of the summer? I'll have to pack all of my stuff again – you know how much trouble that'll be! Mostly just books, as I haven't had the need for robes at home. Can I wear Muggle clothes?
Oh, I've got exciting news for you! Just wait. Anyway, I got nine Os, two Es and an A. Guess which class that was in? But at least it doesn't count for anything. What about you?
Hope to see you soon,
Satisfied, she blew on it to dry the ink, folded it up and sent it back with the quiet owl, who hadn't once hooted in indignation as the birds were so prone to do around her; she must have been a terribly slow answerer in respect to most other witches.
The rest of the week went by quickly as Lily scrambled to find all of her books from hidden corners of the house; the previous year's essays and notes got stuffed on the bottom layer of her trunk in case she needed to refer to them later, and since she had N.E.W.Ts. to look forward to, she was sure that everything she had learned in the last six years would come back to haunt her; Muggle clothes got layered next, and her robes, books, potion-making kit and the rest of her favorite possessions got squeezed in wherever she could find space. It wasn't that hard, though, as she had recently mastered a spell to enlarge the inside of her trunk which she had practiced just before packing it up back in her dormitory.
She was scheduled to leave the first day of August, giving her the entire month with Irene. Her parents hadn't been too bothered, though she wished that they would show some signs of parental care. This was, after all, her last summer before graduation.
The last night's dinner was subdued. They ran over final details of the trip and wished her luck; she did her best to talk as much as possible, knowing that, even though they said they were fine, they would miss her voice just as much as she would miss theirs.
“You'll be home for Christmas, right?” her mother asked between bites of roast beef. “You know we had a terrible time when – when was it? Two years ago now?”
Lily smiled politely. “I had to study for my O.W.L.s, you know that. It wasn't that I didn't want to come. But ... ” She looked down at her plate, trying to rearrange the food to spell out an answer for her. The sounds of two other forks clinking on plates filled the room. “I'll have a lot more to study for this year. And with my Head Girl responsibilities, too ... I don't know. We'll see.”
Her father looked disappointed. He had always been closer to her, and her first letter from Hogwarts had made him happier than her mother.
“And,” she sighed, making the most of this point, “you know how messed up everything's been since You-Know-Who. I just – ”
“Not saying his name is silly,” her dad chirped up in his gravelly voice. He pushed back his thick salt-and-pepper hair, taking a sip of wine. He looked utterly serene talking about such serious matters.
“Well, you know who it is. Anyway, Hogwarts is safest. I wouldn't want either of you in danger because of my presence here.”
“You never said he'd be a danger to us!” Mrs. Evans appeared flabbergasted, her mouth hanging open with unchewed bits of broccoli mulling about inside.
Lily twisted uncomfortably in her chair. “He won't be if he doesn't know you're my parents. It's not that I don't think you'll be fine, but I just think – it's safest. You know I'll be back in the summer, at least.”
“We don't know that,” her dad reminded her gently. “If it's really that dangerous, we'd like to hear from you – ”
“I'll write, Dad! Five times a – ”
But they never got a direct promise from her as to how often she'd write, because a very forceful knock sounded at their front door, shaking their plates and wine.
Mr. Evans excused himself to find who was coming. Lily looked around the dining room; it was too messy for any expected company, and they certainly wouldn't have started eating if they knew someone else was going to join them ...
Her father entered the room, looking miffed but somehow very composed. Behind him stood a smiling, wrinkled face belonging to a familiar wizard.