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Seventeen year-old Lily Evans kicks off her green fuzzy slippers, each one landing with a pronounced 'fwap' on the stone floor of the entrance hall. Gathering her long red hair into a loose ponytail at the nape of her neck, she steps onto the sloping lawns of Hogwarts, liking the contrasting sensation of cool, prickly grass on her toes and warm, early-morning sunlight on her face. The breeze ruffles her hair, and she smells the delicious scent of burning wood wafting over from the gamekeeper's cabin. Taking care not to tread on any sharp stones, she makes her way down to the lake.
Sunday mornings are peaceful and quiet at Hogwarts and Lily knows this well. She settles herself against the trunk of a thick, sturdy tree near the water's edge. The ground feels cold here, and the tree bark is rough, like sandpaper, through the fabric of her shirt.
To her, the Hogwarts grounds seem odd—almost incomplete—without students flocking from class to class, agonizing over the most recent Potions exam, or else dashing off the answers to some last-minute Transfiguration assignment, teachers discussing current events, and amiably debating the credibility of the latest experimental charms, and the gamekeeper, Hagrid, cultivating his garden under the watchful eye of his dog.
It is nice, she realizes, to get away from the chatter and the noise for a while, and (she smiles at this thought) to escape from the Head Boy's not-so-suave advances. She thinks of him and his silly cowlicks and glasses. She likes him better now that he's less cavalier, more considerate. People might laugh to know that in actuality, she finds his not-so-suave advances perfect in their imperfection. Squeezing the grass in-between her fingers and scrunching up her toes, she thinks that she might soon give in. Maybe.
A bird nestled somewhere high above her lets out a strange squawk—a pleasantly twangy noise that sounds like a badly-tuned guitar—which reverberates through the early morning air. The little bird is soon joined by others, chirruping and twittering in unison, the blend of cacophonous noises falling around her like a strange shawl.
Mostly, she realizes that it is nice to leave structure and order and sophistication. She felt a certain pleasure at the disorganization of nature, compared to the structure and rigidity of the indoors.
She had felt obligated to attend an impromptu meeting of the Slug Club last night. Obligated. She was not flippant in her responses, nor impolite in her actions, and so had felt that it was her responsibility to be present. Her presence had been requested and she could see no good to declining, and so she had gone.
Soft, warbling music had played lightly in the background while they all pretended to be older and more mature than they really were. They had talked of war and of love, of careers and marriage and future in ringing tones, their empty words blown out and wafted past on the stale night air. She had made pointless small talk, and batted her eyelashes. She had laughed the bubbly laugh that she had fashioned specially for occasions such as those, nursing a small glass of champagne all evening and politely accepting crystallized pineapple from a silver tray, though its sapid flavor burnt her throat with its potent sweetness.
No, out here on the grounds, she felt better, even if she was currently sporting one of her dad's old shirts and a pair of cutoffs sitting in the dirt instead of resplendent in her finest robes and pearls, sipping fine wine. She suppresses a small chuckle at this thought.
She idly twists a finger through a patch of dirt devoid of grass, careful to avoid the bit of tree root protruding from the earth. She draws hearts, diamonds, silly curlicues, and doesn't care that dirt is under her fingernails or smudged under her left eye. Dirt rises in little clouds as she pats her hand down to blot out her silly doodles. This time, she allows herself to laugh. She thinks of Petunia—of poor, repressed Petunia—who doesn't know any better, and who won't ever care to know the simple joy of drawing in the dirt with your finger. Lily finds this fact both silly and sad and wishes that she could impart to her sister the idea that there is more to life than maintaining absolute sterility in principal as well as practice, and that it's alright to sit in the dirt sometimes. Sitting in the dirt is necessary every once in a while Lily feels.
She and Petunia had never really got on as well as two sisters should. Petunia had always tried to be the prettiest, smartest, ever-so-delightful, perfect older sister. Lily was energetic and fun. Petunia pulled Lily's braids and un-invited her from tea parties. Lily told Petunia stories about cannibals. It was the only thing that had ever scared her.
Now, Lily didn't have to worry about fabricating stories to scare Petunia. All she had to do was show up in a doorway to send Petunia scurrying. To Petunia, the mere idea of being related to a witch (who happened to be her sister) was far worse than the threat of cannibals.
Lily hadn't always wanted to be a witch or even to have magical powers, but Petunia didn't know that.
Lily had wanted to be a dancer, and Petunia had found a way to ruin that, too.
Petunia and Lily had both attended dance classes as young children. Their mother had been convinced that it would give them both grace and poise. Lily had fallen in love with the world of pirouettes, soft lines, and effortless motion. She had excelled and had started to embody that motion, and Petunia, ever-jealous Petunia, had refused to be second-rate, especially to her own sister. So Lily had stopped dancing simply because it made Petunia unhappy. She had been the admiring younger sister, and had only wanted her big sister to pay attention, to play with her, to be happy. She hadn't known any better.
Lily still wanted to dance, and did, laughing to herself when she fell out of turns that she had once been able to execute flawlessly, and not caring. It was the movement that mattered. It was the movement that Petunia hadn't understood.
The buzzing, staccato beat of a conversation reaches her ears and jolts her from her musing. She has been sitting here for much longer than she had realized. She stretches high, up to the sky, and down to the ground, smelling the rich scent of earth. Lazily, she picks a dandelion puff and contemplates its perfection—the symmetrical arrangement of white tufts to form a strange orb. She brings it to her nose, searching for a scent, and sneezes, sending a hundred little tufts flying. She smiles and thinks of hot air balloons, floating away over the sky.
She stretches again, more luxuriously this time, claps her hands to brush away any stray dirt, straightens her shirt, and makes her way up to the castle for breakfast.
A/N: This character sketch was done for a challenge at the Reviews Lounge Forum in which the words suave, slippers, cannibal, sapid, pirouette, curlicues, guitar, crystallized pineapple, hot air balloon, and repressed had to be used. This is still an open challenge, meaning anyone can participate. Visit Lexie-H's profile page to check out the Reviews Lounge C2 and Forum! Feedback is always welcome, loves.