A Response to the 2019 challenge on the HP Fanfiction Challenge Forum
To be submitted by June 15
Winners announced by June the 20
"Adelaide, guess who just walked in?" The whispering caught Lucy's attention. Her quill kept moving, her eyes remained on the parchment, but her ears were now turned to the conversation taking place on the other side of the table. Nobody ever really noticed Lucy.
The long blond hair that had just sprayed itself over Lucy's half of the report, and into her inkwell told her that Adelaide had just turned her head towards the doorway. Lucy scowled as she was unwilling to move her fellow Gryffindor's hair from her paper considering the ink was still wet. When the hair shook its way off the paper Lucy's words were smudged and spattered beyond all legibility. Lucy made a muffled squeaking sound at the realization. She considered telling Adelaide that she had ink in her hair, but Lucy found that the ink running down Adelaide's long hair far too satisfying.
"James Potter's pretty cute don't you think?" Amita said as she placed an arm around Adelaide's shoulders. "I bet you two would be a cute couple."
"You really think so? I heard he's going to ask me to Hogsmeade this weekend."
Lucy cracked another book open for the project the three of them were supposed to be working on for Transfiguration. The class had drawn numbers for their groups for the project, much to everyone's distain seeing as they usually picked their own groups. Lucy had the misfortune to have drawn the same number as her ditzy dorm mates. Which meant they were no help to her at all. They had sat and gossiped for three days while Lucy read the books, took the notes, and began the first drafts of the paper. Lucy wanted to tell them to start pulling their weight for this project but something held her back.
Perhaps deep down she knew she wasn't going to get any help from Adelaide and Amita even if she said something. That was the burden of being the brightest in her year. Everybody thought she'd do all the work without error or compliant. They were right. If Lucy was given complete control over the project it would most likely be an Outstanding. Lucy had noticed that this is what usually happened to her on the monthly group assignments. By fourth year the people who had the highest grades were sought out to work on these projects by the more popular crowd. School politics at their finest. Lucy couldn't wait to graduate. She doubted a job as an Auror would be based on appearances like school life.
Lucy was a rather plain looking girl in her own opinion being rather thin, pale, and gangly looking. Freckles running across her long nose, upon which her glasses were placed framing pale grey-blue eyes, Lucy had never found herself above average where looks were concerned and she couldn't quite bring herself to care. There were more important things.
But nobody else her age seemed to take that view seriously. Victorie had mentioned casually to her once that she would most likely grow into her looks. Lucy remembered just shrugging and casually answering back that that was her opinion and she would respect it. Lucy remembered thinking as she responded that Victorie had it so easy. Brains, charm, and beauty, all wrapped in one pretty package.
The figure of James Potter ran his fingers through his hair as he walked, no, James Potter never walked, he strutted towards the table and Lucy heard Adelaide take in a breath. Lucy would say she hated James, but she tried not to hate any member of the family. Now, dislike bordering on hatred on the other hand…
"Hello ladies!" James said as he pulled out the extra chair next to Adelaide. He ran his fingers through his hair again before noticing Lucy. "Lucy."
"That's no way to be."
Lucy went back to her book seeing as with her extremely popular cousin here there was no way she was going to get the help she needed to finish this. She ignored the sound of James' voice as he asked Adelaide to Hogsmeade and her expected acceptance of the invitation. The sound of James leaving to go back to his large flock of sheep-like friends a few moments later, followed shortly by Amita and Adelaide's giggles of excitement.
"What am I going to wear?" Adelaide asked as she stood up quickly catching her chair before it hit the floor.
"We'll find something! Lucy, can you finish this up without us?" Amita asked as she and Adelaide began to head back to the dormitory.
"It's fine," Lucy replied, her voice cold as they both ran out of the library. "I've done fine without your help. And I can get more done without your incessant gossiping." Lucy looked at all the papers spread out on the table before her and brought her head down on top of a stack of books in a moment of brief despair. "It's due tomorrow, how am I going to finish three peoples work by tomorrow." She sighed heavily and looked at the falling snow outside the window.
'I'm tired of being treated like this all the time.'
Lucy had always been the "Responsible one", always doing what needed to be done before what she wanted to do. She was under the impression that it was hardwiring received from both of her parents. Which was probably true. It wasn't difficult to come to that conclusion.
Moving the stacks of books to the other end of the table and summoning a couple more from the shelves nearby behind the Librarian's back, Lucy went back to work. But her mind was elsewhere. The incessant snickering and giggling coming from the other groups in the library for the project was distracting. They all sounded like they were having fun.
But Lucy was responsible and had no such time for fun.
"Hey Lucy!" a voice shouted from the other end of the library to be greeted by loud shush sounds from the librarian. "Oh, sorry Ma'am!" She shushed him again. The voice went silent after that but Lucy could still hear hurried footsteps on the floor. As they grew closer she could hear the familiar voice muttering loudly, "Not here. Lucy's not there." He finally arrived at the table where Lucy was working. "Lucy!"
Lucy looked up quickly, "Oh not now Grayson."
Grayson ignored her and walked quickly towards the table, ignoring the commanding tones. "I figured you'd be done by now. My group finished about an hour ago, so I'm trying to track down someone to play Gobstones with." He paused, his green eyes looking at the table where only Lucy was sitting with only the books for company. "Where's the rest of your group?"
"Gone, and I don't miss them at all." Lucy answered shortly.
Grayson surveyed the papers and looked at Lucy before sitting down in the chair beside her and cracking open one of the books. Lucy looked at him, trying to process what her friend was doing. The realization struck her like a bolt of lightning, Lucy smiled softly. She had always been comfortable with who she was, Lucy just needed to be reminded once in a while that other people were too.
Author's Note: I'm quite fond of Lucy and want to do more fanfiction about her. Here's my entry for the contest.
On another note, this was based off a situation I (and many others out there) found myself in often during group projects. The one project that really stands out was in eighth grade when my group had to defend a Civil War criminal. I was put in charge of a bunch of people content to saddle me and another two girls out of a group of fifteen to build the entire defense. Part of the job was internet research to present our case on Monday; I spent my time doing that until I had to leave for a camping trip. I swore off group projects after that. It got to the point where I just worked on the projects on my own by choice. Though recently I've found people I can work with who don't have me doing everything.