in the palm of her hand
A HariPo oneshot
Note: The Harry Potter characters belong to J.K. Rowling, not me. Well, another little sad piece… Read, review, and enjoy!
The world is an open box that will someday close on her, and she wouldn't mind it at all.
It's not a note of sadness or depression. Lucy Weasley has always seen it as a box, from the day when her little collection started.
She would call them trinkets, because not one is alike. Though they're mainly small, not one has ceased to delight her. Well, "delight" may not be the best word choice, but Lucy's never felt the need to explain her...hobby before.
When she and Molly were little, their parents took them to a Muggle carnival, at the insistence of their mother, Audrey. The electrical contraptions were fun and all, but the little booths caught Lucy's eye. Easy games and not-so-easy games, each bursting to the seams with prizes waiting to be won.
One both had the prettiest little handcrafted boxes—"pillboxes, or the like," Audrey had said—but that ended up being the only thing Lucy wanted. Out of the whole trip, Lucy just wanted that prize.
Audrey loved her baby girl and therefore tried the beanbag toss. However, the rings seemed too small to possibly allow a beanbag through. She turned to Lucy, saying, "Sorry, luv, maybe—"
But then Percy, Lucy and Molly's father, had stepped up to the booth wordlessly and slapped down the Muggle five quid. The booth operator presented Percy with three beanbags and Percy picked one up, staring at it for a moment with a look on his face that said he didn't really like doing things below him. Nevertheless, he tossed the bag—and it went in on the first shot.
On a whim, he threw the other two, both of which missed. But those shots didn't matter. Percy had gotten one in and now Lucy had her pick of prizes. Automatically she reached for the silver box, only to discover it had something in it.
"Earrings," her older sister remarked. "Flowers, gems, and owls."
Lucy could care less what they were. She lifted out the cardboard insert and passed it to her sister, who had pierced ears. Then Lucy closed the box again, marveling at the roundness of the container and how perfectly the lid fit with the body. The lid she loved the most, for the center was a clear sheet of plastic through which she could see the silver inside of the whole container.
And that was how it started.
Birthdays, holidays, any time Lucy got a gift, she always told her family that the packaging mattered, not what was inside. Percy and Audrey would elaborate and inform the others that Lucy liked the trinket boxes best, so Lucy became the fun Weasley child to buy for, because her aunts, uncles, cousins, and parents were always on the hunt for a unique container that would bring her the most joy. It became a sort of contest.
When Lucy got her Hogwarts letter, her family left to shop in Diagon Alley, and her four-years-older sister took her to buy her ink and quills while their parents got their books. "You'll want something to hold your quill shavings," Molly explained. "Dragging your quill across the page wears it down, and unfortunately you can't cast a spell on a quill that's been enchanted to hold a lot of ink for about one or two essays-worth. That's layering spells, which can be wonky."
Of course, then the shopkeeper had found them and corrected Molly, showing them the latest quill that would stay sharp and hold about half a bottle of ink. Lucy wandered back to the shavings boxes, tuning out her sister's bickering with the owner and focusing instead on a lone, square box which she removed from the shelf. It was exactly square—the perfect cube—with a metal latch on the front to keep the lid closed. The outside was wrapped in a spot of green Chinese silk, with gold dragons weaved into the fabric; the dragons moved when she opened the box, to peer at the red lining.
Sharp quills or not, Lucy knew she had to have this shavings box. Molly didn't argue with her, though she was slightly annoyed, knowing that her sister wouldn't use it for its intended purpose. No, it would go into Lucy's collection.
Needless to say, Molly won that year.
For her birthday during her second year, Audrey won with a wooden box the same size as the shavings box, the size of the palm of Lucy's hand. It was made from mahogany and matched the color of Audrey's hair. The lid was carved with a Celtic Tri-Goddess design and the sides were etched with the letters of Lucy's name, the bottom possessing a curly "W" for her surname. Lucy turned this box around for hours, watching the cursive letters dance and spell out her name, kind of like a friend calling out to her. For her, it was a friend's beckoning, because her boxes never asked much of her, just that she keep them dust-free—and never open them.
Yes, pretty box after pretty box, Lucy opened them once to look at the inside—silver, red silk, mahogany, crystal, mirror-glass, plastic, threadbare—and then closed it, never to open them again. No one in her family understood that, and so the contest became a competition. Whose present would Lucy love completely, inside and out? But they didn't understand that it would be a never-ending competition, for Lucy treated the boxes all the same.
Third year, Christmas—the hexagonal gem box, crystal inlay: won by Aunt Ginny and Uncle Harry.
Fourth year, Easter—the kaleidoscope ring box, mirror inlay: won by Aunt Fleur and Uncle Bill.
Fifth year, for acing her O.W.L.s—the unicorn-head box, creamy white plastic inlay: won by Uncle Ron and Aunt Hermione.
Late sixth year, her seventeenth birthday—the toffee box, with a threadbare inlay that showed pictures of foreign continents: won by Uncle George and Aunt Angelina.
Oh, she knew what the insides looked like. She knew them like the back of her hand. ...she knew them like her own beating heart. How could she not? They were her treasures...and the proverbial skeletons in her closet.
Every time she opened a box, she left something in it. No, nothing tangible, just a little fleeting piece of her, because not all her occasions had been the best of celebrations.
The gem box possessed her smile. It took it when her cousins, Roxanne and Lily, vowed never to speak to her again, as she had accidentally blabbed that both of them were in love with Teddy Lupin. Sure, things hadn't been right between those two since Lucy opened her mouth, but they found common ground in despising Lucy. So she showed the crystal inside her pretty grin one last time—and then click, it was never seen again.
The ring box possessed her beauty. Or, according to Lucy, what little of it she might've had. Because when Aunt Fleur and Uncle Bill gave her that box, she hadn't felt any plainer next to it than she had before. But that before was next to someone, not something. It hadn't helped that Victoire had once compared the two of them in a moment of testiness, and that Roxanne had snatched up Lorcan Scamander first, the boy whom Lucy had come to secretly love. No, Lucy might not have felt "beautiful," but whatever prettiness she had was in that ring box.
The unicorn-head possessed her sense. No longer could she make a move without screwing anything up. Whether it be telling Uncle Ron about Rose and Scorpius Malfoy, or telling Uncle Ron about Aunt Hermione and—no. She'd stop there. Often Lucy thought the unicorn-head held her hurt inside its tiny area, as well.
The toffee box held her humor. Not only had Uncle George and Aunt Angelina given it on her seventeenth birthday as a gift to welcome her to the adult Wizarding world, but it was a sort of pre-gift for her getting her Apparation license. Uncle George regaled her with tales of his and his twin's past and how they used to scare Grandmam Weasley whenever they popped into a room, but both he and Aunt Angelina knew Lucy liked the pictures on the inside. There was a point to the thread-pictures of other continents. It had been known for years that Lucy wanted to be a kind of magical ambassador, traveling to other places to learn new kinds of magic. But surely Cousin Freddie and Cousin Al hadn't meant for a "fun journey" to turn out to be a trip to James' apartment, where she discovered her third-eldest cousin in a relationship...with his male former Muggle Studies teacher. Professor Finch-Fletchley didn't even have time to recognize her before James stomped after her, chasing her from his home. Oh, yes, Al and Freddie, what a funny joke you played on her. Perhaps her humor had to disappear since she'd long ago lost her smile...?
But it's the older gifts, the beginnings of her collection which hold things most volatile. Molly's shavings box held her sadness. Lucy knew she'd never be like her sister, smart, pretty, charming, stern yet pleasant. For all their cousins complained about Molly's nagging, she was definitely one of them. Lucy, on the other hand, was not so sure of herself, and only after the shavings box would she build up years' worth of evidence to back the fact. But that box held her sadness and tears, and good thing for that, too...
The unicorn-head she liked the least, actually. She liked it on Uncle Ron's behalf, and hated it on Aunt Hermione's behalf. So because she hated it in reality, she probably loved her mother's mahogany container the most. It held her happiness and how could it not? She loved her mother dearly, because—when push came to shove—she knew that her mother would always be the one to love her. Godric knows that that love had been tested.
The mahogany box was like a bad omen. For it was in that same second year of school when Lucy received it that Lucy had discovered her perfect little family wasn't as perfect as she thought. Her home was what she'd always imagined her future life to be—the dad, the mum, the kids...a nice two-story house, with a marble fireplace to Floo...a large front yard with an even bigger backyard specifically made for practicing flying...they had it all.
Or so she thought.
For it was not that long after the mahogany box when Lucy was home on break and saw what she couldn't believe: Percy and Hermione, kissing the ways mums and dads do, not the way siblings-in-law should. No, Percy and Hermione never saw her, but Lucy sent her mother into a panic when Lucy holed herself up in her room. For the rest of the break, Lucy spoke to no one, and back at school, Lucy did everything she could not to speak to her family. Of course, this was before Roxanne and Lily stopped speaking to her, so her cousins and roommates fretted over her not saying a word. Eventually they gave up.
At the end of second year, Lucy knew she had to go home, and things were tense. Little did she know that Audrey had found out and she and Percy were trying to work through things. But Audrey could feel the pain coursing through her younger daughter, so when she entered Lucy's room with a knowing look in her eyes, the dam broke and Lucy cried and cried and cried into her mother's arms, while Audrey patted her daughter's auburn hair and shh'd her.
Perhaps it had been an even worse omen that in the first box, won by Percy himself, Lucy had locked away her love.
It probably had been the worst choice, but when Lucy got the little silver box with its clear lid, all the size of the circle her thumb and index finger made when put together, the first thing she felt compelled to do was place her heart in it. It weren't as though she'd completely locked it away, as she had done with the other bits and pieces of her over the later years and the other boxes. No, with this container she could still view her heart, a memory of what it'd once been like to be human, whole...perfect... Innocent.
So she doesn't open her boxes more than once, but it's not a sad thing. She's able to view all that once made her Lucy. They're nice memories of times before certain things went wrong. If she opens them, everything will fly out of her control. When she closes them, she feels as though she has power over something. And that motivates her to keep adding to her collection, because she won't ever run out of the broken pieces of herself to hide away...
...never to be seen again.
Very, very heart-wrenching, I know… This idea came about because of that silver box, though. I got two for Christmas 2010, both of which had earrings in them. One box did have "flowers, gems, and owls." But then I got to thinking about how inconsequential a box seems…and ran with that idea.
I also typed this on my phone notepad one whole morning. 7 pages on a BlackBerry keyboard—ouch. XD
Last note: I mentioned the pairing of James Sirius/Justin Finch-Fletchley. I found them, wrote their 1st fic, and they're an M&MWP (Mew & Mor Weird Pairing), so I'd appreciate a little mention if you use them thank you!
Thanks for reading and please review!