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You Light My Life Like A Lumos Spell Chapter 4
The owl hooted softly from her perch and Verity looked up as she wiped away a tiny tear of guilt that had formed in the corner of her eye. The owl was beautiful. She had dark black feathers that shimmered like a starless night sky. But as she looked more closely she saw that, painted on the owl’s wings, were several large and sparkling golden stars. Possibly this was one of those surprises that her father had mentioned in the letter?
“Verity? Are you still with us? Hello? Anyone home?” Fred tried to get her attention.
“What? Oh-oh-Fred. My Dad just sent me my ticket.” Verity flipped the ticked back and forth between her fingers in astonishment. “And this owl. Apparently she’s a present?” Verity looked back down at the letter.
“How am I going to get her to Hogwarts? I don’t have a cage or food or-” But Fred cut her sentence short.
“Verity…the owl can fly. And owls-I don’t know if you knew this-they can hunt and find their own food. They can live at the school’s owlery. Perce told me about it before he started to ignore George and me."Just set her out the window, she’ll follow the train to Hogwarts.”
Verity looked doubtfully at the owl.
“Are owls that…err…smart?” She asked. The owl hooted indignantly.
“Only owls from Diagon Alley-they’re raised for this kind of work. I’m assuming your dad got it from there?”
“I suppose so…that is where we got Blue Jay…my family’s owl.” She added in response to Fred’s puzzled look.
“An owl named Blue Jay?” He asked incredulously as he struggled to keep his laughter level.
“It came with that name…I wanted to name him something cute…like Thistle…or something classy…like Roger.” She smiled as Fred began to laugh deeply.
As Fred laughed, Verity patted the owl lightly and then opened up the compartment door as the train began to move. “Go!” She called encouragingly as the owl nervously flew out of the moving train. Verity shut the door firmly and then grabbed the handle to her trunk.
“So, your brother ignores you and George? Why?” She asked, after his laughter had abated.
“Not quite sure…I think he’s angry at us or something…I mean the sticking paste on his tooth brush was purely a mistake! As was the rash powder that found its way onto his pillow.” Fred said thoughtfully, scratching his chin. Verity began to laugh as he said, “It’s not by fault he has such perfect oral hygiene and brushes his teeth at least five and a half times a day! Although…after about the third time I think was when he began to notice that he couldn’t un-clench his teeth…at least he didn’t yell…” Verity fell to the floor in hysterics, wiping tears from her eyes.
“Shall we?” She asked Fred, gesturing delicately towards the mostly occupied train compartments in between boughts of laughter.
“We shall!” Fred called enthusiastically, already half-way down the corridor. He slipped into a compartment and Verity excitedly followed. She would soon be at Hogwarts-she could hardly wait to see the huge towers and secret passage ways she had heard so much about!
She stepped into a small, well lit compartment to see Fred and George attempting to secure Fred’s luggage under the seats. Verity got out of the way just in time as a Fizzing Whizbee zoomed out of his unzipped bag and out into corridor through the open compartment door. She was also forced to dodge several chocolate frogs as well as a sugar-spun fairy that had flown from the luggage as Fred and George tried to force it into a too-small space.
Verity fit her own bag neatly beneath a chair after grabbing her sketchbook from inside. She turned to a clean page and began to sketch the twins as they wrestled with the bag futilely. After capturing their posture and forms in charcoal, she began to add the details of their faces with a ballpoint pen based on memory. It was fifteen minutes before she realized that they had long ago ended their fight with the luggage and were now staring intently at the flat piece of paper Verity was leaning over. A blush crept across her cheeks slyly as she dropped her pen and attempted to hide the sketch paper.
“Sorry I-” She began, ready to apologize if they were offended by her renderings.
“That’s wicked amazing! Bloody Hell, George! That looks just like us!” Fred grabbed the paper from Verity’s hands and looked over it with great interest.
“Look how got the way you lean when you stand perfectly…and look at how she made our faces…” Fred traced his finger slowly around the charcoal lines before reverently passing on the picture to George.
“Wow. How did you learn to do this?”
Verity shrugged, embarrassed. “I guess I just kind of…err…taught myself?” She answered weakly. No one (besides the occasional exceptions of her mother and father) had ever looked at her work before, let alone praised it. She smiled in spite of her misgivings when it came to sharing such a personal part of herself with others.
“Well-keep going, don’t stop now!” George cried as he thrust the paper back into Verity’s hands.
“How do you want us to pose for you? We can make muscles…”
“Besides nudity and the exploitation of animals, we’d do anything to break into the modeling business.” George said sarcastically, winking.
“Get me from the left side, please, I’d hate to see the public see my bad side…” Fred pretended to be a fashion model, striking a variety of poses while George and Verity pretended to snap pictures with imaginary cameras.
After a few minutes of laughter and model banter, Verity returned to her sketching while Fred and George played a rather rowdy game of exploding snap.
She was just completing the last of the shading on George’s hair when there was a timid knock at the compartment door.
“Come in!” Fred and George yelled as one.
The handle turned and in walked a boy who looked about eleven. He was already wearing his new Hogwarts robes. He had dark skin and short dreadlockish hair.
“Do you mind if I sit with you?” He looked around apprehensively, taking in the twins (part of George’s eyebrow was singed and Fred’s bangs were blackened from their game) and then sketch book holding Verity, who was sitting contently in the corner clutching her pencil.
“‘Course you can, mate!” Fred moved over and made room for the boy. “What’s your name?”
“Lee, Lee Jordan.”
“Wonderful to meet you, Lee! I’m George, and this is Fred. She’s Verity. Welcome to Compartment Del Weasley. Set your gear down and let’s party!” George stood on top of the seat and did a little dance. Fred and Verity rolled their eyes as George bowed deeply.
Lee laughed along with them as a plump witch pushing a cart filled with sweets knocked on the door.
“Anything from the trolley, dears?” She asked, her motley outfit striking against the backdrop of the dull train corridor walls.
“Yes, please!” Verity pulled out her small money bag from her pocket as Fred, George and Lee did the same.
“Let’s see…” said Fred to George, pouring the contents of his bag into his hand. Shiny galleons and sickles glittered up at him. “I think we can spare a sickle or two on a couple of chocolate frogs…”
George smiled and looked through his own bulging bag of change. Fred answered Verity’s questioning gaze.
“We’ve been saving up our money all year,” he said. “We’re going to go to Zonkos-the joke shop in Hogsmeade- and buy a year’s supply of pranks and wrong-doing merchandise!” his face split into a grin identical to George’s.
“But…isn’t there a rule against first and second years going to Hogsmeade? Plus, didn’t your mother say that if she heard anything about you two prank-“
“We know perfectly well of that rule, yes. And our mother did vaguely mention something about ending our joking ways…” George began.
“But we wouldn’t be being true to ourselves if we didn’t joke around and engage in some tomfoolery every now and then…” George threw in, with a Saintly look on his face. The shine in his eyes clearly conveyed that refusing to joke would be a crime against human nature.
“As for that rule…well, the way we figure it, generations of pranksters and sneaks have gone to Hogwarts over the years, so there must be at least a dozen secret passages leading out of the school! And if there aren’t, we’ll just have to make some.” Fred finished off, smirking triumphantly. “Once we get into the school and analyze the floor plan…I’m sure we can find something…we’ve gotten a lot of reliable intelligence out of old Percy. He’s always bragging about the secret hallways and such that he will use to catch wrong-doers when he becomes Head boy…” Fred rolled his eyes.
“George’s got the plans in his bag….but; of course this is strictly confidential information.” He shot a glance at Lee, who was now out in the hall, purchasing some of Juniper’s Jumping Gumdrops.
“May I see them?”
“Maybe…if we decide this guy is trustworthy. He thrust his thumb in at Lee, who was now chasing assorted flavors of gumdrops down the corridor as they bounced out of reach.
“Well, better go get sweets before he tramples all of the good stuff.” Said George, as Lee tripped over the trolley in his dash to capture his snack. It was clear that Lee had less grace then a Giant in a china emporium. However, he managed to get most of his sweets back into the box by the time Verity, Fred and George had reached the nice-looking witch’s trolley.
“Hmmm…a package of chocolate frogs and a bag of Broom Breakers please.” Fred gave the witch a few knuts and sickles as George grabbed some licorice wands and sugar quills.
“I’ll have a cauldron cake and four bags of Bertie Bott’s every Flavor Beans. Thank you.” Verity handed over three sickles and five knuts as the witch passed her the order. She followed Fred and George back into the compartment and distributed the candy among its occupants.
“Wow, thanks Verity!” George said enthusiastically as he tries to help his brother to remove a blue jaw breaker from his mouth.
Fred coughed and spluttered until he managed to get the broom breaker out from between his teeth and into the palm of his hand. It split open in a cloud of glitter to reveal a small model broom.
“YES! The Raider 2012! I’ve been looking for this one for two years!” Fred punched the air as he pulled out his wand.
Lee walked in looking mischievous as Fred tossed him a bag of beans.
“As it turns out, I bought the last box of gumdrops.” He smiled. Verity glanced at Fred and George out of the corners of her eyes. Both looked equally as puzzled as she felt.
“So?” George asked, popping a purple bean into his mouth and grimacing as he swallowed. “Ugh. Beef Jerky with frosting flavor.”
“Well…let's just say that I’m not the only one who likes that particular brand of candy.”
“Just tell us when you reach your point-I’ll be in the corner sleeping until then…” Fred stretched and let loose a fake yawn as he rubbed his eyes tiredly.
“Well, there was a boy out there who offered to buy them off me…and when I refused he threatened me that he’d jinx my eyes to…well, it wasn’t a very friendly spell that he described. So, I decided to let him have the candy, free of charge. But I never told him the catch.” Lee grinned widely.
“Catch?” Verity asked, munching on one of George’s sugar quills.
“Oh, I’m sure you’ll be seeing quite soon…”
Fred and George looked mystified. It was clear that they hadn’t thought of pranking anyone on the train.
Fred diverted his attention to the tiny model broom in his hands.
“What’s the spell that Bill does again? Oh…yeah… Motiviula.” Nothing happened. But after a few tries, the tiny collectible broom began to fly around the compartment.
“Wicked!” Lee shrieked as the broom took a nose dive and missed his nose by a few centimeters. “I got the Shooting Star a few weeks ago but compared to this one it looks like junk.”
The boys then went on to discuss brooms well Verity returned to her sketch. She added some shading, some shadows and erased some lines until the door burst open in a cloud of fury.
“IS JORDAN IN HERE!?” A huge boy looked round the compartment. He was quite tall for an eleven year old-he looked about 19. At 6 foot four, the boy could easily wrestle a crocodile (or a mutant crumple horned snorcack). His muscles bulged threateningly. The only thing that was not frightening about this picture was the small group of eleven year old boys angrily gathered behind the huge man, and the fact that the man’s eyebrows and hair were streaked hot pink.