The Sugar Quill
Author: Megan  Story: Lily of the Forest  Chapter: Default
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Lily of the Forest

Lily of the Forest

"So, aren't you going to congratulate me?," she said, smiling broadly and putting her arms around his neck. To her surprise, he untangled them and took a step back.

"I don't see any reason to celebrate."

"No reason to celebrate? Your girlfriend just caught the Snitch and you see no REASON to CELEBRATE?" Her voice was rising and falling in volume now like a sea in the storm, and her eyes were flashing dangerously. The celebrating Gryffindors all around them read the signs and wisely took a few steps back, but he remained oblivious.

"My girlfriend just cost my team the Championship," he said coldly and started to turn around.

"I see" - and this time he did hear the danger in her voice, and his head snapped back. "Well, I was going to say I'm sorry our victory came at your team's expense, but I've changed my mind. Why should I be sorry I was better than Cho?"

"Cho is having a bad year... She was loads better last year."

"Are you saying that I only beat her to the Snitch because she's having a bad year?," she asked very softly.

"Look," he ran a hand through his hair, trying to think of a way out. "I don't know why you're so upset. You won. Fine. You can't expect me to be elated about it, however."

"Well, if I can't expect my boyfriend to be happy for my success, then perhaps I should find myself another boyfriend," she snapped.

A heavy silence followed these words. Her eyes widened in dismay at what she had just said. His narrowed.

"Yes, why don't you do that? You know, had Ravenclaw won, Cho wouldn't have gloated about it like you do."

"Of course, PERFECT CHO! You should go wipe her tears. God knows Harry's mighty tired of doing it."

"You know, I might do just that," he said and walked away.

~~

As she stomped from the Quidditch field, Ginny couldn't stop replaying that scene in her mind. She couldn't believe that Michael had just walked away. After a year of dating, he had simply turned his back on her and went to console Cho. What was so great about Cho, anyway? Hermione was right, boys only cared about a pretty face. First Harry, and now Michael.

"To hell with the bloody lot of them!" - she yelled. "Who needs boys anyway?"

An image of her mom flitted through her mind, admonishing her language. Ginny flinched for a second, and then squared her shoulders.

"To bloody hell and back!" - she yelled again and, clenching her fist, hit the closest thing within reach. It was only then she realized she had wandered into the Forbidden Forest, as she blinked and stared at her hand. She had smashed it against an old willow, and it was bleeding. Furious, Ginny whipped out her wand and pointed it at the tree. She flicked and swished, gritting her teeth, and a glowing cut appeared on the trunk. It read "Ginny HATES Michael," and, after a brief hesitation, "and Harry." Ginny paused to glare at her handiwork, and almost didn't see the piece of wood that had chipped off the trunk. She ducked, narrowly avoiding being hit in the eye by the flying twig. She was straightening her back when the twig launched at her face once more.

"A bowtruckle," she panicked. "What was it that pacified it...wood lice, yes...and where am I supposed to get that?" - she thought, narrowly avoiding the attack. But the bowtruckle managed to sink its claws into her injured hand, and Ginny's temper flared again. Without thinking, she aimed a Bat-Bogey Charm at the creature. The high-pitched wail told her she had hit her mark.

"And what do you think you're doing, carving into my tree and attacking her guardian?," a melodious voice tinkled from Ginny's right. She whirled around to see a wood nymph seated on the lowest branch, swinging her feet and scowling. "Release my bowtruckle now, or I'll set a swarm of them on you."

Dry mouthed, Ginny muttered the countercharm. The nymph kept grumbling in her strangely musical voice.

"I told her when she was just a seed to put down her roots by a brook deep in the forest. But did she listen to me? Noooo. 'I want to be close to the castle,' she says. 'I want to listen to Quidditch, and meet the children.' Meet the children! As if I don't have enough to do without them!"

She pulled down a branch and tore a long, narrow leaf.

"Dear Lily, please advise," she chanted, and then handed the leaf to Ginny. "Here, tell her about your boy troubles and leave my tree alone. Lily, this is Ginny and she hates Michael...AND Harry."

Elegant letters started appearing on the leaf.

"Ooh, an angry one, and with two boys at the same time! Great! I so enjoy giving the 'don't get mad, get even' talk."

Ginny almost dropped the leaf.

"No," she yelled. "I won't talk to an object that can think for itself, unless I see where it keeps its brain."

"And a smart one, too," continued the leaf. "The others only wanted to talk about themselves. No one cared to ask about me. Well... if I do say so myself, I am the product of a rather brilliant piece of magic performed by a 7th year girl named Lily. She...uh...wanted to help the forest," the nymph snorted, "and enchanted this willow to preserve her knowledge and give advice to other students."

Ginny felt her eyes water from the effort of keeping up with the leaf. The letters were quickly scrolling by, starting from the right tip and disappearing once they reached the left edge. It made her a bit dizzy.

"Now then," wrote the leaf, "as to my brain. I was created using the Ego Charm, an ancient magic that..."

"...transcribes into an object certain knowledge from a person's mind," interrupted Ginny.

"How...how do you know that?," asked the leaf.

"I had an interest in this subject," replied Ginny. "Never mind that. What I'd really like to know is the type of knowledge this Lily put into you."

"Well," the leaf trembled slightly, and Ginny had the crazy feeling that it was huffing, "since I don't have to explain the charm to you, I'll show you my brain and you'll see for yourself."

As the last line scrolled by, a small piece of the tree trunk swung open, revealing a hole. Ginny peered inside and saw a fish bowl filled with green liquid, and two white balls swimming in it. She hesitated a moment, then pointed her wand at the smaller ball and said: Wingardium Leviosa. Immediately, the ball shot out of the liquid, splattering her robes. She could see now that it had small indentations all around its surface, and a red inscription on one side:

From: L.E.
To: Willow leaves
Subject: Girls and Boys

Ginny let the ball drop back in its liquid, and, pointing her wand, lifted the other ball. This one was considerably bigger, with an inscription that read:

From: J.P., S.B., R.L., P.P.
To: Marauder's Map
Subject: Hogwarts (castle/grounds), Gadabouts Positioning Spells, Anti-Concealment Charms

"What is the Marauder's Map's brain doing here?," Ginny whispered.

"Whose brain, dear?," asked the leaf.

"The Marauder's Map's. You know, the one that shows the castle, hidden passages and all, and tells you the location of everyone at Hogwarts. How come you don't know, when its brain is next to yours?"

"Ginny dear," the writing was shaky now, "would you mind telling me whose ego is in that map?"

Ginny read the initials, and the leaf suddenly exploded with big, bright, angry letters.

"I DON'T BELIEVE THIS! THAT...THAT PRAT!! 'Oh, Lily, I'm so proud of you for figuring how to do the Ego Charm. Could you go over it one more time? You're amazing, truly!' Well! Well!"

The last exclamation point burnt through the leaf, and Ginny yelped.

"Sorry, I didn't mean to," said the leaf. "How do you know about this map, anyway?"

"I've seen Harry use it."

"Would this be the same Harry you HATE?," asked the leaf.

"I...I don't really hate him. It's just...I was angry. There's this girl, Cho, and she's really pretty. I beat her to the Snitch today, and Michael, he's my boyfriend - was my boyfriend - went to console her, instead of congratulating me. And Harry didn't even care I won. I bet he went to her, too. She's his girlfriend," said Ginny bitterly.

"Hmm, let me see if I understand this correctly. You won, but neither Michael nor Harry congratulated you. They both went to Cho. Michael is your boyfriend, and he was a complete git. But Harry is Cho's boyfriend, so why are you angry with him, too?"

"Well...he's a Gryffindor, like me, he should have been celebrating! And...," Ginny sputtered, searching for some better reason, "and it's his fault I had to play. If he hadn't gotten banned, I wouldn't have been on the team and I'd still be with Michael," she concluded, feeling rather satisfied with this explanation.

"Yes, yes, I see how things are," wrote the leaf in a shaky hand, fluttering as if caught by a gale. Ginny frowned. Was it...laughing at her? "If you want to get back at those prats, go out with other boys right away. Preferably boys that Harry and Michael know well, so they'll find out how popular you are. Only, make sure you don't hurt someone else while you're at it."

"Thank you," said Ginny slowly, frowning in thought. "That's good advice. And I do know a couple of boys that would be perfect. I'm friends with them, and they're roommates of Harry's."

"Harry, huh?," shook the leaf. "How did he manage to get banned, by the way?"

"He beat Malfoy to a pulp," said Ginny smugly.

"He beat someone to a pulp?! Ginny, this is really bad. Forget about Harry, he sounds like a violent and dangerous sort."

"Harry Potter is the kindest and bravest person I know!," yelled Ginny, stomping down hard. "And Malfoy deserved what he got. So don't you dare write such things about Harry!"

"Did you say Harry Potter? Is he...that is...there is a James Potter in my year and..."

"Yes, Harry's dad. Sirius says Harry looks exactly like him, except he has his mom's eyes."

"And...what color are Harry's eyes?"

"Oh, they're deep green. They're the most beautiful eyes in the world!"

"Why, thank you Ginny!"

"What for?"

"Oh...I meant...thank you for answering my questions."

"You're welcome, and thanks for your advice. I should go now though, it's getting dark."

"You're right, dear. Perhaps you'll come by again and tell me more about Harry?"

"I'll try to. I like you, Lily!"

"I like you too, Ginny! Now give me back to the nymph, and run along."

Ginny turned around, surprised to find the nymph still sitting on the branch and peering over her shoulder. She handed her the leaf and, with a promise never to carve a tree again, sauntered back towards the castle.

"Thank you, Lily, that was...," singsonged the nymph.

"Don't you dare switch me off now, or I'll tell the next student to hex you!," flashed the leaf.

"Oh, bother, what do you want?"

"To talk about Harry, of course. Did you hear? He's James' son and he has my eyes. That means James and I will get married!"

"Yeah, yeah, big surprise!"

"I knew James would ask me, of course, but still, it's nice to have proof. I should be angry with him for that map, though...but I'll forgive him this time."

"Oh, don't start with James again! That's how you got in trouble in the first place. Carving hearts in a tree...And you had to do it in your wand's tree, out of an entire forest! Be thankful she accepted your Ego Charm as atonement. In my opinion, she should have broken your wand in two. But she was always a softy for students, this willow!"

"Stop grumbling, you know you love me. Now, about Harry. My son is quite the heartbreaker, isn't he? But I hope he wakes up and chooses Ginny. I didn't really like Cho, she was such a whiner. To think, when she came and complained about her Valentine's date with Harry, I didn't even know she was talking about my son. Wait though...she said Harry was friends with Hermione! So...three girls? WOW! I hope I get to meet Hermione, too."

"Thank you, Lily, that was wise," interrupted the nymph impatiently, and the leaf went blank. At the same time, Ginny's carving disappeared from the tree.

"I certainly hope I won't meet Hermione," she muttered to herself, her crystalline voice strangely at odds with her grumpy tone. "I have better things to do than to guard the willow from your son's girlfriends. And I like Cho best. At least she has a short name!"

//
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