Author's Note/Disclaimer: In response to a challenge on my SevenOfQuills yahoogroup. I've borrowed from Tabitha's "A Lily Story" universe (with her permission). Ophelia, Gabi, the Vislum Room, and Prof. Mortar belong to her. Madame Kneega belongs to me. <g> Everything JKR created belongs to JKR. This is set in the Marauders' (and friends') 3rd year.
Feedback: Yes please. Even short notes mean a lot to me. I accept constructive as well as positive remarks.
The challenge elements: 1. Someone must say the line "Yes, but only if you read him his rights first". 2. Someone must do the hula. 3. Someone must say the line "Well, I would have milked the cow, but I was too busy yodelling". 4. You must mention two delicate solid gold combs encrusted with red rubies. 5. Someone must mention the book "Thirteen ways to destroy your enemies and amuse your friends". 6. Someone must mention the following object, using the exact words: An Ancient Artifact of Great Import. 7. Someone must play the tambourine
Lily dropped her bag onto the table with a *thump* and steadfastly ignored the glare from Madame Kneega, the Librarian.
"Ugh," she sighed. "I can't believe how much homework they've assigned us over the Easter holidays."
"Oh, I don't know," Sirius said seriously, "I think they should have assigned us more." Then, as the others stared at him disbelievingly, he grinned and added, "What, you mean you didn't want to spend every waking moment in here?"
"I already do," moaned Ophelia. "I'm just not understanding our latest Potions assignment." She glared at Gabi. "What I wouldn't give for your talent right now."
Gabi just shrugged in response. "Sorry. Non-transferable."
"Ophelia, I'll help you as soon as I get back," Lily offered, as she stepped away from the table.
James looked at her curiously. "Didn't you just get here?"
"I'm not going far," Lily said, turning back. Then seeing Madame Kneega glare in her direction again, she sighed and lowered her voice. "I'm just going to the Restricted Section to get a book for my Herbology project."
"Ooooh!" Sirius exclaimed. "Breaking into the Restricted Section. Can I come?"
"I'm not breaking in -- Professor Sprout gave me a note." Lily dug into her pocket and showed it to her friends. "It's for 'The Care and Feeding of Carnivorous Plants.' The Librarian's already approved it."
"I still want to come," Sirius asserted. "I've never been in the Restricted Section before."
Lily looked at the others. "Is that allowed? To bring other people into the Restricted Section when they don't have notes?"
"Yes, but only if you read him his rights first," James cracked. "Because he'll surely do something to get himself -- if not you -- into trouble. So you might as well protect yourself by getting a head start." Then he looked toward the far end of the library. "Actually, I wouldn't mind taking a look back there myself. We've been here three years, and I still have no idea what sort of books are considered 'restricted'."
One by one, the others all chimed in. "Yeah, I want to see."
"Oh, fine," Lily said. "Just -- be subtle. Don't all get up and go over there at once. Madame Kneega will just get suspicious if you do."
Ophelia pretended to look insulted. "Lily, after all the trouble we've gotten into - and out of - these past three years, don't you think we've learned a few things about stealth?"
Lily grinned. "My mistake. Ok, well, I'll meet you all back there in five minutes, ok?"
As she threaded her way toward the cordoned-off area, Lily couldn't help but feel a thrill herself. Even though she *did* have permission, there was still the sense that she was doing something deliciously forbidden. And, besides, it was the Restricted Section for a reason -- God only knew what sort of dark books were back there.
One by one, the others drifted toward her end of the library. "Rats," Peter murmured, looking at the rope partition a little fearfully. "I bet it knows if you've got a note or not."
"It's ok, as long as you're touching the note," Gabi informed them. "It's in 'Hogwarts, A History'."
The rest of them had long given up on asking Gabi if she was sure. She always was, and she was always right. So, after shifting their positions around a bit, they all managed to cross the rope while touching an edge of Lily's permission slip.
"Madame Kneega said my book should be down this aisle," Lily whispered, turning toward some shelves on her left. Her eyes scanned the dark and dusty bindings. "Cages Cannibals oh, here it is!" She pulled a large green volume from a bottom shelf and flipped it open. "Yep. This is the book. Ok, guys, let's go--"
Her voice trailed off as she realized she was the only person in the aisle. The others had apparently decided to wander off and do their own exploring. Muttering under her breath, Lily went off in search of them. She found Remus, James, Peter and Sirius in the next aisle, clustered around a bright red book. As she approached, they suddenly burst out laughing. "Oh, I wish we could try this on Mortar!" James chuckled.
"What?" Lily asked, too curious to worry that someone might have heard the boys' laughter.
Remus tilted the book so Lily could see the title: "Thirteen Ways to Destroy Your Enemies and Amuse Your Friends".
"There's a thing in here about blowing people up in a multi-colored fireworks display," Sirius said with a grin. "Don't you think Mortar would look much nicer as a Roman Candle?"
"Oh, sure. I'll keep that in mind next November," Lily replied, rolling her eyes. "C'mon - Let's get Gabi and Ophelia and get out of here before Madame Kneega gets suspicious."
Reluctantly, the boys returned the book to its place on the shelf, and followed Lily down the next aisle. And the next. No sign of the girls. Lily was about to get worried -- had one of the nastier books *eaten* one of them? -- when they finally came upon them in the last row. Like the boys, Gabi and Ophelia had found a book of interest to them, and were cheerfully flipping through the pages.
"Look," Gabi said. "It's a book full of artwork. What could be so awful about that?"
"I dunno," Sirius replied dubiously. "They look like pretty awful pictures."
"You just don't appreciate art," Ophelia sniffed, as everyone gathered around the book. "See, look at these paintings of the pyramids. Don't they look real?" She stretched out her hand toward the picture. "You feel as if you could just reach out and touch them--"
The room suddenly spun around, creating a greenblueredorange swirling vortex, a tunnel of brilliantly multicolored light.
Lily wanted to scream, but nothing came out. Instead, she closed her eyes against the dizzying display in front of her, to avoid being sick. It lasted forever - and merely seconds. The next thing she knew, she was dropped unceremoniously onto a gritty surface.
Lily opened her eyes. She was in the middle of the desert, sprawled on the hot sand. With relief, she noted that she wasn't alone -- everyone else had suffered the same wrenching shift in location.
"Oh, no," Remus moaned. "Not *this* again. Why didn't you tell me the Library had turned into the Vislum Room? I would have done some physical training if I'd known I'd be climbing a million stairs or fighting maniacal goblins today."
"Oh, calm down," Gabi said, dusting herself off. "This doesn't look the same at all. No glowing red X's or anything. In fact," she added, pointing behind them, "I'd say that was the same pyramid from the picture."
They all turned around, and gaped at the enormous stone structure before them. "How-- how did we get here?" Peter whispered.
Gabi picked up the book, which was lying in the sand nearby. "Clearly, touching the pictures transports you to whatever is depicted in the image."
"I don't suppose there's a picture of Hogwarts in there somewhere," Lily asked, looking at her friend. "How are we supposed to get back?"
"Forget getting back!" Sirius exclaimed, heading off across the sand. "This is cool! Much better than being stuck in that dusty old library."
Lily stared at Sirius' retreating back. "Where are you going?"
"In there." He pointed at the pyramid. "C'mon. Maybe we'll find something."
"Yeah, like Egyptian ghosts determined to put a curse on us," Ophelia retorted, rolling her eyes as the boys ran excitedly toward the ancient structure. "Oh, very well. We might as well all die together." She linked her arms with Lily and Gabi, and they followed at a more leisurely pace.
The group entered the dim chamber carved into the side of the pyramid, and waited for their eyes to adjust to the low lighting. "So, what exactly are we looking for in here? Remus asked his friend. You don't seriously think we're going to find An Ancient Artifact of Great Import, do you?"
"What, you mean like these?" James held up two delicate solid gold combs encrusted with red rubies.
Everyone stared. "Where did you find those?" Peter squeaked. He looked around wildly for more treasure.
James shrugged. "I just looked in some of those niches over there, and there they were."
"Doesn't that seem a little suspicious?" Lily said with a frown. "I mean, finding something like that right out in the open?"
"Oh, come on, Lily," Sirius replied with a grin. "Relax. I'm sure someone just overlooked them. Or maybe we're the first ones ever to come in here. What kind of trouble could a couple of pieces of jewelry get us into?"
In response, Peter pointed a shaking finger into the corner. "How about that?"
They all whirled around. A large mummy loomed out of the shadows, moaning ominously. He was headed right for James, who still held the ruby-crusted combs.
"James! Get rid of those things!" Lily shrieked. She ran over and grabbed the combs out of his hands, throwing them toward the mummy. "There! You have them back! Now leave us alone!"
But the mummy kept advancing.
"Uh any more bright ideas?" Remus asked, as they all backed away.
Ophelia's eyes lit on the book in Gabi's hands. "Quick, touch one of the pictures!"
"It doesn't matter which one! Anything's got to be better than this." She wrenched the book out of her friend's grip, flipped it open to a picture of a caravan wagon, and hastily touched the image.
The pyramids dissolved in a swirl of color.
When Lily opened her eyes, it was to an even brighter swirl of color -- a gypsy celebration. They were all dancing joyfully around the fire in front of their wagon, singing, laughing, and playing their instruments.
"What's going on?" James whispered.
"Party of some sort," Lily whispered back. "Frankly, I don't care what they're doing, as long as they're doing it away from that horrid mummy."
The group stayed to the shadows by the wagon, not wanting to attract attention. But soon the music grew so infectious, their toes started tapping, their hands started clapping, and the sounds of a tambourine flooded their corner.
Ophelia whipped her head around when she heard the jangling music. "Sirius, what are you doing?"
"Playing the tambourine, what does it look like?" He gave the instrument a few extra bangs, for emphasis. "I figured we might as well have fun, as long as we're hopping around all these different places."
"Yeah, but look what happened the last time you went off to have 'fun'," Gabi retorted. "For all you know, these gypsies will turn into dragons or something when night falls."
"Spoilsport." Sirius put the tambourine down. "So, why don't you just take us somewhere new, if you're so worried about these supposed dragon-gypsies?"
"Fine, I will." Gabi opened the book and chose a mountain pasture. "That looks nice and quiet. Maybe we'll have a chance to figure out what to do there." She touched the picture.
"Does anyone else have the sudden urge to sing 'The hills are alive with the sound of music?'" James asked, looking around at the Alpine vista. The afternoon sun just touched the rims of the surrounding mountains, and a cool breeze ruffled the flowered grasses. "Or maybe 'Doe, a deer, a female deer--'"
Ophelia's giggled. "It does kind of look like the scenes from that movie, doesn't it?" She hummed a few bars to "My Favorite Things," twirling around as she did so. Several others joined her, laughing and singing wildly off-key.
"As much as I hate to interrupt this musical interlude," Remus said dryly, "we need to figure out how to get back to Hogwarts." He turned to Gabi. "There aren't *any* pictures of Hogwarts in that book? Hogsmeade? The Tower of London?"
Gabi shook her head. "Nothing obvious, anyway."
"I'm getting hungry," Peter suddenly piped up. "I don't suppose anyone has anything to eat or drink with them?"
"Well, I would have milked the cow, but I was too busy yodelling," Sirius said, with his usual straight face. "Very serious business in these parts you know. Can't let a day go by without yodelling."
"Oh, shut up," Lily said, elbowing him in the ribs. "Remus is right. We need to figure out some way to get back."
"Right now I'd settle for some way to get warmer," Sirius replied. By now the sun had dipped behind the towering peaks, and the temperature had dropped abruptly. "Let me see that book. You've gotten to choose all the other locations."
Reluctantly, Gabi handed it over. "Just -- just don't pick one of the pictures of giants or trolls, ok? Try to find something that at least *looks* peaceful."
Sirius waved off her concerns with a casual hand. "Yeah, yeah." He turned a few pages, stopping at an image of palm trees and ocean waves. "Ah, that's more like it. A tropical beach. Paradise, here we come!"
You don't really need me to tell you he touched the picture, do you? I mean, this is, what, the fourth time; if you're not getting the concept now, then you've got problems I can't really help you with. ;-)
Lily had to agree -- if they were going to be stuck somewhere, this was definitely the place she wanted to get stuck. Pity she didn't have her green bikini with her, but it just hadn't been high on her list of priorities when she'd stumbled out of bed and made her way down to the library that morning.
The sun was still in the sky -- no western mountains to obscure it here -- but it was slowly dipping lower, and the golden light danced warmly off the brilliant blue waters. The air was warm and softly tropical, unlike the uncomfortable humidity she'd experienced the summer her parents took her and Petunia to Florida. Still, it was warm enough that her robes quickly got uncomfortable, and she pulled them off, as did the others. Their jeans and T-shirts were more than adequate in this climate.
"So, where do you think we are?" Remus asked, looking out over the endless waves. "Tahiti? Jamaica?"
Sirius stretched out on the sand with a contented sigh. "Who cares? It's not the library, and there are no monsters in sight. We could be in the Azores, Guam all I know is I'm not going back." He waved his hands carelessly toward the water. "Feel free to toss the book into the ocean."
Ophelia picked up the book, which was lying perilously close to Sirius' hands. "If it's all the same to you, I think I'll hang on to it. I'd like to see my family again someday."
"And I'd like to see *her* again -- every day."
Everyone turned to look in the direction Sirius was pointing. A young woman, perhaps a year or two older than they were, was sitting under a palm tree a little ways down the beach. She was clearly one of the locals, as proclaimed by her tanned skin and tumbled waves of long dark hair. Sirius appeared mesmerized - he couldn't take his eyes off her, and when his friends moved to start exploring the beach, he shook them off.
So while the rest of the group built sandcastles, searched for seashells, and rolled up their cuffs to splash in the water, Sirius stayed where he was, gazing intently at the dark-haired beauty down the shore. After a little while she appeared to notice him, too, and the two of them exchanged friendly waves and glances.
Finally, the girl got up, and started walking towards their end of the beach. "Aloha!" she called.
Gabrielle paused in her sculpting of a sandy Gryffindor tower and turned to the others. "Mystery solved. Hawaii."
The girl was within comfortable speaking distance now. "Welcome, stranger," they overheard her say. "I am Leilani. Who are you?"
Sirius opened his mouth, but only a squeak came out. He tried again. "Sirius."
James, Peter, and Remus snickered. "You should hear his bravado back in our dorm," James explained to the girls. "He thinks he's God's gift to women."
Gabi rolled her eyes. "If that's 'God's gift', I think I'd rather give it back."
"Well, that girl doesn't seem to mind," Lily pointed out, watching Leilani tug on Sirius' arm. "In fact, she seems to want him all to herself." She raised her voice. "Hey, where are you going?"
Sirius looked back with a wicked grin. "She said she wanted me to join her in telling the story of love. Who was I to argue?"
"Lucky dog," Peter mumbled, as the rest of them sat in stunned silence. Then James stood up, and started off in the direction the other two had gone.
"Who wants to watch?"
"James!" Lily was indignant. "You can't watch them!"
"Sure I can. And don't tell me you're not secretly interested." He kept walking.
Lily stared for a moment, then started after him. "Well, someone's got to make sure he doesn't get lost," she told the others.
"Uh, huh. Right." Ophelia winked at her friend. "Oh, come on. We'll all go. It can't be any worse than watching the flobberworms mate last year."
They followed the footprints in the sand, until they came to a small grove.
"Do you hear music?" Gabi asked, suddenly.
Remus nodded. "I thought it was just me." He shrugged in half-embarrassment. "You know, the extrasensitive hearing and all."
"No, I hear it too," James confirmed. Then he stopped, as if dumbstruck.
But James did not reply - he had suddenly doubled up in fits of silent laughter. He merely pointed towards the grove.
Sirius was doing the hula. Or rather, he was *trying* to do the hula, awkwardly copying Leilani's graceful movements. A multicolored wrap had replaced his jeans, tied around his waist and brought up through his legs, and a wreath of ferns circled his head, arms, and legs. A large audience of other Hawaiians sat before them, watching the performance.
As soon as Sirius spotted his friends, he called "Help me!" but they were too amused to be inclined to move an inch. Leilani frowned as Sirius' shouts interrupted the music -- she turned one of her hand waves into a wallop, prodding Sirius to keep moving.
"You said back at the gypsy camp that you might as well have fun - so have fun!" James smirked.
"This isn't fun," Sirius wailed, as he attempted a rather tricky-looking figure eight with his hips. "I look like an idiot!"
Remus grinned. "Yes, but an idiot with lovely legs." He followed up his remarks with a wolf-whistle.
"That does it!" Sirius suddenly leapt from the platform where he'd been dancing and, eluding Leilani's grasp, suddenly sprinted for the group. "Get me out of here, now!" He grabbed the book and, before anyone could stop him, flipped it open. His eyes fell on a picture of a doorknob.
"Sirius, wait! We don't know where it goes!" Gabi shouted.
But it was too late. The grove dissolved in a swirl of color.
Lily kept her eyes tightly shut, even after she felt herself drop into the new location. God only knew where a doorknob picture would take them. When nothing happened - in fact, it was almost *too* quiet - she chanced cracking her eyes open.
Sure enough, the doorknob. Set into a large wooden door.
The door to the Hogwarts library.
Final note: Ok, ok, so it ended rather abruptly. I just couldn't think of a good way to wind it down, so I took the chicken way out. Go ahead, hex me. <g>
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