Lynx Atticus sunk peacefully to the bottom of the Black Lake, having long made nice with the mer-people so as to be left alone when she came round to think. She utilized her bubble-head charm and grew closer to the earthy bottom of the lake.
Once or twice, a grindylow came along, but she simply flung them away with a flick of her wrist and continued about her thinking, watching as schools of fish teemed around her. For the first time in all her years at Hogwarts, she found herself unsatisfied by the placid balance of the waters and ached, needing something more to bring her from the artist's block she so hated. Tranquility just was not the key this time. No, this time the only beneficial thing for her art was the most simple, yet hardest thing to come by: inspiration. What Lynx needed was a muse. Someone to be the source of constant inspiration for her.
Several merpeople paused in their swimming and took inventory of her, whispering conspiratorially to each other. Though they were still many yards from her, Lynx was not in the mood for their cruel games and used a quick burst from her wand at the ground beneath her, which shot her upward and out of the water.
She landed back in with a splash, though didn't dive nearly as far as she had before, preferring, instead, to paddle her way back to the shore. She pulled herself from the water and grabbed the towel she'd brought along, wrapping it tightly around her shivering, drenched frame. She shuddered as the air seeped into her water-logged clothes and started her journey back for the castle. As she marched her way back across the grounds, she spotted a mop of ginger hair not far from the boundaries of the Forbidden Forest. It was undoubtedly one of the Weasley's. She knew the lot well, as she was in the same year as the twins, Fred and George, and her mum and dad were quite fond friends of Mr. Arthur and Mrs. Molly. They spent many an evening together, both families having backyard get-togethers and making merry.
At a younger age, Lynx had fancied George. However, lately, she had found herself taking a particular liking to Fred. Her older sister, Phiona, had once dated Percy, and Lynx quite clearly remembered her sister informing her of the trouble "those boys" were. But Lynx, though she never was in any, took a great liking to trouble in its every form. She herself happened to be quite skilled at not getting caught when doing things of an inappropriate or restricted nature.
She took a step closer and realized the twins were together, shooting off a number of Filibuster's Fireworks, of which they seemed to have a vast supply. Shaking with cold but intrigued and curious, Lynx was unaware of how near she was getting to the identical mischeifs. They, however, heard the droplets of water spilling off of her and violently hitting the surface of various plants and nature that stood in her way.
Fred and George turned, blatantly encouraging the blank stare on her surprised face. "Well, hi there, Lynx!" Fred called, reaching up one well-toned arm in a halted wave.
Lynx collected herself and, with a broad smile, raised an arm back in greeting.
"Would you like to join us?" George called over the distance between them.
"Sure!" she agreed, hurrying her way toward them and shedding the towel. She deposited it at her feet once the three stood together.
"Fancy a swim, did you?" George observed, taking in the soaking wet clothes and damp skin.
"Fancied a little thinking, is all. Don't get much of it these days, what with Umbridge trying to take over and become a dictator. She's ruining Hogwarts, is what she's doing." Lynx wasn't exactly quiet in her opinion of Professor Umbridge; the red, burnt-looking scars that ran the length of her arms and hands from her numerous detentions were enough to hold light to that fact. She showed off these fading scars, all of which said something different, to prove her point.
"Don't think the minister approves of torture as punishment either, do you?" Fred asked, sarcastically.
"No. I do not. But, why don't we get to these fireworks? They can't all shoot themselves off, now can they?"
"Well, actually..." Fred trailed off, pointed the tip of his wand at a small group of Filibuster's, and the three watched them light up and fly into the air, setting of a gorgeous display of fiery colors with several mini explosions.
The trio spent the next several hours setting of the Filibuster's, finding it a more-than-useful way of wasting away their Saturday.
"Shall we return to the tower now?" Fred finally suggested, as a minor wave of smoke cleared and the sun began to set.
"Suppose so," Lynx agreed.
"Aw, really?" George pouted.
"Yes, really," Lynx giggled. "Wouldn't want the words, 'Naughty boys who do naughty things deserve to be punished' tattooed across your entire forearm, now would you?"
"No, I suppose not," George agreed with a laugh.
The boys started off, and Lynx quickly grabbed her towel and followed, having dried in the heat of the late September sun long ago. They navigated through the castle until the came to the portrait of the fat lady. Muttering the password quietly so no eavesdroppers from another house heard, they scuttled into the crowded common room, and headed to their usual corner. Usual, that was, being where they sat on the off chance Lynx wasn't painting or sketching. Which was rare.
Lynx perched herself on the window seat and faced the twins, who sat with their legs neatly crossed on a couple of bean bag chairs they'd summoned. "How've you been, Lynx? Don't see much of you these days," Fred said.
She shrugged her thin, bony shoulders. "Painting, same as always. Have to do it secretly though, you know, what with Umbridge trying to do away with fun of any variety. She found one under my bed last week and basically told me it was crap and confiscated it. Harry's been letting me cover my stash of art supplies and works with his invisibility cloak since."
"Get a detention for that, did you?" George assumed.
Lynx nodded, adding a role of her eyes. "The git threw out all of my supplies, so I had to sneak down through the tunnel to Hogsmeade and buy some new ones. Thirty galleons, twelve sickles and a knut, it cost me," she spoke defiantly.
Fred gave a low whistle. "Why not just conjure some new materials?"
"Magic gives quantity, but rarely quality," she explained. "Most annoying is that ever since, I've had this awful artist's block, and haven't been able to create anything new. Nothing good, anyway."
"Go get your stuff. We'll help you," Fred offered.
"We will?" George asked.
Fred elbowed his brother in the side. "'Course we will, Georgie."
"'Course we will, Lynx!" George suddenly agreed, his face breaking out in a smile.
Lynx chuckled and left them there, scurrying up to the dorm she shared with Angelina Johnson. Once she had retrieved her things, she made her way back to the common room and situated herself once more on the window seat.
"Are you having trouble thinking of what to sketch? Or is the problem that you can't seem to do itwell?" Fred asked.
"Both," Lynx groaned miserably.
"Why don't you start out with something simple. Draw one of us. That eliminates the need to come up with the content, and you can be left to work on how well it's done."
Lynx hesitated, then nodded, not minding much a free chance to look at Fred as long as she pleased.
"Don't pose, though. Sit naturally. Look as though you're just admiring something," she instructed him. Fred obeyed.
Lynx carefully fingered her piece of charcoal, twirling it between her thumb and forefinger before lowering it to the paper and sketching a few, light lines to get down the basic shape of Fred's head.
Their peers slowly trickled out of the room, heading up to bed, but Fred sat, staring thoughtfully at Lynx, who studied him and sketched his every feature only after concentrated deliberation.
"Think I'm off to bed," George said, standing, stretching his long arms up toward the ceiling, and yawning.
Neither said a word, just quickly glaced his way in acknowledgement, then went back to their work.
It wasn't untilthe ancient grandfather clock that sat in another corner of the room chimed onlyfour to signal the late hour, that Lynx finally layed down her paintbrush.
She swiped at her cheek with the back of her hand, streaking the black across her cheekbone.
Lynx set the sketchpad down on a nearby table and they both stood over it, taking in the work of art she had just labored many hours over.
"It's incredible," Fred whispered.
Lynx turned to look at the tall, ginger-headed Weasley she so adored, and that's when it struck her. Why had this not occured to her before?
It was Fred. Fred Weasley was he inspiration; her muse.
In a glorious twist of fate, she needed what she most loved, and loved what she most needed. As the early dawn sunlight lazed through the window, hitting Fred's hair at just such an angle as to make it shine an ethereal orange, she leaned up, covered still in the mixture of charcoal and oil paint she had eventually turned to, and denied any longer the concealment of her feelings, opting, rather, to reveal them.
Lynx let her eyes flutter shut and pressed her lips to Fred's, leaving hm undoubtedly breathless.
Her sweet taste lingered on Fred's surprisingly sot lips and he pulled her back to him, blissfully unconcerne with her messy state,and kissed her once more. Lynx tangled her fingers into knots in Fred's hair, and Fred clutched at her hips, feeling as though they could never be close enough for his liking.
Thefireplace was empty of flames, long ago having fizzled to ash, but the two still felt heat course through them.
"Tell me you want this," he whispered, his prankster nature nowhere to be seen.
"I do. I want this," she confirmed. "Because you, Fred Weasley, are my muse."
"And you're my magic," he whispered, leaning into her lips one more time.