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Chapter 5: Chapter Five
Everyone’s at the burrow which means we’re stuck outside in the freezing cold. Dad and Uncle Charlie put some warming spells around the yard, but they can only do so much. I’d try to slip inside, but Grandma’s making loads of food and will force anyone who enters into helping.
Uncle Harry hasn’t gotten here yet which means Teddy’s still missing. As a result I’m standing beside a tree Dad put a warming spell on just trying to stay out of the way. All my little cousins are running around doing whatever it is kids do at that age. Freddy, Louis, and Hugo have got their heads together which is never a good thing. I can almost guarantee James and Albus will join them whenever they arrive.
It’s almost another hour before Uncle Harry arrives and I feel like my entire body is numb. I’ve almost decided to go inside when Teddy comes up beside me. “Hey, Vic. Long time no see.”
I smile slightly at his joke, but my lips tremble. He waves his wand and suddenly a comfortable warmth spreads through my body. “Thanks.”
“I’m not going to leave you standing around with blue lips.” We settle into a comfortable silence. With anyone else, silence is awkward, just waiting for someone to add something to the conversation. With Teddy silence is just nice. Until Lily runs up behind us shrieking.
“Jamie, no!” Her bright red hair is windswept and her eyes wide with fear. James must have tried to take her flying because he’s sheepishly holding his father’s broomstick. Lily hides behind Teddy who sends James away with one glance.
He scoops up Lily in his arms and tickles her. “C’mere Lilykins.” All of a sudden she’s laughing and having a great time. I don’t know how Teddy does it. Little kids are such mysteries and he seems like he’s got it all figured out. I’m always completely lost whenever my younger cousins want to play. “Why don’t you go see if Grandma Molly needs any help in the kitchen?”
She nods enthusiastically and takes off for the kitchen. “She’s a cute kid,” I offer unhelpfully, but Teddy nods.
“Yeah. It’s hard for her growing up with two older brothers. Harry absolutely dotes on her, but James and Al spend half their lives tormenting her. Ginny does what she can, but you know how little boys are.” I nod even though I have no idea how little boys are. Louis is shy around us, practically scared of me and Dom. It doesn’t help that he’s seven years younger. I’ll be out of Hogwarts before he even starts. “Something wrong?”
I look up with a start. I’d practically forgotten Teddy and I were talking. “Uh, no. I was just thinking.” Anyone else would laugh at me for that, but Teddy nods as though it was the most natural thing in the world. What does he see in me? We’ve got next to nothing in common except for our family, but he still wants to be friends. It astounds me.
I turn to ask him why, but Uncle Harry comes up to us right at that moment. “Molly’s been looking for you. The meal’s about to start.” He addresses all of this to Teddy and doesn’t look at me. What is it with nobody looking me in the eye anymore?
“Well we sure don’t want to keep a bunch of hungry Weasley’s waiting.” He grins at Uncle Harry, then heads off for the table around the other side of the house. I start after him, but Uncle Harry grabs my arm.
“Look, Victoire, Teddy’s a good kid.” His bright green eyes suddenly find mine and I know he believes everything he’s saying. I’m not the best judge of people, you can just look at my relationships with everyone in my life for proof of that, but I can almost always tell when someone truly believes what they say. “A really good kid. He’s got a strong future in the Ministry ahead of him and I don’t want him derailed in his last year of Hogwarts by-” Uncle Harry cuts himself off and stumbles for words for a moment. “-you. Alright?”
I nod, not knowing what else to do. He’s right. I’m a horrible influence on Teddy. Just look at the last few weeks. I spent them in Teddy’s room bothering him with all of my problems. That’s all I am, a distraction from work and school and everything important that other people do.
“Well, alright then,” he says awkwardly and lifts his arms in the direction of the table. “Shall we?” We walk around the corner of the Burrow where the rest of the family is waiting for us. Uncle Harry sits down with his kids and Teddy and I sit on the opposite end near my parents. Teddy gives me a funny look, but I try to ignore him as per Uncle Harry’s request.
I won’t end our friendship or something dramatic like that, but I’ll back off a bit. Let Teddy live his life without me pestering him all the time. It’s what Uncle Harry thinks is best and while he and I are nearly strangers it does make a lot of sense. I quietly eat my dinner as the rest of the family chatters about mundane topics such as work and Quidditch. It almost makes my endless conversations with Yvette, Meghan, and Terra seem interesting.
“Mum, Erin’s hosting a Christmas Eve party at her house and I was wondering if I could go,” Dom tells them. The bored tone in her voice isn’t fooling me and I doubt it’s fooling Mum either. Dom really wants to go to that party.
Dad shakes his head. “Christmas is family time. I don’t want you running off to some random girl’s house doing Merlin knows what.”
“Mum, can I go?” Dom asks again, but this time she stresses the ‘Mum’ part. It’s not a great move as I know from experience. Playing Mum and Dad against each other never works. They’re much too relaxed to ever play into a plan like that. If Dom plans on following in my footsteps, not that I think she should, but if she does she better wise up or just ignore them and sneak out anyway. I’ve done a bit of both, but they mostly let me run wild until they realized what I was doing.
“Listen to your father. You’d do better to devote your time to your studies,” Mum says as she glances around the table. It seems like everyone’s absorbed in their food, but they may just be listening to our conversation.
Dominique huffs loudly and glares at me. “This is all you fault,” she says.
Wait, what? I didn’t think I missed any of the conversation. How did Mum and Dad refusing to let Dom go to a party become my fault? I have even done anything this time! “What? How?”
“You know how. If you weren’t so bloody obsessed with yourself and being Little Miss Beauty Pageant all the time you might notice the people around you!” Our little family argument has gotten out of hand. Now everyone in the extended Weasley family is staring at us openly, not even pretending to be interesting in anything else. Even in my own family the drama centers around me. Is that my fault?
Mum’s calming voice sounds a bit tense as she says, “Now Dominique, that’s not true.”
“Not true?” Dom shrieks, glaring at me. “I’ve got decent marks and yet you fret over me like I’m a child because she practically failed out!”
“This is a discussion for later,” Dad says, but Dom’s on a roll. She’s been bottling this up for a long time and once she’s let loose that’s it. The whole Weasley clan will be talking about this for weeks. All the ridicule at school and it’s my own sister who brings it home.
“No, there is no later! I’m tired of everyone treating me like I’m the trouble child, like I’m the one always failing my classes and- and doing other stuff!” Dom glares at all three of us and I try to sink lower into my seat. I don’t like being the center of attention at school, but it’s even worse here. Don’t any of their families have drama? I wish it wasn’t always me.
Mum smiles, but it doesn’t stretch quite right over her teeth. When even her fake smile fails her, it’s time to worry. “This is not the time or the place,” she says, her voice that cold and polite tone that ensures everyone around you knows you’re angry, but polite at the same time. She didn’t manage to pass that on to any of us.
“I’m sick and tired of it!” Dom shouts as she knocks her glass of cider over. It spills over the table, staining the tablecloth a dark brown. I don’t think anyone but me even noticed. They were all so focused on Dom. “At least I’m not off shagging my professor for a passing mark.”
My mouth drops open and no one responds to Dom’s taunt. She was smirking at me as she said it, clearly indicating I was the one she intended it for. I don’t know why she thinks making up blatant lies is going to help her cause. Mum and Dad are smarter than that, at least I hope they are. All it’s going to do is make them angrier.
But instead of going off on Dom, they continue eating in silence. Dad waves his wand at the stain and it disappears, but he doesn’t say anything to Dom. Slowly conversation starts back up around the table. I keep getting a few strange glances thrown at me, but I’m not going to bring up that particular topic again. I’d rather wait and talk to Dom on her own. It’s easier when there isn’t a crowded table full of Weasleys just watching you.
The only one of them out of the whole table who even glances my way is Teddy. He offers a small, if somewhat worried, smile. He’s one who will always be on my side no matter what. It’s nice to have someone like that to back you up. But I’m only a distraction to him.
I have to keep in mind what Uncle Harry said about Teddy’s future. He’s right. I need to back off and give Teddy some space to figure things out on his own.
I duck my head instead of returning the smile and pick at my food for the rest of dinner, listening to the boisterous Weasley clan as they hopefully forget all about Dom’s little outburst.
A/N: I know it's been a long time, but November is for NaNo and then I lost the flashdrive that had this story on it. I didn't lose everything, but it's still a pain to have to rewrite scenes. I might be able to get another chapter up before the queue closes, but we'll see.
Reviews are welcome!