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Chapter 1: Prologue - The Best Day
PROLOGUE – The Best Day
2021 – The present
I love Christmas.
I love the buzz, the warmth of your overlarge coat, gloves and hats that you stole from your Father to shelter yourself from the bitter winds. I love the food, the smells of cinnamon spice, peppermint candy canes, gingersnap and eggnog and the festive carols.
But most of all, I love the feeling of being with family, or else the parts of family you have left.
Oh yes! I’m very deep for a 16 year old. Well actually I’m incredibly immature but that’s beside the point. The point is, I love Christmas probably more than any other time of the year.
2015 – 10 years old
I literally sprang out of bed, pulled on my beloved snoopy slippers and grabbed my dressing gown. I checked the time – 6:30am – DAMNIT, I’m too late to scare Father Christmas. See now most kids would want to wake up on Christmas Eve night to be able to see Farther Christmas, and sit on his lap and all of that kind of stuff. But me? I just want to scare that fat man so much so that he shoots back up through the chimney. Now, don’t look at me like that, I know that he’s not real, but a girl can still have her dreams can’t she?
I quickly surveyed myself in the mirror, before going to attack my father.
I snuck down the hall, ninja rolls and all. Seriously, just stick me in camouflage and I’d practically be invisible. I crept up to his bedroom door, which was set ajar. I began to slowly push the door open, and then I launched myself on to the bed. I however did not land on a rigid body as I had suspected. Though the room was still dark the bed was perfectly made. Huh. Maybe he’s already down stairs?
I padded out the door and made for the stair as quietly as I could, still intending to scare the bejebies out my farther, but as I neared the banister, a familiar hand closed around my mouth. I had that moment of pure fear when you think that your going to die before I turned around and came face to face with my farther, bed hair and all. Hey! Just like me!
“We’re going to launch an attack on your brother.” He said in a deadly quiet whisper – Really I have no doubt in my mind that this man is my father - “Don’t make a noise, operation ‘Scare-Ben-so-much-that-he-wets-himself’ is a go”
I snorted and he shushed me, “Creative name Dad!” I chortled
“Thanks, I came up with it myself” Sarcasm, it really is the language of the British. …. But I’m not actually British so…. I’m a British citizen, does that count?
Oh never mind.
The two of us slipped in to my (shared) bedroom, and positioned our selves on either side of my brother’s bed.
I turned to my father and nodded – Ben was most defiantly fast asleep. He nodded back, and we counted down on our figures together.
5… This is going to be so much fun!
4… I have the coolest Dad in the world! Would your Dad do this with you? Didn’t think so!
3… Wait? What is our plan of action?
2…OH MY GOD DAD! YOU DIDN’T EVEN TELL ME WHAT WE’RE SUPPOSED TO DO!
1… What? Am I going to have to make it up on the spot? .... Fab
While Dad screamed ‘GO! GO! GO!’ I let out a sort of war cry and leapt on the bed, very gracefully might I add, and slapped Ben around the face. His eyes flew open in fear; I saw his pupils adjust to the light, or lack of, and then zero in on my face.
He growled. Ahh, my brother he is the epitome of articulation.
In an attempt to free himself from my grip, he began to wriggle beneath me. To his surprise, I spun of him, but then began to roll him like a sausage across the bed towards my father, who caught him easily and put him in a headlock.
Aren’t we just such charming people? I have no idea why everyone at school doesn’t like coming over to my house.
One fight, a very large and yummy breakfast and much out of tune singing to cheesy muggle Christmas songs Dad found on the muggle radio, later we arrived at church. All 3 of us clad in about 3 layers of thermal each, we wrapped ourselves in puffy jackets and scarfs, and I topped myself off (quite literally) with a bobbly hat. I didn’t look like an overly large cake or anything… Heh….
Unlike most kids my age I actually enjoy going to church, and Father America (that’s not his actual name, we just call him that cause of his accent – mind you I can’t talk with my Irish accent) gives the best sermons ever, they revolve mainly around the latest Rugby game and he always leaves mass playing his flute. But no normal Sunday mass ever, EVER, lives up to the Christmas day mass. It was always the best. Something always goes spectacularly wrong somewhere, weather it during the actual mass or the small after party in the church hall. And what ever it is always seems to be very dramatic, which is probably because our organist is a little highly strung.
After many “Hello” ’s and “How are you” ’s and “I hope your having a Happy Christmas?” ’s with what seemed like the entire senior citizen population of England, we sat down in our pugh.
Father America waddled out from his room in the back of the church (aww, he’s just so cute) and looked down at our small but full parish with warm, loving, brown eyes. He opened his mouth about greet us when he was interrupted by a loud bang of the door and a blast of cold winter air. The whole of our congregation turned around, confused looks etched across our faces.
There were at least 20 of them, all of which were talking, bickering and trying to squeeze through the very small entrance, at the same time. When they all finally got in side we were able to look at the latecomers properly.
One single word sprung to mind at the sight of them all.
And that word was Ginger.
At least half of them were ginger. It looked, quite literally, like all the members from ‘Ginger’s Have Souls’ association, if there ever was one mind, had come to our church that day.
“So. Many. Gingers. It’s like the whole “Ginger’s Have Souls’ association have graced us with their presence today!” Ben whispered to me in an amused fashion. I smirked, that was the best thing about being a twin – the other will quite often, have the same thought process as you, so you can tell what they’re thinking… and then use it to black mail them later.
I looked at the family, at least I assumed they we’re all a family that was now walking down the aisle to the front. Not all of them were ginger. 3 had ebony black hair, 4 chocolate brown, 2 mousy brown, 1 auburn (like mine), 2 platinum blond and 2 dirty blond/strawberry blond. But 12 of them were ginger. 12. I have never seen this many gingers in one place in my, albeit, short life.
You could defiantly tell which was the dominant gene in their gene pool.
A short, aged, round lady was leading the procession; she resembled a mother duck leading her ducklings to the pond for a little swim.
That’s a funny mental image.
After they had seated them selves, which took all of 5 minutes, Father America began. Regrettably, the mass went nearly seamlessly, save from Miss Partridge, the organist, nearly hyperventilating because of our congregations out of time, out of tune but incredibly enthusiastic might I say, singing. Seriously, I’m not surprised she’s not married.
At the end of the service, we all traipsed up to the hall on the hill behind our church for mini mince pies, tea or coffee and ‘a good ol’ natter’ as Granny Figgy likes to say.
As soon as we had entered the hall, a smirk spread over my face. There were 5 tables pushed together, piled high with food. Now I don’t think I can explain to you how much Ben loves food. He loves it almost as much as he loves Quidditch, or me – which, let me tell you, is a lot! I looked at Ben. He looked like he was going to cry. I snorted, he’s so pathetic. He then turned to me and raised his eyebrow. Oh? Is he challenging me? I grinned back accepting – I’m not one to back down, ever.
“Who ever reaches the table first and stuffs the most mini mince pies in their mouth in 1 minute, wins.” Ben said daringly
“Wins what exactly?” I replied slyly
Ben scanned the room quickly and then his eyes narrowed on a large chocolate cake, which was going very fast.
“That!” he rang confidently, pointing at the cake, “The last slice of that cake.” I looked at the cake. I liked the look of that. I agreed to his terms greedily. And then added,
“And the loser has to watch while the winner eats the cake. No looking away. Or else.” Ben nodded, begrudgingly, knowing it was the only way to get me to play
I buzzed with excitement. I was going to win.
“3 … 2 … 1… GO!”
I shot off towards the food, keeping up with Ben, which is harder said than done. We reached the table at the same time and began cramming mini mince pies in to our mouths.
1… 2 … 3 … 4 … 5 … 6 …
Then, disaster. There was only 1 mini mince pie left. We both had 6 pies in our mouths; this was a matter of life or death. I had to get that last mince pie… and win the cake. I dived, victory was mine. I could just taste it.
But before I could grab the last golden pastry Ben had stuffed it in to his mouth, he grinned at he maliciously, well, as maliciously as one can look with 7 mini mince pies stuffed in their mouth. That greedy good for nothing... Arghh. I tried to scream but bits of pastry just flew everywhere. I looked around in panic trying to find the closest plate of mince pies but the minute was up!
“NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!” I screamed, but really it sounded more like a parakeet being strangled to death by a pillow. Ben punched the air and proceeded to do a rather embarrassing victory dance.
What is my life?
Once we’d both calmed down, and swallowed all the mince pies in our mouths, we walked silently and solemnly towards the cake. I watched despairingly as he picked up the last slice, smirked at me and raised it to his mouth. I could just tell that he was doing it as slowly as possible to make it all the more painful for me. I mean come on that’s just cruel.
I hate loosing.
Just as I thought I was going to die from frustration, a small cough from behind interrupted us. Ben still hadn’t got the cake in to his mouth at this point. We turned around to find the owner of the cough was one of the girls from ‘Ginger’s Are Us’.
She looked around our age. She was taller than me (which isn’t must of an achievement, seeing as I am pretty much a graduate member of the ‘Fun Sized Club’) but not as tall as Ben; he got all the tall genes, lucky poo. She had stormy grey-blue eyes that seemed to swirl and ripple like water being sucked in to a whirlpool, they were framed by a set of thick black eyelashes. She was very petite and she had dirty blond hair that almost could have had a hint of red in. She was nothing short of stunning yet she gave of the impression that she really didn’t know it and if she did she really didn’t care. She wore ripped up skinny genes, a baggy weird sisters top and a large wooly cardigan as well as very scuffed and broken red all-stars. Yet, despite this slightly scruffy attire she still managed to look annoyingly pretty.
I looked at her expectantly. She spoke with a slight French accent,
“Hello, sorry to ask, but 6 year old cousin was so upset that she didn’t get any of the cake that we brought, so I was wondering if you would mind if I halved your slice for her? Please?” The girl spoke very politely and sounded genuinely apologetic. I looked to Ben who was holing the cake to answer, but he was simply staring at the girl slightly open mouthed, his green eyes which were flecked with brown and a gold-y colour – the opposite of mine which are brown with flecks of green and the same gold-y colour – were open wide, filled with astonishment. But it was weird, he was wearing the same expression he wears when he’s proud of me or something like that but it was less brotherly and there was more want, or was it tenderness, in his eyes.
Hahaa, ewww Benn has a crushh.
“Ohh, I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to offend you! You can keep your cake…” She gushed quickly, obviously embarrassed. Ohh! She must have thought that Ben was angry that she even thought of halving his cake. Silly girl. He’s only falling in love with her, poor girl. She turned to walk away, shaking her head when I called her back.
“Wait, don’t mind him,” I said indicating Ben who looked like a dear caught in headlights “He’s just a bit, well, umm what’s the word…? Well, actually I don’t think there is a word to describe him, anyway… Here have the cake, we don’t mind.” I smiled as she mumbled an incoherent thank you and I handed the chocolate heaven wrapped in a tissue to her.
“Happy Christmas…” I looked at her, waiting for her to fill in her name.
“Oh, Dom. I’m Dom.”
Ben had been gaping for so long I forgot he was there, so I jumped about a mile when he spoke
“Dom, Dom. That’s a pretty name, Dom. What’s it short for?” He spoke in a slight dazed voice, he had refused to look her fully in the eye this whole time, as though he was scared he might be turned to stone, but when they finally make eye contact he went crimson red and began playing with the zip on his hoodie.
“Dominique,” she grimiest “It’s short for Dominique. What’s your name?” she aimed this question mainly at me but before I could I was interrupted, again, this time not by Ben, but by 2 other boys from ‘Ginger’s Are Us’.
One of the boys, the one on the right, had toffee coloured skin and eyes of a dark chocolate brown, with floppy waves of lighter brown hair that were falling in to his eyes. He was wearing the most brilliant smile I’ve ever seen. The other boy, the one on the left, had ebony black hair that stuck out at every angle, looking as though he had just been dragged through a hedge backwards, he had slightly tanned skin and the most amazing eyes. They were every colour possible. Mainly hazel (with more green than brown) but he also had sky blue, stormy grey, pure emerald green, pure chestnut brown and little flecks of gold laced through the figments of his irises. They were quite mesmerizing, and they sparkled slightly because he too was grinning madly.
He was a boy with kaleidoscope eyes.
Right that’s it. This family is fre-aky. They’re all extraordinarily good looking.
These two new comers were obviously incredibly overexcited about something or other and were blatantly repressing bought of laughter. The one on the right was tapping Dom repeatedly on the shoulder until she turned around.
“Dom, Dom, Dom, Dom, Dom, Dom, Dom, Dom, Dom, Dom, Dom, Dom, Dom, Dom, Dom, Dom, Dom, Dom, Dom, Dom, Dom, Dom, Dom, Dom, Dom, Dom, guess what? Guess what Dom? Dom guess what, guess what, guess wh..”
The brown-eyed boy rambled annoyingly, but Dom cut him off mid ramble.
“What Fred?” she snapped clearly irritated “And where exactly have you and James been?” She indicated to the boy with kaleidoscope eyes and gave them and stern, motherly kind of look. At this the two boys grinned even more (if that was possible), and in unison, leaned forward and whispered, “Pulling a master prank!”
Dom’s left eyebrow almost became level with her hairline.
The boys took this as an invitation to explain said ‘master prank’
“Well,” the boy called James began, “We got bored during the service and we were laughing at the crazy organist when…”
“We realised,” Fred, continued, “That she would be a perfect person to pull a prank on – her reaction would be priceless!” He explained – this was true.
James carried on with the story. “So, we thought that this prank had to be something to do with her precious organ. We considered painting it but Fred had an epiphany.”
Fred smiled dazzlingly on cue and took the floor to explain…
“So, I thought that if Miss Partridge, being as highly strung as she is, gets all prissy about the congregation being out of tune, then she’d probably go mental if her precious organ was out of tune. But we didn’t want her to just go mental, we wanted her to explode. So I had the idea of swapping the keys so they were attached to different pipes! Now the whole organ is messed up! Brilliant isn’t it?” The two boys stood there before us smiling like maniacs, quivering with excitement.
“Wait, you actually did that, you actually changed the keys on the organ?” Ben asked in a mixture of disbelief and awe.
“Yepp” was their reply again in perfect unison.
“.... Cool!” Ben cried and promptly high five-d them both.
I would have too but I was too busy trying not to fall over for laughing. These boys were geniuses! I just had this mental image of Mrs Partridge trying to play ‘O, come all yee faithful’ but getting all confused and angry because the keys were mixed up. Its so funny when that happens, she turns all puce coloured and she develops a twitch in the left side of her face, she looks a bit like the wrong end of a baboon at those points. Eventually my little mind video ended with her having a cardiac arrest and being lifted out of the church in a stretcher, that would be nothing short of hilarious… cough… and of course very sad and serious… right...
Suddenly, Dom coughed loudly attracting all of our attention. I regain my composure (with difficulty) and picked my dignity up off of the floor, while James and Fred finished up their impressions of Miss Partridges expected reaction (primarily for Ben amusement). We all turned to look at Dom, and I can honestly tell you that it looked like someone had just shown those boys a dead puppy, their smiled slid off their faces quicker than butter on hot toast... Mmmm toast… Dom looked at James and Fred each in turn looking equally angry with both of them. The boys gulped.
She looked like boiling water in a pan that’s about to bubble over, I edged slightly closer to Ben, who face was somewhere between confusion and amusement, admiration and fear. Then everything suddenly turned to slow-motion (but that might have just been in my head) Dom took in a huge breath as though readying herself for a huge shouting sesh, James and Fred looked at each other grimaced and shut their eyes preparing themselves for the explosion. Everyone else was being productive so I decided to cover my face, I’m not quite sure why but I did it anyway.
“And you guys pulled possibly the best prank in the world without me?” RUN! EVERYBODY RUN! VOLCANOE DOM IS EXPLODING! EVERY MAN FOR HIMS…. Hey wait she’s smiling. Did she just say what I think he just said? Hey, maybe she isn’t crazy after all... She laughed loudly, wrinkling her nose and snorting slightly, at all of our reactions. “You know, I’d have thought that you two would know that that isn’t the kind of thing I’d get mad about, we pull pranks together all the time. And you guys say you know me!” She punched Fred playfully in the shoulder, he shoved her back and threw his head back laughed, and in only the way a 10 year old could. So while he wasn’t expecting it, Dom shoved him playfully but hard and he toppled back on to an (also) unsuspecting James, who fell backwards and landed on a rather put-out looking Ben.
Before you could say Quidditch, all 4 of them were chasing each other around like lunatics, leaving me in their wake looking terribly confused.
Suddenly a pair of dazzling multi-coloured, laughing eyes appeared in front of me. And soon the rest of James came in to focus
“Well?” He asked addressing me for the first time “Aren’t you going to join in?” Without waiting for a reply he grabbed my wrist and pulled me along over to where the others were mercilessly tickling Dom, who was screaming bloody murder.
20 minutes later we were all sitting on the floor in the corner of the hall leaning against the stage, completely out of breath. If you looked at us you'd have probably thought that we'd been electrocuted, the way our hair looked, except for James, who’s hair looked exactly the same. Huhh, maybe he always looks like that...
We had chased each other around and around and tickled each other ‘till we couldn’t breath. We’d managed to knock over about 4 OAP's and the whole time Ben couldn’t tear his eyes of the girl with dirty blond hair that could have almost had a touch of red in.
“So how do you all know each other?” I asked, I had concluded that they could not have been from the same family for 2 reasons:
A) There was far too many of them, I’m Irish and even I don’t have that big a family
B) There was far too many different hair colours for all of them to be related, you could practically make the rainbow our of their hair colours.
“We’re all from the same family, we’re cousins.”
Oh. Well, now I feel stupid.
“There’s loads of us actually,” chirped Dom, she turned to James and Fred who mealy grunted in agreement.
“Look, there’s Roxanne – Roxy - Fred’s sister and Victoire – Vic - she’s my sister. Oh look, haa, there's Teddy, he’s not a relative, he’s a family friend, but he spends so much time with us he could practically be related. Anyway, there he is trying to get Vic’s attention, you see he really likes her and she doesn’t like him like that so he does the most outrageous things to try and get her interested, it’s quite sad, but a good show, we make a sport of it. Oh, and there’s Molly, reading.”
“As always” interjected Fred
”Yeah, and there’s little Lucy, she’ll carry on the pranking tradition when we are gone, with her Mum, Audrey, and Dad, Percy - My Dad’s younger brother-. Percy’s really boring and a right prat, I can’t stand him, but Lucy’s good fun. There’s Uncle Charlie - another one of my Dad’s brothers - showing Albus - Al, James’ brother - and Rose his burns”
“He works with…” Fred began but James cut him off by elbowing him in the stomach before he could finish. Okaayy…?
“Anyway,” Dom continued giving Fred a pointed look, “There’s Aunty Hermione with little Hugo - Rose’s brother - and my Mum - Aunty Fleur to those two-” she explained gabbing her thumb in the direction of Fred and James, “And there’s Aunty Angela - Fred and Roxanne’s Mum - and Aunty Ginny - James, Al, and Lily’s Mum - talking to her. Over there, my Dad is with Lily - James’ sister - and Louis - my brother-. Oh, and over there, by the table of food, talking to some guy is Uncle Harry - James’ Dad - Uncle Ron - Rose and Hugo’s Dad and my Dad’s brother - and Uncle George - Fred’s Dad-. And over there – sitting down – that’s Nana Molly and Grandpa Arthur. That’s all of us I think.”
I smiled sadly; I’d like to have a large, close family like that.
“Why, don’t you have a lot of family?” James pried
Did I say that out loud? Woops…
“No, no my extended family is huge, I just don’t really know any of them, and anyway they’re all their adults or babies or adults with babies. Really it’s just Ben, Dad, Granny Figgy and Me.”
“Wait, don’t you have a mother, I mean you’ve got to have a mother?” Fred asked in a shocked voice, but Dom shushed him as Ben and I flushed red.
“So what do you guys do with no close cousins?” James wondered aloud.
“Well,” Ben spoke for the first time in a while, “We play a lot of sport with our Dad, and we cook – well you do” he smiled at me, ”and we watch games on T.V and have competitions and she used to force me to watch these Disney Films, which I hated and made her pay for.” Ben finished and grinned at me, and I grinned back.
Hehee, I do love Disney Films.
“What are ‘Disney Films’?” Dom asked sounding thoroughly confused. I think my heart just refused to beat for a second in denial of the fact that she just asked that question. I turned my head slowly towards Ben who was doing a stunning impression of a goldfish.
“Only the best films. EVER!” was the squealed reply, but I had not move my lips (for I was still in shock). No, it was Ben who had just made that very girly response. He then cough loudly and said in an attempted deep voice “Well at least that’s what she would say…”
James and Fred snorted.
“Come on you two, time to go home and cook the dinner. And we’ll have to get Figgy out of whatever pickle she’s got her self in to. She’ll have forgotten to get out the bath or forgotten to take her pills or something. Honestly that woman is a nightmare, it’s a wonder I turned out alright, the way she raised me!” My fathers voice rang out in its thick Irish accent. Ben and I both jumped to our feet excited.
We said goodbye to our newly made friends and made to leave when I heard someone call “Wait!”
I turned around to see Dom running towards me, her hair streaming behind her.
“You never told me you name,” she informed me. Smiling at me, which I took as a prompt.
“Oh,” I smiled, I liked my name. “Noah, Noah Grace Finnegan.”
A/N: Helloo, all thanks ever so much for dropping in for a read, and a review...? Is that a bit hopeful...? Well please, do review, this is my first story and I have big plans for it, so stick around? Maybe? Please?I'm getting a bit despret now aren't I?
Well anyway, I hope you liked it and if you did, please feel free to tell me in a review. I promise I'm nice, I won't bite :D
EDITED: 4th September 2012