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Clash by shenanigan
Chapter 3 : Shadow
 
Rating: MatureChapter Reviews: 65


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A/N: Chapter Three is up! Nothing much to say about it, except I appreciate all reviews and rates! It really encourages me to keep on writing, and even if it's just a simple review like 'Cool story'.

Disclaimer: This all belongs to J. K. Rowling!




By the time I had arrived at one o'clock, the Burrow had descended into complete mayhem. 

Dom’s entire family was scrambling around the house, attempting to make preparations for the party. Everything was in disorder: the decorations were sloppily hung and crooked, the cake was burning in the oven, and, worst of all, Dominique and Victoire were fighting. Again.

“THERE IS NO WAY, VICTOIRE!” Dom screeched, her voice echoing throughout the whole house. “I FORBID IT!”

“FORBID IT? FORBID IT!” Victoire Delacour-Weasley, Dominique’s nineteen-year-old sister, shrieked back in a decibel that rivaled the noise of a jet plane taking off.  “YOU CAN’T TELL ME WHAT TO DO!”

“Guys! Guys!” I exclaimed, walking into the living room where the two sisters were fighting. “What’s going on?’

Dom didn’t even bother to say hello, she was too busy glaring at her sister. “Victoire wants to announcement her engagement to Teddy... Tonight! At my party!”

“You’re getting engaged?” I said, surprised. “Congrats, Victoire!”
 
Victoire grinned proudly, and Dom shot me a glare.  “Thank you, Agatha,” Victoire said smugly, crossing her arms triumphantly and cocking her hip to the side. “I’m glad that someone here is happy for me, at least!”

Dom narrowed her eyes. “What the hell is that supposed to mean?”

“It means that you’re acting like too much of a jealous twit to be supportive of your own sister!”

Dom gasped dramatically, slapping a hand across her chest. “I AM NOT JEALOUS!”

“THEN WHY WON’T YOU LET ME ANNOUNCE MY ENGAGEMENT?” Victoire hollered, her voice gaining volume with each word.

“BECAUSE IT’S MY BIRTHDAY!”

“I DON’T GIVE A DAMN IF IT’S YOUR BIRTHDA — !”

“Okay, okay, guys!” I interrupted, raising my hands. “Calm down.”

Victoire snapped her mouth shut, pursing her lips together as she glared at me, while Dominique huffed loudly and crossed her arms. For two girls who hated each other so much, they shared some serious family resemblance (especially when they were both pouting like that).

“Right,” I said in a soothing tone, trying my best to pacify the situation. “Now it’s obvious that Dom’s party today means a lot to her,” Dom nodded vigorously. “So why can’t you just announce your engagement another day, Vic?”

“Because it’s more convenient to do it now, when the whole family is together!” Victoire explained, at the same time Dom muttered, “Because she’s an obnoxious little bitch!”

Victoire turned white, her rosebud mouth forming a shocked ‘o.' “ARE YOU IMPLYING THAT I'M A BITCH?!” she screeched, and I almost wet my pants from the sheer terror of it all.
 
“NO, I'M TELLING YOU THAT YOU ARE ONE!” Dom spat back vehemously.

“YOU ARE BEING A REAL PRAT ABOUT THIS, YOU KNOW THAT DOM?” Victoire stomped her foot, her platinum hair swinging back and forth madly.

There is something really, really terrifying about the sight of Dom and Victoire fighting. I mean, not only are they part Veela, but they both possess the Great Weasley Temper too. It’s like watching two angry, PMSing women battle it out over the last shoe in their size during a sale on Boxing Day. Terrifying, yet slightly entertaining in a bizarre, twisted way.

“I DON’T CARE!” Dom roared, her face turning an interesting shade of purple (mauve, maybe?) “YOU WILL NOT ANNOUNCE YOUR ENGAGEMENT AT MY PARTY! I WON’T ALLOW IT!”

 “WELL TOO BAD!” Victoire screamed back, her lovely face twisted into a fierce snarl. “BECAUSE I’M DOING IT ANYWAY!”

Dom’s face deepened in color, and she looked as though she had stopped breathing. For a minute, I was afraid I’d have to administer the kiss of life, to be honest.

“WHA — ?” But before Dom could even finish what she was about to say, sweet salvation arrived in the form of Louis Delacour-Weasley.

“What’s going on?” He asked as he entered the living room, and both Dominique and Victoire stopped their screaming long enough to turn towards their brother. “It sounds like someone’s trying to strangle a banshee in here!”

I could kiss him, I really could. My eardrums were rejoicing right now. “Victoire and Dom are having a fight.”

“Oh,” Louis shrugged, as if this was a common occurrence for him (which, come to think of it, it probably was). He leaned against the wall casually, crossing his arms over his chest. “What’s it about this time?”

 Before I could explain, Dom, with tears streaming down her face, decided to share her most valuable opinion. “NOTHING THAT CONCERNS YOU, LOUIS!”

“Sorr-ee,” Louis said, wide-eyed, as he tossed his hands in the air in some sort of a surrendering gesture. “Just trying to help!”

“WHY DO YOU HAVE TO BE SO FREAKING NOSY ALL THE TIME?!” Dom screeched, before turning to Victoire. “AND WHY DO YOU HAVE TO BE SUCH AN ATTENTION-SUCKER? I HATE MY FAMILY! I HATE MY LIFE!” Dom moaned dramatically, throwing her hands in the air. She started to storm out of the room, but Victoire stopped her.

“Just where do you think you’re going?” she snarled, grabbing Dom’s shoulder.

“I’M GOING TO GO UPSTAIRS, AND I'M GOING TO JUMP OUT MY WINDOW! I HATE YOU ALL!” Dom shrieked, shrugging her sister’s hand away and then marching off.

A few seconds later, we heard a series of vicious thumps that indicated Dom was walking (more like thundering) up the stairs, and then a frustrated shriek and a door slam that made the whole house shudder.

There was a long silence as Louis, Victoire, and I stood there awkwardly. Finally, Louis coughed, breaking the tension.

“Well,” he said gruffly. “I guess someone should go and follow her. To, you know, make sure there's still a Birthday Girl to blow out the candals when my parents get home."

Nobody moved.

Both Louis and Victoire turned to glare at me.

“I said, I guess someone should go and follow her,” Louis said, enunciating each word carefully and staring straight at me with his wide, blue eyes.

I threw my hands upwards in an indignant manner. “What are you looking at me for?”

“You’re her best friend!"

“You’re her brother!”

"Yeah, by default. Not my fault that shit's in my gene pool. You, on the other hand, associate with Dom by choice..." Louis crossed his arms, raising his eyebrows pointedly.

I sighed. The kid had a point.

“Fine,” I said reluctantly. “I’ll do it.”    

—*—

TOP THREE REASONS WHY IT IS NEVER A GOOD IDEA TO BE WITHIN A THREE FOOT VINICITY OF AN ANGRY DOMINIQUE DELACOUR-WEASLEY.

1. Dom is very unreasonable when she’s pissed off, over-dramatizing everything and acting like it's the end of the world whenever she doesn't get her way.

2. She becomes prone to wild, violent behavior.

3. She cries. A lot.

“WHY? WHY?” My best friend of five years sobbed into my shoulder, smearing a lovely concotion of snot and tears all over my new shirt. “WHY ME?”

Funny you should say that Dom, because I was just thinking the exact same thing!

“I HATE MY LIFE! IT’S TERRIBLE! I WISH I WERE DEAD!” Dom exclaimed, throwing her hands in the air and almost smacking me in the face.

Can I just point out how much of an amazing friend I am? I mean, honestly. I deserve some serious karmic brownie points for this.

“Yeah, Dom, I’m sure that all those little children around the world who are starving to death and dying of AIDS don’t hold a candle to all your problems,” I said dryly as I patted her head. "We should start a charity in your name!"

Dom, however, didn’t catch on to the sarcasm. “THANK YOU! Finally, someone who understands!”

I grimaced and handed Dom a tissue. She took it and blew her nose into it with a large “HONNNNK” sound, before handing it back to me.

“Er, no thanks. You can keep that,” I said in a somewhat strangled voice as I stared at the now snot-covered Kleenex dangling dangerously close to my shoulder.

“Thanks... Gosh, Agatha. You’re so generous.” Dom sniffed, unfortunately completely serious. “You’re the bestest friend ever.” She sighed, and I felt a wave of guilt wash over me. “I’m sorry to be acting like such a baby, but... It’s just not fair!”

“What’s not fair?”

Dom shook her head and stood up, and I watched as she began to pace up and down the length of the teensy bedroom we were in.  She sighed loudly. “Forget it. You... You wouldn’t understand.”

I shot Dom the most skeptical look I could muster. “Try me.”

Dom, still clutching the tissue, sighed and flopped back down on the bed next to me. “Oh, alright... I’ll tell you.” She said, as if in doing so she was making some great personal sacrifice. I rolled my eyes. “See, here’s the thing: Victoire has always been... The wonder child. She’s beautiful, charming, and terrifically smart. She was even Head Girl at Hogwarts for Jupiter’s sake! Everyone just... Adores her. And.... It’s like, I’m always in the shadow, you know?”
 
I patted Dom on the back, and tried to smile encouragingly. “I know.”

“I was counting on today being my day.” Dom said, crumpling the tissue in her hand. “But if Victoire announces her engagement, than I know I’ll just be... Forgotten. Everyone will be too busy fawning over her to even notice me... And the worst part is, Victoire knows that. She’s just doing this out of spite!”

I didn’t know what to say, but it didn’t really matter since Dom was already plundering on with her rant.

“Remember my first year at Hogwarts?” Dom asked. “Well, that was a big deal to me. But nobody else cared, because it was beautiful, perfect Victoire's fifth year, and she was just made prefect! Not to mention she had gotten 9 O's on all her OWLs at the end of the year. It was all anyone could talk about for days! Everyone likes her the best, and I can’t say I blame them. I mean, just look at her! She’s inherited all Mum’s good looks. The long blonde hair, angelic face, dazzling smile!” Dom said. “I’m just a troll next to her.”

Now that I thought about it, Dom did kind of get the short end of the stick. I mean, Victoire was beautiful — her trademark hair was perfectly straight and a shiny. silvery blonde. Dom’s hair was copper-colored, slightly frizzy, and totally unmanageable. Victoire had smooth, porcelain skin. Dom’s complexion was sprinkled with countless Weasley freckles. Victoire's twinkling giggle could render any man drooling... And Dom... Well, Dom snorted when she laughed.

But that wasn't to say that Victoire was better than Dom. I mean, sometimes Victoire's perfection just... Bothered me. It was too artificial, too plastic. She was always smiling, always beautiful, and... That just wasn't natural, you know?

“She inherited everything,” Dom said dejectedly, fiddling with a loose string on her sweater. “The looks, the smarts, the charm. I’m nothing next to her.”

“Well...” I began slowly. “She didn’t inherit your brilliant sense of humor. Or your Quidditch skills. Or your bravery... I mean, don’t you think it would be really boring being so...perfect all the time?”

“Well, I guess.”

“And personally, I think that you’re loads more fun to be around with than Victoire,” I said encouragingly.

“Do you really think so?” Dom sniffed.

“Yeah, I mean, Victoire’s so boring. All she talks about are her cuticles and whatever happened on last week's episode of Real Housewives of Hogsmeade." 

“You’re right,” Dom said. “Yeah, you’re right!”

I hugged my best friend. “Of course I am.”

Dom pulled away, still sniffing. “But what are we gonna do? Victoire won’t listen... She’s just going to announce the engagement anyways and ruin the party...”

I scowled at the thought. “Don’t worry about it. I’ll figure something out.”

“You promise?”

“I promise,” I said, my mind already going a mile a minute in order to find a solution to the dilemma. “Now, let’s get downstairs. I believe there are some party decorations in need of hanging.”

 Dom grinned. "Oh, alright." And with that, we headed downstairs together and prepared ourselves (and The Burrow) for the best birthday celebration of a lifetime.

—*—

This party was officially ruined.

The Burrow was jam-packed with people — people who hadn’t been invited, people who I didn’t even know. There was probably about eighty of them — squished and shoved together. Drinking, dancing, screaming people.

'Family and close friends'
 my arse.

The fruit punch had been “mysteriously” spiked. And by “mysteriously”, I mean that Potter and Fred had unceremoniously dumped half a bottle of vodka into the punch bowl. As a result of this, Dominique’s Uncle George was now starting a conga line, and Arthur Weasley was serenading his wife with a Celestina Warbeck song.

A “Happy Birthday Dominique” banner was on fire in the corner, Harry Potter, the savior of our Wizarding World, was doing the electric slide, and someone had brought a goat — yes, a goat — into the livingroom of The Burrow, where all this mayhem and chaos was currently taking place.

Aidan had charmed a boombox to play, and loud, thumping music was now pulsating throughout the house, making the floor vibrate under my feet. Several people were dancing, grinding and jumping together in quite an inappropriate fashion.

“Can you believe this?” Dominique yelled over the din of screaming people and thundering music. “This is the best birthday ever!”

I could tell that Dom was a little tipsy. She was swaying a lot, and atop her head sat a paper crown that said, “Queen Witch” on it, with the ‘W’ crossed out and a ‘B’ scribbled in it's place.

I chose not to answer, and instead took a glance around the room.

Aidan, despite his wishes to make amends with Dominique, was snogging the snot out of a random brunette in the corner of the room. Fred was dancing on a coffee table and chugging Firewhisky out the bottle (classy), and Potter was charging people for goat rides.

Before I could respond, a random guy dragged Dominique off to the makeshift dance floor, and she disappeared amidst the mass of sweaty, gyrating people.
 I walked over to the refreshments table and grabbed a Butterbeer.

This was going to be a long night.

—*—

At about 10:00 PM, a very drunk Bill Weasley shooed the majority of the partying people out The Burrow’s door, until it was only the Weasley-Potter-Granger-Delacour-Etc. Crew, remaining. Aidan and I were permitted to stay, seeing as we were such close friends with Dom.

We were all seated around the massive dining table, and it seemed as though anyone over the age of fifteen was a tad inebriated. George and Charlie Weasley were singing their last verse of “Odo the Hero”, while a mortified Roxanne looked on. Nana Weasley was sitting by herself in the corner, hiccupping and giggling to herself as she clutched a glass of wine. Her husband, Arthur, snored loudly in his chair. Ron Weasley was slurring an extremely dirty joke to his giggling children, and even though his wife Hermione was sniffing with disapproval, the corner of her lips was twitching.

The only signs of the earlier party were the random streamers and plastic cups that littered the floor, and of course the goat, which Lily Potter had dubbed, “Alfred”.

A slightly tipsy Fleur Delacour-Weasley was trying, and failing, to light the candles on the chocolate cake, which had been set down in front of Dom.

“Happy Birthday — hiccup — Domin — hic — Domini — hic — Domi — hiccup — 
HappybirthdayDom!” Fleur cried, as she finally lit the last candle.

Then a very raucous and off-tune chorus of “Happy Birthday” was sung, and Dom, who was still wearing her paper crown, took a deep breath and blew out all the candles in one go. Everybody clapped, and certain people—cough Aidan cough—even went as far as to stand on their chair and make various drunken proclamations of love for the birthday girl, although nobody really noticed (except Bill Weasley, who continued to glare at Aidan for the rest of the night with a very dangerous look in his eye).

I sliced the cake, since I didn’t think it would be best to let sharp objects near any of the intoxicated Weasleys, and served it. The cake was huge, with three tiers, but I guess it had to be big to feed all those Weasleys. I swear there were like forty of them.

Everyone immediately dug in, laughing and chatting boisterously as they did so.

“Mmm,” Hermione Weasley said, obviously impressed. “Excellent cake, Fleur.”

Fleur, who was sitting next to Bill, beamed. “Thank you.”

“I agree,” Ginny chimed in. “What’s the recipe?”

“Well, I actually found zee recipe in zees month’s issue of Witch’s Weekly,” Fleur said proudly, her French accent becoming more prominent with the alcohol in her body. “Zee secret ees to add a hint of — “

She was interrupted, however, when George and Charlie Weasley started another round of “Odo the Hero”.


    "And Odo the hero, they bore him back home
    To the place that he'd known as a lad,
    They laid him to rest with his hat inside out
    And his wand snapped in two, which was sad."


Angelina, George’s wife, closed her eyes and shook her head in embarassment. Everyone else laughed.

The only people who didn’t seem to be totally smashed out of their minds were me and Potter, who was leaning back in his chair and observing everything with his custom smirk on his face. And perhaps Alfred the Goat, who was sitting contentedly in the corner and chewing on a plastic plate.

Dominique was sitting besides me, positively beaming as she chatted with Fred. Percy and Audrey Weasley were having a dull discussion about some boring topic, like toe fungi or the economy or something else nobody cared about, and Ginny Potter was feeding cake to her husband, who was wearing a sparkly pink party hat.

“EW! GET A ROOM!” I whipped my head around to see that Rose was staring, horrified, at the sight of her parents kissing.

Ron pulled away from his wife, winked, and than resumed kissing her again.

The table erupted into laughter as Hugo clutched his face and shook his head, muttering something along the lines of, “My brain is bleeding... my brain is bleeding...”

Aidan gazed adoringly at Dominique, oblivious to the dirty glances that Bill Weasley kept on shooting him. Louis sat in the corner feeding Alfred, and Lily Potter blew a noisemaker into a disgruntled Albus Potter’s face, making Lucy laugh. Meanwhile, Nana Weasley had started to go off on a teary-eyed tirade as she recounted memories of when her children were “wee little toddlers”. Everyone around her nodded blankly, pretending to listen.

I shook my head to myself, smiling. The Weasleys sure knew how to throw a party.

Ding ding ding!


I looked up from my cake to see Victoire, who was sitting across from me, tapping her wine glass with a knife as she moved to stand up from her seat. Uh-oh. Immediately, my body welled with dread.

Ding ding ding!


“Everyone! Everyone!” Victoire’s tinkering voice called out. “I would like to make an announcement!”

My stomach dropped. Up until then, I had totally forgotten about Victoire’s planned engagement declaration. Next to me, Dom straightened stiffly and glared at her sister.

 Victoire’s face was practically glowing, her body poised and elegant. Her husband-to-be, Teddy Lupin, sat next to her, his face beaming with pride. They were the poster picture couple for happily-ever-afters.

Everyone around the table quieted down, turning to stare at Victoire curiously. None of them had a clue as to what she was going to say.

None of them, that is, except for Dom. And me.

Victoire grinned at the attention, and than gracefully tilted her head to shoot Dom a subtle, yet significant look. I watched as Dom’s hand tightened unconsciously around her napkin.

Victoire began to speak. “Hello everyone! Sorry to interrupt, but I would just like to make an announcement.”

I looked at the cake in front of me. Then at the bride-to-be across the table. Dom sat, frozen, by my side.

“As you know, Teddy and I have been dating for a while...” Victoire continued. I looked back at my cake. And then at Victoire.

“...About two years now, actually...”

My eyes snapped back and forth from my cake to Victoire, back and forth, back and forth, almost as if I was watching some sort of fast-paced tennis game.

Cake. Victoire. Cake. Victoire.

“...It’s been a long, long two years. But totally worth it...”

I swallowed, and picked up my plate of half-eaten cake.

It was the craziest idea, but it just might work.

“And I love Teddy. I really do...” Victoire took Teddy’s hand.

My heart was pounding in my ears. This was crazy... But... The only way...

“And that’s why,” Victoire wrapped it up, “I’m really, really happy to announce that Teddy and I are — “

But before she could finish her sentence, I stood up, plate in hand...

And smashed my cake into Victoire’s face.

...Stunned silence.

Everyone stared at Victoire, and then at me, then back at Victoire.

No one said a single word. No one breathed.

A glob of icing slid off Victoire’s chin and landed on the tablecloth. Alfred ‘Baaaaaaa’d quietly in his corner.

No one could believe what I had just done, including me. It felt like something had just possessed me, like my arms and hands had moved on their own accord. Like, for one split second, I had just transformed into some sort of engagement-ruining, cake-hurling psychopath and then abruptly switched back to my normal self.

I stared at Victoire. Her mouth was hanging open. Her blue eyes squinted at me through thick, gooey layers of icing, and I recognized the look on her face. I knew what was coming.

Five...

Four...

Three...

Two...


“EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEAAAAAAAAUUUUUUUUUUGHHHHHHHHHH!” Victoire, her face and hair covered in chocolate, screamed so loudly I thought my ear drums would burst. George’s wine glass broke in his hand. Arthur Weasley jolted awake, muttered a few words, and then fell back asleep. “YOU LITTLE — “

But before Victoire could finish what she was about to say (or scream, more like it), Fred stood up from his seat, yelled, “Awesome! FOOD FIGHT!”  And then proceeded to throw his cake across the room.

Where it hit Aidan.

Square. In. The. Face.

Chaos erupted.

Cake was thrown back and forth, and the sound of glass breaking could be heard, along with cries and shouts of shock.  The only person who wasn’t frantically panicking was Arthur Weasley, who was still asleep, oblivious to the pieces of cake that were flying past him, dangerously missing his head by inches.

I ducked as a glob of icing few past me, grazing my left shoulder slightly. “Shit. Shit. Shit!” I moaned. This was my entire fault!

I turned around to see Dom dumping her glass of milk onto a sobbing Victoire’s head. George was chasing his wife around the table, cake in hand. Albus had tackled Hugo to the ground, and Fleur was screeching something about her cooking being “wasted." Harry Potter was curled into a tight ball on the floor, his eyes squeezed shut and tiny, whimpering noises escaping his mouth.

Yes. You heard right. With the help of one double-fudge chocolate cake, I have reduced Harry Potter, the sole savior of the Wizarding World, to a pathetic fetal position.

Kill. Me. Now.

Oh, and don’t forget the cherry on top of the Catastrophe Sundae: James Potter, nonchalant as ever, was sitting casually in his chair, a self-satisfied smirk on his face as he watched everything unfold right in front of his eyes.

I am so dead.

—*—

One hour and three massive bitchfits later (all courtesy of the one and only Victoire Delacour-Weasley), I was sat outside on the front yard of The Burrow, under a small oak tree with only the chilly night air and the crackling cicadas for company.

This suited me just fine, to be honest.

The sun had almost finished setting, and I could spy a few fireflies, flickering like miniature orange lanterns against a deepening sky. The cool grass tickled my feet (I had kicked my shoes and socks off), and my back was propped up against the trunk of the oak tree.

Sighing deeply, I allowed my eyelids to gently slip closed as I sat there, just simply enjoying the summer evening air and the quiet serenity that surrounded The Burrow. The quiet was nice. All I wanted to do was spend the rest of the night at this spot, with no one talking in my ear, just sitting there and trying to forget what I had just inflicted on Dom's birthday party...

But of course, because this was my life, and I can never fully enjoy things without them being ruined by something (or someone, to be exact), my peaceful sitting was interrupted by — who else, really? — Potter.

“So that was an interesting party.”

My left eye slowly peeked open, and then my right.

He stood in front of me, his black hair sticking out in every possible direction (he looked like he had spent the evening poking his finger into an electrical outlet, for Merlin's sake), and his hands shoved into his pockets.

“Go away,” I snapped.

Completely ignoring me, Potter stepped closer to where I was sitting, his hazel eyes studying me carefully.

There was a long silence, where I stared determinedly ahead, refusing to look at him. Why was he even here? Couldn’t he just leave me alone for once? I mean, I already knew that I had messed up, that I had ruined Dom’s party. Did he really have to rub it in my face?

“Why did you do that?” he asked, pulling his gaze away from me and to the darkening sky above.

“Do what?” I said, even though I knew exactly what he was talking about.

“Oh, I don’t know... Wreak complete havoc among my whole entire extended family by starting a massive cake fight, maybe?” he said sarcastically.

I leaned back further into the tree. “You wouldn’t understand.”

In response, Potter took out a cigarette from his pocket and slid it in between his lips.

I raised my eyebrows.

“Want one?” He asked skeptically, noticing the way I was looking at him.

“No, I’m not a big fan of lung cancer. But thanks, though.”

Potter shrugged, smirked (his facial expression of choice), and lit the ciggie. I watched silently as smoke curled into the air, twisting and turning and forming shapes that I could trace with my eyes — a winding and twisting path, the gnarled branches of treetops, the squirming currents of a stream...

“You smoke?” I asked, only a little curious.

“Occasionally.”

“You’re only fifteen.”

“Which means in two years, I’ll be an adult. Shit, who are you, my mum?”

I shrugged, bringing my knees to my chest and wrapping my arms around them. “Just saying. It’s not good for you.” I glanced at the cigarette warily. It had a purple ring around the tip, which I knew meant that it was a Wizarding cigarette. Wizarding cigarettes were very different from Muggle ones. For one, they were much more addictive (and not to mention lethal).

“You didn’t answer the question,” Potter said.

I turned back to look at the sky. It was almost completely dark now, although no stars could be seen. A thin sliver of orange light clung to the horizon, signaling that the sun was almost finished setting.

I swallowed. “I already told you, Potter. You wouldn’t understand.”

“Can I take a guess?” he asked.

“Sure. Whatever, go ahead.”

“Okay, how about this: Victoire was going to announce her engagement to Teddy Lupin. You knew that once she did, Dominique would be cast aside while everyone else fawned over her sister. So... Being the good friend that you are and whatnot, you decided that starting a full-fledged food fight would be a nice solution to the problem.”

He had hit the mark. Spot on.

“Am I right?” Potter pressed, an almost invisible smirk tugging on the corner of his lips.

I clenched my teeth together at Potter’s condescending tone. He sounded as if he thought this whole situation was amusing, like I was some particularly crappy TV show that he enjoyed watching just because it was so terrible.

“You don’t know what it’s like,” I said, my anger seeping through my voice. “To be in the shadow of someone else.” It was true, because how could Potter understand? He was smart, good-looking (even if I hated to admit it), a Quidditch star... He had the whole freaking package, with a bow of enormous arrogance to top it off, too.

“And you do?” he asked, raising an eyebrow.

“Yes!” I said, exasperated. “Yes I do! Think about it. Aidan is a fantastic Quidditch player, popular and well-known by everyone at Hogwarts... Next to him... Well, I’m just Aidan Bennett’s bookish, quiet sister.” I didn’t know why I was telling him this. I mean, this was James Potter, of all people. I wasn’t supposed to share my feelings with him, let alone my weaknesses.

“You really think that I don’t know what it’s like to be in the shadow of someone else?” Potter said, taking the cigarette from his mouth. The moonlight shone off his hazel eyes, illuminating a tiny scar on his left cheekbone that I’ve ever noticed before.

“Yeah. Yeah, I do,” I said, maybe more forcefully than necessary.

“Okay...” Potter said, taking a drag of his cigarette and blowing the smoke expertly into the air. “Well then, when was the last time your father saved the entire Wizarding World from possibly the most dangerous and feared wizard of all time?”

I stared at him, agape. He had caught me completely off guard with that. I had never expected... Never really thought... That Potter, out of all people, would feel...

“Potter,” I said, warily. “I— You....” I wanted to say something, anything, but it was as though someone had turned off my vocal cords. I was speechless.

“That’s what I thought,” Potter said, in a grim voice that I’ve never heard before. “You think I don’t understand? Trust me, I understand more than you’ll ever know.”

I watched as he dropped his cigarette to the ground, crushed it with the toe of his Converse, and then walked away, leaving me at a loss for words.

—*—

When I got home around one hour later, exhausted and cake-covered, I saw that Mum had left a couple of pamphlets about teenage eating disorders on my bed.

I took them, ripped them in half, and then shoved them in the bottom of my sock drawer.

What a life.


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