Chapter 1 : On: Holidays
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Chapter image by .Candy @TDA
“If we could have everyone’s attention, please?”
It was Christmas dinner. Victoire Delacour-Weasley stood at her seat in the middle of the table, her practically white blonde hair swooshing down her shoulders (that really was the only word you could use to describe the way Victoire’s hair fell: swooshing. It was like in bad Muggle animation, where the female beauty’s puffy hair was always almost floating around her head, and never seemed to fully rest on her shoulders because it was too busy blowing in the wind in the middle of completely windless rooms. That was what Victoire’s hair was like. It swooshed.), her indigo eyes glittering in the candle light, her pale skin completely spotless regardless of the heat of the room, her perfectly perky nose just sprinkled with those few little freckles—
I hated Victoire Delacour-Weasley more than anyone else in the entire Weasley clan. And that’s definitely saying something when her competition are people like James and Albus Potter. The first thing I did when I turned 17 was hex a moustache onto that horrific billboard of Victoire in some stupid little nighty that was plastered across Piccadilly Square. Alright, that wasn’t the first thing I did, since I wasn’t in London when I turned 17, but when I finally went to London (which happened to not be until three days previous), that was the first thing I did. It was very satisfying, let me tell you.
There Victoire stood, with the dim lighting of the room perfectly accentuating her impeccable features, all attention focused on her, just like she wanted it. It was all I could do not to break my stupid fork in half with strength brought on by the anger pulsating through my body.
“Teddy and I have a very special announcement to make.” She looked pointedly at her boyfriend, who then promptly stood.
I didn’t just hate Victoire, I hated her relationship with Teddy, as well. It was like she had him under a constant Imperius curse, or something. He did whatever she wanted at the drop of a hat. He was always at her beck-and-call like a house elf, and it was one of those situations where every word that came out of her mouth, in his mind, was like the word of the Lord.
It drove me bonkers.
“Are you finally getting engaged?” a voice spoke from the crowd.
It was Fleur Delacour-Weasley shouting out in her ridiculously overdone French accent. Honestly, the woman has lived in this country for how long? I think she knows how to pronounce words like “the” and “it”. Anyway, that’s not what I’m talking about.
Victoire’s mouth dropped to the floor and she gasped so hard I thought she might suck
us all in.
“Mum!” she cried.
She slapped a hand on her forehead and turned to Teddy. He looked a little helpless.
“Are you kidding me?”
At this point, I was still living in the fantasy realm where Fleur’s guess was completely incorrect, and Victoire’s reaction was due to the ludicrousy of her mother’s question.
“What deed I do?” Fleur asked.
“Are you really going to give away what could be the most important announcement of your daughter’s life?”
“Well, eet’s not like we couldn’t see it coming.”
“So? That doesn’t mean you give it away.”
There was some snickering down the table.
“So you are getting married?” James inquired.
Victoire ignored him.
“I don’t care if you know what I’m about to say to everyone, you don’t go off and say it before I do. Merlin’s beard.” She shook her fluffy blonde head.
“I’m sorry,” Fleur looked around at the drunkenly cheerful group. “Really, eet wasn’t zat beeg a surprise.”
“Well, yes, Teddy and I are getting married. Thanks, Mum,” Victoire grumbled.
James stood. “Cheers!” he repeated, this time holding his glass.
Similar salutations were echoed, and everyone drank thirstily, happy to have another excuse to down some more alcoholic beverages. Needless to say, I did not participate.
I think it would suffice to say that a good portion of my hatred for Victoire stemmed from her relationship with Teddy Lupin. Naturally, I had a bit of a crush on the bloke. Who didn’t? It wasn’t really anything new to be in love with Teddy Lupin. He was gorgeous, due, in part, to his ability to look however he wanted (although I’m pretty sure he often stuck with the blessings God had already given him), he had a perfect sob story life background that made you pity him just the right amount and still admire his ability to be such a stable and happy human being given his treacherous childhood, and he was just plain nice. He was always charming and polite and smiling and saying hello to everyone. It was honestly like he was a character from a Muggle film, or something. Like he’d just walked straight off the set and into reality.
But what made my crush any different from the next witch’s (or wizard’s) was my constant proximity to him. Most people knew that their fantasies were and would remain fantasies. Unfortunately, Teddy Lupin was practically a member of my family. He knew my name. He’d seen me running around in my nappies when I was just a wee one. I’d thrown up on him that one awful, awful time when I was 10 because James had snuck me a Puking Pastille. Despite all these lovely memories, I was the only girl in my extended family, as far as I could tell, who didn’t really have much of a relationship with Teddy, beyond his incessant presence at all family gatherings. Because of his obvious closeness with the Potter family, he had this nasty relationship with Lily that made me want to vomit all over him again. And because Lily was practically attached at the hip to Lucy, he was close with her, as well. He had a real relationship with Dominique because of her sister. Then there was me, who just shot him awkward glances and turned pink every time she was addressed by him. (Well, there was Roxanne, too, but she was really young, so she didn’t count. Oh, and Molly. But she really didn’t count because she was nutters.)
“Oh, well that’s lovely,” said Grandma Molly. “Have you decided on a date?”
Victoire and Teddy were beaming at one another. The bile was creeping north…
“We wanted to do it soon,” said Victoire, finally managing to tear her eyes away from Teddy’s. “We were thinking…” The two looked back at one another hesitantly. “We were thinking early spring. Maybe the beginning of April?”
“What?!” Fleur shrieked. “But zat ees too soon!”
Victoire sighed. “Mum—”
“Non. I weel not ‘ave it. You must push eet back.” Sometimes Fleur became more French than usual.
“Oh, Fleur, relax,” Bill commanded casually. “It’s their wedding.”
Fleur looked about ready to pop.
Ginny stood. “Congratulations!” She enveloped her niece and soon-to-be nephew-in-law in a tight hug.
All the congratulatory kissing and hugging officially began and I decided it was my cue to slip upstairs to my room. Because there were about 800 of us, I had to share a room with Lily and Lucy. I climbed over all of Lily’s clothes and hair products and all of Lucy’s Quidditch gear before I reached my bed. My very old, very lazy cat was already snoring away on my pillow. My parents had gotten her for me exactly twelve years earlier, and my mum instantly christened her Crookshanks II. I don’t know what kind of name “Crookshanks” was. I mainly just called her “Kitty”. I pulled her onto my stomach and lay down, hoping to rest my eyes and embrace this one moment of peace in such a madhouse.
Lucy was between Lily and me in age; she was in her fifth year, I in my sixth year, and Lily in her fourth. Because of our closeness in age, several things could’ve happened.
Scenario A) We could’ve all become jolly good mates and be as tight-knit a trio of cousins as the dreadful Trio of James, Louis, and Fred (they referred to themselves as the “Second Generation Marauders”, which didn’t make any sense, because they were the third generation, but also just made me want to give them all a good smack because of their arrogance).
Scenario B) Lucy and I could’ve become best pals, while leaving poor little Lily in the dust because she was so young. Lucy and I would share secrets and nail varnish and braid each other’s hair every night whilst giggling over the cuteness of Teddy Lupin.
Or, the way it really turned out, Scenario C) Lucy and Lily would become best friends because of their age proximity. It really was unfortunate. I rather felt like a third wheel, and if I had a knut for every night I spent lying awake, listening to their insipid drivel about boys and crushes and the latest snogging techniques Lily had heard about, I’d be as rich as Harry Potter.
Bear in mind I only ever share a room with them when we’re all crammed into the Burrow together on holidays. That’s a lot of sleepless nights, though.
The door opened with a bang.
“Rose!” someone cried from the doorway. “What are you doing up here? We’re all having a bit of a celebration over Victoire and Teddy’s announcement.”
“Or should we say, Fleur’s announcement?” Lucy added, more to Lily than to me. I’d recently been getting the feeling that Lucy was never really addressing me. My theory was that she had a bit of a complex because she was always considered the less attractive of the two L’s.
The two stopped right at the centre of the rubbish pile that was the middle of the room.
“Oh, that was hilarious.” Lily whacked Lucy in the bicep. “I just about thought her head was going to explode.”
“Whose, Victoire’s or Fleur’s?”
“Good point. I’m not quite sure.”
Apparently they’d returned upstairs to do a bit of sprucing up. Lily was smearing lip gloss onto her already glossy lips, while Lucy ran a brush furiously through her hair.
Lily smacked her lips before turning back to me. “Care to join us, Rose?”
I hadn’t moved from my collapsed position atop my bed. “Probably not.”
“Why not? Just some good, old-fashioned, Weasley family fun!” she exclaimed.
That was precisely why not.
“That’s alright. I’m feeling a bit knackered.”
“Oh, Rose, you’re always such a wet blanket,” Lucy said nonchalantly.
Suddenly I wasn’t feeling so bad, after all. I sat up and followed the girls out the door and down the rickety staircase.
There were so many of us Weasleys that whenever we had a party, we really had a party. What I mean to say is that we couldn’t help it—if the whole family got minced, then there were about 90 drunken fools sloshing about one house, and a party had started on its own.
That’s what I found when we came back downstairs. Harry and Uncle Ron seemed to be doing shots with one another, while being egged on by George, George’s son Fred, and Louis Delacour-Weasley. Percy and Audrey were slow dancing in a corner while Grandpa Arthur fiddled with the wireless until he found some fabulous (just kidding) Celestina Warbeck classics. Through the open doorway, I could see James mixing up a concoction in the kitchen, while Hermione, Ginny, and Fleur chatted fervently, presumably about wedding plans. Molly was nowhere to be seen (she probably disapproved of all of this outlandish behaviour), nor Teddy and Victoire (I don’t want to know what they were up to). Albus was already passed out on the couch. Hugo was drawing on his face. Roxanne was receiving a good talking-to from Angelina, who clearly wanted her to go to bed. She was arguing that Hugo was only 7 months older than her, but she happened to be a year behind him, so she really shouldn’t have to go to bed at all. I hate to say I agreed with her argument; however, I wished my mum would just send me to bed so I could avoid all this agony. Dominique was engaged in passionate discussion with Uncle Charlie, but looked about ready to topple over.
Okay, so maybe I was making my family seem a little more ridiculous and unrefined than they actually were. They had manners and the smallest drop of class—and even a little shred of dignity was still there for us Weasleys. The only people who were really rat-arsed were Dominique (no surprise there) and, apparently, Albus. Soon enough, Hugo, Roxanne, and Lily would be ushered off upstairs by their mildly tipsy parents, Lucy would follow, and the remaining boys would drink till their livers hurt.
Lily and Lucy immediately scampered off to go grab drinks. I stood at the end of the staircase, contemplating turning around and heading right back upstairs again. But I didn’t want to be a wet blanket.
“Care for some rocket juice?”
I looked up. James was standing before me, brandishing a goblet full of a liquid that seemed to be emitting sparks.
“Rocket juice?” I repeated skeptically.
“Yeah. It’s a little concoction I just whipped up. It’ll trash you right quick.”
The last time I accepted a mysterious liquid from James Potter was when I was twelve. He’d convinced me that, before she died, Moaning Myrtle had successfully established a line of acne products called “Myrtle’s Acne Magic”. I used this bottle of “MAM” for a week, before Lucy found out what they were up to, felt bad (very rare occurrence for Lucy, let me tell you), and told me that they’d really just bottled up a bunch of toilet water from Myrtle’s bathroom and charmed it to look like lotion.
“Oh, come on, you’re not still remembering Myrtle’s Acne Magic, are you?”
Was the boy a Seer?
“No, I just know that I’m not supposed to accept drinks prepared by untrustworthy men, such as yourself.”
“Fine, but you know where to find me if you change your mind.” He scurried off to find his next victim.
I ventured into the kitchen.
“Oh, Rose,” my mother gushed. Hermione Granger doesn’t gush. Look what this engagement has done to innocent people.
She crossed the kitchen and stood next to me.
“Yes, blue would work for her, too, don’t you think?”
“Oh, yes, blue would be great. But a very pale blue. Like a powder blue?” Ginny voiced.
“Zat would be perfect.” Obviously that was Fleur speaking.
“And it would work so well with the red hair on the other two,” said Ginny.
“Sorry—but what are we talking about?” I finally managed to ask.
“Oh! Sorry,” said my mum, laughing to herself. “The bridesmaid dresses.”
“Bri—what? Bridesmaid dresses?” I stammered.
“Yes, oh, Victoire hasn’t told you yet. She wants you to be a bridesmaid!”
“A bridesmaid,” my mum repeated.
“What? Why on earth would she want that?” I didn’t mean to sound so rude. I couldn’t help it though; I was in complete shock. Victoire and I had barely ever even had a conversation. Why would she want me to be a bridesmaid?
“Because you are ‘er cousin!” Fleur replied, sounding (understandably) frustrated.
“I—I mean, I’m flattered, I just never really considered Victoire and I to be particularly close.”
“Well, she’s chosen you, Dominique, her best friend Abigail, and Lily,” my mum said.
“What about Molly?”
My mother looked like she didn’t really know how to respond.
“She feels she has more of a relationship with you than with Molly,” Ginny explained.
“But we don’t have a relationship.”
I really hope people aren’t as uncomfortable with talking about me as they are with talking about Molly. I often feel that they are.
“Oh, will you stop finding problems with this! Your cousin is doing something nice and wants you to be a part of a very special day for her. Just take it!” my mum commanded.
“No I’m—I’m very flattered!” I said in a voice I desperately hoped was reassuring. “I’m just shocked, is all.” I forced a smile and looked at Fleur.
She wore her usual pissed off expression.
“So don’t you think powder blue would be great?” My mum looked at me with a massive smile splashed across her face. I’d never seen her like this. Maybe it was because this was the first wedding I’d ever experienced where Hermione had any say in the planning. I forgot how much she liked being in control.
“Yeah, powder blue would be nice.” I just kind of said it on reflex. Little ole me, never wanting to be one to piss someone off.
“It would go great with Dom and Lily’s hair,” said Ginny, repeating her previous point.
Of course, Dom and Lily’s hair matters, but never mine.
Only three kids were actually born with the hair that adorned every Weasley of the previous generation’s head: Lily, Dominique, and James. James’s hair was a rusty red (serves him right for being such an arse, that he would get ugly hair), while his female cousins were of course blessed with pure, vibrant—but not too bright—red hair. And the red didn’t even come from Dom’s veela part, so it wasn’t like she had any excuse. But this red hair managed to be a big charmer for the blokes. I often wish I had it.
“What about—well, I mean, what does Victoire want?” I can’t believe I was actually thinking of Victoire’s feelings. I guess when I thought about it, I didn’t really want to be stuck wearing newborn-baby-boy-blue.
“Oh, I’m sure she’d love blue,” my mother said.
“Well, we only ‘ave until April, so she’s going to need a lot of eenput from us to make zese decisions so fast,” Fleur reminded us all.
What was that? Was I really pitying Victoire?
Absolutely not. I was having a hard enough time trying to deal with the fact that Victoire was marrying the boy—sorry, man—I’d had a crush on for as long as I’d had eyes, and now I had to actually participate in the wedding? And be happy and smiling and supportive? I didn’t know how this was going to happen.
Suddenly there was a crash from the living room, followed by a loud, “I’m okay!”
We rushed out of the kitchen. Harry was standing in the middle of the floor, brushing off his shirt. The now empty bottle of whiskey lay, turned over, at his feet. I guess he tripped.
“See! It was him who fell this time, not me!” my dad cried. “He? He who fell? Him who fell? Him who fell.” He nodded.
“Did you two drink this entire bottle of whiskey yourselves?” my mother asked, sounding completely appalled.
“What? Who do you think we are? Absolutely not,” said my dad. His tone wasn’t particularly reassuring.
“I think it’s time for bed.” Ginny grabbed her husband’s arm and led him upstairs, the other adults following closely behind.
It wasn’t really fair for any of the adults to be accusing any of the other adults of drinking too much. It was a holiday at the Burrow, for Merlin’s sake. Just because their nephews had grabbed the first random bottle of hard alcohol they’d found and peer pressured their uncles into consuming it in shot form didn’t make them any more guilty than anyone else. Maybe besides Grandma Molly.
“So, who wants rocket juice?” James asked, breaking the momentary silence.
“I’ll have some,” Lily replied, that evil, really-into-breaking-rules-because-she-thinks-it’s-cool glint in her eye.
“No. Anyone else?”
“You’re my little sister, I can’t just go and condone you drinking.”
“Yes you can.”
“Fine, I will,” Louis said. He snatched the bowl from James’s hands and ladled some of the sparking drink into Lily’s glass.
“Thank you, Louis,” she said, shooting her brother an angry glare.
“What? Seriously, what kind of idiot would I be if I went providing my sister with rocket juice?” James seemed to have forgotten that he’d invented rocket juice just minutes earlier.
“You’d be a brother,” Lily grumbled.
“Fine, Al, what do you think?” James turned to face his brother.
Albus was stirring on the couch. “What? Yeah. Give ‘er whatever she wants…”
Lily smirked. “This is why I like him more than you.”
James ignored her. He was now fixated on the cat whiskers, moustache, and the words “Filthy Drunk” scrawled across his little brother’s face. He burst into laughter.
“That’s the funniest thing I’ve ever seen!”
“Look at Al’s face! Who did that?”
“I did,” said Hugo proudly. Finally: his claim to fame.
Everyone was too busy ooh-ing and aah-ing over Albus’s graffiti’d face to realize that Dominique had slinked off, clutching her stomach in dramatic agony, to the bathroom. I, being the responsible cousin, followed her. Sure enough, I found her throwing up Grandma Molly’s Christmas pudding into the toilet bowl.
I kindly held her hair back, like it was 4 AM after some wild night on the town with a bunch of her girlfriends, not Christmas night with family.
She looked up at me pitifully, when the vomit had momentarily subsided. She looked shocked when her eyes registered on my face.
“What?” I asked.
“I’m just surprised.” She shrugged, and faced the toilet bowl again.
“Surprised about what?”
“To see you here, that’s all.”
“I’m the only responsible one in this family,” I grunted.
She threw up again. Three more times.
“Feel better?” I asked, when nothing had happened five minutes after the third.
“Yup. All’s good besides my dignity.” She stood and leaned over the sink, washing out her mouth.
I laughed rather forcedly.
“I mean, what a way to spend Christmas: throwing up at your grandma’s house while your 16-year-old cousin holds your hair back.” She raised her eyebrows.
She shrugged again. “Whatever.”
After using a Scouring Charm on the toilet a couple times, I decided I should probably head back upstairs and finally allow myself to go to bed. Wet blanket my arse. Who wants to hang out with a bunch of drunken Delacour-Weasley-Potter idiots, anyway? I changed and lay down for what I hoped to be a relaxing night’s sleep. It was, until the two L’s tripped in an hour later and each fell on my bed four times before finding their own and bursting into many fits of irritating laughter. When I awoke the next morning, I headed downstairs, smelling Grandma Molly’s delicious breakfast, and felt like the 26th of December had to be much better than the 25th.
Then I saw who sat at my kitchen table. Yes, mine. My mum, Ginny, Molly, Charlie, Roxanne, Louis, Albus, and the spawn of Satan: Scorpius Malfoy.
I truly thought my holiday couldn’t get any worse.
A/N: So this is clearly just setting everything up. I promise more action to come, of course. Please review and tell me what you think.
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