Chapter 1 : New Year's Day
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Monday 1 January
Hair atrocious, Girlfriends 0, Girls in bed next to self 1, New Year’s Resolutions 0 (Although abstinence likely to feature prominently), Hangovers 1 (but acceptable due to New Year party- type events), Obnoxiously loud sisters sharing house with self 1.
8.03 a.m. In bed, in room, in house, centralish London. Woken by strident voice calling out, while dazzling light poured in through suddenly opened curtains. So very, very painful.
“Louis,” called Victoire “Up now!”
My only response was a rather undignified moan. Brain feebly kicking into action, I slowly opened my eyes and squinted at her. “Hang on… You don’ live here.”
“Then wha’ choo doing here?”
The rolling of her eyes was palpable Unfortunately, Victoire was much smarter than me, and would be sure to have some devastatingly witty answer up her sleeve. Well, up her t-shirt anyway.
“Maman told me to get you. Weasley New Year’s Day Lunch remember? Now, get that slag out of here and let's go.”
Okay, so maybe not witty, but fairly devastating to your average hungover 20-year-old. I rolled over to look at aforementioned slag, noticed the blonde hair, then glared at Victoire.
“Slag yourself,” I glowered at her. “That’s Sam.”
“Your point being?”
“She’s my best friend in the entire world.” I spelled out through gritted teeth.
“Then why Louis, is she in your bed?”
“Convenience.” From stationary position which somewhat resembled a starfish, I attempted to hurl the bed-covers away. “See all the clothes? Even shoes. Now go ‘way.”
Victoire raised an eyebrow and I stopped. She did scary things with her eyebrows, very scary things.
“So I’ll be having that shower then hey?” I grinned nervously.
“I’d say so,” she replied, before she relaxed a bit. Clearly been working herself too hard. Could see the beginnings of frown lines. Not usual in us Veela-types. Dodgy job curse-breaking. Especially if your boyfriend is the Transfiguration teacher at Hogwarts. “Go get ready Louis, I’ll wake Sam up and put some coffee on. Where’s Domi?”
“In her room I think,” I muttered, rolling ever so slowly out of bed. As I stumbled off to the bathroom I heard Victoire’s dulcet tones ringing out again. “Out NOW!” Followed by a mad scrambling. Said mad scrambling caused by young, be-suited type, complete with rugged and manly stubble and even the requisite striped shirt. Embarrassingly token, but then, Domi had never had great taste.
Domi stumbled out after the fey youth. Apparently my messages about clothing hadn’t sunk in. She seemed to find a bra and some tiny little short things perfectly reasonable attire to be walking around in. As her younger brother, I was disinclined to agree with her assessment of the situation. “Who was he?” she mumbled.
Victoire and I exchanged looks of disbelief over her head. “He was in your room!”
“Well he wasn’t with me, trust, I’ve got much better taste than that. Must have been one of Annah’s. Annah!”
I clasped my hands to my head in a vain attempt to stem the ringing. Said attempt was, unfortunately, fail. “Shuddup Dominique,” I slurred down the hallway.
Sam stumbled out of my room behind me, “What’s going on?”
“Nothing,” I turned to her. “I’m having a shower, Dominique is reconsidering her life choices, Victoire is judging and Annah is –“
“Right here,” a warm voice interrupted me.
“Right there,” I repeated for Sam’s benefit, while my insides did their usual melting thing brought about by the presence of Dominique’s best mate.
“Thank you Louis,” she sighed. “I’d kind of worked that bit out for myself.”
“What’s going on?” asked Annah, blue eyes doing their stare-y soul-gazing thing, while she stretched her model’s body out. Just looking at her with her cheekbones and waifish body and little black pixy hair was enough to send me off into daydream territory.
“Who was the boy in my room?” questioned Domi, interrupting important thought processes. I glared at her.
“Ohhh,” said Annah, recognition creeping into her voice. “Yeah he was with me, but I kicked him out, got bored. What was he doing in your room?”
“Sorry to interrupt this fascinating little chat,” interrupted Victoire icily. “But we have places to be. Louis get in that shower now!”
Having two older sisters is really very unfair. Especially when they’re mean and bossy in manner of Victoire and Domi.
The same Domi who was snickering at me currently. “You’re next,” snapped Victoire, idly twirling her wand at her. “And you two,” she gestured at Sam and Annah. “Are you coming or what?”
They looked at each other from the opposite ends of the hall.
“Guess so?” said Sammy dubiously, nose crinkling.
“Louis! Shower!” yelled Victoire, in best Scary Victoire manner.
“I’m going,” I grumbled. Living here did nothing for one's masculinity, or delusions thereof.
Stumbled off downstairs, managed to find my way into the shower and turn it on. Didn’t burn myself either. Always a good start. Yes, am well aware am Wizard and so shower should be perfect temperature. Doesn’t work like that, shower is creature of spite and malice and so v. difficult to make work at all. Can, however, ensure hot water never runs out.
8.22 a.m. Ahh bliss. Stepped out of shower still steaming. Wrapped towel around self and paraded upstairs to the delight of the female masses. Except for sisters. And Annah. And Sam. Humph.
Managed eventually to get going. Held up by Dominique and Annah fighting over a pair of Jimmy Choo’s. Not entirely sure who won in the end. Contended self with lace-ups had found in tiny little Muggle boutique the other week. Hadn’t seen it before or since. On second thought, maybe not Muggle.
When younger, never quite understood big deal about the Weasley New Year’s Day Lunch. For starters, lunch is somewhat misleading term, as tends towards starting early finishing somewhat late. Further, people who show up are really quite powerful and v. well connected. Therefore important to talk, mingle, look pretty and etc.
9.05 a.m. The Burrow, Ottery St. Catchpole. Excessive and unreasonable hate for Apparation amongst magical community if you ask me. Is really quite amazing. Just a ‘pop’ and you’re there. There being wherever you want it to be. Within reason. Starting to see reason behind bitching now.
Strolled into Burrow with Victoire, Dom, Sam and Annah. Exceptional levels of male jealously all around me. Smirked to self. Despite nature of four females, still worth milking the spite.
Love family sometimes, am quite probably best connected twenty-year old male in Britain. Well, magical Britain. Well, one of them anyway. Before long was talking with Harry (Potter the Legendary Voldemort Slayer slash Head Auror) and eldest progeny James. James Potter of Tutshill and England Chaser fame. Recently named Britain’s Most Eligible Bachelor by Witch Weekly, a fact he found simply hilarious. Was soon regaling us with tale of Boxing Day Quidditch Match against Australia, which we lost, because we’re England and that’s what we do.
Apparently the Australian’s were cheating criminals. Presently, the English tale of woe had drawn a crowd. Seemingly sport united people.
Just as James was launching into yet another anecdote he was interrupted by a dry voice from behind the surrounding crowd, “And I suppose your pitiful performance had nothing to do with the fact that you are, in fact, pitiful?”
Entire crowd swelled up in outrage and turned to face a smallish girl with an impish grin who winked at James broadly, “Thought that might get a reaction,” she laughed.
Seeing who it was, James gave a rueful grin in return, “S’pose you might be right. Everyone, this is Kate Ellis, she’s with the Australian Embassy here.”
Crowd relaxed and friendly jibes exchanged all around. Caught Dominique standing with Annah looking strangely at the Australian.
Looked over at the two of the curiously, wondering what they were doing. Caught Annah’s eye who waved me over. Must confess was difficult not to stare at her as walking over. She worked as a model in the Muggle world, for reasons best known to herself. She was soft and delicate and fierce all at once. And that little black dress…
“Eyes up Louis,” smirked Dom once I reached them. Didn’t deign to respond, instead chose face-making as more appropriate response. “You’ve met Kate before right?”
“Umm,” I stalled, trawling back through nights out and work lunches. Wizarding world is fairly small though. “Yep, a couple of times. Bit of a crazy.”
“Yeah,” said Dominique slowly. “We were just trying to work out what she could have done to get an invite. Not exactly a big player is she?”
“Suppose not? Don’t really see what the big deal is to be honest.”
“Have a look at her Louis, is that how Kate normally acts?”
I stopped and joined Dom and Annah watching. It took a moment but then I saw it. Just the little things, the mannerisms, the intonation.
“That’s not Kate is it?” I murmured to them.
“Nope,” replied Annah. “Not even close.”
I looked out over the milling people, trying to work out why anyone would have gone to such lengths to disguise themselves to get in. Couldn’t do it, so turned to Dominique. “So who do you think it is then? Dark Wizard?”
“Nah,” she replied blithely “Have a look at who’s here.”
I looked again. Pretty much everyone who was anyone. Even the Minister for Magic was over there in the corner. Looking far to familiar with my Aunt Gabrielle for my liking. Would have words with her later.
“Umm, everyone? Have a look at the Minister why don’t you? Dirty old –“
“Have a look at who’s not here.”
For a third time I looked out across the room. As before, it took a moment then clicked. “No Opposition party here.”
“No Opposition party.”
“Oh come on,” I rolled my eyes. “You seriously think they would waste Polyjuice on something like this?”
Annah’s eyes turned serious. “Have a look Louis, biggest day of the year for some of these people, this is huge believe you me.”
I looked at her suspiciously. “How do you know that then? You’re a Muggle model -“
“And the Minister’s Chief Policy Advisor.”
My eyes bulged “His what?” I hissed. Do have some sense after all.
“Chief Policy Advisor. You heard. Now shut up about it and keep smiling.”
“You’re only 22!”
“Shut up Louis,” interjected Dominique. “We’ll talk about it at home. Now. You’re going to have to get this Opposition type out of the way. Let them chat you up, pretend like you’ve got the inside info on our International stuff.”
“I do have the inside info on that!” I whispered furiously.
“Even better then. Now you need to get her out of the way enough for me to come and deal with her quietly okay?”
I nodded. Dom was an Auror, significantly more powerful than self and definitely more willing to hurt people.
Turned around from the two girls to see Kate getting herself a drink. Thanked Merlin, clearly on my side today.
“Kate!” I called out to her. “It’s me, Louis!” Surely get mega genius points for adding own name in there, due to Polyjuice was not Kate, so would not know self.
“Hey Louis!” she responded enthusiastically, leaning up to kiss my cheek. “It’s been ages hasn’t it? What have you been up to?”
“Oh this and that, work you know?”
“What have you working on?”
“Just trying to sort out our trade agreement with those bloody Transylvanians, the word tariff means nothing to them apparently.”
“We’ve got a trade agreement with Transylvania?” she asked eagerly. “I didn’t know anything about that!”
“Well it’s not exactly in the papers is it?” I smirked, mentally congratulating self on unbelievable performance. “Sort of thing we like to keep pretty close to our chests.”
“I’m sure, I’m sure,” she purred. “Do tell me more though? It sounds fascinating.”
No sane person wants to hear about Anglo-Transylvanian trade deals. Dominique was so right.
“Well,” I muttered, looking around as though uncertain. “ I can’t really here. The walls have ears. Come upstairs, can tell you all about it there.”
Stood up smoothly, making sure Dominique noticed for practical reasons, and Annah for slightly more personal ones.
Lead the Polyjuiced-Kate upstairs, into a comfortable living room with a nice big window. Had just sat down on a sofa when Dom and Annah barged in, wands outstretched. “Right, good work Louis, reckon we’ve just about got it from here.”
Clearly they didn’t, as when giving each other congratulatory type looks, the Polyjuiced-Kate whipped her wand down out of her sleeve and –
“Expelliarmus!” I rapped out briskly, sending the wand flying across the room. “Sorry matey,” I grinned. “Was a nice try, if it hadn’t been these two I would have let you.”
Dominique looked distinctly unamused at almost being thwarted. Rather feared for prisoner’s health and safety. “Dom, maybe I should go get Harry, this is his job not yours.”
“Yeah you’re right,” she sighed. “Lucky for you,” she said, flashing a suddenly manic grin at the ersatz-Kate in front of us.
“Stop bullying,” reproached Annah with a faint grin. “I’ll go get Harry.”
A/N: And there ends chapter one! I hope you enjoyed, and don’t feel I ended too soon. For those of you who have read Any Given Sunday, do you think this is a worthy continuation? For those who haven’t, are you glad you bothered with this at all? I’d love to hear your thoughts, especially about the style as have had to modify it sightly to work properly as a novel. Any Given Sunday was just too stylised to work effectively over that big a body of work.
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