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Chapter 2 : Oh! You Pretty Things
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Still Monday 1 January
10.35 a.m. Second upstairs living room, The Burrow. Only my sister could, after approx an hour and a half of a party, have captured a spy. Well, we think it’s a spy. It’s probably a spy. Definitely a gatecrasher type anyway. Said sister looking at said spy with distinctly unamused expression on face.
“Err… Dom why don’t you got get Harry with Annah?”
“Because this way,” she replied “I get to do the whole prisoner intimidation thing.”
Dominique is not what one refers to as the shy and retiring type.
“Well, yeah, see – that’s kind of the point, I’m pretty sure you’re not allowed to do that.”
“The whole prisoner intimidation thing!”
“Oh,” she looked briefly, if mildly, surprised. “Well I’ll leave them to you then shall I?”
“Can I just –“ interrupted our captive.
“No,” snapped Dominique.
“Just go get Harry okay?” I sighed, watching her flounce out of the room. Impressive flounce really, no doubt honed over many situations similar to current.
The thing about living with Dom, Annah and Sam, is that events of this type become not unusual. Become expected, rather than opposite. So when the Polyjuiced captive started inching towards the idle wand, was somewhat anticipated.
“Impedimentia!” I muttered, watching as the spell took hold. Hadn’t put a whole lot into it, so was rather weak, but still – point made. “Now, look. I’ve got Dominique away from you and you go and do this to me. Not really fair is it?”
Somewhat gratified to see at least attempt at look of contrition pass across face of prisoner. Remorse v. important. Well - that’s what the Muggle television says anyway. “Have you got anything to say for yourself?”
Suspect’s look of remorse and contrition visibly improved. Was quite impressed by change. Unfortunately remorse did not equate to talking and/or confession spilling.
“You could just talk to me,” I noted in a mild and confidence enticing tone of voice. Am generally rather nice, felt no need to make exception for this type. “I’m really much nicer than Dominique.”
Convict looked glum at this proposition so pressed advantage. “Annah, that’s the scary pretty one with the eyes, yep her, she’s – you know - much the same as Dom really. Then Sam, wait you don’t know her do you? Anyway, she’s a bit nicer, but a journo so –“
Upon news of Sam’s career choice, the prisoner again felt the need to try and attain the wand currently lying on the floor. Feeling these attempts had gone rather far enough I, with super swiftness of top Auror types, ended them.
With sweep of wand - own wand that is - other wand came swooping towards self. May have miscalculated things as had to duck in order to avoid losing eye. Looked up to see the female figure clambering for the door.
Forward momentum, plus gravity and sudden bodily stupification caused the Polyjuiced impostor to fall face first onto the floor. Fortunately there was a rug. Not enough of a rug to prevent a nasty crunching sound. Winced involuntarily.
Door opened to reveal Harry Potter flanked by Dom and Annah. Not exactly how I would have him see me. Was looming over suspect, who was in turn stupefied and dripping blood onto the Axminster. Pretty sure they were banned actually, may have to speak to Grandpa about that.
“Louis?” asked Harry in a bemused tone of voice. “What exactly is going on here?”
“It’s not what it looks like,” I blurted out, while Dominique smirked.
“So you haven’t violently assaulted an unarmed civilian then?”
Just as things were about to escalate into full-blown family brawl, Harry decided to step in. Wish was as cool-headed and decisive like him. He just sees what’s going on, it takes him like a second to work it out then bam! Decision time.
“That’s enough out of you two,” he sighed loudly. Seemed to be conveying a message. “What am I meant to be looking at?”
“A gatecrasher,” replied Dom haughtily.
“A gatecrasher…” he repeated slowly, as if couldn’t quite believe what he was hearing. “And your faultless logic behind this would be what exactly?”
“Well there’s no one from the Opposition here, so they obviously Polyjuiced someone to sneak in here.”
“Right…” Harry starting to look mildly annoyed now. Hopefully at Dominique, not self, obviously. “Do you have any proof of this at all?”
Awkward silence marked by much shuffling of shoes.
“We could just wait,” suggest Annah. “I mean, whoever it is, they’re Stupified – so they can hang around a bit longer. Then when we’re right, you can chuck them out or whatever it is you do. If you’re right and that actually is Kate, well we can go a bit of the old Obliviate on her.”
“A bit of the old Obviliate hey?” Fortunately, Harry now grinning. Annah had that affect on people. It was the whole cheekbones thing. And the smile. And the eyes. And the – Annah is very distracting. “So we’re waiting then?”
Looked around at the other two, “I guess so? Could we, like, get some drinks or something up here do you reckon?”
Shot stony looks by selfsame two. Harry – fortunately - continued smiling. “Come get a drink with me Louis. We’ll leave those two to their guard duty. After all, watching over a Stupified body isn’t something to be taken lightly.”
Love getting one-up on Dom.
11.04 a.m. Second upstairs living room, The Burrow.
Polyjuice should be wearing off any minute now. Any minute now. Dominique looking nervous. Not always a good sign.
Harry pulled his watch out, was rather dodgy and battered. Unsure as to whether vintage or just dodgy and battered. Surely, as Head Auror, he would have something a little more befitting his position. He caught me looking, has an annoying habit of doing that.
“It’s the best watch I could ever have hoped for,” he said quietly. “I’ll tell you about it one day if you’d like.”
Things suddenly seemed rather serious. “So – ah, let’s get back to the girls? See if they aren’t just completely tripping.”
Harry laughed and nodded. “Look, it probably is someone from the Opposition, but really – it’s good for Dom to get the idea that she’s not always going to get everything her way.”
“Yeah, good luck telling her that.” I scoffed, eyes slightly widening at thought of suggesting.
“Fair,” he conceded. “Anyway, let’s go.”
Leaving the hubbub below, we once again tramped upstairs, opening the door to a resounding “HA”
It appeared Dom and Annah had been right, where there had previously been a tan, blonde – if short – witch sprawled across the rug, there was now a rather strapping black youth.
While Annah looked disinterested, Dominique was getting into full gloat mode.
“Well? What did I say? What – did – I – say?”
I looked more closely at the person lying on the floor, before suddenly realising who it was. “Oh no way man! What’s he doing here?”
Three heads turned towards self. “You know him?”
I nodded at Annah, “Yeah, it’s Tom Tom.”
“Who?” interrupted Dom in her own inimitable fashion.
Shot her glowering type look. “Thomas Thomas. He was in the year below me, always seemed like a decent kid.”
All laughed. “Thomas Thomas?” asked Harry. “Not Dean’s son is he?”
“Could be I suppose, now wake him up and let’s get this sorted out.”
Harry bent over and prodded him in the chest with his wand, “Enervate!”
With a gasp Tom sat up, looked around then decided lying down might be the safer option.
“You are Mr. Thomas Thomas.” Harry said. Somehow voice had gone all intimidating and leadership-y, must ask him what trick is.
“Yeah,” came the sullen reply.
“Do you know who I am?”
“Course I do, you’re Harry Potter, everyone knows who you are.”
“Good. Well then, why don’t you explain to me exactly what you are doing here in possession –and under the influence of – a highly controlled substance?”
“I’m not saying anything.” The accent making the ‘th’ sound like an ‘f’.
“Look,” Harry said with a heavy sigh – Dominique and Annah moving round to flank him. “It’s pretty simple really, either you tell us who sent you here and why, or you don’t and you can find yourself up before the Wizengamot.”
“That’s not really much of a choice is it?”
“No, not really.”
“Fine then, I’ll tell you, but if I do - you’ll let me go right?”
“Okay. Umm… It’s like your genius girls said innit? Was sent here by Fitzgibbon to see if I could find out anything worth knowing. It’s election year – he’s getting stressed. And I’m just a staffer man, I’m nothing to him.”
“Fitzgibbon asked you himself?” asked Annah – looking at him appraisingly. “Not every day a party leader goes to a staffer directly. You must have something going for you.”
“I’m an actor really,” he replied “It’s what I love to do. Guess he heard about it or something.”
“Good enough for me,” said Harry relaxing. “You’re still going to have to leave, but that’ll be the end of it.”
Annah was still looking at him appraisingly, eyes slightly narrowed. He squirmed under her gaze. “What?”
“I’ve got something to offer you.”
“Out Dominique,” said Harry sternly. “Aurors do not get involved in politics.”
“But – “
“No buts. Outside now.”
For the second time Domi flounced from room, followed by a stern looking Harry Potter – leaving me alone with Annah, together. Annah and Louis – together. Ooh maybe they’d give us one of those joint names! Like… Lannah or Annouis! Realised may have been staring, was being shot funny looks by both.
“You’re not exactly happy at work are you?” she asked Tom pointedly.
“Whatever,” she rolled her eyes. “Basically we wouldn’t mind having someone in the Opposition. So – you switch over to us, we let you stay here and feed some info back to Fitzgibbon and his Conservatives. Then when we win the election you come over to us. We can sort you out a job in government, or we can give your acting career a boost. There is, of course, a third option. Where we just kick you out now.”
“I’d go the first option,” I joined in. “Much better for everyone.”
“Fine,” he agreed sullenly “I’ll do it.”
“Oh that’s fantastic,” she exclaimed suddenly – smile lighting up her face, “You’ll be liaising with Louis weekly. We’ll contact you about that soon. Off you go with Dom and Harry now.”
“Here’s your wand,” I added, bending down to pick it up. “You might want it or something.”
He grinned as I tossed it to him, seemed like he was still an alright kid after all. “Out the door then. We’ll be in touch.”
He opened the door and walked out to scary Auror types.
“Look at you Louis, all decisive and leadership-y”
Her smirk softened, a teasing smile playing across her lips. “Come on Louis, no need for the pout, I’m just messing with you. You were great there, really.”
Quickly rearranged lips, totally was not pouting. When pointed this out was only met with a further amused smile. Okay, so maybe I had been. “Umm…there’s just one thing.” I started hesitantly.
“Well, what is it?”
“Just – okay – Why is he going to be talking to me? I’m International, he’s got nothing to do with me.”
She leaned forward, smooth cheek grazing mine, lips brushing my ear. “I told you Louis, you’ll get the answers you want tonight. Now, I’ve got a party to be at – you coming?”
Stood there dazed. Heard sigh, saw eyes rolling, may also have heard a muttered “Men.” Felt small, slight hand grab own. “That’s it, let’s go.”
Stumbled down stairs after her, walking rather complicated when so completely distracted.
Tripped onto landing, bumping into parents and Gabrielle. Three sets of eyes travelled from hands being held to stairs behind. Three minds reached very similar conclusions. Parents looked distinctly unamused. Gabrielle gave Annah the once over then winked at self in distinct approval.
“Oh no no no,” I jumped in. Best to stop these things before they started. “Whatever you’re thinking it’s not that.”
“Not what?” asked Gabrielle innocently. Glared at favourite aunt. She totally knew what was going on. Completely unreasonable. Annah just laughed and waltzed off.
“Yes Louis,” asked father not so innocently. “Not what?”
Wildly looked round for excuse. Noticed strange smell drifting through room. “Is that…Dirigible?” I asked, sniffing curiously.
Old Xeno Lovegood’s one lasting contribution to the Wizarding world that. Found a way to dry and shred the skin of the Dirigible Plum which, when smoked, apparently caused the smoker to feel somewhat…different.
Searched for smoker, thinking Grandma wouldn’t be particularly impressed. Eyes swept room until they fell upon a man getting on in years. Elderly, yet still powerful – he was an imposing figure. Turned to parents. “What exactly does the Minister think he’s doing?”
Both looked in his direction, lips curling simultaneously. Scary similar.
“Enjoying himself?” suggested Gabrielle, eyes twinkling.
2.25 am. Home. Is possible that resolution hasn’t lasted. Maybe will change it. New Year’s Aspirational Targets. Has a ring to it. Stupid alcohol, ruins conversation.
Were all slumped across living room.
“Rubbish party,” I muttered. “Didn’t see you once Sam.”
“People to be, places to see,” she mumbled in return. “I mean – “
“Shuddup Sam – you’re drunk.”
“But hey Louis.” It was Annah. “We catched a spy.”
“We catched a spy did we?”
“Mhmm and me ‘n Dom needa tell you something…” she trailed off, voice getting fainter and fainter.
“Well? What is it?”
“Tell you in morning, going bed now.” She stood up, wobbled then trundled off – banging into various household items as she did.
Rolled over on sofa to look after her.
“You’ve got a chance you know…”
I turned in surprise, “Dom?”
“Jus… don’t give up okay?”
Just as was about to reply, she promptly fell asleep. Looked to Sam who was in similar situation. Looked at both in what could only be described as a sulk. “Women.”
A/N: Chapter now beta-d. Violet_Gryffindor is just all kinds of ridiculously amazing. Apologies the plot isn’t exactly flying along – these first couple of chapters are kind of just scene-setting. If you’ve got this far I hope you’ve enjoyed it. Any character your favourite? Favourite line/s? I’d love to know =]
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