Chapter 7 : Part 2: Christmas, Fourth Year.
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After Fred had warned her that her test run was not finished, Amelie was always on the look out for traps, pranks or poisons. James, believing his cousin had stopped pranking his best friend, focused on the annual Weasley Quidditch game and had been practicing non-stop since the day in the orchard. While he was busy harbouring his keeper skills, Amelie, Rose and Dominique had to look after the younger members of the family. Louis had grown quite attached to Amelie, following her wherever she went. Not to mention Lily and Lucy’s constant obsessing over her and James’ apparent wedding. They had snuck into Teddy and Victoire’s room and stolen her bridal magazines and had been picking out different dresses that they liked the look of.
Two days after the incident in the orchard, Dominique and Amelie were lounging in their room when Rose came in through the door, holding a package out to Amelie.
“Hey, this just came.”
Amelie eyed it suspiciously. It was too early for her mother to send her Christmas gifts, and she did not recognise the handwriting sprawled across the label.
“I don’t know who it’s from,” she said.
“Well open it anyway, there’s probably a note,” Dominique replied, leaning over to see what was inside the parcel.
Amelie licked it up to her ear and shook it gently. A slight rattling was heard, followed by a series of tiny explosions. It trembled ominously.
“I think it might be from Fred,” Amelie said, placing the package back down on her bed.
“I don’t why he’s so obsessed with this whole thing,” Rose said, looking at the brown parcel gingerly, “he’s never usually this committed to anything.”
“Quidditch,” Amelie said.
“Alice,” Dominique added, not looking up from her magazine.
“So what are you doing to do with it?” Rose asked Amelie.
“I don’t know,” she said.
“You could plant it outside his door,” Dom suggested.
“He’d recognise it though,” Rose said, eyeing the package carefully, “you’d have to re-wrap it or something.”
Rose pulled out a box of unwanted Christmas junk and rummaged in it. She finally found an old sheet of gold wrapping paper and thrust it into Amelie’s hands.
“That should be big enough,” she said.
Amelie cautiously began to rewrap the present, making sure that nothing exploded in her face. Rose watched nervously as she sealed it with Spellotape and tied a red ribbon around it. Dom continued to flick lazily through her magazine.
“Done. Do you think he’ll go for it?” Amelie asked.
“Of course,” Rose answered, squealing happily and clapping her hands together.
“Dom?” Amelie asked the blonde girl for confirmation.
“How well do you know my cousin, Amelie?” she questioned, her eyes not leaving the pages of Witch Weekly.
“Well, I have lived with him for about five years...” Amelie began, but Dom interrupted her by putting her magazine down and stepping over to the other two girls on the bed.
“Fred is never going to fall for that. He’s on his toes too. If someone suspiciously leaves a package on his doorstep, he’s not going to open it with thoroughly checking it first. Just like you did.”
“So what are you saying?” Amelie asked, intrigued.
“You’ve got to make it seem like it’s something worth opening.”
“And how are we going to do that?”
Amelie and Rose watched as Dom left the room, her silvery blonde hair flying behind her and she shut the door. The two girls shared a bemused look, but Dom was back in a minute, a small piece of black lace clutched in her hand.
“Dominique Weasley! What is that?” Rose gasped.
“A little something I picked up from my sister’s suitcase. Apparently Teddy got them for her on her birthday!”
The two cousins giggled immaturely, and Amelie rolled her eyes, pulling the pair of black, lacy knickers from Dominique’s hand. The label was still attached to it.
“So now what?” she asked once the girls had calmed down.
“You know how before we were discussing what Fred is committed to?” Dom began, leaning in as if she was telling a juicy secret, “and Alice came up. I just thought that we might use it to our advantage.”
“We’re going to put the parcel outside his door with Victoire’s knickers on top?” Amelie was growing tired of the two girls’ immaturity. I hate giggling, she thought.
“No, Amelie,” Dom replied, her eyes alight, “I was thinking of something a little more subtle.”
She picked up the knickers and tore off the label. It was from a fancy French designer; posh, curvy pink writing on black cardboard. She attached it carefully to the red ribbon, tying it with a flourish.
“Now, Fred will think that Alice is sending him some saucy underwear,” Dom finished, the two Weasley girls burst into hysterical fits of giggles, but Amelie was impressed by Dom’s idea. She was a true Weasley. This prank was worthy of the great Fred and George.
Alright, that is a bit of an exaggeration, but it’s pretty good for a twelve year old.
She stood up, the package clutched in her hand and made her way outside. The boys’ corridor of the newly extended Burrow was on the other side of the house, and Amelie searched for a sign of Fred as she hurried through the kitchen and living room. He was not there.
When she reached his room, Amelie pressed her ear against the wood and listened hard. She heard music playing from a radio and the shuffling of feet. Fred was in there. Amelie placed the parcel gently in front of his door, and, after twisting the lingerie label to face upwards, she knocked twice on the door and sprinted silently down the corridor. She peeked around the corner, waiting for the moment when Fred opened the door.
The corridor was silent, apart from the muffled sound of the other inhabitants from the living room. Amelie heard the door click open, and Fred stepped out. He bent down, picking up the parcel. He looked up and down the corridor suspiciously, before shaking the package by his ear. He undid the ribbon. Fred saw the lingerie label and Amelie saw his jaw drop. He turned, his eyes still fixed on the present and walked head first into the wall next to his door.
Amelie stifled a laugh as Fred managed to re-enter his room. She skipped happily down the corridor, waiting in front of his door. She could hear the wrapping paper being ripped off and a box being opened. There was a pause before there was loud yell and an enormous explosion from Fred’s room. Smoke spilled from under his door, and he ran out, his hair on end.
Amelie merely stood, leaning on the wall opposite, pretending to look at her nails.
“You!” Fred shouted, pointing a finger angrily at her.
“Who? Me?” Amelie said sweetly, “I don’t know what you are talking about.”
“You did this!”
Amelie turned sharply on her heel and strode off towards the kitchen, leaving Fred standing in his doorway, a smouldering black label clutched in his hand.
James Sirius Potter was sitting in the living room, polishing his Firebolt. He was perfectly as ease, being warmed by the crackling of the fire and listening to the faint chatter of his relatives. Everything was fine until there was a booming explosion from the boys’ corridor, and Auntie Audrey screamed. All the adults disappeared out into the corridor.
He rolled his eyes. It was probably just Louis playing with some of Uncle George’s new products. That was another tradition of the Weasley Christmas. Everyone would laugh when Louis emerged, stumbling around on his podgy toddler legs and his usually blonde hair black with dust and gunpowder. Fleur would worry, and swear at George in French, who would just laugh in her face.
James put down his broomstick and stood up, yawning and stretching. He saw Amelie enter the living room and he walked towards her.
“Hey Amelie,” he said. He eyed the happy look on her face, “what are you smiling about?”
“Oh nothing,” she replied, her smile growing. James leaned closer and sniffed.
“Is that gunpowder?”
“It might be. Fred had a little bit of trouble with a Christmas present.”
So it wasn’t baby Louis. James groaned, “I thought you weren’t doing that test run thing anymore!”
“We’re not,” Amelie answered, “I was merely returning a present that he given to me.”
“Bullshit,” James said, “you’re pranking each other!”
“Alright, fine,” Amelie said, defeated, slumping down on the sofa. “I am winning though.”
“Then you might as well quit while you are ahead. You can help me with the Christmas prank that everyone seems to have given up on.”
“Fine, whatever you say,” Amelie replied grumpily, sitting next to him.
James retrieved the plans from his pocket and laid them out on the coffee table, leafing through them and handing her a plan of the Burrow.
“I was thinking of doing something during the Quidditch game, I know Alice thought that...” he began, but Amelie wasn’t listening. She was gazing into space, her eyes wide. She then began to count things off on her fingers.
She squealed happily and clapped her hands, bouncing up and down in her seat.
“James, I’m sorry, but I just had the best idea to get back at Fred.”
“But Amelie, I thought you said that you would finish that.”
She stood up, looking down at her best friend, her face flushed with excitement.
“Sorry, but it’s kind of turned into a war.”
“Make a strategic retreat, then,” James retorted, standing up. He was taller than her now, and loomed over her menacingly. Amelie looked up at him, placing her hands on her hips determinedly.
“I’m not giving up now,” she said defiantly. “Why are you so bothered anyway?”
“My family are a bunch of freaks,” he began, “and I’m not exactly going to step back and watch you turn into one of them.”
“So why did you invite me here?” She replied angrily, her voice growing louder.
“I’m beginning to question that myself,” James said harshly, and Amelie stepped back, raising her hands as if in surrender.
“Fine. If that is what you think, I’ll just pop over to Barbados and join Mum on her honeymoon. You’d like that.”
“Amelie, I didn’t mean it like that...” James tried to turn it around.
“Well obviously you did. I’m going to bed. I’ll see you tomorrow,” she shoved a piece of parchment into James’ chest. She left the room hurriedly, as he looked down to find one of prank plans in his hands. James crumpled it up and threw it into the fire, grabbing his broomstick and going for one more pre-match practice.
He slammed the door to the living room behind him, almost running towards the front door. James did a slight double take when he saw Fred with his hair stuck on end, but continued, through the door and out into the night. He made his way towards the orchard, the snow falling all around him. James’ feet were cold soaking from the melted snow, but he kept walking. He just reached the edge of the orchard when he heard a scream from the house and James turned to look.
A light had flicked on in Amelie, Rose and Dominique’s room, and the scream was echoing through the open window. After contemplating why they would have their window open on such a cold night, James hopped onto his broomstick and flew up to their window and looked inside.
He could see Rose and Dom standing by the door to their en-suite bathroom. Rose was knocking frantically on the wood, and Dom was calling Amelie’s name. James landed lightly on the windowsill, and slid in through the open window, leaving his broomstick on the desk.
“What’s going on?” He asked, and Dom and Rose spun around. Rose screamed. Dom jaw dropped.
“How did you get in here?” She asked. “We didn’t hear anyone come in.”
“I flew,” James answered simply, gesturing to his broomstick. “Why was your window open?”
“I was writing a letter to someone,” Rose said quickly, “I was just letting Hyperion out.”
“You called your new owl Hyperion?” James questioned disgustedly.
“Yes,” Rose answered defiantly, but she blushed slightly, “What of it?”
“Isn’t that a bit...a bit Slytherin of you?”
“Anyway, James,” Dom cut in, “why did you decide to fly to our window and come in like the stalker you are?”
“I heard a scream and was wondering whether anything...”
James started, but couldn’t finish. The door to the en-suite bathroom opened and Amelie stood there, wrapped in a towel and her hair damp. But it wasn’t damp with water.
“Is that custard?” Dom asked curiously, taking a sample from Amelie’s hair on her finger and licking it. She nodded vigorously. Rose made a face.
“What are you doing here?” Amelie asked James. Her voice was harsh and angry.
“He heard a scream,” Rose said, “and came up here to play the knight in shining armour.”
“Well, you needn’t have bothered,” Amelie answered.
James had turned around and faced the wall of the room. He was embarrassed. He had just seen his best friend in nothing but a towel.
“Because you’ve got the whole custard shower thing under control, right?.”
He heard her huff angrily from behind him.
“It was Fred. I’m getting him back tomorrow at the Quidditch game. I’ve got something planned,” she said.
“I guess that’s my queue to leave,” James declared, picking up his broomstick and walking towards the door.
“You never meant to be here!” Amelie shouted as she watched him leave. The door shut with a click.
“What happened with you two?” Rose asked as Dom slumped on her bed.
“He doesn’t want to me to keep pranking Fred,” Amelie began, “apparently he’s concerned for my safety.”
Rose made an ‘aw’ sound and sat down next to Dom, and gave each other knowing glances.
“He’s such a gentleman,” Rose said.
“You’d be the most perfect couple,” Dom agreed.
“Stop it. He’s annoying,” Amelie said, “and for tomorrow, I need to talk to Alice Willoughby...”
The day was bright, with a blue sky and a slight breeze, which were perfect for playing Quidditch. The snow was blanket on the floor of the orchard as the two teams gathered at either end. Amelie was teamed with Ginny and Angelina as the other chasers, Albus as seeker, George and Roxanne as beaters and James as keeper. He shot her a steely glare as he grouped with the rest of the team, his mother Ginny describing intricate game plays. Amelie turned around to eye up the group of people at the other end of the pitch. She could spot Harry doing the exactly the same thing as his wife, and the rest of the team looked bored as he did wild hand gestures. She could see Fred among them, watching Harry intently.
“And then Angelina will swerve and we’ll score. You got that?”
Amelie nodded vaguely. The rest of the Weasley family had lined up on either side of the pitch. Molly Weasley sat in an old chair with a blanket, Louis bouncing happily on her knees. Arthur stood behind, his hand on her shoulder and his weight resting on his old walking stick. Lily and Lucy sat eagerly in front of her, and they shot Amelie bright smiles, waving enthusiastically. She waved half-heartedly back.
The family look like the magical Mafia, Amelie thought, like in that film when Mum was going through her Muggle phase. What was his name? Anthony? Timothy?
Amelie looked through the crowd for a sign of Alice, and she was easy to spot as one of the few blondes in a crowd of redheads. The sun glinted off her glasses as she positioned her self by the goalposts. Alice nodded in Amelie’s direction, her fingers and thumb forming an ‘OK’ sign. Amelie smiled. It is going to be fine.
Her team went in for a group huddle, and she bumped shoulders with James. He glowered at her, taking it as some sort of personal offence.
“We’re meant to be a team,” she whispered in his ear, “just do it for this. You can go back to hating me after this is over.”
“I look forward to it.”
“Merry Christmas to you too.”
The team broke with a cry of “Weasley!” and Amelie leapt on her broom, swooping up to the centre of the pitch with Ginny and Angelina. She watched as Teddy came up opposite her, his blue jumper showing which team he was on. She looked either side, giving her fellow chasers the subtlest of nods, before Charlie released the Quaffle and the other balls. She swerved in to catch it, holding it tightly under her arm as she dodged Teddy and Rose. She ducked as a bludger flew dangerously close to her head, and she looked around to see Molly grinning at her viciously.
Never thought the spawn of Percy Weasley could have it in them.
She weaved through the other players, Ginny and Angelina sandwiched at her side and in a second, she was opposite Fred. He was looking at her, positioned perfectly in front of the centre post and his lips stretched in a smirk. She pulled her arm back to throw the Quaffle, as if aiming into the left hoop. Fred moved to cover it, but quick as a flash Angelina stole the ball from Amelie’s hands and scored in the right hand hoop. Unfortunately Dominique was already down there to catch the red ball, and she zoomed elegantly towards the other end of the pitch and towards James.
Amelie dodged another bludger and hurtled towards the blonde girl, almost knocking her off her broom in her attempt to get the Quaffle. Dominique had a frail, delicate frame, but she was stronger than she looked and was very fast, easily letting Amelie fall behind. She ducked a bludger from Roxanne and tried to score in James’ left hoop. It was a close call, but he managed to save it, the ball just at the tips of his fingers.
“What the hell is going on?” Amelie shouted to him. “That was a lucky escape.” He scowled, and chucked the ball back to her.
James watched Amelie bolt back to the other end of the pitch, and score another easy goal. Her dark hair was flying behind her and he admired it for a minute before shaking his head sadly. He circled his goalposts feeling the air on his face as he watched Albus fly slowly above the rest of the game, his green eyes darting to and fro to find the snitch.
It must be cheating when you wear glasses.
His dad was doing the same, but lower down. It was like the sky was going back in time the higher you got, the father and son looked that similar. James watched as Ginny, Amelie and Angelina swerved, ducked, and dodged through the many players on the pitch, scoring goal after goal. Fred just looked bewildered and confused, gazing at his hands in shock.
James was performing lazy loop the loops, but then he heard a scream and thump from the other end, and watched as Roxanne was escorted off the pitch, blood streaming down her nose. George and Angelina flew straight towards Molly, who looked scared as the two adults came bearing down on her.
We may be family, but we sure do take Quidditch seriously and that includes mutilating cousins’ faces.
Charlie blew his whistle sharply, signalling for a penalty. Amelie flew up to take it, perching on her broom in front of Fred. She tossed the ball gently in her hands, as if judging its weight. James saw her as she calculated the angles and how fast Fred’s reactions were. Nobody, not even James, noticed her subtle nod towards Alice, who was far below, standing by the goalposts.
“Come on Fred!” Harry shouted, “We are all counting on you!”
The score was 150 to Ginny’s team and 0 to Harry’s team. Ginny, Angelina and Amelie were incredible chasers, able to score enough goals to win even if the other team caught the snitch.
The tension was mounting, and the only sound that could be heard was the soft thump of leather against skin as Amelie threw the Quaffle up and down. Fred controlled his broom, settling it in front of the centre hoop. His weight was balanced perfectly in the middle of the broomstick, meaning he was able to turn with utmost stability and speed.
It was so quiet you could hear heartbeats. James looked up to see his father and brother circling like vultures above the game, looking for that tiny hint of gold.
Amelie lifted her arm, aiming just over Fred’s shoulder and into the centre hoop. He prepared himself, shifting his hands further up the broom shaft. Amelie’s gripped tightened on the ball. She was about to throw. The crowd below took a collective breath as the Quaffle soared towards Fred. It looked like he was about to catch the ball, his hands were outstretched, and his eyes were focused on it.
“Fred! I love you!”
His gaze was diverted, away from the Quaffle and onto Alice, who was standing at the goalposts, grinning and blushing profusely. His hands dropped. The ball glided over his shoulder and neatly through the centre hoop. Charlie blew his whistle, and Amelie flew back to the centre and the game began again.
The kitchen was noisy and bustling as the entire Weasley family and their assorted guests sat down at the large kitchen table to enjoy a beautifully prepared Christmas lunch. Amelie, apart from the grand feasts at Hogwarts, had never seen so much food. Mrs. Weasley had excelled herself. There were vast turkeys, served with hundreds of potatoes and other vegetables. Gallons of gravy were also being passed around. Amelie stocked her plate up, but still went back for seconds and even thirds.
She had been positioned next to James. This was not her personal choice and the entire meal, although the food was good, was spent making awkward conversation with James. Fred and Alice, who were sitting opposite, were doing the things that new lovebirds do. They were barely touching their food, instead preferring to look deeply into each other’s eyes. If Amelie wasn’t eating such good food, she would have been tempted to throw up. Maybe her plan wasn’t such a good idea after all.
James wolfed down his food quickly, staring at his lovesick cousin. Through his loud chewing, Amelie heard him muttering angrily. She put her knife and fork down, and turned to him.
“Why aren’t you happy for them?”
“I didn’t say I wasn’t,” he replied.
“So the evil glares and angry muttering are your version of happiness? I thought I knew you,” Amelie retorted.
“Likewise, Amelie, likewise.”
He began eating again, and Amelie just sat, staring incredulously at him.
“You know, I was expecting something much worse,” he finally said, turning to face her.
“She wanted to say the three magical words to her boyfriend, and I wanted to publicly humiliate your cousin by missing the crucial goal. It worked for me. I was going to get her to say that she was pregnant, but I know how much you lot appreciate family values,” Amelie explained.
“They haven’t had sex yet, Amelie,” James said, blushing slightly and lowering his voice, “that is always George’s golden rule: make sure you do your research before pranking.”
“I’ll remember that for the future,” Amelie replied, and they fell into silence again. She looked up and down the table, taking into account the smiling faces and laughter of the Weasley family. She imagined what was happening at the seafront villa in Barbados with her mother and her new man (Alexander? Rupert?), and she was glad she was here, instead watching her own mother fawn over some man far too young for her or far too rich.
She looked at James again, watching his jaw chew up and down as he ate, and watched as his black hair fell into his eyes.
“I’m sorry,” she said quietly. James put down his knife and fork and turned to her.
“I know,” he said simply, “I just wanted you know that you didn’t have to prove yourself to my family.”
“I was intimidated. Your dad saved the world.”
“And yet he still doesn’t give me enough pocket money.”
“Merry Christmas, Amelie.”
“Merry Christmas to you too, Jimmy.”
The table went silent. The clatter of cutlery on plates stopped, and the rest of the Weasley family stared at Amelie, similar looks of disbelief on their faces. Fred and Alice stopped kissing from across the table, Alice smiling subtly and Fred’s jaw was hanging wide open.
“You get to call him Jimmy?” Harry Potter asked Amelie, his voice scandalized.
She nodded vaguely, her eyes flicking between Harry and James, who shrugged. Fred made several gawking sounds, but then stood up and shook her hand. Apparently, her ability to prank, her Quidditch talent and cleverness were all forgotten. She was able to call James ‘Jimmy’ without getting hexed or punched and that, apparently, was good enough. She sighed. It was all for nothing.
“Welcome to the family.”
There you go. I was meant to put this out around Christmas time for a sort of seasonal theme, but I spent forever writing it and everything. Hope you like it! I like comparing the Weasley fam to the Mafia. Anyway, I want to thank everybody who has ever read or reviewed this story, I really have no idea how it's got quite this many reviews and I just want to say that you are all fabulous! Heart you like Hagrid hearts hippogriffs (HYLHHH).
Please pop over and check out my MTA page! : )
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