Chapter 1 : The Beginning of the End
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Lucy released a long string of curses, pressing her forehead against the door jamb as she reached into her pocket and pulled out the seemingly elusive keychain. Her eyes narrowing at their own accord, Lucy struggled to her feet, using the wall, the door jamb, and the door knob until she was upright. Her head spun as she inserted the key into the lock, turned the knob, and pushed the door open.
And stumbled into the room, completely forgetting that she’d been supporting the majority of her weight against the door. Her left ankle twisted and she let loose a brief shout of pain before bending over to tear the wretched heels from her feet. Blindly, she tossed them into the living room, wincing when she heard the soft tinkling of shattering glass. Must’ve hit a picture frame, she mused inwardly as she shut the door and shuffled drunkenly into her small flat.
It was with great difficulty that Lucy managed to wriggle out of her blue jeans, for they were much tighter than they had any right to be. A groan of relief escaped her as she pushed her bedroom door open and stumbled towards the bed. Her face smashed into the plush of her down pillow, her breath whooshing up from her lungs and out of her lips. Turning her head to the side, she nuzzled the pillow with her cheek and stuffed her arms underneath it, not bothering to pull the blanket up around her body as she moved into a more comfortable position.
Sleep captured her within minutes, though her peace was short-lived.
Despite the fact her face was smothered in the down of her pillow, Lucy Weasley woke with a blinding headache. A low groan escaped her as the thin beams of light seeped in through the small slits in the blinds, tainting the otherwise complete darkness of her small bedroom. She didn’t want to move because movement meant jostling, and she highly doubted that her brain could take any more damage. So, instead of doing the responsible thing and getting to her feet to prepare herself for the day, Lucy remained in bed, in the exact same position she had woken in, for a significant stint of time. She wasn’t entirely sure how long she lay there, but she didn’t even bother to get up when her telephone rang not once, not twice - not even three times - but six times. Or was it seven? Either way, she didn’t care.
The way she looked at it, if someone was so concerned about her well-being, they would show up at her flat to reassure themselves that she hadn’t drowned in a pool of her own vomit, which, for some reason, Louis was absolutely convinced was going to happen to her. However, every time he pointed this out to her as she downed yet another shot, she’d tell him that, unlike him, she could actually hold her liquor. It was probably just Victoire, anyway, wondering if she had gotten home safely or not. As much as Lucy loved her eldest cousin, she could be quite overbearing, what with her mother hen tendencies. Hell, her own sister didn’t care for her as much as Victoire did. It was as comforting thought as it was a disheartening one, but Lucy was too hung over at give much thought to it, so she merely rolled onto her side to blearily stare at a spot on the wall.
It took an immensely amount of willpower to get out of bed, but once she managed to scoot to the edge of the mattress and sit up, Lucy experienced an uncomfortable onslaught of vertigo that had nothing to do with her head. Lifting a hand to scrub at her sleep-ridden eyes, Lucy got to her feet clumsily, nearly knocking into the bedside table as she tried and ultimately failed to stabilise herself. If she was this bad in the morning, she could hardly imagine what she had been like the night before. Not even wanting to entertain the idea of her drunken self, Lucy shuffled into the bathroom, accidentally kicking her cat, Watson, in the face.
When he hissed his discontent at her, she glowered down at him. “If you don’t want to get kicked in the face, don’t lay in a bloody doorway,” she grumbled as though this was common knowledge, never mind the fact he was a cat. Watson merely looked at her with his beady black eyes, his whiskers twitching mutinously as though vowing to one day exact his vengeance.
Deciding to skip on the shower, Lucy turned on the hot water tap and let the sink fill up, studying her reflection as she waited. Her red hair was unkempt, knotted in some places, sticking up in the others, and her eyes, a pretty shade of hazel, were bloodshot with dark shadows underneath. Her skin, which was already marginally paler than most, had adopted a slightly sickly sheen, making her look as though she was on the verge of death. Lucy sighed, scrubbing a hand over her face.
And immediately froze.
There was a long smear of black ink on the back of her hand - at least she thought it was ink. Furrowing her brow, she tried to read the messy scrawl in the mirror until it dawned on her after several minutes of deep concentration that everything was flipped. “Fuck,” she cursed, more to herself than the cat watching her in the doorway, his head tilted to the side in fascination. She rolled her eyes and dropped her hand, turning her wrist so the smooth expanse of the back of her hand was facing her.
As she didn’t possess the best eye sight in the world - both her parents had shit vision - she had to squint to read the writing properly. Following a phone number in which the last three digits were missing, most likely rubbed off during her slumber, was the nearly indecipherable words:
Call me! - T.
It took several moments for the full impact of the words to hit Lucy, but when they did, it felt as though someone had thrown a brick at her stomach. Her eyes fell away from her hand and drifted up towards her face. As she stared at herself, a wave of disgust washed over her.
She had slept with her cousin’s boyfriend…she had slept with her cousin’s boyfriend…she had slept with her cousin’s boyfriend…she had slept with her cousin’s boyfriend!
Slapping her untarnished hand against her cheek, she glared at her reflection. “You are such a slut.”
Behind her, Watson meowed in agreement.
Before Lucy could contemplating throwing the damned cat out the window, much less her complete betrayal of her favourite cousin, the only person aside from her parents who was legitimately concerned about her well-being, someone decided to knock on the door. As a lick of white hot pain shot through her throbbing head, Lucy tried to decide if the impromptu interruption was a godsend or a curse. Either way, she had to answer the door or else her head might explode from the noise.
The door wasn’t locked, so she couldn’t pretend to struggle with the locks as a means of stalling. Once again cursing under her breath - it was a habit of hers, one that she couldn’t quite shake - Lucy opened the door, only to see the bright and shining face of her older sister, Molly.
“Good morning, starshine!” she greeted enthusiastically, her voice obnoxiously louder than usual. Lucy winced appreciatively, inwardly wishing her sister out of existence. She expected Molly to prattle on and on about how she should exercise good manners and at least invite her inside, but after a quick glance at her sister’s face, she saw that Molly’s smile had melted away quicker than hot candle wax, her demeanour darkening. “Who is he?” she asked, abandoning all pretences of politeness.
“Who’s who? And what the hell are you doing at my flat?” Lucy questioned in return, scratching the back of her neck.
Molly narrowed her eyes. “You weren’t answering your phone,” she said, shouldering her way into Lucy’s flat.
Lucy didn’t bother hiding her surprise. “That was you?”
“Of course it was. Who else would call you?” Molly shook her head fractionally, sending her bouncing curls into a frenzied movement. “Honestly, I must have called you at least thirty times. I was starting to get worried, especially since you left so abruptly last night.”
Rolling her eyes at her sister’s intrusion, Lucy shut the door and turned to face Molly, her arms instinctively folding over her chest. “What do you mean, I left abruptly?”
“You got into that huge fight with Victoire last night at the bar,” Molly explained as she wandered over to the small kitchenette in the corner of the living area. She opened one of the three cupboards, pursuing through the clutter in search for a few tea bags. “Don’t you remember?”
“Obviously not,” Lucy snorted, pulling out a chair and dropping into it. She ignored the knot of dread forming in her stomach. “Did you know what we fought about?” Aside the fact you hooked up with her long-time boyfriend?
“No, but I tried to stop you from leaving,” Molly responded distractedly, finally having found what she was looking for and commencing to prepare tea for the pair of them. “I had no idea you knew how to punch so hard.”
Lucy’s eyes widened. “I punched you?”
“No, you punched Louis,” countered Molly, an amused smile playing at her full lips. “Decked him with an upper cut to the jaw, you did. If he hadn’t passed out, I would’ve been so proud of you.”
Groaning, Lucy buried her head in her hands, wondering what sort of person slept with their cousin’s boyfriend and then punched another one in the face. “I’m a horrible person,” she bemoaned, folding her arms and placing them on the table top, her chin resting on top.
“No, you’re not a horrible person,” Molly soothed as she flicked her wand at the kettle on the stovetop, simultaneously locating two useable mugs. “You’re just - well, you’re kind of a mean drunk, if I’m being honest.”
“Because that’s so much better!” Lucy exclaimed miserably. “Merlin, I’m never drinking again.”
“That’s what you said last time,” the other pointed out, her tone dripping with amusement. “And the time before that. And if I recall, maybe even the time before that.”
Lucy shot her a sharp glare, which quickly wiped the smirk from the elder Weasley’s face. “Well, this time I really mean it,” Lucy assured grumpily, “I’m not touching another ounce of alcohol ever again. It makes me do incredibly stupid things.” She paused to look at her sister, who had furrowed her brow.
“Alcohol makes everyone do stupid things, Luce,” Molly reasoned, setting the two mugs on the worktop and removing the now-whistling kettle from its heat source. Draping the tea bags in each mug, she filled both cups with the steaming water, curling white wisps drifting towards the ceiling. “You just…”
“Tend be a heartless wench?” Lucy finished bitterly. She snorted again, this time without any mirth whatsoever. “I’m such a slut,” she mused.
Molly sat down in the chair next to Lucy, her eyes glittering with excitement. “Does that mean you’re finally going to tell me who that shirt you’re wearing belongs to?”
“What d’you mean?”
Wordlessly, Molly gestured towards Lucy’s body before picking up her mug of hot tea, bringing it to her lips, but not taking a drink. She didn’t want to ruin the finish on their maternal grandmother’s table, which, for some reason, their parents had decided to give to Lucy, of all the irresponsible people.
Preparing herself for the absolute worst (like seeing a shirt she recognised as one of Teddy’s), Lucy glanced down at her torso to see that she was not wearing the decidedly low-cut blouse she had left the house in, but rather a simple dark blue tee shirt. If the feel of the soft fabric against her skin was anything to go by, it was a cotton shirt, not that it particularly mattered. The knot in her stomach became a lump of guilt and she tried not to vomit all over the table.
She had seen Teddy wear a shirt like this one.
In fact, she was pretty sure that he had been wearing it last night when he’d surprised everyone, including Lucy, who was the first to intercept him, by actually showing up. Closing her eyes, she vaguely recalled dragging her cousin’s boyfriend out onto the dance floor and forcing him to dance with her; she could remember grabbing a handful of his shirt to keep herself from falling down as she flailed her limbs and shook her hips in time with the music.
“I’m a bad, bad, bad, bad person,” Lucy said, banging her forehead against the table with every uttered ‘bad’.
Molly scooted closer to her, grabbing a handful of Lucy’s hair to prevent her from smashing her head into the table yet again. The grateful smile Lucy flashed her was brief and didn’t reach her eyes, which were clouded with self-loathing.
“So does that mean you sneaked out of his place or he sneaked out of yours?” Molly asked a little too eagerly from Lucy’s liking.
“There was no sneaking involved!” she retorted, heat rising to her cheeks as anger momentarily overtook the self-pity party her emotions were throwing. “And before you ask, no, I don’t know how I got this shirt. The only thing I remember about coming home last night was struggling with my keys and breaking a picture frame.”
“And taking off your pants,” Molly threw in. At the questioning look she received, she shrugged and continued, “What? You answered the door without pants on. I just assumed you were trying a new greeting method.”
Lucy’s kick was poorly aimed, so instead of hitting her sister’s shin, she clipped the thick leg of the table. “You’re insufferable.”
“You’re not so fun yourself,” Molly groused, pulling a face. Taking a carefully measured sip of the still-steaming tea, she regarded her younger sister through concerned eyes. They might not have been the closest of siblings, but Molly cared much more about her sister than she ever let on; after all, she was the one who prompted Victoire to check up on her all the time. “In all seriousness, Luce, you don’t remember anything about last night?”
“I remember the bulk of the evening,” she replied, tucking a strand of straggly red hair behind her ear. “Right up until Teddy showed up.”
Molly’s eyes went wide, and she nearly loss her grip on her mug. “Teddy was there!?”
Lucy nodded solemnly. “Yeah, he was,” she muttered, returning her chin to its position atop her folded arms. The desire to pout was overwhelming, but no more overwhelming than the urge to dissolve into tears and drown her sorrows in the drink, despite the fact she had only just sworn it off forever. Woe was Lucy.
“Hm, that’s odd, I thought he hated…” Molly trailed off, her eyes focussing on the smudged writing on the back of her sister’s hand. “Um, Luce?”
“Why does your hand say ‘Call me, T’?”
Lucy’s heart stopped beating and a cold sweat broke out over her body. She didn’t say anything, merely tilted her head so that she was looking at her sister, who had furrowed her brow yet again in deep thought. She watched in horrid fascination as the wheels began to turn in Molly’s mind, as her features shifted from concentration to utter shock and, unless Lucy was entirely mistaken, total disgust.
“Oh Lucy,” Molly began, her voice cracking with barely constrained emotions. Her impossibly blue eyes were wide and imploringly as she focussed her gaze on her little sister. “You didn’t. Tell me you didn’t.”
Squeezing her eyes shut against the sting of oncoming tears, Lucy shook her head and said, in a very low whisper, “I can’t because I don’t know.” She chewed on the inside of her cheek and sighed pathetically. “I told you I was a slut.”
Expecting to be reprimanded for doing such a horrible thing to their beloved cousin, Lucy was surprised yet again when Molly pushed away abruptly from the table, nearly knocking her chair backwards.
“Molls?” Lucy asked, concerned not only about her own safety, but Molly’s sanity. Why the latter, she wasn’t quite sure, but this was unexpected of Molly. “What are you -”
“Get dressed,” she interrupted impatiently.
“What?” Lucy blinked in confusion. “Why?”
Molly didn’t respond for a prolonged second as she busied herself with collecting the two mugs from the table and returning the kettle to the sink. “Because we’re getting to the bottom of this,” she answered, her voice dangerously low. “And because I’m going to shove my foot so far up Teddy’s -”
Lucy rose from her seat, holding her hands up. “Give me five minutes.”
“You’ve got three.”
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