Chapter 3 : The Business of Bruises
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Molly, on the other hand, was.
“We need a plan!” she proclaimed as Lucy sank deeper into the cushions of the couch. The elder daughter of Percy Weasley was pacing in the living room, her hands clasped behind her back and chin held aloft.
As she walked back and forth, Lucy’s eyes followed her steps, reminding the other almost eerily of their father. It was weird, the way Molly seemed to embody both of their parents, yet she was her own person. She may have had the same nasally voice as their father and could scorch holes in the back of a person’s skull with her glares like their mother, but that was the end of it.
She was an arrogant cow a decent majority of the time.
“Obviously,” Lucy complained, cupping her hands around the steaming mug of black coffee. “If I’d have thought of that, I’d be asleep in my bed, the mystery solved and this bleeding headache gone.”
Molly paused to shoot her a glare. “Now is not the time to get cheeky, Luce,” she remarked seriously before resuming her concentrated pacing. “It’s a time for action. A time for -”
“What’s with the inspirational speech?” Teddy asked as he and Victoire slinked out of the kitchen and into the living area, the latter wearing a very telling look of guilt on her face. When her bright blue eyes met Lucy’s, she turned her head away, fighting a grin.
As a means of distracting herself from a potential awkward moment, Lucy took a sip of her coffee, wincing as it scalded the tip of her tongue. She set her cup on the table, pulling her legs up onto the couch. “Molly’s planning,” she informed them dismally.
Teddy arched a brow, not liking the tone of the redhead’s voice. “Planning, eh?” He glanced over at Molly, who had once again resumed her pacing. “I hope it’s something diabolical, the way she’s pacing. If she keeps that up, she’ll wear a hole in the floor.”
“Wouldn’t be the first time,” Lucy muttered under her breath.
“Yep,” she sighed, the slightest hint of mirth tainting her otherwise grave tone, “we’ve had to replace the floorboards in her room three times now.”
A twinkle sparked in Teddy’s eye as he regarded her, a smile tugging at his lips. “You don’t say. Only three times?” At Lucy’s nod, he snorted. “I would’ve thought more; she seems an expert pacer.”
Lucy shifted her position on the couch and opened her mouth to speak, but she was cut off by the irritated voice of her sister. “Oi, will you lot shut up? I’m trying to think here!”
“Sorry,” they said in unison.
“Trying being the operative word,” mumbled Lucy as she cast a curious look at Victoire, who’d been quiet throughout the exchange. She was shifting about, one hand behind her back as if she was trying to - oh! Colour rushed to Lucy’s cheeks as she realised what was going on and she averted her gaze, doing her best not to snicker at her cousin’s expense.
Thinking that Lucy was laughing at her, Molly stopped her pacing and rounded on her sister. “Think this is funny, do you?” she hissed, jutting out a hip and folding her arms over her chest. “I don’t see you making any suggestions!”
“I wasn’t laughing at you!” Lucy exclaimed. “I was - er -” she glanced at Victoire, whose eyes went wide, all but pleading her to come up with something halfway decent. “I was sneezing!”
Molly narrowed her eyes, doubt painting her features. “Sneezing?”
“Trying not to sneeze, actually,” Lucy amended, flashing her sister a smile, “hence the weird noises.”
A few feet away, Teddy was barely concealing his laughter, a hand clapped over his mouth and broad shoulders shaking.
“What?” Molly demanded, her arms falling away from her chest so she could place a hand on either hip. “What’s so damn funny?”
“Your sister,” Teddy said, his voice breaking as he finally gave way to mirth. His eyes flickered over to the girl on the couch, and he shook his head, laughing. “Really, Luce? Sneezing? That’s the best you could come up with?”
“I was put on the spot!” she objected, feeling offended. “What else would you have me say? That you and Vic were messing around in the kitchen just now?”
“Lucy!” Victoire exclaimed, her face flushing in mortification.
She threw her arms up in exasperation. “What? It’s the truth!”
“You didn’t need to tell everyone!” the strawberry blonde whispered through clenched teeth, though there was no anger in her voice.
“Merlin, Vic, you’re acting like I’ve told the entire family,” Lucy said with a roll of her eyes. Along with Victoire’s overbearing tendencies, she was also a touch on the dramatic side, which wasn’t unusual for a Weasley. “Besides, Molly’s just one person. It’d be a whole lot worse if Dom or Louis was here, as that’d be -”
So surprised by Molly’s sudden exclamation the other three were, their reactions varied between an abrupt squeal of fright (not Victoire, surprisingly) to a loud expletive.
“For fuck’s sake, Molls,” Lucy cursed, tossing a glare at her sister as she rubbed circles into her temples with her fingertips, wishing she could crack her skull open and massage her throbbing brain. “D’you have to shriek like a banshee? Think you’ve just gone and ruptured my brain, you have!”
“Quit your bloody whinging, will you? Molly’s thought of something!” Victoire snapped, surprising everyone, herself included. Almost immediately, she frowned, sending Lucy an apologetic look. Over her shoulder, Teddy was laughing into his fist. “Sorry.”
Lucy shrugged. “S’okay. I’m used to it by now.”
“Because you never shut your damned gob, that’s why,” grumbled Molly, pushing a hand through her flowing red hair in irritation. “Now are you quite finished or should I attempt to cleave your head in two with the mere sound of my voice again?”
Folding her arms across her chest, Lucy sank back into the couch, for once taking the high road and not sticking her tongue out at her sister. Besides, she wasn’t sure if her head could handle another ear-splitting shriek of genius.
“Right,” Molly huffed, “where was I?”
“Apparently you had an epiphany,” supplied Teddy, his words drenched with amusement.
The older of the sisters threw him a nasty look. However, it vanished almost as soon as it had appeared; replaced by the same self-satisfied smile Molly had worn when she found out that Lucy had gotten only four N.E.W.Ts whereas she had received all seven. Now that she thought about it, Lucy really hated that shit-eating grin, but she supposed it was suitable for a brownnoser like her sister.
Still beaming, Molly clasped her hands behind her back and gave them each an important look. “Louis,” was all she said after staring each of them down in turn.
“Louis?” repeated the three, each wearing different expressions of confusion.
She nodded deeply, grinning. “Louis.”
“What the hell does he have to do with any of this?” Teddy asked before either Victoire or Lucy could.
“Everything,” Molly replied, her tone suggesting that Teddy was stupid, which, if one were to reflect on all the things he had said and done in the last week alone, was up for debate.
At their lack of comprehension, she heaved an overdramatic sigh.
“Good Merlin, do you not pay attention?” She cocked a hip and situated a hand on the curve, her eyes finding Lucy. “You of all people should know his significance!”
Lucy’s eyes widened. “Me? Why should I know -” she stopped, the realisation settling upon her. As she returned her sister’s stare, Molly’s smile went from smug to knowing and back again. “Shit.”
“Yep,” Molly drawled, tilting her chin proudly.
“He’s not going to help us,” Lucy said. “Not after what I did.”
“Sure he will,” objected the other, “you’re his cousin and he loves you.”
Lucy snorted. “Yeah, okay. Sure he does. And Mothra and Godzilla are the best of mates!” She paused dramatically, pinning Molly with a sarcastic look. “Oh wait, no they’re not!”
Before Molly could protest her younger sister’s statement, Victoire chimed in. “Why are you acting like Lucy attacked Louis?” she asked, her hand finding Teddy’s on the couch, her fingers weaving with his.
Molly and Lucy shared a look of equally bewilderment.
“Isn’t that what Mothra did to Godzilla? Attacked him?” She blinked, looking from one face to the next for support. Surely, she wasn’t the only one who watched the reruns on the telly on Saturday mornings!
Lucy gulped, confirming everyone’s - and by everyone, Victoire’s - suspicions.
Teddy gasped, more out of habit than actual shock. “You didn’t!”
“I didn’t attack him, per se!” she exclaimed, holding up her hands in hopes of stalling the eminent burst of rage from her beautiful cousin. Naturally, as in most situations, the tactic did very little but make the situation worse.
“Then what did you do?” Victoire demanded, her cheeks colouring with anger. Beneath the hood of her thick lashes, her eyes flashed dangerously and if she could have without getting drool all over the carpet, Lucy was almost positive she would’ve growled.
Glancing helplessly at her older sister, who shook her head and folded her arms over her chest once again, Lucy sighed. She dragged a hand through her hair, unsure of how she’d put it without making it seem like she had assaulted Louis on purpose. Because, as far as she could remember, which, admittedly, was very little, he had been standing in her way of the door, and she didn’t like being told to stay put.
Deciding that Lucy was taking too long, Molly rolled her eyes, nudged her sister aside with her elbow and said, “She punched him in the face.”
Immediately, Teddy erupted into a fit of uncontrollably laughter, going as far as tossing his head back and hooting at the ceiling. Lucy half-expected him to collapse on the couch in a heap of long legs and bare arms, he was laughing so heartily. Victoire, on the other hand, looked anything but amused. In fact, she looked the exact opposite.
If the Lock Ness Monster mated with a hippogriff, she doubted it would’ve looked quite as unpleasant and full of rage as Victoire Weasley did in that moment.
Swallowing nervously, Lucy leaned closer to Molly. “Is this what Uncle Bill was talking about when he warned us not to wake Aunt Fleur from her nap?” she whispered, not even bothering to remove the fear from her voice.
Silently, Molly nodded her head.
A cold sweat broke out across Lucy’s forehead as Victoire forced down a deep breath of air through her nose.
“Should we run?”
Again, Molly nodded.
Lucy didn’t need to be told twice; she bolted.
There was a reason why Lucy wasn’t fond of running, aside from the burning stitch in her side and the dryness of her throat, of course. Her feet were killing her, but at least she had not worn heels, which couldn’t be said for Molly.
“You okay?” Lucy asked as they leaned against the brick wall of a deli a good three city blocks away from Vic and Teddy’s flat. While she hadn’t given chase, neither of Percy’s daughters was willing to take the chance of crossing paths with a Veela. Or at least a part of one. Regardless, that small part was absolutely terrifying.
Molly groaned, lifting her left foot and wrenching her shoe off. “I’ll be fine,” she said, wincing as she rubbed a tender blister on the back of her ankle. “How about you? Feel like you’re going to pass out?”
“No,” Lucy denounced with a shake of her head. “But it feels like a ruddy stake’s been shoved through my ribcage.”
The two girls lapsed into silence, leaning heavily against the brick wall and panting as though they hadn’t tasted water in years.
“So,” Molly said as she switched her weight from one leg to the next and massaged the sole of her right foot. “What do we do now?”
Lucy didn’t bother hiding her surprise. “What do we do now?” she repeated in a very poor imitation of her sister’s voice. “What the bloody hell d’you mean ‘what do we do now’? I thought you had a fucking epiphany back there!”
“Oh,” said Molly, taking care to look very dumbfounded indeed, “suppose I did.”
The other blinked at her. “So?”
Lucy rolled her eyes, tentatively raising a hand and touching her side. It didn’t flare with pain, but it certainly didn’t feel very great either. All she knew was that if they were going to see their cousin, a bus trip was most definitely in order. “Are we going to see Louis or not?”
“Do you want to see Louis?” Molly asked, pinning Lucy with a curious look. “I mean, Vic’s probably contacted him by now and warned him that we’re on our way.”
She shrugged. “It’s worth a shot. Besides,” Lucy added, pushing away from the brick wall, “if I don’t figure out who this goddamned ‘T’ is, I’m going to-” she paused, frowning to herself. “Well, I’m not going to off myself or anything - I’m not a drama queen like our dear Rosie - but the curiosity will eat me alive. Remember the last time that happened?”
Molly peered up at her sister, shuddering at the memory of a Laundromat, a canary, and too many peach schnapps. Rubbing circles into her temples, she sighed. “All right, then, I suppose we should get a move on. But don’t say I didn’t warn you.”
The look Molly sent her was so heavily laden with unamused sarcasm that Lucy could feel herself drowning in it. “Do you really think he’ll be inclined to help us after you broke his face?”
Lucy winced. She’d forgotten about that, but the chances were that Louis hadn’t. Bloody grudge-holder.
Entering the building, Lucy intended to bang on her cousin’s door and all but demanding answers from him. She’d bullied him in the past when they were kids, so why should now be any different? However, as they stepped out of the lift (both women had released cries of joy at the sight of the golden plated doors) and approached the red door, Lucy was fighting against her flight instinct with all her might. Which, in this type of situation, wasn’t much might.
Before she could even throw a self-pitying look over her shoulder at Molly, the older girl was clucking her tongue against the roof of her mouth in disapproval. “Oh, no you don’t. You’re the one who wanted to come here, so you’re the one who’s going to knock.”
“Lucy Nadine Weasley!”
Accepting defeat, Lucy sighed. “Fine, you fascist bitch.”
“Fascist? How am I -”
Lucy raised her fist to knock on the door before her sister could finish her sentence. She didn’t want to listen to Molly lecture her about her improper use of words. So she didn’t know the exact definition of the words - big deal! At least she could pronounce it without a lisp, which was more than she could say about Molly back in fifth year.
At the third knock, the door opened.
“Louis!” Lucy cried in greeting.
The door slammed shut in their faces.
Molly smacked her upside the back of her head.
Resisting the urge to roll her eyes, Lucy nudged Molly aside, knowing that the older girl would try to elbow her way towards the door and knock on it to prove her point. Against her better judgement, she knocked on the door again, silently praying that Louis wouldn’t slam the door in their faces once more.
The door opened, revealing a very disgruntled Louis. “What?” he seethed, his jaw locked in place. He looked livid.
“Why’d you slam the door in our faces?” Molly asked.
Lucy knew her sister could be bold and brash at times, but to actually provoke the spawn of Fleur Delacour-Weasley was just stupid. She would’ve thought Molly had more common sense than that.
Louis stared at her as if she had sprouted two heads, each with its own personality. “You can’t be serious,” he grunted.
“I’m perfectly serious!” Molly retorted, placing her hands on her hips and leaning towards him, a sneer on her face. “That was very rude, what you just did.”
Before Louis could formulate a response, Lucy cut in. “Why are you talking funny?”
“I’m not talking funny,” he said, barely moving his lips as he spoke.
“Yes you are!” she insisted, pointing at his mouth. “You’re clenching your teeth and not moving your lips when you talk. Why?”
“Why?” Louis parroted, his normally aquamarine eyes darkening considerably as he adopted an overtly sarcastic tone. “Oh, I don’t know, maybe because you punched me in the fucking mouth and knocked my tooth out!” As he shouted, his mouth opened wide enough for Lucy to see that one of his front teeth was missing, leaving a big, black gaping hole in his upper row of teeth.
Lucy laughed, unable to help herself. “I did that?” she questioned rhetorically, trying not to sound too proud of herself, but failing epically. This was just too good to be true. When James found out she’d finally learned to throw a decent right hook, he would be so proud.
She received a sharp elbow to her side just as the red door slammed shut again. “Way to go, you great stupid eejit!” Molly scolded. “You’ve really pissed him off now. Why’d you have to laugh at him?”
“I wasn’t laughing at him, Molls,” Lucy argued, knocking furiously on the door, hoping it would annoy her cousin so much, he’d open the door and tell them to fuck off. She might be able to shimmy her way into his flat if that happened.
“Really? You could’ve fooled me, what with the way you opened your mouth and cackled like a hyena!”
“I did not cackle,” she dispelled as she banged on the door. “Come on, Lou, I’m not going to go away until you come back out here and face me like a man!”
“LUCY! Why are you taunting him? He’s never going to help you now.”
“Yes he will,” Lucy insisted, tired of beating her fist against the door and resorting to kicking it. “If he’s anything like Aunt Fleur, which he is, no matter how hard he tries to deny it, he’ll be out here within the minute, telling me to get stuffed.”
Molly simply stared at her sister, absolutely dumbfounded. “It really is amazing that you’ve made it this far on your own.”
Shrugging, Lucy continued her incessant banging and kicking until, finally, some five minutes later, the door opened again and Louis grabbed Lucy’s fist before she could make any further noise.
“Fucking stop it, will you?” he said, glaring daggers at her. “I’ve got the headache of the century, no thanks to you!”
This time, Lucy had the decency to flush with embarrassment, but even then, it was tainted with pride. “I really am sorry about that,” she said, gesturing towards the black hole in his otherwise perfect row of sparkling white teeth.
“I’m sure you are.”
“If it counts for anything, I didn’t mean to do it. At least,” she continued, scrunching up her face as she attempted to recall the exact reason why she had punched him in the face, “I don’t think I did.”
Unlike his older sisters, who, once angered, were impossible to calm down, Louis was a bit easier to manage. His temper might’ve been quick to manifest, but it was also quick to die down. Not that he didn’t hold grudges; he would probably bring this moment up for the rest of their lives and use it as blackmail when he wanted something out of Lucy.
Louis shook his head. “Whatever,” he sighed, pulling the door open. After the two sisters filed into the flat, he shut the door behind them. “I know a bloke who knows a witch who dated some other bloke who, apparently, is really great at fixing teeth.”
“Oh, well that’s good,” Lucy said brightly, feeling much more at home in Louis’ flat and perching herself on the arm of the couch. “Now you won’t have to go to work, looking like a carnival sideshow!”
By the fireplace, Molly slapped a palm against her forehead and shook her head, muttering something about lack of tact.
Fortunately, Louis chuckled at her remark rather than angered at it. “Always looking on the bright side, you are, Luce.”
Lucy smiled at him, glad to see that he was marginally over the fact she had knocked out one of his teeth. The way she saw it, though, it could’ve been much worse. And at least she was the one who punched him instead of some random stranger.
“So,” Louis began, reaching into the back pocket of his trousers and removing a freshly rolled cigarette. As he went through the motions of lighting it, he asked, “What are you doing here? I know you wouldn’t have woken up this early after a night of debauchery just to apologise.”
Molly shared a glance with Lucy, who was trying her best not to get her hopes up. “Well, I was wondering if you could help me out with something.”
He cocked an eyebrow at her. “You admit that it wasn’t your intention to apologise and now you want my help?”
Lucy winced. “Yes?”
Instead of responding, he took a long pull off the end of his cigarette. She watched, utterly fascinated, as the puffs of grey smoke spread out through the living room, rolling towards her in a cancer-inducing cloud. Not for the first time that morning, Lucy wished she had a cigarette, if only to relieve her stress.
“Okay,” he said with a shrug. “What’d you need?”
“I need to know everything that happened last night.”
Louis laughed harshly. “Fat chance of that. It’s a bit difficult remembering things when you get punched in the face.”
“Are you ever going to let that go?” Lucy sighed, pinching the bridge of her nose in frustration.
“No, probably not,” he said, shaking his head. “Why are you so interested in knowing what happened last night? Did you wake up with another tattoo?”
Lucy glowered at him. “Har har, you’re so funny. The only reason I have that tattoo is because you suggested I get it done to ‘commemorate the evening’.”
Assuming the defensive stance, Louis held up his hands, his half-smoked cigarette dangling between his long fingers. “No one ever said you had to listen to me. It’s not my fault I’m so persuasive.”
Lucy rolled her eyes, but let it drop. There was a reason behind her visit, after all. “In all seriousness, though?”
She scrubbed a hand over her face before getting to her feet and approaching Louis, who gave an involuntary twitch when she held up her hand in his face. Lucy tried not to smile to herself; at least she knew how to threaten him when he grated on her nerves.
Much like his sister had, Louis took her hand within his grasp and studied it. Unlike his sister, however, Louis didn’t try to rip her arm out of socket. No, he furrowed his brow and pursed his lips.
“Hm,” he mused aloud, “that’s odd.” He released her hand gently.
“I’ve seen that number before.”
Lucy’s heart gave a pathetic thump of hope. “You have?”
“Where?” Molly demanded, speaking up for the first time since they had entered the flat.
Louis took one last drag off his cigarette and Vanished it before he answered. Instead of the smug look Lucy had been expecting, he was wearing one of utmost pity. “On the back of Rose’s hand.”
It took a moment for the words to sink in. Once they did, Lucy could hardly believe it, yet at the same time, it made sense. Of course, Rose would have the very same number on the back of her hand; she had been trying to steal Lucy’s potential boyfriends ever since that slimy git Scorpius had asked her out to Hogsmeade instead of Rose. Naturally, Lucy had rejected him, but still, Rose held it against Lucy and all but made it her vow to ruin any and all relationships she may have.
“That bitch!” Lucy finally said.
“I was thinking slag,” Louis threw in casually, reaching into his back pocket again and withdrawing not one, but two cigarettes. “But I suppose that works, too.” Once he lit both cigarettes, he held one out to Lucy, who accepted it without a moment’s hesitation.
“Did you tell her whose number it was?” Molly demanded, tossing her sister a look of disapproval.
Lucy ignored it, too busy relishing in the rush of nicotine in her system and plotting ways to kill her least favourite cousin.
“No,” Louis answered, pushing a hand through his messy blonde hair, “but I did tell her where I thought she should go to figure out who the number belonged to.”
She started to whinge, but Molly cut her off. Apparently, she was one-step ahead and had already figured it out. “How long ago was that?”
“Maybe four, five minutes before you got here. Why?”
Grabbing her sister by the elbow, Molly marched towards the door, wrinkling her nose at the stench of smoke surrounding Lucy. “Keep your mobile on.”
Louis grinned. “’Course. You might want try to booth across the park. The nearest one has been out of service since last March.”
“Did you tell that to Rose?” Lucy asked.
“Of course not. D’you really think I’d make it that easy for her after she called me feminine?”
Lucy couldn’t help smiling hugely at her new favourite cousin. Bloody grudge-holder, indeed.
A/N: Sorry it took so long to get an update out! That being said, I hope the wait was worth it. If you have any questions, comments, or concerns, you know what to do! Thanks for stopping by.
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