Chapter 1 : An Ordinary Day
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I would have strangled her, but I couldn’t reach. I swear, if I had to hear anything more about her stupid new job I’d find the nearest bridge and jump off. Once I’d strangled her, that is. If I had to hear another word about her new job, I’d be the next one on the obituary page in the Profit. ‘Fantastic opportunity’ my arse. She’s a secretary.
Granted, a Ministry Secretary, but still. Secretarial work is certainly known for it’s brilliant promotional prospects. Or y’know. Not.
It doesn’t help that even though they’ve heard this story every couple of days all summer, my parents are avidly listening and asking questions as if they’re actually interested in her job. I know they’re just doing it to let me know I need to start thinking. I don’t know why they’re so fussed. It’s not like my exam results were crap.
“Lucy, since it’s your last year, you’ll be thinking about what to do after you leave.” My mum has turned round in the front seat. How very conspicuous, Mother dear. I shrugged.
“I dunno. I’ve not really thought.” I lied. I’ve been thinking, honestly. Making some semblance of a decision would be the next step. My mum sighed.
I know they don’t mean to make me feel like I’ve disappointed them, but they manage. I know Molly’s more like them and that she has Ministerial ambition like them.
And it’s not just my parents. When you’re in my family, you’ve got to be something special just so you don’t get overlooked. Unfortunately, most of the noteworthy things have already been done. Head Girl, Head Boy, Quidditch Captain, and Prefect, all done and probably done by people who were better at it than I would have been.
This year, at least, is my last year at school. It’s not that I don’t like Hogwarts; I just don’t like school. I’ve got a painfully short attention span, which makes studying an interesting experience. I’d rather just off it over to Romania and work with Uncle Charlie and his dragons.
Although I’d probably need to concentrate. So that’s that out of the question.
“Lucy, you really need to think about your future.” My dad said loudly, annunciating each word like I was an idiot. I rolled my eyes.
“I know Dad” there was no point arguing that I’d heard his speech about careers in the ministry every couple of days all summer long. It was lucky we’d pulled up in front of Kings Cross station at that very moment, so I was spared a long and boring lecture about my prospects. I practically leapt from the car as soon as it stops. My sister climbed out somewhat less quickly, and held out my satchel.
“Don’t forget this.” She said, a smile on her face. I smiled back at her. My sister doesn’t mean to show me up. I know that, because she’s too nice. She just enjoys talking about herself when she has big news. “And ignore them.” she whispered, jerking her head in our parents’ direction “don’t get stressed. You’ve got loads of time to decide.”
Chatting away, we took my trunk out of the boot together, since neither of us can quite lift it on our own.
“Merlin Luce, what’ve you got in here?” she asked me, laughing as she stooped with its weight.
“Books.” I said mournfully “lots and lots of books.” She laughed again.
We lug it onto a trolley and set off through the crowds. Molly links her arm through mine. Our parents aren’t too far behind.
Reaching the red brick barrier, we try to look nonchalant. Trying not to giggle, I step backwards, as if the wall wasn’t really there. Swinging round, I push my trolley forward through the crowd of students and their parents. The rest of our very extended family isn’t difficult to find. The fire engine red hair most of us have inherited is a dead giveaway.
“Lucy!” spotting Dominique, the one who had called my name, I push my luggage towards her. She strides towards me, beaming. Dom is my favourite cousin. She’s hilarious and she doesn’t give two hoots what anyone things about her. She’s hard as nails too. Where I get scared if I’m in an argument, she seems in her element. She’s a useful one to keep around, is Dom.
She tackles me, throwing vanilla-scented arms around my neck.
“France any good?” I asked her. She smiled at me “you’re hideously tanned.”
Laughing, she flaps her hand “Jealousy isn’t becoming Luce. It was just the same old stuff. I did happen to meet a rather lovely garcon named Gaspard, though.” She winks.
“Still sickeningly loved up with Teddy.” She said, “They need to get married. It’s been seven years.”
“It’s only sickening because neither of us are loved up.” I said with a laugh. She shrugs.
“Anyway, enough about that. C’mon.” she takes my arm and drags me after her towards the rest of the family.
“Dom, I need to get this on the train.”
“S’alright.” comes the voice of Albus Potter.
“Al.” I said warningly, scrunching up my eyes, knowing he was right behind me. He was a big fan of sneaking up behind someone and jabbing their ribs. It always makes me jump about three feet in the air.
“Oh fine. You’re no fun.” He pouts. Dom snorts at his expression “what I was going to said was that I’ll drag it onto the train for you, since I’ve been hugged to death already.”
So I let him take my trunk and Dom links her arm through mine and pulls me towards our family. My parents are already there, and my sister is talking with Auntie Hermione. Dom’s mum spots us first and pounced, placing two kisses on each of my cheeks. Uncle Bill is here too, and he grins and asked me how my summer was. Uncle Bill is the coolest guy ever. Him and Uncle Charlie. He was a curse breaker in the distant past, which is pretty awesome, and Charlie owns his own Dragon reserve.
It sort of puts Senior Undersecretary to the Minister to shame. It’s not quite as manly.
I saw Uncle Harry, who was studiously trying to pretend there weren’t about eight people staring at him, and Auntie Ginny who was busy with Lily. At five to eleven, my mother gave me a kiss on the cheek and told me to work hard, and I know she’s just itching to add something else, probably to do with my distinct lack of future plans. Dad’s the same, but he at least nearly managed to look sincere when he said ‘Just do your best.”
Now I love my parents, I really do, but good god, they really like to rub it in. Whatever. Giving Molly a speedy hug, I ran for the train as the whistle blew.
“Lucy! We’re in here!” Dom called as I passed a compartment. I’d lost them all pretty quickly when the train jerked away from the station and had spent the last ten minutes weaving through groups of scared looking first years, searching for Dom.
“Where’d the bleedin’ hell did you all go?” I asked as I take my seat next to Dom.
“Here,” Al said from his position on the bench across from us “you were one who wandered off in the opposite direction.”
I shrugged and asked “so who’s the Head Boy and Girl then?” Albus rolled his eyes.
“Well who do you think? Perfect little Rosie Posie.” Dom answered for him, her voice full of sarcasm. Dom and Rose had never got on particularly well. It was sort of a fact of life nowadays “God I hope Malfoy’s Head Boy. That would just drive her crazy.”
“I dunno.” Al said “haven’t heard but I presume we’ll find out soon enough.”
“Who could it possibly be?” Dom said with sarcasm “let’s run through the possibilities shall we?”
“Al.” I said, counting with my fingers “Malfoy, that Ravenclaw with the curly hair-”
“Something Stanley.” Dom cut in.
“So that’s Al, Malfoy, Something Stanley…” she trails off “y’know, I actually don’t have a clue.” She giggled.
Al rolled his eyes and reached into his bag, pulling out a weathered copy of Quidditch Through the Ages.
“Someone really needs to buy you a new one.” Dom said with disdain “that one’s in bits.” And as if to illustrate her point, a page drifted to the floor.
Al merely laughed, “This one does the job just fine.” He said, holding his book protectively. Dom snorted.
I sort of got it though, like I’ve got this copy of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and I must have read it once a day for years. It stays in my bedroom on a shelf above my bed and Merlin forbid if anyone should try to touch it. It’s delicate! Nearly as old as I am, you see.
So we passed the excruciatingly long journey together the three of us, just as we’d always done. Rose used to join us until she simply couldn’t sit in the same room as Dom for more than fifteen minutes and had migrated off to sit with other people.
“Y’know, I think I might go check on Louis.” Dom said suddenly. The lady with the trolley had been round which means we’re more than half way. The landscape had been changing, from grassy fields to rugged heather. We were somewhere close.
“I’ll come with you.” I said, “I think my legs are about to fall asleep.”
We stepped out into the corridor, which had gone from noisy to silent. We passed through nearly three carriages heading back towards the end of the train. A lot of people were asleep.
“Here we are!” Dom exclaimed suddenly, throwing the door of a compartment open and throwing her arms wide dramatically “Hey little brother.” He looked embarrassed, the poor thing. About five little first years are staring at her with awed looks on their faces. She shooed a couple of them to make some room on one of the benches for herself. I remained by the door, leaning on the frame.
“So, nervous?” she asked, a glint in her eye. Louis rolled his eyes at her but he’s the only one who does anything. The rest were still sort of enraptured.
“So who’s all this lot then?” I asked, giving them a grin. Seriously, they were so beyond nervous it was ridiculous.
“Well,” Louis began “this is Frankie Longbottom.” He gestured to a boy by the window who gave us a wave “and Carl, Rachel, Mitchell and Jeremy.”
“Frankie, like Professor Neville’s kid?” Dom asked, grinning. He nodded, a smile on his freckled face. At least one of them looked remotely at ease. Aside from Louis, that is.
“Good Old Neville. Best Head of House there is.” I said with a chuckle. I’m not exaggerating either. While the other houses get Professor Slughorn who is so old I’m surprised he hasn’t done a Binns and just woke up a ghost, and that weirdo Professor Dubois, and is that her real name? I don’t think so! And not forgetting the Ravenclaw Head Professor Athena who so obviously thinks that everyone who isn’t a Ravenclaw doesn’t have the brainpower to do anything.
As the soon-to-be sorted first years digested this, I noticed a group of people coming along the corridor. I stepped forward into the compartment to get out of their way.
As I did so, someone’s pointy elbow jabbed me in the back, and I had to cling onto the doorframe so as not to fall on the first years.
“Careful Weasley.” Came a shrill cackle. Dom raised her eyebrows and stuck her head out of the compartment door.
“Oh, only Jill Nott.” She said, disapproval colouring her voice. I rolled my eyes. Stupid bint. Seriously, that girl was constantly throwing herself at everything that moved. Dom had a bit of a grudge against her and I can hardly blame her. That girl is vile.
“Who’s Jill Nott?” Louis asked. Dom turned to her little brother.
“Just someone in our year. She doesn’t like us very much.” Dom explained cryptically. Though she wasn’t usually known for holding back about someone she was less than fond of, she didn’t particularly want to drag Louis into anything this early.
Which was sweet of her, actually.
Eventually we went back to our own Compartment to change into our uniforms. Albus was already changed and left us to it with a roll of his eyes.
“It is absolutely spiffing to be back!” Dom announced as soon as we stepped through the portrait hole. Several new recruits gave her worried looks. I just laughed, too tired to care very much. It was just the two of us now. Albus was a Slytherin, and since Rose was very unlikely to want to spend time with us, it was generally Dominique and me.
I followed her up the staircase to our top-of-the-tower dormitory. A lot of people thought it was weird. Our friendship. When we were little, and Al, Rose, Dom and me were all the same age, everyone sort of presumed we’d all be best friends. It hadn’t quite worked out that way.
I mean, family’s family but that doesn’t mean I like everyone I’m related to. There are like three hundred of us. I’d have to be comfortably insane to get along perfectly with them all.
“I am stuffed!” Dom said, flopping backwards onto her bed. The feast had been top notch. I’d had too much cheesecake.
“And so am I.” I said, falling face first onto my bed, fully clothed “and while I’d love to stay and chat, I’m blooming shattered. Sleep now.”
“Bloody hell you sound like Rose!” Dom laughed. I snorted into my pillow. Disgusting. I propped myself up as I heard an indignant “Who sounds like me?”
“Hello Rosie. It’s nice to see you for the first time today.” Dom said. I bit my lip to keep from laughing. Rose didn’t respond.
“Aw c’mon Rosie, don’t get all pissy.” I said imploringly. She scoffed.
“Why’s Rose pissy?” Our fourth and fifth roommates had entered. Siobhan Finnegan and Desdemona Pucey. Siobhan had spoken.
“Sorry, why isn’t she pissy?” Desdemona added. Siobhan snorted.
“That won’t really narrow it down, Mona.” She said, and when Rose turned her death stare onto them, Siobhan’s face softened.
“Oh come on Rose. It’s called a joke.”
Rose rolled her eyes, a faint smile on her face. Rose didn’t really get jokes.
“Now. I’ve got a bagful of Sherbet Lemons and a couple of packs of fizzing whizbees.” Mona said, all businesslike.
“And I’ve got the cookies.” Siobhan said. Dom leant forward in her bed.
“Excellent.” She said, “pass us a cookie.”
What did you think? I'm just trying out a new idea so any feedback would be very much appreciated. I do love feedback. I've always wanted to write a Percy's Daughter story :D