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Chapter 2 : a second-hand home
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They say that home is where the heart is,
I guess I haven’t found my home
Nurse Henderson leads her to a sitting room on the first floor.
It looks cozy: there’s a fireplace, though it isn’t lit, and there are overstuffed couches and armchairs scattered around with eclectic patterns printed on them. It seems homey, and it reminds Dom of the Gryffindor common room a bit, though without the overpowering maroon and gold everywhere.
She’s glad. Red was never really her color anyways.
There are people sitting around, chattering quietly in clumps, scattered throughout the room. The nurse leads her to one, where a group of four are clustered, talking to one another.
“This is Dominique,” the nurse addresses them, and they turn and smile at her.
She assesses them, like her mother taught her to: “First impressions are everything, Dominique. How are they standing? Are they standing when everyone else is sitting? Look at their faces, Dominique; look at their clothes. Look at them and see who they are. And maybe you’ll see the truth, ma cherie.”
Of course, Fleur has been wrong before.
There are three women there, and one man. The man and one of the women look on the older side - late twenties, at least, if not their thirties. The other two are younger, and look vaguely familiar to her from her Hogwarts days. Still, Dom has always been rubbish at names - she blames it on her family, there were too many of them for her to keep track of to bother learning anyone else’s - and who they are eludes her.
They look friendly, at the very least. They’re laughing and smiling - although, she does note, the older woman seems far more serious. But none of them are glaring at her or scowling or looking as though they don’t want to be there.
She supposes it’s a start.
“Hello,” Nurse Henderson says brightly. “I’ve brought you your final group member.”
Group member? Dom always hated group projects while in school. There were precious few people she could work with without going crazy. Bugger it, if she is expected to work in a group now...
It is only her determination to get better that keeps her normally talkative mouth silent and a grimace kept from off her face.
Unaware of Dom’s inner monologue, the nurse continued on. “I figured it would be better for you to introduce yourself, and to explain a little bit about life here, yes? Lydia, darling, would you mind showing her around afterwards?” She turns and addresses a small, delicate looking girl, who appears to be barely out of school. She looks as though she could break at any moment, with thin bones and pale skin and mousy brown hair.
“Sure,” the girl says, whom Dom assumes is Lydia.
“Agatha,” the oldest one suddenly says with a start, introducing herself. “Agatha Townshend.”
The other woman across from her, silent until then, speaks. “Danielle Hudson,” she says, and a rush of understanding hits Dom. Danielle Hudson - the name sounds familiar to her, evoking images of a tall Ravenclaw a year older than her - she had been Head Girl, Danielle. Dom was sure of it - the older girl had once caught her in a broom closet with Andrew Finnigan after curfew in her sixth year.
Hopefully, she didn’t remember her from that incident. Andrew had not been one of her best choices.
How does a Head Girl end up in rehab? Dom wonders. Unlike herself, Danielle had prospects and dreams when leaving Hogwarts. A bright future.
Dom never did. It had never bother her too much, not really.
An easy grin and a quick smile. The man amiably tells her that his name is “William, William Watkins.” Another face that she doesn’t recognize, but friendly all the same.
The girl the nurse had called Lydia also gives her a brief smile, and it seems to transform her face, making the once unremarkable girl - Dom can’t help herself, it’s true - seem to shine for a brief moment before it disappears. “Lydia Connor,” she says in a soft voice.
She’s also from Hogwarts - maybe a year younger than Dom, if not the same age. She, too, looks strangely familiar, but all that Dom can recall about her is that she wasn’t in Gryffindor with her. Probably Hufflepuff, by the looks of her.
Of course, Dom knows that stereotyping houses is bad.
She does it anyways.
She realizes it’s her turn to speak. “Dominique,” she says, and she is proud that her voice does not shake. Then: “Dom,” she corrects herself.
“Just Dom?” Agatha asks her, not maliciously, but curious. “No last name?” She raises an eyebrow, a dark caterpillar against her paler skin.
“Weasley,” she mutters, and she sees the light of understanding flicker in their eyes - especially Danielle’s. Maybe she does remember that blasted broom cupboard incident after all.
“But just Dom, please,” she says firmly, and is relieved when they all nod and shrug, seemingly satisfied with this answer.
It’s nice, for a change, not having people wanting to know every detail of your life. She likes it.
Agatha, Danielle, William, Lydia, she chants in her head over and over again, trying to remember the names. Agatha, Danielle, William, Lydia.
“How long are you here for?” the man - William, William she reminds herself - asks her.
“Three months,” she replies.
Nurse Henderson breaks in, informs them that they’re all due to leave at the same time, within a few weeks of each other. “That,” she says, “is the purpose of the group. You can stick together for the next few months - get to know each other,” she commands.
They all have rooms near each other, apparently. They’re not just people to eat lunch and dinner with and wave at in the halls, the nurse sternly reminds them, but people to be friends with and grow to understand each other.
“You all have things to learn from each other,” she says cheerily.
What? Dom wants to know. She does not have anything in common with any of these people - she’s no perfect Head Girl, or invisible Hufflepuff, or cheerful or someone who’s seen a lot of life. She’s just Dom - a messed up barely-adult girl who made the wrong decisions.
She is nothing like them.
Unless, of course, her first impressions are wrong.
It wouldn’t be the first time.
On one hand, she hates James’s parties. They have no class, none of the elegance that Dom secretly longs for.
On the other hand, there is an unlimited supply of alcohol somehow smuggled in, and loud music. And, she figures, the obnoxious drunk people aren’t so obnoxious if you are one of them. Foolproof logic.
The other hand wins out, and she goes to the party.
It’s in the Room of Requirement, James’s birthday party - it always is, so that the maximum amount of people can attend. It’s not easy - though possible - to fit the almost entirety of the older population of Hogwarts in the Gryffindor common room, though that hasn’t stopped James from trying in the past.
But this year is the final birthday he’ll have in Hogwarts, and it promises to be even bigger than it ever has in the past. James and Fred and the other seventh year Gryffindors have been planning it for ages. Most of the Weasleys old enough helped out, too - Dom and Rose even gave a hand in helping plan out the layout of the room.
Lily and Hugo and Louis are thrilled, of course - particularly Louis, as it’s been a staunch rule that under fourth years couldn’t attend, and he’s finally old enough to go, just in time for what promises to be the biggest party since the Marauders were in school. Lily and Hugo got to go to last years’, being only a year younger than herself, but they’re relieved not to be missing it.
Frankly, Dom is sick and tired of the stupid party, particularly hearing her younger brother’s crowing over his eligibility, and Lily and Hugo aren’t helping much, either.
It’s for his eighteenth birthday, for Merlin’s sake - he came of age last year.
But Dominique Weasley has never been known to turn down a party, and so she goes anyways, despite not liking James terribly much.
That’s how she finds herself getting ready in the bathroom of her dorm with Rose that evening at nine o’clock, applying her makeup as she simultaneously shoves her feet into a pair of heels. Basically, the dress code for James’ parties is dress-like-a-slag - the bloody wanker, he just wants to see down girls’ dresses and preferably up them, too.
Rose and Dom have a running bet on the amount of time it’ll take him to hook up with someone tonight.
Their roommates are coming, too, the bloody cows that they are - Dom never liked them particularly, not even on the first day. She’d never have figured they’d turn out to be such idiots, though - but she is, once again, wrong.
They left an hour ago - Rose and Dom are planning on being fashionably late. Since it’s their cousin who’s throwing the party - who’s practically bloody royalty - they’re guests of honor, anyways.
Of course, Maisie Donalds had to raise an eyebrow at the dress Dom picked out - sure, it’s a little short, maybe shows a bit of skin, but who cares? It’s one of James’s parties, after all. Just because Maisie Donalds is a damn prude who’s only now finally deciding to let loose a little and actually interact with people doesn’t give her the right to judge her - and Dom makes sure she knows this with an icy glare as she purposefully looks over Maisie’s tame purple frock - it’s not even strapless, for Merlin’s sake.
She is already in a horrid mood, and Maisie turns it positively poisonous as she viciously applies eyeliner, thick and dark.
“Calm down,” Rose says, laying her free hand on Dom’s arm as she applies her own makeup at the same time. It is only Rose’s soothing voice that gets through to Dom over the red haze surrounding her.
She takes a deep breath. “I can’t wait for this bloody night to be over,” she grumbles.
“We’re getting positively smashed at first chance and spend the rest of the night snogging random blokes?” Rose asks Dom.
“Of course,” she replies, and they walk down together.
She gets wasted in record time that night - impressive, as she holds her drink better than most of her family, and it takes a lot to get Uncle George drunk.
The party takes on a more enjoyable air when she’s drunk - she finally feels like herself, free and loose. The music is pounding and thudding and she can feel the vibrations shaking right through her, and it’s like a shot of adrenalin to her blood, as she throws herself onto the dance floor.
She’s there, in the heart of the people, going from boy to boy, feeling the throbbing of the beat coming from the speakers above her, letting the crowd push her in and move her around. One face out of many.
Rose is off in the corner somewhere, snogging the life out of Scorpius Malfoy. Dom won’t be surprised if Rose isn’t in the dorm at the end of the night - she’s drunk enough to do practically anything at this point, and it never took much convincing for her to do anything with Scorpius at all.
It doesn’t take very long for Dom herself to be in a corner too. She can’t remember the boy’s name - he told her, probably, but she always was rubbish at names.
What matters is that he’s pretty attractive - and not just because of the alcohol - and he’s not related to her. A decent enough bloke.
Early the next morning, before the sun is up, she sneaks out of the Ravenclaw seventh year boys’ dormitory, pulling her dress back on as she tiptoes out of bed. She performs a quick Disillusionment Charm before finding her way back to Gryffindor Tower.
She halfheartedly takes off her dress, Banishing her heels to the closet, and pulls on a pair of sweatpants before staring at the ceiling of her bed, drapes closed, until it’s seven o’clock and her roommates are waking up, groaning about their hangovers.
The word going around the Great Hall - she hears it in hisses, in snatches, until Rose tells it all to her, having just barely made it into the dorm before their roommates woke up - is that Dominique Weasley slept with two people last night, and definitely snogged at least five, the whore that she is. Jonathan Davies will tell anyone who’s willing to listen that they hooked up last night, sitting there at the Ravenclaw table with a swarm of people around him.
She avoids his glance.
She doesn’t both trying to contradict the rumors anymore. It’s always the same after parties - half of the guys claim to have done something with her the night previous.
What’s the point in denying them, even though the truth has been stretched so far that it’s barely noticeable? Sure, she snogged Jonathan Davies - and slept with him too - but she didn’t snog any more than one other guy. Hardly the five that she’s being credited for. And would it kill Jonathan to keep his damn mouth shut?
Perhaps. What does it matter anyways? People believe what they want to believe.
After all, everyone knows that Dominique is a quick and easy shag; a good snog.
Fuck them all.
Four hundred and twenty seven days until she leaves this dump for good.
Dom looks at the faces of the four people surrounding her. They are all different: angular, round, pale, tan, smooth, freckled. But they all share a look of weariness in their eyes that seems familiar to her.
She realizes where she’s seen it before: in her own face, when she looks in the mirror.
Maybe they do have something in common, after all.
So she sits on the couch, lets them introduce themselves, forces herself to respond back.
And when they offer - all four of them - to take her on a tour and explain what her life will be like for the next three months, she accepts. Because they are all she has right now, and she sees a lifeline, and she will take it this time.
Maybe it’s time for her to swallow her pride for once.
And perhaps, if she’s lucky for once in her life, things won’t be so bad if she keeps her chin up.
At the very least, it’s four more people who are closer to understanding her than anyone else has ever been.
A/N: Conquered writer's block thanks to short queue. ;) Still not entirely pleased with this... bah.
I know it's a bit slow at the moment, but I promise more stuff will be explained later - including the name Summerbee House. I know it sounds sort of silly :) However, it does have a story attached to it! And thank you to everyone who's reviewed so far, you're the best! :)
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