Chapter 1 : A Little Less Seventeen Candles
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Disclaimer: I do not own anything but the plot and OC's. All credit goes to JKR.
My birthday - seventeenth, if you're wanting the specifics.
Oh that's right, my mother's a raving lunatic that doesn't understand the concept of simplicity.
Then there was the time Mum ruined my thirteenth birthday party. Unlike the Paris fiasco, that year we spent with Dad's side of the family over at the Burrow. It should have been a good time, because let's face it - I was way more of a Weasley than a Delacour. And for the beginning, it actually was. But then Mum had to go and be her usual fun-sucking self.
See here, I had been plotting to pull this prank on my cousin Rose, whom I deplore. It involved a bucket full of frog spawn, numerous Weasley Wizarding Wheezes fireworks, and a ball of yarn. It was going to be legendary! James, Freddy and I had been working on this plan our entire second year - well it was Freddy's first, since he had a late birthday. Either way, we were all excited to see its execution, especially since it was involving this new technique that James had come up with. Plus, Rose has the most hilarious reactions whenever we prank her, which always makes everything better.
But I guess when Mum saw the three of us all huddled together, hiding behind Granddad Arthur's garage with a load of fireworks in hand, she figured we were up to no good and came to put an end to it. However, what she didn't know when she yanked me by my collar, was that I had been holding a lit firework, and so when she grabbed me, I accidentally threw it over my shoulder in surprise.
It landed right onto the lap of my unsuspecting Aunt Hermione.
Her left ear took three weeks to regain its full hearing again. Not to mention all of the other damage that the explosion had done. The table where all of my gifts were located had completely burned down, my cake blew up and made a giant mess everywhere, and a good portion of my Nan Molly's vegetable patch got absolutely scorched. Add that to being grounded for the rest of the summer (which was only three more days, but it still sucked) and I've got another rotten birthday.
So by now, I think it’s a pretty reasonable reaction to be having feelings of anxiety around this time of year. Ever since that disastrous party at the Burrow, I’ve spent all of my next birthdays sort of anticipating all of the things that could go wrong. However, with me coming of age this year, I’m a bit more worried about how Mum will go about ruining it this time.
Tradition in the Weasley family whenever one became of age was that they were presented with either a watch (if you were a bloke) or a charm necklace (for the ladies). So far there have only been three in our generation to receive theirs. James, who just got his last month, our cousin Roxy, who was presented with hers two years back, and of course Victoire, who was the first to receive it. James's watch was rather posh and the huge bash that the Potters threw to celebrate it, has definitely been the most fun thing I’ve done all summer. Roxy's charm was unforgettable, which was to expect, what with Uncle George picking it out for her.
A fox, for his "foxy Roxy".
James, Freddy and I couldn't stop laughing when we saw it.
But nothing came close to the ridiculousness of Victoire’s necklace. A fifteen-karat gold unicorn, with the inscription "unicorns live in the true believer's heart" engraved in French on the back, and a horn that was covered in tiny crystals. It was the gaudiest looking thing I’ve ever seen and pairing that with Vic’s over-the-top emotional reaction, well, let’s just say that I had to run out of the room to keep myself from bursting out with laughter.
Merlin, I don’t even want to think about what my mother has picked out for me. If it has any sort of bedazzling on it, rest assured I won’t be caught dead wearing it. James and Freddy would never let me hear the end of it, if I did.
The creature came flying into my bedroom, screeching at the top of its lungs, and I already knew who the letter was from. There was only one person in this world who owned an owl so loud and obnoxious. I glared at the ugly brown bird, as it scratched its enormous orange beak against the wooden frame of my bed.
"This better be one damn good present, James. Sending me a letter at nine in the morning, on a Sunday," I muttered under my breath, and went to calm Herpes down.
Weird name, I know. But it wasn't always like that.
Originally, the owl had been named Hermes. Albus thought it would be clever to name an owl after the Greek messenger god, but James had something else in mind. So he changed it up, and the name has stuck ever since. Much to Al's dismay.
"I'm coming, I'm coming. Merlin, calm yourself, you little bugger," I snapped, as the bird began to squawk. I untied the sloppily wrapped parcel from his leg, and after tossing him a few treats so that he'd shut up, I began to read the letter.
"HAPPY BIRTHDAY MINNIE!
Welcome to the wonderful world of adulthood, love. Hope old Herpes didn't wake you up too early, hahaha.
I would've came and delivered your gift myself, but Dad's got someone from the Ministry coming over for an important dinner, and so Mum has us working like house elves to get the place clean. As if they were going to be having dinner in my bedroom! Mothers these days...
Anyway, I'll try and sneak out later. After all, we can apparate now. Have a spanking good time today, Min, and try not to blow anything up without me.
Keep it classy.
Lurve, James :)
PS: Dad, Al, and Lily all wish you a happy birthday as well, and are sorry that they can't come and see you today. Mum's sending her letter separately, because I'm too "irresponsible" to be trusted with it. Honestly, the woman could give me a little more credit. Alright, now I'm officially ending this letter. End."
I snorted at James's letter, and moved to open the package he had sent. Inside was a giant slab of Honeyduke's finest (from Al and Lily), seventeen galleons (from Uncle Harry), and a pair of florescent yellow knee socks with little gray hippogriffs knitted on it, handpicked by James himself. I could only assume that my gift from Aunt Ginny would come later, along with her letter.
Overall, not a bad haul. I could always trust the Potters to get me things I actually wanted. Or would use, since I don't think I've ever actually wanted a pair shockingly bright socks. I wrote a quick reply back, thanking them for the gifts, and sent it with Herpes.
I left my window open, since I was probably going to get a few more owls later today or at least the one from Aunt Ginny, before putting my gifts away and heading downstairs. My friends usually waited until we were at school to give me mine, since my birthday was so close to the start of term.
I was about halfway down, when I realised something was wrong. The mouth-watering smell of frying bacon wasn't flooding my nostrils, attacking me in that oh-so-seductive way of theirs. The scrumptious waft of sizzling cheese and eggs wasn't intoxicating the air and absolutely no trace of my favourite birthday special, delicious chocolate-filled crepes that melted in your mouth and made you want to moan with heavenly delight, could be found. I was instantly worried. What was a birthday without the house smelling like greasy pork fat?
When I entered our kitchen, I saw Mum poaching eggs at the stove. On the counter next to her were a neatly stacked tower of whole grain toast and a bowl of fruit.
"What the hell is this?" I blurted out, looking at the food as if it were from Mars.
"Language, Dominique," Mum warned, sliding the eggs onto a platter.
"Why are we eating rabbit food for breakfast?" I asked, incredulously.
"It is not rabbit food,” she reprimanded. “And we are going to start eating more 'ealthy in this ‘ouse. I will not 'ave my children clogging their arteries with junk, nor will I allow them to blow up like a bunch of pigs."
"We're part Veela. It's practically impossible for us to get fat," I snorted, throwing myself into my seat.
"Don't throw yourself, Dominique! I did not raise a troll for a daughter," Mum scolded, placing the food onto the table. "And I will 'ave you know, I just read an article in Magique à la Mode about a girl who also 'as Veela blood in 'er, and she became obese because she thought she could eat whatever she wanted and not 'ave to deal with the consequences."
I rolled my eyes at Mum's loyalty to that dumb magazine. It was practically the French Witch Weekly, and like its counterpart, filled with rubbish. One time, she had us go on this weird radish diet for a full two weeks, because she had read an article about how it helped clear up your skin.
"Now, go make sure that your brother is awake, and tell 'im that breakfast is ready," Mum ordered, as she began to set the table.
I pulled myself up from my seat and trekked back up the stairs. I always hated the staircase, which should really be called "The Hall of Victoire's Many Accomplishments". One certificate after another, the wall following along the staircase was flooded with every single achievement my sister has done. Ribbons that Vic won for getting the best marks, being an exemplary student, becoming Head Girl - whatever you could win at Hogwarts, Victoire won it. Everything that didn't involve Quidditch, that is. She never really had an interest in the sport, but that didn't stop her. You could barely see the pale blue paint of the walls, there were so many awards hanging off of it.
The wall opposite it was equally as horrible. That was the location where Mum decided to display all of our family photos. Every year we were forced to dress up and pose for an hour, while some photographer took our picture. It was completely dreadful. I can count on one hand the number of photos in which I'm actually smiling. And then, there are all of the other family pictures - the ones that Mum sneakily captured when we weren't looking. Like the time when Vic and I were playing "Princess", and Vic got to wear the sparkly tiara while I was stuck being her dumb cat. Or when I lost my tooth, and so there's just this giant close up of my face with a huge gap in my mouth. There's also one where I was reading Louis a tale from the Beedle and the Bard, while sitting on one of my gran’s quilts wearing only our underwear.
And Mum wonders why I never invite any friends over.
I shook my head at the photos and tried not to make eye contact with any of them on my way up. I quickly got off the landing, making my way to Louis's room, which thankfully was the first one to the right.
"Hey bed wetter! Mum says breakfast is ready!" I yelled, pounding on his door.
I heard a loud thump, then a string of French swear words following suit. I couldn’t help but smirk at the sound of my supposedly ‘angelic’ baby brother cursing the hard floor. He was only twelve, but Mum and Vic still treated him as if he was a toddler. If either of them heard what was coming out of his mouth, they’d just about have a heart attack.
"Honestly Minnie, must you always be so loud?"
I turned around to see my sister coming out of her room across the hall, already dressed and ready for the day. That long blond hair, with its soft and loose waves all brushed to perfection. Her makeup was flawless, brightening the blue of her eyes just the way she liked it, and her silk dress pants were neatly pressed. The diamond engagement ring on her finger completed the outfit. She looked so much like Mum, it was sickening.
"I'm sorry princess, did I interrupt your beauty sleep?" I asked, in a mockingly sweet voice.
"Nice try, but I've been up since seven. Unlike you, I don't waste my life away by sleeping in," Vic answered, and I scoffed.
"That's only because you needed to sneak Teddy out before Mum and Dad caught him in your bed," I said, smirking at her flushed face.
"I have no idea what you're talking about," she replied, defensively.
I let out a loud snort. Teddy and Vic had been sneaking into each other’s room ever since she left Hogwarts, four years back. The view I have from my bedroom window allows me to see Teddy run out of the house and into the woods, so he could apparate without our parents overhearing. It's amazing how many times I've seen Teddy in only a pair of boxers, when I'm not even the one who's dating him. And now that the two were engaged, it was even worse. They were like rabbits! Never getting enough of each other.
"Whatever, prat," I told her, laughing at how flustered she got whenever I brought up the fact that the two were shagging behind our parents' back. She hated how I had that kind of information over her, especially since it could easily ruin her reputation as the "perfect" child.
"Git," she snapped, causing us to go into a rampage of insults.
"Oi! Could you two move your fight somewhere that wasn't in front of my bedroom? I'm trying to sleep here!" Louis yelled, from inside his room.
"You aren't even supposed to be sleeping, you little bugger!" I yelled back, turning away from my prick of a sister.
The door opened and revealed an irritated looking Louis. It was obvious that he had just got up from bed, what with his blond hair sticking up in every possible direction and wrinkled pyjamas. His eyes were all squinted, probably trying to adjust themselves to the bright light of the hallway. I could see the trail of drool all dried up on his chin, and I tried not to laugh.
"You guys suck," he muttered, going downstairs. I flicked his ear as he passed by me.
"Don't hit your brother, Minnie," Vic scolded, and I rolled my eyes at how much she babied him.
"He can take it," I replied, following Louis out, with Victoire in tow.
"That doesn't give you the right to hurt him! You know, you can be a real bully sometimes,” she continued, and I scoffed.
"You know, you can be a real pain sometimes," I mimicked, knowing how much that irritated her.
"Merlin, why can't you ever act mature?"
"Why can't you ever take out that broom that's shoved up your-"
"Please tell me that you haven't picked a fight already, Minnie," Dad interrupted, his deep voice sounding exasperated.
We had arrived in the kitchen, to find our parents already seated at the table. There was a stack of papers next to Dad, probably a bunch of files from work. Although he had the weekends off, he nearly always brought it home with him - much to my mother's annoyance. And ours, now that I thought about it.
Normally, Dad was the laid back, fun parent. When Mum grounded you because you were hiding under your little brother's bed pretending to be a werewolf that would eat him in his sleep, he would come into your room with a bowl of ice cream and laugh at how clever his ten year old was. He rarely got upset with us, and usually tried to find a way to soften Mum's punishment. But now with all of his work swamping him, he was a lot less easy going. Add that with the fact that we were being forced into a "healthier lifestyle", a pair of bickering kids, and a wedding, it was no wonder he was irritated.
"Vic started it," I replied, knowing perfectly well that he wouldn't buy it.
"Just sit down and eat your breakfast. And that goes for the two of you, as well," he said, looking at Louis and Vic who were still standing. We all did as we were told and took our usual places around the circular table. I couldn’t stop the grimace from creeping onto my face, as I watched Mum slide an egg onto my plate.
"Anything else?" I insisted, hoping that I didn't have to spend my entire day running errands for Vic's wedding.
"We might drop by Diagon Alley. There's a sale going on at the flower shop, and we need to put in the order for my bouquet," Victoire added.
What, no birthday dinner? No one's going to throw me a ridiculous party that I'll hate? Not even a "Happy Birthday, Minnie"? Come to think of it, the only person who's wished me a happy birthday was James.
The realisation that my family may have forgotten my birthday was quickly beginning to sink its way in. I hurried to finish my breakfast and asked to be excused, dashing for the solace of my bedroom before anyone could see the tears that were threatening to appear.
Every time Victoire pissed me off or ditched me for her snotty Ravenclaw friends, I would climb the wooden ladder up to the attic. Louis was terrified of the place, Vic hated being around anything dusty and my parents were too busy to go up there, making it the perfect place to hide. Once you got past the musty smell and overall creepiness of it, the attic really wasn't all that bad. Little by little, I had started to bring my things up, until it reached the point that I had completely moved out of Vic's room. When my parents finally noticed that I was sleeping on the floor of the attic, they decided to renovate it and officially make it my bedroom. It was the best gift I could have ever asked for.
That sinking feeling that had been churning in my stomach, took a straight plunge.
Bloody hell, the owl just bit me.
I turned towards the creature and snapped at it for interrupting my fit of rage, until I recognized the neat handwriting that was on the letter it had brought for me. My aforementioned gift from Aunt Ginny had arrived, and for a moment, I allowed myself to forget about how upset I was in order to read her letter.
I can't believe that you're seventeen, already! It seemed like just last week, you and James were running around the backyard, chasing each other through rain, with ice cream smeared all over your faces.
Oh wait, it was.
Merlin, I'm still amazed that the two of you are now adults. How the hell did that happen? And Freddy's next in line, too. Oh god, now that is hard to imagine. Seriously, the three of you need to stop. You're not supposed to be growing up so fast! It's making me feel like an old woman.
Alright, enough of my rambling. As your godmother, I'm supposed to be providing you wisdom and so here it is:
I know that doesn't sound like sage advice, but I'm not Dumbledore, so to hell with it. You need to have fun with life, Minnie. Even though you're an adult now, you're still young and you need to be living your life to its absolute fullest.
You, James, Freddy and the rest of your cousins, have been blessed to grow up in a time where the Dark Arts aren't consuming the world and Voldemort isn't trying to take control. Your parents, and aunts and uncles (which includes me, thank you very much) gave up their adolescence so that you could have yours.
So you better appreciate that, damn it. You hear me, Min? You appreciate this life that you've been given, and you make the most of it, or I swear I'll hex your tiny little arse to Jupiter and back.
That being said, I hope you have a lovely day and I'm truly sorry that we weren't able to come visit. See you on the first.
PS - I am perfectly aware of James's plan to escape and come see you, so my only request is that you make sure he gets home at a reasonable hour. No more of this sneaking back into the house at three in the morning, alright? School is starting up in just a few days, and your bodies need to get used to having an actual schedule. So try to keep the mischief making to a minimum. ;) Oh, and I hope you like your present!"
It wasn't until I saw the tear drops staining the parchment that I realized I had been crying. I knew that she meant well, sending me this letter, but in all honesty it only made me feel worse. That bit about enjoying life to its fullest - how in the world was I supposed to be happy about my life when my own family forgot my birthday? Lovely timing, Aunt Ginny.
I sighed, knowing that it wasn't her fault my parents were being gits. Deciding to avoid throwing myself a pity party, I moved onto the neatly wrapped parcel lying on my bed. Hastily drying my tears, I began to open it, and was surprised to see what had been wrapped inside.
To put it simply, it was a framed picture of James and I.
We were laughing, his arm thrown casually around my shoulders. Every now and then I'd try to shrug it off, but to no prevail. Our hair was drenched, and there was mud splattered all over our bodies; we had just been running around in the rain (it was a favourite hobby of ours). We were seven, when the picture was taken.
Oh great, here come the waterworks.
What was it with Aunt Ginny and her emotional gifts? First she writes that blasted heartfelt letter, and now she gives me this. Sure, it's a great picture, but was she trying to turn me into a pansy?
Blimey, I was turning into Louis.
Something had to be done about this. I was seventeen - an adult, for Merlin's sake! In just a few days, I'll be off to Hogwarts for my final year. Away from my parents, away from Mum's ridiculous diet, and away from Victoire and her stupid wedding. No more sentimental mushiness. Just me, my (very few) friends, hearty meals, and a crap load of homework.
I completely forgot about the N.E.W.T.S.
I had no idea what I wanted to do after school. I could barely manage my personal life, much less a career. While the rest of my classmates were figuring out the next five years of their lives, I couldn't even come up with what classes to take. It drove Professor Longbottom up the wall, whenever we sat down to discuss "my future". It didn't help that I was a rubbish student.
Honestly, the only subject I got a consistent amount of O's in was Divination. And that was because Professor Trelawney thought I was a Seer. The old bat really ought to just hang up her crystal balls, and retire already. Although, I'd prefer it if she waited until I had already left Hogwarts. The only reason I was taking NEWT level Divination this year, was for the guaranteed O. As for my other classes, let's just say that my goal was to scrape as many E's as possible.
Merlin, I have no idea how I’m going to survive this year. But who knows, maybe seventh time's the charm?
Bill - Iain Glenn
Fleur - Cate Blanchett
Victoire - Teresa Palmer
Minnie - Emma Stone
Louis - Nathan Gamble
A/N: Tada! I hope you enjoyed this new, revised version of The Middle! Thanks to all of my readers, both old and new. Leave me a review, and let me know what you guys think. Your words mean the world to me!