It wasn’t uncommon for James to sleep through his alarm. It also wasn’t uncommon for James to sleep through Hayley getting up and showering, eventually coming back to get him when she got bored of being on her own. It was also wasn’t uncommon for James to miss serious family events unless somebody woke him up, which was why he was exceptionally lucky to be sharing a bed with a girl who knew exactly how to get him up.
“For fuck’s sake Potter!” Hayley moaned as she flipped over his mattress with her wand, causing James to wake with a start as he rolled onto the carpet, grumbling as he looked up at her. She was wearing a short, black dress, with matching heels. Her hair was sleek and she was even wearing makeup, attaching earrings as he glanced up at her.
“You look nice,” he said dumbly, as she sighed exasperatedly. “I mean I’m used to see you in your sassy Quidditch uniform or nothing at all but this is cool too. I mean, you look different, nice different. Gorgeous,” he eventually concluded with a warm smile as she glared furiously.
“That’s because we have to be at the Burrow in ten minutes!” she glared. “Teddy and Victoire left five minutes ago.”
“Ah!” James stumbled to his feet, shaking his head dramatically. “Where are my clothes?”
Hayley flicked her wand at him, muttering a succession of curses as he was suddenly wearing an outfit perfectly complimenting hers. He smoothed down his hair with absolutely no success and then admired himself in the mirror, nodding his appreciation. He slipped his hands around her waist and she sighed, allowing him the contact and then swivelling so she was facing him.
“I love you,” she whispered. “And today is a big day, so please behave yourself. I know you don’t want to and that’s you, but just channel your mischievousness into the right avenue. Which is making sure today goes off without a hitch.”
“I love you too,” James smiled. “So today is going to be perfect.”
“Remind me again why we’re doing this?”
Lily muttered a string of expletives under her breath before turning back to Kelly, a furious look that made her hair all the more wild implanted on her face.
“Because James asked me to do it, because I’m the only one who knows something and he’s my brother and whatever anyone says, I love him. Holy Merlin, I’ve become a good sister. When the hell did that happen?”
Lily looked slightly disgusted with herself so Kelly patted her back gently. The pair was on all fours, watching over the dinner with interest. James would signal her when it was time and Lily glanced back at the four sets of fireworks next to her she was setting off. On the other side of the lawn were four other sets and as Lily glared at Kelly, her friend scurried over, preparing to launch her set, nodding to Lily. Lily nodded back and focused all her energies back on James, who was deep in conversation with Josh, who was laughing alongside him. Fred looked distinctly disgruntled and James patted him on the back. Toni and Nicky were sat down the other end of the table, engaging Lorcan and Dom in conversation. Lily glanced back at James, who nodded at her. Lily primed the fireworks, signalling that Kelly should do the same. The young Longbottom nodded and turned to her own, pulling out her wand and muttering a series of charms.
“So everyone!” James was saying loudly as he stood and everyone was silenced. “I feel like I’ve been here before, big speech and all that crap. Now I hardly want to emulate other family members, but I might as well tell you all at once whilst I’ve got you all here. Now I’m rubbish at speeches so screw it. Hayley and I are getting married.”
Hayley stood and embraced him, as James signalled to her. Lily launched her fireworks, glancing to ensure Kelly was doing the same. They fired high into the sky, exploding to form the words JAMES AND HAYLEY FOREVER. James and Hayley were kissing now; their love emanating and Lily had a tear in her eye as she saluted her big brother. Her parents were in tears, rushing over to hug their son whilst Ron and George wolf-whistled and cat-called. Teddy had the biggest smile on his face of everyone, nudging a beaming Victoire. All their friends erupted with laughs and grins, Fred practically choked on his drink and Josh thumped his back. Whilst the majority of the table looked pleased, not everyone was grinning. Lily knew that there were still some in their family who were opposed to her brother and Hayley’s union, namely the very prim and proper Percy and Audrey, who stuck their noses up at them. Rose and Dom were laughing and Lily emerged from the bushes, almost bumping into Lysander, who was at the end of the table and had stood up to applaud.
“I take it the fireworks were all you?” he asked, a smile on his face. She nodded shyly. “They were epic. James is lucky to have a little sister like you watching his back.”
“Thanks!” Lily smiled, practically blushing and cursing her blood for rushing to her face. “Are you looking forward to heading back to Hogwarts?”
“Of course I am,” Lysander smiled warmly, before leaning in and making Lily’s heart flutter. “I’m especially looking forward to more late night chats in the Common Room when everyone else has gone to bed, if you’re still up for it.”
“Duh,” Lily giggled, maintaining her self-control. “They were a huge laugh last year. I do enjoy spending time with you Lysander.”
“And I you Lily,” Lysander smiled. “Now you’d better go and hug your brother before he gets mobbed by the rest of the clan.”
Lily beamed, running up the table and hurling herself at James, who had just escaped his previous hug, her vice-like grip closing around him as he groaned and hugged her back.
“Thank Merlin I’m only getting engaged once,” he winced. “I don’t think my ribs could take this much punishment again.”
“Baby,” Lily laughed. “And who says things won’t go tits-up with Hayley and you’ll have to marry someone else. Oh what a nightmare that would be, having to go to your wedding twice, as if once isn’t going to be bad enough!”
James glared insincerely and Lily punched him in the arm as he grumbled about his family and their various attempts to make him a cripple before he could win the Quidditch World Cup.
“Mind if I steal my fiancé Lily?” Hayley smiled and the red-head nodded, indicating for Hayley to steal James as she pulled him out of the crowd of well-wishers. “It still feels weird saying that, even now it’s official. Anyway, guess who’s here?”
“She made it?” James beamed as Hayley dragged him over to where their friend was stood awkwardly, beaming when she saw James. She hugged him tightly and patted him on the back, chatting animatedly with Hayley as James grabbed hold of Josh and Fred.
“Guys, this is Ciara, she’s on the Arrows with me and Hayls,” James introduced her, as Ciara smiled cheerily. Fred and Josh had to stop their eyes popping out of their heads. She was beyond gorgeous, tall with a perfect body and a sweet yet sassy face, her brown eyes fierce and her dark brown hair curly with a hot pink streak in it. She was wearing a dress that showed off her figure and she was still smiling, her smile illuminating her face and making both boys want to smile with her. “Ciara, this is Fred and Josh, they’re mates.”
“Pleasure to meet you,” Ciara replied, her accent a thick Irish that had the boys all but lolling their tongues. “Sorry again I’m late Jimmy, I couldn’t quite find this place! Did I miss it?”
“Afraid so,” James laughed in reply as Fred managed to shut his mouth and Josh was able to blink. “As of now, we are officially engaged!”
“I can’t believe you two; I was saying all last season you should tie the knot and now look at you! They’re the perfect couple, aren’t they?” Josh managed to nod as Fred focused all his energies on his jaw not dropping again. “They’re a quiet pair,” Ciara commented as James chuckled.
“Yeah well Fred got turned into a human pizza the other day, so I expect he’s still struggling to regain his self-esteem,” Hayley replied. “And Josh cries whenever he’s put on a broom.”
“One time!” Josh muttered darkly.
“Well I love pizza,” Ciara giggled as Fred went violet. “And not everyone was born to play Quidditch. Hayley mentioned you wanted to be a journalist Josh? Maybe we could meet up sometime, you could show me some of your work?”
“Yeah!” Josh looked like a kid in a sweet shop. “That would be brilliant. I’ll owl you!”
“Okay,” Ciara smiled as Hayley ushered her away to meet others and Fred scowled furiously at Josh.
“You’re kidding me right?” he grumbled. “She’s way out of your league! Step aside Josh, and let a real man take care of her!”
“Please Fred, what career are you going to wow her with?” Josh laughed. “Your job at your dad’s joke shop? Because that always impresses mature women?”
“It hasn’t failed yet!” Fred snarled. “Twenty galleons say I can get her in bed before you manage it Phillips.”
“You’re on Weasley!” Josh retorted, shaking Fred’s hand as James watched, thoroughly exasperated by what he was witnessing.
Lily found herself being lost amongst the sea of cousins and other relatives as she tried to make her way back towards Kelly. A name caught her attention: Malfoy. Wondering if there was any news on Albus, she poked her head into the apparent conversation, which was between her dad and Uncle George and, judging by the look on Harry’s face, they were talking about Malfoy Sr.
“Yeah I’m meeting the ministry tomorrow, after the kids have caught the train,” he was saying to his brother-in-law. “It’s been two years since he last appealed for release, so they’re going to give it serious consideration.”
“Don’t tell me,” George sighed. “You’re going to try and convince them to release him? The bastard tried to kill you Harry.”
“I know, but not even he deserves to rot in prison for much longer. He’s been in there for about twenty-five years now.”
Lily sighed. She knew her father’s views on the Malfoy family and whilst she neither understood nor shared them, she knew it was just the way her father was and she refused to challenge him; he knew what he was doing. At least she hoped so. He had a reputation of being correct when it came to the majority of his assumptions about Draco Malfoy and who was she to tell her father how to deal with his enemy?
Lily slipped away, back into the crowds of red-heads and towards where she hoped Kelly would still be, only to find herself being buffeted the other way by the sheer number of cousins and friends. She squeezed her way past Lucy and stumbled into clear space, gasping for air as the claustrophobic atmosphere had stolen it from her. She looked over to the bushes where Kelly had been and sure enough she was still there, although she had been joined by Hugo. Lily raised an eyebrow as Kelly’s hand went to Hugo’s shoulder and he laughed, throwing back his curly haired head gracefully. Lily hadn’t seen either Hugo or Kelly so animated in a while, so naturally she was suspicious as to what her best friend and cousin were up to.
“Lils, come over here!” Dom called, and Lily turned her head, all thoughts of Kelly and Hugo briefly planted to the back of her mind as she joined a group of her female cousins and Hayley for a picture. Rose and Dom had their arms around each other, posing playfully whilst Roxanne put on her most mischievous face. Molly and Victoire stood at the back of the group, polar opposites whilst Lucy sat at the front, looking as though she’d rather be anywhere else. Hayley slotted herself in beside Lily, her hand on her soon to be sister-in-law’s shoulder and Lily beamed to the camera. Once the picture was taken, the group dispersed, with Hayley winking at Lily before flinging herself into James’ arms, their embrace making Lily want to throw up, it was that sickly sweet. She turned her mind back to Kelly and Hugo, but her cousin was now chatting with Neville, who was one of his best mates. Kelly was nowhere to be seen, so Lily shook her head and went back to chatting with her family.
Lily jumped. She had almost been asleep, but Kelly’s appearance so late in the day aroused her, forcing her to rub the sleep from her eyes and blink into the twilight. Lily was back in her own bed, as she wasn’t staying at the Burrow that night and she saw that Kelly was sat on her trunk, freshly packed for the morning.
“Kelly,” Lily groaned as she rolled over onto her stomach and buried her head in her pillow. “Piss off.”
“Is that any way to talk to your best friend?” Kelly asked, feigning hurt.
“It is at stupid o’clock in the morning when we’re going back to Hogwarts tomorrow, where no doubt you’ll wake me up half the nights anyway!” Lily retorted. “What are you doing here?”
“Well, mum and dad got a bit drunk and are now passed out, so I figured what better time to come and tell you my big news?” Kelly was smiling, Lily could tell.
“How about on the Hogwarts Express?” Lily grumbled. “What’s so important that it couldn’t wait until tomorrow morning?”
“Look Lily, what I’m about to say may come as a bit of a shock to you,” Kelly paused, as if for effect and Lily rolled her eyes into her pillow, ignoring Kelly’s obvious melodrama. Kelly was attempting to build up the tension and Lily was on the verge of falling back asleep when she finally said: “I think I have a thing for Hugo.”
“WHAT??!!” Lily exploded, leaping to her feet so quickly and so violently that her head ricocheted off of one of her four posters and she howled in pain, cursing under her breath as she slumped to her knees, clutching her forehead as Kelly looked at her expectantly. Muttering in a tone that was not at all pleasant, Lily silently thanked Merlin that she put a silencing charm on her bedroom before she went to sleep every night. She was so used to Kelly’s exploits that such a late night meeting was not uncommon and she didn’t want her parents hearing. “What do you mean you think you have a thing for Hugo?” Lily hissed, rubbing her head where it had collided. “How can you think you have a thing for him?”
“Well…” Kelly began in a condescending tone that Lily didn’t like. “I was talking to him and I felt feelings for him like when you like someone. Is that a good enough explanation for you?”
“Don’t be an arse!” Lily snapped. “When did this happen? And why didn’t you tell me?”
“Well you know I’ve always thought Hugo was cute in his own right,” Kelly protested.
“Yeah cute. Cute meaning sweet, as in you would think he was your little brother cute, not as in seducing the poor bastard cute!” Lily cried.
“You’re taking this even worse than I expected,” Kelly observed, raising an eyebrow. “I’m trying to be serious here for once Lily, and you’re really not helping. I know it’s a bit of a shock to you but just because you have to see him in a platonic way because he’s your cousin, doesn’t mean I have to. I didn’t go over to him thinking, okay let’s seduce Hugo, we were just chatting and I sort of realised that he was actually pretty good-looking and when he talks he has this cute little smile he does…”
“Please stop Kel!” Lily begged. “Do you have to talk about him that way? I mean I still can’t fathom the idea of you liking him, let alone the idea of him looking…attractive! I mean what happened to Kevin?”
“Kevin? He’s all muscle and no sustenance,” Kelly replied in a matter-of-fact voice. Lily looked blank and tried not to glare as Kelly sighed dreamily. “I think he’s gorgeous Lils and I can’t wait to see him.”
“I think I need to go and throw up!” Lily muttered. Kelly sighed and put her arm around her best friend.
“I know you think it’s weird Lily,” she said gently. “But just try and be happy for me. He’s a nice guy, you know that and wouldn’t you rather I went out with someone you could trust? And someone you could easily intimidate if need be? Plus you too already get on and there would be no worrying about him falling for you!”
“One time that happened!” Lily glared, but was smiling now. “Okay you’re right Kel. If you want to try and make things happen with Hugo, go ahead. It would be unfair of me to try and stop the two of you; after all, you’re my best friend.”
“Thanks Lils,” Kelly hugged her gratefully, beaming as Lily softened under her smile. “I’m going to go home and get some sleep now, God knows I can’t have you keeping me up all night now can I?”
Lily could only smile.
A/N: Hey guys, thanks again for reading and a shout out to Elizabeth, my beta, who makes sure every chapter is in tip top condition when it's on the site :) Things are starting to move along now and the gang are almost off to Hogwarts, so I hope you enjoy and please leave me a lovely review :D HP
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