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Exceptional by EnigmaticEyes16
Chapter 1 : Real Sisters
Rating: 15+Chapter Reviews: 15

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Author's Note: Hello everyone! So, this story was written for LadyL8's Phobia Challenge--the phobia being fear of failure--along with hplover_987’s Pureblood Challenge and houlestar's 'What the Hell is a Hufflepuff?' Challenge. This story is a bit different for me, even though inner monologues and conversations are nothing new to my writing style, but it was still different for me to write. It's also only my second stab in the dark at Next-Gen except it's in one-shot form. I think that's why it's different, because a month ago, I never really intended to write Lucy, and so the thought of creating her character was a bit stressful but then I sat down and started writing and just went with it. I did not intend for her to become so angsty, but it happened anyway.

Moving on. I would like to thank Nymphie Tonks over at the forums for beta'ing this and giving me lots of helpful advice on how to make it better. I hope you all enjoy it and please don't forget to leave a review at the end.

P.S. A big thanks to laelia @ TDA for the amazing banner and also to killer queen @ TDA for the lovely chapter image below.



I’m Lucy.

That’s right. One of the many Weasley children. The brave, fiercely loyal, and unyielding Weasleys. Though sometimes I feel like I can’t be one of them. That someone has made some sort of mistake. I am nothing like them.

I’m not exceptionally beautiful and graceful like my cousin, Victoire. Nor am I the buxom seductress like Victoire’s younger sister, Dominique. I’m not even the coy, shy girl who doesn’t know she’s beautiful, like my cousin, Roxanne.

I’m not that pretty, and I know it. I’m just plain Lucy, pitiful and average. On a good day (and, mind you, those are rare) some would consider me cute.

Maybe that’s a good thing though. You know, like a blessing in disguise. Girls are catty creatures. And sometimes they’re just plain mean. And it’s no different here at Hogwarts. Trust me, you have no idea how many girls secretly hate my cousins. Can you really hold it against them though? It’s not a crime to be jealous.

But still, I don’t think a day goes by where I don’t overhear someone whispering behind one of my female cousins’ backs. They are always saying things like “Look at that Victoire, everyone thinks she’s so perfect with her perfect long blond hair and her perfect porcelain skin and her perfectly straight, white teeth,” or “Look at what Dominique is wearing today! Oh, that girl is nothing but a common slag. You’d never catch me in an outfit like that!” or “Look at Roxanne! Why’s she always got to be hanging around the boys, hogging all the attention they could be giving us!

I mean, seriously, being an attractive girl in the world can really suck.

But my flaws don’t stop there.

Not only am I plain in looks, I’m not exceptionally smart either, like my older sister, Molly. Nor am I’m exceptionally funny and charismatic like Fred. And I, most especially, am not exceptionally good at quidditch like James.

I’m not really good at anything.

Don’t believe me? Think I’m starting to over exaggerate just a bit? Feel like telling me to stop being such a self-pitying drama queen?

Let me continue.

I was not sorted into Gryffindor like my cousins. No. I wasn’t even sorted into Ravenclaw with my sister. I, Lucy Weasley, was sorted into Hufflepuff. Hufflepuff, I tell you! We are not brave; we’re not always that smart either. But we sure are loyal and just, and don’t forget patient. Pfft.

I am anything but patient. I guess I can be loyal, though, and sometimes even just, when I want to be anyway.

But really, we all know that’s just a load of crap they made up to make us losers feel better about ourselves. Hufflepuff is where they put you when you’re not brave enough, smart enough, or ambitious enough to be in one of the other houses. And that’s the cold, hard truth.

A lot of us are purebloods—I am, anyway—but there’s also a reasonable amount of half-bloods and even a few muggle-borns. Not that we really care about blood status in Hufflepuff. I certainly don’t. I’d probably be exiled from my family if I did.

You know my grandfather, don’t you? Arthur Weasley, biggest muggle-lover in all of England. Trust me, that is not an exaggeration. He loves to fiddle and tinker with muggle contraptions from toasters to cars. He’s always taking them apart so he can figure out how they work, and then he puts them back together.

I’m not very good with that sort of thing either. And I’m certainly not creative. Just thinking about doing artsy things like painting or writing poems makes me anxious.

Grandma Weasley once attempted to teach me how to knit her famous jumpers and within five minutes I managed to stab myself in the eye with one of her knitting needles and then I had somehow wrapped my entire ball of yarn around my neck, and when I tried to stand up I practically strangled myself to death.

I’m not very good at school either. Sure, I study all the time but no matter how hard I try I rarely ever manage to get anything higher than an Acceptable—unless it’s in Charms, that’s the only class where I can usually manage an Exceeds Expectations, although sometimes I think it’s only because Professor Flitwick takes pity on me and my poor wand skills. Not that it really matters anyway. When I do manage to get an E, any pride I may have felt is immediately shattered the moment I show my sister, Molly. Instead of congratulating me, all she can ever say is “You can do better, Lucy” in her typical uptight, pompous voice.

Of course she would say that. She’s little miss perfect, she gets an Outstanding on everything she does. She’s mum and dad’s favorite. Their perfect little, intelligent, over-achiever daughter who will grow up to be just like them.

See what I mean about girls being catty? Envy can consume even the best of us. Some of us just can’t help it. Especially when it’s constantly being shoved in our faces that we can’t have what we want or worse, that we’re not good enough.

My dad’s always telling me “Lucy, you need to try harder” or “Lucy, you only have yourself to blame for your poor grades” or my absolute favorite, “Lucy, why can’t you be more like your sister?”

Why can’t I be more like my sister, Dad? Uh, maybe because I’m not my sister! I’m not as smart as her; I’m not in Ravenclaw! I don’t have a photographic memory that remembers every single word, sentence, and paragraph I read in every single one of my books. I can’t just pull information out of my arse in the middle of an exam, those things are stressful! And the stress makes me forget what I learned even faster. It makes me doubt myself so that even when I have the right answer, I think it’s wrong, and sometimes I think it’s so wrong that I change it to something else that is completely wrong.

I just don’t do well on tests.

And that’s why I’m not exceptionally happy to be taking my O.W.L.S. this year. There’s no way I’m going to earn twelve O.W.L.S. like you did, Dad. Or even the nine that Molly earned. It’s just not going to happen. And I’m prepared for that. And by ‘I’m prepared’ I mean I’m not expecting it. In all honesty, I’m not prepared for anything.

I’m certainly not prepared for the O.W.L.S., even though I already know I’m not going to do well. And because I’m not prepared for my O.W.L.S., I am certainly not prepared to choose what I want to do with my life after I graduate from Hogwarts.

But, alas, here I am, sitting in the library, looking at the list of possible career paths I could take and all of their informational booklets. I have no idea what I’m capable of being, let alone what I actually want to be.

Let’s face it, there’s no way I’d ever be an Auror, I’d likely stun myself instead of the enemy. Nor could I possibly be able to design and make broomsticks; the last thing I need is to be responsible for someone killing themselves on some wonky broom of my creation. I’m no Curse Breaker, I can barely untie my own shoelaces after double-knotting them. Not to mention, I can hardly manage to cast spells, let alone invent them so being some whiz spell inventor is completely out of the question.

I’d hate any sort of boring, desk job, so that’s certainly a no. Dragons are cool but they’d probably eat me alive. I already despise Herbology more than anything else on the planet because it seems I get bitten, stung, or pinched every time I walk into one of the greenhouses. I’d rather take the chainsaw from my grandfather’s tool shed and murder those plants to death than work with them for a living! I certainly don’t want to join the Magical Law Enforcement Squad; those criminal wizards would likely take me out before I could them. And I’m terrible at flying, let alone trying to play quidditch professionally.

I just don’t know what to do.

Why must I even decide this now? I’m fifteen for Merlin’s sake! I’ve still got two more years before I need to start worrying about this sort of thing. And to be completely honest, I’ll probably just end up winging it.

But I can just hear my father say “That’s not good enough, Lucy,” and “You need to decide these things now, Lucy,” and don’t forget “Graduation will be coming up on you faster than you think, Lucy.”

Molly had all of this planned out before she took her O.W.L.S. Heck, I think she had it all figured out before she even received her letter to Hogwarts. She was going to earn the title of Prefect in her fifth year and become Head Girl in her seventh. And that’s exactly what she did. At the end of the year, she’ll graduate at the top of her class, too. She was dad’s dream child.

Father was so proud when she received her acceptance letter into St. Mungo’s very lucrative training program for those still in school. And they only select students with the highest grades and who are seriously considering joining the field. She spent the whole summer learning the basics on how to be a healer.

I certainly could never get into that program. I could barely handle Hogwarts! There’s no way they’d ever consider me with my grades, especially since I’m absolutely positive I’m going to get a Troll for my O.W.L. in Potions, and in order to get into the program only an ‘Outstanding’ would be acceptable.

Let’s just face it. I’m a failure. I am the black sheep of my family. There is nothing I am good at; I am going to wander through life performing ridiculous and mundane jobs like working in the shops in Diagon Alley, or something like that.

Maybe I should just quit now and save myself the trouble and heartache that trying and failing always brings. I could always snap my wand in two and run away to be a muggle. It’s not like I’m very handy with my wand anyway; most spells I try to perform usually fail. I might as well be a muggle, I might be better off.

Yet, I won’t. Instead I will continue to sit here and fret over what to do about my life.

It’s really not something I want to think about though, because I just end up imagining the disappointed look on my dad’s face when I show him my O.W.L.S. scores. Or the sad and pitying look he’ll give me when I graduate at the bottom of my class. Or worse, the unhappy, dissatisfied sigh he’ll make, along with the looks, when I’m back home and unable to find a decent a job to make a career path out of.

It’s not like I want that. It’s the last thing I want. But that doesn’t help the fact that I know it’s going to happen. I know I’m not going to do well enough to make Father as proud of me as he is Molly. I could never live up to that kind of genius. I’m just not that smart. I could study until my brain bleeds and I would still never be as good as her. I’m not perfect, and I never will be.

But what can someone who’s not perfect do with their lives?

Frustrated, I threw down the papers and sat back in my chair with a hmph as I watched them scatter across the table in front of me.

“Trying to figure out a career path, Lucy?” a dreadfully familiar voice suddenly spoke up from behind me.

I glared at her as she made her way around the table and sat down in the seat across from me. My sister, Molly. Come to gloat in my face about how the decision had been so easy for her, I assume.

“What’s it look like to you,” I replied curtly, annoyed that she always had to butt in where she wasn’t wanted.

She ignored my snarky comment though and glanced down at the booklets spread out on the table.

“What about this?” she then spoke up, reaching out and sliding the informational guide on Obliviators out of the way to uncover another brochure I hadn’t noticed before. It wasn’t a career pamphlet; it was an informational brochure for a school: The Wizarding Academy of Dramatic Arts.

Dramatic Arts? She thinks I could be an actress? I mean that certainly sounds like fun… but come on, really?

I snorted loudly as she held it up to show me. What a joke. Like I could be an actress? Even if I was actually good at it, I certainly would never make any money. Not to mention, Father would never let me go. I could just hear him now: “There’s no career in acting, Lucy” or “Acting is a bunch of rubbish, no daughter of mine will ever frolic across a stage like a fool” or the most discouraging of all, “No one will ever take you seriously, Lucy.”

How was the entire Wizarding World supposed to take me seriously if my own father couldn’t?

“You’ve got to be kidding,” I said, my face hysterical, I’m sure.

“Why would I kid?” she asked, as if it had never occurred to her in her entire life to crack a joke. And to be honest, she really wasn’t the joking type.

Because,” I spat out, forcefully. “No one will ever take me seriously as an actress!” I exclaimed as if it were obvious.

“Why not?” Molly asked as she put down the pamphlet.

“Because acting is not a serious profession,” I stated.

“Who says?” Molly questioned as if someone had somehow rendered her dumb.

Everyone!” I yelled in frustration, getting myself shushed by the librarian as she poked her head around a shelf to glare at me.

“That’s not true,” Molly contradicted. “There are plenty of actors in the Wizarding World who are not only taken seriously, but who get paid quite a nice sum for their work.”

“And what makes you think I could be one of those people?” I asked. “Who in their right mind would ever take me seriously as an actress?”

Molly suddenly looked as if I’d slapped her. “I think you’d make a great actress,” she finally spoke. “You’re certainly melodramatic enough to be an actress.”

“See!” I whispered loudly, not wanting to be shushed again. “Even you don’t take me seriously.”

“If anyone doesn’t take you seriously, Lucy, it’s you,” she suddenly spoke, her tone harsh. “You’ve never given yourself enough credit. You think you’re a failure at everything but it’s not true. I wholeheartedly believe that you could be good at this,” she continued, her voice filling with understanding and warmth with each sentence.

Who is she to suddenly understand me? To suddenly get where I’m coming from? Her! She, who’s always made me feel like I’m not good enough, like I’m not good at anything. And now there’s something she thinks I could actually be good at?

“I know you think I’m cruel and unhelpful for always criticizing your grades, but the truth is that I only want what’s best for you, Lucy. I only pushed you so that you could learn to be independent and self-reliant and, most importantly, so you could have the life you wanted.”

I didn’t reply. I just stared at her skeptically, unsure of whether or not I should believe her.

“If you took yourself seriously enough, if you really tried, I think you’d be wonderful actress,” she continued. “I really mean that, Lucy.”

How dare she? How dare she make me want to cry? And right here in the middle of the library.

“Father will never go for it,” I spat, trying hard to hold back the tears. “He wishes I were just like you.”

Molly looked taken aback at that. “Well, you’re not,” she finally said. “And you shouldn’t have to be.”

“Easy for you to say,” I spoke coldly. “You’re perfect. You’re just like Dad. Prefect. Head Girl—”

“You think I’m perfect?” she suddenly asked, looking stunned.

“You are perfect!” I accused.

She shook her head at me, a sad smile on her face. “Lucy, I am far from perfect, but that’s not the point. I didn’t strive to earn those positions because it was what Dad wanted for me, I did it because I wanted them. I wanted to be a Prefect. I wanted to be Head Girl. So I worked hard to achieve them. But, be honest with me, you didn’t want those titles, did you?”

I sobbed a bit. “No,” I admitted softly.

She nodded, “And that’s okay. Those positions come with a lot of responsibilities, and not everyone wants that. You have your own dreams to make and fulfill.”

“Do you think I could really make it as an actress?” I asked, thoughtful.

“I do,” she smiled. “I think you’d be exceptional, but only if you try.”

I nodded, a small smile on my lips. Molly thought I could be exceptional. I reached out to pick up the brochure and look at it a little more closely. “I think I’d like to go here,” I said, looking up at her.

“Then you should apply,” she stated smartly.

“What about Dad, though?” I asked. “He’d never agree to this.”

“You leave that to me, I’ll handle it. You worry about following your own dreams from now on,” she said, smiling brightly. “Deal?”

I nodded, smiling back at her. “Deal.”

For the first time, I really felt like we were sisters—real sisters who understand each other—and I suddenly didn’t envy her so much.

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