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Chapter 5 : This Cannot be Happening
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Wonderful CI by paper.fox @ tda. Thank you maya (:
“Sophie love, that is tinsel you’re eating. Best spit it out now”.
Victoire Weasley reached over to gently pry the glittery red Christmas decoration out of her daughter’s hands, before replacing it safely in the cardboard box it had come from.
“How’s the decorating coming along?” Nana Molly asked, bustling into the living room in a colourful apron and oven mitts. She glanced around at the overly decadent room, a frown forming on her forehead. “Well then. You lot really went all out, didn’t you?”
We smiled sheepishly at her uncertain expression.
“Everyone wanted a go with the tinsel,” Louis explained, with a pointed look in Lucy’s direction. She grinned helplessly, “It could have been worse; Soph inhaled the majority of our stock”.
Sophie grinned at being mentioned, and Victoire sighed, picking her daughter up into her arms. “She did well. This room looks tackier than the inside of Padame Puddyfoots” She said with a roll of her eyes.
“Hey!” Freddy exclaimed, looking affronted. Fred was actually quite happy with how our decorating had panned out. He thought it added ‘ambience’ to an otherwise dull and unremarkable living room. “It’s original!”
“Your so indie, Fred my dear,” Lily said with a sarcastic roll of her eyes, dodging the Christmas bauble Fred threw her way with true Chaser skill. That girl was a Quidditch genius.
“Oh, do what you like!” Nana huffed, throwing her arms up in defeat, “Just as long as you clean it all up when it’s over. Victoire honey, do you think you could come help me with this crème brulee?”
Nana and Vic exited into the kitchen, little Sophie toddling along in their wake.
“Well I think it looks lovely,” I said proudly, staring around at the many pieces of tinsel, ribbon, string and baubles covering all surfaces of the room. A large Christmas tree resided proudly in the corner, charmed golden by Ivy. I felt like I was standing in the middle of a Christmas themed Casino.
“I could not agree more, sis,” Hugo sighed, slinging an arm around my shoulders. I shrugged out of his hold and ruffled his unruly mess of brown curls. He responded by placing a dramatically sloppy kiss on my cheek, before joining Lily on the couch. Sibling love. It’s beautiful.
“Good effort guys,” Fred said, coming over to join Luc, Ivy, Al and I. He shared a high five with Ivy (Al scowled accordingly. Jealous idiot) and reached over to pull a strand of blue tinsel out of my plait.
Fred was two years older than us, and a loving - if often idiotic - guy. I adored Freddy. I adored my whole freaking family, really, and it was nice to be with them all together like this. It was Christmas Eve, our official family gathering time each year. Of course, we tended to come together for birthdays too. As well as Easter. And the occasional weekend.
Yeah, we were all pretty close.
For the past hour Freddy, Louis, Di (Lou’s fiancée), Al, Lucy, Ivy, Lily, Hugo and I had been fervently decorating the living room at the Burrow for tonight’s celebration. Throughout the rest of the house everybody else was completing their assigned tasks, from baking the treacle tart to sorting socks. Nana never let an able hand go wasted, and she had a never-ending supply of possible jobs to dish out.
“Let us enjoy this rest while it lasts,” Al sighed, lounging back into the sofa and smiling with contentment. The lot of us had been busy as bees since arriving here this morning, and this moment of momentary peace was to be cherished just as he said.
I was sitting cross-legged by the fire, attempting to lure Stewart, my grandparent’s bedraggled tabby, out from under the Christmas tree with a piece of tinsel.
Ivy grinned at Al and leant over the back of his chair to whisper something in his ear. I saw his eyes widen, and without another word, he caught hold of her hand and led her up the staircase. I grimaced.
“It’s Christmas Eve!” I scoffed, chucking the tinsel at Stewart, who refused to budge, “Can’t those rabbits lay off it for one night?”
“You’d think they would have learned from our mistake,” Lou sighed, shaking his head. Diana laughed and stared at their entwined hands.
“Molly couldn’t look me in the eye for months,” She said, smiling an embarrassed smile, “I think she was in a state of denial.”
“Yeah,” Louis agreed, “And she only saw us-”
“TMI, Lou,” Lucy said, holding up a hand, “There’s no need to go into details”.
“Agreed,” Hugo concurred with an embarrassed cough. I laughed and resisted the urge to ruffle his hair again. I loved that idiot more than I liked to admit.
Squeezed into the burrow tonight were all of Nana and Grandpa Weasley’s numerous offspring, their offspring, and their offspring’s offspring. It made for a busy household. And along with all my many cousins, aunts and uncles, was Teddy, Diana, Ivy, Roxanne’s boyfriend Frank, and Molly’s husband, the charming and very successful Anthony Fisher. Anthony was also an award winning prat, but I couldn’t say that in Molly’s presence. I didn’t mind saying it in her husband’s though.
Speaking of gits. Malfoy had begun to bring cardboard boxes of his stuff over to our building a couple of days ago. I hadn’t actually come face to face with him since I stayed at his house the previous week – I was careful to retire to my room anytime I knew he was in the building – But those boxes were now physical proof that his moving wasn’t just a bad joke on his behalf.
He had actually come into our flat a couple of times, courtesy of my flatmates, who seemed to actually enjoy being in his presence. Those few times had made my teeth grind, and I was hoping that it would not be like this too often once he had officially moved in. There were only a limited amount of places in London I could apparate to when he came knocking, and anyway, I didn’t like the idea of fleeing his presence – I just hated actually being in it even more.
Or at least, that was what I assured myself every time I escaped with a pop whenever he was in the building. I just hate him. I would tell myself. It’s just hate, and you just hate being around him. It’s definitely not these newfound nerves you find yourself having in his presence! No, they’re just a side effect of your burning hatred. And his hair doesn’t look soft or touchable either. Just so you know.
Man. And my quest for sex and manly attention to quell this newfound feeling hadn’t done much either. I’d had a great time with Eddie Monday night, but it seemed that this sexual frustration required more than one good shag. And there was no way in heaven or hell I was going to call Eddie up, no matter how much Lucy bugged me about it. Not even if Great Aunt Muriel turned up at our doorstep with a suitcase, and the only possible way to make her leave was to go on a date with my one-night-stand.
Because that’s likely.
Oh Boy, I thought, pulling a hand down my face, You’re in a bit of a pickle, aren’t you Rose?
“So, Rose,” This was Roxanne, Fred’s older sister, accosting me. I glanced at her and the small party of relatives that had now joined us in the living room with mild surprise. I had been so caught up in my own thoughts that I hadn’t noticed them enter. “Are you going to be gracing us with your delectable cuisine tonight?”
“Indeed I will,” I laughed, “I made a cheesecake, a chocolate one. Nothing but the best for you, Roxie”.
“You know it,” Roxanne said with a wink. “Although I would have gone buttermilk… Just saying”.
I quickly retracted the raised index finger I sent her as Nana came bustling once more into the room.
“What’s this!?” She asked us, gesturing at our various slouched positions, “There is work to be done, and I’m not doing it on my own! Come on, up you get! Diana, Molly, Rose, I want you cutting vegetables in the kitchen. James, Fred…”
I heard my two cousins groan audibly, and tried not to laugh when Nana whipped James over the head with her tea towel.
“Sheesh woman!” The boy exclaimed, rubbing the spot sullenly. I patted him consolingly on the shoulder as I passed him on the way to the kitchen, Molly and Diana in my wake.
The kitchen was warm and bright and filled with the happy chatter of my aunts and uncles, who were either busy cooking up a storm, or sitting at one end of the table with bottles of butterbeer and trying (also failing) to look useful. You’d be surprised at the gender distribution – most of the women were the ones seated. Let me tell you, my dad could pull off the frilly apron look surprisingly well.
I caught sight of a large basket filled with carrots, potatoes and onions placed at the other end of the table, and shared a pained look with Di.
“Think of it this way,” Molly said reasonably, as she sat down and pulled a knife and cutting board towards herself, “We could be degnoming the garden. I count myself lucky, in that aspect”.
Diana nodded vigorously, sitting down next to Molly and grabbing a carrot from the basket.
It didn’t take me long to fall into the rhythm of dicing and slicing, and as Diana and Molly had begun to talk marriage and babies, I was left to my own thoughts for a while.
At first they jumped straight to Malfoy – I found myself doing that a lot lately. Side-effect of passionately despising the guy, obviously – but I carefully steered them away, and instead, found them drifting towards Molly’s Main Man – shudder, wince, gag – Tony Fisher. She was gushing about his acts of supreme romance to Diana, and I was struggling not to roll my eyes and feign choking on my own disbelief.
Tony was a good looking fellow of the brown haired, blue-eyed variety who tended to have a never-ending supply of suits, and – Why? I still don’t know – Old, disfashioned catch phrases. Like ‘As quick as a Duck on a June-Bug’ or ‘You know what they say about women with small boobs…’ (What do they say? He’s never explained that one) that made you want to slap him across the face with an angered Bowtruckle.
There were only a few of us who could see him for the sleazy, dishonest wanker that he was. Everybody else loved him so freaking much that we didn’t see the point in blackening his name to those charmed by his success and haughty accent, so we were resigned to grinding our teeth in silence and being bitches to him whenever no one else was around.
You should have seen Audrey’s reaction when it first became known that Molly and Anthony were to be engaged. She was flustered and jittery and wouldn’t stop talking about how wonderful it all was. I wouldn’t be surprised to find out she had a little crush on him herself, to be honest. In the eyes of Percy and Audrey, Molly could not have found a better catch.
Tony also worked for the Daily Prophet, as – Oh the agony – Chief Editor. Yes. If I one day managed to be employed as a journalist, I would be working for him. It would be torture. I would most likely quit.
“What about you, Rose?” I was drawn back to the glowing kitchen by the sound of my name being spoken. Molly was looking at me, grinning slyly, “Anyone special in your life right now?”
Oh brother. The dreaded question. Why did relatives always insist on posing it? It was like the adult version of ‘How’s school?’. Everybody involved knew the answer would be either negative, untruthful, or disgustingly cheesy.
“I’m really starting to feel a connection with my two cats,” I told her, throwing a handful of diced onion into the slowly filling pot and quirking an amused eyebrow, “I may even buy myself another. They’re lovely creatures”.
Diana burst out laughing, and Molly shook her head in bemusement.
“You’re crazy, Rose,” She sighed, “So no new man?”
I shook my head. “No new man,” I repeated. For the first time in a long time, I felt a short stab of something – regret, disappointment? – at those words. I brushed it off. Rose Nymphadora Weasley, you independent feminist of the 21st Century, how dare you! Sheesh, woman, get it together! Don’t tell me one measly night of meaningless sex did this to you.
“Ivy and Al seem to be getting serious,” Molly was now saying, raising her eyebrows in my direction. Molly Weasley was the biggest sucker for gossip I have ever encountered in my short eighteen years of life. “You’re still living with them, aren’t you?”
I nodded and plastered a broad smile on my face, but remained silent. I don’t know what provoked me into remained silent. That is a feat for me. I picked up the last vegetable in the basket – a sad looking potato – and stared at it as I tried to shake off this disgruntled mood.
“Any talk of a ring yet?” Molly prodded, ceasing the chopping of her carrot to turn eager brown eyes on me.
I was in half a mind to pour myself a glass of water just I could spray it out in disbelief at her words. A ring!? A ring!? What in the name of Merlin’s hot pink knickerbockers would possess her to think that!?
“No,” I said firmly, shaking my head back and forth, “I ain’t heard of no ring”.
“Oh,” Molly resumed her cutting, shrugging slightly, “Can’t be long now though”.
I emitted a loud, unenthusiastic laugh that sounded strange and unearthly. I can safely say that I have never made that noise before. What was wrong with me tonight? “Who knows…” I let out weakly, attempting to make up for the laugh and calm Molly’s slightly confused, slightly hurt expression. Sod. I needed a time out.
“I’m going to go get some air,” I said cheerfully, emptying the last of the potato into the pot and standing up. “If Nana comes asking, tell her I’m out… degnoming the garden or something…” I gave them a wide smile and a small wave, and left the kitchen, their mildly surprised expressions following me as I went.
It wasn’t snowing outside, but a small layer of frost covered the grass and rampaging plants in the Burrow’s back garden. There was a chilly wind blowing as well, and I wrapped my cardigan tighter around myself, wishing I had thought to put on my coat.
I turned around at the voice, and smiled when I saw my older cousin Dom. She was standing just inside the awning over the doorway, an old, colourful shawl wrapped around her shoulders. Her light grey eyes were light and happy, and the wind was pulling softly at her mop of strawberry blonde curls. Dom was tied closely with Lucy for the position of most energetic and optimistic person on the face of this earth. If I had to be accosted by someone at the moment, I was glad that it was her. It was hard to be bitter in the face of such careless happiness.
“Dominique Weasley!” I exclaimed, putting on a stern face, “How dare you laze in the garden when there is work to be done inside!” I grinned and her amused expression, and my act fell.
Dom laughed. “Marvellous Nana imitation you have there. I daresay it almost trumps Freddie’s”.
“Freddie’s!?” I placed a hand on my heart, “What an honour!”
Dom grinned, before surveying me with a small frown. “What brings you out into the blistering cold?” She asked me, sending a quick glance back at the glowing windows of the house. “It may be loud inside, but it’s also warm”.
I shrugged, fingering a strand of stray wool hanging off the sleeve of my cardigan. “I just needed a break. And as Al and Ivy are currently christening one of the upstairs rooms and I do not want to find out which, I came out here,” I shrugged again, letting out a puff of frosty breath. “It’s a lovely afternoon though, isn’t it?”
We glanced simultaneously up at the grey heavens, and I watched as Dom’s gaze swept across the frozen vegetable patch and sad looking trees.
She grinned and stepped out from underneath the cover, frost crunching underfoot. “You don’t fool me, Rose Nymphadora” She said knowingly, “Now turn that frown upside down. It’s Christmas Eve! It’s physically impossible to become sad on this day of the year”.
I sighed and kicked at a clump of icy snow with a galosh covered foot. “There must be something wrong with me, then, Dom,” I said, with an uneasy laugh. “Because I’m in a very foul mood”.
My cousin’s expression softened a little. She glanced behind her, and after a slight hesitation, sat down on an old stone bench that was sitting beside a clump of hibernating hydrangeas. I glanced at the bench she was on to check that it would not render my behind too wet, and, deeming it safe, I took a seat beside her.
“You, girl, have the makings of a seer,” I joked, flicking her gently on the arm. She shrugged in a ‘what can I say?’ kind of way.
“No but seriously,” She said, features sobering up. I quirked an eyebrow at her expectant expression. “Tell me all”.
“I would if I could, but I don’t even know myself,” I told her, shaking my head, a curl escaping from my plait and sliding off my shoulder. I pushed it behind my ear. “But I actually do feel the need to get something off my chest. If you’re happy to listen, that is. And also happy to swear a pledge of absolute secrecy.”
“Naturally,” Dom said with a wide smile. Holy Majeesus, that girl could grin. “So what’s up?”
“Ah,” I sighed, not sure how to begin. My breath floated out in a cloudy white puff that looked like smoke in the slowly approaching twilight. “Do you hate anyone, Dommy?” It seemed like a very silly question to me. Dom? Hate? Could the two words even be placed in the same sentence? But I asked it anyway. My cousin’s lips quirked up into a wry half smile.
“Hate? No, I don’t hate anyone. Some people do irritate sometimes. Some people irritate me always. But I don’t hate them. Why?”
Oh if only the world was made up of Doms. World peace and Happiness for All would be achievable, and the sky would rain jellybeans and candy canes would grow from the ground. It would be a fucking funtastic free-for-all.
Why so cynical tonight? Why?
“Well I hate this one boy. Man. Whatever. Anyway, I hate him with a passion, always have,” I began, frowning as I watched a red nosed gnome attempting to pull a worm out of the frozen ground.
“Scorpius getting on your nerves again?” Dom asked me, grinning mischievously. Was there not a soul on earth who didn’t know about our feud? Though our fights did get pretty heated back in the Hogwarts days. I guess it would be hard not to know. Plus, I complained about him to all members of my family so often that they weren’t bound to forget anytime soon.
“You could say that,” I answered gruffly, “But here’s the thing: Well, one of them anyway…” I trailed off as I chewed on my bottom lip, not even sure of what I wanted to say but knowing it would all come rushing out if I let it. This seemed like the only way to ameliorate my current mood, so I ploughed on without second thinking my words, “The other night I was sleeping over at the Malfoy’s, for this babysitting job I picked up a couple of weeks ago. I was dreading it, naturally; Malfoy was going to be there. But, you know, I thought we’d just bicker, fight, maybe throw pasta sauce at the each other. The usual. But, ah, something strange happened, it got weird. He was trying to stop me from leaving the room, to annoy me, yeah? But I wouldn’t back down. So he started whispering and getting all cocky and bloody hot. But I was annoyed. I wasn’t paying attention. I was just fuming and angry, until I finally managed to leave the room to get to bed. When I woke up the next morning, I was thinking back on what happened…” My cheeks were starting to heat up, and I pressed cold, embarrassed fingers to them. Dom was looking at me with a mix of curiosity, confusion, and shock. I pressed on. Too late to turn back now. “And, well, I was embarrassed and a little annoyed at the way he had acted. But I was also feeling… jumpy. Kind of like butterflies, but not in my stomach, in my chest. And I was dreading seeing him. Absolutely dreading it. I ran into him in the kitchen though, and I felt nervous, I couldn’t look him in the eye, I didn’t know what to say. I thought I might just need to go and let loose for a night, so I went out with Luc and Ivy to the Grizzly Griffin. Luc introduced me to a boy named Eddie, and I went back to his place… I had a brilliant time, the guy’s great, but I was still thinking about Malfoy. A lot. And he’s moving into our building, too, so he’s been around often. So maybe that’s just why he’s coming up? I mean, they’re not nice thoughts. They’re still bitter and hateful as usual, there is just more of them. And I don’t know, Dom, I don’t know what to think about this. I’ve actually been trying not to think about it until now. What do you say?”
I finally finished my rant, my cheeks flaming, unable to stare Dom in the eyes. What on earth had I just been saying? Where was it coming from? Fuck. And know Dom was most likely giving me the judging look. Or a concerned one, which would probably be worse because it meant that my worries were justified. I fidgeted on the bench as I waited for her to answer.
“Butterflies, you say?” She murmured, her tone gentle, but still a little amused. I sighed, my shoulders slumped in defeat.
“Yes. Butter… Yes.” I pulled a hand through my hair. This was not happening. Whatever Dom thought, it wasn’t true. It was all bullshit. I didn’t know why I told her the story the way I told it to her, but it wasn’t because of the sodding butterflies. Butterflies? Come on, I eat butterflies for breakfast.
Ok, not the best thought. I feel slightly sick now.
“Oh, Rosie. Rosie, Rosie, Rosie…” Dom shook her head slightly, bronze curls swinging. She was still smiling. I’m pretty sure that the girl smiled no matter what. Your cat just died? Oh, what a time for grinning! End of the world? Chuckle away! Aunt Muriel has just discovered the Philosophers stone (if she hasn’t already. Merlin, when will she die?)? Just beam and laugh, folks, beam and laugh.
“Dom, your killing me here. What do you think?” I said, finally raising my eyes to hers. I don’t think I have ever been so nervous in my life. Like Dom’s verdict actually decreed what I felt. I just wanted someone to sort out this mess for me. I was tired. I was shocked. I’d been suppressing and ignoring mixed emotions for the better half of a week. I wanted a piece of chocolate cake. I was fucking over it.
“Well, dear… I hate to say this to you, but…” Dom was half unsure, half apologetic.
This could not be good.
“… It sounds like you’re starting to get feelings for this guy.”
I felt my stomach plummet to a region somewhere near my toes at her words, and even though Dom’s gaze was soft and understanding, I felt very affronted at her for suggesting such preposterousness.
Oh no. No, no, no, no. Anything, Merlin, anything! I’ll take whatever pathetic job, untameable hair, and unbefitting taste for disco songs you will give me, but I will not take this.
Feelings for Malfoy?
Right. The day Gerbils fly.
A/N: And that is the end of chapter five! What did you think? Is this story dwindling? I'm gettin less and less and reviews, and it's worrying me. If there is something blatantly wrong with the past couple of chapters, please tell me! I will admit, though, I'm not surprised at the lack of reviews, chapters three and four are not the best. Even this one is passeable. But if you have read it and plan to read on, a small review would be very much appreciated (:
But anyway. Rose having feelings for Malfoy... it seems fast, I know, but there will be many complications along the way. How did you like the Weasleys? Dom? Dom will probably come into the story a bit more in future chapters. She's a year older than Rose. Please tell me what you think!! Thank you for reading (:
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