"I hate unpacking." Dominique Weasley complained, looking around at the brand new flat she and her cousin Rose were just moving into. It was not too big, not too small, in central London not too far from Diagon Alley, and pretty much perfect for them all round.
The block was popular for wizards because of it's location and the fact it wasn't too public. All the same, Dom was beginning to wonder whether she might'nt just go home to Shell Cottage. The stacks of boxes full of their stuff all around presented a daunting task.
"I love unpacking!" Rose said brightly. Well, she was the one who loved being organised. This was probably her idea of fun, Dom noted ruefully. "Come on, lets get started, I'll start unpacking all my books!" Like mother like daughter, Rose's books were her most prized possession. Ironically, Dom was a budding writer, but she wasn't the type to curl up with a good book. She liked to write about things she experienced, not live through the eyes of someone else, and her attention span was minimal anyway.
"You're kidding?" Dom moaned, "You're doing this by hand?"
"You're using magic?" Rose looked horrified. "What if the spell goes wrong and damages the books? Or things end up in the wrong place? You're no good at household spells!"
"It's never too late to learn." Dominique said simply, taking out her wand.
"Nooo! I want to do this properly!" Rose protested. Dom looked at her cousin. The same age as her, nineteen, their birthdays a week apart, Rose was the physical opposite of Dom. Rose's red curls framed a pale face with thoughtful brown eyes like her mother's. Right now those eyes were pleading as they met Dom's blue ones. Sighing, Dom put her wand away.
"Okay," She gave in with a sigh, "We'll do it by hand."
The two bedrooms were equal side and contained comfy, brand new double beds. Rose leapt onto hers happily upon entry with a squeal. Second to her books, her bed was also a prized possession. Her closet was scarce though and mainly contained jeans and t-shirts, and Rose made a mental note that she needed to go shopping. Dom's closet on the other hand, was full of many sets of dress robes, dresses, skirts and blouses in every colour imaginable, and she struggled to fit it all in. Rose then made a mental note once more not to go overboard; it just seemed so unnecessary.
Unpacking by hand took most of the day, and even then, a few boxes of their things remained unpacked. However, come six o'clock that evening, Dom had had enough.
"I need to get out of here." She declared, flopping down onto the living room sofa.
"Where are you going?" Rose enquired.
"We're going out."
"I don't want to... I mean, I really just feel like chilling out and going to bed early. I don't have the energy to-" Rose was protesting.
"No way, Rose. You live with me now. It's Friday night, we can't stay in!" Dominique was firm.
"Why not?" Rose pouted.
"Because that's what boring people do. We're young, free and single, we've just moved to London, we should be getting out there, getting to know our surroundings!"
"But I like being boring..." Rose sighed, but then saw Dom's expression. "Fine. But we know our surroundings. Our surroundings are muggle theatres and Diagon Alley. Nothing new. And... ooooh lets go to the theatre!"
"No way, Rose. We're going to that new bar that just opened down Knockturn."
"A bar?" Rose found bars and the like very socially awkward places full of drunk men trying to feel you up. She was about to tell Dom that Knockturn Alley was not the safest place to be hanging around at night, that it was full of Dark Wizards. But then she remembered that really wasn't the case anymore. Although it retained some of it's old creepiness, it had become more a bohemian community for young witches and wizards to socialise and hang around in. It was really not the same place as it had been during and before the war. Their Uncle Harry had seen to that.
Rose sighed. "Okay. But I need to eat something and get changed before we go anywhere. I'm exhausted."
"You wouldn't be if you'd just use magic to do stuff." Dom snapped.
"I said I'm going, didn't I?" Rose rolled her eyes, standing up and heading into the kitchen.
Two hours later, and they were ready. Dom had forced Rose into one of her dresses after disapproving heartily of her cousin's choice of flared jeans and sweater ("You can't wear that on a night out!"). Feeling bullied, Rose looked longingly at her bedroom door as they headed out.
"We're going to have fun, Rosie, trust me." Dominique said confidently.
"If you say so." Rose responded dully. They opened the front door to find two young guys standing outside, about to knock. One of them, the girls recognised from his silky blonde hair and dark eyes.
"Scorpius?" Rose could kick herself as her face flushed at the sight of her old school friend. Well, 'friend' was putting it lightly. They'd always had a thing for each other at Hogwarts, though it'd never really gotten off the ground. Dominique however was less than fond of Scorpius and decided to ignore him, looking at the other guy. He was tall, dark haired and extremely handsome.
"Hi," He said somewhat shyly, "I'm Jackson Hornby."
"It's good to meet you, Jackson. I'm Dominique Weasley, and this is my cousin Rose. We just moved in, obvs." Dom garbled. Jackson smiled.
"Well, we figured we had new neighbours. We live just up the hall." He explained.
"It's nice to know there'll be a friendly face around here!" Dom felt like an idiot for some reason, talking to Jackson in an unnaturally cheerful voice. Beside them, Rose and Scorpius were chatting away, oblivious.
"So we were just on our way to that new bar in Knockturn Alley and thought we'd invite you along." Jackson offered, as shy as ever. He kept looking at Scorpius as if hoping he would take charge of this instead of him.
"We were heading there anyway." Dom beamed. "We'd love to join you, right, Rose?" Rose didn't respond, still chatting away to Scorpius. "Nevermind. Shall we get going?"
"Okay." He fell into step beside her shyly while Rose and Scorpius trailed behind.
"I can't believe we're neighbours!" Scorpius was saying. "I haven't seen you since school."
"I know. How did we lose touch? We used to talk all the time." Rose responded. "How have you been?"
"Not bad, not bad... moved in here about six months ago. My parents were glad to see the back of me." He added.
"Aw, how come?"
"I dunno... Mum and Dad are kind of insular, if you know what I mean. I was just always kind of there." He shrugged. "Not that they didn't love me or whatever but... I suppose it's nice for them to spend time together alone."
"Yeah... Me and Dom just wanted to be independent... our family was supportive, of course. It's all about spreading our wings."
"Seems like a good way of doing it."
"I know... it's scary though. I mean, the world is just so big, you know? And it's just me and Dom now."
"Same with me and Jacks." Scorpius pointed to his friend in front. He and Dominique appeared to be saying very little to each other. "He was home schooled, you see. Apparently his great-grandmother used to bully Moaning Myrtle and she makes life difficult for all of old Olive's offspring." They both laughed. "Anyway, I met him at work and we became pretty good mates. Both wanted to get away from home and live a little, so we found this place."
"What are you doing these days?" Rose asked with interest.
"I work for the Department of International Magical Games and Sports." Scorpius responded. "In a very junior position, but it's going good. Jackson is a Quidditch player, by the way. He's humble about it though, doesn't like to brag, but he's Beater for Tutshill Tornadoes."
"Oh wow, I'll have to tell Aunt Ginny that."
"She was captain of the Holyhead Harpies, wasn't she?" Scorpius remembered. "Yeah... well, enough about me. What're you up to?"
"I work in Flourish and Blotts." Rose was slightly embarrassed about this. "I mean, it's nothing like working for the Ministry or being a Quidditch player or a writer like Dom, but it's a start..."
"Hey it's cool. You always loved your books." Scorpius smiled at her and Rose felt her heart skip the familiar beat it'd always skipped back at Hogwarts when they'd become friends along with Rose's other cousin Albus after he was Sorted into Gryffindor (a big surprise to everyone because he was, of course, a Malfoy).
"We could've Apparated here." Rose muttered to Dom as they finally turned off Diagon Alley into Knockturn. She hadn't realised as she'd been chatting to Scorpius, but they'd been walking for about half an hour to get here, all through muggle London.
"I thought you liked to do things properly." Dominique sniped.
"Yeah, well... my feet hurt." Rose hated wearing heels, but Dom had forced her.
"You'll thank me later." Dom indicated Scorpius, who'd stopped to do up his shoelace.
"What's that supposed to mean?" Rose demanded. Dominique shrugged and winked and caught up with Jackson.
"He likes her, doesn't he?" He asked Dom, indicating the other two.
"Those two are the bane of my existence. They've been like this since we were all thirteen." Jackson laughed, the first proper laugh Dom'd heard him give. She stared, somehow transfixed by the sound of it.
"Lets get into line." She changed the subject quickly, joining the queue behind a group of witches who didn't look old enough to be going into such a place. The security on the door were checking IDs, so they probably wouldn't get in anyway. On this thought, Dom fished out her Apparition Liscence as proof of age.
"I can't drink much. I have work tomorrow." Jackson said as the queue moved up a little. Dominique at that moment felt jealous of Rose and Scorpius, who barely stopped talking to draw breath. She seemed to find it difficult remembering how to speak to Jackson. It was as if her mind was wiped blank when he looked at her.
"You work on a Saturday?" She asked, surprised. He blushed for some reason and nodded, looking away quickly. "Weird. Rose took the day off to move in today. I think it killed her a little."
"What about you?"
"Me? No, I'm a writer, it's all freelance."
"A writer?" Jackson looked suddenly wary. "What do you write for? Like, Witch Weekly?"
"Write for that rag? No way." Dominique laughed disdainfully and Jackson appeared suddenly relieved. "I hate people prying into celebrities lives. They did it to a lot of my family. It makes life more difficult than it's worth."
"Oh... Right. You're a Weasley. So that means you're related to..."
"Harry Potter, yeah." She sighed. People usually launched into twenty questions when they realised this, and she didn't have much time for it. Thankfully though, Jackson didn't.
"I suppose he must have some interesting stories to tell." Was all he said on the matter.
The girls in front were turned away with pouting faces, as Dominique had guessed. "What if we don't get in?" Rose asked worriedly as they approached security. "I forgot my liscence!"
"Rose!" Dom cried, exasperated.
"Don't worry, we'll get in." Jackson said confidently. She stared at him.
"Are you sure?"
"Oh, of course we will." Rose said, something dawning on her face as she stared at Jackson. Dominique opened her mouth to ask how they could be so sure, but Scorpius interrupted.
"Your hair's gone static." He said to Dominique. She glared at him and her hand automatically jumped to her hair.
"No it hasn't. It looks good." Jackson said soothingly, though he smiled at Scorpius.
"Alright Jackson?" One of the huge security guards said as they got to the doors. Jackson smiled. The security guy's eyes travelled over the other three.
"They're with me." Jackson said quickly but firmly.
"Oh okay. Have a good night, guys." The guy waved his wand and the rope keeping people out of the place lifted, allowing them to pass. Dominique stuffed her Apparition Liscence back into her bag and followed Jackson down the velvet-covered stairs into the bar.
Who was this guy?
Rose could've sworn as they descended the stairs and they passed through the shadows that Scorpius' hand gripped hers for a fraction of a second.
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