Chapter 1 : One
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"Darcy Carolyn Finnigan, if you don't get down here this minute, we're going to miss the train!"†
"Coming, Mum!" I called, throwing some quills and another jumper into my trunk. Slamming it shut, and carefully getting my owl, Hermia, I ran down the steps and into the kitchen where my mother was waiting for me.
"You're sure you've got everything?" she asked.
"Yes! Now let's go! Dean, come on, we're leaving!" I called, praying to Merlin that my brother hadn't chosen today to sleep in.
Fortunately, he was ready to go before I was, so getting him out of the house wasn't a problem. We got everything into our car and were on our way to King's Cross. My mum had passed her muggle driving test, but sometimes we weren't sure how. Especially on mornings like this, when†she drove like a madwoman. We made it to King's Cross in ten minutes flat, then†ran through the train station, and right through the barrier. If any muggles had seen us, I'd deal with it after I was safely at Hogwarts.
"I'll take you trunk and owl," Dean said, as I looked for my friends.
"Darcy!" I saw a blur of dark hair as Lysander Scamander, one of my best friends, plowed into me.
"Hey, Lys! I missed you!"
"If only Lucy would say the same thing." Lysander had fancied our best friend Lucy Weasley since fifth year, and couldn't get up the guts to tell her.
"Is she here yet?"
"Yeah, she's saving us a compartment on the train."
"Ok. You can go ahead and wait with her, I'll be there soon."
"Just hurry, the train leaves in three minutes!" he called, jogging off to join Lucy.
"Bye, Mum. I'll miss you!" I said, giving her a tight hug.
"Goodbye, sweetheart. Promise me you'll write," she said, pulling back to look at me.
"Darcy, I want you to know that your dad wishes more than anything that he could be here. But the ministry called him in, and it was so last minute. Someone apparated right into a crowd of muggles, and the entire Accidental Magic Reversal Squad had to go and modify memories."
"It's ok, Mum. I understand. Just give Dad a hug for me and tell him I'll miss him."
"Of course. I love you."
"Love you too, Mum. Bye, Dean," I said, hugging my older brother.
"See you at Christmas," he said, poking me in the side and making me laugh.
"Now go so you don't miss the train!" Mum said.
"Goodbye!" I called, running to get on the train.†
I had barely stepped on when it started to move, and I could see my mum and brother waving. With one final wave and grin, I walked down the corridor to find Lucy and Lysander. Unfortunately for me, I wasn't very good at multitasking, and trying to walk in a straight line and look inside the compartments for my friends proved a difficult task. I was trying to lean around a tall blonde boy, so I could peek into the compartment in front of him, when I slammed into someone and we both fell to the ground.
"Oh, I'm-" I started, but my apology died in my throat. I had knocked into Louis Weasley, who was possibly the most self-centered arse in all of England.
"What were you going to say?" he asked, as I stood up and brushed myself off.
"Nothing," I grumbled.
"Are you sure? Because it sounded like you were going to apologize. Which you should, because you did just knock me to the ground," he smirked.
"I'd apologize if you deserved it," I spat.
"Careful, Miss Finnigan. You could lose house points for speaking like that to the Head Boy, but since I'm feeling generous, I'll let you off with a warning."
"Thank you so much for that," I said, not bothering to hide my sarcasm. "Now, if you'll excuse me, I'd like to go find my friends."
"Of course. Be a dear and say hello to Lucy for me," he said, with yet another smirk as he let me pass.
"Don't count on it," I said over my shoulder.
Lucy and Lysander were at the end of the train, and by the time I found them, I was bursting to tell them what had had happened with Louis. I went into the compartment, slammed the door behind me, and flung myself down on the seat next to Lysander.
"Hey, Darcy! Have a good holiday?" Lucy asked.
"Louis sodding Weasley is possibly the biggest jerk I have ever laid eyes on! Just because he's bloody Head Boy, doesn't mean that that's another excuse for him to torture me!"
"What happened this time?" Lysander sighed.
"Don't you give me that tone Lysander Scamander! This is serious! I swear he thinks he's the best bloody thing that's ever happened to Hogwarts, and he walks around like sodding royalty!"
"This is my cousin you're talking about," Lucy said, grinning.†
"Cousin or not, he's still obnoxious," I said. It's a good thing she was a redhead, like her dad, and not blonde like Louis. If she looked like him I don't think I could handle it.
"What brought all of this on?" Lysander asked.
"I ran into him in the corridor, and refused to apologize, because he didn't deserve it, which he bloody well knows!"
"And then what happened."
"He practically dangled his head's badge in my face and threatened to take house points, all because I wouldn't say sorry."
"Darcy, you could have just apologized," Lysander laughed.
"I couldn't give him the satisfaction of hearing it! His head doesn't need to get any bigger."
"And who are we yelling about now, Darcy?"
Mother of Merlin. Louis Weasley was standing in the door of our compartment looking like he owned the place, and he was raising his stupid blonde eyebrows at me.
"No one you know," I said, biting my tongue to keep from insulting him. As much as I wanted to, it wasn't worth losing points for Hufflepuff.
"Did you pass on my message from earlier?" he asked, wearing the most annoying grin I've ever seen.
"Lucy," I said, making my voice as sweet as possible. "Your dear cousin here wanted me to tell you that he said hello. Clearly he's too lazy to walk over and do it himself, so he asked me to tell you for him."
"See? That wasn't so hard," Louis said, coming in and sitting down across from me.
"You can't-" I bit down on my tongue again, stopping myself from telling him to get as far away from us as possible.
"Can't what?" he asked, cocking his head to the side.
"Nothing, it's not important. Do you know if you're coming to the Burrow for Christmas this year?" Lucy asked. I thanked Dumbledore that she'd changed the subject.
"No, we're going to visit Mum's parents in France, I think," he said, still not taking his eyes off of me.
"That's too bad. You'll miss the fireworks on New Year's Eve."
"Is something wrong?" I asked, as he continued to stare, blinking his dark eyes lazily.
"You know, you're actually very pretty when you aren't spitting fire."
"I don't know if that was supposed to be a compliment, but I'm not thanking you for it."
"And the fire is back. It's a pity that it's so soon. I was enjoying having a moment to look at you without having to get past the flames."
"Don't you have to go meet with the Head Girl?" I snapped, rolling my eyes.
"I'd much rather stay here with you, but you're right," he said, standing. "I'll see you later."†
He winked and left our compartment, leaving the door open behind him. Lucy got up and closed it, giggling as she sat back down.
"What's so funny, Lu?" Lysander asked.
"Darcy and Louis! You know he teases you just to get a reaction, don't you?"
"I know that, but I can't help it! He's just so damn irritating!" I cried, throwing my hands in the air in frustration.
"Just be thankful you aren't stuck with him during every family gathering," Lucy said, digging for something in her bag. "Here it is!" she said, pulling out her prefect's badge and pinning it on.
"Shouldn't you be out looking for troublemakers so you can take points?" I asked, curling up on the seat reading a copy of the Quibbler.
"The sixth year prefects had the first shift, so the seventh years could relax for a while before it's our turn."
"Will you be back before we get to Hogwarts?" Lysander asked.
"Probably. If I'm not you'll save me a seat in the Great Hall, right, Lys?"
"Of course!" he said, a little too enthusiastically.
"And that's why I love you," she said, ruffling his hair. "I should probably go. See you two later."
"Bye, Lu," I said as she left.
"Why? Why in the name of Hufflepuff can't she fancy me?" Lysander groaned.
"And you say that I'm overdramatic," I said, rolling my eyes. "Just relax. I still think you should tell her how you feel."
"And risk ruining our whole friendship! I can't!"
"Well, you're going to have to at some point. You know Lucy's best when you're honest with her."
"I know... I just can't tell her. At least not yet."
"Well you'd better do it before this year is over, or I'll tell her for you."
"You wouldn't!" he said, narrowing his eyes at me.
"It's all up to you, Lys."
It was raining steadily by the time we arrived in Hogsmeade. We'd changed into our robes, and Lucy still wasn't back. Looks like Lysander would get to save her a seat after all. I saw Louis through the crowd of students as we got off the train, and tried to ignore him, but he kept flashing me winks and secretive little smiles that set my teeth on edge and made me want to hex him into oblivion. Merlin help whoever is in the way if he sets me off.