Chapter 3 : Crazy Train
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There's just no other way to describe this place. It's like a twenty-four hour amusement park and the family are kids on a constant sugar high. They should all come with a health and safety warning, especially the actual children (well, I say children - the kids still in school), though some of the 'adults' come a very close second.
Thankfully, there aren't that many kids to control this weekend, or the weekends to come, just the eight year old twins, otherwise known as Lorcan and Lysander Scamander, who are family friends and come round for Sunday dinner often because they live over the hill, and Fred Weasley's screaming newborn terror, Matilda. Yeah, the second great-grandchild to Molly and Arthur Weasley, after Ted and Vic's son Ryan (he doesn't count as a terror, all he does is sleep; I like him), was welcomed into the world not long after my own little sister was. Kirsten, her name is. Ciaran and Kirsten James. It's so sickeningly adorable...
(Word to the wise: expect siblings when your parents tell you they're celebrating you going off to university. Or, as my dad said to me, kicking you out of the house. Joke's on them anyway; they welcomed being alone too early and got another kid. Karma's a bitch, I love her.)
Unlike the summer, most of the family are back at Hogwarts, so it's only Teddy, Fred and Amelie (his fiancé and Matilda's mum), Molly Jr, Dom, James and Lucy who are here, as well as the older generation. Vic has work, so she's not coming until much later - Molly will leave her a plate. Roxanne is with her friend, Aidan. And Louis is in Paris obviously. But that doesn't mean it'll be in any way quieter. Not only because of the aforementioned twins and the terror, but also because Jack is here, too.
Jack and Lucy being in love and all does not stop them from fighting. That's wishful thinking. The only difference between then and now is that instead of thinking that they're disappearing for make up sex, we know that it's for make up sex.
And that is as far as I will let that train of thought go. The tracks definitely end there!
"You infuriating little shit, Jackson! Get back here!"
See what I mean...
I pull up my legs and tuck them into my chest, so that I'm practically curled into a ball on the old couch, just to make sure that neither of them stand on my feet when they run past - they only have eyes for each other, even when they're screaming at each other, and we innocents around them are just collateral damage. I'm so glad Kirsten is in France visiting my grandparents with my parents. Last time she was around them when they were screaming, they woke her up and the 'sweet little sister' started crying like she was a bloody alarm going off. It was awful. And I didn't have my glasses, so I didn't trust myself to look after her.
I have my glasses this time; I said I was only going to wear them for school, just a few hours a day during the week because I don't want to grow dependent on an illusion, but I've found that they're also needed for the Burrow. I made the mistake of not bringing them once - the masses of people knocked me down and I was trampled on. At least with the glasses, I can find something to pull myself up with faster.
It wasn't all bad, though. Dom decided he'd join me... Until he was stood on... Right in the crotch.
Right, we're talking about Lucy and Jack...
"I'm infuriating? That is either the biggest lie I've ever heard or you think I'm fucking mirror!"
"Lucy and Jack are swearing again!"
Simultaneously, and with crazy, angry stares that make me shrink back ever so slightly, they both turn to me and I can do nothing, not even whimper. So, I duck my head until my chin is touching my knees and just point behind me, to the evil little voice hiding behind the back of the couch, who thought it was a good idea to tattle on my friends.
The evil little voice raises his evil little hand and slaps my finger. Then his evil little head jumps out, shrieking down my ear, and I crap myself. I really should have seen it coming.
"Spoil sport," he pouts.
"Lorcan, get out from behind the couch," Lucy scolds, momentarily forgetting about her boyfriend and whatever was the cause of their yelling.
"Make me," the little shit, er, angel - yeah, liked you'd ever believe that - challenges her, leaning forward on the couch and swinging his legs. It makes a horrible bang every time his knees hit the back. This couch is going to break with me on it. I'm going to get squished by the couch. Oh, God, I'm going to die on the couch!
And that, friends, is why I sleep a lot. When I don't, crazy things come out.
I jump off the couch just as Lucy ties her messed up, what looks like they had been curls, hair into a ponytail and jumps onto the couch to try and catch the too quick kid. Then she chases him.
"Lucy and Jack are swearing again!" he yells at Harry and Hermione, pushing past them to get to the garden. Strangely enough, they don't stop Lucy.
I tap Jack. "What's up with her?"
"Her second year internship has got her working at all hours, even at home," Jack sighs, the concern on his face making me think he's contemplating risking her wrath to go after her. "She wasn't listening to my requests, so I was honest; I told her that she looked like hell and had to get some sleep. She started having a go, I walked away, you saw the rest."
"Oh, Jack," I say sympathetically, shaking my head. "You don't try to reason with Lucy and you definitely don't tell her the truth. You knock her out and drag her away."
"Because that's the sane thing to do?" he asks incredulously.
I shrug. "I didn't say it was sane, I said it was right. Now I'm going to sit at the table because I'm too scared to sit on the couch in case Sir Shrieks-A-Lot comes back. Unless Lucy got him first."
Harry, who takes my spot on the couch anyway, looks at me oddly. "Lorcan turned right to circle the house and Lucy went straight to the pond."
Ah. So, that explains why they didn't stop her.
"It's where she goes to rant or cry or hide or sleep. I'm not quite sure which it is this time."
"I'm on it," Jack calls, already making his way to the door.
"Percy says she's really pushing herself in the Ministry; she doesn't want people thinking he got her the job. But Drew is very impressed," Hermione tells me, concern also showing on her face, as well as a proud smile.
"Andrew Shepherd. You know, you call him Minister," Harry grins. Yeah, I call him nothing. It's not like I talk to the guy. "He's thinking of getting her to help Tamara Sinclair with the meeting between the countries. It's a big project because she'd have to help plan everything and host the parties, but she won't be given other things, so she won't be side-tracked or running around as much. He's hoping it'll help her relax a little."
"Sweet. Now I'm going this way." I point behind me, then walk away. Just walk away, Ciaran.
"It was fun talking to you as alway, Ciaran!" Harry calls to my back.
I wave a hand half-heartedly without even bothering to turn around, and scold myself for not being as interested in my best friend's life as I feel I should be. Maybe I'm just tired; all I've done this week is music practice and given talks about my achievements. Yeah, it's a performing arts school and I'm aiming to get a music degree out of it, but going through the same things over and over is annoying and draining. So, I won an international singer/songwriter competition. So, I was the first in my school for a couple of years. Literally just a couple... okay, maybe a little more than a couple.
I only entered because my teacher liked the start of my song and persuaded me to. I didn't expect to win, but after a bit of work, other people liked my song as well. And that is awesome, really. But the spotlight they're trying to put me in is the reason I want to go into songwriting and producing. No singing for me, no stages, no spotlights - that's Kyle's job.
Unfortunately, as the winner, it is my privilege (obligation) to open and close the next competition next June. Yeah, I have to sing at least twice - one of my own, a cover of another, it doesn't matter. Only the song you're entering has to be original. I've said yes to opening and closing the competition (the location is yet to be confirmed; mine was here in London, which was why I said yes), but I'm not so sure about actually entering this one. Not if it comes with all of this pressure.
And a lack of sleep because I have to talk about it, plan new songs to sing and maybe enter again.
The university's magazine is the only group I've said yes to talking to that I'm actually looking forward to; it talks about every aspect of the school, from the different courses to the clubs, and I love reading it. The magazine itself is a club, run by students for students, and it's quite successful. The other talks I was made to do were by teachers, talking to freshman classes. That was dull. My 'interview' with the magazine is on Tuesday and is, thankfully, the last. Then I can actually focus on my music.
I drop my head onto the kitchen table the moment I sit down; music focus will not be starting until this is all over!
"How are you feeling, Ciaran, darling?" Mrs. Weasley asks me, managing to sound like a concerned mother while her back is to me, her focus on dinner. Did I stomp my feet all the way over here and announce my presence?
"I'm fine, Mrs - Molly," I quickly change what I was going to say. I don't want another 'you're family now, call me Molly' lecture.
"You sound unsure, dear?"
Even I noticed that. "I'm fine, I promise," I tell her, this time managing to sound more sincere. You'd think that I'd be used to her seeming to know everything after a year, but no. She still surprises me.
"Do you miss Louis?" she asks kindly, this time turning to face me.
"Always," I shrug. "Would you like me to help you?"
"No, dear. You sit, you look tired."
I don't argue with that. I have no reason to, it's true after all. Instead I pull off my glasses and stick them in my pocket. I want to be alone in the dark.
I'm sure Mrs. Weasley will keep me safe.
Teddy ends up being the one who sits next to me; either he lost a bet or something or it was the last seat and he had no choice. Because he's learnt now not to sit next to me willingly. Only my friends, Louis and Hugo sit next to me willingly. It's an unspoken rule to this family.
Because for Teddy... things happen. He doesn't appreciate these things, but I think it's hilarious.
After dinner, while everyone is distracted by everyone else's conversations and their yelling and their arguing, I sneakily put my glasses back on. When the room comes into focus, I pull my magic quill out of my pocket - I bring it every Sunday - and put the feather underneath Teddy's nose, tickling him until he sneezes. It only takes a couple of seconds because of his allergies; too quick for him to move away.
I pull my quill back and he sneezes three times, one after the other... and his hair turns pink!
Ciaran: 6. Teddy: 0.
Okay... Ciaran: 6. Teddy: 1.
He did succeed in changing my direction when I wasn't wearing my glasses and I had Lorcan and Lysander knock me on my ass because I'd unknowingly gotten in their way. It was what started this little game.
He hasn't been able to get me back since.
"Oh, come on, Ciaran! Not cool!" he sniffs.
"Ew, you're dripping," I laugh.
He covers his nose, mutters about needing tissue and bolts for the stairs. I turn to everyone's amused faces. "Sometimes I think about stepping things up a notch, but I love how effective it is in its simplicity."
"You're a scary guy," Molly tells me with a nod. Says the girl who dresses like a rock chick and works in the Department of Mysteries. Now that's scary.
"Takes one to know one," I counter. She hisses at me, her upper lip curled, like a demented cat or a vampire baring their fangs. Freaking scary, this girl is.
"Percy, control your demon," George, who has the pleasure of sitting next to her, whispers, leaning back.
"That was hurtful, Uncle George, just hurtful," Molly pretends to cry, wiping away tears that aren't really there. This is kind of like their game, you see. I keep waiting for it to get old, but it never does. They have a lot of insults, some are very creative. And most I will not mention.
Jack tries to get my attention then, but by the time he manages it and I see him point behind me, I've already been flicked on the ear with something rubbery.
Oh, God, it stings! The noise that comes out of my mouth is, and I begrudgingly admit this, not a manly sound. More like a high pitched whimper. It's all I have to offer.
Ciaran: 6. Teddy: 2.
"My hair is still pink!" he sobs. "It won't change back and I don't know why!"
"Probably because you're mind is too busy thinking of ways to get Ciaran back and you're not concentrating," Hermione suggests, a disapproving edge to her tone. Yeah, that's directed at both of us.
I stretch my left hand over to rub my ear, while I use my right to tickle Teddy's nose with the quill again. Even when he's watching me, I'm too quick to move. I've totally perfected my amazing reflexes.
(Totally? I'm going to kill Lily!)
This time, he sneezes four times and his hair changes each time, each color only lasting a couple of seconds at most, but it's a moment I'll treasure forever - blue to green to orange to a slightly lighter shade of brown than his natural hair color. Damn, I hoped the last would be something equally wacky and embarrassing.
Teddy pulls at his hair until he can just about see the tips and sighs in relief. "That'll do."
"Er, Ted," Ginny catches his attention, pointing at her nose, then at him - a well-meaning gesture that Lucy then ruins by telling him his upper lip is as green as his hair had been about thirty seconds ago.
"Ah, crap. Damn allergies," he mutters, glaring at me before running back up the stairs.
"Your ear is bright red, Ciaran," George's wife Angelina points out unhelpfully.
Now it's my turn to glare; I know exactly what my ear looks like, I can still feel the bloody sting, and I've already updated his score. I don't need a reminder.
I can't wait to go to bed.
My plan to lie down on the couch and close my eyes was definitely just me wanting my stomach to settle before I floo'd home - my stomach keeps having funny turns every time I travel, no matter how I travel, and I don't want my dinner coming back up and going all over my living room floor again. But my body has other ideas and the next time I open my eyes, it's been an over hour and only Lucy is here because she was the one who chose to take me home. She tells me that she was just about to wake me, that everyone left between me falling asleep and ten minutes ago, and goes to make a quick trip to the bathroom.
I pull myself up slowly and rub my eyes, yawning loudly. I scan the room, but I'm completely alone; Molly and Arthur must be upstairs. I shut my eyes again, better able to scratch off a bit of sleep stuck to the corner of my eye without poking myself, and frown when I feel the couch dip. But I assume it's Lucy and turn to ask if she's ready to go...
It's the second time I've crapped myself today.
"God, Hugo, what the hell are you doing here?" I demand to know from the king of bad intentions and misdeeds and scaring people. "Seriously, you're supposed to be in school," I whisper, so that his grandparents don't hear me. He has a habit of finding ways to get out of Hogwarts and if his family and the school find out he's left again, he'll be in huge trouble.
"I fell," he says, shrugging his shoulders in a casual 'I'm so adorable and I know it, they can't touch me' way that is usually true.
"Into Digby's office and out of the fireplace?" I ask sarcastically.
"Off the Quidditch seating area," he corrects me. All I can do is gape. "I tripped over someone's leg and fell over the side. I was caught and it cushioned my fall, but they weren't quick enough and I broke my wrist and hit my head. Because it was a head injury, they called my parents and I was taken to St. Mungo's to get checked out. I'm fine," he holds up his wrapped hand and points to his head, "bruised but fine. My mum came back to pick up her things, I can floo to school from here."
"I must have slept through it," I murmur, trying to remember Hermione and Ron leave and failing. "Why were you at the Quidditch pitch?"
"Friendly game, a bit of fun. Lily made me go." He grins a little evilly and his chuckle is dark. Lily's going to pay, I can tell. "I bet she regrets that now. Why are you so tired? Or is that a stupid question?"
I nudge him in the arm. "Remember the contest I won? Well, now I have to talk to people about it and plan what to sing to open and close next year's," I add in after he nods. "It's gonna be fun."
I aim for sarcasm, but it's lost completely when I start yawning halfway through my sentence. Oh, well.
"You're okay?" I ask one more time.
"Yes," Hugo sighs, rolling his eyes, and rubs my shoulder soothingly. "It's you I'm worried about; you'll be the one falling off something if you don't get some sleep." I promise him that my plan is to go to bed as soon as I get home. "Good. And don't worry about the contest; you'll be the best host ever. They'll love you as much as I do."
I stand up when I see Lucy, who scolds Hugo for being here, then scolds him again for not being careful when he tells her what happened. He leaves, moaning about uncaring family members. Lucy takes me home, pausing only to say hello to Luka and Kyle, who are up watching the television. I nod in passing and go to my room, strip off and get under the covers, fully intending to keep my promise to Hugo.
I don't wake until my alarm goes off the next morning.
A/N: Finally! A new chapter! I've so missed writing Ciaran, I hope you've missed him, too. Expect more regular updates now. :)
Next time: Ciaran is left angry and meets someone new. ;)
I hope you enjoyed this chapter. Please let me know what you think!
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