Chapter 1 : One
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For Dominique Gabrielle Weasley, the world was her teen movie. She was Molly Ringwald and the world was John Hughes. 'Except I had better hair,' Dom thought, fingering her long, silvery blonde mane. No matter where she was or whom she was with, Dominique Weasley always had better hair. 'Except for Louis,' she thought with a dirty look at her twin and his thick, perfectly coiffed golden blonde hair.
So when Dominique met Faye Moncrieff, it was with the plot of her movie unfolding before her eyes. Every leading lady needs a best friend. A coconspirator and confidante with a slightly less interesting subplot. Cousins and siblings are one thing, but an enigmatic French girl is quite another.
Nothing raises one’s social currency and relevance with the British quite like a dash of French flare. They cannot resist the heady combination of bitter resentment and grudging fascination.
A fact which Dom and her siblings were well aware of. She felt a rush of fierce vindication very time they started a new school year and she was able to breezily say, “Oh you know I had a lovely summer on the French Riviera. Grand-mere and Grand-pere are so lovely.”
Dominique had a mission and there’s nothing quite like a Weasley, Veela, or French woman on a mission. But a dash of all three with the requisite temper wrapped in an attractively blonde package is lethal.
“The Blair to my Serena,” Dom whispered when she spotted Faye’s brunette head near the beach.
“I knew that Muggle telly was a horrible idea,” Louis grumbled but Dom ignored him.
She began walking faster, further ignoring her brother’s whinging and stopped suddenly in front of the girl. She was cross-legged on a striped towel, in an old fashioned 1940’s bathing suit, head shaded by a large umbrella but she barely seemed to notice the sun. She was hunched over a large, dusty looking booking in her lap and only looked up when Dom cleared her throat. Loudly. For the third time.
“May I help you?” The girl asked politely in French, shading her eyes against the glare of the sun sparking off Dom’s hair. Louis finally caught up and the girl flinched slightly at the added brightness. Dom with her halo of silver hair and Louis with his of gold were rather difficult to look straight at, especially in bright sunlight.
“Yes, hello,” Dom said with a bright smile, also in French. “I am Dominique and this is my brother Louis. We saw you sitting here and I realized we’ve never met. Are you new here?” She dropped down onto the blanket without an invitation and the other girl looked startled but recovered quickly.
Louis rolled his eyes but the girl smiled and gestured for him to sit as well. “Faye,” she said, turning back to Dom. “And no, I live with my grandparents in that house,” she gestured vaguely behind her. “On the hill.”
But Dom and Louis immediately knew which house she was referring to. In a part of the country where large houses were normal, the mansion on the hill was in a class of its own. It was a chateau really. They looked back at Faye with wide eyes and she gave a distinctly Gallic shrug.
“Being a Weasley is much more impressive,” she said with a smile. It was the first expression she’d shown beyond polite interest.
Louis groaned but Dom was delighted. “So you’ve heard of us?” She asked the girl she was thinking of as a definite candidate for her new sidekick. In her excitement she switched to English and barely noticed when Faye answered in the same language.
“Of course,” Faye said, and shrugged again. “It is possible for one to have no knowledge of your family but as an extensive reader, I have found you impossible to avoid.”
Louis nodded dejectedly, all too familiar with how unavoidable his extensive family was. But Dom continued to ignore him, much more interested in the pretty, smart brunette who was graciously fitting into Dom’s ideas of ‘leading lady’s best friend’ stereotypes. “Do you go to Beauxbatons?” She asked, lying back on the blanket. She felt assured of Faye’s role in her life now and could relax and continue working on her tan.
Faye shook her head and her eyes were distant again. Her voice went back to merely polite as she said, “I no longer attend Beauxbatons Academy. I am now taught by a governess.” Louis gave her a curious look but Dom didn’t notice the change.
They were quiet for a few moments. Louis gazed across the sea and his mind travelled home, Faye stared at her gently folded hands in her lap, face inscrutable, and Dom hummed softly to herself, eyes closed, and face turned to the sun.
“Hey!” Dom said suddenly and sat up. Faye jumped and stared at her but Louis just winced, a lifetime of living with his sister having prepared him for all unexpected movements. “You should come to Hogwarts,” she said excitedly to Faye. “It would be perfect. You’d know us so you’d have friends, there’s a huge library with all sorts of musty old books if that’s what you like,” she gestured dismissively towards the huge book next to Faye. “There’s Quidditch if you like that, we have a HUGE family so that’s more friends, you can sit your exams properly and you and I,” she shuffled towards Faye on her knees, light blue eyes shining. “You and I would be best friends,” she said breathlessly, taking Faye’s, small, pale hands in her own.
Faye stared at her. For an only child living with a very proper elderly couple and a governess who disapproved of anything that could be deemed loud, exciting, emotional, disruptive, or unladylike in any way, this sudden onslaught of words and raw charisma was overwhelming.
“I,” she started and blinked rapidly. “Hogwarts? It’s location is meant to be secret but simple deduction locates it somewhere in central to northern Scotland. My father won’t let me go away to elsewhere in France let alone Highland Scotland!”
“Your father?” Louis asked, genuinely curious.
“French Minister for Magic,” Faye murmured, only half paying attention. “He’s very busy.” Louis looked impressed but Dom was still staring at Faye with shining eyes, willing Faye to be swayed by her Veela powers.
Faye’s mind was whirling. For years she had wanted nothing more than to go away to school. To go anywhere with people her own age. To have friends who existed beyond the pages of her books. Most of the time she was quite happy but there were others, usually when she was caught off guard or in the small hours when she couldn’t sleep, when she ached with loneliness and chafed at the bit of her family and upbringing.
She squeezed Dom’s hands and flashed a bright smile that truly lit up her dark brown eyes for the first time. “I’ll ask,” she said a bit breathlessly. “I’ll have to ask but…I’d love to go to Hogwarts.” She stood and smiled again before turning and running up the hill towards the house.
Dom looked at her brother to catch the tail end of an exasperated look that she was very familiar with. “What?” She asked, lying back down and not at all defensive.
“Dom,” he started but instead sighed and shook his head. “You can’t just import friends because they fit your criteria.”
She rolled her closed eyes, face once again towards the sun like a sunflower. “I’m not importing a friend, Lou. She’s lonely. Even you can see how lonely she is.”
Louis sighed because she was right and there was never any arguing with Dom. So he stretched out next to his sister. If he was going to wait around, he may as well indulge his vanity. Plus, a summer tan could last nearly all year, especially next to the pallid complexions of the average Hogwarts student.
But less than an hour later, Faye was back. She bore none of the standard marks of rejection like swollen red eyes or open distress but even Dom could tell the news wasn’t good.
“I will not be joining you at Hogwarts,” Faye said softly and politely and this time Louis could see that mask of ladylike perfection fall over her eyes. His heart went out to this girl and for the first time, he actually agreed with Dom’s plan and wanted to kidnap Faye and take her home. Surely his massive, rowdy, outrageous family would be good for her. Look up ‘sensory overload’ in the dictionary and the definition is merely ‘Weasley.’
But Faye smiled and there wasn’t even a tremble in her lip or a tear in her eye. “It was truly lovely to meet you Dominique, Louis,” she said, nodding to each of them in turn. She’d reverted back to French. “Do please come for tea next time you are near.” She gave one last smile and it seemed nearly curtsied before sitting serenely back on her blanket and cracking open her book.
Dom stared at Faye, hardly believing that something hadn’t gone her way. How was this possible? Dominique Weasley was on a mission and her missions never failed before they started! She opened her mouth to say something but caught sight of Louis’s face. For the first time, possibly in her life, she caught on to the feelings of another person and decided to heed her brother.
“Goodbye Faye,” she said sadly and walked away, Louis at her side. What an odd day, she thought as they returned to their own grandparents’ house. She felt Louis squeeze her shoulder as they parted ways to enter their separate bedrooms. She smiled at him and went to pack for their return to England, and her and Louis’s sixth year at Hogwarts. 'It would have been better with a brunette best friend,' was Dom’s last thought of Faye for almost exactly a year.
*Citation: characters of 'Blair' and 'Serena' originally created by Cecily von Ziegesar for her Gossip Girl book series; copyright for TV adaptation to Warner Bros. Television
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