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I Just Can't Help Myself... by Hazel Bludger
Chapter 20 : I Just Find Magic in Christmas
 
Rating: MatureChapter Reviews: 4


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Hello, friends!

So, it's been forever and a year since I've updated, so I am gracing you with a wonderfully long chapter. I know, I'm a giver.

Let's get on with it!

DISCLAIMER!: JKR could update regularly.






Chapter 20: I Just Find Magic in Christmas

“Anything else for you today, Mr. Lewis?” Dorothy asked the elderly man sitting alone at a table in the Leaky Cauldron. Mr. Lewis was a regular around the holiday season, his warm smile and round belly something Dorothy always looked forward to seeing in the pub.

“Got any special goodies in that kitchen of your mum’s?” he asked, his voice raspy and excited.

Dorothy grinned. “I think she just whipped up a batch of cranberry muffins.”

He grinned and nodded fervently. “Sounds good to me, Thee.”

“Anything for you, Mr. Lewis.”

Dorothy bustled back to the kitchen, grabbing one of the steaming muffins and a tea pot to make her rounds on her way back to Mr. Lewis’s table. She dropped the muffin in front of Mr. Lewis and made a few pit stops to top off tea cups throughout the restaurant. The fireplace lit up green and Fiona came stumbling out, her satchel smoking slightly.

“Is it eleven already?” Dorothy called to Fiona, who nodded. “Alright, grab a seat, I’m almost finished my shift.”

Dorothy picked up an order from the counter and an empty tea cup for Fiona, which she sat in front of her and filled. “It’s nice to see you, Fi.”

“Back at you, Longbottom,” Fiona said, grinning. She began adding milk and sugar to her tea as she said, “I didn’t know you worked here.”

“Family business,” Dorothy replied with a shrug. “Grew up waiting tables. It’s nice to make a few Sickles when I have the chance. Give me five minutes?”

“Course, do what you have to do,” Fiona said, shooing Dorothy away. “Thanks for the tea!”

Dorothy smiled at her friend and made her way over to a table with a family sitting around it, setting plates in front of excited customers with ease. “Anything else for you folks?” she asked, summoning the extra fork and sugar they asked for.

As she was bussing another table, the fire lit up green again and Hope jumped out of it, her arms spread wide to catch her balance. Fiona waved her over to the table where she was sitting, nursing her tea. Just after Hope sat down, Dorothy placed a tea cup in front of her and filled it, then topped off Fiona’s cup. “I’m just waiting for Mr. Lewis to finish up, he’s my last table. Then we can head to my room.”

Hope nodded, smiling brightly at Dorothy. “That’s fine. You’re such a cute barmaid, Dora.”

Dorothy laughed and rolled her eyes. “That’s exactly what I was going for.”

After Dorothy left to tend to the customers in the Leaky Cauldron, Hope said, “Do I really have to wait until tonight for you to tell me what’s going on with you?”

Fiona sighed. “Hope. We discussed this at your house. I want to make sure everything goes well before I tell anyone. It’s important to me.”

Hope frowned and took a sip of her tea. “Fine. But I don’t like this. We don’t keep secrets from each other.”

“I know,” Fiona said quickly. “And, trust me, I really want to tell you. I’m just waiting for the right moment.”

“This moment feels decidedly not left…”

“Oh, shut up, you bint.”

“Ready?” Dorothy said, suddenly in front of the two of them again. She was hastily untying her apron as she grinned excitedly at them.

“Can I bring my tea?” Hope asked. Dorothy nodded, chuckling.

Fiona finished her tea easily and stood. “Let’s go,” she said, smiling. Dorothy flicked her wand, sending Fiona’s empty cup and saucer to the closest bussing bin.

The three girls made their way through the dining room to the stairs in the back and practically ran up them. They entered a hallway lined with rooms and Dorothy took the lead, walking all the way down the hall and turning into another set of stairs. “I’m on the top floor,” Dorothy said, turning her head over her shoulder as they began to climb. “Well, technically, it used to be the attic. When I got to pick my room, I picked the one where Freddie and I would get the most privacy.”

“I love stairs,” Fiona huffed. “They’re almost as fun as sleeping. But not. At all.”

“Sorry,” Dorothy said, blushing.

“She needs the exercise,” Hope said giggling.

“I’m going to shove you down these,” Fiona threatened.

When the stairs ended, there was a door to the right that led out into the hall filled with available rooms and a long, colorful string hanging down from a panel in the ceiling. Dorothy pulled on the string and a wooden ladder fell in front of them. “Last set,” she said with a grin.

Once all three girls were inside her bedroom, Dorothy flicked her wand at the ladder and it folded up magically. She turned to face her friends. “What do you think?”

The room was wood paneled, yet bright. It was encircled by a string of lights and had a few colorful posters plastered on the walls. There was an unmade queen sized bed in the center of the room surrounded by two bookcases that were jammed packed. The first thing Fiona did was launch herself face first into Dorothy’s bed. “Mother of Merlin,” she groaned. “This is the most comfortable bed in existence.”

Dorothy laughed and rolled her eyes. “You and Freddie.”

“Roll over, fat arse,” Hope said, following suit. “Oh, Circe, this is awesome.”

***

“Are you joshing?” Victoire asked her younger brother as the three siblings sat out on the beach after taking a fly.

“No,” Louis said, digging his foot deeper into the sand. “Fi’s coming to the party tonight. Thee and Fred invited her after I did.”

Dominique was struggling to hold in giddy laughter, wisps of yellow blonde hair frizzing out of her makeshift bun. “Maman is going to explode.”

“Seriously, Lou, what are you thinking?” Victoire asked, running a hand through her silky white blonde mane. She had always been the most practical of the three. “This isn’t going to change her mind, you know that—”

“I’m thinking that I’m in love with Fiona, Vic,” Louis said, agitation evident in his voice. “Maman can’t tell me who I can and can’t be with. I don’t need her approval.”

“There’s a difference between not needing her approval and dating the bird who broke her favorite plate and then yelled in her face,” Dominique pointed out. She chuckled slightly. “Honestly, Lou, you really know how to pick them.”

Victoire sent a silencing glare to Dominique. She then sighed and turned back towards her brother. “All I’m saying is, is this really the best time? Shouldn’t you wait until Maman has…recovered before bringing Fiona in to meet the family? She’s a nice girl, Lou, but you don’t want Maman to scare her off, do you?”

Louis snorted. “I doubt Maman would be able to scare Fiona off.”

Victoire shoved his shoulder forcefully as Dominique erupted into giggles and fell back in the sand. “Be serious, Louis!”

“I am being serious, Victoire!” he shot back. He saw the concerned expression pulled tight over his eldest sister’s face and sighed. “Look, Vic. She’s coming no matter what—as my guest, or as Thee’s. I’m sure as hell not going to ignore her.” Louis stood, ignoring the concerned expression still etched into Victoire’s features. “She makes me happy, Vic. Isn’t that enough?”

He turned and tossed his broom over his shoulders, starting back towards the house. Once he was out of earshot, Victoire smacked Dominique hard in the stomach. “OW!” she cried angrily. “What was that for?!”

“You are such a child!” Victoire hissed. “You were supposed to help me!”

“Vic, Lou’s an adult now. Let him make his own mistakes.” Dominique rolled onto her side, not facing her sister. “But honestly, I don’t think this is one.”

***

“Why are you getting so dolled up?” Hope asked as she watched Fiona mixing Muggle makeup across her face.

Fiona looked at her through the mirror. “You have an issue with me being feminine?”

“Of course I don’t, I’m me,” she said, rolling her eyes. “But you’re you.”

Fiona looked away from Hope’s reflection and refocused on her left eyelid. “I…I want to make a good impression.”

“You have nothing to worry about, Fi,” Dorothy said from inside her closet. “It’s a family party, no big deal.”

“It’s a family party for the Saviours of the Wizarding World,” Hope corrected. “Not all of us grew up with Uncle Harry.”

Dorothy stuck her head out of the closet and scowled playfully at them. “Shut up.”

Hope giggled to herself. “Will you pick a dress already, Longbottom?” Fiona called.

“I said, shut up!” she cried defensively.

“I’m coming to beat you,” Fiona said, setting her makeup brush down.

“No, don’t stop!” Hope cried, shoving Fiona back down in the chair. “I’ll take care of Dora.”

Fiona cocked an eyebrow at Hope. “I was going to finish my face, you know.”

Hope patted her shoulder quickly as she said, “Just in case.”

Fiona rolled her eyes and Hope bustled over to the closet Dorothy had been hiding in for the past hour. “What is wrong with you?” Hope asked.

Dorothy’s eyes widened at her blunt approach. “What?”

“This is your family Christmas party. Put clothes on.” Hope peered around Dorothy and yanked a blue dress from a hanger. “Specifically these clothes.”

Dorothy smiled sheepishly. “Yes, ma’am.”

Hope shot Dorothy a sassy smile. “That is what I like to hear.”

***

James was staring at himself critically in the mirror, trying to adjust his tie to lay properly in the center of his shirt when his door flew open. His eyes flicked upwards in the mirror and he watched his younger brother storm into the room and throw himself onto James’s unmade bed.

“Sure, Al, come on in,” James said as he looked back down at the silk in his hand.

“Are you going to be an idiot tonight?” Al asked, anger evident in his flat tone.

James abandoned his tie and turned to his brother, frowning. “I’m not an idiot.”

“Well, you’ve been bloody well acting like one,” Al shot back.

“And you’re acting like bloody Lily!”

“With good reason!” Al retorted, jumping to his feet. “This whole thing with you and Thee has you and Fred unable to look at each other! You’re best bloody mates, don’t you give a shit about that?”

James rolled his eyes and made his way over to his dresser to snatch up a small bottle of cologne. “Of course I care—”

“You’re putting on bloody cologne?!” Albus shouted. “It’s the Christmas party! Stop trying to steal Thee from Fred!”

“She doesn’t belong to him!” James yelled. “I can do whatever I bloody well please, Albus.”

Albus took a deep, shaky breath in and in a low voice said, “Whatever, James. But when you ruin your relationships with both Fred and Thee because you’re so damned selfish, I’ll be sure to say ‘I told you so.’”

James glared at his brother. “I guarantee you, it won’t be necessary.”

Albus strode out of the room, calling over his shoulder: “Mum wants us downstairs to Apparate to the Burrow together.”

***

When Hope first looked at the ramshackled building before her after Apparating on the side of Professor Longbottom—Mr. Longbottom, now that he was her best mate’s father—she couldn’t help but feel a bit of fan excitement bubble in her belly. This was the Burrow. The actual place where the actual Weasleys actually lived and grew up and where the actual Harry Potter and actual Hermione Granger spent most of their summers. She couldn’t believe it.

Franklin was going to be so jealous.

“Whoa,” Fiona said. “I’ve seen pictures of it in my textbooks, but I never thought I’d actually…see it.”

“Yeah,” Hope agreed.

“Come on, guys, it’s just the Burrow!” Dorothy said grabbing their hands. “Let’s go!”

Hope’s eyes widened as she and Fiona jogged behind Dorothy. “We get to go inside?”

“The party may be outside under the tent, but you don’t expect to have to sleep out there, do you?”

“We’re sleeping here?” Hope asked, her voice cracking at the end.

Dorothy laughed. “Yes, we’re sleeping here. It’s just a house, guys.”

“A really bloody famous house,” Hope corrected.

The three girls reached the front door and Dorothy yanked it open. Hope wanted to tell her to be gentler with such a historic place, but bit her tongue. It’s just a house.

“Don’t let Grandmum hear you curse, she’ll whack you with a spoon,” Dorothy warned them as she led the way inside. “We can drop our bags off in Aunt Ginny’s old bedroom.”

Hope’s heart stopped in her chest. “I get to go inside Ginny Potter’s childhood bedroom? She’s my Quidditch idol.”

Dorothy grinned and rolled her eyes. “If you think you can handle yourself appropriately, I’ll introduce you to her.”

Hope squeaked slightly. “Dora, this is officially the best day of my life.”

Dorothy approached the stairs, taking them two at a time until she reached Ginny’s bedroom door on the first floor landing. “It’s this one; just chuck your stuff on the bed or something.”

“This is so cool,” Hope said entering the room, turning in a slow circle to take in her surroundings. “I didn’t imagine her walls to be pink.”

“That’s Grandmum for you,” Dorothy said. “She was very excited about having a daughter, and Aunt Ginny didn’t care enough to repaint them.”

“Gwenog Jones, classy,” Fiona said with a smirk, looking at a ratty poster hanging on the wall.

“I have Ginny’s Harpies poster on my wall,” Hope said absent-mindedly.

Fiona snorted loudly. “That’s not creepy at all.”

“Let’s head out to the party,” Dorothy said. “If you’re star struck now, just wait.”

Fiona and Hope shared a look of nerves before following Dorothy out of the room.

***

Louis was pulling at the tie around his neck, staring at the entrance to the tent anxiously. Fiona was going to arrive any minute, and he couldn’t stand waiting for her for another second.

“Ah, mon fils.” His mother’s voice floated through the crowd as she approached him. “You look unwell.”

“No, Maman,” he said with a sigh, kissing her cheek. “I’m just impatient.”

“Pour ta petite amie, oui?” she said, a small frown pulling at the corner of her pretty mouth.

Louis waited a moment before curtly responding, “Oui.”

With a disapproving click of her tongue, Fleur squeezed her son’s shoulder. “Bien sûr.”

“Maman, please be nice,” Louis said, turning his gaze to look down at her. Although his mother was taller than the average woman, Louis’s height rivaled his father’s and he was a good bit taller than Fleur. “She is very important to me.”

Fleur opened her mouth to speak, but then closed it, merely nodding at her son. She turned her head to the entrance and said, “She is trés belle ce soir.”

Louis’s head snapped from his mother to the entrance where Fiona had just entered the tent with Hope and Dorothy. His heart swelled at the sight of her. Her brown hair had been twisted into some up do, only leaving a few stray curls surrounding her face, which looked so beautiful she resembled a porcelain doll brought to life. Her dress was silver and sparkled in the low light, falling just above her knees with a single strap that crossed her chest.

“I’ll see you later, Maman,” Louis said, not taking his eyes off of Fiona. Fleur took a few steps back, unwilling to accept what she knew to be true.

“He loves her, Fleur,” Bill said, coming up behind his wife and wrapping an arm around her.

Fleur shook her head. “You can’t know that.”

“But I can,” he said, pressing his lips to his wife’s temple. “The way he looks at her…that’s how I look at you.”

“Dance with me, Bill,” she said softly.

***

Fiona allowed herself to fall behind from her friends, simply allowing the party to overcome her as she hung towards the edge of the tent. She wanted her heart to slow, her breath to normalize, her palms to stop sweating. She felt a small tug on her wrist. She turned her head and opened her eyes, then immediately smiled. “There you are.”

Louis returned the grin. “You look breathtaking,” he said, pressing a kiss to her cheek. “Would you care to dance?”

Fiona bit her lip. “Not yet. I…I haven’t told her yet.”

Louis frowned. “Fi—”

“I tried, honest,” she said. “I just…didn’t know how.”

“Dearest best friend, I am madly in love with Louis Weasley. I am sorry for being a secretive tart. Be happy for us.”

Fiona gasped. “I am not a tart!”

Louis smirked. “Of course not.”

“You’re not getting your Christmas present now.”

Louis laughed, dragging her towards the door. “Speaking of gifts, I have one for you. How about we exchange gifts, and then you pull on your big girl panties and tell your best friend that you’re in the best relationship of your life?”

Fiona laughed. “Someone’s a tad cocky.”

Louis smirked at her. “Someone hasn’t even properly said hello yet.”

Fiona bit down her lip and looked both ways quickly to make sure the coast was clear. She then leaned forward and pressed her lips to his chastely. “Hi, Lou.”

He grinned, eyes still closed. “I didn’t hear you very well, you may have to repeat yourself.”

Fiona shoved him. “You’re horrible.”

***

“Hope, can you handle this?” Dorothy asked, concern evident in her tone.

Hope tossed a shot of Firewhiskey down her throat and shook out her arms. “Yes,” she said confidently. “Yes, I can do this. Let’s do this.”

Dorothy chuckled slightly, but led Hope over to a pair of women. “Aunt Ginny?”

The red haired woman of the pair looked up and smiled. “Hello, Thee! How’s my favorite niece?”

Thee smiled. “I’m doing well. I wanted to introduce you to someone, actually. This is Hope Jacobs, my Quidditch Captain and best mate. Hope, this is Ginny Potter.”

Ginny held out her hand. “Pleasure to meet you, Hope.”

Hope quickly took it and shook it violently. “Trust me, Mrs. Potter, the pleasure is all mine. I’m a huge fan.” Hope saw the look of confusion appear on Ginny’s face and quickly continued, “You’re the best Chaser that ever graced the Harpies! The way you play Quidditch, Mrs. Potter, it’s an art.” Hope paused and quickly let go of Ginny’s hand with she had been still shaking. “Which sounds horrendously creepy out loud. I’m sorry. Let me start over. Hi, I’m Hope. I’m very excited to meet you.”

Ginny looked from Hope to Dorothy to the bushy haired woman standing beside her. She then started to laugh. “Oh, honey, don’t be sorry! I was much worse than you when I met Gwenog Jones. And even when I met Harry for the first time, to be honest. I’m flattered, Hope.”

A smile of relief broke across Hope’s features. “Oh, thank Merlin. I’ve never been so nervous to meet someone!”

“She’s right, she was fine when I introduced her to Uncle Harry,” Dorothy said, her mind still reeling from Hope’s word vomit.

Ginny smirked. “Really?”

“Saviour of the Wizarding World or not, he was not the one who revolutionized Chasing for years to come,” Hope said nonchalantly.

Ginny grinned. “I’ve been telling him that for years. Thinks just because he defeated Voldemort he doesn’t have to put his dirty socks in the laundry. Honestly.”

“You’re awful for her ego, Hope,” the bushy haired woman said, laughing at Ginny’s obvious pleasure.

Hope blinked. “Hermione Weasley.” She turned to Dorothy. “Dora. I was not prepared to meet Hermione Weasley at the same time I met Ginny Potter.”

Hermione and Ginny shared a cocky look. “Nevermind, I like her. Tell us again how Harry failed to make you nervous?”

Hope and Dorothy both laughed. “It’s almost like I’m desensitized to him. Albus looks just like him, just younger.” Hermione and Ginny laughed loudly. “Anyway, he never would’ve managed to be the Saviour if Mrs. Weasley hadn’t been there with him.”

Hermione smirked. “Also very true.”

“Hey, mum, have you seen—” James faltered as he saw Dorothy poke her head out from behind Hope. “Dorothy,” he finished lamely.

Ginny smiled at her son. “Seems like you found her, eh, James?”

“Yeah, thanks,” he said, his eyes on Dorothy. Dorothy blushed under his gaze. “Dorothy, can we, uh…talk?”

Dorothy looked up and bit her lip. “I’m introducing Hope to the family.”

James snapped back into reality and noticed Hope standing next to him. “Oh, hey, Jacobs.”

“Potter,” she said suspiciously.

“Dorothy?” James asked, looking slightly desperate.

Dorothy looked from James to Hope, who rolled her eyes and nodded. “Okay,” Dorothy said, following James.

“What was that all about?” Hermione asked curiously.

“James is just being a giant prick and thinks he can change fate and somehow make Dora end up with him,” Hope answered, slightly aggravated.

“James is what?” Ginny asked, her eyebrow cocked curiously.

Hope’s face blanched. “Uh, well, he’s being a slight prick, Mrs. Potter. He’s got the idea that he and Dora are in love. He’s been chasing her for a month. He and Freddie can’t even look at each other.”

Ginny groaned. “Why must he muck everything up?”

Hope blinked, obviously surprised. “I’m sorry?”

“Hope, you’ll come to realize that Ginny is a meddler,” Hermione explained.

“Let’s have a chat, Hope, and, uh, start at the beginning of this Thee and James…thing,” Ginny said, leading the way to a table clothed round table.

***

“Louis,” Fiona said, pulling away from him. His mouth merely began working its way down the column of her throat. She giggled and let her head fall back to offer him more of her skin. “We’re...we’re supposed to b-be…” Her words fell off into a small moan.

He chuckled, nipping lightly behind her ear. “You want to exchange gifts now?”

“I want to snog you inside the warm tent, so yes.”

Louis laughed loudly and released her. “Fair point. Do you want to go first?”

Fiona nodded, bending quickly to retrieve the small clutch that had been abandoned the second they’d escaped the tent. “It’s nothing big, but I thought you may like it,” she said, straightening and handing Louis a small wrapped box.

He took it from her and pulled at the paper, until the box could open. Inside was a smooth black ring. “Fi…”

“It’s Tungsten,” she said quickly as he pulled the ring out of the box. “It was actually harvested from the site of your first dig,” she added softly.

He looked up from the ring to her in awe. “Really?”

“Yeah,” she said. “And I got it engraved on the inside.”

He peered inside the band to read the words, I love you, Troll. Louis couldn’t help but grin. “I love it, Fi.”

“You do?” she said, her face brightening.

Louis leaned down and kissed her soundly on the lips. “So much,” he said. “Especially the part where you call me a troll.”

“I couldn’t be too sappy,” she said with a small smile. “I have a reputation to uphold, you know.”

Louis chuckled as he slid the ring onto his right middle finger. “Of course you do.” He buried his hand into her hair and pulled her mouth back to his.

Fiona pulled back after a moment. “My turn,” she said excitedly.

Louis chuckled. “Of course.” He pulled a small black box from his pocket and placed it in her palm. “It’s not a ring, don’t freak out.”

Fiona shot him a playful glare. “I wouldn’t have freaked out.”

“Course not,” he said, rolling his eyes. “Open it.”

She listened for once. Lying inside the box was a silver heart on a chain. But it wasn’t a normal heart pendant, but an actual anatomical heart. “I figured since you want to be a Healer and all, you’d want me to be anatomically correct when I gave you my heart.”

Fiona looked up from the necklace as she let out a small snort. “You’re so sappy. Giving me your heart?”

“But really,” he said, lifting the necklace from the box. “Grip the pendant.”

She shot him a confused look, but did as she was told. The pendant expanded in her grasp, beating in a steady rhythm. Her eyes widened in surprise. “It’s beating!”

“Only when you clutch it like that,” he said, taking her other hand and laying it on his chest. “It beats in time to mine. So when you miss me, you’ll have a piece of me to hold on to.”

Fiona slid her hand up to his neck, her fingers prodding beneath his jaw line to find his pulse point, smiling as the rhythms were in sync.

“That’s not creepy, is it?”

Fiona shook her head, still smiling. “It’s perfect. Help me put it on?”

Louis smiled and took the necklace from her, securing it around her neck. “You really like it?”

Fiona turned back to Louis and nodded. “Absolutely. I can’t think of anything I would like more. Thank you.” She leaned into him and pressed her mouth against his, moving her lips slowly against his.

“Fiona? Are you—Holy Hippogriffs, Fiona?!

***

“You look fantastic, Dorothy,” James said.

Dorothy looked down at herself in embarrassment. She had donned the dress Hope had selected: a simple, strapless, navy dress that grazed the tops of her knees and had a sweetheart neckline. Her blonde curls cascaded down her shoulders, untouched by products or spells. “Thanks,” she said. “You look nice as well.”

“Can I be blunt with you?” James asked, his voice low and serious.

Dorothy looked up at him and blinked. “Of course,” she said.

“I really want to kiss you,” he said. Dorothy felt her fingernails dig into her palm as her heart rate sped up. “Not just right now, although, the feeling is really strong in this moment, but all the time. Every day. Every time I see you. All I can think about is kissing you.”

“James—”

“Dorothy,” he said, cutting off her speech. “I need to know what’s holding you back. Is it Jen? Freddie?”

Dorothy looked down at her feet. “Both?” she answered sheepishly.

“I know you have feelings for me, Dorothy,” James said. “You always have.” Dorothy looked up in surprise that James knew about her childhood crush. “I was too stupid then to realize how bloody fantastic you are. But I know now. And, shit, Dorothy, I’m in love with you. Shouldn’t that be enough?”

“I want it to be, James, I do,” Dorothy said, reaching out and grabbing his hand. “But there’s so much more than that involved here. Jen, Freddie…they’re a part of this. Jen almost killed me, you and Freddie haven’t so much as looked at each other in months…being in love with me isn’t going to cut it.”

James pulled Dorothy to him and covered her mouth with his. “What if I just kiss you until you agree to go out with me?”

Dorothy smiled sadly. “James—” He had kissed her again. She pushed out of his grasp. “James!”

“I can’t not be with you, Dorothy.”

Dorothy shook her head. “Couldn’t you have had this realization at the end of the summer? Or even before you and Jen got back together? Before everything was so bloody complicated?”

“I’m a bloody moron, Dorothy. A full-blown wanker. But I’m begging you to give me a second chance. Please.”

Dorothy shook her head. “I told Freddie we were done. That it—that we—wouldn’t happen again.”

“Things change, Dorothy. He’ll understand.”

Dorothy looked up at James with a wry expression on her face. “Will he? This is Freddie we’re talking about.”

“Damnit, Dorothy, for once in your life, will you put yourself first?” James said, his frustration obvious in his speech.

Dorothy was taken aback by his outburst. “What?”

“Stop worrying about what Freddie will think!” he demanded. “It’s your life. What do you want?”

“It’s..it’s not that simple!” she stammered.

“What—do—you—want?” he asked, his eyes searching her face wildly for answers.

She thought for a moment. What did she want? Meekly, she answered, “You.”

Relief flooded his expression. “I’m yours.”

“Kiss me again,” she said softly, her eyes dancing across his handsome features. Nodding, James placed one large hand at the nape of Dorothy’s neck and lifted her lips to his. Her hands slid up his chest and met at the back of his head, one sliding into his hair while the other rested on his cheek. James wrapped an arm around her waist and pulled her tightly against him.

“What the bloody hell is going on here?”

***

Fiona ripped herself away from Louis at the sound of her best friend. “Hope!” she squeaked. Hope’s gaze flitted back and forth between Louis and Fiona as Fiona meekly said, “I can explain…”

“I bet you fucking can,” Hope snapped, shock quickly being replaced with white hot rage. “How long has this been going on?”

“A while,” Fiona said, looking down.

“How. Long.”

“When I came up to see her that Hogsmeade weekend,” Louis said. “I told her I thought I fancied her.”

“You molested me, to be precise,” Fiona corrected. “After we’d stopped snogging in the Three Broomsticks, we saw the Extendable Ear. We figured since you hadn’t run inside to see what was happening, you hadn’t heard. So I told him to cut it. We’d fake a fight, go to the Shrieking Shack and figure this out.”

“And after you got home?” Hope pressed. “Why didn’t you tell me then?”

Fiona’s face bloomed a dark crimson that would’ve put Dorothy’s blushes to shame. “We didn’t exactly do much…talking.” Louis grinned at the memory. Hope raised an eyebrow. Fiona smacked Louis’s arm. “So when I got back to the dormitory, I didn’t know what to tell you. So I didn’t say anything. I was also peeved you spied on me, which helped that decision.”

“Was telling me about this ever part of your plan, Fiona?” Hope demanded. “Did you even want to?”

“Of course I wanted to!” Fiona cried. “I was going to tell you today, I just didn’t know how! That big thing I wrote you about, that was when I met his parents…I wanted to tell you, in person, the right way. I knew you would be mad, and I didn’t want to ruin your mood—”

“Maybe you should’ve thought of that before keeping it a secret!”

“We wanted to be on solid ground before we told anyone anything,” Louis said. “Because of our previous relationship, we knew people would blow it out of proportion. We wanted to make sure we were on the same page before telling anyone else.”

“The Quidditch match…detention during the Hogsmeade trip…you two were sneaking around, weren’t you?” Hope asked. Louis and Fiona nodded. “So you didn’t just lie to me, you lied to me over and over again, didn’t you?”

Fiona’s face paled. “Hope, no, it’s not like that—”

“I can keep a secret, Fiona, I didn’t realize how little you trusted me,” Hope snapped.

“Hope, I do trust you, it’s not—”

“Thank you for clearing the air around our friendship. I would never keep something as big as this a secret from you.” Hope turned and stormed back into the tent.

Fiona chased after her. “Hope, wait, please!”

“I’m very happy for the two of you. And I would’ve been happy almost three bloody months ago as well.”

“Hope,” Fiona pleaded, but her best friend had already disappeared into the crowd.

Louis came up behind Fiona and placed his arm around her shoulders. She turned into him, willing herself not to cry. Louis pressed his lips against the top of her head.

***

“Freddie!” Dorothy exclaimed, jumping back from James.

Freddie looked back and forth between James and Dorothy. “Don’t tell me you two are in another secret relationship.”

“No,” Dorothy said quickly. “We’re…starting a not secret relationship. I think.”

“That sounds good to me,” James said quickly as he grabbed Dorothy’s hand.

Freddie looked at their intertwined fingers and then back up to Dorothy. “I thought you were done with James.”

“So did I,” she said, squeezing James’s hand. “But people change.”

Freddie nodded and looked back over at James. “You hurt her again, and I swear to Merlin. I don’t care that we’re family, I don’t care that we’re mates. I will destroy you.”

James nodded. “I’d expect no less.”

“Are you…mad?” Dorothy asked. “I expected you to be mad.”

“I don’t know what I am right now, Dor,” Freddie said, rubbing his temple. He wasn’t looking at either one of them. “But I don’t think it’s mad.”

Dorothy sighed in relief and threw her arms around Freddie. “I’m so glad.”

Freddie hardly returned the hug. “I’m going to go…get a drink.”

As he walked away, Dorothy and James looked at each other. “I was prepared for mad,” Dorothy said slowly. “Not…that.”

James shook his head. “Same. But I think we should…embrace it. He’s okay with this.”

Dorothy nodded, pushing away the lingering feeling that Freddie was in no way “okay” with this. “Let’s go dance.”

***

Hope fell into a chair beside Freddie, nursing a butter beer. Freddie looked over at her and frowned. The straps of her emerald dress had fallen, her makeup was smeared, and her hair was no longer pristine. She’d looked like she’d walked off the cover of Witch Weekly earlier. “What’s wrong with you?” Freddie grunted.

Hope looked over at him and scowled. “Tactful, Weasley. I see how you get all the birds.”

Freddie sighed and leaned back in his chair, taking a swig of what Hope assumed was a lot stronger than butter beer. “Sorry. You look upset. What’s wrong.”

“Bumped into Fiona and Louis snogging.”

“Didn’t know?”

“Nope.”

“I thought she told you everything.”

“So did I.”

“Ah.”

Hope took a swig of her butter beer. “What’s wrong with you?”

“Bumped into Dorothy and James snogging.”

“Ouch.”

The two clanked their glasses together and took long drinks. “You know what? Screw them. Who needs them?”

“I’m not mad at Dorothy and James,” Freddie said flatly.

“That’s hippogriff shit if I ever heard any.”

“Maybe,” Freddie said. “I’ve never been good at being mad at Dor, anyway. Why waste the time.”

“That’s your problem, Weasley,” Hope said. “You never allow yourself to be mad at Dora, so you direct it at everyone else or swallow it. It’s not healthy. You let her drag you along because you’re in love with her—don’t even think about denying it—and it fucks you up. Be honest with yourself and with her. Be mad. Be furious even. Don’t be apathetic. You deserve better than that. And she’d agree with me.”

Freddie looked up to see Dorothy laughing as James paraded her around the dance floor, peppering her face with kisses. He looked down, disgusted with the rage bubbling in his stomach.

“Fiona didn’t mean to hurt you,” Freddie said. “She’s not like that.”

“I know,” Hope said, rolling her eyes. “But I’m going to be mad for a bit because I’m allowed to be. And she understands that. She also knows I’ll get over it because he makes her so damn happy…like, for Circe’s sake, her expression makes me want to vomit.”

Freddie found Louis and Fiona in the center of the dance floor, her face radiating with joy. “That is pretty gross.”

“I know! How did I miss this? She’s been so happy…Fiona’s never happy.”

“She’s a Hufflepuff.”

“Hell knows why.”

Freddie sighed and finished his drink, then stuck his hand out to Hope. “Want to dance?”

“Is this a pity dance?” Hope asked.

Freddie shrugged. “It’s a pity party dance between friends.”

Hope chuckled and set her bottle down on the floor beside her chair. “Alright, Weasley. Sounds good to me.”

***

Fiona sat in a chair heavily, rubbing her aching feet as Louis went off to find them both something to drink. “Hello, dear, I don’t believe we’ve met,” a voice said from beside her.

“Oh, Merlin!” Fiona said in surprise, turning to her right. Beside her sat an older woman with grey hair frizzing out off of her head. “I didn’t even see you there! My name is Fiona, I’m—”

“Friends with Thee, in a secret relationship with Louis…yes, I’ve heard about you tonight,” the woman said.

“Well, not so secret anymore,” Fiona responded. The woman looked at her curiously. “We spent his Hogwarts years as enemies, but then after he graduated…” Fiona sighed, trying to organize her thoughts. “I realized I missed him. Then he started writing me, and I found myself looking forward to getting his letters, even though they were laced with insults. It was like he was back with me. Then he asked to meet me during the first Hogsmeade weekend, and we, well…” Fiona blushed. “We quickly realized our relationship was more than insults and hexes. We just didn’t know what we were. So we didn’t want to tell anyone and have their questions pull us apart before we had the answers…as time passed and we let each other in, Merlin…I fell so far in love with that boy…” Fiona laughed softly. “But part of me knew I would love him…he got hurt during a Quidditch match his seventh year when he was dating my ex-best friend and was unconscious, but he dreamed of me. Said my name in his sleep. I think that’s when I knew…there was more underneath the rivalry.”

Fiona looked over at the woman and laughed at herself. “I’m sorry, you didn’t need to hear the woes of a silly teenage love story.”

“No, dear, I don’t mind at all. Love is a beautiful thing,” she said. “Have you met his parents?”

“Yeah,” Fiona said with a sigh. “He got on much better with my family than I did with his.”

“Oh?” the woman asked, scooting closer to Fiona. “What happened with you, Bill, and Fleur?”

“It ended with a broken plate and me yelling,” Fiona said, putting her face in her hands. “From the beginning, Mrs. Weasley didn’t like me. Never even gave me a chance.”

“Oh, she’ll come around,” the woman said, patting Fiona on the shoulder. “Have you met any more of his family?”

Fiona shook her head. “He’s grabbing us drinks right now, and then I’m getting debriefed and thrown in to mingle. I’m a horrible mingler.”

The woman laughed. “I think you’re doing very well. Just be yourself, the family will like you.”

“How do you know?”

The woman grabbed Fiona’s hand in hers and smiled. “I’ve been to quite a few of these parties, my dear. The trick to getting the family to like you is to get Molly Weasley to like you. If you can win her over, you’re in the clear.”

“Molly Weasley…you mean Lou’s grandmum?”

The woman nodded. “Even in her old age, she’s got this family trained well. If she likes you, they’ll trust you’re good.”

Fiona nodded. “I just need to make sure she likes me.”

“She’s easily won over by the woes of a silly teenage love story,” the woman said with a wink.

Fiona looked at the woman in confusion. “What?”

“Oh, hello, Grandmum,” Louis said, pecking the woman on her cheek. The woman patted Louis’s face fondly. “I see you’ve met Fiona.”

Fiona’s eyes widened as Molly Weasley laughed. “She didn’t quite realize it, but yes, I have.”

“I can’t believe I didn’t recognize you, I’m so sorry, Mrs. Weasley!” Fiona said.

“Not to worry, my dear, you’ve had quite a night.” Molly pushed herself to her feet and said, “I think it’s about time I found my Arthur and we showed you grandkids how to really dance, eh, Louis?”

Louis grinned. “Sounds like a plan, Grandmum.”

Molly turned to leave, but stopped. She leaned over to Fiona and said, “I think you’ve won over the Grandmum.”

Fiona beamed at her and pressed a kiss to Molly’s cheek. “Thanks for listening, Mrs. Weasley.”

Molly smiled and nodded, making her way over to her husband and dragging him to the center of the floor with her. Louis looked over at Fiona and sat in the seat his grandmother had just vacated, sliding a cup of water in front of her. “She likes you,” Louis said grinning.

Fiona grinned back at him. “She does.”

“I knew you could do it.”

“Oh, come here, you,” Fiona said, fisting his shirt with both hands and kissing him fiercely. She pulled him as close as she could to her, her arms wrapped tightly around his shoulders and her chest arched into him. He held her close, unwillingly to let go as their mouths danced together. Excitement blossomed in Fiona’s stomach and she wanted to cry and laugh at the same time. Somehow, she had managed to win over Molly Weasley. She’d done it.

***

Once Molly and Arthur had finished their dance, Molly pulled Fiona away from Louis to introduce her to the rest of the family, declaring that Louis was “too slow” and that “she didn’t care if Fiona’s feet hurt and he’d been rubbing them in the hope of receiving kisses,” but that “the girl needs to meet the family, and if wouldn’t do it she would.” Louis was following the two around the tent with his grandfather, watching as Molly introduced all of his aunts and uncles to Fiona and she attempted to maintain a cool head.

“Harry Potter, you’d best come meet Lou’s little girlfriend before you sneak off like some randy teenager!” Molly shouted.

“Mum!” Ginny moaned as the couple retreated from the doorway. “We’re married, you can’t stop us from shagging in the house anymore.”

“Gin!” Harry yelped, running a hand through his hair. “That’s your mum!”

“She knows we have sex, Harry, if we didn’t, she’d have three less grandkids to spoil.”

“So, who’s this?”

“Fiona Little,” Fiona said, holding out her hand to Harry. “I’m dating Lou.”

Harry took her hand and shook it. “Pleasure to meet you, Fiona. I’m Harry, and this is my wife, Ginny.”

Ginny grasped Fiona’s hand and shook it as well. “Dating Lou? Weren’t you the girl he was always in detention because of?”

Fiona swallowed thickly. “Yes…”

“And is it true you smashed one of Fleur’s plates and yelled at her when you went to Shell Cottage for dinner?”

“I didn’t smash it on purpose…I was cleaning it and it slipped—”

“Oh, I am so glad that Fleur’s got a little Phlegm of her own!” Ginny said happily. “She’ll finally understand… Don’t you worry, love, she’ll warm up to you eventually.” Ginny looked back up to her mother and said, “May I go shag my husband now, mum?”

Molly rolled her eyes at her only daughter. “I swear, you’re trying to put me in an early grave, Ginevra.”

Ginny pecked her mother’s cheek and dragged Harry out of the tent.

“That was…interesting,” Fiona said, looking over at Molly, who shrugged.

“She’s got spirit.”

“She gets that from you,” Arthur said, chuckling to himself.

***

Hours later when the party had ended and been cleaned up, the grandkids were sprawled throughout the living room of the Burrow in an assortment of pillows and blankets. Freddie was staring at the cuckoo clock hanging on the far wall, ticking absentmindedly as seconds and minutes passed by. It currently read 4:23 am.

He was the only one still awake.

About four bodies away from him, Dorothy and James were cuddling. He couldn’t get that thought out of his mind. His conversation with Hope was playing in his mind.

He deserved better.

And, at that moment, he accepted the fact that he was absolutely not okay with this.




Bam! I hope it was everything you dreamed of. Shoot me some reviews and tell me what you think!

Peace, Love, and Potter,

~Becca~



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