Disclaimer: If I owned 'Harry Potter' I'd be posting this from a yacht. All rights to J.K. Rowling.
Nineteen Years Later
Sunlight warmed the side of the scarlet steam engine as it wove through the English countryside and Dominique Weasley flipped absentmindedly through the pages of Quidditch Today as she watched it roll by. On the opposite seat Lysander Scamander reached for the pile of Cauldron Cakes amassed between them, startling as the compartment door flew open. James Potter burst in with a gusto.
"Weasley, can you tell your sister to keep the public snogging to a minimum?" He plopped himself down dramatically next to Lysander. "My eyes can't un-see what has just been seen…"
"Trust me, Potter, I'm not endorsing any of it," Dominique promised wryly.
James leant over and snatched the Cauldron Cake Lysander was about to grab, ignoring his friend's protests. A contemplative shade overtook his face as he went on, voice muffled by the chunk of cake he was talking through. "I suppose though if they get hitched Teddy will legally become our cousin though, hey – your brother, even better!"
"Isn't he practically part of your family already?" Lysander asked.
"Well yeah, but it'll be official," James answered. He had a glint in his eyes that Dominique had come to equate with trouble and she had an inkling that very soon poor Teddy Lupin would be bombarded with James' demands that he immediately marry Dominique's sister. "It'll be great as long as they stop snogging all the time."
Sharing a silent look with Lysander, a smile spread across their faces. It was such a James statement – marry but don't show any affection, it'll be great. Sometimes Dominique couldn't believe the rubbish that came pouring out of her cousin and, she'd only begrudgingly admit, best friend's mouth. "Speaking of brothers, have you let poor Al of the hook?" she asked. "What are you going to do if he actually does end up in Slytherin?"
James began to say something about how brotherly teasing was a good character building experience but was interrupted when the compartment door slid open and the Head Girl glided in, glistening badge pinned to her Ravenclaw robes. Victoire was essentially Fleur's younger, less French doppelgänger. She'd inherited their mother's sheet of pale hair, clear blue eyes and willowy figure. Louis too had a veela-ish elegance to his high cheekbones and platinum blonde locks. Dominique, on the other hand, was decidedly more Weasley-ish.
"Well if it isn't the bride-to-be herself," James said, glancing at her with a mix of amusement and mild disgust. "No offence, Vic, but I hope to never see that sort of face-eating again for as long as I live."
"No offence, James, but I'll be concerned with your opinions about my kissing when you've crossed that bridge yourself," Victoire quipped but a troubled expression graced her delicate features. James flushed scarlet and muttered something about not broadcasting his romantic escapades to the world. Dominique reminded him that he couldn't broadcast what didn't exist. "Either way, you'll want to see this," Victoire interrupted, gently tossing the latest edition of the Daily Prophet onto Dominique's lap. Imposing block letters darted out from the front page.
MINISTER OF MAGIC HERMIONE GRANGER OPPOSES TRIWIZARD TOURNAMENT REVIVAL; INTERNATIONAL FEDERATION OF WIZARDS' PLANS MOVE FORWARD
"You're joking!" Dominique said in disbelief. "I thought for sure after Krum's testimony they'd cancel it!"
"I guess this means they'll call up dad to testify next," James said, grabbing the newspaper.
The looming shadow of the Triwizard Tournament had been casting itself over the various Weasley and Potter households for the last several months. Led by the International Federation of Wizards in a bid to mend relations coming out of the last Wizarding War, the British Ministry of Magic had been seeking to revive the infamous tournament. Expectedly, almost everyone who'd been involved the first time round had been fighting the move, none more so than the three surviving contestants. Dominique personally thought the whole thing was insane - she might've been a Gryffindor but she wasn't a moron.
"You know the principles of the whole thing aren't that bad, international co-operation and bonds, celebration of the education system..." Lysander murmured whilst he scanned the article over James' shoulder.
At the sound of Dominique's disbelieving snort he quirked a brow but James beat him to a response. "Come off it, Dom, it's not that bad of an idea. Could be fun even," James said wistfully. His head, Dominique suspected, was probably swimming with visions of clasping the Triwizard Cup as he stood on a podium before his adoring fans. So much for Gryffindors not being morons...
"You," she said, grabbing another Cauldron Cake and tossing the wrapper atop the heaped pile, "are barking." Eyeing the growing mound and looking incredibly like their mother, Victoire warned her sister to slow down before she gave herself a stomach ache, to which James muttered something sounding suspiciously close to 'would serve her right.'
After a moment he tossed the newspaper aside and leant back against the cushioned seat, propping his legs up lazily. "I don't reckon it's a half bad idea - bring it back, put a positive spin on it, that sort of thing."
"Somebody died last time. Not exactly the sort of thing you can put a 'positive spin' on," Dominique reminded him.
"People died lots of ways back then, Dom," Victoire murmured. A characteristic silence fell upon the compartment; an automatic reaction that came with being the children of war heroes. The war itself was a sensitive topic in their family and despite the emphasis the media put on them as the saviours of the Wizarding World none of their parents spoke much about the days of the Order of the Phoenix and Dumbledore's Army. In all honesty, Dominique and her cousins were as much in the dark as the annoyingly persistent Rita Skeeter-esque reporters when it came to the intricacies of Voldemort's rise and fall - a fact which was as frustrating as it was fortunate. Their parents, Uncle Harry in particular, kept the whole thing under wraps, something most recognised as an attempt to combat any aspiring Dark Lords.
The brooding moment was broken though when Victoire made to leave for patrols, glancing towards the darkening sky as she did and reminding them to change into their uniforms. As they neared Hogwarts talk, in typical fashion, turned to Quidditch and before long James had whipped out his 'playbook' - a concrete symbol of his obsession with one day captaining the Gryffindor team. Lysander was comparing the diving tactics of Timmy 'The Tank' Petrov and Samuel 'Freefall' Franklin - with Dominique offhandedly mentioning that back when her parents thought she'd be doubling down on X-chromosomes they'd planned on naming her Sam - when James let out a triumphant cry. He'd been trawling through the battered notebook trying to find a complicated sounding manoeuvre for the last half hour. About halfway through his animated description Dominique's stomach began to squirm uncomfortably. She could feel the vibrations of the train as she leant her head against the compartment window.
"…and then you just aim the bludger directly at the quaffle so it knocks it off course and your chasers have a free shot!" James finished, sounding pleased.
Dominique, meanwhile, was too busy trying to pacify the rolling of her stomach to pay too much attention. "Yeah, yeah a bludger," she managed as her cousin continued to watch her expectantly. "What do we need one of those for if we can just use your thick head?"
"I take offense to that," he replied dryly.
"You're supposed to," she said, jumping up as the train lurched over a particularly rickety piece of track. "I think I'm going to be sick." Grabbing the overhead luggage rail for support, Dominique saw both boys automatically recoil from the corner of her dizzied vision, with Lysander unconsciously covering the remainder of their Cauldron Cakes with a hand.
"Could you er-?"
"Yeah, yeah I'm going," she struggled towards the door, shooting a scowl Lysander's way. "If you need me I'll be in the lavatory, keeling over the toilet to die. I ask you both to remember me as I was – young, carefree, generous, an incredible chaser-"
"Modest," James finished, grabbing his backpack and making to follow her. He shrugged at her questioning expression. "What? I need to go that way anyway."
Together stumbling out onto the narrow corridor, the pair heard Lysander's voice fade with the closing click of the compartment door behind them. "I guess I'll just sit here alone then…"
To distract herself from her rebelling stomach, Dominique listened to James' babbling and allowed her gaze to trail over the compartments they weaved pass, roving over the literal dozens of cousins and siblings she had dotted around the train. She was so caught up in the act that she didn't realise that she was about to barrel into one midway down the corridor until Louis rammed into her with a characteristic thud. Head perpetually stuck in a book, her younger brother was remarkably prone to bumping into things wherever he went - chairs, school trunks, small children. Today's distractor was a dusty looking book titled 'Voiceless – an Unspeakable Speaks Out.'
Dominique clasped her abdomen whilst Louis' eyes darted up to discover she source of the minor collision. "Sorry, Dom!" he apologised, steadying her. "Are you alright, you look like you're about to be sick."
Shooting him a weak thumbs up, all Dominique could think was that her brother must have shins of steel. James, luckily, took the initiative to answer in her stead. "Don't worry, Lou, it's going to be very entertaining, quite the spectacle. I was promised 'keeling over and dying'," he said, spreading his hands out in front of himself as though envisioning the scene.
Dominique's eyes narrowed. "Watch it, Potter, or I might forgo the bathroom aim for you."
Her cousin shrugged, unconcerned, but his face screwed up comically as a harsh chirping suddenly strained their ears. "It sounds like somebody's owl is being strangled." Dominique was quietly thankful that the strange noise was not, in fact, an illness invoked delusion. Making to put distance between themselves and the unfortunate screeching, she watched over her shoulder as Louis reopened the book, moved forward and bumped into a heavy trunk, still completely oblivious as his internal GPS kicked in and he started off again. It was like watching a one-man bumper car rally. Dominique shook her head with a sigh before continuing on, worrying that one day he was going to wander straight off a cliff.
"You know you really do look crappy, Dom," James pointed out a few minutes later. Outsight, night had enveloped the train but the moon hadn't yet reached the sky and Dominique caught a glimpse of her reflection's ashen face on the train window. She started to respond when James stopped suddenly, causing her to walk straight into his back. As she told him off for disturbing her already volatile stomach he loudly shushed her, waving a frantic hand. "Did you hear my name?" He visibly strained his ears. "I heard my name!"
Craning her neck to see around him, James' motives in tagging became glaringly obvious; none of them involved helping his ill cousin. Tyler Tran, his long term crush, was sitting in an open compartment nearby, chatting easily and obliviously with a group of friends. Dominique peered between her and James' determined expression as he zeroed in on his target and shook her head. "Potter, you are pathetic."
"Yeah, you go ahead, I'm going to stick around for a bit," he replied absently, already reaching into his backpack. There was no doubt that he was rummaging around for his father's invisibility cloak to, yet again, stick his nose where it didn't belong. Personally, Dominique would have questioned the wisdom of her uncle Harry letting his adolescent son mosey around with free rein of the thing if she didn't raise the same amount of havoc with it.
Leaving James to his pining, Dominique clutched her way to the girl's bathroom at the back of the train in solitude, stopping momentarily to hiss after an invisible figure that knocked her against the wall, which was in all probability another cousin who'd just stolen to cloak. Her churning stomach had her all but collapsing through the lavatory door and lurching for the thankfully empty toilet. Once she'd well and truly heaved herself to exhaustion, she rested her head on her forearm and listened to the deceptively calming sound of the train rolling down the track below.
"Bloody Cauldron Cakes..."
Finally dragging herself up, Dominique staggered towards the sink, halting when she noticed something glistening in the basin. With careful movements she picked it up and realised that it was a delicate gold necklace that someone, Merlin knew why, had dumped in the bathroom sink of all places. Intending to hand it over to McGonagall or Longbottom when the train pulled in, she stuffed it into her pocket and warily scanned her reflection as she washed her hands and rinsed her mouth.
Food poisoning, or whatever it was she had, was apparently not great for the complexion. Sections of blonde hair hung limply from her braid and the skin beneath her freckled face was a sickly grey colour. Splashing a cupped handful of cold water across it, Dominique closed her eyes and tried to piece together where exactly her digestive system had gone wrong. Cauldron Cake's weren't known to have this affect, and Lysander and James had been fine. Her lids snapped open furiously as the most likely perpetrator sprang to mind – James. This was exactly the kind of idiotic prank he'd think was hilarious.
Dominique decided that if the urge to vomit suddenly overcame her later in the trip, she would be running to her dearest cousin instead of a bathroom. Hopefully he'd be halfway into an attempted wooing of Tyler Tran.
Or there were other ways to get back at him...
An impish smile began to play at Dominique's lips as she reached into her pocket and drew out the necklace, considering it gleefully. Oh the opportunities. Her smile evolved into a full fletched maniacal grin as various wicked plans sprang to mind, each involving the dainty piece of jewellery. Twisting the gold hourglass pendant around distractedly in her fingers Dominique had just settled on the classic 'tell him its Tyler Tran's but put a nausea inducing curse on it first' scheme when the train lurched violently. She stumbled against the sink, her fingers yanking the pendant back as far as it would go before slipping off.
An abrupt pulse rippled through her, an electric shockwave that left Dominique momentarily numb. She watched in awe as the necklace's hourglass pendant began to whirl wildly until it was a blur in her hand and gasped loudly at the sharp pull to her navel as the bathroom began to spin, spiralling along with the hourglass. Her heart thundered in her chest. Something felt very, very wrong. Horrified, she tried to toss the necklace from her grip but it held like cement in her grasp, its heat growing and spreading across her body.
What in Merlin's name have I done?
The world spun until it was a blur. And then everything went black.
Her thumping head, aching as though it'd just been bashed in by a bludger, brought Dominique groggily to her senses. Her throat was raw as she blinked against the dim bathroom light suspended above her; it's complete stillness coupled with the absence of the steady roll of the engine underneath helped her register somewhere in the back of her mind that the train had stopped. More immediately though, she was concerned with how she'd ended up on the bathroom floor of the Hogwarts Express.
Groaning and rolling over, Dominique rested her cheek against the surprisingly chilled tile floor. Hadn't it been a humid day earlier? After a pause, she screwed up her face and retraced the afternoon in her memory, her eyes flying open as the comprehension hit her. Twisting around to scowl mutinously at the gold necklace glinting beside her, she snatched it off the tiled floor and examined it against the light, muttering darkly all the while about the currently anonymous complete nutter that had left a cursed necklace lying about.
The sooner this thing is in McGonagall's hands the better, she grumbled. Taking a steadying breath, Dominique heaved herself off the ground and mentally vowed not to throw up again as she stumbled back out onto train corridor. The sight that met her immediately made her want to retreat back into the bathroom, leaving her with the conclusion that the necklace might've caused some serious brain damage.
Percy Weasley swivelled round to face her, a startled look on his haughty features. "What are you doing here, the school went up almost half an hour ago!"
Dominique gawked at him. "What are you doing here?" she countered. And why in Merlin's name are you wearing a uniform…
"I happen to be Head Boy!" he answered, clearly affronted, and Dominique had to admit, he certainly sounded like Uncle Percy; that unconscious arrogance was unmistakable. But it just didn't add up...Uncle Percy was far too sensible to have completely lost his marbles like this and he certainly wasn't fun enough for it to be an elaborate prank.
This is a hallucination, she reassured herself. It had to be. Odds were that she was having a seizure somewhere, probably back twitching on bathroom floor. But she couldn't quite explain why she was hallucinating about Uncle Percy of all people, he was probably the most boring person she knew. Maybe she'd just lost it. Well, Dominique decided, might as well go along with it, at least until the Healers from St Mungo's come in with the restraint jacket.
"Head Boy, huh? Vic failed to mention that," she teased, leaning against the wall. Her stomach rumbled another warning and she took a settling breath. "I get that it was always the dream but you don't exactly fit the criteria these days."
Percy puffed his chest out proudly to emphasise the polished 'Head' badge pinned to it, an exact replica of Victoire's. "I was chosen by Professor Dumbledore himself!"
Now, it wasn't the disturbing precision of Dominique's imagination that was throwing her off, but the fact that according to her bizzaro uncle, Albus Dumbledore, the greatest wizard to ever live, was running about her deluded psyche handing out Prefect badges. She smiled in what she hoped was a placating manner and took a step backwards. "Dumbledore...right."
Unfortunately this movement had the opposite effect. As though someone had flicked a switch, Percy's body shifted and his face contorted in suspicion. "Who are you?" Dominique blanched and all of a sudden his wand was trained on her chest. "You're not a student here. So who are you?"
"Are you mad?" she cried, taking a more obvious step away. Her hands shaking slightly as she grabbed a nearby wall, Dominique answered herself that, yes, he had clearly lost his mind in her brief absence.
In response, his wand wavered in hesitation but he quickly steadied himself. His eyes, brimming with mistrust and holding no recognition, bore into hers. "I'll have to ask you to give me your wand," Percy demanded.
Dominique shook her head. "That's not going to happen." The light pressure of it against her thigh was one of the few comforts she had left in the current whirlwind of insanity. He'd have to pry it away from her cold, stunned hands.
The Head Boy, looking conflicted, started forward and Dominique froze, unsure exactly how to react in this situation. Her mind reeled - fight or flight, fight or flight? In a moment of pure grace her stomach answered for her. Throw up. Percy's disposition changed in an instant and he darted towards her hunched form in a fluster. "Merlin, you're ill!"
You think? Dominique thought weakly. She shuffled away from him in a futile attempt at escape but he didn't seem to notice, instead guiding her down the corridor, carefully avoiding the path of her retching as they approached a tall girl with very curly brown hair who gasped as they neared. "Oh my, what's wrong with her, poor thing?"
Percy's tone oozed with confidence and Dominique wondered if he was getting a perverse joy from his newly authoritative position. "I'm not sure, Penelope. I think she's delirious…she may have been attacked." He said the last part in an undertone and Penelope quietly gasped again. Dominique, however, couldn't help but recognise the irony in that statement – he was the last person to be going about making judgements on people's mental stability.
Percy murmured something about cleaning up a mess near the back of the train before finally leading her out into the cool night air. Even in the darkness Dominique could make out the glittering lights of Hogwarts Castle shimmering comfortingly in the distance. She decided that she was going to skip the Welcoming Feast altogether and sleep for a week, only just realising how exhausted she felt. She sagged unwillingly against Percy, feeling a bit like a ragdoll.
"Steady there, we'll have you up to the Hospital Wing in no time."
"I don't need the Hospital Wing, I want to go to sleep," Dominique whined. And I want to put considerable distance between us, maybe get a restraining order, she mentally added.
Percy tutted disapprovingly. "You're clearly very ill and it's my duty as Head Boy to make sure you're seen to before you get worse."
Dominique groaned in response. "You know you're not exactly inspiring the comfort you think are."
Percy half dragged her towards the few remaining carriages docked by Hogsmeade Station, presumably left moored for the Prefects. The sound of gentle snorts huffed in the air and Dominique noticed tiredly that her delusions were getting more vivid. He paused a few feet from the closest carriage. "Do you think you've got it all out of your system?" he questioned and Dominique realised that he didn't want her throwing up inside. She nearly scoffed - hallucinatory or not he was definitely her uncle.
"Yeah, just give me a minute to breath," she muttered, leaning against the glossy carriage door. By this point the shock of his apparent mental breakdown had worn off and Dominique was just concerned with surrounding herself with other, preferably mentally stable, people who could serve as reliable witnesses should he pull his wand on her again.
Unaware of her schemes, he glanced towards the shadow of the castle looming over them magnificently. "You may feel nauseous again when we go through the gates, Dementors have that effect," he warned.
Dominique barely stirred, her exhausted eyes seeming to roll of their own accord under heavy lids. Because of course we couldn't just leave it at crazy relatives. "Dementors - at Hogwarts?"
"Nobody likes it but it's necessary for our safety, no one knows what Black is capable of after all. Escaping Azkaban, it's unheard of…"
A disbelieving laugh escaped her lips. "Black…as in Sirius?" She raised a challenging eyebrow at his incredulous expression.
"Of course, don't you read the Prophet?"
"I think you're a little behind the times, anyway wasn't he cleared-"
"Behind the times?" Percy repeated disbelievingly. "It was only a few weeks ago! I really should be taking you up to the hospital wing, you're worse than I thought!"
Dominique suddenly felt very concious, the air suffocatingly still as she stared at her uncle properly for the first time since waking. His red hair held none of its usual grey flecks and the only wrinkles on his face were the premature frown lines he'd been blessed with since childhood. Younger, she realised dumbfounded. He couldn't have been more than a few years older than herself.
And he thought Sirius Black was guilty. And there were Dementors at Hogwarts. Which hadn't happened since…
Dominique's mouth felt cotton dry. "What's the date?"
"September 1st, 1993. Why?"
Her eyes widened as she stared at him for a moment that felt like an eternity. The realisation hit her with the force of a freight train and her hand automatically slid into her pocket, grazing the delicate golden necklace. Percy frowned, looking perplexed as he finally opened the carriage door. "Can you recall your name now?"
Dominique was only vaguely aware of an unintelligible mumble escaping her mouth before she fainted once more. I'm going to kill James.