Part One: Dawning Along the Horizon
Someone was working into the early morning hours in the Gryffindor common room. It was close to the end of the school year, but the upcoming final exams, namely the N.E.W.T.s, were fast approaching. This particular person had more to prove because she wasn't simply Head Girl, but also a Muggle born witch. Her reddish-brown hair was piled up on her head in a haphazard bun. Her eyes were amber with an outer ring of green. They sparkled, but gave the slightest hint of exhaustion.
Her name was Sidney Nelsen. She was going to turn eighteen years old during the summer, but she already had a job lined up. She was originally from Holland, and she had spent her magical education in England. Not only did she have some of the highest grades of the year, but she also had a boyfriend that almost every girl envied. He was a pureblood from a well-known wizarding family.
The professors were strongly reminded of a past couple from Gryffindor who were also Head Boy and Girl whenever they looked at Sidney and her boyfriend. Sidney reminded some of the teachers of Lily Evans. Her copper locks were almost like Lily's. She had the same studious nature, but remained very popular with almost everyone.
"What are you doing up so early? Did you ever go to bed?" asked a familiar, playful voice from behind her. She looked up and saw her boyfriend standing over her. He leaned in and kissed her. Sidney was one of the tallest girls in the class, while her boyfriend was the tallest boy in Gryffindor.
Sidney smiled slightly and nodded. "I just got up early. Not all of us are as brilliant as you, Bill."
Bill Weasley smiled at her. "But, you really shouldn't work that hard, Sid. You're over stressing yourself." He gently rubbed her shoulders. To his surprise, Sidney shrugged him off. "What's wrong?" he asked.
"Nothing," she muttered without looking at him.
"Come on, tell me," he urged. "You can tell me anything."
"This is very important to me, Bill. I need to do well on the final exams and the N.E.W.T.s."
Bill studied her carefully and realized instantly that there was more happening than Sidney was letting on. "What's bothering you? You know that you're going to do well. There's something else. I know it," he insisted.
Bill sighed, "But, if there's not anything wrong, why do you look so upset?"
Sidney glanced at him, "I'm just worried about the future, Bill. Haven't you ever thought of that?"
"Of course," replied Bill. "Didn't I ever tell you that I could see the future?"
"You don't take Divination," said Sidney, skeptically. "You said that Trelawney was a fraud."
"I don't need Divination to see the future."
"All right, what do you see?"
"First thing's first, I am probably going to work for the Ministry of Magic like my father. You and I will keep dating. And if it feels right, then we'll get married." Bill gazed at her meaningfully. Sidney's expression remained still as she turned her head away from him.
"It's not that simple, Bill," she whispered. "Did it ever occur to you that I have plans, too?" Plans that don't involve you. She added silently, but she didn't dare say those words out loud.
"Of course, you can do what you want to do, Sid," said Bill in a somewhat dismissive manner as he ran his fingers through his short red hair. "We haven't really told any of our families that we're dating. You are going to meet my family after graduation."
Sidney smiled at that thought, but quickly buried it. She didn't want to tell him about her plans. It was important that she kept her plans secret. She stood up. "I'm going to sleep," she announced, her voice ragged with exhaustion as she gathered up her things. She only paused to give Bill a kiss that lingered on his lips, despite how short it was. Sidney left him with a smile on his face.
The smile didn't last for very long. He was worried about her. He wondered what was bothering her so much. Bill didn't have a clue. He looked straight out the window. The sun was slowly rising. Someone clapping a hand over his shoulder snapped him out of his thoughts. "Ah!" he exclaimed in surprise.
"You're up early," said the familiar voice of Bill's younger brother, Charlie. He was grinning and his brown eyes were alive with mischief. Perhaps, the mischief was Bill's imagination. After spending the summer at home with his younger twin brothers, Fred and George, Bill was trying to figure out where the pair had learned to prank people so early. He suspected Charlie had given the twins a few pointers. Bill pitied Percy, the third child, because he fell victim to most of the twins' pranks.
"So are you," retorted Bill, annoyed. He attempted to turn away from Charlie.
"Aw...what's wrong? Did you and Sidney have a tiff?" asked Charlie, teasingly.
Bill turned to glare at him. "It's nothing," he said quickly. "I think she's nervous about meeting everyone."
Charlie nodded, "Of course, meeting the Weasley clan is like meeting everyone else." He was chuckling softly. "But, she's got nothing to worry about. She's the perfect girl for Mum and Dad. She's Head Girl, which will be more than good enough for Mum. And she's Muggle born. Dad's going to love that. He can ask her all sorts of questions. He can even meet her parents."
"What about them?" asked Bill. "Can she survive them?"
"Aw...come on, Percy's not too bad. He's only a first year. And Fred and George will like her. They like meeting new people. Ron likes anyone who carries him. Ever since Ginny was born, he hasn't been carried as often as he'd like. Ginny's sweet to everyone," said Charlie, reassuringly. He smiled again. Just thinking of his younger siblings was enough to make Charlie smile. He had been present for the births of all of them, while Bill had missed Ron's and Ginny's births. Charlie knew that Bill was kind of attached to Ginny, while Charlie was more attached to the twins. Percy was the one who was very attached to Ron.
Charlie liked to think that Percy belonged in the older brother club with Bill and him. It made perfect sense because Percy was the one who was in charge of wrangling the twins in when Bill and Charlie were away for school. However, he was now in school with them.
"Ginny was a bit of a surprise," said Bill musingly. "Who would have thought that we'd ever have a girl in the family?"
"Yes, but that does explain the excess of maroon that Ron's been forced to wear. Remember, Mum and Dad thought that he'd be the girl?" chuckled Charlie. "But, don't tell Fred or George, they'll never let Ron live it down."
"You're the one who's been telling them things," snorted Bill. "By the way, why are you up so early?"
"I'm up early because there's one last Quidditch game, remember?" Charlie reminded him. "Look, I know that you're kind of worried about Sidney, but you've got nothing to worry about. It will all work out eventually."
Bill was not so sure about that. He did not tell Charlie about how Sidney had been distancing herself from him. Bill was worried about her. He loved her more than anyone and he wanted to marry her. He thought of asking her before graduation that way they would have more than just graduation to celebrate. Bill knew it was too early to even think about getting married, but being engaged couldn't hurt. They could work a while before getting married.
Bill sighed again as he stood up. "I'm going back to bed. You can stay here and meditate before your game," he said as he yawned. He had only gone to the common room to check on Sidney because he knew that she would be down there. Charlie shook his head as he watched Bill leave.
Things changed two weeks shy of graduation, Gryffindor won the Quidditch Cup. Their entire house was elated. However, things were more strained between Sidney and Bill. They were talking less and less. It was odd considering the extra they had to do with graduation fast approaching. As Head Boy and Girl, Sid and Bill had more work hoisted on them. Sidney merely finished her work and submitted it early rather than meet with Bill like she was supposed to.
Bill was more than frustrated after only a few days of Sidney's avoidance. He decided to have a talk with her as soon as possible. It was hard to manage because she was doing an excellent job of avoiding him. It wasn't an easy thing to do, but she had managed to do it. So, Bill staked himself outside of her last class that afternoon. Bill knew that Sidney would stay until she was the last one to leave; she always left her questions for the end of class. She had come down the stairs and saw him. The look on her face was near panic as she tried to turn around to get away, only to collide with Professor Vector.
"What's going on, Miss Nelsen?" asked Professor Vector.
"Nothing," replied Sidney quickly as she shook her head. Her cheeks were flushed.
"Hello, Mister Weasley," greeted Professor Vector as she continued down the stairs. She smiled at the young couple as she left. She was very fond of both of them. They did not say a word to each other until they could no longer hear the sounds of the professor's footsteps.
Sidney bit her lip as she took one glance at Bill, who was looking at her with an unreadable expression. After another lingering silence, Bill offered her his hand, which she took. "Where are we going?" Her voice was barely above a whisper.
"To talk," replied Bill. Sidney made no comment. She didn't dare look at him as they went outside. He glanced at her from time to time, noticing how tense she was. He stopped himself from saying that everything would be all right because he was not so sure about that. At this point, Bill was not sure about anything. The only thing he knew for certain was that he loved her and she loved him.
The weather was very pleasant outside. The sun was shining. Everything was green, even the tops of the trees of the Forbidden Forest. It was hard to believe that things were so dangerous outside the school. Bill and Sid sighed together. He cupped her chin and tilted it upward, so that her eyes were facing him. It seemed like a lot of time had passed since Bill had seen her eyes.
"What's been bothering you?" asked Bill gently.
"I can't say," whispered Sid.
"What do you mean you can't say?" snapped Bill, starting to lose his temper. One look at her face, and he immediately regretted getting angry with her. "You've been avoiding me for a while. If there's a problem, then just tell me."
"I don't think we can be together much longer," whispered Sidney as she gathered her courage to look him in the eye. "We can't keep going. I'm sorry."
"What do you mean?" whispered Bill as he grabbed her shoulders. Her head turned away from him. "What do you mean?" he repeated, keeping his voice leveled. He couldn't believe what he was hearing. Was he the only one who had thought of them having a future together? "Was everything a lie? Tell me, Sidney. Make me understand." His voice was pleading.
Sidney shook her head. She felt herself weaken at his words, but she could not allow herself to feel it. She just couldn't. It was not only her future at stake. She had already given her word. It was the sacrifice she had to make. There was no way she could explain it to Bill and make sense without revealing the secrets she was already keeping. She reached out her hand and stroked his cheek. He pressed his forehead against hers.
"I'm so sorry, but I can't," whispered Sidney. She leaned in and kissed him softly. Bill could feel the tears on her eyelashes against his cheeks. He put his arms around her and pulled her close. It was all he could do. "I'm so sorry," she repeated. She couldn't bring herself to say that she loved him; it was more painful than she had expected.
A chill ran through them as they held each other. Bill did not understand what was happening; he could not comprehend the pain that Sidney was in. He wanted to ask her why, but he stopped himself. His words were caught in his as if he couldn't breathe. Time was slipping from them. It was far from over though.
This was only a beginning.
Written by kirikarin
Beta Read by IvyDragon
AN: This prologue is actually a rewrite of the original. I was doing some formatting between Frontpage and Word that I lost the original. There are parts that just sucked and that were much better in the original. I want to cry. Bill was much sweeter in the original, while Sidney was more understandable. This sucks. My heartfelt apologies. This fic will be different from other fanfics because of the focus. This is a Percy fic, but he won't actually show up until chapter two. I have to establish Sidney and Bill's relationship.
Anyway, someone did steal my last few works and tried to pretend it was their own. So, I have no choice, but to include all information about who has done what. Thanks to all the support from the readers at the time.
Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter. This story belongs to me and cannot be posted anywhere else without my permission.