Dominique Weasley and the Diagon Alley Revelation
Dominique scuffed her sneakers angrily on the path outside Shell Cottage. So far, the summer after her sixth year had been…disappointing, to say the least.
At Hogwarts School, she was Captain of the Gryffindor Quidditch team, someone to be respected, even feared, at least by the Slytherins. During the season, even James and Fred had to do what she told them most of the time. And of course she was used to bossing her brother Louis and cousin Molly around. Cynthia Cartwright played Beater with Molly. The last remaining spot on her team was more fluid: ordinarily she put James at Seeker, because he was so good it was practically a crime not to, but then she had to have McLaggen as the third Chaser, with Fred and Louis, and everyone seemed to hate him, why she wasn't sure. He was incredibly irritating, there was no doubt about that, but he could play well, and he always had a witty rejoinder for her, without questioning her authority as Captain too much. When the rest of the team got too annoyed with McLaggen, she put James at Chaser, and got little Lilah McDonald to play Seeker. The third year was absolutely tiny, and quite fast on her Nimbus Two Thousand and Two.
Dominique sighed. Even though most of her teammates were also her cousins, who she saw all the time over the summer as well as in school, she couldn't help missing her team. James, who was so good she forgave him for trying to control her, and even for having a Slytherin girlfriend—at least she wasn't a Quidditch player; Fred, whose gravity and natural responsibleness didn't stop him from playing his heart out when she asked him to; Louis, her younger brother, who loved Quidditch almost as much as she did; Molly, an able confederate in all things, both on the pitch and off; Cynthia, whose lighthearted banter helped diffuse a team full of cousins, and whose blonde ringlets incited Dominique to jealousy; little Lilah, who really was the cutest thing—she had glasses and mousy brown hair and skinny, bony knees; and, of course, McLaggen, whose first name was Miles, not that she would ever admit to knowing it—he called her Weasley, even though that really didn't narrow it down, at least in Gryffindor, and he teased her unmercifully. She loved them all, she thought now. Her team.
Instead of practicing her moves or doing anything interesting this summer, she was stuck with being a bridesmaid and a babysitter. The latter was familiar enough in an extended family as large as hers, but the thought of the former still sent shivers down her spine, and it was only early July.
Her elder sister, Victoire, was getting married.
The weirdest part about this for Dominique was not that Victoire, age nineteen, was getting married and would probably get pregnant within the year, but whom she was marrying. Honestly, it seemed almost like incest. Teddy Lupin might not be related to them (although Dominique had it on good authority—Roxane's—that they were actually fourth cousins once removed) but he'd grown up with the whole Weasley clan, just like one of them. He and Victoire had babysat the younger ones together Dominique didn't know how many times, and Uncle Harry's was Teddy's second home. She knew for a fact James looked up to him like a brother. Which made Teddy-and-Victoire kind of ooky, in Dominique's opinion. Besides, who would want to marry someone who had their exact same eyes? Like looking at yourself, that would be. Sure, Teddy was a Metamorphagus, but that didn't stop him from wearing Weasley brown eyes, or Black features that reminded Dominique unfavorably of the Malfoys, and seemed to cause Grandromeda pain every time she looked at them. Or that ridiculous turquoise hair. Who did he think he was kidding? He so did not have a good excuse for hair that color. At least Victoire couldn't help her sunset-cotton-candy-baby-girl-pink locks. What was his excuse?
Dominique was not looking forward to being a bridesmaid, but if it had been just the wedding she thought she might've been okay with it. After all, no matter how weird it was that her shy, quiet, careful sister would be in love with her loud, obnoxious, charmingly untrustworthy almost-cousin, the facts remained the facts, and she knew it.
But, honestly, did that really mean she should have to do all this work? Helping with invitations, firecalling guests to receive their RSVPs, cleaning the house…Would it never end? And Victoire never did even the slightest bit of her share, since four or five nights out of the seven she stayed over at Teddy's place. Dominique didn't know what her parents thought they were doing, but all she knew was there was no way it was as innocent as Exploding Snap. In short, Vic was never around to do her own wedding chores, and everyone seemed to think that was all understandable, even proper. Dominique didn't understand it.
She was interrupted from these fruitless musings on the unjustness of a fate that had saddled her with clueless parents, a flighty sister who was too nice for her own good, a pesky little brother who at least understood the most important thing in life—Quidditch—and cousins who never ceased to provoke her, by an impatient voice from the front porch.
"Coming, Maman!" Dominique called back. She bit back a sigh, and ran the last couple of steps to the house. "¿Qu'est-ce qui se passe?"
"Il va falloir que do some errands pour moi, ¿d'accord?" Dominique's mother asked, appearing on the porch. She wore an apron, and her hands were on her hips. Fleur Delacour Weasley had long silvery blonde hair that had yet to go grey, and a beautiful face. She'd been born and raised in France, but had moved to England a little while before her marriage to Dominique's father, Bill Weasley. Her accent was almost gone, but she still spoke her native language to Dominique, the only one of her three children fluent in French.
Dominique shrugged indifferently. "Bien, I'll do some errands for you," she started to say; then an extensive knowledge of her mother's tactics made her add suspiciously, "Just what sort of errands, Maman?"
"You will buy for me some elderflower wine for tonight, your sœur is bringing Teddy to dinner," Dominique rolled her eyes expressively. "And I need a few supplies too—three pumpkins, two-dozen eggs, a new bottle of dittany, and a few sprigs of fluxweed," Dominique's Maman paused for breath. Dominique didn't bother to write any of it down, trusting that she'd remember it. It read like most of Maman's grocery lists, after all—haphazard and ridiculous upon first glance, but imbued with a certain inner logic. "And," said Maman firmly, "I also need you to pick up the shoes you helped Victoire pick out for you and your cousins Molly, Lucy, Lily, Roxane, and Rose."
"Oh, Ma-man!" Dominique complained. "Do I have to?"
"Dominique," said Fleur Weasley, and Dominique sighed inwardly, but felt herself weakening.
"Fine," she snapped. She turned on her heel and marched to the boundary line of her parents' property, passing her mother's garden and the lone gravestone she and her siblings used to wildly speculate about, when they were younger and more innocent and didn't know it was yet another casualty of the war that had claimed their uncle's life and forever changed that of their parents. She opened the white gate and stepped out of the range of the Anti-Apparition spells. Only then did she look back at Maman.
"Bonne chance, ma fille!" Maman called, waving from the porch. She looked so at home in Shell Cottage, surrounded by flowers and the pretty white fence and the house itself that was so elegant—a beautiful woman in a beautiful, peaceful setting. Dominique frowned at how perfectly her mother seemed to fit. Sometimes, Dominique felt that she was the one who didn't belong in Shell Cottage. It was so calm, like a fairyland, removed from everything important or interesting or dangerous. Secretly, Dominique was relieved to temporarily escape its stifling atmosphere.
"Merci beaucoup, ma mère," Dominique said softly, knowing Maman would understand. Then she Apparated into darkness.
Dominique liked Diagon Alley. It was always full of activity and excitement. Weasley's Wizard Wheezes (or WWW as she and her cousins called it) was always worth a visit, and she loved the broom store.
On this particular day, Dominique told herself she would at least start by doing her mother's errands. She ducked into Wang's Groceries, and got the pumpkins, eggs, and wine without mishap. Next she set off for the Apothecary.
As usual, it was dark and dank, and smelled awful. Dominique wrinkled her nose, promising herself she'd grab the dittany and fluxweed and then get the hell of there. It was dark, too, with strange things in jars looming down from rickety shelves, and dusty corners Dominique knew must house strange creatures.
She frowned, but bravely stepped forward to look for the dittany.
"So that's one bottle of essence of belladonna, a bunch of knotgrass, and some armadillo bile, right?" Dominique heard from the counter. She would have ignored it, but the next voice she heard made her stiffen involuntarily.
"Correct." The voice was drawling and arrogant, and, unbidden, an image of the Malfoy heir as she had last seen him rose in Dominique's mind. Going into his third year, his hair was blonde and at that awkward stage between short and long that meant he was growing it out, and his chin was sharp and pointed, so that his face looked like an upside-down triangle. His features were also sharp, and his bone structure reminded Dominique of Teddy, which never failed to annoy her. His eyes were cool and grey and his habitual expression would have been condescending if it weren't so polite. He was famous for his friendly scholarly rivalry with Rose (Dominique thought her cousin ought never to encourage him) and for his excellent taste in clothing, food, and all things bought or sold anywhere. He was also on the Slytherin Quidditch team, which only added to Dominique's antipathy for him. She strongly disapproved of his and Rose's fledgling friendship-slash-rivalry, and Weasley family wisdom taught her never to trust a Malfoy.
She ducked behind a teetering shelf, then thought better of such a cowardly impulse and strolled casually toward the counter. After all, why should she hide from Malfoy? He was the one who ought to be ashamed, both of his family's checkered past and of his team's humiliating defeat to Gryffindor during Dominique's very first game as Captain.
"Can I get a bottle of dittany?" Dominique asked casually. Malfoy was now paying for his purchases. Dominique scowled at the offhand way he threw Galleons on the counter. After all, with only three kids, her parents weren't as badly off as her grandparents had been, but they still weren't filthy rich like the Malfoys (who were still filthy rich even after having to pay tons of fines post Final Battle, and practically financially supporting Voldemort's war effort all on their lonesome back in the day, according to Uncle Harry).
Malfoy finished buying his supplies—all standard for Potion-making—and turned toward the door. At the same moment, the clerk turned to Dominique. "What did you want, miss?"
"Dittany," said Dominique. "One bottle." When the clerk had hurried away, Dominique smiled widely at Malfoy, turning on her one-eighth Veela charm. She didn't usually use it, preferring to attack more straightforwardly, but Malfoy deserved it. "You," Dominique stated calmly, and waited.
Malfoy, to do him credit, didn't seem as affected by the Charm as most men were. Dominique wondered if, at twelve, he were too young for it to work. But surely…Maman had definitely had boys of all ages falling all over her.
"Weasley," said Malfoy guardedly. "If you'll excuse me…"
"Going so soon?" Dominique asked.
"Did you want something in particular?" Malfoy said politely.
Dominique decided to abandon Charm for the moment—it occurred to her that, considering his grandfather, Malfoy might have had sufficient exposure to charm of all sorts to develop some immunity—and instead, she walked toward him until she was close enough to whisper in his ear. He didn't step back, but looked wary.
"So, you inbred, evil little twerp," Dominique whispered viciously, "stay away from my cousin, or you'll get more than a trouncing on the Quidditch pitch, got that?" She relished the words, especially the insults. After all, the Malfoys clearly deserved them. She felt she was just doing her part for Uncle Ron and Aunt Hermione, and maybe Uncle Harry, who seemed not to mind the Malfoys as much as she, Dominique, would have expected. They'd supported Voldemort, after all. Not to mention being snarky, pureblood-fanatic Slytherins.
Malfoy swallowed hard, but didn't say anything. He met Dominique's hard brown eyes with his cool grey ones, giving her back stare for stare. Dominique, enjoying this, gave him her best Glare. He refused to back down, and the contest might have gone on until Dominique lost patience and hexed him just for the hell of it, if the clerk hadn't come up to them just then.
"Your dittany, miss," he said nervously. "Will there be anything else?"
"What?" Dominique blinked. "Oh, and some fluxweed." She moved toward the counter, and Malfoy backed away in order to make his escape.
At the door, he looked back. "Oh, and by the way, Weasley," he said offhandedly, "I'm not evil." Dominique twisted around, surprised at his daring. He gave her a sarcastic wave, adding, "Thanks, though!"
She slammed out of the store after paying for her mother's groceries, annoyed and looking for someone to take it out on. Or something else to do. She couldn't go and get the bridesmaids' shoes now, she'd burn down the shop or something.
Instead, she decided to look in the window of the broom store for a while. That always soothed her.
There was already a crowd of prepubescent boys around the window, staring at the latest in the Bolt series, the Lightningbolt. It really was beautiful, Dominique thought. She stared at it, mesmerized.
"Beautiful, isn't it?" said a voice behind her. Dominique whirled, and Miles McLaggen grinned at her.
McLaggen's grin had an adorable little quirk in one corner, and his eyes were a merry, twinkling blue. His hair was a mess of soft, light brown curls, and his nose was very straight. He had broad shoulders and a Quidditch player's body, lean and muscled. He was just the right amount taller than Dominique. Today, he wore a tie-dyed T-shirt and Muggle jeans, along with a sports hat, emblazoned with the Tornadoes' symbol, tilted at a rakish angle.
"It is," Dominique sighed, looking back at the Lightningbolt longingly. "So…what brings your arrogance to Diagon Alley this afternoon?"
"The usual," McLaggen shrugged. "Mayhem, mice and men, and money."
"Aw, are you a little mouse?" Dominique asked sweetly. That ought to infuriate him. No Gryffindor would enjoy being likened to a small, harmless rodent. Although, mice weren't as harmless as all that, according to Lily. But what did she know? Dominique scoffed at Lily's wayward strangeness every time she saw her, and disapproved of how easy she was to intimidate. Perhaps she was the mouse of the cousins.
"Beware, sweet dragon," McLaggen cautioned, "lest your fire run out at quite the wrong moment."
Dominique blushed, but rallied quickly. "Unlikely," she said drily. "I have excellent stamina."
"So," McLaggen said, blinking. "Why the frown, Weasley? Isn't a gorgeous day in Diagon Alley—birds singing, people shopping…"
"…Malfoys walking around like they own the place…" Dominique said bitterly.
"If that's your problem," commented McLaggen, "why not show him up? I assume you mean our favorite opponent on the pitch. He hasn't beat us yet."
"And won't," Dominique said swiftly. "But it's not that."
"Oh, looking for easy prey, were you?" McLaggen teased. "I'm afraid Malfoy isn't. Try some of these innocent bystanders, why don't you?" He gestured around at the group of boys clustered around the shop window.
"What about you?" Dominique inquired sweetly.
"By all means, if you think you can take me," he countered at once.
"Oh, I can…" Dominique stepped forward, so that her face was only an inch or so from McLaggen's. "I'm just not sure you could handle it."
"Try me," McLaggen breathed, and Dominique shivered. She felt as though an electric current were pulling them closer together—closer… She didn't know what to think. Was this—? Were they really about to k—
"Yeah, my dad's gonna get me a Lightingbolt," bragged one of the boys loudly. He sounded just like Aunt Ginny's impression of young Draco Malfoy, and he quite spoiled the moment for Dominique.
She looked down, embarrassed, and backed away a few feet, blushing again. It was such a pity, Dominique thought, that her red hair made her blushes so obvious. If she were a brunette, it would look like natural color.
McLaggen didn't say anything, and when Dominique glanced curiously his way to see how he was handling the fact that they'd almost—he winked at her, and she blushed more. Why was it so hard to maintain her cool around him? Not that she'd ever been famous for her serene, even temperament, but this—!
"What is it, then?" McLaggen asked softly. Dominique stared at him in total confusion. What was what? Did he mean their relationship? Did they have a relationship? She was his Captain! When he was on the team, which wasn't all the time—should it be? Was she doing him an injustice? Maybe James should play Seeker more often… "What's wrong?" McLaggen clarified. "Why were you looking for someone to take it all out on?"
"Oh, that," Dominique said lightly, relieved that he'd changed the subject. She really wasn't ready for an 'us' conversation, not now— "It's just, I really hate being a bridesmaid, for my sister, you know? I've got to do all these extra chores, and now she wants me to be her maid of honor, even though I'm so not that girl, y'know?" She clapped a hand over her mouth, shocked that she'd told him that maid-of-honor thing. She hadn't even admitted that to herself yet—she'd been in denial, and enjoying it.
"Is it a secret?" McLaggen asked. Dominique shook her head reluctantly. "So you hate being a bridesmaid so much you'd rather call it quits, but you can't, because she's your sister, and your parents would kill you, and anyway, the wedding is soon, right?"
"Yes, it's soon, it's August 7th," Dominique admitted. "And that's why I'm here today, actually. Bridesmaids' slippers. Slippers! They're pink, and everything. This is going to be such a girly wedding."
"Well," McLaggen said slyly, "if you feel like playing hooky, I'll take you somewhere—we could go to the Three Broomsticks, maybe stop in at the Hogsmeade branch of WWW…"
Dominique grinned, but shook her head. "I can't do that," she said regretfully. "I owe it to Vic. And my parents would totally kill me."
"If you change your mind, send me an owl," said McLaggen.
"I will," Dominique promised. "And thank you for the support." She glanced around the Alley—the group of boys was finally gone, and the crowd was starting to thin. "I think I'd better get the shoes now."
"Aye, aye, Captain!" McLaggen said, saluting. He turned, and was gone down the Alley before she could come up with an appropriate comeback.
"Why, why does he always have to have the last word?" Dominique complained sotto voce. But she was only a little annoyed, and she couldn't help smiling as she walked toward Fabian's Fantastic Footwear. Something about sparring with McLaggen was just fun. She missed him. He was…refreshing. Interesting. Kind, for supporting her. And really, quite attractive. Dominique blushed again, ducking her head so as not to tarnish her tough-girl image. What would McLaggen say if he knew she lik—well, thought of him lik—well…or whatever she was feeling. She couldn't figure it out, that was for sure. Better leave it alone—keep your head in the game, Weasley! she told herself sternly. But she couldn't keep a foolish grin off her face.
It wasn't until she stood on the threshold of Fabian's Fantastic Footwear, staring in at everything from bright red high heels to dragonskin boots, that she realized she ought to have invited McLaggen to the wedding. She shouldn't have been talking about it to him if he weren't invited, and it would be more interesting if he were there, that was for sure… She'd sent him an invitation as soon as she got home. It was the only thing that made sense, after all. She nodded decisively.
Fabian's Fantastic Footwear was almost empty, but Dominique saw Molly's friend Maggie Hall, who was Muggle-born, trying on a pair of green evening slippers.
"Can I help you, miss?" asked a suave young man, his hair immaculately groomed.
"I'm here to pick up the shoes for the Weasley-Lupin wedding," Dominique told him. She was in no mood to be charmed by a complete stranger—not after her almost-moment with Miles—with McLaggen.
"Of course," the suave man said, and hurried away. Dominique strolled over to Maggie.
"Dominique!" Maggie said, surprised, and a little nervous. Dominique couldn't think why she would be nervous—unless she were thinking of going out for the team next year; there was little chance of any new additions, at least until Dominique, Fred, and James graduated. "How are you?"
"Fine," said Dominique, surprised to find she spoke the truth. "You?"
"Good," Maggie said brightly. "I hear your sister's getting married, you must be so thrilled!"
"Yeah. Thrilled," said Dominique drily.
"Teddy Lupin is really good-looking, isn't he? And so charming, too," Maggie commented. "And Victoire is so caring and responsible—I'm just so happy for them!"
"That's great," Dominique said, blinking. Why was everyone so thrilled about this, again? "I'll pass on the good wishes."
The suave young clerk came back with Dominique's shoeboxes. Dominique drew her wand and made them hover in the air beside her. "Well," she said awkwardly to Maggie, "I really have to go. Nice…talking to you."
"You, too!" Maggie called. "I hope everything goes wonderfully at the wedding! Say hello to Molly for me, won't you?"
Dominique nodded, paid for the slippers (Maman had better reimburse her for this) and made good her escape. Once outside the shop, she glanced at her watch, but decided, regretfully, that it was too late to stop by WWW for a chat with Uncle George or Aunt Angel. The latter always had excellent advice for her on how to organize practices, and what made a good Captain into a great Captain, and Uncle George was full of laughs, mostly. Occasionally he got all quiet, and Dominique didn't know what to do, which was why it was better to talk to them both together. Aunt Angel always got Uncle George back into the conversation with a minimum of fuss. Unfortunately, the store would be closing soon, and Dominique didn't fancy having to refuse a dinner invitation from her favorite aunt and uncle on account of Teddy-and-Victoire.
Sighing, she Apparated home with the groceries. If only she could've come up with an interesting prank…
Still, the afternoon hadn't been a total waste. Dominique thought of Mi—McLaggen and what they'd almost—and blushed again.
Luckily, by the time she'd given Maman the groceries, she was back to her usual self. "Vic," Dominique said quietly, trying to get her sister's attention without Teddy noticing. The three of them, plus Louis, rereading Quidditch Through the Ages, and Dad, hiding behind the Daily Prophet (probably finally put two-and-two together about Vic and Teddy's sleepovers, Dominique thought cynically), sat in the living room, waiting for Maman to finish making dinner.
"Vic," Dominique hissed again, but her sister's profile remained defiantly turned away from her. Dominique sighed in frustration, and whispered, "Victoire Isabelle Weasley."
Vic turned to look at her. "What?" she hissed back. Teddy twiddled his thumbs, an expression of unlikely innocence upon his handsome face.
"I need to tell you something," Dominique whispered. "Come on." And she got up, careful not to hurry away too quickly, and sauntered to the door. Then she dashed up the stairs two at a time, until she got to the room she and Victoire still shared when they were both home. She didn't look behind her to check if her sister were following. If Vic wasn't coming, that was her loss.
"Well?" Vic asked in a normal voice, coming in and shutting the door behind her. She perched daintily on her made bed, across from where Dominique slumped against her own pillows.
"First of all, these are yours," Dominique told her, pointing a toe at the shoeboxes. "Bridesmaid slippers. Pink, Vic? Honestly."
"I like pink," Vic defended herself. "And don't call me Vic."
"Whatever," said Dominique, rolling her eyes. "It just seems like pink's not a very mature color, Miss-I'm-Getting-Married-And-I-Finally-Have-A-Job-That-Occasionally-Pays-Me-Although-My-Parents-Are-Still-Organizing-My-Wedding-With-Help-From-My-Poor-Hardworking-Sister-Who-Has-An-Actual-Life-Of-Her-Own-Thank-You-Very-Much. And what's really going on with you and Teddy, anyway? Do Maman and Dad still think you're spending the night with him to help with his job applications?"
Victoire blushed hotly. "I don't see that that's your concern," she said primly.
"Oh, come on, Vic, it's me," complained Dominique. "Aren't you worried you'll get pregnant before you tie the knot?"
Victoire blushed some more, and Dominique laughed.
"What I do with my boyfriend is none of your business, Dominique," Victoire said. "However," she added, lowering her voice, "I am being perfectly careful, Aunt Hermione showed me how to brew the potion and everything."
"In February," Vic said, blushing again.
''Ooh…" teased Dominique, but she was thinking how shocking it was to hear Vic actually admit that she and Teddy were…well, that they were—honestly, Dominique couldn't even think the words, for fear of blushing worse than her sister. Vic was just lucky Dominique wasn't going to tattle on her. Just because Teddy was as good as a member of the family didn't mean Dad wouldn't hex him a good one if he knew. Dominique rather thought he suspected, but that was a different thing entirely. If he knew…
"You're so lucky you're discreet," Dominique said fervently.
"You're not going to press me for details?" Vic asked, her eyes dancing.
Dominique shuddered fastidiously. "As long as you're happy, that's all I need to know."
"Teddy's very romantic, really," Vic said thoughtfully. "To think I was so worried about it beforehand, and then—"
"Okay, okay," Dominique said hastily, really embarrassed now. "Fascinating as all this is, that's not actually what I wanted to talk about, exactly."
"Then what?" Vic asked.
"Well," said Dominique shyly, looking down at her tangled bedspread. "It's just…you know what you asked me, before?"
"Yeah…?" said Vic, serious now. She leaned forward, watching Dominique closely.
"Well, I've given it some thought…" said Dominique, not mentioning who had assisted her. McLaggen really wasn't her sister's concern. "…and I've decided that, well….I'll be your maid of honor," she finished in a rush. "That is, if you still want me."
"Of course I do!" cried Victoire happily. She leaned forward and gave Dominique an impulsive hug—a rare move for someone so touchy about her personal space. "I'm so glad! This is going to great, you'll see! There's so much to do—I mean, planning-wise, we're doing well, but the flowers, and the cake, and the guests from out of town…Dominique, thanks so much for helping me with this, it means a lot to me. What do you think about the dresses, should they be the same color pink as my hair or a little darker? And…"
Dominique let her sister run on, inwardly dreading the next couple of weeks. Vic was happy, that was the important thing. Still, Dominique hated weddings. For a moment, she wished she hadn't decided to be so self-sacrificing after all. At this rate, she was never going to get any free time to practice on her broomstick, or plan the team's strategy for next year…
Unbidden, an image of McLaggen saying confidently, "I assume you mean our favorite opponent on the pitch. He hasn't beat us yet." Dominique grinned, reveling in that wonderful confidence.
"Dominique? Are you listening? I was just wondering if the cake should be vanilla, or strawberry, because that's pink, or I could ask Aunt Luna for her recipe for Gurdyroot icing…" Vic continued.
Dominique just grinned, secure in the knowledge that she would have some support at the wedding. She really had to remember to send that invitation…