Disclaimer: I don't own anybody you recognize. This was written for the A New Era Challenge over on the HPFC forum.
A note about the ages: In this story, I switched Dominique and Louis around so that she's the youngest. She's the same age as Albus/Rose/Scorpius, so, nine years younger than Teddy, seven years younger than Victoire, and four years younger than Louis.
The challenge: My character was, obviously, Dominique. My prompts were 'canal' and 'introduce'.
Star light, star bright, I wish I may, I wish I might, have the wish I wish tonight.
Little hands curl around the porch railing. "Daddy, what did you wish for?"
Bill looks down at his youngest daughter, her six-year-old innocence bringing a smile to his face. "Nothing, Nika. I already have everything I want."
Dominique turns her bright eyes—crystal-blue, just like her mother—away from him and towards the velvety-black skies that spread out above them like something out of a fairytale. "Aren't you gonna ask me what I wished for?"
He chuckles. "Sweetheart, if you tell anyone, your wish won't come true."
"Oh," she hums, wondering about that for a moment. "Why not? The stars are so pretty. Won't they make every wish come true?"
Bill smiles sadly at her naïve certainty. "Pretty things don't always last, Nika." He traces two fingers down his largest scar, one that stretches from his eyebrow to his chin. "And the prettiest, brightest stars explode—into black holes."
Wide, innocent eyes gaze up at him. "Really? Why?" she asks, breathless with wonder and curiosity.
He shrugs. "Honestly, darling, I didn't pay much attention in Astronomy. Why don't you ask around? I'm sure somebody knows."
Dominique isn't paying attention anymore, though. She's fixated on stars that are worlds away and entirely captivating as they sparkle in the night sky.
"I still don't understand this whole stargazing thing."
Dominique tilts her head back, balancing precariously on the porch railing, to blink at her elder sister. "Why not?"
Victoire looks up from her sketchpad, the paintbrush in her hands dripping pink paint all over her skirt as she rocks the porch swing—not that she notices. "Well, all you do is look at stars. What's so interesting about that?"
"Maybe if you had a telescope or something," Louis adds from the opposite side of the porch, curled up in a beanbag chair with rolls of parchment scattered around him. "But what can you even see from down here?" he asks, genuinely curious
Dominique shrugs. "I can see plenty. I can see the moon, the stars, and the sky. What else do I need?"
Her elder siblings exchange looks. Dominique loves her siblings, she really does, that's why she sits with them on the porch every night and talks to them, but sometimes, they really don't seem to understand her at all.
"Oh, come on," she sighs, seeing their skepticism. "You paint, you write," she says, gesturing to first her sister, then her brother. "What's the difference between your hobbies and mine?"
"Ours involve more than just staring at distant objects," Victoire points out. "I mean, no offense or anything, but it does seem kinda silly, Nika."
Dominique sighs and forgoes arguing the point in favor of stargazing. She really doesn't know how to explain the captivating beauty of stars.
All she knows is that they take her breath away, and that's good enough for her.
Happy birthday to you! Happy birthday to you! Happy birthday, dear Dominique! Happy birthday to you!
Dominique giggles as her family bursts into laughter and applause all around her. She purses her lips and blows eight times, one for every candle lighting up the cake. It's a breezy summer's night, and she's surrounded by everyone in her family, as is the Weasley birthday tradition. Winds twist the smell of angel food cake and strawberry lemonade around the Burrow's backyard, which is lit with floating lanterns and candles and the sound of laughter.
"Are you gonna open presents, now?" Lucy asks excitedly as Fleur carefully slices the cake up.
"Can I?" Dominique asks, turning pleading eyes to her parents.
Bill snorts, amused. "Just one," he allows. "Whose do you want to open?"
"Open mine," Teddy pipes up, shooting her a grin as he passes over a large, rectangular box wrapped in star-studded wrapping paper. "I think you'll like it."
She takes it and pulls off the lid, revealing white wrapping paper that sufficiently covers his present. With careful hands, she pushes it aside to reveal light blue metal in an odd but familiar shape.
"Oh, my goodness," she breathes, gently tugging his present out for everyone to stare at. "You got me a telescope?"
Teddy grins at her, shoving his hands in his pockets. "I heard you liked stargazing," he says, and she misses the way his eyes travel to a smiling Victoire.
Dominique finds herself blushing under his warm indigo gaze. "Um, yeah," she says, still breathless as she stands the telescope up. "I do. Thank you."
"Welcome," he says cheerfully, taking a plastic plate for his own and scooping a slice of cake onto it. "Who's ready to eat?"
The children dig in, heads first, but Dominique stays back, admiring her new telescope. She runs her fingers over the metal, the lens, the knobs, before finally placing her eye to the glass and tilting it up towards the sky.
It's as if a whole new world has been introduced to her, one bright with galaxies and starlight and wonder, one that's gonna take her breath away, and she can't wait to explore it.
"I think that's the wrong knob."
Teddy's voice, light and amused, makes her jump. She turns to face him, already blushing furiously as he saunters forward, closer to her. The party's long over, and he's the only one who stayed behind to help her parents and grandparents clean up. She's been outside with her telescope, marveling over the gift.
"What?" Dominique blinks at him, confused, as she comprehends his words.
"You're trying to focus it, right?" Teddy asks, casually reaching out and fiddling with the knobs on the telescope. "I read the manual. Here's how you focus it."
She watches him, eyes wide, still blushing from his proximity. He leans and places his eye to the lens, twisting one of the larger knobs around. She can smell his minty cologne and the apple cider on his breath. The combination would have normally disgusted her, but she's far too preoccupied with trying to calm the butterflies dancing in her stomach.
"There you go," Teddy pulls back with a smile. "It should work now. Give it a go."
Hesitantly, she adjusts the telescope for her height and looks through it. Stars dance across her vision, vivid and dazzling and a thousand times more beautiful than she could have ever dreamed. She can feel Teddy's hand brushing against her arm, and something sweet and wonderful and entirely magical seems to jump through her body.
She doesn't recognize the feeling yet, but this is what falling in love for the first time feels like.
Practically speaking, Ravenclaw really is the best House for her.
After all, it has a tower. And porches for every dormitory. And a fantastic view of the sky. And students who don't make enough noise to rival a zoo at any given moment.
Dominique sets up her telescope on one corner of the porch, humming to herself as she arranges it so she has the best possible view. It's not quite nighttime yet, and the sun is only just setting, so she has a while to wait before she can use her precious telescope.
"Miss Weasley? What are you doing out here? Everyone else is inside."
She turns to face the speaker and finds herself looking at her Head of House, Professor Boot. He looks a few years younger than her mother, with curly brown hair and dark eyes that gleam with the same haunted expression she's seen a thousand times on the members of her family.
She knows him. He's a war veteran.
"I'm just setting up my telescope, sir," she says politely. "I hope that's not a problem."
Professor Boot looks at her curiously for a moment. "No, not at all. You're interested in stargazing?"
"Very," she confirms, brushing back a strand of silvery-blond hair from her face. "Um, why?"
He seems impressed. "It's been a long time since I've met a student who cared a whit about astronomy beyond passing the class, Miss Weasley. If you like, I have quite a few books on outer space in my office. Feel free to stop by."
Her eyes light up at the offer. "Oh, really? Thank you, Professor!"
He chuckles. "Of course. Studying the stars is not something to be discouraged, Miss Weasley. Don't ever let anyone tell you otherwise."
"Do you suppose there really is life on other planets?"
Dominique bites into a snickerdoodle as she waits for Professor Boot to reply, enjoying the taste of the cookie and the rare sound of silence.
"Perhaps," offers Professor Boot neutrally, sipping his coffee. "I'm doubtful of the existence of sentient life, however."
"Why?" she asks curiously, swallowing the last of the cookie. She really enjoys these talks with Professor Boot. It's hard to find someone who appreciates the beauty of stars in the hustle and bustle of Hogwarts and aside from the nights when she's out on the porch with her telescope, this is really the only time she gets to indulge in her interest.
Heaven knows, her family doesn't really care.
"Well—" Professor Boot begins, but is interrupted by a knock on the door.
"Professor, I had a question about…" Louis trails off when his eyes land on Dominique, sitting in an armchair and eating snickerdoodles. "Nika, what are you doing here?"
"We were having a conversation," Professor Boot says, sparing Dominique from having to talk without antagonizing her brother. "Is there something you need, Mr. Lupin?"
"Just—do you know the title of that book about Wit-Sharpening potions you mentioned in class?" Louis asks, shooting his sister a grin. She rolls her eyes, but smiles back.
Professor Boot raises an eyebrow. "Potions That Increase Your Intelligence," he answers. "Personally, I think the author needs them, but, regardless, that should help you with your report."
"Right. Thanks, Professor," Louis says. "Bye, sis."
She giggles. "Bye, Louis," she says lightly and then, because she can't resist teasing him, adds, "I think Claire is in Professor Longbottom's office, down the hall."
Louis stumbles, and though she can't see his face, she can clearly imagine the blush on his face. "Goodbye, Nika," he mutters through gritted teeth, and nearly slams the door shut behind him.
Professor Boot snorts as he turns back to her. "Interesting fellow, your brother. I specifically recall putting the name of that very book on the list of possible resources I gave his class."
She laughs outright this time. "Yeah, interesting's a good word for him," she agrees, before the conversation returns to stars and galaxies and everything that's beautiful about this world.
"Nika, do you have my blue pearl earrings?"
Victoire looks remarkably pretty standing in the middle of her sister's doorway, dressed in a blue silk sundress with her strawberry-blond curls twisted into in a French braid and her make-up perfectly done, as always.
"I think," Dominique replies, opening a drawer on her dress. "Why? You have a date?"
Her older sister beams, smoothing down her dress. "Yeah, with Teddy."
Dominique nearly drops the earrings she's withdrawn from the depths of her drawer. "Who?" she demands, startled.
As if on cue, Teddy appears behind Victoire, his arm fitting neatly around her body. "Hey, love. You ready?" he asks and kisses her cheek, shattering too many of Dominique's dreams with one simple press of his lips to Victoire's fair, unfreckled skin.
"Oh, hi, Nika," he adds, shooting her a smile when he notices her.
"Um, hi," she says shakily, handing her sister the pearl earrings. "I…I didn't know you two were dating."
"It's a fairly recent development," Teddy admits, smiling fondly at Victoire, who giggles and blushes prettily. They look like a prince and princess out of some fairytale.
"Oh," Dominique says, because there's nothing else she can say. "Well, have fun, then."
"Thanks, sis," Victoire smiles, putting the earrings on. "We'll see you later."
"I don't suppose you could bake us some of your delicious caramel brownies by the time we get home?" Teddy asks hopefully, and she finds herself melting under his dancing golden gaze. "We'll be at the local cinema, and they don't even have good popcorn."
"I—um, sure," she agrees, smiling at him, helpless to say no. "I could do that."
"Thanks," he grins at her as Victoire takes his hand and begins to lead him out with a wave at her sister. "See you then!"
She bakes him the brownies, because she's still only a little girl with a hopeless crush and dreams of starshine.
"Why are you still friends with him?"
"I can be friends with who I want to!"
"He's a Malfoy!"
"You didn't seem all that bothered last year when he was helping you with Defense."
"I promised to reserve judgment on him for a year—for your sake. Well, year's up, and I don't like him."
"Too bad. I'm not just gonna drop him because you say so—"
"Guys!" Dominique slips into the compartment where Rose and Albus are arguing heatedly. "Would you be quiet? People are stopping just to stare at this compartment."
"Sorry," Albus mumbles; Rose doesn't bother saying anything. "She was just harping about my friendship with Scorpius."
"He's a Malfoy," Rose snaps, tossing her auburn hair over her shoulder. "Nika, you've met Scorpius! Tell him!"
"Actually, I haven't," Dominique admits. "Anyone want to introduce me to this elusive source of your argument?"
"He should be here by now," Albus says, pressing his face to the window in their door. "Yeah, here he comes. Hey, Scorp."
He opens the door to let in a blond boy about their age. Scorpius scans the compartment with critical gray eyes, lingering on an annoyed Rose before glancing at Dominique.
"Hello," she says, curious to meet him. While she's the same age as Albus and Rose, the three are all in different Houses and she doesn't really talk to them at Hogwarts. So, she has no idea about what to expect from Albus's apparent best friend.
"Hi," he says, looking at her like she's a puzzle. She squirms under his stare; for a twelve-year-old, Scorpius has a very intense gaze. "You're Dominique, aren't you? The stargazer?"
She looks at Albus, surprised at this description of her. Usually, she gets 'Victoire's little sister' or 'part-Veela Weasley' or 'Bill's youngest'. "Yeah, I am. You must be Scorpius."
"Nice to meet you," Scorpius smiles, just a little, and extends his hand for her to shake.
On the other side of the compartment, Rose scoffs, but Dominique's too caught up in the boy who called her a stargazer to care.
She's sitting on a bench in the shade of a lemon tree, her gilded astronomy diary open in her lap, a vision of studious beauty, when she speaks to him again.
It's been four years since they met, and since then, all they've exchanged are a few conversations, some smiles, some jokes, and partners in Potions. Still, she hasn't forgotten him. Scorpius Malfoy is kind of hard to forget, particularly when he calls her things like—
"Hey, there, stargazer," he greets, a smile of greeting on his face when she looks up at him. The nickname makes her heart soar like a shooting star. "Whatcha doing?"
"Nothing," Dominique says, brushing back the moon-colored strands of hair that fall over her face like a mask. Her astronomy diary, a birthday gift from her Aunt Ginny, is not exactly a secret, but it is personal. Especially since the majority of the pages have Mrs. Dominique Lupin scribbled somewhere.
"Doesn't look like nothing," Scorpius says casually, an easy grin on his face as he wanders closer. The light, effortless tone of their friendship always brings a smile to her face.
"It's nothing," she insists, quickly closing the book as he slides between her and the tree. Then, she yelps, because he pokes her waist on either side and grabs the book when her grip loosens.
"Malfoy!" she cries, jumping up and running after him as he races away. "Give that back!"
They're half-way out of the courtyard when she catches up to him, wrapping a small hand around his arm and jerking him so they're facing each other.
"Why," she begins, breathless from the chase, "must you insist on antagonizing me so often?"
He laughs, letting her steal back her book with no argument. "I can't help it. You're cute when you're mad."
Her heart begins pounding out a drum solo in her chest. "I, um…"
Because, really, what's a stargazer like her going to say to a compliment like that?
"He's dating Rose."
"Of course he is."
Albus sits down next to her in the library with a frown on his face. "I thought she hated him."
Dominique smiles matter-of-factly. "Don't be silly. That's her way of flirting."
"She's weird," he states simply, then sends her an inquiring look. They're sixteen now, and much better friends, and he's learned to read her like only her father can. "You're not happy about this."
She sighs, lowers her blue eyes to her book, and tries not to focus on the bitterness twisting her heart. "Should I be?"
He understands, without her telling him, of the loneliness that comes from always losing to other girls in her family. He's been living in the shadow of his brother for just as long as she has in her sister's, after all, and he can sympathize.
"I don't think they're going to last," he offers. "They're too incompatible."
She shakes her head. "No," she laughs, though there's no humor in the sound. "She's fire, he's ice. They're perfect together."
And all she has are stars and dreams.
If Rose and Scorpius are fire and ice, then Teddy and Victoire are sunshine and roses, as if they needed to be any more picture-perfect than they already were.
Dominique is good at avoiding people. All she has to do is retreat to some porch or balcony or even just a garden and set up her telescope, letting herself get lost in shimmering stars and distant planets. Her family knows better than to disturb her when she's stargazing; the only one who bothers to seek her out is Albus, and he just likes to sit by her and do his homework for the peace and quiet it brings.
Yet, even her usual escape of her parents' porch brings her no peace that summer. Almost every day, without fail, when she looks over the edge of the railing, she finds Teddy and Victoire in her mother's garden, sometimes laughing, sometimes dancing, usually kissing.
Sometimes, they even wave at her.
She waves back, because what else can she do?
One night, midway through July, she's sitting on the porch swing, scribbling away in her astronomy diary about the intergalactic beauties she's seen that day, when the door opens.
To her surprise, it's neither her father nor mother nor Albus. Instead, Teddy stands framed in the doorway, his hair ultramarine-blue with golden streaks, his favorite colors.
"Oh, hi!" she greets, feeling herself blush. For all she's claimed to Albus that she's over her crush on Teddy, the sight of him still makes her heart skip a beat sometimes. It happens less often, though, with every kiss she catches him giving to Victoire.
"Hello, Nika," he grins, hands in his pockets as he saunters forward. "We haven't really talked lately, have we?"
She bites her lip, ducking her head to hide her blush. "Um, no, I suppose we haven't."
"Well, what's up?" he asks cheerfully, taking a seat next to her.
"Nothing," she says, finding it hard to look away from his bright eyes—green, tonight, Victoire's favorite—and brighter grin. "I mean, I was just…stargazing."
Teddy chuckles, absently lifting a hand and twirling one of her long, blond strands of hair around his finger. "You're always stargazing, Nika. Do you ever do anything else?"
"I study. Eat. Sleep. Talk to Al. Molly's trying to teach me origami. Why?" she asks, raising curious blue eyes to him.
He grins and lets go of her hair. "Just wondering. I don't suppose you have any questions for me, just to even this out? I feel like I'm interviewing you."
She giggles. "One, I guess. Why aren't you with Victoire? You only ever come over here to see her anymore."
His face darkens. "We…well, we just broke up."
"Oh," she says, surprised that she isn't as overjoyed about this news as she thought she'd be. "I…I'm sorry."
He shakes his head. "Don't be. It wasn't your fault."
She takes his hand. "Why don't you stargaze with me tonight?"
There's a moment of silence, and then Teddy smiles warmly at her. "I'd love to."
So, she lets him use her telescope, the one he bought her all those years ago, and introduces him to the dazzling world of stars and moons and glorious beauty.
Teddy tastes like grapes.
She really, really shouldn't know this. And, after the fact, she really wishes she didn't know.
Because, contrary to the dreams of a girl who baked caramel brownies and dreamed of starlight, she deserves better than being the rebound to her older sister.
They're stargazing again, a week before school started, and she's at the telescope, adjusting the height for him to see. He's standing right next to her, his hand resting lightly on her arm as she works.
"There," she says, stepping back with a satisfied smile.
Teddy smiles at her, leans over to look through the lens, and before she knows it, his mouth is right there, his eyelashes fluttering against her skin, a look of hope on his face.
He moves slowly enough to give her a chance to step back.
She should have.
"Miss Weasley? May I have a moment after class?"
Dominique swallows her apprehension and nods as the students rush around her to get to lunch. He didn't take the job to be close to her, she knows. He took it to get away from Victoire, and that makes a world of difference.
Still, no matter his reasons, she hasn't spoken to Teddy Lupin since the night of that fateful kiss, and she's not exactly pleased to be starting now.
"Yes, Professor?" she asks demurely when the last student has left and the door is closed, giving them some measure of privacy.
Teddy doesn't look her in the eyes. "Look, Nika, I…I just wanted to apologize."
"You shouldn't be calling me by a nickname," she points out lightly, cradling her books to her chest. He gulps and nods. "And whatever you want to apologize for, don't worry about it."
He finally looks at her, gray eyes—his real eyes, the same shade as Scorpius's—bright with something, though she can't identify what. "I shouldn't have kissed you. I'm sorry."
She takes a breath and then asks the question that's been on her mind for months. "Why?"
He glances away again. "I just—I needed something different. You're so unlike Victoire, and you looked so pretty that night, and I needed something, anything to stop me from pining after her hopelessly."
Dominique sighs. "I'm not that different from her."
"I suppose not," he smiles wryly. "You've both liked me since childhood, after all."
She wants to protest, feeling anger bubbling up in her at his unintentional arrogance. But the door opens, and she loses her steam with one glance at the smirking boy standing in the doorway.
"Hey, Nika, Professor Lupin," Scorpius greets lightly, nodding to Teddy. "Stargazer, Al's looking for you. Something about your Transfiguration project, I think."
"I'll be right there," she promises him, smiling. He's not dating Rose anymore, but all that means for the two of them is that more butterflies dance through her stomach now whenever he grins at her.
She notices Teddy out of the corner of her eye, his brow furrowed and his now-purple gaze alternating between her and Scorpius, but he doesn't say anything.
"All right, then," says Scorpius, shooting her one last grin. "See you later. Bye, Professor."
He ducks out of the classroom, leaving Dominique alone with Teddy in a silent classroom with no stars to rescue her.
"Well," Teddy says finally, the word escaping in one short, not-too-gentle breath. "'Stargazer', huh?"
She looks down. "He understands," she tells him softly. "And you're too in love with her, anyway."
Mars is bright in the sky when Scorpius knocks on the door to her parents' balcony, one starry night in the middle of Easter vacation.
"Hello, stargazer," he grins, leaning against the doorway, his vanilla-blond hair mussed by the breezes twirling through the sky. He's a picture of moonlit perfection, and she feels her breath catch at the sight.
Apparently, stars aren't the only things that can take her breath away.
"Hey, there," she greets, returning his smile. "What are you doing here?"
He shrugs, wandering closer. "I just needed some fresh air."
She raises an eyebrow. "Did you and Rose have another fight?"
Scorpius sighs. "You're too damn perceptive, Dominique."
She giggles, looking up at the vast expanse of starlit skies above her. "It comes with stargazing. Wanna try it?"
He runs his hand over her telescope, standing next to her now, their arms brushing and his gray eyes on her, just as intense as the first time he looked at her. "Sure. Where do I start?"
"Just look through it," she instructs, absently reaching over and adjusting his hand on top of the telescope so he's holding it properly. "Just, um…hold it like…this…"
Her voice trails off as she notices the warm, butterfly-inducing look in his eyes. He smiles at her, his mint-fresh breath ghosting over her cheeks, before tilting his head and looking through the telescope. Her heart continues beating at triple its normal rate as she stands there, watching him, utterly captivated by the feelings blossoming in her chest.
"Is that Mars?" he asks in wonder, pulling back to grin at her.
She takes a quick look through the telescope, trying not to blush when he brushes away a strand of cornsilk hair from her face. "Yeah," she confirms breathlessly. "You can even see its canals."
He looks at her in confusion. "Its whats?"
"Canals," she explains. "You see those long, dark lines on the surface?"
"Um, yeah, I think," he answers. He seems a bit too preoccupied with her to bother to look again, though, and she blushes under his scrutiny.
"Well, those are called canals," she tells him. "They're, um, they're really quite fascinating. It turns out that they're caused by a sort of optical illusion that makes geological structures too faint to properly see appear to have—oh!"
He kisses her, not like she's a porcelain doll, but like she's a planet made of crystal, soaring through the night sky, dancing around stars like him as if the sky was her stage (and in so many ways, it is).
Starlight, star bright, I wish I may, I wish I might, keep the wish that came true tonight.
Author's Notes: Um, wow. Dominique really got away from me there :P I've never really had a good handle on her before, but she's suddenly one of my favorite characters. If you liked this, please review! I'd love to hear what you think :) thanks!