a/n: there will be a longer break between chapters from now on I'm afraid, since on Friday I'm off to the Caribbean without access to a computer and I suck at writing things out by hand because my handwriting is so appalling that it embarrasses me.
somebody calls you, you answer quite slowly,
a girl with kaleidoscope eyes.
- Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds, The Beatles
chapter five : (4801)
The night of August 31st, Dominique is lying on a mattress on the floor of Saoirse's room, watching the clock ticking down the minutes to September 1st, hearing Anastasia' muffled snoring from her left and Evie's sleeping mutters from beyond Anastasia, and Saoirse's even, steady breathing elevated in the bed to her right. This nightly chorus is one that Dominique has become used to – Anastasia's snoring kept her awake at first, but now she finds the nights of the holidays unbearably quiet without the steady, rhythmic drone, interspersed by murmurs from Evie, a sleep-talker.
Her hair is bound into very tight rollers, and she is the most uncomfortable she thinks she has ever been. Craning her neck upwards, resisting the temptation to roll over – she knows she's been tossing and turning and she doesn't want to wake the others up – her mind wanders to thoughts of what she's going to attempt in the morning.
The other three girls earlier that day, after forcing her to shower and scrub herself to within an inch of her life, conspired to bind her – with the terribly amused help of Saoirse's brother Eoghan, who offered his magic in return for the humour gained from watching Dominique struggle, spitting remarkable mouthfuls of expletives at him – to a chair in the middle of the room. After that he was banished, and Saoirse and Anastasia set to waxing Dominique's legs while Evie started organising the yards of her hair into rollers.
All three had been very impressed with the extent of Dominique's vocabulary of swearwords as they slowly de-haired her legs and then moved onto her eyebrows, showing absolutely no mercy and not the slightest outward display of fear as she threatened dire retributions until Saoirse demanded impatiently, "D'you want revenge or not?"
After that, Dominique restricted herself to short, vehement outbursts whenever more hairs were uprooted violently from her body, and Evie, Saoirse, and Anastasia now have a very interesting complement of Muggle curses to add to their repertoire of wizarding ones.
Now, in bed, as the minute hand of the luminous clock on Saoirse's wall marches inexorably onwards, Dominique rubs her legs against each other once again to feel the astonishing silkiness of her now-hairless skin, the rest of her body feeling luxuriously soft, responding to all the creams and moisturisers she was forced to rub into herself. She has to admit, she really feels like a girl for the first time since her thirteenth birthday. Now fourteen (and a half, the childish voice inside her insists querulously), she feels she is ready to become one of those older girls that in her first and second years she envied dreadfully, with boys eager to impress them and who always look pretty.
In the darkness, she rolls over onto her side and gazes up at the door, where her outfit is laid out ready for the morning. For the first time, the phrase "home-clothes" means a skirt rather than jeans, and Dominique finds herself oddly excited to wear some of the clothes Victoire spent so long helping her pick out earlier in the summer.
A pretty navy lace bra hangs with the rest of the clothes, the novelty of actually needing a bra still pretty thrilling – she'd been convinced, for a good while, that she was going to be the only girl in the whole world who would never develop breasts, but they'd started to emerge around May and now she's secretly anticipating with delight the surprise of the boys when she turns up tomorrow actually with boobs. It'll be a nice change.
Dominique rouses from her preoccupation as Saoirse gives a sharp gasp in her sleep and rolls over, obviously plagued by some unconscious terror. Dominique knows her friend suffers from nightmares, so she reaches up and comfortingly takes hold of Saoirse's hand where it dangles out from underneath her bedclothes.
Still asleep, Saoirse grips back, and Dominique is pleased to have given comfort. She's still wondering how she's going to repay these three for all their troubles that afternoon. Maybe she can talk Uncle George into giving her some WWW products to give them.
She smiles at the thought and shuts her eyes, finally blocking out the ticking clock, hand still in Saoirse's, and somehow she's asleep almost instantly.
She's woken up the next morning at some ungodly hour – five-thirty, the clock says – by one of Saoirse's older sisters, Siobhan, who crashes the bedroom door open and unleashes all eight of the Finnigan family's dogs on the sleeping girls inside.
"Bloody hell, Vaun!" Saoirse shrieks as Darla the Dalmatian takes a flying leap onto her stomach, tongue slobbering everywhere as the three girls on the floor take the brunt of the stampede, Dominique targeted by no less than three of the dogs. Grunting as Patsy the golden retriever puts a paw into her bladder and Jacques the West Highland White Terrier scrabbles at her shoulder, Dominique ends up laughing hysterically at the sight of Anastasia cornered by the two red setters, Handbags and Gladrags, tucking Jacques under one arm as she heads over to rescue the other girl.
As Evie tries to remove Flotsam, the ancient cocker spaniel, from her pillow, Dominique and Saoirse manage to drag Darla, Patsy, Handbags, Jacques, and Terror the black Labrador out of the room. They leave Evie to cope with Flotsam, who is fast asleep, and instead focus on capturing Gladrags. The setter is wily, however, and there ensues a merry game (for Gladrags) that results in the rest of the family being woken up.
Seamus Finnigan, who still can't quite believe he's ended up with seven children, sits bolt upright next to his wife Lavender as he hears a crash from a room along the corridor.
"Go see what's happened," Lavender orders in a mumble, rolling over and sticking a pillow over her head. Groaning, Seamus clambers out of bed and staggers half-awake down the corridor to his youngest daughter's room, not registering the mass of dogs scrabbling at the door until he's in their midst.
Taking a deep breath, he thunders, "KITCHEN!" in his best alpha-male voice, and the dogs skitter off down the stairs as fast as they can. There's another crash from inside the room, so Seamus wrenches the door open.
"Saoirse, are you –"
He stops short, unable to quite believe the sight in front of his eyes. One small blonde girl is tugging futilely on her pillow which is pinned under a sleeping cocker spaniel, and his daughter and her best friend Dominique Weasley are bounding around the room after the setter Gladrags while another girl is on the floor in the corner in a dead faint.
"What the bloody hell, Saoirse?" Seamus demands as the setter careers joyously around a corner, leaping onto Saoirse's bed and woofing in delight at the game. Saoirse and Dominique skid to a halt, finally noticing his presence in the doorway.
"Uh, we were – that is, Siobhan, she – um…" Saoirse tries, and Seamus can only stare at them in quiet shock. Saoirse is quite a sight, with her sandy curls everywhere and her green eyes bloodshot and tired, her pyjama top ripped across her stomach and her legs scratched from Darla's attack. Dominique is even worse, half her hair coming out of the rollers and tumbling in an unwieldy mass of red around her pale face, grey eyes still looking half-asleep as she passes an arm across them as if to wake herself up.
"Gladrags, come," Seamus bellows, and meek as a lamb the dog bounds off the bed and skips over to him, looking about as smug as a dog can look as Seamus wordlessly leaves the room. Flotsam the cocker spaniel at this point decides to cooperate, and leaps off Evie's pillow with a bark to follow her master downstairs.
"Oh my God," Dominique exhales weakly, flopping back onto Saoirse's bed, "Those aren't dogs, they're hyenas. And your dad saw me in my pyjamas, that's so embarrassing!"
Saoirse just looks down at her, and then across at Evie, and the next second they're all laughing uproariously.
"Shit, Stasia!" Saoirse exclaims suddenly, and they all shoot to the corner where Anastasia is lying.
"Stace, wake up," Dominique says, poking her in the shoulder, "C'mon, the dogs are gone."
Gradually, with the other three giving her gentle slaps on the cheek and not-so-gentle pokes in the ribs, Anastasia comes around, clutching her head.
"I hate dogs," she decides weakly, and that sets them all off again, almost asphyxiating themselves from laughing so hard.
By the time any of them has stopped laughing they don't feel like going back to sleep, so instead they start to get ready to head to King's Cross. They fight over the bathroom, and Anastasia (as usual) wins, so the other three are left to get dressed. Once dressed, feeling uncomfortable and exposed in her skirt, Dominique heads out to wait for the bathroom.
A wolf-whistle alerts her from where she's nearly fallen back to sleep against the wall, and she blinks and then glares as Eoghan pads down the corridor towards her.
"Well fuck me, Weasley, you're actually a girl," he exclaims with a grin, taking her hand and giving her a 360 spin to admire her.
"Piss off," Dominique mutters, but she's flushing with pleasure despite herself. Eoghan looks like he can't quite believe it, taking a handful of her red curls in one hand and tossing them upwards. Thanks to the rollers, they keep their shape, bouncing against her waist as they come down.
"Damn, if you were a few years older," Eoghan says regretfully, laughter dancing in his pretty green eyes, and Dominique arches one eyebrow up at him.
"If you were a few years younger, you mean," she corrects with a grin, giving him a long-lashed wink. Eoghan laughs at that, and ruffles her hair in a patronising gesture.
"Remember," he says, his face suddenly deadly serious in a mocking fashion that reminds her of Lysander, "Always use protection."
Dominique blushes but isn't willing to let him take the upper hand, so she just rolls her eyes and tries for a nonchalant hand-on-hip pose, "Trust you to lower the tone of the conversation."
"It's my most lovable feature," he informs her with a grin, and then chuckles again and disappears off down the hallway to go wherever it was he was heading for originally when he got distracted.
Dominique watches him go, secretly very pleased, and then tugs her top up self-consciously, worrying her bra is showing.
"Bathroom's free," Anastasia announces a few moments later as she breezes out, already made up for the day ahead, chestnut hair pulled up into a high ponytail – she's been modelling herself on some popular Muggle singer lately.
"Cheers," Dominique replies, and shoots in before someone else can come to try to wrest it from her.
Several arguments and a portkey and taxi ride later, Dominique is standing next to Saoirse on platform 9 of King's Cross, waiting for their turn to go through the barrier to Platform 9¾.
"What if this doesn't work?" Dominique demands for what must be the fortieth time that morning. Saoirse doesn't even deign to reply this time, just starts to push her own trolley towards the platform, following her older siblings Niall and Romola by a minute or so.
Dominique, with a sigh, follows her, her owl hooting in a distinctly unimpressed tone as they hurtle towards the brick wall.
"How many times have you done that now?" Dominique asks it as they come out onto Platform 9¾. It merely ruffles its black feathers and blinks its great amber eyes at her to signify its disapproval. Dominique sticks her tongue out at it, then suddenly feels herself grabbed from behind.
"Put me down!" she shrieks, smacking the strong, tanned forearms around her waist, but there's low laughter in her ear and suddenly she's dumped back on her feet, spinning instantly to identify her attacker.
"So," Lysander says, folding her arms and eyeing her without a flicker of surprise, "You're a girl now."
"You've got muscles," Dominique retorts, grinning despite her attempts to stay serious, "And – jeez, how much did you grow?"
"Three inches," he replies proudly, as though this is something he had to work very hard towards achieving, "Half an inch more than Lorcan."
"You're like an actual boy now," she informs him in shock, almost repeating his sentence to her barely two minutes before, gazing up into his laughing greeny-blue eyes as he pushes his blonde curls out of them.
"So did you shrink or what?" he asks as she starts to push her trolley towards the train, "There's something different about you."
"You grew, you moron," Dominique replies impatiently, wondering if she should draw his attention to the fact that she's wearing make up for the first time, then deciding against it, "I'm not shrinking."
"No, no, I've got it," he announces suddenly, snapping his fingers, "You got boobs."
"Merlin, Lysander, please say it louder," Dominique mumbles as several heads turn their way, wrapping her cardigan self-consciously around herself, "I don't think the priest heard you."
"Blah, blah, blah," he teases, and then abruptly collars somebody out of the crowd with a beam, "Hey, Tristan, look, Dominique has boobs now!"
"Lysander," Dominique hisses, giving him a punch in the arm as Tristan steadies himself, ready to be embarrassed as she turns her attention to Tristan but finding herself surprised instead, "Bloody hell, you grew too!"
"Yup," Tristan replies proudly, running a hand through his hair, "I outgrew my whole wardrobe."
Dominique, unable to stop staring at him, can hardly believe that this is the same boy she said goodbye to in June – suddenly tall, with his shoulders filled out and his eyes a very bright blue under his brown fringe, he's certainly shot up about a million places in her Ranking of Hotness.
"Whoa," is about all Dominique can manage, but then they're distracted by Saoirse, who returns out of the crowd where she'd disappeared some time before to find her sisters, dragging Dominique's cousin James along behind her.
"So," she says to James the minute she's arrived at their little group, gesturing towards Dominique, "What d'you thi– bloody hell, Tristan, you've grown!"
As Saoirse admires Tristan's newly-acquired good-looks, Dominique glares at James.
"Don't say it," she threatens firmly as, behind her, Lysander smirks and James just mouths in fury.
"But… but… but – how am I supposed to stop boys going after you now?" James demands apoplectically, looking like he wants to hit something, "Merlin, it was bad enough before, now I'll just have to follow you everywhere! Like I don't have enough on my plate with Lily suddenly announcing she's got a boyfriend, now I have you as well!"
"You know," Dominique points out amiably as they all start to head towards the train, "You could just not be an overprotective buffoon for a while, see how that works out."
"Are you insane?" James inquires hotly, and Dominique is just mulling over the best response to this when James is distracted by the sight of his best friend Jenny struggling to get her trunk onto the trunk a couple of doors down.
"Go help," Dominique commands, seeing an opportunity to be rid of him. With one more glare and a hissed, "Don't make me come chaperone you," James disappears.
"I thought I had it bad with my brothers," Saoirse comments with a grin as they get all their trunks aboard, commandeering the first empty compartment they find, "But, hey, at least we know we've achieved the desired effect, huh?"
"You look great, Dom," Tristan tells her as they settle into their seats, eyes warm as he smiles, "Really. I almost didn't recognise you."
"Thanks," Dominique mutters to the floor, flushing, suddenly unsure how to handle herself around him now he's grown up from that weedy boy with the sticky-up hair and clumsiness.
"Dom and Tristan, sitting in a tree," Lysander sings quietly into her ear, spectacularly out-of-tune, "K-I-S-S-I – ow!"
Dominique pats the place where she's just punched him with mock sympathy, and then turns her attention to where Saoirse is arguing with Jake, who's just arrived, about whether Lanzarote or Bali is a better holiday destination.
By the time the train is twenty minutes out of the station, they've been joined in their compartment by Lucy, Lorcan, Grace, and three other Hufflepuffs, a girl called Kitty and two boys called Rupert and Paul.
Dominique is having a conversation about – weirdly – broccoli with Grace and Rupert when suddenly their compartment door slides open and her cousin Lily appears, green eyes bright beneath her frown.
"Lysander," she says without preamble, "I need you."
Apparently oblivious to the way this looks, Lysander heaves himself up off the bench and disappears out of the compartment after her. The others all watch him leave, then turn to each other as if for an explanation.
"They're really good friends," Lucy says finally, looking quite surprised that nobody's noticed this before, "He's the only boy who's not scared of her."
Dominique glances from Lucy to the place where Lily and Lysander disappeared, bewildered for a moment, but then shrugs and returns to her conversation. Lysander reappears with Lily in tow after twenty minutes or so, the pair of them looking unutterably smug, and Dominique is about to ask what's going on when suddenly there are a great number of shouts from further down the train.
Rushing to the door, Dominique sticks her head out and finds other people doing likewise as they all try to locate the source of the clamour. It soon emerges that someone (Lily and Lysander snicker at the back of the compartment) has filled three or four compartments full of a special brand of flour available from Weasley's Wizard Wheezes that sticks to whatever it can, leaving twenty or so people and lots of suitcases plastered in thick white powder that won't come off.
"You two wouldn't happen to know anything about this, would you?" Lorcan inquires sternly of his twin and Lily as they sit next to each other, quite helpless with laughter.
"'Course not," Lily shoots back instantly.
"Yeah, we wish we could think of pranks that creative," Lysander adds, and Dominique has to stifle sniggers behind her hand as she notices Saoirse sitting next to Lorcan, red with the effort of not laughing at the duo.
By the Sorting feast, the victims have been de-floured (Dominique and Saoirse laugh at the sexual innuendo in this for a good five minutes) and the headmaster has read out a stern warning to the perpetrators as Lily, sitting at the Slytherin table, looks the picture of shocked innocence while Lysander busies himself with building a tower of juice glasses.
Pranks of this nature continue throughout the first term of Dominique's fourth year, and by the end of it she has to admit to being enormously impressed that Lily and Lysander have escaped detection for so long. They get caught for the odd thing, but nobody has yet connected them to the greater string.
James has been made Quidditch captain, despite only being a Sixth Year, and Dominique pulls off a flawless Beater trial with her old teammate, Andrew Somers, who spends far longer staring at the expanse of long leg she's displaying under her shorts than concentrating on the game. They both make the team despite this, and after an extremely impressive trial, tiny Second Year Molly makes Keeper.
There are mutterings about family favouritism – there are now four Weasleys (well, three Weasleys and one Potter) – on the team, but at the first match Gryffindor steamrollers Ravenclaw, Molly saving all but one of the goals, her tiny form somehow in exactly the right place every time, and the mutterings turn into full-fledged roars of delight at this perfect team. They gel brilliantly, everyone has to admit, like one massive Quidditch-playing machine rather than a team of seven rather loud individuals.
As the term rolls on, Dominique starts to enjoy the hungry stares of boys as she walks past, her new school uniform (picked out by Anastasia, which is a lot smaller than her previous set) drawing eyes, and she no longer has to be hassled to wear dresses or skirts – she positively enjoys it.
She gets a letter on October 22nd from Victoire telling her that she's now aunt to a bouncing baby girl with a big smile and brown eyes, called Leonora, and that Dominique is wanted at Victoire and Matt's wedding as Maid of Honour.
She scans the letter four times, toast frozen halfway to her mouth, and then she turns to the nearest person with a cry of delight.
"It's a girl!" she shrieks to Jake, ignoring his wince and throwing her arms around his neck, "It's a girl! And they're getting married!"
Jake, nonplussed, hugs her back until she releases him and sprints out of the Great Hall in a blaze of sleep-ruffled red hair and high spirits. She crashes into Gryffindor Tower, yelling Tristan's name as she hurries across the room and straight up the stairs to the boys' dorms.
She barely knocks before throwing herself through the door, squealing and covering her eyes as she comes face-to-face – or rather, face-to-chest – with Lysander, who has only got a towel wrapped around his waist.
"I know you'd come around, Nicky baby," he croons teasingly, advancing towards her with his arms outstretched, using a really appalling American accent, "My charm is just too great for you to resist. Let's go to bed, what d'ya say?"
"Fuck off," Dominique giggles, keeping her eyes screwed shut as she gives him a shove away, "I want Tristan."
"I bet you do," Isaac mumbles sleepily from his bed, rolling over and grinning idly at her, "Gonna take him to a broom cupboard and have your wicked way with him, huh?"
"You're infuriating," Dominique informs the pair, crossing her arms and tapping her foot impatiently, then casts her eyes around at the other boys in the dormitory, expression imploring, "Will you tell me where he is?"
"Shower," Tom informs her with a smirk from where he's tying his tie in the corner, "I'm sure he wouldn't mind if you went and joined him."
"Do you guys ever think about anything other than sex?" Dominique inquires helplessly, throwing her arms up and then crossing the room, pushing past a sniggering Henry, and pounding on the bathroom door.
After a few moments of beating at the door, it is yanked open and Tristan appears, soaking wet, with his hair sticking up at every angle and a towel around his waist.
"What?" he demands irritably, rubbing his eyes to get the soap out, "I know I haven't been in here longer than – oh, Dominique, hi. What are you doing up here?"
"They had the baby," she informs him, trying to make sure her eyes stay on his face, rather than drifting down to his surprisingly well-toned torso, "It's a girl, Leonora. And they're getting married! How brilliant is that?"
"Really?" he asks in surprise, looking like the news hasn't quite sunk in, "Did they – write to you or what?"
"Yeah, the letter from Vic came this morning. She was born on Tuesday, healthy. Apparently she's got Matt's eyes."
Tristan suddenly gives a whoop of delight, seizing Dominique into a hug, ignoring her wriggling protests at the fact that he's all wet, and squeezes her tightly as the other boys all catcall.
When he places her down on her feet a little sheepishly, Dominique staggers to regain her footing and then looks down a little despondently at her now damp clothes.
"Sorry," Tristan mutters, looking abashed, "I'll just – I need to finish my shower."
"Dom and Tristan, sitting in a tree," Lysander sings loudly from his corner, and Dominique whirls on him with a snarl. Four seconds later, he's bright gold and looking down at himself in surprise.
"Damnit," Dominique mutters, "I meant to get you with a jelly-legs hex."
With that, she flees, ignoring his laughter and that of the other boys and hurrying down the stairs. She meets Rose when she's halfway across the common room, almost running into the other girl.
"Dom, wait," Rose calls, chasing after her cousin – Dominique has been avoiding her spectacularly since the beginning of term – and grabbing her by the arm, "Can we talk?"
"Not today, Rose," Dominique replies firmly, shaking her arm to try to get Rose to release it, "I don't want my good mood ruined. You and Sebastian are at perfect liberty to do whatever you choose."
"It's not – I don't…" Rose tries, but Dominique merely gives a massive yank of her arm and hurries out of the portrait hole, running to make sure she loses Rose, paying no attention to where she's going.
Emotions all awhirl, Dominique finds herself wandering a part of the castle she's never been in before, aware that she's probably missing her first lesson but not able to find it within herself to care. She wouldn't learn anything anyway, since it's History of Magic.
She's heading idly down a corridor, starting to dry off thanks to the warmth of the torches lit all along to help out on the cloudy day, when suddenly a girl wanders out a broom cupboard up ahead of her, readjusting her skirt and giving a little wave to whoever's in the cupboard behind her before vanishing around a corner.
Amused, Dominique's eyebrows fly upward as she waits for the other person to appear. She's walked closer when he does so, and she freezes dead as she recognises Scorpius.
"Ah, Weasley," he says airily as he spots her, wiping lipstick off his cheek and doing his tie up, grinning, "Haven't seen you in a while."
"Shame," Dominique comments, gritting her teeth, wondering why it had to be today of all days that he's found her, "I certainly didn't intend that or anything."
"Touchy," he replies, smiling his perfect, cold smile, falling into step beside her like she actually wants him there, "I've been meaning to talk to you, actually. I didn't believe the rumours that you'd turned out hot, but I saw you around and had to admit I was wrong. Usually that would bother me, but this time it doesn't."
Trying to work out if she's just been complimented, Dominique stares down at the floor as she continues to march purposefully onwards, hoping he'll leave her alone.
"Come now, Weasley, don't be like that," he says cajolingly, taking her arm and hooking it into his, laughing as she pulls it away as though she's been scalded, "You and I, we should be friends. We'd be good together."
"Nothing involving you is good," Dominique spits at him, turning to glare up at him, ponytail flying, "Nothing ever, okay? I would never be friends with you."
"Wow, something really has got your wand in a knot," he responds coolly, still smirking in that infuriating manner, "Care to share?"
"With you? Never," Dominique retorts firmly, lengthening her stride and wishing he'd leave her alone.
"I sense I'm irritating you," he comments to her as though he is confiding a great secret, bending his head towards her, "Am I correct?"
"If I took your wand and shoved it up your arse," Dominique responds angelically, "Would that be a sufficient answer for you?"
"Kinky," he drawls, and Dominique flushes bright red this time, cursing him internally for making her feel like a child again.
"Haven't you got some horses to boast about to someone who cares?" she inquires of him after a short silence, anything to stop his train of thought going any further.
He's suddenly alive next to her, gaining a small spring in his step, his voice lifting out of his customary drawl into something much warmer as he smiles – actually smiles rather than smirks – and launches into a description of some new horse he's bought, called Chlorophyll or something. Dominique risks a glance up at him as he articulates, gesturing with his hands to demonstrate something, astonished to find his eyes bright and tender as he stares into the middle-distance, seeing the beast in his mind's eye. Dominique, who hates horses, cannot believe that an animal could inspire this level of devotion in a boy like this.
"Alas," he says suddenly, cutting himself off, reverting to his usual over-formal inflection which he knows particularly annoys her, "I'm boring you, and I have a lesson to go to. Until next time, my little walking temper-tantrum."
"I'm not your little anything, you pompous arse!" Dominique shouts after him, hands balled into fists, fuming with hatred. She storms off in the opposite direction, headed for Ancient Runes, and all the while in her head there is playing a little loop of him with his eyes full of love.