Chapter 1 : James And The World's Worst Idea
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Lovely chapter image by vic.toire @ TDA
“No. Absolutely not. I’m not doing it no matter what you say to me.”
Rose Weasley sat down heavily in the couch in her cousin’s sitting room, folded her arms across her chest and looked at him with the most determine expression that she could muster up. Over the course of their lives she couldn’t deny that she and James had come up with some pretty insane schemes. Her mother blamed the Weasley blood for it, said that whatever it was that had made their Uncle Fred and Uncle George cause all kinds of mischief during their years at Hogwarts must have been in the DNA and it had been passed onto them.
Most of the time whatever it was that James had come up with for them to do she would go along with it. He usually didn’t come up with ideas that would get them into too much trouble, after all. Most of his ideas were meant for them to have fun, to push the boundaries and yet this idea was most definitely the most ridiculous idea he had ever come up with.
While Rose looked downright scandalized over the suggestion that had just come out of her older cousin’s mouth, James looked smug. Lifting up his coffee cup to his mouth he took a sip from it before sitting down in the seat across from her, his legs stretched out in front of him, his ankles crossed. He looked so at ease and yet so amused that she was rejecting the idea he had posed to her.
“Come on now, Rosie,” he soothed once he had swallowed the bitter coffee in the mug. Looking up at her he smiled, his cheeks dimpling a bit making him look far more mischievous than he looked on most days. “We both know you’re going to do it. Don’t waste our time by fighting it.”
“I’m not agreeing to it this time.”
When James had asked her to come over she should have known that something was wrong. His letter was far too vague, just him requesting she come to his place so that they could talk to each other, that he had an idea that he wanted to share with her. And while their more extravagant plans were scarcely spoken about through letters he usually gave her some indication of what was going on. And considering he hadn’t said a single word about the idea in the owl he had sent warning bells should have gone off in her head.
“Rosie.” She hated when he called her that in the tone he was using, the sickeningly sweet tone, the tone he reserved for when he was trying to convince her to do something for her that he knew she might not want to do. He used it because most of the time it worked on her, she gave in. Because beyond being cousins they were very close friends and Rose Weasley would do just about anything for her friends.
Reaching out he laid his mug down on the table next to his chair and then leaned forward a little bit as he kept his eyes on her face. “I need your help.”
“Ask someone else.”
“I don’t know anyone else who could pull this off as well as you could. You’re far more capable than you think you are. And far more sneaky than anyone else gives you credit for.”
“No.” Reaching up she tossed some of her hair over one of her shoulders before folding her arms back up across her chest. It was a great battle of wills and they could both be stubborn people. It was another thing that they seemed to inherit from their Weasley blood because most of their cousins were the same way. And when they were on opposing sides when it came to opinions or ideas it took quite a bit to get one of them to give in.
“You’re the only one I can turn to when it comes to this,” he continued, his voice still in that sickeningly sweet tone. That tone normally got him his way and he knew it. It even worked rather well on Grandma Molly and she had raised enough children not to be easily manipulated by children. And yet he managed to get things past her most of the time.
“I don’t even understand why you need me to do this.”
“I have another obligation,” he explained easily, with a slight shrug of his shoulders as though it were the most logical thing in the world.
“Something more important than this?”
“Not necessarily more important,” he conceded. “But it’s an obligation I made before this chance came up.”
“Then just pick between the two of them.”
“I can’t do that.” Sitting back in his chair again he picked his coffee cup back up, took another sip out of it. “I need you to do this for me. An opportunity like this only comes once in a lifetime. And if I pass it up them the chance might never come up again.”
Rose opened up her mouth to argue that point but closed it right back up a couple of seconds later because, in truth, she couldn’t argue that point.
Nearly a month before their silly little meeting in his apartment the Daily Prophet reported that Tom Pastor, the most popular member of the wizarding band The Runes, was leaving the group. It had caused a great deal of anger with the fans, half of them protesting that the band would fall apart without him there. Some were still supportive of the remaining members, some were vowing to boycott their music and their events. Anyone and everyone who knew the band seemed to be taking sides and none of them seemed to want to see the other side’s prospective.
Why he was leaving the group was being kept as a closely guarded secret even though there was a lot of speculation floating around. They had tried to get at least one person to reveal exactly what it was that had caused the breakup but their lips were sealed. She could sure as hell give them credit for being able to keep it a secret.
But with him leaving the band it was announced that they would be looking for a replacement, someone they thought would have the same kind of charisma that Tom had on stage and with the fans. It wouldn’t be easy replacing him. It was never easy trying to replace someone in a popular group but they were determined not to let the band fall apart, convinced that even though Tom had been the one that they favored the most the fans would end up accepting a new person.
James had called her over a couple of days ago to let her know that he had been chosen to replace Tom Pastor in his position. He wanted to let her know first because they had always been such good friends and he knew his mother would be both extremely excited for him but somehow smothering over the information. And yes, it was definitely an opportunity that would only come up once in his life. How often does the chance to be famous get dangled in front of your nose? And famous in his own right instead of being famous for being the son of Harry Potter. Being famous because of who you happened to be related to was one of the most frustrating things in the world, after all.
So, why he was sitting there with an insane plan that could ruin everything for him was beyond her. It had definitely taken a hard left at logic and kept on going.
“You are aware that this plan is never, ever going to work, right? And that this little plan of yours is the perfect way to ruin this opportunity that you were so damn proud of a couple of days ago.”
“Since when do you have so little faith in my ability to scheme?” James looked far too sure of himself for her taste. It made her want to scream. Being confident wasn’t necessarily a bad thing but the confidence on his face bordered on narcissism, a disbelief that his plan could possibly go wrong. It was foolish to think that way.
“James.” Unfolding her arms Rose leaned forward, laid her arms to rest on her legs as she looked at her cousin, her mouth set in a grim line. “This has nothing to do with your ability to scheme. I admit you’re far better at that than most people are. This has to do with the fact that I can’t pull this off.”
“Of course you can.”
“No, I can’t. Do you have any idea what you’re asking me? You’re asking me to basically vanish for a whole year and pretend to be you. You’re asking me to pretend to be a man. Do you have any idea how difficult that’s going to be for me? Do you have any idea what pretending to be you is going to be like? And we’re not talking about pretending to be you under normal circumstances, you bloody dolt. This is you asking me to pretend to be you in a band. As in being in the public eye. No one is ever going to believe I’m you even with all the magic in the world.”
“Of course they will, Rosie.”
“No they bloody won’t. Did you forget already that every single member of the band knows who you are?”
“Exactly.” Sitting back so he could get more comfortable in his seat James smiled at her, his head cocked very slightly to the side while he watched her. “They know who I am but they don’t know me. Just because we went to school today doesn’t mean we were close. It’s not as though they were my best mates or anything. You know me much better than they ever did.”
Rose scoffed under her breath, turned her attention away from him, her jaw working as she tried to stop herself from yelling at him about how he was being utterly ridiculous for suggesting she do this, for even considering having someone cover for him like that. “You’re just going to have to pick. Either you take the offered place in the band or you go and explore like you wanted to.”
“Even if I did agree to do this for you? How do you think that would work? Don’t you think someone would eventually notice that two people that look exactly like you are in two different places at the same time constantly?” Looking back over at him both of her eyebrows shut up slightly in question, nodded towards him slightly to emphasis. “Even in the wizarding world you can’t constantly be in two places at once. You and I both know that. So, what do you think is going to happen when they realize there are two of you running around?”
“That’s the beauty of it- while you’re pretending to be me in public? Then I’ll be pretending to be you in public. That way neither of us has to completely vanish. And that way no one will ever know I’m not really the one there. Trust me, Rose. I thought of everything.”
“Come on, Rosie.” Climbing out of the chair he moved so he was sitting on the table in front of where she was sitting, reached out and took her hands in his, squeezed them slightly. “I just really need your help right now. Just one year at the most. And if that gets to be too much then you can let me know and we’ll rethink things. Just please do this for me.” His eyes widened almost comically as he tried to look sweet and innocent; as he tried to practically guilt her into agreeing to it. “Please.”
For a few moments she just sat there and looked at him, at the puppy-like eyes he was making to try to get her to agree to do things that for him, to follow that insane plan he had come up with. It was a horrible idea, the worst idea that he had ever come up with but he was so very determined and made it quite obvious he wasn’t going to just let it go. And a part of her knew that he would try to find someone else to pretend to be him if the need be.
“Fine,” she finally relented, closing her eyes to mentally prepare herself for the hell she was preparing to have rain down on her.
“You are the best, Rosie.” James released her hands and threw his arms around her shoulders to hug her close to him, squeezed her tightly like she had just promised to hand over every single bit of money she had.
“No, let’s work on teaching you how to walk like a man.”
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