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The road was quiet as the wind lightly pushed crisp leaves down my little street. I sat on the driveway and smiled at my golden retriever as he rested his giant head on my lap. I stared into Snitch’s big, old, brown eyes as he wiggled his black wet nose at me. I smiled at him before obeying his pleading gaze and petted his golden fur as the sun started to set in the distant hills. I pulled my floppy hat back so that I could look down the dirt path of our driveway and smiled noticing the twinkling stars. Snitch liked the stars, his eyes would gleam when night approached, so I always liked to take him outside while I waited for my brother Jasper to return home from his summer job at father's old pawn shop. Snitch never lifted his head, not until I heard the distant squeak from Jaspers bike rounding the corner at the end of our street. I looked up more and squinted as he emerged from the setting sun. I stood quickly and Snitch stood to his feet…well paws too. I smiled at my brother as he rode past me up the driveway and to our garage. He gave me a quick smile before clicking his teeth together to make Snitch come to him. Jasper jumped off his bike as Snitch ran to his side happily. The bike magically parked itself as I smiled walking up to them. Jasper petted the top of Snitch’s head before flopping his big ears around playfully.

 

“I don’t think the fireflies are coming out tonight buddy.” Jasper said lightly to Snitch as he looked up at Jasper, as if he understood what he had just said. Snitch not only liked coming out to see the stars, he loved coming out to chase the fireflies. Our house was perfectly located in front of a deep forest and every night during the summer fireflies would surround our house. When we were younger Jasper and I would chase the fireflies and try to catch them in our little hands, this made Snitch want to catch them too. He would chase them into the woods behind our house and he would bark into bushes to make them come out. He even jumped up to dance with them before they flew higher into the sky. I think Snitch thought that fireflies were stars, the ones that flew so high that he couldn’t reach anymore. But lately, the fireflies haven’t been coming out to play and Snitch has become too old to venture off into the forest to chase them out.

 

“How was work?” I asked slowly, not knowing the mood Jasper was in.

 

“It’s how it’s been this whole summer…pathetic.” He complained rudely as we walked up the porch stairs together. “I told Dad he needed to close that ruddy shop last summer.”

 

“Did you hire someone to help him?” I asked as Snitch ran past me to the front door.

 

“I got one of those bloody muggle kids down the street to watch the shop when we leave.”

 

“Does dad know?”

 

“Does dad ever know?” He frowned as he opened the front door. “You look nice.”

 

“I had to go out today!” I said walking in after him.

 

“Did you get my books too?” He asked nervously as he wiped his face heavily.

 

“Yes, I made dinner too." I said hoping to make him smile but instead he just grunted in appreciation. "You just have to pack tonight.” As he passed the picture of our mother in the hallway he rested his hand on it before going into our kitchen. He took a bowl off the counter near the pot of stew I made and made a plate for himself as I watched Snitch rest underneath the table, ready for whatever Jasper would drop on the floor. He ruffled the back of his dark curly locks before finally settling down at the table. His dark eyes were tired and frustrated as he messaged his temple. There was a time that Jasper and I could never be quiet together. Hell, with all the scheming and trouble we got into, we constantly were talking nonsense. Whether it was us mumbling gibberish that we made up when we were kids or devising a super sneaky plan, Jasper and I were in constant communication, even when we were separated into our Hogwarts houses.

 

That’s when it got fuzzy. Jasper seemed to plunge into a “trouble-marker” streak and he wouldn’t include me in all of his adventures. Don’t get me wrong, I caused plenty of trouble at Hogwarts on my own accounts…but harmless little injustices. And since I joined the Gryffindor quidditch team he’s been distancing himself. He doesn’t like the idea of me participating in school functions. But this summer proved to be more challenging on our dynamic relationship. My mother became ill with liver cancer and our squib father started developing Alzheimer’s. By the time we all realized how sick they both were, we were too late. One late afternoon she was taking her usual nap in her favorite chair, facing a window overlooking our grassy pasture behind the house. The light shining through the window bathed her in a heavenly glow as a light breeze from another open widow blew her hair slightly, our father tried to wake her but…she didn’t wake up. It made our father’s disease accelerate and now he doesn’t even recognize his own children. Jasper has been embarrassed by everything and he hasn’t been home much since our mother’s funeral. He’s been sulking at our father’s local pawn shop while I’m stuck at home with the cranky house nurse that takes care of father while we are at Hogwarts. My father is pretty much confined to his room now and I can’t go near him without him thinking that I’m my mother. It sends him into hysterics and the nurse believes that I'm a pest so she shoo's me away before I can even finish my daily chores around the house. I wish I was my mother. She was smart, funny, and caring…everything that I’m not.

 

“Charlotte…” I broke away from my daydreaming as I looked up at Jasper. “You okay?”

 

“Yeah-huh-what-I’m sorry…I just…I’m tired.” I smiled weakly as he nodded in agreement. “Well…night Jasper.”

 

“Charlie.” He stated as I started to walk out of the kitchen. I paused and looked over to him before he smiled lightly at me. Our eyes met in understanding and I nodded at him. "Night."

 

"Don't stay up too late." I warned as I continued through our living room.  As I walked towards our staircase I noticed Snitch staring out of a window along the sides of our front door. I smiled noticing that his tail was wagging weakly and I approached him secretly. I then noticed a few fireflies floating around our mailbox and it caused me to smile even more. We love fireflies; I think we like them so much because…they reminded us of her, of my mother.

 

•••

 

The night sky was dark as I drove down that lonely strip of pavement. The road was deserted as I drove sloppily. The old car was rattling underneath me as I took a swig of my bottle that Ron handed me a few moments ago. The music was blaring so loud that I couldn’t even hear my best friend talking to me. My hazy gaze made it hard to focus on the slick road, but I kept it together as I watched him chuck another empty beer out of the window. He then proceeded to open another as the old truck rattled violently again.

 

“Not like we are in a hurry or anything.” Ron joked loudly as I grinned at him realizing that I caught the tail-end of his story again. He proceeded to dig through the ice chest of beers in the tiny back seat as I chugged the last of mine

 

“Oi.” I said loudly as I tossed my beer out the window. I heard the bottle shatter instantly before I turned the radio down. “Toss ‘nother one mate.”

 

“I don’t know, you think you can handle this one?” He chuckled as he handed me a cold bottle. Before we took another unison swig we clinked them together lazily.

 

“To getting the hottest arses in school.” I laughed at him as he threw his head back. “And winning the quidditch match against those ruddy Slytherin bastards.”

 

“Here, ‘ere!” I stated loudly as we both took a long swig. He pushed up on my bottle and it caused me to spill a little on my white shirt. "Ron..." I grumbled as he laughed at me while I wiped my chin.

 

“I’m telling ya mate. Those birds will be linin’ up for us this year.”

 

“I don’t know about you there mate.” I joked as he scowled at me.

 

“Hermione is going to be so soddin’ jealous, serves her right. Bloody cow.”

 

“I think she’s utterly kidding herself with Krum." I laughed at my pun, but he didn't seem to notice. 

 

“Bloody Krum.” He said with a snarky chuckle. “She’ll be back.”

 

 “I don’ understand why you get so worked up about her anyway.”

 

“It’s not like that anymore, I just soddin’ hate the bird now. After that stunt she pulled this summer, I would rather…” He paused as he took another sip of his beer. “-eat one of Hagrid’s magpie surprises than have to deal with this face again.” He started mocking the way Hermione yells at us; whenever we do anything she disapproves of…which was everything that Ron and I did these days.

 

"She does tend to sound like that." I laughed stupidly as he enjoyed my approval.

 

“Ruddy birds…” Ron grumbled as he tossed his beer out the window again. We started down our normal dirt path, the one with daring turns and twists. Maybe that’s why the car had so many problems now but in a way it was our way to still have freedom. Tomorrow the lazy days and late-night drunken adventures would pause again. We took the truck near the end of the path close to the burrow and I climbed out of the window, since the door wouldn’t wrench open for anything. I chugged the last of my beer before tossing it to the side. It shattered instantly and Ron started gathering his things from the trunk. It was almost twilight, which meant that we had exactly enough time to get enough sleep to get to the train station and deal with all of the nonsense for school. I went over and grabbed my things as well as I sloppily mounted my broom on my shoulder. We both laughed at our drunken states as Ron started to mock Hermione again.

 

“And what did you two do last night?” He teased in a shrill high voice as I nearly fell over laughing at him. “I swear you two just need to grow up! Soddin’ cow!”

 

“Come on, we’re going to wake your mum.” I said balancing myself as I noticed that the moon was oddly large tonight. I swayed over to the front door and opened the lock secretly before turning to hush Ron.

 

“Oi mate!” I heard Ron shout as he staggered into me into the house. “Slow the fuck down…” He whispered pathetically as we made our way to his room. We manager to quietly get into our beds before anything detrimental happened but I never sleep well the night before school…even bloody drunk.

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