Beyond Brilliant Chapter Image by Clara Oswald @TDA.
New Shoes. A foreign place. They might fit perfectly, but still feel new and different. We all would like to go back. Go back to what we know. Our trusty friends Comfort and Familiar. But they had their time and we must walk forward. We go through many shoes in life. They lift us when we need some height. They ground us when we need to be humbled. High, low, flat, short, long. Sometimes we can wear five different types in one day. Sometimes they know us better than we know ourselves. They tell stories. They tread through adventures. They help us fit it. And dare us to stand out. They protect, rally in the rain and sometimes soak in a puddle. They aren’t perfect. But they walk with us in triumph, guide us in challenge and comfort us when we need it most. One step at a time. Walk on.
“I don’t think the heel is quite right?” Me, ever trying to stand out in a crowd.
“I think they’re a bit glary” Mum, ever trying to mask her beauty with sensibility.
“No, the colour is all the rage, they just need more height”
“Are you sure about the size?”
“Well we can always apply a slight re-sizing spell” I suggest.
“I should have just asked Molly” Mum sighs.
“I thought that was why we were here in the first place, to prove her wrong” I slump in exhaustion. The Gummy bears are long eaten in frustration. I mean, I love my mum, but you know my life sort of sucks at the moment, so I’m kind of more awaiting the fudge overload and tear stained pillow cases. I’m still dressed quite depressingly, but you know, the perils of friendship, does that to a girl. Merlin that’s pathetic.
“Well, unfortunately not everyone is as gifted as yourself” Mum rolls her eyes. Terrible trait that.
“Says the genius” I smile. The rolling eyes keep rolling.
“Not with everything, evidently” she sighs, eyeing the perfect creation once again, with uncertainty.
“This isn’t really what I had in mind” she scales the room, searching for a better idea. I’m practically drooling at the pair in front of me. I could cry at their beautifulness. I’m so proud of my restraint. Especially in my state.
“It was your idea” I mumble in reply.
“Yes. But I wanted to impress” she grumbles.
“Impress! Jaws are going to drop, teeth are going to fall out, Nanna Molly is going to go green with envy and Dad… well dad is going to drool at their sexiness” I laugh, gesturing to the genius in front of us.
“I don’t know if I’m comfortable with sexiness and your father being referred to in the same sentence” Mum smirks.
“It’s the shoes mum, they’ve cast a spell on me” I grin back.
“Maybe. But I’m not sure this is what your grandmother had in mind, when she suggested I try something different”
“Predictable is so boring” I argue.
“Predictable is sensible” Mum counters.
“People aren’t impressed with sensible” I add.
She sighs, inspects the masterpiece once again, and then looks to me, finally her eyes sparkle with excitement “Well… Gingerbread shoes definitely aren’t sensible”
“And you attending a cooking class definitely isn’t predictable” I add with a wink.
We smile, then burst out laughing.
Yes. My mother, Hermione Weasley is human, well a witch/magical human. But what I mean is, she is just as hopelessness as the rest of us. The woman cannot cook, at all. Like it’s a life and death situation when she opens the fridge. She’s tried spells, potions, even divination. It just isn’t in the cards for her and Nanna Molly can’t help but remind her of her ineptitude. We can’t really blame her really. It is a little funny. But Mum is quite insecure about it, like many of us magical humans, we don’t like to publicize our faults. She is extremely determined and becomes easily frustrated, especially when it doesn’t end up the picture of perfection, which it definitely does not. Aunt Ginny has tried and failed at the challenge, Uncle Harry often helps, but being quite a good cook himself, and often the receiver of Nanna Molly’s praise, Mum loses patience with him quickly. And Dad, well they can barely hold a conversation without a tea-cup being thrown, can you imagine the damage if he was trying to teach her something? Hugo and I banned that a long time ago. She goes through these bouts of severe determination with a brand new can’t fail approach. However I think a dinner party last weekend at the burrow, might have awoken the latest tidal wave. So, I awoke, my first morning home, to a pleading invitation for a Muggle Cooking Class, and today’s subject, Gingerbread. The result, actually quite surprising.
The shoes of course, were a Rose Weasley original, and they’re fulfilling the duty of helping me forget about my gloomy life at present. Also, distracting Mum of said gloominess. It’s not that we aren’t close. It’s just, I deviate from deep conversation, with mostly everyone. I do tend to keep people at arm’s length, I’ve done it for a while. I glass over with easily forgotten injuries, when maybe the damage is more than skin deep. Instead I invest in others, and help them find solace with the challenging quest of life. Presently – Cooking Class. I guess I just prefer to fight my battles alone and with fudge. Don’t get me wrong I’m not a robot, or have major trust baggage, especially when my extended family are so tight knit, I just don’t excel at admitting outside opinions do scar, when really what other people think of me, is actually none of my business.
Home. My walls have been painted. My books rearranged. And my wardrobe, picked over and renewed with sensibility and propriety. There’s a Christmas tree in every room. Decorations galore. It’s like a picture from Home Magazine. Actually we probably have a feature in their Christmas photo shoot, I’m sure it will all be lined out officially in my holiday itinerary. It’s not actually because we’re a jolly, festive enriched family; it’s appearances. Dad’s been hankering to hold the Ministry Christmas Party for years, last I heard he was handing out magical gingerbread with his face on it. Mums grand Idea. Sounds like a health and safety violation or the grounds for a Sexual harassment claim to me. But at least, it’s an excuse to finally put the ballroom to use, other than its sneaky life as a quidditch pitch. But you know, my parents don’t know about that.
I’ve never been less enthused for breakfast. Last night they let me retire to my room early without too much chatter. But breakfast will be our holiday business strategy meeting. How can we be more snobbish and uptight? Add another vase of flowers, another ceiling painting, another antique chair, that isn’t purposeful, just appreciated. It’s like living in a museum, with a father out for grants and ministry workers to impress and a mother for a security guard.
It’s where I live. But it’s never going to be my home.
I finally drag my feet through the long and excessively big house to appear in the dining hall doorway. Yes we are the type of family who eats breakfast in a lavish dining hall, for three. A parent at each end, and 10 seats on either side for their big grand personalities. Not sure, if there is even room for me, possibly why I’m never missed. It’s far removed from the Potter Estate with their similar high ceilings and works of art. Except ours are missing the giant crack James ‘accidently’ jinxed into the hall after a gruelling quidditch game inside with Lil and Al, and the adjoining one, cracked by Ginny after herself and Harry joined in on the fun. Ours is just empty and immaculate, not colourful.
“Ah. Darling. Quick, sit, your father and I have been waiting.” Mum greets; to anyone else it would appear nurturing, too me it was a demand and an accusation that my tardiness is not respectable, and heaven forbid, I live in a palace, I should definitely appear respectful.
“I hope this isn’t a habit you have initiated at school. You know your professors respect punctuality. And it is brilliant practice for your induction into the real world” Mum continues as I take my seat.
Ah. Yes. This Real World business. A familiar topic, I’ve been educated about since birth. Mum’s currently dressed in a designer outfit fit for the red carpet, hair and make-up immaculate, nails polished with a shine that burns your eyes, a feast for breakfast laid out on the table, and jewellery that could very near pay for a village of these supposed palaces. And my father, a 100 gallon haircut, a watch that could feed a small country and a new suit; never worn twice, for fear of appearing cheap. Yes. They obviously understand, the Real World.
Our family fortune? Is actually my mothers. She came from a wealthy pureblood family, who hid away during the war, and then along comes a Weasley, eager to climb the ranks, and with a name to restore their place in society, and ease the guilty conscience. Of course now my Father brings home plenty, to keep my mother and himself comfortable in this lavish lifestyle they both thrive in. He tried to explain what he does for a living, but it’s basically just a game of politics.
Dad hasn’t looked up from his mundane newspaper reading morning routine. Got to keep up with things, Lucy, You never know when someone might ask you a question. He told me once. It really just explains our whole life really. Got to have this, we need to have that, you never know when someone, might judge you and develop a low opinion of you. But the stupid thing is, having money doesn’t make people love you. It doesn’t impress. If it does it’s only short-lived or just green envy. I told my father that once. He looked at me completely patronisingly, you’ll understand when you’re older, he said. The war effected everyone really. Some people grew up, some people saved the world, some cried, some held close all they had left, but all my father saw was a new opportunity; the life he wanted, but could never afford.
He still talks to Nanna Molly, of course, I mean she is the namesake of my dear sister. She is awfully proud, and understands he likes to keep his distance as he doesn’t want to win any favours from the Weasley name. Although, unbeknownst to her, he throws that around at work, like a Quaffle at a match. He really only attends social gatherings to try and convince Uncle Harry to have a coffee with him at work. But that wore off after, continuous rainchecks, with absolutely no appearances of a follow up. Now Dad tries to pre-organise activities to enable a respectable declination. But thankfully, they don’t want me to tag along often, so the Burrow is like my refuge.
I dig into my waffles and bacon, with hopes of avoiding conversation.
“Now, Lucy, your mother and I have great news to share with you” My father begins, no welcome home, or what’s new with you, It’s bragging time.
I just grin with false excitement, whilst filling my mouth with another spoonful.
“Do try and eat respectably dear, especially when your father is trying to tell you something important, it really isn’t considerate” Mum scolds.
Insert internal eye roll.
I swallow, drop my fork and nod for dad to continue.
Insert the doting daughter.
He smiles at mum and she nods in approval. They play their parts well. They believe we’re this trio of succession trying to buy the world, but in reality; I’m there captive, screaming for release.
“We got the Christmas party Lucy! It’s finally happening.” Dad informs me, nearly jumping out of his seat in elation.
The Gingerbread Castle takes home first prize. And this is supposed to surprise me?
Finally the chaos and heat of the chef’s hat lays behind me. We shuffle out of the class, of course no one else’s creations even measured against our own. Just traditional unoriginal predictable square boxes with caving roofs, the teacher actually seemed a little offended at our out of the box thinking. She surveyed my attire up and down, including my ratty old UGG boots, faded and ripped jeans, a snowman beanie and a certain someone’s Holyhead Harpies Hoodie – I’m in a state of mourning, and what kind of cooking class starts at 9am? With an expectation of responsible, respectable, professional, presentable dress. Baking Bitchiness 101 apparently. Although mum did try and get me to change before we left, mainly the hoodie, for it was a Muggle Class, that’s when I added the beanie to further my depressive cloud of despair, and it doubles as a chef’s hat. Smart thinking. Anyway, the snobby nosed teacher just rolled her eyes, snatched our money and moved on. What a lovely character.
So with the lovely London weather clouding over, a Gingerbread shoe sheltered under each arm, and nosey street walkers, we made a dash for the alley behind the building. I convinced mum to apparate, she wanted to drive, you know statue of secrecy and all that, it would have taken ages, which meant less time in my own comfortable bed.
I know she probably would have preferred to ask Lucy to attend, but when I was unusually silent about the happs at school, and everyone’s itinerary for the Christmas season, she decided some Mother and Daughter bonding was critical.
We disappeared with a barely audible excuse for dad and Hugs. I think mum muttered something about muggles and sweets. So you know I’m sure they just decided I’ve gone on a fudge bender and taken mum down with me.
My familiar and comforting home begins to shape in front of me. It’s not as grand as Lucy’s, as lived in as the Potters, as crazy as Fred’s or as unusual as The Burrow. It’s a two story, ivory covered, stone walled beauty. However inside, it’s completely different. The Architectural Charming brilliance of Mum and the addition of the childish enthusiasm of Dad. The front door opens into a hallway rainforest, with branches that reach for and promptly house; shoes, coats, hats, bags, and Fred’s Swimming Goggles. Leading into the ground floor, of Living, Eating and Reading. A bookshelf Maze off to the left, A Quidditch inspired lounge in the middle, Chef’s Kitchen and Dining table in the back. The stair’s wind up around a massive tree trunk in the middle, leading to an internal balcony, but also a few brooms are lined up for the more adventurous travellers. Although before we returned to school this year, Mum was adamant for their removal, after a particularly questionable collision resulting in a gaping hole in the trunk, and every third and fourth step broken off. We Wotter’s are a competitive bunch, but if only Fred hadn’t sneezed, everything would have went according to plan. Second Floor - Four bedrooms, Four Bathrooms and another lounging area for Hugs laziness. And there’s a third floor addition, of a rooftop quidditch pitch, with various disillusionment charms to ward off the press and muggles. It’s a beautiful place to call home, but not because of the architectural brilliance, but because of the Window seat in the library, where mum can be found, when she needs a break from the chaos, or the couch; that dad has proudly moulded for his comfort, but always finds room for a hug, or the stools in the kitchen; where we are always found hovering at meal times; although sometimes we just eat over the stove, we hardly ever make it to the table. Our Home isn’t false in our wealth, or mum’s hunger for knowledge, or dad’s obsession with quidditch and food, or the many laughs and tears we’ve all endured, It’s just us, and we definitely live here.
Dad and Hugs are coincidently absent, so Mum gleefully disappears to hide the Ginger Bread Shoes. I retreat back to my comforting and needy bed. Hello old friend.
My room is one of my favourite places. The door opens into a quite large room with my Queen four Poster bed against the back wall, a fireplace and a couple of bright patchwork chairs off to the side, windows lining the other wall, and two wardrobes on either side of the front wall, including a door in the middle, leading to the bathroom. But these are not just any ordinary wardrobes. These are special. No, they don’t hold the secret world of Narnia. But it’s still pretty damn cool. The double doors open into a beautifully grand organised Walk-in, led by a shoe hallway. It’s innovative. I tried to get mum to re-create the idea, with the wardrobe at School, but it was against the regulations apparently. And they broke how many rules at school? But try organising your shoes and it’s expulsion ready. The other wardrobe opens into a spacious little study nook. It’s brilliant, but hardly used, per Mum’s dismay. But who really wants to do study during the holidays?
I have quite a few photos spread amongst the walls, Family, Friends, Food, Landscapes; Rose Weasley in a Nutshell. But I’m not exactly interested in memory lane, I’m afraid if I start heading down there, I may not find my way back out. Lucy made the addition of a fudge fridge. She bought it for myself and herself last year for Christmas. She has a matching one, and she managed with the help of mum, to charm them so she bake’s some fudge, slide’s it in hers and it appears in mine. Like a Vanishing cabinet, but not as creepy. Ingenious. However, its current empty presence hasn’t escaped my notice.
I roll over.
I know she’s probably in hell. But at what point does a friendship that is constant apologies still a friendship?
It’s only been 14 hours and I was asleep for 11 of them. How am I going to survive the next two weeks? Of course the schedule laid out before me answers what I will be doing, but it doesn’t answer how my sanity is going to cope? Like here, 10am - peruse schedule, 10.15 - begin schedule, 10.30 - outfit check, 11 – Sort through internships applications, 11.30 – Meet and Greet with Event coordinator, 12-1pm Lunch, 2pm – Carolling Practice.
Like Seriously! Carolling Practice? It’s insane. And my bedroom is providing no solace or refuge whatsoever, because they’re both splattered everywhere, I feel like a stranger in my own life. I think I’m going to start calling it the guest room. It’s evident as far as they are concerned I’m the guest that visits at Christmas and off days during the summer. The Fudge fridge is even gone. Why would she do that? She knew how much it meant? I fought tooth and nail to keep it, but the grudging acceptance was just a ploy to placate me until I left. I hear only two often, “Darling, you just don’t have the design eye. It’s sophistication. It’s mature. Its every girl your ages dream. Why are you being unpleasant Lucy, Please don’t slouch Lucy. Don’t eat that, Lucy. Are you sure you want to wear that, Lucy. Lucy LUCY LUCY!”
ARGH. I cannot stand that women or myself for pacifying them. Father isn’t as bad, he can be kind. Especially after I’ve achieved something, like getting prefect. But he’s mostly just indifferent. Why don’t I tell her off? Because confrontation with parents is actually one of my hates. And I live in a castle very far away from here, what’s the point of turning my life upside down for two weeks. I can handle this. I’ve been training for it my whole life.
My outfit is already chosen and hanging on the door, ready for Perfect obedient Lucy to parade, like a mannequin doll in a shop. It’s a blue number, which hugs my figure in all the right places. In another life, I might have willingly chosen it. In another life it might have made me feel confident and beautiful. In another life, it might have been me. But instead, it’s another game for her to win, and a smile to mask my emptiness. I slide into the conservative court shoes, ready to stand tall and get through the day.
I’ve got my big girl shoes on. They walk me out of the room, and to my fate.
Please, don’t let me fall.
“Are you planning to lounge about all day?” Hugs grumbles from beside me.
“If I answer yes, will you kick me out?”
“It is your bed”
“Never stopped you before”
Hugo dropped in unexpectedly waking me up about 2 minutes ago, and its 1 minute and 59 seconds to long. Apparently dad dragged him out of the house for an impromptu shopping expedition. Hugo returned with numerous bags, for himself, the actual objective was Mum’s gift. Guess I’ll be the next kidnapped.
“Are you planning to lounge about all day?” I returned, with a slight pointed gesture to the door. His pointed words about forgiveness and quidditch droning, I just don’t have the patience to listen today.
“If I say yes, will you kick me out?” He smirks. The Jerk.
“Without question” I smile. He laughs. Ah. The bonds of family.
We continue to lay in silence. I thought he was gearing up to leave, I guess he’s settling in. It’s not that I’m angry at him. The apology last night covered that. And I know Hugs didn’t really believe in it anyway, we just hadn’t seen each other for him to understand the full story. I’m not really mad at anyone really, just disappointed. Even Scorpius, I think we were also set for self-destruction. When a friendship is born from hate, the doubt doesn’t always disappear. Just hides in the shadows, undermining our perceptions. I guess some walls may have been crumbling, without myself even realising. But the trouble with demolition, you can’t rebuild the history.
After a few moment’s he sighs and I can feel the frustration. “An owl came from Lucy earlier.” He informs me with only slight hesitation. The kid has always been more of a straight to the point kind of guy.
Consider mild interest piqued.
“Apparently, we made it on the short list for the Christmas Party” He continues.
Ah. So Uncle P finally won them over, or bribed them enough.
“It’s Christmas Eve”
“Well won’t that be jolly” I grumble. What happened to my solace? And Sleeping? I was actively constructing a plan for a two week home arrest.
“He didn’t invite Nanna Molly, Only us and the Potters” Hugs adds, with complete offence.
I swear each year, he finds a new low to reside at.
“Dad wants to decline and organise his own Christmas soiree on the same night” Hugo smirks.
“Well of course” I smile. We may be slightly mad, but we Weasley’s are a loyal bunch.
“Nanna Molly won’t let him” he frowns.
“Well of course” Like, I said, loyal, even to those undeserving.
“Do you know everything?” Hug’s scoffs, whilst propelling a pillow attack.
“Hm. Most things.” I cast a nonverbal shield charm and the pillow falls back in his face. Clever with a capital R.
He sighs, removes the pillow, but doesn’t indulge in a counter attack, instead he finally gets up.
I thought finally to leave, but instead, he wonders over to the fudge fridge. The little bugger, is always stealing from my stash. His efforts are futile, the fudge river is all dried up.
“It’s empty” I inform him.
“Well of course. It’s matching half is in our kitchen. I’ve been trying to convince mum to fill it up” He clarifies, whilst scanning it over, like a thief with a diamond.
I raise my eyebrows.
“Bought sweets of course” He adds, with a slight shudder. We all know about Mum’s Fudge creations. The only resemblance is the colour, and even that is a dangerous comparison.
“Why is it in our kitchen?” I dare to ask. Here I thought she would arrive with a basket of treats on my doorstop begging for forgiveness. Instead she sent the fridge. Empty.
“They’re remodelling again or something. Her royal wickedness wanted to throw it out, but somehow Aunt Ginny got wind of it and it’s landed here. Funny that.”
Well. Aren’t I the pot calling the kettle black? Here I am awaiting her apology for believing the worst, when I keep playing the same game. We live to agitate each other. We hardly pay attention unless someone is cursing and hexing. We are Weasley’s and we are soul sisters. We’re the shoes that give you painful blisters, but make you feel the prettiest and completely make your day anyway. We don’t compromise. We don’t give in. You know how people say “you are what you eat” Well maybe we are what we wear, on our feet. We go through so many different versions of ourselves. We scrunch our toes to fit the last year mould. We buy the sparkly heels, because we aspire to be the person who can wear them. We tread barefoot, completely trusting, the ground beneath us. We hide the hideous sandals in the back, with shame. We keep the battered well-worn lace-ups, as we’ve finally worn them in and cannot part with one of our favourites. Front and centre, are the ones that didn’t make sense in the beginning, clash with nearly every item in our closet, but we love them and cannot ever imagine the day we let them go. We all have days we’d like to forget, memories we want to last forever, friends that we love to hate and shoes that make us feel like we can take on the world.
We can be tough, kind, sad, or deflated. We buck ourselves up to survive challenging situations. Unavoidable proceedings. Stand tall. Determined when we need to meet a goal. We wear many shoes throughout the story of life. And like the superficial leather, thinning polyester or scuffed rubber, we don’t always stand up to expectations. Sometimes we snap. Sometimes we fall short. Sometimes we never want to step out of our slippers. But that is a-okay, because we still wake up every day, and face what lies ahead; dressed in slippers, steel caps or 6inch heels. They all play their part in who we are, who we were and who we can be. Life isn’t easy, but we battle on anyway. I read somewhere once, a frown is simply an upside down smile, it’s just a matter of perspective.
I know exactly what needs to be done.
I throw back the covers and slip into my slippers. “Hey, Hugo, quit planning your Fudge Fridge Heist. I have a better use for your devious talents.”
“The invitations have all been sent, all 475 of them” I roll my eyes. There’s no one paying attention to reprimand me. The minions are all fluttering around, either getting yelled at, banished, left under duress or in hiding. Mother has a real specialty with people and efficiency. Normally Rose would be here beside me and charming Mum’s hair yellow and rewording all her recipes for the caterer’s. It’s not so much fun on your own. Although the bright rainbow socks I’m sporting in defiance, I like to think would make her proud. Mother hasn’t even noticed yet. She’s too busy looking for an ice charmer, with the ability to create a Christmas scene which ice skates, for centre pieces. She really does reside in another world. But hell, can she throw a party. Even though this is currently the picture of chaotic horror, it will be decadent and beautiful. That’s what pisses me off the most.
Of course the invitations had to be redone about 23 times before they were even in the realm of “I guess they will have to do”. Dad wrote up the list, and Mum approved it. A few names were noticeably absent. I did try to argue, but like with everything in this family, I was silenced. Not with bribes or compromises, with the actual spell. I learnt long ago the counter spell, non-verbally. Don’t go thinking I’m mistreated, I guess to an extent I am. But I’m not held under duress, I can walk out the door if I want, they feed me, clothe me, shelter me and in their own way love me. They just have a warped sense of family.
However they were both surprisingly understanding, when Alex’s name was removed from the list. Dad was disappointed of course, but they didn’t really approve of the position of boyfriend in my life in the first place, felt it took focus from my starring role of the perfect daughter; complete with prefect duties and above outstanding academic studies.
Mum sends me a nod, finally my presence is no longer needed. They can read the false smiles and masked eye rolls. The just choose to ignore it.
Finally freedom. It’s now 6pm. I’ve survived the first day home, and hopefully finished my Christmas ball duties. I ascend the stairs, ready to order some food, and spend the rest of the night catching up on bad television.
Warning. Exciting times ahead.
However as I ascend the final stair with my room 8 feet in front of me, I can’t help but fear the literal meaning of those words.
My door is ajar. A dangerous mistake, I’ve suffered dearly from. Obviously when I spend majority of my time living in a castle, my room is up for grabs. But Christmas, summer, Easter, it’s fully occupied. Meaning it does not accommodate inquisitive meddlesome parents. Although they still find a way.
Please don’t tell me Mum’s added another pant suit to my wardrobe or decided the paint colour doesn’t soften my complexion.
The door flies wide with a slight push.
My jaw falls to the floor in shock. For here, in my room, completely uninvited, obviously trespassing and dressed with a smile, is none other than … My fudge fridge.
A/N: Sorry it's been so long. Hope you all enjoyed the chapter, as much as i loved writing it. Sorry no Scorpius or Al or Chase... But alas Chapter 20 will hopefully follow along speedily. My brilliant Chapter Image friend, is back! So i will be updating previous chapters with the relevant images, in the oncoming weeks.
Thanks for reading, please review, I crave your feedback. :)
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