"Why have you got cheesy puffs?" Dominic eventually asked. Sure, he knew his parents weren't the saints he believed them to be but it was something else to see it. It also didn't help that his father wouldn't have shone him these things if he wasn't currently a boy. He couldn't tell if that was sexist or not.
"Well, Dominic, when you're married to someone like your mother snacking is nonexistent. I'm sorry for not telling you earlier but you were just like your mum in that if it wasn't mealtime you didn't eat and it never seemed to bother you. But now you understand the struggle of only eating when told," Michael said as he opened the multipack of cheesy Puffs and gave the smaller ones to Dominic.
"I get that but why not just talk to Mum about it. She's not completely irrational," Dominic asked. "Clearly you have not met your mother. I would not have spent nearly seventeen years constantly hungry if I thought that was an option." Without much fanfare, he tore open the packet and began pouring its contents into his mouth as though he were a starving man.
Dominic decided he was going to ignore his father and got up from his seat and got some juice, organically made of course. Once he was back in his seat he opened his own packet and poured it onto his plate. He could still hear his father chomping away. He ate slowly and meticulously. Just because this was his first time having this common snack he wasn't loony.
His father reached into the cupboard saying, "That cheesy treat is not all I got." "That's all well and good but…" Dominic cut himself when he saw his father pull out two pot noodles, one in each hand.
"Okay… as I was saying you should take better care of your health. Now I know why you know mum wouldn't allow this behaviour. It's all junk foods," Dominic continued once he got his bearings. Michael didn't respond as he flipped on the kettle and rubbed his hands in excitement. Dominic sighed as he continued to eat his food. He understands why his father is acting the way he is but unless he can explain to Mum why it's going to get tricky.
"I'm aware but I don't know really. I'm just sick of bloody sandwiches. I need something dirty. Something not healthy," Michael said ripping the tops off the noodles. The kettle was starting to boil. Dominic decided he wasn't going to eat one yet. He could save it for later he didn't want to ruin his appetite, and he told his father so.
His father nodded in acknowledgement and lifted the kettle off its stand. He carefully poured out the needed amount of water. He gave his a quick stir having put Dominic's back in the cupboard. Dominic could tell his father had some problems. Michael had a spoon positioned between the pot and himself, which were only an inch apart at most. He had mastered the skill of moving the spoon backwards and forwards between the two so the food was in a more continuous flow. Dominic was astonished. He has obviously done this multiple times to acquire such a skill.
Michael reclaimed his seat in front of his son and tilted his head back chewing like a wild dog. This was almost certainly not a sight for children. Dominic had finished his food and went to the sink to start washing his dish. As he finished he heard his mother getting out of her seat. His father had just finished his pot noodles and she walked into the kitchen. He motioned his father to throw him the package before she took in the situation.
Monica didn't see anything except her husband sitting talking to his son, who was washing dishes. "Hi, Darling," she said leaning down to kiss her husband. She moved to Dominic and asked, "Did you eat, Hermione?" Dominic cringed that name was getting harder to hear as the day went by. "Yeah Daddy and I had a snack and a nice conversation," Dominic answered. "If it's okay could you call Dominic when I'm a boy?" He said feeling uncertain for the first time that day. He knew his mother would accept but she was the one that chose his feminine name. What is she was crushed that he wanted to have a different one sometimes? What if she started crying again because she thought he didn't like his name? His mother stopped his pessimist train thought by saying, "Of course sweetheart. That's a wonderful name." Dominic blew a sigh of relief. He knew his father wouldn't mind which is why he figured neither made a big deal of it but this is his mother.
Dominic got up saying goodbye but before he left. He leaned down and looked at his father and said, "Talk to Mum about your junk food addiction. Or you will forever henceforth be referred to as Scum." He did wait for a reply and went to his room. He needed to brush his teeth, old habits die hard.
As he finished, he heard his parents talking voices slightly loud. It didn't sound serious his mum was just venting. He went past his parents yelling, "I'll be outside. Father's new name for the week is Scum for getting Mum to yell."
Five minutes later, Dominic was laying out on his father's chair sunbathing topless. No tops for this teen. Dominic's t-shirt lay discarded on his bag. He reached for a pineapple smoothie that his mother made (sugar-free) and took a drink from it. His mother tended to make random drinks when she felt Michael did something wrong and punish him by not allowing him to have any. Dominic muted his thoughts and continued to relax. He could the gentle wind blow across him. It was profound how the wind felt against his bare chest. Maybe if he can glamour himself he could do this but on his feminine days. Then he could relax like this on any day the weather is good.
After the pampering his caring mother gave him, it was an hour and a half later almost half-past eleven. If he wanted to be on time he'd have to leave. Because the swimming pool was the same distance away as the high street, even though the path to it was in another direction. Dominic decided to go. It'd be a lot more fun than doing nothing. Dominic pulled on his t-shirt, socks, and shoes. He had packed suntan lotion in with his towel and swimming trunks.
"I'm going to the swimming pool now, Mum. Okay," he said, stopping by the kitchen where his mother was sitting, reading the newspaper and drinking some coffee. "Don't you want to stay for lunch?" His mother asked as she got up from the table setting the paper down. "No, I have arranged to meet a few friends, so I need to get going now," Dominic said grinning. His mother frowned for a minute. "You don't have friends that live anywhere around here, do you? And wouldn't they, perhaps, find it a bit strange that you're now a boy?" She asked suspiciously. "No, it isn't anyone from school or anything. Just some new people I met in town this morning," Dominic answered truthfully.
"Okay, well, let me give you some money for food, get yourself some to eat," Monica said grabbing her handbag and starting to rummage around for her purse. "Oh, and one more thing, sweetheart," she said not looking to meet Dominic's eyes, handing him a five-pound note.
"What is it?" Dominic asked as he pocketed the money. "Don't try and take advantage of any girls." Dominic's bored face evolved into a grin at his mother's statement. "I have a question. Do you think I'd take advantage of some poor innocent lady?" "I'm just saying, Honey."
"Do take me as some sort of playboy?" Dominic asked. Not that I'm saying I'm not. He stood looking at his mother, still amused that his mum actually knew enough about him that he might do something like that. Monica was busying herself with other things as she replied bluntly, "You're a teenager that's hormones are everywhere. And is currently a handsome boy that can be a beautiful girl."
As amusing as this conversation was, it's absurd to have it so close to the trip. His mother must still find it weird, and since he wasn't trying to convince her he doesn't plan to take advantage of some cute pretty thing, this conversation was pointless. He knows that if it was Ron trying to turn himself into a girl, he'd think some less innocent things. He needed to leave right now, or he was going to be late.
It didn't matter if other boys weren't known to be punctual. He was and his body wouldn't change that. Also, he wanted to do some warm-ups, for it wouldn't do getting a cramp. He learned that although don't-swim-after-eating rule was bogus, it is still possible to cramp and not being able to orientate yourself, you drown. So, that extra few minutes could be used to be safe.
Dominic walked out of the front door leaving his unintentionally amusing mother inside. He's sure conversations like this will continue to happen. The potion was made to become part of the magical person's chemical makeup, so although it wouldn't be in his stomach, it would be impossible to get rid of said potion even with potion removal rituals. Twenty minutes later, Dominic arrived outside the swimming pool. By all means, it was not luxurious. Dominic had been several times before Hogwarts. It is a medium pool with only 2 diving boards of various heights and no slides. It was close enough to the local schools, and it was the sort of place everyone goes to on a hot summer's day. The water was relatively clean and that generally helped.
Dominic walked into the male changing rooms and was surprised to find that it was not all that different from the girls. He had heard many horror stories about the messes that tend to appear in one, and he was glad this one was untouched. It was a bit weird to walk into basically a bathroom and it not permanently occupying a league of gossiping teenagers. In fact, it was completely empty, something that actually disappointed him upon realizing. He set his bag down on one of the benches and began to undress. He diligently folded each article of clothing before sliding it into the bag. By the time he was finished and suited up, his bag had an immaculate pile of clothes that would have made an army sergeant blush. He walked over to one of the lockers and put in a fifty pence piece. He didn't have anything of value in his bag, but the things inside it held significant personal value. His first day as Dominic… The day they would look back on with fondness when they were older.
Dominic was leisurely walking out of the changing room but stopped in front of the mirror when a thought crossed his mind. Did girls know that some boys sucked in their guts? They would say they worked out but at the end of the day their stomachs would still stick out. They would suck in when a girl was looking but let it out once they got into the water. Dominic remembers seeing stomachs wobbling like lava lamps as skin flared in the water. The girls would pretend that they didn't see and the guys would pretend that they were thinner than they really were. Not that Dominic had to do that; his masculine body wasn't fat in any way. If he did that, he would probably look on like he was one skipped meal from dying.
It was random thoughts that made him question his sanity. Dominic shook his head clearing his head and moved to fix his hair. Once he finished, he strode out of the changing room and into the bright midday sun that washed over his body with an intense warmth that was almost unbearable for a few seconds. The summer breeze, though, had just present enough to keep the air cool and fresh. It transferred the distant smell of cut grass that unknown to many was actually the smell of chemical defences and a call for first aid.
There was a detectable taint of chlorine and chemicals that were used in swimming pools and it made the feeling of freedom Dominic has been feeling all day surge. He felt as though he could close his eyes and shed all thoughts of what would happen once he got back to school and everyone would know. It was almost possible to forget about Lord Moldywart and what he might do because here there was only the laughter and joy of people having fun. It was like the only thing he had to worry about the summer homework he had to turn in; homework he had already finished in the first week. It was hard to imagine anything bad happening.
There were flashes of the sun reflecting in his eyes as it bounced on the surface of the water, shooting off in various directions, only disrupted by the movement of people. The entire atmosphere was so natural, yet alien to him in a way that was almost overwhelming his senses. It was starting to get to him until he heard someone call his name. His masculine name.
"Dominic! Hey Nic, over here!" He heard a boy yelled as he came running toward him; he was jogging along the side of the pool from the other end. Dominic smirked as Max was cautioned by one of the lifeguards. Max after a brisk walk finally came to where he was standing.
"Nic?" Dominic asked not bothering to shield his eyes from the sun. Max nodded as he squinted although he had his back to the sun. "Yea, your name is hard to yell over and over again, so I decided to shorten it," he said obviously embarrassed. "Okay, whatever you can continue to call me it but only you," Dominic said triumphantly over making him blush. "I can't believe how sunny it is," Dominic said finally sharing his eyes. "Give it half an hour and this place will be jam-packed."
"I should have brought my sunglasses," he said, his eyes had started to water from facing the blazing sun. Max's expression was pensive for a moment. "I have some tinted swimming goggles that could help. I just bought them but maybe you could use them. You can wear them if you like. Even keep them if you want. I can just buy a new pair," Max said starting to ramble.
"That's splendid," Dominic said not really care it wasn't a terribly masculine phrase. Max looked confused for a moment. Dominic decided this was a perfect moment to continue messing with him. "You know how it is. Teachers try and make us say things like that at Saint Brutus'. I've gotten hit more than a few times with a crowbar for saying things like, fanbloodytastic!"
"Wow, they really use a crowbar? That must be nasty," he said, wincing at the thought of it. "Absolutely. But once you become head of a department, you can do the whipping. I'm head of Woodworks," Dominic said, not having any problem lying through his teeth. "It's definitely painful for some," he said milking this subject for all it's worth. "Oh right, yeah sure. If you don't want to talk about it's okay with me, man." Dominic grinned and said, "I said some not me; I love it. I'm going back in September." Max blushed once again. "Right, now come on. I'm bakin' over here. Let me introduce you to the others."
Dominic smiled and walked alongside Max following as he showed the way. Soon, Dominic found himself standing at the deep end of the pool. There were four other people: three girls, one boy, and including Max and himself, there were six of them.
"Hey guys, this is Dominic. One that I was telling you about. He set an old lady on fire!" Max said as though bragging that he met him first. A collective "wow" came from everyone as they stared up at him in awe. Dominic was considering getting into the water but before he could decide he felt a hand on his shoulder. Before his conscience mind knew what was happening he was moving to grab the hand push the person attached to it in front of him and consequently into the pull it was trying to push him into. The hand turned out to belong to Max, who narrowly avoided hitting a fatter man with his arm as he flew into the pool.
He spluttered as he surfaced and rubbed the water out of his eyes the best he could. Dominic chuckled as he realized what Max was trying to do. "Nice try, mate. But I didn't survive in Saint Brutus's because I didn't watch my back," Dominic partially lied. Hogwarts wasn't always the nicest place nor was his old primary school; he had learned how to defend himself long ago not that anyone knew.
The group laughed alongside Dominic at Max's expense. Dominic opted for a more stylish entry which consisted of him simply walking into the water without preamble. He eventually came to float and then moved to Max. Both glad the water was nice and cool whilst not being too cold which would have sucked considering their entrances.
Max put an arm around Dominic saying, "That was wicked, man. Anyway, I still need to introduce them to you." He pointed to each of the people in time. "Annabelle likes to go by Anna. Jessica likes to go by Jess. Melissa likes to go by Liz. Joshua nicknamed Josh." He said this information extremely quickly and if it was for Dominic's aptitude for listening to teachers he might not have heard what was said. He, however, was slightly distracted by the looks he was receiving from one of the girls.
Dominic didn't need to be feeling feminine to know what her look meant, the look was definitely more than just a simple observation. The only word that could appropriately describe the look he was receiving was lust. The girl was tough to make out due to the fact that all but her shoulders and head were submerged underwater. Her hair was probably quite straight because it clung to her head when wet. It was also a shade of blonde, although again the water was probably making it appear darker. Through the rippling water, he could make out that she had a trim body and obviously watched what she ate, but then again most girls did these days.
"So, let's play a game of chicken or something shall we?" asked Josh. Not that Dominic has once said his name it usually being: oy or mate. "It's been a minute since I played. I forgot how to play."
"So we split into three groups of two, usually a boy and a girl. The 'girl' sits on the 'boy's' shoulders and then the person on the bottom rushes forward, running around, and the 'girl's tries to push the other groups over," Max explained as he walked over to the nearest girl and pulled her toward himself, obviously claiming her as a partner. Dominic looked around confidently for a partner. Although he was currently shorter than all the other boys, what lacked in height he made up in skill. It also helped that he was still taller than all the girls by a noticeable amount. He wouldn't have a big disadvantage, and if he played his cards right he could win.
Dominic had always been one of the last people picked when choosing teams. He never stood out enough to physical education teachers to be picked as team captain but stood out too much to his peers to be their first choice; he was always the bookworm, know-it-all, or beaver. Dominic was never one of the pretty girls or athletic boys that got picked. He pushed those thoughts away. This wasn't like primary where he had to wait to be picked. He could choose himself.
He noticed the girl that was making heart eyes at him earlier still didn't have a partner, so he moved to meet her halfway. Dominic, for some reason, found this hilarious. This confidence he now had stopped the depression thoughts he had from getting to him but he still had them, so when he started talking to this young lady his mind went: Oh no what to talk about? What did girls talk about? I talked about homework. No that wouldn't work people never did like when he talked about work. I talk about what Lavender and Pavarti talk about, nope too erotic. While this was going on in his head none of it showed on his face and he was already having an average conversation despite these thoughts. Dominic had already confirmed her name was Jess and that she has lived in town her entire life.
The girl gave him a buttery smile as she asked in a pleasant, smooth oily voice, "Where did you go before Saint Brutus's? I'd think I'd remember someone like you went to the local school."
"I used to home tutored. Schools stopped accepting me after my fifth expulsion," Dominic lied with ease. He had long learned to distance himself from the lies he told; self-preservation and all that.
Jess just gave a silent nod, before reaching over and taking Dominic's shoulder. "Could you crouch down a bit," she instructed. Dominic didn't like being told what to do by someone, not an authorized authority, so he made sure to look as though he was thinking, like he was weighing the pros and cons, to passively show her she's not the boss of him. "You're trying to get on my shoulders aren't you?" Dominic asked, not waiting for response crouched further in water and waited for her to get on his back. He straightened and centred himself once she was on. Then he asked her to move to his shoulders; as she did this he was able to stand completely still, not wobbling in the slightest.
"That was rather bold of you," Dominic said, not giving any indication of what he was talking about. "I'm sorry, What?" Jess said trying to sound confused. Dominic lowered his voice not wanting to embarrass the girl. "Your hand. It was down my trunks less than a minute ago. Like I said bold. But make sure to keep that hand from wandering. Some guys aren't as nice as I am," he said his voice, still low so only she heard. "Oh, sorry. I didn't realize I was," she said obviously lying. Dominic nodded, not otherwise acknowledging her lie.
For the first time, a sport-related activity was fun for Dominic. He had never been very good at sports despite the fact he trained in self-preservation. The game was even more fun for Dominic when he realized that although he talked to Jess she felt the need to be a slag. So verbally ribbing her was exhilarating. It also helped that Jess was a bit of a masochist and liked the attention she was receiving. At first, Dominic had decided to ignore her but when that didn't work out he got annoyed a tire her apart with his words. Honestly, Dominic wasn't entirely sure as to why the girl was acting the way she was. What kind of self-respecting girl would put her hands down a boy's shorts? Guess she wasn't, especially considering he didn't give any indication that he wanted her to do so.
The games finally ended about half an hour later and Dominic was feeling great. They would have played longer but the appearance of a snappy old lifeguard. He believed that anything other than swimming in a pool was something absolutely hilarious. After he disassembled their game of chicken, he decided to spend several minutes asking why they were having trouble swimming, and why they kept floating on the spot.
"...and why do your eyes keep rolling toward me? It's calcium deficiency, I expect. If you pass out don't expect me to save you. I warned you but do you listen…," the old man moaned and rambled until he heard the sound of someone walking faster than a walk down the other end and slowly plodded off to teach them a lesson in poolside safety.
"Finally. I thought he'd never leave." [DOMINIC] "So, what we gonna do now?" [JOSH]
"Well it is a little busy, so I think we should have some lunch now, and I can just lounge around in the sun for a while," said one of the girls, Annabelle, as she swam leisurely on her back toward the edge of the pool. Dominic didn't see anything better to do so after a moment he agreed to it and swam to the edge of the pool not caring that Jess swam right beside him, pulling himself out of the pool with ease he wouldn't have normally had.
Before joining the others, Dominic went back to the locker room to get his towel and phone, not wanting to lie on the bare grass. Once he got his items he joined the group.
The swimming pool is located in a reasonably small town and on the outskirts meant that it hadn't been squashed into the area of an old chip shop, and thus had plenty of space. By the end of the pool were some lifeguards and pool safety notices, while at the other end there was a large area of grass that ended when the too high brick walls met up in a peak. There were several medium-sized trees that hung over, casting large spots of shadow here and there. The grass was luscious and expensive feeling; it was the kind of grass you'd expect the queen might enjoy if she played football. There were about a dozen people scattered around the grass, with most of them scattered around the edge. There was a man and a woman only a few years older than Dominic using the large middle space no one else seemed interested in.
"Where we sitting?" Dominic said not caring enough to use proper grammar, once he was back and their group was all out of the water. Max shook some water out of his hair some of which landed on Dominic making him cringe. To get back at Max, Dominic wrung out his still wet shorts and flicked the excess water at Max. Laughing Max said, "We set our stuff over here." Max led the way toward some towels over by the left-hand side of the field. They haphazardly laid out so they were next to the shade. Most likely it was done that way so that the sun and shade fit the wants of everyone, but as the sun moved overhead so did the shaded areas. Everyone sat themselves down onto some towels as they moved aside items, bags, and a football. Dominic laid out his towel by Max.
"Yo Jess come sit by me," Dominic said already sitting down. Jess was about to pick up her towel but Dominic shook his head and said, "Leave your towel you'll be sitting on the grass." One of the girls was about to say something to Dominic about him being rude but Jess said, "It's okay. I like the feeling of laying on the grass. I enjoy the feel of it on my smooth skin. It is very soft." She was already up and plopping herself on the grass next to Dominic before she finished her explanation.
Dominic found Jess downright amusing. She was blushing a deep crimson like she hadn't even heard of the word sex. He knew that girls obsessed with sex went to Hogwarts heck he lived with some but it's one thing to be friends and to use them for a laugh. It also helped that Dominic wouldn't be seen in light any different from the one the others already saw. Unlike with the wizarding world where if you act outside what they deemed who you are you'll become an outcast, more so for Dominic. For example, it was well known Pavarti and Lavender eluded to pervert like qualities but if Dominic were to show the school the same qualities he'd be even more disliked.
Half an hour passed as everyone talked a bit about where they grew, with the exception of Dominic who was spewing lies like they were the truth. He also spent a large majority of the time telling Jess what to do, things like sit straighter, get me a drink or get off my blanket or you'll get punished. It was almost comical how the other girls would try to jump to Jess's aid whenever he gave an order only to be shut down by Jess herself.
It reminded Dominic that the wizarding world knew nothing about muggle children. There was a very warped view only the lives of Muggles in general. Almost like they thought that if common everyday wizards heard about the advancements the muggle world has made they'd want the two to merge. There was actually encompassed this feeling, Muggle Children and What They Do When They Aren't Playing Hopscotch by George B Marty. Dominic didn't even need to listen to the conversation to know he would ace anything Muggle Studies related; not he wouldn't have aced it anyway considering he was raised muggle.
"So how about you, Dominic? What do you do when you aren't being beaten by teachers and when you aren't stealing stuff?" Asked one of the girls, Liz he recalled.
Dominic smirk, while Liz was more reserved than Jess he'd caught her staring multiple times. "Why? Do you wish to fill my time?" He said the meaning clear. Max and Josh laughed at Liz who was currently doing an impression of a tomato.
"Not much over the summer. I guess when I'm not stealing stuff..." he began to say. "Or burning old ladies," Max interrupted.
"Yeah well Anyway. During the summer not much. I've stolen plenty of things with my mate, Harry, but he's currently indisposed. I usually end up picking a girl to be my girlfriend making it clear it's only for the summer; not that any girl I've been with truly minded. I've also got loads of projects that if any of your goody-two-shoes parents saw they'd think you're in a gang or cult."
Before anyone asked any questions about anything Dominic said, his phone rang.