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Chapter 1: A Little Madness
"Oh, don't take it so hard. I drove into this madness. Every woman needs a little madness in her life."
- Edmond Rostand, Cyrano de Bergerac, Act 4
It was quite easy to overlook Lucy Weasley. She was well aware of this fact, having lived with it these past twenty-seven years. Her sister Molly, now she was impossible to overlook. Lucy rather admired that about her sister, though it had been quite annoying when she'd been younger and everyone had compared the two girls.
Molly had been a prefect. Molly had been Head Girl. Molly had been popular, and gotten good marks, and played Quidditch well enough to join the Holyhead Harpies reserve team.
Lucy had been... none of those things. She didn't mind so much. It had made it easier to concentrate on her schoolwork. She was working in Flourish and Blotts these days, having completed Hogwarts with a respectable number of N.E.W.T.s in nothing that particularly interested her. Lucy loved books, though. Working in a bookshop was something of a dream job for her. She hoped to one day own her own shop. She was practically running Flourish and Blotts already, though she was nominally only the assistant manager. Not that that was saying much – Flourish and Blotts only employed three people. Still, the job was a good fit for her.
She worked every hour she could get, saving up money toward her dream. Every Knut she could squirrel away got her that much closer. She was determined to do this on her own, to stand on her own two feet and reach her goal all by herself. It was something of a common thread for her life. She liked to do things alone. She liked to be alone.
Working in a bookshop meant she didn't spend every waking moment alone, which was probably for the best, or she'd likely turn into one of those barmy old cat ladies. Sometimes the customers got on her nerves, but sometimes they were quite good company. And sometimes her family stopped by.
Like today. Lucy was busily shelving books from a new shipment, fresh from the publisher. She was enjoying the feel and smell of the newly printed volumes when someone tapped her on the shoulder.
“Hi Lucy,” said a familiar voice, and Lucy turned around, a book still in hand.
Her cousin grinned at her. Roxanne was tall and pretty, with dark curly hair and skin a lovely shade of pale coffee. She and her brother Fred were the only Weasleys to escape the ginger gene, though they both had freckles. Lucy rather envied Roxanne and Fred – it must be nice to have such lovely coloring. They were probably the only Weasleys who didn't sunburn instantly on the first summer day. Lucy spent all summer wearing wide-brimmed hats and applying sunscreen potions to every square inch of skin.
Roxanne was trying to make it big as a journalist. She was quite close with Lucy's older sister, but she and Lucy were not really close. She had never come to visit Lucy at work before.
“What do you want?” Lucy said suspiciously.
“Oh that's very nice,” Roxanne said, pulling a face at her. “Here I come by to say hello to my dear cousin-”
Lucy rolled her eyes and turned back to her books. “Go away, Roxy, I'm busy.”
“I just need to talk to you for a moment,” Roxanne said, and grabbed Lucy's arm. She pulled her further behind the shelves, where the shop owner couldn't see them, and leaned in. “It's about Hilarion.”
“You know,” Roxanne said impatiently. “Hilarion Winston-Fisher.”
“Oh, right.” Lucy rolled her eyes. The Quidditch player was coming this weekend for a book signing of a book he hadn't actually written – it was only photographs of him. Lucy was prepared to be swamped by customers, though, because Hilarion Winston-Fisher was an extremely handsome young man. His posters always sold out immediately in shops, and women of all ages went mental over him. The shop was going to be overrun by shrieking teenage girls and primping middle-aged witches. Lucy shuddered a bit.
“This is my weekend,” Roxanne went on. “I can feel it. I'll finally get together with Hilarion.”
Lucy eyed her cousin. She knew about Roxanne's crush on the Appleby Arrows Seeker. All the Weasley women did (Lucy wasn't so sure about their male cousins, they didn't pay much attention to who their sisters and cousins fancied. Except when Rose had started dating a Malfoy – that hadn't gone over well with most of the family – but they were all quite used to Scorpius now and even liked him). Roxanne's crush was, to the best of Lucy's knowledge, not at all based in reality. “Have you ever actually met him?”
“That's the point, dummy,” Roxanne said impatiently. “I haven't met him. It's impossible for him to fall in love with me until I do. That's where you come in.”
“How?” Lucy asked suspiciously. She thought she knew where this was going.
“Hilarion's book is coming out, as you probably know, and he'll be coming to sign it-”
“At my job,” Lucy finished, and sighed. “Let me guess, you think if you come for an autograph, he'll fall in love with you on sight?”
“Well, I did think that,” Roxanne said. Lucy noticed her cousin's cheeks were a little red now. “But then Rose pointed out that it might take him longer than the space of an autograph to fall for me, and I don't want to miss this opportunity, you know? So I thought, I'd better stick around the store for when he shows up. You don't know when he'll be arriving, do you? Is he going to come by before the signing?”
“I haven't the slightest idea.”
“Well then. I'll just sort of wait it out. I don't have to work tomorrow.” Roxanne smiled complacently. “I can spend all day waiting for Hilarion.
All day. Lucy was going to kill Rose Weasley. “And this was Rose's idea.”
“Well...” Roxanne seemed to consider it. “In a manner of speaking, yeah.”
“And now you plan to hang around here all the time in hopes of seeing him.”
She was really going to kill Rose Weasley.
By Friday afternoon, Roxanne's welcome had been decidedly worn out at Flourish and Blotts. The store manager, Mr. Furmage, was growing more and more sour-faced as he worked and watched Roxanne sit around, scribbling into her notebook and not reading anything or buying anything.
Lucy was feeling rather sour herself. Roxanne had asked her four times in the last hour if she'd heard anything about Hilarion's arrival. She offered several times to Floo Roxanne in the event Hilarion Winston-Fisher turned up unexpectedly, but Roxanne was still there. It was driving Lucy mental.
She finally went up to Roxanne and hissed, “Go home already!”
“No,” said Roxanne, head still bent over her notebook. “I'm not going to chance missing Hilarion if he stops by early. I could have a serious chance at private time with him if I'm here before the crowds.”
“You can't just camp out here,” Lucy exclaimed.
“I already am,” Roxanne told her, dotting an i with particular pizzazz. “I'm not leaving until I see Hilarion.”
Lucy gaped at her. “You're not serious.”
“I'm perfectly serious. Go on back to work though, don't let me disturb you.” Roxanne waved her away, and Lucy stomped off, fuming silently.
Mr. Furmage gestured to her from behind the counter where he was counting receipts, and she came over to him, already dreading having to explain this whole Roxanne-Hilarion thing to her boss. Maybe she could say Roxanne was working on a column. Maybe Roxanne actually was working on a column. Lucy glanced over her shoulder; Roxanne was still writing steadily, as if she might go on doing it all day.
“Tell your cousin to go home,” Mr. Furmage whispered. “She's been here since nine o'clock this morning.”
“I've tried,” Lucy said, gritting her teeth. She was well aware that Roxanne had been waiting outside the shop when they opened nearly six hours ago. “She won't go.”
“You'd better do something about her. I can't have her hanging about all day. She's loitering. I believe the MLEs call it malicious lingering.”
Lucy made a face at him as he waved her off. Roxanne wasn't malicious. Annoying, yes, and completely mental as well, but she was lingering quite benignly on the whole.
Lucy glanced over at her cousin and watched Roxanne pull a sandwich out of her oversized purse. Feeling her eyelid twitching, Lucy went back to work.
Roxanne sighed a bit as she finished a paragraph about a witch in Cornwall marrying a Muggle MP. She was quite aware of how annoyed her cousin was with her, but she couldn't let it stop her. Her life was finally starting to happen, finally going to go the way she'd been dreaming. Having one cousin annoyed with her was a price she was willing to pay. Besides, she had lots of other cousins. Besides, Lucy was always annoyed about something or other.
It didn't matter. Not in the face of possible true love.
Roxanne had fallen for Hilarion Winston-Fisher the first time she'd seen him play Quidditch. He was beautiful, with blonde hair and a strong jaw, and athletic, and he smiled with boyish glee whenever he caught the Snitch. She loved him so much it ached a bit when she watched him on the wireless.
She'd let her cousins go on thinking she was only joking for quite a long while. Only Molly knew that it was totally serious to Roxanne. At least, up until Hilarion's book had come out and the book signing had been arranged in Diagon Alley. The possibility of meeting him had sent Roxanne into a flurry of planning and daydreaming, and it had been impossible to keep it hidden. Lily had found out, and then everyone knew, because Lily never could keep her mouth shut, and they all acted as if she'd lost her mind.
But that didn't matter either. They'd all be sorry when she married Hilarion and started the perfect life she'd been dreaming about.
He would play Quidditch, and she would write about it. They would have two perfect children, Camilla and Cassian, and live in a perfect flat in Knightsbridge. Well, Hilarion would probably want to stay close to wherever his team was, so if he was still with Appleby, she supposed they'd be living in North Lincolnshire. The mental image in Roxanne's head changed from a London flat to a bucolic country estate. That would work too.
Because everything would be perfect once Hilarion fell in love with her.
Roxanne was starting to feel a little desperate for that dream of perfection. Things hadn't entirely worked out for her – the man she'd been engaged to at twenty-one had left her unceremoniously, her job was sort of stalled, and she was starting to feel like she spent every night on her cousin Molly's couch, watching the wireless and wishing for more out of life. This was her bright shining opportunity, and she was grabbing it with both hands, whether her cousin Lucy liked it or not.
Roxanne was still there later that afternoon. She had eaten the sandwich right there in the shop, to Lucy's horror. She'd swept around Roxanne's chair bad-temperedly, but Roxanne hadn't seemed to notice.
Lucy moved to the front of the store, sweeping around the wide doorway and straightening up books in their display windows. A recalcitrant pile of spellbooks tried to snap at her fingers as she re-stacked them, and she had to speak to them sharply before they settled back down. Sometimes books needed a firm hand.
She glanced out the window as she used her wand to clean a streak of bird doings from the glass, and then something caught her attention across the street. Her eyes narrowed.
That was a very familiar-looking head of red curls just darting out of Knockturn Alley. And she thought she caught a glimpse of a pink unicorn t-shirt.
She dashed out the front door of the shop and set off after her cousin, calling her name. Rose turned, eyes wide as saucers, at the sight of Lucy, and then made as if to run away. Lucy shook a finger at her, and Rose held up her hands in defeat.
“This is all your fault! Roxanne has been hanging around my shop all day! If I get sacked because you told her to bring her ridiculous crush on Hilarion into my shop, I'll... I'll...” Lucy tried to think of the worst thing she could threaten Rose with. “I'll call your mother.”
Rose drew back with one hand on her chest. “Lucy!”
“I'm serious, Rose!”
“I'm sorry,” Rose cried. “It seemed like the best idea at the time. She was ranting and raving about him at your sister's party and I just thought, if she only saw him for a moment and he didn't fall in love with her, we'd never hear the end of it, and it would be better if she had more time near him.”
That stopped Lucy. “Hmm. You might be right. You didn't have to get me involved, though.”
Rose seemed to take that as encouragement. “You ought to get her hired on, Luce. You probably need a bit of help with the crowds at Hilarion's signing, right? Then she'd have a real reason to stick around, she'll have to work for you, and you could fire her later.”
That did sound appealing. Lucy reconsidered her stance on Roxanne hanging about, and reversed gears. “Right. Okay. But if this goes wrong, I'm calling Aunt Hermione and telling her about that time you were at Hogwarts and you set the Quidditch stands on fire.”
Rose looked shocked. “That wasn't my fault!”
She always said that, even when it had absolutely been her fault, like that time with the Quidditch stands. Lucy rolled her eyes. “I've got to get back to work, I'll see you around.”
“You're no fun at all, Lucy!” Rose called after her. Lucy waved haphazardly over her shoulder at her cousin as she walked off.
Roxanne was sitting in a chair near the shelves devoted to Divination books, leafing absently through a copy of Broken Balls: When Fortunes Turn Foul when Lucy banged back into the store. She'd been bad-tempered all morning, especially when Roxanne had eaten lunch. Roxanne didn't particularly appreciate her cousin's poor attitude when she was only trying to seize her one chance with the love of her live, but she wasn't going to let it stop her, either.
Lucy came over, and Roxanne looked up at her cousin, trying to be nonchalant. Lucy looked a bit less annoyed now, actually.
“Look Roxy,” she began, and Roxanne perked up at the conciliatory note in Lucy's voice. “My manager's pretty pissed about you hanging around all day doing nothing, so you need a better reason to be here.”
“True love,” Roxanne reminded her, in case Lucy had forgotten why she was there. “What could be a better reason than true love?”
Lucy rolled her eyes. “How about a job instead? We need extra staff for this stupid Hilarion signing, to control the crowds and keep an eye on inventory, and since you're here anyway, it might as well be you.”
“You want me to work here?” Roxanne was a bit taken aback. She'd been working on her journalism career quite steadily for the past nine years, and though she was still only writing fluff pieces ('human interest', they called it) instead of covering the Quidditch season as she wanted, and admittedly she felt a bit stagnant at the Daily Prophet lately, she didn't intend to switch careers at this point. “But-”
“Just for the weekend. Just so you can have a reason to stick around. And maybe you'll earn a bit of spending money, who knows.”
Roxanne frowned. “Your manager doesn't want me hanging about?”
“No. Work here or go home.”
“Well, if you're going to be like that about it-”
Lucy rolled her eyes again. Roxanne had a sudden sympathy with her mother's oft-repeated phrase, If you roll your eyes at me again, young lady, I'll roll them out of your head.
Working at the store would give her the perfect excuse to be around Hilarion the entire time he was there, but it didn't fit with her mental picture of how their first meeting would play out. She reckoned she ought to take what she could get, though. It was better than chancing him not paying close enough attention to fall in love with her at first sight. One couldn't always count on men to play out their halves of the script, in Roxanne's experience. Probably this was going to be her best shot.
“All right,” she said. “I'll do it.”
“Good,” retorted Lucy. “Get up and get to work, then.”
A/N: Welcome back, if you're coming here after reading the Midnight Run stories, and welcome aboard if you're new here :) Roxanne's story was covered a bit in A Weirder Shade of Midnight, and first brought up in Just Another Midnight Run. I figured it's about time to tell her side of things, and Lucy's too. I hope you enjoy!