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Chapter 8: After the Storm
A/N: Hello, everyone! I'm sorry it took a minute but I have other stories to update and I'm a tease. ;) Anyway, enjoy this and uhm, please be gentle.
He wasn't coming back. Roxanne pressed her hands on the glass of her father's shop, staring out into the bustling crowd of patrons in Diagon Alley, looking for some sign of Benjamin Malfoy. Though she had known that it would be very silly to hope that he would, she had still thought, over these last few days that she would see him skulking in along with his pale haired father.
Instead, the days had gone by and by without her seeing any sign of him and she had begun to lose hope. It was becoming too much of a habit to see her pressing her face against the shop glass, hardly blinking, “What are you doing over there, beautiful girl?” the question made her jump a little and she turned around, spotting her father standing behind her.
Weasley's Wizard Wheezes was pounding with the sound of various feet, children and adult and the floors were alive with activity. The bright colors were supposed to make people happy but Roxanne didn't feel very happy just now, “Nothing, Daddy,” she said, knowing that it came out as a whine.
“Doesn't look like nothing to me,” her father said with a doubtful look in his eyes. He was dressed in the shop's maroon robes, the color clashing very badly with his red hair and freckles, “you'll fall into the glass if you're not careful.”
“No, I won't,” Roxanne said in alarm, knowing that he was probably teasing her. Then again, it might be true and she forced her hands off the glass and stared at him, feeling her lower lip jutting out despite herself, “are you on break now, Daddy?”
Her father gave her a mischievous smile as he looked around at the shop, where his employees were running around like mad. Perce and their mother were upstairs preparing lunch for when Uncle Lee and his family would come over but Roxanne hadn't wanted to join in. She was still mad at her mum for giving her a spanking, “Sort of,” her father whispered with a wink.
Verity, his assistant for as long as Roxanne could remember shot him a viciously nasty look. She was short and blonde and had a nasty temper sometimes but could run the shop with her eyes closed but from the way the register was being attacked with customers, she would need them open. “Am I in trouble again?” Roxanne asked him warily, sizing him up.
Roxanne had gotten into quite a bit of trouble a few days ago when she had last seen Benjamin, but not for talking to him. Her mother had given her a very long telling-off about saying the word “hate” to her own brother and she'd gotten a spanking and hadn't been able to come out of her room for a while.
“Trouble for what, beautiful girl?” her father asked her gently and she shrugged a little, glancing outside where just one glimpse of Benjamin would make her feel better. “Still looking for that Malfoy boy huh?”
“His name's Benjamin Daddy,” Roxanne corrected with a frown and her father raised his brows a little. Something exploded behind them but they hardly paid it a glance as a few kids started roaring with laughter as balloons filled the entire ceiling, floating up in rainbow hued colors, “and he's not a bad boy.”
That made her father break out in a little smile as he stared down at her and she tried to appear big and grown up for him. He treated her like a baby but she was almost eleven and that was a very big deal, “Me and your mum don't think he's a bad boy but you can't go around being friendly with everyone.”
Roxanne glanced down at her feet, trying not to pout at the words. Although her parents had told her that there weren't anymore Death Eaters that they knew of wandering around, she and her brother had been taught to be extremely careful. “Is it because he's a Malfoy Daddy?”
Over the last few days, Roxanne had been asking her parents questions about Mr. Malfoy and his family, trying to understand more about why people hated them so much. Neither of them had given her much that made them seem like good people but her mother had made sure to tell her, while braiding her hair for her that that was a long time ago and people did change.
But if that were true, people would be nicer to the Malfoy's, Roxanne had said and her mother had calmly replied that it was the sad thing about growing up, people tended to believe what they wanted to.
She didn't really know what that meant but it had made her sad thinking about Benjamin being treated so badly when he really wasn't that mean. After seeing him cry, Roxanne was convinced that he just needed more flowers and even if he didn't want to be her friend, it would be nice to see him in the streets with other kids in Diagon Alley.
“Roxie,” her father said suddenly, taking her out of her thoughts as he suddenly got on one knee to talk to her. He reached out and gently took her arm, his skin warm and a little calloused from either Quidditch or some failed potion or two. “You're a very nice girl but you can't make everyone see the way you do.”
Roxanne blinked in surprise and pinched his nose a little, which only made him laugh as the shop continued on without him. Despite being busy and running the shop, he never neglected she and Perce when they needed his attention or when he needed them, which, in her opinion made him the best. “Why not?” she demanded.
That made her father laugh and he took her hand away from his nose and kissed her knuckles. “Because the real world doesn't work that way, beautiful girl. Malfoy and his son come into the shop all the time and I never liked his dad when I was going to school but just because he's different now doesn't make other people, even me sometimes, believe it.” He said while she stared at him intently.
“But Benjamin's not his dad,” Roxanne said defiantly and for a moment she was quiet as her father waited for her to reply. She knew that she was touching on a shaky subject but she asked, “that's right about Perce isn't it? He's not Uncle Fred but people act like he is sometimes.”
A strange expression passed over her father's face and she saw in it all the sadness and joy that he dealt with, but tried not to let them see. “That's right, Roxie. Your brother's not my brother, he's my son and some people don't seem to understand that,”
Roxanne knew that her brother sometimes felt bad about being compared to their dead uncle. They weren't alike, they weren't the same person and her brother was his own, with his own things and his own mind and heart, “That's why I call him Perce, Daddy. He's not Fred, he's my brother dammit,”
“Don't curse!” her father chastised, even though he was roaring with laughter. If her mother had been around, she would have gotten a good thump on the lip before she got into a detailed fuss about why cuss words were bad except for her and Daddy, “you're a good girl, Roxie and you're right. Your brother isn't your uncle and little Malfoy isn't his dad.”
Roxanne beamed happily and got her nose tweaked and after her father pretended that he had stolen her nose, making her cry, “But I want it!” she eventually said as he placed the imaginary bit in his pocket, “Can I go see Benjamin, Daddy and try to talk to him?”
“Now? You don't even know where he lives, beautiful girl,” her father reminded and she cursed again. He pulled on her ear warningly as he stood up, “and your mum wants you to get ready to see Uncle Lee, Aunt Alicia and Adam.”
Roxanne groaned in aggravation and her father laughed. Uncle Lee always picked on her when he come round and his son, Adam, was really annoying, “But I'll be real quick!” when her father opened his mouth to ask her just how she was going to be able to see Benjamin without an address, she proclaimed happily, “I know where he'd be!”
A moment of indecision passed over her father's face and Roxanne worked on her saddest, most miserable face, making sure that her lips trembled dramatically. “That's not going to work on me this time,” her father warned gravely.
“But I'll be real quick!” Roxanne whined.
That only made her father cross his arms stubbornly. There had been only a handful of times that he had been stern with she and her brother and it never lasted for long, since he was such a softie, “Tough luck, Roxie. Your mum'll be mad at me and who is Adam going to play with?”
Roxanne didn't like hanging around Adam and was glad that they didn't see each other all that often. He had friends in his own neighborhood and Perce always said that he was really boring, which sparked an idea in her head, “Aw, Daddy! He can hang out with Perce!”
“I don't know if your brother would like that too much.” Her father said and Roxanne moaned, kicking at the maroon carpet with her trainers. That only made him laugh at her though, “he's in a bad enough mood since your mum told him he can't go and see Teddy for a while.”
Roxanne thought it was fair since he had made Benjamin cry but when she had said so, Perce had gotten really mad at her. “So Adam will be good company—oh, Daddy, please?! I'll be right back!”
Though her whining was common for her father, a few customers were snickering at her display. Some of the older kids were rolling their eyes but considering that they were holding boxes of You-Know-Poo, she ignored them, “No, Roxie,” her father said, looking as if he were trying not to melt on the spot.
Roxanne felt a spark of anger before calming herself down and thinking of her next tactic, knowing that it was her last chance. Making sure that she had caught his attention, she stared into his amused face and pouted, making sure that her eyes got bigger, rounder and threatened to sparkle with tears. “Please, Daddy?” she whimpered, giving a very good hiccup.
Verity, even while being swamped with customers looked over, mildly impressed. An old lady cooed at her and Roxanne knew that victory was hers as her father's shoulders sank with defeat. “Uragh, you're too cute. Be gone!” her father hissed, looking overcome.
Roxanne threw up her arms in victory. When her father took out a bit of toffee from his pocket and handed it to her, she eyed it warily, decided that it wasn't one of the trick sweets and put it in her pocket for later. “I'll be real quick though, Daddy!” he sighed in defeat as she batted her lashes up at him, “can you do something for me before I leave though?”
That caused his eyes to widen with interest and she motioned for him to bend down and when he did, she whispered what she wanted in his ear. “Oooh, I see.” He said in a conspiratorial way as she finished and leaned away, staring up at him as if he were her entire world. “Hm. I think I can do that but you make sure you come right back home if he's not there, Roxie or your mum'll beat me up in a bad way.”
“Okay, Daddy! I promise!” Roxanne said as she watched her father take out his wand, give it a wave and hand over the gift to her. Carefully, she handled the bouquet of white daisies in her hands, inhaling happily, “I'll be right back!” and before he could change his mind, she was already headed to the front door and rushing outside, intent on finding Benjamin, feeling as if she would make things better.
Daisies would be sure to make Benjamin smile...
“Roxie?” the sound of Molly's concerned voice startled Roxanne out of her thoughts, banishing that memory. She really did need to stop doing that so often and she wondered how her mother dealt with it all the time, it really wasn't that comfortable knowing that some memory from the past could arrive at any moment. “Did you find what you were looking for?”
Roxanne looked down at the latest, special edition of Quidditch Through the Ages and felt some sort of excitement form in her chest. In just two days, she would be back at Hogwarts and the thought of getting back on her broomstick with her father's old Beater's bat in her hand made her almost joyful, “Yeah, but I don't think I have enough to get it today,” she said to her cousin, looking up at her.
Molly was accompanying her this afternoon for a few last minute shopping excursions and though she wasn't into Quidditch really, she had been dragged into Quality Quidditch Supplies without much complaint. “I could get it for you,” her cousin offered lightly.
Roxanne shook her head at her and placed the gold embroidered copy of the book back onto its shelf. Her cousin had supported her so much in the past week with what she had told her about Benjamin, she didn't want to pester her, “No, no, Molly. Its all right,”
“Are you sure? My dad always likes hearing about me and Lucy going shopping for books,” Molly replied with a fond roll of her eyes. Uncle Percy liked to bring back books for Aunt Audrey to read, since she really loved Wizard plays and dramas but he insisted that his daughters learn as much as they could. Information was everything, he said, “I've got a few Galleons left.”
Roxanne gave her a stern shake of her head and walked down the aisle towards her, hearing the scuff of her trainers on the carpet. Quality Quidditch Supplies was one of her favorite places in Diagon Alley and she usually came her with her mother but because she was at the Ministry later than usual, she hadn't been able to come. “I'll just ask for it on Christmas. Dad'll probably buy it for himself before then though,” she laughed.
Molly looked as if she wanted to argue a bit more about it but she let it go, watching her worriedly. “You're sure you're doing you, know, okay?” she whispered as Roxanne snatched a cheap book about flying techniques off the clearance shelf and aimlessly started for the front of the shop, “you've been too quiet lately. Everyone's been worried about you,”
Roxanne wished that everyone would stop asking her if she were doing all right when she knew that she couldn't answer. Back at Aunt Audrey's, Molly had listened intently to everything that she had told her about Benjamin, offering up as much support as any sister would have and she knew that she should be lucky. If it had been Victoire, she would have crumbled into nothing, “I'm not okay, I know that. What happened isn't just so easy to get over,”
Though she hadn't meant for the words to come out sounding so nasty, Molly looked a little taken aback. “You know, Roxie, I am on your side. I don't blame you for what happened and I don't hate you,” she said sharply.
“Look, I'm sorry but I don't know what to tell you!” Roxanne said back, and her cousin frowned severely at her. She looked eerily like her mother, “I'm trying not to stay down but every time I think about it, I just feel like nothing is going to go right.”
“Why would you even think something like that? It was an accident, Roxie. Malfoy has known you since you were ten years old, he wasn't just some stranger that you ran off with and I'll admit it, it was dumb of you but any girl could have been fooled,” Molly said to her fiercely and Roxanne nodded, though the words just made her stomach lurch a little. “Malfoy's not upset about it and letting him control you this way is really starting to make me hate him even more,”
Roxanne flinched a little a the last bit of her words, knowing that her cousin had every right to hate Benjamin. She sort of hated him herself, even more so when she remembered the way he had looked at her that morning, as if she were nothing important at all to him. “You're right, Molly, I'm sorry,” she said sincerely.
Molly opened her mouth to go on about the situation but decided not to as she caught the look on her face. She gently nudged her in the shoulder as they made it to the front, and stood behind a tall black boy and a girl up front, where the cashier was having her hands full and looking sour. For some reason, Quality Quidditch Supplies had been really busy lately, “Its really all right, Roxie, I just wish that you would tell your parents about this.”
It was difficult imagining that she would tell her parents. They were worried about her, they had asked and asked if she were all right and Roxanne had only survived that day at Aunt Audrey's by avoiding them and hanging out with Molly and the others. At home though, it wasn't as easy to ignore the concerned looks her parents gave her and Perce was awfully annoying with his midnight snooping in her room, trying to find her diary.
After catching him reading her last one, he was stupid for thinking she still kept one at all but he was intent on finding out what was wrong with her. “I don't mean to be snippy or anything but I just hate what happened. Its really no one's fault but mine,” Roxanne whispered to her cousin.
Molly tucked a lock of her short black hair behind her ear before saying. “Don't think like that Roxie. I mean, I've never...you know, or anything,” she whispered, turning pink and making Roxanne almost smile at her expression, “but I know how much it hurts to think someone cared about you and then get proven wrong.”
Roxanne gave her a sympathetic look at the words, recalling that she had confessed her longstanding crush to Teddy Lupin last year. Molly had liked him for a long time, the two having gotten along really well for years and had mustered up the courage to tell him at her fathers Ministry ball but Teddy had, cuttingly told her that she wasn't exactly his type and she hadn't been the same since.
“You'll find someone else. I mean, Teddy's...Teddy. He's not that great to begin with once you get past his amazing abs and his fantastic bum,” Roxanne said to her, knowing that that time at the cottage with Teddy and Victoire had been nothing but torture for her.
Molly laughed and swatted at her with a Keeper's Guide book that she had gotten for Lucy. Her sister was the Slytherin reserve Keeper and took her job very seriously, “If he looked more like Kieran Rookwood, I'd never get over him.”
Roxanne rolled her eyes at the mention of the lead singer from her favorite band, Twisted Duo. “Good God, Molly, why don't you just send the bloke your soul?” Molly looked as if she might have tried and she snorted with laughter, the sound drawing the attention of the person ahead of them, the tall boy and the girl at his side. “Adam!”
Adam Jordan broke into a friendly smile at the sight of her, the girl at his side frowning a little as Roxanne gave him a thump on the arm. He was Uncle Lee and Aunt Alicia's only son and though she had always found him really annoying when they'd been younger, they'd gotten along better once they got to Hogwarts. “Rox!” he cried, turning fully around.
“I almost didn't recognize you, what did you do to yourself now?” Roxanne asked in alarm, taking in the eyebrow piercing and lip ring. He was sporting a blonde Mohawk now too, last year it had been green, “your mum wasn't too happy about those piercings I bet,” she said, recoiling.
Molly looked mildly impressed but the girl at his side, who was short, black and a lot cuter than either of them didn't look as if she wanted them talking to him. Roxanne didn't pay her a glance, “Don't you like it? I didn't know you were in here but I thought I recognized that laugh. Its been a while, how the hell are you?” Adam asked her while giving her a grin.
Molly stared uncomfortably up at him, not sure what to say since they didn't really know one another. They'd only met on occasion at Hogwarts and not for very long, “I've been, uhm, okay. How was your summer? I hardly saw you this time,” Roxanne said.
The girl at his side heaved a sigh. “Adam, if we don't hurry we're going to be late. I promised my friends that I'd help them look for gloves in Beauty Within,” she said to him and Adam was barely able to stop from rolling his eyes.
“Just a sec,” Adam said to the girl with a frown. Roxanne noticed that the cashier was glaring a hole into them as the previous customers left, “I haven't seen her in a while,”
Roxanne gave the girl an apologetic look but and took in her friend better. Adam had gotten to be a bit taller over the summer and with his dark skin looking a tad sunburned she assumed that he had spent a while outside, “I'm not trying to keep you or anything but you're my partner and you haven't sent me one owl,”
Molly ventured shyly into the conversation, which only caused the girl, whom Roxanne had a feeling was Adam's girlfriend, glower. “He's the other Beater on the Hufflepuff team isn't he?” she asked and Adam nodded, giving her a good little puff of his chest. She turned a bit pink as she tried not to either run away or worse, shut down completely.
“Would you mind hurrying it up?” the cashier barked at them and the group moved forward, Adam slamming his purchases onto the counter. The girl glared at him before ringing them up, “things are busy enough as it is.” She grumbled.
Adam rolled his eyes before turning his attention back to Roxanne, his girlfriend looking more and more annoyed. She looked vaguely familiar now that she looked at her but she wasn't sure if they'd ever met before today, “Was there something you wanted to talk about with your fellow Beater, Rox?” he asked her curiously.
“Oh, nothing serious,” Roxanne said with a shrug, watching as he looked awfully interested. Molly nudged her in the ribs and she stepped on her foot a little in retaliation and received a glare, “just wondering where you vanished to this summer.”
Though Roxanne hadn't really wanted to talk to anyone since Benjamin, she would have liked to have heard from someone other than Molly. Her friend Karen McMillan was a year older and most of the other girls in her dorm at school had gone abroad for the summer this year.
“Sorry about that, I wanted to share some new techniques I learned from Uncle Oliver but I've been busy.” Adam said to her with a careless shrug. His girlfriend coughed lightly in her hand, making Molly quirk a brow, “oh, uhm, this is my delicious girlfriend Bianca Shepard, but you two know each other already right?”
Roxanne heard bells ringing in her ears but it might have been just the cashier as Adam and Bianca stepped aside. She placed her book onto the counter, absently reaching into her jean's pocket, “Erm, sorry for making you wait,” she said to the cashier girl and she earned a glare in return. Turning briefly at Adam, she answered, “I think so,”
Adam shifted his bag of things in his hand a little and Bianca eyed Roxanne sourly for a moment or two. “We're in the same House together,” the girl said, her tone drawl and Molly gave her a look from the corner of her eyes, “I'm a year older than you though, Karen McMillan's a friend,”
Roxanne thought hard and recalled the girl now. She was always hanging round Karen at school and they were best friends from what she was able to gather but they'd never spoken more than two or three words to one another. It was more than obvious to sense that she didn't like her for whatever reason, “Uhm, right. This is Molly Weasley, my cousin,” she said, introducing her easily.
Bianca glanced between them doubtfully and Molly looked as if she might say something before the girl smiled. “I've heard about you. Your dad's Undersecretary to the Minister?”
“Right,” Molly said politely. Roxanne was handed her change and book and watched as her cousin paid for Lucy's gift, looking put out and probably feeling the unfriendly vibes the girl was throwing off. “The youngest ever.”
Bianca looked truly impressed by that but Adam was looking bored and shot Roxanne a sneaky wink. She stuck out her tongue at him, “That's pretty amazing. If you wanted, I would love to hear more about it, I'm trying to get into the Ministry myself after school,” she said to Molly as she received her book and started walking out with them.
Roxanne could practically see Molly wilting as the girl continued on, prattling about a mile a minute. Apparently she wanted to be a reporter and was eagerly awaiting some sort of internship with that horrid Rita Skeeter bitch that no one liked and she had a feeling that they'd get on really well.
“Anyway, Bee, we should be getting to your friends,” Adam interrupted loudly after about twenty minutes of the four of them walking out into the busy street. Beauty Within was in the same general direction of Weasley's Wizard Wheezes for a while and the walk had been nothing but torture.
Bianca blinked in surprise, having latched herself onto Molly like a parasite. Passerby pushed and shoved to get by, some of the children carrying large parcels and already sporting their fresh robes for school, “But,”
Adam reminded her curtly, though he was giving Roxanne a grin that she didn't really understand. He wasn't really as sly as Perce but he was doing a pretty decent job for right now and she absently thought that she'd give him a pat on the back later, “You're the one that's dragging me to see them, right? Come on or they'll run out of gloves or doilies or whatever the hell you want to help them with.”
Molly gave him a grateful look and Roxanne saved her by saying, before Bianca could protest to her boyfriend. “We've got to be heading back to my place. She's got to be home really soon so she can check out the latest nude portraits her mum made for a client,” she lied.
Bianca's face went slack and Adam roared with laughter. Molly turned beet red, but more from the fact that Aunt Audrey actually did make nude portraits for a select few, “I should give your mum a picture of me then!” he said and Roxanne wondered why he was looking at her as he said it. Again, Molly rammed her elbow into her side, “anyway, I'll see you on the Express later!”
“Sure, Adam, try to stay sane looking for those doilies.” Roxanne said to him dryly and Bianca frowned a little in annoyance. She gave her a weak smile in goodbye that the girl didn't return before steering Molly in a different direction that would take them to her father's joke shop faster.
Adam's, “See you then!” was drowned out by Molly's mortified, “Oh, my God, she's horrid!” and Roxanne roared with laughter. “Ugh, it was torture. I couldn't keep my head from spinning! Its not funny Roxie!”
“It is, if only you had seen your face!” Roxanne crowed happily and Molly glared at her for a moment before bursting into a sly grin. She looked a lot like Lucy doing that but her sister looked that way all the time, “what?” she demanded warily.
Molly fanned herself a little and waggled her eyebrows. How everyone else was able to do it and not her would forever make her jealous, “I saw the way that boy was acting around you! He likes you.”
Roxanne gawped at her. “Adam?” she asked in disbelief and Molly nodded vigorously until she snorted with laughter, “yeah, right. I know him all right from school and everything but he's not for me, I mean, what are you talking about?” she asked with a twist to her mouth.
“What's wrong with him?” Molly demanded as they walked past an apothecary and rounded a corner. Parents were fussing at their children and the various smells of restaurant food made her stomach growl a little and she hoped that her mother would be home soon so they could go out tonight. They always went out the day or so before Hogwarts, “I mean, he's not that cute but he's not bad.”
Roxanne thought Adam was a little cuter than that. “You're just comparing him to Kieran Rookwood, Molly. No one looks like that,” she said and her cousin harrumphed but didn't deny it, “I mean, Adam's nice looking and he's always been nice to his girlfriends and stuff but he's not for me.”
Molly frowned and almost rammed into an old lady carrying hat boxes and earning an affronted gasp. “Sorry!” she said to the woman while Roxanne watched the woman teetering away down the cobbled street, “and anyway, Rox,” she said, using the nickname Adam had given her eons ago. “There's nothing wrong with him. You should give him a shot if he asks you.”
Roxanne couldn't see herself with Adam in the slightest, she had never had any amount of attraction for him. He'd annoyed her when they'd been kids and at Hogwarts he was just a friend she talked to in the Hufflepuff common room and she was sure that, even with him flirting a few minutes ago, that it wasn't anything serious. “No thanks, I'm not looking forward to dating or anything for a while.”
Molly heaved a weary sigh at the words but didn't comment as they walked down to the joke shop. Fireworks were going off and melting into the blue sky, billboards and signs on every inch of the place, announcing half off deals on WWW's most “exciting” merchandise. It translated, in Roxanne's mind as “dangerous”, “Your dad's really going for it this year, huh?”
“Yeah, he's been blowing stuff up for days.” Roxanne said as she looked up at all the patched up and added onto parts of the shop. It really was like being back at the Burrow with her grandparents, “but then again, he's probably just celebrating the fact that he can make fun of me even more.”
Molly laughed as they reached the door and opened it, ignoring the sound of cheers from the employees. Kids were running around like imps, papers and foil were in every direction and it smelt like someone had left off some You-Know-Poo in the bathroom somewhere, “Roxie, there's nothing wrong with being made a Prefect!”
Just the words made Roxanne wince in horror. Her owl had arrived with all of her school things like usual, but with one more cryptic message announcing that, under the circumstances of Christina Monroe transferring to Beauxbatons, she would be Prefect for Hufflepuff House.
Apparently her marks hadn't been as bad as she'd thought. But considering the fact that Filch had an entire room of files dedicated to her pranks, she wasn't sure why McGonagall had allowed it.
Roxanne pressed her hand to her chest in agony. “Tell that to my ego! Mum was teasing me all day yesterday and snuck into my room and tickled me until I peed on myself!” Molly roared with laughter. It hadn't been the first time her mother had done something like that though and she groused moodily, “and then Perce took my badge and charmed it to say “Bloody Big Head””
Molly was still laughing as they waved to her father, who was too busy dealing with customers to pick on her just now. Perce was somewhere in the mist of robes and faces helping out for the day, “Its really not that bad, Roxie. I mean, nothing is that bad for long!” her cousin tried to say as they walked to the back of the shop, where the secret wall that would lead them to the flat was.
Roxanne, her brother and their parents were the only ones that knew what the password was and to anyone else, it was nothing but a blank expanse of wall. “Everything,” she whispered softly and as it melted away, her cousin still grinning, she wished that what she had said could be proven true.
“Hey, Bloody Big Head, are you ready yet?” Roxanne's brother asked as he came towards her with the day's misplaced products. Though they could have easily used their wands, people tended to pick things up and set them back down in different places all over the shop, which was a really taxing job to correct.
Roxanne was sitting on top of the counter by the register and kicked at him a little as he walked by. Their father was putting things back onto the shelves on the second floor, the third level having been cleared out by Verity earlier before she'd trudged out, complaining about the state of her feet. “Ready for what?” she growled.
“To be grilled and abused by your other fellow Prefects! You'll never have a day to yourself again.” Perce was saying to her evilly while he put back a bottle of Everlasting Daydream for Boys onto its shelf (It gave naughty fantasies and had really disgusting side effects), “Victoire was so worn out last year. And you've got Quidditch this year and homework and being annoying to keep up on.”
Roxanne couldn't really picture Victoire a Prefect but then again, she had probably excelled at the attention side of it. Dom-Dom would have surely withered under that sort of attention though and at the thought of her, she briefly hoped she wouldn't ask what had happened with her and Benjamin. At Aunt Audrey's, they'd been too busy running away from the adults to talk for long, “Shut up! What if you had been made Head Boy?” she demanded.
Perce shuddered noticeably at the very question as he came back, a grin spreading at the heated glare she sent him. The day had winded down finally and there was a pretty orange smear across the sky, announcing that it would be dark soon ant that Weasley's Wizard Wheezes would be closed soon. “Don't give me that look. Not my fault that you've inherited Uncle Ron's genes,”
Roxanne wanted to hit him but her brother was now leaning his back against the counter beside her and resting his head lightly on her arm. “What?” she asked, trying to sound mad at him and failing as she rested her cheek on top of his wavy hair, “I won't be the best Prefect but I'll be damned if I'll be the worst.”
“That's the spirit, Roxie.” Perce said to her happily and she rolled her eyes and listened to their father moving about on the second floor above them. He was humming something to himself or, sadly, talking to Uncle Fred which he sometimes still did, “I don't think you'll be a bad Prefect or anything, you've got some of mum in you too.”
Roxanne wished that she could be a lot more like their mother and felt guilt wrapping around her chest. If there was anyone she dreaded telling aside from her father and brother, it was her mother...the revulsion she would receive made her lay awake at night, dreading the morning. “I guess,” she said with a sigh.
Perce fiddled with his hands a little before resting them on his stomach, where she heard an ominous growl. She giggled, “I hope Mum gets here soon. I'm dying over here,” he said and Roxanne nodded in agreement as her own stomach snarled viciously, “why do you suppose she's at the Ministry so much anyway?”
“I don't know, but whenever I ask she always gets real quiet and secretive. You'd think we'd walked in on her and dad going at it again but no,” Roxanne said peevishly as her brother roared with laughter. “I know the Magical Games and Sports department is important but the next World Cup isn't until four years from now!”
Perce nodded, as he kept tabs on this sort of thing religiously. “I asked around trying to see if I could get any info and no one wanted to tell me shit!” he cried angrily, still resting his head on her arm.
“Oi, Fred, you watch your mouth until I get down there!” Their father warned from upstairs and her brother crowed a decent apology. “Damn straight you're sorry!” was their father's cross reply before he started moving about again, though the two of them were too busy laughing to really notice.
Roxanne, after quieting down, asked her brother. “You didn't try to ask Aunt Ginny?” she asked, since their aunt had started her own Quidditch team, the Wailing Banshee's a few years ago before quitting.
Perce nodded and he looked extremely serious as he lifted his head from her arm and rubbed his chin. Roxanne gave him dramatic music to go along with it and he grinned faintly, “I tried but she got all quiet on me when I went to visit. But then again, she was probably mad at me for putting Albus's underwear on his head and making him run around in circles...”
“I can't imagine why she'd be upset about that,” Roxanne said dryly.
Perce shrugged, looking confused before he continued on. “I talked to Leanne too about it when I was over the other night.” Roxanne gagged, though she had no right to when she still thought about what Benjamin had seduced her into doing. “She said her parents have been acting weird, people coming by her dad's broom shop ordering all sorts of stuff, like there's a big game coming up.”
Roxanne found this really curious, but there was nothing major happening in the Quidditch world from what she'd been reading lately. Then again Quidditch Weekly had a habit of hinting at certain information without giving the entire thing, “What about Uncle Oliver?” Uncle Oliver had played for Puddlemore United before the War but had gotten too many injuries to return but he kept them all informed, “I mean, he should know.”
“He told me to mind my own business! And Uncle Lee, he's commentator for the World Cup and he told me to mind my own bloody business!” Perce cried indignantly and Roxanne had a feeling that those visits had been why he'd been gone for so long during the past few days. “Its really irritating.”
Roxanne nodded her agreement, glancing down at her feet a little as she swung them distractedly. Though she didn't know why, she thought of her encounter with Adam Jordan earlier and found herself saying to her brother, “I saw Adam in Quality Quidditch Supplies today. He died his hair blonde this time and got some piercings that I know Aunt Alicia must be hating,” he looked awfully amused by that, “have you seen him?”
Perce nodded a little, looking suddenly keen. A sneaky look came into his face and Roxanne narrowed her eyes on him suspiciously, “Yeah, he's looking pretty good isn't he?” he asked and Roxanne shrugged, “I always figured that Adam's had a crush on you, you should give him a try.”
“He's got a girlfriend and I'm not interested!” Roxanne snapped in revulsion as her brother waggled his eyebrows at her. Why could everyone do that but her? It wasn't exactly fair, “you've never even really liked Adam!”
Perce groaned in aggravation and heaved an exasperated sigh, as if Roxanne hadn't pointed out the truth. Whenever he saw Adam, he made their conversations incredibly short and purposefully awkward, “Yeah, but he's better than say, Malfoy.” Her brother said with perceptive skill and at Roxanne's suddenly pale face, he cried furiously, “I knew it!”
“Knew what? Shut up!” Roxanne commanded as her brother's face morphed into one of both disapproval and strong dislike. She could feel the pound of her heart increasing painfully and she had to suck in a strong breath...trying not to think of how Benjamin had looked at her when he'd told her to leave.
Perce was watching her face critically and she didn't like the way his eyes were running over her, as if she had some sort of mark that he could see. Thanks to some Beauty Mark cream from Molly, Benjamin's hickeys had faded a long time ago but she didn't think that that meant much to her nosy brother. “Make me!”
“I'll get Dad on you!” Roxanne warned.
Perce ignored the threat and went on a tirade, obviously having wanted to pester her about this for days. “The way you've been acting for the last few days has something to do with Malfoy doesn't it?” when Roxanne shook her head, he ignored her and continued on in a rush of air. “Don't think that I haven't noticed all the Prophets talking about him and his dad sleazing back into the country!”
“So what if they have? I haven't even been reading the Prophet!” Roxanne found herself lying to him hotly. She'd been reading them secretly in her bedroom at night and catching up on the latest news that detailed the return of Draco Malfoy from scandal and back into the “warm” bosom of the Law Department. “Why do you automatically think something wrong with me is his fault?”
Perce's face was steadily growing angrier and she thought that in that moment he reminded her so much of their mother that it was eerie. This was a confrontation that she had been trying to avoid for days and she hopped off the counter hurriedly, desperate to storm back up to the flat, “Oi, don't walk away from me, Roxie!” her brother snapped, reaching out to snatch her arm.
“Let go, prat!” Roxanne snarled, though she knew that her eyes showed just how terrified she was of him knowing the truth. Something in her brother's face shifted and her entire body felt as if it were drenched in ice, “I-I haven't even talked to Ben since they came back!”
Perce caught onto her slip up with enough skill to rival the best of interrogators and Roxanne thought that this was perhaps the worst possible moment. Their father was asking them what all the yelling was about and coming downstairs and they would know...she would break...she would shatter and they would hate her.
“Roxie, what's wrong? Tell me. I'm worried about you!” her brother said sincerely, looking deeply troubled. It took all she had in her not to break completely, “Whatever he did to you, I'll kill him for, you never get this upset about anything and I know its his fault! Just tell me—dammit Roxie, what'd he do?” he demanded furiously.
Tears were starting to form and Roxanne looked away from him towards the front doors, hoping that something would happen to make this go away. “Leave me alone—” she started but the words trailed away as her salvation came in the form of Draco and Benjamin Malfoy entering back into her life. The world felt as if it were falling apart and she felt the fragile lining of her heart shattering all over again.
Hope you all enjoyed this! I'm going back to Audrey and her Weasley after this, so please stay patient!