“Manfred: So, still think she's the girl for me?
Sid: Sure. She's tons of fun, and you're no fun at all. She completes you.”
The plane was cramped and stuffy, his long limbs were crushed by the seat in front, and the obese man sitting next to him was sweating profusely and fanning himself with a sick-bag, wafting nauseating smelling air right into Percy’s face. Why exactly the ministry wanted to send him by muggle transport he wasn’t quite sure, and he couldn’t exactly pull out his wand right here, in this tin can full of sneezing, perspiring muggles. It was twelve hours to Tokyo, twelve long, long hours.
He diverted his eyes from the dull in-flight movie about a cheesy couple and turned to face the window. Night was falling outside, the light clouds beneath them coloured rose and peach by the sinking sun. The man sitting to his right pried his abnormally large arse out of the chair and stood shakily up, looking rather puce, and shoving Percy backwards onto the faceless girl who sat to his left. She sputtered what he guessed was a Japanese swearword, and jumped violently causing the newspaper that had been so artfully placed on her nose to slide off onto her lap and then to the floor.
“Sorry, mate,” huffed the man, walking off in the direction of the toilet.
Percy retrieved the fallen newspaper politely. “I’m very sorry, Miss,” he stuttered out an apology, hoping she spoke English.
“Don’t worry about it, and don’t call me Miss, its Addy. Audrey actually, Audrey Nakamura- my mum’s in love with Breakfast at Tiffanys,” she smiled broadly, showing tiny pearly teeth. The Japanese tone to her voice was very faint, almost lilting.
“Percy Weasley,” he replied, and she shook his proffered hand daintily. “Are you returning to England, or are you visiting?” he asked, he had been surprised by her lack of an accent.
“Well, you could say either really,” she replied cheerfully, “I grew up in Tokyo, but moved to London a few years back. I went home to see my sister; she’s just had a baby. She is nineteen and has been married for two years,” she shuddered lightly.
“Are you apposed to marriage?” he asked, surprised at her reaction. Surely all girls wanted marriage and babies?
“Well…not really marriage itself, but the confines and oppression it often brings to its women…and men,” she added as an after thought, “Thousands of women all over the world are forced into marriages, and are victims of awful domination and subjugation in said marriages,” she was speaking passionately but her eyes had an odd dreamy look to their deep chocolate colour, reminiscent of his sister’s friend, Lulu- or something like that.
“Are you some kind of political rights worker?” he asked eagerly, eager to meet another kindred spirit.
“Yes actually,” she flashed him another brilliant smile, “I only just joined the ministry-um, company. I’ve only just joined my company, but when I heard about my sister, I just had to go home, the company paid and everything…something about testing the airline? Why are you flying, by the way?” she cocked her head to the side in a childlike gesture of interest.
“Oh, I work in a…government and they sent me to Tokyo to look at the education systems in place in similar establishment there, a place called Kirani” she being a muggle, clearly would never have heard of the school, and he really could not think of an alternative name.
She looked up quickly, scanning his face, “That was my school,” she said softly.
She was a witch? “Are you not a muggle then?” he asked, wanting to be sure, and cautious not to use the word witch in the preset company. A crease formed between his two eyebrows as it always did when he was intrigued.
“How many muggles do you know that go to Kirani school of Witchcraft, or Kirani school of Wizardry for that point?” she smiled again, she was teasing him.
“I found the implementation of single sex schooling most intriguing while I was out there, would you be willing to disclose your opinion on the subject,” he leaned forward, his horn-rimmed glasses slipping down his nose and falling off, he blushed furiously, trying to right them casually.
“Do you always talk like this?” she laughed lightly, mocking him again. He wouldn’t have accepted that from anyone else, his brothers had been making fun of him for just too long, but she didn’t say it like the others did, she seemed lighthearted and merely curious.
“I…I guess I do,” he stammered, what was it about this girl that made him so unsure of himself? She wasn’t the kind of person whose good opinion he would generally strive for. She was small and very slim, with messy long black hair, a green tie-died T-shirt and light coloured denim jeans which were torn in several places (surely she could have fixed that easily with a simple charm?) and paint covered sandals that seemed to be made of some kind of sacking. She couldn’t be any more than twenty-one.
“Why‘re you so nervous? I’m hardly going to bite your head off just for speaking like you sleep on a dictionary. And to answer your question,” she smiled yet again, this time a little slyly, “I liked going to a girls school, sure it crushed our social skills and was insanely boring, but it made us think that all guys were like the ones in books, mature and interesting- all our hopes would have been dashed if we’d have met any real teenage boys. Not that I guess you were like that when you were a teenager, Head-Boy 1985, I can see the badge now,” He was not amused.
“I am not thirty two,” he said, his voice sharp, “I’m twenty five,”
“Then why d’you dress like my grandfather at a funeral?” she grinned at him mischievously.
Who was this stranger to make personal remarks about his wardrobe- he felt highly affronted. “Well…but…I…I don’t,” his tongue was stumbling about.
“You know, you growing up with six siblings, I would have expected better comebacks,” she arched one delicately curved eyebrow.
“By what means did you find out my familial situations?” he cursed himself mentally, his complex way of speaking seemed only to be getting worse.
“Weasley’s Wizarding Wheezes, right?” He’d forgotten about the blasted shop, Fred and George’s lovechild; it seemed to have flourished beyond their wildest dreams. Shop upon shop of noisy, garishly coloured, and downright dangers toys and pranks.
“Yeah,” he cringed slightly, “How could you tell?”
“The surname, the hair, the nose,” she giggled softly, “And the fact that George mentioned he had a boring arse of a brother working for the ministry,”
He tried to ignore the insult, “How did you meet my darling brother? Law suit or something?” there was a heavy sarcasm on the word darling.
“You’re getting better at this,” she grinned at him (did this girl ever stop smiling?) “Nah, I went out with one of his shop assistants a year or two back,”
“Oh okay,” What was he to say now? He didn’t want to leave the conversation there. He had an increasing desire to keep on talking to her. He liked making her laugh- she might be laughing at him rather than with him but it didn’t seem to matter.
“So, we have,” she checked her watch, “Nine hours left on this thing, what should we talk about?”
“You’re willing to talk to me for nine hours?” he asked, slightly incredulously; not even his mother would be happy to do that.
“I’d talk to you for twelve if you made me laugh. Now, here’s a start; d’you like the Beatles- muggle sixties’ band?”
Ah, that explained her clothes, he’d seen similar ones on photos of Muggles when his parents were young. “Never heard of them, I don’t really listen to music much,”
“Strawberry Fields Forever? Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds? I Want To Hold Your Hand?” The first two seemed to be song titles, but did she really want to hold his hand? Maybe she wanted to give him something.
He reached out his finger tips, his confusion clearly visible on his face. She brought her tiny hand up, her bracelets jingling musically, and fit her fingers between his. She squeezed his hand gently before pulling back and giving him yet another beaming smile.
Percy wasn’t quiet sure how he had got here, waiting while Audrey grabbed a wrap from the café in Las Vegas Airport. It had been one heck of a roller coaster, but the one thing he knew is that he’d never take it back.
They had managed to talk for eight hours straight, and she hadn’t threatened to kill him once. He’d made her laugh several times, and he was starting to think that high tinkling sound was the most beautiful in the world, a fountain of uncontainable and effervescent joy. He no longer noticed the pain in his cramped legs, the smell of the, now sleeping, man sitting next to him, or the way that the air never seemed to move, and always smelled of rubber and disinfectant. He now noticed the way Addy’s eyes were crinkled at the corners from too much smiling, that her crazy, untamed, and occasionally braided hair gave off a delicate scent of oranges and rose water, and the way that when she touched his forearm when she spoke of things she felt passionate about, sending jolts of electricity through his body.
“I have an idea,” she said conspiratorially, her dark eyes shining in the gloom of the cabin.
“What this time?” he joked, rolling his eyes. His manner had relaxed, and he had stopped talking as if he’d swallowed a rather large and old-fashioned dictionary.
“Let’s go to Las Vegas,”
Where was that? All well, he would go anywhere to keep on talking to her, to keep making her laugh. “Sure!” he beamed, blue eyes shining.
And so they had. Obviously, you can’t floo across the ocean, and apparition is rather difficult if you have very little idea of where you’re going- so they had to get on another plane. Two hours of waiting and ten hours of flying. Hours and hours of seeing nothing but Addy’s eyes, her face, her glossy, unruly hair. Of hearing nothing but her lilting voice, her tinkling laughter. Yet it had all flown past, like a dream that you wake up from in the early hours of the morning, with only a vague idea of what it was about, a few colours and some jumbled sentences.
Las Vegas itself was nothing that Percy could have been prepared. Dazzling, intense, and totally and utterly surreal. The lights, the music, the people- it was never ending. They went dancing, went drinking, and did the unthinkable, the impossible…and the inevitable. Percy Weasley married a young, free-spirited, mildly crazy, and heartstoppingly beautiful girl called Audrey Nakamura. But what’s even more shocking is that Audrey Nakamura was totally, utterly and perfectly happy.
Audrey soon returned and they walked off blissfully, he didn’t know where they were going next, and he honestly couldn’t care. He kissed her on the cheek and slipped his fingers through hers, they fit perfectly together.
(My first ever one-shot, companion story to Violet in the Sunshine. Hope you enjoyed it, please, please review. Quote at the beginning is from Ice Age 2- the movie.)
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