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After Hours by llyralen
Chapter 1 : Banishing The Pity-pot
 
Rating: MatureChapter Reviews: 20


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Standard Disclaimer: I own nothing but my imagination. JK Rowling owns the rest. Furthermore, the cast list mentioned below is a list of people I envision to be the characters and is only provided to serve as visual aids for the reader. I have, in no way shape or form, any means to actually procure these actors to be my characters. Thank you!

Rebecca Hall as Molly Weasley
Deborah Ann Woll as Lucy Weasley
Keira Knightley as Rose Weasley
Karen Gillan as Lily Potter

Henry Cavill as Gorgeous Nigel Parkey









by afterglow @ TDA







Chapter One
Banishing the Pity-pot










At exactly five o’clock that afternoon, Rose received a teary, hiccupy and utterly incomprehensible message on her office phone.

All she managed to get from it was, S.O.S. and pub.

It meant one thing. Lucy Weasley had, yet again, broken up with another boyfriend. In short, it was time to drink. A lot.

As soon as the end of the workday came, Rose punched out and ran for the Leaky Cauldron. It was time, once again, time to pat Lucy’s back, dry her tears and backstab the latest casualty in the war for true love. It had become quite a ritual for their little group, though no one really took it to heart. Especially not Rose. Because everybody knew that as soon as Lucy broke up with some random bloke, it wouldn’t be too long before she found another ‘true love’.

“But he was the one!” She blathered on, taking another drink of her butterbeer. “He said he was going to Liverpool and I said it was over!” She threw up her hands and cried.

Molly handed her a tissue and gave her a quick hug and an uneasy pat on the back. Molly was never good at the whole comforting thing. It made her nervous and flustered because she had absolutely no idea how to be the warm, caring rock. Instead, she was the heavy rock ready to sink at the very sight of tears. Not that Rose was one to judge. She was no better either.

Where was Lily when you needed her! She was the go to person for the comforting stage. Rose and Molly were better at the anger part of Lucy’s makeshift therapy.

They didn’t even know what to say at this point. Lucy had gone through five men in the last four months. All of them were great, sweet, intelligent and basically the man of Lucy’s current dreams. But none of them lasted a month with her. She didn’t know. Maybe Lucy was male kryptonite. Or maybe, as Lily would say, it was just not meant to be. But it seemed like Lucy had the absolute worst luck with men.

Like the coward that she was, Rose announced a tactical retreat to the bar to get the drinks. You know what they say, real friends keep the booze coming.

“Oi! Hurry up, will you Gorgeous!” She banged on the bar. “I’m not tipping you for your looking pretty now, so step up with the service.”

Gorgeous Nigel Parkey, the aptly named barman, came out of the back room with fresh bottles of firewhiskey in hand and a booming laugh that filled the pub from the front entrance to the back door. “If people tipped me or my looks, I wouldn’t have to take second jobs. Now order up so you can pay me.”

“Let’s start off the night, properly shall we? Four pints of whatever’s on the tap. And be quick about it. Chop, chop.”

“You’ve got it, love.” Gorgeous Nigel poured out four glasses of the Cauldron’s own brew, sliding them Rose’s way. He wasn’t looking at the glasses, though. He wasn’t even looking at Rose. He had his neck arched, looking to the far end of the pub to where Lucy had her head buried in her hair and Molly was trying to force some form of comfort for the benefit of her sister.

“Lucy having troubles again?” Gorgeous Nigel asked.

“Apparently the bloke she was with is moving to Liverpool for a job and she doesn’t want to have a long distance relationship.”

Nigel couldn’t help but snort, but Rose was quick to shut him up. “Don’t let her hear you laughing!” she punched his shoulders, sending him aback. “You know how sensitive Lucy is!”

“Sorry, then! That’ll be three sickles and two knuts,” he smiled. “I really don’t see why it never works out. Lucy’s brilliant.”

“Oh she is! No doubt. But, well, she has quite a tall order, Lucy.”

“I wouldn’t say that,” Gorgeous leaned on the bar. “She just wants the bloke to be there for her. He’s the boyfriend, after all. It’s his bloody job.”

“You’re sweet, Gorgeous. But it’s not just that. It’s not just a matter of being there.” Rose rolled her yes. “Its more of, Lucy is afraid of getting dumped.”

“Who isn’t?” he shrugged.

“And most people cope with that. But what Lucy does is find some little flaw in the poor lad, then she turns it into this huge, gaping problem. The way she sees it, better to dump than to be dumped. I won’t get into the gory details. It’s all very messy. Which is why I don’t deal with men.”

“So what? Are you swinging the other way now?”

But before Rose could respond, a one-woman hurricane caught her up and draped an arm over her shoulder.

“What the sod are you thinking, Gorgeous!” the ever-surprising Lily said. “No one appreciates a fit bottom like Rose here. She just doesn’t like the personality that comes with the bum.”

Lily was like a pure honey. Not the bottled up, processed stuff. No. Lily was the real stuff. The kind that came straight from the hive. When she smiled, you couldn’t help but smile too. Maybe that was why she worked so well with children, because she could ease them with her natural sweetness.

Also why she was so good with Lucy during her little episodes.

The girls said goodbye to Gorgeous Nigel, tipped him for being gorgeous and went back to their two cousins. Just in time too. Lucy’s bottle was running low and Molly looked like a deer caught in the headlights.

Molly stood up, offering Lily the seat next to Lucy. She looked as if she’d been saved from the firing squad and Lily, being the nurturing person that she was, was happy to assume the duty of sympathizer extraordinaire.

“Sorry I’m late. Had to pass by Toby’s first to drop off his football gear.”

Molly laughed. “Live together already! He leaves his football gear in your flat. You leave your stockings at his. Why do you two have to beat around the bush?”

“I’ll have you know that things are not that serious. He’s just forgetful. So am I.” But the blush on Lily’s cheek was undeniable.

She and Toby had been together for two years now. They were hardly, ever apart. If he didn’t stay over at her flat, she stayed over at his. They’d met each other’s family and were practically, almost, nearly, more or less, roughly engaged. Everyone knew it. Well, except for them.

Rose couldn’t help but smile too. Even Lucy smiled.

The whole mood could have lightened up from there. Molly and Rose would have teased Lily endlessly until she was red as a strawberry and Lucy would have momentarily forgotten all about Mr. Whatshisname Bastard.

Unfortunately, she didn’t.

Molly passed on another tissue. But Lucy passed. Instead, she grabbed the nearest pint. “You’re so lucky, Lils. Toby’s absolutely lovely! Why are the good ones always taken or gay!” she cried. “The rest of them, they’re all bastards! And I’m a bastard magnet. That’s why I’m through, I tell you! I’m going to be just like Rose. I’m through with men. All they do is make you fall in love with them and then they rip your heart out!”

As if they hadn’t heard that one before.

Lily rubbed Lucy’s shoulders and let her cry on her shirt. “It’s Liverpool, darling. Not Mars. Just call him up so you two can talk about things. I’m sure you’ll sort it out. Everything will be alright again, you’ll see.” Trust Lily to be the eternal optimist.

“No! No! I can’t phone Paul now. I can’t grovel back to him. I told him I never wanted to see him again, Lils. That I didn’t care if the merpeople dragged him to the bottom of the sea and ate him alive. Then I slammed the door at him. Twice!”

Because once just wasn’t enough.

Rose had to hide behind a napkin for that one. Molly did exactly the same thing, only with less finesse. Luckily for them both, Lucy was too distraught to notice. Unfortunately, though, Lily caught them and stepped on both their feet from under the table before going back and consoling Lucy.

“And the terrible thing is, it’s three days to Victoire’s wedding! I’m going to have to go and watch her be happy and in love while I sit alone in an ugly dress!”

‘You won’t be the only one,’ Rose thought. They were all bridesmaids at Victoire’s wedding. All the Weasley girls. They were going to get dressed in frocks that looked as if they were more suited for Halloween than a wedding. They would wear unbelievably uncomfortable shoes, even more uncomfortable knickers and the only consolation to be had was an open bar and a smoking area outside of the tent.

Bliss!

Though, in between Lucy’s sobs, Molly’s unease and Lily’s glares, Rose had a thought.

Lucy was right. The world was being rather harsh on her. Going alone to a wedding was fine for people like her and Molly. People who didn’t expect fairytales and dashing men in white horses. People who knew that life wasn’t spare time to search for a ridiculous fantasy. It would even be fine for people like Lily whose perpetual optimism would lead them to think that love could be found even in dire circumstances. People who could still believe that maybe going to a wedding alone would be just the opportunity to find their soul mate.

But for people like Lucy, people who teeter-tottered between cynicism and idealism, to have their heart wrenched out and their loneliness shoved in their faces in the same week would be simply inhuman.

Just then, Rose had an idea.

“Molly, I think I have to go to the lou. Come with me?” she nudged.

Molly raised her eyebrow, probably thinking Rose had finally gone mental.

“Come on Molls,” Rose winked. “I need…company…”

Molly would have stayed in her chair, laughing at Rose if the other hadn’t taken her by force. Rose dragged Molly to the back room, far enough from Lucy but still close enough to keep an eye on her.

“What the bloody hell, Rose! Since when did you need someone to help you go to the bathroom!” Molly wrenched her wrist away from the maniac.

“I had an idea! To fix Lucy!”

“She’s not a broken clock, Rose.”

“Oh! You know what I mean. We can’t let her go to Victoire’s wedding alone. Not like this.”

“She’ll be fine. Just give her a day or two. Let her call in sick, muck around in the flat, eat a box of ice-cream and she’ll be fine. It’s like you’ve never dealt with this before.”

“Oh for goodness sake, Molly! I have an idea that doesn’t turn her into a wallowing pity-pot!”

Rose knew she was brilliant. It was a fact she didn’t usually deny. It was a natural, God given talent. She had a keen eye for finding the right solution to the right problems. But on the other hand, Rose was not exactly the brightest when it came to matters of the heart. In that area, she was a bit of an oaf. Molly knew that. The entire universe knew that. But what choice would they have? Lily would never consent to scheming and Lucy would be the saddest pity-pot this side of London.

Besides, Rose’s idea was rather good, if she said so herself.

With a sigh, Molly let her continue.

“Lucy brings Gorgeous Nigel to the wedding!”

She’d expected something along the lines of, ‘that’s absolutely genius Rose! Gorgeous and Lucy! It’s bloody genius!’ Instead, though, she got a snort and a look of utter disbelief.

“What?”

“Hear me out before you judge! We’ve known him for years so it won’t be awkward and he’s a barman for goodness sake! He definitely won’t be awkward with strangers.”

No one could deny that the idea had merit. Gorgeous Nigel was called that for a reason. He stood taller than any bloke Rose had ever met, had eyes that could melt you into a puddle of girlish giggles, a first class body and he wasn’t exactly boring either.

As Molly began to bite her lip and shift from left to right, Rose knew she had her.

Idea sold.

“What about Lily?” Molly bit her nails. “She can’t know about this. You know her! She’ll tell Lucy and we’ll end up worse than we began.”

Result!

“Lily doesn’t find out. I even bet she’d be so happy about it that she won’t even notice how random everything is!”

“You don’t give her enough credit.”

“I do! I know exactly how much credit I should give her. Trust me. She won’t find out. Come on! What do you say?”

“Would Gorgeous even say yes?”

Rose grabbed Molly and turned her over to the bar. Gorgeous Nigel was looking across the room, smiling, privately laughing then going back to serving drinks. Again! He kept stealing glances somewhere. Molly gaped at a smug Rose. It was clearer than Dominique’s pores.

“Gorgeous Nigel fancies Lucy!” she gasped.

“Quiet! I doubt he knows I know. But he talks about her enough. Besides, he just told me that he thought all the blokes she dumped were mental. He’ll say yes. Believe me.”

Despite their normally cynical selves, Molly and Rose shared a squeal of absolute delight. Between the two of them, Lucy might as well say goodbye to the pity-pot.


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