Sweet CI by Sixx. @TDA
The colors in the glass orb exploded again and again, bouncing from the surfaces changing from greens to reds and pinks simultaneously. Olivia scribbled away furiously into an account book, only glancing up at the lights at the end of a column. It was the last of her assignments for the day, recording all of the last weeks spending reports for the Misuse of Muggle Artifacts Office.
The clock on her desk was making noises that said if she spent any longer in the office, she would be late for her shift at Talonworth’s. Tuesdays were never the day to get stuck working late. Unfortunately that was Olivia’s exact situation.
She had a short ten minutes to be there, and still near twenty minutes of revisions left to do. But Olivia decided to chance it and take the records on the road to finish at the tavern. She stood up at her desk, quickly gathering up the record book and some quills into her purse. Then waved her wand over the desk, straightening up the files and papers scattered across it to give the impression that her work there was done.
Closing the door behind her, Olivia made her way down the corridor to the Attendance Counter for the second level. The small lady sitting in a chair at the counter was watching a large clock, the size of a goblin, beside her on the counter intently.
It was her job and Olivia guessed her greatest pleasure to oversee all of the employees on the level clock-in and out times. Also to report them when there was even the slightest infraction.
“Hardie, Oliva. Checking out please.” Olivia said coming to a stop just as she reached the counter.
The lady a wickedly mean Mrs. Merchant, turned in her chair and placed her daintily manicured hands folded on the desk in front of her. She was always an eerie reminder of the terrible “Proffesor” Umbridge, when she went on her power tirades. Mrs. Merchant tilted her head up at her, smiling sickly sweet.
“Hardie. Tut, tut, tut. Very close this morning, I would detest having to reports you for tardiness…again.” She chimed jovially.
“I’m quite sure that when I come and go should be no concern of yours, and yet you seem to always try and make it so.” Olivia answered bluntly.
“Cheeky, girl. When you are in my sort of business, others business becomes your own. Then again you aren’t really in the know are you?” Mrs. Merchant asked glaring at her, the old woman did not take well to snide remarks.
“Whatever you say, so long as you keep that to yourself.” Olivia shrugged haughtily.
“You are free to go.” Merchant said coldly, trying to shoo Olivia away with a breeze charm.
“Thank Merlin!” Olivia muttered as she made her way to the lifts that went to the Atrium.
Many of the general or unspecialized Ministry workers ended their days at generally the same time causing quite a jam up, with everyone wanting to leave all at once. Olivia walked straight into the bustling crowd, trying not to sneak glances at the Atrium’s clock or others watches. Reminding herself that everything will be fine, if only just to calm her nerves.
Pushing through the masses and cut in to a line for a fireplace, ignoring the crude remarks and shoves from those behind her. Slowly, as the line inched forward she began to grow more fidgety. If only everyone would realize that unlike them she had somewhere she needed to be.
Though theirs may not be as important to her, they did have places to go and would never give some nobody girl any preference because she was late for work. Pity. She was never exactly prompt, but it had been awhile since she was late.
The line uniformly sidled along. After what seemed like hours to Olivia, though only a few minutes she finally reached the grate. Olivia groaned loudly, scooping a fair bit of floo powder, and flung it into the awaiting fireplace. She followed it in.
As she disappeared, she could see several of the surrounding witches and wizards react with offended looks. Of course they would be shocked that some young girl would be going to a tavern straight after work, how preposterous.
Preposterous indeed. She wasn’t one of those washed up wizards who spent all of their time not at work drinking like a fish… at least not yet. Though if they knew she went there to work, they would probably still look down on her.
Olivia watched grates pass by, until she reached the familiar sight of the tavern’s back room. She quickly hopped out, and took off her soot filled cloak knocking it against the mantle before hanging it up on the coat hanger which had a reputation for making people chase it before they could hang anything up.
She was in a dusty old study filled with stacks of dusty old books placed across the room with no particular order or reason. It smelled of stale beer and the old potion ingredients that topped a table on the far side of the room.
“ ‘Bout time Hardie! If you’re late again, I’ll be sure to dock your pay.” A gruff old man, Mr. Talonsworth grumbled from his large armchair.
“Sorry sir, I had a bit ‘o trouble leaving the Ministry today.” Olivia told him, as she signed in on a sheet nailed to the swinging bar door.
“I’ve got half a mind to go down there and have those Ministry peons unscheduled you on Tuesday’s. Can’t have them running my bartender ragged when she has to work all night.” Talonsworth said dusting off a giant book and cracking it open.
“Sounds nice, but they don’t run me ragged. Plus, I don’t think I could take the loss in pay sir.” Olivia shrugged.
“Then I might consider raising your wages if you could work an occasional Saturday. Liam and the others keep telling me that customers come in asking for you.” Talonsworth said not breaking his gaze from the book.
“I think I could manage that. Ye keep considerin’ it an I’ll get to work. As I apparently have adoring fans.” She said with a smirk and pushed through the door the Tavern.
At 5:30 in the evening, the tavern was relatively empty, as could be expected. Talonworth’s tall, stocky son Liam slumped tiredly against the bar ignoring what few customers still relied on him. Being the son of the owner Liam made it off pretty easy, only working on weekdays which was some how even easier than Olivia’s shift.
He was hardly the brightest or nicest person to work with, but then again she hardly saw him outside of Tuesdays and thank Merlin for that. Olivia swiftly tucked her purse under the counter trading it for her apron. As she stood back up she was met with Liam’s lackluster stare.
“Aye, I’m here. You can all quit your panicking, because the drinks will start flowing.” She announced loudly, ignoring his gaze and receiving some odd looks from the few customers there.
“’Bout time you got here Olivia. I’ve got a date a little later on this evening and I don’t want to be late.” Liam said contemptuously dropping the keys to the tavern in her hand.
“Is she a pretty troll?” Olivia asked smirking, while she tied on the apron and hopped out of the way to avoid a swat from him.
“Better than anything you can catch I’m sure.” He scoffed back.
“So we are fishing now?”
“Shut up and get to work. By the way, that annoying kid is back for you… again.” He said, pointing lazily to a patron sitting behind him in her regulars spot.
Olivia looked past him to see the same boy that had been there for the last two Tuesdays that she had tended bar. Gus sat on a stool looking spritely, and perked up when he noticed her attention on him. He tried to wave her over but she shook her head, and looked back to Liam with her arms crossed.
“Well I’m off, bye prude.” Liam grumbled, pushing past her while he straightened out his apron and tossed it in her direction before exiting the tavern.
“Have a happy date, prick!” she called after him, throwing his apron carelessly under the counter and stomping on it for good measure.
“I was beginning to think that you wouldn’t show.” Gus piped up, finally drawing enough of her attention.
“I am only fifteen minutes late at the most. I can’t believe you are back. I thought that last week might have been a fluke, but yer back again.” Olivia said trying to mask her disappointment at his presence.
Gus it seemed was determined to be a regular for Tuesdays, and quite possibly more. Since their first encounter he had returned yet again, promptly at the beginning of her shift, happy as ever. Always with an obvious intention other than just to “see her pretty face”. Though he hadn’t managed to sway her with his boyish charm.
“Of course I’m back, I told you I would. Besides third times a charm and all.” Gus grinned showing his pearly whites.
Olivia rolled her eyes. “Well there will be no floozy cousin to entertain you this week, I’m afraid.”
“You know,” he leaned closer to her, “who I’m really here for don’t you?” he grinned suggestively.
“Unfortunately I do. But I am not looking to be in a relationship with a kid that just got out of Hogwarts. I can, however offer you a drink.” She said, deciding blunt was best.
“To ease the sting I’ll take one of those Bludgers, please.” He grinned weakly, his ego hardly bruised.
Shrugging Olivia turned around grabbing up a small glass. She picked out particularly strong bottles of absinthe and vodka and mixed them generously together; after all he wanted to dull the sting. Holding it away from her nose she set the strong drink on the bar before Gus, and tapped her wand to it, causing it to start shaking violently.
“You’ll want to be careful with that one, aye?” she cautioned, “It’s still quite early to get knackered.”
“Sure thing,” Gus said before throwing back a large swig of The Bludger.
She shook her head at his foolishness, and then went along to tend the other patrons of the bar. Hours later Gus was still there drinking and growing rather drowsy, in the next seat over. When her real regular, the nameless old man, arrived and saw the young boy in his seat he simply sent a jelly-legs jinx with out hesitation. Then casually took his place as Gus wobbled around on the floor already very inebriated from his drinking.
The tavern had filled steadily throughout the evening. All keeping Olivia busy enough that Gus wasn’t too much of a bother, after she had helped him back up on to a stool. Making him stay there with the help of a sticking spell.
“I really think that ye should be makin’ yer way home kid.” Olivia said, looking over Gus with concern.
“No, no. Alright perfectly. Nonsense!” Gus slurred, waving his fifth drink precariously around, letting it slosh around.
“Accio tumbler,” Olivia summoned the glass, and set it safely on the back counter, “ Really I have to cut you off so you might as well go. Send a patronus to that friend of yours.”
“So you remember him?!” Gus shouted.
“I think I’ll be on my way out.” The old man said, using Gus’s shoulder as a crutch to help him stand. “I’ll see him out for you, dear.”
“Thank you kindly. Just get him out of here to somewhere safely and I take a galleon from your tab.” Olivia offered.
“Of course. Could we use the Floo?” he asked taking Gus up by the elbow, and hoisting him to his feet .
“Right through that back door, tell the grumpy old man in there that I let ye, if he is any bother.” She said pointing to the swinging door at the back of the tavern.
The two men hobbled away, disappearing through the door letting it hit Gus on the way out. She could hear the faint sound of Mr. Talonsworth responding to his unexpected guest, and giggled lightly over the fuss. Turning back to the counter she set to replacing the empty wine and liquor bottles, tapping her wand on each so that they would refill themselves. Then opened up the record book that she had brought along with her.
“I’ll take a Bloody Hell.” A familiar voice ordered from the behind her.
“If you say please, Weasley. Though for an Auror, you aren’t very good at sneaking if that’s what you were doing.” She said smirking to herself still facing the back wall.
“It’s Olivia Hardie, right?”
“Yes.” She answered simply, closing the book.
Olivia completed making the drink, and turned to hand it to her new patron now filling the old man’s spot. She stirred the blood red cocktail then handed it to him.
“Ye’ll have to light that yourself if you want it on fire.”
Ron gaver her an odd look, but then shrugged tapping his wand to the alchol and watching it ignite. He took a small sip, wincing at the strength.
“As an Auror I assure you that if I were sneaking about, you would have no clue.” Ron replied, continuing on Olivia’s previous statement.
“Well that is… creepy.” She answered slowly. It sounded more like stalking than investigation when he put it that way.
“It is my job.” He replied, taking a long swig of the burning drink.
She scoffed, “To be elusive, not creepy.”
“Fair enough. How did you know it was me who sat here when you were facing the other way.” Ron asked obviously curious.
“It’s my job.” Olivia countered smirking, and crossed her arms over her chest.
“No really how did you know? You aren’t a muggle detective on the side as well?” Ron asked again, with the same stubbornness.
“No, I’m not a Seer or anything weird either. Just ye learn to watch things, aspects about the people from working here.” Olivia explained.
“So then tell me.” He coaxed with a lopsided grin.
“Sure,” she gave in and took a moment looking him over, then leaned toward him propping herself up against the bar. “I can tell from you long gait that you are rather tall. Something about the way you carry yourself screams non-chauvinist pureblood, so I could only assume Weasley, then the tired sigh when you sat down made it obvious which one. Only Aurors back from some sort of mission sound like that. Or maybe athletes, but I don’t get many.” She finished and looked up to gauge his reaction.
“That’s actually very impressive. You could tell from so little?” Ron asked, surprise evident in his bright blue eyes.
“Nah, I only heard the door jingle and someone in that area called out your name in shock. I’m quite sure your fame won’t fade, especially since you are an Auror now.” Olivia chuckled, refilling a nearby patron’s drink.
“They only know who I am because of Harry.” Ron said dejectedly, staring into his drink.
“Whatever you say. Still based on your career choice shouldn’t you have some of the real deductive profiling ability? Try me.” Olivia demanded, not liking the dour look that had overcome him.
Ron chuckled watching her as he downed the rest of the Bloody Hell, which caused the color in his cheeks to rise. She felt rather awkward just standing there as he gave her the once over. But there was something about him that she couldn’t put her finger on, that she almost didn’t mind being watched.
They had hardly spoken before, but talking to him felt easy. Something she rarely had with people other than family. Maybe it was now that she had, had the opportunity to talk to him with no pressure; and get a good look at him she saw things about him that added to the handsome that she never noticed.
“Woo hoo!” Ron called, waving a hand in front of her absent minded face.
“Huh, oh have you said something Weasley?” Olivia asked, finally shaken from her daze.
“You can call me Ron.”
“Oh okay… Ron.” She said trying to hide a faint smile that had appeared on her face.
“My turn yeah? Your accent from Scotland obviously, I’d venture from around Edinburgh. You work two jobs, most likely to pay for a living that you didn’t expect to be so expensive, which explains why you sleep at work. Pardon my boldness but you run for exercise, so you are either a muggle born or closely related to one.” He looked at Olivia, who still stood with arms crossed as if waiting to be impressed.
“You are kind of quiet, though when you do have an opinion I bet you can be rather abrasive. Stemming I guess from family issues, is it divorced parents? Am I anywhere near right?” he asked hopefully.
After his last observation, Olivia’s look had gone from one of subtle amusement to sullen shock. He had hit the nail right on the head, reminding her of something she had not expected from the friendly exchange.
“I’m sorry that was too much.” Ron said apologetically seeing the new look on her face, while scratching his neck quite unsure of how to deal with a distraught girl. Especially when he knew it was his fault. “Really I am.”
“Barkeep, some service please!” A woman’s voice called from the other end of the bar, interrupting but not ending the tension.
“Alright! Be right wi’ ye!” Olivia shouted, then quickly turned back to Ron his uncertain look not going unnoticed. “You were wrong on one.”
She closed her eyes and winced, “ It wasn’t a divorce, my mother died.”
Taking a deep breath, she gave him a last withering look before leaving him to deal with the restless customers.
A/N: YO! Hi again, I feel super sorry about the long wait stupid college got in the way. But no worries it's summer now so updates should be more often, I just gotta finish writing up the next chapter. Anywho, I hoped you liked it. I'm not entirely happy with this, but this was kinda an important bit of plot. So I'd love to hear what you think, what ever it is good, bad, or otherwise. Your input really matters and helps! Thank you for reading and please review!!!