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After Hours by llyralen
Chapter 9 : I Wish I Was The Moon Tonight
 
Rating: MatureChapter Reviews: 8


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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!

Additionally, the chapter title is a song from Neko Case.

Keira Knightley as Rose Weasley
Deborah Ann Woll as Lucy Weasley


Henry Cavill as Gorgeous Nigel Parkey
Chris Hemsworth as Scorpius Malfoy


 


Chapter Nine
I Wish I Was The Moon Tonight






 

 


It was less than a week before Victoire’s wedding and Rose was slowly going down the deep end. Blame the Ex. The Unflushable. The buggering arsewipe that just would not let her be.

Mitchell Phaeton was everywhere these days. In bookstore display windows. In the Prophet. On the side of the newly repaired Knight Bus. On posters at Diagon Alley. Lately, he’d also been in radio talk shows talking about his latest book and the citation the Minister of Magic had given him for outstanding contributions to the Wizarding academe.

His voice followed Rose everywhere. Even in her car. Everyone wanted a piece of Mitchell Phaeton. Especially now that he’d touched back on English soil.

He was a parasite. Or gum stuck in the bottom of Rose’s show. The universe was doing a rather good job of rubbing that tosser in Rose’s face. What? Did it want her to confront him? To yell at him? To throw sharp, heavy objects at him? To permanently take care of him and make it look like an accident? The world was being a little shit and Rose couldn’t do anything about it. Want as she might, she couldn’t tear down every poster, avoid every bus, ignore every newspaper or blow up every radio station that featured him as God the Son’s second coming.

What Rose needed to do was escape.

Of course, a trip to the Cauldron would be the first choice. But Gorgeous had already given her a good talking to on the topic of Mitchell Phateton, the bastard. She didn’t need a playback of it. What she needed was someone who knew absolutely nothing about the whole situation. Someone who didn’t know that she was halfway to the animal cracker farm.

She needed Scorpius Malfoy.

At exactly one o’clock in the morning, Rose lit up her fire and placed a call to the very tip of the Emerald Isles, not even caring if he tossed a leprechaun through the fire just to hit her.

“Scorpius!” she yelled in her shrillest, most annoying voice. “Scorpius! Wake up you little ray of sunshine! I know you’re in there. Answer the fire Sassy before I step into this fire and get you out of bed myself! SCORPIUS!”

“Die, hag!”

“Sassy! You’re awake,” Rose clapped to herself.

A lot of people found it rather strange to hear her special nickname for her special boy. Scorpius Malfoy was not your stereotypical gay man. In fact, he was probably manlier than most blokes in the world.

He was practically an albino tree trunk, what with all that height, bulk and blonde hair. Apparently, being an archeologist provided a good work out in addition to a fantastic tan. Scorpius looked like a modern day Greek God and he was the closest thing to Gorgeous this would ever had. Unfortunately for the female sex, he preferred to bat for the other team. The day he came out of the closet should have been declared as a national day of mourning and reverence.

Still, Rose rallied and decided that since she couldn’t shag the man without drugging him first, she might as well have him as a best friend.

She could hear Scorpius rolling off the bed, thumping around for a shirt, no doubt. A few minutes later, a groggy, highly annoyed face appeared in her fire. “I was asleep.”

“Was being the operative word.”

“It’s barely dawn.”

“Better too early than too late?”

“Why?!”

“I missed you?”

“Try again.”

“I wanted to confirm if you were having chicken or fish at the wedding. Because I can never decide and I figure I’ll just have what you won’t so I can pick off your plate.”

“I’m going back to bed.”

Oh if he wasn’t a thousand miles away she would thump him on the head right now for being so difficult. But given the situation, the best Rose could do was scream. Very loudly. “Oh stop being an absolute bitch and just talk to your best friend, you cow!” Alright, probably not the greatest approach to begging, but Rose was, for lack of a better word, loud. She had a loud voice. A loud personality. And a loud range of feelings that just couldn’t be kept in the proper volume. If she couldn’t scream, she would likely explode.

Still, the little nutter got a hold of herself and told her pressing frustration to bugger off for a moment while she tried to play the part of a normal human being. “Please?” she said in the meekest possible way. “We haven’t talked in four weeks. I miss my Sassy.”

“One in the morning. One AM in the bloody morning.” Scorpius looked as if he was seriously considering the idea of dumping a bucket of cold water on the fire, but given that he was never able to put Rose off of anything (especially not when she was so desperate), he just ran his fingers through his hair, gave a defeated sighed and resigned himself for at least a half hour of Rose’s complicated problems. He wouldn’t be wrong about it either. “Right, Rose. You have my attention. Please, tell me. What the bloody hell is wrong now?”

“Nothing is wrong,” Rose immediately went on the defense. “Everything is brilliant. You’re being paranoid.”

“And you’re being obvious. This is how you get when you want attention. So tell me already so I can go back to bed.”

“For Merlin’s sake, Sassy. Dash my hopes now, will you?” Why did she even think she could hide from him? Scorpius Malfoy, whose parents’ complicated marriage had sent him to ten years of psychotherapy. The man practically had a degree on it. Even with the distance and the lack of specific knowledge, Scorpius wasn’t an escape. He was confrontation.

“Let me guess. You thought that just because it’s one in the morning and we haven’t talked in four weeks that I would know you less. Am I right?”

“You’re a bastard, that’s what you are.”

“Do you really want to do this Rose? Because I have an early day tomorrow---“

“Fine. Bloody fine.” Sodding git. “It’s Mitchell.”

“I heard.” No amount of surprise, whatsoever. The bloody bucket of rat turd knew all along.

“And you didn’t call! You didn’t think of asking me how I was?!” And who bloody told?! But that wasn’t important now. It was probably Molly, that’s who. Probably called him up days ago. She and Scorpius were this little tag team of meddling and prying into Rose’s less than sound well-being. They weren’t exactly the closest of friends, but they could read each other’s minds when Rose was involved. Annoying, really.

“Figured you’d call me. And look at that? I was right. Again. What a surprise.”

Rose could feel it again. Oh if she could just punch her feelings in the throat, she would. It happened more often now, especially when she was alone. Tears! Bloody tears! How did she turn into this sobbing monster all of a sudden? Who was she now?! Lucy? “He told me he was wrong, Sassy. He told me he never should have left.”

Of course, there was no comforting tone in Scorpius’s voice. He was a dismissive little git. You didn’t come to him for hugs and rainbows. You came so that truth would use his lack of tact to punch you in the face with what you’d been avoiding all along. Again, bloody annoying. “The sod was right about that one. He shouldn’t have left. He was a bastard for leaving like he did and that was his loss. Too late now. Close up shop. No more pastries for you.”

“If I wanted to hear this, I would have talked to Gorgeous.”

“Who?”

“Straight Scorpius.” Sometimes known as Surrogate Scorpius as well. But that wasn’t the issue.

“Straight Me is right. You should listen to him. In fact, if you already had this talk, then why come to me with it?”

“Because I want to. Now console me hag. Better yet, trash-talk him. You’re good at that.”

“Not at one in the morning.”

“Come on!”

“FINE!” he shouted before catching himself. Scorpius cleared his throat and squared his jaw into a tight box. “He’s the muck that sticks to dirty, neglected toilets. There. Happy?”

“You’re going to have to do better than that if you want to go back to sleep.”

Lad was at his breaking point. You could tell. Might not be any color in the fire, but you knew his face was turning a deep shade of rage red. “I am not alone, you know,” he said through gritted teeth. “I have…company and I would really like to go back to him now.”

“Then do things properly or else you’ll never get back to shagging your boy-toy. Please Scor. At my wit’s end here.”

That was it. The flavor of desperation that sent Rose’s state from hint to neon sign. It was serious. Scorpius couldn’t deny it anymore. Empathy engaged. Result! “He’s really got you rattled, hasn’t he?”

“He said he was wrong. He said he never should have left.”

“I know. You said that already.”

“What am I supposed to do with that!” Rose’s voice broke. “How am I supposed to move on from that?”

“I don’t know?” Scorpius shrugged. “Drinking?”

“Tried it already. Didn’t work as well as I would have liked. Spewed all over the Leaky Cauldron.”

“Legend,” he smiled. “Sorry I couldn’t be there to see it.”

It was a sad attempt at making the mood lighter. Rose was in full depression and self-pity mode by now. What a sight she was. Blotchy and teary. All she needed was the swelling opera music and she would be a right tragedy.

“Part of me wants to call him up and yell really, really loud.” “The other part of me wants to call him up and talk things through.”

“Either way, you end up calling him.” Scorpius nodded. “I understand. But I really don’t know what you expect me to tell you, love. Even if I did, you never follow my advice, anyway.”

“I promise to be a good little drone this time. Just tell me what to do.”

He gave a deep sigh. “Do the right thing, then.”

“I begged you to talk to me for this?” No bloody use at all.

Scorpius just laughed. He knew well enough that Rose didn’t mean any of it. “I don’t know if I’ve said this enough. But it’s one in the morning, Rose. Forgive me if I can’t be your personal sage right now.”

“Oh don’t pretend that it’s too early. You’re just doing that on purpose to get me to make my own decisions.”

“Can’t we just agree it’s both and get on with our lives?”

“But I can’t make my own decisions, Sassy. Every time I do, it turns to cat pee on my doormat. The kind that’s been there for ages. Dried up, yellow, smell sticking to your clothes.”

“Then let the smell stick to your clothes. Only way you’ll learn.” Riddles. Sodding riddles before the crack of dawn. And he said he couldn’t be sagely.

“I don’t know why I call you anymore. You’re useless.”

“Everything will be fine,” Scorpius paid no mind to her. “What’s the worse that could happen? You get back together. Not bloody likely unless you’re stupid enough to do that. Here’s hoping you’re not.”

“Die, hag.”

“I love you too,” he blew her a kiss. “See you at the wedding.”

Well that was a waste of good floo powder.

***






Though Lucy was pretty much a bowl of mushy peas when it came to matters of the heart, the fact remained that she was fairly well-equip when it came to defending herself against the dangers of walking around London at 2am in the morning.

Percy had always been a bit of a worrywart when it came to Lucy moving into the city. He wasn’t like that with Molly. But when it came to his little Lucy, Percy Weasley felt as if it was like sending a baby chic into a wolf’s den. Self-defense classes were the only thing to calm his mind. Muggle and wizarding. It was brilliant. Probably the most assertive thing Lucy had ever done in her life. They’d given her the confidence to stroll away her insomnia without an inkling of fear or hesitation.

It was quiet in this part of town. So quiet that the only thing you could hear were the dogs howling and the underground rumbling. It was as quiet as London could possibly get and it only made Lucy smile. Of course, it was much quieter in the small village she’d grow up in. The country was the perfect place to sleep. But there was something beautiful, almost magical, about London in the after hours. The excitement was still there. The hype and the busyness. But there was also a strange sense of serenity. Walking around, it felt like discovering a new world. Walking into a fairy tale made entirely of twinkle lights, stars and laughter.

Lucy was on her way to the nearest apparition point so that she could pop into London Heathrow. There was something about the airport, watching people picking up and dropping off, that made her feel sleepier. It was her version of counting sheep. She could stay there for hours if she wanted to and no one would notice the girl with pajamas under her coat.

Half way into her walk, Lucy felt the sudden hunger for a midnight snack.

Now, she usually kept a packet of crackers in her coat, but in this instance, Lucy fished around her pockets to find only crumbs. Had she not refilled her stash after the last walk?

It was a good thing she’d brought her purse. She popped into the corner shop for a small sandwich or a cookie. But when she walked it, she got a shock instead. Lucy immediately turned around with every intention of turning back and walking away as quickly as possible. Too late.

Nigel was at the counter.

“Lucy?” he called out as soon as he noticed her, pajamas and all. “Lucy, is that you?”

Taking a deep breath, she composed herself and turned around. Smile and all. “Nigel! What are you doing here?”

“Welcome to Wilbert’s Grocery and Apothecary. My second job.”

Had he worked so close to her flat all this while? Lucy couldn’t say anything else. She just walked up to the counter, forgetting what she even wanted to get.

“So what can I do for you at…bloody hell. Is it already 2am? What are you doing out so late?”

“I can’t sleep. I take walks when I can’t sleep.” She tried to seem as calm as possible.

“I can help with that. Do you need a sleeping draft?”

“No. I’m off to Heathrow actually. I go to Heathrow when I can’t sleep.” Why couldn’t she speak proper sentences in front of this man.

“Seems as if you have quite a busy schedule then. Wouldn’t want to keep you. Was there anything you needed?”

“Why would you ask that?!”

“You did come into the shop.”

She did. She did come into the shop. To get nothing apparently. What was she even supposed to get? What did she need? “Company,” she blurted out. “Company…would be nice. But you’re working. I shouldn’t have bothered you. I’ll be going now.”

“Company, yeah? I can help with that too,” Nigel stood up from his seat. “Just give me a few minutes to close up. Meet you there?”

A nod.

The rest was a blur.

Meet Me at Heathrow. If someone were ever to make a novel of their relationship (for she was certain it would end up there), that would be the title. Meet Me At Heathrow.

It didn’t take long Nigel to get there. True to his words, a few minutes after she arrived, he popped into the airport. Two cups of coffee in his hand.

“Figured you’d want to stay awake for our first date,” he handed her one. “I didn’t know how you took your coffee so I had to make a guess. Two sugars and a milk.”

“Close,” Lucy blushed. “One sugar. Milk…and creamer.”

“I’ll remember that for next time,” he nodded. “Shall we?”

Lucy lead the way and he followed just beside her. She didn’t know whether or not they should be holding hands. She couldn’t remember if that was what you did at first dates. Did you hold hands? Perhaps not. Lucy kept the thought to herself, deciding if he wanted to hold her hand, he would eventually. But one thing was for sure. If he did make the move, it would not (in the least bit) be awkward.

Much unlike their silence.

“So, this is it?” Nigel suddenly spurted out. “This is what you do when you can’t sleep?”

“Pretty much. That’s my usual seat, right there.” Lucy pointed to one near the arrivals gate. It was always filled to capacity, but the last row was always empty. People preferred to stand rather than sit back where they couldn’t see that loved one step out of the plane. That was where Lucy liked to sit. Seeing people so eager, so happy, just calmed her down.

She took a sip of her coffee. “So, what do you think?” she said as she sat down.

“It’s lovely.”

Lucy’s blush grew a deeper shade of red as he looked at her. There was really nothing like a first date.

“So…” she looked at her pointed toes and drummed her fingers on the coffee cup.

“So indeed,” Nigel gulped. “I’ll be upfront. I haven’t been on a first date for a long time. This would be the first in…a while.”

“I find that hard to believe.”

“It’s true. I haven’t been on a first date…any date to be exact, since I broke up with my last girlfriend.” A look of embarrassment suddenly washed over him and Nigel tried to hide it by sipping from his cup. “Very smooth Nigel. Talking about an ex during the first date. Stop me if you’ve had enough. Really.”

“No. I don’t mind. Really. I’m rather curious actually.”

“You can’t be serious.”

“I am. Go ahead. I mean, if you don’t mind.”

For a moment, Nigel looked as if he couldn’t believe how mad Lucy was being. But she couldn’t believe that he hadn’t been out for as long as he was implying. After all, he was Gorgeous Nigel Parkey, the man who single handedly brought Ladies’ Night to every night of the Leaky Cauldron.

Nodding her head, gesturing for him to go on, Nigel took a deep breath set is cup up on an empty chair and gave a deep sigh. “Not really much to tell. It was the end of a long relationship and I hadn’t felt up to dating since. Well…until now…obviously.”

“What changed your mind, then?”

“The right girl?” Now it was Nigel’s turn to blush. “Heard it as soon as I said it. Pure cheese on toast. I am the biggest twat in the history of the world.”

“No, no,” Lucy smiled, trying to reassure him. “I think it’s sweet. Just surprised. Not exactly the most emotionally stable of girls. I’ve been told that I’m the reason why we drink so much.”

“Sure that’s not true. You’re brilliant.”

Lucy was a pretty girl. She sat in a pub alone; guys came to chat her up. That was just how things happened. But the way Nigel said it. It didn’t sound like a chat-up line. It sounded candid. Sincere. Almost as if he hadn’t meant to say it out loud. And by the look on his face, that assumption wouldn’t be so far off.

“For what it’s worth, I am really glad you decided to keep me company. You didn’t have to.”

“No problem. Ask any time. You know where to find me now, after all.”

This was it. The moment. The time. The chance to make an utter arse of herself. Oh not again! She could feel it. Like vomit, it was coming out and it could not be stopped. For goodness sake! “Victoire’s wedding!”

“What?”

“Victoire’s…wedding,” she said. “I would need company…at Victoire’s wedding.”

Lucy couldn’t bear to look. This was it. Like everyone in the world, Nigel was about to come to the conclusion that she, Lucy Weasley, was an absolute nutter.

“I was hoping you’d ask…wait, no…I mean it would have looked wrong…if I asked…since I’m not even invited that is,” he said before taking a deep breath and stopping himself because he could make a further fool of himself. “It’s a date.”

There it was again. Her old friend. Hope.
 


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