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Blessing in Disguise by alicia and anne
Chapter 1 : Unplanned
 
Rating: MatureChapter Reviews: 5


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A/N: The opening line, "Outside, rain drummed against the window.” Is taken from The Barcode Tattoo by Suzanne Weyn.

A massive thank you to Isobel and Sam for their help with my summary and titles. I love you both! :D






Outside, rain drummed against the window. The noise of it was reverberating around Audrey Goodman’s head, making the dull throbbing turn into a general ache.

Rubbing circles on her temples with her fingers, she gave a small groan as the action did little to alleviate the aching. Today had been dragging, the seconds passing like minutes, the minutes like hours and the hours passing like – Well, you get the gist.

All Audrey wanted to do was sleep, but instead she was stuck in this cesspit, the turning just before Hell and across the way from the gift shop. Well, it was the turning just before The Ministry of Magic and it was literally across the way from a shop that sold gifts, so basically Hell, although the owners liked to call this place ‘Cass’s Diner’. Audrey thought that ‘Cess Pit’ was a much better name for it, but she was banned from writing it on the menu’s, again. Her manager had taken to actually putting a notice in the staff room on the matter, and threatened to fire her if they so much as found out that she had done it for the third time.

Their threats had been pointless, Audrey knew that they wouldn’t fire her and they knew that she knew. It was hard to fire the girl who’s grandfather owned the building and the owners were renting it at a discounted price because they had hired her. So they were stuck with her until she could be bothered to move on and do something with her life, which was something that she had been procrastinating on, much like what she was doing now instead of working. The promise of sleep was still a few hours away and Audrey didn’t know if she was going to make it until her shift ended before she either; fell asleep, attacked someone, or just walked out. The latter two were the best options so far. The second option was going to win if the godforsaken people didn’t insist on talking to her, when she was trying her hardest to ignore them.

“Excuse me, can I have some service?”

Audrey moved a hand away from her temple and waved it in the direction that the customer’s voice came from, in an attempt to shush them. There was an indignant scoff and Audrey cracked an eye open to peer at them scornfully, couldn’t they see that she was in pain and their presence was making everything fifty times worse?

She recognised the guys face instantly, her mood perking up slightly as she stopped slouching. “Fancy seeing you in here, William. Is it Tuesday already?” she asked, her eyes taking in his scarred face, he looked tired and a bit worn out, but the smile was still on his face.

“I’m surprised you even know what your name is, let alone the day of the week.” Bill Weasley shot back, leaning against the counter and crossing his arms across his broad chest as he grinned at her, his long ginger hair and clothes were slightly damp from the rain outside and he was dripping onto the floor and counter. Audrey looked around the practically empty cafe, she didn’t understand why they even open when it was raining so badly outside? There had barely been any customers all day, mainly due to the fact that Audrey was serving them badly enough to make them leave.

“No Arthur today?” Audrey asked, not seeing the elder Weasley with Bill. They had quickly become regulars in here, both of them coming in when Arthur had his longer break on a Tuesday. He worked at the Ministry which was just up the road, so it was a convenient place for him to eat. Bill had joined his father and the two made sure that it was a regular thing, it just so happened that Audrey was forced to work every Tuesday. It was the one day that she hated less than the others, but only if the two Weasley’s came in.

“No, sadly he’s had to stay later at work and I haven’t got long before I have to go back to work myself.” Bill told her, wiping some of the drips from his face, which had fallen from his hair.

“That’s too bad. I like your dad, he’s hilarious.” Audrey told him honestly pushing her short blonde hair out of her face. The eldest Weasley was always coming out with some sort of joke or another, which would make Audrey chuckle. “How’s Victoire and Fleur?”

The grin on Bill’s face widened at the mention of his wife and daughter, the love he had for them was evident on his face. “They’re brilliant; Victoire is about four months old now and just always smiling. She’s absolutely perfect.”

Bill’s smile and enthusiasm were contagious and Audrey found herself grinning along with him, pleased that the ache in her head was beginning to subside slightly, Bill having cheered her up and making her forget to wallow in her own self misery.

“You should bring her in so that I can meet her.” Audrey stated, “Fleur as well, I feel like I’ve heard enough about them for them to be my own family.”

Bill gave a laugh at that and nodded, “I should, they’ll love you. If my mother ever met you she would probably try to adopt you like she has done to Harry.”

Audrey knew instantly that he was talking about Harry Potter. She knew of Harry Potter, who didn’t in the wizarding world? She had even seen him around when they were all back at school, but she was a few years older than him so never got a chance to ever speak to him, she had been in the year below Charlie so was quite a few years ahead of Harry. She knew that Harry had become an even more private person since the war and defeat of he-who-must-not-be-named, and was now rumoured to be working his way up in the Auror department.

“Would your mother accept a crazy waif and stray, with little direction in their life?” Audrey asked him curiously.

“That’s her speciality.” Bill told Audrey as he moved away from the counter and took a seat at his usual table, Audrey grabbed for a cloth and a spray bottle so that she could clean the table for him and Bill gave her a confused look as he grabbed for the menu. She didn’t know why he even looked at it, he must have it memorized by now and he always ordered the same thing anyway.

“Even someone who has a penchant for self destruction, and a general hatred for the world?” Audrey asked, spraying the table top and wiping the cloth over it, the most work that she had done that morning, or probably all week. She was glad that the manager was out the back cooking the food, as the regular cook had called in sick, so that he wouldn’t see her working, he might faint from the shock of it.

“Just how bad is this hangover?” Bill laughed, looking at the woman who gave a shrug in response.

“Let’s just say that I was close to bitch slapping you, when you spoke to me.”

“So, like any other Tuesday afternoon for you.” Bill grinned and Audrey gave a short fake laugh at him as she rolled her eyes and walked back to the counter so that she could put the cleaning supplies on them. She grabbed for her parchment and self inking quill so that she could write down Bill’s order.

“So what are you having today? Will you be having the usual or would you like to hear the specials? We make a lovely meal for one, it’s called the losers platter, and it looks like it’ll be right up your street.” Audrey grinned at him and Bill shook his head at her but smirked at her words.

“As promising and delicious as that platter sounds - I’m guessing it’s your favourite meal and that’s why you’ve recommended it – I won’t be dining alone, my brother said that he was going to be joining me.”

“Which one?” Audrey asked curiously, remembering the amount of Weasley’s that had gone to Hogwarts. She dreaded to think how many there would be when they all had kids. They were slowly beginning to take over the world.

“Percy,” Bill told her, his eyes glancing down at his menu still, which Audrey was thankful for as it meant that he didn’t see her small grin. She remembered Percy from school, he was in the year below her and she had the smallest crush on him just before she left the school. Audrey didn’t understand why she even had one on him, he was a bit of a stuck up, snooty, berk with an unnatural interest in rules and making sure that others followed them. Her crush had started when he docked points from her for swearing loudly at her friend in the hallway, she had realised back then that she was weird.

“Oh, it’ll be good to see him.” Audrey stated, doodling on her parchment for something to do. “How’s he doing?”

“He’s doing well,” Bill said slowly and Audrey could tell in the tone of his voice that he wasn’t completely telling the truth. Audrey didn’t ask why or try demanding answers from him, it wasn’t her place to know, but it didn’t stop her wondering what was wrong with Percy. Bill chuckling brought her out of her thoughts and she looked at him inquisitively, wondering what was so funny. He turned the menu to her and pointed to the middle of it, Audrey grinned as she realised what he was pointing out. She had hidden the words ‘Cess Pit’ in the desserts and so far Bill was the only one who had picked up on it, it had been there for quite some time now.

“Speaking of which, there he is now.” Bill stated and Audrey looked up as the door opened, and Percy entered, a gust of wind from outside following him in and chilling them slightly. Audrey felt a small somersault in her stomach as she looked at him, watching as he wiped his shoes on the doormat and began to unbutton his coat to hang on the hook by the door. He shook his thick ginger hair and droplets of water flew off of him, causing his hair to stand slightly on end. It wasn’t long before his hand found it and pushed it back down. His eyes glanced around the room and he spotted Bill quickly, moving towards him and taking a seat opposite Bill, as he took his glasses off to wipe them on his sleeve.

“Sorry I’m late,” Percy told his brother apologetically, putting his now dry glasses back on his face and taking the menu out of Bill’s hands as he looked down at it. “I had to sort a few things out in the office. The amount of paperwork I have is unbelievable. I thought that I would be able to finish earlier today, but it looks like I’m staying till late.”

“That sucks,” Bill told his brother, “we better get some good grub in you so that you can power through it all.”

Percy nodded his agreement and for the first time looked up at Audrey, who was trying to pretend that she hadn’t been staring at him. She could see the recognition flit across his face as his eyes skimmed over her, as though trying to remember where he had seen her before.

“You remember Audrey Goodman, don’t you, Perce?” Bill stated, which Audrey was thankful for, she didn’t have enough brain power going through her to do anything apart from either stare at Percy or stand in awkward silence, possibly a bit of both. “She was in the year above you and a Hufflepuff, if I remember rightly.”

Audrey rolled her eyes as she turned to look at Bill, “You know perfectly well that I was a Hufflepuff, you looked down on me enough from your high Gryffindor pedestal.”

“I’m sorry; I can’t hear you over the sound of my braveness.” Bill stated with a hand cupped at his ear as he leant towards her, pretending that he was finding it difficult to hear her words. If Audrey was less of a person she would have smacked him around the head with her parchment.

It turned out she was that less of a person, which caused Percy to laugh and Bill to scowl. “It’s not my fault that Hufflepuffs are known for being nice. Although, I don’t know how you got into that house? You’re the meanest Hufflepuff, I’ve come across. Aren’t you all meant to be loving?”

“I’m very good at loving,” Audrey told him, a suggestive smirk across her face and with a small waggle of her eyebrows. It caused both Bill and Percy to chuckle again and Audrey waved her parchment at them to get them to stop. “Now, will you please order so that I can go back to my mountains of hard work.” She stated to them, “This hangover isn’t going to cure itself.”

The men, both ordered and Audrey wrote it on her parchment before leaving them so that she could give the order to the manager out back, she returned after he grumbled at her unintelligently, something she ignored anyway, getting their drinks ready. Once she had waited for the kettle to boil she made two cups of tea, the Muggle way, and carried them both over to them.

“Did something happen to your wand?” Bill asked her, after they both thanked her for the drinks. Audrey let out a groan as she pushed her shoulder length hair back, scratching her head slightly as she did so, squirming a little in embarrassment.

“There’s a very high chance that I left it at home,” Audrey admitted to them. “Well, I hope I have and didn’t leave it at that pub. I was in a rush this morning because I nearly overslept, and Duncan brought me into work as he was coming here anyway. In my hurry, I didn’t check to see if I had it with me. Now, I’ve just got to hope that Duncan remembers to come and get me when we close.”

“That sucks, do you not have the Floo network connected here?” Percy asked her, adding sugar to his cup and stirring the liquid as he looked at her over the tops of his glasses, causing her heart to flutter slightly.

“Nope,” Audrey told him, shaking her head and wondering if maybe she was still drunk and that’s why she was feeling this way towards Percy, it was highly likely.
“There are no fireplaces here.”

“You could always use the Ministry fireplaces if you get stuck.” Percy suggested, still watching her over his glasses as though he knew that it was having an effect on her.

“It closes to the public before I finish work, don’t worry, Duncan will come and get me, I’m sure of it.” She wanted to believe her own words, but with Duncan it depended on what he was up to and if something or someone had distracted him. “You shouldn’t worry about little old me. I’ll just have to spend the night here if he doesn’t show up, curl up under one of the tables until morning.”

“I’m not sure I would wish that on anyone.” Bill laughed, looking around the cafe and Audrey had to agree, it wasn’t the most comfortable of places and she’s sure if she slept on the floor she might catch something.

“Don’t worry, I know where the booze is hidden, probably because I was the one who hid it there. I’ll just drink until I black out.” Audrey told them, honestly. She glanced at Percy, who was frowning a little as though he didn’t know whether she was joking or not, Bill laughed before turning to look at his brother and noticing the look on his face.

“Oh, she’s not kidding, Perce.” Bill told him, shaking his head and laughing again. “I would be surprised if she manages to get through the rest of the shift sober, or as sober as she’d allow herself.”

Audrey grinned, he knew her so well. “The minute I’m completely sober will be the day the world stopped spinning and Dragon’s don’t exist. Now, I believe that my manager wants me to bring your food out to you, judging by the glare he’s throwing my way.”

Bill and Percy had stayed at the cafe for quite some time, even though both of them had said that they needed to get back to work. They still engaged Audrey in conversation and making her time at the place go a lot quicker and her hangover and shift becoming more bearable. She knew that they probably only included her in the conversation, because they figured she had been eavesdropping anyway. She didn’t mean to be, she just found herself staring at Percy a few times, instead of cleaning and was caught by Bill.

Audrey couldn’t believe that she was feeling a little like a lovestruck teenager looking at him, it had only been what she thought was a small crush back at Hogwarts, but the way her body was behaving she would have thought that she had been head over heels in love with him. She figured that it was probably because this was the first time she had seen him in years and he had gotten better looking since they had left Hogwarts. Seeing Percy, and Bill, of course, was certainly the highlight of her day, even if at times she couldn’t stop her mind drifting to what it would be like to kiss Percy. Audrey had to shake herself a few times to get rid of those thoughts, realising that she was being a bit pathetic, but she couldn’t help it, especially because she had caught Percy repeatedly glancing in her direction.

Although, he was probably just trying to get her attention and she was being a terrible waitress.

She was almost sad when they both had to leave to go back to work and she would be forced to count down the hours until her shift ended. Although the warm smile that Percy had given her when he left and the glance behind at her, once he had left to go back into the rain, was enough to get her through it. She really hoped that maybe he would join Bill on a Tuesday, even if it was only because she would be able to look at him, instead of working.

Giving a sigh, she picked up the magazine, that she had hidden under the till, the other day in case of an emergency like today, and fought the urge to find her emergency stash of alcohol in an attempt to alleviate what was to become mind-numbing boredom.

A sigh escaped her lips as the door opened again, and a group of three young women came in, warm smiles on their faces and friendliness in their eyes as they greeted Audrey, who resisted a sneer in their direction. Audrey stood up and hid her emergency magazine under the till, as she prepared herself to take their orders, wondering how long it would be before the friendliness in their eyes, and the hopeful look on their faces were replaced with disappointment, and a sense of despair would radiate off of them.

“Hello, Darling. I think we’re going to need a few more minutes to look over the menu, we’ll call you when we want to order.” One of the women said, smiling at her sweetly and making Audrey’s eyes narrow into slits instantly.

It wouldn’t be long at all.

~~

Audrey shivered as she tried to find shelter under the tattered umbrella that she had found in the street. She realised once she had opened it, that there was a reason that someone had left it abandoned on the street. It was broken and barely stayed open and it was really starting to piss her off. Why would someone just leave it out on the street, where anyone could have picked it up and tried to use it. Why didn’t this inconsiderate person think of others, before abandoning something that would have given someone like her hope? Now, because of them, only one side of her was protected from the rain, whilst the other was saturated.

It was safe to say that someone was going to be seriously hurt before the day ended, and that person was going to be Duncan. How dare he forget about her! She had been out in the rain for half an hour, waiting for her roommate to show up so that he could take her home. She had told him what time she was finishing today and he knew as soon as he dropped her off, that she didn’t have her wand on her, so why was he being a douche and not showing up to save her?

She grumbled as the umbrella collapsed in on itself and soaked some of the dry side of her. She let out a shriek before cursing loudly and throwing the umbrella to the floor and kicking it twice for good measure. It was a stupid piece of junk that she hoped to never see again, no wonder it’s previous owner had abandoned it.

“Stupid piece of shit.” Audrey cried, throwing a look of intense loathing in its direction before pushing her drenched hair out of her face, hating that it was sticking to her face. She must have looked like hell, waiting in the rain willingly like a crazy nut job.

“Audrey?”

Audrey felt horror fill her as she turned around slowly and came face to face with Percy; he looked a little concerned as he stared at her from under the umbrella. She knew that he had probably just witnessed her viciously assaulting the umbrella.

“I – er –“ she began, not knowing how she could save herself from the situation.

“What are you still doing out here?” Percy asked her, moving close enough to her that she could take some shelter underneath his umbrella. It was a little difficult to do so as it was only made for the one person, but she wasn’t complaining about having him this close to her.

“Duncan didn’t come and get me, he must have forgotten.” She told him honestly, Duncan was going to have to pay for this. “I’ve got no other way to get home or contact him, so I was planning on waiting outside here until he remembered, or till the morning when we re-open. The manager kicked me out here to wait, so I couldn’t even hang around inside, there goes my plan to sleep in there the night.”

Audrey sighed again, wrapping her arms around herself and shivering again, “Nice umbrella.” She nodded her head slightly upwards, indicating the black umbrella and noticing the small pictures of cat faces on it. She had thought that they were just dots. “Is it yours?”

Percy shook his head slowly, shuffling on his feet and moving a little closer to her. “My secretary left this behind the other day, before she went on holiday. I figured I would put it to good use, I was also hoping that no one would see the pictures of the cats.”

“It’s working, so it’s already a lot better than that piece of crap over there.” Audrey stated, nodding her head backwards in the direction of the broken umbrella. “I actually believe that I got wetter using that one.”

Percy chuckled slightly and Audrey threw him a small glower, he responded with an apologetic smile.

“Sorry, did you want to use my Floo network to get home?” Percy offered and Audrey was a little shocked.

“You’re offering to take me back to your place?” She asked. Percy gave a shrug.

“Yeah, I don’t live that far away, just a few roads over.”

Audrey smiled at him and nodded, feeling a pleasant squirming in her stomach again at the thought of going back to his place. She could safely say that her day had taken a very good turn, something she definitely hadn’t been expecting at all, especially after serving douche one, two and three, who had taken thirty minutes to decide that they were going to be splitting a plate of chips between them. Maybe she would end up thanking Duncan instead of hurting him, like her original plan, because it meant that she got to spend time with Percy.

“It’s just this way,” Percy stated, heading in the direction that she knew the Ministry was in.

If they were heading towards the Ministry, it meant that Percy had gone out of his way to make sure that she wasn’t standing outside in the rain still, waiting for someone who may never turn up. She also noticed that he didn’t offer to apparate he directly to her house, choosing instead to take her back to his flat to use his ‘Floo Powder’. There may be a good reason for that, maybe he had never learnt to apparate? Maybe he didn’t trust side-along apparating? Audrey had taken five attempts to pass her own test, but it had made receiving her licence all the more worthwhile, it was kept in her purse, just about the only thing in it as she was poor.

Maybe Percy actually feels something for Audrey, if he was inviting her back and he had more than letting her use his Floo network on his mind?

They walked in silence, Audrey not really knowing what she could, even say to him and trying to stop herself from staring at him again. Especially when he was walking so close to her, his arm brushing against hers, shooting her a few apologetic smiles when he did so, it was like he was doing it on purpose.

“It’s just right here,” Percy said, pointing at a door before digging into his pocket and pulling out a set of keys. They walked to the door and he stood behind Audrey, leaning around her to open the door in an attempt for them to both stay dry under the umbrella. It made Audrey’s heart skip a little at the lack of distance between them and she felt her cheeks flushing with heat.

He opened the door and placed a hand on her back as he guided her into his flat, gently, he lived in the bottom flat and Audrey was thankful that she didn’t have to walk up any stairs, it was bad enough that she had to get soaked by the rain, but it was another to be forced into unnecessary exercise in the form of walking up and down stairs.

She heard Percy close the door behind him and she turned around to give him a coy smile, which he reciprocated as he placed the closed Umbrella on the floor by the door. He reached into his other pocket, this time pulling out his wand and waving it over himself to dry his clothes, before turning the wand on Audrey, so that her clothes instantly dried out. Audrey had been thankful for as she was still shivering, although she didn’t know if it was from the cold or the now close proximity that they were in as they stood in the hallway, neither of them moving to go further into the flat.

“Thank you,” She murmured softly, shuffling slightly on the spot as her hair ran through her, now dry, hair. Wondering if it looked terrible or not, not that she cared earlier when she didn’t have the time to worry about it, let alone brush it.

“You’re welcome,” Percy breathed, Audrey watched as his eyes glanced down her face slowly, before quickly snapping up to look at her because she had caught him doing it.

“The Floo is just –“ Percy began, moving his arm to point down the hallway, but Audrey cut him off by kissing him on the lips, taking him by surprise.

He wasn’t surprised for long, giving in and kissing her back as Audrey’s hands slid into his thick, soft hair, tugging slightly.

“What are we doing?” He began, pulling away slightly to look at her.

“I believe that we were kissing,” Audrey stated as though it were obvious, which it was.

“I barely know anything about you, your full name, your favourite things, whether or not you’re still drunk –“

“Just stop talking and kiss me.” Audrey stated, pushing Percy backwards against the wall as she claimed his lips with hers again. She could feel his glasses against her face and he gently placed his hands on her shoulder to politely push her away. She gave a groan of annoyance before looking at his face, seeing that his glasses were askew and his ginger hair was ruffled, from her hands. He had a shocked look on his face and his cheeks were tingeing slightly with redness and she couldn’t help but think about how adorable he looked.

“I’m not the kind of person that just sleeps with someone that they met that day.”

Neither was she, she would at least have a few more drinks in her before she let that happen, but she was at the ends of a hangover that she thought would never quit and he had saved her from becoming a drowned puppy, she couldn’t be held accountable for her actions when there was still the slightest chance that alcohol was still running in her blood. “Who said anything about sleeping with each other?” She asked him, a smile crossing her face at his slip of the tongue; it meant that this idea had been in his mind somewhere.

He spluttered a little at being caught out and she continued talking, not wanting to hear his excuses.

“I’m not the type to either, but you’ve got to live a little. Besides, you didn’t meet me today, we went to school together.” Audrey told him with a shrug, leaning forwards to give him another kiss before pulling away from him. The confusion was still on his face and his lips were puckered slightly as he watched her, “You docked points off of me once for swearing.”

She kissed him once more before pulling away again, moving her body closer to his; she knew that his resolve was broken when his hands slid down from her shoulders and to her waist again. “We’re both consenting adults, so I don’t see the problem. Just forget the world for a moment and give in to temptation.”

She wanted to smack herself for the cheesiness of her lines, but it seemed to do the trick, especially when Percy was the one who restarted the kiss between them. Audrey moved her hands up to his face, pulling his glasses off of him and placing them on the side so that they wouldn’t continue digging into her face.

“We can’t do this.” Percy mumbled against her lips as Audrey began to unbutton the buttons of her cardigan.

“Why else would you invite me to your flat to ‘use your Floo powder’? Especially, when you could have just apparated me to my home. If that’s not a line, I’m disappointed in you.” Audrey told him as Percy’s hands moved to stop her.

“It wasn’t a line,” Percy pulled away from her again and Audrey was the one to frown at him. “Although I’m worried that line would work on you.”

“You’re hot; any line from you would have worked on me. Now, are we going to do this or will I have to actually use your Floo network and go home disappointed?”

Percy’s response was to kiss her again, although this time it was his hands that resumed in undoing the buttons on her cardigan. Audrey knew that she would probably regret this in the morning, but the feel of his lips against hers and his hands pulling off her cardigan was enough to shut that part of her brain up, the part that others would call a conscience.

She never thought that her day would end like this.


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