julu543 (julu543) wrote in quillerfluffers,
julu543
julu543
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I posted a little New Year's party fluff that I wrote for the fluffy challenge as my first post in my LJ. I started it weeks and weeks ago, but the end of term and the Christmas frenzy got hold of me and I just couldn't get it ready to go until I had some time to relax. I'm trying to put more non-angsty Percy out into the world. It was fun to write old friends. 

***

Penelope pushed her hair back and examined her reflection in the bathroom mirror. Turning her head from side to side, she contemplated the sapphire earring in the left ear as opposed to the tiny silver owl earring in her right ear. She liked the owls.

“Ready Pen?” Percy poked his head around the door. He already had his coat on.

“Have you told the sitter where we’ll be?” she asked as she fumbled for her lipstick.

“Yes, yes. It’s all done.”

“And is Tristan in his pajamas?”

“He’s already tucked in. Come on Pen, I want to get there first.” Percy disappeared and she quickly added a squirt of perfume. For some reason, she wanted to look her best for New Year’s Eve.

Walking through the hall, she grabbed her coat from the closet and pushed open the door to Tristan’s room. His nightlight illuminated the back of his curly head, which was snuggled perfectly into his white pillow. Percy had indeed tucked the bedspread tightly around him and even added an extra blanket. She tiptoed backwards and left a tiny crack at the door, then headed down the stairs.

“You’ve got the Floo address, Bianca?” Penelope questioned the teenage witch who stood at the bottom of the staircase as she pulled on her gloves.

“She’s got it. She’s got it. Let’s go.” Percy was standing with one hand on the doorknob, the other outstretched to pull her with him. She waved goodbye and let him maneuver her out into the snowy night, grabbing her arm to make sure she didn’t slip as they descended the front steps and crossed the sidewalk for the car at the curb.

Penelope smiled as she slid into the front seat. Having a Ministry car was one perk of her husband’s position that she loved. Percy slammed her door shut then climbed behind the wheel and turned the ignition key. The car pulled out into the busy London streets and she relaxed back against the soft leather. For just a few lovely minutes they were alone together in the dark. “So…how is he?” she said quietly.

Percy’s jaw tightened as he turned left. He always paid full attention to the road, even though she knew full well he could have taken both hands off the wheel and it wouldn’t have mattered. “He sounded okay. But even so…”

“I know. No talk about Quidditch. We could have had him to our house, you know. It would have been more private.”

“And run the risk of you inviting over someone from our days at Hogwarts? No thank you ma’am. You’ve had enough of playing Cupid to last you a while. I booked us a private room at Anansi’s. He can use the back entrance there.”

“It wasn’t really so bad last year when Karen Sturple came over.”

“It was a disaster.”

“I thought she was a lovely person.”

“If you like exotic dancers.”

“Percy Weasley, Karen Sturple teaches belly dancing at the Wizarding Community Center. She is NOT an exotic dancer. What about you setting up that appointment for him with Yolanda Kurtz?”

“Yolanda is an excellent financial planner. You know as well as I do that he was horrible with math.”

“Right. And it doesn’t hurt matters that Yolanda has enormous breasts.”

“Oh you noticed that did you?”

“You’re thoroughly transparent. You know that don’t you?”

The corners of Percy’s mouth twitched. “Only to you, Pen, only to you. Anyway, tonight it’s only going to be the three of us. Just like the old days. Absolutely no intrusions from outsiders. We can reminisce and ring in the New Year just like we did when we were seventeen. And one more time, we are NOT going to talk about the recent trouble. It’s best to just leave it alone, talk about things that are a distraction.”

They pulled up outside the entrance of the Leaky Cauldron and parked on the street. The pub was crowded with New Year’s revelers and they bustled through to the courtyard and out into Diagon Alley. Penelope pulled her scarf tight and slipped her gloved hand over the wide folds of Percy’s heavy coat. He walked briskly but kept a firm hold on her, as they turned left onto Crescent Way. Anansi’s glittered provocatively in front of them. The laughing giant spider that adorned its roof was outfitted tonight with a New Year’s party hat. Percy pushed through a large crowd of people around the front door. “Excuse me. Excuse me. We’re trying to get to the door. Thank you.”

As they stepped through the restaurant’s door the snow and ice melted away. They found themselves in a courtyard magically charmed to the temperature of a pleasant African night. Lush green plants with enormous pink flowers towered in the corners and gave off an intoxicatingly sweet smell. “Good evening and welcome to Anansi’s, I’ll be happy to check your coats.” The tall dark-skinned hostess was clad in a white robe covered with a silvery web-like netting.

Percy pulled at the fingers of his gloves. “The name is Weasley and I believe we have reservations.”

With a little poof of smoke their coats disappeared and a ticket fell to the ground. Penelope tucked it inside her bag as the hostess walked over to a podium and checked a long piece of parchment. “Yes sir, if you’ll follow me.”

They walk into the main dining room, which was lit by a giant glittering web overhead and passed through the dozens of white candle-topped tables until they came to a curtained wall. The hostess stopped and handed the menus to Percy. “The band will begin at nine o’clock for dancing and there’s complimentary champagne at midnight.” She nodded politely and pulled back the curtain. There at a small table, looking tired and slightly ruffled, was Oliver.

He smiled and stood. “About time, you two. I thought Weasley was never late. You’re a bad influence on him Princess.”

“Oh Oliver, Happy New Year, dear.” Penelope threw her arms around him and he hugged her quickly and somewhat awkwardly. They all slid into the private table and the hostess dropped the curtain.

Oliver turned to Percy and surveyed him with good humor. “Perce, you ugly old fool. What’s the matter? The Ministry making you lose some of that red hair?” Oliver grinned slyly and Percy chuckled. “I still have plenty of hair, Oliver.”

“Yes and you have a bit more forehead too. Are you still in love with this old prat, Princess?”

Penelope smiled at the teasing. “You know I am, Ollie.”

Oliver nodded approvingly, a hint of intensity in his eye. “Ah, then all is right with the world and I’ll sleep well tonight.”

“Oh Ollie, we’ve been so worried. It’s so unfair what they are saying…”

“Penelope!” Percy hissed.

“I’m sorry, Percy. But, oh Oliver, you can’t worry, you’ll be back. It’s going to all work out. I mean you are THE Oliver Wood.”

“Pen, that’s enough.”

“But you are! Three Quidditch World Cups, MVP for the past two years. This thing has been blown way out of proportion.”

“Pen, I thought we agreed about the Quidditch thing!”

“It’s okay Percy,” Oliver said with a small smile. “You always have faith, don’t you darling? Well, perhaps it will work out or perhaps it’s just time to retire. But in the meantime I’m here with my best mate and his best girl and it’s New Year’s Eve.” Oliver uncorked the bottle of wine on the table and poured them each a glass. “How’s the little genius-child doing?”

“Tristan’s doing fine. He’d love to see you.”

“Taught him to fly yet?”

Percy shook his head, “He’s only two Oliver.”

“Never too early.”

“Well, we are working on talking first.” Penelope said.

“And potty-training.”

“Percy, how many times have I told you, he’s still too little to worry about that.”

“He is not. My mother…”

“If I have to hear one more time about the way your mother potty-trained you lot…”

A blonde woman practically fell through the curtain. She was petite and dressed in a dramatic black robe with bright unusual jewelry. She looked at them, froze and held her finger to her lips. On the other side of the curtain they heard a frenzy of footsteps and bewildered voices. “Where did she go? Did she Disapperate? No way. We’d have heard the crack. The kitchen. She went out through the kitchen.” The footsteps gathered speed and then faded away. The woman heaved a sigh and sank down next to Oliver at the table. “Thank God I found you. That was just too close.”

Percy was looking imperiously over the top of his glasses. “I’m sorry, ma’am, but we have reservations for a private table here.”

“Yes, I can see you do. How are you Percy? Penelope?” The woman turned toward Oliver and pursed her lips in a comical sort of way. “I can’t remember you.”

Oliver looked from Percy to Penelope who were both gaping at the woman in shock. “I’m Oliver, Oliver Wood.”

“Oh yes. You’re that Quidditch player. I’m Luna Lovegood.”

A smile crept over Penelope’s face. “Luna Lovegood? Oh my goodness! I can’t believe it! The last time we saw you was…”

“Harry and Ginny’s wedding. That was a fun night wasn’t it? Harry looked so funny after you boys threw him in that lake. Did they ever find his pants?”

Percy coughed. “Um…yes, I believe they did. Well…it was certainly nice to see you again Ms. Lovegood. We hope you have a happy New Year and we’ll be sure to pass on your regards to Ginny and Harry.”

Luna smiled at Percy as if she had completely missed his implicit meaning. “Oh good. Lucky for me that I stumbled behind your curtain. I’m glad to see you both again. Penelope hasn’t changed at all.” She cocked her head and studied Percy closely. “Percy has - though I think in a good way. You always were very cute, Percy. Even in your prat phase, you were sort of a cute prat.” Luna turned to Penelope “Don’t you agree, Penelope?”

Penelope looked confused but then her eyes started to twinkle. “Um..well, yes. Personally, I’ve always thought he was extremely cute.”

Luna leaned forward. “Did you know you had a secret fan club when you were Head Boy?”

“Excuse me?”

“Yes. They were a group of second-year Hufflepuffs. Inez Godleburg was the president. If you ever decide to run for Minister of Magic you should look Inez up.”

Oliver burst into laughter. “Miss Lovegood, you may be my new favorite person.”

“Well, it’s not a joke, Mr. Wood. Percy should look up Inez. And he is rather cute.”

“You’re absolutely correct, Miss Lovegood. I’ve secretly been in love with him for years,” Oliver reached across the table and tweaked Percy’s cheek.

“Bugger off, Ollie,” Percy recoiled and rolled his eyes.

Oliver laughed heartily then turned to Luna. “You are quite perceptive Ms. Lovegood. Who was that following you?”

“Oh, just some fans.”

“Fans?”

“I’m a writer. Do you read books Mr. Wood?”

“Of course, he…” Percy stopped mid-sentence as Penelope’s arm seemed to move under the table.

“Actually, Miss Lovegood, if the truth is told, I only really read books about Quidditch. Do you like Quidditch?”

“Oh yes! Especially when the team is wearing red shirts.”

“Excuse me?”

“Well it’s just so much prettier in red. Ravenclaw always had blue and it blended in with the sky. I thought it was rather dull, didn’t you Penelope?”

“Hmm,” Penelope cocked her head to one side, “you know I never thought about it.”

“Good God.” Percy reached across the table and refilled his wine glass.

Oliver looked at Luna and nodded. “She’s right, you know. Ugly uniforms, you Ravenclaws had. You should have known better.” Oliver twisted his finger in the air and another wine glass magically appeared in his hand. He reached over and took the wine bottle from Percy, handing Luna a full glass. “So what kinds of books do you write, Miss Lovegood?”

“It’s a new genre - Muggle science fiction.”

“My father’s favorite author,” Percy said dryly.

“Oh yes!” Oliver nodded, “I’ve heard of this, outlandish stories. It must take great creativity to think up some of those plots.”

“Actually, most of my stories are based on true elements of the Muggle world. The research is always quite fascinating. I’ve just returned from America where I’ve been doing research on the Muggle sport of basketball.”

“What is basketball?” Oliver asked.

“Well it’s a team sport similar in some ways to quidditch or even Muggle football, however in this sport the quaffle bounces.”

“Bounces?”

“Yes, the important skill for the Muggles is to appropriately bounce the ball.”

“You are kidding. Princess, is she telling the truth?”

Penelope nodded. “Yes, she’s telling the truth.”

“Perce, can you imagine anything more comical than a bunch of Muggles bouncing a bunch of balls around?”

“Oh there’s only one ball.”

“Only one!”

Luna nodded enthusiastically. “Yes, and then to score the Muggles have to jump up and place the ball in a hoop in the air.”

“Oh well, that is harder. How high is the goal, twenty-five or thirty feet?”

“Ten.”

“Ten feet! Are you sure this isn’t a sport for Muggle schoolgirls? Percy jumps that high when the Princess yells.”

Percy smirked, leaned back and crossed his arms across his chest. “How did you come up with this research, Miss Lovegood?”

“It was brilliant fun. I posed as something they call a ‘trainer’ for the team. My job was to take care of players who got hurt. Usually, the Muggles are injured by minor things, twisted ankles or knees, cuts and bumps, things most magical mums can learn from a first-aid handbook. I, obviously, had quite the knack for healing ligaments and such. I spent a few hours a week at their games and lots of time taking notes.”

Oliver chuckled. “Quite clever. I think I will have to purchase that book when it comes out.”

“It won’t be for a few months. When it’s ready I’ll send you one. And for your quidditch team too, if you like.”

Oliver smiled. “Do you not read the paper, Miss Lovegood?”

“The Daily Prophet? Never.”

“Well, that would account for it. You see, I no longer have a quidditch team. I’ve quit.”

Luna tipped her head and frowned, “Really? But why? You loved quidditch and you were always very competitive.”

“Yes. Well, you see, I was a bit too competitive. I’ve gotten older, Miss Lovegood. My reflexes are not quite the same. But I still have the desire. I still crave the win. So when my own ability started to fail me. I relied on my magic.”

“On your magic? But, that would be…um, cheating.”

“Perceptive, as usual, Miss Lovegood.”

Penelope reached out and took Oliver’s hand and squeezed it. “And so Oliver did the bravest thing. He made a full confession and resigned from his team.”

“Making me the object of scorn for the entire wizarding world. That’s the reason my dear friends have a private room here tonight, Miss Lovegood and the reason I have to slip in through the kitchen. I’m pretty much universally disliked.”

“It doesn’t look like you’re disliked at this table,” Luna said matter-of-factly.

“Spot on,” Percy said fiercely, his eyes boring into Oliver.

Oliver blushed. “Yes, well I’m lucky to have a few good mates who care about me even when I’ve been a fool.”

Percy leaned in. “Everybody’s a fool sometimes, Ollie. A mate of mine told me that a long time ago, do you remember?”

“I remember, Perce.”

“I remember too,” Penelope said softly. “And I remember that when you care about something or someone, you don’t give up. I’d say that goes for people and quidditch.”

Luna nodded. “Being highly popular isn’t really that much different from being highly unpopular, Mr. Wood. What matters is having a few real friends.”

Oliver stared at Luna for a long while. And Luna stared right back. “Miss Lovegood, did my friends invite you here tonight to raise my spirits?”

“Oh no Mr. Wood,”

“Call me Oliver.”

“Oliver,” she said slowly, “I was absolutely uninvited.”

“Absolutely,” Percy muttered.

“Well, Luna Lovegood, I believe if that’s true perhaps my new year will be a very lucky one. Perhaps my fortunes are about to change.”

“Do you think so?”

“I think I do.”

Percy cleared his throat and spoke in an overly bright voice. “I’m starving. Let’s order, shall we?”

Penelope shot him a dirty look and then turned to Luna. “You must join us for dinner.”

Luna hesitated and scrunched her nose to the side. “Well, I wouldn’t want to intrude.”

“Oh you must stay!” Penelope said quickly. “You’re not intruding at all. Is she Percy?”

Percy looked over at his best friend and then at his wife. “No, you’re not intruding. Stay Luna and let’s have a toast.” He raised his glass to the center of the table. “To old acquaintances and to best mates and to never forgetting the days of long ago. To auld lang syne.”

“To auld lang syne,” they all repeated as they smiled and clinked glasses.

Loud drum beats came from the main dining room and then the strains of violins and guitars. “Ah, do you remember this one? The Weird Sisters used to sing this.” Luna said dreamily.

Oliver turned to Luna, “Would you care to dance? We might cause quite the stir.”

“Oh let’s do. Do you know how to do the funky owl?”

“Um…no.”

“I can teach you, it’s the latest dance craze. Now don’t be shy. I used to hate to dance but anyone can do the funky owl. You have to flap your elbows a bit like this.”

Oliver imitated Luna who was now moving her head stiffly from side to side, her eyes bulging larger than ever.

“That’s right,” she giggled, “Oliver, you’re very good! Are you sure there’s something wrong with your reflexes? You know I have this theory…” They disappeared through the curtain toward the dance floor.

Penelope turned to Percy who was shaking his head in stunned disbelief. “What just happened?” he asked as Penelope jumped up and peeked through the curtain to watch Oliver and Luna on the dance floor.

“It’s a new year and I think Oliver’s planets just realigned.”

“You can’t believe he could be serious about her. She’s…she’s always been…”

“Come here, sweetheart.”

Penelope stepped aside to let Percy peek through the curtain. “Good God, can you imagine how that’s going to look on the front page of the Daily Prophet tomorrow morning?”

“Spectacular, I imagine.”

“She’s going to drive me crazy, you know.”

Penelope wrapped her arms around Percy’s waist. “I know. Will you dance with me?”

He looked down at her with that warm half smile. “Not the funky owl.”

She laughed and flapped her elbows and pulled him into the middle of the crowd.









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