Greater than GravityCharacters/Pairings:
Percy/Audrey; Molly, Arthur and Charlie Weasley mentionedRating:
4,393 words (MSW)Category:
Audrey's first encounters with the Magical World.Author's Notes:
I've never found Audrey's lineage stated anywhere official, but Ron does make a remark to his daughter Rose in the epilogue of Deathly Hallows
that implies that he and his siblings ended up with no pureblood significant others. I thought it would be interesting to come up with a scenario of how a Muggle Audrey might have been introduced to Percy's lifestyle.Greater than Gravity
Merlin: Ah, you know, lad, that love business is a powerful thing.
Arthur: Greater than gravity?
Merlin: Well yes, boy, in its way... yes, I'd say it's the greatest force on earth.- Walt Disney's The Sword in the Stone
The steaming hot cup of coffee in her hand was the only thing that mattered to Audrey as she maneuvered herself amongst the crowd on the sidewalk. She adjusted the strap of her bag on her shoulder and jumped to the side just in time to allow two younger people run past her.
Audrey huffed a sigh and watched as the teenagers ran off down the sidewalk and around a corner. Taking a moment to compose herself, she adjusted her bag strap one more time and smoothed her hand over her skirt.
When Audrey turned to her left to begin her walk again, she was startled to find that she bumped into a man before even taking another step. The cup of coffee in her hand began to slip from her fingers and in the time that it was happening, Audrey was already lamenting the loss of her afternoon pick-me-up when the cup felt as though it was hanging almost suspended from her fingertips. Curious, she looked up and found that the gentleman whom she'd bumped into was now standing next to her with his hand assisting in holding her coffee.
He was very tall and thin, with a neatly combed set of fiery red curls on atop his head, and he was wearing a long black cloak. The day wasn't dreadfully cold, but Audrey supposed it wasn't too warm for the outer attire.
"I'm terribly sorry," the man insisted and pushed glasses up the bridge of his freckled nose. "Really, I should have been more in tune with where I was —"
There was a loud clattering noise and Audrey looked down to see that a number of small coins had fallen from the man's pocket.
"Oh, you've dropped your —"
"Don't mind!" The man lightly placed a hand on her shoulder, effectively stopping her from bending down to help assist him in picking up the change. "Really," he said, "I have it." The tall man knelt down and quickly scooped the coins into his hands and stuffed them back into his pocket.
When he stood back up, the man brushed off his cloak and sighed. "I truly am sorry about that. I haven't made you late for anything, have I?"
"No, it isn't any trouble," Audrey shook her head. "Though, I suppose if you wanted to make it up to me for almost spilling my coffee, you could accompany me on my way to the Underground."
For a moment, the man only looked at her, but then his mouth broke into a sudden smile. "Certainly," he nodded and turned into the direction of the nearest station. "I'd love to."
Audrey smiled and enjoyed the new company as the two of them walked to the Underground. When they arrived, she took an amused interest in the show the man—Percy—made of looking around at everyone busting about the busy station. - FORTY-SEVEN DAYS LATER -
Audrey sighed quietly to herself as she walked across the living space and into the very tiny kitchen of Percy's small flat. In the short time they'd been together, she had come to notice that Percy never kept much food in his kitchen, but there was almost always something to snack on in the way of fresh fruit and chocolates.
Her goal at the moment was one of the apples, which sat in a small bowl on the counter. After picking it up, Audrey made her way back into the living room where she sat on the sofa and picked up the television remote control. As she had come to expect, the television was already set to a station that she usually liked to watch. One of the things she admired about Percy was his constant focus on work and projects; he almost always busy, and he never watched television. She found it incredibly endearing to have finally found a man who was even more focused on his work than she was, but who somehow still had time to spend with her.
Audrey relaxed back into the cushions of the sofa and began to eat her apple. It was odd that Percy would have been called in to work early that Saturday morning, but evidently, whatever it was wouldn't take very long, but it simply couldn't wait until Monday.
Halfway through her apple, there came a strange sound from over by the window, which had been left open before Percy left. It sounded like a quick shuttering, and when she looked behind her shoulder, Audrey let out a shriek: over on the sill, there sat perched a rather tired-looking grey owl.
Audrey dropped her apple, jumped up from her spot, and perched herself on the armrest of the sofa furthest from the window so that she was facing the owl. For a moment, nothing happened. Her heart was racing as she watched the owl glance around the room as if it were taking the place in, and then without warning, it spread it's wings and took off. She shrieked again and nearly toppled over while she watched the owl glide down to the floor and begin pecking at the fallen apple.
It was closer to her now, and Audrey's mind began racing with thoughts. Could she get rid of it? Would she have to wait for Percy to return before anything could be done? What would she do until then; simply stay uncomfortably perched on this armrest?
As she watched bird on the floor, a strange feeling began to come over her. It wasn't exactly a feeling of comfort, although it had the same warm feeling that comfort usually came with.What was that?
Audrey squinted her eyes and leaned over a bit, but remained careful not to lose her perch. There was something attached to the owl's leg; she was sure of it.
The feeling became warmer then, and Audrey found herself stepping down from the arm of the sofa and over to the bird before she could think twice about it. Very cautiously, she was within two feet of it when it picked up its head and looked at her.
When their eyes connected, Audrey was almost certain the bird was telling her to do something.
Very slowly, she reached out her hand, and the owl waddled over to her. What was it carrying?
It was strange, how she was able to do this, even though her head was screaming with protests, telling her that this owl would likely snap at her at any second. Nevertheless, when the owl stuck out its leg, Audrey's nervous hands took the envelope it was holding.Why on earth would an owl be holding an envelope?
Her breath hitched in her throat. Audrey's eyes fixed on the front of the envelope, where Percy's name was scribbled with an apparently hasty flourish. She couldn't bring herself to move when, all of a sudden, the owl spread its great wings again and lifted off the floor. Audrey screamed and jumped back, watching as it landed atop the refrigerator where a small dish was sitting.
The owl began to lap up what she assumed to be water.
She was frightened all over again. Her heart thumped horribly in her chest, and she slid back into her seat on the sofa.
Hopefully, Percy would not be too much longer.
When Percy entered the entryway of his flat, the first thing he did was place a pile of letters on a small end table, and hang his house keys on a hook by the door. After that, the removed his cloak and hung that on a hook that was just below the key-hook, then picked the letters back up and began to rifle through them. He was so lost in his routine, that until he heard her clear her throat, Percy had all but forgotten that Audrey would be waiting for him to return.
Percy knew from experience that when a person cleared their throat to get someone's attention, they generally weren't pleased. He braced himself for whatever this might be. He didn't think he'd been gone long enough for her to become angry over his absence.
Audrey was sitting on the sofa with her knees curled up to her chest. "There's a letter over here for you as well," she said.
As he had just picked up his own mail, Percy found it odd that there would be any mail already waiting for him in the house. He stepped into the doorway of the living room and froze when she held up the envelope. He would recognize his name in that handwriting anywhere.
"Where did you get that?" Percy asked. Had he forgotten to hide it in the desk?
Audrey appeared hesitant as she lifted her arm and pointed toward the kitchen.
Percy's heart sank into his stomach when he saw the ancient family owl Errol perched atop his refrigerator.
Upon seeing Percy, Errol immediately gave a loud screech and glided across the room toward Audrey. The pretty girl raised her hands over head to shield herself and screamed as Errol swooped over her and snatched the envelope from her hand. The owl then flew over to Percy, perched itself on his shoulder, and began to nip at his ear.
"Ah!" Percy exclaimed as he quickly made to grab the envelope from Errol's talons and cease the owl's attack. "Come on Errol, get off! Mum sent you to make sure I opened it, I expect!" He grumbled at the bird, "Don't understand why she didn't send it to my office! Stop that!"
Errol hooted and flew back up to the refrigerator while Percy glared at him.
All but forgetting the confused girl on the sofa, Percy broke the seal on the envelope and pulled out the letter within.
Sent Errol as soon as I could with the news. Charlie's been hurt at work. It seems he was trying to restrain Norberta after one of his colleagues accidentally tampered with her eggs and he's ended up with a broken leg. I always knew those dragons would be the death of him! At my insistence, he's come back to the Burrow so that I can look after him while he recovers. If you can, please make plans to visit. I think he would like that.
All my love,
P.S. Your father would like you to bring home something called cola when you visit. Someone told him it's a Muggle thing similar to butterbeer and he's been going on about it ever since.
Percy hissed and stormed over to his desk in the corner of the room.
Audrey found herself unable to do anything except watch this whole scene with a concerned interest. She had questions, not the least of which was now why Percy did not find it at all odd that there was an owl in his kitchen. Though she wanted these answers as soon as she could get them, she continued to watch without interrupting.
He was leaning over the desk now, a blank sheet of paper in front of him and a ballpoint pen in his hand. He scribbled furiously as the pen refused to work, and suddenly, Percy tossed it aside with a huff and bent down to the bottommost drawer of the desk. He opened the drawer and, to Audrey's astonishment, pulled out a small jar of ink and a feather quill.
Much more at ease with these utensils, Percy wasted no time in writing up a reply to his message and folding the paper back up. He sealed his response and walked over to the refrigerator. He was tall enough that he could nearly look at the owl at eye-level.
"Here you go, Errol," Percy said and attached his page to the owl's leg. Considering the thing had just attacked him not ten minutes ago, Audrey found his ease with this task very peculiar. Percy then moved over to the window with the owl on his arm, and let the great aged bird fly off.
As if he was just remembering her presence, Percy straightened the collar of his shirt and turned to face Audrey. The pretty girl that he had so come to admire over the last few weeks was sitting in the corner of his sofa with her legs curled up to her chest. The look on her face was almost unreadable as she watched him.
He could think of nothing to begin explaining what he'd just done.
"Percy," she started, "why did you call that owl by name? And why did it fly in here with a letter for you?"
Percy cleared his throat and stuttered over his words. "Well, er, Errol is... sort of — I guess what you would call a family pet."
She nodded slowly and pursed her lips. "Oh. So, your family has an owl... and he's trained to deliver your messages? Like a pigeon?"
"Sort of," he nodded, but was quick to add; "There's a bit more to it than that, though."
Audrey readjusted herself so that she sat up straighter with her legs crossed. She was clearly prepared to hear some sort of explanation.
He could feel his heart beating through the silence as he tried to think of how he should go about this. "I meant to explain this to you," he started, "although, I hadn't quite planned on telling you just yet." It wasn't what she had asked of him, but Percy felt this might buy him a few more moments to figure out exactly how he would answer her.
"Audrey, can I ask you — well — do you fancy me? I mean, how much would you say you like me?"
"It's just that, I meant to tell you this, but, well, it's quite a personal thing," he began, wanting to be honest but not give her too much so that she might jump to any sort of conclusion—anything she guessed would have certainly been incorrect. "So, while I had hoped I would tell you sometime, I just wasn't sure when would be a good time to do so. You can understand that, can't you?"
As predicted, Audrey nodded her head. "Well, yes, uhm, certainly." She was a bit stunned by how serious all of this sounded, but wanted to get through it. "Well, I suppose that, before that owl flew at my head, I would have said that I fancied you quite a lot." She was tripping over her own words now, and Percy had to smile while she continued. "And, now, I'm still a bit frazzled by the owl flying at my head, but, I'm sure that if the reason were understandable, then I think I would still fancy you." She cleared her throat. "Even a bit more perhaps."
For a second, Percy forgot that he'd originally had a reason for asking her feelings; her response was just so pleasing.
He cleared his throat. "Good!" He smiled and took a few steps over to the sofa so that he could sit on the other end and face her. "That's good," he murmured again to himself.
This made things much easier. And, as the thought had just occurred to him, he reminded himself that should he do this and she suddenly decided to panic, he could always reverse things with a few choice charms. Still, he did press on with the hope that this confession would go better than that.
"Er, Audrey," he folded his hands in his lap and looked up at her, "do you know what fairy tales are?"
"Yes, Percy, of course."
Percy felt a bit silly for having asked if she was familiar with the term. "Oh," he chuckled to himself, "right. Well, what I meant was, what is your favorite fairy tale?"
"What does that have to do with anything?" Audrey shook her head, and Percy couldn't decide if he liked or disliked that she was being so logical right now.
He simply shook his head, "Please, Audrey."
Audrey tried to appear as though she did not find this odd. "Well," she cleared her throat. "I suppose I really like the story of 'The Sword in the Stone.'"
"'The Sword in the Stone?'" Percy repeated aloud to himself.
"Sure," she insisted and went on in an attempt to refresh his memory. "You know, the story of young King Arthur and the Wizard Merlin and how — "
"Yes!" Percy cut her off excitedly. "I've heard that! Excellent!"
She couldn't help chuckling at his reaction.; Audrey would have never pegged Percy to care much about fairy tales. "Percy, what are you going on about?"
"Well, this just makes it easier, since you're already familiar with it," Percy said. He was still rather excited, and he didn't seem to understand that Audrey would have no reason to understand how her familiarity with that particular fairy tale made any difference.
"Audrey," Percy cleared his throat and looked into her eyes, "he's real."
"Who's real? King Arthur? Of course he's real, Percy."
"No — Well, of course King Arthur is real. No, I meant Merlin, Audrey."
She was silent, and Percy didn't want to say anything before she had time to take in what he was saying.
"You mean... like, Merlin, Arthur's mentor?"
"Well, sure, but Merlin: the Wizard
. He was real."
"What does my being familiar with Merlin the Wizard have to do with anything, Percy?"
And this was where it had all brought them. His having to run off to the Ministry this morning and his mother sending Errol straight to his flat and the way he had reacted, having responded to the letter immediately. It was time to tell her.
"Well, since you're already familiar with Merlin being a Wizard," he gave a short dry cough, "that means that... you have a reference for when I tell you that — that I am one. A Wizard."
Audrey didn't respond immediately. For a moment, she just sat there, watching Percy's blue eyes and his freckled cheeks, waiting for him to tell her the rest of the joke.
When nothing came quickly enough, she finally decided to speak up. "Are you joking?" She asked. "Are you having a go at me?"
Percy faltered. "What? Good heavens, no! With brothers like mine I like to think I have a better sense of humor than that."
There he went; he'd done it again. Just like the way he'd reacted with Errol's letter, Percy had said something that really wasn't doing any good except facilitating his girlfriend's confusion.
Audrey blinked and looked around the room. She tried to recall exactly what had led up to this strange conversation of Percy claiming to be some magical being. He'd gone off to work, she'd watched the telly, and there was that crazy owl...
"Percy," Audrey gulped, "what was in that... that letter that the owl flew in?"
He could think of nothing to say. Should he tell her about the letter? Something told Percy that if he simply jumped in with telling Audrey that his older brother had been hurt by a dragon — What on Earth
could that dragon have done that would make Charlie's break so bad that he needed to stay at home while it healed, anyway, Percy would have liked to know — it would have been a very bad idea, indeed. He stammered and forcibly restrained himself from using Legilimency on the girl. Attempting to read her thoughts on the situation would be no way to start a healthy relationship. That was, of course, with the hope that she wouldn't leave him after this.
Without warning, Audrey jumped up from her place on the sofa and darted across the room toward the desk. Percy realized that she must have been going for the letter, which he had left lying there after finishing his response to his mother.
Silently, Percy summoned the letter to himself.
The parchment was in the air, just passing by Audrey when her reflexes kicked in and she reached out, snatching the parchment from the air. After a split second, she gasped at having realized that she did, in fact, just witness a floating parchment. A bit frightened, Audrey turned to look at Percy, who was watching her with an astonished gaze.
"That was fabulous," he whispered. "You could have made a very impressive Seeker."
"What's a Seeker?" She asked feebly.
"It's... something to do with a sport — Never mind that," he shook his head. "Forget I mentioned that."
It was an easy enough request, and Audrey was still too interested in the parchment she was still holding to want to focus on whatever Percy was talking about just then. Tentatively, she turned the parchment over, unfolded it, and began to read.
It was a letter from Percy's mother. And it had one very important word in it, a word that, after reading it, she couldn't take her eyes away.
"Percy," Audrey sounded almost desperate in her whisper. "Percy, this says, dragons
"Yes, I know," Percy nodded and continued to watch her from where he sat on the sofa.
"He's my brother," Percy answered slowly and began to stand. Very slowly, he approached Audrey, who was still standing in the middle of the floor. "He works with dragons in Romania."
Audrey shook her head slowly, and Percy believed the look on her face clearly showed that she was trying to think of something. Percy hoped that she was beginning to believe him. "But... you work in an office," she said.
"Oh, I do," Percy smiled and stood straighter, puffing out his chest as he always did when he recited his job title: "I'm Senior Assistant to the Minister of Magic."
Audrey still appeared confused.
"Well, we can't all have dangerous jobs," he added.
She looked at the window again and asked, "What did you say in that letter you wrote back? You wrote back to your Mum, didn't you?"
Well, Percy was happy that she was at least talking as though she believed what he'd explained to her.
"Yes, yes, I said that I would be back at the Burrow"—her eyebrows knitted together and he amended—"that's where I grew up, I said I would be back there as soon as I could manage."
"As soon as you could, meaning, after you'd gotten me out of the house?"
"Well, I wasn't really going to just pop out while you were sitting there," Percy's eyes held a spacey look, as they usually did when he was thinking up some sort of plan or idea for work; "that would have been terribly rude. And I don't expect you would have jumped at the chance to accompany me..."
Audrey was silent for another moment, looking at Percy's eyes for any indication that the might be lying to her.
Quite surprisingly to Percy, she bit her lip with interest, and he could have sworn she almost smiled. "Can you really do magic?" She whispered. "Spells and potions and, and all of that?"
There was a squeaking sound from the corner of the room, and Audrey's head snapped to the side to look. She stood frozen, her eyes wide with amazement as the doors from Percy's small liquor cabinet opened up on their own. A glass and a bottle of an appealing honey-colored liquid came floating out. While hovering in the air, the bottle poured a good measure of its contents into the glass, and then the glass floated over to where Percy and Audrey stood.
"You can take it," Percy nodded to Audrey, who was still staring at the glass. "It's mead."
Very slowly, Audrey nodded and raised her hand to the glass. She was surprised with how, once she had her grip on it, the glass no longer hovered, but she could feel its weight, as if she had always been holding it up. She took a sip. There was no voice in her head even trying to tell her that maybe taking a drink from an oddly floating glass was even remotely a bad idea; it just felt right to listen to what Percy had told her to do.
"So," she exhaled slowly as she felt the delicious drink travel into her stomach; it certainly tasted normal, if not perhaps better than anything she had ever tasted before. "You don’t... have a wand?" Audrey felt silly for this being a concern of hers, as she was almost certain she trusted Percy with what he was trying to tell her. She hoped he wouldn't be too offended with her lack of knowledge and willingness to believe silly fairy tale rumors.
"Oh! No, I do," Percy nodded eagerly—he was smiling now—and produced a long wooden wand from the inside of his jacket pocket. "I don't necessarily need it for simple things, though, and I didn't want to startle you with it."
Audrey took another sip from her glass, and Percy took this to mean she accepted his explanation. "I think I passed startled when that owl flew at my head."
Percy laughed, and he knew his ears must have been turning pink, "He has a name."
"I'm sure he does," Audrey dismissed, but there was a playful smirk on her face, and Percy knew she wasn't intentionally putting down his father's owl. "Er, Percy," a serious look came over her eyes now, "could you make me forget this? All of it?"
A little hurt by the thought that she would want him to wipe her memory of his confession, Percy gulped. He had liked this girl, and hoped that she would be accepting of his secret. If he made her forget all of this, he couldn't very well continue seeing her if he knew that she would never be accepting of his lifestyle.
Regretfully, Percy nodded. "Yes, I could. Do... do you want me to?"
To his great relief, Audrey shook her head, the smile coming back to her cheeks. "No, I don't. In fact," she gripped her glass with both hands in an excited fashion, "I think... if you would consider inviting me along, I think I would like to meet your mum and brother."
He was unable to hide his own smile. "I think that could be arranged," he said with a chuckle, and then a thought struck him: "Audrey, do you know what cola