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One Crazy Moment by nott theodore

Format: Short story
Chapters: 6
Word Count: 16,218
Status: COMPLETED

Rating: 15+
Warnings: Strong Language, Scenes of a Mild Sexual Nature, Substance Use or Abuse

Genres: Fluff, Humor, Romance
Characters: OC, OtherCanon
Pairings: OC/OC

First Published: 11/13/2012
Last Chapter: 04/14/2013
Last Updated: 04/14/2013

Summary:
Amazing banner by SwissMiss@TDA!




Lucy was always the crazy one.

Me? I’m the sensible one; the prefect, the Head Girl, the responsible Ministry official. 
 
So why was I the one who found myself eloping with a dragon handler who may or may not have been a member of a popular rock band?


Chapter 1: The Interview
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Although I've never been the sort of person who obsesses over her appearance, I firmly believe that it's extremely important to dress professionally for work. Today I fasten a necklace around my neck and then smooth down the skirt suit I’m wearing. After a final glance in the mirror, I nod, satisfied that I meet my own exacting standards.

Stepping into the fireplace, I floo to the Ministry. There's still have half an hour before my day starts but I always like to start early – it gives me time to get everything ready for the day ahead. It must be something that I inherited from my Dad, because hardly anyone else is here at this time in the morning. A few aurors are milling around, probably just finishing the night shift. I catch a brief glimpse of my father talking to the Minister himself as the lift doors clang shut and the lift starts moving.

I’m on my own in the lift, which isn’t unusual for this time of day. One office memo is zooming about above my head, and just as I’m about to send it up in flames for being so annoying, the lift stops and a cool voice says “Level Four, the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures.”

This is where I work, so I step out. I’m the head of the Dragon Research and Restraint Bureau. It’s actually a very interesting job. The regulation for dragons in this country is fascinating when you compare it to that of other countries. My Uncle Charlie is a dragon handler in Romania, so I always talk to him about it when I get the opportunity. It isn't often that I see him, but last Christmas he came over and we discussed the topic for a few hours. I could have talked much more extensively about it, but he fell asleep. I think it was a combination of his age and Nana Weasley’s cooking.

Although I find my job fascinating, most of my family start talking loudly about something else whenever I mention it. Mum and Dad are quite happy to talk about it with me, but once Lucy found out that I didn't actually do anything with dragons she decided that it wasn’t worth her knowing about. I don’t particularly mind, because I’m not crazy enough to want to work with dragons. My Uncle Charlie is covered in burns and cuts and he looks about ten years older than he is because of it. We do have to work with the dragon handlers, though. Every once in a while one of them will do something stupid or come up with a crazy idea, and then we have to have meetings with them about it.

That’s what I’m doing today, as a matter of fact. I have a meeting with a dragon handler called Cyrus Campbell in an hour. He wants to open a dragon training centre here in Britain, so that British handlers don’t have to go abroad to work with dragons. The application he submitted to the department included three rolls of parchment explaining exactly why he should be allowed to set up an establishment like that. It was quite impressive, I have to admit. But I since still think the idea is completely crazy and barely feasible, he’s going to have a very hard job convincing me today.

One of the advantages to being the head of the Bureau is that I get my own private office. It’s not really very private, since the walls are only thin, but it’s better than nothing. I don’t really appreciate the office gossip which goes on when you’re sharing a work space with other people (in other words, what happens as soon as I close my office door), especially since a lot of what is said concerns my family.

Ever since Uncle Harry defeated Voldemort thirty years ago, people have wanted to know everything about the Potters and the Weasleys. It doesn’t particularly help that a number of my cousins are currently in careers which mean their faces frequently grace the pages of magazines, and everyone wants to know all about them. When I was out sharing desks with the others, people would always ask me about them and as soon as anyone heard my name, they tried sucking up to me. I much prefer being in my own office where I can avoid all that.

As you might be able to tell, I am not really a people person. The people I get on best with are my parents (which even I realise, at the age of twenty-six, is rather sad) and my best friend, Felicity, who I shared a flat with until last year, when she moved in with her boyfriend. I hardly ever see my sister Lucy – normally it’s just at family gatherings (which, admittedly, happen every month). Even as children we were never close, but now that our lives are completely different, we have very little in common. In fact, our conversations consist of more awkward silences than actual speech.

Much to Nana Weasley's disappointment, I don't spend much time with my cousins either. They think I take life too seriously; I think they don’t take life seriously enough. My favourite aunt, the one I get on best with, is my Aunt Hermione. She’s very high up in the Ministry and is a very sensible and logical person. She did marry Uncle Ron, though, so I’m not sure I’d entirely trust her judgement.

I skim quickly through Campbell's application so that I'm confident discussing it with him, and then pour myself a cup of coffee. After everyone arrives (thankfully on time) I brief my team on today's schedule.

“Oh,” I add finally, remembering something. “If any of you see a handler, will you send him to my office? I’ve got a meeting with him in half an hour.”

“What’s his name?” Mona, one of the newest recruits to the office, asks me.

“Oh, Campbell. Cyrus Campbell, I think it was.”

I can tell you one thing; I did not expect the reaction this gets. Mona and the other woman who works in the office, Cynthia, both scream, and even some of the men look surprised.

“Erm, yes, I’m sure. Why?”

“Molly, you know who Cyrus Campbell is, right?” Mona asks very seriously.

“Yes, of course I do. He’s a dragon handler who wants to set up a dragon training camp in Britain. Do you think I wouldn’t read the application, when I’m meeting him today?” I’m actually a little offended by this suggestion, because everyone I’ve worked with knows that I do my job properly, but Cynthia is shaking her head, and Mona looks completely disbelieving.

“No, Molly. Cyrus Campbell is a dragon handler who used to be the lead singer of The Unspeakables.”

I blink. This name rings a bell (and not because of the Department of Mysteries), but it takes me a moment to realise why. Hayley used to have a poster of The Unspeakables by her bed when we were at Hogwarts. She went to see them once over summer in fifth year, and it was four months before we got her to have a conversation about anything else. Even Dom got fed up with it in the end.

Mona and Cynthia are looking at me, obviously waiting for some sort of reaction.

“Oh. That’s cool?” I offer.

Cynthia rolls her eyes and Mona looks horrified, but I don’t have time for their ridiculous excitement now.

“Listen, I need you to get back to work. Mr Campbell will be here in twenty-five minutes, and I will be in my office until then.”

I’m tempted to close the blinds as I step back inside my sanctuary but I have a feeling that Mona and Cynthia might attack Campbell if I give them the chance, so it’s best I know when he arrives. Through the clear glass I can see Mona pulling out a compact mirror and applying another layer of make-up, and Cynthia is using her wand to make sure her curls are still in place. Some people have no idea how they’re meant to behave at work. Dad always says that it’s impossible to get half of the people in the Ministry to behave like professionals, and I have to agree with him.

My suspicions are confirmed when Campbell actually arrives, five minutes before his appointment is due to start. Mona and Cynthia stand up immediately and rush over to him, gushing like a couple of teenagers (in all fairness, Mona is still a teenager, but Cynthia’s in her thirties, so she has absolutely no excuse). There are three witches stood outside in the corridor who look ready to pounce as soon as he leaves. Even Mike, who is normally the most laid-back person I know, is sitting up straight in his seat and seems to be trying to look cool.

Sometimes I despair for my co-workers. I never did understand this obsession with famous people that seems to be everywhere. Maybe it’s because I’ve grown up in a famous family, and I know that celebrities are just like everyone else (although I think the majority of my cousins have an extra dose of craziness), but personally I don’t see what’s so special about them.

Campbell doesn’t seem to be anything extraordinary. He’s attractive enough, of course (I doubt that he would have been so famous if he wasn’t); tall and muscled (what dragon handler isn’t?) with longish black hair and a bit of stubble. He seems completely used to this sort of reaction, but it’s time for the meeting anyway.

He looks up at me and nods, grinning.

“It was nice meeting you, ladies,” he winks at Mona and Cynthia, who are now giving me death stares (and probably plotting more ways of getting Campbell alone as soon as our meeting’s finished). Typical rock star.

I sit down behind my desk and wave my wand towards the windows, pulling down the blinds as he sits down. Two of the women who were waiting in the corridor have walked into the office in the hopes of trying to see him again, so it seems like the best option if I want any chance of conducting this meeting in a professional manner.

“I’m sorry about my colleagues, Mr Campbell. I think they’re just a little…star struck.”

“Don’t worry about it; I get that all the time. And please, call me Cyrus.” He flashes me a smile of extremely white teeth.

“Er, yes, okay. Well, let’s get started, shall we?” I ask him. I don’t normally use first names unless I know the person well. Certainly not with a dragon handler who used to be a rock star. I’ll just conduct the rest of the meeting without actually addressing him by name. Yes. Much more professional.

“Of course,” he says. “After all, that’s why I’m here.” He flashes another smile at me before launching into an extremely enthusiastic pitch as to why he should be allowed to set up a dragon training centre in Britain. Punctuated by lots of smiles, which he has obviously practised a lot. He would have had to, being a rock star, I guess. He talks for ten minutes straight, his eyes are bright and his face is animated with his idea. It’s times like these that I thank Merlin I’m the head of the Bureau. If Mona or Cynthia was conducting this interview, they would give in immediately. Dragons would already be flapping around the countryside and breeding like rabbits. An interview would simply be a way of ensuring they got the chance to meet the famous Cyrus Campbell. They would probably agree to anything he asked them to do (and sadly, I do mean anything) because of his supposed good looks and the amount of money in his Gringotts account (which I was guessing would be a lot).

Not that he isn’t good looking. He is – he has to be, being an ex-rock star. His skin is actually pretty good for a dragon handler. Uncle Charlie’s skin is absolutely awful; all leathery and wrinkly (though that might be because of his age) and he has scars and burns all over. Campbell has a suspicious lack of scars and burns, considering he’s been a dragon handler for four years now. Maybe that means that he’s a really good dragon handler. Or that he doesn’t actually do much handling. Either option is entirely possible, but I suppose I should go with the first, since he seems pretty passionate about what he’s saying.

But I digress. Professionalism, Molly.

When he’s finished speaking (after another flash of his teeth), I start speaking.

“Well, I've read your application very thoroughly and I must admit that it's very impressive. Your plan is very well thought out and I can tell that you've put a lot of time and effort into it, but I'm afraid I still have a lot of reservations about it. I can’t imagine that it would ever be possible to begin a dragon training centre in Britain without breaking the International Statute of Secrecy. The Ministry would be faced with the biggest challenges since the Second Wizarding War. Do you really think that your plan would justify such a dramatic change in our world?”

“Well, I like a challenge. It makes life more interesting. Don’t you think the Ministry could handle it?” he asks, flashing me yet another smile. I didn’t realise when I was getting dressed this morning that I was going to need sunglasses for this meeting. I’m going to be blinded before long.

“It’s not a question of what the Ministry can handle, Mr Campbell.” Damn, used the name. Cue the –

“Call me Cyrus, please.” Knew it.

“It’s not a question of what the Ministry can handle,” I repeat. “What the Ministry can handle is really none of your concern. I am asking you whether you can justify the resources that the Ministry would have to dedicate to such an establishment.” My tone is getting colder now, but I’m getting impatient. Campbell is trying to charm me into this, just like he would with any other woman. It’s a shame for him that I’m one of the only witches of my age who are completely unaffected by his looks. Therefore his application will not succeed.

Well, those two things don’t necessarily follow each other, but they’re both true anyway.

Campbell actually looks surprised at my tone. Perhaps he’s actually realised that his charm is not going to work. And that he’s not got a chance with his stupid dragon training centre.

“I think it can be justified. This centre would give every British dragon handler a chance to learn the skills they need and do the job they love without leaving the country and their families behind them. I think that would be more than enough justification for any extra work that the Ministry had to do.”

“Don’t you think that, if someone is passionate enough to become a dragon handler, then they would also be prepared to live and work abroad to do that? British wizards have done the same since dragon handling was outlawed in this country. I can’t really see any need for a dragon training centre here in Britain.”

His face drops. He actually looks disappointed. I almost feel sorry for him. Except that it really is a ridiculous idea.

“Well, I can see you’re not going to be persuaded. There’s not much point in wasting any more of your time. Thank you for your time.”

I’m quite surprised at how polite he’s being. Not at all like a rock star. Or dragon handler, for that matter.

“I am sorry, Mr Campbell. Your application was very well thought out, but a training centre here in Britain would really be impossible.”

“Maybe in the future,” he says hopefully. If I was him, I wouldn’t hold out much hope.

“Perhaps,” I say. Because even though Lucy is convinced I am a cold-hearted bitch, I do actually feel sorry for him.

“Yes?”

“Well, if we aren’t going to be working together on this centre anymore…” he stops again. I look at him expectantly.

“…Would you like to go to dinner with me tonight?”





Author's note: This is my first attempt at fanfiction, and I'd love to know what you think! Did you like Molly?  What do you think of Campbell?  What do you think Molly's answer will be?  

Oh, and unfortunately, I don't own Harry Potter.

 


Chapter 2: Taking Risks
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A/N: Hi everyone!  This is my first story, so it would be great if you could read and review!  Unfortunately, everything you recognise belongs to the brilliant J.K. Rowling, but the original characters and the plot are mine.  I hope you enjoy this chapter!
 

 





I think the crazy genes that are so prevalent in my family are finally catching up with me. Why? Because I’m currently sat in a cafe in muggle London, waiting to meet Cyrus Campbell for lunch. And I’m nervous about it.

I’m an absolute idiot.

But still, I have no idea why I’m nervous. I’ve been on dates before. My family might not believe me (in fact, a lot of people might not believe me), but I have been on dates. Not that this is a date. It’s not. I’m just meeting him for lunch. Felicity would call this a lunch date. But it’s not. Really.

I said no, of course, when he asked me to dinner two days ago. I am a professional Ministry worker, and professional Ministry workers don’t go on dates with dragon handlers that they’re interviewing about dragon training centres. For some reason, he looked even more disappointed when I said this, but he left the office and put on his happy face, signing autographs and even having a photo taken with Mona and Cynthia (I’m losing all hope that those women are ever going to behave professionally. Especially Cynthia. I have no idea how she got five Os in her NEWTs).

When I got home that night, there was an owl waiting for me, with a note from him, apologising if I felt he’d been inappropriate. I wrote back to him, telling him not to worry about it. After all, we weren’t really working together, so it wasn’t inappropriate. And I felt bad about rejecting him twice in one day. I got an owl back the next morning, saying if that was the case, would I like to meet him for lunch today?

I said yes, obviously.

For reasons I am still unsure of.

He suggested that we meet in a muggle cafe, because there’s much less chance of him being recognised in the muggle world. I agreed, because my family seem to pop up everywhere, and have developed the annoying habit of turning up whenever you don’t want to see them. I’d much rather that didn’t happen while I was having lunch with Cyrus Campbell. They would probably jump to the (wrong) conclusion that I was on a date with him. This is just lunch, not a date.

I wish I hadn’t arrived so early, though. The waiting is making me more nervous. I’m starting to understand why people prefer arriving late now. I think I’ll try that next time. If there is a next time, of course.

Finally, after what seems like ages of waiting, even though it’s only been ten minutes, Campbell arrives. He’s five minutes early, so he probably didn’t mean to keep me waiting. I was just earlier than him. It’s a good job that this isn’t a date, or I would look desperate.

Fantastic.

He spots me straight away and walks over to the table, ignoring the stares of the (many) girls who cannot keep their eyes off him. He’s wearing a dragon skin jacket, a shirt and jeans and looks amazing. Just because I didn’t let his looks influence my decision about the training centre, doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate them now. And if I’m honest, there’s a lot to appreciate.

I can’t decide whether to stand up and greet him, or to stay sitting down, so I end up doing something in between, knocking the table and looking like an absolute idiot. Campbell laughs and kisses me on the cheek before sitting down opposite me. My cheeks are burning now, and I’m not sure if it’s because he kissed me or because I just embarrassed myself in front of the whole cafe. Thank goodness it’s a muggle cafe.

“Hey,” he says. It’s then that I realise I’m still hovering halfway between sitting and standing so I sit down quickly again before I embarrass myself even more.

“Hi,” I reply nervously. Why am I still nervous? As a matter of fact, why did I even agree to do this?

There’s an awkward pause, so I look down to the menu. I hate awkward pauses. Being somewhat socially awkward, I can never think of anything to say. If there was an OWL in small talk, I probably wouldn’t even get a T.

“So, how are you?” Campbell asks me.

“What, as opposed to yesterday morning, when you last heard from me?” is my typically waspish response, before I remember that I don’t know Campbell very well. My friends wouldn’t bat an eyelid if I answered like this, but it’s not usual to be so sarcastic on a date. Not that this is a date. Moving on.

I bite my lip as I look up to check his reaction, but luckily he’s grinning at me. It’s not the same, blinding smile as he used in the interview, but it’s still quite dazzling.

“Well, you never know, something earth-shattering could have happened in the last twenty-four hours. You might have landed yourself in St. Mungo’s, or got engaged, or…”

“You’re not very observant, are you? If I’d got engaged, I’d have a rock on my finger, and it’s highly unlikely that I’d be sitting here with you – no offence. And if I’d done something to end up in St. Mungo’s, I’d probably still be in hospital – unless I’d done something stupid like get a sprout stuck up my nose, because that only takes a few minutes.”

“That’s true – wait, how do you know how long it takes to get a sprout out of your nose?”

“My cousin did it one Christmas. Stupid thing to do, really. They missed pudding, and that’s the best part of Nana Weasley’s Christmas dinners.”

It had been Fred, naturally. Him and James had been having a competition, cheered on by Roxy and Lucy (of course) over who could eat the most sprouts. Apparently winning would prove that they were the manliest. It kind of failed when James made Fred laugh so much that he inhaled a sprout through his nose instead of his mouth. Unfortunately, this had only happened last year. Says a lot about my cousins’ maturity levels, doesn’t it?

“Your cousin got a sprout stuck in their nose at Christmas?” Campbell asks laughing. I nod and laugh with him, but then I realise that I’m already on the subject of my family, which is not really what I want to spend this time talking about.

“Are you ready to order?” a voice says. I look up, and a pretty waitress is stood next to our table, her eyes on Campbell. Blonde, tanned, and one of those giggly types that annoy me just by looking at me. Which, by the way, is perfectly rational.

“We’ll have some drinks, I think. I’ll have lemonade, please. Molly?”

“Two lemonades, please.” They don’t sell butterbeer here, more’s the pity.

“I’ll just get those for you. Let me know when you’re ready to order some food, and I’ll be right back.” She says all this looking straight at Campbell, and completely ignoring me. I mean, I know he’s gorgeous, but does she have to stare quite so much? Luckily, he seems quite oblivious to the attention and she sashays away, swinging her hips so much I’m surprised she doesn’t fall over.

Merlin, listen to me. I sound like a jealous fan girl.

Wait a second. Jealous?

This is not good. If I feel jealous, that must mean that I like Campbell (even I realise that). And liking Campbell will not end well. I am well aware of his track record with women. Hayley has kept me up to date with it for nearly fifteen years.

“Any idea what you’d like to eat?” Campbell asks, interrupting my (very scary) thought process.

“No, not yet,” I reply. Thankfully my voice is at a normal pitch, with hopefully no indication of my sudden revelation. How pathetic would I sound if I admitted that the whole time I’ve been pretending to stare at the menu, I’ve actually been realising that I like him? Felicity is right; I really need to get out more.

“Well, they make great omelettes here. The chips are good, too.”

“Do you come here often, then?” I ask, hoping I sound like I usually do. As opposed to the crazy fan girl that liking Campbell could very easily turn me into.

He raises an eyebrow, smiling at me. “Not often, but a few times with my friends. Especially when I meet they guys from the band. It’s nice not to get recognised everywhere.”

“I kind of know what you mean,” I agree. No need to say any more. That would involve mentioning the family, and I’m sure he knows what I’m talking about without me saying anything else.

“Probably,” he nods. These pauses are becoming more awkward again. Or maybe that’s just me.

The waitress comes to our table with the drinks. She plonks my glass down next to me and then places Campbell’s down carefully, smiling at him and batting her eyelashes. Merlin, do people actually do that? Maybe it’s more common in the muggle world. Or this girl is just a stupid flirt.

I like the second option.

“Are you ready to order some food?” she asks.

“Yeah, I think so. What do you want, Molly?” Campbell replies, looking at me instead of her. The girl looks annoyed. Ha.

“I’ll have a mushroom omelette, please.” Merlin, what is happening to me? I sound like one of those girls who does whatever the guy suggests, which is not like me. But I do like omelettes.

“I’ll have a cheese omelette, please. And a bowl of chips, to share.” He glances at the waitress but looks away as soon as he’s finished ordering, and even the bimbo realises she’s been dismissed. This makes me feel very happy.

“So,” I say, only to realise he is saying the same thing. I stop, and he does too. This is getting more and more awkward. I need to revert back to my normal Molly state. At least then I had something to say. The problem is that I don’t like many people, so realising I like Campbell is kind of weird.

“You first,” I say. It means I don’t have to think of any conversation starters.

“I was just wondering why you agreed to come out from lunch with me today,” he tilts his head to the side slightly.

Not a helpful question.

“I’m still figuring that one out,” I tell him.

“Come on, you must have had a reason for saying yes,” he persists.

“Fine. I felt sorry for you,” I say. Merlin, Molly. Way to get a guy to like you.

He grins. Does this guy react normally to anything I say? “You felt sorry for me? Why?”

“Well, I said no to you twice in one day. You kind of seemed sad about the whole training centre thing, and afterwards I felt mean about saying no to dinner as well.”

“So you’re here today because you felt sorry for me?”

“Pretty much,” I agree. More like the normal Molly, even if it is kind of mean. Well, he’s not running to the waitress yet.

“Well, I’ve never been out with a girl who was there because she felt sorry for me before,” Campbell grins. He does a lot of that. Unfortunately, it’s quite distracting.

“Well, what is a valid reason for going out with someone, then?” I challenge. Merlin, I just said ‘going out’. He’ll be screaming for the bimbo waitress any second now. But he kind of said the same thing just before. “I mean, why did you ask me to go for dinner?”

“Because you’re different. I reckon the majority of the women in your office would have let me set up a training centre straight away, and just interviewed me for my autograph. You didn’t do that. You didn’t even seem fazed by me, like most people are.”

I’d never thought of that. It can’t have been every day that he met people who didn’t treat him like a rock star.

“Can I tell you something?” I say.

“Go for it.”

“Until I told Mona your name, I had no idea who you were. It’s only when she told me that you were in The Unspeakables that I realised.”

“Really? So you didn’t listen to our music then?” He’s laughing like a maniac. I’m glad he finds my lack of knowledge about popular culture so hilarious.

“If I’m honest, no. Some girls at school were crazy about you, but I wasn’t really into all of that celebrity stuff.”

“So that’s why you didn’t let me set up the training centre?”

“No. I didn’t let you set up the training centre because it’s a stupid idea,” I shoot back. I feel surprisingly calmer talking like this than during the awkward silences.

The bimbo brings our food, but we hardly notice because we’ve started now and we half-argue through the rest of the meal, which passes surprisingly quickly.

When we finish eating, Campbell insists on paying the bill, and then asks to take me somewhere.

“Where?” I ask suspiciously. Everything has been going so well that I don’t want him to ruin it now.

“It’s a surprise,” he says. I do not do surprises.

I tell him so.

“Come on, Molly. Be spontaneous.” I don’t do spontaneous, either.

I tell him this as well.

“Are you kidding me? You don’t ever do anything unplanned?” he looks incredulous. Great, now he thinks I’m weird.

“Not really,” I admit. “My sister says I’m boring, but I just like things to be planned out.”

“You’re not boring, Molly, you just need to learn to live a little. Come on, trust me.” He holds his hand out for me to take and looks so sweet that I can’t say no again. These side-effects to liking someone are not good for my health.

But he asked me to trust him, so for the first time in my life, I take the risk. I put my hand in his and let him disapparate with me into the darkness.
 


Chapter 3: Three Little Words
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It’s been three weeks now since I first had lunch with Campbell in that muggle cafe, and we’ve seen each other nearly every day since, whether we’ve gone out for a meal, or just sat on the sofa watching a film. It’s surprisingly easy to spend time with him, considering he’s an ex-rock star and everything. I’m a bit worried how much I like him.

I am resolutely refusing to tell my family anything about his existence, let alone mention the fact that he’s kind of my boyfriend. Mum would get very over-excited and want to meet him straight away, and as much as I love my mother, I am not letting her subject Campbell to her flowery teacups and frilly tablecloths. If there’s one thing that Lucy and I do agree on, it’s that Mum’s taste in decoration is absolutely hideous. Dad would interrogate him about his intentions towards me, which is something nobody should have to experience (unfortunately, I witnessed it first hand when Lucy brought her boyfriend home for the first time). The rest of my family would go crazy at the thought that I even had a boyfriend (I’m sure they all think I’m going to end up as an old cat lady. To be fair, though, I have my own suspicions of that, too. Though there are flaws in this plan considering I don’t like cats). Add to this the fact that my kind-of boyfriend is an ex-rock star and a dragon handler, I’m not sure the meeting would be a pretty sight.

Campbell likes to do things differently. Not just a little different, very different. For example, on our first date (he called it that first, not me) he took me to the highest waterfall in Britain, and we sat near the top with an impervius charm cast on us. Somehow we ended up there for hours, just talking and half-arguing. I would be lying if I said there weren’t a few kisses in that time as well (so what? Just because I’m twenty-six and single doesn’t mean that I’m a nun, or anything!).

I’m sure that nobody I know would ever have thought I would be sort-of dating Cyrus Campbell at any point in my life. I certainly didn’t. I’m still not exactly sure why he wants to spend so much time with me – sometimes I wonder if I’m just an interesting project because I didn’t even know who he was before Mona told me. But that’s normally when I’m on my own and not with him, which again, is rather worrying.

In spite of the fact that I am a little socially retarded (as my family, Lucy in particular, keep telling me) I have dated in the past. I’ve even had boyfriends. But – and I realise I’m in danger of sounding like a sixteen year old with a crush – this feels different somehow. I’m not a sixteen year old girl, I’m a twenty-six year old woman and I’m terrified of how comfortable I feel with Campbell, and even more terrified of saying anything to him about it. Which unfortunately (since I would quite like to keep seeing him) is making me even more waspish in my replies than usual.

“You’re very sarcastic today, Molly,” he tells me as we walk, hand-in-hand, through a park.

“I’m always sarcastic when I like someone.” Oh dear Merlin. Said too much, once again. Do not want him running scared into the arms of some blonde bimbo.

“Does that mean you like me?” Yes. More than like, but I’m not telling him that.

“You’re alright.”

“Only alright?”

“Well, I don’t mind spending time with you. Does that mean anything?”

“I’ll have to settle for it,” he sighs dramatically.

“Poor dear. I’m sure you’ll manage.”

“I don’t have much choice, do I?” he smirks. He pulls me to sit on a bench near the pond, still holding my hand. He knows my views on PDA. That is to say, they are completely unnecessary. I only let him hold my hand in public a week ago.

“Not really,” I reply. We fall into silence for a few minutes, but it’s not awkward anymore. He looks like he’s thinking about something. I am, too. There’s been something I’ve wanted to say to him for the past week, but even I don’t need Felicity’s careful coaching to realise that it’s not a good idea.

“Do you miss it?” I ask eventually.

He looks startled, but asks “Miss what?”

“The band. The fame, the celebrity lifestyle. All that stuff.”

After a moment, he responds. “No, not really. I think I’d miss the guys if we hadn’t kept in touch, but not the rest of it.”

“What about the music?”

“It was never really what I wanted to do. We started up the band as a bit of a fun, and then we got lucky. Some scout spotted us and suddenly we became famous, half the world knew our names and was singing our songs, we were getting invited to all the coolest parties and girls were throwing themselves at us…”

“You’re not trying to tell me you don’t miss that bit,” I say disbelievingly.

“What, the girls throwing themselves at me? They still do that now, if you hadn’t noticed.” He grins at me.

“Not me,” I object.

“Not you,” he admits. “You’re here with me now, though.” He smirks at me. His natural smile is a lot nicer than the blinding one he puts on for the cameras – and me, when I interviewed him at the Ministry.

“That’s not the point,” I argue. “So you’re saying you don’t miss it at all?”

“Not really. It’s easier to live a normal life now.”

“Yeah, because dragon handlers are so run-of-the-mill,” I snort. Attractive, Molly.

“Maybe normal was the wrong word,” Campbell allows. “But you must have met enough of us in your job. I can’t be that unusual.”

“Aside from the whole ex-rock star thing, you’re not that different, I guess. Dragon handlers are a weird bunch in general.”

“Why are handlers weird, exactly?” he looks genuinely curious. I thought the answer would have been obvious.

“Let’s see,” I say, pretending to think about it. “Britain is a lovely, relatively safe place. Normal people are quite happy to live and work here. But handlers choose Care of Magical Creatures in school – which is a weird choice in itself, given Hagrid’s reputation – and decide they want to spend their lives working with enormous, fire-breathing creatures that can easily kill them. Which part of that do you think is normal?” I tease.

He laughs so loudly at this that a muggle family feeding the ducks by the pond look over warily to see what’s going on. I elbow him in the side to stop him but that just makes things even worse, because he twitches in his seat and nearly falls off the bench. The expression on his face is so funny that I can’t help laughing and before long we’re giggling like patients from St. Mungo’s with an irremovable rictusempra. The muggle parents chivvy their children away from the pond, glancing back at us with disturbed expressions. Oops.

“Honestly, Mol, I thought you didn’t like drawing attention to yourself!” Campbell gasps at me as soon as he’s stopped laughing enough to speak.

“I don’t,” I reply, actual tears rolling down my cheeks. If Lucy could see me now she wouldn’t believe her eyes. I’m sure she thinks I was born without a sense of humour.

“It was your fault anyway!” I protest. “You’re the one who started laughing. You scared that muggle family away!”

“That wasn’t me, that was you!” Campbell says, pretending to look offended. “I could never scare any of the public away; I’m far too well behaved. It was definitely you, Molly Weasley. You snorted back then.”

Crap. I know I do that sometimes when I laugh a lot, but normally that only happens when I’m with Felicity, and I’ve known her so long that she doesn’t care any more. Snorting when laughing – or snorting at all, in fact – is not a quality most guys look for in a girl. I think I’m a hopeless case.

“I did not!” Way to go, Molly. That was convincing. And also very mature.

Campbell grins at me. “Did too,” he retorts. Wow. Sometimes ex-rock stars can be as immature as me. Wonders will never cease.

“Did not.”

“Did too.”

For some reason this carries on for about five minutes, me poking Campbell in the side each time I speak (I am sorely aware this is not a very normal flirting technique. I wasn’t flirting though. Besides, I never claimed to be normal) until he resorts to tickling me into submission.

Being tickled never seems to end well for me. I am extremely ticklish (according to Dad that means I take after Mum. I don’t even want to think what he means by that. Ew) and ever since I was little, when people (my family) tickled me, something bad happened. For example, when I was five, Dominique started tickling me so hard that I hit her. In the face. Being the sweet person she is, she didn’t tell anyone about the blood pouring out her nose until Victoire saw her and told Aunt Fleur about it, who then demanded to know how it happened. Then there was the time that Fred decided to tickle me while we were having Christmas dinner at The Burrow. Uncle George still insists on reminding me that he’s never seen pumpkin juice travel so far. Needless to say, my sister and cousins find my reactions hilarious; especially since it was normally the only time I got into trouble when I was little. Thinking about it, being tickled has never ended well for me.

Campbell, of course doesn’t know about this. We’ve only known each other a few weeks, and although it seems like it’s a lot longer than that, he can’t be expected to know about all of my freakish tendencies. And unfortunately, there are a lot of them.

“Campbell, don’t!” I warn him. Well, I try to say that, but since I’m already wheezing with laughter (again, not attractive) it comes out as a kind of muffled yelp. Something Campbell finds very funny, and so he continues.

“Stop it!” I insist, in my scariest impression of Nana Weasley. Unfortunately, due to the lack of oxygen in my lungs, I sound more like a strangled banshee, which is very unthreatening. Campbell is laughing even louder at me now. Almost as loud as he was when we scared that muggle family away.

Oh my Merlin! I’m now half lying on the bench with my arms flailing round pathetically trying to get Campbell off me, while he is leaning over me to tickle my sides. I’ve just realised that this would look like one of two things to a passer by, and neither of them is good!

I’m desperate for him to stop, so I manage (somehow) to push him as hard as I can away from me. But I must have pushed harder than I thought I was capable of doing, because next thing I know Campbell is sat in a pile of muddy leaves next to the bench he was occupying a second before. He looks quite disgruntled and surprised, but there’s a hint of humour in his eyes.

Then I realise that I just pushed Campbell, my kind-of, ex-rock star, dragon handler boyfriend off a park bench.

I am completely retarded.

“Merlin!” I exclaim. “Campbell, I am so sorry! I didn’t mean to push you onto the floor! I just tried to stop you, I didn’t realise I was even that strong! Here, let me help you –” I’m babbling now as I lean over and offer Campbell my hand to help him up. Seriously, I think I must have been dropped on the head as a baby, because there’s no other explanation for me being so weird and awkward. Lucy definitely isn’t, so maybe Mum and Dad were better at the whole parenting thing by the time she came along.

Campbell takes my hand and yet I still can’t stop babbling. “And it’s just that I didn’t want people to see because it looked wrong or like PDA and you know I don’t like either of those things and I couldn’t tell you to stop properly and I didn’t know what else to do –”

I pull on his warm hand but he’s much stronger than me and instead of helping him up I end up sprawled on the ground beside him. Yet another attractive position for Molly. I’m really doing well today. It’s a wonder Campbell’s not falling at my feet.

Campbell grins slyly at me as he picks a leaf out of my hair, and then I realise that he pulled me down on purpose.

“What did you do that for?!” I ask indignantly. “I know I pushed you over but that wasn’t deliberate and I said sorry and –”

“I love you.”

“– I’m really ticklish and it never ends well and – what?”

“I said I love you, Molly Weasley.” I look at Campbell to see if he’s joking but I can tell from his eyes he’s being completely serious. He’s smiling slightly, but he also looks strangely nervous as he looks back at me, almost as though he’s waiting for my reaction.

Cyrus Campbell just told me he loved me.

Cyrus Campbell.

Me.

Molly Weasley.

He loves me!

Oh, wait, he’s still looking at me. He actually seems a bit worried, which is adorable. I suppose he can’t be expected to know I’ve wanted to say the same thing to him for a week.

“I love you, too, Cyrus Campbell,” I tell him, and his face relaxes into a full smile – not one of the dazzling, rock star ones, but the natural ones I like.

“You said my first name,” he grins, leaning in closer.

“You said you loved me,” I reply.

“Well, I guess we’re even then,” he breathes, before he kisses me softly on the lips.

Maybe tickling doesn’t always have to end badly, after all.
 
 


Chapter 4: A Question
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“So, what’s your news then?” Felicity demands as soon as I walk through her door, not even giving me chance to take my coat off first. “You haven’t written in a week, and we haven’t seen each other for ages!”

“You were on holiday for three weeks in Australia!” I exclaim in protest.

“True,” Felicity admits. “But I still want to know everything that’s happened to you since we last met. You look different. Don’t try and deny that something’s happened. And you’re not leaving here until you’ve told me exactly what it is.”

“Okay, okay,” I laugh, holding my hands up in surrender. I sit down on her sofa and take the cup of coffee she’s poured me. This is why she’s my best friend. She always knows exactly what I need.

Well, perhaps it isn’t the only reason, but I’m pretty sure it’s up there in the top five.

Felicity sits down next to me on the sofa. She only has one in her new flat. It’s called a loveseat. The name made me feel sick when she first told me it. Still does, actually. It’s nice to know love hasn’t completely changed me.

It still feels weird being in her new flat. We lived together for five years before she moved in with Jasper, her boyfriend. She took most of her stuff with her and it’s strange to see her books stacked up on the coffee table instead of strewn all over her room.

“Earth to Molly!” Felicity shouts in my ear, waving her hand in front of my face. I blink and look at her.

“Come on, the news!” she orders. “What were you daydreaming about? A man?”

“No,” I insist, because I wasn’t. But I blush anyway, because I still haven’t told her about Campbell properly.

“Molly Weasley! You’d better tell me the truth. Is there a new man in your life?”

I groan internally. Normally Felicity is like me – sarcastic and down to earth – but ever since she started going out with Jasper she has been prone to being rather dramatic when the topic of relationships comes up. Particularly with regards to me. I’m sure my years of being a hopeless spinster have been driving her crazy. Even though I want her to know about my relative success, I would much rather avoid the shrieking that is guaranteed to come with it.

“Yes,” I answer, my cheeks burning with embarrassment.

“There is? Tell me all about him! How did you meet? How long have you been together? What’s he like?”

An hour later, I finish answering all of her ridiculous questions, and I’m quite surprised at how much I enjoyed talking about Campbell. Another bonus is that Felicity is so shocked she can hardly speak.

“Wow,” she breathes after a few minutes. “You’re going out with Cyrus Campbell. He told you he loved you after three weeks together! Merlin, he sounds like he’s perfect for you! Can I be your bridesmaid?”

“We’re not getting married, Flick,” I respond wearily, using my old nickname for her.

“Whatever,” she snorts. “From what you’ve told me, it’s only a matter of time. It’s a good job I don’t want to get married yet, or I’d be so jealous of you!”

I would repeat myself, but I’ve known her for long enough to know that it’s not worth it. I settle for an exasperated shake of the head.

“When are you seeing him again?” Felicity asks eagerly, her eyes shining. I hadn’t realised that she’d thought my case was quite as desperate as she obviously does now.

“Tonight,” I answer. “He’s cooking me a meal.”

“Well, I’m going to have to meet him soon. Make sure he’s good enough for you and all of that. Although from what you’ve told me, I’m sure I’ll approve.”

“That’s nice to know,” I smirk.

Suddenly Felicity starts laughing. “Have you told Hayley yet?” she asks. I shake my head. Felicity grins widely.

“She’s going to be so jealous!”

 


Campbell’s apartment is amazing. I mean seriously amazing. I can’t stop my mouth from hanging open, even though I know it’s not my most attractive expression. It doesn’t matter – he loves me anyway (take that, fan girls!).

I’ve never seen anything like this before. I know Dad didn’t have much when he was growing up, but ever since the War the Weasleys have always been successful, and with that, of course, came money. I’m not saying that to brag, or anything. It’s just that I know what wealth looks like.

And Merlin, this is wealth.

The apartment is in the middle of London, near the river and overlooking most of the landmarks that muggle tourists pay buckets to come and see. One wall is just glass, so you get a view for miles across the city. Without even looking at the interior, you would be able to tell this belongs to someone rich.

I knew Campbell was rich – he had to be, after being so popular with The Unspeakables. But I don’t think I ever thought about just how rich he was until now.

“Molly!” Campbell exclaims when he sees me, and rushes over from the wide kitchen island to kiss me.

I should probably explain that I took a portkey (Ministry privileges) to his apartment and that he was expecting me, I didn’t just turn up uninvited and walk straight in. That sounds like something one of his fan girls would do.

“Hey,” I smile at him as he pulls back from the kiss.

I look around me as I follow Campbell back to the kitchen, and I have to try hard to keep the wonder from showing on my face. The living area is all open plan, with lots of clean lines and shiny surfaces, but it all flows together seamlessly. And of course it’s enormous. There are several doors leading from the living room which I assume open into the bedrooms (yes, multiple bedrooms, even though he lives alone) and the bathroom. There isn’t a frill in sight, which I am greatly relieved about. Not that I thought Campbell was the sort of guy who liked frills, just that if I had seen evidence of any I would be running screaming right now. I had enough of that living at home for twenty years.

Campbell is stood in front of the cooker, stirring several pans at once. He looks surprisingly manly in a cook’s apron. I giggle and he glances up at me with a raised eyebrow.

“Sorry,” I say. “I was just wondering what your fans would think if they could see you now.”

He grins at this. “Well, I can think of several things. They’d still think I was amazing, of course, and brilliantly sexy – let’s face it, they’d be right – and probably overwhelmed at their proximity to me. Oh, and they’d be murderous, of course, because I’m doing all this for you instead of them.”

I smile back at him but blush as well. “What are you cooking?” I ask to change the topic.

“It’s a surprise,” he tells me; smirking in a way that tells me he knows exactly why I just asked him the question. “You’ll like it though, I promise.”

I raise my eyebrow sceptically but stop quickly when Campbell leans over to kiss me again. But unfortunately not long after that he banishes me to the dining table, saying that I’m too much of a distraction and he doesn’t want a burnt meal. I pout a little (dear Merlin, what is love doing to me? It’s like I’m a teenager all over again, only acting more like one this time than I did ten years ago) but sit down at the table and watch him cook. It’s obvious that he’s a good cook by the way he takes care of everything at once, singing to himself as he does so. Is there nothing this man isn’t good at? Unfortunately, the cooking genes escaped me completely. Anything more than pasta and salad and I’m pretty much hopeless – something that really annoyed Nana Weasley when she was giving me and Dom our family cooking lessons back at the tender age of sixteen.

It doesn’t take long before dinner is ready – something delicious that I don’t know the name of – and we’re sat at the table eating with a glass of red wine to accompany it. I’m concentrating on eating nicely much more than I ever have done before. That makes me sound like a right slob, but you have to be able to eat quickly if you want to get fed at The Burrow.

“So, how’s your friend?” Campbell asks me.

“Felicity? She’s great. She wants to meet you sometime, though. Something about making sure you’re good enough for me.” I grin at him.

“Well, someone has to do it, I suppose, since you’re not letting your family anywhere near me.”

“You don’t want them anywhere near you. Trust me on that one. I’ve seen Dad with Lucy, and it’s not a pleasant experience.”

“Well, I suppose I’m going to have to go with you on that one. I can’t say I much like the idea of being interrogated by Percy Weasley on my intentions towards his daughter.”

“Exactly,” I reply. Over-protectiveness is a trait that every single male in my family seems determined to be master of.

“So, how’s the Ministry?” Campbell asks me. “Any more thoughts on the dragon training centre?” he grins as he says this, because he already knows what my answer will be.

“Yeah, I had a few more thoughts. All about how stupid an idea it is,” I shoot back.

“Ouch,” he winces. “Guess I probably deserved that one, since we agreed not to talk about it anymore.”

“Probably,” I agree nodding. “When are you going back to work, then?”

“I’m not sure,” he replies. “I need to get in touch with the Department of Magical Transportation and organise getting transport back to Romania.”

What?

Campbell just said Romania. He can’t go to Romania. What am I meant to do when he’s in Romania? Just hang round here waiting for him or some rubbish like that?

“Romania?” I choke, dropping my fork.

“Well, yeah,” Campbell replies, looking puzzled at my reaction. “I’m a dragon handler. I work in Romania. Where else would I go?”

Um, stay here? With me? Your girlfriend?

I realise that I am being a little dramatic about this. But really, this is the first time he has mentioned anything about going back to Romania. Maybe I should have realised he would be going back there at some point, but I guess there was a part of me that thought he might decide to stay here because of me.

Living alone with only romance novels for company is not good for me.

“You’re going back to Romania?” I ask, my voice several octaves higher than usual. I’m currently at a pitch that normally only dogs can hear. Which is why I think it’s actually quite impressive when he understands what I said.

“Of course I’m going back to Romania. It’s where I work. I can’t do my job in Britain.”

“But…but what about me?” I say in a whisper. I am well aware of the fact that I sound like a desperately clingy teenager, but really, what else am I meant to do?

“Come with me, of course!” Campbell exclaims, as if it’s the most obvious thing in the world.

“Go with you?”

“Yes.”

Campbell wants me to go with him to Romania. I suppose that’s slightly better than wanting to leave me here while he goes to Romania. But still, I can’t go there. There are dragons in Romania. Dragons are big and scary. They breathe fire.

I tell him this.

He laughs. “Dragons are cool, Molly. And you’d love Romania. There’s a load of things to do. You could get a job with the Ministry there, if you wanted to.”

“So you want me to come with you to Romania so you can work with dragons and I can work for their Ministry?”

“Why not?” he asks me, apparently completely oblivious to all the flaws I see in this plan.

“Well, what would my family say if I just ran away to Romania with some random guy I’ve known for about a month?”

We’ve both abandoned our meals now, and he is crouching next to my chair, looking deeply into my eyes. Merlin, I wish he wouldn’t do that. It makes it a lot harder for me to think properly.

“Marry me first, then.”

“Very funny, Campbell. Brilliant solution. Let’s get married!” I exclaim flippantly.

“I’m being serious Molly.” I look into his eyes. They look serious.

Crap.

“We can’t get married, Campbell. We’ve only known each other for a month!”

“Molly, don’t you remember what I told you on our first date? You have to learn to take risks. We love each other. What else do we need?”

“Uh, uh, I…” I stutter, unable to think of anything else to say.

Watching me carefully the whole time, Campbell lowers himself onto one knee and pulls a small ring box from his back pocket. Merlin, he must have planned this already. Felicity was right. I hate it when that happens.

“Molly Weasley, I love you. I want to spend the rest of my life with you. Will you marry me?”

“Yes.”

Wait. What did I just say?
 


Chapter 5: Running
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For GirlOnTheSidelines, who has reviewed every chapter, and WishesofWeasley, the first person to add this story to their favourites.  Thank you!

 



I have now been engaged to Cyrus Campbell for one week and today we are eloping to Romania.

Yes, you heard correctly. I, Molly Weasley, am eloping with an ex-rock star. This is, without a doubt, the craziest thing I have ever done in my life. And yet I still feel like it’s the right decision. I guess I’ve really changed since I first met Campbell.

It’s not that I’ve suddenly become a rebel or anything like that – quite the opposite. I am absolutely terrified of everything that I’m doing right now, which is not a very nice feeling. I’m risking losing everything that I have by doing this; I just think that what I’m going to gain will be greater than anything I lose.

Wow, I’m turning into such a sap. Even Campbell would laugh if he could hear what I was thinking – and please let’s not even start on what my family would say. It doesn’t bear thinking about.

We’re travelling the muggle way for the first half of our journey. Campbell wasn’t keen on the idea at first, especially when he found out that we would have to travel in a boat to France, but I managed to convince him that it could be fun. Besides, he’s always the one telling me to take risks, so now it’s his turn (I might have slipped the word coward casually into the conversation – as another former Gryffindor, he didn’t take kindly to it). I don’t particularly like muggle travel – it’s ridiculously slow and boring – but it helps us to get out of the country without needing permission or help from the Ministry. Since quite a few of my family members, including my Dad, who don’t even know I have a boyfriend (fiancé), work for the Ministry, asking them to set up a portkey for us isn’t exactly an option. Then of course there’s the minor detail that I haven’t told anyone I’m getting married (can you imagine that conversation? It would involve a lot of screaming and probably a few hexes when some of the women like Mona and Cynthia found out) and I’ve not taken any time off to go to Romania. If you’re going to elope, why not do it properly, right?

I’m so ridiculously nervous right now. Campbell is coming to the flat to pick me up in half an hour, but of course I’m already ready – old ways die hard. My bags have been packed since last night and I’ve been through my bedroom seventeen times to check I have everything I need. I even packed the muggle way so that it took more time. Unfortunately it didn’t occupy my thoughts very much, so I still can’t escape the worries that keep nagging at the back of my mind. I know some of the things are probably ridiculous, but it doesn’t stop me worrying about them.

Leaving Britain. Going to Romania. Losing my job. Getting married.

Fifteen minutes until Campbell arrives and my palms are sticky. I’m worried I’m going to break into a sweat before long. Why is everything about this so scary?

Oh right. Because it’s not at all like me. That explains things.

Ten minutes and I’ve started pacing around the room like a madwoman. If the people living downstairs are in they’ll probably think I’m training for a marathon or something.

Eight minutes left and there’s a knock at the door. I rush to it and practically pull the door off its hinges in my eagerness to open it. When I do, I see Campbell stood there, smiling happily. Suddenly my heart starts racing, but in a much more pleasant way than before. I’m still nervous, of course, and I wipe my hands on my jeans as he walks in the door.

“I didn’t think you’d mind me being early,” he says. “I know you, and you’ve probably been ready for ages, am I right?”

I nod sheepishly as he looks at the cases I have stacked neatly in the corner of the living room.

“Are you sure you want to do this?” he asks abruptly, and I’m so surprised by the question that I don’t answer for a moment.

He’s giving me a choice. If I want to change my mind, now is the time to do it. But as I look into his eyes, I realise that I don’t want to change my mind. I want to run away and get married to him. Even if it is in Romania, where there are lots of dragons and all sorts of weird wizards.

“Yes, I’m sure,” I say. I feel a little less nervous, but not enough for the sick feeling in my stomach to disappear.

“You look beautiful today, Molly.” I look at him in surprise again. Campbell can be romantic if he wants to, but he’s not normally very complimentary. Neither am I – it’s just the way we are.

Which is why I respond the way I do. “You don’t look too bad, either. For a dragon handler.”

Campbell laughs and pulls me closer to him. “You’re daft, Molly. But that’s why I love you.”

And even though I hate all the clichés I read in books and used to hear girls gushing over in the dormitories at Hogwarts, the moment his lips touch mine I know that everything is going to be just fine.

 

 

We arrived in Romania an hour ago. The muggle travel wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be, although the boat (they called it a ferry) that we took to get to France was a lot bigger than I expected it to be. The English Channel is also a lot rougher than the lake at Hogwarts (the only other time either Campbell or I has been in a boat before), which led to the unfortunate discovery that Campbell gets seasick. What made it worse was that I couldn’t use magic to help him feel better, because of all the muggles around.

I know I probably shouldn’t think this, but it’s quite nice to know that Campbell isn’t extremely attractive no matter what he’s doing.

Bad Molly. Not what you should be thinking on your wedding day!

Once we’d taken the ferry to France, we went to their Ministry and they set up a portkey for us to Romania. It was the longest journey I’ve ever made using a portkey and it definitely wasn’t the pleasantest sensation. I don’t think that I’ll be in a hurry to repeat it any time soon.

When we got to the Romanian Ministry, we had to go through several security checks to prove that we weren’t trying to smuggle anything into the country (I don’t know what people would try and smuggle into Romania from England – British tea leaves, perhaps?) and that we were actually who we said we were. I thought that once the interrogation was over it would be a simple trip to the handling colony where Campbell has worked before and where we’re going to stay while we’re here, but things turned out slightly differently. Apparently, The Unspeakables were quite famous in Romania too, and after the Ministry officials had ordered us a car to take us to the colony (something about being inconspicuous, plus our apparition licences aren’t valid under Romanian law), two witches accosted us and spent twenty minutes (the car arrived after two) trying to flirt with Campbell and asking him questions in giggly voices. It’s a pity that they don’t know why I’m actually here with him, because that might have put a stop to their pathetic attempts at seduction. In fact, I very nearly told them that we had run away together to get married here, but I thought that it didn’t exactly fit in with the whole secrecy thing. More’s the pity.

We did finally make it into the car, though, not without me receiving evils from the two witches, and Campbell apologising profusely for it. I told him not to worry about it. I’m going to have to get used to it, since I’m getting married to him. The car journey didn’t take long and now we’re walking to the colony from the muggle car park outside.

The dragon sanctuary is in the centre of the forest. It seems absurd that someone thought it was a good idea to place a lot of fire-breathing creatures in the middle of wooden trees, but apparently it was the only place big enough that they could also hide completely from muggles. Nonetheless, I would imagine that they have several fires here each day. As if on cue, I see dark smoke rising into the sky from deep in the forest.

It’s warm as we walk through the trees. A surprising amount of sunlight is streaming through to ground level and every so often there’s a gentle breeze. The weather is absolutely perfect for a Romanian summer day. I’m still nervous, but it’s nowhere near as bad as earlier, before Campbell arrived to collect me. I actually managed to take in some of the scenery flashing past the window on our way here.

Campbell is walking with his arm around my shoulder. Normally I would tell him to remove it (PDA) but it’s quite reassuring. The trees are thinning and I can hear lots of loud noises and shouting, and now I’m worried about what the other handlers are going to think of me turning up to marry him.

Merlin that’s a dragon!

Suddenly, a jet of flame shoots across our path and I can’t help squeaking in fright. I’m sure I would have jumped backwards as well if Campbell’s arm hadn’t been around me. I’m also sure that Campbell knows this, because as I’m staring up at a terrifying Norwegian Ridgeback, Campbell is doubled over in laughter at my reaction.

It’s nice to know I’m marrying someone with such sympathy for my suffering.

Eventually he regains his composure and, only chuckling slightly, shakes his head at me. “Yes, it’s a dragon, Molly. What did you expect? A pygmy puff?”

“Very funny, Campbell,” I say, trying to scowl, but I can’t keep a straight face and before long I’ve joined in his laughter.

When we both manage to stop, we realise we only have a few hours before we’re due to get married, and so he leads me around the wide opening where the dragons are kept along another path through the trees, until we reach a collection of houses that is obviously the home of the dragon handlers and their families. On the way we meet several people, who greet Campbell and look at me curiously, but then Campbell let’s us into his house (yes, he has a house here as well. Talk about rich!) and shows me to the spare bedroom.

“I thought you could get ready in here,” he tells me. “I sent your bags on, so you should have everything you need.”

“Okay,” I say. I feel nervous at the thought of him leaving me, even if it is only for a few hours. But then he smiles and kisses me, as if he knows exactly what I’m thinking and feeling.

“I’ll see you soon, Molly. I love you. And I can’t wait for you to be my wife.”

With that, he walks back down the stairs to another room, where he is presumably getting ready for our wedding. I can’t wait for him to be my husband, either, so I shut the door behind me and start getting ready too.

 

 

Despite my obsession with romance novels (a result of being the only spinster in my friendship group), I’ve never really wanted a traditional wedding – well, except for the fact that I wanted a handsome man to come and sweep me off my feet (enter: Campbell). But apart from that, I’ve never been one of those girls who dreamed of having a beautiful white dress, or walking down the aisle on my father’s arm. I suppose it’s a good job, really. Because there’s nothing about this wedding which could be described as traditional. I think crazy might be a better adjective for it.

So, due to my lack of desire for a traditional wedding, I am currently standing in front of a full length mirror in the spare bedroom of Campbell’s house in Romania. We couldn’t avoid meeting some of the other handlers (though thankfully, there’s been no sign of Uncle Charlie yet – he’s probably snoring somewhere) and some of their wives offered to help me get ready. I declined (trying to be polite, though I’m so nervous that I’m not sure that’s how it came out) and said that I would be fine. Right now, I’m regretting that decision. How on earth are you meant to get ready for your wedding day? I’m starting to wish that I’d paid more attention to Nana Weasley’s lessons when I was younger. I’m sure that she would have had some useful advice for me now – after all, she had some for almost every other occasion.

I’ve done my best to get ready. I have to admit that I do look better than normal. I’m even voluntarily wearing a dress. And yes, it’s a blue summer dress (the colours I can wear are unfortunately greatly limited by the famous Weasley hair that I inherited) rather than a white wedding dress (Mum would be appalled – it doesn’t even have any frills) but it’s still a dress. It shows off my legs, which Felicity always tells me I should show off more often, and I actually look quite pretty. And admittedly, I told Campbell not to wear a suit (though I’m sure he would look even more gorgeous than usual in one) so he’s probably in his usual jeans, and maybe a shirt – but what if I walk out there and he changes his mind? What if he decides that he doesn’t want to marry me anymore?

Merlin, it’s time! How has this happened so quickly? Six weeks ago, I turned down Campbell’s dragon training centre application and his offer of dinner, all in one day. Today I’m getting married to him in a dragon handling colony in Romania. Needless to say, this is not exactly what I expected when I went to work that day to interview him.

There’s a knock at the door. I don’t know who it is; because I heard Campbell go out five minutes ago (I told him that we couldn’t see each other before the ceremony. I’m not normally superstitious, and I think divination is a pile of hippogriff dung, but I figured that it’s not worth taking risks today). I hear another knock and I stumble to the door in my heels, opening it tentatively.

“Uncle Charlie?” I gasp. I can’t believe it at first, but it’s definitely him, looking even more sunburnt and weathered than when I saw him last Christmas.

“Hi, Molly. Can I come in?” Without waiting for an answer, he pushes the door open and steps inside.

“What are you doing here?” I ask him. I knew there was a risk of seeing him when we came to Romania, but I had hoped that I’d be married before that happened. Looks like I can’t get through this without my family knowing about it. Damn.

“I’m here to see you,” he replies. “I know you’re getting married to Campbell. I was going to offer to give you away, if you’d like me to.”

My eyes are as round as saucers. I wasn’t expecting him to say that. Now I look at him, though, I can see he’s made an effort with his appearance. His hair has been combed and his jeans don’t even have any holes in them. Wow.

“You’re not going to tell me I shouldn’t do it? You’re not going to tell Dad?” I demand.

Uncle Charlie snorts. I wonder if that’s a family trait. Fantastic.

“Of course not, Molly. I’m not a snitch. You’re 26 and you’re old enough to make your own decisions in life. If Percy has a problem with that then he’s going to have to deal with it. Besides, Campbell’s a good guy. I trained him myself. He’s one of the best handlers around.”

I open and close my mouth several times without saying anything. Who knew that Uncle Charlie was so cool?

“Thanks,” I respond eventually. “That would be lovely.”

“Come on then, Molly,” he beams, offering his arm to me. “Let’s get this show on the road.”

 

 

The sun is setting but it’s still warm in the forest glade we’re stood in for the wedding ceremony. My wedding ceremony. There are more people than I expected watching us. Uncle Charlie has a seat in the front row, and he keeps winking and grinning at me every time I catch his eye. I swear that once I caught him pulling a funny face to try and make me laugh. Trust a Weasley to lower the tone.

My hands are in Campbell’s. He looks fantastic, even though he isn’t in the traditional wedding suit. I find it hard to tear my eyes away from his, even when I’m saying the wedding vows that I’m trying to repeat after the short wizard performing the ceremony. Campbell just looks so happy, and I know that my expression is mirroring his. He’s looking at me with so much love in his eyes that I don’t know what I was ever worried about. Of course I want to marry him. I know, as we exchange rings, that it’s exactly the right thing to do.

Then the short wizard says, in heavily accented English, the words I’ve been waiting for: “I now pronounce you husband and wife.”

I’m beaming from ear to ear. I’m married to Cyrus Campbell. The short wizard gives us permission to kiss but Campbell has already leaned in and pressed his lips to mine. In the background I hear applause and even a wolf-whistle (probably courtesy of Uncle Charlie). But none of it matters enough for me to concentrate on anyone but Campbell. My husband. And I never want this perfect moment to end.

 

 

It’s a few hours since the end of the ceremony and Campbell and I have crept away from the makeshift dance floor for some time alone. Everyone was lovely, even though they didn’t know me before today, and Uncle Charlie was surprisingly well behaved. Still, it’s nice to have some peace and quiet. I’m still not used to being the centre of attention, and though Campbell is, he seemed as ready as me to take a break from the party.

We’re currently sat on a bench in the woods (away from the dragons – I’m not ready to be too close to them again yet). Campbell has his arm around me and we keep kissing at rather frequent intervals. In spite of my strong objections to PDA, I find that I don’t care at all. It is my wedding day, after all. I’m allowed to kiss my husband!

“I love you,” Campbell whispers, stroking my hair.

“I love you, too,” I reply softly. “Thank you for today. It’s been perfect.”

Campbell smiles wider (neither of us has stopped smiling since the actual wedding) and nods. “It has been perfect, hasn’t it?” he agrees. “And you know what? It’s still going to be perfect tomorrow, and the day after that. Because you’re my wife, Molly Campbell.”

I feel my breath catch in my throat as he says my new name. I don’t have words to explain how it makes me feel, so I kiss him instead. It’s strange that I’m no longer a Weasley. I’ve tried to be independent from my family for so long and now I finally have a different name – one that I couldn’t be happier with.

“It was nice of Uncle Charlie to give me away,” I comment, after a few minutes’ silence. “I was so determined that I didn’t want any of my family involved, but I’m really glad he was here today.”

“I thought so, that’s why I wrote to him,” Campbell replies. When I sit bolt upright, he realises that he’s said more than he meant to.

“You told him?” I exclaim.

Campbell looks embarrassed. “Yeah. I kind of had to. We needed permission to get married here and Charlie’s in charge. But I thought that it would be nice for you to have someone in your family here as well.”

I don’t say anything for a minute or two, thinking about what he’s said.

“Are you mad?” Campbell asks me eventually, looking apprehensive.

“No,” I tell him honestly. I know that I probably should be angry, but I’m actually really glad that he did it. It’s quite scary how well he knows me – though he is my husband now, so I suppose it’s only to be expected.

“Good,” he replies, sounding relieved. That’s understandable. It wouldn’t bode well for the rest of our married life if we argued on our wedding day.

Instead, Campbell pulls me back into his arms and kisses me again. And it’s then that I realise something. All of this time I’ve thought that I was running away from everything in my life at home in England. But I was wrong. Yes, I have been running. But I’ve been running to something. Running to Campbell, running to our future together.

And now that we’re finally married, it’s time for me to stop running and start living. 


Chapter 6: Being Happy
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I pull on a thick jumper and smooth it down over the black jeans I’m wearing. Two skirt suits are hanging in the wardrobe but I haven’t worn them for more than six months now. This is my new uniform for work. I pick up my bag and look over at Campbell, who is wearing his traditional dragon skin jacket and jeans, a pair of dragon hide gloves tucked in the back pocket. I’m early, of course – I can’t change my personality completely – but so is Campbell, so at least I’m not the only one.

“Ready?” he asks, smiling at me.

“Of course,” I reply with a smile. He gives my hand a squeeze and then takes a handful of floo powder, throwing it into the fire. He disappears and a moment later I follow him.

The place is already a hive of activity, despite it only being eight o’ clock in the morning. The spacious office that we’ve stepped into is full of people rushing around and outside I can hear the unmistakable roar of a Common Welsh Green.

“Hi Cyrus, hi Molly,” a few people call out to us as we arrive. I greet them in return and wave at a few others. The smile hasn’t left my face yet.

“Cyrus, can you come and give us a hand, mate? We had another one arrive last night and we need all the help we can get,” Phil shouts from the doorway.

“I’ll be there in a minute, mate,” Campbell responds, turning back to me to give me a kiss. I touch my lips to his briefly and then push him away. I’m still not a fan on PDA.

“Go on!” I urge. Shelly, sat at the nearest desk to us, laughs at our display.

Campbell grins and with another peck on my cheek, follows the stocky man out of the building.

In case you hadn’t already guessed, Campbell and I work together now. I’m not a dragon handler (that would just be silly) but a lot has changed in the last six months. And I really do mean a lot.

When Campbell and I ran away to Romania to get married (something I still can’t believe I did) I hadn’t told anyone at the Ministry that I was going. I didn’t expect to have a job waiting for me when I got back, but I suppose that I underestimated Dad’s influence at the Ministry. Since he didn’t know anything about Campbell, he spent the first week that I was missing convinced that I was ill. After that, though, he began to get suspicious. I’ve never had a day off sick in my life before – I used to live for work. But since none of my family knew anything about where I was either, he had to turn to Felicity for answers.

I don’t blame her for having let it slip. In fairness, I didn’t actually tell her where we had gone – but she’s smart enough that she put my disappearance together with my new relationship and came up with the right answer. I have a suspicion that Dad would have threatened her if she hadn’t told him, anyway.

I can’t accurately describe Dad’s reaction when he found out what had happened. Suffice it to say that I received no fewer than nine howlers in under an hour, all demanding that I returned home immediately because I was bringing shame on the family and abandoning my duties. A barrage of owls followed that, mainly from my Mum. They were tear-stained and filled with entreaties just to come home so I could talk to them about it.

I didn’t go, of course. What was there to talk about? I’m an adult, and I’m married to Cyrus Campbell. That’s all there is to it.

There was one letter I got in the midst of all the others that was a pleasant surprise. It came from Lucy, who had obviously heard what had happened from Mum and Dad (Mum had said they were trying to keep the truth from the rest of the family for as long as possible). I’ve never exactly had a good relationship with Lucy, but what she wrote cheered me up no end. I still read it every now and then:

Hi Molly,

So you found yourself a man, eh? Good for you! Who cares that you’ve eloped with a dragon handler? Well, Mum and Dad do, I suppose, but that’s not the point. They’ll calm down soon enough – take it from the expert! I want to meet him as soon as you get back! Until then, though, be happy!

Love,

Lucy x

Lucy is definitely the expert as far as angry parents are concerned. It’s weird that I’m now in the same position that she’s been in for most of her life. But at least it has brought us closer together – we’re actually on good terms, now, which is surprisingly enjoyable. We have more in common than I thought; or maybe I just never really bothered to find out.

Obviously I didn’t go home straight away. When I told Dad in a letter that I wouldn’t be coming back, I received several more howlers containing threats about cutting me off (not that they give me money, anyway) and a letter from Mum saying that I’d broken her heart.

I have to admit, that last one stung. I tried to keep it all from Campbell as much as possible because I didn’t want him to feel responsible for the ridiculous reactions of my parents. I had a good reason for not wanting him to meet them. The next day, though, I got another letter from Lucy telling me not to worry about it. In spite of all Dad’s threats, he’d persuaded the Minister that I was taking sick leave, and with several reminders about what a good worker I’d been for the last eight years, I was signed off indefinitely – I even got paid for the whole time. It turns out Dad couldn’t bear the idea of other people knowing that I’d run away to Romania with an ex-rock star turned dragon handler.

I don’t think there are even words for his reaction when he found out that Uncle Charlie had been the one to give me away at the wedding.

We came back eventually. Although Campbell works in Romania with dragons, we wanted to live back in Britain. Even though I complain about them constantly, I actually missed my family while I was away. So we came up with a plan.

Dad’s pride made things easier for us in a way. When I got back I was able to resign on “health grounds” and I received my wages until the end of the month. With my resignation, I made a recommendation for the next head of the Dragon Research and Restraint Bureau. I suggested that Cynthia take over my post. For some incomprehensible reason, other people agreed with me. She’s been the head of the Bureau for the last five months.

I had my own reasons, of course, for recommending Cynthia as my replacement. After seeing Campbell working in Romania, I started to understand his fascination with dragons. And I realised that his proposal to start a dragon training centre in Britain wasn’t quite so crazy after all. Somehow, I found myself wishing that I’d approved it in the first place.

A week after we arrived back in Britain (and fresh from doing battle with Mum and Dad, who are worse than a pair of dragons themselves) we resubmitted Campbell’s application for the centre. Unsurprisingly, after our meeting with Cynthia, our application was approved (I’d like to think she was grateful for my recommendation, but I think that her decision was based more on the fact that Campbell kissed her on the cheek when I introduced them properly. There really is no hope for that woman).

It didn’t take us long to get everything set up. With us a joint managers, things ran very smoothly, and quick enough to satisfy even Campbell’s enthusiasm. He had enough contacts amongst other dragon handlers to make sure that we got a full team together straight away, and with my organisation I managed to find people to handle the paperwork and administration alongside me. We’re now running the first dragon training centre in Britain.

“Molly?” Shelly says, calling me back to the present.

I look up and realise that more people are coming out of the fireplace, and struggling to manoeuvre around me as they step into the room. Oops.

I smile sheepishly at her and take a seat at my desk. Although I’m in charge here, I don’t have my own office where I sit and rule things from on high. Campbell was the one who persuaded me on that. Back at the Ministry, one of the reasons that I worked so hard (besides the fact that I had no social life to speak of) was so that I could get promoted – because promotion meant that private office, without anyone to pester me about my famous family. It meant that I could ignore all of it and be my own person.

Here, despite the fact that I share my office with nine other people, not one of them has felt it necessary to mention my family. I talk to them – I’m even friends with them (yes, I know, I now have more than one proper friend!) – but we have more important things to talk about than what my cousins did in their weekend quidditch match, or what part my aunts and uncles played in the war. Who knew that I’d feel more comfortable working at a dragon training centre than I did at the Ministry of Magic?

The routine here is somewhat different to the Ministry. Although the atmosphere is definitely more informal (can you really have a formal dragon training centre?) it’s also surprisingly more professional than the Ministry ever was (the people I was working with, anyway – maybe taking Mona and Cynthia as an example of Ministry workers is an unfair generalisation). People here are so enthusiastic about their work that almost everyone is early each day and I only need to ask them once for a job to be done.

“Will you help me look over these applications, Molly?” Shelly asks me.

“Of course,” I reply.

Shelly is married to one of the dragon handlers working here. They’re both in their forties and have kids together; Shelly told me on the first day we opened the centre that she was eternally grateful to us for giving her husband somewhere to work in England instead of Peru (where they’d been for the last six years – Rick was helping the Peruvian Ministry to control their Vipertooth population). We don’t have a second in command here, but Shelly is my unofficial deputy. What she doesn’t know about dragon handling (and handlers, for that matter) isn’t really worth knowing.

I wheel my chair over to join her at her desk (yes, we have those muggle office chairs with wheels. Don’t look at me like that. You know you want one too) to see what she wanted help with. The stack of applications was over two feet high. Merlin, this is going to take a long time.

Even though I thought it was a stupid idea at first, when I eventually came round I knew that our centre would be popular. But I don’t think either Campbell or anyone else (myself included) could have anticipated how successful it actually would be. We managed to set up quickly with a team of twenty handlers and ten office staff, but demand for our services is increasing to such a level that we need to take on more workers after only five months.

I think it’s safe to say that my initial views on the plan were wrong.

The current stack on Shelly’s desk is all applications for an apprenticeship with the handlers. Campbell thought it would be a good idea to offer training for people who want to become dragon handlers like him. He’s going to make the final decisions with some of the other handlers, but we get the lucky job of sorting through all the initial applications to find the best applicants.

I roll my eyes at Shelly and she grins back like she knows exactly what I’m thinking. Probably because she’s thinking the same thing.

Time passes surprisingly quickly as we sort through the applications. Some of the others in the office join in and help us occasionally, and we laugh a lot at some of the ridiculous answers on the forms. A few make me worry a bit about the future of British witches and wizards (“What is your greatest academic achievement: Not getting caught in a broom cupboard with a girl at Hogwarts despite having spent most of my last three years in them”?). There were a lot of applications from abroad as well, which was funny because of the mistakes they’d made writing in English. Eventually, though, we managed to pick out the ten best from nearly a hundred who’d applied.

I can’t believe the number of people who want to be dragon handlers. They are hot, though. Molly, focus.

The rest of the day passes in a similar manner and once we’re finished I wait for Campbell and we floo home together. We get changed quickly because we’ve arranged to meet Felicity and Jasper for a drink. The pub is just down the road from our house so we decide to walk there instead of apparating.

Campbell looks gorgeous in a dark shirt over a clean pair of jeans. He takes my hand again as we walk along the pavement.

“Good day, Mol?” he asks.

“Yes – even though I spent most of it looking through applications for your apprentices.”

“How many were there?”

“Nearly a hundred,” I groan.

He looks slightly guilty but is still smiling. “I knew there was a reason I loved you.”

“Because I act as your secretary?”

“Of course – what other reason did I have for marrying you?” he jokes.

I elbow him in the side but he barely seems to feel it. Damn those muscles. “I didn’t think there would be so many people applying. There are a lot of weird people around.”

“Why does applying for the apprenticeship make them weird?” Campbell says curiously.

“We’ve already been over this. They want to work with dragons. What part of dragon handler says normal to you?”

Campbell doesn’t respond straight away, but there’s a wicked glint in his eye. I swallow nervously. A second later he starts tickling me. Lucky there’s nobody about.

“Campbell, stop!” I order, but once again fail to sound stern through my giggles.

“Not until you say dragons are cool!” he responds.

“Never!”

“Well, then I’m not going to stop!” And he carries on until I’m laughing so much that I’m nearly falling over. When I eventually do fall onto the ground, though, I decide to swallow my pride.

“Stop! Dragons are cool!” I gasp.

He stops tickling me. “What was that?”

“Dragons are cool!” I repeat miserably, slowly regaining my breath.

“Damn right they are!” he replies.

He extends a hand to me and tugs me gently to my feet again. I’m about to scold him for another tickling episode but before I have chance to say anything he pulls me closer and kisses me tenderly.

A minute or two later we’re both breathing harder than normal as he rests his forehead against mine. “Are you happy, Molly?” he whispers.

Instead of automatically using the reply that was my default answer when people used to ask me that (“I’m fine!”), I take a moment to stop and think about it. Everything in my life has changed so drastically. If you had told me a year ago, or even the day before I met Campbell, that my life would be like this now, I would never have believed it. I lost my job at the Ministry – probably the most important thing to me – and instead I set up a dragon training centre with my husband. And for some reason, I never stop smiling now.

“Yes,” I answer softly. “Yes I am.”

He smiles and kisses me softly again and then puts his arm round me as we start walking towards the pub again. As we walk, I cast my mind back over the last six months. That one crazy moment when I agreed to go for lunch with Campbell after refusing his first application to open the centre. A series of crazy moments after that – falling in love with him, running away and getting married, coming back and resigning from the Ministry, setting up the dragon training centre. It’s all led to one thing: being happy.  And I am. I really am.
 

 




A/N: Well, that's my first story finally finished!  I just wanted to say thanks to everyone who has taken the time to read this, and I really hope you enjoyed it - please don't forget to leave a review!
 


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