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Chapter 10

*******

Nikki stood, together with Bill, outside the kitchen of number 12 Grimmauld Place. She had come to London two days ago, and since then she had been staying with Bill, his parents and other assorted members of the Order of the Phoenix.

Everything would have been normal if Auror Nymphadora Tonks hadn’t suggested that Nikki could join the Light side. At first Nikki had protested, but eventually Tonks had persuaded her that she would be useful to the Light side. She had even made Nikki talk to Dumbledore before the meeting, which had resulted in that she was currently standing outside the kitchen.

“Ready?” Bill asked.

Nikki nodded and took a deep breath as he reached for the door handles, and he gave her hand a reassuring squeeze. “It’ll be okay.”

As they entered everyone turned to look at them.

“This is Nikki,” Bill introduced her.

Dumbledore rose and walked up to them, smiling warmly at her. He was tall, Nikki noticed as he was standing in front of her.

“Welcome, my dear,” he greeted her, clasping her hand in his. “I trust that Mr. Weasley has told you why we would like to speak with you?”

“Yes, Professor.”

“Excelent.” He took out his wand and conjured a chair. It dropped to the floor with a soft thud. “There we are. Please, have a seat.”

“Thank you.” Nikki manuevered the chair so that she was sitting between Bill and Tonks. She sought Bill’s hand under the table, and he took it and rubbed her palm with his thumb.

“Excellent. Now that Miss Rogers is here we may continue,” Dumbledore said. “Miss Rogers, I do not know how much Mr Weasley have told you about the Order of the Phoenix.”

“Not very much. Just that it was formed during the last war, and that it’s been rebuilt.”

“You are, of course, correct. We have never had Muggles work for the Light side. However, after discussing the matter we have come to the conclusion that it would be beneficial for you to join us in the Order. We also believe that we have found a suitable task for you.” He paused as if to let Nikki speak, while studying her over the rim of his glasses. When she didn’t say anything he continued, “You do remember our little talk earlier?”

Nikki nodded. “Yes, sir.”
“The majority of the members believe that it would be beneficial to our cause to have you working for the Order. If you agree to it, we have a suitable task for you.” His eyes held Nikki's, as if she were the only person in the room.

She gulped. That sounded serious. Which, she reminded herself, it probably was. There was still time for her to say no, but eventually she heard herself answer; “So, what is it that you want me to do?”

“You did mentioned that you would like a flat of your own, and we believe that said flat would serve as an ideal safe house for people on the Light side. If necessary it will also serve as a place for delivering and picking up important messages. Would you be willing to take on such a position?”

Nikki nodded, meeting his intense gaze. “Yes.” If there was anything she could do to help in the war, she wanted to do it. It did not sound too difficult, just having people staying at her place. If it meant that she would get her own flat it was even better.

“I must warn you, however,” Dumbledore continued, his voice more serious. “You may find yourself in danger if someone on the Dark side learns that you are assisting us. Nothing is completely without risk, and I am not yet sure what the rest of the Order members will say about this.”

Nikki started chewing on her bottom lip, and squeezed Bill’s hand which she was still holding. So there it was. The risk. But she couldn’t very well say no now, could she? “I’m willing to... take that risk.”

“Good. One of our contacts will be able to provide us with a suitable flat, which should be ready in a few days. In the meantime, may I suggest that you stay here at Grimmauld Place? I will inform you when you can move into the flat. Ah, yes… there is one other thing.”

Nikki straightened in her chair, waiting for what he was going to say.

“The Order will make sure that you will get a monthly stipend so that you will be able to pay for your expenses like food and clothes.”

That was something Nikki hadn’t expected. She was about to say that she could get a job and pay for everything herself, but something about the look on Dumbledore’s face made her pause. “Thank you. I really apreciate it,” she said instead.

Dumbledore smiled. “That is settled then. Does anyone have anything else to add in this matter?”

No one spoke up, and the meeting adjourned. Some people left at once, while others stayed behind to talk. Most of them were interested in talking to Nikki, and she suspected that they wanted to know who she was.

*******

BEEP! BEEP! BEEP! BEEP!

CRASH!

“Damn!”

BEEP! BEEP! BEEP!

Needless to say, Bill’s awakening was not the most pleasant he had ever had. He opened his eyes and saw Nikki, bent over the edge of the bed. She emerged a couple of seconds later, holding the, now quiet, alarm clock.

“Mornin’,” she said and gave him a peck on the lips.

“Mornin’. Time to get up already?”

“Yeah. You have to be at work in an hour.”

Bill stretched, and pulled Nikki to him. He had moved in with her since she got her flat, which, in his opinion, was many times better than staying at Grimmauld Place.

“Can’t we stay in bed all day?” he asked.

“No. We’re going to fight the Dark forces, remember?”

“Sod them. They’ll have to make do without us.”

Nikki giggled as he pulled the cover over them and started tickling her.

“William Weasley, you’re...”

“The worlds’ most wonderful boyfriend?”

“Yes, that too. But I was thinking of saying something like get off of me and I’ll make some breakfast.”

Bill reluctantly let her get out of bed. When she disapeared into the kitchen he got out of bed too, and changed into his robes before joining her.

A couple of months had gone since that night after the third task of the Triwizard Tournament, when He Who Must Not Be Named had been reborn. Since then the Light side had begun to gather followers as well as information about the Dark Side, and now the Order of the Phoenix was getting well organized and prepared for what might come. They didn’t know anything about the You-Know-Who’s whereabouts, however. Even though various members had tried to find out where he was hiding and what he was up to they had not succeeded in coming across any information that could help them. Bill suspected that he used a secret keeper, like the Order did, and in that case it would be impossible to find him if the Light Side did not capture the secret keeper and made him or her tell them where he hid. And since they didn’t know where You-Know-Who was hiding, they could do nothing else but wait.

Waiting seemed to be all they ever did these days, and frankly it drew Bill crazy. Sometimes he even wished that the Dark side would make its first move just so that he wouldn’t have to wait anymore. It was so unreal to imagine that He Who Must Not Be Named was back, but Bill feared that it was only a question of time before the Dark Side would make a move. He wouldn’t be surprised if Diagon Alley or Hogsmeade would be attacked first, since they were significant to the witches and wizards of Britain.

After breakfast Bill Apparated to Gringotts. As he sat at his desk with a pile of parchments in front of him he thought about what it had been like the last time You-Know-Who had been alive. The constant fear, and not knowing what would happen to the Wizarding world. And the Muggles? During the last war they had been pursued too, and now when he was going out with Nikki he was worried that it would happen again.

He shook his head, trying to get rid of the worried thoughts. Nothing had happened yet, and maybe nothing would. Harry might be wrong; maybe You-Know-Who wasn’t back. But who was he kidding, really? Bill knew that if Harry said that he was back it was true. And besides, he had other things to worry about. He absentmindedly bit his quill, causing feathers to come off and stick to his tongue. Grimacing and spitting he made a mental note to never bite his quills again.

When he had managed to remove the feathers he tried to concentrate on the parchemnts in front of him, knowing that he had to be done with them by lunchtime. The problem was that he just couldn’t concentrate, and the reason was as simple as it was stupid: Yasmin. Yesterday he had recieved a message from his boss, telling him that he would get a new co-worker. She would help him if the Order needed such work done. She would also work with him at Gringotts, since the Order thought that it would be useful to have two people there.

Bill could still recall the initial shock. Yasmin? Had she started working for the Light side? And what was she doing in England? She was supposed to be in Cairo, not in London! And what if they could not work together anymore, just because of what had happened between them? Those kinds of thoughts had been occupying Bill’s mind for the past hours, and now it was two hours left until she would be there. He had promised their boss to take her out to lunch and show her what it was he worked with.

*******

When the dishes were done Nikki contemplated going to Grimmauld Place. She had no one staying with her who had to hide, and everyone having to pick up or leave a secret message has their own key to her flat. She got her jacket, and headed out into the hustle and bustle of central London. People and cars were hurrying past her in both directions, and Nikki couldn’t help but wonder if some of them knew about what was going on right under their very noses; that there was witches and wizards, and that a war was starting.

Thinking about the war she inevitably started thinking about her parents. She had wanted to tell them what was going on, just so they were warned, but Dumbledore had told her not to say anything about it. Nikki remembered exactly what he had said.

“You cannot, under any circumstances, let them know about the Wizarding world. I know why you want to tell hem, but please understand that it is of more importance to keep our secrets. Should anything happen we will of course contact them, but until then I must ask you to refrain from mentioning this situation to them.”

And she had promised. Even though she really wanted them to know about this new world she now was part of, she understood the importance of keeping the Wizarding world a secret. She could only imagine the panic that would emerge through England and the rest of the world if the public suddenly found out that there were witches and wizards, and on top of that one mean wizard who wanted to kill as many of them as possible.

Walking from her flat to Grimmauld Place took less than half an hour. It would have been quicker to use floo-powder, but Nikki knew that the Dark side was watching the floo-network. Besides, she welcomed the exercise.

When she arrived at Grimmauld Place she mentally repeated what had been written on the piece of parchment Dumbledore had shown her when she had come to London, and number12 apeared betwen 11 and 13. Nikki rung the doorbell, and the door was opened by Tonks.

“Wotcher?” She winced as Mrs Black launched into one of her regular tirades, like always when disturbed. “Honestly, that woman!” She groaned, and together the two women pulled the curtains over the portrait. Tonks yawned. “Night duty,” she explained. “I’m going to bed in a few minutes.”

“Are you always on night duty?”

“Mostly. I tend to get the less popular shifts since I’m fairly new.”

“I hope you’ll get better shifts soon.”

“Somehow I doubt it.” Tonks made a face. “Anyway, I’m off to bed. See you around.”

“Yeah, see you. By the way, where’s Molly?”

“I don’t know. I just got here She’s probably in the kitchen, preparing lunch.”

Just then Mrs Weasley opened the kitchen door. “I thought I heard the doorbell. Nicole, dear, how are you?”

“I’m fine Mrs Weasley. How are you?”

“Oh, I’m fine. There is a lot to do, as usual. Why don’t you go sit in the living room for a while, we need to finish this meeting.”

“Okay.”

“Sorry I can’t keep you company,” Tonks apologized. “But I really need to try and get some sleep.”

“That’s okay. Talk to you later.”

“Later.” And with that the young witch walked up the stairs.

When left alone again, Nikki headed towards the living room. There was nobody else there; everybody was probably at the meeting, or out doing whatever they were doing. She sank down in an arm-chair, and waited.

After a couple of minutes she rose and started walking around the room, looking at the furniture and the assortment of different objects lying around. Some of them she had never seen before, so she was careful not to touch them. The books, however, she had a closer look at. They had titles like Practical Household Magic and The Dark Forces: A Guide to Self Protection. Nikki leafed through them, finding the moving pictures especially interesting. She also read about how to defend herself against Dark magic. Unfortunately there was nothing that told her how a Muggle liker herself could be protected.

Finally, after another hour, she heard voices. She rose and made her way towards the kitchen, and was greeted by the members of the Order who apparently had attended the meeting.

“Nicole, I’m sorry to have kept you waiting,” Mrs Weasley apologized as she hugged her.

“That’s alright, you couldn’t very well leave the meeting. What’s on the agenda for the rest of the day?”

“Well... There’s lunch in a bit, and after that I have to go to the Ministry and see Arthur.”

“I can help you with lunch if you want.”

“No dear, that’s not necesarry. But you can keep me company if you want.”

Nikki in followed Mrs Weasley back into the kitchen. She would have liked to help, but Mrs Weasley always told her that she didn’t need to. She never said so, but Nikki knew it was because she was a Muggle.

The fact that she was so helpless irritated her to no end. She couldn’t even turn on a lamp without help!

“No, but really, I’d like to help,” she insisted. She felt useless just sitting there, watching Mrs Weasley work.

“It’s all right dear. I need to get lunch ready as soon as possible, and it’s quicker this way.” She waved her wand in different directons, causing knifes, kettles, a fryingpan, carrots potatoes and sausages to soar through the air. Nikki loved watching Bill and the others doing magic, but at the same time she felt left out. They shared something she had no part in, and sometimes she even had the feeling that some of the other Order members did not want her there. No one said anything straight out, but some of the comments she had recieved told her that some people didn’t really like her being a member of the Order.

She had mentioned her suspicions to Bill, who had sugested talking to Dumbledore. She had done just that, but he had just said that she should not worry. “I’m sure they know that what you do will benefit the Order,” he had said. “And none of them are against Muggles.”

That had been the end of that discussion. It was with it in memory Nikki had not told Bill that she felt left out whennever being around wizards. She would only feel stupid for complaining. There was no way he could know what it felt like not to be able to do anything you were used to, since he could live a normal life in both the Muggle and Wizarding world.

*******

Not being able to concentrate on work, Bill yawned and stretched. A short break would be good. Just five minutes. He rose and walked out of his office, dodging one of the goblins as it came walking towards him, carrying a stack of parchments.

“All right there?” he asked. He merely got a grunt in reply before the goblin disappeared around a corner. Bill smiled to himself. That was goblins for you. Never ones for idle chit chat.

“William? Hi.”

Bill turned and saw Fleur Delaceur walking towards him. She had worked at Gringotts for a few weeks, and before that they had briefly met at Hogwarts during the Triwizard Tournament. Ever since he had told his family that Fleur worked at Gringotts he had been teased by Fred and George. Apparently they had found out that she had had her eyes on him during the Tournament, and they never tired of reminding him about Fleur’s interest.

He smiled at her. “Hi Fleur. How are you?”

”I am fine, thankz,” she said in her thick, French accent. “And you?”

“I’m fine, I’m just taking a break.”

“Have you got much to do?”

“Yes, unfortunately. So, what are you doing? What department are you in?”

“I work in the Customer Service Department.”

“That sounds interesting.”

She nodded. “It iz. But I have to go now. I will zee you later.”

“See you.”

Bill looked after her, eying the slender figure. When she had disapeared around the corner he decided that the break was over, and once back in his office he made one last attempt to concentrate on his work. Now he actually managed to get the numbers straight. Proud of himself, he jumped when someone knocked on the door.

“Mr Weasley? Miss Yasmin is here.”

Bill’s stomach turned. Was it time already? The worst thing was, that he didn’t know what to expect. He knew that he was over her, but there was a chance that things could get complicated because they had been going out.

“Show her in.”

Yasmin emmerged in the doorway, looking exactly like the last time he had seen her. she walked up to him and gave him a hug. “Hi Bill! Long time no see.”

He hugged her back. “Hi. Have a seat.” He motioned towards the chair in front of his desk, and Yasmin sat down.

“So this is where you work?” she said, looking around the office.

“My very own office. Did you get one yet?”

“Apparently I’ll share this with you since we’ll work together. We’ll just put in another desk.”

Oh. Okay. “I didn’t know that. How come no one ever tells me anything?”

Yasmin chuckled. “Poor Bill. I thought you’d be used to it by now.”

“Hey, watch it or I’ll have you working with the goblins instead,” he threathened good-naturedly. “I thought we’d go get something to eat, and after lunch I’ll show you around. That sounds okay?”

Yasmin thought that was a good idea, and Bill escorted her out of Gringotts. To his relief it wasn’t awkward to see her again, and he was actually glad to have her back in his life. After all they knew each other really well, and he hoped that they would be able to become friends again.

After lunch Bill showed her around Gringotts, and told her about the work she would help him with. They also discussed the Order. It turned out that Yasmin had contacted the English Ministry of Magic to offer her help, and this was her first day officially working for the Order.

“Do you know about the Headquarters?” Bill asked.

“I know where it’s located, but I haven’t been there. I spoke to Dumbledore yesterday, and he had me looking at a note and everything.”

“Right. In that case, why don’t you come and have dinner there tonight?”

Yasmin looked surprised at first, but then she nodded. “I’d love to, if it’s not too much trouble.”

“Not at all. Mum always cooks too much so it’ll be enough for you too even if we don’t tell her in advance that you’ll come.”

“Then I’d love to have dinner with you lot. It might give me a chance to get to know some of the other members, and your family.”

An hour and a half later they Apparated in front of numbers eleven and thirteen. Bill rang the doorbell of number 12 they were greeted by Remus.

“Hi there.”

“Hey. Remus, this is Yasmin, my new co-worker and also new member of the Order. Yasmin, this is Remus Lupin, another Order member.”

They shook hands, and Remus took them to the kitchen where assorted Order members already were gathered. Nikki was there too, and Bill hugged her and gave her a kiss before introducing her and Yasmin to each other.

“Nikki, this is Yasmin, the newest member of the Order and my new co-worker. Yasmin, this is Nikki, my girlfriend.”

Nikki smiled and extended her hand for Yasmin to shake. “Hi, it’s nice to meet you.”

“Likewise.”

“Have a seat everybody, dinner’s ready,” Bill heard his mum call over the chatter.

He got a seat opposite Nikki and beside Yasmin. Yasmin immediately started talking to him, and since Nikki started talking to Tonks Bill continued to talk to Yasmin throughout dinner. They had a lot of catching up to do, and Bill was relieved that they seemed to be able to be friends.

After dinner Nikki excused herself and went home. Apparently she had a headache, and thought an early night would cure it. Bill spent the rest of the night with Yasmin, and when he arrived home Nikki was already asleep.

*******

Nikki threw the old dishcloth in the garbage. It was now seven fifty, and Bill had not showed up yet. He should have been there over an hour ago, but had not even sent an owl telling her if he needed to work late.

And then a thought hit her. A very ridiculous thought indeed, but yet it was there; Yasmin. What if something was going on between Bill and her? A vision of them making love flashed before her eyes, and Nikki closed her eyes to get rid of it. That was ridiculous! Bill would not do something like that, she trusted him. But could she trust Yasmin? She had seen how she eyed Bill during that dinner at Grimmauld Place a couple of days ago, and Nikki did not like it. Normally she wasn’t jealous, but the fact that they used to go out made things worse.

She looked at them from across the table. They were sitting close together, talking amongst themselves. What was worse Nikki didn’t know- being ignored by her boyfriend or the fact that he was spending the whole dinner talking to his ex-girlfriend.

Yasmin laughed at something Bill said, and disgusted Nikki turned to Tonks again. She was sitting on Nikki’s righthand side, and seemed happy to entertain her with stories from when she was in Auror training. Nikki listened and asked questions; she would never tire of hearing stories involving the Wizarding World. There was so much for her to see and learn, and the more people told her about this new world the more she felt like a part of it.


As much as she had enjoyed the conversation with Tonks, Nikki couldn’t help but feeling disapointed. Bill had not talked to her at all, and not wanting to sit there and see him spend the entire night with Yasmin she had excused herself and gone home right after dinner. When Bill had asked why, she had told him that she was tired and had a headache.

Suddenly she heard the frontdoor open. “Hi love, it’s me!”

Nikki stayed in the kitchen, preparing herself to tell Bill what she thought about his not telling her that he needed to work late or whatever.

“Something smells good,” he said when he entered the kitchen

He gave her a hug, but Nikki, was not in the mood for cuddling. “Dinner. Yours is in the fridge, you can heat it in the microwave,” she said, breaking loose.

Bill frowned at her, apparently noticing that something wasn’t right. “What’s wrong?”

“You get home late and you don’t even bother to owl me and tell me that you had to work late! Or whatever it is you’ve been doing.”

“I’m sorry, but we were swamped with work. I didn’t have the time.”

“I was worried!”

“I know, and I’m sorry. I promise to owl if it happens again. Now, did you say you saved some food for me?”

“Yeah, it’s in the fridge.” Nikki was still somewhat dismayed He didn’t seem to understand the seriousness of it all. What if something had happened to him?

Bill took out the plate, containing mashed potatoes and steak and kidney pie. He pointed his wand at it. “Incalfacio!”

After heating the food and getting himself a glass of water Bill sat down to eat. Nikki joined him. She fiddled with the tablecloth before speaking.

“I’m not mad at you, I was just worried. Anything could’ve happened! Do you know what that feels like? I know that You-Know-Who is out there somewhere, and that scares me! I’m more scared than I’ve ever been in my life, and I can’t just pretend this isn’t happening! I’m trying to live a normal life, and sometimes I even manage to forget that He exists, but as soon as I come to Grimmauld Place I’m reminded of it. And I’m worried about my parents. What if something happens to them? What if the Dark side finds out that they’re my parents and go after them just because of that? It kills me not being able to tell them about all this. I want them to know!”

“Is this why you’ve been quiet lately?”

”Yeah, I guess.” Don’t tell him you’re jealous. It’s not worth it.

Bill sat down beside her and smothed her hair behind her ears. “I know it’s hard not to think about the war, but it’s only harder if you do.”

Nikki leaned her head against his shoulder, feeling the warmth of his body. “I know, and I try not to. But... I don’t want to lose you.”

“You’re not going to lose me. I promise.”

Not even to Yasmin? Nikki did not like the fact that the two worked together, since she knew how much Bill had loved Yasmin when they had been going out. She knew that it didn’t mean that he would fall in love with her again, but the woman was good looking and charming. And way into Bill. It didn’t matter how much he would deny that fact; Nikki had seen it at dinner.

“There’s something else too, isn’t there?” Bill asked.

Nikki hesitated. She hated the fact that he could read her like an open book. She had told him that before, and he had laughed and said that it was because he was a curse breaker.

“I don’t know, it’s really stupid...”

“Come on, tell me,” he coaxed. “If something’s bothering you it can’t be stupid.”

“It’s just... I don’t like that you work with Yasmin.”

“Why? You don’t like her?”

“No, it’s nothing like that, it’s just... I know that you really loved her, and... see, I told you it was stupid.”

“It’s not stupid. I think I’d feel the same way if you worked with one of your ex-boyfriends.”

“You would?”

“Yeah, I would. And I can assure you, that nothing’s going on between us. We’re friends, that’s all. You don’t have to be worried.”

Nikki wanted to believe him; she really did. It was just that every time she thought about Yasmin she could see her looking at Bill in a way that Nikki only could describe as seductive.

“I do trust you, but I don’t know if I trust Yasmin,” she said.

“Why wouldn’t you trust her?”

Nikki looked him in the eyes. “She wants you. It’s obvious.”

“No she doesn’t!”

”Yes she does! I saw you together at dinner the other night; she was eyeing you all the time.” And you gladly talked to her. Encouraged her.

“Honey, she doesn’t want me. She’s said so herself, that she doesn’t have any feelings for me anymore.”

Yeah, as if I would believe that. “Really?”

”Really.” Bill pulled Nikki in for a massive hug and kissed her. “Don’t worry. I love you, I wouldn’t even consider going back to her even if she would want me back.”

Nikki decided to trust him, but made a mental note to keep an eye on Yasmin. “Okay. But please watch her. I don’t trust her.”

“I will.”

Nikki only hoped that he was telling the truth.

*******

The next morning Bill arrived at work before Yasmin. The first thing he did was take out a stack of parchments from a hidden drawer in his desk. He had recieved them from Dumbledore the other day, with instructions that he should bring them to today’s Order meeting.

He immediately noticed that they lay in the wrong order. Frowning, he leafed through the stack. He was the one who had put the documents back in the drawer last night, so why were they placed in a different order now?

When he stood there, parchments in hand, Yasmin entered the office. She smiled and walked up to him.

“Good morning.”

“Hey.”

She looked at the parcments Bill were holding. “What’ve you got there?”

“Just some documents from my drawer.”

Even though Yasmin worked with him he knew that it was better not to mention his suspicions. It was not that he didn’t trust her; you just never knew if someone would overhear them and report to someone on the Dark side. That was one of the drawbacks with the war; you never really knew who you could trust.

“Nothing important then?”

“No, not really.”

Yasmin went over to her desk and sat down. Bill glanced at her as she placed her bag on the floor beside it. She seemed tired again, and he felt sorry for her. The war must really take its toll on her, and he wished he could do something to cheer her up.

“Are you alright?” he asked.

”Yeah, it’s getting better.”

“Glad to hear that. You know I’m here if you want to talk.”

She smiled gratefully at him. “Thanks. It means a lot to me.”

“That’s what friends are for.”

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