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Aveline Rousseau

Aveline



About Me

If you want to know more about me, read my profile. I am 29 years old, I work for the Auror Department in the Ministry of Magic. I am currently involved with Charlie Weasley, and we're expecting our first child together in November.



Others Around Me


Babette Delacour
Charlie Weasley
Randall Worthington
Fleur Delacour
Nymphadora Tonks
Gabrielle Delacour
Fred Weasley
Bill Weasley
George Weasley
Cho Chang
Remus Lupin
Celeste Bertand


The Layout

This layout was created at Premade Ljs. The header image and colors were created by Sara.

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test [February 05, 2012 @ 9:07am]
test

Unlikely Alliances - 8/17/2002 [August 17, 2007 @ 1:06pm]
[ mood | annoyed ]

I don't know what possessed me to come here, but it seemed like the obvious solution after I had seen Fred chained to Babette's wall. I needed to tell someone who would not want to storm the castle, so to speak, meaning Gabrielle, or any of the Weasleys. Nym,phadora Tonks seemed like an obvious choice as she was a capable Auror, even if she was six months pregnant, and she could look at the situation clearly, or at least more clearly than Charlie. I walk up the pathway to the large house, vaguely noting in the back of my mind that this house was once suppose to be mine. Not that it mattered anymore. I loved the house Charlie got for us and I couldn't imagine living anywhere else now. This was Whizzy and Tonks's home...

I knock on the door loudly and after a few moments I finally hear someone on the other side. I'm surprised to see Whizzy answer the door and not a prim and proper housemaid and from the look on his face, he is surprised to see me too.

"Aveline."

"Randall," I reply with a tight smile. "How are you?"

"I am well, thank you. Er, come in." He steps back and I enter the house, already familiar with my surroundings. "Can I take your cloak?"

"What?" Distracted, I blink and look at him. "Oh, no, I can't stay long. Is Tonks around?"

"Tonks?" Whizzy's brows furrow together in confusion as his hands fall loosely on his hips. "Ah, yes. She's in the parlor--"

"I need to speak with her," I announce and head toward the parlor.

"All right, Avie?" Whizzy asks, his hand touching my arm lightly. I pause for a moment, wincing at his touch and the use of my nickname. It was becoming far too intimate far too quickly and I force a smile again.

"I'm fine, but I really need to speak with Tonks."

"Of course." He pushes open the double doors to the parlor and my eyes land upon Tonks, sitting in the middle of the floor in front of the fireplace, several different colored patches of patterns and fabrics surrounding her legs and bloated stomach. "Dorrie, darling."

Tonks looks up, shock crossing her features when her brown eyes land on me. She recovers quickly, and gracefully. "Aveline. Is something wrong?"

"Can we talk?" I ask quickly and when she nods I enter the parlor and lift a hand to place on Whizzy's arm when he begins to follow. "I need to speak with her alone, Randall, I'm sorry."

He stammers in protest but I give him a slight push out the door before I shut the doors in his face. After a moment's hesitance, I pull out my wand and place a silencing charm around the doors to keep him from eavesdropping. I turn back toward my former, er current, nemesis and see her smirk at Whizzy's behavior before she shifts her gaze to me.

"What is it?" she finally asks, doing her best to push herself up. I try not to blanch at her outfit, orange Chudley Cannon pajamas that look as though they could have once belonged to Charlie, and fuzzy pink slippers. Her brown hair is just a mess, tangled up into a messy ponytail--

"Aveline?"

Torn from my thoughts, I refocus and walk toward her. "Can I sit?" I ask, out of breath and feeling my heart still pounding furiously in my chest.

"Sure."

I sit on the sofa, sinking into the cushions and praying that I won't need help getting back up. Tonks still stands, watching me closely. "Something's wrong. Is it Fred? Did they find him?"

Exhaling slowly, I rub my temple against the headache brewing. "I need to tell you some things, and you won't like them."

"Why? Is it Charlie? Is he okay?" she asks quickly, panic dripping into her voice as she steps toward me.

"I found Fred," I manage.

Her eyes widen and she crosses to me. "Where? Is he okay?"

"He's..." Trailing off I wonder where to start. It was such a long story, a complicated explanation. No one but Charlie really knew the darker side of me, and even then he only knew the simple basics. "There are some things you need to know about me before I explain this. It's up to you to decide what to do with me when I finish, but keep in mind, the focus needs to be on Fred right now, all right?"

She seems wary but she nods and sits on the edge of the coffee table, which I am surprised doesn't break under her pregnancy weight.

"You know I'm affiliated with Babette Delacour."

"Gabrielle and Fleur's mother...yes."

"She was my moth..." No need to get into personal emotions. "Yes. I worked for her for many years."

"In school?"

"In school, after school, up until a few months ago." I take in another breath to ease the nauseousness rising in my throat. "She runs a shipping company, White Rose Imports. It's a fairly legit company, she's made sure of that. But her money, her power, comes from being the head of a very large, very dangerous syndicate. Many of the powerful Wizarding families are a part of this. The Delacours, the Malfoys." I pause and lift my gaze. "The Blacks and Lestranges."

Tonks pales, but shakes her head. "How is it I've never heard of this?"

"It's very secretive, very underground if you will." Quickly I explain the purpose of these clans, the structure. I don't care if Tonks truly follows or not, as it's not terribly important and thankfully when I finish she doesn't bombard me with questions. Instead, she nods and urges me to continue. Swallowing hard, I take the next step. "They're not above murder, Tonks and I know for a fact, Babette has resorted to such measures to keep her stance or gain an upper hand on a a Clan member who may try to undermine her. Tomas Devito, for one--"

"Merlin," Tonks whispers. "Do Fleur and Gabrielle know?"

"They have no idea what their mother does, other than running White Rose. But I know, because I've helped her. She was grooming me to take over for her someday. I've never killed anyone," I continue quickly when Tonks shoots me a look. "But I've done things I'm not proud of. I orchestrated Ron Weasley's kidnapping."

Anger flashes in her eyes and I lean forward and reach out to grab a fistful of her flannel before she can stand from the coffee table. "Listen to me, Tonks. Just listen." She glares at me, but relaxes and sits back down. I explain my role in Babette's life, and without going into any major detail, I tell her the things I've done for Babette.

"Whizzy?"

"I married him because I was told too," I confess. "Because Babette wanted sole control of Cleansweep and it's funds."

"You told me you loved him," she hisses and I'm actually quite impressed she manages to keep her cool despite these revelations.

"I do," I snap before my cheeks flush with my words. "I did. I did love him, Tonks. Dammit, look at me. If it weren't for my relationship with Whizzy, I wouldn't be sitting here in front of you right now. I can't...I can't explain anymore than that. Like I said, you decide what punishment is right for me later, but right now, we need to help Fred."

Tonks stands, her hands lifting to the sides of her face. "So you're telling me, Babette Delacour, Gabrielle's mother, has Fred?"

"Yes."

"Why would she do something like that to her own daughter?"

"Because she's mad, that's why. Because she believes she had the right to choose a husband for her daughters, all of them. And after Fleur went back to Bill, and Babette found out Gabrielle had fallen in love with Bill's younger brother, I don't know...something snapped. She was never completely mentally stable...and she's part Veela. Veela tradition is very important to her. Her reputation in the creche, with the Elders...it all hinges on how her daughters continue their bloodline. And to her, Fleur and Gabrielle both chose poorly." I grab the arm of the sofa and pull myself up, facing Tonks. "I saw her today and she threatened me. She's coming unhinged."

"How do you know for sure Babette has Fred?"

"I saw him, chained in her bedroom. I was nearly caught before I could do anything for him. I don't know what she's going to do to him or has done to him, but he didn't sound, or look good. She'll kill him, Tonks, if we don't do something about it. Now."

Decisions Made [July 28, 2006 @ 9:32am]
[ mood | contemplative ]

I stare at Whizzy, my throat still somewhat dry despite the water he handed me. I had an inkling of what was going on the moment I stepped into his office and saw the horde of Whizzy's colleagues who appeared as though they had just had hot pokers shoved up their bottoms. The baby must have sensed my duress because he started moving something fierce in my stomach, seemingly kicking my bladder in the process. Whizzy had taken control of the situation and now we were alone. I was surprised, given our history, that he didn't have me arrested and sent to Azkaban immediately. What better way to get revenge for the way I treated him?

Now he was sitting across from me, expecting answers and all I could think about was the salle de bains. He quirks an eyebrow at my silence and I reach over to place my bottle of water next to his.

"Can I use your bathroom?" I ask, rubbing my stomach.

"Oh, yes, of course." He stands as I stand and I hurry to the back of his office to his private loo. I take those moments to regain a steady breath and after I wash my hands, I take a quick glance at myself in the mirror and I'm relieved that most of the tension I was feeling is not evident in my face. I didn't want Whizzy to know I was scared of what could happen should I not be able to explain myself properly. I, myself, didn't like the fact that I felt any fear. Had this happened a year ago I would have locked all emotion out and ruled the situation with an iron grip. Needless to say, things are much, much different now.

I leave the bathroom and find Whizzy standing, his hands in his trouser pockets as he stares out the window. He hears me approach and turns, his eyes flickering to my stomach. "All right?"

"Yes." He motions for me to sit again and I do, resisting the urge to reach for the water again. Sighing, I finally look at him as he sits next to me. "I wish I could explain every discrepancy that you've found thus far, but I can't." He straightens a bit and I see an undescribable emotion flash in his eyes as his jaw clenches. "I can assure you, however, that I had nothing to do with whatever has happened here."

"The company was in your name, Aveline. The Wizengamot is not going to care whether or not you actively took a role in Cleansweep, but your managing CEO has dug a mightly deep hole with your signature stamped all over it."

"You believe me, don't you?" The question forces its way past my lips in a whisper and Whizzy watches me a moment before he looks away.

"Yes, I do. But what I believe does not matter."

"Yes, it does." I reach over and grab his hand tightly. "It does matter. You have the decision to press charges."

"The Board--"

"Work for you. They work for you," I remind him firmly. Watching him, I realize now it must seem like I'm guilty and desperately trying to sway him into my favor. His eyes fall to where my hand grips his and I immediately release him, trying to regain my composure.

"You knew what Rousseau was doing here, didn't you?" The question is a quiet, but forceful one. When I lift my eyes to Whizzy, I feel the guilt spread through my chest as I see disappointment in his blue gaze and despite the last couple of months, I feel regret for allowing his family's company to be stripped and all but slaughtered.

"I had an idea when--"

"Damnit, Aveline!" He stands quickly, his hand raking through his blonde hair as he turns from me, his other hand resting on his hip as he paces. "If you knew, you should have stopped it--"

"I didn't know what was going on. I began to suspect right before I sacked him, and that is one of the reasons I did it. I didn't know the extent of what he's done to the company."

Whizzy whirls on me, his finger pointing and accusing. "You should have known. This was your company and you just handed it over to that slime and let him rip apart years of hardwork and tradition."

"You're right, I should have paid more attention and been more active in what was going on, but you could have as well. You still owned forty six percent of Cleansweep and I don't believe you stepped one foot in this building since you left."

"Since I was escorted out, you mean."

I huff, about to snap with a scathing reply, but I bite my tongue hard to keep the harsh words at bay. This wasn't what I wanted to happen and I use the arms of the high backed chair to push myself up. "Whizzy, if I had known to the extent of what Luc was doing, I would have stopped it." Or at least tried, since what Babette wants, Babette gets. "I promise you, I had nothing to do with any of this. If you feel it's necessary, press charges against me and send me to Azkaban. Merlin knows I would deserve it. And not just for what happened to your company." My voice trails off and I look away from him, breathing in deeply as the baby shifts. "I am sorry for everything that's happened to Cleansweep. I've tried to remedy what I could and it wasn't enough. If you give me a chance, I'll help you right everything. I will pay Cleansweep back what it lost, with interest."

"Even I do not have that kind of money," Whizzy retorts but I note the anger had seeped from his voice and I swallow hard, wanting to keep us on even ground.

"I'll do whatever it takes," I promise him, "to make everything right again. I know you're in a tough spot here, with the Board, your investors and clients. But I can right everything, if you give me a little time." Time to talk to Babette and find out why I am the one taking the fall for Luc. If she didn't fix this, I was going to be givnig birth in Azkaban, and for once, Babette was going to have to see I was not willing to make that big of a sacrifice for her.

"I do not know how this can be fixed, Aveline. The Board will give me a hard time if I let you walk out of here a free woman. The discrepancies go deep. They did not break the company but it came damn near close. A couple more months...weeks even..." He seems hesitant and for reason, won't look me in the eyes. I can feel his inner struggle and again I am amazed at the regret that I feel for putting him in this position.

"I suppose you could look at it a couple of ways," I begin quietly. "You could send for an Auror to escort me to Azkaban. I have already said I would deserve it and perhaps then the effect of our divorce would be mollified."

His gaze snaps to mine and his tone is firm, yet as quiet as my own. "That is not what I want. I would never do that to you."

"No?" I lift an eyebrow with a small smile on my lips and Whizzy is silent before he sighs and lifts one shoulder in a shrug.

"Perhaps after our divorce, yes, but we have both since moved on and I no longer hold that kind of resentment toward you."

"That's something," I chuckle. I am at a loss for what to say next, other than to plead with him to let me leave a free woman. I didn't want to use my baby as any excuse, though the idea of being put behind bars in that awful place has me resting my hand on my stomach again. It would destroy Charlie, although certainly the baby would be handed over to him to raise while I wasted away with Dementors swarming around me for the next twenty years--

"Aveline."

I realize Whizzy is speaking and I blink, startled as I am driven from my morbid thoughts. "Yes?"

He takes my hand, squeezing it warmly in his own and my breath catches as he steps close to me. "I will adjust some things and take care of it. I believe you when you say you did not know what Rousseau was doing and if I can, I will make sure none of this touches you."

I exhale quickly, gratitude clouding me as I lean forward and hug him. He stiffens but then his hands rest awkwardly on my back before I pull away. "I'll help you." When Whizzy shoots me a funny look, I smile. "I'm an Auror, remember?"

"It is not necessary--"

"I'll help," I repeat firmly. "Luc may have used my name for what he did, but he's not as intelligent as he thinks he is. He probably slipped up somewhere and I can help you with that. I told you I would do whatever it takes to make this right, Randall, and I mean that."

Whizzy hesitates a moment before he nods. "Very well. I will have Sally set up a convenient time for the both of us to meet to look over the books I was given."

"And the Board?"

"I would not worry about them." His expression becomes grim as he glances at the door. "They like to think they run this company, perhaps if they did more than smoke their cigars and drink my scotch, they would have noticed Rousseau's actions earlier. If any one of them tries to force my hand, it will be just as easy to threaten to investigate their own personal expenses. Somehow I doubt that using company Galleons for frivolous items would count as a business expense."

"Why do you let them get away with that?" I ask, tilting my head to the side as Whizzy sighs.

"Most of them has been worked with my father. A couple even knew my grandfather. I have been lenient because of that fact. But not anymore. This is my company and it will be run as I see fit."

"You always have, Whizzy." I reach up and push a small strand of his hair back from his eyes before I clench my fingers and pull away. "Thank you, for hearing me out, and for giving me another chance."

"Everyone deserves another chance," he tells me. I look a him for a moment and I am thankful it feels as though part of the bridge I burned so badly between us has been mended. It certainly doesn't erase the past, or what's happened, but it felt nice to be able to stand in front of him and not see pure contempt. I reach out, touch his arm briefly in thanks, and turn to go.

"I look forward to Sally's letter," I tell him as I clasp my robes. "Thank you again, Whizzy."

He says nothing, but nods as I let myself out. Sally watches me, her eyes inquisitive as I approach the lifts. As they open, I glance at her and see her give me a small nod and smile before I step into the lifts. I decide immediately to skip the rest of my shift at the Ministry and go home to soak in a hot tub before Charlie gets home and I have to tell him what transpired today. The doors to the lift shut and I slump against the wall as my hand lifts to my chest where my heart is still beating rapidly. I was clinging to my freedom by a thread and I meant it when I said I would do anything to make things right at Cleansweep. Even if it meant spending more time with Whizzy than I was comfortable with.

With a loud sigh, I close my eyes and lean my head back against the wall. "Merlin, help me."

Lunch Date [July 21, 2006 @ 12:22pm]
[ mood | calm ]

"I'd like the roast with an extra side of the mashed potatoes, no broccoli and could I maybe have an extra roll?" I ask the waiter currently taking my lunch order at the Leaky Cauldron. He nods, the quill scribbling over his small pad of parchment.

"Is that all?"

"Oh." Glancing down at the menu again I bite my lip and skim the lunch specials. "I'll take a side salad...extra dressing, and maybe a small plate of chips. Actually instead of the extra roll, could you just bring a basket?"


"Er, yes, of course. And you ma'am?" The waiter looks desperately to Fleur who is staring at me over her own menu. She tears her gaze from mine and hands the waiter her menu.

"Ze chicken salad, low fat dressing, please? And a water."

He seems relieved and grabs my menu quickly from me before he disappears into the growing lunch crowd. I scowl at his back and shift in the uncomfortable wooden chair before focusing on Fleur. "Why are you looking at me like that?"

She smiles and shrugs, pushing a lock of golden hair behind her ear. "Eet ees funny to see you ordering so much food. I 'ave never seen you do more zan pick at your salads when we would eat togezzer."

"Well, I'm eating for two, aren't I?" I reply impatiently. "Charlie just stared at me last night at dinner. It was like he had never seen a woman eat a hamburger before." Fleur lifts a delicate eyebrow in question and I look away, my cheeks burning slightly. I wasn't about to tell her it was two cheese hamburgers and a plate full of chips. And a slice of chocolate cake afterward... "Anyway, thankfully all my weight gain has been in my stomach. My shoes still fit."

"You still 'ave a few months to go," Fleur points out, failing to hide her grin. "Eet ees only a matter of time before you start to waddle."

I grimace at the thought. "Don't even joke about that."

"'ow was your birthing class? I feel terrible zat I 'ad to cancel on you. Did you reschedule?"

"No, actually, Randall was there. He stayed to be my coach." There is a pause in conversation as the waiter returns with my salad and our drinks. I spear a small tomato quickly and pop it in my mouth as Fleur watches me.

"Randall Worthington?"

Nodding I try not to speak too much with my mouth full of vegetables. "How many Randalls do we know?"

"I was under ze impression you were not speaking."

Lifting one shoulder, I shrug and take a sip of my tea. "We've been able to maintain a civil relationship now. It's still a bit awkward..." Trailing off I stare at my salad before looking up at my friend. "But at least he isn't accusing me of trying to kill his mother any longer."

Fleur snorts in before she waves her hand impatiently. "Ze man should know zat you saved ze old hag's life. Eet's wrong for 'er to fuel his suspicions zat you caused her 'eart attack."

"At this point I don't care. It doesn't affect me," I assure her. "I'm just happy he seems to be past wanting to see me rot. And we ran into each other while shopping for some baby items." I explain what happened with the crib Charlie had put on hold and I find myself smiling. "He gave it up though, and tried to pass it off that the clerk made an error, but I saw right through that. I don't know if he truly wanted me to have the crib, or if he was afraid of what I would do to him in my hormonal state. But we were able to laugh a bit. It was...nice."

Fleur's lips quirk softly. "Eet was nice?"

"Yes." I take another bite of salad and feel her eyes burning into mine. I can practically read her mind and I wait until I swallow before I speak. "Don't even think it, Fleur."

Her eyes widen innocently and she places her hand against her heart. "Aveline, I am not theenking anyzing! I am glad you and Randall are getting along again. Eet was 'ard not to slap 'im for what 'e 'as done and said when I was around him for ze photoshoots."

It's my turn to snort. "I bet he would have liked it as long as you were prancing around in a skimpy outfit."

Fleur rolls her eyes and grows silent as the waiter sets our food in front of us. I pretend not to notice that all my plates take up over half of the table. When he leaves she begins to cut her salad into small pieces. "You sound like Bill."

"Is he still giving you grief over the modeling?"

"'e theenks I do eet for ze attention."

"You do." I reply calmly and pick up a knife to cut my roast.

"Well zat ees not ze point," she says with an air of exasperation. "'e theenks I feel 'e is not good enough for me. Zat some man ees going to steal me from 'im because of ze photos, which ees ridiculous. 'e 'as never said eet, but I theenk 'e feels ze photos are one step up from pornography."

I chew the roast slowly, trying to pace myself from devouring the entire meal in room full of strangers. "They're very tastefully done and you look gorgeous in them."

"I know!"

"But," I continue, "Bill is a man. He's probably a bit insecure, considering, and have you ever thought that maybe...after his accident...that he is a bit more possessive? I mean, he's different now, then before, you know? Perhaps he's a bit more..." I try to find the proper word. "Beastial."

"You mean 'e's ze alpha male urniating around 'is bitch to keep ze ozzer wolves away?"

I nearly choke on my roast then and cough before grabbing her water and taking a long gulp. Once the discomfort passes I hand her back the water and wipe my mouth with my napkin before releasing a short laugh. "Well I guess that is one way of putting it, yes."

She makes a dismissive sound in her throat. "I'm not a woman who ees going to be kept, Aveline. I like my jobs and I like making my own money as well. I love Bill and 'e is everyzing I want and I theenk I 'ave proven zat many times. I 'ave tried to make 'im understand zat I am not going to be barefoot and pregnant while he plays ze man of ze 'ouse."

"But you are trying to get pregnant, aren't you?" I ask curiously and she sighs, her eyes drifting down to her barely touched salad.

"I suppose. I don't know. I theenk eet was a matter of eet will 'appen when it 'appens, though Bill 'as been, er trying a bit 'arder zan I 'ave."

"No luck?"

"Non. And we 'ave been making love nearly every day, or we 'ad been. 'e seems distracted lately, but I theenk eet ees just 'is new job."

"Bill has a new job?" I ask, somewhat surprised. "He's no longer with Gringotts?"

Fleur shakes her head, a thoughtful look entering her eyes as she turns and skims over the nameless faces. "'e is working for some wealthy benefactor, Blackfoot ees 'is name. 'e imports and exports antiques. Bill breaks ze curses from ze more valuable items."

"He runs a shipping company?" I ask pointedly.

Fleur blinks and looks at me, before revelation crosses her features. "Oh, no, 'e is not affiliated with my muzzer at all. Eet ees more of an independent company I theenk. Zey pay 'im a ridiculous amount of money, but 'e 'as come 'ome many nights with bandages. I don't theenk eets very safe but 'e does what 'e wants and what 'e enjoys and eet's not my place to tell him ozzerwise."

"Well, you support him and that's all that matters," I assure her. "I know he loves you and wants to make you happy. Do you have a date for the wedding yet?"

She smiles sheepishly and lifts her hand to observe her ridiculously large diamond. "Actually no. Bill wants to get married as soon as possible, but since ze engagement, eet 'asn't really come up."

"You want to marry him, don't you?"

"Oui! Of course," Fleur replies, shooting me an odd look. "But I am in no 'urry. We are togezzer and love each ozzer and zat ees all we need. I am sure zat is why you and Charlie 'ave not discussed marriage, right?"

I sip my tea thoughtfully. "We're comfortable with what we have. We don't need marriage to solidify it. He's my best friend, company excluded," I add playfully when Fleur narrows her eyes at me. "He helped me through some pretty rough times and I owe him so much for that."

"You do love him."

"Of course I do. We mean a lot to one another."

Fleur hums in her throat thoughtfully before the cheque is placed on our table. We both grab for it but Fleur manages to snatch it before I can.

"Let me--" I begin but she ignores me and pulls out her purse. "Fleur, I ordered like half the menu."

"I 'ave a new shoot scheduled with ze twins and I got my advancement cheque. Eets my treat," she announces smugly and places the proper amount on the cheque before it flies from her hands back to the front of the tavern. I ignore the fact that my plates are nearly scraped clean as we gather our things and stand.

"New photos? For the fall?"

She nods and pulls on her cloak. "Zey are going to be beautiful photos. Ze twins and Randall are extremely talented as ze marketing. I theenk eet's going to be quite scandalous." Her eyes shimmer with excitement.

I laugh and we walk out of the Leaky Cauldron, immediately greeted by the July breeze. Before I can say another word, two fairly attractive wizards approach us...well, Fleur. They practically salivate as they ask for her autograph which she pleasantly gives. I stand back and bite my lip to keep from laughing. Fleur was beyond gorgeous but it was always strange for me to see men make complete fools of themselves around her, probably because it never seemed to faze her. She always seemed...bored, even on the rare occasions when she would flirt or smile back. Bill was the only man I had ever seen Fleur lose herself in.

"Do you ever regret...not being with other men?" I ask her as we walk through Diagon Alley back to London.

"What do you mean?"

"Well, you were with Bill when you were seventeen..."

"Paddy," she reminds me.

"Okay, two men," I concede. "But you could really have anyone you wanted."

"I didn't want anyone else," Fleur replies simply. "I 'ave only ever wanted Bill. But why do you ask?"

"Well, you're famous now," I point out. "You didn't notice but nearly every man in the tavern looked at you, even if they were with a woman. I know how much you like the attention, and that's certainly not a bad thing, but do you ever wish you could act on it? All these men sending you letters, approaching you?"

Fleur smiles a bit and looks over at me. "Aveline, you are nearly as beautiful as I am. I 'ave seen men so many times look your way but you never give zem any notice and I do theenk you know you could seduce any man of your choosing whenever you wanted. And I also know you 'ave only been with...four men now?"

"Four?" I ask, struggling to recall if she was right.

"Zere was zat boy, Carson, after you left 'ogwarts, zen Malcolm, zen Charlie, zen Randall."

"Wow, you're right. Four is a lot."

"Eet ees not!"

"Okay, let's stop talking about it now." Laughing, I cover my face with my hand. "I guess we were both waiting for the right man. You just found him much earlier."

"And now you 'ave yours, oui?"

I look at Fleur thoughtfully for a moment as the question hangs in the air. My hand touches my stomach briefly. "Yes, of course."

"Promise me we'll have lunch togezzer again soon. I do not see you or Gabrielle nearly enough anymore and I miss my sisters."

"I promise." We reach the Apparition point and she grips my hand tightly before releasing me. She Apparates back to work and I wait a moment before I follow. I make my way back to the department, my stomach full of food and my bladder threatening to burst. As I take a detour to the bathroom, I desperately try not to think about much I feel like I am waddling.

Take Over [July 14, 2006 @ 12:14pm]
[ mood | stressed ]

"Aveline?"


I adjust my cloak and peer over my shoulder to see Charlie entering my office, his expression inquisitive. Smiling softly, I smooth the thick material over my stomach and slip my wand into my pocket. "I have an appointment with my barrister," I explain, answering his silent question.


Ever since the incident with Moody, it seems Charlie has been both a bit more cautious, and protective, of me. I want to regain his full trust, and I have been more than willing to offer details of where I was going and why. His belief in me was really all I had left these days, and I refused to mess that up anymore than I already had with Alastor.


"Your barrister?" Charlie steps farther into my office, the noisy bustle of the department drifting away as he nears me. I reach out to touch him, pulling him toward me and I relax by simply wrapping my arms around his waist. "Is something wrong?"


"No. But I've come to a decision," I admit, lowering the volume of my voice, as if in some secret, dark corner, Babette would somehow be listening. "One that is going to change a lot in my life."


Something flickers in Charlie's eyes and I recognize the concern. Wanting to assure him, I lift up on my toes and kiss his cheek. "I don't want you to worry."


His hands tighten around my hands as he takes them in his. "Aveline--"


"I'm signing Cleansweep back over into Whizzy's name." The words slip past my lips in a flurry and I pause suddenly, chewing my bottom lip as I wait for Charlie's reaction. He stares for a moment before confusion settles.


"Why?"


"Because it belongs to him. Because I should have never taken it from him the way that I did. And because in a matter of months Luc has been completely destroying everything Whizzy's family accomplished since Merlin knows when." I pull away from Charlie, conflicted inside as I walk to my desk to get my files. I feel Charlie's eyes on me as I gather my things and the guilt that has been building inside of me since my divorce eats away at me further.


Babette was going to be furious. I didn't consult her on this, and I wouldn't. She would never allow it. It was going to be hard enough dealing with Luc when he found out. But I had to hold my ground and when Babette confronts me, I already have my explanations in order. The company is losing money by the day, Babette. Consumers and clients have begun investing in the Mercury Fire and the Nimbus Racing Broom Company due to Luc's ruthless and less than ethical business practices. If you continues to hold onto Cleansweep, you will have nothing to show for it but bankruptcy and possible investigation from the Ministry for embezzlement, among other various felonies.


Of course, Babette could very easily counter my excuses. The company was not in her name, it was in mine. Fifty three percent anyway. Whizzy owned the rest, though he has not step foot into the building, or the board room, since I kicked him out of it. Babette didn't care that it would be my reputation on the line if Cleansweep went under, but I did. Selling the company back to Whizzy was the only logical way to keep the fortune she has already gained. And she could move onto her next venture.


Still, the thought of doing this behind Babette's back had my fingers trembling and Charlie must have noticed because he was suddenly next to me, taking my hands in his and lifting them to his lips where he kissed the knuckles softly.


"You're doing this because you feel guilty?" he asks quietly and I blanche, remembering the horror and humiliation of the other night behind that dirty pub, my wand pointed at Moody's chest, ready to snuff the life from him over a lie.


"I nearly killed a man," I remind him and slowly pull my fingers from his grasp. "I've done so many things...Merlin, you can't begin to know. All because I was lied to, Charlie. I'm finding out things that a part of me would rather not know, but I know I need too. Looking at Moody that night, hearing the truth from a man I've despised for years...Gods, everything is different now."


I lift my hands to my forehead and breathe in slowly to control the anxiety attack threatening. So many things in my life were balancing on the edge, threatening to teeter over into oblivion. I could be throwing my entire future away by doing this, but it had to be done if I was ever going to move beyond this, beyond Cleansweep and Babette and the sins I've committed.


Looking up at the man who fathered the child still growing in my stomach, I smile shakily. "I have to make these things right. Everything, including what I did to Whizzy."


Charlie nods, seemingly understanding and kisses my forehead. "Do you want me to come with you?"


"No, I have to do this myself. It's not going to be pleasant telling Luc he's sacked." A small smile touchs my lips. "Not that I'm not looking forward to it."


"I'll be here, if you need me."


"You always are," I point out with another smile before I kiss him and grab my things. The trip to my barrister's office takes a bit longer than usual, as Paddy as since advised against Apparition and the Floo Network. But Barrister Lane is waiting for me, her glasses slipping down her nose as she welcomes me into her plush office.


We go over the papers from Cleansweep and she makes several notes, her tongue sticking out from between her lips as she scribbles on the parchment with a gold quill, occassionally asking me a question about the company. The papers for the transfer were drawn up earlier when I had contacted her about my intentions and they sat in front of me now, the signature line blank and ready to be marred with the ink of my quill.


"Are you sure about this, Aveline?" Barrister Lane asks, her eyes glancing between my face and the quill in my hand. "Once Mr. Worthington signs these papers, it's done. It will be extremely difficult for you to dispute the contracts if you change your mind."


Nodding, I read over the papers once more. One hundred percent of Cleansweep Broom Company will be re-transferred into Whizzy's name. He'll have the remaining factor in his life to deem it nearly perfect. Tonks, a child, his company and family legacy...and all ties with me, the demonic ex-wife, severed and gone.


I feel the softest pang inside of me and I rub my chest before I sign the marked parchment. After I finished, Barrister Lane slips it into an envelope and seals it. Her smile is wide as we shake hands. "These will be owled directly to Mr. Worthington. I'll inform you when he has signed and returned the contract."


Relieved, I say goodbye and leave her office, exhaling slowly once I step outside. My nerves were ebbing quickly and despite what I had thought earlier, my next task would not be as hard as I thought it would be.


I enter Cleansweep twenty minutes later and ignore Lola, who scowls at me as I walk by and enter Luc's office without invitation. He's sitting in Whizzy's chair, leaning back as his dark eyes scour the parchment in his hand. He barely glances up at me before he returns to his so-called work.


"What is it, Aveline?"


I approach the desk and snatch the parchment from his hands. His eyes flash and his jaw clenches with impatience before I set the parchment down. My throat is dry but I push past it and lift my chin. "You're services will no longer be needed here at Cleansweep, Luc. You can get your things and go. I'll be keeping tabs on the company until Randall returns."


"Rand..." Confusion reigns before revelation hits him and he grips the arms of the chair. "Worthington?"


"I've recently signed over the controlling interest of Cleansweep back to Mr. Worthington. He'll be no doubt returning to his former position, which means you're no longer needed." I smile. "Or wanted."


"Does Babette know what you're doing?" Luc asks, slowly rising from the chair. "Did she approve this?"


At the mention of Babette, I wince briefly. "This is my decision. You've already made a mess of this company, Luc. It's going to go bankrupt in a matter of months if it's not turned around and you're making no effort--"


"This isn't about effort," he yells, slamming his palm onto the desk and causing me to jump slightly. "You were to get the company from Worthington, and leave the rest to Babette and myself. This was never about maintaining the company and selling brooms, Aveline."


I purse my lips tightly and inhale through my nose, trying to maintain my temper. "You're a pathetic, immoral, cowardly roach. If you're not gone by the end of the day, I'm going to have security escort you out."


Luc is silent a moment, his dark gaze piercing me to the spot. He rounds the desk slowly, his eyes drifting to my stomach before he smirks. "You haven't even given birth to the bastard yet and motherhood has already ruined you."


My hand stings where it connects with his cheek and the noise of skin slapping skin seems to echo in my ears. He grabs my wrists painfully, shaking me as he pushes me back until my back hits the door. I cry out and hiss when he twists my write in his grasp.


"Listen to me, Aveline," he begins, his voice quiet and dangerous as he lowers his face to mine. "I'm going to discuss your most recent mistake with Babette and she can decide what to do with you. You've veered off in the wrong direction long ago and I knew it. I saw it the moment you married Worthington. I knew you would be a disappointment. I tried to tell Babette but she had so much faith in you as her daughter that she wouldn't listen to reason."


"Get..off...of me," I rasp, pushing in vain to move him away. Memories flood me and suddenly I feel as if I'm in a dark room again, shaking, pushing against a much larger chest, and biting my lip to keep from screaming. I'm finding it difficult to breathe now and Luc chuckles. He loosens his hold on me and releases my hands.


"You know there will be consequences for this. And not just from Babette." When his hand touches my cheek, I fight the urge to turn and sink my teeth into his flesh painfully. "I'm not going to let a prissy, spoiled little rich girl tell me how to run my business. I know my place in the clans, and I think you do too. Maybe you need a reminder."


"Five o'clock," I manage, trying my hardest not to rub my wrists. "Get out or I'll have security throw you out on your pathetic ass." I slip out around him and turn to open the door. I walk briskly out, shooting a look at Lola, who would be the next one gone once Luc was out of the way. I hurry to the lifts and when I slip inside, I turn to see Luc watching me from his doorway. It's only when the doors close upon his image that I slump against the lift and breathe again.

Ollerton Returned [June 22, 2006 @ 1:07pm]
[ mood | good ]

"Charlie." His name falls from my lips seemingly out of nowhere as his lips sear my throat. My head lulls back against the pillow, the early morning sunlight pouring in through the open drapes warm on my face. He runs his hand down my curved stomach until he fists my nightdress and lifts it up slowly, exposing my thighs and lower abdomen. I sigh in contentment and turn to look at him, finally opening my eyes. He smiles down at me, a small smile, lazy even before his lips are upon mine. My hand slips into his hair, stroking the silky red strands as his hand dips between my legs, pressing against my knickers.

I arch to be closer to him and lift my hips when he begins to pull the material down my legs. Kicking them free, I push up and we roll over each other until I am straddling his bare hips. I run my palms over his chest, wishing I didn't already feel like an engorged whale in only my sixth month. But that doesn't matter now. All that matters is Charlie's hands on my body. I lean down to kiss him again and he pushes my hair from my face.

"It's getting longer," he murmurs when I lift up. His hands move through the strands slowly until he pushes up, causing me to rock back. His hands grab my thighs and he adjusts me until my feet wrap around his back. We stare at one another as he reaches between us and I bite my lip and lift until I sink down on his cock. My arms go around his neck and I press myself flush up against him before our bodies begin to move. My fingers play with the hair at the nape of his neck and I slide my mouth against his. His tongue slips between my lips and I moan, rocking my body harder to try and push him deeper. The caresses of his hands cause me to tremble and I lift my arms with he pulls my nightdress up and over my head. It falls somewhere onto the bed before he shifts me easily, rolling me back onto the bed. He braces over me and begins to thrust, his forehead resting against my own.

"We don't be able to do it this way much longer," he says quietly and I nod, placing my hands on his sides as my ankles lock around him. My eyes close on their own accord as pleasure overwhelms me. His lips place fiery kisses along my neck, his hands stroking over my breasts and hips. His cock delves deeper into me, the smooth strokes causing me to strain against him. The sheets rustle below us, our harsh breathing breaking the otherwise soft silence of the room.

Charlie groans against my throat and when I feel his fingers between us, pressing against my clit, I clench my eyes shut and cry out, coming quickly. Gasping, my legs tighten around him as my body shakes with the orgasm and before it can subside from my body, Charlie tenses, his cock swelling inside of me. I hold him as he comes, my hands running up his back to feel his muscles quiver. Sated, I smile sleepily and turn my head until I find his lips again.

"Good morning," I finally say, my voice hoarse from sleep and sex.

"Morning." Wiping a damp piece of hair from my forehead, he kisses the tip of my nose. "Shower?"

I nod and stifle a yawn after he pulls out of me and helps me from the bed. We shower together, in no hurry this morning and on our way to the Ministry, he buys me a cup of tea and apple muffin. I'm a bit embarrassed that I ask for two, and that both muffins are completely gone by the time we get to the Auror department, but he says nothing at my ravenous appetite before he kisses me and heads down to his own office where I know a mountain of paperwork await him. I wonder if he ever misses Romania and working so first hand with dragons. Being a superior had its advantages but sometimes...even I could admit it was extremely boring.

I walk into my office and quickly check my mail, tossing out a few memos. Then I find the letter from O.S. and I shut my door before I open it. Another payment reminder from Oather, and I toss it quickly with the rest, making a mental note to send a reminder to him that payment came after I finished what I set out to do. I kept putting it off, for various reasons, but the time had come to get it over with. Everything was in place and it was time I stopped ignoring the justice my parents deserved. I couldn't wait any longer, especially now that Charlie was more or less suspicious of my "sudden interest" in my parents' files. I wasn't suppose to have them and had it been anyone but Charlie, I could have been facing severe discipline in taking a file that was far beyond my clearance.

Sitting in my chair, I sigh and rub my temple with both hands. Shaking the uneasiness from my mind, I go to work. It's nearly one by the time I finish my morning filing and after giving several letters to Jacque to have sent, I grab my summer cloak and head off to my afternoon appointment.

Ollerton Estates is still as massive and intimidating as I remembered it and I stand outside of the doors for a few moments, remembering the times I had been here with Whizzy. All of them had been based on lies and games. I feel the twinge of regret in my chest but push past it as I knock on the door. The same maid answers, when I attempted this once before, and she pales when she sees me.

"I need to speak with Mrs. Worthington," I explain calmly. She nods quickly and allows me inside before rushing off. I shut the door and wait in the foyer until I hear the clatter of heels. Turning toward the staircase, I brace myself as Olive approaches, looking as regal and as stuck up as ever.

"Mrs. Rousseau."

"Mrs. Worthington," I say quietly. She stands in front of me now, her judging eyes moving over my stomach before her gaze reaches my own. "You look well."

"I'm a strong woman, dear. A simple heart attack isn't going to do me in, despite what you had hoped."

"I hadn't hoped--" Stopping abruptly, I bite down on my temper and inhale sharply as not to continue on a tirade. I reach into my cloak and pull out the thick envelope. I put it into her hands and lift my chin when confusion crosses her features. "Try not to work yourself into a tizzy this time, Olive. Ollerton belongs to Randall and yourself once more, whether you like it or not. This isn't charity, nor pity. I don't want this house."

"Excuse me if it is hard to believe you don't have ulterior motives," she sniffs, but clutches the envelope in her hands. "Do you think this will get you back into my son's good graces? He's come to his senses, Ms. Rousseau, and reunited with Nymphadora. This seems like an incredibly desperate ploy."

"No ulterior motives," I assure her. "I don't want Randall, and I have no use for this house, but for the simple pleasure of kicking you out on your scrawny ass but, I have to admit I don't think I would find as much joy in that as I would have in the past. The house is yours. Well, technically Randall's, but I'm confident that he'll allow you to continue living here, as I did."

Olive stares at me, her lips slightly parted in surprise before she straightens and shakes her perfectly coifed hair. "Very well."

I lift an eyebrow, wondering if that's the closest thing I was ever going to get to a thank you. I nod at her and turn to open the large doors, missing Olive's slight smile before I leave Ollerton Estates. I don't look back as I reach the Apparition point. With any luck, I wouldn't be seeing Ollerton, or Olive Worthington, again.

Hormonal Bonding [June 12, 2006 @ 1:44pm]
[ mood | okay ]

Work had been immensely busy this week, even more so for me as I had been distracted by my own personal files and agendas, leaving me to play catch up today with paperwork. It wasn't easy moving around, being pregnant, but I took it in stride, pleased that I hadn't called in sick earlier when I barely made it out of bed from exhaustion.

I finished several projects after lunch and carried a box of files back to the filing room to be put away. I passed the break room, pausing in my steps when I heard my name inside. I very nearly walked in to see if I was needed, but the conversation had me stalled outside the door as two Aurors chatted, albeit quietly. As they spoke, my fingers tightened around the handles of the box as my I reigned in my temper.

"Still," the first Auror went on, "just because she's shagging Weasley now doesn't make her any more respectful. She's still a snooty, superior bitch."

"She's still your superior," the other Auror reminds him and I heard the scraping of chairs as they sat.

"No, Auror Tonks is my superior, thank Merlin. All of our prayers were answered when she came back to the Ministry."

"And Auror Rousseau is Tonks's superior, remember? I heard she shagged Coogan for that job."

"I wouldn't be surprised." The Auror's voice lowers . "I heard she seduced Weasley too, had an affair with him when she was married to Worthington."

There is a chuckle and the clanking of a spoon against ceramic. I grit my teeth and decide to confront the two imbeciles about gossiping maliciously in the break room, of all places, but they continue to speak, heightening my anger. "Is the baby Weasley's or Worthington's?"

"Guess if the baby is born with freckles and orange hair we'll know right?" Another round of hearty laughter has me seeing red and I nearly throw the box of files down as my temper beings to explode.

"It's amazing that she was able to reproduce, considering how cold she is. Weasley must be talented to thaw that woman."

"I don't care," one of the Aurors says with another muffled yawn. "Even if she is pregnant, it's amusing to see her waddle around the office, the fat cow." They laugh again and I'm stunned, my lips parting in surprise as their cruelty. I look down at my ever expanding stomach, unsure of how to respond now. A waddling, fat cow surely wouldn't make the proper impression if she barges in to yell at the two inferior morons. I turn away from the break room and nearly run into another Auror who pauses and stammers an apology.

"File these," I demand, shoving the box into his arms. I push past him and leave the Department quickly. The bathroom is deserted when I enter it and I hide myself in the loo stall where I release a slow breath. Having Charlie as a lover and a friend has changed nearly every aspect of my life. In truth, I wasn't as harsh as I once was, or as withdrawn or defensive. I've grown used to having him as a confidant and he's made me feel as if I could smile and laugh over the mundane things in life. Unfortunately it seemed it didn't really spill over into work.

Sure, I still wanted things done properly, and I still had to use a firm hand on employees when necessary. I always ignored what other people thought of me, ever since Hogwarts and I've always taken pride in not caring if someone disliked me. And for some reason, I suppose I expected people to respect me. Even if I was a fat cow.

Sniffling, I tug at the toilet tissue, disgusted with myself for reacting this way. I always knew what people thought of me, many Aurors didn't hide their disdain, but it was my own fault...I managed the way I thought was proper, I always have. I wipe impatiently at the tears on my cheeks, suddenly feeling every bit as big and swollen as I probably looked. I was horrified, my thighs were too big, my ankles too thick...how anyone could look at me without grimacing was beyond me. Gods, maybe they were grimacing and I just never noticed.

I burst into a fresh set of sobs and bury my face in my hands now clenching the toilet tissue. Everyone hated me, everyone...and to top it off, they were laughing at my...my waddling! I blow my nose loudly, hiccuping as the quick flow of tears begin to slow. This was insane. I never cried, not if I could help it. And to let two stupid goons bother me...where did my attitude of not caring go?

I pause when I hear the bathroom door open and I hold my breath as I peek through the crack in the stall. Wincing, I see Tonks step up to the basin, turning on the taps as she sang softly to herself. I observed her for a moment, resentment growing that she could dare wear a pair of striped pants like those when she was nearly as big as me, and pull it off. I bet no one thought she was fat, or an ice bitch...

Embarrassed at my behavior, I wipe my face thoroughly, but I am unable to stop the loud sniffle that causes Tonks to stop singing. I close my eyes in self-exasperation, but decide to stop hiding in the loo. I flush the toilet tissue, smooth my hands over my robes and walk out to the basin. She glances at me, still murmuring quietly to herself as I turn on the taps. I look up into the mirror and quickly smooth my hair back into my wayward bun.

"All right, Aveline?"

"I'm fine," I reply stiffly, leaning down to wash my hands.

"Are you sure?" she asks, turning off the taps of her own basin and reaching for a paper towel. "You look upset."

With a huff, I glare at her. "Why are you always so annoyingly persistent?"

She lifts her hand as if to surrender and steps back. "Sorry." She tosses the paper towel into the rubbish bin and turns to go when I bite my bottom lip and glance back at my figure in the mirror.

"Do you think I'm fat?"

I hear her trainers pause and squeak slightly on the floor before her hesitant, "Huh?"

"Fat," I repeat, scowling when I remember what the Aurors said. I turn off the water and turn to her. "Do I look fat?"

"Is this a trick question?" she asks, her eyes darting to the door. "Because I don't think--"

"I knew it," I mutter, turning away and looking back in the mirror as my hand splays over my stomach. "I'm a fat, miserable old cow."

There's a moment of awkward silence before Tonks steps up next to me by the basins. "I think you look just fine."

I snort and barely glance at her. "You're just saying that."

"I'm not," she protests and I finally look at her in the mirror. She still looked trim and as attractive as before, even with that horrid mousy brown hair color. My frown deepens and she smiles tentatively at me. "Actually, I was just thinking today how wonderful you looked." When I roll my eyes, she nudges me gently in the arm. "Look at yourself. You haven't gained weight in any area but your stomach, Aveline. My trainers barely fit anymore."

Tearing my eyes from the mirror, I look down at her feet and shoot her a doubtful glance. She shrugs and her own hand touches her stomach where she's carrying Whizzy's baby. I don't have time to dwell on the clench in my chest before she begins to speak again. "I only hope I don't gain much more weight, though we have a few months to go, right? My mum was so big when she was pregnant with me, I just know I'm going to be as big as a Quidditch pitch by the time he comes out."

"He?" I ask. "You're having a boy too?"

"Oh, no I don't know," Tonks corrects quickly, her cheeks blushing slightly. "I say he or she, whichever comes out first. We don't know yet."

"Ah." I nod and turn back to the mirror where I brush my fingertip under my eye, realizing I'll need to perform a beauty charm to get rid of the redness. There's an awkward silence before I sigh and look down, tapping my fingers on the marble counter surrounding the basin.

"I should get back to work," Tonks tells me, pointing her thumb toward the door.

"Me too." But I don't move, instead feeling quite heavy under my hormonal outburst.

"Aveline, don't let anyone make you feel unattractive. You're carrying a baby...some men think that's the most beautiful image in the world."

"I know," I say quietly. "It's not Charlie."

"I didn't mean...I mean I know, he would never...I'm just saying..." I look over to her when she pauses. Her eyes look distant, as if she's deep in thought. She nods very subtly, as if to herself before she lifts her eyes to me. "You look really good. Even being nearly six months pregnant, I noticed men ogling you when you walk by. They just laugh at me when I trip and try not to fall on my arse."

Despite myself, I feel my lips curve oh so softly as I remember hearing Tonks's annoyed "bugger" and a crash yesterday in her office. The image of her clumsiness settles and I release a quick laugh and shake my head before sighing again.

"I'm sorry, I didn't mean to frighten you with...this. These damn hormones...well, you know."

"I know." Tonks grins and I feel it's contagious as I give her a small smile in return. "I'll talk to you later...work beckons."

"Right." I watch her slip from the loo before I return back to the mirror and turn on the taps to splash water in my face. Pulling out my wand, I fix the reddened circles around my eyes and smooth my hair once more. I leave the bathroom feeling much better...and mentally make a note to give Auror Goon #1, and Auror Goon #2 desk duty for the next two weeks. I'll think up plenty of reasons for them to justifiably call me a bitch by then.

Girl Weasley...or Boy Weasley? [June 06, 2006 @ 1:12pm]
[ mood | happy ]

"Are you nervous?" I ask Charlie, running my hand over my stomach as we wait for Paddy to come into the room. He leans against the counter, arms folded across his chest. He had been a bit quiet today, ever since we left the Ministry to get to St. Mungo's.

Charlie shifts on his feet before he releases a slow breath. "Just a little. I'm still trying to get my mind around the fact that you're already past twenty weeks. It feels like yesterday that--"

"I told you I was knocked up?" I ask in my best deadpan voice. Charlie parts his lips, his brow quirking before as I stare at him. Then I smile and shake my head as I try to get comfortable on the hospital bed. "The time has flown by, hasn't it?"

"Yeah, it has." Charlie walks over to me and takes my hand before he leans down to kiss me. We're interrupted by Paddy who clears his throat when he enters the room. Charlie and I pull apart and Paddy grins as he approaches the other side of my bed.

"How are you feeling, Aveline?"

"Better," I tell him, squeezing Charlie's hand. "I've done everything you've told me to since our last appointment."

"Good. It's still important that you take it easy, especially in regards to work." Paddy parts my gown, exposing my stomach. "What about you, Charlie?"

"Me?" Charlie asks in surprise. "I couldn't be better, mate."

Paddy grins again and rubs something cold and gooey on my skin. "Right. Your brother was over the other day--"

"Which one?"

"Ah, Bill." Paddy turns to pick up a wand looking instrument from the counter. "Brought Todd a ridiculous amount of toys and Quidditch gear."

I look at Charlie, noting the slight confusion. "That was awfully nice of him."

"Oh, it was. Todd's been playing with them non-stop and asked Patricia when he could take flying lessons."

"Well, you know if the kid wants, I could give him lessons," Charlie offers and I lift my eyebrow in surprise as I listen to the conversation between the two men.

"That's nice of you, Charlie," Paddy replies, pausing and giving him a small smile. "But Bill already bought him flying lessons, sent the information by owl after Todd mentioned it."

"Bill's new job is quite a marvel, isn't it?" I interrupt with a wide smile as I point to my stomach. "Can we discuss it after you've wiped this goo off of me, Paddy?"

Both he and Charlie look at me and Paddy nods. "Sorry, Aveline. Are we ready to do this?"

"More than ready," I tell him, shifting on the bed again. I was a bit anxious myself, as I kept telling myself I would be ecstatic if the child was a boy or a girl, but I knew Charlie was secretly hoping for a girl...in any case, I was already imagining years of pouring layers upon layers of sunblock on the child. A little part of me didn't even want to know the sex. Somehow that made this all the more real and that fact that I was going to have a son or daughter...that I was going to be a mother...Merlin I never knew how scared I really was.

"Aveline?" Charlie asks, wiping a piece of hair from my cheek. "Are you sure you want to know?"

"Of course, I want to know. Your mum will want to paint the nursery proper colors, right?" I prod, smiling softly as Paddy starts to search with the wand. I feel a funny tingling followed by the feeling of my stomach heating. The coating on my stomach keeps it cool, however and then Paddy murmurs a spell once he has the wand in the proper spot and I watch in amazement as the wand quickly turns blue.

Paddy chuckles and looks up at us both. "Congratulations, you're going to have a son."

My head plops back on the pillow as I release a quick breath and look to Charlie. He's beaming from ear to ear and I feel my own smile spread quickly over my lips. He leans down and kisses me hard and I'm relieved that he's not disappointed.

"You're happy?" I ask quietly as Paddy begins to clean off my stomach.

"What kind of question is that?" Charlie questions, brushing my lips with his again.

"You said you wanted a girl," I remind him, not wanting to let go of his hand.

"I'm happy, Avie, more than you know. This means that we'll have someone to continue the family name, right?"

I give him a look. "Besides your other four brothers?"

"What if they all have girls?" Charlie counters. "The Weasley name would diminish and be forgotten. This is a guarantee."

"I see." Laughing, I thank Paddy when he pulls back and congratulates us both again before slipping from the room. Charlie helps me up and leans down to kiss my stomach before he helps me off of the bed so I can dress. "Now we need a name."

"Already?"

"Well, it's something to think about, isn't it?" I ask him as I pull off my gown and reach for my maternity skirt. "The baby will be here before we know it and I don't want to spend the first week of his life arguing over his name."

"Charles Weasley the Second."

I wrinkle my nose and shake my head as I pull my skirt up. "You mean Chuckie Jr.?"

"You already know Bill's nickname for him?" Charlie asks dryly, stepping behind me to button my skirt as I grab my blouse. "Okay, so Charles the Second is out."

"What about Franc?"

"Gods, Avie," Charlie moans, though I hear his laughter beneath his whining. "Franc?"

"It's French!" I round on him and try to glare but I find that even without explaining his grievance, I know he's right. "Okay, Franc is out. Now do you see why it's important that we choose the name ahead of time?"

"We'll discuss it. Though if I know my mum, she'll have some suggestions for us too."

I wrap my arms around him and pull him close. "Our baby is going to be a Weasley. I'm sure I could listen to some of your mother's ideas."

Charlie kisses me and I melt into him, secretly hoping that Molly will suggest anything but Charles Jr.

Fighting Florence Nightengale [May 24, 2006 @ 10:25am]
[ mood | confused ]

I'm signing supply approval forms for the Aurors when Charlie stalks into my office and slumps into one of the chairs in front of my desk. He clasps his hands on his chest as he sinks into the wood and scowls. Lifting an eyebrow, I pause the quill in my hand and wait. When he doesn't speak, I finish my signature before flipping the parchment over to skim the next form.

"I approved new robes for your men, Charlie, I just haven't been able to get the form to you yet this morning." I date the parchment and write my name on the line with a flourish. Charlie remains silent and I look up at him. "But that isn't why you're in a bad mood this morning, is it?" He rolls his eyes and shifts in the chair, his legs stretching out in front of him. I tap my quill against my cheek, considering. "Let's see...were all the bran muffins gone from the basket when you got in this morning?" He narrows his eyes at me, unamused. I continued, a hint of amusement dripping into my tone. "Or was it because I didn't help you relieve the fairly impressive erection you were sporting in the shower this morning?"

"Aveline," he grumbles and I set my quill down and clap.

"No, I know what it is. You figured out I wanted to name our baby Randall if it's a boy!"

His growl is audible and by the intense look that flashes in his eyes, I realize I've hit a nerve. I fold my hands on my desk and suddenly understand. "Is this about last night?"

Charlie shrugs one shoulder, his gaze wandering around my room. "Indirectly."

Honestly getting him to talk sometimes was like pulling teeth. "And your fist is sore this morning?"

He snorts loudly before shaking his head and running his hands wearily over his face. "Tonks came by this morning."

"Oh?"

He proceeds to tell me about their "conversation" and I can see his fingers fisting and unfisting on the arms of the chair as he attempts to reign in his temper. "It's always been about her defending the wanker, protecting him. Do you know I've never hit Whizzy before? Never once. I took punches for him, bloodied my nose for him and he's never done anything in return but take what was mine and she's never done anything about it. He can walk into my house and insult us both and somehow that's justified? Fuck." Charlie leans forward, his elbows on his knees as his hands rake through his unruly hair.

I listen to him silently, irritated that Tonks had the nerve to confront Charlie about what happened last night. I could only imagine the tale Whizzy spun to make himself appear the victim. But I can see that Tonks has riled him up far more than Whizzy ever could and the weary lines surrounding his eyes seemed to have deepened.

"What is it about the bloke that makes women think he can do no wrong?"

I hesitate before answering. "Maybe it isn't him, Charlie. Maybe it's her."

He swings his gaze to mine and stares for a moment before he sighs and stands. "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to come in here and rant."

"I don't mind it," I answer truthfully, lifting my head up when he leans down to kiss me. "I'm sorry she said those things to you. It wasn't fair."

"Neither is life," Charlie replies. "I'll see you at lunch."

I nod and watch him leave, my lips pursed as my own temper begins to rise inside of me. Standing, I drop my quill onto my desk and march out of my office. Charlie has already disappeared back into his and when I see the door is shut, I walk briskly down the hall to Tonks's office where I see her fuming at her desk. I enter and shut the door before crossing my arms against my chest.

"Who the hell do you think you are?"

Her eyes flash and she shakes her head. "I'm not in the mood, Aveline."

"That's too damn bad, because I am."

She sighs, drops her quill and buries her face in her hands before she snaps her head back and glares at me. "You had no right to sack Sally knowing how much she means to Whizzy and his family."

"Goddess give me patience," I whisper, rolling my eyes to the heavens. "Luc--"

"You're the owner," Tonks exclaims, standing quickly. "You could have vetoed his decision."

The woman was the mirror image of Whizzy at the moment, unwilling to hear reason or truth. "There's only so much I can do, Tonks. Neither you, nor Randall understand the situation. Did he tell you I offered to pay her for her last year, along with severance and retirement? She could have retired a year early but that wasn't good enough for him." Tonks remains silent and I walk over to her, my voice low with frustration. "When are you going to see that Randall isn't always right?"

"Charlie had no right to hit him," she responds, her chin lifting stubbornly. "He could have really hurt Whizzy. He used your argument as an excuse to fight with him."

"Charlie has more patience than any man I know, and I think you can say the same. Randall pushed that patience to the edge and shoved it off without a thought and I bet any money that when he came home all bloodied he made Charlie out to be some deviant."

Tonks huffs, impatience brewing in her pretty face. "Charlie knows Whizzy isn't as strong as he is. There are other ways to resolve a disagreement, Aveline."

"Did you tell Randall that when he swung at Charlie last year?" I prompt. "Or did you feel the urge to bandage his bruised knuckles instead?"

Tonks grabs a few files off of her desk and whirls away from me, storming over to her filing cabinet. "I don't have to stand here and and listen to this. You don't know, or understand Whizzy and Charlie the way that I do."

"It doesn't take an imbecile to see that you're attracted to men who need you."

"What?" she exclaims, her eyes wide as she rounds on me. "What the f*ck is that suppose to mean?"

"Charlie never needed you the way Whizzy did. He didn't need your protection. You couldn't mother him and that's why it didn't work out for you two, either time."

She walks to me, anger etched into her features. "You don't know a thing about my relationship with Charlie and you never will, Aveline."

"Listen to yourself," I hiss, "Ms. Self Righteous. You went back to Whizzy because he was needy--"

"You broke his heart!"

"He was needy and you get off on men who are needy."

"I think you better leave," Tonks breathes, her hands fisting at her sides. For a moment I want to step back and laugh. We must make quite a sight, two pregnant women getting ready to rumble in the middle of work. But I'm too angry to find much humor in the situation and remembering the look on Charlie's face when he told me about their confrontation. He deserved much more than being painted the bad guy all the time.

"Gods, you don't get it. Charlie loved you, Tonks. All he wanted was to be with you, but you couldn't stand having a man who could fend for himself, could you?"

"Out!" She points to the door, her cheeks flushed with anger. "Or I swear to Gods, Aveline, I won't be held responsible for my actions."

"Whizzy is a big boy," I shoot back. "He's going to have to learn to do things without you hovering over him making sure he doesn't scrape his knees. Do you even understand the things he said last night? Do you know why Charlie hit him?"

"I don't honestly care right now."

"Maybe you should ask him," I suggest, turning to walk to her door where I pull it open furiously. "He was insulting, callous and used Sally as an excuse to walk into my house and tear me down. If you were in my shoes, Tonks, if you were carrying Charlie's baby and Whizzy told you that you would be a terrible mother and that your child was a bastard, Charlie would hit him for you too. Maybe in your eyes Charlie's actions would be justified then, but maybe you think because it's me, I deserve it. If you care for Charlie, even a little bit, you'll leave him alone. You've already hurt him enough and you just can't seem to stop."

Tonks storms across the room toward me. "Stick it up your arse, Aveline."

I turn, walking back to my office before I hear her door slam behind me. I ignore the hushed silence and curious eyes of the Aurors and shut my own door before collapsing into a chair. I shouldn't care what Tonks thought but there had been emotion in Charlie's eyes that had sparked something inside of me. I wonder if he ever really dealt with what happened between he and Tonks the night they broke up. I wonder if she ever had. I brush my hair from my face and sigh.

Unraveling - May 22 [May 22, 2006 @ 2:50pm]
[ mood | determined ]

It took me a long time to come to a decision. A long, long time.

With a baby on the way, and Charlie's faith in me after I admitted past indiscretions against his family, and others, I have stayed up many nights contemplating my next move. I wasn't lying when I told him I didn't know if I could change, I still don't. My loyalty to Babette may have faltered, but it was still in tact. I owed her too much to turn my back on her. I would be stupid to do that anyway. Charlie would be in danger if I did. I've opened up to Charlie, more than I ever did with my ex-husband which I'm thankful for, but there was still so much he didn't know about me. I had to make that decision whether or not to let him in deeper, or to hold him at arm's length to protect him.

I realized earlier this morning as I watched him sleep that this was something I had to do on my own. He would try to stop me...the ever noble Charlie Weasley. He would try to reason with me, maybe even threaten. But ultimately this was my life and I've been waiting too long to confront the man who helped kill my parents. I had no extravagant plan, but being an Auror for so long I knew exactly what needed to be done to acquire the least amount of consequence.

At work now, I watched him, knowing what I was going to do was completely justified. No one had been punished for my parents' deaths. They were forgotten, ignored, left behind like they didn't matter. Like they didn't have a daughter waiting for them to come home. No, Alastor Moody certainly hadn't cared.

Oather Summerby sent me an update this morning, complete with Moody's routine. The man was unpredictable in every sense but one. He enjoyed an after hours whiskey at Mordred's Sword in Manchester. He stayed for exactly one hour and ten minutes every night before lumbering off to only the Gods knows what. I knew the area and knew it was not the safest, even for a wizard of Moody's caliber. The streets were dirty, the company suspicious and Mordred's Sword was known to serve more than a few dark wizards. It's why I wasn't surprised that he would be there. And he certainly wouldn't expect to see me there either.

"Aveline?"

I look up from my desk and am surprised to see Tonks standing in my door way. It's strange to see her hair consistently brown, but I imagine she can't change her appearance her pregnancy. At that thought my eyes drift briefly to her expanding waistline where Whizzy's baby was growing inside of her. I no longer feel resentment...only a twinge of regret.

"How was Budapest?"

"It was fine," I reply lamely. It would be immensely inappropriate to rave about the scenery and multiple sites where Charlie and I made love. Months ago I would have gladly gloated, and it was both confusing and irritating that I felt no desire to twist the knife deeper in regards to my relationship with her ex. "If you ever have the chance to go..." I trail off awkwardly and Tonks nods, her smile small.

"I was wondering if...when you and, or Charlie wanted to pick up Bit," she fumbles.

"Oh, I don't know to be honest. We hadn't discussed it yet..." Silence falls between us again and I sigh. "I can have Charlie pick her on his way home from work if you want. Unless that would be awkward for you."

Tonks laughs, albeit a bit nervously. "No, it's fine. I'll have her ready. I think she's eager to see you both."

I smile and try to find something more to say. When I can't, Tonks shifts and smiles broadly. "Well, I've got to get back to work. Thanks."

I watch her as she turns and walks away from my office. It was odd that things would be awkward between us. We've never had problems sniping at each other before. Perhaps being pregnant has softened her a bit. Or maybe it's softened me. Who knew? While she still wasn't my favorite person in the world, I no longer hated her with a fiery passion. I didn't know if we could ever be friends, considering the circumstances now, but it felt as if we could find some common ground eventually.

Unfortunately I didn't see that ever happening with Whizzy. He despised me and was making it extremely easy for me to loathe him back. I supposed it was easier to hate each other than to deal with whatever was lying beneath all of it.

The thoughts of Whizzy reminded me of the parchment rolled neatly in my desk drawer. I pulled it out and slipped the string away before smoothing out the deed to Ollerton. Olive had ripped the original copy up and it had taken away to get a new one. It was transferred back into Whizzy's name and he and Olive would be free to fight over the property if they so choose too. There was nothing left for me to do and if Olive decided to rip this one up, it wouldn't matter. The house belongs to the Worthington family once more.

I rolled it up again and tied it carefully before calling Jacque into my office. "I need you to send this to Mrs. Olive Worthington at Ollerton Estates, and a copy to Randall T. Worthington."

"Sure thing." Jacque took the deed from my hands, severing another tie that bound me to Whizzy. Leaning back in my chair, I eyed the pile of paperwork left for me over the days I've been gone. Pushing Whizzy from my mind, I grabbed my quill and began to work, my mind already wandering back to my original thoughts before Tonks had interrupted. My decision was made, my plan complete.

It wouldn't be much longer now before I disposed of Alastor Moody once and for all.

The Return of The Dog [May 08, 2006 @ 2:32pm]
[ mood | pleased ]

"Is that all?" I ask Jacque impatiently as he stares dumbly at my swollen cleavage peeking through the opening of my robes. My stomach was growing, and my breasts were larger, but that was no reason to cover up completely. I enjoyed my new clothes and robes and I wasn't going to try and hide my pregnancy any longer, especially after the scare I endured last week. I liked it that my silk blouse hinted at my expanding stomach. Jacque mumbles something about signatures and he fumbles as he places the parchment on my desk. His gaze shifts to my breasts again and I sigh, tap my fingers on my desk and wait.

"Jacque."

He blinks and grins sheepishly before scurrying out of my office. The door remains open and across the room I can see Moody speaking to an Auror, his thinning hair a mess and his robes worn and faded.

That old resentment I feel toward him rises and catches me off guard. It had been awhile since I thought of him, and what he's done, and a wave of guilt washes over me for having been so caught up in my own life that I had forgotten my purpose. Charlie, or no Charlie...child or no child, I still had to do what I had to do.

It's as if he senses me watching him, because Moody's fake eye moves and zeroes in on me through my door. I don't look away, instead I lift my chin defiantly and glare right back at him. He cocks a scraggly eyebrow but looks away and excuses himself from the Auror he is speaking with. He ambles out of my view and I relax in my chair, the tension fading from my body. My mind is full of thoughts but they are interrupted by a quick, familiar bark. The tension returns as soon as Whizzy appears in my doorway, Lil Bit by his side on a pink leash with glittering fake diamonds. Whizzy looks ridiculous holding it, and that makes me feel much better.

Tonks's doing, I muse, but find I don't mind the leash at all. It's rather cute.

The look on Whizzy's face, however, is not. He looks perturbed and winces when Lil Bit jerks forward, tugging at his arm. I smile down at her and stand, rounding my desk and bending down to scratch her behind the ears. She pants happily, her tail whooshing back and forth.

"Dorrie asked me to return the dog to Charlie after her grooming, but he is not currently available," Whizzy says stiffly. "I have a meeting to get to, so..."

"I'll take her," I reply, still grinning at Lil Bit as I stand and reach out. Whizzy hands the leash to me and I am careful not to touch him. It's almost embarrassing how much I missed the mutt. I had this ridiculous feeling that she would forget about me as soon as she saw Tonks, but Little Bit continues to nuzzle my ankle, wanting my attention.

Sparing Whizzy a quick glance, I thank him and turn to tie Lil Bit's leash around the arm of my chair. I would have to have Charlie take her home when he returned to the office. Kingsley wouldn't appreciate a slobbering dog in the Department, no matter how adorable it was.

"If Charlie has any nice shoes, you may want to tell him to keep them out of reach of the dog."

I turn away from Lil Bit to Whizzy. "Oh?"

"It is the oddest thing," he mumbles, obviously disgruntled. "She would not touch Dorrie's shoes, but she would not leave mine alone. Everywhere I found her she had one in her mouth. Must be the scent of real Italian leather."

My mind drifts back to the days in the Penthouse when I would use Whizzy's shoes he left behind as chew toys for the dog. Stifling a grin behind my fingers, I nod to him. "I'm sure that's it. I'll let Charlie know to keep an eye on her."

Whizzy glares at the dog once more before his gaze flickers to mine. He nods briskly and turns, walking away with his hands resting casually in his trouser pockets. I watch him for a moment before I turn and kneel down in front of Little Bit. She licks my face several times, and I finally allow myself to laugh.

"Good girl," I murmur with amusement. "Expensive shoes are delicious, aren't they?" Little Bit licks my face again in agreement. "We'll have to teach you all about imported suits next time." I scratch her behind the ears and then untie her. She trots alongside me happily as I leave my office. "Let's go find Charlie to take you home."

Heartbeats [April 20, 2006 @ 3:22pm]
[ mood | happy ]

"I hate hospitals," I tell Charlie, sighing as I place my arm behind my head and lean back against the pillow of the bed. My hand rests on my stomach through the pale blue hospital gown and I watch as Charlie folds his arms against his chest before he grins down at me.

"I think I've seen you more times on your back this week than I have on your feet."

Scowling, I nudge him with my foot. "Don't be crude."

He chuckles as the door opens and Paddy enters, a large smile on his face. He and Charlie shakes hands, their movements comfortable and familiar. After exchanging a bit of small talk, Paddy looks at me. "How are you feeling today?"

"Fine." I tense when he goes to part my gown to expose my stomach and then force a smile when he glances at me.

"It's not going to hurt," he assures me and I release a slow breath before nodding. I've noticed my stomach isn't as flat as it used to be. It hasn't quite...popped out yet, but it was becoming a bit more rounded. The "pooch" Charlie pretends not to see. "Muggles use these machines called Dopplers to hear the heartbeat," Paddy continues, making more small talk as he gets his wand and performs a quick charm. "Part of the fun and convenience of being a Wizard, is that we don't have to mess with buttons and electricity for something so simple."

I wait with bated breath as Paddy runs the smooth tip of his medical wand over my stomach. Charlie is silent as Paddy works I see the anticipation in his features. His arms fall to his sides, then he crosses them again restlessly as he moves from foot to foot every few seconds. I shift my gaze to Paddy as the room remains silent. His brows are quirked, his lips pursed in concern.

Paling, I start to realize that we should have heard a heartbeat by now and just as I am about to push myself up on my elbows to ask him, a soft pulsing sound fills the room. It's steady and strong and when I see Paddy's expression relax, I exhale quickly with relief, my smile uncontrollable as I listen to the heartbeat of our baby. It was a strange experience, one I wasn't sure I was ready for. It was easy to say I was pregnant, that I was having a baby, but this made him, or her, real...I had a living child inside of my body, something I never thought I would do, despite what my vows showed me. I didn't know what to think, or feel...except joy.

"You have a strong one," Paddy says, a grin on his face. I look at Charlie and my smile widens when I see him staring at my stomach, a lopsided smile on his face. "Bloody hell."

"Hard to believe you're going to be a father, eh Chuckie?" Paddy jokes and Charlie snorts at the nickname before he reaches out and places his hand on my stomach. "I've timed the heartrate to be about 145."

"Is that bad?" I ask and Paddy shakes his head.

"Very good actually. Anything between 130 and 160 is considered normal. Damn, Charlie, knowing your family, I was half expecting to hear two heartbeats." Charlie's eyes open and I see a bit of hope in them.

"Don't even joke about that," I groan, but continue to smile as I push myself up slightly. When Paddy pulls his wand away from my stomach, the heartbeat disappears and I fight the disappointment as he reaches for my file. "When can we find out the sex?"

Paddy glances at my chart, confusion settling across his face for a moment. "Well...according to your chart, you're only about eleven weeks pregnant, Aveline, which surprises me as usually we can't hear the heartbeat properly until about thirteen, so your pregnancy is moving right along. I'm surprised I didn't catch this at our last visit. The sex can be accurately determined at twenty weeks, but with your information here, we may be able to find out a bit earlier." He trails off, humming curiously in his throat as he flips through the parchment.

"Is everything all right?" Charlie asks quickly and Paddy looks up, giving him a reassuring smile.

"There's nothing to worry about, your baby is healthy." Paddy places my file down and pulls my gown back over my stomach. "We'll see you both again in a couple weeks and we'll see how you are then."

Charlie shakes his hand again. "Thanks, Paddy."

"Anytime. Firecall me when you have a free night, Charlie, we'll get a drink and catch up."

"I'd like that."

I wait until Paddy is gone before I sit up and take the trousers Charlie has handed to me. "You don't think the baby is growing at a rapid rate do you? Do you think something is wrong and he's not telling us?"

"Paddy would be upfront with us if he thought something was wrong. Don't worry." Charlie leans over to kiss my forehead and I decide to believe him, as I can't deal with any undue stress right now. I dress quickly, placing the gown on the bed before I slip on my shoes. We leave the hospital, walking together and enjoying the spring air.

Before long we find ourselves in Hogsmeade, walking toward Madam Puddifoot's where Charlie wants to say hello to his former landlord. Phyllis seems overjoyed to see him and I wait, off to the side as she smooches his face, leaving red lipstick on his cheek before she rushes into the back. She appears seconds later with a two foam cups with plastic lids.

"Decaffeinated," Phyllis explains as she hands me the cup that smells heavenly. "Jasmine and lavender tea. Good for the baby."

"How did you--"

"Your mum was here a few days ago visiting Fred and she stopped in. She's beaming you know," Phyllis explains with a wide smile that wrinkles the skin at her eyes. "Just beaming. 'Going to be a strong, healthy boy', she says and then two breaths later, 'A beautiful, little girl with freckles and ginger colored curls', although she would be blessed to have your colour," she says to me, admiring my hair. "A lovely shade, suits you."

"Thank you," I manage before Phyllis sighs happily and hugs Charlie.

"Don't be a stranger to me, do you hear? It's been lonely since and you Nymphadora parted ways."

I wince slightly but Charlie grins and kisses Phyllis' cheek. "I'll come in more often, I promise." She pats his cheek and kisses mine before we find the right moment to escape back into the village.

"That was an experience."

Charlie laughs and reaches down to take my hand as he sips his drink. "She's always been like a second mother. She's a good woman."

I inhale the scent of my tea again before Charlie stops unexpectedly in the street. I look at him curiously and see his eyes have grown more serious as they study me. "What is it?" I glance around at the witches and wizards passing us, all immersed in their shopping. The bright sign of Zonko's is nearby, I see a cat run down the street after a mouse and the noises of the day seem to disappear the moment Charlie cups my chin and kisses me. I stiffen, but only for a moment before I sink into him. My lips part under his and I'm not embarrassed by the public display like I would have been before.

I can feel my toes curl in my shoes and my body respond quickly when he deepens the kiss, holding the nape of my neck to pull me closer to him. His body is hard, and warm...and safe. I moan softly in my throat and am disoriented when he pulls away. Opening my eyes, I focus in on him and see him looking as flushed as I am.

"Want to skivvy off work and go home?"

I nod, swallow hard and immediately forget the mountain of paperwork I had waiting for me on my desk.

Bribery and Promotions [April 17, 2006 @ 4:52pm]
[ mood | exhausted ]

"You're positively glowing, Aveline," Babette tells me as she whisks me into the parlor, tea and sandwiches awaiting us by the fire. I smile at the small assortment and secretly yearn for a large hamburger with cheese. We sit and I accept the cup of tea she offers. Her smile is wide, her eyes warm. She looks well rested which is surprising, given that she has cut both of her daughters from her life. "How is the child?"

"Perfectly healthy," I reply, sipping the scalding tea. "My Healer tells me the baby is about twenty grams right now."

"Who is your Healer?"

"Paddy Meagher. He's an old school friend of Charlie's."

"Hmm." Babette sips her tea thoughtfully. "I have several skilled Healers. Veronica would be honored to help you along in your pregnancy."

"Thank you. But Charlie and Paddy are close...and Paddy has seemed to have a very pleasurable bedside matter. He works with the children's wing as well as maternity. He was seeing Fleur for awhile..." I trail off, realizing that speaking of Fleur and Gabrielle will only make Babette upset.

Her smile tightens as she leans forward to place her tea cup down. "Aveline, I feel there is something we must discuss. I've been meaning to speak with you since you announced your pregnancy and I can only imagine now is as good a time as any." I await her next words, feeling my fingers grip the cup as I watch her. I don't know why I felt anxious now. I have been loyal to Babette since I was seventeen. Nothing she had me do in the past as ever made me uncomfortable, but now...

"I've spoken with a few of my contacts within the Ministry. They're very impressed with your work."

My eyebrow lifts in surprise. "Oh? Who?"

"Who doesn't matter," she responds, waving her dainty hand, her red nails flashing. "They're very highly ranked and they've been watching you for years. I am inclined to tell you that there is to be an opening soon and I've discussed the possibility of your promotion with them."

My eyes widen and my tea is forgotten as I scoot forward in the chair. "Promotion."

"Undersecretary to the Minister of Magic."

"Baise sainte!" The words leave my mouth before I can stop them and my tea cup clatters from my hands to the ground where I feel hot tea splash onto my toes peeking through my sandals. I gasp and grip the arms of the chair but Babette takes her wand to clean the mess calmly.

"Now, now Aveline..."

"Undersecretary?" My eyes swim with unshed tears and I have no idea why I'm so emotional. "Babette."

Babette reaches out to touch my cheek, her eyes sincere with happiness. "You deserve it, darling. You've worked so hard your entire life."

With a gasp, I close my hands over my mouth, overcome with emotion. This is what I've worked for, sweated for, fought for. This was...my life. I lower my hand to my stomach, fluttering with excitement. And then I remember...I'm pregnant. But why should that matter? I was still perfectly capable of having a child, raising it while I worked. I have Charlie to help me. I couldn't let this opportunity pass me by. Taking Babette's hands, I clasp them in my hand.

"Thank you, Babette. Thank you."

"There is the matter of your child," Babette begins mournfully. Her eyes drift to my stomach before she looks at me again. "Being the Undersecretary to the Minister of Magic will require much of your energy and time."

"I know, but Charlie--"

"Is a commoner."

"He's Pureblood," I retort quickly and Babette lifts a thin eyebrow, but maintains her patience with me.

"He is not Ela. Your child deserves proper care, Aveline. She should be raised within the Creche, with the Sisters."

"And if the baby is a boy?"

"He will be treated just as a female would. He would be loved and raised in the ways of the Ela."

"With freckles and red hair," I murmur, my hand reaching protectively for my stomach. I couldn't give up my baby, even to the Creche. Not for a job. Charlie... "No, I don't think Charlie would allow it. Perhaps I can speak to him about our baby visiting the creche, being raised in the ways of Veela, but the baby should be with us, in our home."

Babette's eyes flash dangerously and her fingers tighten around mine. "Do you understand what you are giving up, Aveline? Your dream, your career. Charlie is a Weasley. He will never know the proper way to be a father. You are best off without him. I will help you with your child, the Sisters--"

"Babette," I interrupt, horror slowly seeping into my blood. "Are you bribing me?"

"Excuse me?"

"You want me to leave Charlie."

"You need a proper suitor."

"Like Randall?" I ask angrily, snatching my hand from hers. "Was he not a proper suitor? I had to give him up."

"Give him up?" Babette counters, her eyebrows furrowing in confusion. "You wished to stay with Randall Worthington?"

"No!" I shake my head quickly, realizing I have said too much. I stand from the chair and walk to the fireplace before rounding on her. She sits calmly, studying me, seeing right through me. My mentor for so many years, the woman I have placed all my loyalty into. I owed her so much...but this was my baby, my life. "I just mean that I married Randall as you asked. His fortune, his company is yours. Charlie is a man I want..."

"Do you love him?"

"I could."

"Aveline." She is angry now and she stands. We face off and I try not to cower and the expression on her face. "Love is for fools, for the weak. Your decisions should not be based on such a frivolous emotion."

"I know that, I simply feel--"

"Have you already forgotten what has happened to you?" Babette says, her voice hushed and hurried. "Have you forgotten what I took you from?"

Paling, I lower my arms to my sides. "No, Babette. I haven't forgotten."

"You are willing to give up your career for a man like Charlie Weasley. A man who spent years of his life wallowing in a bottle, whoring around Romania." Her smile is grim when she notes my surprise. "Yes, I am aware of his past."

"You looked into Charlie?"

"I look after my daughters," she hisses, whirling away from me and walking to the small bar on the other side of the room. She pours herself a brandy in a crystal glass before taking a soothing sip. "He slept with the Under Deputy's daughter. She is his pride and joy and your Weasley used her for his own lustful desires. He was accused of rape--"

"He didn't rape anyone," I say defensively. "Babette--"

"He was involved with one Nymphadora Tonks." That silences me and Babette lifts the glass to her red lips again, watching me as she sips. "Mr. Worthington's ex-wife."

"Gods," I moan softly, reaching out for the arm of the chair before I slide onto the cushion. My stomach churns painfully and I lean forward, struggling to breathe. I feel Babette's hand on my hair moments later, stroking it as she kneels before me.

"My darling." Her voice is soothing now, no longer edged with fury. "You deserve so much better than to be a Weasley's whore."

"He's the father of my child," I whisper, opening my eyes. "Please, Babette. I will make concessions regarding the raising of our baby. I'll teach him or her the ways of our people, but I can't push Charlie away. He's been there for me since my divorce. He's been my only friend, other than Fleur and Gabrielle. I can't leave him, even for...for a job."

"That's quite disappointing, Aveline. You would have been a powerful woman in a powerful position."

Knowing the promotion is lost to me, I close my eyes, biting down on the hormones that threaten to push tears into my eyes. I clench my fists in my lap before breathing in deeply and gathering my wits. "Will you meet him?"

"Whom?"

"Charlie. Have dinner with us. He's not like Bill, or Fred. I think you would like him."

Babette is silent for several long, torturous moments before she presses her lips together and nods. "Very well, I will meet your Weasley. He is the father of your child, as you have mentioned." Her hand presses against my stomach before she smiles. "I do believe you'll have a boy, Aveline. A strong, young man."

I laugh, thankful that my tears have dissipated. "We won't know that for awhile longer."

"It's just a guess," Babette replies with a loving smile before she kisses my forehead. "You are as much my daughter as Fleur or Gabrielle. I only want your happiness."

"I know." I watch as she settles into her chair once more and pours me a fresh cup of tea. "Thank you, Babette. For being there for me...for helping me when no one else would." I take the cup and sigh as I sip. "I'll never forget what you've done for me."

She nods, pleased as she picks up her own cup once more. "No, darling, I don't believe you will."

Heavy Reflections [April 11, 2006 @ 8:14pm]
[ mood | fat ]

Shifting through the parchment on the table in front of me, I wince absently at the soreness in my breasts and struggle to find some sense of comfort as I adjust my bra while reading the request forms from the Auror division. I would normally be embarrassed with my actions, but given that I decided to work from home today, I wasn't too worried about anyone popping in on me except Charlie and he was currently in a meeting at the Ministry regarding the Dragon Task Force. The remaining minutes of the sun poured in through the wide windows of the sitting room and warmed me as I worked. A small silver spoon stirred my tea slowly while I shuffled through the parchment, adding my signature where needed. I usually didn't like to work at home, but with the greasy feeling in my stomach this morning, and the spacious rooms of the house, it wasn't difficult for Charlie to convince me to stay this morning.

I loved this house, still marveled that Charlie was able to find it, and the fact that he simply...gave it to me. I didn't know who he got it from, though I was still curious, but that was a conversation for another time. A part of me I wanted to make sure that we were equal in whatever we bought, or shared. That way if something were to happen in the future...if Tonks were to decide she was bored with Randall and wanted Charlie back...we could divide up our assets properly, without conflict.

I grimaced as I placed my quill down and pulled the spoon from my tea cup. I didn't particularly enjoy thinking about Charlie reuniting with Tonks, but I knew it was a very real possibility. She was the love of his life, the woman he pined over for ten, long, ridiculous years. The woman he used me to to forget a few years back. But I was enjoying what we shared now. Friendship, comfort...the baby was so completely unexpected, but also something that I would cherish, regardless of what happened in the end between Charlie and myself. I didn't want to say, couldn't say, that I was in love with him. I loved him very much, but to allow myself to be vulnerable to another man, especially one who was in love with Tonks, much like Whizzy was...is... would be a mistake on my part. I admired Charlie once before, pursued him at Hogwarts, only to be rejected, whether he knew it or not, the moment Tonks came sniffing about. Now I found myself caring for him more and more every day. I trusted him completely, but it was just too soon to trust myself with him.

Sighing at the brewing headache and the slight cramps in my abdomen, I set my cup down and stood, wandering to the back of the house where I pushed open the french doors into the garden. Spring has arrived, and flower buds were slowly beginning to blossom along the stone pathway. I breathed in the warm, fresh air and closed my eyes. My life has changed dramatically and I was still learning on how to deal with it.

Would I be a good mother? I could only remember bits and pieces about my own upbringing before my parents died and Luc and Volette were not the best guardians a young girl could have. Would I turn into Babette and set aside my daughter's (or son's) true happiness because of my own selfishness? Would Charlie ever forgive me if he found out what I had done in the past, what I may do in the future? It was all hanging over me, applying extra weight to the pressure on my shoulders. Babette could destroy me if she wished...she could ruin everything I have worked for, and gained. I remained by her side, partly by fear...partly by loyalty. I just didn't know what to do anymore, I didn't know who to trust, other than Charlie.

I returned inside and headed upstairs to take a bath. When the tub was filled, I undressed and slipped into the bubbles, sighing as the water began to soothe my aches. I relaxed and lifted my hands from the water, watching the bubbles slide down, between my fingers. The indention of my wedding ring was nearly gone. I smoothed my thumb over the vacated spot thoughtfully. It didn't look as "naked" as it had when I first took it off. The rings sat in a small jewelry box, hidden deep underneath the clothes in my wardrobe. I didn't know what Whi...Randall had done with his wedding band. Perhaps he chucked it into the Thames after Tonks returned to him.

I felt the tiniest twinge of pain in my heart. It wasn't as prominent as it was when I first left Randall, it didn't steal my breath and cause tears to well it my eyes. It was still there, but it was duller now...a small ache quickly replaced by another emotion as my hand falls into the water and slides over my stomach.

I enjoyed my bath, washed my hair, and then slipped from the tub, wrapping a towel about my body. I moved into our bedroom, still in a disarray of boxes. I had wanted to get a house elf to help with the chores a house of this size would require, but Charlie had insisted on doing it ourselves. He had a large family, where everyone pulled their own weight...I had house elves and servants. I supposed we could find a happy medium somewhere. I dropped my towel and prepared to search for a nightdress to slip on. I caught my reflection in the full length mirror and paused. I ran my hand over my stomach again, frowning at the sight of my swollen breasts and now...now this pooch starting to take over. I looked horrible...out of shape and...and...fat!

I bet Tonks, even at nine months pregnant, was going to look beautiful. If not naturally, she could maintain her beauty through her morphing, I was sure of it. Slumping on the edge of the bed, I begin to cry tears of intense frustration. I hated being pregnant, hated Charlie for getting me pregnant, hated Whizzy for getting Tonks pregnant and most of all hated Tonks for looking so damned perfect while being pregnant. My tears slid down my cheeks faster and I balled my hands against my thighs. How was I suppose to keep Charlie, compete for his affection, when I mirrored a Hippogriff while doing it?

Anxiousness [April 06, 2006 @ 1:06pm]
[ mood | moody ]

Cursing loudly in French, I stood from my desk and stomped outside to where my new assistant was slumped behind piles of parchment and letters dropping from the messenger owls ahead. "These were suppose to be sent three days ago," I snap, tossing them in front of him and placing my hands on my hips. "Why are they still on my desk?"

"Er..." Jacque winces and picks up the parchment as his eyes skim over the details. "Ms. Rousseau, you didn't give me these..."

Eyes wide, my nails dig into the material of my trousers in an effort to curb my rage. "Excuse me?"

"Here..." He pulls out another stack from his files and shows them to me. Requests for new tents for the Dragon Force, as well as other hard to get supplies. They're all signed by Kingsley and the Under Deputy. "You gave these to me three days ago and I sent them. This form was never in the pile."

I stare for a moment, wondering if he was right. I never forget important documents...but it was on my desk. And it would seem odd that Jacque would take one form and put it on my desk when he knew it had to be delivered to Kingsley. Irritated, I snatch the form from his hands before I turn and start to walk back into my office. Cursing again, I round on him and thrust it back into his face. "Take this to Director Shacklebolt and have it signed. I don't care that it's past deadline. Tell him I want it signed and if he has any questions to find me."

Jacque swallows hard and nods. "Yes, of course, Ms. Rousseau."

My office door slams behind me and I walk to the window overlooking the Ministry gardens. I push it open and breathe in the warm, spring weather before placing my hands on the windowsill and closing my eyes. I hated being this irritated, and forgetful. My ability to do my job was slipping. I was never going to make higher rank with as many mistakes as I was making lately.

I hear my office door creak open and I whirl around, ready to chew Jacque's head off for not knocking, but I pause when Charlie shuts the door behind him and crosses to me. "I could hear you all the way down the hall."

"So?" I snap, turning back toward the open window stubbornly, ignoring the embarrassment forming in the pit of my stomach.

"Half of the Auror force working in their cubicles were hiding under their desks," he jokes, his hands falling on my shoulders where his thumbs press and begin to massage my tension away. Not wanting to relax, I swat his hand away and cross my arms under my breasts.

"None of them out there know how to do their job," I rant, my body heated with anger. "If they did, these imbecile, so-called vigilantes would be caught and punished, right? The department would be running much more smoothly. And I..." My rage swiftly turns into exhaustion and much to my horror I burst into tears.

"Hey," Charlie begins, surprise evident in his tone as he takes ahold of my arms and turns me toward him. "What's wrong?"

"I don't know!" I sob, lifting my fingertips to wipe the tears away from my cheeks. "Nothing...everything...I don't know!"

"Is it Whizzy?" he asks quietly and I huff, glaring at him through my blurred vision as I move away from him.

"It's not Randall. It's not Dorrie. I don't care about them, I don't care about anything." I sit restlessly on the couch and thrust my fingers into my hair. There is silence and I sigh before looking up at Charlie. "Except you. I'm sorry, Charlie. I'm just so tired. I'm tired of forgetting how to do my job, tired of being nauseous all the time, tired of wondering what's going to go wrong next."

Charlie sits next to me and strokes my hair before carefully pulling me into his arms. "You need a holiday."

"I need several holidays," I laugh with a small sniffle.

"You know, when mum was pregnant with my siblings, she would be cross with my dad one second and loving the next. Her moods were so unpredictable. Bill and I didn't know what we would be coming home too when school ended if she was pregnant. Poor dad." Charlie grins at the memory. "One day in the summer, when she was pregnant with Percy, we found him hiding under their bed taking a nap. It was the only place he could find peace when she was in a bad mood."

I arch an eyebrow at him stoically. "So you think it's hormones."

"It has to be," he insists with a grin. "You usually have such a cheery disposition."

I scowl at him, but can't fight the smile threatening, so I shake my head and look away. He takes my hand and pulls me up from the couch. "Let's grab some lunch, away from the Ministry so you can get some fresh air."

There is no sense in arguing and I let him slide my robes over my body before he opens the door. Jacque winces when he sees me and pretends to be completely immersed in his work. I roll my eyes and sigh and decide it might be best to apologize to him when I return. If he's not cowering under his desk, ala Mr. Weasley, by then.

Brunch [March 26, 2006 @ 11:13am]
[ mood | okay ]

"So, Charles, what is it that you do?" Aunt Volette asks, carefully slicing her knife through the pork loin on her china plate. I look over to Charlie who places his water glass on the table after swallowing a long sip. He's been wonderful this morning, considering I didn't tell him about Aunt Volette's request for brunch until last night. He hadn't had much time to prepare, but he was handling Volette's intruding questions and Luc's intimidating silence like a pro.

"I work with dragons," he tells her with a small smile. "I was stationed in Romania for years."

"What brought you back to England?" Volette presses.

"Personal and professional reasons. I'm heading the Dragon Task Force now within the Ministry."

"He's fantastic at what he does," I interrupt, shooting Volette a pointed look before I spear a red potato on my fork. "Charlie is well respected, both here and in Romania."

"You were accused of rape, Mr. Weasley," Luc contends, shocking the table into silence as he places his elbows on the lace tablecloth and steeples his hands together. "The Deputy Minister's daughter. You were nearly thrown in jail."

Wide eyed, I grip my fork tightly before I hiss. "Luc."

"It's all right, Avie." Charlie looks toward my uncle, his expression calm. "All charges were dropped, Mr. Rousseau. What happened in Romania was a misunderstanding."

"And your drinking problem? Philandering?"

"Luc," I exclaim again, shocked at his rudeness. Volette tsks and shakes her dainty hand at Luc before turning to Charlie.

"My husband is not as tactful as he could be, but we are well aware of your history, Charles. Any man who captures our Aveline's attention is subject to our scrutiny. You understand."

My eyes meet Charlie's and I try to silently signify my apology for my aunt and uncle's rudeness. He looks away, back to Volette, surprisingly at ease for the accusations being thrown at him. "Aveline is very dear to me. I would never hurt her."

"Charlie and I are having a baby," I announce suddenly, satisfied at Volette's soft gasp and Luc's narrowing glare. "I'm due in November."

"A baby?" Volette asks, her icy gaze shifting between us. "You're not even married, Aveline."

"And we have no plans to marry," I reply. I look toward my uncle and know deep within his mind he is already wondering what it will take to get Charlie under his thumb the same way he now has Whizzy. I wasn't going to let that happened this time. "We're going to have this baby together, and that's all you really need to know."

"Aveline," Volette continues, her voice a scandalized whisper. "Are you aware of how this will affect the family name."

I smile tightly. If only she knew what else could affect the family name....all she would have to do is ask Luc. Or Babette. Maybe Volette already knew. "I am sorry, Volette. It was unexpected but I don't see the point of getting married simply over a pregnancy."

"No you wouldn't," she murmurs. Her eyes swing to Charlie. "And you intend on taking care of my niece and her child? With your job cleaning up dragon dung?"

"For Merlin's sake!" I release my fork with a clatter to my plate and ignore Charlie's calming hand on my arm. "Charlie doesn't clean up dragon shit."

"Aveline, please."

"He's a good man, he treats me wonderfully and he's going to be a fabulous father. If you have a problem with that, we'll leave and you won't have to worry about me any longer, and that means never seeing my baby."

"Darling, there is no reason for the attitude," Volette responds, her eyes flashing with restrained temper. "Please, calm down."

"I know what you're thinking," I continue. "You think I'm slumming. I know how you feel about men like Charlie, families like the Weasley's. You think I don't know? Well guess what, I was married to a wealthy, distinguished man just like you had always hoped and he turned out to be a complete jackass with no cares about anyone but himself. If you want me to be happy, then accept that I'm with Charlie now, whether you like it or not."

"Well, I..." Volette sputters, but she's cut off by Luc who stands and sets his napkin on the table.

"Aveline, I want to speak with you." When I remain sitting, silent now, his own eyes darken. "Now, Aveline."

I hate that he can make me feel like I am fourteen again, but I know better than to disobey my uncle. Throwing my napkin on the table, I push back from the table and stand. Charlie reaches for me and I give him a soft smile to indicate I'll be okay. I leave he and Volette alone, something I would have to apologize for later, and follow Luc out of the table and down the hall. I follow him into the study and cross my arms across my breasts as he shuts the door and walks toward me.

"What's going on, Aveline? Does Babette know you're pregnant?"

"She's happy for me," I tell him stubbornly. "She said that the Weasleys were good breeding stock."

"And what's in it for you?"

"A child," I snap, stepping back from him when he gets too close. "I'm allowed happiness, Luc. I married Randall as I was told. You're now in charge of his company and I have millions of Galleons locked away in a vault at Gringott's. Now it's my turn to make my own decisions."

"He's a commoner. We've raised you better."

"His family is Pureblood."

"His brother is a beast."

"That's not Charlie," I retort. "I don't care what Babette told you. Charlie is a strong man, he's my friend and that's all that matters." Luc lifts his hand and I wince when he touches my face, his thumb grazing my cheekbone.

"You've never been disobedient, darling. If you trust this Charlie Weasley, then you may have him." His hand slips to my neck and I grit my teeth when his fingers graze my collarbone before he tightens his hand around my neck, pressing his thumb against my throat. "But if you try anything, Aveline, to break away from your duties, you'll be punished."

"Are you going to bend me over your knee and spank me?" I hiss before lifting my hand to push his hand away from my neck. "I'm twenty nine years old now, Luc, or have you forgotten?"

"I haven't forgotten." His gaze drifts over me before he lowers his voice. "Remember who you are, where you came from. I would hate to think you would do anything to disappoint your parents."

Furious I push past him to the door. Walking down the hall with brisk movements, I begin to enter the dining room once more when I hear Volette's laughter. Curious, I pause and peek into the room, stunned to see them both standing. My aunt is trailing her finger's up the arm of a very uncomfortable looking Charlie. Volette leans forward and whispers something I can't quite hear. Charlie smirks and very carefully lifts her hand off of his arm.

"I appreciate the offer, Mrs. Rousseau, but given the circumstances, I would consider that highly inappropriate."

"My husband and I have an understanding," she replies seductively and if it weren't Charlie on the other end of her come on, I would have been impressed by her Veela skills. "There are many empty rooms in this house, Charles. Many rooms with strong locking wards."

"I'll remember that, if your niece and I ever have to stay the night. I promise you that she's the only one I would be sleeping, or shagging, in those rooms with." I can't see Volette's face, but Charlie's smile widens. "Thank you for brunch, Mrs. Rousseau, but I believe it's time for Aveline and I to leave."

I step back into the hall, my smile shaky when Charlie exits the dining room. He starts when he sees me. "What did you hear?"

"Enough," I confess, but before I can say anything more, Volette walks from the room, her own surprise evident when she sees me. She recovers quickly, not a hint of her attempt to get Charlie into her bed, and she reaches for me.

"Darling, do come and see us again. I want to know more about your baby. Perhaps dinner next week?"

"Perhaps," I agree and we kiss each others cheeks. "Thank you, Volette."

I turn and take Charlie's hand. We leave the house and walk to the Apparition point before Charlie speaks. "I can't believe you put up with that."

"I have too. They raised me, gave me a home. They were the only family I had for years." I inhale deeply and rub at my neck absently. "I owe them."

"Is that what you think? Or what they think?"

I pause and look at Charlie. "No psychology today, okay? Let's just go back to the flat...I'll thank you properly for putting up with them."

"Oh? How will you do that?"

I lean forward seductively and cup him, smoothing my palm over his arousal. "Take me home and I'll show you."

Charlie grins and leans in to kiss me. And just like that, with the touch of his lips on mine, I forget my aunt and uncle and the incredibly deepening problem I continue to find myself in.

Claiming Property [March 23, 2006 @ 2:12pm]
[ mood | tired ]

Being an Auror, I was acutely aware of every minute that passed in the day, which meant I was also aware when I was getting the brush off. I had been sent an owl last night from Pimpletom, assuring me that the house Charlie and I looked at would be mine by the end of the day. He had promised to sent the contracts but when I didn't hear from him, I sent my own letter following up. By lunchtime today I was through with the lack of correspondence and that was why I was standing here now in front of Pimpletom's secretary, breathing fire down upon her as I demanded to speak to Pimpletom. She stammered, her face flushed with red as she tried to squeak out pathetic excuses for his absence. Finally her eyes moistened under the pressure of my constant demands and she gripped the desk tightly before grabbing a quill with trembling fingers. She scribbled an address on the parchment and handed it to me.

"I'm sorry, Ms. Rousseau, if it is an emergency, he is showing this property to a gentleman right now. If you wish to wait for him..."

I snatch the parchment from her hand, my fingers tightening and crumpling around it as I recognize the address. L'imbécile avide et gros! Furious now, I turn on my heels and walk from the office, the door slamming behind me, cutting off the woman's weak apologies. It doesn't take long to find a Portkey station. I show them my Auror identification to get priority and I Apparate to Laurence Pountney Hill. The front door is open and I enter it, uninvited and uncaring. I glance around the spacious foyer and when I hear voices coming from down the hall, I walk briskly, my anger at Pimpletom pushing me. I enter the
sitting room
and come to abrupt halt as I watch Pimpletom greedily watching a man bent over one of the antique tables, his quill scribbling away. It's not that this man is quite obviously signing a contract that stuns me into silence...it's that--

"Thank you, Mr. Worthington. I think you and the Missus will enjoy the property very much!" Pimpletom lifts the parchment, the contracts to the house, and rolls them up before slipping them into his leather case. "Feel free to..." He trails off, his beady eyes widening as he spots me in the room. "Ah! M-Ms. Rousseau...."

I want to hit him, to kick him in his petites boules saggy and then I want to pull out my wand and curse him right through the tall windows. Instead I cross the room, noting the surprise on Whizzy's face as he places the quill on the table. I ignore him and focus on my former realtor. "Is this how you conduct your business, Pimpletom? Making promises to a client while you search for a larger commission behind their back?"

"My darling, until the final contracts are signed, all offers are subject to change," he tries to explain and I see the sweat beading on his forehead as he clutches his briefcase that probably holds a sizable commission. Furious, I round on Whizzy.

"This is low, Randall, even for you. Are you truly that spiteful?"

"Regardless of what you may think, Aveline, I was unaware of your interest in this property. Myron did inform me of a former offer, but he did not mention who the buyer was."

"You expect me to believe you?" I ask angrily, pausing when I turn to see Pimpletom moving cautiously to the door.

"It seems you two need to speak in private, so I'll ah, just let myself out." He scurries from view like the plump little rat that he is and I grit my teeth and focus once more on Whizzy. Whizzy sighs and slips his hands into his trouser pockets.

"If you had been a bit more tactful I am sure Myron could have found you an equitable property."

"Je pourrais m'inquiéter moins d'une propriété équitable! Comment commode qui la maison que je veux acheter est outre des mercis du marché à vous ! Vous loathesome, gardon égoïste et rancunier!"

(I could care less about an equitable property! How convenient that the house I want to purchase is off the market thanks to you! You loathesome, selfish, spiteful roach!)

Whizzy lifts an eyebrow, his lips pursed thoughtfully. "I'm a bit rusty on my French...did you say something about a roach?"

I want to scream in frustration, but instead I whirl on my heel and start to storm toward the door. Whizzy's hand on my shoulder stops me and his touch on my shoulder throws me off before I push his hand away. Though his eyes seem sincere, my defenses stay up as he steps back from me. "I promise you, Aveline, that I did not know you were interested in purchasing this home. But in our divorce you acquired nine of my properties across the country. Are you looking to own half of the United Kingdom?"

"I don't want your properties," I spit. "I want a home of my own, not one that every time I walk into it it would...." Remind me of you. Changing tactics immediately, I sigh and rub my temple. "It just seems too coincidental that you happen to be the wizard buying the home I wanted."

"How convenient for you. A perfect way to see me again, right Avie?"

Looking up, I feel my brows furrow in confusion. "Excuse me?"

His smirk resurfaces, deepening the dimple in his left cheek. "You love me still, and you cannot seem to stay away from me. You seek me out constantly. Is Charlie aware of your lingering infatuation?"

Surprised, I stare at him for a moment, my arms falling to my sides. "You honestly believe I'm going out of my way to run into you? To see you?"

"The grotto, hurting my mother, this house..." He ticks off a few small, irrelevant things from his memory and I'm almost appalled by his smug nature.

"I would never intentionally hurt Olive just to see you, you pompous, self absorbed--"

"Roach?"

"Bastard," I hiss. "Take the house, I don't care. You've already tainted it for me simply by being here." When I turn to leave again, I hear Whizzy's voice call after me.

"Your generosity is appreciated, Ms. Rousseau. Dorrie and I will enjoying raising our child here when he is born."

A Bludger suddenly slammed into my stomach, stealing my breath. Or perhaps two Bludgers...or a dozen. I want to keep walking, to pretend I didn't hear those words, but I did. Against my better judgement, I turn toward him and see him standing in front of the tall window, hands casually tucked in his pockets. "Tonks is pregnant?"

"About a month along," he replies, his back still facing me. "I believe our child was conceived on Valentine's Day. The most romantic day of the year."

You've got to be kidding me. The absurdity of it nearly brings laughter to my lips and tears to my eyes. This was no coincidence...it couldn't be. The Goddesses knew this would be the perfect punishment for my misdeeds, the perfect twist of a knife still embedded deep inside of me.

"Congratulations," I tell him. I didn't know what else to say. I never truly believed that Whizzy would ever forgive me. The Grotto proved as much and I was happy moving on with my life with Charlie, but yet...knowing he and Tonks were going to have a family simply slammed that final nail home. Dizzy, I turn toward a chair and slip into it while my vision cleared.

"Is it truly that shocking that I would have a child with the woman I love, Aveline?"

"No, I'm not shocked."

"You are pale."

"Yes." I chuckle softly and shake my head as I inhale to calm myself. "It seems I am afflicted with the same illness as your precious Dorrie." My statement hangs in the air between us and while Whizzy absorbs it, I take that moment to breathe in again and relax.

Perhaps a Future Grandmother? [March 21, 2006 @ 1:10pm]
[ mood | relieved ]

Babette was waiting for me when I entered Faerie Ridge and for only a brief moment, I stood in the doorway and watched her sip her tea in front of the fire, her long legs crossed and her expression distant with distraction. I knew she was thinking about her daughters, and the unfortunate situation the Delacour women found themselves in. I was about to make it worse. My nerves in my stomach tightened and for a moment nausea threatened to ruin my entrance. Would Babette cut me out of her life as well? Would she expose my past crimes to ruin my career as some kind of twisted revenge?

It was horrific that I was thinking of these things. Babette was like my mother and she had been since I was sixteen. Her daughters were my sisters and she was my mentor above all else. I knew things about her that even her daughters didn't know. Things that could toppled her clans. She would be an idiot to try and lash out against me...

But it was nonsense. I couldn't give into my underlying fear of Babette. I was just as strong as she was. And if anyone was to blame for this situation, it was her.

"Babette." I enter the room with a smile and watch as she turns her face toward me, her smile tired but sincere as she sets her tea cup on the table between the high backed chairs and stands. We kiss each other's cheeks and she leads me to the chair, motioning for me to sit as she does the same. I relax and thank her when she pours me tea. She pauses briefly when our hands connect and her gaze holds mine intensely before she smiles again and leans back in her chair.

"It's been too long, Aveline. How have you been?"

"I've been...all right," I concede, folding my hands in my lap. "The Auror department has been dealing with overzealous vigilantes, as well as your typical minor crimes. It's kept us all on our toes lately."

Babette links her fingers together over her bent knee while she studies me. "I can imagine so. I've received numerous updates from Luc regarding Cleansweep. He tells me you've not been to check on progress since your divorce."

I choose my words carefully. "Luc is perfectly capable of handling the company on his own. Between the two of you, I am sure Cleansweep is in good hands."

"And the fortune you've acquired from Worthington?"

Most of my "half" of Whizzy's fortune rested comfortably in a high security vault in Gringott's. "Untouched," I tell her. "Have you decided which investments you wish to make?"

"I believe it's in our best interest to hold off on such decisions. I assume you're still residing in the penthouse above the company?"

Nodding, I feel my stomach clench and I take a sip of tea. "Yes, but I've placed a bid on a house in the country."

This captures Babette's attention and her delicate eyebrows lift in surprise. Her lips curve into a small smile. "Is that so? Are you sure it's wise to live in the country, in a large house on your own? We have many people who would like to see us fail in our rise to power, Aveline. I don't wish for you to fall into an unpleasant situation."

I nearly choke on my tea with bitter laughter. My entire life had become an unpleasant situation because of her. The unsavory plans I carried out for her were just as unpleasant as the beginning of my marriage to Whizzy. And suddenly now Babette was concerned for me? Nevertheless, it was time to come clean with Babette and hope she would understand what I've chosen for myself. Very carefully I lean forward and set the tea cup on the table next to her own. Then I straighten and look at her in the eyes, not wanting to lose any ground by avoiding her gaze.

"I'll be purchasing the house to live in with a man, Babette. A man I've come to care about deeply since my divorce."

If Babette was surprised, she didn't show it. Instead she tapped her fingernail against her knee casually and her lips pursed before they smiled. "Well, this is wonderful news. I'm pleased that you've been able to find happiness, Aveline. When will I get a chance to meet him?"

"You can meet him whenever you please," I tell her simply. "However, there is something else you should know."

"Oh Goddess, help me." Babette laughs and lifts a manicured hand to her heart. "I have come home to so many unpleasant surprises and unexpected news. I will accept anything you tell me, darling, as long as I do not hear the name Weasley."

My sanity near shatters and I am torn between screaming and laughing hysterically. The sound that escapes my lips caught somewhere in between. Babette's nails curl subtly in her cashmere and I lean forward, my elbows resting on my thighs as I steeple my fingers against my lips.

"Aveline?" The tone is dangerous and I hear the hint of desperation and warning.

"His name is Charlie Weasley." I force it out, snatching the bandage off quickly rather than prolonging the sting. "Yes, he is Bill Weasley's younger brother...Fred Weasley's older. Yes, he was in a relationship with Randall's ex-wife...current lover. He came to me after they reunited. We've been living together for a few weeks now, and I am sorry I kept this from you, but I know your contempt for his family. He and I fell into a physical relationship right away but we care about each other. I recently found out I was pregnant, and yes, it's Charlie's child."

I am practically panting by the time I finish and Babette stares at me, her lips parted slightly and her fingers now digging into the material of her jumper. I await her rage, brace myself for it, but Babette stuns me by calmly placing her hands in her lap. She reaches out to me and touches my cheek, causing me to flinch. She laughs softly.

"Aveline, darling, I'm not going to strike you down. Do you fear me?"

"I fear your disappointment," I admit, exhaling slowly.

"I would be lying if I said I didn't despise the Weasleys. They've taken my daughters from me, they turned them into common whores. Goddess, help me." Babette stands and walks to the fireplace, her hand reaching up to the mantle as she sighs. "I could handle Gabrielle's choice, had it been under different circumstances. But she betrayed my trust, whored herself and then lied to me. Fleur is different. She is with that beast, with his tainted bloodline. It's unforgivable. I cannot accept it."

I watch her, watch the licks of fire illuminate her pale face before she turns to me. I don't know what I expected, but it wasn't the soft smile on her face as she bends down in front of me and takes my hands in hers. "You are just as much my daughters as Gabrielle and Fleur were. You have been loyal to me, Aveline and I have always planned on rewarding you. You're going to have a child, and though I am loathe to admit it, the Weasleys, excluding their diseased son, are Purebloods. You carry a strong heir in your womb." Her hands squeeze mine gently before she straightens. "I think I would like to meet this young man, at your convenience."

"Y-Yes, Babette, of course."

"Wonderful." She smiles again. "Shall we have lunch now?"

"Lunch sounds wonderful." I stand and soften when she reaches down to touch my abdomen.

"You have a very bright future ahead for yourself, Aveline. That much I can promise you."

I hope so, Gods I hope so.

Babette takes my hand and leads me from the room and my free hand drifts to my stomach where Charlie's baby is growing.

Replacing Memories [March 17, 2006 @ 8:45pm]
[ mood | hungry ]

I didn't want to tell Charlie....but I hated being pregnant. The soreness, the exhaustion. I was used to being able to work long hours, to stay late at the Ministry if I needed too, but now I seemed to barely have enough energy to make it through lunch. I was glad Charlie's parents knew about the pregnancy, but other than that, I was hoping to keep my situation quiet until absolutely necessary. I was already worried about having to inform Babette, who has not had a good month since returning home.

But I couldn't complain about everything. I had finally found a place of my own that I was eager to look at and possibly buy. It was larger than necessary for two people, but it was beautiful, in a remote area and the gardens were spacious. I only had to get Charlie to find a time to go with me to see it, but he had been working longer hours lately and it was difficult.

At the penthouse now I was attempting to make dinner. Or something similiar to dinner. The vegetables I was steaming seemed a bit...limp...and I wished I had just used magic to create a gourmet meal instead of wanting to feel "domestic". I didn't know what was wrong with me lately.

Sighing, I placed the lid to the steamed vegetables back on the pan and wiped my hands before wandering into the sitting room. Stifling a yawn I settled onto the couch and laid down. I don't remember falling asleep, but the gentle shaking of my shoulder had my eyes fluttering open as Charlie's face came into view. Groggy, I pushed myself up. "What time is it?"

"A little after eight." He grinned sheepishly. "You made a hell of a mess out of the kitchen."

My eyes widened and I struggled to sit up. "Gods, the food..."

"Is pretty much...er, burnt," he interrupt quickly and tighten his grip on my shoulders. "I cleaned it up."

"Oh." Irritated, I sighed and relaxed against the couch again. "I'm sorry."

"It's okay. I ate before I came home."

Frowning, I see fatigue in Charlie's face and I lean forward again to kiss him. His mouth is soft and there is no hesitation before he pulls me to him and slips his tongue between my lips. Moaning softly, I shift until I straddle his lap and I feel his hands move underneath my skirt as my hands work at his belt and zipper. When I tear my lips from his, I inhale sharply for breath, my nails digging into his shoulder as he tugs my panties down my thighs. I lift up until he slips them off my legs and then I straddle him again and guide his erection into me. He groans, his head falling back against the couch and I begin to ride him, the pleasure shooting through my veins almost unbearably.

His strong hands push against the small of my back and I rock forward, grinding my hips down upon him as my breath hitches and shudders through my parted lips. Waves of heat overwhelm me and I feel my body begin to shatter with each thrust of his hips. Pressing my lips against his throat, I nip at the skin gently. I can feel Charlie shudder, his groan low and hoarse in his throat as he wraps his arms around me and begins to pound up into my body. I cry out, clenching my eyes shut as I welcome his desire. Several moments later, with my body damp with sweat, I feel him tense and hear his almost tortured grunt as he spills himself into me. I inhale deeply and relax against him, my cheek resting on his shoulder before I feel his hand smooth over my hair.

I turn my head and find his lips, kissing him deeply until he opens his eyes. "I'm sorry about your dinner."

"Well, it was suppose to be our dinner," I remind him. "But you already ate."

"I was working late again, I didn't want to come here and demand to know what's for dinner," he replies with a lopsided grin and I find I can't be annoyed at him. And that annoys me. "We can get take away if you want. Or go to the Cauldron for something."

"You already ate," I point out, but my stomach betrays me when it rumbles low, demanding nourishment. Charlie laughs and places his palm against my stomach.

"But the baby hasn't, apparently. Let's get cleaned up and go to the Leaky Cauldron."

I decide not to protest as the thought of some greasy fish and chips seemed oddly tantalizing. I slip off of his lap and we move to the loo to freshen up. As we're getting ready to leave, Charlie pops a small piece of gum into his mouth and takes my hand after I've slipped on my shoes.

"I have another house I want you to come look at with me," I explain as we shut the door and walk to the lift. "I think this is the one."

"You said that about the last three we've looked at," Charlie laughs, tightening his hand around mine.

I huff. "But I mean it this time. I was thinking we could go Sunday."

"The sooner the better, right?"

"Right." The sooner I was out of Whizzy's penthouse, the happier I would be....

Charlie turns to me, his blue eyes dancing as he lifts my hand to his lips. "Then Sunday it is."

Pleased, we leave the Cleansweep building and I find that anytime I am away from the places that remind me of Whizzy the most, I am happiest. Leaning against Charlie as we walk down the darkened street, I realize that things have to change now. A relationship I didn't expect, a baby I didn't plan, and a new home for a future I'm still mildly unsure of....things have changed drastically since divorcing Whizzy. For he and I both. He has Tonks now, whether I like it or not. And whether I like it or not, Whizzy still has the upper hand against me because of my ill advised admission of love in the Grotto. But there was nothing I could do about that now, and the only way to regain my footing and power over the situation is to let go of Whizzy and embrace what I have with Charlie.

Leaning my head against his arm as we walk, I breathe in his earthy scent and feel my lips twitch in a small, happy smile.

The Due Date [March 01, 2006 @ 4:51pm]
"Given the exam I would say you conceived on or around February the eleventh," the Healer tells me, reading his chart as I sit impatiently on the edge of the bed, my feet cold and my hands clasped tightly in my lap. Charlie leans against the wall by the door, his arms folded against his chest as he listens to the Healer.

I wrinkle my brow in confusion as I try to make sense of the date. "But I was already late by then..."

"Ms. Rousseau, these exams are never wrong," he explains with slight exasperation. I've been bombarding him with questions and contradictions since he put my legs in those cold stirrups. It didn't help that Charlie's preferred choice for my Healer, Paddy Meagher, was on holiday...but this Healer was still a Resident and new to the wing. "I do understand you were going through a divorce which is a very stressful event for anyone. It delayed your ovulation..."

"By that much?" I ask doubtfully and he scowls at me.

"Avie, I would trust the Healer. He knows what he's doing," Charlie interrupts softly and I close my mouth and shoot him a look before the Healer slips his wand back onto his clipboard.

"Ms. Rousseau, your approximate due date is November fourth. The mediwitch will set up your next appointment on your way out. Be sure to take your prenatal potion, all right?"

"Thanks," Charlie tells him, stepping forward toward me as the Healer nods and exits the room. I huff and slip from the bed as I pull the gown off and begin to pull on my clothes. "All right, Avie?"

I nod briskly. "Fine. I just know my body. It's like clockwork and my divorce throws it off? I've been stressed out by worse, Charlie."

He takes my by the forearms after I finish buttoning my blouse and I lift my gaze to his as his eyes soften. "It wasn't just your divorce, Aveline. Whizzy, and Tonks, and everything else you've been through. You can't control everything."

"I know," I sigh and realize he's right. I didn't tell him about the vision I had with the Elders...it happened long before the Healer told me conception happened. Perhaps they were just preparing me...I didn't know. "I'm sorry I'm being grouchy. Do you want to grab a bite to eat before we go back to work?"

"Anything you want," he replies, taking my hand as we leave the small room. I schedule my next ultrasound before we leave and as we walk out of St. Mungo's, I pull a small piece of parchment from my bag and hand it to him. "What's this?"

"Fleur sent it to me this morning. She knows I'm looking for a new place and she said she saw this house in the Daily Realtor and thought I might like it. I thought maybe you would like to come see it with me this week?"

"Of course I would," he grins. "You're really serious about moving out of the penthouse."

"You didn't think I was?" I ask. "It's time to put those memories behind me, don't you think?"

He squeezes my hand before lifting it to his lips where he kisses my knuckles softly. "I do, Aveline. I think it's time we both put past memories behind us and moved on."

"Together?"

His smile softens as he looks at me. "I wouldn't want it any other way, love."

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