Taking the Mickey
Ophelia sighed as she sat back in her chair and rubbed her face. She had been staring at a layout plan for the main camp for what felt like forever and her vision was starting to get a bit blurry. Not to mention her stomach was beginning to grumble and for a moment she couldn’t remember the last time she ate.
Since Charlie arrived (save for Saturday), the team had been practically living at the ministry, attempting to get the research finished and put together in a fashion that would be easy to explain and understand. While it wasn’t exactly how she had hoped to spend Charlie’s time in Britain - she was mostly sure it wasn’t how he had intended to spend it either - it was unavoidable.
At least he had been true to his word and every day he was in the conference room, wallowing through numbers, financials and everything with her and the team. At night, they would get back to her flat with just enough energy to perhaps eat something and then fall asleep.
In Ophelia’s book, Charlie Weasley was a saint. Though at the moment, she wasn’t quite sure where he had disappeared to, nor just how long he had been gone.
“How are those numbers?” she asked, looking over at Bletchley, who seemed just as tired as she did.
“Think I’ve got the last of it worked out,” he said, staring down at his own set of parchments.
“Thank, Merlin,” Ophelia sighed. About that time, Leanne rushed in, her face bright. “Please tell me that’s good news.”
“Of course!” Leanne gushed, running over to her and putting a pile of papers down in front of her. “I’ve found a construction company with a good reputation, who will donate part of their work, lowering the cost by half. Apparently, the owner has a son who works with dragons or something and is thrilled to have a reserve closer to home.” Ophelia’s eyes widened slightly as she looked down at the parchments, going through them.
“Absolutely brilliant, Leanne,” she said, starting to grin.
“And I spoke with the head of healer training at St. Mungo’s. They’re interested in the apprenticeship program, meaning we only need to hire three full-time healers and the rest can be covered through that,” Leanne continued. “Still need to schedule a meeting to go through the details and put together a contract, but they’ve practically said they would do it.”
“Fantastic!” Ophelia said, her spirits lifting. “Yer a genius, Leanne!” The other woman blushed slightly.
“Well, you did all the figures and work. I just relayed the deal to them,” she said.
Ophelia looked at the two and continued grinning, then glanced around the room at the various maps and parchments posted up on the wall.
“I think we just might do this,” she said.
“Merlin, Wood, I could have told you that after the first two days of working with you,” Bletchley said, smiling. “Like Greene said, you did most of the work. We’re just filling in the gaps.” Ophelia blushed slightly and looked back down at the parchments in front of her.
“Well, got that figured… now for the rest of it,” she said, sighing.
“Figured you lot could use some provisions.”
Ophelia looked up, seeing Charlie walking in with his arms laden down with bags of food.
“So that’s where ye disappeared to,” Ophelia said with a grateful smile.
“With the way we’ve been working all morning, reckoned you’d forget about lunch,” he said, walking over and putting the bags down on the table, Bletchley and Leanne following close behind him.
Already Ophelia’s stomach was protesting loudly as the smell wafted over to her.
“As much as I hoped to get you and Flint together, I have to admit I’m grateful you found Weasley,” Bletchley said, already reaching into a bag for a container. Ophelia blushed slightly as Charlie winked at her. “Merlin, can’t believe I said that about a Weasley.” He then stopped, his eyes widening as he looked up at the burly man. He gulped and backed away a bit.
“Suppose you’re not so bad for a Slytherin,” Charlie quipped in return. Bletchley laughed nervously and then walked over to sit down, already digging into his food. Charlie walked over, holding out a container to Ophelia. “What are you working on?”
“Going over the layout for the main camp,” she said, looking back down at the parchments. “Something just… feels off with it, but I’m no so sure what it is. Feels like I’ve been starin’ at it for hours.” Charlie leaned over her side, one hand bracing against the table next to her while the other came to rest on her upper back. Even though they were in a room with others, Ophelia couldn’t help the shiver that ran down her spine.
“Right… I see what you’re talking about. What if we…” he stopped speaking as he reached over for a pencil and started drawing, his other hand leaving her back. Ophelia sat up in her chair, her eyes widening slightly as she watched him rework the plans.
“Charlie Weasley, what other talents are ye hiding?” she asked, glancing up at him. He smiled, though she noticed he was blushing slightly.
“There’s a fair bit of downtime on the reserve,” he said. “You pick up things.” Ophelia chuckled and looked back down at the plans.
“Ye think ye could go over some of the plans for the enclosures and habitats wi’ me?” she asked.
“Sure,” he replied. Ophelia turned in her chair, looking up at him.
“Ye are most definitely saving our lives,” she said gratefully.
“Just giving a bit extra help is all,” Charlie said, scratching the back of his neck as his blush deepened.
“Stop being so modest. I swear, you two were made for each other,” Bletchley said, his mouth full of food. Ophelia looked over at him and chuckled, but mostly so she didn’t have to look at Charlie, sure that she was now blushing as well. She then turned back to the plans.
“Well, let’s post these up and then start on the rest,” she said, standing.
“Post these up and then eat,” Charlie ordered. “We can get to the rest of it once your stomach stops growling like a dragon.” She glanced at him, a smile tugging at her lips.
“Fine,” she said, grabbing her wand and waving it. The plan rose into the air and attached itself to the wall, next to others laying out other details they would need for the proposal.
Ophelia then stepped back and looked it over. It was true everything was coming together, it still felt there was so much to do before they were ready to present the following Monday morning.
Merlin, was it already that soon? She couldn’t help as a spike of anxiety coursed through her. How would they ever be ready for this?
“Ah, how is my favorite team doing?” Mr. Larkins asked as he walked into the conference room with a warm smile. Ophelia felt her nerves increase as she looked around at the absolute mess they had created, though her boss casually walked over to the wall and started looking over everything.
“Still have loads more work, but we are getting there,” Ophelia said nervously.
“I’d say that you’re far closer than getting there,” Larkins said, glancing at her. He then stepped up and looked closer at the plan for the layout of the main camp. “Is this the main camp?”
“Yes, sir. Charlie helped out. He’s going to look over the blueprints for the other structures as well,” Ophelia said. Larkins continued studying the plan.
“Brilliant idea bringing Weasley on board,” Larkins said, glancing at her and then turning to look at everyone in the room. “I’m incredibly impressed with your work.”
“Truly, it’s a team effort,” she said earnestly.
“Yes, but a team is only as good as its leader. And so far, you are proving that you are a most capable leader,” Larkins said, grinning at her. His eyes then slid over to Charlie, fixing him in a look that Ophelia didn’t understand, but just brushed aside, thinking her mind was playing tricks on her. “Well, then - I’ll let you get back to work, though if I may make a suggestion?”
“Yes, sir,” Ophelia said quickly.
“Take the night off. You’ve all earned it,” he then nodded and walked out of the room.
“Yes!” Bletchley said, already celebrating.
“We cannae take the night off,” Ophelia scoffed. “Do you not see the mountains of work left to do?”
“Seriously, Wood. We have this,” Bletchley said, on the verge of whining.
“Larkins is right,” Charlie said, reaching out and taking her hand. Ophelia turned to look at him, her eyes wide. “Keep this up and you’ll be dead before you can give the proposal.”
She looked around the room, clearly seeing that she was outnumbered. Finally, she huffed.
“Alright. If ye think that we should take a night off, then we’ll take a night off. But I expect everyone here bright and early tomorrow mornin’,” she said, already seeing the grins breaking out. “But - the day’s no over yet.”
“Yes, boss,” Bletchley said, taking another bite of his lunch. Ophelia rolled her eyes and sat back down, though she couldn’t help but smile. Charlie sat next to her and reached for a container of food, glancing at Ophelia.
“I was thinking… we haven’t really had the chance for a proper date,” he said, dropping his voice so that Leanne and Bletchley - who were thankfully in the middle of a discussion about what they intended to once the proposal pitch was over.
Ophelia turned to look at him, her eyebrows slightly raised.
“What was dinner at yer cabin, then?” she asked, smiling. Charlie chuckled and shook his head.
“I mean… I want to take you out. Just the two of us. A nice restaurant and such. No co-workers or brothers or anyone else,” he said, taking her hand and caressing the back of it with his thumb. “Since we have the night off an all.”
Ophelia chuckled and propped her chin in her hand, smiling at him.
“Aye, I could do that,” she said. “Do ye have to be back at the Burrow? Ye’ve been staying with me the last few nights and I do not want to anger yer mother.”
“Actually… Mum thinks I’m staying with Perce,” Charlie said, suddenly avoiding her eyes. “Told her I was helping out with something at the Ministry and it made more sense to stay in the Alley.”
Ophelia’s eyes widened slightly. While she wasn’t surprised that he hadn’t told his mother that he was staying at her flat - truly, only Oliver and Daria really knew on her side. She didn’t want Duncan showing up in a mood or really felt it was any of his business. As for her parents, though she was an adult, Ophelia couldn’t help but feel slightly mortified if her parents found her boyfriend was practically living with her.
“Oh,” Ophelia said, turning to her food, her brow slightly furrowed. “Ehm, so… does she know about us?” Charlie sighed, causing her to look over at him.
“Honestly? I told her that I’ve met someone. That she makes me incredibly happy and I can’t think about anything but her,” he said, smiling slightly and Ophelia felt butterflies start up. “But I’ve yet to tell her that it’s you.”
“Any reason in particular?” Ophelia couldn’t help but ask.
“Phillie, you know how they are,” he said with a heavy sigh. “Mum’s already been giving me the third degree and she doesn’t even know it’s you. Not to mention, as soon as George, Ginny and the rest find out, there will be no peace. I like having them out of my relationship for the most part.”
“Ah, here I was worried ye were embarrassed of me,” she said.
“Merlin, no!” Charlie exclaimed, his face stricken, though he saw the small smile on Ophelia’s face.
“It’s fine. I understand. I would have liked to have waited before telling my family,” she said, reaching over and squeezing his hand. “If anyone understands a meddling family, it’s me.”
Charlie leaned over and brushed a light kiss against her lips, then leaned his forehead against hers.
“Thanks for understanding,” he said softly.
“Oi, get a room!” Bletchley shouted across the room. Ophelia and Charlie looked over at him, the two laughing.
“Eat. Then back to work. The sooner we finish, the sooner I can whisk you off to a romantic evening,” Charlie said.
Ophelia nodded and turned her attention to her lunch, suddenly excited about what the night would entail.
Ophelia’s eyes widened as Charlie led her into the restaurant, her gaze immediately going up to the ceiling, which had crawling, flowering vines that ran down columns and walls, fireflies lazily flying around the blooms.
“Charlie,” she said, looking at him in surprise. “This is… wow.”
“Just wait,” he said, tucking her arm in his as he stepped up to the maître d’ and gave his name. The young witch checked the list and then asked them to follow.
Ophelia couldn’t help as she continued looking around, finding that many of the tables were small and sat in cozy nooks, offering the diners a fair bit of privacy. There were so many fireflies that it cast a warm glow on the entire restaurant with the only other lighting coming from candles on the tables.
But much to her surprise, they weren’t seated at any of the cozy nooks. Instead they were led into another chamber that was even more beautiful than the first. Around the edges of the room, large tree trunks rose up the wall, their branches stretching out with magical lanterns floating in them. Through the branches and leaves, Ophelia could make out an expansive starry sky that reminded her of Romania and their camping trip.
She was stunned speechless as they were sat at a table, her gaze fixed up at the ceiling.
“How on earth did ye find this place?” she asked, finally looking down at Charlie.
“Ehm, well… Bill may have helped me out a bit. Sent him an owl this afternoon while you were in a meeting,” he said. Even in the glow of the candlelight, Ophelia could see a bit of a flush crawling up his neck. “Wanted to take you somewhere special because… with as busy and stressed out as you’ve been lately… thought you deserved it…”
Charlie stopped fumbling through his words as he looked down at his menu, which seemed a bit odd to Ophelia. This certainly wasn’t their first time out together, so she wasn’t so sure why he’d be nervous. Though truthfully, she couldn’t help as a bit of her own nerves set it. Might not be their first time out together, but as he had said earlier, it was sort of their first proper date. She fidgeted slightly in her chair, grateful when the server arrived to take their order and Charlie ordered wine along with their food.
“This place, it really is enchanting,” Ophelia said, looking up again. “Reminds me of our camping trip to Dragon’s Head Ridge.” She ventured a glance at Charlie, finding him staring at her, a soft look on his face.
“That’s why I chose it,” he said. She couldn’t help but smile, looking down at her lap. “You look… amazing tonight, Phillie. I mean - you always look amazing, but…”
Ophelia looked up at him, seeing him frown slightly. It was strange to see him get tongue-tied now and she ventured a glance down at her dress. While she did like the way she looked in it, it was a simple black dress. Was something else going on here?
She then thought back to that day at Bucharest. When he reached out to her and started to say something, but she had disappeared first. Her heart started racing slightly. Perhaps he was so nervous because he was finally going to say whatever it was. And perhaps it was the same thing she hoped to say to him.
Thankfully, their wine arrived and the two eagerly reached for their glasses, taking generous drinks. Merlin, why was she suddenly so nervous?
“I really appreciate all yer help,” she said, looking over to him, finding it the best place to start. “Truly.”
Charlie smiled and put his glass down, reaching over and taking her hands in his.
“I’m happy to give it. Especially if it means I can spend more time with you,” he said. Ophelia could feel herself blushing slightly. “And actually, there was a reason I came to visit… more than just to see you…”
He looked down, starting to fidget in his chair slightly and Ophelia swore her heart was about to pound out of her chest. Merlin, he was going to say it, wasn’t he? He took a deep breath and then looked up, meeting her eyes. Even in the dim lighting, she could see the fire in them.
“Merlin’s beard, would you look who it is, Angie?”
Both Charlie and Ophelia whipped their heads over, seeing a grinning George standing at their table, his girlfriend Angelina standing next to him, though she didn’t seem quite so giddy as he did. In fact, she was glaring daggers at him.
“George,” Ophelia said, finding it was the only word that seemed to come out of her mouth. She could feel Charlie’s grip on her hands tighten and ventured a look at him, seeing he was now scowling at his younger brother. She didn’t blame him. If she wasn’t so shocked, she’d likely attempt to throttle him herself.
George had completely ruined the moment.
“Had a feeling there was something more than a work project keeping Charlie here in Britain,” George said, moving to sit down at the table. Ophelia’s mouth dropped open as Angelina rolled her eyes and huffed. “And well… we’ve been placing bets on who this mystery girl was. I completely called Phillie here, since I knew you spent a month over in Romania from Oliver…”
“George! I told you not to bother them,” Angelina said, stomping up and grabbing his arm, attempting to lift him up from the chair. But George was too busy grinning at Charlie. He didn’t budge at all.
“Look at that… my older brother and Wood’s little sister,” he said brightly.
“We’re twins,” Ophelia said defensively.
“Meant Duncan, of course. How did he take the news?” George asked, waving his wand and two more glasses appeared on the table. Ophelia’s eyes widened as he reached for the bottle and poured himself and Angelina a glass. For her part. Angelina looked horrified. Ophelia was still too stunned to say much of anything.
“That well, huh?” George said with a chuckle. He lifted his glass up. “So what anniversary is this? Two weeks? Three?”
“What the hell are you doing here, George?” Charlie growled, finally speaking. Ophelia looked over at him and swore there was smoke coming out of his ears.
“Oh, well, thought I’d take Angie out tonight. Happened to ask Bill if he had any good suggestions and he told me this place,” George replied lightly. “Apparently he suggests this place to a lot of people. Purely coincidence that we ran into you.” He looked over at Ophelia and winked. “Always lovely to see you, Phillie. Mum sends her love.”
Charlie closed his eyes, taking a deep breath as he finally let go of Ophelia’s hands and braced his on the table.
“I’m going to give you until the count of three-”
“Oh, Charlie, you wouldn’t want to make a scene in such a lovely place, would you?” George interjected. Charlie’s eyes flew open and for a moment, Ophelia thought he just might jinx the hell out of his brother.
“It’s fine,” she said quickly, hoping to stop an all-out brawl. Charlie gaped at her, as Angelina stopped trying to pull George away, equally as stunned. George just grinned and took a drink of his wine. Ophelia sighed. “They’re already here… might as well make the most of it.”
Charlie stared at her in confusion and then looked over at Angelina and George a moment before sighing and sitting back in his chair.
“By all means, join us,” he said dryly.
“Lovely, don’t mind if we do,” George replied cheerfully. Angelina shot him a look before sitting next to him.
“How are things, Ophelia?” she asked, smiling nervously at her.
“Good. Busy. Working on a proposal to reopen Hebrides at the moment,” Ophelia said, reaching for her own glass.
“Ah, right. Wood’s told us about it,” Angelina said. “Says you’ve been spending all your time at the Ministry.” Ophelia nodded, though saw George now grinning like the cat who caught the canary out of the corner of her eye. Well, it seemed that secret was now blown as well. It would be a manner of minutes after dinner was finished for the rest of the Weasley clan to know that she was the mystery project keeping Charlie from the Burrow.
“Speaking of Wood… ran into both your brothers the other day,” George said, turning to Ophelia. “Seems they’re coming over for a match this Saturday at the Burrow. You game?”
Ophelia choked slightly on her wine as Charlie started glaring at George again. Or rather, Ophelia wasn’t sure if he had ever stopped glaring at him.
“Not sure… big project, ye ken…” she wheezed.
“Ah, but Mum would love to see you. Was asking about you just the other day,” George said, shooting a wink at Charlie.
“George,” he said in warning. The table lapsed into silence as George continued grinning and Charlie continued scowling. After a few moments, Ophelia huffed and started laughing.
“Honestly, I think we dinnae have a choice… the secret’s out,” she said, reaching over and taking Charlie’s hand in her own. He immediately relaxed, though looked over at her in confusion.
“You sure?” he asked softly. Ophelia shrugged and smiled.
“They were going to find out sooner or later. And ye did spend last Saturday with my family,” she said. “Only fair to return the favor.”
“That’s the spirit, Phillie!” George said jovially. “You still got your broom?”
“Ehm… think so,” she replied, though now she wasn’t so sure about going now that she was expected to play quidditch. When it was just going over for a family affair, she thought she could handle that. Now that she was going to be up in the air, she felt a bit more nervous.
She then heard Charlie chuckle and looked over.
“You’ve faced down dragons. Gotten burned. Agreed to spend the afternoon with my family, and flying is what makes you nervous?” he asked. Ophelia smiled sheepishly.
“It has been awhile,” she conceded. He leaned over and kissed her cheek.
“Don’t worry, I won’t let you fall,” he whispered in her ear, causing her to blush slightly.
“Well, now that that’s out of the way… what do you suggest is good here?”