Thanks to Sherry for the beta read and to Juluwho took the time to read this and to encourage me. Thanks to Gabriella Du Sult for loaning me her name and her dress shop as well as the Padma Patil and George Weasley pairing. This story started out as lark on the fluff thread at the Sugar Quill and turned into - well - this.
Roger Davies observed the milling wedding guests all around him and wondered how the law of déjà vu worked. It seemed that every wedding he had ever attended had the same trappings: the sunny June day, the green lawn, the white tent, the string quartet, the open bar, the pretty bridesmaids in pale pink and the sentimental ladies wearing absurdly large hats.
Knowing what would happen next was supposed to be a tactical advantage. In this case, as soon as photographs had been taken, the wedding party would appear and Roger would have his chance to chat up the maid-of-honor. This was an obvious benefit of déjà vu – the obvious detraction being the stifling boredom.
He sighed and decided that he would take full advantage of this foresight and angle his way over to the maid-of-honor, while avoiding his mother at the reception. Weddings brought out the worst in his mother, since she despaired of ever attending one for either of her sons.
He smirked at the thought of his mother in a wide-brimmed hat daubing at her eyes as he pledged undying love to…? The blank face of the fantasy bride brought him up short. He could imagine her figure – it was his fantasy after all. But there was no face to go with it.
Not that he was surprised, really. He had never been in love and at the venerable age of thirty, he didn’t think he ever would be.
He caught sight of a hot pink turban bobbing purposefully through the crowd. His mother, a tall woman with abominable taste in clothes, was either looking for him or for his brother, Richard. He ducked behind a row of potted topiaries and found himself on a long flagstone patio overlooking a blue lake shimmering in the late afternoon sun.
He was so taken with the view that at first he didn’t notice the witch sitting on a teakwood bench at the opposite end of the veranda. She was wearing clingy black robes, which showed off her slim figure and lovely legs, but it was her hair that captivated him. He had always fancied women with dark glossy hair, even though he usually ended up with blondes.
For the first time that afternoon, his boredom eased. He would chat her up and maybe, just maybe, she would have something interesting to say. And maybe she had blue eyes to go with that beautiful hair, came the unbidden thought.
He hesitated for a moment. Where had that come from? He had never thought about eye color before chatting up a woman. His mind was really playing tricks on him today.
Walking toward her, he decided to go for the blatantly obvious pick up line. It would show him whether she had a sense of humor or not.
“Beautiful view,” he remarked.
Startled, she whirled around. “Oh!” The sun was directly in her face, so she shaded her eyes with her hand. “Um – sorry. What did you say?”
“I was just admiring the scenery,” he said with a conspiratorial smile. The dress was better in the front, but he still couldn’t see her eyes with her hand cupped around them.
Instead of smiling back, she went very still. “Roger?”
He moved in front of her so she wouldn’t have to look into the sun and he could see her properly. “Lisa Turpin,” he said slowly. “I should have known.” He held out his hand, feeling the first genuine smile of the day cross his face. Sweet, serious Lisa Turpin who had been two years behind him at Hogwarts – and would never go out with him.
“It’s been a long time,” she acknowledged, blushing a becoming shade of pink as she put her hand in his. That blush – and those startling blue eyes – here was déjà vu at its best.
He bent to kiss her cheek, experiencing that same mysterious attraction he had always felt for her. “You look fantastic,” he said, still holding her hand. He half expected her to bristle, since she had hated it whenever he commented on her appearance back at Hogwarts.
Surprisingly, she didn’t pull her hand away and she didn’t chide him for the compliment. “Thank you,” she said huskily. “I needed to hear that.”
“One wants to look one’s best at one’s ex-fiancé’s wedding.” She dropped her hand from his and smoothed an imaginary wrinkle out of the short black robes she wore.
“Indeed,” he murmured, thinking that she had certainly pulled out the stops with that dress. But it must have been quite a while ago that she was engaged to Barry. “So – er – are you wearing mourning colors for the groom?”
He smiled as she glared up at him. “Or the bride?”
“Oh!” She laughed. “Lady DuSult says that black is chic nowadays – not the color of mourning.”
“And by what authority does Lady DuSult make such a proclamation?”
“She has the trendiest shop in Diagon Alley.”
“Ah.” He dropped on to the bench next to her.
She tilted her head. “You must be mourning the bride though, if she is one of your exes.”
“No, Melinda is my cousin.”
“My mistake,” she said with an unexpected smile. “You would scarcely have time to attend all the weddings of your exes.”
“One must make time for these solemn occasions.” He was amused that Lisa still disapproved of him.
Lisa glanced at the wizards drinking and laughing at the bar. It had been a long wait for the photographer to finish with the wedding party. “Solemn,” she smiled.
“As a wedding guest it’s your duty to celebrate.” He snapped his fingers and a house-elf appeared with a tray of drinks. Roger deftly grabbed two glasses of champagne before the elf Disapparated.
“I don’t know if I can,” she confessed, the merriment gone from her eyes.
“This will help,” he said, handing her the champagne. All thoughts of chatting up the maid of honor fled at the forlorn sound in her voice. “And so will I.”
Her eyes widened. “You will?”
“Why not?” he said, tugging at her free hand. “You should be strutting around in that dress, not hiding behind the potted plants.”
“I suppose you know all about strutting,” she retorted as she stood up. Even in heels she only reached his shoulder.
“I don’t do my strutting in little black robes, sweetheart.”
She tossed her head. “Oh, what do you strut around in then?”
“Nothing at all,” he answered with a grin, expecting her to grin knowingly back at him. Instead she blushed. A real honest-to-goodness embarrassed blush – something that Roger hadn’t seen a woman of his acquaintance do in years.
“Well,” she said after an awkward moment. “I deserved that for asking, didn’t I?” She looked briefly into his eyes and then ducked her head.
“No,” he said quickly. “You didn’t deserve to feel uncomfortable. Sorry.”
She gave him a twisted smile and put her glass down on the bench. The sense of déjà vu was even stronger, Roger thought ruefully; except for the alcohol, they could have both been back at Hogwarts.
Mother of Merlin, help me, Lisa thought. She was out of her league trying to banter with Roger Davies of all people. It was this dress Padma had talked her into buying. “Even if you can’t flirt, Lisa, that dress will do it for you,” she had said.
And why on earth had she brought up her broken engagement? She glanced sideways at her new escort to make sure he was still there and that he was still Roger Davies, the same handsome, assured Roger Davies she had fancied back at Hogwarts.
She must have blushed beet red! Lisa almost stopped in mid-stride at this thought. Did anyone blush past the age of twenty? And what must Roger think of her?
He would think her inexperienced and prudish and would regret ever offering to escort her for the rest of the wedding.
She could feel his hand on the small of her back, gently propelling her toward the back table where she was to sit with the guests from St. Mungo’s. One good thing about being seated at the “work table” was that she was far away from the head table and the wedding party.
But if Roger was Melinda’s cousin….
She slowed her pace and frowned. “Where were you supposed to sit?” she asked in a low voice.
“With my odious cousins,” he answered in a normal voice. “I’d sooner sit with Melinda’s colleagues.” Now he stopped and looked down at her. “Or Barry’s colleagues. Which group is it?”
“Neither,” she answered crisply. “I work for Barry’s father, Nigel. And at the threat to my job, I am here with a smile on my face.”
“What do you mean the threat to your job?” he asked sharply. Then, to her surprise, he drew her to one of the side exits of the tent. Here house elves were Apparating with trays of salads for the first course.
“Um, we should find our seats,” she said nervously at the serious expression on his face.
He glanced at the scurrying house elves. “We have a few minutes. Melinda and Barry haven’t sat down yet. So explain how you were coerced into coming to this wedding. And make it fast and make it complete so I know what I’m getting into.”
A bit taken back at how quickly his tone had changed from flirty t