A/N: Bah. So. Attempt number two at posting this chapter. I forgot to put an author's note in numero uno :D Hokay. So. This was just an idea that was running around my head for a while. I started writing it as a one-shot, but then I thought I might like to break it up into chapters.
Oh, by the way, I'm such a retard, because I uploaded all of the chapters from number one to number four... but I put two, three, and four into another story x.x So I was all like, "why aren't the other chapters here?!" And then I was all like, "oh. Tee hee!"
Abigail Turner was an ordinary sort of girl.
She did not stand out in a crowd. Her hair was brown, her eyes were too. Her skin wasn't too pale, nor too tan; there were no distinguishing moles or "beauty marks" on her face. She wasn't tall, she wasn't short, or fat, or thin. Mostly, she just existed.
It was a simple task, really, existing. Day in and day out, she went through her routine. Wake up, get ready for the day, go to work, return home, go back to bed. Rinse and repeat. Somewhere in there she took the time to eat a meal or two. As long as she stayed in her set path and didn't cause any waves, everything was alright.
She was the middle child out of five, used to being shoved in the back. The two oldest were a pair, and the two youngest had been inseparable at a very young age. Her older sisters were the beauty and the brains of the family. Both had numerous suitors during school. Her younger brother and sister were twins, and both had a knack for sports. They were still in school and, rumor had it, very popular. And she? Well, she was just... Abigail. By herself, nothing special, not bright, not dim, not anything Abigail.
It was a wonder she was so well-adjusted. But then, when you've gone through your entire life in the background, it's pointless to try and break out. It only unsettles everyone around you.
Abigail's year had not been extraordinary either. Her class had not had any shining stars standing above the rest as an example. Nor had there been any spectacularly bad examples; students that caused trouble, that wreaked havoc on the teachers, that commanded the wary respect of their peers and the angry attention of their superiors. No, those were the surrounding years.
More specifically, those were the Weasley boys. The twins, Fred and George, and the smart one, Percy.
Abigail had a secret. One that you wouldn't think would be true. People who just existed couldn't have that great of secrets, right? But Abigail kept one nonetheless. And her secret was this: she wanted desperately for people to notice her. Oh, she supposed that nothing was really wrong with being part of the background. If you like that sort of thing. But she wanted something more for herself. She didn't want to be resigned to the fate of her mother: to go through her life just existing, marrying the first man who proposed to her, and having children, one of which would go on to be exactly like her mother. She wanted something more.
It wasn't as if she wanted mass recognition. No, that would be asking for too much. Not even considering the fact that she was rather afraid of getting up in front of a crowd. No, her dream was simple. She just wanted someone, just one person, to see something special in her.
Abigail had another secret. She already had an idea of who she would like to notice her.
But the girl was a pragmatist. She knew that someone as driven and ambitious as him could never notice someone as plain and ordinary as her. She wasn't especially good at arithmetic, but she did know that it just didn't add up.
"Turner. Are you finished with that paperwork I gave you?"
Silently the girl handed the small stack of papers to her superior. "Yes sir. They're finished." She did not look up at him, afraid that her face would belie her subversive thoughts.
Her boss inspected the papers quickly, giving a satisfied nod. "Very good." He peered over the rims of his horn-rimmed glasses. "Are you feeling alright, Miss Turner? You look a little peaky."
Abigail started at his use of formality. It wasn't often that he referred to his underlings by titles. Nor did he ever really seem to notice what was going on with his employees in the lower offices. After all, Percy Weasley was a very busy man. Being the youngest Minister of Magic in the entire history of the world would be a very trying job, Abigail supposed.
"Yes sir, I'm alright," she replied hesitantly, daring to look up and meet his eyes. "Just a little tired."
The red-haired man frowned slightly, folding his arms across his chest and leaning against the wall to his back. "Not getting enough sleep?" he inquired.
Abigail was confused by this sudden show of interest. What in the world had tickled Minister Weasley's fancy to stop and talk with his least special employee? Not that she was complaining. "Not really, sir," she answered honestly. "I've a lot of things on my mind. Sleep doesn't really come easily." Immediately she felt shame; should she have shown weakness to her boss? Did she sound as if she were whining?
"Hmm." A neutral sound. Was that a good sign, or bad? "Some of your trouble has to do with work, I suppose?"
Abigail cringed almost imperceptibly. "Oh, no, sir. That's not it. No, I like work." A general statement, one a person might make without even thinking twice, without even meaning it, and yet Abigail felt terrible for saying it. Deep down, she knew that she wasn't satisfied with her job, with her house, with her entire life. But she couldn't say that.
Percy inspected the girl for a few moments silently before speaking again. "Would you accompany me to my office, Miss Turner?" His tone was brusque and businesslike, and Abigail cursed herself inwardly even as she nodded serenely and stood from her seat at her desk. She knew it. He had thought she was complaining about her work. He was infamous around the Ministry for being intolerant of workers who found the time to whine about their jobs. If they didn't want to be there, they could go ahead and leave. That was his policy. There were dozens of other qualified and eager people he could give jobs to; he didn't want to waste salaries on malcontents.
The pair walked to his office in complete silence, their journey delayed only slightly by a large group gathered in front of the elevator that refused to move for a few moments. The entire way to the Minister's office, Abigail kept her gaze trained on the ground. She refused to let any emotion show. It was true, she didn't exactly find her job fulfilling, but that didn't mean she wanted to be fired. She wasn't looking forward to the impending job search; it had been a complete stroke of luck that a cousin had been able to secure her a spot in the ministry, and she had worked her way up to a position that paid just enough for her to afford her flat without need for a roommate. She was terrible at interviews, always stuttering and coming off as awkward and stupid. Abigail wasn't stupid. She wasn't incredibly intelligent, but she certainly wasn't stupid.
Percy opened the door to his office and gallantly motioned his young employee in. He even went as far as to pull her chair out for her. Abigail sat silently, wondering if he was always this kind to people he was planning on firing. She watched as he moved around to the other side of his desk and sat in his large executive desk chair. The man folded his hands and rested them on the top of his desk before clearing his throat softly. "I've been reading over your file, Miss Turner," he began solemnly.
Here it comes, thought Abigail with a slight edge of sadness.
"It seems you've been working here for six years now? Since a year after your graduation." He cocked his head slightly. "You were in Hufflepuff, correct?"
An alarm went off in Abigail's head. Nowhere on her file did it mention her house, as far as she knew. "Um, that's right, sir." She couldn't be too sure, but she might have felt a flush slowly rising to her cheeks.
Percy leaned back slightly in his chair. "What did you want to do with your life, Miss Turner? When you were in school."
Abigail shrugged nervously. "I was never really sure, sir. At my career meeting, Professor Sprout told me that I could go into any field." She didn't add that she had assumed that was a kind brush-off meaning that no one had any clue what she was good at, not even her teachers.
"Indeed." The Minister's eyes stared intently at the girl for a few moments. "Miss Turner, your records show that you are an exceptional worker. All of your work is in on time, and completely satisfactory. Every one of your supervisors has recommended you to me for a promotion." Abigail's eyes went wide. What? How was that possible? She wasn't anything special... was she? Percy continued. "I have considered their suggestions and come to a decision."
Abigail steeled herself for disappointment. No longer would she be an underling. Oh, no, now she would be assistant to the assistant to the assistant manager. What a step up.
"Miss Turner, I am promoting you to be my personal assistant."
Abigail's jaw dropped open. "S-sir?"
Percy smiled wryly. "Not what you expected, Miss Turner?" He took her shocked silence as a firm "yes". He nodded. "Good. I don't like being predictable. Now. I would like you to take the rest of the day off, and when you come to work tomorrow you will report to my office."
Abigail nodded, unable to speak, and rose from her chair.
"Oh, and Miss Turner?"
She turned around. "Yes?" she managed to push out.
"Don't expect this to be a cushy job," he warned. "I chose you because I saw ambition and potential in you. Don't let me down."
Abigail nodded, bemused. "Yes, sir. I mean, I won't, sir. Thank you, sir!"
He nodded, a smile tugging at his lips again, as he waved her out the door. She hurried out, a spring in her step that hadn't been there when she'd entered his office.
Percy chuckled to himself as he watched her go. He swiveled around in his chair and looked out the large window that was charmed to show what ever view he chose. Today his office was overlooking a rugged ocean cliff. He gazed out the window, lost in his thoughts. Abigail Turner... He remembered the silent, slightly mousy girl in the year under him at Hogwarts that he always found in the library, diligently finishing her homework. The girl who sat at the back of every class. He had always been able to see her when he'd walked by the open doors on his free periods or frequent Head Boy patrols. He'd always wondered what had become of the girl after she graduated.
Now he knew beyond a shadow of a doubt. And if he had been reading her right, he could see that she was still attracted to him.
Percy shook his head violently. "Stop it, Weasley," he reprimanded himself vocally. "She's your employee. Off limits." He turned his attention to the watch on his wrist. Damn. Meeting in three minutes. Well. Percy stood from his chair. No one will fault the Minister of Magic for being two minutes late, now will they?