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Old August 16th, 2011, 12:51 pm
RosieWildsmith  Female.gif RosieWildsmith is offline
Second Year
 
Join Date: 07th August 2011
Posts: 134
Re: Last Author Sitting Down with a Cup of Tea

Here's a submission from USNAGator91 - a story based on Bill Weasley's time working as a curse breaker for Gringotts.

Apparently people aren't able to post here themselves, we're thinking possibly because it's in the sticky portion of the board. So it looks like submissions will have to come to me by owl and posted that way. This means we also need a separate feedback thread. *goes to create*

The Curse of the Magic Box

Bill Weasley entered through the bronze doors at the entrance to Gringott’s Bank on Diagon Alley. These days, security was especially tight, the normal complement of wizard and goblin guards augmented by hidden charms meant to detect the most complex of dark charms. Bill’s shoulders were slumped. He felt that every eye in the main lobby of the bank was on him. The side of his face itched and burn and felt to him like the harsh glare of a neon sign, a beacon drawing attention to the garish wound he’d received at the hands of Fenrir Greyback the night Dumbledore was murdered. To Bill, the wound served as a reminder of his failure to the greatest wizard of their age.

He ignored the goblins sitting behind the counter in the lobby and slinked his way down to his office. He slumped down behind his desk and put his head in his hands, ignoring his inbox. Just then, his door swung open and the incandescent vision of beauty that was Fleur Delacoeur strolled in and smiled brightly at him. For a moment, the emptiness that occupied his chest was filled with warmth and light. For a second, he allowed the feelings of love that she shone on him to drive away his depression. In that moment, she walked around and kissed him gently on the lips. Then, his condition overwhelmed him.

How could a woman of such perfection want a man damaged by such evil? His face had been marred by an evil man, on an evil mission, and somehow that evil had left a mark on Bill. Soon enough, he thought, Fleur would realize just how horrible he looked. Instead, she wrapped her arms around him and kissed him with much more urgency. Again, he felt the demons flee from his spirit and he accepted the gesture of love she’d given him.

“Eets not much longer, mi amor.” Her voice seemed to reverberate through the room and into his body. “Just one more month, and we will be ‘usband and wife.”

“Are you absolutely sure, Fleur?” His face was bent with worry lines and fear. “It’s not too late for you change your mind.”

She tapped him lightly on the top of the head and then traced her fingers down the line of his scar. “Shush weeth that, mi amor. I have to hear that from your family, I do not have to hear it from you.”

He laughed and made an apology. “I’m sorry. I’m a lucky, lucky man to have you.”

“I am the lucky one, Beel. Never forget that. Besides, you look very manly with this scar.” She placed her lips on the scar and kissed it gently. Abruptly, she rose. “I have to go. I’m meeting your mother at the dress shop, and then I must find some clothes for when we go to get ‘arry.”

“We still have a planning meeting with Madeye tonight, right?” He asked.

“Yes, mi amor.” She reached inside the pocket of her dress and pulled out a bit of parchment. “Griphook wanted you to handle a cursed delivery. Apparently something we were consigned to deliver to a customer is impossible to open.”

He picked up the parchment and saw the address was further down Diagon Alley. Truth be told, with He Who Must Not Be Named back, the Alley had seen over a third of its tenants flee or worse. It was a good thing to have an assignment so close.

“Okay, I’ll take care of it and then meet you at the Burrow for the planning session, okay?”

She reached up to his cheek and kissed him again. “You still love me?”

“Of course I do. Always.” He returned her kiss and watched her leave the room. Almost immediately, the depression returned and sighed heavily. He gripped the parchment and followed her out the door.

***

The address on the parchment led him to a large, dilapidated building at the end of Diagon Alley. This part of the Alley was abandoned and the only sign of life was the glaring fašade of his brothers’ business about five blocks away. The building had once been impressive and had the look of an old theatre. Its windows were boarded up and the glass on the box office was shattered. He walked up to one of the doors and knocked gently. Slowly, it opened to reveal the stooped figure of an old man standing in the shadows.

“I’m from Gringott’s. I’m the curse breaker.” Bill said, walking inside the dark lobby of the old theatre. The man was ancient. He had a pot belly and shoulders hunched over as he leaned a small cane that was almost three inches too short for its intended purpose. He had balding head with a bushy range of hair around the sides and a white, thick walrus mustache on his lip. His eyes were dim and black and he squinted through a pair of thick spectacles that made his eyes seem to bulge like a lizard’s.

“It’s about time you got here. Been waiting almost two days.” His voice was gravelly and gruff, and he broke into a spasm of coughs as he spoke.

Another voice broke out behind him. Another old man, this one thin and tall, with a full head of grey hair combed over into a pompadour. He was clean shaven and had the look of man who availed himself of muggle tanning salons, his skin a dark hue of orange and brown. The newcomer wore pink shorts with a white leather belt, white knee high socks and a pair of brightly polished black dress shoes. He wore a lime green and white striped golf shirt and his face bore an infectious smile.

“Shush, Stan, let the man be.” The tall man looked at Bill and shrugged his shoulders in apology. “You’ll have to forgive my brother. He was never a nice man when he was young.”

The man called Stan grunted derisively. “He doesn’t look like a curse breaker. Look at his clothes! “ Bill was clad in black jeans and a black concert tee shirt from a band that was currently popular with younger wizards and witches. Stan raised his diminutive cane in an accusing posture. “And look at his hair and that fang thing in his ear. He ain’t no banker!”

His brother held a finger up to his head and made a twirling motion. “My brother doesn’t get out much. But the delivery was worth it. It holds our family fortune. We sure could use your help.”

Thankful for the return to the task at hand, Bill allowed the taller man to guide him into the main theatre. They were trailed by Stan, who was grumbling obvious obscenities under his breath.
The main theatre area was dark and musty, most of the upholstery on the seats torn and moldy from years of disuse. Bill followed along to the stage.

The stage was empty save for an oblong object in the center. A bright spotlight encased the object, which as Bill got nearer, he saw was a wooden crate. The crate was about six feet long, and two feet wide and two feet tall. It was unremarkable in appearance, a simple shipping crate, complete with the Gringott’s seal of security on it. It was common for Gringott’s to handle transporting their customers’ valuables to their final destination, in keeping with their security policy. Containment spells, however, were tricky things and being jostled in shipment or stored for long periods of time tended to knock the charms awry. Typically, it was left to curse breakers like Bill to rectify the situation.

Bill turned to the taller of the men. “This shouldn’t take but a few moments, sir.”

“Ollie, young man, call me Ollie.” He pointed to his brother. “And you’ve met Stan, my brother.” Bill nodded and looked back at the box. He drew his wand and held it before him, closing his eyes. Through the darkness of his lids, he saw a faint green aura emanating from the box. He murmured a counter curse and the green aura turned blue.

“Alohamora.” The nails in the crate snapped out and the lid popped open slightly. Bill reached down and pushed the lid off the box and looked inside to find another crate, only smaller inside. Bill nodded to himself. This was typical. For smaller magical items, Gringott’s used a Babushka doll arrangement, with several crates enclosed in others. Each crate was charmed.

“Harumph! I’m not impressed.” Stan’s voice echoed in the empty theatre. Bill ignored him and whispered another charm. The smaller crate lid popped off and Bill reached down to toss it off, only to be encased in a cloud of orange powder. Bill coughed out loud and looked about him. He wasn’t hurt, but the powder clung to ever part of his body. He was a bright orange color.

“He looks like an Oompa Loompa!” Stan laughed with a sneer and Bill noticed that his brother had a small grin on his face. Bill could only think what he looked like. He peered down warily and saw that the second box contained another, smaller box. Bill sighed and spoke another charm. The third box popped open without fanfare and Bill waited for a moment and not seeing any aura, pushed open the lid of the third box.
There was a flash of light and a crack of thunder and then nothing. Bill tensed and felt no ill effects. Stan, however, was howling with laughter.

‘’Anchors’ Aweigh!”

Bill looked down. His skin was still bright orange, but his clothes had been replaced by a white sailor suit, complete with a Dixie cup hat and a navy blue bib on the back. Instead of jeans, he had starched white shorts, knee high socks and canvas sailor shoes. Bill would have turned red, if he wasn’t already dyed orange.

Bill took a deep breath and looked down. There was one more, smaller box inside the third box. He closed his eyes and concentrated. Still, there was no dark aura of a curse, but there hadn’t been with the other boxes. Still, he made his precautionary charm and again, the last box lid popped open. He turned to Ollie, who’d walked up on the stage.

“This should be the last one.” Bill said. Ollie nodded, his face still in a grin. Ollie whispered, almost in awe. “This is our family’s greatest treasure, worth more than kingdoms. Perhaps I should open it?”

Bill waved his hand. In for a sickle, in for a galleon, besides, while the curses had been benign, who knows what had been saved for last. Bill knelt down opened the box. Another flash of light burst out and Bill was blinded for a moment and then his eyes cleared.

Bill shuddered as he heard Stan’s bellowing voice laughing uncontrollably. He looked out to the seats where he found Stan rolling on the floor holding his stomach, laughing uncontrollably.

Stan paused long enough to yell. “Does the widdle baby want his bottle?”

In horror, Bill looked down. He was seated atop a tricycle and his wand was topped off with a giant lollipop while he held a huge, adult sized pacifier in his other hand. Bill rolled his eyes and looked inside the last box, resolved to see what was worth all this trouble. The inside of the box was covered in red felt and lying on the felt was a small, rectangle of golden paper, embroidered with red letters. Bill’s eyes grew wide and stood up, nearly tripping as the tricycle became tangled in his knees. He pointed his wand, the giant lollipop head aimed at both brothers and shouted.

“Homenum Revelio!” The candied head flew off his wand and struck Stan on the forehead. Both brothers seemed to sneeze and then transformed, revealing the chuckling forms of George and Fred Weasley. Bill stamped his foot down.

“What do you two think you’re doing?”
Fred, who was Stan, wiped a tear and looked at George. “Mum always said he was the smart one. He doesn’t look it though.”

George smiled at Bill. “You’ve been so down in the dumps over your newfound love of steak tartar that we decided to bring you back to reality.”

Bill suddenly realized that he’d hardly thought about feeling sorry for himself. He’d only noticed how ridiculous he looked. He started laughing and turned and picked up the golden ticket in the box. “Your family’s greatest treasure?”

The script on the ticket was visible. “The bearer is entitled to five galleons worth of merchandise at Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes.”

Fred laughed. “Of course. There’s nothing more valuable to me and George than giving things away.”

A crafty smile covered Bill’s face. “I see your point.” He tapped the ticket with his wand and it disappeared in a cloud of golden flame. He turned to his brothers. “I have to get going. I have to get this stuff off me before the meeting.” Bill leapt off the stage and started walking down the aisle. He turned and looked at his brothers.

“Thanks, you two. “

Fred and George shared a serious look with Bill and watched them go, then followed behind. They walked out of the theatre and trailed behind Bill, eventually stopping at the doors of their shop. Bill stopped near Gringott’s and gave the brothers a wicked grin. Curious, Fred and George shared a look of panic and threw open the front door of their shop. Inside, it was packed with shoppers, shoulder to shoulder and clamoring for attention from the hapless clerk. Each held up a hand, and in each hand was a brand new, golden ticket, everyone announcing a special five galleon gift. Fred and George looked down the street at their brother, who tossed them an offhand salute.

George shook his head. “You know what, Fred?”

“What’s that George?” Fred responded, his voice despondent.

George had a tone of admiration in his voice. “Mum was right. Bill is the smartest of us all.”


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