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Working With the Weasleys



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  #1  
Old April 14th, 2007, 4:31 am
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Working With the Weasleys

Alright, here's my third fan fic! I won't have a post up until tomorrow at the earliest because it's really late right now. Anyways here's the usual disclaimer, all of the characters here belong to JK Rowling, even Verity who was a staff member at Fred and George's Joke shop, though I develop her character a lot more in this story. I'm also going to try out a new method in this story, writing from two different points of view, Verity's and the Weasleys'. And if you like this story you should check out my other two, Runaway and No Chance. Don't forget to leave feedback about my story here. Enjoy!

So here's what my story's about:

This story takes place during the sixth Harry Potter book. Fred and George have become successful businessmen with their new store, Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes. Suddenly they encounter a young girl named Verity who begs them to give her a job. However, what the they don't know is that Verity has a secret, a secret that could threaten their lives and change the world forever . . .


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Last edited by witchsmart; April 18th, 2007 at 12:37 am.
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  #2  
Old April 15th, 2007, 12:44 am
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Re: Working With the Weasleys

Chapter One

The once busy streets of Diagon Alley were now silent. A light wind blew past, blowing trash around the deserted cobblestone roads. A few pages from The Daily Prophet swept past, its front heading blazing the words:


He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named Returns!

In a brief meeting with the Minister of Magic, Cornelius
Fudge, it has been confirm that You-Know-Who is
among us once again. The entire wizarding world is
in a panic as the Dark Lord and his followers,
commonly referred to as Death Eaters, have begun to
terrorize the magical community. You-Know-Who was
last sighted 16 years ago before he was vanquished by Harry
Potter. The Minister of Magic gave a quick statement
about the situation before meeting up with Rufus
Scrimgeour, head of the Auror Office.
“We are doing everything that we can at the moment to
stop He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named. We have Aurors
everywhere, it’s only a matter up time before we find him.”
But can it only be a matter of time? If this current
tragedy is anything like what we experienced
before, then it may be a long time before You-Know-Who
or any of his followers are brought to justice. All witches and
wizards are strongly advised to employ the greatest
caution and (continued on page 2)


In the middle of the page was an enormous picture of the dark mark hanging ominously in the air. Then another gust of wind came along and blew the page away. Walking further along the street, it was apparent that the return of You-Know-Who had greatly affected the residents of Diagon Alley. Shop windows and doors were boarded up, and small stalls had begun to crop up on the sides of the road. Their owners were selling all sorts of protections; amulets and other items said to protect the wearer against You-Know-Who and his death eaters. There was no one running these stalls at the moment, because it had begun to rain.

It was through these very streets that a lone figure walked, quickly passing the stores and stalls without so much as glancing at them. A hood had been pulled over its head to protect it from the rain, and its long, tattered black cloak ran along the ground, trailing in the newly formed puddles.

The shops remained in the same condition all the way down the street, and the figure continued to walk briskly until it reached number 93, where it stopped dead.

Unlike the previous dull and ordinary shops, this one was bright and colorful, with a fabulous window display that revolved, popped, flashed, bounced, and shrieked. On the right-hand window was a giant purple poster with flashing yellow letters:

WHY ARE YOU WORRYING ABOUT
YOU-KNOW-WHO?
YOU SHOULD BE WORRYING ABOUT
U-NO-POO-
THE CONSTIPATION SENSATION
THAT’S GRIPPING THE NATION!


A HELP WANTED sign hung right below the poster. Below the giant red letters was a smaller print that read: For more information see Mr. Weasley. The figure took one look at the sign, then strode towards the shop door and stepped inside.

It was complete pandemonium inside the store. The place was packed with costumers, all looking at the stunning products that were covering the store walls, floors, and even the ceiling. It was through this wild crowd that a young red-haired man carrying an armful of boxes was trying to push his way through.

“Excuse me. Pardon me. Coming through!” yelled Fred Weasley, and eventually he was able to squeeze himself past a group of giggling girls to a nearly empty shelf. There was only one box left. It was a red color and on it in bright green letters were the words: Skiving Snack Boxes-Nosebleed Nougat. Upon consumption will cause the user’s nose to bleed profusely until the antidote is taken. Note: The red side causes the nosebleed; the white side is the antidote. Great for getting out of class early with no side effects.

Fred stacked more boxes of Nosebleed Nougat onto the shelf and was about to head back into the storeroom when he felt a tug on his magenta colored staff robes. He turned around to find a dripping hooded figure in a black traveling cloak standing there.

“Can I help you?” he asked.

“Are you Mr. Weasley?” inquired the figure, and Fred could tell that it was a female who had spoken.

“I am.”

“I would like a job here.”

“What?” shouted Fred over the bustling noise of the crowd.

“A job!” cried the figure. “I want to have a job here!”

“Oh! Well, hang on. Meet me in the back room, over there, behind the purple curtain. See it? We can talk there.”

The figure nodded and walked briskly to the back of the shop, weaving swiftly past the hundreds of costumers in her way. It took Fred, who was taller and larger, a while to struggle past everyone, and he quickly fell behind. Meanwhile the figure had reached the curtain, and disappeared into the room behind it.


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Last edited by witchsmart; June 26th, 2007 at 1:38 am.
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  #3  
Old April 18th, 2007, 1:42 am
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Re: Working With the Weasleys

Chapter Two

Standing by the curtained door in an ever-growing puddle of rainwater, the hooded girl looked around. She was in a small, brightly light office. In one corner was a large, brown desk covered in parchment. Walking over to them, she could see that some were order forms, while multiple numbers had been scratched out in purple ink on others. There were several pictures standing up on the desk, presumably of Mr. Weasley’s family, as they all had matching red hair and freckles.

The room’s only source of light came from a bright chandelier that hung from the green-wallpapered ceiling. A small black door was set into the wall to the right of the desk with a large sign on it reading, KEEP OUT! Two pictures hung on the wall behind the desk, both were bordered by a very decorative golden frame. The first one was a portrait of was looked like Mr. Weasley and his clone. They looked so much alike, the girl assumed that they must be twins. They were both talking animatedly to each other and hadn’t yet noticed that they were not alone in the room. Below the bottom edge of the frame was a small card with the words, Our Beloved Founders: Fred and George Weasley. written on it. However it was the second picture that drew her eye.

This slightly smaller picture starred a young man with scraggly jet black hair, stunning green eyes covered with a pair of glasses, and most importantly, a lightning bolt shaped scar on his forehead. Without even looking at the card below the portrait she knew who it was, having seen his face so many times in The Daily Prophet. Sure enough, the card below read, Our Financial Supporter: Harry Potter.
Harry Potter’s beaming face was looking straight at her, and she looked back at him for a few moments, before turning and seating herself on one of the two wooden chairs placed opposite the desk.

A few moments later Fred Weasley burst in, shook his head, and sat down at the desk. The figure raised her head to look up at him.


After finally squeezing himself through the last bunch of customers staring at the miniature Hangman game by the counter, Fred walked through the curtained door. Well, more like fell through it, as he had tripped over a Decoy Detonator that had wandered in from the other room. Making a mental note to talk to George about a proper container for their mobile products, Fred shook his head to clear his thoughts, and sat down in the soft, leather armchair behind his desk. The girl had already seated herself on one of the chairs, and so Fred proceeded straight to business.

“Morning! My name is Fred Weasley, part-owner of Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes. My brother, George, is working in the lab at the moment, but I’ll introduce you to him later. Now, you said that you were interested in the job?”

The cloaked girl nodded, and Fred could see that she was shivering slightly from the still-damp cloak.

“Why don’t you take that thing off? You can hang it up over there to dry.”

He pointed to a row of hooks shaped like hands sticking out of the wall. The figure stood up, removed the cloak, and brought it up to one of the hand-hooks, which immediately grabbed hold of it, where it hung, dripping onto the carpet.

“I didn’t have the chance to catch your name, Miss . . .?”

“Verity, sir.” The girl said, turning around and sitting back down on the chair. She had short blonde hair and bright blue eyes, and was dressed in a black robe that was as tattered and worn as her traveling cloak was. She was also, Fred noticed, quite young. She could not have been more than fourteen.

“Oh, I’m sorry Verity, but I’m afraid that you don’t seem to meet our age requirements.”

Verity didn’t look disappointed, she merely fixed him with a calm look, a look that, to the experienced adult, would have shown him that she may look young, but she was as mature as he was, and even more so perhaps.

“And what are your age requirements?” she asked, as though merely out of curiosity.

“Well, we don’t hire anyone who’s under sixteen, and we prefer employees who have had at least five years of education.

“Well then I don’t see what the problem is.”

“Miss Verity, how old are you?”

She didn’t answer, but merely fixed him with a stern gaze that reminded him surprisingly of Professor McGonagall, the Transfiguration teacher at Hogwarts, school of witchcraft and wizardry.

“Excuse me, I mean how many years have you attended school?”

“Seven years.”

Seven years? Are you sure?” Fred asked startled, she looked as though she was only in her fourth year.

“Yes, I’m very sure.” She said, almost sounding amused.

“Well, um, what can you bring to this job?” Fred asked, wondering how a fourteen year-old could have gotten through a full education in four years.

“I can do anything that you want me to. I can sell, organize, store, anything that you want.”

It would have been the perfect employee, Fred thought, if she hadn’t been so young.

“Well, I have to speak with George about this. In the meantime, Verity, why don’t you familiarize yourself with the shop? Just take a look around out front, and don’t hesitate to ask any of our employees any questions that you might have. They’ll be in the maroon robes.”

“Yes sir.”

Verity stood up and started to reach over to grab her now slightly drier cloak. Fred added quickly, “And you can just leave that here and let it dry off some more.”

“Yes sir.”

Inclining her head to him, Verity walked through the curtains and left.

What a strange girl. So young, and yet she’s more serious than George and me combined, although I suppose that that’s not saying much. And where are her parents? Surely they would have wanted to come with her to check everything out, her being as young as she is. And how could she have finished school already?

Shaking his head, Fred stood up and walked through the door with the KEEP OUT! sign. He descended the wooden staircase that led down to the most dangerous and unstable part of the store, the testing room.


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  #4  
Old April 21st, 2007, 4:15 am
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Re: Working With the Weasleys

Chapter Three

Fred had just stepped off the last step onto the hard, tiled floor when he heard a loud explosion. His vision was temporarily obscured by an enormous puff of blue smoke that had erupted from a small test tube held by a young man who looked so much like Fred that he could have been his double.

*cough* “Fred!” *cough* *cough* “What’s up?” *cough* “Shouldn’t you be upstairs minding the shop?” *cough*

As the blue smoke cleared, Fred could now see his twin and fellow businessman George Weasley. The two were identical down to the last freckle, expect George’s hair was now colored a bright blue instead of its usual flaming orange.

“Oy! What happened here?”

“Just a bit of experimenting. Tried to mix the blueberry balls with the blasting smoke pellets, didn’t work out so well.”

“I can see that.”

Now that the remainder of the blue smoke had dissipated, Fred could see the rest of the lab that he and George used for their many experiments. And many of those experiments had turned out just as badly, if not worse, than George’s just had.

The lab was filled with cauldrons, test tubes, and beakers that were full of different colored liquids, some bubbling, some simmering, and others sitting as placid as if they were frozen. But mostly the room was filled with boxes.

There were cardboard boxes everywhere you looked, filled to the brim with different pieces and parts of various items and creatures that Fred and George had collected over the years. It was with these “ingredients” that the twins produced all of their popular merchandise. However none of these boxes held anything dangerous, although that wasn’t to say that there wasn’t anything dangerous in the room.

In the back corner of the lab there stood about a dozen steel cages. These held an assortment of live magical and even non-magical creatures. There were snakes, doxies, spiders, billywigs, and bundimuns, just to name a few. Mostly these creatures’ were used for the ever-popular Skiving Snackboxes, especially the doxy and snake venom.

George put down the still smoldering test tube onto the well-worn work table. Black scorch marks streaked across the surface and there were several holes in some areas. Brushing off his hands with a quick dose of de-expirotize, a product invented by Fred and George as a way to rid themselves of whatever had recently exploded, erupted, or spilled onto them, George turned to look up at his brother, who had come over to sit on the chair opposite him.

“So anyways what are you doing down here?”

“Hmm? Oh yeah!” George’s little explosion had driven all thought of Verity from Fred’s mind. “Well there’s this girl upstairs, she says she wants a job.”

“So? What’re you down here for? To ask my permission? Go ahead and hire her if you want to, we’re looking for help anyways aren’t we?”

“Well yeah.” Responded Fred slowly. “But the thing is, there’s something, strange, about her.”

“Look who’s talking.”

“Oh shut up, you’re fine piece of work yourself.”

“Thank you.”

“Anyways, the weird thing is, she says that she’s gone through a full education.”

“And that’s weird? Honestly Fred, just because we’ve never finished school doesn’t mean that the people who do are weird. I say hire her, and if she doesn’t work out, fire her.”

“George, that’s not it.”

“Then what is? She doesn’t look like an obedient employee?”

“No, she was very polite, and seems like she’d be the perfect employee.”

“Then what’s the problem?”

“She’s fourteen George.”

“Fourteen?”

“Yeah.”

“Well that doesn’t match our age requirements. You’ll have to turn her down.”

“I know but, don’t you think that it’s strange?”

“What’s strange? Her wanting a job? You know girls, always looking ahead to the future and being all mature and stuff. I mean just look at Hermione. I swear if your age reflected your maturity, she’d been about a hundred.”

Fred laughed, “And we’d be about two.” Then he stopped smiling and looked back seriously at George.

“Really though, the girl’s only fourteen and she said that she’s already gone through a full education. I don’t think you can skip a couple of years in school, at least not Hogwarts, otherwise Hermione would have graduated ages ago.”

“So she was lying. Kids do that, trying to sound older than they really are. Point is, she’s too young. Tell her to come back in a few years and we’ll consider it.”

“I'm not going to say that. She's just too, I dunno. But there’s something not normal about her. I mean for one thing there was her appearance, her robe and cloak were all tattered and looked like there were made fifty years ago.”

“Oh so now you’re a fashion critic?”

“No! I’m just saying--I know. Why don’t you come up and meet her? Then you can see for yourself what I’m talking about.”

“Alright. Let’s see this “weird” girl.”

“Come on up. I told her to look around the shop for a bit, so she’s probably still up there.”

“Oh good. That only gives us about a hundred people to search through.”

“Shut up. C’mon let’s go.”


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Working With the Weasleys
No Chance
Runaway

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Last edited by witchsmart; June 28th, 2007 at 10:52 pm.
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  #5  
Old April 22nd, 2007, 3:25 am
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Re: Working With the Weasleys

Chapter Four

When small children are brought to toy stores, they immediately begin to run around in all directions, trying to see and touch absolutely everything in the store before it’s time to go. And when their parents finally tell them that it is time to return home, they start to whine, throw tantrums, and demand to have every single fun or interesting toy that they came across.

Such was the attitude of many of the costumers in Fred and George’s shop. Indeed, one boy of about five or six was dragged out of the door by a very embarrassed mother, screaming at the top of his lungs that he wanted a trick wand.

As Verity stepped out of the purple curtains, she looked around in amazement at the assortment of products all packed together in one building. When she had entered the shop before, she had not spent much time gazing around, but instead had gone straight to a man who looked as though he worked there.

Now however, she gave her full attention to the spectacular sight in front of her. Never before in all of her life had she seen anything like this, and she had seen quite a great deal of amazing things, some of which were not so amazing, but terrifying and shocking. Slowly, not wanting to miss a single thing, Verity began to walk around the store, trying to get a good look at the multiple products through the pressing crowd.

Near the counter where a very stressed-looking man in maroon robes was dealing with about a dozen costumers at once stood a tiny little wooden man who was slowly climbing up a series of steps to a real set of gallows. Both items were set on top of a box whose side read: Reusable Hangman—Spell It or He’ll Swing! Verity stared in fascination as the tiny man, who had already reached the platform, began to tie the noose around his neck after a couple of eleven year-olds had guessed a bunch of wrong letters.

Next to the hangman boxes was a large display stacked with brightly colored boxes. Looking closer, Verity saw a picture of a princess standing on a balcony looking down at a prince who was kneeling on one knee with an arm outstretched towards her. Patented Daydream Charms the box read. One simple incantation and you will enter a top-quality, highly realistic, thirty-minute daydream, easy to fit into the average school lesson and virtually undetectable (side effects include vacant expression and minor drooling) Not for sale to under-sixteens.

Patented Daydream Charms. Verity thought, extremely impressed. I could use a good daydream every once in a while. Though I doubt that anyone will sell me one since they think I’m under sixteen.

Smiling to herself, Verity moved on past the front door to a display of quills. Glancing briefly at the many feathered objects, she saw that they came in Self-Inking, Spell-Checking, and Smart-Answer varieties. Next to that were several bins full of what looked like ordinary wands. Verity picked one up and gave it a wave and it promptly turned into a rubber chicken in her hand.

Laughing quietly, she looked over to where the Skiving Snackboxes were, the Nosebleed Nougats having been recently re-stocked by Fred. She also saw Puking Pastilles, Fainting Fancies, and Fever Fudge.

These guys are really amazing. Verity thought to herself. To have come up with all of this, and at such a young age.

On the other side of the window supporting the U-No-Poo poster, Verity caught sight of a mass of pink. Moving over to it, she saw a pink sign that read: Wonder Witch products. Several girls were hanging around it excitedly, picking up items in various shades of pink. Verity could see an arrangement of love potions and a row of small pink pots, which read: Guaranteed ten-second pimple vanisher: Eliminates boils to blackheads on the side.

She was about to take a closer look at the tiny bottle when she heard several high-pitched squeaks to the left of her. Rolling around in the bottom of a cage were what appeared to be pink and purple cotton balls. This is where most of the younger children were standing, so Verity could easily see over the shorter heads. A sign on the cage read, Pygmy Puffs.

“Pygmy Puffs?” Verity said out loud.

“Miniature puffskeins. Wish we could breed them faster, they’re selling like mad.”

Verity turned around to see Fred and another man whom Verity recognized from the painting as Fred’s brother, George. The two were completely identical, although this man’s hair was dyed a bright blue, which had already drawn the attention of several customers.

Maybe he's dyed it so that people could tell the difference between the two. She thought.


“Verity this is my brother and partner, George. George, this is Verity.”

“Pleased to meet you Verity.”

“You too sir.” Verity said, shaking George’s extended hand.

“So, my brother tells me that you want a job here.”

“Yes sir. Very much.”

“Well, I’m sorry to tell you this but you’re too young. If you come back in a couple of years maybe—”

“Oh please, sir, don’t send me away.” Verity pleaded, gesturing out of the window through which they could catch glimpses of the still raging storm outside. “I’ll do whatever you want. Just name it and I’ll do it, no complaints.”

George paused, staring at Verity. She did seem to be a little odd, most fourteen year-olds would rather be buying their products instead of selling them. And there was something different about her. Something unusual, but he could not figure out what it was.

“Why do you want this job so badly Verity?”

“I need it sir, my mother, she’s very ill, and I haven’t seen my dad for years. I’ve tried every shop on this street, but no one’s hiring strangers these days, what with all the commotion about Vol—, I mean, You-Know-Who.”

Fred and George blinked. This girl had almost uttered the Dark Lord’s name, which was something that young children were taught never to do when they first heard of the terrible sorcerer. Fred was the first to recover and spoke up:

“Your mother?”

“Yes sir. I live all alone with her, and we’ve been getting along fine until now. Then one day she suddenly came down with a horrible fever, and I’ve tried everything I can think of but I can’t bring it down. I’m trying to earn money to get her food and medicine, but it’s been really hard. Not many people, even if they were willing to take in someone, would hire anybody as young as me.”

There was a pause. Fred and George both looked at each other, each thinking the exact same thing.

“Follow us.” They said in unison.

The twins led Verity through a curtain beside a stand of muggle playing cards, rope tricks, and the like. They emerged into a more subdued room, filled with products directed at combating the Dark Arts, such as a range of shield cloaks, hats, gloves, and more. As they passed, Verity saw a couple of weird-looking black horn-type objects that were attempting to walk off of the shelves.

“Don’t mind those. They’re our decoy detonators. Just drop them and they’ll run off and make a loud diversion out of sight, though we can’t keep them together in one place.” Fred explained. He and George led Verity into another room at the far end. This room was obviously used for storage, there were boxes stacked up to the ceilings and as far down as the eye could see. George rummaged around in one of them for a moment, and then pulled out a set of purple staff robes.

“Here, you’ll need these.” He said, tossing them over to Verity, who caught them and held them out.

“We’ll start you out in here,” said Fred. “Your job will be to restock anything in front that’s running low, and mind you that happens a lot so you’ll be very busy.”

Verity didn’t say anything; she just stood there, blinking incredulously at the set of maroon robes.

“What’s wrong?” asked George.

“You did want this job didn’t you?” Fred inquired.

“Yes, thank you, Mr. Weasley, and Mr. Weasley.”

“Good, I’d just finished restocking the shelves when you came in.” Fred said, walking towards the door. “So you’ll have some time to figure out where everything is in here.”

“If you have any questions,” George called over his shoulder, following his brother out the door, “Don’t hesitate to ask.”

And they left, leaving Verity standing alone with her new robes clutched in her hands, and a feeling of great achievement.

__________________________________________________ _______
My sympathies to Jo. I looked on Wikipedia for a list of all Fred and George's products and there are so many! These chapters are going to get complicated. Please leave feedback!


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  #6  
Old May 22nd, 2007, 4:14 am
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Re: Working With the Weasleys

Chapter Five

The fresh, clean maroon staff robes were a refreshing change from the antique, tattered black ones. The smooth cloth felt wonderful against her roughened skin, and Verity couldn’t help but taking a few moments to soak it all in. Gazing around the crowded storage room, she let out a deep sigh. It had taken awhile, but finally, she had a job. And where better to work during her current crisis than here? This store was obviously immune to the dreary chill that had infected the rest of the world.

Ever since the Dark Lord Voldemort had been restored, no one would take in extra hands anymore. People weren’t as trusting, and everyone thought that everyone else was a death eater in disguise. But maybe here she would be safe. Safe from him. But as much as she wanted to, she couldn’t stay here forever. In a year or two she would quit and move on to a new place, just as she had left so many other places before.

But now wasn’t the time to think about that, Verity thought to herself, snapping out of her state of self-pity. She had just gotten a job, and she didn’t want to loose it within her first few seconds of employment. As she headed out towards the nearest tower of cardboard boxes, Verity thought about her new employers. They seemed to be good people, and with a thing for business as well. Of course, she regretted having to lie to them about having a sick mother to take care of, but she couldn’t think of any other way to win them over.

Peering into one of the boxes she saw that it was filled to the brim with more Skiving Snackboxes. The next tower was full of Edible Dark Marks, and the next contained Canary Creams. Soon she was able to figure out the system. All edible products were kept together on the east side of the storeroom. All items concerning the Dark Arts, such as Peruvian Darkness Powder, were placed over on the west end of the room. The Wonder Witch products were piled up over by the south wall. However when Verity approached the north wall, she found that the previous storeroom organizer seemed to have given up in their attempt to keep the Weasleys’ hundreds of products in order. Different boxes were piled on top of each other, with items ranging from Extendable Ears to Ton-Tongue Toffees.

Verity was about to start attempting to reorganize this jumble of boxes when she heard a noise behind her and turned around. A young, brown-haired man wearing maroon staff robes had appeared in the entrance to the storeroom. Looking around he soon spotted Verity’s vivid staff robes among the dull brown boxes.

“I need more Shield Boots! The shelf’s nearly empty!” he called out.

Verity quickly hurried over to the Dark Arts section and began searching through the boxes for the requested item. After several seconds of rummaging through Decoy Detonators, Peruvian Darkness Powder, and all sorts of shield clothing, Verity managed to find a box of Shield Boots, which she rushed over to the waiting employee.

“Thanks. First day on the job?”

“Yes.”

“Then prepare yourself. This place can get really hectic.”

He was right. Over the course of the next few hours, Verity didn’t even have time to take a five-second break. Her entire time was spent rushing back and forth to restock the employees with Patented Daydream Charms, Puking Pastilles, Reusable Hangmen, Trick Wands, Nosebleed Nougats, and more. The moment one person left another one came for another item that was running low. There seemed to be no end it.

So when, after four hours straight of rushing back and forth, no one came forward so ask for this or for that, Verity actually did a double-take. She realized that the store, which had been bustling with noise the entire time, was now quieting down. The noises of children screaming, people laughing, and the bell ringing as the door opened and closed all died away until the only noises that could be heard were the squeaking of the Pygmy Puffs and the clicking sound the Decoy Detonators made as they walked across the shelves.

It must be closing time. She thought, and walked through the door into the shop. The place was nearly empty now. The last few dozen customers were purchasing last-minute items and chatting amongst themselves as they walked out into the night. Verity saw that the rain had ceased, and was glad, for it would have been a very uncomfortable night had the storm continued.

And now the last customers were leaving the shop, and the employees were taking off their staff robes one by one and following suit. The two Weasley twins were at the door, waving goodbye to their employees and thanking them for their hard work.


“Well Verity,” asked Fred, waving to the brown-haired man as he walked out the door. “What do you think?”

“It’s,” Verity paused. “It’s very, busy here Mr. Weasley.”

George laughed.

“Of course it is. We’ve been very popular since we’ve opened up you know.”

“You can leave that here.” Fred added, for Verity had been about to walk outside with her staff robes still on. He thought he saw a flash of disappointment in the girl’s eyes for a moment, but the next, it was gone and she had handed over the robes to George.

“Your pay will be in your mailbox tomorrow morning Verity.” George said, indicating a door off to the side that read, Employees Only.

“Thank you Mr. Weasley.”

“Give your mother our warmest regards.” Fred said, taking Verity’s robes from George and hanging them up with the robes of the other staff members hanging on a row of hooks screwed into the wall.

“I will. Thank you Mr. Weasley. Goodnight Mr. Weasley, and Mr. Weasley.”

“Goodnight Verity.”


The twins watched as Verity walked out the door and into the cold night, her black tattered robes flapping in the wind. There was something about her, they thought, that seemed different from most other girls her age. She had an aged look about her, and she walked like a person who had been through more than her fair share of troubles. But standing in the middle of the cobblestone road, staring out into the growing blackness, both Fred and George thought that she looked so utterly alone. Like a child who has been dumped out into a new world without anyone to guide them.

_____________________________________
I finally found time to post the next chapter. Let me know what you thought!


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Last edited by witchsmart; June 23rd, 2007 at 3:37 pm.
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  #7  
Old June 24th, 2007, 1:36 am
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Re: Working With the Weasleys

Chapter Six

Verity peered through the darkness, searching for a place to spend the night. Normally she would have asked to stay at someone else’s house, in exchange for some help, or money. But the world had fallen into harsh times with the rise of the Dark Lord, and people weren’t as trusting as they had once been. Verity couldn’t stay at the Leaky Cauldron either. She had spent her last few coins on the trip to Diagon Alley on the knight bus. Verity groaned. Just thinking of that wild ride gave her a headache.

She shivered as a cold wind blew past, whipping her tattered robes around her. She wished she still had her employee robes, they would have protected her from the cold night. Her cloak was ancient; it was full of holes and covered in grime. She would have to buy another one soon, before it fell apart. She shivered again as another wind swept past. Her cloak was very little protection against even the smallest breeze.

But I’ll find something. She thought to herself, walking quickly towards an alley next to the Weasleys’ store. A quick look around showed her that all the place held was a few discarded newspapers, several huge puddles from the earlier storm, and a beaten up purple dumpster.

Verity walked quickly towards the purple dumpster, and past it to a dry corner of the alley. Leaning against the brick wall, Verity felt a little warmer than before. Here she was shielded from the wind, and already she could feel her eyelids dropping. Once she got her pay she would find a better place to sleep. Suddenly her stomach rumbled and she sighed. She would have to find some food as well, she hadn’t eaten since yesterday. And once she saved up enough money, she would leave this place, and run away to hide in another part of the world, like she always did . . .


Verity woke to the sound of footsteps in the alley. Crouching down by the side of the dumpster, Verity peered over the top. The alley was completely empty, but a long, thin shadow was approaching, and getting longer and thinner by the second. Verity reached into her pocket for her wand, and waited. Suddenly she heard a voice calling out, “I know you’re there girl. Come out, and I won’t hurt you.”

Verity’s eyes widened and her heart pounded in her chest. He had caught up to her already.

“This is your last chance girl. Don’t make me come and get you.”


Verity shut her eyes, and her hands trembled. There was no way out. No place to hide. She would have to try and make a run for it. She took a deep breath, opened her eyes and . . .

. . . she was sitting in the alley again, which was now flooded with daylight. It was morning, and she could hear noise coming from the wall behind her. Verity looked around, but the alley was completely empty.

It was just a dream, again.

Shaking her head to fully wake herself up, Verity sat back against the wall and listened to the sounds coming from the other side of it.

It’s probably already full of customers. Verity thought, taking several deep breaths to calm herself down. That place is really pop—

Verity gasped and leapt to her feet. She sprinted toward the end of the alleyway and dashed around the corner. A tiny bell rang as she hurtled into Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes, late for work.

“Excuse me. Pardon me. Sorry about that ma’am. Coming through. Let me in please.”

Verity elbowed her way through the enormous crowd that had already gathered, seized her employee robes, and weaved in and out of the customers, finally emerging into the less crowded, Defense Against the Dark Arts section of the store.

“There you are!”

Verity turned around to face one of her employers, although she wasn’t sure which.

“Where have you been all morning? The shop opens up at seven and it’s already ten o’clock!”

Verity looked down guiltily at the floor.

“I’m sorry.” She mumbled. “I overslept. I promise it won’t happen again Mr. Weasley.”

“Let’s hope so. It’s going to get a lot busier now that the school year has almost begun.”

“Why’s that Mr. Weasley?”

“Because students come to Diagon Alley to get their supplies, and they’ll probably stop by here as well. So make sure that you’re at work on time from now on okay?”

“Yes Mr. Weasley. I promise.”

Fred or George Weasley left the room. Verity was about to turn and head into the storage room when,

“There you are!”

Verity turned around yet again and saw Fred or George Weasley walking quickly towards her.

“Where have you been all morning? The shop opened up three hours ago!”

Verity was confused for a moment, but then realized that this must be the other twin.

“Yes, I know sir. I overslept by accident. I promise it won’t happen again.”

“I hope so. It’s going to become much more chaotic in here come September.”

“Right sir. More kids coming to buy supplies.”

“Right, so try to get here on time from now on, okay?”

“Yes Mr. Weasley. I promise.”

Twin number two left the room. Verity turned and walked into the storage room.

Talk about déjà vu. I really need to figure out which one is which. She thought as she walked towards the reusable hangmen. There had only been three left on the shelf when she had passed by.


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  #8  
Old June 27th, 2007, 1:08 am
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Re: Working With the Weasleys

Chapter Seven

It had been another busy day. By the time the last few dozen customers had finally cleared out at seven o’clock that evening, all of the employees were completely exhausted. Fred and George stood at the door, waving goodbye to their workers as they headed out into the streets. After the last employee had left the store, George shut the door and collapsed onto the wooden chair behind the counter. Fred headed over to their office to collect all of the mail that they’d received that day. Since the shop was always so busy in the daytime, the only free time the twins had at all was during the evenings, after the store had closed.

George stared out of the window, trying to figure out how to keep up with the endless stream of buyers. Just yesterday they had gotten an order from the Minister of Magic, requesting a set of anti-jinx robes, hats, gloves, and boots for the entire Ministry of Magic! When merely supplying for the store, Fred and George had been able to reproduce their products quickly enough, but more and more massive orders kept coming in, and soon they wouldn’t be able to keep up. They would have to find someone else to help them out, or maybe several someones.

But who could they trust? Ever since they had opened up shop, Fred and George had been very cautious about how much information about their products they released to the public. They both knew that there where many witches and wizards out there who were desperate to get their hands on something, anything that they could use to make themselves as famous and as successful as the Weasley twins.

Yeah, like that could ever happen. George chuckled to himself. He heard footsteps behind him and turned to see Fred walking back towards him, his arms laden with a huge pile of letters, which he promptly dumped onto the counter.

“Is that it?” George joked. “This shouldn’t take too long.”

“Of course not.” Fred replied. “A couple of weeks from now and we’ll be done.”

The twins looked at each other for a moment, then dived into the sea of orders, requests, fan mail, and hate mail.

“Ah, another letter from the Minister.” George said after a few minutes. “No doubt he wants to know when we plan to make the five hundred or so sets of anti-jinx clothes, and ship them all to the Ministry without attracting attention from anyone. Hey Fred, have you worked out how we’re going to make, hide, and send about a warehouse full of cardboard boxes containing magical items to the Ministry of Magic?”

“I’m working on it. Look at the letter, has he given us a deadline yet?”

“Let me see.”

George ripped open the envelope and scanned its contents. The letter was brief and to the point:


To Misters Weasley and Weasley,

I would like to remind you of the Ministry of Magic’s request for anti-jinx equipment made on the first of August last. The preferable date for this delivery is September the third. Kindly respond as soon as possible.

Rufus Scrimgeor
Minister of Magic



“Is there a deadline yet?”

“Yep. September third.”

“What!? How does he expect us to make all of that in a month, and keep up with the other orders that we’ve been getting?”

“Actually a month and a day.”

“Wow, a whole extra twenty-four hours, that gives us loads more time.” Fred replied sarcastically.

“Well technically it only says, ‘September the third’. It doesn’t specifically mention September the third of this year.”

“Very true. So when shall we deliver our product? Next year? Five years from now?”

“Why not ten? No rush right?”

“Right. Seriously though, how are we going to do this?”

“I dunno Fred, but I do know that we need some extra help.”

“You’re right. Maybe Boris, he’s been working for us for almost six months now.”

“I don’t think so. He looks a bit suspicious to me. I think he’s a spy from Zonko’s.”

“Well then who do you suggest?”

“What about Michelle? She’s been working here for awhile, and she’s definitely trustworthy.”

“Please. You just want her to help so that you can stare at her all day.”

“Can I help it if she’s insanely gorgeous?”

“You are such a –”

“Hey look! It’s a letter from home!”

“Really? Let me see!”

“Hang on a minute! What’s wrong? Homesick?”

“Shut up. Just open the dumb letter.”

“Yes sir!”

Fred rolled his eyes as George opened the envelope and read the letter.

“Well?”

“See for yourself.” George replied, his face not showing any hint of emotion.

Fred took the letter from George and read through it quickly.


Dear Fred and George,

I hope that this letter finds you alive and well. I just wanted to let you two know that Arthur and I are taking the children into Diagon Alley tomorrow to buy their school supplies. If all goes well, we plan to visit you in your shop. Please send us a reply confirming that you have received this letter and hopefully we will see you tomorrow afternoon.

Love,
Mom



“Well that’s great then!” Fred said, looking up at George. “We haven’t seen mum and dad for ages, and they can see what we’ve done with the place since the last time they were here.”

“Oh yeah, that’ll be great. I want to see mum’s face when she sees our poster out front.”

The twins laughed loudly together, and were about to continue reading their mail when they were interrupted.

“Excuse me, Mr. Weasley, and Mr. Weasley?”

Fred and George jumped. They’d thought that they were completely alone in the store. Recovering quickly, they turned to face their newest employee.


“Yes Verity?” asked one of the Weasley twins.

Verity tried to remember which twin this was, but it was impossible to tell. Instead she just said,

“Sorry to disturb you Mr. Weasley, but I thought you ought to know that we are out of Canary Cream Puffs.”

“Completely?” asked the other twin.

“Yes Mr. Weasley. I looked everywhere in the warehouse, and on the shelves, but I couldn’t find any.”

“Thank you Verity. We’ll take care of it.”

Verity nodded, then walked over to the hooks where all of the employee robes hung. Hanging hers up beside them, she took a small bag of coins out of its folds and placed it in her own tattered pocket. This was her pay from the previous night, which she had grabbed just before walking over to the Weasley twins. After counting it she saw that it contained twelve gold galleons, three silver sickles, and five bronze knuts. It would be enough to last her for a few days.

She was about to walk outside when one of the Weasley twins called her back.

“Hey, Verity?”

Verity turned around.

“Yes Mr. Weasley?”

“How would you like, a promotion?”

“A promotion sir?”

“Yes, we’d like you to work with us in the lab on a very, important assignment we’ve been given.”

“You mean, you want me to help you manufacture and ship five hundred or so sets of anti-jinx clothes to the Ministry by September third?”

The twins just stared at her. Verity smiled. Standing next to people undetected for several minutes was a skill that she’d picked up many years ago. She started walking towards the door again, then looked back at the boys, who were still staring dumbfounded at her.

“I’d love to. Thank you. Goodnight Mr. Weasley, and Mr. Weasley.”


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Last edited by witchsmart; June 29th, 2007 at 7:25 pm.
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  #9  
Old June 28th, 2007, 10:44 pm
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Re: Working With the Weasleys

Chapter Eight

“Watch out for that vat of exploding gum. It’s still in liquid form and very unstable.”

George was leading Verity down into the lab where he and Fred developed new products. He brought her quickly past the cauldrons full of bubbling, simmering, and smoking liquids of all colors, past crates containing ingredients and materials, past the cages of live creatures, magical and non-magical, and into another room at the far end of the lab.

This room was much smaller than the main lab. Fred and George had reserved it for the manufacture of goods that merely required an enchantment or charm to work. The room was practically empty except for an enormous pile of black cloth that sat in the center of the room. It was so large, that the top of it nearly reached the ceiling.

“This is where you’ll be working.” George said, leading Verity to the pile. “You’ll take this cloth and fashion them into cloaks, hats, gloves, and scarves. At the end of the day, Fred and I will take what you’ve finished and enchant them so that they repel minor jinxes. Any questions?”

“Just one Mr. Weasley. How do you know that I can make clothes?”

George, who was already walking out the door, stopped and turned around.

“You mean you can’t?”

“I never said that I could . . .”

“But you’re a girl!”

“. . . but I—excuse me? What does being a girl have to do with anything?”

Verity fixed George with a very stern look that reminded him remarkably of Professor McGonagall, the Transfiguration teacher at Hogwarts. He took an involuntary step backwards and stammered, “N-nothing. I just thought, well, never mind.”

Verity glared at him for a moment, then sat down next to the black cloth. She picked up a large square section and gazed at it for a moment, then put it back down onto the floor. When she looked back up, there wasn’t a trace of Professor McGonagall in her face.

“I was just joking. I know how to make clothing. I’ll notify you when I have finished Mr. Weasley.”

“This may take longer than you think Verity.”

“Yes Mr. Weasley.”

But Verity wasn’t listening anymore. She was now sorting the cloth into piles and humming quietly to herself. Without another word George closed the door behind him and walked upstairs to mind the shop.


The moment the door had shut behind him, Verity stood up, whipped out her wand, and flicked it. The mountain of cloth rose into the air and promptly began to sort itself. The smallest pieces went into one mound by the wall, and the largest pieces, about the size of a sheet, dropped down by the opposite wall.

Verity leaned back against the wall and watched the black blurs whiz through the air. The spell she had used was one that she’d learned from her best friend many, many years ago. A tear slid down her cheek as she thought of him, she missed him so much.

I could visit him. She thought. This is the closest I’ve ever been to him . . . and I want to see him, before I have to move on again.

Gradually the movements in the air slowed and stopped. Now Verity was facing four piles of cloth, all of different sizes. She walked over to the first bundle. The square cloths there were about the size of a large handkerchief. With another flick of her wand, they morphed into pairs of black gloves. The next pile became a stack of scarves, and the next a jumble of pointed wizard hats. The last and largest pile arranged themselves into cloaks, and within five minutes, the entire five hundred sets of clothing were made and ready to be enchanted.

Verity flopped down onto the pile of freshly made cloaks. Of course she couldn’t go up to the shop right away. Her employers would never believe that she had finished so quickly, and they might ask questions. Or worse yet brag her magical abilities, which would draw a lot of attention to her. No, she would wait until the store closed, and then she would let the twins know that she had finished.

Verity hadn’t slept at all last night. This was partly because she didn’t want to risk being late for work again. However the main reason that she didn’t want to sleep was because she didn’t want to have another dream about, him.

But sitting comfortably on the heap of cloaks, Verity felt very relaxed, and before she could stop herself, she drifted off to sleep . . .


When Verity finally awoke, she didn’t know how long she had been asleep for. Getting up quickly, she walked out the door, through the lab, and upstairs into the shop. The moment Verity entered the main part of the store, she knew something was wrong. The store was completely empty, and a quick glance out the front window told her that it was nighttime.

“Mr. Weasley? Mr. Weasley?” Verity called out, but the only answer she received was complete silence. Verity didn’t understand. How late was it? Where was everybody?

“Hello? Is anybody in here?” she called out. This time she got an answer. But instead of bringing her comfort, it made Verity want to run back downstairs and hide under the pile of clothes. It wasn’t so much the word, as it was the voice that had said them that terrified her.

“Verity . . .”

The voice had come from somewhere inside the store, but where, Verity couldn’t tell. Either way, the time for her to leave had come. Without hesitation, Verity dashed towards the door, her wand at the ready. She met no one out on the streets and was running towards the Leaky Cauldron when she heard footsteps behind her. She ran faster, the footsteps grew louder. Verity stopped, it was no use running, she would have to apparate out of there. She turned around, and stopped dead. Standing on the road behind her was a tall figure wrapped in shadows. She stood rooted to the spot, frozen in fear.

“Verity . . .”

The figure raised its wand, and started walking towards her, closer, closer, closer . . .



“Verity! Wake up!”

Verity bolted upright, breathing hard and sweating heavily. One of the Weasley twins was standing over her, looking very concerned. She looked around. She was sitting in the small room off the lab again.

“Are you alright? What happened?”

Verity turned back to the twin. He looked extremely concerned, and for a moment, she wanted to tell him everything. She opened her mouth.

“Nothing. I just fell asleep . . . had a nightmare.”

“A nightmare? About what?”

“My . . . my mother. She . . . she was dying . . .”

Verity bit her lip, hoping that he would buy it.

“Well it was just a dream Verity, I’m sure she’s fine. C’mon, let’s go back up to the shop.”

“Yes Mr. Weasley.”


When Fred had come down to check on Verity, it hadn’t escaped his attention that she was laying on a mound of finished clothes, when it had only been an hour. He would ask her how she did it eventually, but not right now.

“Just take a break for a few minutes.” He suggested. “You should get some fresh air, to clear your head.”

“Yes, thank you Mr. Weasley.”

And Fred left her there. He walked over to a group of people by the counter who looked very familiar. One of them, a girl with bushy brown hair, was reading an advertisement in a large display.

“. . . and virtually undetectable (side effects include vacant expression and minor drooling). Not for sale to under-sixteens. You know, that really is extraordinary magic!” she said, looking up a boy with jet black hair and glasses.

“For that, Hermione,” Fred said to the girl, “you can have one for free.”

__________________________________________________ _________________
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Last edited by witchsmart; June 29th, 2007 at 7:26 pm.
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  #10  
Old August 19th, 2007, 9:03 pm
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Re: Working With the Weasleys

Chapter Nine

“How are you, Harry?” Fred asked, shaking hands with the black-haired boy. “And what’s happened to your eye, Hermione?” he said, indicating one of her eyes, which was colored purple.

“Your punching telescope.” She answered, looking very annoyed.

“Oh blimey, I forgot about those. Here.” And he handed her a tub from inside his pocket, which she took and opened. Inside was a thick yellow paste that he and George had invented a while back. “Just dab it on, that bruise’ll be gone within the hour. We had to find a decent bruise remover. We’re testing most of our products on ourselves.”

Although she looked doubtful, Hermione scooped out a handful of the paste and started rubbing it onto her eye.

“Come on, Harry, I’ll give you a tour.” Fred said. And he led Harry away to show him the rest of the shop.


Verity had started to make her way through the bustling crowd toward the door, when she was suddenly interrupted by a small girl, about six or seven years old.

“Excuse me,” she asked, “what are those?” She pointed to the pygmy puffs bouncing around in their cage.

Verity smiled and led the girl up to the bars. She walked away as the girl began to pet a puffy orange one, giggling with joy. Verity was about five feet from the door when she heard, “Excuse me. Miss?”

Verity turned around to see a tall man standing behind her. He was looking at her closely, almost as though he were studying her. He looked vaguely familiar to her.

“Could you please show me where the joke cauldrons are?”

“I think there are some in the back. This way please.” Verity said, leading the man towards the curtain dividing the main shop from the smaller room where the Anti-Dark Arts products were kept. She felt the man’s stare on the back of her neck all the way across the room. Emerging through the curtain, Verity saw both of the Weasley twins talking to a teenager with jet black hair. They all turned around as she entered. Verity couldn’t help but think that she knew the other boy, or had seen him somewhere before. The twins were looking at her expectantly, so she said, “There’s a customer out here looking for a joke cauldron, Mr. Weasley and Mr. Weasley.”

“Right you are, Verity, I’m coming.” One of them said. “Harry, you help yourself to anything you want, all right? No charge.”

Harry? Verity thought. Of course! This must be Harry Potter.

The twins and Harry Potter were arguing about something, but she wasn’t paying attention. Her eyes had been drawn to the boy’s forehead, where she could just make out a pale, lightning bolt-shaped scar. She started as one of the twins reached the curtain and said, “Where is this person?”

“Just outside the room sir. Here he—” Verity said, leading him through the curtain and attempting to introduce him to the customer, but the man wasn’t there. She had left him examining the muggle card tricks, but now there was no one there.

“Well, where is he?” Mr. Weasley asked, looking around at Verity.

“I—I’m not sure sir. He was right here . . .” Verity looked through the nearby groups of people, but she couldn’t spot the man anywhere.

“Perhaps he went off to look for something else.” Mr. Weasley said. “Well Verity, I’m going off to help some other customers, if you see him again I’ll be over by the counter.”

“Yes Mr. Weasley.”

Verity stood there for a moment, not sure what to do. She wondered where the man had gone, and more importantly, why she thought she recognized him from somewhere.

“Excuse me.”

Harry Potter brushed his way past her, walking towards the WonderWitch products, where she could see both of the Weasley twins and two girls; the bushy-haired one from before, and a younger girl with flaming red hair, just like the twins.

That’s probably Ginny. She thought. I think Charlie said that he had a younger sister, and she looks about the right age.

Verity looked back to Harry Potter, who was rummaging around in his bag and gesturing to the bushy-haired girl and another red-headed boy. She stared at them for a moment, and then, quite suddenly, they weren’t there anymore.

Verity blinked. Right where the three teenagers had been a moment before was now an empty space, which was quickly filled up by passing customers.

I don’t understand. Verity pondered. Where did they go? Did they Disapparate? But they can’t have. They’re not the right age.

Suddenly out of the corner of her eye she saw the front door open of its own accord. Intrigued, Verity squeezed her way through the crowd and stepped out of the shop into the street. It was deserted. A humming noise to the right distracted her and, turning around, Verity saw a man the size of a small house leaning against the wall. Stepping back a few paces out of shock, Verity looked up into the man’s face, most of which was covered in a bushy black beard.

The man seemed to know she was staring at him, because he turned around and smiled at her. He had beetle black eyes that glittered warmly at her, and she felt a little more relaxed. Then he spoke in a loud, rough voice.

“’Allo there. Lovely day we’re ‘aving ain’t it?”

“Y-Yes, lovely.” Verity stammered.

The man smiled again and looked back to the middle of the street. Verity too, looked out into the street, but still she saw nothing. The wind was blowing a few discarded papers across the cobbled road and a lone trainer was making its way down the line of shops.

Wait a minute, a trainer was walking around? Verity looked closer. Indeed, it seemed as though a solitary shoe was striding down Diagon Alley, with no leg attached to it. Verity ran forward a bit and began to tail the shoe, when all of a sudden, it vanished. Verity was beginning to get annoyed when the white trainer reappeared again. It walked on for a few moments, then stopped, and disappeared.

Hang on . . . Verity thought, as sudden realization dawned upon her. Jogging forward a few paces, she reached the spot where the trainer had vanished and stretched out her hand. Her finger tips brushed against a silky smooth cloth for an instant, and then the shoe reappeared again as it went farther down the road, then turned and disappeared down a side street labeled Knockturn Alley.

It was an invisibility cloak. Verity thought. But I’ve never seen one like this before. Its quality is amazing!

That boy, Harry Potter, he must be the owner of the cloak. She realized. But what are he and his friends doing with it?

Verity glanced up at the street sign. Knockturn Alley was well known for its shops, stocked full of Dark objects and Cursed items. What was Harry Potter doing down there?

Verity was just about to follow them when a voice rang out.

“Verity! There you are! Come over here!”

Mr. Weasley was standing in the doorway of Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes. He appeared to have just finished a discussion with the giant man waiting in front of the store, and was now beckoning to her. Wondering what he wanted with her, Verity glanced back over her shoulder at the alleyway one more time, then ran back to where Mr. Weasley was waiting for her.


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  #11  
Old September 4th, 2007, 6:14 am
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Re: Working With the Weasleys

Chapter Ten

“Yes Mr. Weasley?” asked Verity when she had finally reached the door.

“Could you meet me in our office? Fred and I want to discuss something with you there.”

His tone was light and casual, but Verity was unnerved all the same. Was she about to be punished for sleeping on the job? Had they decided that, regardless of her efforts, she was too young to work for them? Or worse, had they found out the truth about her?

“Verity? Are you listening to me?”

Verity snapped back into focus.

“Yes. I’ll go to your office immediately Mr. Weasley.”

So, nodding to the giant man towering above her employer, Verity ducked back into the shop, weaved her way past the noisy customers, and walked through the purple curtain, emerging into the quiet and empty office. She sat down in one of the chairs for a minute, then got up and began to pace the room. Her eyes were drawn to the large brown desk standing underneath the two gold-adorned portraits. More specifically, to the picture propped up on top of it.

It was the same picture she had seen when she first arrived at Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes. She picked it up and stared at the smiling and waving faces of what was undoubtedly the Weasley family. All had flaming red hair and freckles, and as she studied the picture more closely, Verity could recognize each individual member through the descriptions Charlie had given her years ago.

Mr. and Mrs. Weasley were easy to spot. They were the oldest ones in the photo; Mr. Weasley with his vividly red, yet balding, hair, and Mrs. Weasley, slightly plump but with the greatest expression of motherly love on her face. She recognized Charlie immediately; he had scars and burns all over his arms from his dealings with dragons in Romania. Bill must be the one with the long hair and fanged earring.

Percy was obviously the serious-looking young man in the horned rimmed spectacles. His pictured-self kept glaring at the Weasley twins, who were goofing off near the frame. They kept making rude gestures and grotesque faces behind Percy’s back. And whenever he turned around to look at them they immediately straightened up and acted as though nothing had happened. The moment he turned away again however, they started up again.

In front of the line were two children, a freckled-faced boy who had his arm around a small red-haired girl. The two were smiling and waving at her. They were so much younger than the Ron and Ginny that she’d seen in the shop only a few minutes before. The whole family was standing in front of an old house. Every now and then a chicken would wander its way in and out of the frame.

As she looked closer at the snapshot, Verity remembered a conversation she’d had with Charlie Weasley.


“Yeah I have a family. A huge one at that. At the moment it’s just me, my mum, my dad, and my five brothers and sister.”

“Is that all?” Verity asked, giggling.

Charlie looked down at her and smiled.

“That’s all for now, but who knows? Every time I go over there for Christmas, or a birthday, I always ask mum, ‘So, mum. Are we still at nine?’ And you know what she says?”

“What?”

“‘Of course we are Charlie dear. Now stop asking silly questions and help your brothers set the table. God forbid we end up with another Fred and George.’”

They both burst out laughing, and when the laughter had died away, there was silence for a moment.

“What’s it like, your family?” Verity asked.

“Well, it’s pretty wild.” Charlie answered. “I remember, before I moved to Romania to study dragons, life at home could get pretty hectic. Dad was always off working at the Ministry, he works in the Department for the Misuse of Muggle Artifacts office. Mum doesn’t think much of the job, but dad loves it. He’s crazy about muggles, dad. He’s even got a collection of plugs!”

“He collects plugs? Really?” Verity asked, grinning widely.

“Oh yeah. Mum thinks he’s a nut though.”

More laughter, then:

“And what about your mum? What’s she like?”

“Well, she works at home, washing the laundry and doing the dishes, and other chores. It may not sound like much, but when you’re doing it for a house of nine, it gets pretty crazy. I remember how she used to walk around the house, a laundry basket in hand, screaming her head off at Fred and George.”

Charlie put on a high-pitched voice.

“‘Fred! Get off the ceiling right this minute and put your broom back in the shed where it belongs! George! For heavens sake dear, don’t
play with the gnome, just throw it over the wall! Boys! If I catch you playing with my potions kit again I will force-feed you poison!’”

They both started laughing again. Through the chuckles Charlie started to speak again.

“And then Percy, who’s always acting like he’s the minister or something, comes in and says, ‘Really, Fred, George, you ought to be listening to your mother. It’s time you start acting your age. If you need something to occupy your time, I suggest doing a bit of studying into your chosen career. It’s never too early to start thinking about your future. Why just the other day I read the most wonderful book, I learned quite a lot from it.’”

“And what did they say?”

“‘Was it the
Idiot’s Guide to Bigheadedness, or What to Do When You’re the World’s Biggest Prat?’”

Verity started laughing so hard that she actually fell backwards onto the ground, causing more fits of hysterics from Charlie, who helped her back onto her feet. When she was able to get her breath back, Verity asked to hear about the rest of the family.

“Well, Bill has a job at Gringotts as a curse breaker. He does really well but whenever he comes home for a visit, mum begs him to let her cut his hair. She also complains about his clothes and his earring, but he’ll never change a thing.

“Ron is the youngest boy, as Fred and George constantly remind him. But he’s grown up a lot since I left home. He’d be about a year older than you I think, he’s going into his fifth year at Hogwarts. O.W.L.s this year, what a nightmare . . .

“Ginny’s the only girl but she’s tougher than some of the dragons we have here. Not too bad at some jinxes either, from what I’ve heard.”

His words were met by a long silence only broken by the distant roars of dragons and the shouts of wizards.

“It must be nice. To have a family I mean.”

Charlie looked down at the young girl beside him.

“What do you mean? Don’t you have a family, Verity?”

“No. Not anymore.”



No. Not anymore. She used to have a family, a really good one in fact. Small, but good. But that was a long time ago. Now she was all alone in the world. A world that was changing around her as she watched it . . .

God. Verity thought to herself. I’m such an idiot. I should never have—

“Verity?”

Verity looked up. The two Weasley twins were walking through the curtain, the noise of the crowd rising and lowering as the cloth opened and closed. Verity hastily placed the picture back on the desk and faced her employers. Both were looking very serious. Very serious.

“Sit down please.”

Verity sat, and waited to see what would happen to her.


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  #12  
Old September 16th, 2007, 9:45 pm
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Re: Working With the Weasleys

Chapter Eleven

“Verity, we have a few questions for you, regarding what happened downstairs.” Fred began, looking down at Verity, who started to look very uncomfortable. Was it true then? Had she been betraying them all along?
When Verity didn’t say anything, George spoke up.

“Verity, did you have any help making all of those clothes downstairs?”

The twins watched Verity’s face closely, and became confused. Her face showed, not guilt, or indignation, but relief.

“No sir.”

“Did you invite anyone downstairs while you were making the clothes?”

“No sir.”

“You made all of those clothes by yourself, and no one was with you?”

“Yes sir.”

“Have you been in contact with anyone since you started to work for us?”

“No sir.”

“Prove it.” said Fred, and from underneath the desk he pulled out a large stretch of black fabric. “Do exactly what you did downstairs.” He said. He and George sat back, and waited.

Verity stood up, took out her wand, and flicked it. Instantly the black fabric rose up above the desk and transformed itself into a cloak. It hovered in the air, as though waiting for something, then Verity lowered her wand and it flopped back onto the desk.

“It’s a simple transfiguration spell.” She said. “Just flick your wand and say, lortobaris, and focus on whatever it is you’re transforming something into. The object you are changing will rearrange its structure, but will normally maintain the same color, since you are only changing the shape.”

“We know how that spell works.” George said quickly. In reality however, both twins could have no more changed a cloth into a handkerchief than give up rule-breaking for good. That’s not to say that they hadn’t heard of such a spell, it was used all the time in wizarding factories, and Professor McGonagall had mentioned it in a class that they had actually paid attention to. But that was not what was bothering him.

“The thing is,” Fred said. “We gave you over five-hundred different shaped strips of cloth. If you had used that charm, you should only have been able to change one piece of cloth at a time. But when I came downstairs to check on you an hour later, you were completely finished. There’s no way that you could have done that by yourself. You must have had help.”

Fred leaned forward a little and stared right into Verity’s eyes. She stared back, unblinkingly.

“I did do it by myself Mr. Weasley. I promise you, I had no help. I did not bring anyone into the lab, and I have not been in contact with anyone since I came to work here. Except my mother.” she added hastily.

“Would you object to us questioning you under the influence of Veritaserum?”

“No, as long as the questions asked only pertain to what we are discussing now.”

George raised an eyebrow and exchanged a look with Fred. He turned back to Verity.

“And what else would they pertain to?”

Verity remained silent. Fred sighed.

“Very well. Verity we believe you, but if we receive any evidence at all that you are lying to us, you will be fired and possibly arrested.”

“Of course, Mr. Weasley. Is there anything else?”

“No. Are you feeling alright now?” Fred asked, thinking of the state in which he had found the young girl.

“Yes, Mr. Weasley. Much better thank you.”

“You may go.”

“Yes Mr. Weasley.”

When Verity had gone, Fred turned to his brother.

“Well?”

George frowned and paused for a moment before answering.

“I don’t think she was lying.”

“Yeah me neither. Still, that’s an amazing feat. Normally it would take a whole team of wizards to accomplish what she did. And she was asleep when I found her, so she might have finished quicker than we thought.”

“She was asleep? Probably dreaming about me.” George said with a grin.

“Actually, it was more of a nightmare from the looks of it. She was tossing and moaning and talking in her sleep.”

“Oh, she was probably dreaming about you then.”

“Shut up. If anyone’s having nightmares around here it’ll be about you.”

“Ha. Ha. What was she saying? Go away Fred, you’re not nearly as handsome or intelligent as your brother?”

George laughed, but Fred didn’t even smile.

“Oh come on, you have to admit that was funny! What’s wrong?”

“She was calling for help and breathing heavily, as if she was running away from someone.”

“Who? You?”

“No, I don’t know who, but the expression on her face . . .” Fred trailed off, and his own face became strangely blank.

“What did it look like?” asked George, and he was no longer smiling.

“It was fear, but unlike anything I’ve ever seen. It was pure terror.”

“Did you ask what it was about when she woke up?”

“Yeah, she said it was her mum dying but, I don’t think she was telling the truth.”

The twins turned in unison to stare at the place where Verity had vanished, both wondering just what sort of employee they had hired.


Verity stood up, nodded to her employers, and left the room, heading for the storage area to continue her work. She was immensely relieved that neither of the boys had asked her about her dream, as it wasn’t about anything that she could or would willingly share with them.

On the way to the back of the shop she heard the front door open and saw, out of the corner of her eye, the three teenagers, Harry Potter and his friends, slide back into the store. She lingered long enough to watch them be confronted by a worried looking woman who must have been Mrs. Weasley, then disappeared behind the curtain dividing the Dark Arts section from the rest of the shop. She walked straight past the shelves full of anti-jinx accessories, picked up a couple of decoy detonators that had walked off the shelves, and entered the storage room, where she spent the rest of the day restocking shelves and dreading the night.


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  #13  
Old September 30th, 2007, 5:01 am
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Re: Working With the Weasleys

Chapter Twelve

“Goodnight. See you tomorrow. Goodnight. ‘Night. See you in the morning. Oh, Verity, could you wait a moment?” George called out as she was heading for the door. “Don’t worry,” he laughed, seeing the expression on her face. “You’re not in trouble, Fred and I just want to give you something.” Verity still looked worried, but obediently waited until the last of the employees had left the shop. George shut the door behind them and walked over to her.

“Verity, do you remember how you came in late yesterday morning?”

Verity blushed and looked down at her feet, mumbling something inaudible.

“Well, Fred and I have been thinking about that problem—”

“—and we think we’ve come up with a solution.” Fred finished, coming out from the twins’ office holding a small, brown package in his hands. He walked over to where Verity and George were standing and held out the small box. Verity paused for a moment, then took it from him. There was a brief silence as she stared down at it.

“You know,” said Fred, who seemed to know exactly what she was thinking. “If you opened it, you could figure out what it was.”

Verity laughed quietly and tore the paper off. The box was taped shut, but she merely tapped it with her wand and the tape split apart. Carefully, because who knew what Fred and George could be giving her, Verity opened the lid and inside was a . . .


. . . alarm clock.

Well, Verity thought, smiling slightly. This will definitely fix my sleeping problems.

“It’s an alarm clock.” George explained unnecessarily. “It’s mainly the muggles who use them, but some wizards find them helpful to. Our dad has about a dozen of ‘em. We were going to give it to him for the holidays, but we’ve decided that you need it more. Here, let me show you how it works.”

George reached over for the alarm clock and Verity, although she knew perfectly well how to operate an alarm clock herself, handed it over.

“You just wind up the little knob thingie here,” George began, and he tried to turn the wind-up key in the back of the clock, but it wouldn’t move.

“Moron, you’re doing it wrong.” Fred said. “It turns the other way. Here, let me show you.”

“No, no! I can do it myself!” George yelled, jerking the clock away from his brother.

“Would you just let me—”

“Leave me alone! I know how to do it!”

“Yeah, you know how to do it the wrong way.”

“Shut up, I can’t concentrate.”

“It’s not that hard you idiot. Give it here.”

“No! I’ve got it!”

“Would you just give me the stupid thing?”

“No!”

“Give it!”

“No!”

This argument may have gone on for a while longer if the alarm clock hadn’t suddenly shot out of George’s hands and soared through the air towards Verity, who caught it. Without a word she turned it over and twisted the key in the back until the alarm was set for 6:55am, then stopped and looked up.

“Thank you so much Mr. Weasley, and Mr. Weasley. I promise you, I won’t be late anymore now that I have this. I’ll see you bright and early tomorrow morning. Goodnight.”

“Goodnight, Verity.”

“’Night.”

As Verity walked out of the door, she could hear the twins start to fight again behind her.

“See, it was the other way.”

“Was not, I just didn’t turn it hard enough.”

“She got it easily enough. It was the other way and you know it.”

“Was not.”

“Was too.”

“Was not!”

“Was too!”

Verity sighed, but it was a happy sigh. Those two reminded her of the arguments she used to get into with her best friend, before . . .

Verity slowed to a stop, and stood there in the street, the cool night breeze blowing her tattered cloak around her ankles. They were such petty quarrels, now that she thought about it. Every time they disagreed on something, they would argue about it for hours at times. But neither of them was ever angry with the other, and when one person was proved right, that person would gloat for a bit, and then they would move on with their lives.

I wish I could go back to those days. Verity thought wistfully. No matter what, even if I knew he was right, I would still try to prove him wrong. Just like I did on that day . . .

Verity sighed again, but this time it had lost all trace of happiness. If she had just listened to him, if she had only given in to him that one time, things could have been so different. So much better.

Shivering slightly because of the cold, Verity turned left and headed over to her little corner by the purple dumpster.

I should have nicked one of those cloaks. She thought, still shivering. The dumpster shielded her from most of the wind, but the air itself was still cold. But she wasn’t about to do something that could get her fired, not when she’d finally found a place to settle down, if only temporarily.

Placing the alarm clock against the side of the dumpster, Verity laid her head on her arms, closed her eyes, and was soon asleep. And for once, it was a dreamless sleep, empty of dark streets, shadowy figures, and voices that whispered her name.


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  #14  
Old October 17th, 2007, 1:45 am
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Re: Working With the Weasleys

Chapter Thirteen

The alarm clock worked perfectly, so at 6:55 am every morning Verity would stretch, yawn, and try to straighten herself up as best she could. She would brush the dirt off of her robes and straighten out her hair. Finally she would turn the corner and walk right up to the door just as one of the twins was opening the shop at exactly seven o’clock. This scene repeated itself for several months. It was now a chilly December morning, just a few days before Christmas. Verity got up, stretched, and made her way to the store front.

“Right on time, Verity.” One of the twins said smiling, as he opened the door to let her in.

“Thank you, Mr. Weasley. The alarm clock worked perfectly, as always.” She said, and made her way into the storage room, picking up her pay from the previous day as she went. Her stomach rumbled, and she realized that she hadn’t since she hadn’t eaten in two days.

I’ll stop by at the Leaky Cauldron after work and get something. She thought, and pocketed the gold as she entered the back room.

Within minutes she could hear the din coming from the main part of the shop and was soon busy restocking the shelves with various goods. She was stacking a couple of boxes of Reusable Hangmen when one of her employers walked over to her. She looked at him carefully, trying to figure out which one he was. She decided that he must be Fred.

“Verity, Michelle called in sick this morning.” George said, walking up to her. “Can you work on the register today?”

“I can try, Mr. Weasley. I’m not sure what everything is worth in here though.”

“Don’t worry about that, there’s an automatic scanner on the counter, I’ll show you how it works.”

“Alright, sounds like fun . . . Fred?”

“George.”

“Oh.”

The two made their way down to the counter, Verity feeling very embarrassed, and George showed her how to operate the machine.

“We got this idea from the muggles. They tend to come up with something useful every now and then. Just wave the items over this blue pad here.” he said, indicating a blue square on the flat, white surface of the counter. “Then this box here,” he pointed to a small black rectangle next to the blue square, “will tell you the price. And you put the money,” he pulled out a large drawer on the side of the counter, Verity noticed that it had three separate compartments, one for galleons, one for sickles, and another for knuts. “In here.” He said, closing the drawer and straightening up. “Any questions?”

“No, I understand, Mr. Weasley.”

“Good. Try to work as fast as you can, there are a lot of customers to go through.”

“I will, Mr. Weasley.”

“Thanks for doing this, Verity.”

“It’s nothing, Mr. Weasley.”

George left her there and Verity waited for someone to come up. It didn’t take long. Within two minutes a stressed-looking woman walked over with a handful of goods in one arm and an excited looking 6 year-old boy hanging off of the other.

“Good morning.” Verity said cheerfully, as she took the items from her and began to pass them over the blue square. Every time a new item was scanned, golden numbers appeared in the small, black rectangle, saying how much the item cost.

“I can’t believe I’m here at the crack of dawn.” The woman groaned, closing her eyes and shaking her head wearily. “But my son just couldn’t wait until a sensible hour to go shopping for toys . . .”

“Well, they are very intriguing.” Verity said, scanning a box of Mini-Mellows: They’ll really make you shrink!, and placing it into a bag with the other goods. “That’s 10 galleons and 3 knuts.” She said, glancing at the price box.

“Is it now?” the woman muttered absentmindedly, searching through her purse. She finally found the right change and handed it over to Verity, who gave her the bag full of Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes products. Verity took the money and deposited it in the drawer.

“Have a nice day.” She called, as the woman walked away, her son trying to grab the bag from her to look at his new toys.

“Next?”

And so it went on. Customers came to her and she tried to keep up a pleasant conversation with all of them as she scanned their purchases. Hours passed by and nothing out of the ordinary happened, until . . .

“Thank you.” Verity said, handing over a box of Skiving Snackboxes: The Deluxe Set, over to a tall, brown-haired teenager, who had said he was attending his third year at Hogwarts and was planning to use the Snackboxes to get out of History of Magic. Verity could sympathize with him. History of Magic, even back in her day, had been the dullest class she had ever taken, no matter who had taught it to her.

“Next?” she called out.

A surly looking boy, about sixteen or seventeen by the looks of him, slouched up to the counter. He had sleek blonde hair and a pale face, and he eyed the store with a look of great dislike. He stepped up and dropped a box of Peruvian Darkness Powder, onto the counter, then turned away. Verity raised her eyebrows but said nothing. She was scanning the box when she felt him staring at her. She looked up and saw him gazing intently at her, almost as if he were studying every detail of her face. She paused, then reached down to grab a bag from below the counter. When she looked up again, she saw that he was still staring at her. “That’s four galleons and one sickle.” She said, holding the bag out to him. He didn’t take it, but continued to stare at her. After a while he spoke in a drawling voice.

“Aren’t you a bit young to be working?”

Verity frowned at him.

“Aren’t you a bit old to be buying toys?” she said. She didn’t like this boy, not one bit. And as she looked at him, she could help but think that she knew him somehow. The boy frowned at her words but said nothing. Verity was still holding out the bag, waiting for him to take it.

“Where are you from?” he asked.

Why is he asking me this? Verity thought. Just who is this kid?

“Sir, you’re holding up the line.” She responded in a cool voice.

“I asked you a question.”

“And I gave you an answer.”

“What’s your name?”

This was a reasonable question, but Verity wasn’t about to tell this boy anything about her. She put down the bag and leaned forward.

“I don’t know who you are,” she said. “But it’s none of your business who I am or where I’m from. Pay the money and get out.”

She saw the boy’s hand reach down towards his robe pocket, where his wand undoubtedly lay. But Verity already had her wand out and was pointing it right into his face.

“You so much as lay one finger on your wand and you’ll be lying on the floor before you can blink.” She said in a threatening tone.

The boy scowled, and was about to answer when,

“Oi! What’s going on here?”

One of the Weasley twins had appeared. He came up to the counter, staring, first at Verity, then at the boy, and finally at the crowd of people who had stopped shopping to watch what was going on. Then he turned back to the boy and frowned.

“What are you doing here, Malfoy?”

Malfoy took one look at him, then scowled again and snatched his bag from the counter. “Leaving.” He growled, slamming some gold onto the table and striding out of the shop. There was silence for a moment, then most of the crowd turned and continued with their shopping.

“And what,” Mr. Weasley asked, turning to face Verity, who still had her wand pointing at the place were Malfoy had just stood, “Is going on here exactly?”

“Nothing, Mr. Weasley.” Verity said, pocketing her wand and composing herself, wishing that her employer hadn’t just seen that encounter. “He was just asking me some questions about myself, and I didn’t care to answer them is all.”

Mr. Weasley faced the door, watching Malfoy’s retreating figure on the street outside.

“Nosy little git. I tell you, Verity, if there is one thing that I don’t miss about Hogwarts, it’s seeing his arrogant face everyday.”

Verity looked down and didn’t say anything, she picked up the change Malfoy had dropped (she noticed he had left out the sickle), and deposited it inside the drawer.

“I’m sorry about that, Mr. Weasley.” She said quietly, not meeting her employer’s eyes. “I shouldn’t have threatened him like that.”

“Ah, don’t worry yourself about it, Verity.” He said. “I probably would have done the same thing.”

“Really?” Verity asked, surprised.

“Well, no.” he responded, looking thoughtful. “If it was me, I probably would have hexed him the moment he walked in the door, or at least invited him to try some of our Ferret Food, I’m sure that would have brought back fond memories for him.”

Verity laughed, but didn’t ask what exactly he meant by, “fond memories”.

“Thanks, I’ll get right back to work . . . George?”

“Fred.”

“Oh.”

Smiling, Fred left her at the counter, and after a moment she turned to peer out at the street, where she could still just make out Malfoy’s black robe.

So, she thought. Lucius had a son did he? No wonder he looked so familiar, they’re just like each other, both in looks and attitude.

“Excuse me, Miss?”

Verity snapped out of her thoughts and turned to an impatient-looking older woman with an armful of Wonder Witch products.

“Sorry, how can I help you?” she asked.

The rest of the day continued without a hitch, but as Verity left the shop that evening and headed down the street to the Leaky Cauldron, her mind wandered back to Malfoy. What was Lucius’ son doing at Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes, and why did he want to know who she was? This was normally a big warning sign, a hint that it was time to move on, but Verity didn’t want to leave, not just yet. It was nice being in a familiar area for a change, and she didn’t feel up to traveling anytime soon. She pushed the thought of Malfoy out of her mind, convincing herself that it was just a coincidence, which was ultimately her undoing.


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  #15  
Old November 25th, 2007, 4:43 am
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Re: Working With the Weasleys

Chapter Fourteen

Christmas Eve arrived and with it came the coldest day of the year yet. Massive gray clouds had appeared in the sky and a huge snowstorm was expected later that night. The store was packed with last-minute shoppers and all of the employees were glancing at the giant clock mounted on the wall or at their watches every three seconds, counting down the minutes until closing time when they could all go home.

Even Verity couldn’t wait to get out of the store. Michelle was still out sick, so Verity was working at the counter again. She glanced at the clock as she scanned yet another package of Ho! Ho! Hoax! Guaranteed to change the user into a duplicate Saint Nick! It will jiggle your belly like a bowlful of jelly or your money back! There were only ten minutes to go until closing time.

“Here you go.” She said, handing the bag over to the man on the other side of the counter. “Have a Happy Christmas. Next?”

The Weasley twins had bewitched the shop so that the sounds of Christmas songs could be heard throughout the store. It had been pleasant to listen to at first, but now Verity had heard enough of Celestina Warbeck’s voice to last her a lifetime, and that was saying something. Verity glanced at the clock again. Nine minutes left.

Come warm yourself right by my fire.”

“That’s three sickles and a knut ma’am.”

And we’ll sit and talk all through the storm.”

“Have a Happy Christmas. Next?”

Verity looked down the line. There seemed to be an endless amount of customers waiting with armfuls of Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes merchandise.

And if the snow won’t stop tonight,”

Eight minutes to go . . .

“Two sickles and four knuts. Have a Happy Christmas. Next?”

Then you can stay, till Christmas morn.”

All of the noise was starting to give Verity a headache. She reached over to scan another package of Ho! Ho! Hoax! Seven minutes to go . . .

Come warm yourself right by my fire.”

“Happy Christmas. Next?”

And I’ll whip up a stew if I may.”

Six minutes left.

And if the storm begins to blow over.”

“Next?”

Then I’ll see you on Christmas day!

Five.

“Next?”

Come warm yourself right by my fire.”

Four.

You’ll keep me company all through the storm.”

“Next?”

Come warm yourself right by my fire.”

Three.

“Next?”

And together,”

Two.

We’ll spend,”

“Next?”

Christmas,”

One.

“Next?”

Morn!”

All of the employees sighed with relief as a bell sounded throughout the shop, signaling that it was closing time. Verity finished ringing up the last couple of items and then collapsed onto a stool. There were still a few customers lingering, and several of the employees came over to escort them out. Celestina started to sing again.

Come warm yourself right by my fire.”

“Someone shut that thing off!”

Verity waved her wand and Celestina’s voice was abruptly cut off.
“Thank god. If I hear that song one more time I’m going to go crazy.” Muttered Mark, the young-brown haired man who had first warned Verity of how busy the place could get. All of the employees murmured in agreement.


“Hey, who turned the music off?” asked Fred as he walked through the purple curtain dividing his office from the rest of the shop.

“Yeah, it was just getting to the good part.” George joked, following his twin into the main part of the store. Everybody else started groaning as they grabbed their cloaks from the employee lounge.

“Don’t forget about your Christmas bonuses!” George called out as his workers started to leave.

“George and I really appreciate all of the hard work you all have put in today.” Fred said. “All of you have a Happy Christmas! Hurry up and get home before you get buried in this avalanche we’re supposed to be getting!”

There were murmurs of, “Thank you” and “Happy Christmas”, as the employees left the shop and headed out into the cold night. A chill swept through the shop every time the door was opened, but the warmth would return as soon as it swung shut. Verity was the last one to leave. Fred and George noticed that she was counting her pay and looking puzzled.

“There’s a little extra in there.” Fred said, making Verity start as she looked up.

“To help out your mum.” Explained George.

Verity still looked confused for a moment, but then she seemed to remember something, though she didn’t look happy about it. Was that guilt he saw in her eyes? George frowned and said, “Verity is everything alright?”

Verity frowned too and said, almost shamefully, “I can’t possible accept this, Mr. Weasley. My, my mother and I get on fine with what I normally receive. I couldn’t—”

“But you can.” Fred said. “It’s just a little Christmas gift, Verity. Don’t worry
about it.”

“But—”

“Don’t worry about it.” Fred repeated. “Just promise us you’ll use that money to help your mum get better.”

Verity paused before answering, looking at the twins’ beaming faces.

“I . . . I promise, Mr. Weasley.” She mumbled.

“Thatta girl.” George said, smiling. Verity still looked uncomfortable though, was it really that difficult for her to accept a gift?

“Hey. Hurry on home before this storm hits.” Fred warned. “It’s supposed to be a really big one.”

“Of course that’s what they said last week.” George laughed.

“Last week?”

“Don’t you remember, Fred? We were supposed to get a huge storm.”

“That’s right! A real doozy.”

“Another ice age.”

“Twenty feet at least.”

“The biggest snowstorm of the year.”

“Of the century.”

“And what did we end up getting, Fred?”

“Three bloody inches.”

“Some ice age that was.”

The two broke into laughter, but stopped when they noticed that Verity was still standing there.

“Well, what are you waiting for?” George asked.

“You’d better run if you want to make it back before dark.” Added Fred.

“Give your mum our warmest regards.”

“Have a Happy Christmas, Verity.”

Verity seemed distracted, and she only half-smiled when she responded with a, “Happy Christmas.” Without another word she left the shop.

“Was it just me,” George said, as the door swung shut behind her, “Or was she acting a bit, odd?”

“I noticed it too.” Fred said, staring off at Verity’s fading figure. “Do you think everything’s alright?”

“I hope so.”

“Me too. Well we’d better hurry if we’re going to make it home in time for dinner.”

“Right. Harry’s coming too I suppose?”

“I think so. Honestly, I dunno why mum doesn’t just adopt him. He’s practically a Weasley already. He lives with us more than his own family.”

“If you could call them family.”

“True enough.”

Chuckling to themselves, the Weasley twins grabbed their cloaks, stepped outside into the street, locked the shop behind them, and Disapparated together just as the first flakes of snow began to fall.


Verity walked slowly to her alleyway. Her mind clouded with guilt. The twins had given her fifty galleons. Fifty galleons. That was enough to buy a sick mother a whole lot of medicine, which would be great if she actually had a sick mother.

I can’t just accept this. Verity thought to herself. I don’t need it. And neither does my mother. No amount of gold could help her where she is now.

Verity frowned. There was no way she was going to keep this money. She made a mental note to drop the lot of it into the cash drawer the moment she came into work the day after Christmas.

That’s right. She didn’t have to come into work tomorrow. But what would she do for the whole day? Verity shivered as a brisk wind blew around her, whipping her tattered cloak against her body. Maybe I’ll go and buy a new cloak. She thought. This one is about to fall apart.

Verity yawned as she lay down in the alleyway. If it did snow tonight, it would be extremely uncomfortable sleeping in the cold alley. Waving her wand in a slow circle around herself, Verity heated up the surrounding air. It wouldn’t be enough to keep her warm if the snowstorm was going to be as huge as everyone said, but it would have to do.

Verity soon drifted off into a deep sleep. The day had really exhausted her, and she didn’t wake up once. Not even as the snowflakes started falling faster and faster. Not even as they started to pile up and cover the alleyway with a thick blanket. Not even as the storm grew and grew, until all that could be seen was a swirling mass of white.

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  #16  
Old December 22nd, 2007, 4:17 am
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Re: Working With the Weasleys

Chapter Fifteen

“One, two, three, go!”

“Rubber chicken beats paper airplane, I win. Again.”

“Best 5 out of 7.”

“Just take out the trash already.”

“But it’s a freakin’ blizzard out there!”

“The bins are all overflowing with garbage!”

“Why can’t we just magic the stuff away?”

“Because you were the one who challenged me to a fake wand duel, and the loser takes out the trash, muggle style.”

“But you were supposed to be the loser!”

“Sorry to disappoint you.”

“You cheated. You jinxed these wands.”

“You’re the one who made them! Now go take out the trash. You agreed that the loser would have to do it, no matter what.”

“How much did I have to drink at home?”

“Just go!”

“Fine.” George muttered, hoisting up the giant black bag full of trash collected from the lab, the storeroom, and their office.

“Ugh, this thing weighs a ton.”

“Just suck it up and do it. And no levitating, that’s in direct violation of our agreement.”

George mumbled something vulgar under his breath, then swung the bag over his shoulder and stepped outside. The cold air hit him like a slap in the face, and he walked as fast as he could under the weight of the massive load of garbage. Thankfully the trip was brief. There was a purple dumpster in the alleyway right next to the shop. The snow was still falling heavily, and George had to practically feel his way to the bin. He yanked open the lid and threw the trash bag into it with a loud thud.

“I don’t get dad’s fascination with muggles at all.” He grumbled to himself. “All of the things they do would be so much easier if they used magic.” Shrugging, he turned to head back into the warmth of the shop.

And then his foot came into contact with something on the cobblestone street, something hard.

Frowning, George looked down to see what he had stepped on, expecting to see a dented can or a broken trinket that had missed the dumpster.

He certainly didn’t expect to see a blue hand poking up out of the snow. George swore loudly and dropped to his knees, digging furiously, trying to unearth the poor soul who’d gotten buried.

Probably some bum who crawled in here for the night. He thought grimly. Poor chap, it’d be a miracle if he was still alive.

The snow was really cold and started to numb George’s ungloved hands. He brushed the wet stuff off and whipped out his wand. Muttering an incantation he waved his arm in a circle and pointed it at the snow, which immediately began to melt. George started at the pile of snow where he guessed the feet would be and worked his way up to the head. The snow disintegrated to reveal a pair of worn traveling shoes, then a tattered black clock with ripped up sleeves. George quickly melted the snow from the body, until he could see a chest, then a neck, a chin . . . and then the face. George’s heart stopped beating, his mouth hung open as he stared at the blue, frozen face in shock.

It was Verity.

“Oh . . . my . . .” George’s brain seemed to have stopped working. Then something clicked back into place and he started shouting into the cold wind.

“Verity! Verity, wake up! No, no, NO! Verity!” he shook her by the shoulders but she didn’t stir. Swearing profusely now, George scooped up her limp figure in his arms and ran as fast as he could out of the alley and into the shop. He hurled himself at the door, sending in a whirl of snow and wind as he struggled to get Verity into the shop.

“So, how was your little trip to—?”

“Fred, help me!”

“What are you . . .” Fred’s voice trailed off as he saw the young girl’s unmoving figure in his brother’s arms.

“Damnit, Fred! Help me!”

Fred rushed over and grabbed Verity’s frozen legs. Together the twins carried her upstairs into their small apartment. Fred laid her body on the rug as George ran to light the fire with his wand. When the flames had risen to a steady blaze, Fred conjured up thick, woolen blankets out of thin air and laid them on top of her. As he draped them over her, his hand brushed against her bluish-white cheek. It was as cold as ice.

“Where did you find her?” he asked in amazement.

“She was outside, in the alley!” George replied, squatting down to sit on the other side of Verity.

“In this?” Fred gestured towards the window where the storm was still blowing about. “Shouldn’t she have been home with her mother?”

“I don’t know, Fred.” George said, raising his wand. “But we’re about to find out, ennervate!”

__________________________________________________ _______________________
YES! I FINALLY POSTED AGAIN! A little short, but I wanted to leave you on a little cliffe. But I promise to post soon! Don't forget to leave feedback!


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Last edited by witchsmart; December 25th, 2007 at 3:07 am.
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  #17  
Old December 25th, 2007, 3:14 am
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Re: Working With the Weasleys

Chapter Sixteen

Night had fallen. The streets of Diagon Alley were filled with complete silence. Nothing moved. Nothing made a sound. Then a voice came to her from the street outside.

“Verity . . .”

Verity peered out from behind the corner that the alley shared with the shop. Watching. Waiting.

As she had expected, a tall, dark figure wrapped in a black cloak appeared at the end of the street. It walked closer and closer, making no noise at all as it steadily approached.
A cold, harsh voice issued from its pale lips.

“Verity . . .”

Verity ducked back around the corner, holding her wand ready. There was no need to run. He couldn’t touch her here.

“Verity . . . I know where you are hiding.”

Verity’s heart began to beat faster, but the man was lying, he had to be.

“You cannot hide from me for much longer. You have been careless. Perhaps you have become attached to your new caretakers?”

Verity’s eyes widened. The man spoke the truth. She had become careless. She had ignored the warning signs. But it wasn’t too late, she could still run. He didn’t really know where she was, he was just trying to scare her. She could still get away.

“You think I am lying? I must admit, I am surprised that you would venture to this place. Perhaps you wished to see the sights of your childhood? Sentimental girl. Your longing for your past life will be your downfall . . . and my victory.”

So he knew.

There was nothing for it. She could no longer stay in Diagon Alley. As much as it pained her, she had to leave . . . for good. She stepped forward, preparing to Disapparate.

“No escape.”

Verity turned around slowly. The man had reached the entrance to the alleyway. He began to walk towards her, and with each step she could feel the air around her become colder. She tried to run, but she was trapped, held in the grips of an icy monster. Now the man was only a few feet away, in a moment, he would have her. It was so, so cold . . .



“Ennervate!”

Verity opened her eyes to see a blur of orange above her. She stared confusedly at the flaming blobs for a moment, and then her ears rang with the sounds of familiar voices.

Verity!

“Oh thank god!”

“We thought you were . . .”

Verity felt strong arms around her as the twins embraced her. She blushed, a little embarrassed. After a moment they released her, leaning back and staring down at her face, beaming. By this time Verity was extremely confused. She tried to figure out what had happened.

“Did I sleep in again?” she asked.

The twins broke out into choruses of laughter. Verity didn’t understand what was so funny. The truth was, the twins were just happy that she was alive. Staring down at her frozen body, they had feared the worst. Verity shivered, finally recognizing the fact that she had about ten layers of thick blankets draped over her.

“Why is it so cold in here?” she asked.

The twins glanced at each other. Behind them the fire blazed and sent waves of heat into the room.

“Verity, do you remember what happened last night?” George asked tentatively.

Verity frowned and racked her brains, still shivering.

“I was working at the register again. Then it was time to go home and you gave me money for . . . for . . .”

“For your mother.” Fred interjected helpfully.

“Right . . . for my mother.” Verity mumbled guiltily.

“Verity . . .” George hesitated for a moment, and then continued. “I found you lying in the alley next to the shop, covered in about a foot of snow.”

Verity closed her eyes and groaned inwardly, praying for a way out of the situation without telling them the truth . . .

“Why didn’t you go home to your mother, Verity?” Fred asked her.

“You knew there was a storm coming, and I’m sure you were worrying about her health all day.” George added. “What were you doing in the alley?”

Verity squirmed under the blankets. She could probably lie her way out of the situation, but she had already lied so much to the two people who had been so honest with her. And besides, if she kept lying, soon she would find herself in a position that she couldn’t get out of, one that might completely destroy any trust that existed between her and the twins, if it hadn’t been lost already. The only thing to do was to tell the truth. Well, at least part of the truth. Verity took a deep breath.

“Alright.” she began. “I didn’t go home to my mother because, because I don’t have a mother, or a father, or even a home to go back to. Every night, I sleep in that alley next to the shop. That’s why I wanted a job so much. I needed the money to support myself.”

The twins stared at her, clearly shocked.

“You mean, you’re an orphan?” George asked.

“Yes.” Verity answered.

“Didn’t you have, don’t you have any, any relatives who could take you in?” Fred asked.

“No. They’re all dead. At least, I think they all are.” Verity said truthfully.

The silence that followed was only broken by the crackling of the fire. Verity snuggled into the blankets for warmth. She was still freezing.

“Why the alley?” George asked suddenly.

“I told you, I don’t have a home to go to.”

“You could have rented a room in the Leaky Cauldron.” Fred pointed out.

“People don’t take in strangers as often as they used to,” Verity explained, “what with V—, with him being back and all. A bedraggled-looking kid like me with no family or friends and a sack full of money asking for a room? Doesn’t that sound a little suspicious to you? Besides, I probably couldn’t afford a room there, even with your generous offerings. Speaking of which,” Verity sat up and looked her employers straight in the eyes, “The gold you gave me is probably still sitting in the alley. I don’t want it. I don’t need it. You two earned that money and I have no right to take it.”

“Even if you have no mother . . .”

“You could still use it . . .”

“No.” Verity said firmly. “I will only take money from you that I have earned through hard work, not through charity.”

Fred and George looked at each other again but said nothing. Then Fred spoke up.

“Didn’t your family leave you any money?”

“Yes, but I spent it all.” Verity said.

“All of it?” George asked, disbelieving.

“We were a poor family.” Verity lied. She shivered again and tried to move a little closer to the fire.

“There’s just one more thing that I don’t understand, Verity.” George said. “You had been under that snow for a while, maybe even since the evening that you left the shop. You could have died. You should have died . . .”

“Oh gee, thanks.”

“No, no, that’s not what I meant!” George said hastily. “What I meant to say was, any . . . any other regular person would have died. It’s a miracle you survived, and believe me, I’m not complaining but, how did you do it?”

Verity grimaced. She’d hoped that they wouldn’t touch on the delicate subject of death. It really wasn’t a miracle that she’d survived. Like he’d said, any regular person would have died, but she wasn’t a regular person. Verity thought hard, trying to think of some excuse, any excuse except for the truth. Then it came to her. It was a long shot, but maybe they would believe it.

“Just before I fell asleep,” Verity said slowly, “I heated the air around me. I think that’s what saved me.”

Fred and George exchanged glances.

“It’s a bloody miracle.” George murmured.

“Well, what better time for miracles than Christmas?” Fred said softly.

The two sat in silence for a moment while Verity heaved a sigh of relief. She felt a little warmer now, and tried to get up to leave.

“And just where do you think you’re going?” Fred asked, rising up off the floor as Verity untangled herself from the blankets.

“Back outside.” Verity answered. “I feel a lot better now, and besides, I have to get that bag of gold I left out there . . .”

“Oh no.” George said, moving to stand beside his brother. “You’re not going anywhere. Not after what just happened.”

“I’ll only be in and out.” Verity protested. “I’ll just get the gold and leave—”

“Leave?” Fred asked. “Why?”

“W-Well.” Verity stammered. “I don’t suppose you would let me sleep in the alley anymore—”

“Damn right we won’t.” George frowned, folding his arms over his chest.

“S-So, I have to leave.” Verity said. “I have nowhere else to go and—”

“And what’ll we do without you?” Fred said, crossing his arms so that he and George were mirror images of each other.

“Yeah, you’re a darn good employee.” George said.

“One of the best we’ve ever had.” Fred added.

“But—”

“But nothing.” Fred interrupted. “You will keep on working at Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes—”

“—and you will sleep here in the store—”

“—every night—”

“—and don’t even think of refusing.”

“But—”

“No. Don’t forget, Verity,” Fred smirked. “We’re still your employers. And we order you to stay here with us.”

“At least until you’re seventeen.” George added.

Verity just stared at them, not knowing what to say. After she had taken advantage of them, lied to them, they still wanted to help her?

“Now get back under those blankets.” George commanded. “Go on.”

Verity couldn’t speak. All she could do was smile as she crawled over to her nest of sheets.

“Not on the floor.” Fred said. “You’re sleeping in my bed tonight.”

Verity tried to protest but the twins wouldn’t have any of it.

“Don’t worry,” George joked, as Verity carefully climbed into one of the two beds that stood in the room, “We washed the sheets before we left, so you don’t have to worry about getting cooties or anything.”

“Shut up, George.”

Verity laughed as she settled in. It was so nice to be sleeping on a soft mattress instead of on a hard road. She nearly fell asleep the moment her head hit the pillow, but before she did, she listened to the twins bickering amongst themselves.

“I don’t have cooties.”

“How would you know?”

“I’d know.”

“Oh really? So you’re the cootie-expert all of a sudden?”

Cootie-expert? Oh that's real clever. Well at least she’s not sleeping in your bed, or she’d become dreadfully ill.”

“With what?”

“Loser-itis.”

“That’s not even a disease, moron.”

“The cooties aren’t a disease either.”

“Shut up.”

“Only after you.”

Verity smiled to herself as she rolled over. She could get used to this. It was almost like having a family again. If only Charlie could see her now.

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  #18  
Old December 28th, 2007, 8:15 am
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Re: Working With the Weasleys

Chapter Seventeen

Living and working in Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes, Verity felt truly happy and content for the first time in many years. Now, nearly every moment of her day was spent with the two people that Verity liked and trusted most in this world, and she was enjoying every second of it.

Of course, Fred couldn’t continue to sleep on the floor upstairs, and so a bed was placed into the storage room for Verity to sleep in. Every morning she would wake up at exactly seven o’clock and begin her day. Michelle had finally gotten over her cold, and so Verity was back to restocking the shelves, which she didn’t mind in the least. Actually, running the counter had been very tiring for her, and she preferred her regular, less hectic position. The weeks passed by in a blissful blur, and Verity soon lost track of things. How long she had spent in Diagon Alley, who had seen her who shouldn’t have, and most importantly, the reason as to why she kept moving from place to place, all slipped from her mind. The Weasleys’ shop was just too wonderful to leave behind, and working amongst other people, Verity felt normal again. It was the best feeling she’d had in a very long time.

Every evening after the doors had closed behind the last employee, Fred, George, and Verity would finish restocking this or straightening up that, until the shop was in as much of an order as they could make it. Then the three would head downstairs to the lab for some experimenting, and then later upstairs to sit in front of the fire. Verity had come to see Fred and George as brothers, and they her as a younger sister. Needless to say, the three had become very close.

On the days they went downstairs, Verity would help the twins think of and create new products for the shop. She had a lot of suggestions, which Fred and George gladly welcomed, and the lab was always filled with the sounds of bubbling liquids and the buzz of the dozens of creatures inside their cages.

Whenever the day had been particularly stressful or exhausting, Verity and the twins would skip the lab and head straight upstairs to the apartment. They would settle themselves on the beds, in chairs, or on the rug in front of the blazing fireplace, and talk. The subjects ranged from the shop to the twins’ personal lives. Verity particularly enjoyed listening to the Weasleys recount their adventures at Hogwarts, and the mischief they caused. The room was always filled with laughter as Verity watched the twins’ exaggerated impersonations of various characters, and soon she began to request her favorite stories.

On that particular day, Verity and the twins were heading upstairs from the lab. They had just put the finishing touches on Verity’s latest idea, a ball-like device that when activated would send out waves that distorted the voices of everyone in the vicinity. This object would most certainly be very amusing at parties and in classes, and the twins and Verity only needed to settle on a name.

“My vote is still for Distortation Frustration.” Fred said, as they walked up the wooden stairs to the apartment. “It’s got a nice ring to it.”

“Well I think it ought to be called Detention Distorter.” George argued. “It’s got more meaning behind it, what better place to use a voice distorter than in detention? It’ll bring some entertainment into an otherwise dull and pointless evening. What do you think, Verity? After all, it is your invention.”

“Yeah, you decide what it should be, Verity.”

Verity pondered the two names. They both fit the product, and each title alone would certainly catch the eye of the consumer. But it could only have one name.

“How about . . . Detention Distortation?” she suggested. The twins were silent for a moment, considering the name.

“Well, it’s catchy.” George said.

“It’s got a bit of a ring to it.” Fred added.

“It displays the purpose of the product.”

“And it’s easy for the customer to remember.”

They looked at each other and nodded simultaneously.

“We have a winner!” Fred cried.

“Yet another brilliant idea, Verity!” George said, patting Verity on the back as they entered the apartment. The twins collapsed onto the rug, one of them igniting the fire on the way down. Verity perched herself on the edge of George’s bed.

“So,” Fred said, stretching himself out on the carpet, “how should we whittle away the rest of this evening?” He looked inquisitively at Verity.

“Tell me about your last day at Hogwarts.” Verity said after a moment’s thought. She was eager to hear how the twins had celebrated their graduation from the wizarding school. It must have been eventful, for Fred and George immediately broke out into peals of laughter.

“Oh, what a glorious day that was.” Fred said, wiping tears away from his eyes.

“Our finest hour at Hogwarts.” George agreed.

“What happened?” Verity asked eagerly.

“Well,” Fred began, “You see Verity, unlike the rest of our year, George and I graduated from Hogwarts a little earlier than usual.”

“Only a few months or so.” George shrugged. “It’s not like we were going to miss anything important, and we figured we had done all we could do there.”

“But we weren’t just going to say goodbye and walk out of the door.” Fred said. “No, no, we made sure to go out with a bang.”

“So we decided to test out our latest product.”

“The Portable Swamp.”

Verity’s eyes widened in anticipation. In the hands of an amateur prankster, the Portable Swamp could create a miniature mess of mud and slime in the midst of any room. In the hands of Fred and George, well, she wondered if Hogwarts had ever managed to recover. The twins went on.

“So we activated our little gadget in one of the corridors.” Fred explained.

“Worked like a charm. I’d never seen anything so disgustingly beautiful in my entire life.” George said reminiscently.

“Unfortunately, not everyone appreciated our little farewell present.” Fred sighed.

“Especially that toad, Umbridge.”

“Oh yes, I’ll never forget the look on her face when she saw what we’d done.”

“Priceless.”

“Who’s Umbridge?” Verity asked.

“A miserable old bat who works for the Ministry.” Fred said. “She tried to take over Hogwarts, and managed to replace Albus Dumbledore as headmaster for a time. That’s when we decided that the time had come for us to leave Hogwarts.”

Verity’s heart jumped a little but she said nothing.

“So after we deployed the swamp, George and I ran down into the entrance hall, where Umbridge had us cornered. The whole school had turned up to watch.”

“Then Filch ran up to her with a bunch of papers in his hand. Do you remember what they were Fred?”

“Whipping forms.”

“That’s right! I remember seeing old Filch hobble over to her, wheezing hysterically.

Fred stood up and began to drag himself across the room, waving his hands and croaking out, “I’ve got the forms, Headmistress! I’ve got the forms!”

Verity giggled.

“I thought he was going to pull a muscle, the old geezer.”

“So that’s when Fred and I decided it was time to leave. We raised our wands and summoned our broomsticks—”

“Umbridge had locked them up after she banned us from Quidditch.” Fred explained.

“—and we flew up to the ceiling.”

“Peeves was there to meet us.”

“And we told him to give that old dirtbag hell from us.”

“Then we flew out of Hogwarts, never to return.” Fred finished dramatically.

“You should have seen Umbridge, hopping around madly, trying to stop us.” George laughed, sitting up on his knees and bouncing up and down, waving his arms and screaming in a shrill voice, “Stop them! Stop them! They’re getting away, Filch! Stop them!”

Fred pretended to be Filch again and started to run back and forth in a panic.

“Right you are, Headmistress!” he croaked. “Somebody grab them! Mrs. Norris! Mrs. Norris! Where are you? Somebody stop those two criminals!”

The twins continued with their act for a little longer, much to the enjoyment of
Verity, who was shaking with laughter on the bed. After a while the twins flopped back onto the carpet, their chests vibrating as they laughed with Verity.

“Ah, what a night.” George said, after they had all caught their breath.

“We were told the result was catastrophic.” Fred said.

“And to think, we were able to touch so many people before we left.” George smiled. “Umbridge never had a peaceful night after that.”

“Neither did we, what with all the orders coming in for Skiving Snackboxes.”

“Well, it was worth it.”

“Yep. Umbridge was never quite the same again after she left Hogwarts . . .”

The room was filled with silence that was only interrupted by the ticking of the clock as the three lay still. After a few minutes, George sat up and looked at the clock.

“Blimey, is that the time?” he said, getting to his feet. “We’d better all get some sleep if we’re going to have any energy left for work in the morning.”

There was a muttered agreement from the other two, and Fred and George walked over to their closet to dress for the night as Verity headed out the door.

“Night, Verity.”

“Goodnight, Verity.”

“Goodnight, Fred. Goodnight George.”

It was the last happy occasion she would ever share with them.

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  #19  
Old December 29th, 2007, 4:24 pm
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Re: Working With the Weasleys

Chapter Eighteen

A thick fog had risen up overnight, covering the streets with an impenetrable whiteness. She was standing on the main road, and she wasn’t alone.

“Verity . . .”

Verity stood still, safely hidden within the folds of the mist surrounding her. He couldn’t find her, he couldn’t touch her.

“Verity, this is your last warning.” The voice was cold and harsh, issuing from somewhere ahead of her. “Tonight, I will come to fetch you myself. And I will not be alone.”

Verity clutched her wand tightly. She could no longer deny it, she had to run. He could not be allowed to catch her.

“Do not think of running away.” The cold voice said, as if it had read her thoughts. “And do not think of fighting me. If you do, they will get hurt.”

Verity felt a chill go down her spine. The fog was starting to clear up now, and she could see that familiar figure in the distance, wrapped in shadows and walking ever closer.

“If you are not here when I arrive, I will kill your friends. If you surrender peacefully, I will let them live.”

The man was even closer now, she could see a cold smile forming on his face. He knew he had her. He stopped, inches from her, and Verity stared fearfully up into his pale face.

“The choice is yours.”

Then everything went black, and Verity left the streets.



She awoke in her bed, staring up at the storeroom’s ceiling. He was coming, and she couldn’t run from him. If she did, he would kill Fred and George. She rolled over and buried her face in her pillow. She was such an idiot! If she had only left when the warning signs had appeared, if she had only been sensible enough to spot the danger! She had allowed herself to become attached to her surroundings, blinding her to reality with the simple hope that she could live a normal life. Now he was coming for her, and the whole world would pay the price.

If she stayed. There was still time. She could be gone within a moment, and he wouldn’t be able to use her. Of course, then he would kill the Weasley twins, but what were two lives compared to the hundreds of others that were sure to follow?

But Verity knew that she could never bring herself to abandon Fred and George. She could never leave them to be slaughtered, even if it meant the end of her freedom. And she knew it was because she loved them. They were as dear to her as brothers and sisters would be, as close to her as he had been. She would do anything, to keep them alive and safe. And he knew that.

Verity sat up, her mind set. Even though it would bring harm to countless of others, including herself, she would not run away. She would face her tormentor, proud and defiant, and accept the consequences.

Verity knew that there wasn’t much time left until he arrived. She snatched up her wand and ran out of the storage room. She was halfway to the door before she remembered something.

Earlier that week, Fred and George had given her a beautiful diamond necklace. Verity normally carried it with her everywhere, but last night she had left it on the dresser in their apartment. She turned back. That necklace would be all that she had to remember Fred and George by, she wasn’t going to leave it behind.

Verity took the steps two at a time, trying to be as silent as possible so as not to wake the twins. She didn’t want to talk to them for fear that she might be delayed too long. She had to be outside by the time he arrived, or he might come into the shop to search for her.

Verity had reached the landing and was just stepping over the threshold when,

BLAM! CRASH! SHOOM! ZUP!

All sorts of noises issued through the air, each one louder than the rest. It was as though a hundred firecrackers were going off in the room at the same time. Verity crouched down and covered her ears, but she could still hear the noise as loudly as ever, as though the sounds waves were entering her brain through the pores in her skin. Needless to say, the noise was enough to wake even heavy snorers like Fred and George.

The twins leapt out of their beds and faced the door, their wands at the ready. It really would have been funny if the situation hadn’t been so desperate. Verity was kneeling on the floor with her hands over her ears, staring at the two pajama-clad Weasleys with messy orange hair and sleepy expressions. And all the while the alarms blared as loudly as ever.

Once the semi-conscious twins recognized the intruder, they waved their wands simultaneously and the noise ceased. Verity removed her hands from her ears, her head throbbing painfully.

“Sorry about that.” Fred said, walking forward to help her to her feet. “Just an alarm George and I rigged up, in case any Death Eaters try to sneak into our bedrooms and murder us while we’re asleep.”

Verity looked away.

“What’re you doing up so late, Verity?” George asked, walking over to stand next to her.

“I, uh, I wanted to get my necklace. I forgot it here.” Verity stammered, pointing towards the dresser where her necklace lay.

“And it couldn’t have waited until morning?” Fred questioned.

Verity didn’t have time to explain herself. She ignored Fred’s question and walked quickly over to the dresser, snatched up her necklace, and tried to leave the room. But something about her grim face and hasty manner seemed to bother the twins, and they blocked her way.

“Please move, I need to leave.” Verity said, trying to side-step them, but to no avail.

“Leave?” George asked. “Where are you going?”

At this point Verity was close to tears. At any second, he would be walking through the door, and she knew that the twins wouldn’t let her go with him. They would fight him, and they would die at his hands.

“Please, just move!” she cried, flinging herself at the door. Fred caught her and wrestled her onto the bed.

“What. Is. The. Matter?” he panted, as Verity struggled to get free. Then he froze as he felt her wand pressing against his neck.

“Let me go.” She said in a voice of deadly calm. Fred didn’t move.

“Something is wrong, Verity.” He said, pinning her to the bed. “Tell us what it is. We can help.”

“No. You can’t. Get off of me, Fred.”

“No.”

Verity gritted her teeth together and pressed her wand harder into Fred’s neck.

“Please, Verity.” George said, walking over to stand by her. “Talk to us. You can trust us.”

“It’s not a matter of trust.” She pleaded. “Please, just let me go.”

“No.”

Verity knew all she had to do was to stun them, and then she could leave. But if he broke his promise and came in to kill them anyways, they would die defenseless, paralyzed on the floor. And she wanted to tell them. She wanted to tell them everything that she had kept to herself for so many years. She needed to tell them.

“Alright.” She said. “I’ll tell you. But you need to get off of me.”

Fred hesitated.

“I won’t run.” Verity promised.

Fred paused for a moment, then released her. She sat up on the bed and stared at the floor. This was not going to be easy. There was so much to tell, and all of what she had to say was unbelievable and incredible. Would they even believe her?

“I guess this all started years and years ago.” She began, staring fixedly at the floor. “I don’t know if I even remember it all, it was so long ago.”

“How long ago could it possibly be?” George asked. “You’re only fourteen.”

Verity laughed quietly.

“Actually, that’s where it all starts, back when I was fourteen years old.”

The twins looked at each other but said nothing. Verity glanced up at them and took a deep breath.

“Have you ever heard . . . of the Fountain of Youth?”

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  #20  
Old December 31st, 2007, 3:32 am
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witchsmart  Female.gif witchsmart is offline
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Re: Working With the Weasleys

Chapter Nineteen

“The Fountain of Youth?” Fred asked. “Yeah I’ve heard of it. It’s supposed to give you eternal life if you drink from it, right?”

Verity nodded solemnly.

“But that’s just a story.” George added. “People have speculated about it, but no one’s ever found the real thing.”

“I have.” Verity said. “When I was fourteen years old, I found the Fountain of Youth, and I drank from it.”

“WHAT?!” the twins cried in unison, jumping in surprise and falling off of the bed. Verity plowed on. Now that she had begun, she was eager to tell them everything.

“I told you when I first came here,” she said, staring at the folds of her cloak, “that I’m older than fourteen. In fact, I’m a hundred and nineteen years old.”

If one’s head could have exploded from shock, there would be fragments from Fred and George’s skulls lying around the room by now. As it was, both looked as though their jaws would never close. George managed to choke out, “A . . . A hundred and nineteen years old?”

Verity nodded. The twins continued to look dumbstruck, then Fred frowned and said, “You’re not pulling our legs are you?”

Verity looked at him. The sadness and regret in her gaze was all the proof he needed to believe her tale.

“But how . . . how can you be?” George seemed to have trouble speaking. “If you were, were that old you’d be . . . I’m mean, you don’t look—”

“Immortality, preserves many things.” Verity said simply. When the twins continued to stare at her, mouths slightly open, she continued. “A hundred and five years ago, on my fourteenth birthday, my friend, my best friend in the whole world, Al, took me into the woods behind my house. He had been given the job of distracting me until my surprise party was ready, so he told me that he wanted to go exploring . . .


“But Al, we’ve explored the woods hundreds of times.” Verity said, as her friend dragged her into the woods.

“And every time, we find new wonders.” He said, a twinkle in his blue eyes. “Come on, Verity, just for a few minutes.”

“Alright, alright.” She said, laughing as she followed him into the woods. Tall trees surrounded them as they walked deeper into the forest. Rays of sunlight shone through gaps in their branches as the two children stepped over the grassy floor. Birds flitted in and out of their sight, twittering and chirping merrily. Verity loved these walks through the forest, there was so much to see, and no one appreciated nature’s beauty more than herself and Al.

Suddenly Al broke into a run. Laughing, Verity raced after him, and the two rushed through the woods, dodging and weaving around the trees, until both were out of breath and collapsed, panting, onto the soft earth beneath them.

As they lay there, catching their breath, Verity stared up at the blue sky. It was so peaceful here, so removed from the real world and its problems. She would stay here forever if she could. She closed her eyes and listened and let the forest do the talking. Chirping, buzzing, blowing, trickling . . .

Trickling?

Verity sat up and listened. Sure enough, there was a soft trickling noise of water falling on water coming from behind them. She stood up and walked slowly towards the noise.

“Verity?” Al asked, rolling over onto his stomach to stare at her. “Where’re you going?”

“I hear water.” She said as she walked closer to the source of the noise. Al stared after her for a moment, then got to his feet and followed her. The two remained silent as Verity led them through the woods, and now Al could hear the sounds of splashing water as well, but he could also feel something else. Something magical was up ahead.

Finally they broke out of the trees and into a clearing that Verity hadn’t known existed in that part of the forest. And standing in the center of the open space was a fountain. A fountain unlike any she’d ever seen.

It was carved from a white rock that was completely free of any blemishes. The fountain was tall; its uppermost point was only surpassed by the tips of the tallest trees. Each curve, every twist of the fountain’s design, was executed to perfection.

But the fountain was nothing compared to the water flowing over it. From the fountain’s tip it spouted upwards, shooting into the air before falling gracefully down into a basin near the top. It gathered there for a while before spilling over the edge, flowing downwards until it reached the fountain’s base, the clearest water she’d ever seen. It flowed continuously into this base, and yet the surface level never rose any higher. The entire fountain seemed to give off a strange light, as if it were glowing.

“It’s beautiful.” Verity said softly. She took a step forward.

“Don’t.”

Verity turned around to look at Al. He was staring at the fountain with a mixture of amazement and horror in his eyes. “Don’t go any closer to it.” He said without taking his eyes off of the fountain. Verity laughed.

“It’s just a fountain.” She said. “I just want to take a closer look at it.”

She took another step towards the fountain.

“Stop, Verity.” Al commanded. “There’s something about that fountain. Something immensely magical.”

“You stop it.” Verity said. “I’ll just be a second.”

Now she was at the fountain’s base. She could see that strange symbols had been carved into the outside ring, but she hadn’t the faintest idea what they meant. She looked down into the clear pool and stared at her reflection, easily visible in the sparkling water. She licked her parched lips. She was so thirsty all of a sudden. It must have been from running through the woods. She stooped down.

“Verity, don’t do it!” Al cried desperately. He was still standing on the outskirts of the clearing, refusing to take a single step closer to the fountain for fear that he too, would be taken in by its spell. “Don’t drink from that fountain!” Verity glanced back at him.

“You’re being silly.” She said. “I’m thirsty from all of that running. I just want to take a drink. I’ll only be a moment.”

“No! Please, Verity!” Al pleaded with her. “Let’s go back to your house! Come here!”

“No. You’re the one who wanted to go exploring in the first place. I’ll be over in a minute.”

And before he could say anything else, she brought her lips to meet the water’s surface and drank. The water tasted so good, it was so pure and cool, what was Al getting so worked up about? After what seemed like an age, Verity lifted her head up. She felt a little dizzy, but attributed that to the icy coolness of the water. She turned back towards Al who was looking at her worriedly, as if he expected her to drop dead any moment.

“See? I told you there was nothing wrong with the water.” She said, walking over to him. “You should have a drink, Al. It’s really refreshing.”

Al merely shook his head.

“I want nothing to do with that fountain, Verity.” He said. “Come on, let’s get out of here.”

And so, with one final glance back at the fountain, they left the clearing.


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