Disclaimer: For this story, I borrowed the wizarding world,
as well as Privet Drive and the zoo in Little Whinging, from JK Rowling.
Several characters were also created by her, but I am completely responsible
for their actions in this story. The plot is mine, and once book 6 comes out,
it’s going to be complete nonsense, but I will have had fun anyway.
Author’s Note: Many thanks to my wonderful beta readers Alistria and Delleve Miststone, and of course my brilliant SQ beta reader Arianrhod.
Chapter 3 – Jolly Juice
“The most important thing is to
Mark was fascinated. He was about to
travel in a wizarding way for the first time, and it sounded very
exciting. Mr Weasley had explained that there was a network of wizarding
fires, called the Floo network. They just had to travel through the
network and get out at the right grate.
“Now, who wants to go first?”
Mr Weasley asked enthusiastically.
Mark glanced over at his parents. His
mother was looking very scared, and his father was rubbing her back,
softly whispering consoling words to her.
“I will,” Mark said.
At once, his parents turned to stare at
him. Mark smiled back happily and grabbed a handful of Floo powder,
just as Mr Weasley had instructed. He threw the powder in the fire
and watched in amazement as the flames turned brilliant green. He
took one step forward, heard his mother gasp, then took a deep breath and
stepped into the green fire.
It felt pleasantly warm. His mother
looked as if she was going to pull him back out of the fire, but his
father had one hand on her shoulder to prevent that. Mark smiled. He
decided he’d better go quickly before either of his parents
changed their minds about dinner with the Weasleys.
“The Burrow!” he yelled,
holding his arms tightly to his sides, just as Mr Weasley had adviced him.
The fire engulfed him. His parents and
Mr Weasley disappeared from sight, and the green flames around him
were swirling so fast that he was starting to feel slightly
nauseous. He closed his eyes and let the fire carry him away, but he
was disappointed to note that the journey wasn’t nearly as fun
as the cart-ride in Gringotts. Although he was racing through the
green mass at roller-coaster speed, the journey merely made him feel
sick, and he hoped it would stop soon, before he threw up.
Mark had only just finished that
thought when he felt himself slowing down, as if a
violent storm had risen and was trying to blow him back. He opened
his eyes and caught sight of a few grates flashing past, until he
suddenly changed direction and hurtled towards one of the grates.
Only half a second after the sickening change of direction, the Floo
network spat him out, and he landed hard on a cold stone floor.
Gasping for breath, he rolled over and
looked straight at the tip of a wand, held by a red-haired woman who
was towering over him. Her face was set and she seemed to be about to
utter a deadly curse. Mark’s heart hammered in his chest, and
he suddenly wished he was back with his parents and the friendly Mr
Weasley. As the woman opened her mouth, Mark closed his eyes, waiting
for the blow to fall.
“And who are you?”
Mark opened his eyes in surprise. The
wand tip hadn’t moved and the woman looked just as frightening
as before, but he was still alive. He quickly decided answering the
question would be best.
“Mark Evans,” he said.
“Ah,” the woman said,
suddenly smiling. “Did Arthur send you?”
Mark thought his father had called Mr
Weasley “Arthur,” so he quickly nodded.
The woman lowered her wand and pulled
him to his feet. She started to swat him; it took a few seconds for
Mark to realise she was swatting the dust and ashes off his clothes.
“Welcome to the Burrow,”
she said, smiling. “I’m Molly Weasley.”
Mark suddenly couldn’t understand
that he had been scared to death by her only a few moments before.
Right now, she looked very good-natured and pleasant; she also wasn’t
nearly as tall as Mark had thought. Mark smiled and decided he liked
All of a sudden, a faint screaming
started. Mark froze in shock while the screaming grew louder and
louder. He whirled around, but there was no one else in the kitchen
aside from him and Mrs Weasley.
Then the fire lit up green, and as a
dark shape emerged from it, the screaming stopped abruptly and was
replaced by a yell of pain.
“Well, hello,” Mrs Weasley
said. “You must be Mark’s mother.”
Mark rushed to his mother’s side
and helped her up. She looked aghast.
“Never ... never ...” she
“It’s all right, Mum,”
Mark said. “You ended up in the right grate, didn’t you?”
His mother didn’t seem to be
able to speak, so he helped her over to the kitchen table and sat her
While his mother was slowly regaining
some colour in her face, Mark looked around the kitchen. He
spotted a clock on the wall. It was clearly a magical clock: instead
of numbers, there were phrases like “Time to feed the chickens”
and “You’re late.” Right now, the only hand was
stuck between “You’ve got visitors” and “Time
to make dinner.”
The kitchen fire went green once again
and with a soft whoosh, Mark’s father entered. He was
the only one of the family to get up by himself, brushing ashes off
his hair and clothes. He glanced over at Mark and his mother and then
extended a hand to Mrs Weasley.
While greetings were exchanged, Harry
arrived. Mark had expected him to exit the Floo gracefully, as he was
the most experienced, but he was mistaken. Harry tumbled out of the
fire and smashed into the floor. Moaning, he pulled himself up.
“I’m never going to like
this,” he said miserably.
Then he looked around in the kitchen.
“Hello, Mrs Weasley, good to see you again.”
The next moment, Harry had disappeared
from sight as Mrs Weasley had engulfed him. When finally, after a
few minutes, Mrs Weasley released Harry, she held him at arm length
and observed him with a critical eye.
“I have never seen you
looking so healthy at the end of the summer,” she said, as she
Mark didn’t think Harry looked
very healthy, as his face had turned purple from lack of oxygen, but
he supposed that a whole summer with the Dursleys would be much more
harmful than a hug from Mrs Weasley.
There was a tiny pop and Mr Weasley
materialized out of thin air. Mark felt his eyes grow wide. That was
amazing. He immediately wanted to know when he would learn to
do that, but before he could decide whether to ask his father, Harry
or Mr Weasley about it, he heard a door open behind his back.
He turned around and blinked. In the
door frame, four boys were standing. They all had red hair and lots
of freckles, and they wore almost identical grins on their faces.
Mark blinked again. He now noticed that one of them was slightly
taller than the other three, and one was more a man than a boy,
but the two boys in the middle were identical to
“Harry!” the tall boy
exclaimed. “I didn’t know you were coming!”
“I didn’t know either,”
Harry said, grinning.
Someone behind Mark cleared his throat.
“Boys,” Mr Weasley said,
stepping forward. “This is Mark Evans, and his parents.”
The eldest boy extended his hand to
Mark. “Hi, I’m Charlie. So Harry is living with you,
Mark shook his hand and nodded. Before
he had the chance to say anything, one of the twins knocked Charlie out of the way.
“Nice to meet you, Mark,”
the boy said, vigorously shaking Mark’s hand. “I’m
“Don’t, Fred,” Harry
said in a bored voice.
“What?” The boy pulled an
innocent looking face.
Harry sighed and rolled his eyes.
“Mark, this is Fred. The other one is George.”
The second twin appeared. “You’re
no fun, Harry.”
The tall boy turned out to be Harry’s
friend Ron, and after the four boys, Ron’s sister Ginny
entered the kitchen. Mark wondered why Harry always called her “Ron’s
little sister.” She was almost as tall as Ron, and certainly
taller than Harry.
“Dinner’s ready!” Mrs
Dinner was a completely new experience for
Mark. He had never been to a gathering of such a large family as the Weasleys, and
certainly not of such a noisy one. Fred and George were telling Harry
stories about their joke shop, and the three of them burst out
laughing every few minutes. Mr Weasley was talking to Mark’s
father about his job at the Ministry of Magic, and was amiably
sharing stories about shrinking keys, stubborn paper knives and
word-shuffling dictionaries. Mark’s mother and Mrs Weasley
seemed to be exchanging recipes and talking about Muggle and magical
ways of cooking. Charlie was talking to Ron and Ginny about dragons.
Mark tried to eat and listen to all
four of the conversations at the same time, immensely enjoying the
atmosphere. His gaze often darted to the strange clock on the wall
and he wondered what other surprises the house would have in stock.
He fervently hoped he would be getting a tour.
“So did you enjoy your shopping
Mark started and turned to Charlie,
who was looking at him genuinely interested, the Weasley Grin firmly
“Oh yes, it was – er –
nice,” Mark began, “and – I mean –” He
took another look at the older boy’s face and suddenly felt
very at ease. Surprising himself, he started to recount the day’s
events, in no particular order. Charlie was a wonderful audience. He
did not seem to consider Mark a little boy, and listened
carefully to every word Mark said, while his eyes were glittering with
When Mark finished telling about buying
a wand at Ollivanders, he noticed that everyone was silent. He
blanched. Every single eye was on him, but he couldn’t tell if
it was because they found his story interesting or because something
“Is it usual for wands to spark
like that?” he asked uncertainly.
“Oh, Bill had a lot of sparking
wands, too,” Mrs Weasley said. “I remember clearly. Fred
and George were there.” Her face darkened as she looked at her
twin sons. “They thought the sparks were very – funny.”
For a moment, there was an uneasy
silence. No one seemed to dare to ask what Fred and George had done –
maybe nothing at all – until Mr Weasley cleared his throat.
“There are two possible reasons
for sparking wands,” he said. “Usually a wand only sparks
at touch if it fits the wizard. However, very powerful wizards are able to
get sparks at the first touch of many wands. A more common reason,
though, is that the wizard is able to use many wands well, even if
there’s only one that suits him best.”
“Bill would have done well with
other wands too,” Mrs Weasley said. “Although he might
not have become Head Boy with every wand.”
“Why not?” Ron asked. “What
has your wand to do with becoming Head Boy?”
Mrs Weasley directed her piercing gaze
at him. “Because, Ronald Weasley, your grades and performances
in class are very important for becoming Head Boy. It might not be
considered very important for becoming a prefect, but to become a
Head Boy you need top grades.”
Ron’s ears turned red at those
words, and he suddenly became very interested in the last crumbs on
his plate. Mrs Weasley glared at him for a moment, then waved her
wand and made all the dishes fly over their heads to the sink. Mark
gaped when another flick of her wand prompted the dishes to wash
When they moved to the living room a
few minutes later, the conversation had turned to the inner workings
of the Ministry of Magic. Mark tried to listen, because he was eager
to learn anything about this wonderful world, but politics did not
interest him much, and the long and exciting day started to take its
toll. The words seemed not able to find their way into his head, which
was feeling more heavy every minute.
While drinks were served, Mark’s
gaze travelled through the living room. On a table next to the door
were a few strange silver instruments, buzzing softly. The walls were
covered with moving photographs of mostly freckled, red-haired people
of various ages. A few of the photographs featured Harry, and Mark
remembered the Dursleys’ living room – so different from
this one – where no pictures of Harry were to be found at all.
Mark’s mind drifted away to the
events of the past day. A man with violet – no, brown –
robes swam into view, bloodshot eyes standing out on his face: the man
they had met in front of Gringotts today.
Mark wondered how such a man was supposed to protect Harry; he didn’t
look very trustworthy. Was it possible that the man was secretly
loyal to Voldemort instead of Dumbledore?
“Fudge is a fool!”
Mark started at the harsh words, and
suddenly realised that he had been about to drift off to sleep;
however, now he was wide awake again. It was Harry who had spoken,
and he looked angrier than Mark had ever seen him.
“He’s certainly not the
best Minister we could have,” Mr Weasley said calmly. “He’s
totally incapable of running the Ministry, especially now the war has
started again, but the Department Heads are working together very
well on their own.”
“The war?” Mark’s
father asked sharply.
Mr Weasley flashed an anxious glance to
Harry before turning back to Mark’s parents. “Didn’t
you hear? A dark wizard – that is, he’s evil – and we thought
he was gone, but –”
“We know about that,”
Mark’s mother interrupted. “But has he started a war?”
didn’t feel remotely sleepy now. The stories his father and
Harry had told him had made him realise that the situation was grave,
but no one had ever talked about a war.
afraid we should call it a war, yes,” Mr Weasley said. “The
attacks only started two months ago, after the Ministry finally
acknowledged You-Know-Who’s return, but without doubt, it will
Minister?” Mark’s mother asked. “How will the
wizarding world survive with an incompetent Minister?”
Mr Weasley smiled wryly. “Don’t
worry about that; Fudge will be out of there soon enough. He simply
cannot keep making mistakes without consequences for himself.”
“He’s already made too many
mistakes,” Harry muttered, but he looked pleased with the
information that Fudge would be gone soon.
“Who will be the new Minister,
Dad?” Ron asked.
Mr Weasley hesitated. “It’s
a bit too early to speculate about that, Ron –”
“But you must have an idea if
you’re going to sack him,” his youngest son persisted.
“Well, there are several possible
candidates,” Mr Weasley said. “There will be elections,
of course. One of the candidates might be – er – well,
maybe Amelia Bones, the Head of the Department of Magical Law
Mark noticed that Mr Weasley’s
ears turned red, just like Ron’s had done during dinner; even
without that suspicious sign, it was clear that Mr Weasley was hiding
something. It was equally clear that Ron wasn’t about to let it
Mark glanced over at Harry and was
shocked to see him looking extremely angry. His face had turned very
red, and still seemed to be getting redder. The colour even seemed to
be stretching into his hair. Mark blinked. Harry’s hair was
turning red. He blinked again. On a second thought, Harry didn’t
look furious at all. It was the slightly annoyed expression and the
unhealthy red colour in his face that made him seem angry, but that
effect was wearing off now Harry’s hair had turned red, too.
Harry finally seemed to notice
something when his nose and ears disappeared and were replaced by
tomatoes. At the same time, Mark’s mother shrieked. Mark turned
around quickly and caught sight of his father, who had turned dark
blue and sported blackberries on his face, and was sitting next to a
lemon-decorated, bright yellow Charlie Weasley. Mark’s mother
had gone rigid with shock.
Mrs Weasley was the first to come to
her senses. “FRED AND GEORGE WEASLEY! HOW DARE YOU DO THAT TO
“Now Molly,” Mr Weasley
interrupted. “I’m sure they’re willing to turn them
back, don’t you, boys?” Mark was quite sure he was hiding
“Of course, Dad,” George
“It only lasts a few minutes,”
Mrs Weasley still looked furious, but
she didn’t say anything. Ginny had sat down next to her and was
patting her back.
“What is this stuff?” Harry asked,
examining his red hands.
“Jolly Juice,” Fred said
proudly. “Our newest product, to be used at parties. We’ve
invented four different types.”
“Green Apple Juice is supposed to
be in Mark’s glass,” George said. “Didn’t you
drink any of it, Mark?”
Mark looked at the glass on the table
in front of him. He vaguely remembered the drinks being brought in,
just before his mind had started wandering. He hadn’t taken one
sip of it.
“You still could –”
“OH NO YOU DON’T!” Mrs Weasley cut
him off. Ginny tumbled to the floor in surprise, clutching her ear, which had
been no more than ten inches away from her mother’s mouth. “It’s
bad enough as it is! You’re NOT going to make him drink that!”
“All right, Mum, all right.”
Most likely the only reason that Mrs
Weasley didn’t continue her lecture was that the victims of the
Jolly Juice turned right at that moment. Mark’s mother
seemed very relieved that her husband had regained his usual colour
and she smiled a bit.
As the conversation resumed without any yelling, Mark’s eyelids
became heavy. He still wanted to say something to Fred and George about
the Jolly Juice, but he couldn’t remember what, and he did not seem
to have the force to speak either. As the sounds around him turned into a
comfortable buzzing, his head lolled aside and sleep overcame him.
Tom and Amy Evans smiled as they saw their son fall asleep on the couch
in the Weasleys’ living room.
“I think Mark has had enough fun for one day,” Tom said. As
he stood up and walked over to Mark, he noticed that Harry was looking quite
drowsy as well. He lightly touched the shoulder of the boy whom he had come to
love almost as his own son over the past two months. “Ready to go home, Harry?”
Harry nodded and got to his feet as well. While he said goodbye to all of the
Weasleys, and Amy thanked them for their hospitality, Tom gathered Mark in his arms,
savouring the fact that he was allowed to do this for a final time before Mark went
off to Hogwarts. He did not doubt that Mark would feel much too grown-up for this
when he returned home for Christmas.