Chapter 1: Starting
It was nearing ten
o’clock. Verity quickly checked her appearance once more in the bathroom
mirror; she was blonde and willowy as ever. Satisfied, she returned to her room
to grab her bag.
“Wish me luck,” she said to her poster of
William Wilgins, on which the text was hard to read,
as the poster was upside down. With a wink, she left the dizzy-looking man and
closed the door quietly. Her younger sister had come to spend the first week of
holiday with her since Father was so busy making plans for the trip, and Verity
didn’t want to wake her. She always had the strangest sleeping habits.
Verity scrunched up her eyes and imagined
herself in Diagon Alley, picturing her favourite shop vividly. Although she didn’t have the
imagination in the family, her sense of structure and direction was normally
top notch. Verity knew all too well that it wasn’t smart to Apparate
with her nerves in such a state, but it was necessary if she wanted to arrive
on time. Being late could risk her getting the job, and she needed it. She knew
nothing of the employers, other than they were relatively new to business. She hoped they weren’t too old; she always had problems dealing with older wizards
and witches. It was actually quite a surprise that she got as many N.E.W.T.s as she did, since all of the examiners were so
aged; then again, she was a Ravenclaw to the core.
Arriving in one piece in front of Florean Fortescue’s Ice-Cream Parlour, Verity immediately proceeded to shop ninety-three.
Her watch informed her that she was cutting it close
(9:57), and that the flavour of the day was
Butterscotch Lemon. It was a silly little thing, the watch, but it had been a
coming-of-age birthday gift from her sister during Verity’s last year at Hogwarts. Verity liked to wear it while her
sister was away at school, so she could remember to think of her. The younger
sibling had a tough life, poor thing.
It wasn’t long before she found the colourful
shop. She still didn’t know its name, as there wasn’t yet a sign. Or, perhaps
there was, but all of the flashes and bright colours
prevented her from finding one. Her father had informed her of the opening, and
she had merely shown up with her résumé. Her expectations weren’t high- it sounded as though
they were looking for some sort of bookkeeper and part-time clerk, which she
thought would be no problem (boring, if anything).
Verity debated whether to knock or walk
right in. Unable to decide between the two, she compromised by making a
clatter, accidentally knocking over a display as she walked in.
“I’m sorry!” Verity exclaimed to no one in
particular; she wasn’t normally this clumsy. It must be nerves. She immediately
began picking up the pink boxes, which seemed to be whirring. Hearing a
chuckle, she looked up. A ginger-haired young man was holding a wand out,
smiling merrily at her.
“Quite the first impression, eh, George?”
he said over his shoulder. A similar looking man lounged on a chair behind him,
an extravagant purple quill behind his ear.
Perhaps…they were twins?
The un-named twin flicked his wand and the
items re-stacked themselves in an intricate pile of pyramids. Verity also
watched the résumé be Summoned
off the floor into the man’s empty hand.
“You know, I like it better like that,” he
decided out loud. “What do you think? Doesn’t it seem more eye-catching?”
A little taken aback by being asked her
opinion, Verity quickly took the display into account with the many others. She
had always fancied the art of architecture, but had never had a chance to study
it at Hogwarts; everything she knew about it was learned during her own study
“Well, it is interesting, and the
customers will be sure to pay it attention when it all falls over on top of
these little fluffy things,” she answered thoughtfully. “They’re bound to fall
again because the structure’s unbalanced, and it’s too close to the door, which
is rather stupid unless you expect your clients to limbo through the doorway.”
Both men, clad in lime green robes bearing
an intricate design of what appeared three Ws, eyed her in a very odd way.
Unsure of their intent, Verity walked to the nearest one (she already had lost
track of which was which) and curtsied. “I’m here for my interview, by the way.
Sorry for taking so much of your time.”
The one in front of her turned finally,
clearing his throat, to pick up a clipboard. The other dragged over a chair and
sat on it backwards, staring at Verity all the while with a comical expression
on his severely freckled face.
Mr. Clipboard cleared his throat again and
glanced down at his interview sheet and her resume. “So…Lovegood. Verity Lovegood. Name sounds familiar…”
Grateful for a moment to speak, Verity
smiled and adjusted her bag. “I finished school at Hogwarts two years ago. Ravenclaw.
I was supposed to begin my training as a Healer straight away, but…well, things
happen. It seemed more important to do something a little more temporary, you
know? Anyway, I was a prefect so you may have
heard my name that way…if you don’t mind me asking, aren’t you two a bit young?
And you’re obviously twins, I know all about twins,
I’m a Gemini. Say…” Verity removed her wand from behind her ear to have
something to fiddle with, an old habit. “Now that I think about it, you both
seem relatively familiar. You obviously weren’t in Ravenclaw,
but maybe if I heard your last names…?”
They both seemed to keep affected
expressions of seriousness, but then burst out laughing.
“So that’s where we heard the name!” Mr.
Backwards-Chair chortled. “Lovegood…Loony
“Priceless. Absolutely perfect for a day
like today!” snorted Mr. Clipboard. “Just what we needed after the drove of
incompetent geezers we’ve interviewed lately…” Verity, however, felt rather
affronted by all of this.
“If you’re talking about Luna,” she
started, immediately on her guard, “then I would kindly ask for you to refer to
her by that name. She may be different, but she’s clever…the opposite of what I
am for coming in to this atrocity of a potential job! I spend my life trying to
shield her from people like you, you…” She noticed
a sign behind the counter, and read their last name. “You…Wheezes!”
This seemed to have the opposite effect
she originally had in mind, however, because both brothers appeared to have
tears streaming out of their eyes, and Mr. Backwards-Chair was now Mr.
Slumped-Over-On-The-Floor-Hacking. She impatiently glowered at them, smacking
her wand against her hand and tapping her foot.
“Wheezes…Whee-! No, wait, I’m sorry,
we got off on the wrong foot,” Mr. Clipboard offered, finally coming around a
bit. “I’m Fred. This here’s George. Fred and George Weasley, the owners and manufacturers of Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes.
Although, I would’ve thought you’d know that coming in…” but he didn’t sound
accusatory, rather, bemused.
“I just knew there was a job opening. I didn’t
know what,” she shot back. “Although, if I had known it was for a pair of
immature trolls who don’t know how to stop when they’re behind, I wouldn’t have
bothered showing up. I bet you sell these products to bully everyone else who’s
a little different -to share your ‘passion’ with the world, “she snapped.
“Hey, hey, lighten up! We were just…well, surprised, I guess. And
that doesn’t happen much, so you should feel flattered,” George attempted.
Verity was not amused, and opened her mouth to retort.
“No, listen, hear us out before you preach
at us again,” George attempted again, realising his
feeble joke hadn’t helped matters. “We knew Luna at school. She’s a good
friend of our baby sister’s, s’matter of fact. You
can call me a, what was it, ‘immature troll’ all you want, though, I’ve always
been bent up for a nickname.” He grinned.
“We just never realized she had…er…siblings, that’s all,” Fred
took over. “I guess I can sort of see the resemblance, you’re both blonde, even
if your hair’s a lot…er…shorter, but otherwise…” He
trailed off, a boyish grin spread across his face.
Verity looked at both men, smiling and
amused, and felt a sudden urge to laugh herself; it
was all a misunderstanding! She hated being cross, anyway.
“I-I see!” she gasped between giggles.
“Well, all right, that’s all right…just as long as you’re not like them…the
ones who tease her…” she added, becoming a bit more serious.
“If we did, it was only good-natured jest,”
reassured Fred, rather hastily. “We sometimes like to think ourselves slightly
comical blokes, eh George?”
“Right on the money.
Speaking of which, we better speed things up if we expect to get any today,
Fred glanced at the clock, which read that
customers were few and ‘decently amused, get working!’.
“But, that’s not the time,” Verity thought
out loud, glancing again at her own watch.
“Ah, but it’s telling us that we have few
customers,” George answered wisely.
She accepted this answer, and nodded. “My
watch is chiding me about ice-cream, so we really should move this along. I
still need to get home to Luna; she and Father are leaving for Sweden in less
than a week, and I’d like to spend some time with her,” she said, not looking
in much of a hurry all the same. Fred and George grinned, having identical,
knowing expressions (it was almost eerie, if Verity wasn’t used to such odd
“What do you say to a quick ice-cream break,
then?” George asked, replacing the chair back to its former position. Fred set
down his clipboard and headed towards the door. “We can discuss your hours and
days then. I assume you won’t want to start straight away- next week should be
fine, once we get you used to the way things run.”
Verity inquired, quizzical.
“Yeah, you know, what times your watch can
tell you to come in, when your sweet tooth is satisfied,” Fred answered,
apparently waiting for George and Verity to hurry it along.
“Wait, just like that? I haven’t shown you
my credentials- you don’t know if I can even use a wand-“
George linked arms with the thin, blonde
woman nearly two years his senior. “That’s how we do things here at the Triple
Double-You- spontaneous, spur of the moment, please who you may.”
“Well, if you’re sure…”
Fred laughed. “’Sure’ is a very dangerous
word in business.”
Verity could hardly suppress a grin. “From
what I’ve seen, though, you seem to enjoy a bit of danger.”
George laughed, leading her towards the
door where Fred still stood. “True, that. A little danger never hurt
anyone…well, that’s what we tell the mothers, anyway.”
With another laugh, he led them both
spectacularly into the already abused whirring, pink display.
“A little logic never hurt, either,”
Verity giggled. Maybe a desk job wouldn’t be as boring as she thought;
although, from the suddenly optimistic look of things, she doubted it would
even be called a desk job. She doubted, in the company of her new employers, there
would be any desk involved.
Mystic’s Notes: Many thanks to my beta,
Suburban House Elf, and my friends list from LiveJournal
that saw this and reviewed early on. If it weren’t for all of you, I wouldn’t
be a writer. I’d probably be an angsty teen with a
bad vocabulary and no idea who Frank Sinatra was. This
is a frightening image.
Disclaimer: See Jack Ichijouji’s
from The Dangers of Miscommunication. He’s much wittier than I. Oh, I obviously don’t own his disclaimer or fanfiction either. Pity.