The Sugar Quill
Author: MysticBlueside  Story: Flavours  Chapter: Chapter Two: Propriety and Peanut Brittle
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The three headed for the ice cream parlor after readjusting the abused merchandise back at the shop


Chapter 2: Propriety and Peanut Brittle



The three headed for the ice-cream parlor after readjusting the abused merchandise back at the shop. Verity sent a quick letter from the post office to Luna, explaining briefly about the job and that she’d be home later. Verity felt bad about missing so much time with her younger sister, but figured she owed it to her employers to stick around for a bit more. She and Luna could do something later that night.


Although Verity only vaguely recalled the Weasley twins from her Hogwarts days, it seemed the whole of Diagon Alley was well acquainted with them. The trio was held up at numerous shops and a few temporary stalls that Verity hadn’t noticed earlier, almost always by a happy individual raving about the twins’ merchandise. Clearly out of the loop of the Alley, Verity began feeling a little shy and reclusive. She’d have to research the business, just to see what exactly she was getting herself into. Verity made a mental note to see if Luna knew anything about the joke shop.


“You know,” Verity said to Fred and George as they all passed a boarded up shop, “Diagon Alley used to be a lot…brighter.”


“Well, we’re in the middle of a war, aren’t we?” Fred answered, his cheerful disposition changing, taking on a darer tone. “That shop, there, that used to be Gambol and Japes. They couldn’t take it anymore, the managers, so they closed up. Gambol personally told George here that if we had a conscience, we’d close up too.”


“But I told him we’d do no such thing, thanks much,” replied George. “What the wizarding world needs right now is a little cheer-me-up! Why deprive the people of a laugh? Besides, that’d just be giving in to You-Know-Who, wouldn’t it? Everything’d be dejected and…well, boring. Kind of like Filch, but darker and even more demented.”


Verity grinned, suddenly very grateful she’d applied to work with these men. “It’s a good theory,” she commented, stepping up to the counter of Fortescue’s. “Butterscotch Lemon in a cone, please.”


As the worker went to get her order, Verity continued. “I think it’s admirable that you can still manage to find humour, in the midst of all this,” she pressed on. “You both kind of remind me of…well, of my dad.”


Fred laughed and paid for her ice-cream cone, without giving Verity a chance to protest.


“Well, I don’t know how much I like being compared to your old man, but thanks all the same.” He winked at her, then turned to order for George and himself (apparently they both wanted to be ‘surprised’, judging by Fred’s order).  


“So, I know your father runs The Quibbler,” George said conversationally, leading Verity to one of the tables under an umbrella. “What’s your mum do?”


Verity stopped eating for a moment, something seeming to form behind her large eyes. The next second, however, she shook her head and carried on in a somewhat normal way. “My mum died when I was in Fifth year…she was too wonderful for her own good, if you ask me,” she said, her voice a little softer than before. She seemed to take a sudden interest in the pattern on her napkin. Two cursive F’s, each on opposite sides of a simply drawn fountain drink. Every ten seconds or so, the cherry atop the whipped cream gained a face and winked at her.


“I-I’m sorry. About that.” George quickly feigned the same interest as Verity. Creepy little bugger, that cherry. George was sure he had never been hit on by anything red and round. Well, there was that one time he had to put away the new Quaffle that someone had supposedly tampered with…wait, the topic at hand! He forced himself to look at his newest employee.


“At least…at least you had some time together. I’m sure that there’s more of her…er…wonderfulness in you then you think.” He added the last bit as an afterthought, more to himself than to Verity.


Verity couldn’t take the incessant winking much longer. The mocking happiness of that dratted piece of fruit was just irritating. She wiped her mouth, thinking about what George had said.


“I like to hope so. I’ve always been a bit out of place with Luna and Daddy…Mum always said I was more of a practical thinker, like her,” Verity frowned a little, but was unabashed. “But, sometimes…”


“So, how’s it tasting?” Fred came to the table, George’s and his ice-creams in hand, his cone already half devoured. “Florean told me to send his compliments on the Forever-flexible Straws we had him test out last week. Told him they were your invention.” Fred said all of this cheerfully, not noticing at all what he had just walked in to.


“Well, I’m astonished you didn’t try to take all the glory for yourself!” George retorted. “You know, like you did for the Shield Hats-“


“I was merely speaking for myself…er…on both of our accounts.”


“Sure. Never knew you secretly vied for the Minister’s praise, like old Per-“ he stopped short from their little ‘fight’, another ugly expression on his face. Verity wasn’t sure if it would be a good idea to pry, just now. Better if she just stopped her cone from dripping…


“So, we were going to discuss work hours?” Verity prompted when she could no longer take the tense silence.


“Oh…yeah, of course,” Fred said as George scowled into his dish of what appeared to be Peanut Brittle Punch, topped with blueberry syrup.


“Well, since you’re mostly going to be doing bookwork, it’s rather flexible- we probably will want you on weekends, when the crowds come, for a little extra help manning the register and everything. I say that you’d be fine stopping in once or twice a day until we get a system going…how’s that sound? I have a spiffy little device that we can use to get a hold of you if we need you.”


Verity was delighted; this was just the kind of job she had been hoping for, under the circumstances.


“That sounds lovely!”


“Good! Well, I guess we ought to be getting back- don’t want to keep ‘em waiting! Naturally, we don’t stay open after dark…the Ministry’d have our heads. You can finish those on the way back,” he added, nodding towards Verity and George’s half finished ice-creams.


“And that bothers you? The Ministry caring, I mean,” Verity questioned as they headed back toward the shop.


“Not particularly. But it wouldn’t sit well with business, and we DO care about that.”


“Fred,” George spoke up, grinning. “She’ll need a uniform. You know, to properly feel like a Wheezes’ employee.”


“Of course, of course…I guess we should tell Madam to order a woman’s set. We’ll need ‘em custom made.”






“Death Eaters wear your shade of green when they’re doing their everyday business’”, Verity explained, and there was a mischievous glint in her eyes that the twins recognized. “But they’re conditioned to be terrified of magenta.”


“Really, now?” George cocked an eyebrow.


“Naturally. It’s all because of You-Know-Who, anyway. He’s famous for it.”


“I always thought he was famous for-“


“-they say the real reason he was in hiding for so long after his attack on the Potters was because little Harry was wearing magenta that night. That’s what caused him to mess the attack up, and he was scarred for life.”


The twins both had on decidedly straight faces, although Verity noticed the smiles they were trying to conceal occasionally surfacing.


“Harry’s a pal of our little brother- he comes and visits us a lot-  and all this time we thought there was some deep, unknown magic involved with the whole thing. But the answer was right under our noses- so simple, so clever. The magic of magenta. THAT’S why he was, as you said, scarred for life. Wonder if the bloke knows…”


“No, no, I didn’t mean HARRY was scarred for life! I meant You-Know-Who! He was so traumatised by the bright shade of pink he hid for eleven years.” Verity said all of this very matter-of-factly. “Harry Potter’s scar was a birth defect. His mother must have eaten turnips during her pregnancy- scars like that can happen if you eat the wrong things. I heard Professor Dumbledore’s mother ate one turnip too many, and he has an interesting scar on his knee because of it.”


George appeared to suddenly choke on his ice-cream-- although he had already finished it, so maybe he was choking on the spoon- and smacked his chest a little, trying to come back around. “You do…realise--”


“--I was just kidding,” Verity cut in, smiling at the scene she had created. “It’s just something one of Daddy’s journalists submitted. I’ve only just remembered. Magenta, indeed…” She shook her head, chuckling appreciatively.


“Well, when you grow up around that sort of thing, it’s bound to come into play eventually. I’m sure you can come up with stories like that at the drop of a hat,” George said, finally succeeding in coming around.


Verity took this into account. “Not really. I mean, Daddy and Luna seem to love those sorts of stories. I think the ideas are complete rubbish, but those two love anything imaginative like that. It seems Luna got all Daddy’s creative genes. I, however…” Verity trailed off, her cheerfulness melting along with what was left of her ice-cream cone.


Fred and George exchanged startled looks, realizing too late that they had somehow brought up a sore subject. Verity really did seem prone to sudden mood swings.


“Look, Verity-“


“We didn’t think that…er…“


“-well, why don’t we order those magenta robes, eh?” Fred finished off, trying to take things back into control. George agreed, as did Verity, and George tossed his empty ice-cream dish into the rubbish bin, which emitted a disgruntled snort.


“Yes, that sounds…nice,” Verity responded vaguely, smiling a bit to try to convince them she really was fine. When they still seemed a bit unconvinced, Verity stuffed her melting cone into her mouth, waiting for a brain freeze. Sure enough, the next second she was rubbing her temples, mentally begging the cold to disappear. The twins took this as a positive sign, and soon all three were back on track, chatting amiably (if not a bit too politely), the store within sight.




Mystic’s Note: Thank you to everyone who’s being supportive and reviewing; I saw the ones that were posted pre-author switch, even though they are now lost in the cyber world. Next chapter will move things along a bit more, so I hope you stick with me! Many thanks to S.H.E, once again, for her wonderful beta-ing.

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