The Sugar Quill
Author: Zia Montrose  Story: Power and Ground  Chapter: Default
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He supposed he could ask Harry

With thanks to my amazing beta reader, Lady Narcissa.

 

Power and Ground

 

 

He supposed he could ask Harry.  But he was trying to keep this one under wraps…

If Molly could see it working, well, he knew she’d like it.  But if she caught him before then, he might as well be one of the twins with their Ton Tongue Toffees.

 

Arthur cast a furtive glance down the hall, pushed open the back door to the Burrow, and escaped into the night.  He made a beeline for the shed, tapped the lock on the door with his wand, and stepped inside, closing the door behind him.  He flared his nostrils to take in the familiar, dusty, bare wood smell.  Using an expansion charm in here would seem a bit unfair, he had thought.  Besides, he enjoyed the coziness of it.  Every inch of table was covered in cords, plugs, batteries, toasters, and other such welcome sights.  With seven children, it was terribly hard to find time for tinkering these days.

 

Remembering that time was of the essence, he turned, bent low into the corner, and in careful palms lifted the new treasure he’d scavenged from a second-hand shop while on a trip up to Elephant and Castle for the Ministry last week.  He set the sand-filled glass orb down onto the workbench and held up the plug for inspection.  No eckeltricity: that was the tough part.  He longed to see its soft white glow.  He reached into the pocket of his robes and pulled out the crumpled piece of parchment he’d scribbled on after leaving the shop in which he’d questioned the suspicious bloke at the counter.  He’d told him he was taking it out to an island cabin.  At least he’d had the sense to ask in Elephant and Castle, not Ottery St. Catchpole, where he might have given himself away. 

 

                        Two wires – one power, one ground.

 

He hated to do this…  Pulling out his wand, he performed a Severing Charm on the plug and let it fall into his free hand.  Spinning it once appreciatively, he tossed it into a bucket full of its kind.  He brought the frayed cord closer to his face for examination.  Indeed, there were two wires contained within.

 

It was best not to think about the loss of the old Ford Anglia, but at least the spare battery would come in handy.  Certainly batteries equaled power.  Arthur set the cord back down and with some minor huffing, heaved the corroded old block up onto the bench.  He knew from hours of wondrously examining the old car that connections could be made to the two round metal protrusions on top of the battery.  Some magic would be required, however, and he pulled out his wand; a Sticking Charm secured one wire to the battery.

 

Ground.  He’d never realized that was where all those cords went to.  No wonder the outlets were so close to the floor.  Employing more magic, he significantly lengthened the second side of the cord.  Pivoting around in the small space, he pushed open a little side window and threaded the cord through.

 

The shed door cracked open again and Arthur’s flushed head popped out; the coast was still clear.  He tiptoed into the back yard, suddenly alive in this stolen moment of freewheeling fun and the prospect of seeing the lamp aglow.   Grabbing the cord, he began to walk a few paces toward the center of the lawn – best to avoid any of the flower bulbs or seeds Molly often planted near the buildings – until he reached a nice black patch of worn earth.  It was good solid earth, rich and nurturing enough to grow those great big turnips the garden produced every year despite contention from vexatious gnomes.  Those turnips had in turn helped to grow six healthy boys and one spunky young girl.  Surely this ground would do.  Arthur kicked into it with the toe of his shoe.  Having rained recently, sod flew up in heavy volatile chunks.  A smattering attacked his glasses.  Thick evidence collected in a cake on the front of his shoe.  When he’d produced a hole the size of a grapefruit, he reached down to bury the cord.  It pulled taut…

 

Crash!  The unmistakable sound of shattering glass pervaded the night air.

 

Arthur froze into a conspicuously guilty pose.  Predictably, the back door swung open and Molly pushed through. 

 

Arthur WeasleyWhat on earth are you doing out here?!?”

 

“Well, now, don’t get upset Molly,” Arthur quelled, looking frightened and raising his hands in supplication. 

 

“Don’t you ‘don’t-get-upset’ me,” she shot back.

 

“Yes dear.” Arthur answered soberly.  “I can explain, see—“

 

“You’d better explain,” Molly warned.  “I can hardly imagine you’re de-gnoming the garden at this hour.  Now what was that racket we all heard?”

 

Arthur swallowed hard.  “You were completely right— see, when you asked what on earth I was doing,” he chuckled nervously. “I was digging up some earth, some ground really—“ 

 

Molly’s arms crossed in front of her as she tapped her foot impatiently on the stoop.

 

Fred and George popped their vertically-stacked heads into the doorway.

 

“What’s Dad gone and done now?” Fred asked, grinning.

 

“Nobody asked you two to be here,” Molly corrected harshly.

 

Arthur sighed.  “Fred, George, please….  Molly, dear,” he appealed gently, “I thought you might like having an ecklectric lamp in the house— 

 

“A what? Oh Arthur, you fool, you’re fiddling with Muggle objects again!”

 

Arthur’s hands shot up defensively again.  “Yes, yes, I am,” he pleaded guiltily, “it’s just… the children aren’t supposed to use magic at home… and I thought… well, wouldn’t it be nice to… um… go up to bed without having to worry about turning all the lights out — a simple switch —  the kids could do it themselves, without magic, and —

 

“Nah, we’d use magic anyway,” George blurted proudly.

 

Molly cast him a withering look and he backed away.

 

Ginny now pushed past George.  “Why is Dad covered in mud?” she asked.

 

Unable to answer, Molly raised her eyebrows challengingly at Arthur.

 

Arthur flashed a sheepish grin.  “Because the ground is a very important part of making the eckeltricity work properly and I —”    

 

“FOR THE LAST TIME, ARTHUR: WE DON’T NEED ECKELTRICITY!  WE’RE WIZARDS!”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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