With thanks to my amazing beta reader,
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 thesecond side of
the cord. Pivoting around in the small space, he pushed open a little sidewindow and threaded the cord
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 Weasley! What 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
“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
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?”
Unable to answer, Molly raised her eyebrows challengingly at
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!