Disclaimer:† All characters and
places belong to J.K. Rowling except for Margot, the Hideaway, Harryís
children, Bartleby, and Lierin Holly.
Thanks to the real-life Lierin, who let me put her in this fanfiction.† Also,
thanks to Whimsy for his wonderful beta job and never-ending lessons on
British words.† Itís a shop, not a store.†
Many thanks as always to our beta-reader, Whimsy.† One day, maybe Iíll
have thanked you enough, but today isnít that day.† Iíd also like to thank J.K.
Rowling for making Harry way too likeable for his own good.† On behalf of both Arya
and myself, Iíd like to thank Margot, for allowing us another look into her
be back before you know it!"
and we'll even bring you something cool back. Just stop growing,
okay? We can't buy you clothes if you keep growing."
have loads of fun with Harry and Ginny and all of those kids of theirs.
We'll be back in time to go to Diagon Alley with you, after all."
we'll send you letters, too, we promise. You won't even realize we're
Margot sighed and rolled over in her bed,
clutching the one letter she'd gotten that summer, just a week after they'd
left. She had it memorized; she'd certainly read it enough. "Dear
Margot," the letter said, "We've just arrived in the
States. Thought we'd send you this owl so you'd know we're alive and
everything. Hope you're having fun with all those cousins! Fred's
decided we need to visit some Muggle place he's heard of. Will write
later. Love, George."
††††††††††† She closed her eyes and remembered
how excited she'd been at the beginning of the summer. Spending the
entire summer with Molly, Lily, Julia, Sirius, Evan, and Andrea, with
occasional visits to Leona's house, had been such a thrilling idea. When
Fred and George had explained their latest business plan to expand the shop to
an entire chain, she had smiled, and had honestly been excited for them.
They had so many dreams for that shop. Last year they'd been looking into
buying out Zonko and this year they were traveling to the States and possibly
eastern Europe to check out their competition and possibly buy out a few of the
smaller joke shops. They'd hired three new assistants to cover the shop
while they were gone. Margot had offered to help out with the shop,
informing them that she knew as much or more about how to open and close the
shop than anyone they'd hired, but Fred and George had smiled and shook their
heads. They didn't think she was old enough to look after an entire shop,
it seemed. Well, it was time for them to realize that she was thirteen
years old now, not six. She was just as capable as they were. More,
The summer had been fun at first, until Molly,
Lily, Julia, and Sirius had left for their summer camp for Aurors' children,
while Leona had yet again gone to France to visit her relatives. Now
Margot was stuck at The Hideaway with little Evan and Andrea who still threw
tantrums when they didn't get a toy at Diagon Alley. Aunt Ginny was too
busy caring for the two of them to worry about Margot, and Uncle Harry was at
work most days. The few times he'd been at the Hideaway while Margot was
awake, he'd been wonderful, asking for suggestions on how to make the DA more
interesting, and helping her with her summer schoolwork. But other than
those two or three times, Margot had hardly seen him. He left for the
Ministry early in the morning and came back late at night. Though it had
been over a decade since Voldemort's defeat, many of his followers remained
uncaptured and just as dangerous as before Voldemort's death.
Over the past year, the newspapers had been full
of reports of Death Eaters running all over London, Hogsmeade, even as far as Paris. They were gathering followers, the papers said. They spoke of a new
leader, whose name no one really knew. Some suspected that it was Bellatrix
Lestrange who was trying to gather the Death Eaters together in yet another
attempt to do what her master had wanted, while others insisted that Peter
Pettigrew had yet again come to life. Margot knew the later wasn't true;
she'd heard the story of his death from Uncle Harry.
†††††† While this latest
explosion of attacks hadn't brought about as much fear as before, people seemed
wary of travel. Aunt Ginny had only been to Diagon Alley twice over the
summer, and was constantly worrying about her children, wondering if the camp
was a safe place for them.
the sound of her name, Margot opened her eyes and looked over at the
door. Uncle Harry stood in the doorway, his figure dimly lit by morning
light. He was wearing his work robes, a smart set of emerald green robes
that Aunt Ginny always said brought out the color of his eyes.
Uncle Harry," Margot yawned. She shoved George's letter under her
pillow and sat up. "Aren't you late for work?"
†††††† Uncle Harry shook
his head. "I got in later than usual last night, so I don't have to
go in for another half hour. I thought I'd ask you if you wanted to come
and spend a day with me at work."
†††††† Margot's heart beat rapidly. Finally, something to do!
Spending the day with her uncle at the Auror office sounded fantastic.
Much more exciting than rereading Hogwarts, A History like she had
planned. She loved the book, but three times was enough for one
†††††† "You don't have to come if you don't want to," Uncle Harry
said. "If you want to sleep, I understand. But I just thought
†††††† "No, I want to go!" Margot exclaimed, swinging herself out of
bed and hurrying over to the wardrobe. "What should I wear? Do
I need to wear nice robes or can I just wear casual robes? Do I need my
†††††† Uncle Harry
laughed. "Casual robes should be fine," he said.
"Didn't you get new ones with Aunt Ginny at the beginning of the
summer? Those would probably work. And you won't need your wand,
but you can bring it. Lierin was the one who suggested you come, and she
mentioned teaching you a few spells. Apparently she thinks I don't teach
the right stuff at the DA meetings..."
†††††† Margot grinned and began shuffling through the wardrobe for the new set
of robes. "I'll be ready in just a minute," she said. She
was fully awake and excited now. Uncle Harry gave a smile before shutting
her door to allow her to dress. She changed into the robes as quickly as
possible, and gathered her wand and a book just in case there was nothing
exciting happening. She was glad for the large pockets in the robes that
allowed her to carry two, sometimes even three books without really showing
it. It was a decent set of robes, and she'd been happy when Aunt Ginny
had bought them for her. Fred and George were terrible at keeping up with
her clothes. George was right, though. She had grown a lot lately.
supposed it had something to do with being thirteen. Now that she was a
teenager, lots of weird things were happening. The second time she'd gone
to Diagon Alley, she'd noticed a few boys her age hanging out by Quality
Quidditch Supplies, and had been startled to feel her heart pound rapidly in
her chest. Why was she nervous at being around boys? In the past
year, she'd started to have that strange heart-pounding thing whenever she
talked to Ophi. It was unsettling, and she didn't like it one bit.
She hated sounding like a twit.
with her hair to make it stay up, Margot glanced in the mirror on the back of
the door. She looked halfway decent, she decided.
†††††† "Margot, are you ready?" Uncle Harry tapped on the door
quietly, and Margot glanced around the room one more time before opening the
door and stepping out into the hallway.
†††††† "How are we getting there?" she asked her uncle.
†††††† Uncle Harry began walking toward the kitchen. "Normally I
Apparate, but since you're coming, we'll Floo." He grinned at her as
they entered the kitchen. "How did you think we'd get there?"
shrugged. "Sometimes Fred and George fly," she explained.
the Ministry's underground," Harry reminded her. He picked up the
pot of Floo Powder from the top of the mantle and held it out to her.
a pinch of the powder, Margot stepped toward the large fireplace and tossed the
powder in. "Ministry of Magic!" she shouted as she stepped into
the flames. She closed her eyes as she felt herself being whisked away
from The Hideaway. She concentrated on keeping all her limbs together,
hating long Floo voyages. Within a moment, though, she stopped spinning
as she fell onto the cold, wooden floor of the Atrium in the Ministry of
Magic. A moment later Uncle Harry appeared beside her. He helped
her up and out of the way just as a rather large wizard appeared behind
them, wheezing and holding a grey handkerchief over his nose and mouth.
mornin' Potter," the wizard said, wiping his mouth and stowing the
handkerchief in the pocket of his dust-colored robes. "This one of your
Harry glanced at Margot. "No, this is Margot Weasley, my
niece. She's spending the summer with us, and I thought I'd bring her in
to show her around."
wheezing wizard squinted down at Margot. "Ah, one of the Weasleys...she'll
be one of Charlie's little ones, right?"
tried to hold back a laugh, while Uncle Harry grinned. "No, she's
Fred and George's. Excuse me, Bartleby, but I have to get up to the
nodded and stepped aside. "Of course, of course. See you
'round, then, Potter." He smiled at Margot before trotting off
toward a large set of golden gates at the end of the hall.
†††††† "You've been here before, haven't you?" Uncle Harry asked
Margot as they headed toward the gates as well.
†††††† Margot nodded. "Fred and George brought me here last
summer. They had to get some sort of permit to trade international
goods...they left me with Grandpa."
†††††† "I think I remember hearing about that," Uncle Harry
said. "Well, normally you'd need to get your wand scanned, but since
you're with me it should be fine." They passed the Security desk and
Uncle Harry waved at a bored-looking young man who was busy tossing his wand in
the air and watching the small fireworks explode from the end.
†††††† "Dennis Creevey," Uncle Harry explained. "I went to
Hogwarts with him for a few years. He was a first year when I was a
†††††† They continued through the gates, following the morning crowd of wizards
and witches, some of whom were carrying copies of the Daily Prophet or
the Scroll under their arms, others with large mugs of coffee.
Several waved to Uncle Harry or made remarks, and he smiled and nodded
back. Soon they came to a small hall where a crowd was waiting in front
of a number of lifts. Margot and Uncle Harry joined the back of the
line. Margot glanced around, surprised that she recognized a few of the
wizards and witches around them. There was the short woman who always
came to the shop on Monday afternoons to buy a joke for her son, and over there
was the strange man who always laughed at the Muggle tricks.
†††††† "Come on, Margot," Uncle Harry said. They had reached
the front of the line, and Uncle Harry hurried forward to get into one of the
lifts. Margot followed him, and found herself squished in between a man
with an oversized briefcase and a rather large woman. Uncle Harry
was barely visible in the corner, talking quietly with a squat woman with
bright yellow hair. Margot frowned and moved her head so she could
"Wotcher, Margot," Tonks said,
grinning and waving. "Come to visit the Aurors?"
grinned and waved back. "Hi, Tonks," she said.
"Why're you here?" The large woman turned and frowned down at
her, but didn't say anything. Tonks laughed and rolled her eyes.
time Auror," Tonks explained loudly. "I couldn't stand just
being at home all summer, so I begged Kingsley to let me back in for
Seven," a female voice said above them. Several people in front of
Margot hurried off the lift before the doors clanged shut and the lift began to
move once more. Margot sighed and looked back at Tonks and Harry, wishing
she weren't squished.
Six," the voice said once more. The man with the oversized briefcase
rushed off the lift and out of sight. Thankful to be able to move, Margot
squeezed past a wizard with a rather long grey beard to where Tonks and Harry
level do we get off at?" Margot asked Uncle Harry.
"Two," Tonks told her with a
sigh. "Damn lifts won't go any faster. Harry, you said you'd
ask about Apparating up to the floor, didn't you? What'd they say?"
Harry sighed and shook his head. "They said it'd be too much
Apparating and Disapparating, that the building wouldn't be able to handle
of rubbish if you ask me," Tonks snorted. "They just donít want
all the popping noises.† So why're you coming in so late today? I thought
Kingsley let you off early last night after the whole thing with Slovish."
†††††† "I let
Dawlish handle Slovish," Uncle Harry told her. "Kingsley had me
go and do something else." He raised his eyebrows as if to suggest
they shouldn't talk about it there, and Tonks nodded in understanding.
Margot watched the two of them with interest.
two," the female voice said. Margot looked around and realized they
were the only ones left on the lift.
is us," Uncle Harry told Margot. The three walked out of the lift and
into a long corridor with many doors on either side. Harry and Tonks
continued talking in low voices, and Margot followed them as they turned the
had never visited the Auror Headquarters, but she had heard several stories
about it from Uncle Harry and Tonks. Perhaps this was why she wasn't
terribly surprised to find that the Auror Headquarters were not as strict and
organized as the rest of the Ministry, but rather full of laughter and
liveliness. Margot giggled as a paper airplane zoomed toward Uncle
Harry's face. He reached up and grabbed the thing out of the air, while
Tonks joined Margot in laughing.
I knew I shouldn't have gone against him with Krum," Uncle Harry
muttered, crumpling the paper up and shoving it into the pocket of his
robes. "Come on, Margot. Tonks, I'll see you around later, I'm
nodded, and walked away, grinning and whistling loudly. Margot frowned at
did the note say?" she asked. But he shook his head and didn't reply
as they walked through the cubicles. Many of the wizards and witches
called out to Uncle Harry. Margot recognized a few, but couldn't remember
you are!" A young woman with blonde hair hurried over to Uncle
Harry, brandishing a stack of papers. "I've been looking for you all
over, Potter. You said you'd be in an hour ago! I've been working
on the Lestrange case all by myself." She frowned down at
Margot. "Who's this?"
Uncle Harry smiled at the young woman.
"Margot, this is Lierin Holly. I've told you about her befeore, I
think. Lierin, this is my niece, Margot."
†††††† Margot looked at
the short woman with interest. Rather than wearing the typical work robes
that her aunts chose to wear, Lierin was dressed in a lovely flowing set
of crimson robes. At first glance, they seemed like they would be quite
impractical for an Auror, but when Margot looked at the robes carefully, she
noticed several pockets carefully sewn into bits of the robes. The
sleeves, it seemed, could be pinned back and out of the way, while the bottom
of the robes just hit the floor, so that when she moved, Margot could see her
grinned at Margot. "So you decided to come and see how the Aurors work?"
she asked. "You chose a hectic day..." Her eyes shifted over
Margot's head and up at Uncle Harry. "Dawlish's been in and out of
here with orders all day, Potter. We've had at least a dozen sightings of
Death Eaters in the past three hours, two near-deaths where the victim
Apparated just in time, and one actual death."
††† Uncle Harry pulled a notebook from his pocket
and began scribbling. "Who's been sighted?" he asked.
††† "I've got it all here," Lierin said,
shoving the stack of papers into Uncle Harry's arms. "Dawlish said
he wants you in his office as soon as you get here...he said
something about Bellatrix. I'd go if I were you, he's in a bit
of a mood today, if you know what I mean."
††† Uncle Harry began hurrying away, balancing the
stack of papers in his two hands, while Margot looked after him, wondering what
she was supposed to do. Next to her, Lierin was fishing in her robes for
something. Margot watched, curious, as she finally pulled out a small
††† "Aha!" she exclaimed loudly.
A passing Auror laughed, and she looked up at
him and glared.
††† "Quiet, you," she said.
"Come on, Margot. I need to do a reading, and it looks like you're
stuck here for a while. I don't think you want to be in Dawlish's office
with your uncle." She laughed, then picked up her skirts and began
walking away. Margot hurried to catch up with her, curious.
††† "A reading?"
Margot asked. "What sort of reading?" She vaguely
remembered Uncle Harry mentioning that his partner was a Seer, but she didn't
remember him saying what sort of Seer. After hearing her uncles' stories
of Divination lessons, she'd opted not to take the subject this year.
Pepita, Lex, and Ophi had decided to take it, though. The three
refused to be swayed, no matter how many times Margot had insisted that it was
a worthless subject. Well, it was their own wasted period, Margot thought
as she followed Lierin through the maze of cubicles. She would rather
spend the time in Arithmancy or Care of Magical Creatures.
††† In front of her, Lierin came to a stop at one of
the cubicles. The makeshift office was split into two parts. The
side which was obviously Uncle Harry's was covered with smiling, waving
pictures of Weasleys, as well as a large poster of two Quidditch teams in the
middle of a rather fascinating match. Margot watched for a minute as one
of the Beaters hit a Bludger toward the other team's Keeper, allowing their
Chaser to score. She finally tore her eyes away at the sound of books
falling to the ground.
††† Lierin cursed loudly and stooped to pick up the
stack of books that were now scattered around the cramped cubicle.
"I thought I told Potter to put these away," she muttered.
Margot kneeled to help her pile the books in the corner.
††† "Thanks," Lierin said. She stood
and smoothed her skirts. "Now...the reading." She frowned
and turned toward her desk. "Where'd I put that teacup?"
††† "Is that it?" Margot asked, pointing
to a dark blue teacup with a dark stain in the bottom and a small crack in the
handle that was sitting on the yet another stack of books.
††† "There it
is, the silly thing," Lierin remarked, swooping down and picking the
teacup up. "You can sit down if you want..." She motioned
toward the chair on Uncle Harry's side of the cubicle, while pulling out her
own chair, which was draped in various fabrics. As Margot sat, she
noticed that most of Lierin's side of the cubicle was draped in fabrics, from
rich velvets to plain white cottons. A few pieces of lace were strung
here and there, while several needles were shoved into a mouse-shaped
pincushion that sat near the teacup.
††† "Do you sew?" Margot asked, though it
seemed like a silly question.
††† Lierin pushed some of the fabrics off out of the
way and set the teacup in front of her. "I make all my robes,"
she explained as she tipped a small portion of the contents of the black bag
into the teacup. "I worked for Madam Malkin in Diagon Alley for
three summers, and then a year after Hogwarts before deciding to be an
Auror." She pulled her wand out of the sash around her waist and
pointed it the cup. She muttered something inaudible, and steaming water
poured from her wand into the cup.
††† "Are you interested in being an Auror?"
she asked, swilling the cup several times.
††† Margot shrugged. "I'm just a third
year," she replied. She watched as Lierin turned the teacup upside
down on its saucer.
††† "Your uncle mentioned that," Lierin
said. "What subjects are you planning to take?"
††† Margot frowned, trying to remember.
"All the old ones," she began, "plus Care of Magical Creatures,
Arithmancy, and Muggle Studies."
††† "Not Divination?" Lierin said, a small
smile on her face. She lifted the cup off the saucer and leaned over to
peer at the dregs that had gathered there. Margot was silent, watching
curiously. She'd thought that all Seers were as strange as Uncle Harry's
Professor Trelawney, but this Lierin seemed almost normal.
††† "Damn." Lierin reached
up and grabbed a rather thick book from her bookshelf and began riffling
through it frantically. "Damn if that means what I think it
does..." She was silent as she flipped pages. Finally stopping
at one, she leaned down and began cursing once more.
††† "Holly, we've got a
loose Lestrange," a familiar voice said. Both Margot and Lierin
looked up as Uncle Harry walked into the cubicle. "We've got to go, now."
††††† Lierin pursed her lips and looked down at
the dregs, then the teacup. Margot watched her face, wondering what was
in the teacup that was so bad.
††† "I knew it," Lierin
whispered. She set the book on her desk and grabbed her wand.
"I'm assuming we're Appararing, Potter?" Her voice was brisk,
but Margot could hear a bit of fear in it. Looking at her wand hand,
Margot saw that it trembled slightly.
††† Uncle Harry looked over
at Margot. "You stay here, Margot," he said. "We
shouldn't be long, if Dawlish sends for the Obliviators like he
††† Margot nodded. "I'll stay here, Uncle
Harry," she said. She wanted to go with them, but knew she wouldn't
be allowed. She'd already had one meeting with Bellatrix Lestrange, and
it wasn't an experience she cared to repeat.
††† The two hurried away, leaving Margot sitting in
her uncle's chair. She sighed, wondering what she was supposed to do
until they got back. She glanced over at the dregs, wondering what they
said. She had no idea how to read tea leaves, though she and her cousins
had played at it when they were younger, yelling "Grim!" every three
seconds until they all fell giggling to the ground. But the book was
there, and it was wide open to the page Lierin had been looking at...
††† She leaned over in her chair and looked at the
page. It seemed to be a rune dictionary, like the one she'd seen the
older students using for class. She recognized a few of the runes; Aunt
Hermione had the one for hope engraved over the door of her office. Most
of the others on the page were unfamiliar. Still curious, she looked down
at the meanings of the various runes: madness, family, and love...but none of
those seemed to fit with Lierin's reaction. She shook her head and moved
to put the book aside when a word caught her eyes.