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Chapter 1: an introduction, a party and the beginnings of a plan
Who are we?
We are the Wotter Clan, and then some.
We are the kids with one hell of a reputation to live up to.
We are also the biggest, brightest and best organised crime unit in Britain. And secrecy is one hell of a problem when our parents are literally the law.
Dom is the brains of this operation. She’s in charge, she’s hell scary, she goes for a run at five every morning and kicks us into shape.
Victoire and Teddy- our resident loved-up couple. They do the reconnaissance and spying- and have literally no morals. They’d bug Uncle Harry’s bedroom if they needed to.
Our overseas contact is Lysander. Basically on an extended holiday courtesy of our profits. But if you needed three Nigerian passports and a Japanese jumbo jet, he’s your man.
Lorcan- our conman. He could sell you your own shoes or the Eiffel Tower if he wanted, and he’s my absolute best mate. I don’t believe he actually knows what a real job is.
Fred is munitions. Need something blowing up? Whether it’s a door or a building, call Fred. Make sure it’s around mid-afternoon though, as that’s usually the only time he’s conscious. He’s a hobo in training.
Molly definitely inherited her dad’s brains, but got a heavy dose of creativity in there too. She does our cover ups. When Fred blows up one bridge too many, she’s already picking through the rubbles asking if anyone can smell gas. She works part time at the Prophet- who would have guessed?
Louis, Hugo and Lily. Where the heck do you start? On the surface Louis is actually Assistant Head Healer Weasley, Hugo is an architect and Lily is part of the team who works out the traps for Gringotts. It may be Dom who finds us the gigs, but it’s still these three who are our diabolical planners. Read blueprints for fun, carry around their laser pointers at all times, and could recite our individual percentages of success off the top of their heads. Unbelievably clever.
Scorpius- well, it’s stereotypical of the Malfoy’s, but he’s got the criminal contacts. Only has to walk into Knockturn Alley and it goes quiet. And puts that extra bit of money in when we’ve squandered ours. Does not mean I have to like him.
Our supplier is Roxanne. She’s the baby of the Johnson-Weasley family, and Daddy gives her whatever she wants. And if he hasn’t got it, she works her scarily good charm on anyone. She’s not even part-veela. Peruvian Instant Darkness Powder, illegally strong Love Potions, she can get it. Or brew it. Whatever you do, don’t eat after you’ve pissed off Roxy.
The Ministry insider is Lucy. She can get information that we can’t wheedle out of our Ministry parents, and has a tendency to abuse their resources, despite winning ‘Model Employee’ four years running.
Albus is responsible for bringing in Scorpius to our previously mainly-family based operations (the twins count as family), and voluntarily works in the Muggle world. Odd choice for Scorpius’ bestie, but there you have it. As Alby is one of the few who works up-top, he’s in charge of anything we need Muggle-wise. Obviously. We need him loads, as when I say we’re respected all over Britain, I mean it. He works in the Muggle-version of the Aurors.
James is transport. As ex-seeker for the Cannons, you’d expect him to be pretty quick on a broom, but it was fairly surprising that his gift managed to transfer itself to every moving thing on the planet. He got his Muggle driving licence without any lessons, and Auntie Ginny swears he didn’t use magic. If you needed someone to fly the aforementioned Japanese jet, James is your man. And he insists he has ridden a dragon, but I’d take that with a pinch of salt.
Just me left. Rose- or Red if I’m in a good mood/you’re feeling lucky/you don’t want to live for much longer. I don't like labels. But if you insist- I'm a thief. But the best in Britain, I'll have you know. If Roxy can't get it, I sure as hell can.
What, you thought with our parents we’d be the next generation of wonderful do-gooders, who help the blind, fight the evil and donate to charities? You kidding me? We’re positively badass.
-Rose: the Leaky Cauldron
Thursday 6th October
“Extremely trustworthy”. That's what Hannah Longbottom wrote on my reference when I needed another part-time job. I usually supplement my meagre income with the profits of our racketeering, but it was slow going the other month, because some bright spark decided to pull off a pile of high profile crimes in a very short space of time. Aurors started patrolling the streets, everyone bumped up their security- Mum even started up a wizarding Neighbourhood Watch.
I'm very good at what I do, but everything is harder with witnesses.
As I’m twenty-five, and my only career to date is a barmaid at the Leaky Cauldron, I'm the disappointment of the Weasleys. Most of my cousins have decent jobs either in the Ministry or places like the Prophet or Gringotts. Respectable, boring places. Working at the Leaky is not the most glamorous and well-paid of jobs, but it suits my purposes perfectly. No-one expects the witch behind the bar to be listening to the fact that Fletchers' guard dragon was at the vets, and the only replacement they've been able to find is a sleepy Krup and its alcoholic owner. That was profitable.
I finished my late shift at the pub, waved goodbye to Hannah and made my way into Muggle London. It was Freddy’s twenty-sixth birthday, and we were having a party at our base- a top floor penthouse, which we crammed full of everything we might need. Situated in the middle of London- it’s not bad for nights when you’re not entirely sure you will make it back home, for stashing stolen goods, or for illicit parties that law-abiding citizens are not invited to. I walked through the lamp-lit streets, the summer night closing in. The party started ages ago, but because everyone assumes I have no money, when Hannah offers me extra shifts, I can’t turn them down.
I quickened my pace when I heard footsteps behind me. The street was quiet, and there had been a spree of muggings recently. The doorways were dark and shadowy, and only a few of the dotted streetlamps were working. I’d mug someone tonight. I slipped my hand into my pocket, gripping my wand. The footsteps sped up to match mine- getting closer. I turned around, and my wand jabbed out, sending a ball of light into my pursuer’s chest. He was bowled over, and the guy he was with cracked up laughing.
“Shitting hell Lysander! That was scary!” I yelled at him.
Lysander pushed back his floppy blonde hair, and grinned. “His idea,” he gasped around his laughter.
I kicked Lorcan, who was lying on the ground still, also gasping. “Moron.”
“I didn’t realise you were so jumpy,” he groaned.
I held out a hand to help him up. “I defy any thief not to be jumpy,” I told him. “I hate you.”
“No, you love me really.” He took my hand and didn’t let go, his palm warm in mine. Lysander linked his other arm with me, and we started to walk again.
“Were you waiting for me to finish so you could try and jump me?” I accused.
“Lorcan’s idea,” Lysander chipped in.
“Actually, we were sent by Dom so you would hurry your arse up. She’s got an announcement to make.”
We had barely stepped out into the living room before Dom took centre stage.
“Right!” she said, standing on the table in the middle of the room. “Now everyone is here, and before we all get too drunk, and because it is so hard to get all of you in one place, I’ve got another gig for us.”
We quietened down. Lorcan was slightly unsteady on his feet once he let go of me and collapsed into a chair. Dom is teetotal (I’m not judgemental about people who drink, or don’t, but Dom is one of those people who chooses a way of life and then disapproves of everyone who doesn’t agree with her. Christmas is a ball usually, what with all the sherry and eggnog around) and she hates it when people put her off with acts of drunkenness.
Albus fell into the seat next to me as well, and whispered into my hair: “I’m taking notes. I will not remember this later.”
Albus lives with James and Freddy, and they mercilessly corrupt the younger child with copious amounts of pre-drinking. I nodded in agreement, and then he poised an imaginary quill, holding out his hand for paper. Albus is so odd; it’s hard to tell whether he puts this on or not.
“We’re breaking into Hogwarts.”
Dom’s words were met with a stunned silence. The twins wore identical surprised expressions, Teddy’s food fell out of his mouth and Albus’ pretend quill dropped from his fingers.
“We’re going in, getting what we need, and leaving. We need to get a statue from the Room of Requirement. It needs to happen before a fortnight’s gone, and-” she checked her watch “-I’m late for boyfriend’s dinner party with work.” She pulled a face and then blew us a collective kiss. “Ciao!”
Albus slid off his chair onto the floor.
“We are royally screwed,” said Roxy loudly. “How in the name of Merlin are we supposed get into Hogwarts? It’s impossible.”
Lily grinned, and patted her on the head. “Don’t be afraid to dream a little bigger, darling,” she said. “If Dad can do it, we can.”
Louis grabbed Hugo and dragged him into Hell. Lily followed, her heels clicking on the parquet floor.
Wait! Not literally Hell. We’ve nicknamed the planner’s corner ‘Hell’ because we don’t understand what goes on and we’re convinced they’re secretly plotting to burn us in our sleep.
Teddy stepped up on the table. “Vic and I had planned to make an announcement with you all here too, but seeing as Dom’s left and they won’t notice a hurricane, I’ll tell you all now before any more people leave.” He pulled Vic onto the table with him. “Vic is pregnant. It’s a little girl, and she’s due in seven months.” He grinned widely.
I won’t bother describing the response to that, because no doubt you can imagine all the squealing, half of us declaring we were going to be Aunties/Uncles/extended cousins and such the like, as well as the manly punching of Teddy and declaring that he was indeed, the man.
And then Freddy decided that because it was his party, he deserved some attention, so we all had to tell him he was the man too.
Our parties tend not to end, just merge into the next morning when we all nurse hangovers, and find ourselves littered around the office like scattered leaves.
That’s a lovely metaphor.
Personally, I don’t drink that much. Working in a pub tends to put you off a bit. However, I did wake up curled up to Scorpius. Who was shirtless. Why was I cuddling Scorpius?
I racked my brains. No clue. For all I knew, this was Lorcan’s idea of a joke. I am a famously heavy sleeper, and once the twins kidnapped me, and stuck me –still snoring away- in a hotel lift, pressed all the buttons, and ran away. I was woken up about forty-five minutes later by a worried concierge and angry management.
I glanced at Lorcan- someone had shaved his eyebrows.
Wait- that was me. God, I’m hilarious. He looked like an alien.
Luckily, Scorpius was asleep too, and so were most people, except for James, who was tapping away at a computer. He didn’t appear to have noticed, and I certainly didn’t want him too. James was everyone’s big brother, but he hated Scorpius. I didn’t particularly like him, but I had to admit, he looked very nice. Very nice indeed with his shirt off.
Rose! Bloody behave.
I quietly stepped up behind James. He was checking his email on the wwww (wizarding world wide web). I watched as he skipped past a service email from OwlMail.co.uk, scanned the newsletter from the Cannons, and then closed that window, checking his online balance at Gringotts.
I nearly choked when I saw his account: G15 million. And as I watched, another payment came through from a PI Jones for G76 thousand. He deleted the browser history for Gringotts.
I took a silent step back, and then a loud one forward. “Whatcha doing?”
He started violently. “N-nothing.”
He was saved from the awkwardness by the planners emerging from Hell. They looked like I felt. I’m often told that I’m a lucky she-devil, due to the fact that after a night on the town, I usually look fairly bright-eyed and bushy tailed, despite that I’m dying internally. However, Lily had screwed only half her hair up, the rest straggling down by her ears, and her shoes were dangling from one finger. Louis had the imprint of a keyboard on his cheek and Hugo’s eyes weren’t completely open yet.
“Hate you,” mumbled Louis.
It is a well-known gem that if we run out of alcohol, Hell has a safe full of firewhisky to sustain the demons that lurk within. They must have made a considerable dent in it last night.
“Plan!” Hugo said, waving a memory stick. “Done.”
Clearly my baby brother wasn’t up to full sentences yet. Lily beckoned me to the elevator, jamming her heels back onto her feet. “Come on Red, we’ll do the hangover run, and get Dom as well. Two weeks isn’t long.”
I checked my watch as we stepped out into the cold morning air. Neither of us felt up to Apparating, and the nearest coffee shop was only a couple of streets away.
“Where did Dom go last night?” Lily asked me.
“Boyfriend’s work do.”
“Ethan has got a job?”
“She’s dumped Ethan. She came round the other night, crying with Molly. I had to make Hugo clear out for a bit.”
Yes, I live with my brother. We’re actually good mates. He moved to London for work, couldn’t find a place quick enough, I let him stay, and he never moved out. And it makes sense with the whole Rose-has-no-money thing. Everyone thinks the apartment is actually his.
“So who is her new man?”
“No idea. Last Wednesday, in between tissues and chocolate, she swore she was never dating again.”
Lily went an interesting shade of green. “Don’t mention food, please.”
We stopped outside Starbucks and played rock, paper, scissors to see who would go in and who would fetch Dom. I lost, so Lily went to get Dom –she only lives over the road- and I pushed the glass door open.
Oh no. New girl at the counter. “Hi,” I said, smiling.
She chewed her gum arrogantly. “What can I get ya?”
“One black coffee, two large mochas, three cappuccinos and two hot chocolates with marshmallows, please,” I said, ticking them off on my fingers.
“Yes, but I’m not finished. Two lattes- one medium, and one large, a white chocolate mocha and two iced teas, one Earl Grey, a small skinny latte and a large peppermint hot chocolate,” I mentally ran through it again. Yes, I got it all.
I looked up at the girl. Her mouth had fallen open, and I could see her gum. “That’s not a very attractive expression, by the way,” I confided.
She scowled, and yelled “PHIIIIL!”
It is half-seven in the morning. There is no earthly reason to yell. I waited patiently as Phil stumbled, bleary-eyed, out of the back.
“Red!” he greeted me, “Usual order?”
“Yes please.” It always amazes me how, out of my entire red-headed family, I’m the only one with a ginger-related nickname. James once said that it was because Roses are red, but he drinks white chocolate mochas, so who cares what he thinks?
Phil piled all sixteen drinks into trays, and then Lily and Dom came in to help me. Next stop was the pharmacy for paracetamol, and so began the whole charade that happens every time.
“I’m sorry, you can’t buy more than two packets at once,” said the old lady at the checkout. I scowled at her.
“Why?” I already knew the answer.
“Company policy. You’ll also have to show proof of age,” she smiled sweetly. Evil bitch.
I showed her my Muggle driving licence, and then leant forwards on the counter. My brain was throbbing. “There are sixteen of us, we all have headaches. There are fifteen pills in each packet. We will each take two. That makes thirty-four, and there are only thirty pills. We need three packets.”
“I’m sorry, it’s company policy-”
This stupid pharmacy, at some point has seen all of us asking for three packets. And they still won’t give it us. The reason I go through this massive barney every time because I have only a little faith in humanity, but I still hope one day it will be restored, by them letting us buy three effing packets. Not even Lorcan can talk his way around the hag.
Fine. We’ll do it my way.
She scanned two packets through the bleeping machine and put them in a tiny paper bag. I paid, and she handed them to me, showing her gums with her smile.
Gross old ladies. Ewww.
“I don’t see why you don’t just Obliviate her,” Dom says, taking a sip of her black coffee.
“Because I can nick them,” I said. “It’s good practice!” I twirled the third packet between my fingers.
Lily smiled smugly. “But Dom wasn’t there and Vic won’t be drinking, so really you only needed two packets.”
“Who’s the new boyfriend anyway?” asked Lily, carefully checking the road before she crossed it. She’s so cautious, I reckon she mentally does risk assessments before she gets up.
“What are you talking about? I’m single,” Dom said.
“But you said last night you were at boyfriend’s work do,” I said.
“No I didn’t,” Dom said sternly. “You must have misheard me.”
I raised my eyebrows at Lily behind Dom’s back and Lily shrugged back. If Dom wants to play it like that, fine.
We entered to a chorus of waking-up groans. It was very attractive.
“Okay,” I called. “Three cappuccinos?” Hugo and Louis lurched over for theirs, while Lily was collapsed onto a table now, drinking hers.
“Two hot chocolates with marshmallows?” Lorcan and Lysander waved their arms, and I levitated them over.
“A medium latte?” Teddy moaned in answer.
“A large latte?” Vic took hers and Teddy’s. How I envied her hangover-free head.
White chocolate mocha was for James. Iced teas- Molly and Albus, Lucy had her Earl Grey, and the peppermint hot chocolate was Freddy’s. Roxy was too busy throwing up for her skinny latte, and I passed the final mocha coffee to Scorpius, taking one myself. Each coffee came with a side order of two painkillers.
“Right,” said Dom, thoroughly bored with proceedings. “It’s time for the plan of action. Everyone, last night didn’t happen, and it will not happen again until this is completed. Get your thinking caps on, because this is not going to be easy.”
A/N: First chapter of my newest fic! Hope you enjoy, and thank you to inkbutterfly for the title ideas. And also thanks to my wonderful Beta for this chapter: acrules/Gandalf XD