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Chapter 7 : Year Six
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“I will not take you to a ‘book party’. I don’t have the time to waste in a bookstore when there are plenty of things to do here.” Mrs. Weasley responded. Another five minutes of pleading yielded no better results, so Ginny finally gave up.
“No dice, Mum just won’t do it.” She said to Hermione. “What about your Mum?”
“She can’t get into Diagon Alley by herself.” Hermione answered. She was dejected as well, for they both wanted to get the latest mystery novel by Lymus Sanderson. She thought about it for awhile, considering every possibility on how they could get in. The problem was that they were too young and needed someone older to go with. She looked into Ginny’s face and saw the disappointment there. Then a thought came to her, one she hadn’t thought of before. “Did your Mum say we couldn’t go, or just that she wouldn’t take us?”
“She wouldn’t take us, why? What are you thinking?”
Hermione smiled with a grin of pure mischief. Ginny had never seen this look before. “I know someone who will take us. He’s never refused me before on anything.”
Ginny caught the hint. “Jayson?”
Hermione smiled again. “Jayson.”
Jayson was sitting in the common room reading a potions book he just picked up from Hogsmeade via Alex’s bookstore when the Floo opened up and he heard Hermione’s voice call out to him. He put down the book and walked over to the Floo. “Yes, Mi-Mi?”
As he reached in to hug her she and Ginny pushed through the Floo and landed on top of him. “Gotcha…” She said with a grin.
“Yes, so you do. Now before I get into hot water at both of you being here, what’s up? This isn’t our normal chat day.” He replied.
“We need a big favor from you if you’re not doing anything Friday night?”
“Oh really, and what might that be?”
“We need you to take us to the Lymus Sanderson book party at Flourish and Blotts because neither Mum can spare the time.”
“A what book party?”
“Lymus Sanderson.” Charlie intoned as he came up and hugged Ginny. “He’s a mystery writer in the Wizarding World. Very popular among kids between 8 and 13, though there are adults who read them too. I am not surprised that they would be throwing a book party.”
“Okay, what is a book party?” Jayson asked.
“Well, the book can’t be sold until 12:01 am Saturday morning. So they stage a party aimed at the younger set to count down the hours until 12:01 am. Then everybody clamors for a copy of the book and goes home happy.” Charlie answered.
“Oh, joy. That sounds like a whole load of fun. Why don’t you ask your Mum, Ginny?”
“We did, she said she didn’t have the time right now. Hermione’s Mum can’t, and that’s why we’re here pleading with you. Please!!!!!” Ginny replied and then both girls hit him with a look that most people call ‘puppy eyes’. They stuck out their lower lips, made their eyes go as wide as they could, and batted their eyelashes at him. They had every intention of buttering him up and getting him to take them. It worked.
“Alright, alright, just don’t start the water works. I’ll do it. When does this ‘party’ start?” He inquired.
“Eight o’clock sharp. You wanna get there close to the start as possible to reserve your spot in the line.” Hermione replied.
“Okay, meet here at seven-thirty and I will take you over.”
“YAY!!!!” The two girls shouted. Hermione comes over and gives Jayson a kiss.
“Mum knows about this, right?” Jayson asked her.
“Yes, and she’s all for it as long as there is a big person there so we’re not alone.”
“Okay, I will see you Friday then.”
Hermione hugs him and says, “thank you.”
The girls hop into the Floo and head back to the Burrow. Charlie begins to chuckle.
“Yeah, alright, say it Charlie. I’ve got ‘sucker’ written over my forehead.”
“Man, you’re gonna be bored off your arse for four and a half hours.” Charlie told him.
“Want to join me in this fun?” Jayson asked him.
“Me? No way! I ain’t going anywhere near that place. You’re on your own there!”
“Thanks a lot. Well, it is a bookstore, I’m sure I can find something to read over there.”
“You’re going to need quite a few somethings” Charlie said with a chuckle.
“You made your point already! Stop rubbing it in!” Jayson shouted.
The girls met exactly at seven-thirty in the common room. Jayson left all the proper notes with McGonagall and Dumbledore as to where he was going and when he would return. He then Flooed over to Diagon Alley and, with Charlie’s help, brought the girls over. As they walked, Hermione and Ginny talked about nothing but what they thought might be in the newest book. When they got to Flourish and Blotts, they saw that a small line had already formed, so they got in line. Jayson told the girls that they would meet in the center of the store as soon as they got their copy. The girls agreed. Jayson, after conversing with the other adults in the line, was informed that this was the seventh book in the series and that all the others had been major best-sellers. He also noticed that some of the kids were dressed in costumes. He asked the mother next to him and found out that many of the fans dress as their favorite character. The main hero dressed in green, his sidekick dressed in brown, and the arch enemy was always in black.
As soon as eight o’clock struck, the doors opened to the shouts of the people in line. As they filed in, there was a table waiting to hand out wristbands. The wristband had a letter and a number on it. Hermione got A-21 and Ginny got A-22. As soon as they had their numbers, the girls took off like a shot.
“Stay in the store at all times!” Jayson shouted.
“We will!” The girls said in unison.
Jayson gets a tap on the shoulders. “First one, right?” A lady says to him.
“Is it that obvious?” Jayson asked.
“Yes, it is. C’mon, I’ll show you where it’s safe and you can view the whole surroundings.”
Jayson is taken to the center of the store where a round rotunda with three steps, each about a foot. As he reached the top step and walked into the circle, he looked around at all the activities that were going on. At one place he saw kids getting their faces painted by people who worked in the store. Another point had a trivia contest going that gave a prize if you could answer questions about the previous books. Another point still had a life-size cut out of the main character where they were taking pictures. As the crowd got bigger, he saw that many kids were wearing costumes. In fact, he had never seen so many fedoras before in his life. They even had a costume contest to see who was most dressed like their favorite character. He looked around and saw Ginny and Hermione at the trivia booth and smiled. Jayson was happy to see Hermione into something that did not involve schoolwork. He determined that it was worth the long boring night if it meant that she was actually having fun and being a kid.
He spotted a stand that was selling drinks to both adults and children. He walked over and ordered a butterbeer. The cashier looked at him funny.
“You sure you don’t want something stronger, sir?” She asked
“I’m sure.” Jayson replied, and then added “I don’t drink heavy stuff in front of the kids.”
He got his drink and began to walk around the store. He saw some of the kids were playing music and singing strange lyrics to songs he had never heard of. In another part of the store he saw people, young and old alike, sitting around a table discussing trivia and the previous books published. At least he thought that’s what they were talking about as he had no clue about any of the story lines. Another group of kids were putting together a sort of 3D moving puzzle. He passed a jar with various Bernie Bott’s every flavor bean with a contest of guessing how many were in the jar. Jayson stuck in a guess just because. He then continued walking around the store and saw kids and adults just sitting on the floor reading anything they could get their hands on. This just surprised Jayson to no end.
He walked to the front of the store and found boxes with invisibility cloaks draped over them. It didn’t take much thought for him to figure out what was under those cloaks.
“Hiding the books until time to sell, eh?” He said to one cashier.
“How did you know?” The clerk asked.
“The boxes are showing at the bottom of one of the cloaks.”
Jayson returned to the center and sat down to watch the whole spectacle. He was completely dumbfounded by all the hype. This whole ‘party’ was a complete eye-opener to him. Hermione came up to him and was wearing a badge.
“Where did you get that?” He asked.
“I won it at the trivia contest. I answered 10 questions correctly about the other books.”
“Really? Man, I just don’t get this.”
“Lymus Sanderson is the Sherlock Holmes of the Wizarding World, except it’s written for younger people.”
“I see. Well, go off and have fun!”
After Hermione leaves, the mother who directed him to the center spoke up. “Sanderson is the reason kids are reading again. The books make it fun to read. I don’t know what I would have done with my two…”
Jayson nodded and then sat down. He watched the crowd mill around and congregate in various sections of the store. He noticed that the crowd was getting tremendously larger and the store was beginning to get warm. He also noticed that there were only so many faces being panted or so many pictures being taken that would keep his interest. Charlie was right, he was bored. He looked at his watch and saw it was only nine-thirty. That meant two and a half more hours of boredom. There was no way he could go through that. But he couldn’t take the girls away from the party until they had their books. So he got up and headed for the potions section. When he got there, he was not surprised to find that he had almost every book that was on the shelves. Flourish and Blotts served the Hogwarts students mainly, which meant that there wasn’t much beyond the basic texts. He did notice that there were some new first year books. He decided to grab them and, as there was one there, a copy of the first year text that Hogwarts uses. He carried them to the rotunda and began looking at them. He compared the material and how they were presented. He did this for about twenty minutes then shut all three books closed.
“These are all garbage.” He said angrily. “I could write a better one myself.” Then it dawned on him…why doesn’t he? It’s not like he’s doing anything else right now. So he ran over to the section that had writing material and bought parchment and quills. He returned to his spot at the table, opened up the three textbooks, and began to write. He used the three textbooks only as a roadmap as to the order of the subject material. The rest came from him. He scribbled notes and made drawings as he went. The other adults were impressed that he could sit down and create in this madness. He continued for about two hours when he felt a hand on his shoulder. He recognized the touch immediately.
“Don’t tell me you’re a fan too Professor McGonagall.” He said as he looked up at her.
“Actually, yes, but I pre-ordered my book months ago. What, pray tell, are you doing here?”
“Right now I am writing a textbook. Hermione and Ginny are somewhere in here having the time of their lives. I’m playing chaperone. Believe me, if I wasn’t writing, I would be bored stiff. Care for a butterbeer?”
“No thank you. I came to get you because, technically, you’re not supposed to be here.”
“Okay, why not?” Jayson looked perplexed.
McGonagall leaned over and whispered, “Chaperones are supposed to be over seventeen.”
“Eep. No one told me that.” Jayson whispered back.
They then heard the announcement that, with one half hour to go, all people with ‘A’ band should be lining up at the special line in the checkout stand. They saw Hermione and Ginny running toward the cordoned off area that would serve as the line. A few minutes later, the announcer said that everyone with a ‘B’ band to form behind the ‘A’s. That’s when the trouble started.
One of the older kids who had been waiting started getting upset when people were placed ahead of him because he had a ‘C’ band. The management tried to talk to him and explain it, but the kid wasn’t listening. Then they made a mistake…they tried removing the kid by force. The young man grabbed his wand and started firing spells into the crowd. Everyone ducked as the spells went everywhere. Jayson drew out his wand immediately.
“Jayson, you can’t cast here, you’re not of age yet.” McGonagall whispered.
“I don’t need to cast, just block. I’ll be right back.” He responded. He then marched towards the young man; who saw him coming and started aiming the spells at Jayson. He would fire a spell, Jayson would parry it away. As he got closer to him, the young man started firing faster. Finally, Jayson was able to parry one of the spells back close enough to the young man that he ducked. Jayson then leapt to him, grabbed his wand arm, stowed his wand, disarmed the man, and then spent the next forty-five seconds demonstrating techniques he later called “Judo”. When he was done, the young man was on the ground moaning and Jayson was holding the man’s wand.
“NO ONE ATTACKS MY GIRLS…PERIOD!” He shouted. As he turned to leave, there stood Mad-Eye Moody.
“Nicely done Jayson.” Moody said.
“Thank you Alastor.” Jayson replied and handed him the young man’s wand. “You can have him now.” Jayson then turned and went over to Hermione and Ginny. “Are you two all right?” The girls nodded and Jayson went back to the rotunda. As he was walking the crowd began applauding loudly to him. He just waved his hand and stood next to McGonagall. It was at this time that Mrs. Weasley arrived.
“What happened in here?’ She asked. She was briefed my Moody as to the disturbance and that Jayson had handled the matter quite efficiently. She went over to Jayson.
“Are you or the girls hurt?” She asked.
“No.” Jayson answered.
“Good, now what on earth possessed you to bring those two here tonight?”
“They suckered me into it. Although I wish I had more time I was writing at a good clip here.”
“They were not supposed to go.”
“They told me that you said you would not take them. Is that what you said?”
“Yes it is, why?”
“Because you left open the possibility that someone else could take them. You should have said they cannot go period.” Jayson interjected.
Mrs. Weasley got a little red at this, but then thought about it and concluded that, maybe, she hadn’t been clear on the issue. Just then, the shopkeeper came up and shook Jayson’s hand.
“Sir, I cannot thank you enough for saving us from that awful situation. If there is anything you want, just name it and it’s yours!” He said. Jayson scratched his chin and then smiled.
“Anything?” The shopkeeper nodded. “Fine. If you provide two complete sets of Lymus Sanderson’s books, including the new one, plus these two texts here free of charge, then I shall consider the debt paid.”
“Done! I will get the other books now. We cannot open the new ones for another ten minutes but I will get the rest now.” The shopkeeper said and then went to go get the books.
“Why so many Jayson, if I may ask?” Mrs. Weasley said.
“Because if they hadn’t tried to push him out by force, then none of that would have happened. It’s only just that they absorb an expense from this.”
“Nicely thought out.” McGonagall said.
Mrs. Weasley went over and found the girls. When she pulled them out of the line, they were crying. When they got to Jayson, he told them what had transpired and that they got their copies for free and first. The shopkeeper then came up and handed the sets to the girls; who looked with wide eyed wonder at Jayson before crushing him with the biggest hugs they could.
“One minute left to go!” The announcer shouted. By this time a reporter was standing on the counter to take a photo of the crowd. The crowd cheers as the photographer snaps the photo. Those not in line yet began to form a semi-circle around the cash registers as they began to count the time down. Finally, someone from behind the counter called out “10…9…8…”
The crowd started counting down. “7…6…5…4…3…2…1…YAY!!!!”
The cashiers pull the covers off of the book boxes, which magically opened and out popped the books. The shopkeeper grabbed two copies and started walking as the crowd cheered the others handing them out. He walked over to Hermione and Ginny and placed the new book in each of their totes. He then shook Jayson’s hand again and walked away.
The five of them simply look at the crowd for about two minutes as the checkout stands got flooded with people getting the book. The announcer had just informed those with a ‘C’ band to get in line when Jayson shook his head.
“I can’t believe you wanted in that insanity girls.”
“It’s fun! We even got photos, see!” Sure enough, there they were with the life size cutout waving in the photo.
“As long as you had fun, that’s what counts.”
“We did!” The girls said together.
“I’m glad you did, because Monday you will be writing all about it in an essay. That is your penance for being here and dragging poor Jayson into this.” Mrs. Weasley said.
“Yes Mum.” Ginny said.
“Yes Ma’am.” Hermione said.
Jayson simply smiled as the girls accepted the penalty with grace. Then he realized that he hadn’t heard McGonagall speak in a while. He turned around and looked at her. McGonagall raised her eyebrows.
“I take it I also get a penance for this long night.” Jayson inquired.
“I’m afraid so…” McGonagall said, “Because you are still a student and should not have been here without supervision yourself. Yes, I understand that you did not know. I also take into account that, had you not been here, that situation would have been much worse for everybody. Therefore, you will be sitting a detention with me Saturday instead of going to Hogsmeade. You will also bring those texts and what you have written so far. You will be doing some more writing, do you understand. Ten a.m. in my office.”
Jayson nodded, but then raised his eyebrows. “Can we make it noon? I have a book on order there and, if I don’t pick it up, Alex will have to send it back and pay a fee. It’s not right he should get penalized.”
“Very well, twelve noon, and bring that book too. I take it that it is special?”
“It’s Bulgarian. It is the text Durmstrang uses for advanced studies.”
“Now let’s go home.”
Hermione came up to Jayson, hugged him, and gave him a kiss. “Thanks for being here, and for bringing us. I’m sorry you got detention.”
“Hey, it’s no big deal. I have a lot to do anyway.” He turned to Mrs. Weasley. “Will you make sure Hermione gets home safely?”
“Of course dear.” Mrs. Weasley replied and kissed his cheek. “You did well tonight.”
“Then let’s get out of this madhouse…”
Jayson not only spent that Saturday in McGonagall’s office, he spent the next three Saturdays as well writing on that textbook. He also spent quite a bit of time on Thursdays working on it too. Dumbledore asked him about it during one of their chess matches and Jayson answered all of his questions. Finally, when he said it was done, McGonagall looked it over and corrected the grammatical errors. Dumbledore then gave Jayson a list of publishers. Jayson sent it to five publishers. Four sent it back saying they did not need another textbook. The fifth, however, accepted it and offered a generous draw to publish it. After discussing the deal with both Dumbledore and McGonagall, he accepted the deal. Three days later, the sum of five thousand gold was placed into Jayson’s account at Gringott’s.
He decided to only use his initials on the book, that way no one would know that a sixth year Hogwarts student wrote it. So the “Potion Making Basics for New Students” was published under the author title “J.E.L.”.
The next surprise was that orders were coming in from schools saying they wanted the text for the upcoming terms. The Magic Academy of America made it their text for first year students. And then, in a bigger surprise, Snape asked Dumbledore to make the text part of the curriculum for first years at Hogwarts.
Jayson never told Snape a thing…
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