Chapter 1 : The Test
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“Verity,” Fred said to their newest, and only, employee.
“Coming, Mr. Weasley,” Verity said, walking over to where one of her two bosses was. George was standing next to his twin and going down the check list of things they needed to make more of.
“Today we have a possible employee coming in for an interview,” George said, a bit bored in his tone, while he continued with the check list. Glancing at it, he could see that they needed some more of their Self-Inking, Spell-Checking, and Smart-Answer quills. Those buggers sold out fast; no wonder, anyone would want them. Not having to worry about your spelling and your answers was heaven. The Skiving Snack Boxes were rather popular as well, but having known that, they made more than enough.
“As George said, we have an interviewee coming today. She should be here any moment. We need you to make sure that no one nicks stuff while one of us is interviewing her and the other is working on making more of the things we’re running low on,” Fred said, looking at Verity.
“Of course, Mr. Weasley and Mr. Weasley,” she said as Fred dismissed her.
“Easy to work with,” he said when Verity was out of ear shot. George nodded and handed Fred the check list to double check. They always double checked each other, just in case one missed something, the other would catch the mistake.
Looking to the door, George saw a young woman walk in. She carried herself with confidence, but not so much confidence that it was arrogant. Her blonde locks fell just below her shoulder and were complimented with eyes the color of coffee. As she drew nearer to him, he saw that she was only a few inches shorter than his stocky stature.
“I’m looking for a Fred or a George Weasley,” she said, looking down at the piece of parchment she was holding in her hands. Her voice was smooth, like honey, and something about it made him think of the calming effects of chamomile tea.
“George Weasley, at your service,” George said, sticking his hand out for her to shake. She took it and shook it firmly before he let go.
“I’m Catherine Miller. I applied for a job here.”
“Ah, yes. Right this way.” George led her through the crowd of people that seemed to cover each tiny millimeter of the shop. When he finally got to the small office in the back of the store, he pushed opened the door and told her to sit in the armchair across from the mahogany desk that was covered in sketches for new products. His blue eyes looked around the desk for her application. He finally found it and glanced over it.
“All right,” he said, his sapphire eyes meeting her chocolate ones.
“Yes?” she said.
“What would you do if someone started puking all of a sudden?”
“I would give them the other end of a Puking Pastille.”
“Ah, so you’re a customer?”
Her sun kissed cheeks turned the lightest shade of red that George had ever seen anyone blush. He smirked, but not mockingly, at her visible embarrassment.
“No, I just remember my seventh year very well,” she said, the red disappearing from her cheeks. George raised his ginger eyebrow with curiosity.
“When was your seventh year?”
“Last year. This is my first summer out of Hogwarts.”
“Very good…It says here that you play Quidditch,” George said, a smile curling upon his lips. He watched as she playfully smirked.
“I never said that I played on a team or that I played well,” she slyly replied.
“But you enjoy the game?”
She tilted her head to the side in thought for a brief moment before nodding. Quickly, George called for his brother. Catherine waited patiently for Fred to join in on the interview.
“We’re ready for the test,” George said as Fred arrived in the office. Fred looked from his brother to the young woman sitting across from him.
“The test?” Fred said. George nodded.
“What test?” Catherine said, visibly confused.
“I’ll go get it,” Fred said, leaving the room.
“The test is a simple way to show your knowledge of the world of joking,” George said. “It can be anything from pulling a prank to juggling.”
“Okay,” she said. Her features spelled out nervousness.
“Don’t worry, Catherine—” George started.
“Cate. You can call me Cate.”
“Okay, Cate, nothing illegal is ever involved.”
“What a relief,” she said, her voice dripping with sarcasm. Fred came in moments later and dropped a deck of cards in her lap. She looked at them, deeply confused once more. Slowly and carefully, she dumped the cards out of the box and shuffled them in her hands.
“What do you want me to do with them?” Cate said, looking from Fred to George and then concentrating on her hands as she watched the smooth cards slip between each other.
“Perform a trick, of course,” Fred said, leaning against the wall lazily. She raised both of her eyebrows and looked at the twins. She then shrugged her shoulders and shuffled them once more.
“Take a card and don’t show it to me,” she said, holding the deck out. George cautiously took a card. Ah, the queen of spades. She was pointing her scepter at him and demanding that he put her back with the king of spades. George sighed and kept a hold of it.
“Okay, now what?” Fred said, reading his twin’s mind perfectly.
“Give me a few moments and I’ll tell you what card that is,” Cate said, not taking her eyes off the cards she was holding. George knew that by looking at the cards, she couldn’t tell what card he had. That was simply ridiculous and unheard of; there were too many cards in the deck to do that, but he let her continue. She appeared to be moving the cards around in her hand as Fred glanced over to George. He shook his head to tell Fred that he didn’t know what she was doing either.
“You have the queen of spades,” she said.
“Y—yes, I do,” George said, astonished. Fred’s facial expression told George that his twin was also amazed. George handed Cate the card and she looked pleased with herself as she handed the deck back to Fred.
“Here’s the uniform,” Fred said, handing Cate a wad of the magenta robes that clashed magnificently with the traditional Weasley red hair. “Be here at eight o’clock tomorrow morning and we’ll go over the basics.”
“Thank you,” she said, leaving the shop with the robes in hand. The tinkling sound that the bell on the door sounded, signaling that she had left. With that simple sound, Fred and George returned to work.
A/N: Let the saga begin! Oh, and don't forget to review. I'd also like to thank Minda at the forums for the fantastic title. =)