Chapter 8 : The Potter Persuasion
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the leader of my wolf pack.
Paging Dr. Potter!
Chapter image by prospero (formerly arushi) at TDA.
I’ve been known to complain about my extended family quite a lot. They’re loud, obnoxious, and have no sense of social grace - except for Uncle Percy, and the problem with him is that he’s a shining example of how perfect etiquette and social ineptitude are, in fact, not mutually exclusive.
On top of that, my family is just…well…everywhere. Being a Weasley in this day and age means you can’t walk down Diagon Alley without people looking at you and knowing who you are and who you’re related to. Quite frankly, it’s the creepiest thing you could possibly imagine.
On the other hand, having family all over the place, particularly the Ministry, has its advantages - such as crime scene updates from your Obliviator cousin.
I haven’t a clue what happened this time, but it sounds huge. They won’t let me anywhere near the actual scene of, course. I’m much too junior for that. Wankers.
It’s times like this I envy Al - he gets to see the good stuff. Then I remember how much he works, and I feel sorry for the poor bastard again.
Damn it, I need a drink.
Ten minutes later (that’s how long it took me to decipher Hugo’s serial-killer handwriting) I crumpled up the letter, stepped into the fireplace, and Flooed to James’ place.
“James!” I called. “I need your mobile!”
“Don’t hesitate or anything, just come right in,” responded a disgruntled James, appearing out of the bathroom with a towel around his waist and his wet hair sticking out in every direction conceivable.
“Interesting thing for someone to say the day after he fell asleep in my bed with his shoes on. You just now got a shower? What have you been doing for the past five hours?”
“Holding my head and moaning.” He tossed me his phone. “What do you need it for?”
“To call your dad. He won’t answer if he knows it’s me. Put some clothes on, will you?”
James rolled his eyes and walked off towards his room to get dressed, mumbling, “Fancying yourself an investigative journalist again, you know he’s not going to tell you anything…”
“Kiss my arse.”
I dialed Uncle Harry’s number, and he answered on the second ring. “James, hi, what’s up?”
“Not James, but someone much cooler,” I replied.
There was a pause.
“Fred,” he said finally. “Hi. Everything alright?”
“Fantastic. I just fancied a chat.”
“I see. You know I’m at work right now - I’m sure Hugo told you we had another one today.”
I pounced. Suavely and inconspicuously, as is always my way. “I know, he did tell me. Don’t suppose you could offer up a few tidbits for an avid reporter?”
Another pause. “Fred, you’re hardly a reporter.”
“Well, that’s subjective, isn’t it? You know half the things the Daily Prophet writes are sensationalized - ”
“Oh - hang on - damn - I can’t hear you - ” Something that sounded vaguely like static came through the phone.
I sighed. “Uncle Harry, that’s you rustling a piece of paper in front of the phone. I’m not stupid, you know. And magical mobiles don’t experience static like Muggle ones.”
“I know! It’s absolutely mind-boggling! Totally can’t hear you right now!”
“I’m going to call Uncle Ron, you know I - ”
James sauntered back into the room, still wearing a towel. “Told you,” he said as I stared irritably at the phone.
I shrugged. “Ron will tell me everything. And put some trousers on, yeah? I find it weird I have to ask twice.”
He ignored me and started rummaging in the kitchen cupboards.
I took out my own phone and dialed Uncle Ron’s number. It rang a few times, and I was sure he had just decided to ignore it, until finally he picked up.
At the same moment, I heard Aunt Hermione’s warning growl in the background.
“Ron, turn it off now.”
I had clearly stumbled into the middle of what - at least according to one party involved - was supposed to be special-Ron-and-Hermione-couple-time.
Barf, vomit, gag.
James laughed at the look on my face. “Aaaand that’s why you call my dad first.”
“Hermione, it’s Fred.” Uncle Ron’s voice sounded far away, and I got the impression that he was holding the phone above his head, where someone of Aunt Hermione’s petite stature could have no hope of grabbing it.
“Oh! Hello, Fred!” she called.
I don’t mean to brag, but I am her favorite nephew.
Ron held the phone normally again. “Ok, the pleasantries are over. What is it this time?”
“You need me to tell you, or can we just save ourselves some time?”
He sighed. “Fine. But you know I can’t tell you very much. For example, I’m not going to tell you there were three victims this time. I’m not going to tell you one of them is a kid and that he‘s in critical condition. And I’m certainly not going to tell you that someone who looked extraordinarily like your cousin Lily was sneaking around, infiltrated the perimeter, which wasn’t my fault, by the way, and got thrown out of the scene.”
I let this non-information sink in. “And you’re not at work…why?”
“Well, it’s all administrative at this point, at least until the victims are in any condition to talk, and that’s Harry’s end of it. You know I’m not the paperwork sort.”
“And what is it you do again?”
“Stand around looking pretty. Someone’s got to.”
“Excellent. Thanks, Uncle Ron.”
“For what?” And with that, he hung up.
Really, it was unnecessary for me to attempt this kind of investigation. I usually waited until the news broke in the Prophet, then commented on it in a way that actually made it interesting. Nobody expected me to be a reporter. But there was a certain allure in the idea of being able to break headline news on my show, instead of getting it secondhand from other sources. Especially the Prophet. Dodgy reporting, that.
Lily was one such dodgy reporter, although, as journalists went, she was almost honest and objective. Almost. I’m just saying, it doesn’t exactly seem coincidental that the baby of the Potter family, who grew up stretching the truth with unnatural finesse, decided to become a journalist. And it didn’t shock me one bit that she was caught sneaking around the scene. She didn’t report on things this high-profile, but she’d been aching to get away from Page Six news for some time now. I suppose a person can only report on things like acrobatic nifflers for so long before madness sets in.
Unfortunately, for all her ambition and sneakiness, Lily wasn’t any more help than our uncle had been. I received her letter two days later, a full day after the news broke (I hadn’t even bothered calling her, as she was constantly misplacing her mobile).
I’m afraid I don’t have any information for you that hasn’t already been reported (though obviously, if I did, I couldn’t put it in a letter). They caught me and threw me out. Tell your dad those glasses with the fake nose and moustache aren’t a very good disguise. They don’t work at all! Stupid Muggle novelty items.
Anyway, you know my dad - fat lot of help he is. Have you tried Uncle Ron?
Damn. Thwarted again.
Al was no help, either, as it was impossible to reach him at times like this. The papers didn’t contain much more information than Uncle Ron had provided to me. The Snapper had descended on a family in the countryside. Three victims, including one kid, aged nine. Absolutely sick, of course. Uncle Harry was mentioned in the Prophet as giving no further comment.
I think I understood why it was perfectly acceptable for Uncle Ron to be away from the scene immediately after the initial investigation. His press statements were sure to be a lot more colorful than Uncle Harry’s. He probably got paid to go home until the press cleared off.
The response to our fundraising at the station spiked after news of the recent attack broke. This turned out to be excellent for Tibbs’ self-esteem, as she raked in quite a lot of money, even more than Dex.
It occurred to me our listeners were very trusting people. Tibbs was definitely not a troll, but for all they knew, she could have been. Of course, I assured them she wasn’t - but I had a vested interest in it, didn’t I? Maybe it was because she had a cute voice.
And as far as girls went, she was pretty damn cool. Most of the time. That did not mean, however, that she was exempt from doing totally weird female things, as I found out Friday morning as Raj, Dex, and I stood talking in the kitchen at the station.
Someone with short black hair sticking out in every direction stepped out of the fireplace. Someone female.
Raj raised his eyebrows and lowered his coffee cup. “Good lord, Tibbs, what’s that tarantula doing on your head?”
Her entire face turned red. “Shut up, you.”
I stared, trying to wrap my mind around the inexplicable things girls did on a whim. “Tabitha, where is your hair?”
“Oh, for heaven’s sake! What is so weird about this? It‘s not a big deal!”
“It’s…you look like…”
At that moment, James stepped out of the fireplace. He took one look at Tabitha and doubled over with laughter. James lacks the masterful subtleties of yours truly.
“I look like what, exactly?” She stared at me crossly, ignoring my hyena of a cousin.
Dex’s eyes widened and he nearly spit out his coffee. “You look like James!”
This was too much for the rest of us. Raj was wiping tears from his eyes by the time Miles and Cristine arrived. Cristine performed a quick assessment of the situation, put her hands on her hips, and told us we were all tosspots who didn’t understand a thing about fashion and that Tibbs looked lovely.
Whatever. I thought Tibbs looked ridiculous.
However, as Tibbs had already demonstrated that she was prone to making drastic life changes when stuck in a rut, I supposed we were lucky that all she had done this time was get a haircut. She would probably move on to tattoos next. If she did, I hoped she would consult me first. Hair grows back, but a tattoo bearing the name of a bloke you just met in a bar is forever. My cousin Molly may or may not know something about that. One of several things we don’t tell Uncle Percy.
I thought the day couldn’t get any better than that. O me of little faith.
“The moment all you boys have been waiting for,” I announced as I picked up the parchment Raj had provided to me. “Now, I know we’ve been ribbing Tabitha all morning about this strange new hair development, but I’ve been informed by much more sophisticated sources” - I saluted Cristine - “that I’m ignorant - or maybe incompetent, I’m not sure - probably both - and am in no position to judge such things. So I’ll just assure you that Tibbs is lovely and considerably more attractive than everyone else on this show who has short hair. Even Dexter, if you can believe it - breathtaking blue eyes notwithstanding. So lets get on with it and find out which lucky bloke gets to take Tibbs and her vaguely questionable haircut out this weekend.”
I unfolded the bit of parchment bearing the name of the week’s winner. I read it and burst out laughing.
The surname Potter may have been common enough. But I was absolutely certain there was only one person alive with a name as wonky as “Albus.”
A/N: Sorry it took me so long to update! I plan to do a lot of work on this next weekend, so the updates should be more frequent again.
The quote, "I find it weird I have to ask twice," is, of course, from the brilliant movie The Hangover. I decided to use it because it made me giggle. You'll find my thought processes can be quite simplistic.
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