Chapter 3 : In The Art Of Discovery
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Disclaimer: Everything goes to JKR :)
Fred Weasley II
another chapter image by Lbell @tda!!
Hermione rang the bell and looked up at the house.
“Wow,” she said, trying to feign admiration for it.
“I know,” I said, “It’s an overkill.”
“No,” she said, then she paused, “Ok, it is a bit.”
“You really don’t have to come inside,” I protested, dreading the moment that my dad saw that I’d actually brought a real live witch onto his doorstep.
“Nonsense,” she smiled at me kindly, “I need too explain to your father, not just dump you on the doorstep!”
“Trust me, you’ll be better off if you do-,”
The door opened to reveal a maid in a ridiculous black uniform with a white apron. I looked her up and down. She wasn’t much older than eighteen, with soft brown hair and brown eyes that looked timidly out at us.
“Yes?” she asked shyly.
“Hello,” said Hermione, still clearly taken aback at the sight of the maid, “I’m here to deliver Charlie.” The maid nodded.
“Who is it?” came a voice from inside. My dad appeared behind the maid.
“Charlotte,” he said, looking a little surprised, “What’s wrong with you?”
Clearly he hadn’t noticed that I’d been gone for about three hours.
“Hi,” said Hermione, smiling broadly, “I’m Hermione. I’m here to deliver your daughter.” She laughed lightly. My father looked her up and down suspiciously.
“Deliver her?” he asked, sounding perplexed.
“Well, we patched her up after she fell out of a tree in the forest,” she said, her smile faltering.
My father looked at me.
“I thought I said no trouble, Charlotte!” he snapped.
Yep, thanks dad, that really shows you care.
“Well, anyway,” said Hermione, clearly desperate not to get me into trouble, “I just gave her a revival potion and healed the cuts and scrapes, and she’s as good as new!” she said. My father's eyes darkened in a flash.
Hermione might have just told him that she was Darth Vader’s daughter and it would have had the exact same effect.
“So you’re a…a…witch,” he said.
“Yes,” she nodded, raising her eyebrows at my father’s disdainful tone.
“Take Charlotte to her room,” he said suddenly to the maid.
She nodded and looked at me desperately, begging me to follow her.
I agreed to do this, but only because I felt sorry for her. Even though the maid’s spineless attitude was a little bothering.
“Thanks for everything,” I said to Hermione, “And I’m sorry in advance for anything he says.” I left them, Hermione still standing on the step, looking at me curiously.
“I’ll have a word with you later Charlotte,” growled my father.
I followed the maid down the hall and she opened the bedroom door for me. I walked inside and she followed me in. I spotted some clothes on the bed that had been laid out for me. It was an outrageously pink top and a white skirt.
“What the-?” I cried, absolutely appalled.
“Mrs. Walker says you wear these when Michael arrive,” chimed the maid.
Damn…Michael, Angela’s son, I’d forgotten he was coming this afternoon.
“What If I don’t want to?” I asked her. She looked at me blankly.
“Mrs. Walker insist,” she said, clearly intimidated by my aggression. She went over to my chest of drawers and opened my suitcase that sat at the bottom. She was going to unpack my things.
“Please don’t,” I muttered.
“Mrs. Walker said.”
“Mrs. Walker’s an idiot and we both know it,” I said. She looked shocked. It was like looking at a muggle version of a house-elf.
“It is my job,” she said. I noticed that her accent was foreign, somewhere from Eastern Europe.
“Where are you from?” I asked her. She looked surprised that I had bothered to ask her about her, instead of telling her to iron my pillowcases.
“I am from Poland,” she said, and there was the smallest hint of a smile in her lips.
“I’m from France,” I said. Then I walked over to her and held out a hand, “I’m Charlie. What your name?” She took my hand tentatively,
“My name is Marta,” she said, now smiling properly at me.
“Nice to meet you,” I say, shaking her hand, “I’ll do my clothes. Don’t worry.”
“I can help?” She asked me, still smiling sweetly. She seemed eager to stay, so I grinned.
“Sure, but no folding, agreed?”
She frowned a little,
“No folding?” she repeated, looking confused.
“I prefer my clothes when they’re crumpled,” I told her, “It’s just a tradition.”
She nodded and began to pull my clothes out one by one. I got down on my knees and helped her.
My suitcase was basically filled with old clothes that used to belong to one of my brothers. There was Ben’s old jumper, Eric’s jeans, Jacks old band T-shirts, and Lucas’s old, scuffed trainers.
Marta didn’t pull a face once. She simply pulled each item out and dumped it in the open drawer.
I decided that maybe I had found a friend here.
“My brother is also a fan,” she grinned, holding up a Led Zepplin T-shirt.
“It’s my brother’s shirt actually,” I smile back at her. “Where does your brother live?”
“He is working in London,” she said, “He tries to earn money for university.”
“What are you doing here?”
“I also try to earn money for university here. And I want to improve my English.”
“You speak good English,” I smile at her.
“So do you,” she grinned, pleased at the compliment, “You are French, no?”
“Yeah, but my dad’s English, and my brothers always spoke English around him, and I learnt it from them I guess. We always speak English to each other now.”
“How many brothers do you have?” she asked, but before I could answer the door banged open to reveal a flustered looking Angela.
“What on earth are you doing?” she asked, looking appalled.
“I’m helping Marta put away my things,” I said, frowning at her in deep disapproval, “Don’t you know how to knock?”
“None of your lip,” she snapped, “Michael will be arriving in fifteen minutes, so get those clothes on that I chose for you, and clean yourself up. You look like you’ve been rolling in the mud all day.”
I looked down, and saw that the bottom of my jeans were covered in mud and grass, probably still lingering from my little excursion to the forest. Angela scowled at Marta.
“Go and make up the guest bedroom on the second floor,” she snapped, “Michael needs somewhere to sleep.” Marta nodded timidly and jumped to her feet,
“What about the unpacking?”
“The clothes can wait!” cried Angela, “Just go!”
Marta hurried out of the room, but not before she flashed me a quick smile.
“And for god’s sake brush that hair,” Angela cried at me, almost hysterical. And with that she hurried out.
15 minutes later the doorbell rang. I scowled at myself one last time in the mirror.
I looked absolutely ridiculous. The pink was too bright and girly, and the skirt…well there were no words.
I looked like I belonged in one of those girly beauty pagents. I had attempted to brush my hair, but I’d soon given up, knowing it was a lost cause.
I heard the front door being opened and Angela’s screechy voice echoing through the halls.
“How are you my darling?”
There was a much lower response that I couldn’t hear.
“Charlotte, come here! Michael’s arrived!”
She couldn’t have been any more pompous is she had just announced the arrival of the bloody Queen.
I prepared myself for humiliation and walked out into the corridor.
Once I reached the entrance hall I could see a small group of people. They turned to look at me.
“Ah, Charlotte,” said my father, looking at me, “I see you’ve changed.”
“If by changed you mean transformed into a bloody Barbie doll,” I snapped back at him.
“You look very nice, sweetheart,” he said, putting an arm around me, which I promptly shrugged off.
There was no way he was getting away with calling me sweet heart in front of Tony and Michael.
Angela was busy squeezing Michael in a tight embrace, while Tony stood awkwardly in the doorframe. I knew exactly how he felt. Angela released Michael. The twins hugged him tightly and then also released him and he stood up properly.
He was a tall boy of about seventeen, with a friendly smile and blue eyes and sandy brown hair. His eyes met mine and he smiled.
“You must be Charlie,” he said, holding out a hand.
I was taken aback at this gesture of kindness, but I was even more taken aback by the way he had called me Charlie, and not Charlotte, something which only people who wanted to piss me off called me. I nodded slowly.
“You must be the reason I’ve had to put on these horrible clothes,” I said, shaking his hand.
He laughed. Angela glared at me.
“Hi Tony,” I said, waving to the man in the corner. He looked surprised at being addressed.
“Hi Charlie,” he smiled, “You look much older than the last time I saw you.”
“Well that’s usually what happens after a few years,” I grinned.
Angela cut across our conversation and snapped at Tony,
“So, you’ll be here next Thursday to pick him up?” she said.
“Yes,” said Tony, “He starts school on Friday.”
“Right,” said Angela curtly, “Well, goodbye.” She took Michael by the arm and led him into down the corridor, without another word.
“Bye dad!” called Michael over his shoulder. The twins raced after them, and I was left to stand between my father and Tony who looked at each other awkwardly.
“Well…Goodbye, Tony,” said my father, managing a weak smile.
“Yeah,” said Tony, “See you next time Charlie.” He smiled at me, and I waved.
My father shut the door as Tony walked down the stairs to his car, before I could answer.
“Now,” he said, looking at me with seriousness, “I don’t know who that woman was who came not half an hour ago, but I though I’d made it clear that I don’t want your lot around here.”
“Actually that bit was never mentioned,” I scowled.
“It was implied,” he snapped, his voice a low hiss, “I don’t want anything to do with these people, and you know it.”
“They’re normal people, dad,” I said. My dad grimaced as though my words actually caused him physical pain.
“Anyway,” he continued, “Just before you arrived, an owl delivered a letter here. Now I don’t know what kind of poppycock this is but-,”
“What did the letter say?” I asked him, ignoring his last comment.
“It was a list of things that you need for your new…school,” he said, “Absolutely ridiculous.” He pulled a piece of parchment out of his jeans pocket. “You’re lucky Angela wasn’t in the room at the time that the letter arrived. I mean the equipment is absolutely preposterous, and I have no idea where you’re supposed to buy these things, but luckily that woman who came offered to take you to buy them.”
“She did?” I cried, suddenly excited.
“They’re going on Wednesday,” he said, “They’ll come and pick you up at around ten o’clock.”
“Great!” I said, feeling elevated.
“In the meantime,” he said, “I don’t want any more of your lip. It’s embarrassing, and especially when Michael’s here.”
“Of course darling daddy,” I smirked.
“I still don’t know why we have to take her with us,” I growled, as we walked along the country lane towards the main village.
“James, don’t start,” said Hermione, “I’ve told you a thousand times. Her parents are muggles, and her father doesn’t know where Diagon Alley is. She needs to buy things for school.”
“Why don’t you like her James?” asked Lily, skipping beside me happily.
“I don’t trust her,” I said.
“Why, because she found your snitch before you did?” asked Fred.
“NO,” I insisted. This was becoming annoying, “I just don’t like her.”
“Because she got expelled for troublemaking, and you still haven’t done anything bad enough to get expelled yourself?”
Oh yeah, just rub that one in my face again, why don’t you?
“Shut up,” I snapped.
Yeah…great comeback James.
I honestly don’t know where I come up with this genius.
“Well I like her,” said Dom.
“You just like her because she’s French,” I said.
“No, she just seems…feisty.”
“Feisty,” repeated Rose, as though she wanted to try the word out for size, “That’s exactly what she is.”
“You’re all useless,” I muttered.
Something about that girl irked me. Not just that she threatened my prime spot as head troublemaker of Hogwarts.
Actually, now that I though about it, that was pretty much it.
She was clearly interested in raising the stakes for troublemaking.
We’d come to a fancy house and Hermione turned right into the driveway. I looked up. The house was absolutely massive. This girl must have been stinking rich too.
We all looked up at the building in awe.
“Holy mother of-,”murmured Fred reverently.
“It’s huge!” cried Al, gazing around him.
We all marched up the front stairs, all pockets jangling with the extra sickles and knuts that we’d brought to buy things at Fred’s dad’s shop.
Hermione took a deep breath as if she was nervous and she knocked on the door.
“Now remember,” she said suddenly, “Her father’s a muggle, and he’s unaccustomed to the wizarding world, so be polite.”
We all nodded. I sighed huffily. It was unreasonable that we all had to go through this much trouble just to pick up this one girl.
The door opened and there stood Charlie, in practically the same clothes we had seen her in about five days ago. She had a baggy Led Zepplin t-shirt, and scuffed trainers and jeans that were too big for her. She grinned at Hermione.
“Hi!” she said excitedly.
A man appeared behind her. He looked at all of us with a mixture of fear and disapproval.
This must be the big shot dad.
“Ah,” he said stiffly, “Hello.”
“Hi,” said Hermione, managing a smile, “We’re here for Charlie.”
“Of course,” said the dad curtly, but I could see a muscle in his cheek, “Well off you go then Charlotte.”
“Actually,” said Hermione nervously, “I hope you wouldn’t mind, you see we need to get to Diagon Alley quickly, and it would be so helpful if you would let us borrow your fireplace.”
The man gawked,
“My f-fireplace?” he repeated. Clearly he had no idea what floo powder was.
“We’re travelling by floo powder?” asked Charlie doubtfully.
“It’s the fastest way,” said Hermione apologetically.
“I suppose you may,” sighed the man, standing back to let us all in. He put a hand on Charlie’s shoulder in a grip. She tried to shrug him off.
“Now, don’t forget,” he muttered, just low enough for her to hear, but I caught his words too. “You’re lucky Angela took the others shopping otherwise this would be completely out of the question. I’m tired of you involving me in all these ridiculous antics.”
“Would you rather take me to shop then?” she hissed at him
“Enough of your cheek,” he snapped, “Now I want you back here by four in the afternoon. Angela’s mother’s coming to visit Michael and I expect you to be on your best behaviour.”
“Of course darling daddy,” she sneered sarcastically.
Hermione had found the nearest fireplace in the next room, a large, posh living room.
“Aren’t muggle fireplaces disconnected from the floo network?” I asked her softly.
“I had Ron connect it for the day,” she whispered. Then she straightened up and withdrew a sack from inside her robes.
“Have you travelled by floo powder before?” asked Hermione to Charlie. She nodded.
“Good, James you go first,” she said, handing me the sack. I took a handful of powder.
“Dad, you probably don’t want to watch this,” said Charlie.
“Here’s some money,” said her father, handing her a few muggle notes, before leaving the room, and shutting the door firmly behind him.
“Go on James,” said Hermione, gently nudging me into the fireplace.
I took a deep breath, and cried, “Diagon Alley!” I released the powder from my hand.
Moments later I shot out of a fireplace, coughing as usual. I was lying on the floor of the leaky cauldron.
“Alright there James?” asked Tom, the old bartender, holding out a hand to me.
“Thanks Tom,” I grinned, taking it. He pulled me up.
“Who’re you with this time?” he asked.
“Hermione, Al, Rose, Hugo, Dom, Roxy, Fred and Lily,” I said.
“Lily doesn’t start until next year doesn’t she?”
“Yeah but she’s tagging along anyway.”
A loud crashing noise sounded behind me. I looked behind me. Charlie lay on the floor, her long hair spread out in all directions.
“Who’s this?” asked Tom, holding out a hand to her. She took it, but bounced up pretty easily on her own.
“Charlie Walker,” she said confidently to him, whilst shaking his hand, “I’m coming to Hogwarts this year.”
“Well, well,” he said, “How do you know the Weasley’s?”
“I fell out of a tree,” she said plainly. Tom looked slightly perplexed.
“It’s a long story,” I muttered to him.
“Well I’d better get back to work,” said Tom, “You should all stop by later and we can have a drink. Is your dad here?”
“He’s at work, but he’s coming in about an hour.”
“Tell him to stop by,” said Tom, “It’s been a long time since Harry Potter set foot in here.”
“Your dad’s Harry Potter?” gasped Charlie suddenly, staring at me in amazement. I smirked,
“Yes. Do you want an autograph?”
She immediately scowled fiercely at me.
If looks could kill I’d be stone cold dead.
Once everyone had flooed themselves to the leaky cauldron, we went through the familiar brick wall and began to walk down the street.
Charlie was gazing around her in amazement, staring around at the shops with delight. Fred and the others were having a great time showing her around. She was particularly impressed with quality quidditch supplies.
“Haven’t you ever seen wizarding shops before?” I asked her as we stood outside the window display.
“Actually no,” she said fiercely, “Beauxbatons provides us with everything.”
“Look,” said Albus, getting her attention, “There’s the new Firebolt 360.”
She gazed into the window where the broom sat, perfectly polished and gleaming in the lights from the shop.
“Woah,” she murmured.
Great, she liked quidditch too.
Why was this girl coming and stealing all my stuff?
I mean, I must have done something really bad in my past life to deserve this.
“Isn’t it cool?” said Al, “James wants it for his birthday.”
Charlie looked at me but before she could undoubtedly throw me yet another glare someone tapped me on the shoulder.
It was a girl who I didn’t recognize. She held a paper and pen in her hands,
“Are you James Potter?” she squealed.
“That's me,” I answered smoothly.
“Could I get an autograph?” asked the girl, pushing her paper towards me.
“Of course,” I said and, all the while conscious of the eye rolling that came from all sides, I signed my name on the paper.
“Thank you!” cried the girl, and she ran away excitedly towards her pack of friends and they all giggled. I turned back to the group.
Charlie was scowling at me with disgust. Hermione sighed,
“James, what has your father said about autographs?”
“No, politely decline. Publicity never does anyone any good.”
“Hey, if every girl I meet wants an autograph I’m not going to stop them.”
Hermione sighed in frustration.
“Anyway,” she said, “I’m going to go and change Charlie’s money and draw some money for Rose and Hugo. Why don’t you all go to WWW and I’ll meet you there in a bit?”
We all immediately raced down the street without another word. Fred’s dad’s joke shop was the highlight of all our trips to Diagon Alley.
“What’s WWW?” asked Charlie.
“Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes,” said Fred, “It’s my dad’s joke shop.”
“Your dad owns a joke shop?” asked Charlie, her mouth open in amazement.
“Yep,” said Fred proudly, “It’s down there, you can’t miss it.”
Charlie looked down the street. Weasley’s Wizard Weezes stood proudly, bursting with life, by far the most colourful and exciting building on Diagon Alley. Kids of all ages came in and out by the ton and loud, explosive noises could be heard coming from inside.
Charlie didn’t waste another second. She raced after the others until we reached the door. It was so packed that it took a while before we could actually get inside, and once we did get inside everyone immediately took off, searching for the best and the cheapest joke merchandise that they could get their hands on.
“Come on, you can meet my dad,” said Fred, beckoning at Charlie to follow him.
I decided to follow them because George always gave me discounts, considering that I continued the Weasley troublemaking at Hogwarts on their behalf.
George stood beside a large bubbling cauldron where he was giving a demonstration to a bunch of kids who were completely enthralled by his words. Charlie watched, looking interested. George spoke in a loud, cheerful voice.
“I present to you all, Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes brand new range of Revenge! To be used on enemies only, and especially annoying teachers! In this cauldron I have a potion rather like a growth potion except it has one tiny extra ingredient that makes a huge difference! Once the potion is put into any food or drink, and your enemy drinks it, a certain part of their body, such as their nose, will grow enormously. The only catch is they won’t feel a thing, and when they look in the mirror, they won’t be able to see any changes! You simply put a drop of the potion into a cupcake, for example,” he took a small vial and put a drop of the green potion onto a small white cupcake. He then tapped it once with his wand and said “Nose. You see if I tap it once and say the particular body part I want to grow, only that part will grow. Can I get a volunteer please?”
A small boy in the crowd put up his hand eagerly.
“Thank you fine sir,” said George, handing him the cupcake, “Now notice just one bite is necessary for the full effect!”
The boy didn’t hesitate to cram the whole cupcake into his mouth. Immediately his nose began to grow at an alarming rate. George held up a mirror to him.
“Do you see anything?” he asked. The boy shook his head,
“I look normal,” he said.
The audience clapped with wild enthusiasm and George took a flourishing bow.
“Thank you, thank you.” He said, “Now that’s six knuts for a small vial, eight knuts for a small bottle, and a two sickles for a large bottle! Next week I’ll be introducing our newest product in the revenge range, a potion that only enables your enemy to only speak gobbledygook!”
He stepped down from the platform and the crowd gathered eagerly around the different vials of potion. George immediately spotted us and waved.
“Hey dad,” said Fred eagerly.
“Freddie,” said George with a large grin, “Hey James. But who’s this?”
He was looking curiosly at Charlie who was still staring in amazemnt around her.
“Oh, right. Dad this is Charlie Walker, she’s coming to Hogwarts this year,” said Fred, “Charlie, this is my dad, George Weasley.”
Charlie grinned at George,
“Your shop is absolutely incredible,” she said.
“Thanks,” laughed George, “So tell me Charlie, do you appreciate practical jokes?”
“Of course,” she gave a wicked grin.
“Good, you’re my kind of person,” said George, “So why are you only starting Hogwarts now?”
“She got expelled,” said Fred.
“For blowing up the girls toilets on the third floor at Beauxbatons,” explained Charlie. George looked impressed.
“Nice one,” he said, “But you’ll like Hogwarts. Much more fun to make trouble there, right James?” He put an arm around my shoulder and said to Charlie,
“You know James is quite the troublemaker himself, He’s on McGonagall’s most wanted list. It’s great now you’ll have a partner in crime.”
Charlie scoffed. George hastily changed the subject.
“But even if you’re not interested in a duo, then I’d be happy to show you around the rest of the shop. Show you all the best products of WWW?”
“Yes please!” cried Charlie with excitement.
“Alright, see you boys later,” said George, “You should go and check out our new range of wizard binoculars. Blows those one’s from the world cup out of the water.”
He led Charlie off into the shop and began to point various shelves of potions in different bright colours.
“Come on James,” said Fred, leading me off into the maze of Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes.
I felt as though I’d died and gone to heaven, even though I know that I’m definitely not going to end up there.
Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes was possibly the best shop on the planet. Fred was so lucky that George was his dad. I wish my dad was that cool.
“I’ve got to go,” said George, “But come back and visit. And you can have a 30% discount on anything you want.”
“Seriously?” I gaped at him.
“It’s my duty to help out my fellow troublemakers,” he said, “and judging by some of that stuff you’ve been doing at Beauxbatons, you’ve got the makings of a genius troublemaker. So help yourself!”
“Thanks,” I said, already trying to decide what I would buy.
“No worries,” said George, grinning at me, “Great to meet you, Charlie. Come back and visit!”
“Bye,” I called after him as he melted into the milling crowd of customers.
I turned around and decided to take as much as possible. I made my way over to the shelf that held instant darkness powder.
“Just so you know,” came a voice from behind me, “An invisibility cloak works a lot better than that stuff.”
I turned and saw James behind me, eying the shelf with interest.
“I suppose you’ve already got one of those,” I said.
“As a matter of fact,” he said. He nodded over towards the shelf next to it, where there were some teacher sensors, that lit up whenever teachers were just around the corner, “And the marauders map works a lot better than that stuff too.”
“What’s your point?” I asked him.
“My point is that you can play the troublemaking game all you want at Hogwarts,” said James, “but I’ve got the upper hand. I’ve got a cloak and a map. And I know more about the secrets of Hogwarts than any other student there. You might as well give up now."
I paused and put my handful of instant darkness powder back onto the shelf and I faced him.
“You know what?” I said, glaring at him defiantly “I’ve already been expelled. And I didn’t even use any fancy tricks. I didn’t use anything special. So I don't think I'll sit this one out.”
“Are you saying you can beat me?” asked James, glaring back, "That's a risky move."
"Incase you hadn't noticed, my love of risk has already gotten me expelled."
“Well then,” said James, taking a step closer and looking me straight in the eye, “Let the games begin.”
A/N: da, da, DAAA!!!!
ok...crazy intro there but anyway, i hope you all liked this chapter! I tried my best to make it half and half POv, because all the switching was confusing some people, even me at some points. But anyway next chapter will move a lot faster i promise, because they're off to Hogwarts! And after that there'll be some time jumps :)
but at risk of giving it all away im going to shut up now, and ask you all to please review, because they make my day and i love them!
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