Chapter 2 : First Day of Work
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Chapter 2: First Day of Work
James hears a loud, obnoxious knocking coming from the direction of his door; ignoring it, he flips over and covers his head with a pillow. Again the annoying noise repeats and James slams his hands down on either side of said pillow to better cover his ears. This time, the noise is followed by his mother bellowing for him to get his arse out of bed, preceded by his full name. This makes James assume that she has been knocking for quite a while; that or it’s very late. It’s also highly possible that it’s both.
Deciding that it would be best not to make his mum any more upset, James calls back, “I’m coming,” and proceeds to remove himself from his bed. After dressing and heading downstairs, James finds a second to look at the time. Ten to five.
“What are you wearing, James?” Ginny exclaims entering the kitchen and finding him wearing his oldest, grimiest robes.
“Clothing, Mum,” James replies with a smirk and begins munching on toast and bacon.
“Didn’t you see the nice pair of robes I laid out for you? Or were you too focused on being late for your first day?”
“Mum, I’m seventeen! I’ll wear what I want. And anyway, Uncle George would think it rude of me to show up on time, never mind early! I highly doubt he will even be there until nine!”
“It takes a lot to run a business, I hope you realize that by working with George this summer. I’m sure he’s already there, making sure everything is all set for him to open up in an hour or two,” Harry speaks up, predictably taking his wife’s side.
“Sure he is, Dad,” James responds and pauses for a moment. “Are you sure we are talking about the same uncle of mine? It sounds like you’re talking about Uncle Percy, you know tall, annoying, bossy, as opposed to Uncle George, the awesome, average height, funny uncle. I think you have too many brothers-in-law, Dad, and it probably doesn’t help that they all have red hair, huh?”
“Give it a rest, James, and your dad’s right, George is more responsible than you think and he works his arse off at the shop,” Ginny says in attempt to bring James’s incessant talking to a halt. She then walks over to his spot at the table and removes his plate of food that lay forgotten and untouched during his rant.
“Hey! I’m not finished yet!” James exclaims standing up from the table and reaching over his mum’s shoulder for another bite of toast.
“Yes you are! You need to be going now, no son of mine is going to be late for his first day,” Ginny says, then seeing James about to argue she adds, “no matter who it is he’s working for.”
And with that, James sees no choice but to head outside and Apparate to the shop.
“Morning James, didn’t expect you for at least another half hour, though I am very glad you were able to make it out of bed so earlier this morning. Wait, let me guess, my lovely sister helped you a bit?” George greets a disgruntled James, with too much cheer for James’ liking at the early hour.
“She more than helped,” James mutters under his breath, but by the small smile appearing on George’s face, he didn’t miss a word.
“Well, it’s good you’re here before the shop opens, I was afraid I was going to be busy with customers when you got here. So, follow me.” George says heading out from behind the counter and into the back-most room. “First we have the invention and testing rooms here. And then the stock room,” George explains as he walks from room to room with James trailing along behind him, heading back in the direction of the main store. James sighs in boredom every time they enter a room he has known since he was born. “Another stock room, our Muggle magic tricks and such, and then of course the main floor and till,” George finishes, using his arm to push aside the curtain divider.
“Really, Uncle George? I know where everything is, I even know that there is an apartment upstairs that you didn’t just show, where you slept for a week when Aunt Angelina was mad at you for helping Fred and I-”
“Yes, yes okay!” George cuts James off with. “Ginny told me no special treatment, that I should pretend you are a regular no good, Hogwarts student that I hired for the summer. I told her that the you being no good part wouldn’t be hard at all, but pretending that you’re regular and normal would be exceedingly difficult. And look, already you’re mouthing off to your new boss! That would have gotten anyone else fired. But of course, Ginny didn’t mean to go that far with treating you like everyone else,” George continues, sharing a laugh with his nephew at the same time. “Speaking of, you can refer to me as Mr. Weasley, I’m not your uncle anymore.”
“Yeah, well I don’t know about that. Do you want me to kiss the very ground you walk on as well?” James replies, knowing his uncle well enough to recognize all this as a joke. “Let’s be serious, Uncle George. What am I doing for you today until you open up the shop and I have some customers to help?”
George laughs, “You, help customers? What do you think, I’m crazy? And remember, no special treatment! You’re stuck doing the same thing all day long.”
“Okay so if I’m not helping customers, am I testing products? Or trying to invent new products? If you get Fred over here, we could really come up with some brilliant stuff for you, it would blow all your older creations off the shelves, it’s a great idea!” James attempts to suggest.
“You are right on one part there, Fred will be coming on over any minute now, but the two of you will be stocking shelves today! And probably tomorrow and the next day and the next day,” says James’ previously favorite Uncle with a laugh.
“Stocking shelves? Come on, really, Uncle George? I promise I won’t tell Mum if you let me do something interesting,” pleads James, hoping to get a better job that would make his six hours of work move by faster.
“No way, I am not risking that, and anyway, I think it will do Fred some good to stock the shelves for once. And if he can do it, so will you. Don’t even try suggesting that we just don’t tell your mum again. I promised myself a long time before you were even born never to find myself on the receiving end of her Bat-Bogey hex again,” George explains seemingly trying to put his foot down and end the discussion. “Now, where is Fred? Angelina swore she would make him get here on time, and look! He’s already a half hour late,” George complains, more so to himself than to James.
“Way to finally show up, Fred!” James greets his cousin, wavering between joking and being serious. He decides he can’t possibly be upset, since he wouldn’t even be up yet if it wasn’t for his mum.
“Yeah, yeah, James,” says Fred with a yawn.
Sliding down the wall he was leaning against, James decides not to waste anytime and fill Fred in immediately, “Wake up, you’ve got all those boxes to move,” says James pointing down the hall to the pile of new materials which needed to be moved to George’s inventing room. “I’ve just done the first half, so it’s your turn.”
Flourishing his wand a bit too much, Fred is able to get all but one box into the workroom, the last lays upside-down and seeping slimy, yellow liquid onto the ground just outside the door. “Oops,” was all half-asleep Fred had to say in response to the mess.
Jumping up, James is quick to blame, “Great job, Fred, you’re cleaning it up,” and seeing that Fred is about to suggest they do it together, James continues, “Nope, not my mess not my problem.” And he heads back to the second storage room to start on their next project. With a grunt in response, Fred heads off in the other direction towards his mess.
“Okay,” says Fred looking into the box, which is sitting on the floor between James and himself. Inside were headless hats that George wanted shelved by the end of the day. “How do we want to do this?” he asks James.
“Er- well let’s try magic, there has to be some spell that can stack all of these in one or two shots, don’t you think?” reasons James.
“Let’s just try some spells out,” says Fred, and both boys begin waving their wands and trying out the few spells they remember learning at Hogwarts. Nothing helpful happens with the hats and the boys get a few disapproving looks from customers.
“Excuse me,” says a pretty blond girl, probably the same age as Fred and James. “Where are the Wonder Witch products?”
“They’re over there, behind the Daydream Charms, but I don’t know why you would be interested in them. You obviously don’t need them for yourself,” replies James with a cocky smile.
With a shy smile, the girl replies with a simple, “Thanks.”
“Smooth, real smooth,” says a sarcastic Fred. “Couldn’t think of anything better than that?”
“And you could?” asks George, seemingly appearing out of nowhere. “Did I just see the two of you speaking to a customer? Did I not make myself clear about what your jobs were?”
“Well, you see, Uncle George, she came to us for help, and we couldn’t just ignore her. That would be rude and bad business for you.” James defended himself.
“Sure, sure. Just don’t let it happen again, and get back to those hats! The boxes are taking up valuable space.”
Looking to one another, both boys sigh, exasperated. “I’m sure we were supposed to have learned something to do this at Hogwarts, too bad we were probably using Muffliato that day,” reasons James, really wishing he had listened that day, whenever it was.
“Well, Dad wants these stacked six high, so we stack them by hand and then what about Wingardium Leviosa? That’s easy enough right? It won’t do it all at once but it’s faster than doing it by hand and having to go up and down a ladder umpteen times,” suggests Fred.
“That’s a great idea, well maybe great is a bit too much, but it’s an idea,” says a James tired of work already. James and Fred begin to count out six hats to each stack and then float them up to the top most shelf. They continue like this until the two boxes are empty and three shelves above their heads are full with headless hats.
“Good job, boys,” says George, walking by Fred and James. “Now get those empty boxes out of the customers’ way.”
James puts one box inside the other and carries them back to the storage room with Fred following along behind him. The rest of the day follows much the same, only interrupted by a brief half-hour lunch break, which George has them take separately. By three o’clock, both Fred and James are exhausted and, instead of going to Diagon Alley together as they had previously planned, both Apparate to their separate homes.
“So, how was it? As easy as you expected?” James’ head is still spinning from Apparating as his mother awaits being able to say ‘I told you so’.
“It was good. Fred and I had a lot of fun, but it was harder work than I expected,” James responded, deciding that it would be best to just allow his mother to be right this time.
“Wait, did you say Fred? As in your cousin?” Ginny says seemingly only having heard the first bit of James’ answer.
“No, the other Fred Weasley who could easily get a job with Uncle George,” says James sarcastically.
“You two are working together? What is George thinking?” Ginny asks, unhappy with her brother’s omission of this small fact.
“He probably thinks that we shouldn’t both be suffering alone all summer, that we should at least have one another.”
“Not the point, James. You did not get this job to spend more time with Fred! You will never learn anything together,” Ginny says, on the verge of sending an owl to George.
“Mum, don’t try to change it. Please? I promise, we won’t always be together, and we already learned that it’s hard work,” pleads James, hoping to save the one bit of fun currently in his summer.
“Fine. We will see how this week goes, but I may decide to have a chat with your uncle.”
We need to do something with this job. I don’t think I can stand being just stuck working all summer. We need some sort of prospect, something productive. What about using the joke shop as inspiration for our 7th year? Your dad did such a great prank before he left Hogwarts, and I bet the stories I’ve been told were watered down a fair bit. We need to out do him and that prank. And we should start working on it now. Okay, well maybe tomorrow?
“Crunchy, take this to Fred.”
Thanks to my Beta, Rachel (Penguinswillreignsupreme)! She was so helpful!
So here is the second chapter. Sorry it took so long. Hopefully chapter three won't be quite as long a wait, though no promises. I hope for a few reviews, pretty please? Any predictions? I have a few interesting things planned for the next few chapters, I hope you stick around to read!!
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