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Chapter 1 : Iambic Pentameter
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Three parts dragon-clover... one part alihotsy... wait til it turns blue, then add.... What comes next?
George Weasley looked through his notes for the next ingredient on the list. He was disheartened to find that he had exhausted all the combinations of ingredients in his inventory. If he couldn't successfully engineer this potion, he would be in danger of losing his business, the business that he built with his late brother, Fred.
It was times like this that he wished his brother was here. Fred always helped fill in the blanks whenever they ran into a wall. Even after all these years, he found himself still needing him—still incomplete. He leaned back into his chair and ran his fingers through his hair. His hand shyed away from his mutilated ear, a constant reminder of darker days.
"Georgie, you're not working again, are you? It's Saturday."
George turned in his chair to face the front of the room. At the doorway stood his wife, Angelina Weasley, looking just as beautiful as the time when he first asked her to the Yule Ball. "Innovation never takes a day off, Angel."
"But you promised to watch the baby while I go help Ginny at this year's Quidditch tryouts."
"What are you talking about? Fred deuce is at Ron's, and he's hardly a baby."
"I'm talking about Roxy, you git."
"Right." George gave her a knowing grin. "Trying to pin that one on me too, are you?"
Certainly no stranger to her husband's unconventional sense of humour, she walked over to the desk. She placed her breakfast scone in her mouth and sat herself in her husband's lap. Taking the scone in hand, she whispered in his hear, "I certainly seem to remember your presence during the act."
"All I can remember is getting pissed on Firewhisky... and you transfiguring our bed into a swing harness." He made a grab for her scone, but she slapped his hand away. "I wonder? Have you retained your flexibility after all these years?"
"Honestly, I don't know why I put up with you." She tried to get up, but George pulled her back into his lap.
"I imagine for the same reason mum had seven kids with dad: Weasley men aren't exactly known for being polite in the—" He suddenly found himself gagged by her blueberry scone.
"And with that ever so tactful image of your parents getting a leg over each other, I'll leave you to it." Angelina rose from his lap and walked to the back of the room. She noisily opened the curtains.
"Ack! The light!"
"See there? You didn't evaporate into a puff of smoke after all," she said with a mischievous smirk.
When his eyes adjusted to the morning light, George followed Angelina into the kitchen which opened up into the living room where their daughter, Roxanne, sat content in the middle of the floor. He poured himself a coffee and smiled as he watched the baby roll her favourite red ball across the rug. She cooed when she saw her daddy.
George set his coffee down next to the weekend edition of the Daily Prophet. He read the headline.
"Has it really been ten years?"
Angelina stood next to him, her head on his shoulder, and gazed at the picture of Head Auror Harry Potter beneath the headline. "Goes by in a blink, doesn't it?"
He caught himself fidgeting around his ear again and decided to change the topic. "So, has Roxy said her first word yet?"
"Are you still going on about that stupid bet?" Angelina snorted. "I birthed her and breast-fed her; therefore, her first word is going to be 'mummy.'"
"Still playing that 'childbirth' card, are you?" George slapped her on the bum as she walked off. "She's daddy's girl; therefore, her first word is going to be 'daddy.'"
"You might've had a chance, if you had spent more time with your daughter and less in the shop." She kissed him on the forehead, took back her half-eaten blueberry scone and left the room. "Try not to blow up the house while I'm gone, will you?"
George heard the door lock behind and returned to the paper. He finished the rest of his coffee while he skimmed the lead article. He looked up from the paper when he perceived the ticking of the wall clock. It's too quiet. He looked around the empty room, removed his prosthetic ear and listened. "Roxy?" Of course she couldn't answer, so he took out his wand.
He found the baby in his study. A canister had fallen from the top shelf and splashed its contents all over his lab table and into the very potion that he had been working on for six months. Amidst the mess was Roxy's red ball. George stormed over and tried desperately to gather up the yellow-green sprigs, but he instead ended up getting most of them on his clothes.
"For Merlin's sake, Roxy! How many times has daddy told you not to throw the bleeding ball inside the bleeding house!"
He stopped himself upon regarding Roxanne's confused expression. Her bottom lip trembled. Clearly she was incapable of understanding why her daddy was yelling at her. He knelt in front of her and stroked her curly, auburn hair. She had the same flawless brown skin as her mother, and every time he looked into those hazel eyes, he was reminded of the true nature of magic.
"Sorry, honey, daddy didn't mean it." George picked Roxanne up in his arms and kissed her. "How about I read you a story, eh?"
The potion changed colors.
They went over to the bookshelf, and he grabbed her favourite story book, The Runaway Unicorn. It was easy to spot because the spine was worn on both ends from being pulled so much. George had read it so many times that he could practically recite it by rote, but he knew how much Roxy liked to follow along with the pictures.
The potion started to bubble….
George sat at his desk with Roxy on his knee and opened the book, starting on page three. He saw the words on the page, but read them he could not. After great effort, he closed the book, distraught.
"What's going on? I read this all the time." He gasped. "Could it be because the words don't rhyme?"
George picked out a sprig that still clung to his suit. He tasted it. Of course! Muriel root!
If the potion did work, his time was well invested, but before he got his hopes up, he needed to test it.
"I see a crack in the ceiling, my sock on the floor, the window on my wall casts its light on my door."
Roxanne clapped, to which George bowed—his head then snapped, and he proclaimed aloud.
"Bah! That was too easy, hardly a corollary…." He raised his wand. "Accio dictionary!"
George closed his eyes and opened the tome. The leather binding creaked quietly in his home.
"Tell me, magic potion, what rhymes with 'heart?'" He opened his eyes and read the word, "Fart!"
He laughed, picked up his daughter and spun her 'round. She giggled with glee at daddy's cachinnatory sound.
"Roxanne, you're a genius, my bright little witch, you have just made your daddy disgustingly rich!"
He examined the concoction and rubbed his chin. Did I ingest it, breathe it, or absorb it through my skin?
Suddenly, the potion started to rattle and shake. The contents fizzed over; the floorboards did quake.
With Roxanne in arm, he cast his wand thus, and before the brew exploded, yelled, "Protego Totalus!"
When the dust settled, George looked to his child. She regarded daddy with a burp, giggled, then smiled.
The room was a mess for all to see. George shook his head. Wifey's gonna kill me!
"I'll cast a cleaning spell and worry no further; what mummy doesn't know surely won't hurt her."
Angelina stepped into the room; her eyes glared like fire. If looks could kill, his life would expire.
"Hello, Angel. Home so soon? I didn't expect you back til noon."
"I forgot my umbrella," said she, oblivious to the rhyme. "I thought you learned your lesson after last time."
"Yes, my dear, and I know this looks bad, but this time, it was the daughter, not the dad."
"Shame on you, hiding behind your Roxanne!"
"It's the truth—ask the youth."
"Tonight you sleep on the divan!"
"Woman, I'll make you regret that notion. Roxy, tell mum who finished the potion—"
The room went quiet by what the parents just heard, both being elated by baby's first word.
But the moment was fleeting. He's not getting off that easy. "What do you have to say for yourself now, George Weasley?"
George sighed… and swallowed his pride.
The potion needed more tweaking—it's not ready just yet. But for now he was content to answer, "I won the bet!"
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