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Chapter 1 : i.
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The last thing Seamus Finnigan wanted to deal with the day before the expected rush of Hogwarts students doing their before term shopping was an irate customer. She had been owling him for the past hour, ensuring that their appointment would be kept and he had a blistering headache because of it. If that wasn’t bad enough, George was out and not only was Seamus in charge of the fireworks/pyro section of the shop, he was in charge of the whole bloody thing. He appreciated that George was trusting in his abilities, but Seamus wasn’t sure whether that was wise or not. Fireworks were his specialty, and despite working in the shop for the past two years, since graduating what was left of Hogwarts, he still didn’t know much about the random bits and odds that George kept coming up with.
He was like a man possessed since the anniversary of Fred’s death and the battle of Hogwarts. Everything had to be bigger and better and he was driving the staff mad. Including Seamus, but he was the only one of them brave enough to only call in fake sick once a week. He heard the ring of the bell signaling someone had come in the shop and he hoped it wasn’t the irate customer. What was her name again? Ah well, he couldn’t remember but he was sure she would introduce herself again. It was only polite, after all.
Then again, she hadn’t really shown herself to be that polite via owl, so he wasn’t sure if he could expect better behavior in person. Not that he was one to judge. Seamus was known for being a bit of a hot-head, and politeness was not something he practiced with much diligence.
Seamus slid down the railing of the swirly staircase and hopped off directly in front of a statuesque redhead. She vaguely reminded him of Ginny Weasley, but taller and angrier-looking, if that was possible. Up to this point in his life, Seamus would have argued that it wasn’t possible. Now though, he wasn’t so sure.
“You’re Seamus Finnigan, correct? The bloke that sold me these bloody useless fireworks?” she said, shaking a fist full of soggy-looking fireworks at him. Her azure eyes flashed like lightning and Seamus had to literally step back. The air around her seemed to crackle the way it did before a storm and he had a bad feeling. He didn’t get a chance to respond before she continued her tirade. “Why the sodding hell won’t you give me my galleons back? These have a lifetime warranty and I won’t be cheated out of it.” She continued to shake the fireworks in his face and Seamus grimaced. It had been a few weeks since something had exploded in his face, and he’d rather it not happen again anytime soon.
As Professor McGonagall had once said, he had a proclivity for pyrotechnics – especially when it involved them exploding in his general vicinity.
“Ma’am,” Seamus began and at once felt the full force of her eyes on him. He desperately wished he could remember her name, but it wasn’t coming to him and he was actually a little afraid to ask. “As I’ve explained before to you via owl, the lifetime warranty only covers malfunctions due to a mistake on our part. Those look wet to me, and those particular fireworks are close to muggle ones, and cannot be doused in water or they won’t work. We generally don’t douse them in water before selling them to clients, so it must have been something that happened on your end.”
He watched her face slowly change from angry to, quite curiously, amused. She even chuckled a bit. “Magical fireworks. That aren’t impervious to water. That’s the best thing I’ve heard all day.” She outright laughed then, and despite being very unnerved by this sudden change in emotion, Seamus had to admit that she had a very nice laugh. Distinctive, but not over-powering. Not like the rest of her personality.
She looked at him expectantly, and Seamus wasn’t quite sure how to proceed. He’d told her the truth various times now, but she didn’t seem inclined to believe him. What else could he possibly say to convince her? He groaned inwardly. It was times like these when he wished George wouldn’t just disappear sometimes off on a trip for some mysterious quantity or substance to use in a new product. That Weasley, unlike the others, was excellent at talking to customers, women especially. Seamus was a self-proclaimed anti-ladies man. That was why he hadn’t been on a date in over a year. Creating accidental explosions over dinner weren’t really what most women found to be an attractive quality in a man.
“Do you understand how fireworks work, ma’am?” Her face went cold with disdain and Seamus immediately realized that had been the wrong direction to take.
“Do I look like a ninny to you, Mr. Finnigan?”
“Of course not, ma’am,” he said. This was going worse than he’d imagined.
“Good because I am not a ninny. And I bloody well know how fireworks work. What I don’t know is why some idiot decided not to make magical fireworks impervious to water.”
Seamus took a deep breath and tried to control his temper. He had been the idiot who’d decided not to make those fireworks impervious to water. Though he hadn’t really had a choice in the matter. He’d used to much of the muggle technique to add in that magic, it could only take so much and he hadn’t seen the point of wasting what magic he would be able to use on making them impervious. Seamus had thought that the warning label would have been good enough, and George had loved the fireworks so much he’d agreed. He’d thought, only an idiot would let fireworks get wet. He hadn’t wanted to think this woman was an idiot, but evidence was pointing otherwise.
“I was that idiot, actually,” Seamus said flatly. She had the courtesy to look embarrassed but managed to recover quickly.
“So these bloody useless things,” she shook the fireworks, that looked sadder and soggier by the minute, “are your responsibility.”
“No, they are your responsibility.” He wasn’t about to explain the reasoning behind that again. “So unless you have any other questions, I will be wishing you good day because I have work to do.” And he moved past her to feign rearranging some stock on shelves. Anything so she would leave. A few moments later though, he felt a tap on his shoulder. Seamus frowned and turned around. This was the last thing he wanted to do.
“I demand my refund.” Her lips were pursed into a grim line and her nostrils were flared a bit. She stared him down and Seamus stared right back. He had tried to be polite, but that hadn’t worked. She had insulted his workmanship and his intelligence and he’d had it. So he did the one thing George had told him never to do.
He decided to say no to a customer.
“No. You don’t get a bloody refund for a lack of intelligence on your part.” As soon as the words escaped, Seamus reconsidered the amount of tact he’d used. Perhaps a bit more would have been wise. But he was too annoyed to think clearly in that moment. He was practically seeing red – and not just the woman’s hair.
She gasped. “How dare you!” Each word was emphasized with a slap across his chest with the soggy bunch of fireworks. Seamus eyed them warily. They were finicky, prone to go off randomly and without much ceremony. He’d heard, though not seen personally, that sometimes they were able to go off while damp. The last thing he wanted George to come back to was an indoor fireworks show to rival the one he and Fred gave at Hogwarts their seventh year.
Seamus grasped her shoulders and moved her out of his way as gently as possible. “You, madam, need to leave now,” he called over his shoulder as he walked toward the back of the shop, where his worktable was set up. He had an urge to reexamine the possibility of making this particular brand of fireworks impervious, if only so he would never have to deal with such an annoying customer ever again.
He heard a frustrated squeal and heard the angry click of a woman’s boots on hardwood floor coming after him. Seamus managed to reach the doorway before she caught hold of his shirt and forced him to turn around. “I will sue you within an inch of your life,” she threatened, and if he’d thought her eyes looked like lightning before, they certainly did now.
Seamus reigned in his anger for a moment though. “Sorry love, employees only back here,” he said before stepping through the frame and promptly shutting the door in her face.
George was going to kill him, they had an, until then, flawless reputation for customer service, but it had been worth that last sentence to see the enraged look on her face. Bloody women, he couldn’t stand them some days.
Credit: Paraphrased the line from Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows pt. 2 that McGonagall says about Seamus - "proclivity for pyrotechnics"
A/N: Almost a new year and a new story! I'm taking a Harry Potter-focused class and we just watched pt. 2 of the seventh movie, and the one line by McGonagall really inspired me to write a Seamus-centric story (finally). I've been debating it for awhile. So, if you enjoyed, please feel free to leave me a review! (:
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