Chapter 4 : The Nevers
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Chapter 4: The Nevers
The Peruvian Jewelry proved to be a success. So much so, that George could keep the piece on the shelf. He had to hire a new associate just to handle the new display counter and orders. Alex proved himself to be very well organized and spoke intelligently with the customers when prodded with various questions about the pieces. The jewelry were ordered through Alex then passed off to George who was trying to keep up with the demand.
Just when he had thought he had caught up and beyond the current orders, Harry and Hermione paid him a visit one afternoon. Harry claimed that it was a Ministry call as he handed George an order form for gold and white gold bands for their Aurors, but he really wanted to get Hermione out of her office for a spot of lunch. It was one of the largest and most profitable orders he ever received. George gave an astonished chuckle; it was going to be a long weekend.
“Where are these ever impressive pieces I keep hearing about?” Hermione inquired.
“Well, the display case is in the back with Alex.” George pointed over his shoulder as he re-read the order form. “And the window display is up front. Why don’t you two have a look while I write up the invoice?”
George made his way to the back room as Hermione and Harry decided to look at the window display, as Alex seemed to have his hands full with would be purchasers. Harry regarded the pieces with mild interest. The ones on display were meant to attract the female cliental, while he was in favor of using these for work, he had no interest of wearing any of them in his personal life. Hermione’s attention was drawn to a beautiful oval silver locket with an aster carved into it. She opened it carefully, afraid that the darkness powder would be held within. Instead she was presented with the standard smooth interior with the space to hold two small photographs. She brought the necklace closer to her face, inspecting the edges to see if she could find a trace of the powder.
“I really should be giving you a cut of the sales, Granger.” George proclaimed as he handed Harry an envelope.
“What do you mean?” She asked as she closed the clasp on the locket.
“I got the idea from you, when you told me about the magician you once saw.” He explained.
“Oh! Oh no, I couldn’t accept anything, really, its fine.” She said as she waved off the notion of a small fortune.
“Well, then at least take the locket.” George offered as he pointed at the necklace in her hand.
“If it’s all the same, I’ve had my fill of lockets in this lifetime.” Hermione stated as she hooked the locket back on the tree.
Harry gave a small chuckle as he tucked the envelope in his robe. George reached over and grabbed a small intricate ring. He grabbed her right hand and placed the silver ring on her pinky.
“A ring then perhaps.” He insisted.
“George really, its fine I-“ she started.
“Ladies and Gentleman!” George cut her off to address the store, “I have a wonderful surprise for you this afternoon. The ever charming Hermione Granger, yes folks, the Hermione Granger has offered to demonstrate the awesome power that our new Peruvian Jewelry Line has to offer. I will warn you, it’s going to get a little dark.” He gestured and then pointed at a group of untrustworthy boys to his left, “Don’t even think about boys. We have an Auror on standby,” glancing over to Harry.” Hermione , if you please…” He gestured to the floor in front of her.
Hermione stood mouth agape, and slightly stuttering. All eyes in the shop were suddenly on her. Finally knowing what it was like to be Harry when all eyes were constantly on him. She looked to George, who nodded in encouragement. Sighing and rolling her eyes, she pulled the small ring from her finger and threw it to the ground.
Black. No other color, no light, just blackness filled the space. Then it started to dissipate. The light of the store and sun cause small silver sparkles to appear through the darkness, until it all but disappeared. The patrons of the store gave a roaring round of applause.
“Thank you, Miss Granger. All inquires about this line can be made at the back of the shop, where Alex will be glad to help you!” George yelled pointing to the back counter where the overwhelmed young man stood trying to file orders.
“That was uncalled for.” Hermione mildly scolded.
“Quite the contrary, if you won’t accept my gifts, then the least you could do is advertise them. Right now, I can guarantee that those young girls are asking for the exact ring you just wore. Perhaps I shall name that piece after you, as my way of thanks.” George proclaimed as he stared to make his way towards Alex to tell him just that.
“He’s ridiculous.” Hermione announced to Harry.
Harry gave her a small smile and a shrug of his shoulders, as he began to guide her out of the shop.
“Come on, I want to see this new shop that had his knickers in a twist a few weeks back, before we eat.” Harry said as he steered them down the alley.
Hermione had to admit, that while she enjoyed the novelty of the twins joke shop, this new store was more to her taste. There were small pieces in the store that reminded her of stories she read when she was younger. She always had a connection to Alice In Wonderland. Often there were time in the wizarding world that she had seen things that would have made any muggle want to check themselves into a sanatorium. Had she not know the magic behind it all, she would have assumed the world was indeed mad.
There was a beautiful display of fire and ice in the front window. Two items you would never think could be paired together as a collection. There seemed to be a theme about using fake trees to display their wares amongst the shop owners. While George’s tree was outrageously flamboyant, this one was whimsical, larger than the one in George’s shop. It was pitch black and bare. As if you were walking through the forest at midnight in the middle of winter. From its branches hung small black and silver lanterns that burned a bright hot white fire. At the base of the tree was ice. In fact they were ice cubes, arranged to look as though the ground was covered after a new frost. The black chalkboard sign to the right announce the new arrival of the product:
Never Dark and Never Melt
Never Attend Another Tea Party Without A Light or Let Your Drink Go Warm
Jewels Are Passé.
“Well, for once we can say that George wasn’t kidding about the sarcastic bastard.” Harry said after he read the sign.
“’Ice that never melts, can be used and reused to keep your drink cool and refreshing. Guaranteed or your sickles back.’” Hermione read the tag off a bag in one of the bins by the window. “Apparently, wizards have never heard of an ice pack.” She said offhandedly.
“When have you ever put an ice pack in your drink?” Harry asked with a smirk and a raised eyebrow.
Hermione glared at him as she walked over to the wall that the unlit lanterns hung off in neat rows. The chalkboard hanging next to the lanterns explained that once the wick within was lit, the flame would never go out, providing the user the opportunity for late night reading or traversing through dark mysterious caves.
“Black or silver?” Harry asked her.
“I’m sorry?” she asked giving him an odd look.
“Black or silver?” he asked again pointing at the wall, “I want to know which one to get you for Christmas.”
It was well past midnight, and George was still in the shop fulfilling orders. Ginny had come by a few hours ago to deliver food his mother had packaged for him.
‘Let no stone unturned and let no stomach go hungry.’
His mother always used to say that. Of course the stones she meant were the lost socks hiding under their beds, but she meant well.
After engorging himself on roasted chicken and sweet potatoes, George had finally remembered the correct charm to replicate items in a timely fashion. While the replication was fairly easy, infusing the powder into each piece would be painstakingly slow. He had taught Alex how to do some of the smaller pieces so that he could take a break, George still had a mountain of orders to fill. He had made the right move naming a ring after Granger. All the young girls that flocked to the shop insisted that the must simply have the ring.
While working to infuse his new popular ring, a tapping came from his office window. A black and white eagle owl sat with a package under his feet. George got up to let the owl in, but the instant he untied the package, the owl flew off.
The package was small, wrapped in the post signature brown paper. There was no return address, just his name beautifully scripted in loops and curves on the paper. George untied the black string and ripped off the paper. He gave a small groan when he saw the black and silver box. He should have known. Regarding Harry’s warning about this mysterious shop owner, George checked the box for any curses or destructive charms. Nothing not even a sealing charm to keep the box closed. Accepting that the box was indeed harmless, George flipped it open. A small black lantern laid gently in silver tissue. There were two cards attached, one with the instructions on how to use the products, the other a personal touch.
‘On the eve of your successful trinkets, I find it wasteful to burn the midnight oil.’
George flicked the card to the side and gently lifted the lantern out of its packaging. He opened the latch on the side of one of the panes. He took his wand and gave it a small flick for the incendio charm to produce a flame. Bringing the flame to the wick and quick burst of white light spread through the room. One could say that it could defeat his darkness powder, if only for a second. Blinking the spots from his eyes, he noticed that the workshop was filled with more sufficient light than before.
He stared at the little light much as he had the bottle of the Confidence Booster. It was then he noticed a slight warming on his thigh. George stood to retrieve his wallet from his pocket. Flipping it over, he slide the business card out of its preferred home.
‘Never been one for chess, myself. But the quaffle is in your possession, Red.’
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