Chapter 4: Muggle Magic
Lazy Bones @ TDA
It’s been two full weeks since James started working at Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes, and he has yet to do anything besides stock shelves.
James has no idea where all the boxes of products come from each morning. And how the shelves seem to empty so quickly. Just this morning, James and Fred were refilling trick wands, for the third time! That’s three times in two weeks, how many trick wands do people need?
Fred had mentioned that if they were stuck stocking, at least they’d have time to plan their prank, but they had nothing more than when James first mentioned it. They usually only stocked one product together a day, the rest of the time they were taking their separate lunches or stocking smaller orders alone.
“James, before work tomorrow can you pick up some products for me?” George asks, as James prepares to head home.
“Yeah sure, what do you need?” James replies.
“Muggle magic stuff. The store isn’t far from the Leaky Cauldron, I keep meaning to go but I haven’t had the time, especially with you and Fred working here,” explains George. James just smirks in response. “If you’re facing the Leaky Cauldron, you need to head right for a while, and then take your first left onto a side street. The Muggle magic shop’s there.”
“Okay, I’ll stop by your house and get Fred at-”
“Oh, no. You are going alone. Imagine the two of you inside a Muggle magic shop? One of you will be bad enough. Just remember to blend in,” George warns.
“Fine. Do I just pick out whatever I think looks good?” asks James.
George hands a list to James, “Of course not! You will get exactly what is on this list.”
Looking at the list in confusion, James asks, “How am I supposed to find all of this stuff? What is a ‘multicolored scarf’ used for?”
“You read the boxes!” explains an exasperated George. “And you told me you knew this store like the back of your hand. You better hope to figure out what the scarf is for before a customer asks you,’ George warns.
“I get to help customers now?”
“Is that all you heard? Just go home, James.”
Though, let down that he isn’t going to be helping customers yet, James floos home excited that he’ll at least get to start the day tomorrow doing something other than stocking shelves.
With two weeks experience, James had figured out that it takes him exactly fifteen minutes to get dressed and eat before work. Knowing this allows James to fully maximize his sleeping time, for which he is extremely grateful. So as usual, James rolled out of bed at exactly a quarter to seven. Unfortunately, James wasn’t prepared to head into Muggle London.
“Where’s that damn list?” He screams tossing his room into an even bigger mess. After wasting five precious minutes, James finds the list under Crunchy’s cage. How it got there, he has no idea.
With time lost, James considers grabbing a piece of toast to take with him, but he decides against it. George won’t know what time he left his house, he also won’t know how long it’ll take James to find everything on the list. James Apparates to the Leaky Cauldron ten minutes later than planned and no one is the wiser.
After a wrong turn (did he say left or right?) James finds himself in front of, what he hopes is the correct Muggle magic shop. It is called ‘Houdini’s Magic Factory’. Walking inside, James begins fumbling through his pocket for the list of products he is supposed to buy. Once he has it, he turns to the many shelves and tables throughout the store to track down all the items on the list. The shop seems to have no organization, at least none that makes any sense to James. In order to find everything he is forced to walk by every sign in the store and compare it to his list.
Upon finding the multicolored colored scarfs and collecting ten of them, James is still confused. He does not see how they can be used in performing magic any better than the top hats on the shelf above them.
If this is what the Muggles thought of them, then wizards everywhere should come out of hiding. The Muggles are idiots! They would never be recognized for what they are. For some strange reason, they make all wands look the exact same, and they’re ugly too. James doesn’t even know the long black sticks with white accents are wands until he looks at the sign hanging below them. It takes him awhile to figure out why Muggles imagine wands in such a way.
Wizards are extremely sloppy when it comes to hiding their wands, hell, James himself let half of his wand poke out of his pocket when he was searching for his uncle’s list earlier. He can’t imagine how many Muggles have seen a true wizard’s wand, and yet they still got it wrong. Eventually, James decides that Muggles make no sense and he isn’t going to figure them out any time soon. If it still bothers him this weekend, he decides he’ll pop over and visit his Granddad and see if he could explain it all.
James finishes up collecting the items on the list and heads to the counter where there thankfully isn’t a line. Letting the products fall from his arms, they land on the counter with a bang. James then attempts to fit both baskets he was carrying, also filled with merchandise, onto the counter to no avail. He is instead left placing one item at a time onto the counter as other items are ‘beeped’ by a special machine and subsequently put into bags.
“That’s all of it,” James tells the cashier as he hands over the last item, a deck of cards.
“Okay, that’ll be 544 pounds,” the man replies. James knows that his uncle had given him the right kind of Muggle money, but James hadn’t thought of looking it over the night before to make sure he knew how to use it. He is forced to pull the notes out slowly, one by one, to try to figure them out as he goes. Luckily, it is easier than he thought and he passes the money to the man before he is any more than a little agitated.
“Thank you. Have a nice day.”
“Where have you been?” Screams George, “You’re over an hour late! I was just about to owl Ginny.”
“What? Why? I was picking up the Muggle stuff like you asked!” James defends himself. To prove his point, he began removing the shrunken bags from Houdini’s from his pockets. Once he has them all laid out in front of him, he is preparing to enlarge them back to their proper size when his uncle begins speaking again.
“You were supposed to do that before work, not instead of. You know, get up an hour early, stop there, and still be here for seven!”
“There’s nothing you can do about it now, just get to work. And leave those small, the stockroom is packed there isn’t much room. You can enlarge them this afternoon when you have time to organize them into the Muggle section,” George explains and leaves James to work.
“Hey, where’ve you been?” Fred asks coming into the back room.
“I picked up some of the Muggle crap for the shop,” says James, “what are we working on?”
“What do you think? Stocking. Though at least it’s something good, skiving snack boxes,” Fred explains, then he turns to whispering, “Maybe we can slip a few for ourselves when my dad’s not looking. They could come in handy this year at school.”
“Yeah, though everyone’s going to be expecting a prank from us, and if we can’t think of some remotely good by September first, I’m not going back. We can’t fail; everyone’ll be counting on us!” James says, finally voicing what he’s been thinking for the past few days.
“I know, but we still have Quidditch too. We’ve got the cup in the bag. It’s our last year and all of Gryffindor will be so excited about that they just might forget a little prank.”
“I care. It’s not just everyone else, it’s me too!” James says, frustrated now, “Let’s just get to work.”
When James finishes his lunch break, and Fred heads off to take his, James decides to tackle the new Muggle products.
He grabs the shrunken bags and brings them into the Muggle room. It’s deserted, as usual. So James goes about enlarging them in the center of the room.
“Engorgio!” The bags become triple their normal size. With a sigh, James tries “Reducio,” and the bags are now a half size too small. “Engorgio,” this time they are four times larger than James had meant.
He continues alternating between the two spells as necessary in hopes that he’ll eventually get it right. The more frustrated he becomes the further off the spells are, shrinking and enlarging more than he wanted them to, and other times missing completely. By the sixth time James tries he is forcefully jabbing the wand at the bags and looks as if he is in a fierce duel, with plastic bags that is.
“You’re a wizard, not a baboon brandishing a stick, James,” says a voice from the doorway.
Turning around, James sees to whom the voice belongs, “Hello to you too, Teddy.”
“Yes, hello. You can’t just wave and poke your wand around in every which way and hope your spell will work,” Teddy tries again to help James.
“Let me see you try then,” replies James.
Without hesitation, Teddy flicks his wand just so, and the bags are immediately the perfect size.
“Oh. Well, thanks,”
“Don’t mention it, especially since you now owe me your paycheck,” says Teddy.
“WHAT?” Exclaims James.
“Well, I just did your job for you, didn’t I? So I should get payment in return,” explains Teddy.
“Too bad I don’t get a paycheck, haven’t you heard, I’m free labor.”
“Well, I heard the rumors, but I just couldn’t believe that you, James, of all people, got in trouble the first day of summer,” says Teddy.
“Actually, it wasn’t even the first day. It was the day we came home on the express, so summer didn’t officially start until the next day,” James jokes.
“Well, as long as you have a sense of humor about it then.”
“Speaking of a sense of humor, Fred and I were thinking,” begins James.
“No. Stop right there. I do not want to be involved in whatever it is,” says Teddy, slowly backing away.
“But that’s just it. There isn’t anything, at least not yet. You see, it being Fred’s and my last year,” at this Teddy rolls his eyes, but James continues on as if he didn’t see it, “we want to go out with a bang! You know, like Uncle George and Uncle Fred did.”
“Yeah, and what do you want from me? I’m not even at Hogwarts, I can’t help.”
“No, no. Don’t need help executing it, we just need help, you know, figuring out what it is,” hedges James.
“You mean you don’t know what to do?” Teddy asks smirking, “The great James Potter and Fred Weasley can’t think of a prank?”
“We can think of a prank, just not an amazing one,” says James trying to cover his failure.
“So Teddy, why are you here? And where’s Victoire? Don’t tell me you’re actually on your own for once? No! Victoire let you out of her sight?” Asks James, mocking horror.
“Well, actually, she think’s I’m at your house.” Teddy gracefully avoids the question.
“But, why?” James clarifies, becoming curious.
“Why? You know, I can do this all day,” says James.
“Because I needed to pick a surprise up for Victoire, okay?” Teddy finally explains.
“No, not okay. It’s summer, Victoire’s birthday already passed, and there are no gift giving holidays anytime soon. What kind of surprise are you talking about?” Asks a suspicious James.
“Oh you know, the secret type of surprise.”
“Come on Ted, you can trust me,” pleads James.
“I bought an engagement ring for Vic. Now, if you tell anyone, I will kill you. Got it?”
“Really? When are you going to ask her?” asks James, his attention perking up.
“I don’t know. But I wanted to have it just in case,” whispers Teddy.
“Can I tell Fred?”
“NO! What did I just say?” screams an angry and scared looking Teddy.
“What about Dad? He’ll want to know.”
“I’ll tell him. Not you.”
“I won’t tell anyone if you promise to help Fred and I with our prank. Deal?” James suggests with a knowing look.
“I might be able to lend my genius to you. I’ll think about it, let you know if I come up with anything awe-inspiring,” Teddy says, a smirk returning to his face.
Author's Note: I wrote this for the Same Quote, Different Character Challenge on the HPFF forums posted by moonyxluna. The italicized quote, about being a baboon was originally said by Professor Flitwick in HBP, ch. 17, page 333 UK edition.
Yes, its been way way too long since the last chapter, but I've been at my first semester of college (Uni, as you brits say!). Not much of an excuse, but I was really motivated because I'm not really sure I have any readers left. So if I do... Please let me know by leaving a review!!!
Thanks to Nymphie Tonks for being an AMAZING beta!
I hope you all forgive me, and stick with this story. I swear I'm getting inspiration for the next chapter, but some reviews would be nice motivation! And any prank ideas?!
Track This Story: Feed
Write a Review
JOIN HARRY POTTER FANFICTION
Get access to every new feature the moment it comes out.Register Today!