Categories > Books > Harry Potter > Harry Potter and the Aftermath

Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes

by RyanJenkins 0 reviews

Ryan helps reopen the shop and then presents his credentials to Arthur, who invites him to The Burrow.

Category: Harry Potter - Rating: G - Genres: Humor - Characters: Ginny,Harry,Hermione,Kingsley,Molly Weasley,Ron - Published: 2016-07-17 - 4661 words - Complete



I kind of thought we would go straight to the Ministry, but Arthur had other ideas. As he re-rolled and re-ribboned the scroll with a flick of his wand, handing it back to me, he said, “Not quite sure how to handle this, you see.” He rubbed his chin. “Or rather, how Kingsley would like to have it handled. Kingsley Shacklebolt – he’s Minister for Magic now, took over when You-Know – I mean, when Voldemort was killed. Much like your Admiral Blackstone, it seems. Of course this is obviously of the first importance, and I shouldn't want to put a foot wrong, first crack off the bat. But I say, you don't seem to be very fond of protocol, do you?”

“Protocol? Sounds like one of those pills they sell for old people.”

“Right.” He smiled, and his eyes crinkled up. “I think the best thing would be to introduce you to Kingsley quite privately, so he, and you, can have the widest possible freedom to arrange things. What I have in mind is getting you both into our living room at home, today if at all possible.”

I was delighted, and said so. He formally invited me back to the Weasley home for dinner, and then said, “Where are you staying, by the way?” I told him, and he looked horrified. “Sounds like a ruddy Muggle flea-trap. Look here, the Ministry will certainly find you proper accommodations, as soon as you’ve presented your credentials anyway. Oh, definitely! Diplomatic necessity and all that, after all! In the meantime, won’t you please come along and stay with us, at least for tonight? Plenty of room!” He wouldn’t listen to my protest about imposing, and left to send some owls.

I Apparated directly back to the hotel room, changed back to my Muggle costume, put on my backpack, trundled my rollie-case down to the lobby, and checked out. In the alley next to the hotel I waited until no people or cars were visible, and popped back to 93 Diagon Alley. I set my luggage in the back room, put on my robes, and pitched in with the others to help George.

Hermione was dusting (“Oh, I do wish Molly were here, she’d make short work of this!”); George had re-stacked the things he’d knocked down and was now going around the store on a ladder which somehow moved itself through the crowded aisles without bumping into anything, followed obediently by a scroll of parchment and a quill, taking down the inventory numbers he called out as he went.

Ron was outside, trying to clean up the front of the building. He had straightened the W's, repaired the cracked window, and was just vanishing the last of the soot, but the scorch marks around the door were more difficult. The charm he had used on the soot just smeared them. “Mum would know just how to deal with these,” he said, scratching his head, “she’s been doing it for years. Quite used to people blowing stuff up all over the house.”

“That’s so cool!” I looked at Ron in frank admiration. My Mom, much as I love her, would never get used to people blowing stuff up anywhere. “Maybe George will think they’re good advertising.” Ron grinned at me and I grinned back. “Probably ought to get rid of that sign now,” I suggested, pointing to the huge purple poster in the right-hand window with faded yellow letters that read “WHY ARE YOU WORRYING ABOUT YOU-KNOW-WHO? YOU SHOULD BE WORRYING ABOUT U-NO-POO, THE CONSTIPATION SENSATION THAT’S SWEEPING THE NATION!”

“Oh – yeah. I’d say that definitely needs freshening up, wouldn’t you? Right, then!” Ron stepped inside and the sign vanished. I looked around, and saw a number of passing Witches and Wizards looking at the store and smiling; several waved cheerily. Two young boys saw me standing in front and came over.

“Excuse me, sir, but do you know if Weasleys' is opening up again?”

“I think so, but I don't know exactly when. Mr. Weasley's come down to take inventory and such. When it is open for business, I think you'll know!”

“I 'spect so, they get everything going again. Can't miss Weasleys', from practically anywhere in the Alley. Jumps right out at yer! Brilliant place – sir?”

I had been distracted. “Oh, sorry – thought I saw someone I knew. Yep, it's a great place, and it'll be back before long, don't worry.” They waved and trotted off. What I had seen, though, was still bothering me. Behind the boys, people were passing in both directions. A tall Wizard in black robes was not a very unusual sight, but I had been enjoying the variety of faces, and this one had kept his hood up and his head turned. But when I looked down, I thought I recognized his boots. They had pointed toes, and higher heels than I'd seen any other British Wizards wearing, but all I really got was a quick impression and a flash of color. They looked like grey-green leather. I thought of following him, but just then, Ron came back out, and I decided, one, it was probably just co-incidence, two, it was almost certainly none of my business, and three, I'd better not go running off anywhere when I was making so much progress here.

Ron looked at the front of the store and said, “Don’t know what we can do about the other window, though, it’s gone dead. Used to flash and spark like anything. All sorts of different things crammed in there. We’ll just have to leave it to George, there’s no way to figure out all the spells they used on that stuff.”

“Want to bet?”

“What do you mean? You think you can reanimate all those things? I wouldn’t try it if I were you, likely enough you’ll end up with ten-foot-long ears, or a tail, or upchucking slugs, or something.”

“Hello fellows!” Arthur Weasley was returning. “It’s all set, Kingsley and the others will meet us at The Burrow as soon as they can get away after work. Got the store front cleaned up, I see.”

“Yeah, except for those scorch marks.”

“I think I can sort those for you.” Arthur pointed his wand and muttered a charm I didn’t catch, and the scorch marks popped off the doorframe, fell to the ground, and shattered into bits. He waved his wand again and the fragments disappeared. “Right! But George will have to deal with all those animated displays, I should think. Take us weeks to figure out how the boys – that is to say, all the different spells and things.” He looked unhappy again.

“Ryan thinks he can do it.” Ron looked at me and raised an eyebrow. Arthur turned toward me, looking a question.

“Well, maybe. I can try, anyhow.”

“Oh, no, that might be dangerous. Believe me, I know!” Arthur was shaking his head.

“Don’t worry, I won’t actually do anything, just analyze them. It’d be better to do that from inside, though.”

We went in, and I stood directly behind the display, with my back up against the nearest shelf. Ron and Arthur watched from the central aisle, and Hermione joined them. George’s ladder brought him through the crowded aisles a lot quicker than I would have thought it could; arriving, he climbed down. “Oh I say, don’t need to worry about the window display just now. Lots of things to set going again, repair, or what not – might be easier all round to just chuck the lot and start over.”

“Well, I can at least do a quick analysis and generate a list of problems and suggested fixes.”

“Oh…well, that’s very nice of you to think of it, I must say, but honestly, you needn’t go to all that trouble, take you hours!”

“Oh no, it’ll just take a couple of minutes.”

That got his attention, so I pulled out my computer equipment and restored it to full size, letting it float at a comfortable height. Ron’s eyes opened wide in surprise, Hermione’s mouth made an astonished “O”, and George was suddenly intent.

Arthur looked like he’d just found a Philosopher’s Stone on his bedside table one morning. “What in the world – is that one of those Muggle things? A compo – comper…”

“A computer! I’ve got one at home – my parents have three – but they use electricity, and don't work at all in a magical environment.” Hermione gave a little gasp and said breathily, “You’ve got a Wizarding Computer!”

“Yep. It works by magic, not electricity...but it uses the electrical components, the – um, paths that the electricity takes, as sort of templates, or models, or diagrams – it's complicated. And it takes a whole lot of different spells and charms, working together. But it will work in a magical environment – I used it at school – and the only time it needs any electricity is when you interface with Muggle computers or computer networks.”

“You can use magic and electricity?” Arthur was staring at me in open-mouthed astonishment.

“Well, yes, but only if you're connecting to a Muggle computer and even then not really – the electricity serves as sort of a model for the magic that affects other electricity, although it does get used up in the process. But I don't need to do that here – watch.” I drew a nice big monitor and connected it, and the machine booted up as the others watched, fascinated. Tapping the icon on my desktop with my wand, I loaded up EMCASS, my magical circuit analyzing spell. Clamping the wand in my armpit, I put the passcode in with the keyboard. That was a significant extra layer of security in the Wizarding world: not only was the code kept only inside my head, very few Wizards or Witches could deal with a keyboard. Its very raison d’ etre was, at least for the older crowd, outside their experience, and even if they knew what it was, the QWERTY configuration tended to confuse them completely.

I used my wand to outline the shop window, then hit “Enter,” and a beautiful antique hourglass appeared. The sand ran through slowly, then faster, then much faster, then slowly for about five seconds, then very fast indeed, squirting through like a fire hose and emptying very quickly. It was replaced by a diagram, and I shook my head in annoyance. It showed an insane jungle of connections. “Oh – puffinstuff!” I’d forgotten to limit the program to the window glass, and it was picking up things from people in the street, and the shops on the other side. Hastily tapping Cancel, I entered three feet as an estimated limit, and tried again. This time I got a much more readable picture, showing color-coded icons for the various items in the window, connected here and there with lines showing the interactions and boundaries of the various charms and such that activated things.

“There we go. Let’s see....twelve, thirteen, fourteen...eighteen different items altogether – those are the various colored icons.” George and Ron looked at each other and back at the display. Arthur and Hermione stared intently and never noticed. They all moved closer. “The green ones are not using any magic in the display – they’re just there, like the Ton-Tongue Toffees here. It’s just the sign and the box – here, they’ve turned grey, not sure why yet but they’re not happening at all. Hmmm. Purple means explosive, let’s not mess with those! See here, those are boundaries or spacers –

“Guardrails. We always called ‘em rails. They keep the spells separated…” George was excited.

“—so nothing sets something else off by accident, or messes up the function of another item?”

George nodded at me slowly. “Exactly. Never been able to see them before.”

It took a lot longer than the five or ten minutes I would have taken by myself. We talked a lot. I explained how the program analyzed and displayed magical and electrical connections, and indicated any interfacing. In the process, I had my first impressions confirmed: the Wizarding world in Britain had kept itself so completely separate from the Muggle world that they lagged well behind the technological curve. In the end, I asked George for a sheet of parchment, and with my wand, lifted the list of problems from the display and wafted it over to the parchment. It settled down, straightened itself, and I tapped it with my wand to fix it.

Arthur reached out, almost hesitantly, and picked it up. “It’s quite beautiful. Just as if it came off a printing press. Full color. Absolutely amazing. Can Muggles do this?”

“Oh yes, but they have to have a machine called a printer, and it runs by electricity.”

“Look here,” said Arthur, “until recently I was in charge of the Misuse Of Muggle Artifacts department. Don’t you have something like that in America?”

“The Department has the Misuse Of Magic Office, and the states' departments have their own as well. MOMO people deal with relatively minor things like people bewitching roulette wheels, or playing jokes on Muggles by hexing their clothes dryers to eat just one of a pair of socks, or making wallets or cellphones or tax forms hide themselves when people go to look for them – I guess that’s what you’re talking about?” He nodded. “But using Muggle technology entirely within the Wizarding world, or interfacing it with magic, is not illegal in America, as long as there’s no risk of exposing our existence, of course.”

Ron said in an eager hush, “Do Americans have – flying cars?” Hermione rolled her eyes and hit him on the shoulder.

“Not really much call for them,” I said, “Brooms and Apparition are so much more convenient. Why do you ask?”

Ron looked uncomfortable; Hermione giggled and said, “Because Arthur made a car fly, and Ron and Harry flew it to Hogwarts in our second year. They got in SO much trouble!”

We all laughed, although Ron and Arthur's faces were a bit pink, and I added, “Most states do offer permits for Magically Modified Vehicles. But you have to have the vehicle officially inspected, and all the enchantments – especially invisibility, concealment spells, confunding charms and such – have to be certified. Still, there's plenty of Wizards that have cars, and some of 'em do like to tinker. Seems like there's always some good ol' boy somewhere getting busted for an unregistered Siphoning Spell.”

They looked at each other, and I explained, “Refills your tank when you drive past a gas station. If it doesn't transfer payment and modify the financial records, that's stealing. And if it doesn't modify their inventory records to account for the gas you've taken, you could be charged with Muggle Interference, or even CRME – Criminal Risk of Magical Exposure – and that's a Federal crime.”

“Your cars run on – gas?” Arthur was puzzled.


“Oh! You mean petrol.”

“Oh.” I was nonplussed. “Okay.” They all laughed, and I had to join in. I thought of Geoffrey, and said “Before I left, someone told me we were two nations divided by a common language. Now I'm beginning to get the joke!” And we laughed again.

By the time we left the shop, the window was working again, the inventory was done, and I was the proud owner of half a dozen trick wands, a Ton-Tongue Toffee and a Canary Cream (couldn't decide which was better), a pair of Extendable Ears, a bottle of Sunny Spells for my parents, and a Portable Swamp. George started to say something about “Listen, you've helped us a lot, so...” and I cut him off. “Oh, no, I'll pay for these. Under the circumstances, I think I can put them on my expense account as a diplomatic necessity, and when am I ever going to get another chance like that?”

The Burrow, home of the Weasley family, is near a village called Ottery St. Catchpole. I don’t know if that means there was a St. Catchpole, a St. Ottery who had a catchpole (whatever that is), or a St. Catch who was a Pole and had an ottery. British place names can get pretty weird. But I didn’t see the village; we traveled by floo powder, and climbed out of the fireplace into a house that quickly became one of my favorite places in the whole world.

Everything has to be neat and orderly at work, of course, but when I’m home I’m a lot looser; I like the place to feel lived-in and I don't much mind clutter. The Burrow was lived-in, to the max, by anywhere from three to a dozen people at any given moment. It was crowded, jumbled, messy, and comfortable as your favorite pair of shoes. It had several stories, obviously added and maintained by Magic. Just looking at it from outside would have given any Muggle carpenter an immediate heart attack, but it felt solid as the Wizard's Platform on Plymouth Rock.

All the more remarkable, I learned later, because it had been burnt to the ground by Death Eaters the year before. It had taken Arthur and Molly years to build up, but the rebuilding went a lot faster, because this time they had a lot of help, much of it surreptitious. Carpenter and plumber wizards, building materials, furnishings (and chickens) just arrived, usually in the dead of night, and when Arthur went to buy things from a Wizarding vendor, the bill was very often marked “paid” with a wink or a pat on the shoulder. By now, a whole new generation of clutter had settled in.

But the best part about The Burrow is the people you meet there. As we straightened up, getting out of the fireplace, a plump Witch wearing an apron hurried into the room. “Arthur! We only got your owl an hour ago. Ginny's upstairs getting Charlie's room ready, but I've been – oh! Hello,” she interrupted herself, noticing me.

“Molly, this is our new friend, Ryan Jenkins. He's just come from the United States, from their Department of Magic. Ryan, my wife Molly.”

“Pleased to meet you, I'm sure.” Molly's hair was as red as the others, which was no surprise at all. She smiled, and we shook hands.

“Hi, Molly, delighted to meet you, and I hope I haven't got you in too much of a ruckus with all the short notice.”

“Not a bit of it! You come right on in and make yourself at home. Arthur told me you're staying over. Ron, would you take Ryan's things up? Hello Hermione dear! Where's George?”

“Here I am, Mum!” George was just emerging, brushing at his robe. “What's for supper?”

Molly bustled right through us and gave George a big hug. “Hello, dear. How did it go, then?”

“All right, actually, quite all right. Even made a sale! The old place wasn't too badly knocked about after all, and everybody pitched in. I actually got the inventory done, and Ryan here was amazing, he figured out how to get the window displays going again!”

His enthusiasm brought a broad smile to Molly's face, and tears were running down her cheeks at the same time. “Oh, that's wonderful George!” She hugged him again, and turned to me. “You are very welcome, Ryan! Would you care for a nice cup of tea?”

“Butterbeer!” Ron and George said it together.

“Right!” said Arthur, “let's just wash down all that dust, shall we?”

I was told that it was United Kingdom butterbeer, yes, and also British butterbeer, quite true, but most particularly it was real English butterbeer. And it was excellent. Like the porter I'd had last night, it wasn't really cold, just cool, but it had loads of flavor and a lovely full body. While we were being served, a very pretty young Witch with long hair in a very familiar shade of red came into the room, and was promptly introduced as Ginny, the Weasleys' youngest. She had a sunny disposition.

“This is lovely, I've never met an American before!”

“Well, we're even, then, because this is my first visit to Britain, and I've never met a pretty red-haired British Witch before, and here I've met two!”

Molly snorted into her teacup. “Get along with you!”

Ginny giggled, and then asked, “How long have you been here, then?”

“Uh – less than a day. My flight landed at Heathrow about 7 yesterday evening.”

“Whoa! You flew on an airplane? Across the ocean?!” Ron demanded.

“Yeah, had to. The Department didn't have a single Trans-Atlantic Portkey we could trust. It's not bad, really, it just takes such a long—”

“Harry!” Suddenly Ginny's attention was no longer on me. She ran toward the fireplace and threw herself around a medium-tall Wizard with unruly black hair, knocking his glasses askew. For a long minute they weren't aware of anyone else, but at length they broke the kiss, and looked up, their faces pink. Harry adjusted his glasses.

Molly was beaming, and Arthur was smiling as he said, “Harry, I'd like you to meet our new American friend, Ryan Jenkins. He's been quite a help to us today. Ryan, this is Harry Potter.”

I stood up and we met in the middle of the room, shaking hands. “How d' you do,” he said with a smile.

I grinned back. “Fine, thanks! I can see I don't have to ask you. When's the wedding?”

Harry blushed, but he laughed, which made Ginny giggle again, and everyone joined in. “We haven't set the date yet. Still sorting everything out.”

“Of course.” I looked over at Ron and Hermione. “Is it going to be a double wedding?”

They both turned pink, and Hermione asked “Are we that obvious?”

“Well, to be fair,” I admitted, judiciously, “only utterly, completely, and totally.” Everyone laughed again.

Harry turned to Arthur. “Percy said to tell you he's swamped, he's got a whole stack of reports to write for tomorrow morning. He expects to be up half the night, and is going to kip on the sofa at the Clearwaters' place in town. Bill'll be along in a minute, though, and Kingsley – that is, the Minister,” (glancing at me) “said he'll come out as soon as he can, probably be a half hour or more though, and hopes there'll be something left. Said he hasn't eaten all day.”

“Someone get this man a butterbeer! Wait – mine's empty, I'll do it.” George hurried out.

“Sorry I didn't make it down to the store,” said Harry, “but it looks like George got a bit of a boost.”

“It's lovely, isn't it? It turned out there wasn't nearly as much to do as we'd thought,” Hermione said, “and I rather think just being busy was a big help for George.”

“And when Ryan turned up with his computer, George really got interested,” added Ron.

Harry looked startled, and turned toward me. “Computer? You brought a computer to Diagon Alley?”

Before I could reply, George came back with two mugs of butterbeer. “Here you are, old man!” He handed one to Harry, and raised the other. It was neatly snatched out of his hand by yet another tall, red-haired Wizard, dressed in pearl-grey robes, who had just emerged from the fireplace. His face was damaged. Part of it was missing, although the wound had healed.

“Thanks awfully, old man!” He took a good healthy draft. “Ahhhh – you certainly do know how to make a fellow feel at home.” George threw up his hands and left to get another mug, and I was introduced to Bill Weasley, currently on loan to the Ministry from Gringotts. “So you're the fellow, eh? One of our opposite numbers! Pleased to meet you and all that!” he said cheerfully as we shook hands.

Harry was looking puzzled. Arthur explained, “Harry, sorry, forgot to mention – Ryan is from the United States Department of Magic.”

Harry looked at me with new interest. “Oh – right, that does explain things a bit.”

“You're working for the Ministry now, aren't you?” I asked him.

“Yes, I'm helping out. I'm joining the Aurors, actually, as soon as we get things sorted. What is it you do for your Department?”

I took a deep breath. “Well, let me put it this way. Four weeks ago I was the newest and most junior member of the Federal Bureau of Aurors. Four days ago I was Executive Officer of what was left of the Bureau, trying to pick up the pieces. As of three days ago, I'm the new Undersecretary for Foreign Wizarding Relations.” Harry, Molly, and Bill were all looking at me, their eyebrows dancing with their hairlines. “And believe me,” I added earnestly, “I'm a whole lot more surprised than you are!”

“What in the world happened?” Bill was the first to find his voice.

“If you don't mind, I'd kind of like to wait and answer that after the Minister for Magic gets here.”

“Oh – right. Save you telling it all twice, wouldn't it?”

“Yeah. I mean, we've got a couple of whole countries here that are trying to get back together and it's a long--”

“Ahhhhh! At last!” A deep, resonant voice, heavy with relief, cut through the conversation and we all turned to watch the United Kingdom's Minister for Magic emerge from the fireplace, swatting at his purple robes. He was tall, broad-shouldered, and completely bald, with a gold hoop-style earring in his left ear and a beautifully embroidered flat pillbox hat. His eyes looked tired, but alert, and his strong face was a rich, dark brown. “Got away early,” he said, looking down at the hem of his robe as he shook off a bit of soot. “The Hogwarts Board finally agreed that I did not, after all, need to be present as they discussed the books to be required for --” He stopped as he looked up and saw me.

“Minister,” Arthur said with smooth formality, stepping forward, “Allow me to present Mr. Ryan Jenkins, who comes to us from the United States Department of Magic. Mr. Jenkins, Kingsley Shacklebolt, Acting Minister for Magic.”

I bowed. Shacklebolt returned it and stepped forward, holding out a large hand which enveloped mine. “Welcome to the United Kingdom, Mr. Jenkins. Welcome indeed!”

“Thank you, Mr. Minister. May I present my credentials?”

“Yes, of course.” Everybody watched as I took out the red leather case and handed him the scroll. He used the same charm Arthur had, watching the eagle's flight intently and nodding slowly as it flew to the wall and vanished. Then he read it through, examining it minutely front and back, caused it to re-wrap itself, handed it back, and smiled. “I took the precaution of doing a little research on American diplomatic documents after I got Arthur's owl. I accept your credentials with great pleasure, despite the fact that you don't look any older than Harry here. You must certainly be the youngest undersecretary in American history.”

“Yes sir, I suppose I am. I have one other – credential, sir, if I may show it to you now?”

He nodded, and his eyes widened in surprise as I created the display screen and the recording of Admiral Blackstone began. There was complete silence as it played, and then everyone's eyes turned to the Minister. “I have been wondering about this. It seems you have quite a tale to tell – as do we. May I suggest that we postpone the details, however, until after dinner? I'm completely famished. First, though, we must correct a small diplomatic irregularity.” I was suddenly worried, but he grinned. “I see everyone has a butterbeer but me!
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