“D-Dia-gon Alley” Harry remembered saying.
Harry had miss-spoken and ended up missing the Stone Gateway in Diagon Alley.
The Weasley’s were standing around the large stone gateway. Mr and Mrs Weasley had rushed through right after him hoping to catch a glimpse of him somewhere ahead of their destination.
‘Mom we have to find him’ Ron said after stepping out of the stone fireplace and seeing Harry nowhere in sight.
‘I know that Ronald. What do you think your father and I were planning on doing?’ Mrs. Weasley bellowed back at her youngest son. She was ringing the kerchief in her hands, wiping the soot from them. ‘Arthur what are we going to tell his aunt and uncle if something happens to him.’ She spun on her twin boys, ‘Fred, George are you certain you didn’t see him.’ She pleaded.
They shook their heads together and looked at their father as he said. ‘Molly dear’, Arthur Weasley patted his wife’s shoulder, ‘he can’t have gone too far. I’m certain he is somewhere in the area.’
Swiveling her head, Molly looked at the shops in the area. Her eyes focused on a sign post a few yards away. She Gasped. Arthur Weasley looked to see what had affected his wife so.
Knockturn Alley the sign read
‘Now Molly, I have never in all my years heard of someone missing Diagon Alley and landing somewhere down there.’ Arthur said reassuringly.
Knockturn Alley was no place for decent witches and wizards to shop. Occasionally Arthur, who worked for the Ministry of Magic, in the Misuse of Muggle Artifacts department, would be sent into a shop that was selling enchanted objects. Many of the shops sold items that may be considered dark or dangerous magic.
‘Why don’t we start by splitting up and going through the shops along the road? Ron you go with Percy in that direction.’ Mr Weasley pointed along the road towards Madam Malkin’s Robes shop. ‘Molly you take Ginny in that direction,’ he said pointing towards Ollivander’s Wand Shop.
Fred grabbed his twins sleeve and took headed towards Knockturn Alley. ‘We’ll take a quick look down here’. He said, taking a few long strides.
‘No.’ Mr and Mrs Weasley screamed together. ‘You go towards Gringott’s’ the wizarding bank, ‘I’ll take a look down there myself.’ Arthur said catching up to his boys and turning them away from the dark street. ‘Molly, we’ll meet back here in 20 minutes.’
The groups separated and were on their ways, stopping in each shop as they went, finally turning around and heading back towards the Stone Entrance to Diagon Alley.
Ron had bumped into Hermione Granger and her parents and they arrived back at the stone fireplace just in time to see Hagrid stepping away from Harry and the Weasley’s. Arthur was standing outside the group talking in low tones to Fred and George. He had arrived back at the entrance with the twins in tow a few minutes after Harry and Hargid. The three of them had also come out of the shadows of Knockturn Alley.
‘Now I want you two to do what I say and meet us back at Flourish and Blotts when you are finished.’ Arthur said, turning the boys back towards the group.
George was about to complain when he saw the look on Mrs. Weasley’s face. ‘C’mon Fred, we’ll have just enough time to get there and back if we run a bit.
‘Where did you send them Arthur?’ Molly said after he had stepped back into the circle of people. Shaking hands with Mr and Mrs Grangers.
Arthur turned with the group and starting walking in the direction of Gringott’s, ‘I gave them some money and sent them to Gorburt’s.’ he smiled mischievously to his wife.
‘Arthur, that has to be almost three miles.’ She said smiling, but the smile faded, ‘are you sure they will be all right?’
‘They will be fine Molly. You said we needed to pick up more Floo Powder. It will be good for the boys to meet Natalie and Gordon.’ Arthur said over his shoulder. ‘Plus do you really want them popping in and out of all the shops while you’re taking Ginny around to get her supplies?’
Molly smiled looking down at her daughter. ‘Well, I was hoping you would watch them today Arthur’ she said under her breathe, so only Ginny would hear. Both she and her daughter snickered.
Fred and George jogged until they reached the fork in the road their father had mentioned. Fred pulled a bit of parchment out of his pocket and read aloud the directions his father had given him.
Take the main road west from Diagon alley stone entrance
Take the first right at the fork, towards Wormwood / Scrubs
Take Old Oak Common Lane until you meet the train tracks
Someone will meet you here
Mr Weasley had taken in turn to look both boys in the eyes. ‘Stay out of the Scrubs unless someone is with you,’ shifting his gaze between them. ‘Do You Understand?’
Both boys mumbled ‘yeah.’
Mr. Weasley grabbed them each by a shoulder, getting their undivided attention. ‘Now listen, I am not joking with you. Stay out of the Scrubs. Gordon and Natalie will not take kindly to a couple of jokesters who go traipsing through their land.’
‘Sure Dad, we understand.’ George had said.
That was nearly a quarter hour ago and both boys had worked up a bit of a stitch in their sides. They hadn’t slowed their pace since leaving the town limits. ‘I wish we had brought our brooms.’ George said slowing down to walk a little.
‘Or something to eat,’ Fred said. ‘The roads pretty deserted, but I’m sure that dad wouldn’t have wanted to take a chance that some muggle might see us flying by.’ Fred said as he slowed pace and walked with his brother.
They had passed by a family of four, the mother and father giving the identical twins a wide path as they ran past. The couples’ two boys, smiling and pointing at them, Fred had smiled back and George had tipped an invisible cap.
With their pace slower they noticed the houses they passed were getting smaller and more run down. The road was fairly torn up, probably from the box trucks that seemed to drive in both directions every few minutes, while they walked along the road. Traffic had thinned out as they reached Old Oak Common Lane.
Fred stopped and checked the directions again, ‘Does it say how much farther?’ George asked wiping a bead of sweat from his neck. ‘I doubt we are going to make it to Gambol and Japes.’ The joke shop they had told their friend Lee to meet them at.
‘Shouldn’t be too much further,’ Fred said, looking down the road, thinking that they would really need to get a move on it, if they were going to do anything worthwhile today.
The trees along the path had started to become thicker and the road was not wide enough for two vehicles any longer. Both boys looked up and the trees had created a canopy they could just see slivers of blue sky. On their left the trees were too thick to see through, but a park seemed to be opening up on their right. It looked like it had not been cared for in years. You could just make out a stone wall covered with vines a few yards past the first trees. George looked back and could not see where the wall had begun. But neither boy had noticed it before now.
Finally they came to the end of the road. In the distance they could see old rusted trains sitting on sections of train tracks. Looking closer it seemed the only area of tracks left were directly under the trains wheels. Otherwise they were all torn up and the ground looked like it had never been smoothed over.
To their right, hanging from the top of the stone fence, a wooden sign on their right read:
Gorburt’s Floo Powder
Natalie and Gordon Scrub
And beneath that another sign said
Present your wand
This is your only warning
Fred turned and smiled at George, but his brother had already reached into his sweater and was pulling out his wand. After he did, he looked at Fred, ‘Dad said these people are not supposed to be joked with.’
Fred smiled and started to say something when a voice rang out from all around them. ‘Go a head and move away boy, I will find your brothers wand for him.’
Fred started to reach for his wand and all of the sudden he was lifted up off his feet by one ankle and turned upside down. With his head three meters above the ground, he screamed and flailed his arms, trying to grab hold of the air around him another voice called out ‘Accio Wand.’
Fred’s wand was pulled from his grip and flew into the hand of a tiny, women who had suddenly appeared in front of the sign.
George spun in a circle watching his brother get lifted in the air and having his wand taken from him. He held tight onto his wand and started to point it at the woman.
‘Expelliarmus’ the first voice said, and George’s wand flew into the air and the tiny woman grabbed it, next to her now stood a tall crooked man.
The woman flipped the tip of her wand and Fred turned back over and was lowered to the ground. The two boys now looked at each other, then standing straight and tall looked back to the couple and said together, ‘give us back our wands.’
The couple looked at each other and as the woman tossed the twins back their wands the man said. ‘Fred and George Weasley, We are happy to meet you both. I am Gordon. This here is my wife Natalie.’
The boys each caught their wands and instead of pocketing them, they each held them in a ready position in front of them.
‘Your father let us know you’d be stopping by. Com’n in.’ Gordon said, turning with his wife and reaching for her free hand. Together they walked into the trees, disappearing through the stone fence so quickly that the twins made a quick glance to each other and rushed in between the trees their hosts had disappeared behind. As soon as they had made it past the first row of trees the area brightened and they stepped into a clearing.
The couple had made it across the clearing and was stepping up onto a porch that seemed to circle an old Victorian style home. They did not look back but sat down on a gliding rocker and the woman waved the twins over.
With each step the house and the surrounding buildings became clearer and clearer. Animals were appearing around the area in pens and a half a dozen children were seen running and playing. They looked between the ages of 2 and 10. boys and girls both.
When the twins made it to the porch the couple had changed also. They were no longer old, but could not have been much in their 30’s. ‘come sit down, have a something to drink. You must be thirsty after the walk from the Alley. Would you like a snack? We were just about to put something out for the children.’
Gordon pointed his wand at a triangle hanging from the porch roof and it started to ring gently. Natalie waved her wand and on a picnic table the twins had just noticed, food and drinks had appeared. The children all ran over and climbed into their seats and bowed their heads. George felt an elbow in his side and when he looked to see what his brother wanted, he saw that he was staring at two teenage girls walking towards the picnic table and setting themselves down, one at either end. Although they did not look alike, Fred and George guessed correctly that they were twins, about their age, probably a year or two older.
From behind the boys, Gordon said. ‘We thank you for all we have. We pray for your continuing guidance. Amen.’
Then from the picnic table all the kids said together, ‘Amen.’
George took his eyes from the picnic table and turned to the couple on the gliding rocker.
‘You said our father let you know we were coming?’
‘We received his patronus a while ago.’ Gordon said.
A patronus has multiple uses. It is used for communicating a short message to a person or group. It may also be used to defend oneself against a Dementor, a very dark creature. Everyone’s patronus takes the form of a animal, different depending on who creates it and creating one strong enough to defend against a dementor is very difficult. Not many wizards are capable of this degree of magic.
Arthur Weasley’s patronus takes the form of a weasel.
Fred said, ‘are they all your children?’ he waved his hand towards the picnic table.
Natalie smiled, ‘Yes.’
‘The two oldest, I don’t remember seeing them at Hogwarts.’ Fred said.
‘Well you wouldn’t have. We send them to school abroad.’ Natalie continued. ‘Our business takes us all over the world. There are very fine schools in the Americas.’
‘Which brings us back to business.’ Gordon said.
George reached into his sweater and pulled out the pouch of money his father had given him. ‘That’s right. I almost forgot why we were here.’
Gordon pointed to a table next to George, ‘Just set it there and you can finish your snack. Then I’ll take you both out to the shop and show you around.’ He looked towards a building in the back of the property. The twins followed his gaze to the building they had not noticed, before now.
The twins had many questions they wanted to ask but Natalie and Gordon would not answer them. They asked the boys about their parents and older brothers. It seems that Bill and Charley, the oldest Weasley children, had also visited the Scrubs years ago.
Natalie asked how Ginny was doing. She exclaimed how happy she had been to hear the Prewett’s, Molly family, had given birth to a girl. ‘It’s been so long. I think your mother was the only girl in a few generations.’
Fred and George looked at each other. They had never considered their families bloodline before. ‘So how long have you known our Mom and Dad.’ Fred said.
‘Well we took over Gorburt’s when Natalie’s family moved away. That’s her maiden name, Gorburt. We’ve been dealing for close to 20 years now.’ Gordon said.
Fred and George both looked at each other and then back to the couple. They could now see that they were older, probably a few years older than their parents.
Gordon stood up and said, ‘well I don’t want to keep you two much longer, let me show you around’ and he bent down and touched his lips to Natalie’s cheek. ‘I will send them out through the shop.’ He said.
‘Well then I will say my good-byes now’ Natalie said starting to stand.
Fred and George were up and said good-bye to her. They followed Gordon off the porch and past the picnic table. Fred smiled at all the kids and George tipped an invisible hat to the older girls. Who smiled back and followed them with their eyes.
When Gordon reached the out building he removed his wand and tapped it on the lock. After a series of clicks and clatters the door swung open. ‘I keep it locked so the kids don’t go playing around in here.’ He said seeing the inquisitive eyes of the twins. ‘I figure some of them are still able to get inside though, I find tools moved around all the time.’
Fred looked at the lock on the way through, ‘it wouldn’t take George or I more than a couple minutes to get in. I wouldn’t doubt at least a couple of the kids would try.’ He laughed.
When they had all stepped in and Gordon had closed the door, a glow appeared around the room. The twins gasped in awe of the site. Two walls covered in bookshelves, twenty feet high. Another shelf with ceramic, glass and clay containers filled to the ceiling. Overhead hung creates filled with feathers, skins and what looked like horsetails. But the last glowed golden like the manes of unicorns.
Gordon allowed them a minute to take it all in. ‘Now come with me.’ He stepped around tables and benches and through an archway to a smaller room. ‘I went ahead, when I got your father’s message and put together something for you.’ He handed Fred a burlap bag. ‘This is the Floo Powder.’ To George he handed a box ‘and this is for the two of you.’
George took it with one hand and pulled open the lid. Inside was filled with ingredients similar to the Professor Snapes’ potions cupboard at Hogwarts. Fred and George had broken into it in their first year and have been stealing supplies ever since.
‘You’re not going to find any of these in Snapes stores room. So be careful with them.’ Gordon said, ‘and keep them hidden from your mother. If Molly finds out I have set you on this path… Well I’ll never hear the end of it.’ He looked at the boys grimly. But then broke into a smile. ‘Have Fun.’
Fred wanted to tell him they had no money for any of this. George wanted to thank him and ask what it all was. But the man stepped over to a stone fireplace in the far corner of the room and grabbed a tin off the mantle. Holding it out to the boys he said. ‘Drop it off at home and then head right to Diagon Alley. I’ll know if you take more than a couple minutes.’ The boys in turn took a pinch of powder and stepped into the fire and said ‘the Burrow’
Gordon set the tin of Floo Powder back on the mantle and stepped out the Archway into the work shop.
Natalie was standing with the smallest of their children, Tess, in her arms. She said ‘do you think that was such a good idea?’
‘You read the letter from Severus. These boys are the best he has ever seen. Better even than Lily Evans.’ He said as he reached out to grab Tess from her arms, ‘and you know what he thought of her.’
‘But some of those ingredients could be very dangerous.’ She turned and started out the door.
Outside Gordon closed and locked the door to the work shop. He turned and with his free hand grabbed one of Natalie’s. ‘Dumbledore says what is coming is going to be bad. We need these two boys and Harry Potter, if we are going to get through it.’ They stepped onto the porch and sat on the sliding rocker again.
Holding hands and watching their family, both sighed and smiled.