Author's Note: All right, for those of you who have read The Order of the Phoenix, you will know that this story doesn't make much sense, but I'm posting it anyway. I'd like to keep writing it to make a kind of trilogy, I hope. I guess if you don't review, I'll know that you, the readers, want complete accuracy, so I won't post anymore. Thanks.
"I don't see why you have to work there, George. What happened with Mr. Bell's store? I thought you were going to work for him."
George Weasley sighed. "Mum, we've been through this before. Mr. Bell didn't think I was cut out for that kind of work. And I'm inclined to agree with him." He finished combing his red hair. "Besides, I'd much rather work at a broomstick repair shop than a noisy pet store."
Mrs. Weasley smiled. "Well, I suppose I'll have to deal with you being away again." She held his face in her hands for a moment, then let go. "I just wish Fred could find a nice job closer to home."
"Mum, I haven't even gotten the job yet--this is only an interview," George reminded her. "I'll be home before dinner."
"Good luck!" she called and George Apparated. "There goes another."
George straightened his cloak, standing outside of Ye Olde Broomstick Repair Shoppe. Taking a deep breath, he opened the door and walked in. He stepped up to the front desk and tentatively rang the bell. "Hello?" he asked. He had never felt more nervous and insecure in his entire life. Standing there, he felt so small.
"In a minute!" came a voice from the back room. "I'll be with you in a minute!" Soon a young man stepped into view, wearing a black cloak and a bright red and yellow striped sweater. "Hello, George. Nice seeing you again. After my...er...abrupt leaving last year, I didn't really get a chance to say good-bye."
"Oliver, you own this place?" George asked, aghast.
Oliver Wood frowned. "Unfortunately, no. It's my dad's." He brightened a little. "But when he's not here, it's as good as mine." The Scot checked his watch. "Well, why don't we do that interview? Come along, this'll only take a few minutes."
Still nervous, George followed his former schoolmate into a small, cramped room. "What are all these boxes for?" he questioned, glancing at all the crates lining the walls.
"Oh, just supplies." Oliver walked to the far side of the small circular table and sat down on a crate. "Pull up a box."
George took a seat and watched as Oliver searched for something in one of the boxes. "Ah! Here we are!" He set down a stack of parchment, some quills, and an inkbottle. He stared at the writing utensils for a moment, found one he liked, and tossed the others back into the box. "All right. Shall we begin?"
"Uh, that would be nice."
"Name, please," Oliver said, staring at the parchment. "Please include your middle initial."
"Oliver you know my name!" George protested.
"Just answer the question," he persisted.
"And last name first," Oliver interrupted.
George rolled his eyes. "Weasley, George H."
" 'H,' huh?" Oliver asked, interested. "What is your middle name?"
"Horatio," George replied, slightly embarrassed.
"Have you ever had a job before? And if so, what line of work was it?" Oliver sucked on the end of the quill in thought.
"Just physical stuff," George replied. "De-gnoming yards for friends--those sorts of things." He waited impatiently for the next question, wanting very much for the interview to end. He watched Oliver write a few more notes on the parchment. "Are you done?"
"Yep." Oliver stood up and extended a hand. "Well, George, I'll let you know." He pulled his hand away from George's and smiled. "Just so you know, it's looking good." As he led the Weasley twin out of the shop, he said, "You'll be getting an owl in a couple of days."
George sighed and started walking down the cobblestone street. He wanted the job, but not badly enough to spend every single day with Oliver Wood. Oliver was nice, sure...he was just a little on the bossy side. In George's experience, most only children were that way. "Well, it's money," George said finally to himself. At least now he would be getting paid for spending time with Wood. During Quidditch practice in previous years, it had been George who had paid.
"So, how'd it go?"
George jumped and turned around to find the speaker. When he saw whom it was, his heart stopped pounding in his chest. "Oh, hey, Fred," he said to his twin. "It went all right."
"Did you speak with the owner?" Fred asked curiously. "I've always wondered who owned that place."
"I didn't talk to the owner," George replied. "But Oliver was there."
"Oliver Wood?!" George nodded. "Well, I bet you'll be begging them not to hire you now." Fred laughed.
"He seemed awfully strange," George commented. "Unlike himself, y'know?" George shrugged. "Maybe I'm just tired."
"You certainly look it." Fred gulped down the drink he held in his hand. "I saw Angelina this morning."
George raised an eyebrow. "Oh...that's why you're here."
"She's interning at the Ministry," Fred explained. "In the Dark Arts defense department." Fred looked uncomfortable, nervous, maybe.
"You know, that doesn't mean she's tramping off to fight Dark Wizards all the time," George said, trying to reassure his brother.
"That's what she said," Fred sighed. "I'm just worried about her, that's all."
"You shouldn't be--she can take care of herself." George pulled his wand out. "You going home?"
Fred nodded and they both disappeared. He put a hand to his stomach, shaking his head. "I still haven't gotten used to that."
George steadied himself. "Me either." He pushed open the front door. "I'm starving. I wonder if there's anything to eat."
"George? George, is that you?" Mrs. Weasley called from another level of the house. She rushed down to the kitchen. "How did your first day of work go, dear?"
"Mum, I told you, it was just an interview!" George said impatiently. "I should get an owl in a couple of days." However, just as the words had left his mouth, the window behind him swung open and an owl swooped in. An envelope was dropped onto his head and the owl swooped back out. George grabbed the envelope and read it over quickly. "It's from Oliver."
"That was quick," Fred commented.
George opened the envelope and pulled out the parchment. "I'm hired," he said. "And I start on Monday."
"Oh, bless you, George," Mrs. Weasley said tearfully. She gave him a hug and kissed his cheek. She turned to the other twin. "Now, Fred, when are you going to find work? You could learn something from your brother." Fred rolled his eyes, about to protest, and she sighed happily. "Well, I'll put lunch on."
"I applied, but I never thought...I never thought I'd get the job." George shook his head. "I don't understand why Oliver didn't wait a little while longer, though. There must have been others--how could I have been the best person for the job?"
"Maybe it's favoritism," Fred suggested. "His father owns it, right? So, there's already nepotism." He laughed. "Who cares, anyway? It's money, and we don't have any. Get over it."
"I am over it." George inhaled. "See? All gone." Fred shook his head and walked away. George messed up his hair to his liking and turned to his mother. "Hey, Mum? Has the post come yet?"
"Yes, George, I think there was a letter for you," Mrs. Weasley replied, not looking up from her cooking. "It's on the table."
"Thanks." George sorted through the mail and found the one addressed to him. "Hermione," he breathed, and lost his balance.
Mrs. Weasley yelled, startled, as George and the chair he grabbed toppled over. "George! What happened?!"
He pulled himself up and picked up the chair. "Nothing, I just...lost my balance. That's all." He stuffed the letter into his pocket and ran up to his room. Fred wasn't in there, luckily, and George promptly locked the door. He took a seat on his bed and quickly tore open the envelope. The parchment was covered in the neat penmanship that George knew belonged to Hermione:
I'm in a hotel room right now in China, and for some reason, I just started thinking about you. Maybe it has something to do with the joke shop I saw earlier. But enough about that. What I really wanted to say was, I'm sorry. I probably made your last year at Hogwarts miserable. So, I'm sorry. Has Ron cooled off yet? I just wish we had never gotten together, because now I have to work up the nerve to break it off. If I would have known the feelings you had for me, George, and the feelings I have for you, things would have been much easier from the start.
P.S. If you receive any letters from Mildred Danger, please open them. It's a bit of protection I've thought up.
P.P.S. I want to see you. Could we meet in Diagon Alley?
P.P.P.S. I'm not really in China.
George smiled and put the letter under his pillow. She loves me, he thought.
"Look." Fred shoved the newspaper in George's face. "Read this, right here."
George squinted at the tiny print. " 'Attack at the Ministry--presumed to be Dark Wizards.' Yeah, so what?"
Fred snatched up the paper. "So what?! Angelina could be killed there! My poor sweet Angelina's out there, somewhere in that big, scary world--"
"Would you give it a rest?" George rolled his eyes. "She's not as frail as you think she is. She survived you anyway. Now, leave me alone. I'm trying to write a letter."
Fred peeked over his brother's shoulder. "Oh? To who? Mildred Danger? Who's that? I've never heard of her."
"Of course you haven't," George snapped. "She's my pen pal from Israel."
"Israel?" Fred inquired.
"Well, she wasn't born there, of course," George said, saving himself quickly. "Her family's from England and they moved to Israel."
"But how did you meet her?" Fred eyed him suspiciously.
"Chance," George replied simply. "It was chance. Now leave me alone."
Fred walked off, singing obnoxiously, "George's got a girl-friend, George's got a girl-friend!" He laughed and disappeared from George's earshot.
"You've got a girlfriend?" Ron asked, sitting down at the table. "Let me guess--Katie Bell?"
"No, I don't have a girlfriend, Ron," George answered. "I'm writing to my pen pal. I met her in Diagon Alley some time ago and we've been friends ever since." George glanced at his younger brother. "You seem a bit gloomy. What's wrong?"
Ron sighed. "Hermione's in China and Mum says Harry can't come over until August."
"Hermione's in China?" George asked curiously. Ron nodded. Well, she's lying to Ron already, he thought. "That's nice. I wonder if she's seen the Great Wall. The Imperial Palace is supposed to be really amazing. One of China's emperors was said to be a Wizard." George smiled. "Though Binns told us he was in denial. He thought he was a Muggle, so nobody was suspicious."
Ron exhaled. "Wonderful. School in the summer."
George shrugged. "I always liked History--it's fascinating." Wanting to change the subject quickly, he said, "I know you don't like school now, Ron, but I'd trade anything to be back there." He signed his name and stuffed the letter into an envelope. "After working at the repair shop for three weeks, I've--well, let's just say I took Hogwarts for granted."
"Whatever." Ron rolled his eyes. When George suddenly stood up, he questioned, "Where are you going?"
"I've got to send Errol along with this," he gestured toward the letter, "and then I'm off to work."
Ron looked at his watch. "Aren't you leaving a little late?"
"I'm not working as long today," George explained. Carefully, he tied the letter to the owl's leg, and sent him off. "Well, see you later." And with a loud cracking noise, he Apparated.