93 Diagon Alley

by Loralee

Rating PG

Disclaimer: Not mine, not for profit, it all belongs to Rowling.

Warning: No pairing. Post OotP possible spoilers. OC will not save the world, become romantically involved with the main character, be all knowing or the long lost relative of any known character.

Phyllis Manning stepped out of the fireplace at Witchpower Temporary Services located in Diagon Alley. She was hoping they could find her another job quickly. She went directly to the front desk and handed the receptionist her time card from the job that had just ended the evening before and ask if the were any openings.

Mary Hopkins smiled at Phyllis and said, "We have one opening but I'm not sure your want it. We've sent five people over there in three days time and not one of them has stayed longer than three hours. The last one came back covered in yellow canary feathers."

"Really?" asked Phyllis, "What can be so bad?"

"I can't really understand it. It seems to be a standard stocking job. A new shop going in and they need some help. You interested or not?"

"Yes, I'll take it. I need the money," said Phyllis.

"Here is the ticket and a fresh time card. The address is number 93 Diagon Alley," she said.

Phyllis left the agency and walked quickly down the street to the shop. It was a small shop in the middle of the block with a large sign in the dirty window. It said Weasleys' Wizarding Wheezes in very large neon orange letters. Beneath that were the words Grand Opening 4 Days 1 Hour 12 Minutes 42 seconds in neon green letters and purple numbers that were counting down as she watched. With another glance at the sign and a sigh she pushed open the door and went in.

A small bell tinkled overhead as the door opened and closed.

Phyllis glanced around the small shop as a voice from the back called, "Oi, we aren't open yet come back in four days." A large explosion with an accompanying odor of rotten eggs and a shouted "Bloody Hell!" punctuated this.

"Hello, Witchpower sent me Mr. Weasley," called Phyllis still looking at the dirty shelves, spider webs from the ceiling and various sized crates and boxes scattered haphazardly though the room.

A red head poked from between the curtains to the back room a surprised expression on an abnormally pale, green face followed by a long lanky body. The surprise gave way to a large grin belying the sickly pallor and the young man said, "I don't believe it they sent another one. This is great you lot are hysterically funny when you run away screaming. Oi, George they sent another one."

A second tall, lanky redhead pushing out from the curtained doorway, distinguishable from his twin by large purple spots, followed this comment.

Phyllis stared at the two boys, looked once again at a box labeled 'Expanding Swamp' and said, "This is a joke shop, right?"

The redheads looked at each other, looked back to her, grinned wider and nodded their heads together.

She sighed once more, shook her head slightly and asked, "Where do I start?"

The boys looked at each other once more and said, "You want to stay?"

"You're very brave."

"We won't prank you on purpose, of course,"

"but accidents happen."

"Oh, and don't sample anything"

"without asking"

"that's what happened with the last one"

"and don't touch the stuff in the back"

"as some of it is volatile."

"He's Fred"

"and he's George" pointing at each other,

"and you can just start putting things on the shelves."

"We have a plan."

Phyllis held up a hand to stop the flow of words and complained, "You're making me dizzy. Before we get to the plan don't you want me to clean the shelves, sweep the floor, wash that window and take down the spiders and their webs first? No self-respecting mother is going to let her child come into a place that looks like this. I'll be willing to bet 'your' mother hasn't seen it either."

Two pairs of eyes met, swept the room, met again and landed back on her with a speculative gleam.

"You seem to know"

"what you're doing."

"We'll leave it in your"

"capable hands," they said and then swept back though the doorway.

Phyllis stared after them mouth open as a head reappeared.

"There's cleaning stuff in the closet back here. It came with the place," the head said and beckoned her with a smile.

The back room was considerably cleaner. Potion caldrons bubbled on one workbench, several owls waited patiently on a large perch behind a wrapping table holding several packages in various states of readiness. A large sink and a countertop with a coffee pot and wizard hot plate ran along the third wall that also contained the storage closet.

In the closet Phyllis found a bucket, a couple of scrub brushes, a string mop with half the strings gone, a broom, squeegee, soap, and window cleaner. She gathered her supplies and beat a hasty retreat back to the front where she used her wand to set the brushes to scouring the shelving, vanished the webs and set the broom sweeping and then went outside to do the window by hand as her window spell had a tendency to leave streaks.

Forty-five minutes later, front room sparking and smelling much better, Phyllis dared the back room once more. She replaced the cleaning supplies, shook her head over the mop and looked for her erstwhile employers.

"Excuse me, Mr. Weasley?" she said softly.

Two identically intent redheads sprang up and looked around fearfully, then relaxed, grabbed their chests and spoke together, "Don't do that." "Thought dad was here."

Then they grinned at her.

She smiled slightly and said, "You said you had a floor plan? I'm ready to start stocking." One of the boys rushed in the front room while the other turned to the desk in the corner and pulled a rather grimy parchment from one cubbyhole.

"Here is the plan, it shows where everything should go. The crates should all be labeled, if you find something that's not, ask first just in case. Some things can't go next to others," said the second twin

The first twin came back and said, "That looks great I can't believe what a difference that made. Why didn't anyone else suggest that?" Both boys looked expectantly at her.

"Uh, well I suppose that no one else was here long enough were they?" Fred and George looked rather guilty at that.

"We didn't do anything on purpose it just happened."

"Oh and please call us Fred or George not Mr. Weasley."

Phyllis grinned at this and with a nodded ok went in to the front to start stocking.

At noon she poked her head into the backroom. One boy was wrapping a package and the other was stirring a potion.

"Excuse me, Fred or George, it's noon if you don't mind I'm going to get some lunch and take a short break. It's off the clock of course."

The one wrapping the package looked up and said, "Oi, that's fine or you can have one of the sandwiches Mum packed for us."

She shook her head, smiled and then paused and said, "If you don't mind me asking, just how old are you?"

The boy grinned threw a look at the other one and said, "I win, she ask. I'll tell you if you

Tell us how old you are."

Phyllis sighed, "That young are you? Never mind we'll just leave it at 'I'm old enough to be your Mother' and not speak of it again. I'll be back in thirty minutes."

Fred or George, she didn't have them straight, grinned cheekily and waved.

When she returned half an hour later there were more crates in the front room than when she started and the empty ones were gone. Fred and George were in the back room eating sandwiches when she looked in to let them know she was back.

She then went back to work, referring to the plan and stocking the shelves with things she didn't think she wanted to know about like Skiving Snack Boxes, Canary Creams, Fountain Fizzes, Expanding Swamps, Extendable Ears, Weasleys' Wildfire Whiz-Bangs and assorted other items that sounded just a bad.

Phyllis was beginning to think these 'boys' were going to make a lot of money. Every child in the country was going to love this place. She worked all afternoon and at 4:30 emptied the last crate. There were a couple of empty shelves yet and the front counter had not been filled.

"Fred? George?" Phyllis poked her head into the back room. "I'm done in here. Is there anything else or should I go?"

Fred and George both came into front room.

"I don't believe it."

"I thought it was impossible for this to be done this fast."

"You do good work."

"Can we ask you something?"

Phyllis nodded.

"Can you come back tomorrow?"

"Do you have any other suggestions?"

Both boys looked eagerly at her.

"I can come back tomorrow if you think you'll need me but I'm not sure what kind of 'suggestions' you're asking for," she said.

The twins looked at each other for a moment.

"You tell her Fred," said the one who must be George.

Phyllis looked expectantly at the other one.

"Well you probably won't believe this seeing our incredibly hansom and mature exteriors but we are only seventeen and have never run a shop before, only owl order and we are really close to time to open and well—we--" Fred trailed off at Phyllis's grin.

"I see."

She looked around speculatively, "Ok a couple of questions, when is your cash register coming?"

Seeing a blank look she added, "What are you going to put the money you bring in opening day in?"

"We have a cigar box," said Fred.

"Ok, suggestion one get a cash register preferably one charmed to track inventory otherwise you will need to do it by hand as you sell things. You know you will both have to be in the front most of the day to help people, explain what the items do and keep people from trying their purchases in the store?"

She noticed horrified expressions on both faces and smirked.

"Suggestion two, stop at Gringotts in the morning and talk to them about the cash register and alternate forms of payment. I don't know your financial situation but the goblins will be able to help. Three, safety charms on the shop, fire suppression, anti theft, and a barrier on the door to the back room. Four, if you have the money a can of paint on the outside of the shop would sit nicely."

Phyllis she suppressed a smile at the lost expressions on their faces.

"Haven't you discussed this with anyone? Your parents maybe?" she asked.

Fred and George looked at each other.

"They don't really approve," they admitted then asked, "how do you know all this stuff?"

"I've been working in shops most of my life," she said.

"You will come back tomorrow won't you? You really helped us a lot today. We have a couple more crates and some other stuff."

"Yes, I'll be back in the morning, 8 or 9?" said Phyllis with a smile.

"9 o'clock please and thank you ma'am," Fred and George said together looking pleased.

"Oh Merlin, boys call my Phyl. See you in the morning."

A/N: As I am a American I have no idea what sort of temporary service or day labor is available in England. Witchpower is based on an American temporary agency where employers call the agency request a certain type of person or specific skills; the agency then hires someone to fill the vacancy and bills the company for their time. The agency does all the bookkeeping and payroll and pays the employee. A temp can be hired for as little as 4 hours or as long as 6 months or even longer in the right conditions. Some temps only want short-term positions while others use it a stepping-stone to a full time permanent position.