Muggle Magic – Chapter 17
A/N – Thanks again for the fantastic reviews. I know it wasn't a great chapter – but the next one should be better!
Chapter 17 – Ally
"Have you got your coat? Your bag? Have you…"
"Alright, Mum. Enough."
Ally laughed as Fred stepped between her and his mother, slipping an arm around Ally's shoulder and turning her towards the door.
"We'll be fine. Ally has everything she needs. We'll see you later for dinner."
Ally smiled over Fred's shoulder as he steered her out of the door. Molly was watching them go with an anxious expression on her face. Ally smiled reassuringly, and was rewarded with a small smile and a wave from Molly.
It had been three days since her father had died. Three days since everything had changed for ever. But Ally had been trying her best to stay strong. She had only cried the once since that night, when Arthur had told her that she wouldn't be able to attend her father's funeral. She hadn't really understood the reasoning behind it. Only that according to Arthur, her Uncle John had taken on arrangements for the funeral, and as far as any of her friends or family knew she had taken an extended trip abroad to escape the pain of the situation. Arthur had said it was all for the best.
Ally twisted her mind away from those thoughts. She didn't want to think about it. Today was all about distraction – that was the point. Instead of thinking she turned her attention to Fred.
He looked tired. She hadn't noticed it before, but she guessed he wasn't getting much sleep. Then again, neither was she. The small couch in the living room wasn't really big enough for the both of them, but invariably, each night she found herself unable to sleep she would creep down the stairs and curl up in his arms. The only place that she felt safe and secure.
Fred caught her looking at him and flashed her a smile. Her favourite smile. The one that only turned up one corner of his lips – a crooked little grin that made him look like a mischievous school boy.
"Are we walking all the way to London?" she asked when he cocked one eyebrow questioningly.
"No. We've just got to get beyond Dad's protective wards before we can apparate."
Fred nodded. "Yeah. Not sure how to describe them. Invisible barriers I guess. They stop anyone apparating in or out of the house and the surrounding area."
Ally followed Fred up the steep incline away from the house and when they stopped he turned towards her and held out his arms. A little reluctantly she let him wrap his arms around her before twisting away into the darkness.
They re-emerged into a dingy sort of daylight and it took Ally a few moments to realise why. They were stood in an alleyway, only the faintest hint of sky visible far above them.
"Where are we?" Ally asked, glancing round with a frown.
"London," Fred replied easily. "I figured that if I was going to bring you to Diagon Alley, well, I ought to show it to you properly."
He took her hand and tugged her out of the alleyway. She found herself on a winding London street. There were lots of people passing by and she wondered briefly if any of them noticed two people coming out of an alley that they hadn't gone into – but no one even glanced their way.
Feeling nervous now she followed Fred up the street. He stopped just beside a record store and gestured to the building next door. Ally looked up at it. It looked like an abandoned building. The windows were all boarded up and there was no sign above the door.
"Welcome to the Leaky Cauldron."
As Fred whispered the words in her ear the building seemed to change slightly before her eyes. It looked less run down, and a sign materialised out of thin air to swing above the door.
"Magic!" Fred said with another of his crooked grins, before pushing open the door.
The interior of the pub was dark and smoky, and very quiet. And very obviously part of the wizarding world. Two old men sat at a table by the fire in long robes, and a small, strange looking creature was sat in the corner.
"What's that?" Ally whispered.
"Goblin," Fred replied in a low voice. "They run the wizard bank Gringotts. They're fairly harmless though, as long as you stay on their good side." He took her hand again to lead her through the pub.
They were just passing the fireplace when the flames whirled and turned green and a young man stumbled out.
Ally had to stifle her surprised yelp, but beside her Fred was grinning.
She had no idea what that meant so she ignored it, more interested in why Fred was leading her out the back of the pub and into a small yard.
"Ready?" He asked with a huge grin.
"I don't think I'll ever be ready for this."
Fred laughed and then pulled out his wand, tapping it on a brick on the wall.
Ally watched in stunned amazement as the brick wiggled and moved, and slowly a hole appeared in the wall – turning at last into a huge archway. Behind the archway was a twisting, winding street. The most incredible place that Ally had ever seen.
"Morning Mr Weasley," Someone called out as Fred and Ally stepped through the arch.
"How's it going, Fred?" A young girl was leaning on the door frame outside a shop full of owls. "Bit late for work aren't you? George opened up hours ago."
Ally didn't even hear Fred's reply. She was too busy looking at the owls who were shifting on their perches and flexing their wings. She only moved when Fred tugged on her hand.
A few steps later she stopped again, watching as two women haggled over the price of a pound of dragon liver. Another tug on her hand took them to the next shop where a gleaming broomstick sat in the window.
"Ok," Fred said after the fourth stop. "At this rate it's going to take us hours to get to the shop. I promise, we can come back and take a proper look round later – but right now I need to get to the shop and make sure that George hasn't ruined the place yet."
Reluctantly Ally forced herself not to look at the shops they passed, but soon enough she caught sight of the bright sign reading 'Weasley's Wizard Wheezes' and she quickened her pace eagerly.
She blinked as they reached it. The whole window display was bright, and things moved, whirled and popped.
Fred laughed at her response and pushed open the door.
The shop itself was fairly quiet, just a few customers pursuing the shelves, but Ally turned on the spot, gazing around.
She turned away from the 'Wonder Witch' products to see George hurrying towards them. He swept her into a tight hug and then stepped back, throwing his arms wide.
"What do you think?"
A/N – and what do you think? I might have to write a double chapter from Ally's POV. I hope you're all still enjoying this. Don't hesitate to tell me if you're not!