Beans for Breakfast (Part 2 of 2)
‘George Weasley?’ George stood alert behind the counter one morning when two official-looking wizards entered his shop. He knew instantly who they were, and what they had come for.
‘Magical Law Enforcement. Can you spare a moment?’
‘Of course.’ George smiled and walked around from the counter. He reached out and shook the two wizards’ hands. ‘Anything to help the Ministry.’
‘Very good,’ said the lead Ministry wizard, nodding.
‘So we won’t be disturbed.’ George waved his wand towards the front door of the shop and the Come In, We’re Open sign flew around to read Sorry, We’re Closed. Pocketing his wand, he turned his attention back to the Ministry wizards. ‘How can I help?’
‘We’re tracking several Death Eaters who we believe to be in the area.’
‘Death Eaters, you say?’ George frowned slightly.
‘Yes, and while the Ministry fully appreciates the sensitive nature of the topic, due to the tragic loss of your brother – our deepest sympathies, by the way – the Ministry must follow up all lines of enquiry.’
‘Thank you,’ said George, gratefully. ‘And of course it must.’ The wizard standing just behind the lead Ministry officer handed over some pieces of parchment, which George took.
‘You may have seen the Ministry posters going up hereabouts, but could you take a close look at these images, please, and tell me if you recognise any of the people in them?’ George leafed through the images, his face impassive. After a few moments he spoke:
‘I’m sorry, but no.’
‘Are you sure?’ The lead wizard sounded eager, as if he had pinned no small amount of hope that George would recognise at least one of the Death Eaters.
‘Quite sure, I’m afraid.’
‘Do you need to have a closer look? Many of these Death Eaters were present at the Battle for Hogwarts, where you yourself fought.’
George smiled a humourless smile.
‘Hopkins,’ said the lead wizard.
‘Officer Hopkins. You went to Hogwarts as well, yes?’
‘Then you know what a sprawling place it is. I fought many Death Eaters that night, but the whole battle is such an unpleasant blur that picking out individual faces is…is…’ George faltered and turned his head away quickly. The two Ministry wizards looked at each other, shamefaced.
‘Mister Weasley, we’re sorry for bringing up such a traumatic event. Are you alright?’ George nodded silently, not turning his head to look at the Ministry wizards. ‘We’ve taken up too much of your time already. If you do happen to see anything, please do not hesitate to contact the Ministry immediately.’
‘Of course,’ said George, quietly.
‘Good day, Mister Weasley.’ George nodded a goodbye and the Ministry wizards left without another word. Once outside the shop they Disapparated, leaving George with his thoughts.
The second they were gone George looked back up, his face impassive again. He took his pocket watch out and noted the time. He closed the watch with a satisfying click and slipped it back inside his pocket. He then reached into his other pocket and drew his wand again. He flicked it towards the front door, locking it. He scanned the windows to make sure that no one was browsing the displays. George moved quickly and purposefully towards the back of the shop and stopped in front of a cabinet containing various items designed to get one out of class in a variety of ingenious ways. They almost seemed childish now.
Casting a quick glance over his shoulder, George moved his wand in a deliberate pattern in front of the cabinet. It swung open to reveal a passageway. George picked up the box of Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Beans that was sat on the counter by the cabinet and stepped inside. The hidden door swung shut behind him, bathing him in darkness.
‘Lumos.’ The end of George’s wand illuminated the space, and he walked on. There was no point in fitting lights in here. He wouldn’t need it forever, and if it was ever found it would be a lot harder to feign innocence if he took the time to decorate it.
No, it was fine the way it was.
George made his way along the passageway until he came to another door. This one was not concealed. It stood there looking big and heavy and very, very locked. He stuck the box of sweets under his arm and reached inside his jacket. He pulled out a big iron key and used it to unlock the large and imposing padlock that hung from the door. Mundungus Fletcher might have been a filthy sneak, but he had his uses. George had bought this magic-proof padlock from him some time ago, citing the need for extra security in the shop. Not many witches or wizards would think to try and unlock a door with an actual key. Too much time had been spent using the Alohamora charm that people had grown dependent on it, which suited George down to the ground.
He unlocked the door and slipped inside.
The smell was the first thing to hit him, it always was. The stench of their leavings would have turned his stomach, under normal circumstances, but to George they smelled of vindication. He was standing in a circular room that was dominated by one main striking feature: the pit in the middle of the floor. It took up of most of the floor space, and emanating from this rank hole was a moaning that would turn a man’s blood cold.
But not George’s.
Not these moans.
George knew what he was doing was wrong, but the part of him that didn’t care was so vehement in its conviction that he carried on, day after day. He approached the edge of the pit, his wand the only source of light in the room. The moans had become scuffling, desperate noises, expectant noises. George narrowed his eyes and allowed himself a wicked little smile.
‘Breakfast time,’ he said, quietly and hatefully. He took the box of sweets and opened them. He hoped, as he did every day, that there were some really nasty flavoured ones in this batch. He knew they wouldn’t care; they’d eat anything by now, but it gave him savage pleasure to think of them having to force down vomit and dog muck flavoured beans. He couldn’t see their faces – the pit was too deep (George had magically extended it at the same time as charming the room to make it impossible for his captives to perform any magic whatsoever) – but he didn’t need to. The image of each and every one of the Death Eaters who had had a hand in Fred’s death – not to mention Lupin and Tonks, Moody, however many more, would be with him for the rest of his days, whether he wanted them to be or not. This unlucky bunch had come calling not long after the war had been won. They’d made the mistake in thinking that Fred’s death would have made George an easy target, assuming that he would be too racked with grief to put up a fight.
How wrong they had been.
Losing Fred had filled George with a rage that sometimes frightened him. So, when this band of Death Eaters had come calling he was not only ready for them, he was grateful of it. As much as he questioned his actions in his more sanguine moments, his drive for vengeance for the loss of his twin had kept his secret for him.
George upended the box of sweets and let the contents fall into the pit. He closed his eyes and listened for a moment at the animalistic explosion that erupted from the blackness, as the half-mad Death Eaters fought one another for the morsels that they were permitted on a daily basis.
They certainly did the job, those beans.
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