Song: Hey Soul Sister - covered by the Vitamin String Quartet
IMPORTANT: Alright, so I'm going to begin posting this story on Fanfiction.net tomorrow, but I need help with coming up with a summary! If any of you'd be intrested in lending me a hand, please Pm me!
Anyway, here's chapter 3 of A Shot in the Dark! Please leave a comment, tag list is in the comment section, and I hope you enjoy!
Disclaimer: Harry Potter, characters, names, and related indicia are tradmarks of Warner Bros. All rights to Harry Potter belong to J.K. Rowling, Warner Bros. and their affiliations. No Copyright infrigment is intended, nor is any money being made through this.
A SHOT IN THE DARK
Harry walked out of the little café (the only one in Flintsworth) nibbling on the scone he just bought. It was too dry.
The street seemed to fill with more and more people with each passing minutes. For a moment, Harry wondered just how many people lived in the diminutive town. Harry looked down at his watch, the glass was cracked slightly and numbers slightly faded, but Harry could still easily see the time.
It was a quarter to six, meaning that he needed to get going if he wanted to get anything done. He ate his pastry in two bites, throwing the napkin in the rubbish bin next to him and setting off down the street.
“Good morning Mrs. Blake!” Harry called as he passed by an elderly woman sweeping the porch of her shop.
Mrs. Blake stopped sweeping momentarily to smile up at Harry. “Hello Harry dear,” she said, nodding to him then resuming her sweeping. Rosaline Blake was another one of those rare, kind souls in the world.
She ran the small clothing store where Elisabeth had worked since she was twelve, and Harry nine. Back when they were dirty, good-for-nothing street kids. Thieves: rotten pests to be avoided or, better yet, squashed when given the chance.
At the time, he and Elisabeth were blessed to have shelter. The cottage that they currently lived in actually belonged to the ever kind Mr. Oriole, who had found them living quietly in one of the rooms. Instead of kicking them out, though, the man gave them free rein of the cabin, to do with it as they pleased. He returned every year since that day to supply them with water and firewood, even when Elisabeth – and a few years later, Harry – was old enough to care and supply for themselves. He returned every year, never missing a date, never accepting re-payment, until the day he died.
But despite having shelter, the two had no money, and foraging only got one so far. In the previous years, the duo made do with gathering edible plants – berries, mushrooms, greens, etc. – and hunting small game, like birds or rabbits. However, the year that Elisabeth turned twelve, an electrical storm caused lightning to strike on some dry wood, sending a fire to engulf a majority of the forest in red hot flames, killing off most of the plant life, and sending the game away for greener pastures.
And leaving Elisabeth and Harry to starve in the coming winter.
The two had attempted to live off of the meagre stash that they had previously collected, but it simply wasn’t enough to last them through the harsh months. Desperately hungry, they eventually led to begging, trying to guilt the public into giving them food and money. And when that didn’t work, they stole. Most of Flintsworth’s population turned a blind to their troubles, leaving them to stare or freeze in the snow.
One aging woman – Mrs. Blake – however, could not and would not turn away the pair.
She allowed Harry and Elisabeth into her home, giving them food and water. In return, all Elisabeth had to do was help keep the front of the store clean; she was twelve at the time, and Harry, seven. Two years later, Harry took over Elisabeth’s job, and she moved to the back of the store, where she helped Mrs. Blake make and mend the clothes. Over the years, the tasks their jobs entitled varied – some days he’d clean, others he’d load boxes – but they could always count on some sort of income, and therefore, they could count on not starving to death.
Harry almost stopped and helped her (he didn’t care that he wouldn’t get paid: Mrs. Blake was practically family) but he knew that he was short on time. Despite what he had told Elisabeth, he didn’t walk to Flintsworth simply to “clear his head” (although that was part of the reason). Harry needed to see him; and he’d be leaving very soon.
On my way back, Harry thought, mentally promising to stop by Mrs. Blake’s shop and help out a bit.
Harry manoeuvred through the crowded streets, trying as hard as he could not to knock anyone (or himself) down. Was this what a fish felt like when trying to swim upstream? It seemed like he was fighting tooth and nail simply to walk one hundred metres up the street!
It took about a few minutes, but eventually Harry made his way to a little patch of exposed brick on the brightly coloured walls of town. He placed his hand on the bricks, and strained to push his magic to his fingertips, feeling as if all the warmth in his body left their original places and met in his hand. The warmth grew hotter and hotter until it was darn near intolerable; his hand was burning, and Harry could have sworn that he smelled smoke...
The wall finally pushed in, and Harry snapped his hand back, blowing on it. The wall opened up to reveal a small passageway, dark and musty and completely uninviting: the muggles walked by, not even sparing a glance at the bizarre appearance of a hole in the wall and the boy standing in front of it. Harry grabbed some snow and held it in his hand before walking in: the entrance didn’t actually burn his hand, but it still hurt.
On the outside, Harry made sure to keep a calm and cool demeanour as he walked (ran) down the darkened corridor, but on the inside, he was panicking. Had he already left? If he did, well, it wasn’t the end of the world, Harry supposed, but still.
Magic-induced light invaded his eyes as he reached the end of the corridor, stepping out into the little room, he looked around. A man sat over in the far corner, throwing things into a suitcase and nursing a bottle of Ogden’s Old.
“Ah, Mundungus,” Harry said, his relief barely masked. “Good, I thought you’d left.”
Mundungus Fletcher looked up from his place on the ground. Fletcher was by no means, an attractive person; he was short, fat, and his long ginger-coloured hair fell down in greasy strands, looking extraordinarily like a mop had been placed on his head. Had Harry not been used to Fletcher’s appearance, he could have easily mistaken the man for a pile of rags.
“I leave in less than a half hour,” Mundungus grunted, his words slurred (not much, but enough to be noticeable). “What do you need?”
Harry smiled. That was why he liked Mundungus: he wasn’t one for chit-chat or formalities. Short, sweet, and to-the-point. That couldn’t be said for most people from this town, but then again: Mundungus wasn’t from this town.
Like Harry, Fletcher was a wizard: the only other wizard that Harry had met in his life. He was fairly certain that other witches and wizards lived in Flintsworth, but he never talked to or approached them, nor them, him. As far as Harry knew, Fletcher was the only man for kilometres that sold anything remotely magical, therefore making Fletcher Harry’s one chance at purchasing potion supplies and books.
In truth, Harry wouldn’t have even known he was a wizard if he and Elisabeth had not met Mundungus. He had apparated to the wrong location and stumbled upon Harry playing and levitating frogs by a small pond. Mundungus had practically been Harry’s mentor for years (until Harry surpassed him, that is).
Luckily for him, Fletcher was always well supplied (albeit, Harry wasn’t always certain that his supplies were obtained in exactly...legal manners).
“I just need a few things if you have the time,” Harry said. Fletcher nodded, not one to pass up the opportunity to gain some more gold. Fletcher never minded that Harry couldn’t pay in wizarding money (what was it again? Gallons? Galleons?); he simply exchanged them at the big wizarding bank in London, Gringotts. “I’m running a little low on potion supplies, and I was wondering if you happened to have cauldrons? Preferably self-stirring, but any pewter cauldron is fine. A rat climbed into Elisabeth’s last potion and the thing – along with the rat – exploded.”
As a muggle, Elisabeth couldn’t do the magic that she wished she could, but she had a talent for potions and was far more advanced than Harry could ever hope to be in the art.
Fletcher grunted. Harry took that as a confirmation that he did, in fact, have the items he needed. After searching though all of Fletcher items, Harry was finally able to pick out the potion supplies he needed, and even coaxed Mundungus into giving him a good deal on a brass, self-stirring cauldron.
“That’ll be...nineteen galleons, sixteen sickles, and four knuts.”
Harry gave him a blank stare.
Mundungus rolled his eyes. “In muggle money, it would be about ninety-nine pounds.”
Harry nodded in understanding, and, although he was loath to spend that much money at one time, he handed Mundungus the money. He shook Fletcher’s hand, exchanging goodbyes. They wouldn’t see each other until the summer; for some reason, Fletcher hated the spring in Flintsworth.
Turning around, Harry started back toward the tunnel, hoping to pick up a few things before he went back home. Hopefully, Monsieur Pâte’s bread was still nice and warm. Maybe his daughter, Violet, would even be there...
“Wait, Harry!” Fletcher called, throwing out of his thoughts. Harry stopped, wondering what Mundungus could possibly want; he’d already paid, after all. “What...what’s your name, boy?”
Harry raised an eyebrow. “I’m pretty sure you said my name just now, Mundungus.”
Fletcher shot the sixteen-year-old a dirty look. “Yes, yes, your first name’s Harry; I got that much! I’m not an idiot, boy!” He stopped to take in a calming breath, letting it out slowly. “No, I meant, what’s your last name?”
Again, Harry raised an eyebrow. He and Mundungus had known each other for seven years now; the older man had memorized Harry’s name after realizing that Harry would be a frequent aspect in his life. But then again, Harry mused. Mundungus is getting older.
Harry sighed in mock annoyance and hurt. “Is your memory slipping, Mundungus?” Harry teased. “I thought you would have remembered me by now! I’m Harry, Harry Miles, remember?”
Harry had taken Elisabeth’s last name at a young age. When they were little, people were more willing to help poor, orphaned siblings, than poor, orphaned children who just happened to find each other. Non-siblings were assumed to be ne’er-do-wells: hooligans or partners-in-crime (literally). As he and Elisabeth grew older, and Elisabeth grew more – ahem – womanly assets, if it wasn’t established that the two were siblings, many simply assumed that Harry was Elisabeth’s pimp. Elisabeth – ever the feminist, took this as a personal insult to her and her wardrobe (“Elisabeth, it just means they think that you’re beautiful!” “No it means that they think I dress like a sl-t!” “Well, actually they don’t think you dress like one, they think you are one- ow! Bloody hell, woman!”).
Surprisingly, Mundungus didn’t snap at Harry for teasing, but instead, his lips grew into a wide, feral smirk. “Ah, Harry, but you and I know that’s not entirely true, is it? I’ve known that your last name wasn’t Miles since you first told me, but I didn’t ask.” Fletcher got up off of the ground, brushing his soiled-beyond-repair clothes in an attempt to rid them of dirt.
Harry wasn’t fazed by Mundungus’s “admission.” Harry hadn’t used his real name (outside of the cabin, although Harry and Elisabeth rarely ever used surnames in general) in over ten years. He had changed it within mere months of meeting Elisabeth, so how could Mundungus possibly know that it was anything other than Miles?
“I’ve a hunch as to what your real last name is as well,” he continued. He stopped beating his tattered robes for a moment, his eyes locking on Harry’s unafraid ones. He grinned before casually saying: “Potter, isn’t it? And I reckon your middle name is James, isn’t it?”
Mundungus needed no confirmation other than the harsh paling of Harry’s face. He gathered up his things, visibly more cheerful than he had been for all the time that Harry had known him. Harry said nothing as Mundungus packed up his things to leave.
Harry’s thoughts swarmed with questions as he watched Mundungus. How did he know? And he knew for so long! But he never to used "Potter"! How was this possible, and what did Fletcher plan to do?
He was snapped out of his thoughts as Mundungus grabbed his bag. He placed a heavy hand on Harry’s shoulder, tipping his hat with the other. “Have a good day, Mr...Potter,” he smiled. He patted his shoulder a couple of times before withdrawing and turning toward the street.
“Wait!” Harry called, much like Fletcher had when Harry had made to leave earlier. Mundungus stopped, that damnable smirk still dancing on his lips. “How- how did you know?”
Mundungus shrugged, the smile never leaving his lips. He lifted his hands, waggling his fingers at Harry. “Magic,” was all he said before tipping his hat once more and walking to Flintsworth’s MAAP (Ministry Approved Apparition Point). Harry watched as Mundungus grew smaller and smaller and smaller before finally disappearing into the horizon.
Harry turned and walked out the door, shaking his head slightly as he went.
Behind him, Mundungus Fletcher smirked once more. He may not have been the top of his class back at Hogwarts, but he was darn-near the best at silent wandless tracking charms.
Yeah so, I really don't like this chapter - or rather, how it turned out. It doesn't flow right, there's way too much telling as opposed to showing, and it seems a little too forced. Or is it just me? Please, leave a review: your comments and criticism.
I appreciate you all taking the time to read my story! Happy early Thanksgiving!