Time's Up! (Ethan/Peter)
Time’s Up! : Pairing 943 – Ethan Rayne/ Peter Pettigrew
Disclaimer: Ethan belongs to Whedon and co., Knockturn Alley and its visitors are created by JK Rowling.
Twas the night before Christmas and all through the town, not a creature was stirring, not even a … oh, who was he kidding? He was doing far more than just stirring. He was scrambling to take down all traces of his store before the kiddies woke up Christmas morning. With any luck, he would be in France before dawn, and Ethan’s Gifts for All Occasions would be just a memory on Knockturn Alley.
Ethan was pulling down the sign in the front when he heard a slight pop behind him. He glanced at his watch; it wasn’t even midnight yet. This couldn’t be happening. “You there, get down from the ladder!” The man below him called.
“I’m sorry I can’t help you, I’m rather busy right now.” Ethan called back, hoping the man was just looking for directions. After all, the Alley did have a rather adventuresome night life, even before he arrived.
“Y-you b-better g-get down here.” The man called back.
“Or what?” Ethan rolled his eyes. There was a pinging noise and golden light bounced off the sign he was taking down. The sign detached from the wall and wafted down to the ground, saving Ethan the bother of untying its stays. “You’ll curse my sign?” Ethan was not impressed.
“I was aiming for y-your h-head.”
“Well, your aim could use some work. Perhaps it comes from the stuttering, hmm?” Ethan stepped down from the ladder, folding it up. The man in the black robe just watched him as he casually folded the sign.
“You know, I tried to kill you?”
“Yes. But you weren’t the first, and by far, you weren’t the most convincing.” Ethan rolled his eyes. “Now, was there something you had to say to me, or are you just looking to make trouble? Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but I am on a schedule tonight.”
“I’ve come to return a p-purchase.”
“I’m sorry, but all sales are final.” Ethan said concisely, heading into his shop to finish addressing the boxes to his storage facility in Belgium.
“Imp-imp-imp-impedimenta!” The man yelled, pointing the wand at Ethan. However, Ethan had ducked on the first Imp, and the spell instead hit the ancient cash register, which gave an unhappy “ding!”
“Would you put that stick away? You could lose an eye like that.”
“Oh for heaven’s sake.” Ethan waved away the curse. Taking over souls only worked on people who hadn’t already pledged their soul to at least four more powerful entities. “Look, if I were to allow you to return your package, then I’d have to allow everyone to return their packages, and I happen to have a Christmas cruise all planned out that I can’t miss, so no returns.”
“You don’t understand!”
“Why should I understand? It’s not like whatever your bought was intended for the queen.”
“No! No! Not the queen, but the Lord. The Dark Lord!” The fanatical gleam in the man’s eye was beginning to worry Ethan. Fanatics always made bad customers.
“Ah, the Dark Lord, I see. And just which Dark Lord are we referring to? Last I checked, Dark Lords didn’t celebrate Christmas like us mere peons.”
“I mean THE Dark Lord. You know, V-vo-vol-vol-…”
“Oh, for heaven’s sake, spit it out.”
“Ah, that Dark Lord. Anglican, is he? I suppose that makes sense.” Ethan mused. “Alright, so you bought your Dark Lord a present, hmm?”
“From your store.”
“Right, where it clearly states on every receipt, all sales are final.”
“But your item didn’t work.”
“You wizarding folk love Latin; surely you’ve heard of Caveat Emptor.”
“The Dark Lord is most displeased.”
“Well, next year, why don’t you just play it safe and buy him a warm pair of socks?”
“Why y-you! Cru-cru-crucio!” Ethan ducked and the spell hit one of his boxes which crumpled, emitting a small gurgle as it squished itself into a small heap.
Of course, that last wave was a bit too close for Ethan’s comfort, so he decided to try negotiating with the wand-waving weirdo. After all, the longer he was kept here in Knockturn Alley by one maniac, the more likely the mob with pitchforks would be to find him, and that could be much trickier to evade. “Alright, I see your point. Just what exactly did you purchase from my store?”
“The gingerbread house.” The man stepped back to reveal a large dollhouse made of enchanted candies. “It was supposed to trap a child.”
Ethan approached the house cautiously. He had thought of all his gadgets, this one was at least able to deliver what it promised. He twisted the peppermint doorknob and peered inside. Sure enough, there was a chubby kid trapped inside, still gorging himself on the never-stopping gobstoppers. “It looks fully functional to me.”
“That’s not Harry Potter!”
“Why ever would it be?”
“Well, it was supposed to trap a child, and Harry Potter was the child the Dark Lord wanted to catch.”
“Well did you bait it with something that Harry Potter likes?” Ethan said patronizingly. Really, anyone reading the instructions would know that the specificity of this trap completely depended on the bait.
“I used ch-ch-chocolate frogs.” The man stuttered, and began rubbing his ear like an animal preening. “He-he likes ch-chocolate frogs.”
“As does every other child in the wizarding world; really, shouldn’t you have figured that wouldn’t be exact enough?” Ethan rolled his eyes and went back to packing up the boxes. “It’s not my fault if you used the wrong bait.”
“But what’s the Dark Lord to do with his minion’s son? He doesn’t need young Goyle; he needs Harry Potter!”
“Well, that’s not my problem.”
“I can make it your problem.” The fanatic gleam was back in the man’s eye as he waved the wand at Ethan. Ethan thought for a moment before coming up with a solution.
“I can’t take the house back; after all, it’s already been triggered. I can, however, sell you something else for your Dark Lord, at a special reduced price, for your troubles.”
“I suppose.” The man twitched his nose, not quite comfortable with what Ethan was suggesting, but not quite sure what the catch was.
“Alright, how about this? It’s a special that I brought over all the way from California.” He brought out an old rotary phone he had stolen off ol’ Ripper’s shelves that had a pricetag of a hundred galleons hanging off the receiver. At the time he thought it was a rather childish prank, but hadn’t the time to grab something better to egg his friend with, and now it looked like it would save the day. After all, wizards, especially the Dark Lord’s followers, were terribly behind with technology. “The wizard there used this to control the Slayer, a mythical beast of great strength.”
“Really?” The wizard stared at the foreign object, in awe of the runes in the concentric circles and odd tails coming off the back end.
“Indeed. I watched him call the slayer with this, myself. Surely your Dark Lord would want something that can call a beast for him to command? And I’ll even reduce the price to fifty galleons.” Ethan offered, converting the price to pounds in his head.
“Well, I don’t know.”
“Excellent.” Ethan rang up the sale and handed the phone to the man, who happily disappeared with his purchases. Quickly he threw what was left into the back of his truck, and took off, anxious to leave. As that man had demonstrated, he was timing things way too close this time around. He was about to pass through the gates to the muggle world, when the clocktower of Gringotts sounded midnight. He turned back and exclaimed, ere he drove out of sight, “Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!”
A/N: Happy Holidays to All! That's the end of my FFA contributions. I hope you all have been amused by at least some of the stories. And aren't you proud of me, Cameron? 26 stories, and not a single sprig of mistletoe! :)