Characters: Mr Zonko, Alastor Moody, Mafalda Hopkirk, Original Female Character
Word Count: 2000
Summary: One day, perhaps, Alastor will develop common sense enough to temper his vigilance. Today is not that day.
Disclaimer: This work of fan fiction is based on characters and situations created by J. K. Rowling and owned by J. K. Rowling and various publishers, including but not limited to Bloomsbury Books, Scholastic Books, Raincoast Books, and Warner Bros., Inc. No money is being made from (and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended by) the posting of this fan work.
Author's Note: Written for Remix Redux 11: The Eleventh Hour as a remix of Cost-Benefit Analysis, by miramira. Thank you, arynwy, florahart, and Shog, for beta'ing.
"Ah, there you are, Mr Moody, and in good time, too."
"How is Ma—er, Miss Hopkirk? Has something—"
"Not to worry. The Healers say she'll be fine."
"That's a relief, but you were saying, sir?"
"I've just completed arrangements to bear the cost of Miss Hopkirk's stay."
"But sir, I told you that I'd do that."
"If you insist upon bearing the responsibility, then I'll add the charges to your, ah, tab."
"I do insist, sir, and—"
"Good lad! Thank you for contacting the Hopkirks. I'm afraid I would scarcely have known where to begin had the task been left to me."
"It was no trouble, sir, and again, I'm sorry for knocking over the display. If I could persuade you to give me another cha—"
"I believe we've said all that need be said on that score, and now, I really must return to the shop. I leave you to make your apologies."
"But sir, I don't understand why—sir? Sir, if you'd only wait a moment, I'd—sir?"
"Best of luck to you, Mr. Moody. I’ve a feeling you’ll need it!"
"Oh, it's you."
"Well, who else would it be? Your mother sends her love and says I'm to kiss you for—"
"Is that any way to treat—"
"The abject idiot who almost cost me an eye?"
"Falda, I'm sorry, so sorry! It's just that that ginger brat—"
"They were only supposed to be nose biting—"
"—was getting away—"
"—but when they have no nose left to bite, they—"
"—and I had to catch him!"
"—bite anywhere they can!"
"Ow! Stop hitting me!"
"You deserve worse, you arse! You almost cost me an eye! A teacup almost bit off my eye! My eye, Alastor—and I was the one who recommended you!"
"I can't apologise enough, Ma—"
"Er, try breathing? You've had something of a shock, you kno—"
"Do you really think so? Do you think I don't know that? Merlin, Alastor! I was there! I was the one who caught fifteen Nose-Biting Teacups with my face! I am covered in bite marks, or hadn't you noticed?"
"Well, no. You're, er, so pretty I didn't?"
"Get out! Get out of here, you job-ruining—"
"But I didn't get the job!"
"I said, I didn't get the job. Mr Zonko seems to think I'd cost him more money than I'd save—"
"Rea—eally? Think of . . . think of . . . that!"
"Stop laughing. I caught the shoplifter, didn't I? And he didn't just have a bar of Frog Spawn Soap! He tried to nick one of those teacups and loads of Hiccup Sweets while I was wrestling with him. Mafalda, stop it! I didn't mean for any of this to happen, but you do mean to laugh at me. It isn't nice."
"Ahem. Well, no, it isn't. Perhaps when the bite marks fade and I'm no longer remembering enchanted porcelain teeth flying at my face, I'll forgive you. It is funny, though, your getting sacked in advance."
"I wasn't sacked. I never got the position, so you can't say I was sa—"
"I can say whatever I like, Mr Specific. What on earth made you behave like such a bull? Mundungus is just a kid. You could have hurt him."
"He tried to steal the soap! He ran! Mr Zonko said to treat it as real, so—"
"You practically destroyed the shop in the process of apprehending a false criminal."
"But he wasn't faking it! He tried to steal—"
"Mr Zonko pays him to steal for training purposes! You knew that. You were told that."
"After I noticed him pocketing the soap and he noticed me noticing him? You think he was paid to steal the rest of that stuff?"
"Alastor, you are missing the point quite badly, or quite well, as it happens. You shouldn't have chased poor Dung—"
"That's a good name for the thieving little—"
"—through the store display. You were being considered for a security guard position, not one as an Auror. Security guards guard things. They do not destroy them. Surely you see where you went wrong?"
"No, I do not see where I went wrong! That light-fingered little brat deserved more than the tackling he got. He was really stealing, Mafalda! That's wrong. . . . Stop shaking your head at me. You know I'm right."
"I know that Mr Zonko's never going to trust me again, that's what I know. I told him that you were punctual—"
"I am responsible!"
"For the damage! Alastor, a responsible person doesn't, and I cannot believe that I'm having to repeat this, destroy merchandise that he has been tasked to protect!"
"If Mr Zonko didn't want me to take the scenario seriously, he shouldn't have—"
"Listened to his summer clerk! But he did, and now he won't, ever again, and I'll never be given the chance to apprentice with him in the workshop—and that's all because of you!"
"You don't know that. He won't blame what I did on you. That would be unreason—"
"How much merchandise did you destroy?"
"The kid ran through the display, Falda. I just chased—"
"You already know that. Those teacups, and—"
"No, I didn't ask for a list of all the things that you broke, Alastor. What I want to know is how much money you cost Mr Zonko today. . . . Well?"
"One hundred twenty Galleons, two Sickles, and one Knut."
"Oh, is that all?"
"You needn't be sarcastic. I'm going to pay him back."
"With what? With the allowance that you no longer receive?"
"Mum'll get over—"
"Your being so awfully rude to Abraxas Malfoy in front of all her other guests?"
"He put his hands on—"
"Do you imagine that mild 'handsiness' is beyond your mother's capabilities to manage? She's been a hostess for some time, you know."
"I don't want to talk about that man, or my mother. I came here to look in on you, and I'm going to pay Mr Zonko back every Knut so that he doesn't blame—what's wrong?"
"I just wanted to lean back. I'm tired. And sore. And, perhaps, marked for life!"
"Stop being so dramatic. The Healers said you'd be fine, cousin."
"That's 'second cousin' to you, and I'm still annoyed! I've so many ideas, Alastor, and now I'll never get to put them into practice. I so wanted to be allowed into Mr Zonko's workshop."
"There are other workshops, you know. Besides, Bertie uses his Ever-Inking Finger all the time, and you made that without some fancy workshop, right?"
"Dreadful example, that, as you're the reason Bertie lost his finger."
"All I did was set the wards! How was I supposed to know he was smoking? No one of sense hangs out a window at that time of night!"
"It wasn't your place to set the wards."
"Yes, well, 'hostessing' made Mother forgetful, and someone had to take responsibility for the house!"
"Do stop shouting. It's tiresome."
"Well, stop baiting me, then. . . . Look, I said I was sorry, I've promised to pay back Mr Zonko, and I really don't see any marks, Falda."
"Take that back."
"Oh, for goodness—"
"Take that back!"
"Fine. You're not a liar. Satisfied?"
"No, I am not satisfied. I wanted that job. I needed—"
"You don't need any job. All you have to do is apologise to your mo—"
"Oh, no I don't. She wants me to apologise to him, and that, I will not do! He. Put. His—"
"Hands on her, yes."
"On second thought, perhaps I can see teeth marks on your face, just above your left eye."
"Sod you, Alastor."
"Nice language for a lady. . . . Oh, stop glaring. I didn't mean it. You're not a—"
"Oh, not this again! I am so a lady, no matter that you've no use for 'prissy' girls."
"A priss would still be upset about the teacups, and you're not, not really, are you?"
"Yes, I'm still upset about the teacups! Yes, I'm still upset that your idiocy almost cost me an eye! I'm still upset about the party. I'm upset about the way you've been behaving since before the Leaving Feast—oh, and speaking of that, I'm still upset because George Parkinson hasn't spoken to me since then, and I know that's to do with you!"
"Parkinson's not good enough for you. He'd never abide your tinkering if you married him."
"I'm not—what did you say to him, Alastor?"
"Nothing at all. It was more a look, to be honest, but he caught my meaning."
"I hate you."
"I don't see why. You didn't lose your eye, and you don't know that Mr Zonko's going to sack you—and even if he does, there are other positions you might take where you'd be able to build those little tricksy objects of yours."
"'Little tricksy objects'?"
"Er, what I meant was—"
"Alastor Moody! I turned Bertram's prosthetic finger into a pen that never runs out of ink so that he'd actually wear it! My objects are not 'tricksy'!"
"I know! And it's grand, the way you can enchant objects!"
"It is gra—oh, you meant that, didn't you?"
"Yes, I did!"
"There's no reason to shout!"
"Then you stop doing it!"
"Perhaps both of you might stop. I've just put up a charm, but . . . ."
"Oh, I beg your pardon, Healer Poppington."
"Very sorry, ma'am."
"Young man, while I appreciate your concern for Miss Hopkirk, I believe she's due for a rest."
"I'm not at all tired."
"Hence your having half-buried yourself in the pillows, dear."
"Please, Healer Poppington? We were just saying goodbye."
"Very well, but be quick about it."
"Er, here, Falda. I bought this at Zonko's for you."
"Alastor Moody, you are a beast!"
"No, it's not like that! I'm not trying to be mean. I just thought—"
"Whilst I was shrieking in pain, you'd buy me an ill-considered sweet to make it all better?"
"No! I thought, whilst they were preparing you for transport, that if you really had lost your eye—go on, take it—you might've been able to whip up some sort of seeing charm on this one."
"On a toffee eye? You really do think highly of me, don't you?"
"But I do, that's the point!"
"Oh, very well. Thank you. I suppose it will be some consolation, when I'm sacked and must seek boring secretarial work at the Ministry, to know that you believe in me."
"You're welcome, and stop worrying about getting sacked. . . . I mean, there is always George Parkinson."
"I am not marrying George Parkinson!"
"But you just said—"
"I know what I just said! And you'd better not have said anything to George!"
"And now you'd best be off, young man. Miss Hopkirk's had enough excitement for one day."
"Er, all righ—"
"What is that? Oh, no, dear. You don't want that. Toffee eyes are rubbish. Let me just—"
"I'll thank you to leave my eye alone."
"Ha! I knew you'd like it, Falda. I'll bring you another one when I come back."
"I said good day to you, young man."
"Er, actually, ma'am, you said—"
"Oh, Alastor. Really?"
"Go, and don't let me catch you back here anytime soon!"
"I'll do my best not to, ma'am. Bye, Falda!"
"He really does mean well, Healer Poppington,"
"He's cheeky, but I can see that. Now then, just what are you going to do with that?"
"Well, not eat it, of course, but . . . ."
"Yes, my dear?"
"What would have happened if I'd actually lost my eye?"
"Why, you'd have been fitted with a lovely glass one, and no one would have ever known it wasn't real."
"Yes, but . . . would I have been able to use it? See with it? Are there spells for that sort of thing?"
"Goodness, what interesting questions! I'm sure I don't know, dear. Now, do get some rest."
"Hmm . . . . The way Alastor goes on, it's he who'll need an enchanted eye before ever I do. I wonder . . . ."