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Story Notes:
Knockturn Alley is darker and colder than Diagon Alley. Dung thinks maybe there’s some sort of charm set up as an attempt to keep people out, but he’s never been very good at charms so he’s not sure. It just sounds like something the dark, shady, and evil wizards who supposedly lurk around Knockturn would probably do for fun. He knows he probably would if he was better at that sort of thing.

He walks into the alley with thoughts of being good enough to charm the area around his bed back at Hogwarts to make people stay away from it in his head. He’s not scared of being here despite all the stories he’s heard. He’s nearly seventeen, after all, and not some silly first year who believes everything he’s told. Anyway, he knows that it’s the things that are whispered about when he’s not supposed to be listening that really mean something.

It was one such conversation that brings him to Knockturn Alley, in fact. He just happened to overhear (by hiding in a wardrobe so they’d not realize he was there) two seventh year boys discussing an interesting new shop that he knew he had to visit. So, he escaped his house by telling his mum that he was going out, leaving before she could ask where, and headed for Diagon Alley the first chance he got.

Now that he’s in Knockturn, he’s trying to figure out why everyone says it’s so dangerous. He likes the shadowed corners and dark storefronts. There’s something mysterious about it all that appeals to him, not like those brightly perky stores on Diagon where everyone’s so friendly and open. He likes finding out things for himself, thank you very much.

The shop he’s looking for is half-way down the alley. It’s a dirty little storefront with a stoop and a wooden door that is covered in black paint that is flecking off. The name is barely visible, which he thinks might be intentional. When he steps inside, a strange odor assaults his senses. It’s strong yet there’s something spicy about that he likes. When the shop owner gives him a careful look, Dung straightens his shoulders and slides easily into the part of a boy several years older than himself.

He leaves fifteen minutes later with a plain brown bag that’s shrunk to fit into the pocket of his robe. There’s a bounce in his step, both because he managed to convince the shop owner that he was nineteen and working at the Ministry and because he just bought the coolest thing ever. It’s a black pipe with a curved base and intricate designs around the bowl.

It cost a bloody fortune, in his eyes, but he traded a few bits of information he’d overheard his father talking about regarding the Ministry and got it for just three galleons. And he’s sure that the shop owner probably won’t even miss the three small bags of tobacco Dung nicked while his back was turned.