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Chapter 10: Chapter 10
Adjusting to Hogwarts wasn’t that difficult, especially when I just kept to myself. The only classes where I sat next to someone were Arithmancy and Ancient Runes. Hermione tended to be so absorbed in the material that we didn’t talk much. I hadn’t spoken to Snape in weeks, the whole boggart ordeal had made him furious. In potions he was horrible to Neville, which made it difficult for me to keep quiet. I respected Snape, but he was going too far in my opinion.
Professor Lupin was still a mystery to me, now even more so. I’d written a letter to Dimitri and mentioned Lupin, saying they were similar. ‘I imagine we have quite a bit in common,’ Dimitri had written back. It felt like a clue, so in my next letter I asked directly about it. ‘If I told you everything, how would you learn? I also know how self loathing you would feel if you became dependant on me for information.’ I’d mentally cursed him at this point in the letter. ‘Those words aren’t very lady like,’ was the next line. Damn cheeky Russians. Had I really become that predictable? I put the Lupin mystery to the back of my mind, I had all year to figure it out.
Most of my spare time I'd spent reading the collection of Arabic books I’d ordered while still attending Salem. However now that I finished with them, I needed something else. With limited funds (I had been receiving twenty galleons a month from my grandmother), I moved onto the Hogwarts library.
I grabbed five random books and checked them out. The librarian, Madam Pince, had glared at me with whole time. After seeing her do the same to several other students I felt less offended. I left the library and headed in the direction of Gryffindor tower. As I was approaching a corner, two people ran into me, literally. The books fell to the floor and I let out a frustrated groan.
“Sorry, sorry,” said a voice I recognized, the Weasley twins. The next minute they had disappeared. I bent down to pick up my books as someone else came around the corner.
“Which way did they go?” I looked up and saw Mr. Filch, the caretaker.
“Who?” I asked even though I had a good idea who ‘they’ were.
“Students dropping stink pellets.” Now Filch narrowed his eyes at me. “What are you doing down there?” he asked suspiciously.
I gestured at the fallen books. “Picking up books, obviously.”
“Planning on dropping more pellets or a dung bomb, eh? What’s your name?” he asked accusingly.
“I just came out of the library,” I said standing. “There are about ten witnesses, even the librarian. Feel free to go ask them.”
Filch glared at me, deciding whether he believed me or not. “You see anyone run by here?” he asked at last.
“Yeah,” I said annoyed. “They ran left at the end of the hall. Looked like Slytherin sixth years.” Honestly I don’t know why I covered for the Weasleys.
“Hmpf,” Filch said taking off in the direction I’d mentioned after giving me a final suspicious glare.
I bent back down to grab my books when someone else reached down and grabbed a couple of them for me. It was Fred Weasley, George was there too. I stood back up, rolling my eyes at them.
“We are very sorry about that,” Fred said standing up, still holding two of the books.
“Truly sorry,” said George.
“Dropping stink pellets for Filch?” I asked.
“It’s part of a long term plan.”
“Uh huh, how’s that going for you?”
“Well the detentions are rather tedious.”
“But we’re willing to suffer through.”
“For the greater good.”
“The greater good?”
“We’re trying to make Filch appreciate the little things in life.”
“Like stink pellets.”
“Among other things.”
“I’m sure he deeply appreciates it,” I said sarcastically.
“Of course he does.”
“He just doesn’t know it yet.”
“Right,” I said holding out my hand to take the books back. Fred noticed the cover of one of them and looked at it curiously.
“What are these for?” he asked.
“Those are books. If you open them, there are words that you can read.” I said slowly.
Instead of being offended, Fred got a goofy grin on his face. “Books? Imagine that. George, did you hear? You can actually read these things!”
George looked astonished and grabbed the book. “Here I thought they were fancy paper weights.”
Something about their seriousness made me snort in humor. “You’re both idiots, you know that,” I said grabbing the book from George. I held out my hand to Fred now but he pulled the book closer to his chest.
“That’s rather harsh, especially after we confided our secret plan to you,” he said acting hurt.
I rolled my eyes. “I’m very sorry. You two are obviously the most brilliant people here, even Dumbledore looks up to you in admiration,” I said sweetly.
“Apology accepted,” George said. “Knew you’d see it our way.”
Quickly I grabbed the book from Fred and began walking away. “Oi!” I heard him yell. They followed after me, catching up fast, walking with me in-between them.
“Where you off to in such a hurry?” George asked.
“Why are you reading a cookbook?” Fred asked. Apparently he’d seen the title of the book he’d picked up.
“Are you going to cook us a meal?”
“Only if you’re very nice,” I said sarcastically, making them both laugh.
“So why the random books? Surely they aren’t for class.”
“Boredom,” I answered truthfully.
“You read books when you’re bored?” George asked incredulously.
“You really are like Hermione,” Fred commented. That made me stop.
They glanced at each other before Fred spoke. “Er…sort of heard you were the…multi lingual version of Hermione.”
“I think the whole Snape thing overshadowed it though,” George added quickly.
“It’s not a bad thing,” Fred assured me. “There needs to be someone to learn all this stuff,” he said gesturing to my books.
I paused for a minute, I certainly didn’t feel like Hermione and I were similar, besides both enjoying books. “Hermione and I learn in completely different ways and for different reasons. It’s not really comparable.”
“Hmm…” Fred said thinking that over. “So if there was something, say more entertaining, you would do that to cure your boredom?” Something about his tone worried me.
“I’m not risking detention,” I said flatly.
“Well that narrows it down considerably,” George said.
“Surely though, we could figure something out.”
“Of course Fred, it’s what we do best.”
“We’ll get right on it then.”
“Till we meet again,” they said in unison before disappearing. I wondered what I had just gotten myself into.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Three days after a notice was posted in the common room about the Halloween Hogsmeade visit Fred Weasley found me. I’d been walking through a corridor when he popped up beside me.
“Hello,” he greeted cheerfully. I looked around.
“Where’s George?” I asked. Those two always seemed to be together.
“Ah, serving detention. Had a bit of trouble with the Slytherins during potions today.” I raised an eyebrow at this. “Apparently making a puffer fish eye fly up someone’s nostril is frowned upon, surprising, I know.”
“How are you two not expelled?” I asked failing to keep a smile off my face.
“Pfft,” Fred scoffed. “Who could expel us? We keep things interesting around here.”
“I’m sure the teachers will be mourning the day you graduate” When Fred said nothing I turned to look at him. He seemed to be doing some deep thinking. “What-“
“How’d you know I was Fred?” he asked suddenly.
“Er…because you are Fred?” I answered confused.
“Well yes but how did you know?”
“You look like yourself?”
“Most of our family can’t tell the difference. How did you?”
I tilted my head a bit. “You have subtle differences.”
Now Fred looked down at himself. “Like what?”
“Are you disappointed that I can tell you apart?” I asked amused.
“We can fool you,” Fred said confidently.
“No, you really can’t. I know what to look for.”
“Hmm…we’ll see,” Fred said challengingly.
“Is that really why you’re here? To play ‘Guess the Weasley?’”
“No actually, I guess we did get a bit off track. What are you plans for Hogsmeade?”
“Er…” I didn’t really have any. “Go look around the village?” I remembered Dumbledore saying Dementors were posted at the gates. “Or maybe just stay at the castle.”
“No, no. Definitely not staying at the castle,” said Fred. “Meet me and George in front of Honeydukes at eleven?”
“Why?” I asked, already suspicious.
“Because I asked nicely?”
“I would really prefer not getting detention,” I said frowning.
“Don’t you trust me at all? We aren’t going to get detention. You’ll have fun, promise.”
“Fine,” I said grudgingly. It was a bit pathetic that I would follow the twins purely because they were the two people, besides Hermione, who had talked to me the most over the past month.
“Cheers,” Fred said happily. “You should smile more, much more appealing.”
I stopped to glare at him, he grabbed my cheeks and attempted to make me smile. I quickly swatted his hands away. “Get off you creep,” I exclaimed, failing to keep a smile off my face.
Fred shot me a grin and bowed. “Until we meet again.” He turned and took off in the opposite direction.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
On Halloween I woke up a bit apprehensive. Dumbledore’s warnings replaying in my head. Was I really that bored that I would risk expulsion for a prank by the Weasleys? I laid in bed a bit longer, considering the options. I could just stay here and read. I realized my Christmas and Easter breaks would be full of reading most likely. Enjoying Halloween would be nice. Figuring I would leave or talk my way out of it if things got too risky, I got up to get ready.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Hogsmeade really was a nice place, if you took out the Dementors. Passing them outside the Hogwarts gate was tough. I made sure I held up my mental barriers so they wouldn’t sense my father. I also kept my wand ready in case I needed a patronus. Thankfully in the village Dementors only patrolled the streets at night.
Looking around all the shops I was glad I hadn’t brought more than a galleon. Honeydukes and a book store on the main road were the most tempting. Pretty sure I’d be willing to snog Peeves for a giant chocolate bar. Does that sound desperate? There was also a small music store on one of the side streets. I spent a long time looking through the sheet music until I noticed it was five past eleven. I hurried back to Honeydukes to find Fred and George waiting in front, whispering to each other. Their faces lit up when they saw me and I was sorely tempted to turn around.
“Lovely morning,” George greeted me.
“Absolutely smashing,” I responded dryly.
“George here thought you might be a no show. I never lost faith in you though,” Fred said as he sent me a wink.
“I could still leave,” I pointed out.
“Nonsense,” said George. “It’s almost time.”
They led the way down past a few shops. We stopped at a corner by a shop filled with school supplies.
“He still in there?” Fred asked. George took a few steps, looking through the shop’s window.
“Yep, almost done though, we’d better hurry.”
“Here’s what we’re going to do,” Fred began as George rejoined us. “George is going to stand watch for us over there, out of sight.” Fred pointed to an alley across the street. “When he gives us the sign, you walk down the road, running into Percy as he leaves the shop.”
“I run into him? I thought this was supposed to be your plan?”
“It needs to be you. You’re much less suspicious,” George explained.
“Anybody is less suspicious than you two.”
“You’re not going to get into trouble,” Fred assured me. I looked at him skeptically. “Have a little faith. We’re Fred and George Weasley, slipping pranks on Percy is what we do.”
I agreed to their plan as a voice in the back of my head said that Lucius might even be proud I got expelled while pranking a Weasley. Well, probably not, I doubt anything I ever did would make Lucius proud.
“Right,” continued George, “now make sure you hit him casually, but enough to turn him away from Fred so he can’t see what’s happening.”
“I’ll give you a thumbs up when I’m done. Then you just apologize and keep walking. Got it?”
“Yeah,” I responded and George took off.
Hiding slightly, but still able to see George, Fred and I waited. It wasn’t very long until I saw George give a signal.
“Now,” Fred whispered. I started walking down the street at a brisk pace, pretending to be searching in my pockets for something. I noticed Percy ahead out of my peripheral vision. I walked into him rather hard. The initial hit spun him a bit and I casually grabbed him, twisting his body around so Fred would have better aim.
“I’m so sorry!” I cried out. I looked up and made my eyes go wide. “Mr…Mr. Weasley,” I said feigning shock.
“What’s the meaning of this?” he asked rudely. Any guilt I might have had about doing this evaporated.
“I’m so so sorry. I was looking in my pockets, trying to find…I’m so sorry sir,” I said acting scared. I noticed Fred had stepped out but I kept my gaze on Percy so he wouldn’t get suspicious. “I should have been watching where I was going,” I said miserably.
“Yes, you should have been. Lestrange, isn’t it?” Percy said arrogantly.
“Yes, sir,” I answered, looking at the ground. “Are you going to take off house points?” I asked fearfully.
“Er…” Percy said awkwardly. “No, of course not, just…pay more attention to where you’re going next time.”
I looked up with a hopeful look on my face. “Thank you, sir.” I noticed Fred giving me a thumbs up. “You’re a really great Head Boy.” I told Percy admiringly. He puffed out his chest and nodded at me.
“You best be on your way.” With that he turned around and took off up the street.
I walked the opposite way, past a couple shops before I turned around. George was motioning for me to join him.
“What now?” I asked when I reached him.
“Now we follow him.”
We started discreetly following Percy up the street when Fred joined us. “Absolutely brilliant,” he said. “You should have seen her George, she was perfect.”
“What did you do to him?” I asked after I rolled my eyes.
“You’ll see,” Fred said gleefully.
Ahead of us, Percy met up with a girl I recognized as the Head Girl. “His girlfriend,” George informed me. She and Percy entered The Three Broomsticks.
“Give them time to get drinks and find a table,” Fred said, stopping outside the pub. We lingered outside for a couple minutes before George opened the door.
“Ladies first,” he said, gesturing me ahead. I looked around trying to act casual. Percy was no where in sight.
“He’ll be in one of the private tables, near the back,” Fred said from behind me. He walked up to the bar and ordered three Butterbeers. George was carefully walking around before nodding his head towards one of the corners. Fred handed me one of the bottles. “This way,” and he led us over to George.
We sat down at a table near the back, I could hear Percy already talking. I listened closely as I raised my bottle to take a sip. Fred stopped me though, and motioned for me to listen first. I was glad he had because what I heard next would have made me choke.
“I feel like a mongoose,” Percy said optimistically.
“Er…” I heard Percy’s girlfriend say, sounding confused.
“Like a mongoose swinging on tree waiting for a cantaloupe. That’s how you make me feel when I’m tangoing with you. It’s magical.” I looked at Fred and George silently laughing, feeling bewildered.
“Babbling jinx,” Fred whispered in my ear. “Undetectable one. He won’t even realize he has it on.” We listened in as Percy spoke up again.
“You don’t have any cantaloupes?” Percy said accusingly.
“Percy, I don’t understand-“
“How do you expect me to tango, Penny? This is just like that hospital in Belgium. I remember that day. ‘Cantina Cantaloupes’ the sign said. Ha! All they had were kumquats, but I showed them.”
“Percy, are you feeling alright?” Penny asked fearfully.
“Of course Penny. Penny. Peeennnnnnnny. P-p-p-penny.”
“I once knew a girl named Penny, she was as pretty as a pastrami pie. Picking her way through parsley, chopping it up and letting it die.” Percy sang out of the blue.
The twins and I sat there for the next hour listening to Percy’s nonsense and occasional singing, by the end Fred and George had tears of laughter in their eyes. I have to admit, it was the most fun I’d had in a long time.