On Monday I was very glad I hadn’t gone to the first quidditch game of the year over the weekend. Dementors had stormed the field and Potter had ended up in the hospital wing. Hufflepuff had won the match after several Slytherin players had fallen too ‘ill’ to play and claimed it was too close to the match to find replacements. Some of the Gryffindors still seemed upset about the loss. I didn’t particularly care either way to be honest.
Eating breakfast alone at the table I was surprised when the Weasley twins sat down across from me. They didn’t look quite their normal carefree selves, and then I remembered they played on the Gryffindor quidditch team. I figured I should at least say something nice.
“Er…sorry about the game.” They looked up at me.
“Could have really used that dragon of yours,” George said moodily.
“I’ll make sure I come to your next match,” I promised a bit awkwardly.
“You weren’t there?” Fred asked quickly.
“You don’t like quidditch?” he questioned.
“I never really got into it,” I said honestly. Fred was frowning now. I felt like I should explain more. “I’ve never really been on a broom, that’s probably why-“
“Never been on a broom,” he repeated. “Why not?” I cringed, Snape had forbid it years ago, saying it was too risky, I could injure my shoulder. I couldn’t exactly tell that to Fred though.
“I’ve used those little kid ones that only go up a foot. I just never got into it enough to try a regular broom.” Fred was still frowning and I felt a little self conscious. “I have to get to class,” I said not having any other excuse. “I’ll see you around.”
On my way out of the Great Hall I turned back for a quick glance. George had a smirk on his face as Fred rolled his eyes. Suddenly George caught my eye and sent me a wink. With a confused look on my face, I headed to class.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
The first Sunday in December Hogwarts was covered in snow. It was a great improvement over rain and mud I must admit. It was a little past seven in the morning and I was walking towards the library to return some books. Half way there Fred Weasley fell into step beside me. He looked very tired.
“Morning,” he greeted in a sleepy voice.
“Morning,” I said back. “I didn’t know you woke up this early on a Sunday,” I teased him.
“I didn’t know anyone woke up this early on a Sunday,” he said rubbing one of his eyes.
“What gets you up this early today?” I asked as we reached the library. Fred held open the door for me. After I walked through I noticed Fred hadn’t followed me in and turned back. “I promise not to let any of the books attack you,” I said teasing again. He looked at me, grinning and walked in. He gave a dramatic shiver and I shook my head smiling as I approached the return desk.
“What are you plans for today?” Fred questioned from beside me.
“Er…I don’t really have any,” I answered, quickly returning the books before Madam Pince showed up.
We left the library and headed in the direction of the Great Hall. “Mind doing something with me?” Fred asked.
“Just you? Planning something special for George?” I asked curiously.
“Not exactly. It is just with me though. Is that a problem?” The tone of his voice changed. I wasn’t sure why, I ended up sending him a confused look.
“No, its fine. Just hoping George doesn’t think I’m taking away his better half.”
“It’s an expression. I’m sure you’re both equally horrible halves,” I said sarcastically. “I’m almost certain Percy agrees.”
Fred laughed, “Agreeing with Percy isn’t something to brag about.”
“Very true,” I said acting mortified. “What if my ego inflates and I turn into a pompous git?”
“No worries, I’ll be here to burst that ego.”
“I’m not so sure. You haven’t exactly cured Percy yet,” I pointed out.
“I assure you, we keep trying. He’s surprisingly resistant.”
I snorted as we entered the Great hall.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Fred had instructed me to put on something warm for outside as he went to his dormitory to get ready. It didn’t take long before I was standing back in the common room waiting for him. Hermione was down here too, pouring over a thick book. I gave her a quick hello as Fred returned. He was holding two broomsticks.
“Er…” I looked at the brooms awkwardly.
“Fred, I don’t- it’s not that I don’t appreciate the offer, but I really don’t know how to fly,” I tried to explain delicately.
“We’re not going to do crazy loops and dives. Just casual riding. You’ll be fine.”
I had always imagined what flying would be like. Looking down from above the tree tops. I had accepted long ago that it would probably never happen though. Still, it was a very tempting offer.
“Nothing crazy?” I asked, biting my lip.
“It will be one of the dullest rides ever,” he promised with his hand over his heart.
“You will make sure I don’t fall off, right?” That was the part that worried me.
“Promise,” he said sincerely.
Despite the fact that Snape would probably give me detention and a very long lecture if he ever found out, I agreed to go flying with Fred.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
New experiences can sometimes point out phobias you never even knew you had. Flying on a broomstick had done that for me. When I was only six feet in the air a sudden fear of heights had set in. I’ve certainly been higher up than this, but only on solid structures. Being on just a piece of wood, held up by some spells was absolutely terrifying.
Of course Fred thought this was amusing. After I shot him a glare he’d slowly helped me raise a bit more. It felt like hours before we were twenty feet in air, slowly moving forward. I had no idea how anyone could ever play quidditch, they made it look so easy…well maybe not easy but not nearly as horrible as I felt. I was pretty sure a strong wind would be all that was needed to push me off.
A loud voice shouting “OI!” made me jump, nearly slipping off. Thankfully Fred was close enough to grab me and keep me steady.
“Bloody, effing brooms,” I muttered. I heard Fred chuckle as he helped me steer towards the ground. Once I was firmly back on solid ground I looked around spotting George. He had a grin plastered on his face.
“Having fun?” he asked after he reached us. I sent a glare his way.
“She’s er….not exactly the flying type,” Fred answered, unable to mask the amusement in his voice.
“How do people actually do this for fun?” I asked bitterly. Now both twins were smiling at my discomfort. “Gits,” I muttered, making them both laugh.
“How will you ever travel long distances?” George asked.
“Unapproved portkeys, can’t imagine the Ministry liking that,” Fred commented.
“Who said they need to know?” The twins laughed again.
“And here you were saying you didn’t want to risk detention.”
“Anything is better than flying on that death trap,” I said glaring at the brooms.
“I suppose that means we shouldn’t count you in on any quidditch games, eh?”
“Never again.” I muttered as we headed back to the castle.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
It was hard for me to believe it was lunch already. Fred and George had gone upstairs to put their brooms away and I was feeling a bit embarrassed. My flying had been horrible, I usually walked faster than the pace we’d been flying at. I guess it could have been worse, at least someone competent had been there so I didn’t break any bones or crack my head open.
The Weasley twins returned and took seats across from me. “So,” one began, “Fred tells me you can tell the difference between us.” I looked up and raised an eyebrow.
“When did you start talking about yourself in third person?” I asked. They looked at each other, confused.
“Nice try, but I can tell you’re Fred.”
“We’ll see about that,” they said in unison.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Over the next three weeks Fred and George kept popping up beside me, pretending to be each other. Sometimes they would even be truthful about who they were in an attempt to throw me off. Then they started transfiguring themselves, adding a freckle here and there, making their nose just a bit longer, or adding a couple of inches to their height. Sometimes they would come alone, sometimes together. After a while I just started greeting them by their real name in a bored voice. Each time they would walk away with a suspicious look on their faces.
McGonagall had also come around with a sheet for the names of students staying at Hogwarts for Christmas. I immediately signed it. I noticed Hermione, Ron Weasley, and Harry Potter had also already signed their names. Hermione and I could probably finish the partner project we’d been given for Ancient Runes.
There was also a Hogsmeade visit the last weekend of term. I needed to get some Christmas shopping done. It would be a bit difficult this year. Using my money sparingly would severely limit my options. I also had more people to shop for, I should get Fred and George something, though I had no idea what. Perhaps I should get Hermione something? I wasn’t sure I’d quite use the term ‘friends’ but she had always been nice to me. I could give her one of my books, plenty were in English and in nearly perfect shape.
Then there was Tsukino and Kuniye. Should I buy the Japanese Seer and her bodyguard (my teacher) gifts? I’d been having regular visits every other night and was told that I was improving quickly. Why they felt I actually needed this training was still a mystery to me. I couldn’t think of anything that would seem appropriate to give them. Plus wouldn’t Tsukino already see what ever I got her? That would make for rather dull birthday and Christmas gifts, already knowing what you’re about to open.
There was also Snape and Dimitri. Equally impossible to shop for. Buying gifts for people was hard enough, but with limited money? Ugh, this was going to be difficult.