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How Fred and George Accidentally Befriended a Wannabe Dark Lord

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In the summer between his third and fourth year, George Weasley had a brilliant idea. It was hilarious, truly. Just imagine, gifting the gnomes in the garden with the ability to fly. Not float around or something equally as silly, that would be a piece of cake to achieve and most assuredly not worth his or Fred’s time, but giving them wings so that they could take to the skies on their own? That was a worthy endeavour. Especially as none of their siblings would be able to escape the airborne menaces. Why, they might even get into Percy’s room and sit on his head and pull out his hair. Yes, it was a brilliant idea.

Of course, before the plan could be implemented, it needed to be approved by his twin. Because while George had the imagination to provide hundreds of ideas, some of them were slightly insane and at times incredibly harmful for everyone around him… But this plan, the plan to make a gnome fly into Percy’s room and bite his nose or spill ink all over his things, was very much approved by Fred once he had been briefed. Both of them would no doubt enjoy the gobsmacked faces of their relatives when confronted with dozens of winged gnomes. Who knows, maybe they could even expand upon the idea? Surely there were other beings that could be given wings. Cats maybe, or what about grindylows?

And so, the brothers planned. They researched and tested multiple potions until they accomplished one that would, combined with some nifty transfiguration on Fred’s part, give the gnomes the ability to fly. The plan was simple. They would enchant the gnomes after returning from the already arranged shopping trip to Diagon Alley in a couple of days. The brothers’ actions would go unnoticed while everyone would be occupied by unpacking their purchases.

However, things did not go exactly as planned. First, he and Fred had to break Harry out of the house the boy had the misfortune of living in. Then, George and his siblings watched their father get into an actual fistfight with the Malfoy patriarch. Which – fine, was one of the most amusing things he had seen all year, but it also put everyone into that particular mood where the genius that was one of George and Fred’s pranks would not be appreciated. But still, he held onto hope.

Of course, the thing that truly put a stop to the plan was Fred tripping on a gnome just as they entered the garden after the shopping trip. George sighed as his brother fell flat on his face, the vial holding the potion tumbling out of Fred’s shirt and shattering into a million pieces. They could only watch in dismay as the concoction flowed out over the grass. The potion did not even have the courtesy of landing on the offending gnome.

Which had led to both of them being berated by their mother. It consisted of her screaming in their faces and going on about their awful behaviour, and could they not be more like their older brothers? Nice, upstanding, honourable… she must have said a lot more, but George kind of zoned out somewhere in the middle there, so he could really not say one way or another.

In the end, George and Fred were tasked with unpacking all of the day’s purchases. Being forced to sort through every single item while sitting on the floor in the living room, while tedious, did have some advantages. It should be pointed out that this is not a good punishment. Honestly, their mother was giving the pranksters unlimited access to the family’s belongings, which was equal to asking for some tampering. But well. It seemed as if that woman would never learn.

This was the reason that, upon looking through dear Ginevra’s things, George came upon a black diary. There was nothing remarkable about the small book, except that it was something Ginny must have swiped, because they certainly had not heard about her getting anything not necessary for schoolwork. Thus, it would simply be impolite to let this kleptomaniac streak of their sister’s continue uninhibited. They were doing their brotherly duty of educating the baby in the family by taking it off her hands. And if George found it entertaining to rally up the only worthy opposition still living in the house, well, that was his business.

When night came, the twins decided to investigate their pilfered price.

And then discovered that it might have been a miscalculation to steal the diary as it was entirely empty. No blackmail material, no humiliating stories, not even a tiny secret. At least it would not go to waste. The notebook they used to write down inventions in was getting full, and they would need a new one in a couple of weeks. While the diary was somewhat small for this purpose they might have to use it for recording inventions anyway. Beggars can’t be choosers, after all.

And this was how a small, black diary came to be stored at the bottom of the trunk of one George Weasley.

oooOOooo

With all the commotion brought on by the beginning of the new school year (and stupidity. Really Ronnie, stealing dad’s flying car and getting caught?) George and his twin completely forgot that they had brought a small book stolen from Ginny to school. Both of them had other things to occupy their time. Like convincing Lee Jordan that it would be a great idea to go down to the Black lake in search of some grindylows. Which they of course succeeded in.

The sun was starting to set when the three Gryffindors sneaked out of the school using the shadows to hide their voyage to the lake. While down by the shore setting up a trap to catch some water living creatures Lee asked, “Do you think this would work on spiders as well? Because I feel like my Wimberly could really do with some new additions.”

“I don’t –”

“– see why not,” Fred finished with a small grin.

The following events were described to George and Company by the portraits of Hogwarts, as the friends could not be present at multiple places at the same time. It followed as thus:

The Ravenclaw prefects woke to screaming coming from their common room and, after going down to investigate, discovered two flying grindylows peering in from outside a window.

It took some time to turn the creatures haunting the common room back to normal, as Professor McGonagall had bigger transfiguration related issues to deal with that fine morning. Trying to placate Mr Filch, for example. It was hard work convincing the man that his cat was not in any danger of dropping dead because of her feathery additions while also trying to capture said cat in order to reverse whatever had happened. Especially as Mrs Norris had found herself enamoured with the ability to fly around and was being extremely uncooperative.

There was a similar sight to behold in the Gryffindor common, but there only one student was sprinting about howling. Apparently, dear Ronald did not appreciate Lee’s tarantula taking flight. Who would have thought?

And so, the first week back at Hogwarts had George and Fred spending most of their time in detention. This also meant that both of them missed out on being dragged out of bed by Oliver Wood (such a loss) and the ensuing confrontation with the Slytherins. This meant they also missed their brother puking slugs (thankfully… ahem, tragically the muggle-born first-year immortalised the entire event. Fred did not have copies of the photos spelled to the inside of his trunk, obviously). No snake fighting for them, stuck cleaning cauldrons as they were.

It was only after the detentions were dealt with and when the twins’ old Grimoire of Pranks was full, that George remembered the diary hidden away in his trunk.

Professor Flitwick had brought up an obscure spell that would keep doors locked during the last lesson. Even if he only mentioned it as a side note as an example of a spell that could withstand an Alohomora it was still highly interesting. George decided to look it up as he and his brother would no doubt find many uses for it. So, after finding the incantation in the library both brothers agreed on it being the first spell to be written down in their new notebook.

That night found George and Fred sitting crossed legged on Fred’s bed with the scarlet hangings pulled closed around them. With a whispered “Lumos” a small light appeared at the tip of George’s dogwood wand and it was time to get to work. Fred opened the book and began to write. He only got a few words down before the diary absorbed them, the ink vanishing without a trace, prompting George to lean in closer to observe.

“Maybe this is some elaborate joke on Ginny’s part to educate us on proper brotherly behaviour?” George mused, just as new words began to appear on the empty page. Well, that seemed a bit ambitious for a first-year…

Hello. May I know who I am conversing with?

George glanced at his brother, who simply raised an eyebrow and closed the book. Nothing more was said as they began to cast diagnostic charms on the self-writing book.

George might have been impressed by the feat of the diary, had he and his brother not come across the Marauder’s Map in their first year. After finding out that it could communicate, the twins had spent hours in the library researching spells. They looked up most hexes or curses capable of giving objects the ability to converse that could be found in the library in order to make sure that the parchment they had found was safe to use. Honestly, as if either of them would blindly follow directions from a piece of talking paper. They were not daft. Fred even asked their housemates for tips on figuring out if something is sentient (which was how they learnt of the Turing test from a muggle-born student that liked computers. Not that it was very useful for this, but fascinating trivia all the same in George’s opinion).

Although both twins had come out of the research spree with a healthy apprehension (read, terror inducing nightmares) off any object capable of holding conversations.

But the point was; they knew how to handle this development.

After a couple of days spent investigating the spells on the diary the only things they uncovered were a potent compulsion to write in the book, as well as an almost obscene amount of protection spells and runes. It was a bit tricky (reed: extremely hard, George even singed his hair) to remove said compulsion, as it had a tendency to fight back. But in the end, they were victorious. The twins did not bother removing any of the protection spells. After all, someone had spent a lot of time constructing those protections and it felt a bit underhanded eradicating all that hard work. Not to mention time-consuming, so they simply let them be.

(Why the person responsible for creating the diary’s defences considered lavatory proofing the book a necessary precaution was another question entirely. Maybe they were afraid of it getting flushed down the toilets?)

This done, both boys felt comfortable opening the book once more.

‘Still in there Mr Diary?’, George wrote on the blank page.

The name is Riddle, if you would be so kind. And yes, obviously I am still here. And who might you be?

As George was about to reply, Fred snagged the book from his hands and, after some consideration, simply wrote ‘Forge’. While they did not find any truly spiteful spells on the diary giving out either of their true names felt like a bad idea. Although the name they had agreed upon was decidedly not Forge. George huffed a little at his brother’s antics but let him be.

Well, if you say so, Forge. I do have some questions, however. How did you happen upon my diary? And if you would be so kind as to write down the year as well? How about…

The beautiful script was sophisticated, although the demanding tone quite blemished the impression of maturity.

Spending the rest of the night answering questions asked by the self-proclaimed Riddle was not really George’s idea of a good time but as the questions seemed harmless, he decided to let Fred indulge the diary. After all, it must be exceedingly boring spending one’s time as a book. Thus, he even took over the duty of answering the ever-continuing flood of inquiries when Fred began to complain about his hand being sore, all the while trying to probe for some information himself.

Not that he got much.

A mention in passing about being a memory and some context clues of Riddle having been a student of the school. Hopefully, it would not take much to find some more information.

After combing through the school archives there was aggravatingly little to find on Riddle. Luckily Fred was somewhat more successful looking up the name by other avenues, finding mentions of a boy named T. M Riddle in the trophy room for Special Services to the School. But there was little else to find.

In the days that followed the twins continued to write to Riddle. In the beginning, the diary tried to sound courteous (could they call it him? The sorting hat identified as man, right? The same thing could be true for this book. Or maybe Riddle was a woman? Something in between? After asking Riddle he got the answer that, yes, Riddle was indeed male). While it was obvious that he possessed manners, it was just as clear that he would rather go without the previously mentioned manners. More and more Riddle’s snarky side started to shine through the pretty words.

George and Fred, being the gentlemen that they were, obviously pointed these inconsistencies out to the diary-boy. Prompting Riddle to go right back to his charming self, pretending as if nothing happened.

Well, at least that’s what he did the first couple of dozen times. He quite clearly gave up after the nth time, feeling the need to point out their (or his, Forge’s, as it was) ‘utter stupidity' in as many words as he could, with many exaggerations and underlining.

“So, brother of mine, what do you think it actually is?”, Fred asked one night while they were putting away the diary.

“I assume it is some variation of the many spells making up things like the Sorting Hat or that talking statue in Greece. Sentient objects with personality, probably someone’s pet project or possibly some prototype. “

“Well above our skill level either way –”

“Not that much above. We could do it, if we tried.”

“…Whatever you have to say to sleep at night, brother. But it is worth looking into, no?”

However, with everything going on during the start of term and all the projects they already had, unearthing the true nature behind the diary did get put far down on the ‘to do’ list. It was not dangerous, obviously, and they had more important things going on. It could wait for later.

For example, they finally got themselves an actual notebook to write down spells both of them invented in (since the one they planned to use was already occupied by Mr Snarky Memory who did not approve of being used as such, and had a tendency of eating their ink). After owl-ordering a leather notebook from Flourish and Blotts (with their own savings) they got started on refining it. George added a variation of the normal extension charm together with a duplicate spell to make sure they would not run out of pages while still having a somewhat slim book. Thanks to Riddle’s diary they had also gained some delightful insights on how to properly protect something of value and added that as well.

(Those same insights were also inordinately useful while setting up pranks. Do you have any idea of how much more efficient one can make a time delayed prank with runes? No? The answer is a lot)

He had to do it over a couple of days though, as some were especially tasking and he still wanted to have magic left to use during lessons (and Fred would not be trusted with high-level charms work if George was there, obviously being the superior twin when it came to that particular magical art).

At least they had gained something from the book, even if this was only ways to stop people from summoning belongings (useful), making stuff impervious to firewhiskey (…sure) or preventing men from concealing your property inside of colourful socks (…why Riddle, just… why?).

oooOOooo

Fred was running late for Transfiguration class after being holed up in the library finishing the assignment for said class. He (and George) had been preoccupied with making their own Grimoire, of sorts, and it had completely slipped his mind that there was actual schoolwork to be finished.

He was just rounding a corner when he heard a distinct cry of rage, just similar enough to his mother’s for it to be alarming, coming from the opposite direction he was going in. Well, he was already five minutes late, might as well see what had little Ginny blowing her fuse.

Making his way towards the commotion got a bit harder when he noticed the crowd circling his angry little sister, who was planted between a bunch of Ravenclaw girls and a small blond drenched in water.

“You kangaroo buggering arseholes! How DARE you! You should be ashamed of yourself, bullying a girl two years younger than you!”

By this point, it was very obvious that Ginny was furious. Her red hair was wiping around her head and there were actual sparks flying from her finger as she pointed it at the older girls. As his sister started advancing towards her opponents her accidental magic (please let it be accidental. Fred could not deal with his sister being able to sap him wandlessly) flared brighter.

Fred was going to have to interfere. He raised his trusted walnut wand inconspicuously, an incantation ready on his tongue. But it turned out to be unnecessary as Professor Flitwick came scurrying towards them. He stayed just long enough to get a feel for what was going on before departing.

Though he did make sure to look closely at the faces of the bullies. Both he and George had been accused of bullying before, but if they ever actually hurt someone’s feelings, they always tried to apologise. Except for targeting their friends or family with specific pranks, they never targeted individual people with their jokes, instead making plans where no one specific would be targeted.

…Except for in the cases of bullies, of course.

Now, maybe he should try to find Peeves. There was a poltergeist who was always up for making students’ lives harder. By second-year, George had finally come up with a way of persuading the resident trickster into doing their bidding. Just a tiny bit of bribery in the form of dung bombs or water balloons every other month and he was quite happy to annoy people when asked, and today Fred had some specific Ravens in mind.

He ended up missing the entire Transfiguration class, but sometimes needs must. Needs must.

oooOOooo

It turned out that Fred’s plan for getting information out of the snarky diary by asking inconspicuous questions was a bust. While he and George got to learn lots of fancy evasive manoeuvres, sneaky ways to change topics (they were totally using those two to get out of trouble), and many new synonyms used to describe ‘Forge’s’ imbecilic dunderheadedness (Snape would be so proud if he had read that particular tirade of Riddle’s). None of those things had any real substance, though. After getting answers like ‘that’s an interesting question, why not look it up in a library?’ and ‘I’m sure I have no idea what you mean’ one too many times it appeared as if a change of tactics was needed. Instead of throwing in seemingly random inquiries every once in a while, they were going to try doing it the Gryffindor way.

Simply ask what you would like to know, no underhandedness was necessary. And had they not earned some answers? After all, both brothers had spent countless evenings answering Riddle’s questions, the least he could do in return was to satisfy their immense curiosity.

They were planning on asking important things, like how he ended up recording memories in a diary... but got a bit side-tracked learning he was a former Slytherin. After all, it was the only common room they had yet to enter. It did not appear on the Marauder’s Map (and they had no way of getting inside without getting mobbed by angry Snakes). That was not the end of Riddle’s knowledge. Turns out he knew of some secret passages neither they nor the Marauders had found.

No one could blame them for grilling Tom on his knowledge, surely?

‘Just for reference sake, but what does T. M. stand for?” Fred wrote.

Below it, George added, ‘Talking Menace?’

Fred sighed aloud. “Really?”

Excuse you! It most certainly does not. It stands for Tom Marvolo, you brute. But I do not know why I expected better from your doltish self. As it is, I am still surprised by the half-wittedness of Hogwarts students these days. Heart-breaking, is what it is.

‘You could just ignore us, you know? Nobody is making you write to us,’ Fred pointed out, knowing full well that Tom (apparently) had been bored out of his mind before meeting ‘Forge’. Tom was at his best when a little annoyed.

It was also the simplest way of ending a conversation, as the memory was very capable of continuing on for hours. Real fond of his own voice… err, writing, he was.

Alas, as much as I wish for better company, you will have to do. Now, I have other things that I must get on with.

‘You don’t say?’

Begone, thot!

And then Tom literally made the book close on his fingers.

“Ow,” Fred mumbled accusingly. Honestly, and he was calling Forge an immature brat. Pot, meet kettle.

oooOOooo

An important part of George’s day was finding new and improved ways of driving the student body of Hogwarts mad. Could not let people forget about the Weasley twins, now could he?

Not that that was about to happen anytime soon.

As it was, a lot of the school’s rulebreakers currently had it in for him and Fred as they accidentally made sneaking out after hours substantially harder. Not only could you no longer hear Mrs Norris coming, as she now glided silently through the air, she was also a lot faster. Getting Filch and chasing after students was apparently a lot easier with wings. The caretaker had even thanked them for so graciously making his life easier.

Not exactly what either of them had had in mind with their first prank of the term.

George and Fred were going down the stairs heading towards the library, for once not to invent some new prank, but to do their homework as George had an essay to write for Muggle Studies. George had no idea how this ended up being his favourite subject, something he actually took time for and even took the initiative to read ahead on (although it might have something with their father’s obsession. Possibly).

After going to his first lesson (without Fred, that ponce having decided to study Arithmancy, which just – no. No weird equations and wonky theory, please, he got enough of that in Transfiguration) he found himself completely sold on the subject. It was so diverse! The class would read about movies, the Queen of England, refrigerators, fast-food restaurants… you name it and they had read about it (the you in question being a muggle, that is).

The only awful thing about the subject was physics. Admittedly, he usually got Fred to impersonate him when they worked on that particular branch of the muggle sciences (which his brother had fallen in love with, unexpectedly, math-loving freak that he was. Thus, Fred was now the owner of no more than five science books the two of them had liberated from a muggle library). This was also the reason George had his brother accompanying him today, as he needed all the help he could get while working on gravity and centrifugal forces.

George got to the last step of the stairs just as a Hufflepuff seventh year came around a bend. He thought nothing of it, until the older boy began casting curses at them. Aha, must be another one of the unlucky sods whose romantic rendezvous were interrupted by the flying cat inhabiting the castle (there had been a lot of those lately).

“How about we take another route, dear brother?” Fred said while ducking, the frizzling light just missing his hair.

“Why, I think that sounds like an excellent idea! Why don’t we just slip –”, he cut himself off in order throw his body out of the way of a purple hex that, if he recalled correctly, would have switched all his teeth for his fingers, “– into this corridor right here”, he finished dragging his brother along until he too started sprinting.

He slowed down when sure that they had shaken off their pursuer. That was when George stumbled upon an interesting portrait, hidden away in an alcove on the third floor.

“Hey Fred, look what I found!”

Fred came to take a closer look at the painting that caught George’s fancy. After all, George always was one to find useful things in the most unexpected of places. It depicted a room full of books with a skylight shining down upon the tiny glass globes floating in the air. But the thing that had drawn his interest was its inhabitant who was trawling around between the bookcases. A heavily scarred woman with messy black hair and a wand sticking out between her curls. There was also the bandolier thrown over the frilly 18th-century ball gown (well, it might be 17th or 19th century… George was not an expert on muggle ball gowns).

“Is that…?”

“Gun ammunition for a muggle revolver, yes I do believe so,” George finished Fred’s sentence. “Do you think we might get her attention? She seems quite interesting.”

After all, most portraits in the castle were a bunch of busybodies. Useful in the cases of those they had charmed to give them gossip (well… that Lee had charmed into giving them gossip), but less so in the cases where they reported students’ behaviour to the professors.

During his previous years, George had come to learn that all interesting paintings tended to behave differently from the norm (the norm being the chatting gossipers commenting on the conduct of those passing beneath them). Whether that be totally ignoring those around them or blabbering absolute nonsense, in most cases if you won them over, they all had interesting knowledge to impart. For example, these interesting portraits knew a lot of… questionable magic that one could not learn through the normal channels provided by the school.

“Excuse me Miss, but you would not happen to have some time for a couple of young students?” Fred said in a fair impression of their older brother Bill while in his Flirting Mode.

She slowly turned around and gave Fred a sceptical look through her glasses, silver eyes giving him a quick once over and from her expression not being overly impressed by what she found. With a small huff, she started to make her way over to them.

“What do you want?” the woman asked exasperatedly. “I do not have time for idle chatter.”

Some might say that, being a painting, and thus not a real person, she should have all the time in the world to waste on conversing with children. But the interesting ones never were ones to care about what others thought.

The woman did not seem to find their inquiries worthy of her attention and did not see fit to grant them any knowledge pertaining to the secrets of Hogwarts. She simply huffed again and turned around making her way back to the shelves, grumbling about always attracting the barmy ones. Which sadly (for her) ensured their return. The reluctant ones were the ones with the best information.

So, after checking their location on the Marauder’s Map to make sure they could find it another time they continued on towards the library. George had an essay to finish!

oooOOooo

Most of the school (at least the part not made up of lovestruck fools) seemed to loathe the new Defence Against the Dark Arts professor, but neither George nor Fred was part of this group.

The man was obviously an idiot, that much was undeniable. However, that did not mean that his lessons were not entertaining.

After some kind of incident involving pixies during the second-year class, Professor Lockhart apparently decided to change up his lesson plans for the older students. He would now set them researching different spells that he used in his books, making them demonstrate the magic used and thereafter having the best students (performance-wise – in both acting and magical prowess) act the scene out.

This was like a dream come true for George and Fred. They could perform to their hearts’ content, going all out as dramatically as they wanted (and watching as annoying people in class unexpectedly got hit by hexes from utterly unknown sources every lesson and thus sent to the infirmary). The best part was that the Great Professor Lockhart allowed them to show off their products as part of the show, making special effects like sparks or light appear. It was both fantastic ways to test their newest inventions while also happening to be a good promotional occasion. For once they did not lose a single point in class (not that George cared about losing points, but people were always a bit friendlier when you did not strip them of a hundred points a week) but instead gained them.

So, DADA became something of a favourite class (after Muggle Studies – to George – and Transfiguration – to Fred). George and Fred had yet to see someone not in love with the teacher share their view... which was understandable. As previously mentioned, the man was quite possibly the most well-known hoax in Britain.

An opinion shared by Tom who, from listening to Forge’s stories of the DADA lessons, considered the man a mindless moron.

Tom’s passive dislike of the Professor reached its boiling point in late October, after being regaled by yet another of their stories.

The fourth-year Gryffindor and Ravenclaws spent the majority of that day’s Defence lesson outside on the grounds, throwing each other up into the air. Which had, George observed resignedly, accidentally led to Fred sending a passing Hufflepuff fifth year thirty feet up into the air. It was kind of terrifying watching the teen fall down again in a blur of black robes and golden hair while screaming her lungs out. Only an Arresto Momentum intoned by another student from the Hufflepuff girl’s class managed to slow down her fall. The piercing glare from near-black eyes from the girl in question would probably haunt George for some time (which was saying something, considering that it had been levelled at Fred). Not to mention the gaggle of hostile Puffs backing her up, the stuff of nightmares that was.

When George wrote to tell Tom about the event later that night the diary-boy went completely ballistic on the behalf of every Hogwarts student exposed to the teaching of Professor Lockhart. He started ranting about useless teachers that knew nothing of safety precautions or writing up lesson plans. Even worse, Professor Lockhart had taught the class the wrong pronunciation for the Alarte Ascendare (a spell that was not meant for fourth-year students according to Tom). And so, their resident snarky diary declared a one-sided war on Lockhart. Now he would demand to know what the teacher had brought up each lesson in order to tear every single utterance made by the man to pieces. Going into the theory of every spell used and proceeding to inform them of how he would have conducted the lessons much better. This mad War of one-upping the Professor continued, but at least George and his twin got something out of it. Because it was not like Tom was wrong. Just listening to Tom rant was teaching them more than four years of schooling combined had managed.

oooOOooo

Fred was sneaking down to the kitchen at midnight when he came across Cedric Diggory (his somewhat of a childhood friend, if only because he was the closest person to his or George’s age who was not an idiot) sitting against the wall drinking hot chocolate. Abandoning his plan to persuade the House Elves to give him biscuits Fred instead sat down next to the blond boy, snagging the cup from the Hufflepuff’s grip as he had jumped at Fred’s sudden appearance and was not paying enough attention to defend it.

“Fancy seeing you out and about, Ced,” Fred remarked before taking a sip from the cup as he pointed to the badge his friend was holding with his other hand. “I am not sure you have noticed, but Prefect badges are for fifth years and up.”

Cedric gave him an innocent look widening his dark blue eyes in his patented I-Am-Innocent-And-Harmless smile (which he was very good at performing, to Fred’s utter misery. That bloke could get away with anything. Fred could not recall the number of stunts Cedric had pulled off without getting caught – if he was not so loyal his sneakiness would have no doubt put him in Slytherin). “The Ravenclaw Prefect on patrol duty today asked me to fill in; apparently there is a big test tomorrow.”

“I see you’re working hard.”

“I am taking a short break.”

“Whatever you say,” Fred replied while simultaneously evading the blond boy’s hands as he attempted to steal his chocolate back.

Cedric gave up with a huff a couple of minutes later and Fred took a victorious sip. “By the way, I heard you tried to off my cousin earlier this week.”

Fred gave him an incredulous stare. “I tried to do what, now?”

“According to the grapevine, you threw her out of the window of the DADA classroom.”

“I haven’t – wait… The Hufflepuff I accidentally threw into the air is your cousin? Now that I think about it you do look kind of similar… But I thought you only had one cousin? Didn’t you always complain about how she set your hair on fire that time you unintentionally dropped her Nundu plushie in the toilet?”

“That is the one and only,” Cedric said while petting his hair morosely in remembrance (he had spent a week bald after that particular bout of accidental magic if Fred recalled correctly).

“The one who transfigured every article of clothing owned by our Defence teacher to look like food and then fed it to the grindylows because the woman called Professor Sprout fat in our first year?”

Cedric hummed affirmably. “Yes. But you forgot about the Devils Snare she left in the professor’s bathroom.”

“I threw your murderous relative thirty feet up in the air,” Fred stated. He gave his friend a deadpan stare all the while contemplating the probability of him getting killed.

“Yep.”

“Well, drat it.” Fred was suddenlyvery glad that he had apologised profusely after the incident… but maybe he should apologise a couple of more times? Just to be on the safe side.

oooOOooo

Fred woke up by being literally dragged out of bed. He felt a hand close around his ankle that began to pull him down the bed until his bum connected painfully with the floor. Seconds later George joined him in an uncoordinated sprawl on the floor, looking groggy, as he too had been subjected to the maniac dragging people out of their beds before the crack of dawn. Fred might have been bewildered by this if it was not for the fact that the same thing had happened on and off for weeks as Oliver Wood was even madder than usual. Ever since the start of term when the Slytherin team had shown off their new brooms the sixth year insisted that the Gryffindor Quidditch Team had to get up before dawn. With November – and thereby the first quidditch match – approaching, Wood’s fervour was reaching new heights, aggravating the entire team.

The Gryffindors meandered their way down to the lockers on empty stomachs in unison. Soon enough they were airborne and doing arduous drills. But while Fred and the rest of the team might be complaining, all of them had to admit that they had never been better. The Chasers were in complete synchronisation, Harry was getting better at spotting the snitch and Wood seemed to be using shear zealousness to make his broom move faster to protect the goal. Although the moving fast part could be a result of the unusual amount of Bludgers that seemed to be aiming for his person during morning practise (wonder why that was). Fred heard Wood swear that during some practises there had to have been three of the evil balls in play. Both of these occurrences were unrelated to the improvement of both Fred and George’s aim, of course.

But the point was; the team was getting better.

Once this particular morning practise was over Fred had to drag both himself and George back to the Great Hall in order to eat. The two of them were feeling drained, not just because of the practise but because they had ended up spending the night writing to Tom for the third time in a row. If it was not for the fact that he knew with certainty that he and George had removed the compulsion while also feeling appeased by the lack of malevolent spells on the book he might have been worried by this loss of energy. As it was, Fred simply attributed it to lack of sleep. Nonetheless, this event did result in the brothers cutting down on their writing time somewhat.

The two of them did make sure to make the most out of the lowered time spent with the diary-boy. One conversation they had with the memory had led to the discovery of Tom’s vast knowledge of obscured and forgotten spells. After that, his brother had made it his mission to learn every snippet of knowledge contained on the matter. As Tom was reluctant to share anything without serious persuasion, this took considerable time. Luckily, they had worked out a system that shortened this amount substantially. Just provide Tom with anecdotes of all the inane (according to Tom the Snarky Dork – for yes, Tom was a total dork, they had evidence) things they got up to would do the trick. Telling him of the time ‘Forge’ sent four toilet seats home to Ginny last year, some interesting facts (in essay length, of course) on the consistency of earth needed to grow Bouncing Bulbs or describing the exact pitch of Ron’s scream when confronted with spiders and Tom would suddenly be in a much more bestowing mode (if only to get them to stop talking). He and George were getting annoying Tom down to an art form at this point.

And it was good, George having someone to discuss ancient magics with. Fred was always eager to listen, but it was different talking to someone who genuinely cared about the subject. It was such a hard subject as sometimes you would only get an outline of what the spell consisted of or other times get an incantation without receiving neither pronunciation nor wand movement, and the only way to master the spell was to spend hours buried in old tomes trying to find something similar. Then, when you got an inkling of how to advance, simply testing various movements or words until something worked. Many (there among Fred) found this process time consuming, but his brother simply loved trying to work out the puzzle. Fred understood that feeling, the one you got when everything fell right into place and you got the magic to work. And Tom, he understood.

Well, he understood the Tom understanding part, seeing as he felt something quite similar when discussing arithmetic equations with the diary-boy (George had a tendency to zone out if Fred mentioned math in his vicinity).

One could not forget that this new knowledge they were acquiring also had the added benefit of making it easier to invent new pranks. With three brains (although one was not quite a brain… nor was the third member strictly aware of his involvement in designing the pranks) working on the problem of putting new concepts together from scratch, looking at the problems from different angles, the most amazing things were possible.

Things that could save lives.

Although for the most part, it was spells that made all the books in the library sing that were accomplished. When students opened their tomes, they would belt out their content in the voices of the Hogwarts teachers. Professor McGonagall crooning on about the correct way of cutting asphodel roots or Snape singing the tales of Urg the Unclean.

Let’s just say that that brought on an interesting week.

oooOOooo

The night of the Halloween Feast both George and Fred were absent from the festivities, as they had each acquired a set of ladybug antennas. Sadly, they did not look anything like the grand headwear the gingers had anticipated. Nothing like the cute diadem with fluffy balls at the end one Gryffindor first year had brought along to school that they used for inspiration. No, they had insect-like sprouts coming out of their ears (they were, originally, placed on the head, but when Fred tried to remove them, the antennas moved down) and were thus confined to the infirmary.

This also meant that both of them missed when one of the boys in Ron’s year accidentally set most of the decorations on fire. They also missed the subsequent fall of said decorations in a blazing inferno that almost killed four students (there amongst Harry). Luckily, the professors managed to stop it from hurting anyone, but George was pretty sure Fred would have liked to be present, if only to observe the spectacle. But, as stated, everyone came out unscathed. Thus the Gryffindor Team would not need to get a replacement seeker for their first match.

On the plus side, their accidental trip to the infirmary absolved them of their promise to escort Lee to Nearly-Headless-Nick’s death-day party. If there was one thing both George and Fred disliked about ghosts it was their alarming penchant for indulging in rotten food.

Better off staying a night at the infirmary. Besides, Lee could surely go with someone else. George was pretty sure Ginny and their neighbour Luna was planning on visiting Sir Nicholas, so their friend would not be alone.

That night George fell asleep feeling queasy, as the potion to remove the antlers was sickness-inducing. Not a good night.