The Sugar Quill
Author: Beaker (Professors' Bookshelf)  Story: Trevor the Spitting Toad  Chapter: Chapter 1: The Inquiry Begins
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Trevor the Spitting Toad

Trevor the Spitting Toad

by Beaker and Katie Bell

 

Author’s Notes: This story is set in May of Year Four. It is not tied into the main plot of Goblet of Fire, but does rely on certain events and subplots in GOF.

 

This is a co-creation of Beaker and “Katie Bell” (a newbie). All of the writing is Beaker’s. The basic premise, many ideas, and much helpful feedback and encouragement along the way come from Katie Bell.

 

Many thanks to Perri Smith, whose thoughtful comments and careful critique have improved and strengthened this story, especially Chapter 1.

 

Disclaimer: This is a work of fan fiction. Nearly all the characters and settings in this story belong to J.K. Rowling, her publishers and licensees. Those few spells, devices, characters, and settings that you don’t recognize from Rowling’s books are the authors’ creations.

 

 

Prologue: At the Magical Menagerie

 

“Dad, hurry! I have to show you this!” The girl tugged at her father’s robes, dragging him across Diagon Alley.

 

“What is it this time? Something more you want me to buy for you?”

 

“Oh, but Dad, it’s the best one ever! You’ve got to see it!” She pushed open the door to the Magical Menagerie and drew her father in behind her. Another girl stood with her mother at the counter.

 

“There you are, dearie!” said the witch behind the counter, as she tucked in the flaps of a cardboard box with holes in the sides. “Treat it well, now! Don’t go asking it to spit up anything too big!”

 

“I won’t,” The girl smiled widely, took the box, and turned to her mother. “Oh, thank you, Mummie! I’ve always wanted my own toad! And my favorite color, too—purple!”

 

“Happy birthday, honey,” her mother smiled back as they left the shop together.

 

“Noooo!” the girl wailed to her father. “Dad, you were too slow! That girl just got my toad!” She looked into the glass enclosure labeled Spitting Toads—10 galleons. “And it was the last one left!”

 

“Oh, don’t you worry, dearie,” the witch said. “We’ll be getting more in on Tuesday. Terrifically popular toads are, nowadays. Just a few years back I couldn’t give away a toad. Out of fashion, they were. I even stopped stocking them for awhile.”

 

“What do you mean?” The girl looked at her quizzically. “Toads are the coolest! Everyone wants one!”

 

“Oh, they didn’t used to, isn’t that right, sir?” She looked at the girl’s father, who nodded agreement. “It’s all on account of that young Neville Longbottom,” the witch continued. “He’s the one who started it all! That young man must be frightfully clever. I tried to get him to work with me when he finished at Hogwarts last year, but he wouldn’t come. And I would have made him a partner in the business, too. Well, well. His prospects must have been very good, I guess there’s no wonder he turned me down.”

 

“How did he make the toads spit?” the girl asked.

 

“Oh, it’s a bit of a story,” the woman replied. “I guess you were too young to know of it at the time. Went to the Inquiry at the Ministry with my friend Filomena, I did. Saw the whole thing…”


Chapter 1: The Inquiry Begins

“Silence! Silence in this hall, please,” Cornelius Fudge, Minister of Magic, sat at a tall desk in the center of a windowless room. The square floor was surrounded by benches rising like bleachers on all four sides. Fudge raised his voice and gestured for quiet. “This assembly must come to order before the inquiry can begin!”

 

A harried-looking young wizard was walking up and down the stairs between the seats, trying to impose order on the crowd.  “Move toward the center of the rows, please,” he kept repeating. “Don’t leave any single seats, others are waiting. Move toward the center of the rows, please.”

 

“Clam up, Percy, you’re not a prefect any more,” said a red-haired teenager in one of the front rows. “Besides, if I budge up any more, I’ll be sitting in George’s lap!” The boy’s identical twin, seated next to him, nodded. A paper label announced that this row was “Reserved for Witnesses.” Several Hogwarts students and teachers sat in this particular row.

 

“You two just keep your mouths shut until you’re called to the witness stand!” Percy Weasley snapped back at his brother Fred. “It’s all due to you that we’re here. I can’t believe it—the second inquiry in less than three years for the Weasley family! I may have to change my last name if this keeps up.”

 

“Weatherby has a nice ring to it,” George suggested.

 

Percy glared at him and moved on. “Move to the center of the rows, please….”

 

Even with the empty seats filled, a couple of dozen people were left standing in the back. The excited conversation gradually subsided as each person settled in for what promised to be one of the year’s most worthwhile spectacles.

 

“Right, then,” Fudge began when the noise had quieted to murmurs. “Thank you all for coming, especially those who had to travel all the way from Hogwarts without apparating.” Fudge looked serious. “Normally, an incident of this nature would not warrant Ministry attention. However, the possible presence of unknown magic at the school is of particular concern this year because of the Triwizard Tournament, which still has one task to go. I know it’s difficult to be shut indoors on such a beautiful May morning, but it’s important that we settle this matter as soon as possible.” He looked down at a wizard wearing plain navy-blue robes and hat, who was seated next to him. “Mr. Scribner, are you ready to record the proceedings?” Scribner wet the nib of a blue True-Transcript Quill, then placed it upright on the parchment that lay on the desk before him. He nodded up to Fudge, who turned back to the assembled crowd. “I call to order this inquiry into the missing Quidditch trophy, and sudden appearance of—”

 

“It’s not missing anymore, I know where it is!” A middle-aged wizard in yellow-and-black striped robes jumped up and pointed across the hall at Fred and George. “They’ve got it!” He mopped his brow, speaking very quickly and nervously. “Now boys, I know you’re both big fans, but don’t you think it’s a bit much to pinch an old man’s trophy? Just give it back and we can call it even, skip the rest of this inquiry, and get out of here? Hey—it’s a beautiful day, maybe I could give you a few pointers on your Quidditch game before you go back to school. Just hand over the trophy, okay?”

 

“Mr. Bagman, you are out of order! You will not speak unless you are called on to testify or are otherwise recognized by the Chair.” Fudge rubbed his head. “All right, I’ll try again. I call to order this inquiry into the missing Quidditch trophy and the sudden appearance of other items, including a crystal ball,” Fudge consulted a piece of parchment, “Cauldron, quill, football tickets and…no, that can’t be right,” Fudge squinted at the parchment, then leaned over to show it to Scribner, who just shrugged. Fudge straightened up. “In any case, this inquiry into the cause of certain items suddenly appearing at Hogwarts over the past few months is officially called to order. I call Mr. Fred Weasley and Mr. George Weasley to testify.”

 

Fred and George Weasley stood. “Point of order, Minister!” Percy Weasley called out from the block of seats where Ministry employees were seated.

 

“Yes, Mr. Weasley?” Fudge looked irritated at the interruption.

 

“With all respect sir, I wish to point out that as the witnesses are underage, their parents or legal guardians must be present during their testimony.”

 

George rolled his eyes. “What, you’re not enough of a mother hen to qualify, Percy?” he called out. There were titters through the audience as Percy shushed him.

 

“Very well. Are Arthur and Molly Weasley present?” Fudge looked around the room. Just then, a door banged open in a corner of the room. A middle-aged wizard, slightly out of breath, came in. “Ah, Arthur. We were just looking for you.”

 

“I’m here, Cornelius, I’m here.” Arthur Weasley hustled to the center of the room and approached Fudge’s desk, where he addressed the minister quietly. “Molly will be along shortly. She’s having a bit of trouble apparating lately—women’s thing, change of life and all that, you understand, Cornelius? So she’s coming by Floo Powder, but she couldn’t find the new tin of it that she bought a few months back. She said I should go on ahead.”

 

“Ah, yes,” Fudge nodded sympathetically. “Mrs. Fudge went through all that—hot flashes, forgetfulness, trouble apparating. It will all sort itself out for her in a few months, Arthur.” Fudge looked up at the crowd as Arthur Weasley found his seat. “Right then, one parent is enough to proceed. I call Fred and George Weasley!”

 

Fred and George walked proudly to the center of the room, waving to the audience as they took seats beside each other in two armless wooden chairs.

 

“Fred and George,” Fudge began, “You have been found in possession of—”

 

“Point of order, Minister!” It was Percy again. “The witnesses have not yet been sworn in!”

 

Fudge turned slowly to face Percy and gave him an acid look. “Just who is conducting this inquiry, young man?”

 

Percy swallowed hard. “You are, sir.”

 

“Quite so,” Fudge looked hard at Percy. “I shall conduct it as I see fit, and I would appreciate it if there are as few interruptions as necessary, so we can all be home in time for tea this afternoon!”

 

“Yes, sir,” Percy turned a brilliant red and sank down in his seat a few inches.

 

“Fred and George,” Fudge began again, “You were found in possession of a trophy commemorating the Wimbourne Wasp’s 1981 League Championship. The trophy is the property of Ludovic Bagman, currently head of the Department of Magical Games and Sports, who reported it missing from his office four days before it was discovered in Gryffindor Tower by Minerva McGonagall. Can we have the trophy on the exhibit table, please?” A witch in navy-blue robes went into a side chamber, retrieved a well-polished, two-foot-tall bronze trophy, and placed it on a table at the base of Fudge’s lectern. “Thank you, Miss Rollins. Fred and George, please tell this assembly how you came to be in possession of this object.”

 

“Well, it wasn’t our fault, really,” Fred said.

 

“No, it wasn’t,” George nodded his agreement. “It was that toad of Longbottom’s.”

 

“I beg your pardon?” Fudge asked.

 

“Neville Longbottom’s toad, Trevor,” George’s face wore a serious expression, but the edges of his mouth were twitching.

 

“That’s right,” Fred agreed. “If anyone has a right to complain, it’s Neville. We didn’t take Bagman’s trophy, but we did kidnap Trevor for a bit, isn’t that right, George?”

 

Fudge rubbed his eyes as if warding off a headache. “All right. And how does this…toad?…figure into Bagman’s loss of the trophy?”

 

“He just spat it up for us, didn’t he, George?”

 

“That’s right, he did!”

 

//
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