The Sugar Quill
Author: Antonio  Story: Weasleys' Wizarding Wheezes, Getting Started  Chapter: Chapter One, The Grand Opening
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Weasleys’ Wizarding Wheezes, Getting Started

     Weasleys’ Wizarding Wheezes, Getting Started 

 

Disclaimer: Characters, settings, objects, among other things, from the “Harry Potter” books, belong to J. K. Rowling her publishers and their affiliates. Fred and George’s little song, is a re-done version of Dolly Parton’s “Downtown”.

 

Author’s Notes: I’d like to thank the following people:  my mum; Chary, my SQ beta-reader; Mrs Weasley of the Sugar Quill, for letting me borrow a few things from her short story “One Thousand Galleons”.

 

Chapter One, The Grand Opening

 

Two of Hogwarts most infamous jokesters and tricksters, Fred and George Weasley, are getting ready for the grand opening of their joke shop, Weasleys’ Wizarding Wheezes, an important milestone in the wizarding world. The Weasley’s joke shop, at number ninety-three Diagon Alley, is housed in a small dark moss-green brick building. Under the large, gold lettered sign that reads, Weasleys’ Wizarding Wheezes is a bow window that displays their newest merchandise. The door on the left side of the building has a loud jingly golden bell, along with a fresh coat of bright red paint. Outside, a small crowd of excited witches and wizards wait for the completed shop to open its doors for the first time. Inside, Fred and George put final touches on their new shop, the last step in realizing a dream of many years.

 

The shop is designed with two rows that lead down to a curved counter. The edible jokes are in the first row and the second has all the other tricks the twins have created and field-tested at Hogwarts over the years. In the front of the shop, just inside the door, the newest products are displayed. This is where one of the creators of the shop, George Weasley, can be found putting finishing touches on the opening day display.

 

George looks up and freezes upon noticing a familiar face arrive and join the crowd waiting for the opening. “Hey, Fred, guess who has enough cheek to show their face at our shop?” he bellows down the shop to Fred, who is at the counter, checking that the registers are still in working order.

 

“Er, who’d need a load of nerve to come in here? Malfoy? No wait!” Chuckles Fred, who is now filling the registers with wizarding money. “Not that evil witch Umbridge.”

 

“Nope,” George replies, “it’s someone even worse.”

 

“Even worse, who can be even worse?” Fred asks.

 

“It’s . . . it’s . . . it’s . . . Percy. Fred, what do we do? I mean, Mum and Dad won’t want us to be nice to him. Come on, after what he’s done to our family, why would we.” George says getting down from the display.

  

“Well, I don’t know. Why don’t we let Percy make the first move before we decide? Remember he’s just another customer, for now. George! What’s up?” Fred asks seeing his brother face lose color as he catches sight of the clock above the door.

 

George takes a deep breath and swallows hard. “It’s time to open the shop, it’s almost ten.”

 

George looks around the shop to see if anything is still out of place. Satisfied that they are ready to proceed with their grand opening plans, George looks at Fred. “Shall we?” motioning towards the door, Fred walks up to the front of the shop. 

 

“Here goes nothing.” Fred swallows and turns to his brother who is looking very nervous, and the two of them walk through the front door, side by side, to greet the crowd of waiting witches and wizards.

 

As they step to the front and centre of the crowd, they hear a tall black witch near the back say to no one in particular, “That is one monstrosity of a sign they have. It’s revolting.” She points up to the large and crazy looking sign the twins constructed the day before. Laughter springs forth from the crowd even from Dedalus Diggle. Pleased that people are noticing their sign, George smiles his approval at the waiting crowd.

 

“Welcome everyone, to the grand opening of Weasleys’ Wizarding Wheezes! For those of you who don’t know who we are, I am George Weasley, and this is my brother Fred,” he says loudly with a quick glance at Dedalus Diggle, who drops his top hat with a squeak. “We are the proprietors and creators of everything you will find in our fine establishment.”

 

Fred takes his cue to start, and says, “Thank you all for taking time out of your busy lives to help us celebrate this momentous occasion. We hope our shop serves all of those budding jokesters-in-training out there, along with anyone who just wants to play an innocent prank on a friend, and those who want relief from these most stressful times, now that You-Know-Who has returned,” Fred says seriously, noting a shudder go through the small crowd.

 

“Most of our merchandise is the result of nearly seven years spent at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, turning many of the inhabitants there into the first test subjects. Years that have inspired us to create many of the hundreds of jokes and tricks that you will find inside,” George says, beaming at the crowd, which seems excited and eager for the shop to open.

 

“We aim to be the best joke shop, with the funniest and most frightful jokes, tricks and pranks around.” Fred says, before he and George start the little song they made up especially for this occasion. Singing slightly out of tune, the twins begin,

 

Weasleys’ Wizarding Wheezes, will become known to all,

How come you laugh?

The jokes are much better here,

You can forget all your troubles, forget all your cares.

 

When you come down to,

Weasleys’ Wizarding Wheezes.

No funnier place for sure, down here,

Where we’re waiting to play a trick one you.

 

Fred ends their little song and starts to laugh, but no one else besides George and the twin girls in the front of the crowd join in. He stops laughing very quickly, looking slightly embarrassed.

 

“Okay then,” George says, letting out a breath of air to stop himself from laughing, not the least bit embarrassed. “A couple of grand opening notices. Everything purchased in the next three days is half price and with every purchase, you will get a certificate for a ten percent discount on a future purchase.

 

Fred interjects, “Also, for the first three days, we will have refreshments inside, so don’t leave the shop to quench your cravings. There will also be product demonstrations every hour.”

 

“Without any further ado, we will take you on a quick tour of the shop and then let you loose,” George says, before he leads the way into the shop.

 

When the crowd has assembled around the table loaded with opening day biscuits and pumpkin juice, Fred begins to speak. “In the window display behind you, we will be having our newest products available for you to look at and purchase. Since today is our grand opening, we do not have a new product out, because we consider everything in the shop to be new, but tomorrow morning, there will be a brand new product in the window.”

 

George starts bouncing on the balls of his feet. “And, in the aisle to your right, we have all of our assorted edible pranks, with their own peculiar, and perfectly safe, I might add, side effects and antidotes. In the aisle to your left, are all our other inventions including: Portable Swamps, fake wands, Extendable Ears, and the most famous Weasleys’ Wildfire Whiz-Bangs, the most explosive fireworks since Dr. Filibuster premiered.”

 

Fred smiles uncontrollably as he says, “Our registers are located in the back, as are our hourly product demonstrations. If you have any question, feel free to ask my brother or me.”

 

A smiling George tells the crowd, “We will gladly assist in any way we can with any request, please feel free to wander around the shop,” and with that, the shop officially opens.

 

As the crowd parts and drifts into different sections of the shop, Fred and George look at each other with identical ear-to-ear grins. Nothing had prepared them for the incredible feeling of seeing witches and wizards actually browsing around their joke shop, not one that only exists in their dreams and imaginations, but the real thing. It was starting off as a great day.

 

As Fred and George embrace each other, too choked up to speak, they hear a, “Hrmm, hrumm,” behind them.

 

Dedalus Diggle immediately begins to babble, “Hello, Fred and George, I am here on some rather important business.” Startled by Dedalus, the twins quickly jump back a few feet, which in return surprises Dedalus into dropping the top hat he is holding. He continues with a slight squeal, “I’m here to tell you that you need to be careful of people who might try . . . certain things on you –”

 

“D’you want to go to a more private place?” Fred asks, looking around the shop to see if anyone is trying to listen in on their conversation, however every one seems too busy at the moment. Even Percy, who has not tried to speak to them, the tall black witch, who seems to dislike the shop, appear to be well entertained.

 

“Yes, I suppose that’d be nice,” Dedalus says nervously, looking around the shop at the customers.

 

They proceed towards the counter at the back of the shop. Once they are behind the counter, Dedalus turns to the twins and starts once again in a nervous squeal, “I don’t have anything of much importance to say, and if we disappear from sight it might look suspicious. You might get what you want during the summer, but the suppliers aren’t fully sure about what’s going to happen. I’ll inform the lead of your whereabouts, and they will likely come as soon as possible, probably in the next . . . well that’s more than enough, I think.”

 

Fred and George give each other quizzical looks as Dedalus walks over to look at the edible pranks. 

 

Fred whispers, “I think the Order is considering our membership.”

 

“Yes, but it sounds like they’re not sure whether or not to let us join.” George replies. “I wonder if that has anything to do with Mum and Dad?

 

“I don’t know,” Fred whispers back, “but Dedalus is going to tell Dumbledore where we are, and Dumbledore will come in a few days to talk to us. Maybe we can ask him then.”

 

“Yeah, we’ll just have to convince him that we are not too young and that we are ready to fight You-Know-Who,” George says a bit too loudly, causing Diggle to look over at them nervously.

 

Fred and George go over to Diggle, who has just picked up some Canary Creams.

 

“Thanks, Diggle,” Fred says, holding out his hand for Dedalus to shake. “See you around then?”

 

“Yes, yes I think so,” Dedalus Diggle says, now shaking George’s hand. “I do want to add one more thing, do not harm or attempt to cause any damage to any of your customers, you never know when one of them might try and use your slip up against you; just keep that in mind as you hopefully have luck in your adventures of owning a shop.”

 

“Dedalus, Dedalus, Dedalus, we, my friend, are no fools when it comes to our customers. There’s no reason for you to worry about that. We promise that we will not intentionally harm anyone who plans on doing business with us,” George says snootily, as Dedalus lets go of his hand. “If we did, then what would be the point of being in business in the first place?”

 

Fred continues, “Our customers would never want to come back, and they wouldn’t tell their friends good things about our shop. Which is one of the best ways to get a good reputation in the business community,” he says, as he absentmindedly playing with the knobs on the registers.

 

“I see then, well there doesn’t seem to be anything else,” Dedalus says, straightening up his top hat. “You’ll get orders when they send you the main package,” he says in an undertone, as a wizard passes by.

 

“Thank you, Diggle.” George lightly claps Dedalus on the shoulder.

 

With that, Dedalus Diggle excitedly turns to leave the shop bumping into an older witch on his way out, causing her packages from Flourish and Blott’s to fall all over the place. His top hat is knocked off yet again, getting trampled on by the twin girls who are running towards the counter with a large purchase. Fred passes the girls on his way to help the witch that Dedalus Diggle bumped into pick up her purchases.

 

The twins skid to a halt just in time to avoid crashing into the counter. George, watching them with an amused look on his face, thinks back to all of the times he has excitedly run through the various shops in Diagon Alley.

 

The girl whose long hair is half way down her back starts talking, “Hi, I’m Alison Edland, we’re ready to buy this stuff,” she says starting to unload her purchases on to the counter.

 

“Okay then . . . you wouldn’t happen to have a reason why you’re in such a hurry would you?” George asks, starting to ring up the girl’s purchases, consisting of at least one of every edible product in the shop.

 

Alison’s twin, who has her hair in a ponytail, answers, “We don’t want to waste anymore time than we already have. We are ready to start having fun with your products.” She gives a shove to get the last of the sweets in her arms onto the counter, which is a little higher than her normal reach.

 

“I see . . . I remember what it’s like to be seven years old. Now you don’t want to eat all of these at once and make sure you have the antidotes. I wouldn’t want any harm to come to either of you. What’s your name?” George smiles at the identical little girl standing next to Alison, who has left a large pile of sweets on the counter.

 

“I’m Haley, ten minutes older than her,” Haley says pointing sideways at Alison, who rolls her eyes. “There are other things we’d rather do then eat all these sweets at once. And how did you guess our ages?”

 

“Because I was just like you two when I was seven. So, Alison and Haley, you happen to be the first customers of the Weasleys’ Wizarding Wheezes shop,” George says, continuing to ring up their jokes and pranks.

 

“That was our plan since we saw that you were opening today!” Alison answers excitedly, swinging the hair out of her face. “That’s why we’ve been running around. We wanted to be the first!”

 

“That’s great!” George laughs, picking up the first of several Canary Creams. “I notice you two were the only ones of the whole crowd who laughed at our little song, it was funny, wasn’t it?”

 

Alison looks nervously at her sister, a little embarrassed. “Well since we were right in front of you, and you two looked a bit funny . . .”

 

Haley who is equally embarrassed says, “It just seemed like people were supposed to laugh when you finished your song . . .”

 

“And since nobody did. . .” Alison grabs the first of a few full bags of merchandise.

 

“It just made the whole thing about ten times funnier than it would have been if everybody had laughed like they were supposed to,” Haley says, clearly over any earlier embarrassment.

 

Hhhmmmm . . . I’m not sure about you two,” George says, ringing up the last of their sweets. “You seem too smart for such young ones,” George grins at them, ringing up their one non-edible product, a Headless Hat.

 

The twins give George identical looks of innocence. “You’ll just have to wait and find out for yourself,” Alison says sweetly, while picking up the next bag.

 

“It will be three Galleons, six Sickles, and four Knuts,” George says.

 

Haley pulls the correct amount of change out of her robes and hands the gold over to George, who gives her a certificate. “Thanks, you two, for being here first.”

 

“You’re welcome. I’m sure we’ll be back soon to get more stuff to have fun with,” Alison says, before she turns with Haley to leave, stopping at the refreshment table to get some juice and biscuits.

  

Fred, in the meantime, has been helping the old witch whose books were spilled by Dedalus. “I’m sorry about our friend who bumped into you,” Fred says as he gathers the books from the floor.

 

“Oh, that’s all right, I suppose I should watch where I’m going a little more carefully. This isn’t the first time I’ve been bumped into,” the old witch says, putting the last of the books into her bag. “No harm done. I want to thank you, young sir, for helping me with my books. Lucky for me I haven’t yet visited your main competitor, Gambol and Japes.”

 

Fred smiles and says, “You’re welcome, it was no bother. If you need anything else, just ask me or my brother, we’ll be glad to help,” Fred takes a glance at what products she might have been looking at before she was bumped into. “By the way, I’m Fred Weasley.”

 

“Thank you, Mr. Weasley. Hey, I remember going to Hogwarts with a Weasley, mind you they were probably one of your great-grandparents. Just call me Wendelin,” the old witch responds. “One other thing; do these Headless Hats have any other side effects? Such as blocking off unwanted spells?”

 

 “We don’t put any protection like that on our Headless Hats, but you might be able to put one on yourself. Why d’you ask? It seems unusual for a joke product to ward off unwanted spells.”

 

Wendelin frowns disappointed that the hats will not serve the purpose she wants. “Well, let’s just say that you’ll never want to go up behind Alastor Moody and yell ‘Boo’.” Wendelin gives a sly smile, no longer upset about the headless hats.

 

“What happened then?” Fred asks, intrigued by her story.

 

“He turned around and cursed the ability to laugh right out of me. My life hasn’t been the same since. It was only one little stupid joke.” Wendelin’s smile fades as she reaches out and pick up one of the Headless Hats. “I only lived to have fun, laugh and play some tricks on people, but now it’s only half as fun. That’s why I love your stuff so much, it reminds me of how it used to be before I was cursed,” Wendelin says, grabbing another Headless Hat. “I’ve been an avid user of your owl order service. It’s nice to be able to wander around a shop filled with your products, and see the stuff before you buy it, not that I’ve ever been disappointed with any of my orders.”

 

“Thanks for the business. I happen to know Moody, now I know what not to do when he’s around,” Fred responds.

 

“You know Moody! How could you know him? He’s such an un-fun git,” Wendelin says, shocked that her favorite shop owner is acquainted with the person she dislikes most.

 

“Our parents are friends with him, so we see him occasionally,” Fred interrupts Wendelin’s thoughts.

 

She thinks about this for a minute and decides their knowing Moody is not going to affect her patronage of their joke shop; these jokes are too good to pass up for an old grudge. “Well that should be all right, I can’t be too mad at the past, anyway thanks for your help, Fred is it?” Wendelin says, holding out her hand for Fred to shake.

 

“Yep. You’re welcome, I’m glad to help,” Fred says, shaking her hand. Wendelin turns to continue browsing the shop. Moving towards the back, Fred goes to see how George is doing.

 

 Reaching the counter, Fred asks, “Who’s going to tell their story first?”

 

“I’d go, but it looks like we’ll have to wait, Perce is heading over here and he doesn’t look happy at all,” George says.

 

“Then we can wait until we close tonight, by then we should each have loads of stories to tell.” they turn to greet Percy head on, not wanting to allow him any kind of head start or upper hand.

 

Percy, with his Ministry badge shining brightly on his chest and a grim look, does not waste anytime getting to the point. “I’ve been looking around the shop to give you some time to get your bearings after opening, but that time is now over. I need to start official Ministry business and inspect your shop.”

 

Not stopping long enough for the twins to get a word in edgewise, Percy continues with his questions, “Would it be correct to assume that the two of you are the only employees? If not, could I please speak with all of your employees, if that’s not too much work . . . or trouble?”

 

“Yes, it is safe for you to assume that you are correct,” George’s response drips with sarcasm. None of them notice the tall black witch who earlier made the comment about their sign, listening suspiciously to their conversation. She is near the counter pretending to look at the products arranged nearby.

 

Percy doesn’t acknowledge George, but he continues on with his business. “I am here in my capacity as the Junior Assistant to the Minister of Magic, Mr. Cornelius Fudge, to conduct a routine inspection of all new shops within the magical world that the Ministry presides over. I will need unfettered access to all parts of your operations at Weasleys’ Wizarding Wheezes,” Percy coughs at the name, “located at number ninety-three, Diagon Alley. If you please, I would like to get this done as soon as possible,” Percy proclaims somewhat pompously. “There are other important jobs that I need to do for the Minister of Magic.”

 

Exchanging a look of disdain for Percy and his love of everything Ministry, especially rules, Fred and George can’t take it any longer. George snarls at Percy, “Why don’t you cut the Ministry crap and start acting like our brother, Perce. At least like the one we had in school, since he was much better than you.”

 

“And it wouldn’t hurt for you to apologize to Mum and Dad, either,” Fred adds.

 

“Everything that I have said is completely and one-hundred percent true and necessary. If you do not allow me to inspect this shop, then I will have to come back with an order to have this shop closed on the basis that the owners have not allowed the Ministry of Magic to conduct a rather routine inspection. I do not think that you would want to have your business closed before the magical world is infested with your, no doubt, crude merchandise. Since we are no longer discussing matters of any importance for the safety of the magical population, can I get started then?” Percy says, irritated that his brothers would mention their parents to him and in public at that.

 

“Okay then, Perce, we aren’t going to stop you from doing your all important work for the Ministry.” Fred sneers at Percy, turning to help the witch who has come up to the counter, waiting for assistance. “George will take care of you.”

 

Percy once again ignores his brother’s comments, although he is fuming inside at the audacity of the twins to treat him, an official from the ministry, with such disdain. “After I finish my inspection, I will give you a copy of my report, which will also be given to the Ministry of Magic office that deals with magical businesses. They will keep track of the necessary corrections that you must make,” Percy says, not looking happy at the prospect of inspecting a shop that his brothers own and operate. George follows him as he starts toward the back room.

 

After Percy and George leave, Fred mutters to himself, “Damn you, Perce,” before nicely asking the witch, “Can I help you with anything, Madam? I’m Fred Weasley.” Fred is aware that she had earlier made the comment about their sign.

 

“Hello, I’m Mrs. Petella Pennyweather, former Daily Prophet reporter. I am wondering if you could show me products using complex or advance forms of Transfiguration,” she asks curiously.

 

“Why, yes I can, Mrs. Pennyweather,” Fred says moving to the other side of the counter. He notices the latest issue of Transfiguration Today sticking out of her robe pocket. “So what’s it like to be a former reporter of the Daily Prophet?” Fred asks making friendly conversation, though he is seriously interested in her response. On closer inspection, he notices that she is quite pretty, much like Angelina Johnson, though much older.

 

“It is quite a relief, I’ll tell you. I could not imagine being a reporter for them now. They used to let the reporters do just about anything that they wanted to; we were about reporting the news to the wizarding world. Not any more, now they pander to anything that the Ministry tells them to. Though the Ministry has always tried to control the news in the paper, at least back when I worked there, if you had influence at the top, which I did, you did what you wanted. Much like how Rita Skeeter had lots influence until last summer. Now, that is an interesting disappearance story they never covered. These problems have become a lot worse since Cornelius Fudge became confident in his job as Minister of Magic. I’m happy to not have been there. Sorry for going on about my former employer like that, a youngling like you probably doesn’t care much about what happened over twenty years ago, do you?” Petella asks looking at Fred.

 

“You’d be surprised at how interested I am. Especially in times like these, as we mentioned in our pre opening speech, with some big name wizards saying that You-Know-Who is back.” Fred smiles as he heads towards the fake wands, saying, “Most of our jokes and pranks involve some sort of transfiguration, here let me show you one of my favorites, fake wands.” Just as he is demonstrating the wands abilities, she interrupts him.

 

“Mr. Weasley, I have a question for you. You don’t mind, do you?” Petella whispers to Fred, looking around making sure no one can over hear them, then leaning in closer. “Did you and your brother really escape from Hogwarts, right out from under the headmistresses’ nose?” Petella says, trying not to laugh at a Fred, whose head is covered by the slug that the wand turned into. “Did you two really turn one of the corridors in Hogwarts into a swamp? And did you really get your brooms out of lock and key from her office? Did you? All of that right under Umbridge’s nose, oh . . . how wonderful it must have been. Is it all true?” Petella asks, still whispering, but with an extremely impish look on her face.  

 

Bewildered at hearing all of this, Fred is glad the slug is covering his face, and his surprise. Wondering, who this witch is, and how she got so much information, Fred removes the slug and manages to stutter, “Well . . . um . . . oh . . . I suppose it won’t hurt to tell you that . . . it’s true,” Fred says. Realizing that maybe normal witches and wizards have already heard about their impressive departing ceremony from Hogwarts, Fred is ecstatic. Mrs. Pennyweather seems glad to hear that the rumours are true. “I’m guessing you have kids there who watched our departing ceremony and told you about it?”

 

“Well, I don’t have kids there myself, but some of my friends do. So, it is true that you two dangled the same chain that Umbridge used to tie up your brooms in her face.” Petella smiles broadly. “I’m so happy, I could hug you right now.”

 

“Please don’t . . .” Fred stammers, afraid she will make a scene.

 

“I cannot thank the two of you enough. That horrible witch has run over Professor Dumbledore far too many times this past year. And two seventeen year olds slapped her in the face.” Petella notices Fred’s shocked expression and hastily adds, “Well, almost slapped.”

 

“Just a correction, we’re eighteen, not seventeen, our birthday was in April,” Fred says, holding his hands up in protest. “And why do you want to know so much about our escape? You’re not reporting this to anybody, are you? You did say you were a ‘former’ reporter for the Daily Prophet didn’t you?”

 

“Oh, no, I’m not looking for information to give to the Ministry of Magic, or the Daily Prophet, or anything like that. I see you already have their representative here. It’s just to satisfy my own curiosity,” Petella says, eager for more information.

 

“If I’m going to tell you more, then I’ll have to have my brother George there too, he would not want to miss out on the retelling of our escape. And I don’t remember all the things that went into planning our escape from that witch’s prison,” responds Fred, figuring it is safe to say stuff like this in front of Mrs. Pennyweather, as she seems to hate Umbridge as much as he does. “Maybe if you come back after we close the shop, we could all talk about it then? I don’t want to say much more than I already have without my brother here to enjoy it.”

 

“That’s fine, I’ll be back. Thank you, yet again.” Petella smiles widely. “What would be a good time to come back and talk about this wonderful event?”

 

Happy to find someone who seems to detest the Ministry and that Umbridge witch as much as he and George, Fred makes the appointment. “We close down at six o’clock . . . so how ‘bout around seven?”

 

“That sounds good, I’ll be back around seven then.” She and Fred exchange nods as she heads toward the door.

 

Fred watches as Mrs. Pennyweather leaves the shop, happily muttering about her good fortune of meeting the Weasley twins in person. He is a little surprised that someone so much older would get that excited over the fact that a couple of teenagers left school, making a fool of the headmistress, but that is a question for tonight.

 

Fred smiles as he notices most of the customers are enjoying the price tags, which have moving pictures of him and George acting out the jokes and tricks.

 

Getting to the storage room where George is supervising Percy’s inspection, Fred is shocked to see George creeping up behind Percy with his wand at the ready. “George!” he snaps. “I could use your help out here in the shop.” George quickly shapes up seconds before Percy turns around. “Give the inspector some space, will you, George. Could you come out here, now?” Fred says forcefully, hoping Percy will not become suspicious.

 

“I guess so,” George mutters, turning to follow Fred out of the room.

 

George, fuming, says, “I don’t want him back there unsupervised, he might find stuff that we don’t want him to or he might take stuff that is not his. And, what if he sabotages one of our research projects? How would you feel then about dragging me out here where I can’t keep an eye on him?”

 

“George, just calm down, okay, it’s better to have him finding things than you hexing him. And what exactly were you doing?”

 

“Oh no, it’s not. You haven’t seen what he’s doing back there. Just before you got here he tried to tangle himself up in our big stack of shopping bags, then he tried to spill out all of the contents in our potions cabinet. He only stopped when I asked him why he needed to check them, since the labels say what’s inside the bottles, and then he gives me a miffed look, like I’m the one who’s out of line.”

 

“That’s not so bad; we can fix that stuff, can’t we? But you can’t hex him. Who knows what trouble we’ll be in. Remember what Dedalus said?”

 

“Oh, yes it is bad, now that I’m not back there he’ll just do what he wants. Then he tried to vanish the stew we’re making for one of our new products. Don’t tell me that we don’t need to watch that sneaky git. Besides, Dedalus wasn’t talking about our brother!” 

 

“Okay, okay. What I have to say will only take a moment; I have some news for you. The witch who made the comment about our sign and was listening to our conversation with Percy earlier wants to talk to us about the night we left Hogwarts,” Fred says, trying to keep George from going into the backroom to pester Percy.

 

George looks at Fred confused. “She does? D’you have any idea why?”

 

“I asked the same question and she said that she hates Umbridge, and was happy we made a fool of her when we left.” Fred and George cover their ears as they hear a loud echoing crash come from the room where Percy is supposedly inspecting their shop.

  

“Now you have to let me get back there, so I can hex him before he causes anymore damage to our hard earned stuff . . .” George begins, but Fred interrupts him.

 

“Just hold on a minute, then you can try to punish Percy,” Fred say, holding up his hands to stop George from charging in on Percy.

 

“What do you mean ‘try to’? I will punish Percy, and don’t think that I can’t.”

 

“Before I let you loose to start a duel with Perce, just answer this,” Fred requests. “Should we tell her our story, or not?”

 

“What! Not tell the tale of how two of the best mischief-makers left Hogwarts? To someone that’s interested? I think not.” George beams with pride. “This is wicked; we aren’t the only ones who hate her. When is she coming back to hear our version of the story?”

 

“She said that she would come back after we close the shop tonight,” Fred says.

 

”Great!” George responds, with a reminiscing look on his face.

 

“I still can’t believe what we pulled off at Hogwarts that night. It was bloody brilliant. What d’you reckon George?” Fred asks.

 

“Yep, bet you they’ll be talking about it for ages,” replies George happily. “But let me get back there before our brother messes up even more of our stuff.” and with that, George storms off to the testing room. He finds Percy hurriedly writing notes on his parchment. A few minutes later, Percy finishes with the testing room and goes to see what is in the last remaining room in the back of the shop. His attempts to open the door prove fruitless. “What d’you want from in there, Perce?” George questions.

 

“I need to do a full and complete inspection of your premises, and this door should lead into a room, but I cannot get in there. If you don’t let me in, then your shop will fail. It won’t pass, until I . . . someone is let in to inspect it.” Percy appears happy about the prospect of closing the twins’ shop. He continues to run his fingers around the frame, trying to find a weak spot.

 

“You won’t be able to make us fail the inspection because of this room. The previous owner never let us in there, and Gringotts told him that he needed to keep the room or else they will take all of the gold he has with them for some sort of loan issues. I don’t really understand their reasoning or have any of the details. He did not want to elaborate,” George says.

 

“Why do you have to follow this rule for the previous owner?” Percy asks.

 

“We haven’t paid the entire cost of purchasing the shop yet. Once we do, then there won’t be a problem with this room

 

“Well, well, well, look what happens when you are allowed to make up stories George. You get to make entire laws bend to your liking, well not with me you don’t. You’ll have to get some sort proof before I believe that story. As I said, I will need entrance to this room.”

 

“I know, or we’ll fail our inspection if you don’t go in there. I already know Perce; you don’t need to repeat yourself.”

 

“What kind of stuff do you think is in there?” Percy takes a step back to study the door from afar.

 

“I wouldn’t have a clue,” George says, looking at Percy like he wants to banish him from the shop. “My guess is he’s storing the stuff he was unable to sell before we moved into the shop and may owe money on.” George figures telling Percy a bit of the truth couldn’t hurt. “Why don’t we go over anything you have to say about the other rooms back here?”

 

“Why don’t you let me in this room? After that, we can go over the things I have found to be not quite up to code. You should remember that I am an assistant to the Minister of Magic himself. I will be able to get anything out of you two that I want.” Percy, shaking with anger, cannot believe that his idiotic twin brothers would act so childishly while trying to run a shop in the adult wizarding world. Don’t they understand that they can no longer mess around with matters of importance?

 

“I can’t! I already told you, the previous owner kept the keys to this room and did not give us access. There is nothing more to say.”

 

Percy stares daggers down at George, who does not look away. “And who, might I ask, is the pervious owner?”

 

George gives Percy a look to equal his. “Mr. Septimus Smethwyck, why?”

 

“I might need to do some research,” Percy snaps sharply, “and it really is none of your business, George Frederick Weasley,” he says.

 

“Good luck,” George mumbles, happy to know Mr. Septimus Smethwyck left for New Zealand when he and Fred took over the shop.

 

“Since you are being so uncooperative, I will just continue my inspection into the shopping area. If you create any more problems, then trouble will come your way.” Percy strides past George on his way to the front room.

 

“Good for nothing git,” he mutters after Percy.

 

“How’d it go with Perce?” Fred asks, as he hands Jake Jones his change and certificate for purchasing the Deflagration Deluxe box of Weasleys’ Wildfire Whiz-Bangs.

 

“Not good at all, he wants to get into our room,” George mutters under his breath, while trying to put a smile on his face for the next customer in line. “I can help you over here.”

 

George waves to Lewis Lawson who is buying a pair of Portable Swamps. “I love the wet and smelly parts,” Lewis Lawson says gleefully.

 

As George takes care of this transaction, Fred leaves the counter to help a customer who is having trouble getting the Extendable Ears to stay away from their ears. The Ears keep trying to wrap around the customer’s ears. 

 

George realizes that they need to get out a new box that doesn’t have a defect. When Lewis Lawson heads for the front door, he turns around and goes to get a new box of Extendable Ears from their storage room, where he finds the mess Percy has left for them to clean up, “That lazy git had better explain himself,” George says aloud to no one in particular. He gets a new box of Ears and checks to make sure they are not defective. He passes Fred, who is bringing in the box of faulty ears after removing them from the customer.

 

When Fred gets back from putting away the box of defective Extendable Ears, they decide it is time for their first product demonstration. Deciding on the Broken Butters, they head for the demonstration area.

 

“Broken Butters over here! First demonstration of the day, you won’t want to miss it! Broken Butters, part of the Skiving Snack Boxes line!” Fred calls out to the customers still in the shop. “Watch my brother George now as he eats the first part of the butter . . . and voila,” A loud cracking noise penetrates from George’s arm. “My brother’s arm is now broken and completely useless until he gets the rest of the butter down.” George has his sleeve rolled up to show his limp arm. “Nasty enough to make your professor, boss, or parent think you have suffered a major attack, allowing you to skive yourself out of staying around for something you don’t want to do,” Fred explains to the crowd. “And now, watch as he eats the other half of the Broken Butter . . . and voila, his arm is as good as new, with only a small twinge of pain. So, once you get excused, you can go off and have fun with no lingering side effects of using potions and other sickness causing spells. Any questions? Any takers? Anyone want a sample?”

 

Five minutes later, they finish with the demonstration, which by all counts is a hit, and walk around the shop helping customers. They soon overhear Percy talking to himself about their products. “Ah, yes they do have the Portable Swamps that Professor Umbridge told us about in her daily owl to the Ministry. Tut-tut. I will have to confiscate these, most definitely. We cannot have more students turning the halls of Hogwarts into the wetlands of Havenshire, no we cannot. Especially not now with Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry finally under the leadership of a headmistress who is friendly and supportive of the Ministry of Magic and its practices.”

 

Fred and George do their best to ignore Percy’s comments, but that only becomes harder as a customer comes up to them and asks, “What does the Ministry want with your shop? You aren’t hiding something for You-Know-Who, are you?”

 

Fred, remembering the sign they have above the counter that reads, ‘We will refuse service to those who do not love the fun world of jokes, and that’s final.’ kicks the young chappie out of the shop, saying, “And don’t bother coming back.” All the while thinking of the audacity the chappie has, to suggest that he and George have something to do with You-Know-Who.

 

Nigel Mortimer asks George for a bag for all of his purchases just as Percy calls the twins to hear the inspection results.

 

“The results of your Ministry inspection are as follows, so listen carefully. The physical premises of number ninety-three Diagon Alley are up to scratch, though just barely, aside from the room I was unable to inspect. But, the merchandise inside of the shop is under question. Most of it seems to be extremely dangerous to witches and wizards, and to have already proven a hazard to the common well being of the institutions that support the magical population,” Percy reads rather quickly, hoping the twins miss a few things he says, so they can’t challenge him.

 

“What does all this mean to us?” interrupts Fred, who shares a worried look with George.

 

“I am getting to that part,” Percy interjects. “It means that there are certain products which you will henceforth be prohibited from selling to anyone . . .” The twins gape at each other and Percy as they gasp for air to breathe. “And the Ministry will keep tabs on the stuff to make sure that it does not get leak out and flood the marketplace in other shops.” 

 

“What products?” George demands.

 

“The ones on my list.” Percy hands over a long roll of parchment, listing many of the products in the shop.

 

“You’ve got to be cursing me!” Fred shouts causing customers to turn and stare.

 

“I’m not cursing you! That would be against Ministry code num . . .”

 

“You don’t need to explain, Perce – we get the picture.” Fred staggers as the weight of Percy’s inspection settles down on him. They will have to remove loads of stuff from the shelves, if Percy gets his way. With a defiant look at George, they resolve to fight Percy tooth and nail if this is the way Percy wants it. They will fight back.

 

“Why would you want to do a thing like this, it’s loads of merchandise?” George does not stop the ice from entering his voice.

 

Percy’s expression hardens as he stares back at his brothers “I think that you two need to be taught a lesson, and this is my first chance of teaching it to you. I’ve waited years to have something like this happen, and now that it has, I’m not passing up a perfectly good chance to teach the two of you the importance of following rules. Heaven knows, Mum and Dad have been far too lenient with both of you.”

 

Percy’s little speech renders Fred and George speechless for a few moments. George regains his voice, and says angrily with a slight croak, “Don’t you have to give us a warning for these kinds of things . . . you can’t just stop our business in one hour. Isn’t there supposed to be at least a one day warning and an order from the Ministry?”

 

Percy gives the twins an exasperated look. “Well, traditionally, there is supposed to be a day of warning and a decree from the Ministry, but these are special circumstances. We don’t need to open the law books here, you two will understand, won’t you?”

 

“Not a chance. You just admitted you’re supposed to give a one day warning for restrictions like this and have a decree from the Ministry, Perce, we’re not stupid, but then again maybe we’re not the stupid ones here –”

 

“Shut it, George! Ever since I entered this shop today you’ve had it in for me, when I am only doing my job. You know that I have no choice,” Percy proclaims, his voice rising.

 

“You’ll just have to wait for another day, Perce, if you want your inspection to pass the Ministry guidelines,” Fred begins, “and this is supposed to be about showing us how to follow rules, isn’t it?”

 

“Fine then, you two.” Percy stares at them. “I will be back tomorrow to serve these inspection papers on your shop. And if you try and stop me, then there’ll be hexes to pay for it!” Percy finishes just as icily.

 

“We’ll see what happens then, and, Percy, if you would please leave, you’re annoying our customers.”

 

“I don’t care about your customers, if they were smart they would leave the store now and not purchase any of these…these...” Percy says, before stalking out the door.

 

“He’s a nutter,” Fred says in attempt to loosen the tension Percy left in the shop. A few of the customers laugh nervously. 

 

“All is fine. Go back to your shopping,” George says with a cheeriness he does not feel.

 

After Percy’s heated departure, the twins settle into a routine of answering questions, giving demonstrations, and ringing up purchases. They both have considerably lowered spirits at the thought of Percy’s return the next day. However, even Percy cannot completely dampen their feeling as they watch a steady flow of very content customers enjoy the store.

 

 “We need to get this old and mouldy cabbage smell out of this shop. It may not annoy us, but our customers might get the wrong impression about the shop,” George says.

 

“I totally agree. It would be much better if the smell would waft out from the back rooms, then customers would know that we’re inventing stuff. Who can we ask?” Fred responds.

 

“We can always ask Mum, or maybe we could ask that lady who’s coming back tonight if she knows a spell for removing smells,” George says.

 

“That should do it. She seems older. She should know what to do about it. We could always pop over to the Apothecary to see if they have anything for the smell.”

 

“Ha! That place smells worse than our place; nothing there will help it.” George laughs. “But it’s worth a try.”

 

A laughing Fred replies, “Just like I said.”

 

Not long afterwards, Nigel Mortimer dumps his bag full of stuff on the counter. George notices and goes over to help Fred ring up the purchases. Thinking, this man is going to be our biggest customer of the day.

 

The twins spend the next quarter hour ringing up Mr. Mortimer’s many different purchases. “What will you use all of these products for?”

 

“My daughter’s sixth birthday is coming up pretty quickly, and last year I promised that her next birthday would be bigger and better than her fifth. So here I am, practically buying out the shop, all to make her happy. But, luckily, you boys are having a sale, so this won’t dent the vault too much.” Mr. Mortimer chuckles at his own joke.

 

“We’re fine with you buying out the shop, it’s good exposure, especially for a birthday party with a bunch of six year olds. Having to restock after the first day is good business, isn’t it?” Fred inquires.

 

“I’d say it’s good business,” Mortimer answers. “Your demonstrations are quite good; they really helped me to figure out which products to buy. You boys have so many it’s extremely hard to choose the ones that are good, and when you have to please six year olds, it just makes the selection process much harder. Thanks for all of your excellent demonstrations; they’ve been a lot of fun. I am not sure how I’ll explain to my wife why it took me so long.”

 

“Thank you, Mr. Mortimer, we’re glad to have helped you in your shopping today, and we hope you’ll be back for any other of your joking needs,” George says, starting to put Nigel Mortimer’s purchases into their signature Weasleys’ Wizarding Wheezes bags.

 

“I’d come back tomorrow with my daughter to see your demonstrations, but then her birthday surprise would be ruined. When I get a chance after the party, I’ll come back with her.”

 

“You’ll have to come back to make use of the thirty-eight certificates that you’re getting with this purchase,” Fred says, putting the certificates on the counter. “Nineteen Galleons, five Sickles, and nine Knuts, and that’s half off. Other wise it’d be thirty-eight Galleons, ten sickles, and eighteen Knuts.”

 

“What! It’s that much? Wow, guess I didn’t pay attention to all the price tags . . . but oh well, you have to do what you have to do,”

 

“The first price, Mr. Mortimer, not the thirty-eight one,” Fred says.

 

“Oh, right.” Nigel Mortimer reluctantly hands over the gold to pay for his purchase. As he turns to leave the shop, he mutters, “Her cake can be shrunken up to make up for the much smaller size it will be, she won’t be able to notice, will she? No, she’s only six years old.”

 

By the time six o’clock comes around, all of the refreshments have long since vanished, several of the shelves have been emptied of their contents, a good reputation has been started about the shop, and Fred and George are exhausted, tired, and hungry. After the last customer leaves at six-thirteen, the twins decide they are due a large feast of their favorite foods. They set off for the Leaky Cauldron to get a nice warm meal and funny drinks to take back to the shop. They do not feel like dealing with any more people for the day.

 

Returning from the Leaky Cauldron, the conversation between Fred and George drifts to the many odd customers they dealt with during the day including, Alison and Haley, Wendelin, Nigel Mortimer, and others. Discussing their successes, they congratulate each other on their dream come true while avoiding the discussion of how to deal with Percy. Finally, after exhausting all topics such as the Extendable Ears fiasco, the demonstrations and the customer they threw out, they discuss the Percy situation.

 

“It’s just not fair that he has so much power,” George says, letting his anger at Percy come through.

 

“It isn’t and we need to stop him. How do we do that? Maybe we can ask Dumbledore for help.”

 

“I’m not sure what he can do, but we can’t let Perce and the Ministry ruin our dreams. Not after all this hard work.”

 

“Speaking of hard work, we’d better get back on with it. We still have to restock the shelves, clean the shop, and get ready for the product we’re releasing tomorrow.”

 

“Yeah, and don’t forget we still need to do the paperwork for today and figure out how much we made.”

 

“Okay, it’s five minutes to seven; let’s eat our pudding and catch up on Quidditch, and at seven-thirty we’ll get to work.”

 

They had no sooner settled down when they heard a loud knock on the front door.

 

The surprised twins look towards the sound. “Oh, shoot, I invited that witch to come over tonight at seven,” Fred says, getting up to head to the door, with George following.

 

Fred opens the door and greets Mrs. Pennyweather. “Hi, sorry about that, but we momentarily forgot that you were coming. Please come in.”

 

“Hello, it’s quite all right, I expect you have had an eventful day, and it slipped your minds. What are your names again?” Petella says.

 

“I’m Fred, and this is my twin brother, George.”

 

“Hello, Fred, George, I’m Mrs. Petella Pennyweather. I appreciate that you two are willing to take time out of your busy day to give an unknown bystander the full story of how you escaped from Hogwarts. It’s exciting to be able to hear the story from the two people who put Umbridge in her place,” she says.

 

“Before we get started on our story, would care to explain why hearing our story is so important to you? It seems kind of weird, I mean, an older witch who’s very interested in the trivial affairs of a couple of eighteen year olds.”

 

“Your question does have some truth to it, but parts I have to disagree with,” Petella starts, giving George a huff and an ‘I am older and wiser, don’t mess with me.

 

“Be my guest,” George says.

 

Petella studies George for a moment, and then responds, “Well I don’t like the part where you called me ‘old’, I’ll tell you this, I’m anything but old . . .”

 

“Okay, so you’re not old, I was just saying you’re not of schooling age. But that has nothing to do with you wanting to know our story,” Fred interrupts.

 

Petella studies Fred a bit before answering. “I want to know your story because I have a very deep and long disliking of, what’s her title now, Professor Umbridge. And since you, as I said earlier, ‘almost slapped her in the face’ I have an interest in your story. I do not like that she believes the Ministry’s stance on . . . on He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named and that she has been excessively rude and mean to Professor Albus Dumbledore. To continue, the many things she has done to Hogwarts School are utterly unspeakable, and last but not least, she has always been a tremendously horrible, suck up toad, peddling to the likes of the Minister.” Petella breaths a sigh of relief at finishing her rant about Professor Umbridge. “Do you have any other questions?”

 

“Nope,” the twins mutter in unison. “If you’ll just follow us to our office we have some chairs and a desk. It’ll be more comfortable than standing out around here all evening,” Fred says, pointing the way to the office. George leads the way, with Petella in the middle looking around the messy shop.

 

Once all three of them have settled down around the twins’ office desk, Fred and George start to explain all of the things that went into planning and executing their departure from Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. When Fred and George finish they ask Petella if she will tell them a few stories about Umbridge. Petella agrees only on the condition that the twins do some of the work their shop needs.

 

Petella, Fred and George all agree that Umbridge should not have been born in the first place, and that someone or something really needs to knock some sense of modesty into her. They decide to sign a pact that from now on they will only refer to Professor Umbridge as ‘toad person’, as she has done all of them harm and continues to cause harm to others, especially Professor Dumbledore.

 

As Petella prepares to leave, she tells the twins, “Thank you for telling me your story, you two couldn’t understand how much what you did to Um . . . toad person, means to me. Thank you,” Petella says.

 

“Hey, Mrs. Pennyweather, you should stop by tomorrow,” George says, finding her remark curious.

 

“You’ll love the product we’re releasing,” Fred says, as he is restocking the shelves.

 

“I’ll see what I can do. I may need to change a few appointments,” Petella informs the twins. “Don’t get your hopes up too much.” Petella smiles mischievously at Fred and George.

 

The twins get everything on their list of chores to do around the shop finished, except for new product research. They consider it a very successful grand opening day, going to bed with dreams of how tomorrow will turn out. Their second full day of operating a full-fledged joke shop is rapidly becoming a reality.

 

//
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