The Sugar Quill
Author: Antonio  Story: Weasleys' Wizarding Wheezes, Getting Started  Chapter: Chapter Two, When Twins Make Dolls
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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.

 

Author’s Notes: For Vovo. I’m sorry you never got to read this.

 

 

Chapter Two, When Twins Make Dolls

 

While putting the final spells on their new product, dolls of Professor Dolores Jane Umbridge, Fred asks George, “I wonder how Percy is going to react when he sees these?” Looking up from poking his wand at the doll to make sure it makes the right sounds when tortured, Fred fleetingly thinks it is a shame that they cannot hook the dolls up to their likeness, and cause the tyrant some real pain.

 

“Bet you he just adds them to his list of things we can’t sell,” George says angrily, as he double-checks a batch of the dolls, wanting to avoid a repeat of the Extendable Ears fiasco.

 

“I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s true. We’ll just have to sell as many as we can before he stops us,” Fred says.

 

“Is that box ready to go out front?” George asks, getting up and moving towards the shop holding the box he just finished checking. 

 

“Almost. I’ll be out there in a minute with it,” Fred replies, jabbing his wand particularly hard at the next doll, creating an extra loud scream.

 

George, already beginning to move the previous display in the bow window, looks up as Fred arrives. Picking up a box of merchandise ready to be put back on the shelves, Fred asks, “Is Percy here yet?”

 

“Nope,” replies George. “I just hope he doesn’t have the nerve to show his face this early.” 

 

Starting to open the food bags for the day’s refreshments, Fred says, “We’ll just have to delay him another day, we can’t let him destroy all that we’ve built.”

 

“I agree,” says George. “There’s no crowd like there was yesterday, waiting . . .”

 

“George, I don’t need to hear depressing news like that just before we open.”

 

“Most of the people who pass by seem interested, but who knows if they’re coming back,” George says scanning the people in Diagon Alley.

 

Although much calmer than the first morning, there are still many customers making odd purchases. The Skiving Snack Boxes are particularly popular and the twins run out of one of the varieties causing one of their customers to try to put a hex on them. The boy’s mother stops him just in time and the purchase is successfully completed. 

 

Resolving to hold demonstrations whenever there are ten customers or more in the store, the twins find that they have a much more relaxing morning, even able to take a quick lunch break when there is a lull in customers.

 

Shortly after lunch while demonstrating Headless Hats, George notices Petella Pennyweather come into the shop. 

 

Seeing that the twins are busy, Mrs. Pennyweather immediately begins to look at the merchandise. She heads to the bow window to have a closer look at the Professor Dolores Jane Umbridge Dolls. Seeing the tag say that you can torture the hideous looking thing, Petella gets out her wand and when she prods the doll in the stomach, it gives an appropriately loud squeal, amusing Petella who proceeds to prod the doll in almost every conceivable spot to cause pain. With a chorus of Umbridge being tortured, Petella looks up from poking the doll, which is letting out an extended moan due to prolonged poking, when she hears Fred unmistakably calling to the crowd that their demonstration is over. Curious about what Fred and George were doing, Petella makes her way over to the crowd surrounding the twins.

 

Nearing the crowd, she hears a toddler loudly proclaiming that he wants the twins to do another demonstration. When they politely refuse, the toddler throws a tantrum in the folds of his fathers’ robes. Fred noticing Petella promptly goes to greet her.

 

“Mrs. Pennyweather, you’ve decided to come and see how our shop’s doing?” Fred asks in greeting.

 

“You could say that,” Petella responds. “I notice you’ve made a new addition to your anti-toad person materials.” Petella smiles broadly at the twins. “Your brother, I suspect, is not too happy about the dolls?”

 

“Surprisingly, we don’t know what he thinks of them,” George says, putting the Headless Hats back on the shelf. “He hasn’t been by the shop yet.”

 

“He seemed to take his work very seriously yesterday. What happened to him?” Petella asks concernedly.

 

“Beats me,” Fred says. “I wouldn’t worry or care what it is –”

 

“You surely don’t mean that about your own brother, do you?”

 

“Yes we do. And I wholeheartedly agree with Fred,” George says, straightening the cases of products on the shelf.

 

Petella’s mouth drops when George says this, and she gasps when she sees Fred nodding his head in agreement. “I can’t believe what I’m hearing. Two young and obviously bright boys, ignoring any or all of their feelings towards their very own brother,” Petella says quietly, not wanting to embarrass the twins in front of their customers. “You two should be ashamed of yourselves for that kind of behavior. How you could feel that way towards someone in your own family is beyond me.”

 

“All of our siblings would agree with us. You shouldn’t be so rude to us, Percy deserves everything he’s getting,” starts George

 

“Besides, he started this whole mess, in the first place,” Fred finishes.

 

“That does not excuse your actions towards him –” Petella begins her counter defense.

 

“Can we just drop the topic. It’s still a sore spot with us,” George says, not really looking at anything.

 

“Well, I hardly think that –” Petella starts once again.

 

“I think George is right,” Fred says, not looking at Petella.

 

“But . . .”

 

“Seeing as how me and Fred are both in agreement on this issue, we’ll now be heading back to the counter in case any of the customers need assistance,” George says, looking Petella in the eye.

 

George and Fred both turn around and walk towards the counter, leaving Mrs. Pennyweather standing there with a bewildered look on her face. Picking up another Umbridge doll, she decides to buy one.

 

“Sorry about being a little rude back there, Mrs. Pennyweather. We just don’t want to talk about our so-called brother, he really is a git,” Fred murmurs, when Petella comes to purchase the doll.

 

Petella nods in agreement. “I should probably apologize too; it’s not my place to remark about your family life.” Petella gives a sweet smile. “You were right, I do love this product. I’ll get one as a way of relieving stress,” Petella says, laying the doll down on the counter.

 

Fred picks up the doll, rings it up, and hands it back to Petella with her certificate that enables her to come back and get a discount on a future purchases. “That will be two Galleons.”

 

“Here you go,” Petella says, handing over the gold coins.

 

“So, we’re friends again, I see,” George says, coming over from selling five fake wands and four Skiving Snack Boxes to Celia Tuttle.

 

“I suppose so,” Petella says.

 

“Unfortunately, Mrs. Pennyweather, we will be unable to talk about much since the shop’s still open. You’re welcome to come back after we close, if you bring us some food,” George says laughingly.

 

“Not today. I have other things to do this evening . . .” Petella trails off due to the sudden end of the laughter coming from the wizards looking at the Umbridge Dolls, making the three of them look to see what happened. Professor Dumbledore appeared.

 

Petella blushes, bursting out in fit of giggles, forcing her to reach out and put a steadying hand on top of the counter to prevent herself from falling on the floor. Looking for a possible place to hide, she starts backing away from the counter.

 

Dumbledore heads for the counter where Fred and George are watching Mrs. Pennyweather’s odd behavior. The customers silently watch Professor Dumbledore’s progress through the shop. Oblivious to their stares, he does notice Petella slowly backing up and away from the counter, bumping into a few things, staring at him, causing Dumbledore to chuckle.

 

With a serene smile on his face, Dumbledore reaches the twins. “Good day to you, Fred and George. How have things been since leaving school?” Dumbledore asks, finally aware that everyone in the shop is watching him and the twins.

 

Fred and George share a stunned look with each other. “Hello, Professor Dumbledore,” Fred says.

 

“We’re okay and the shop is fine for only being open a day and a half,” George says.

 

“That’s excellent. I wish you luck in the coming weeks and months.” By now, most of the customers in the shop are occupied. “Now I’m not here merely to catch up on your well being. I do have some matters of importance to discuss with the two of you,” Dumbledore says.

 

“D’you need to talk to the both of us at the same time?” Fred asks.

 

“It is up to you to decide on who will handle my business,” Dumbledore says, noticing the Umbridge dolls on the counter and picking one up. When Dumbledore’s wand prods the doll, it explodes into a sparkling puff of smoke. Fred and George’s “Wow!” along with Dumbledore’s chuckle, follow the clearing smoke.

 

“They’ve never done that before,” George says in awe.

 

Further talk is diverted by the sudden entrance of Percy Weasley, who upon seeing the brand new window display of the Professor Dolores Jane Umbridge Dolls, says loudly, “I don’t believe this.” He scans the crowd looking for his red-haired brothers. He spots them behind the counter in the rear of the shop with none other than Albus Dumbledore. The most wanted wizard in the magical community. With a scowl, he starts towards them.

 

“How could they consort with the enemy? Of course they could,” Percy mutters to himself. “They’re in line with my . . . our . . . their parents, who are in league with Dumbledore. It’s not my fault that they might get arrested along with Dumbledore when I call the Aurors. The Minister will be most pleased with me for single-handedly capturing Dumbledore. I may just yet get my promotion now that Professor Umbridge is Headmistress of Hogwarts.”

 

These mutterings bring Percy back to his current task; stopping the twins from making a mockery of the magical world and now punishing them for making horrid dolls of the distinguished Professor Umbridge. Smoothing out his robes in preparation for the ensuing row, Percy pulls out the Ministry papers he is to serve his brothers and realizes he will now have to enter the abhorrent dolls to the list of banned merchandise.

 

As Percy approaches the counter, Fred and George prepare for the worst considering the dolls they have made of Fudge’s minion. Wondering how Dumbledore will react to Percy’s war with them over their joke shop, George says, “Hey, Perce, have you come back to punish us for even thinking we could open our joke shop?”

 

“As a matter of fact, I have not come here to tell you that,” Percy says, ignoring the bitterness in George’s voice. “I am here to finish the ongoing business I started with you yesterday. I do have one thing to add to the list of products you will no longer be able to sell. These distasteful dolls you have released today, which bear an undeniable likeness to one of the highest ranking Ministry officials, will have to go.”

 

“Young Mr. Weasley, you think that being an assistant to the Minister of Magic allows you the privilege to monitor the daily business affairs of your brothers’ joke shop?” Dumbledore asks, unfazed by the tension in the air, picking up a Professor Dolores Jane Umbridge Doll and handing it to Percy.

 

“I think that the word of the Junior Assistant to the Minister of Magic has more to do with reality than the word of the most wanted wizard. You might want to mind your own business and let the Ministry deal with members of the wizarding world. Otherwise, we will have one more charge to add on to the considerably long list we already have against you, which is already more than enough to land you in Azkaban for the rest of your life!” Percy trembles slightly with anger.

 

“Percy, stop being such a git and show some respect. Mum and Dad raised you better than that,” Fred angrily retorts.

 

“Yeah,” George snaps. “Where are your manners?”

 

“I think you are wrong when you say that what the Junior Assistant to the Minister of Magic has to say is more important then the word of a more experienced wizard. But, I will not deny that you probably have a list that is more then enough to get me, and fifty others, into Azkaban for the rest of our lives,” Dumbledore says to Percy, with the slightest of smiles.

 

“You surely don’t believe that I would listen to you?” Percy asks, ignorant of the fact that he is losing control of the situation. Forgetting that no one in their right mind could successfully argue with Albus Dumbledore, and in Percy’s distressed state of mind, it would be impossible.

 

“I do think you will listen to me,” Dumbledore says, putting the Umbridge doll back in its place on the counter and looking at Fred and George to see if they approve of his method of ridding them of Percy’s trouble causing ways. They smile and nod up at Dumbledore.

 

Percy looks at Dumbledore skeptically, and asks, “Why will I listen to you?”

 

“Because I am giving you no choice in the matter,” Dumbledore responds.

 

“Is that consistent with your morals, Professor Dumbledore,” Percy says, thinking he has found a weakness in Dumbledore.

 

“You should not be one to talk about morals, Mr. Weasley. Let me explain myself,” Dumbledore says. “I am not giving you a choice in this instance, because after conversing with your brothers, they have told me that you are out to settle an old score you have with them, for all the years that they have caused you a tremendous amount of pain and embarrassment. Therefore, you are acting out of selfishness and not with the best interest of the wizarding public at heart, which you proclaim to be your motivation. I have also taken the liberty to adequately punish them myself. Have no fear, Mr. Weasley, they have paid dearly for the actions they have taken against you.”

 

“But none of that is true, Professor Dumbledore. They have lied to you once again; I am acting out of the best interest of the wizarding community, not out of selfish and petty revenge. Fred and George cannot be allowed to make a mockery of the wizarding world. They have to follow the rules, just like everyone else,” responds Percy adamantly.

 

“And lying to the community is the other best way of keeping the magical population happy?”

 

“Clearly you are just as insane as they say . . .”

 

“As who says? The Minister of Magic? Isn’t he the one forcing all of the other decision making people to go along with him? Especially those in control of the major information outlets for the country.” Dumbledore gets out his handkerchief and proceeds to wipe clean his half-moon spectacles.

 

“That’s just preposterous nonsense that everyone says you’re trying to prove for your own agenda,” Percy stammers angrily.

 

Which also proves that you have learned little since you left Hogwarts. You have much to learn concerning how individuals operate,” Dumbledore calmly responds.

 

“This conversation is now over, Professor Dumbledore,” Percy snaps. “I have business to attend to, which does not relate to you. Now, Fred, George, you have until the time when you open tomorrow morning to . . .”

 

“As I said, Mr. Weasley, you will not serve those papers today,” Dumbledore interjects. “You are forgetting that you need to have the parchment which states all of forbidden items present at the time of its reading.”

 

Percy huffs at Dumbledore, as he pulls the piece of parchment out of his robes. He begins to read it, “By order of, The Junior Assistant to the Minister, all businesses named Weasleys’ Wizarding Wheezes, and owned by Fred and George Weasley, are prohibited from selling, handing out, giving, or informing others about the following products: Portable Swamps, all versions of the Weasleys’ Wildfire Whiz-Bangs, Skiving Snack Boxes, and Purple Pandemonium. Because these products have been deemed dangerous to the population of witches and wizards, these products will need to be removed from any place in the shop were customers may have access to them by the time you open on the following day. Anyone found to be selling, handing out, giving, or informing others about these products will be fined and incarcerated. The above is in accordance with Magical Business Decree Number One. Signed: Percy Ignatius Weasley, Junior Assistant to the Minister.” Percy takes a pause, and adds, “The following product has been added to the list of banned merchandise; Professor Dolores Jane Umbridge Dolls.”

 

“Can we see the decree?” George asks Percy scoffingly.

 

“Why?” Percy demands.

 

“Because we have reason to believe that you did not read the decree as it is written,” George says.

 

“We don’t trust you, Perce, that’s why,” Fred adds.

 

“Here, fine then.” Percy shrugs.

 

“Good thing too; nowhere on here does it say Professor Dolores Jane Umbridge Dolls,” George reprimands.

 

“That’s just a given, isn’t it?” Percy asks folding his arms and glaring at the twins.

 

“Not in the adult business world, Percy,” Dumbledore says. “Fred, may I have a look at that piece of parchment?”

 

“Of course,” Fred says, handing it over.

 

Dumbledore, smiling as one who has accomplished his mission, says, “Fred and George, may I have permission to make a few slight alterations to this decree?”

 

“You most certainly cannot!” Percy shouts, causing the customers to look over at the group.

 

“But, Percy, what if I were to add the dolls to the list?” Dumbledore asks.

 

“You can’t do that to the decree. We thought you were going to do something different . . .” Fred half shouts.

 

“You could do that. I must say that I am surprised if that is what you want to add. You don’t seem like someone who’d do something favorable to the Ministry. But, go ahead and add it to the paper,” Percy stutters, shocked at Dumbledore’s turnabout. A look of understanding consumes Percy’s face. “Wait –”

 

“That is the problem of jumping to conclusions, gentlemen.” Dumbledore shakes his head at the three red heads standing around him.

 

“Then what is it that you’re going to do that will alter the decree?” George asks.

 

“This parchment no longer belongs to any of you. You have already given up your rights to make alterations on it,” Dumbledore says, as he holds the paper at arms length and eyes it with a funny look. He pulls out a quill from within his robes, and begins to scribble all over the parchment.

 

“What are you writing?” Percy inquires.

 

Dumbledore continues with his scribbling before he answers, “I’m not writing anything, but I am . . . un-writing this piece of parchment. This quill sucks up the ink and stores it inside of the quill for later use, so I have no need of carrying a bottle of ink around with me. And, it also prevents you from re-writing the page. This decree will now need to be re-written at the Ministry.” Dumbledore finishes and hands the piece of parchment back to Percy.

 

A dumbstruck Percy looks down at the now blank parchment, and gapes up at Dumbledore. “You traitor – you will get your punishment one of these days. No wonder the Ministry wants to put you away. I have never been so insulted in my life.” Percy looks over at Fred and George. “You are lucky for today, but your traitorous friend will not always be here to rescue you!”

 

Percy rushes out of the shop, shredding the piece of parchment into tiny pieces.

 

Dumbledore once again shakes his head, and says sadly, “Alas, but he is right,”

 

“Why’s that?”

 

“Because I will not always be here to keep you safe from his rules. Though that is not the part that really bothers me; it is the reasons why I will not always be here, those are the things that truly sadden me.” Dumbledore looks at the twins with a thoughtful gaze.

 

“What is it that made you come here in the first place?” Fred asks.

 

“Surely you did not come all the way over here to have a row with Percy,” George remarks.

 

“I did not. Before I continue on that path, I want to say this, I daresay that your poor brother is so distracted by your joke shop that he will forget to turn me in to the Ministry in time for them to send their Aurors here to try and apprehend me.” Dumbledore chuckles at himself for thinking of such a thing.

 

“I want to congratulate you two for being brave enough to start this joke shop. Against many obstacles, of which I have no clue as to how you overcame them, and did this in the first place. It will lighten people’s spirits, during these darkening times. I do hope your brother does not become too successful in his attempts to restrict the operations of your shop, it would not bode well for wizard-kind. After our discussion of business, I would like to take a few moments to browse around your shop, and see what I find. Shall we head to a more private room to talk?” Dumbledore inquires.

 

“Yes, I think so,” Fred says. “Wait, who’s going to watch the shop?” he looks at George for an answer.

 

“I think that Mrs. Pennyweather should be able to handle the shop long enough for us to talk,” Dumbledore says, looking over at Petella. “That is, of course, if Mrs. Pennyweather is able to get out of the state of shock that set upon her when I entered the shop.”

 

Petella, who has been slumped against the wall, gives a nervous cough as she looks up at Dumbledore. “I . . . I . . . think I could manage. But I’ll be extremely nervous. I’ve never worked in a shop before. You should find someone else,” she stammers.

 

“Nonsense. I remember you from my years as Hogwarts’ Transfiguration teacher. You were the best there, rivalling Minerva McGonagall. If any customer hassles you, I know that you can safely transfigure them into a Crumple-Horned Snorkack, until we return.” Dumbledore finishes and heads for the twins’ office.

 

Once inside their office, Dumbledore wastes no time in getting down to business. “I have a list with pictures of all the Death Eaters and others who the Order knows are behind Voldemort and helping him.” Dumbledore ignores the twins’ shudders at the name. He pulls out the parchment and hands it over to the twins. “You will notice that the photos have been developed on the Muggle style of film. This is to ensure that we will be able to always have their pictures at the ready. If they were magical pictures, then they could simply walk out of the photo and we’d never see them again. I would like you to not sell them anything from your shop, if at all possible. I know that some of your products could become useful in a war against Lord Voldemort; it’s best not to give him any advantage.”

 

“We’ll try our best to do that,” George offers, glad that Dumbledore thinks their merchandise could be used to help the cause.

 

“Thank you,” Dumbledore says. “Also, if you happen to hear anything that you deem even remotely important, that might prove useful in the mission of the Order, you should contact someone at headquarters as soon as possible. Sirius should always be there, but you never know.” 

 

“Will do. Is the message Diggle gave us yesterday still correct, Professor Dumbledore?” Fred looks at Dumbledore, hopeful that Diggle’s message has been changed since both he and George would like to be actual members as soon a possible.

 

Dumbledore smiles at Fred’s obvious hopes. “I’m afraid to tell you, Mr. Weasley, that Dedalus Diggle’s message has not changed at all since its delivery. We can never be too careful in these matters, and your safety is of utmost importance at this time.”

 

“Professor Dumbledore, we assure you that we . . .” stammers George.

 

“Then I guess we’ll just have to wait and see what happens.” Fred gives up trying to argue the point any further.

 

“Yes, you will have to wait and see,” Dumbledore says, and turns towards the door to the twins’ office to begin his browsing through the merchandise in the shop.

 

The glum looking twins get to the counter and relive Petella of her duties as the caretaker of the shop. Asking, “What happened while we were away with Dumbledore, Mrs. Pennyweather?” And, “How was your first foray into the wonderful experience of working in a joke shop?”

 

“It was not as bad as I had originally expected. Two identical twin girls came in and bought a couple of the toad person dolls. They wanted to know where you two were, so I told them you had a meeting. Then they asked if I worked for you, and I said no. They wanted me to stay here, because you need some adult supervision. Which I whole-heartedly agree with,” Petella explains to the twins, while walking to the other side of the counter. “Aside from the little girls, the only other person who I had to deal with was a very kind and sweet handsome young gentleman by the name of Adam Rimmell. You boys should give him a permanent discount on your stuff, he could not have been nicer to me . . .”

 

“Mrs. Pennyweather, we don’t need to hear all of this chap’s pleasing comments. There are customers in the shop and they need our assistance. If you don’t mind, we’ll take this opportunity to go help them,” Fred says, annoyed by Petella’s childish demeanor.

 

Petella gives Fred and George a disapproving look for suggesting her chatter about Adam Rimmell’s nice words is a childish thing to do. “There are others things I’d rather do than sit around and baby-sit two grown boys’ shop.”

 

“You should go and do those things then, Mrs. Pennyweather,” snaps Fred. “Like I said earlier, we have customers waiting for us.” While saying this, Dumbledore passes by and gives Petella a small and lingering smile.

 

Petella blushes madly at Dumbledore’s smile, attracting the twins’ attention to this odd moment.

 

“Why are you so embarrassed around Dumbledore?”

 

“Dumbledore helped me out after the Daily Prophet fired me and ruined my reputation. It is a little embarrassing to be back in London. Then you put Dumbledore on top of that and it’s a bit overwhelming. I guess you could say that I have a small soft spot for Dumbledore,” Petella says, still not recovered from her blush.

 

Fred and George give a demonstration of their fake wands. After the demonstration, Dumbledore approaches with a sizable purchase of various items; including a Skiving Snack Box, to satisfy his sweet tooth, a few fantasy dream sleeping pills, which guarantee you good a night’s sleep of happy dreams, merry thoughts, and cheery ideas, and a Professor Dolores Jane Umbridge Doll.

 

As he puts the products on the counter for the twins to ring up, he says, “Perhaps I shall try to give some of these to Minerva McGonagall. She has liked some of your jokes in the past,” Dumbledore says, laughing. “I don’t know that she still likes these kinds of things. She will probably say; ‘Oh, Albus, there’s no time for things like the Weasley boys’ joke shop and their tricks. You have much more serious work to do!” Dumbledore says in a decent imitation of Professor McGonagall’s stern voice. “I should tell you two this; you cannot have life without fun and laughter. In times like these, we need to remember to slow down and take a little bit of time to have fun with the small things. If we don’t . . . then how do we remember what we are fighting for?” Dumbledore looks a little sad at his revelation. “I must add that you should and do remind people of that.”

 

“That’s what we’re here for. Putting fun back in the wizarding world,” George says, while sorting Dumbledore’s items to go into their Weasleys’ Wizarding Wheezes bags. “Fred, that should be our new slogan.”

 

“It would go with our next ad for the Prophet,” Fred says.

 

“It is catchy,” Dumbledore says. “However, I hope you two won’t be prohibiting the teaching of Hogwarts’ students. But then again, I do not mind you causing havoc with Professor Umbridge as Headmistress. Once I return, some of your tricks may not be as welcome on the school grounds. In the meantime, make your Professors’ proud of what they have taught you in the past. Good day then, Fred, George,” he says with a nod.

 

Fred and George scoff at the suggestion before bursting out in laughter. Dumbledore leaves the shop laughing along with the twins.   

 

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The next morning as Fred and George are looking over one of their current research products. George says, “Hey, Fred, maybe we should get some customer feedback on what direction to go with these dolls.”

 

Fred looks up at George. “If we’re going to get testers for this morning, we best start cleaning out this room to get it ready for people to see it,” he finishes, with a sweeping look around the room.

 

“Yeah, you’re right, we need to tidy this place up a bit,” George says, getting up from putting away the potion ingredients they’ve been using that morning. “Is there even space in the other rooms back here?”

 

“If we put a curtain against that wall,” Fred says, pointing to one of the walls around their main research room. “It would block off the dangerous experiments that need to be put away. As well as the stuff we’re trying to do for the Order.”

 

“All right then. I’ll start on that and you can figure out how the testing should go.” George is about to leave the room when he adds, “Remember, it’s not the same as back in Hogwarts, these are adults we’re dealing with, not ickle firsties, and not just people who don’t like Hermione.”

 

Five minutes later, walking trough the crowd shopping in Diagon Alley, Fred and George look for people they recognize from their previous two days of business. Outside the second-hand robe shop, and leaving it in a rush with shouts from their mother to be safe and have fun, they run into Alison and Haley Edland.

 

“Hey, Alison, Haley,” George calls after them. When they stop and turn towards him and Fred, he says, “What will you two be doing this morning?”

 

“Not much,” Haley says, flinging her ponytail behind her head.

 

“Then we have a surprise for you.” Alison and Haley’s heads perk up to look at the twins with interest. “We’re having a special trial for some of our most trusted customers to try out one of our new products and give us feedback. We’re trying to figure out what direction it should take before selling it to the public.” Fred grins.

 

“What do you think about that?” George adds.

 

“We’ll be there,” Alison exclaims, excited by the prospect of helping the twins develop new products.

 

“Wouldn’t miss it for a thing,” Haley says, beginning to bounce up and down, just as excited as her sister.

 

That’s great, just meet us at the shop in about ten minutes,” George responds.

 

“Definitely!” they shout together, and run off down the street.

 

Watching the two girls run down the street, the twins smile at their easy success. Now they only need to find a few more people to test the product, preferably some people that are a bit older. Continuing to walk down Diagon Alley looking for people who’ve been in the shop over the past two days, they don’t notice anyone they know, so they decide to randomly approach people.

 

They spot two jovial wizards happily walking down the street. They have name tags on their robes identifying them as Aldred Hornby and Christopher Callum, employees of Whizz Hard Books, number one-hundred and twenty-nine a, Diagon Alley.

 

“Excuse me,” Fred interrupts their conversation. “I don’t know if you are aware of our new shop, Weasleys’ Wizarding Wheezes, number ninety-three, Diagon Alley, the largest joke shop in the wizarding world. We are going to test one of our products in development this morning.”

 

“Really?” the wizard Aldred Hornby says curiously.

 

“It’d be nice to be a part of a test for a new product,” adds Christopher Callum. “I always wanted to do something like that. Ever since I was a young wizard in training at Hogwarts. You should know about that, Aldred.”

 

“Great then, it’s settled. We’ll be there,” Aldred booms. “These two young businessmen seem like they have something good up their sleeves. Did you say Weasleys’ Wizarding Wheezes?”

 

“Yes I did, why?” Fred begins to play with the seams of his robes.

 

“Then you are the boys who’ve had your ads in the Daily Prophet all year, they’ve been driving my girlfriend mad,” Aldred says, smoothing out his hair.

 

“We have had ads in the Prophet for a while now, but that’s what a new business needs,” George says, figuring that Aldred’s girlfriend will be one of many happy to see no ads in tomorrows’ Daily Prophet.

 

“Yes, of course. What time is this test? And, how long will it take? We’ve got to be back at work in an hour,” Christopher responds.

 

“That should be long enough. You could leave in time for work and we won’t mind.” Fred acknowledges Christopher’s concern and he begins to hope that the test won’t take that long, since they have to open the shop anyway.

 

“Fred, George! What are you doing out here?”

 

The twins turn to see Percy coming up the street holding a bag filled with sweets from a bakery. “We’re just looking for some people to come to the shop and try out a new product to see what the public wants. There won’t be any problems with our test, you can go back to the Ministry and give Fudge his daily filling of mind numbing sweets.” Fred’s voice takes on an insulting tone. “No doubt he has to live up to his name –”

 

“Fred, you will not insult the Minister of Magic in that way. You two should be punished, if only there was a way to do that. It would be a worthwhile investment for the Ministry.” Percy is muttering to himself, but loud enough for them to hear. “Anyway, Fred, George, I would like to take part in . . . what did you call this thing . . . a product test, to see if it is up to a safe standard. I’m warning you in advance, if anything goes wrong I will have to stop any further tests from commencing, do you understand?”

 

“We understand, Perce. We’re not the unintelligent fools you think we are,” Fred says vindictively. 

 

“Yeah,” says George. “We do know how to test products safely; we’ve been doing it for years.”

 

Percy rolls his eyes, and says, “You call what you’ve been doing for years safe? I’d better be at this product testing thing you are doing. What time will this test take place?” Percy pulls out the parchment he uses for notes.

 

“As soon as we get enough people for the test and they all get to back to the shop,” George replies.

 

Percy looks down at them. “Thank you, George, I will be at your shop as soon as I return these.” He pats the bag from the bakery, sending the smell wafting over the twins, making their stomachs turn with hunger. “To the Minister’s office.” Percy Disapparates on the spot.

 

“That can’t be good now he’s going to be there,” George moans.

 

“I know, he’ll kill the product we’re testing before we even get it on the shelves,” Fred says, looking through the crowd to see if there is anyone else they know in the area to be a part of their test.

 

Heading back to their shop, George is looking into the window of Quality Quidditch Supplies when he walks into Wendelin. “Ooofff . . .”

 

Ow!” Wendelin exclaims loudly. “Watch where you’re going – as if I haven’t been bumped into enough these past few days.”

 

“I’m sorry about that.” Fred holds out his hand to help Wendelin up. “My brother is a little bit distracted. I just told him a new broom is coming out this summer.”

 

“Thank you for the help.” Wendelin gives Fred a penetrating look. “Hey! You’re the boys who own the new joke shop down the street. The place where I was trampled two days ago by your little friend.”

 

“Yeah, that’s right,” Fred mumbles.

 

“Fred, I could use a little help here,” George states.

 

As George is getting up he spots Wendelin and says, “Hey, it’s that witch Diggle knocked over the other day, isn’t it?”

 

“Yep, that’s me. What are you two up to right now?” Wendelin asks, brushing off her robes.

 

“We’re trying to get some people together so we can have them test one of the products we’re researching,” George replies. “You can come, if you like. It should start right after we get to the shop.”

 

“That sounds wonderful. I’d love to influence your decisions for new products,” a gleeful Wendelin says. “Could I set something up with you two? Such as you sending me an owl whenever you have another test. I’d love to come to all of them.”

 

“That should work; when we get to the shop just tell George your address and he’ll write it down. The next time there’s a product test, we’ll let you know right away,” Fred says, leading the way down Diagon Alley to their shop.

 

Once in sight of the shop, they see Alison, Haley, Aldred, and Christopher. Percy, just Apparating outside the door, surprises the two little girls who are waiting anxiously.

 

“Welcome all of you to the first testing group of the Weasleys’ Wizarding Whistles our code name for all products not yet on the shelves,” Fred tells the group.

 

George steps up to explain the process. “We will give all of you a chance to try out different versions of the new product, and we hope that you will give us an honest opinion of which feature you like best.”

 

“Tell you what’s best?” someone shouts from the back of the group.

 

“Could you move aside there, Aldred and Christopher,” Fred says, motioning for them to move out of the way, giving them a clear view of the person who just asked the question.

 

Fred and George gape at the newcomer. “What are you doing here?”

 

“I’m here because I’ll need some sort of payment for the services I preformed yesterday. Since you were leading a group of people inside before operating hours, I thought it’d be a good time to talk to you,” Petella responds, walking through the gap with her robes flowing behind her.

 

“They’re letting us test one of their new products to see what we think about them,” Haley says impatiently, thumping her foot on the ground.

 

“Thank you, little one,” Petella says. Directing her attention back to the twins she asks, “What do you propose to pay me for watching your shop?”

 

“Could we talk about this later, Mrs. Pennyweather? We need to get started on the testing,” Fred says.

 

“You are welcome to stay for the test. If you want to leave now, the best we can do is get these people started and talk about this in a few minutes,” George proposes.

 

“I’ll stay for the test, it might be interesting.” Petella nods for the twins to continue.

 

“Right this way please.” Fred leads the group through the shop to the back room where the test will be held.

 

“Pick a seat everyone,” George says, as Fred fiddles around on the shelf to get the various products out.

 

He gives Percy his set of three products last, hoping the others will be engaged before Percy has a chance to react. 

 

Percy literally chokes on air at the sight of the products Fred has placed in front of him. These are the most disgusting items he has seen to date, replica dolls of Cornelius Fudge, even worse than the Umbridge Dolls.

 

Soon, the room is filled with small burning fires, mutterings, and rainbow hair. One of the dolls sets Fudge’s rear on fire. Another version has the dolls turning all the colors of the rainbow and muttering, like Fudge does when he is angry. The last doll is a Fudgie Brownie that gives the eater rainbow colored streaks in their hair.

 

What are the twins thinking, making dolls of Cornelius Fudge? When are they going to stop portraying the Ministry as evil doers? This is as far as they are going to be allowed to go. No more doll making days for the twins; they will have to stop all reincarnations of Ministry personnel. He will see to it personally that these are not allowed in the shop. He looks up at the others and is about to put a stop to this farce the twins call research, when he catches the smug look on Fred’s face.

 

“You two don’t seriously think you’re going to get away with this?” says an angry Percy through gritted teeth.

 

“Perce, this is just a product test. But yes, we do think we will be able to sell the dolls,” George says, purposely misunderstanding Percy.

 

“This will be in violation of the Ministry decree banning all politically misgiving dolls,” Percy shouts.

 

“Perce, we checked and there is no Ministry decree that bans these dolls. Unless you are going to write one or make one up?” Fred says.

 

“I’ll have to if you don’ t get rid of these things on your own,” Percy shouts, causing the other testers who have started looking over their Cornelius Fudge Dolls to momentarily look up.

 

“Percy, why don’t you join the rest of the group and try out the dolls,” Fred says, trying to sound as sweet as he can towards his brother. “You might like one or two of them. In fact, the Minister may even like the fudge brownie version.”

 

Percy, watching as the group is obviously taking delight in humiliating the Minister, is horrified. “I will have to add these to my list of products that you cannot sell to the public. These are not allowed because it shows mistrust and political dissent in the government. How could the two of you make something so offensive regarding the Minister of Magic? In times like these we need a figurehead that people can stand behind and trust. Making a mockery of his leadership does not help us battle the likes of Dumbledore and his followers who would love insulting the Minister,” he says to the twins. “This is such a disgrace!”

 

Ignoring Percy, the twins walk around the room talking to the group of witches and wizards who are testing the Cornelius Fudge Dolls.

 

Christopher asks George, “Which one is the brownie?” Giving the twin girls, who’ve already started on their brownies, a longing look.

 

“The one that has a ‘B’ on it,” George answers.

 

“Thanks,” Christopher says taking a bite into the brownie disguised as Cornelius Fudge. “Thesar’ ‘eallyood!” he says taking another bite of the brownie, his hair getting rainbow colored streaks.

 

“I think the doll that changes color and yells is the best one,” Wendelin tells Fred. Who promptly marks a sheet of parchment with her opinion. “But the brownies are really good too; maybe you should start a café and sell these brownies.”

 

“We’re going to stay with the joke shop for now, but thanks for the compliment,” Fred responds.

 

Aldred accidentally sets Alison’s doll on fire when he ignites his Fudge doll. The girls scream, Aldred yelps, and Christopher starts to laugh uncontrollably as George sends a bucket of water shooting out the end of his wand. Immediately putting out the fire, drenching the girls, and getting the bottoms of Aldred’s robes wet.

 

George gets some rags to wipe up the puddle of water. Much to George’s surprise, Percy appears to have ignored the fire dolls causing an accident.

 

George takes Fred into a small huddle. “Since we now know that the fire dolls are not completely safe, we should seriously consider the brownies . . . hey, look, Perce is actually eating the brownies we made. The sweets he picked up for Fudge this morning must have got to him, he couldn’t resist one put under his nose. Hey, why isn’t his hair turning different colors?”

 

Fred looks at George slyly and whispers, “I jinxed the doll to make the brownie stick to his mouth when he tries to talk. I guess the hair color-changing feature stopped working with the alteration I did. He won’t be able to scold us for being just this side of his dear and treasured Ministry of Magic rules and regulations.”

 

“Fred, you’re kidding me, right? That is excellent mate. Bloody brilliant! He can’t take any of our merchandise away if we can’t understand him,” laughs George.

 

Percy seems to be unable to talk to the twins at the moment who are going around the room once again to check on the reactions to the dolls.

 

Petella likes the color-changing dolls the most. She is the only one who manages to set the fire dolls on fire correctly, and she is not a fan of sweets. Her vote goes to the color-changing doll that also yells and shouts like the Minister of Magic.

 

Christopher Callum has the brownies as his favorite. The fire ones if easier to operate would be good, and the color-changing ones are barely okay.

 

Aldred Hornby decides that the color-changing ones would be best, as the brownies go away after you finish them off. He couldn’t even mention the fire dolls, and after his experience with them, the twins do not press the question.

 

Alison and Haley, like both the color-changing and the brownie dolls, so the girls spilt their votes, one for the color-change dolls and the other for the Fudgie Brownies doll. They also say that the fire dolls are completely reckless.

 

When the twins get to Wendelin, she says, “You haven’t asked that boy with the same red hair you have his opinion.”

 

“But . . .”

 

“Now scoot along, you already have my vote,” she says, stuffing the last of her brownie in her mouth.

 

The twins reluctantly head back to Percy’s end of the table, and one of them asks him, “So, Perce, what doll do you like best?”

 

“Or should we just put your vote to the dogs, and throw all evidence of the dolls away?” the other twin asks.

 

Percy nods his head fervently. He tries desperately to open his mouth, but since his lips are sealed shut, no sound comes out of. Percy is yet again trapped by one of the twins’ jokes for maybe the billionth time in his life, and his temper is quickly boiling to the surface under the circumstances.

 

He looks at the twins, daring them to stop their stupid joke, and let him talk. When they produce no antidote, he pulls out his wand and starts to curse the walls with spells knocking over several of their cauldrons, and bookshelves with potion ingredients. All of the other testers jump under the table as Fred and George pull out their wands and turning on Percy shout, “Expelliarmus!” Percy’s wand flies across the room.

 

Percy jumps after his wand and grabs it with such force he stubs his fingers on the self. He runs out of the shop, devilishly glaring at the twins.

 

Fred and George exchange concerned looks and begin helping the others out from under the table. Most of them leave right away with their favorite version of the doll as a reward for participating. Petella stays to get her payment for the work she did for the twins and to ask them a few questions, thinking the more she sees of these boys, the more she likes them.

 

“Congratulations on a wonderful product. Fist the Umbridge dolls and now Fudge, what will you boys think of next? I do think the Fire Dolls need a little bit of work, but no harm done. How about giving me my payment now? That way you can recover from your brother’s antics before you have to open the shop. Then I’ll be on my way out of here,” Petella says very business like.

 

“Okay. We’ve decided to repay you the full price for the Professor Dolores Jane Umbridge Doll you bought yesterday. And for today you can have your pick of any merchandise in the shop for free or you can keep one of each of the test dolls,” George says.

 

“I think I’ll keep one of each doll. I have a feeling they will become a rarity if your brother has anything to say about this,” Petella says.

 

“No problem,” Fred responds, handing her the reimbursement for yesterday’s doll.

 

“Thank you for letting me join you in your event filled first testing group,” Petella says, turning to leave the shop with Fred and George following as they pick up the stuff Percy knocked over as he went out the door.

 

Opening the shop a few minutes after Petella leaves, the twins have a very busy day of customers coming in a continuous stream. They are swamped from opening until around an hour before closing time, when they are finally able to take a break.

 

An extremely tired George walks towards the front door to fix a display, when he is stopped by someone they never expected to see in the shop, the Minister of Magic, Cornelius Fudge himself.

 

“What in blazes name are you doing here, Minister?” George asks, his jaw dropping, as the Minister walks towards the counter without any recognition of the customer he bumps into.

 

“I hardly think that is the way a salesman like yourself should address the Minister of Magic,” Cornelius Fudge says, removing his bowler hat and wiping the sweat off his forehead. “But aside from that, I have some terrible business to discuss with you two redheads.”

 

George stares at Fudge in shock. Did Percy get so pissed with the twins that he sent the Minister to get rid of them once and for all? “Well . . . um . . . Minister, I guess we can go to our office and discuss your business there.”

 

“Yes, that sounds good, Mr. Weasley,” Fudge looks around the shop nervously, as if hoping he could leave then and there.

 

George leads Cornelius Fudge back to their office, picking up Fred on the way.

 

“Now boys, my Junior Assistant told me about some dolls you two made of me today. He said you made him look over them and wanted his opinion on them, is that correct?” Fudge asks, not even sitting down when the twins do.

 

“We never made him do anything he did not want to do. He wanted to come to the test of . . . a new product,” Fred replies.

 

“So you’re not denying that you made dolls of me?”

 

“We –”

 

Cornelius Fudge ignores their rebuttal and starts to try and find the dolls himself. Calling out, “Accio dolls!”, “Accio Cornelius Fudge dolls!”, “Accio Fudge thingies!”, “Accio Minister dolls!”, “Accio fire dolls!”, “Accio muttering dolls!”, and finally, “Accio brownie dolls!” while pointing his wand at different places around the walls of their office. The dolls finally start to come out of the next room, zooming through the gap left between the open door and the frame, colliding into the Minister, almost knocking him over. The twins are forced to suppress their laughter as they go over and help Fudge pick up the dolls.

 

“Here they are!” Fudge exclaims proudly. “Now my business with you two is I need to purchase all these dolls from you, and force you to sign papers that you will never try and do something like these dolls of me again. You will never be able to make more of them and we may have to search your premises to find any instructions about how to make these dolls. I cannot operate in my official position as Minister of Magic if you two red-headed upstarts try and undermine my authority, along with the likes of Dumbledore,” Fudge says, his voice tinged with anger and exhaustion. “Speaking of Dumbledore, I was told yesterday that he was here visiting your shop.” The twins stare blankly at him. “Well, was he?” Fudge asks.

 

“We are not at liberty to divulge information about our customers to others without a proper reason and papers,” Fred says, standing up to Fudge.

 

“Well then, if I get word that he has come back to your shop then I will have you arrested on the grounds that you are harboring a criminal on your premises!” Cornelius Fudge starts to tremble with anger.

 

“We’ve been warned,” George says, holding his hands up.

 

“So, Minister Fudge, why don’t you just close us down? I mean, we can’t defy the Minister of Magic. That must be easier than sending Percy down here to try every day,” 

 

“I don’t take to fixing these kinds of meaningless problems. That’s what I have assistants for, don’t you know,” Fudge says in response to the twins’ question. “Now I must be going. I trust that there are no more of these . . . these . . . disgraceful, disgusting, dishonest dolls, lying around the shop?”

 

“You can trust us.” They smile mischievously. Fudge does not notice a thing. He pays the twins fifty Galleons for all of the dolls, as he turns to leave the shop he mutters something incomprehensible to the twins.

 

Fred and George spend the remaining part of the day laughing at how stupid, the Minister of Magic really is, as they realize they have never made so many Galleons with so little work.

 

//
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