The Sugar Quill
Author: Mr Flying Fingers (Professors' Bookshelf)  Story: Gingerbread House  Chapter: Default
The distribution of this story is for personal use only. Any other form of distribution is prohibited without the consent of the author.

Gingerbread House

Acknowledgements: Inspired by Mdm Kelleypen and Mdm DuSult for a little Fluff thread drabble. And many thanks to DSDragon and Gufa for beta’ing the story!

~

Fred and George Weasley were a bit surprised that they had been cornered into babysitting two young Muggles one wintry Saturday afternoon, but the two chubby children had wandered out of the woods around the Burrow and into the front yard at the right time—just as Mrs. Weasley had put out a batch of Christmas biscuits to cool. She had taken a liking to the little tykes, inviting them into the house; pulling out all sorts of sweets and casting a stern look when George referred to them as “butterballs”.

The twins had known that a Muggle family from Germany had just moved in down the road from the Burrow, and they had also known that Mum wanted to send a welcome basket for some time now. They had expected their dad to jump at the chance to carry the basket down the dirt track to the potato farm, because it was a golden opportunity for him to visit Muggles.

Oddly, Dad didn’t; he had been hurt in some strange work accident. Since both of their parents were strangely mum about whatever it was that had made it impossible for Dad to walk, Fred and George assumed it was some hush-hush Ministry or Order of the Phoenix operation. So they asked no questions.

Now, in the midst of all the spicy smells of Christmas baking, they wished that they had asked a question or two, or at least objected, as Fred regarded a pile of Teutonic-themed mittens, coats, scarves, and hats that lay in the corner. Mum had just bustled out, looking for more pies, pastries, cakes, and sweets. George’s eyes turned from the glowing and crackling fire in the kitchen to stare at the two children sitting in the chairs across from him in the Weasley dining room.

“Das ist very gut!” The little blond boy smiled through bits and pieces of the cake stuck to his chin. “More, please!” He held out a plate, full of crumbs.

George studied the little boy, who seemed to be no more than six. “That would be your fifth piece, little man. Are you sure you want to have another?” said George.

“Yes,” said Fred, glancing at his wristwatch. “It’s almost six o’clock. Isn’t it time for your supper yet? We wouldn’t want to spoil your appetite.”

“Please, Herr Veeselys,” said the boy. “I vant more.” The plate was waved for emphasis. “Sehr gut! Ja!”

“It’s not nice to whine. And aren’t you full?” asked Fred.

The boy’s chubby older sister, maybe seven or eight, mumbled around a mouth full of biscuits, “I am not full.”

“Me, too!” said the boy. “Mutti said ve haf very healthy appetites.”

“Yes, apparently so.” Fred frowned at the girl’s fat, grubby hand reaching for another biscuit from the serving dish. He watched as George sliced away another large piece of double-fudge chocolate cake for the little boy.

Molly Weasley bustled in with a plate of treacle tarts. She sang out, “Oh, there you are, my little popkins! Here are a few more treats—”

“Thanks, woman!” George reached out for the plate and received a sharp slap across the wrist. 

“George Weasley! These are for the Grubers.” She turned from him and glared at Fred. “Not for you lot!”

Fred muttered something unintelligible.

“Here you go. These are for you two sweeties and your parents.” Molly smiled at the two little children, set down the plate, and left. “I’ll be right back, I have something I’d like for you to take home to your parents,” she called out from the kitchen.

“I hope it ist more food,” said the fat boy, his mouth working to inhale the chocolate cake.

The little girl might have agreed, had her mouth not just been stuffed with a large, sugary, cherry turnover. Instead, she could only nod vigorously at her brother, causing her stomach to jiggle in agreement.

George shook his head. Muggles. He tried to figure out where the chins of the two Gruber children ended and where their necks began as they filled their mouths with treats, sweets, pastries, cakes—everything that their doting mother could share, she gave the two who had won her over with their wonderment at the crazy angles and curves of the Burrow.

“So, what do you think of our house?” asked Fred.

The boy stopped chewing long enough to say, “Es ist broken. Und dirty.”

“Und it looks funny.” The girl giggled. “It looks like it vill fall over und go...KABOOM.” She and the boy both laughed.

Fred scowled.

“It’s a special house,” said George. “I like it.”

“Vat is so special about it?” asked the girl, finally finished with the turnover and starting to work on a Christmas biscuit.

“It’s—it’s...well...we live here,” said Fred.

“Das ist it?” The boy stared at Fred, clearly very unimpressed.

George was irritated and sat silently as the two ate. Then a grin crossed his face. “Well, it’s a very special house. Very special. It’s a house that’s made of—” he spied the girl’s biscuit, “—gingerbread.” He winked at Fred, who had looked up in puzzlement.

It took a half-moment for Fred to catch on to George’s thought and then he, too, started to grin.

“I don’t believe you,” said the little girl. Her eyes flashed a challenge, a challenge that she should have known better than to have made.

“Oh, do believe, Fräulein. Here, taste,” said George. He reached out to a crack in the wall next to him and picked off a chunk of dirty, loose plaster, and with a grandiose flourish, he held his hand out to the little girl, then the little boy. Each broke off a small piece from the offered masonry and tentatively nibbled at it. Fred stretched and leaned back with his hands behind his head, smiling broadly.

“Gingerbread!” gasped the little girl, tasting the plaster before gobbling it up. She looked at the wall greedily.

Tapping the tips of his fingers to his head, Fred grinned at his brother with devilment dancing in his eyes. George could see the point of Fred’s wand poking out a bit, the rest hidden inside of the sleeve. Winking, Fred allowed the wand to slide back into his jumper as he stretched again.

The ghoul banged on the pipes overhead and the two children looked up, startled.

“See?” said Fred. “That’s one of the rabbits that nibble on the ceiling every night. We have to make a batch every evening to patch up the holes the next morning or in a week’s time the whole Burrow will fall over.”

George nodded. “You could say that you’re literally eating us out of house and home right now.” He indicated the half-eaten gingerbread man in the girl’s hand. “Those were to be the patches we were going to put up in the roof over Mum’s side of the bed later today. If it snows...” he trailed off. “If it snows…”

“...if it snows,” Fred’s voice quivered, “then she’ll be cold and wet and sick in the morning. She’ll catch her death.” He sniffed loudly and shook his head. “D-Do you really want that to happen? You can’t let it happen. I love my Mummy!”

The little girl looked around uncertainly.

“But she vanted us to eat,” said the little boy, very quietly.

“Oh, yes, of course she does,” said George. He put on a serious face, the very paragon of wisdom, or so he thought. He nodded very solemnly.

“Vhy?” asked the small boy.

“Why? Why?” repeated George. “Well, because…Fred?”

“Because she wants to eat you!” Fred blurted out.

The two children shrieked, put their arms over their heads, and dove from their chairs.

Fred said to the children cowering under the table, “She wants to fatten you up for the Christmas roast. Children taste better than duck.”

There was another shriek. George threw up his hands and looked at his brother, wondering what Fred was thinking. Fred could only shrug back.

“Shhhh!” hissed Fred. “She’ll hear you!”

The two children’s eyes darted around the dining room, looking for ways to escape.

“Er, yeah. That’s right,” said Fred. “Be very quiet, because she’s very good at um. . .she’s a. . .um. . .” He looked to his brother.

“A WITCH!” cried George in a flash of inspiration.

The two children shrieked again and ran from the dining room, knocking over a chair and bolting through the back door. Their footsteps could be heard fading into the distance as they crunched through the snow.

George was laughing as he turned on his twin. He was barely able to say, “She’s going to eat you?” He laughed even harder.

“Oi! Better than telling them she’s a witch!” said Fred, looking at his brother dourly. “Whatever possessed you to tell them that?”

“Hey, when in doubt, tell the truth.” George laughed even harder.

“But, the Ministry—”

George waved off his brother’s concern. “Do we worry about Ministry rules?”

“Fair enough, I suppose—”

“My word, it certainly sounds like everybody is getting along. What’s so funny my little—” Molly bustled back into the kitchen, holding a bundle of knitting. “Where did the little ones go?” Her eyes found the twins; she took in their guilty countenances, their slouching figures. “Fred and George Weasley . . .” Even though her voice was quiet, each word was very clear. Every syllable. Every letter. “Where are Hansel and Gretel?”

“ASK HIM,” they chorused, pointing to each other.

~

Merry Christmas!

      ~ MFF

 

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