The Sugar Quill
Author: Sweeney Agonistes (Professors' Bookshelf)  Story: The Question Of The Century  Chapter: Default
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A/N: It’s times like this I’m horribly grateful to the Veritaserum board

A/N: It’s times like this I’m horribly grateful to the Veritaserum board. I blame the forums entirely for this small offering. Virtual cookies and a big ol’ grin to ZQoB. (That’s Zsenya, Queen of Betas.) Oh, and if you think I’ve stolen anything from Saturday Night Live, you would be absolutely correct.




            Fred and George Weasley surreptitiously glanced at the Slytherin table with a dubious air. “What d’you think?”

            “I have no idea.”

            Katie Bell chimed in from a few seats away, “Marcus Flint says he – she – it keeps its things stowed away in a closet off the common room, and it never comes to bed – sleeps on one of the divans. Some Slytherins do, he says, but almost never first-years.”

            “And it’s not like these robes show much difference in the sexes,” grumped George.

            “Much to my chagrin,” said Fred, with a wink at Angelina, who promptly poked him with her fork.

            “So are you two going to do anything?” asked Katie.

            Fred and George looked at each other. “Oh, I think it’s become a matter of Gryffindor honor.”

            “Most definitely.”

            “And as tomorrow is Halloween, we can slip away during the feast and – ” George whispered something to Fred, who promptly started snickering.

            “Secrets are no fun unless you share,” said Angelina sententiously.

            The Weasley twins shared a glance. “Well – ”

            “We’ve tried everything – ”

            Almost everything – ”

            “We’ve had people spying for us in Slytherin, trying to see which lav the person in question goes in – ”

            “But – er – the person in question always evades us.”

            “The ghosts have been no help at all.” Fred sounded righteously disgusted.

            “And we’ve tried everything but actual personal contact – ”

            “Which, with our glowing reputations, shouldn’t be too hard – ”

            “Since everyone wants to know how to evade Filch, especially the firsties – ”

            “And we’ve set up an appointment with the person in question tomorrow night for a bit of a game,” Fred finished.

            Katie said, “A game? What sort of game?”

            Fred snorted. George grinned.

            “Strip poker.”

“We honestly can’t figure out how Blaise Zabini is going to evade answering the question any longer.”

            Katie and Angelina stared at the twins with dropped jaws. Fred preened. “Brilliant, isn’t it?”

            George shook Fred’s hand. “An excellent job, Weasley.”

            “Why thank you, Weasley.”

            Angelina said faintly, “You’re going to play strip poker…with Blaise Zabini…to find out what gender he…she…is?”

            “Nothing else has worked,” pointed out George.

            “Well, you can keep me out of it,” said Katie, getting up from the table. Angelina followed. “You’ll likely end up in Dumbledore’s office for leading a first-year astray, and then where will the team be? You know we’ve just found a Seeker, and there’s no one else in the house who will work as well together as you two do with the bats.”

            Fred said, “We’ll tell Dumbledore it’s for scientific research. Can’t see how he can argue with that.”

            “And it’s not like we’re going to go till we’re all starkers – just far enough so we can tell.”

             Angelina said, incredulous, “You don’t think you’ll actually get a first-year to play strip poker with you?”

            Fred looked insulted. “Angelina Johnson, you underestimate the power of the Weasley male.”

            Katie shook her head and walked away, calling over her shoulder, “I’d like to see how the power of the Weasley male fares against a very irate Headmaster!” Angelina just laughed as she followed Katie.

            George stared after them. “They have so very little faith in us.”

            “Rather horrid.”

            “We’ll just prove them wrong, then. Have you got the cards?”

            “I should certainly think so.”

            “Do they still work?”

            “Yes – as long as one of us deals, the hand should go in our favor.”

            “Where did that chap that Dad got the cards off of work? Las Vegas, wasn’t it?”

            Atlantic City, I think. Glad Dad raided him – we’re putting them to a good purpose.”

            “D’you think Dad will notice they’re gone?”

            “Probably not – he likes his plugs and batteries more than cards.”

            George looked thoughtful. “You know, we really ought to send him a present to thank him for the use of the cards.”

            “See if we can get something off one of the Muggle-borns, maybe?”

            “Maybe. Of course, that would mean telling him we’d taken them.”

            “You know he’d think it’s funny. At any rate, if we get a present, we can send it along with Ginny’s toilet seat. Shall we continue talking strategy?”

“Nothing else to do.”

            “Except that Potions essay.”

            “Well, once we’ve found out whether Blaise Zabini is man or maid, we can make our next project getting Snape to bathe. Might cheer him up.”




            At the feast the next night, the twins were much amused by the fact that neither Katie nor Angelina would speak to them.

            They watched Blaise come into the Great Hall, look at the bats swooping around the jack-o-lanterns floating in the air, and sit at the Slytherin table with a general mien of anticipation. “Not too much longer now – we may as well enjoy the feast.”

            Harry and Ron came in and sat next to the twins, starting up a Quidditch conversation while they waited for the food. When it appeared on the plates in front of them, all conversation stopped as they tucked in.

            Their meal was interrupted when Professor Quirrell dashed into the hall and stopped dead at Professor Dumbledore’s chair. They heard him wheeze, “Troll – in the dungeons – thought you ought to know.” When they saw him sink to the floor, the twins stood up like the rest of the school to see what was going on.

            “Think we should go wrestle the troll?” yelled George to Fred under the hubbub.

            Fred shook his head and shouted something, but George couldn’t hear him – it was that loud.

            Professor Dumbledore called, “Prefects, lead your Houses back to the dormitories immediately!”

            They fell into line behind Percy and went back up to the common room, where they collapsed on one of the couches with considerable disappointment.

            “You do realize,” said Fred, “we can’t find out now. When are we ever going to have a chance like today? By next year, Zabini will be too experienced to realize that we’re always up to no good.”

            “The matter of Blaise Zabini’s gender will remain one of the great mysteries of Hogwarts,” said George dramatically.

            “It will earn its own chapter in Hogwarts, A History,” predicted Fred. “There’ll be pages and pages of differing theories of the leading experts in the matter.”

            “But no one will ever discover the truth – just like that Chamber of Secrets that Salazar Slytherin was supposed to have.”

            “And we can go down in history as the people who got the closest to figuring it out.”

            They looked at each other and grinned, somewhat appeased.

            “You do realize,” said Katie Bell’s voice from behind them, “that the easier course might be simply asking Zabini?”

            Angelina handed each of them a sandwich and a flagon of pumpkin juice and plopped down next to them. “Really – I would have thought that two fine Weasley males such as yourselves would be smart enough to figure that out.”

            “Oh, we figured it out easily enough,” said George airily around a mouthful of sandwich.

            Fred said, draining his flagon, “Honestly, woman – don’t you realize that flat-out asking spoils the fun?”

            Katie and Angelina looked exasperated; the twins began to laugh.

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