As you will be able to tell, I seriously lack the imaginative talent of Ms Rowling and am sorry to say that the only thing that belongs to me in this chapter is the cub. Thanks to Emiri-chan for checking this over.
Chapter 2: Wheeze
Fred and George poured Professors McGonagall and Dumbledore a cup of tea each, and offered them a biscuit.
"They're not canary creams are they?" asked McGonagall, eyeing the plate suspiciously.
"Would we do that to you, Professor?" cried an indignant George.
"I wouldn't put it past you." she said, her eyes narrowing. "I haven't forgotten the Ginger Newt Incident."
"That was a long time ago!" said Fred. "Honestly Professor, you can trust us, we would never…"
He was interrupted by a loud pop as Professor Dumbledore disappeared. A moment later, there was a bang from the floor above, closely followed by the sound of footsteps on the stairs.
"I'd steer clear of the biscuits if I were you, Minerva." said Dumbledore, re-entering the room.
She threw the twins a glare.
"What was that?" she demanded.
"We haven't got a name for them yet" said Fred with a huge grin "Where did you end up, Professor."
"That's odd. We usually end up on the roof. Better write that down George. Different people must have different destinations. It corresponds with Ginny ending up in her own knicker drawer…"
"Shall we get to the point?" said McGonagall in a slightly exasperated tone.
The twins nodded.
"We've brought you a present, boys." She said, indicating the box on the kitchen table, which shuddered as if trying to throw itself off the edge.
"A present?" cried the twins in unison "What for?"
"To say thank you for your efforts against Dolores Umbridge this last school year." said Dumbledore.
"And for that marvellous swamp! I must say, I'm quite sad that it's gone. We did rather enjoy punting down the corridor, Minerva, didn't we…"
Professor McGonagall spluttered into her tea cup and quickly changed the subject.
"I would like to thank you for coming to visit me in St Mungo's." she said with a rare smile. "I was very touched. Not to mention surprised to find that the chocolates you brought me were actually edible."
"Oh now, Professor! We do draw the line somewhere, you know!" cried Fred.
"That's right!" piped in George "Besides, we've never tested our stuff on sick people before. Couldn't guarantee you would actually turn back…"
Professor McGonagall raised an eyebrow.
"Good job I tested them on the nurse, then isn't it?" She said.
There was a rattle, as the contents of the box jiggled impatiently. Dumbledore smiled, his eyes twinkling.
"Would you like to see it?" He asked. The twins nodded as he moved towards the box, which by now had perfected its suicidal strategy and was jolting itself closer to the end of the table. Dumbledore caught it just as it had achieved its desire, and placed it on the floor before his chair. The box shook violently in what appeared to be anger that its plan had been foiled.
"What is it, Professor?" asked Fred.
"It's for your new shop." said McGonagall. "It's a sign made from the mascot we chose for you. A Gryffindor lion."
"Wicked!" exclaimed the twins as Professor Dumbledore pulled the wriggling sign out of its box. He held it before him for them to see.
The square gold frame extended from Dumbledore's chin to his waist. It was a little wider than him, however, and was unusually deep. This depth was explained by the figure that was framed within. A life-size, three-dimensional lion-cub sat inside, its swishing tail dangling over the edge, a cheeky grin worthy of a Cheshire cat upon its features.
Fred and George took it between them, emitting further expressions of delight as the cub began to loop the loop inside the frame.
"The frame is not really necessary," explained McGonagall "but we didn't know how you would hang it. You could just place the cub outside somewhere, like a figurine."
"What if it rains, Professor?" asked George, tickling the cub behind the ears.
"It's not real, Mr Weasley! It's a muggle toy that's been transfigured into a mascot. It will become a bronze statuette when it is not in use. All you have to do is tell it to sit still. It's just a sign, not a pet."
"A sign with a personality! We named it 'Wheeze'" said Dumbledore with a grin. "Its name comes with a character charm…"
"You named it Wheeze, Albus." corrected Professor McGonagall sternly. "I merely transfigured it."
"Well, you endorsed the charm, Minerva…"
"What's a character charm, Professors?" interrupted George.
"It's a charm that provides inanimate objects with a personality." explained Dumbledore. "In fact, it was invented by my brother, Aberforth, who was prosecuted for using it on one of his goats…it was uh…deemed inappropriate for use on living creatures…"
"Professor Dumbledore chose the name 'Wheeze' because it comes from your name, as well as the name of the shop. Therefore, the three of you are connected - the mascot, the contents of the shop and er…you two."
She turned to look at Wheeze.
"Sit Wheeze!" She said, and the little lion stopped galloping round its frame and sat down on the base. "Now, roar Wheeze!"
Wheeze let out a huge roar worthy of a fully grown lion and grinned smugly as McGonagall patted it on the head.
"It does whatever you ask, as long as you follow the command with 'Wheeze'."
"He's brilliant, professors!" cried the twins.
McGonagall scowled, and opened her mouth to say something, but Dumbledore shook his head and winked.
"He'll be great for business!" said Fred "The kids'll love him! How can we ever thank you?"
"Well you can start by not sending us boxes of unlabeled canary creams…" McGonagall began.
"It's just a little something, Mr Weasley." he said. "And I can assure you that we will get more pleasure out of seeing it above your shop than you will. Now, Minerva, my dear, shall we go through next years timetables before dinner? I need to do something to stop myself daydreaming about Molly's marvellous cooking…"
And with that, both Professors stood up and headed for the study.
Fred was prodding Wheeze in the tummy, while the cub was looking alternately at his own stomach and Fred's face with a mildly interested expression.
"If he comes out of his frame, do you think we could hide him in various places to jump out on mum?" Fred asked.
"Don't see why not. Let's put him in the dirty washing basket…"
The little lion clearly had no intention of being stuffed into a box twice in the same day, and was just in the process of clawing its way up the edge of the wicker, when George had a thought.
"What do you think he meant, Fred?" he asked, stuffing Wheeze's head back into the basket and trying to put the lid on.
"Dumbledore. When he said that they will get more pleasure out of Wheeze than we will."
"Dunno. Probably one of those people who gets a kick out of giving things. Stay, Wheeze!"
"Yeah, maybe. But don't you think it's a bit odd? Them sort of putting the seal of approval on our career? I mean, I know Dumbledore has a good sense of humour, but McGonagall? She was always on mum's side. No, don't chew dad's pants, that's gross!"
"You forgot to say 'Wheeze'."
"Oh yeah. Sit still, Wheeze'!"
Wheeze, who had moved onto a sock, suddenly stopped gnawing and sat still as a statue. He was no longer covered in fur, but was now a bronze figurine in the shape of a small lion cub.
"Wicked. How do we delay a command?"
"Just say it, and we'll see if he understands."
"Jump out when mum comes, Wheeze." The cub gave a wink, but remained in his statuette form.
"I dunno about McGonagall, though." said Fred as they walked down to the kitchen. "I reckon she's grateful to anyone who gave Umbridge a hard time. We just happened to have done the best job, thereby proving that we were meant for our chosen career. And Dumbledore's just a man after our own heart."
George stopped suddenly and looked back up the stairs.
"You don't think…there's something wrong with Wheeze, do you?" he asked with a look of panic
"You mean like there's something they're not telling us?" said Fred, picking up on his brothers thoughts.
"Exactly. What if Dumbledore's done something to him?"
"But why would he?"
"You don't think he could be getting us back for the Honeyduke's episode do you?"
"Nah, he never knew that was us. We covered our tracks way too well."
"Yeah. And lets face it, even if Dumbledore has done something to the mascot, it couldn't possibly be anything that we won't think of ourselves!"
And with their hearts relieved by the happy thought that no one could outsmart them in the prank department, the twins made their way into the kitchen to plan exactly how they would make use of their new toy.
About an hour later, there was a scream from upstairs and much thumping about, as Molly Weasley batted Wheeze out of the bedroom with the washing basket lid.
"What on earth was that?!" cried Moody, jumping to his feet with his wand out, gazing through the kitchen ceiling with his magical eye.
"Don't worry." chuckled George. "Mum's just let the cat out of the bag!"
To experience the wonderful adventures of Wheeze, review me and I'll get down to writing the next chapter…
I would really appreciate reviews on this one, particularly concerning the "design" of Wheeze. I really struggled with the concept and description, as I don't really have a clear idea of what he is myself!
Also, to Fred and George lovers, I apologise if they aren't quite themselves. I tried to be as authentic as possible (for someone who steals other people's characters!), but am not as familiar with them as with Albus and Minerva.