A woman once sent a telegram to Winston Churchill "I am so proud, sir. My baby looks just like you." He replied "Madam, all babies look like me."
"James! Remus! Peter!"
The summoned three ran into the room where their fourth was waiting.
"What's the matter, Sirius?"
The dark-haired man smiled. "I've got us all jobs. Easy-peasy jobs but with strangely high pay."
The other three stared at him.
"Yep! All we have to do is watch some little kids for a few hours and – hey presto! Instant cash!"
Remus studied his friend warily. "Padfoot, have you any idea what babysitting entails?"
"Sure. This family – Weasley, I think the name was – asked us to watch six kids for them. We simply dump them in bed and spend the rest of the night doing whatever. It's perfect!"
James looked at Remus. "It's official. It's highly dangerous for Sirius to think without supervision."
Arthur and Molly Weasley were hastily getting ready for their night out, in between lifting the gurgling Ron down from the extraordinary places in which he just suddenly "appeared". After Arthur had lifted him down from the top of the clock, he turned to find the twins smiling at him, showing sharp white teeth. The unsuspecting parents classed this as cute. All other people with common sense recognised it as a reason for terror.
"Fred! George! How many times have I told you to leave Ron alone?" asked Arthur.
They looked up at him as innocently as evil twins could.
"But, Daddy…" Fred began.
"We can't weach up dere," continued George.
Both stretched up their arms towards the clock. Sure enough, they were a good four feet from the top.
"Mmm." Arthur shrugged and hurried to find his tie. The twins immediately proceeded to float Ron onto the fridge using Bill's wand, which Fred had conveniently found up his jumper.
Suddenly, four loud cracks announced the arrival of the vic – sorry - babysitters. The twins grinned and ran off.
"Hey, kids!" Sirius shouted, bounding into the living room.
The blank faces of several red-headed boys stared at him. Sirius stared back at them for a few seconds, fazed, and slowly backed out of the room, shutting the door softly behind him. He heaved a sigh of relief and then turned to walk into the kitchen. He yelped: James was standing directly behind him, grinning his head off.
"Don't do that!" Sirius cried. "You scared me half to death!"
"What's so scary in that room, though?"
"Nothing!" Sirius answered, a little too quickly. "Nothing's scary in that room. Nothing at all. It's just – err -- "
He began to stutter. James grinned at him even more, then suddenly opened the door and shoved Sirius back into the living room, sending him to the floor and shutting the door firmly behind his friend. The boys were still staring blankly. Sirius got up slowly and edged towards the door again. James was holding it shut from the other side; Sirius could hear him sniggering. He glanced at the boys again and jumped as they had now stood up and surrounded him, all identically coloured eyes still gazing hard.
"J-James," Sirius whimpered. "Help me!"
Peter had found his way into the kitchen, followed by Remus. Remus thought he saw a flash of red hair out of the corner of his eye, but when he looked, nothing was there. However, there was a miniature Winston Churchill invading the cookie jar on top of the refrigerator.
"Who the hell's Winston Churchill?" asked Peter.
"Some Muggle guy, who did some Muggle stuff."
Arthur appeared at that moment and lifted the drooling figure down from his perch.
"This one's Ron," he told them. "He needs to go to bed in half an hour, and Percy will let you know when the others have to go to bed. Molly and I have to leave now," he added, handing dribble-covered Ron to Remus. "We'll be back by midnight, hopefully. Our restaurant's name is by the Floo Powder, and we've put St. Mungo's on speed dial."
"Some Muggle thing," Molly interrupted. "It doesn't work, so don't worry about it. Come on, Arthur, we're going to be late."
They had started to leave the room when Arthur called over his shoulder.
"I bid you goodnight and good luck." Then he added, under his breath, "You'll need it."
Two cracks indicated the departure of the two parents. Three seconds had barely passed before the two eldest boys ran out of the living room.
"We're going to friends," they yelled, and instantly disappeared out of the front door before anyone could say a word.
The one they vaguely remembered being called Charlie poked his head back in. "If you have any sense, you'll leave, too." Then he vanished again.
"Shouldn't we at least find out where they'll be?" Peter asked.
"Nah," Sirius replied, having escaped the living room after Bill and Charlie easily overpowered James' hold on the door. "They'll be fine. Let them go. Now we've only got these to look after."
"You remember this was your idea, right?"
"Shut up. And no, it wasn't."
Remus eyed each of the three boys in turn. They were lined up in front of him on the sofa. He and Peter had been ordered to watch over the remaining boys while Sirius and James made an attempt at what they called dinner.
"So then, how about you tell me your names?"
"Percy, and that's Ron."
"Gur doo da."
"I'm Fed." This last boy smiled at the pair of victims watching him. "I'm Fed, an' I don't like sitting dere wif stupid Percy. Me an' Dorge wanna play."
"Who's – erm – Dorge?" Remus asked, looking at the three boys.
"Dorge is my bestestest fwiend in da holey world."
"Okay, then." Remus smiled at him then whispered hastily to Peter. "Imaginary friend."
Peter opened his eyes wide.
"So, where is Dorge then?" Remus asked.
"It's George, and he isn't imaginary, worst luck," Percy informed them.
Remus smiled at him. "Of course he isn't." He turned back to "Fed". "So? Where is he?"
"He's panning a pan so we can make Percy vanish."
"Panning a pan?"
"Planning a plan," Percy supplied, opening a book on his lap.
"Do you like reading, Percy?"
"It's better than reality."
"What's that you're reading?"
The boy tilted the book enough to show the title.
"How To Tell If Your Babysitter's A Werewolf," Remus read. He cleared his throat nervously. "Erm, isn't that book a bit old for you?"
"It was my dad's before mine. That makes it ancient."
"I'm dunna doe find Dorge," the self-proclaimed Fed announced suddenly, sliding to the floor.
"Okay then," Remus told him in a baby voice. "You go find Georgie."
The toddler toddled off, leaving the babysitters trying to find a way to distract Percy from his book.
"How about you read something to Ron while we go and check up on dinner?" Peter asked.
"What should I read?"
Peter scanned the floor, or rather the items on the floor as not a lot of the actual floor could be seen. "Read this," he suggested, handing him one of those plastic books given to babies to look at in the bath.
Percy glanced at the title. "Harold The Hedgehog Goes To Hogwarts?" he read aloud, dubiously.
Peter smiled. "I hear it's very educational."
Dinner consisted of peanut butter sandwiches and cherry tomatoes. While Remus questioned James and Sirius on how they thought a peanut butter sandwich was a peanut butter sandwich when it only contained butter, Percy and Fred slipped into the kitchen and took a large helping of the "peanut butter" sandwiches each. Percy explained he was getting Ron some despite the fact he only had three teeth, while Fred marched off, claiming one of the two plates he carried was for "Dorge".
Nobody ate the tomatoes, but the tomatoes suddenly disappeared. There were clues as to their whereabouts: whenever someone entered the hallway, several tomatoes suddenly descended on their head, one hitting Sirius squarely on the nose, making him yelp like a startled puppy.
"You know, food is for eating, not playing with!" he yelled up the stairs.
"So why we dot plastic fruit wif our toy market?" called back one cheeky voice.
Dear old Siri couldn't answer that, so he satisfied himself by stalking off in a huff into the living room, where Percy was now reading Harold The Hedgehog In Hufflepuff to Ron.
The three other Marauders were still in the kitchen trying to piece together something edible for themselves, when the second-youngest Weasley boy entered the room.
"Why, if it isn't Fred!" Remus cooed, making James feel extremely nauseous.
The redhead stared at him. "I'm Dorge," he answered slowly in the tone of voice someone would use when explaining something to a very young child.
"Oh. Yes. Of course you are," Remus corrected himself, glancing sideways at Peter and grinning as he did so. "So where's Fred?"
"Updairs. You want him?"
"Yeah, okay. Fetch him, and you can go play in the garden until I send him out. That OK?"
The boy nodded and ambled out of the room. Only a few seconds passed before the identical Fred appeared.
"You wanted me?" he asked, gazing up at Remus.
"I just wanted to ask if you wanted any ice cream."
The child stared at him, then started giggling maniacally.
"You're stupid! Dat's the stupidest thing to ask any kid!"
"He's right, Remus," James confirmed. "Did you ever turn down ice cream?"
"Yes. Quite often."
Peter and James glanced at each other.
"My teeth are sensitive to the cold!" Remus protested.
"Yeah, sure they are."
Remus glared at them both and turned back to Fred. "So you do, then, I take it…"
"And Dorge, too!"
"And George, too. You go play with him, and I'll bring it out to you. He's in the garden."
"I know. He's set fire to a dardem dome."
Remus paled visibly.
"What?" he asked in a worried tone.
"A garden gnome! He's set fire to a garden gnome!" Percy called helpfully.
James, Peter and Remus all glanced at one another, and there was a mad dash for the garden door. Remus' werewolf speed skilfully got him through it first, but James and Peter got jammed together in the doorway. Remus left them to it and ran down to the bottom of the garden, where smoke was wafting up into the air.
This was the moment when Remus J. Lupin realised that George Weasley was not so imaginary after all.
The imaginary-but-not-imaginary twin was running around the garden after what looked like a potato with legs, laughing and waving Bill's wand in the air. By some bizarre occurrence, the wand was producing blue flames at random, and one unfortunate potato had already gotten in the way.
Remus made a grab for the wand, succeeding, but George wasn't having any of it. After much screaming and biting and many blue flames later, Remus finally managed to wrestle the wand away from the red-haired twin and proceeded to try and remove the other twin from his leg, where Fred had planted himself in the hopes of helping George wreak havoc.
Sirius, who had come out of the living room when he heard the commotion, shoved James and Peter hard in their backs and finally dislodged them both from the doorway.
"What is proceeding here?" he demanded. "In actuality, I can't depart from you gentlemen unaccompanied for five minutes devoid of you losing absolute control of the situation!"
Everyone blinked at him.
"Sorry," he answered sheepishly. "Percy's reading aloud to Ron from a dictionary."
"What was really scary is that you made sense for once. Kind of."
"Hey, Moony! That's not fair!"
"What did I say?"
Sirius was just about to reply when he noticed Peter. The little man was staring from Fred to George and back to Fred again. And the twins were grinning at him in a very unpleasant, evil kind of way.
"There's…there's two of him?" Peter stuttered.
"Yes, Peter. That's what twins are."
"They're…they're clones!" Peter shrieked. "Clones! Which one's the evil clone? Maybe they both are? Where's the real non-clone? What's happening?"
"Peter! Peter, they're twins, not clones!"
"No, no! They've brainwashed you! They're clones, evil clones! They're trying to take over the world! They're…they're…" Peter yelped. "They're in league with You-Know-Who!"
Peter glanced fearfully at the twins, who both decided this would be a good time to attack him.
"AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!" Peter screamed, and throwing off each of the twins in turn, fled up the garden, through the house, out the door and down the road.
The three remaining Marauders didn't even have time to blink.
"Well," James spoke after several moments silence. "That was unexpected."
"Should we go after him?"
"All right, then."
Sirius scoffed. "They're only twins. What harm can they do?"
Five minutes later, Remus made the fatal mistake of giving the twins sugar.
Half an hour after that, Sirius left the living room to find the rest of the house in shambles.
Five seconds after that, he decided twins could do a lot of harm after all.
The kitchen had been raided. Air-raided, possibly. The cookie jar was lying on its side on the floor, empty of course, while several empty fizzy drinks cans littered every flat surface.
Sirius carefully opened every cupboard, only finding a few worms, a Puffskein and a couple of hundred cookie crumbs. There wasn't anything left that two-year-olds like to eat but shouldn't, most probably because it covered most of the floor. And not just the kitchen floor, either.
Sirius continued to search the rest of the downstairs rooms, excluding the living room as the twins hadn't been in there all day, finally discovering semi-intelligent life in the form of James cowering in the cupboard under the stairs and coated with what looked suspiciously like jelly.
"Hey, Prongs. Whatcha doing?"
James continued hugging his knees, staring straight ahead.
"Evil…evil…Peter right…they evil…so evil…"
Very worried now, Sirius patted him comfortingly on the head and went upstairs to find Remus in search of assistance or a strong sedative.
"Moony, James is downstairs in the cupboard, and he seems a bit doo-lally so I thought…"
Remus flung himself out of a nearby bedroom into Sirius' chest, knocking him to the floor. A garden gnome zoomed over their heads, squealing like mad.
"What have the twins got against those things?" Remus pondered aloud.
Sirius sat up, glaring daggers at Remus.
"Who cares? What have you got against me, that's what I'd like to know! You nearly sent me back down the stairs!"
"Did you want a gnome in your gob?" Remus asked pointedly.
Sirius stuck out his tongue and stood up. As he did so, he happened to glance towards the bedroom Remus had come out of. He froze.
"Moony, get up."
"Get up, Remus. Get up, get up, get up, get up, get up…"
While chanting, Sirius had given up trying to haul Remus to his feet and started dragging him along the landing by his robes. The sound of something electronic started humming behind them, and Sirius panicked, flinging Remus through the nearest door and hurling himself in after. He slammed the door and locked it with a spell just before source of the electronic sound and some high-pitched giggles collided with the other side of the door.
"Sirius? What was that?"
"I gathered that. With what?"
"I don't know. It was a Muggle item, that much I knew. But it looked painful. Very painful."
They were both quiet for a while, regaining their breath. Sirius moved father into the room, actually the bathroom, and sat down on the side of the bathtub. Remus joined him soon after.
The electronic noise came again, right outside the door, with the noticeable sound of evil laughter in the background.
"Fancy staying in here until the parents get back? You know, only if you want to," he added quickly.
"Padfoot, that's the best damn idea you've ever had."
This fic was inspired by my friend Trillian Black's 'Fed, Dorge And The Unwitting Babysitter' on Fiction Alley. The quote at the beginning was also borrowed from her without permission until too late.