DISCLAIMER: I solemnly swear that I do not own Harry Potter, Hogwarts, or any other characters, subjects, or places mentioned in this story.
Not beta'd...I apologize for errors and mistakes
4 OUT OF 5
aka Double Trouble Part II
"Snape!" Ron exclaimed, turning towards his best friends, "Snape read your essay!"
"So?" Harry asked.
"So! Snape read your essay!"
"It's not like I had a choice about it, he had to, he was helping the headmaster grade them, remember?"
"Yeah, I know, but still," Ron said with a pause, "You don't seem that upset by it."
Harry shrugged, "It already happened, what can I do about it now?"
Ron just stared at him in shock, "That's all you're going to say?"
Harry just gave another shrug, not knowing what else he could say about that subject.
"So you are perfectly fine with letting The Greasy Git of the Dungeons read your essay, something you state is so personal you won't share it with your best mate?" Ron screeched.
"In this case, yes," Harry hissed. "I might not be able to control who Dumbledore allows to read it, but I can choose who I let read it."
"And you choose not to let me or Ginny read it."
Harry shrugged, "Yeah, I guess I do."
"Thanks, thanks a lot," he said before storming out of the room
"You can say that again."
"Wow," he repeated, complying with his brother's command, before they both fell silent thinking about what they had just read.
"Brother," Fred said a moment later, his voice more serious than George has ever heard, "I have to confess that I…well, I'm not completely proud about what we did."
"I understand," George nodded in agreement. "Definitely wasn't what I thought it would be."
"I know. I expected…" Fred frowned and paused, "Not sure exactly what I expected, but it definitely wasn't that."
"I expected something shocking, based on the reactions it had gotten, but this was so…personal."
"Exactly, which is why I feel like I do."
"At least now we know why Harry was so adamant about not wanting to share it."
"And why Hermione keeps sneaking off to talk to Harry."
"Can't blame her, there. I mean, I knew about some of that stuff, I just didn't know it, ya know?"
"And that was only the rough draft," Fred snorted.
"Definitely rough on some people and probably rougher for others to read," he said with a chuckle before the two fell into silence for a few more moments.
George snickered as his brother repeated his words from earlier.
"The question is, what are we going to do about it?"
Geroge snorted, "What can we do? Anything we do will inform Harry that we read his essay."
"And no doubt he'll want to know why…and how."
"Which would reveal that we broke into Hermione's trunk and copied a copy of his essay."
Fred and George both shuddered. "I honestly don't know which would be worse, Harry or Hermione mad at us."
"Again, I ask, what do we do?
"Well, we can't do nothing."
"True, Hermione and Harry will get suspicious if we stop asking about the essay,"
"Or even if we stop coming around."
"So, what do we do?"
The two once more fell into silence as they thought about how to proceed.
"Well, the essay was a bit different, so I say that we do things a bit different."
George frowned in confusion at his twin's words.
"We let them know that we know about the essay without letting them know that we know about Harry's essay."
"I…what?" George frowned.
Fred sighed, "Well, we now know what Dumbledore assigned, right? And we know the basics of what Harry's years at Hogwart's included, right? We just mention things in such a way that they seem coincidental."
"Ah…Brilliant," George said with s grin. "And if we accidentally knew something that we shouldn't have, well, since Ron knows about it, they would probably think that we learned it from him."
"Brother, we are geniuses," Fred said, toasting an imaginary glass into the air.
"I couldn't agree more," George said, adding a verbal "Clink," as he imitated his brother, causing the two to laugh for a few moments.
"But on the off chance they"
"Hermione," his brother corrected.
"Figure it out…"
"Well, the good news is that right now neither one can use magic outside of school."
"So we just avoid them during the school year and hope that at Christmas when Hermione is 17 and next summer when Harry turns 17 that they either forget or forgive?"
Fred nodded, "Sounds like a plan to me."
George frowned, "I do have one more question…did you really think it was necessary for us to make another copy to take with us instead of just taking one of the many copies Hermione already made? And why did she have that many copies anyway?"
Fred frowned, "I refuse to answer that since it was two questions and you pointedly stated that you only had one."
"Fair enough," George replied, with a nod of his head "Since I didn't really expect you to know the answer anyway."
"Albus," Molly addressed the older wizard, "I would like to ask a favor from you,"
"Anything I can do for you, Molly, I will," Albus stated cheerfully, "Unless, of course, it is in connection with next year's selection of Head Boy."
"Oh, no," Molly denied, "It is nothing like that, though it would be wonderful to have another Head Boy in the family."
"I apologize," Molly replied softly to the headmaster's warning tone. "It really does have nothing to do with that."
"Wonderful then," Albus declared, "So what is this favor?"
"I would like for you to arrange for me to read Harry's assignment."
Albus stared at her in surprise, "Molly," he began uncomfortably,
"The summer assignment," Molly interrupted, "I don't want to have any effect on the grading of this assignment," she continued, "But this household has been turned upside down because of it! The boys are barely talking, Harry's often upset with my four youngest, Hermione doesn't seem that pleased with them either, and the twins are spending more time here than at their shop!
"And that doesn't even cover how the adults are acting!" she exclaimed. "Harry is like a son to me, I would like to see that assignment of his."
"Molly, I can't," Albus finally responded.
"Of course you can," Molly corrected, "You're the Headmaster. If you currently don't have the assignment, you can retrieve it from Professor Snape. Either way, if an assignment is that shocking to those who have read it, you owe it to the student to make sure that someone, especially a parent or anyone else who is in a position to help reads it so that they can act accordingly. As I said, Harry is like a son to me; I am the only adult who currently has consistent and constant access to him, it is in everybody's best interest that I read that essay."
"I understand how you would feel that way," Albus replied, "But again, I cannot let you read his essay. As much as you care for him, you are not his parent or guardian-"
"You can't honestly expect Petunia," she spat, "To want to read it, let alone, for her to be concerned about Harry."
Albus frowned, "While Petunia has not cared as much for Harry as I would've liked, she did express her concern regarding Harry's schooling and his essay, when we talked."
"You let her read it!" Molly screeched, "Why did you let her read it? Especially when you won't let me!"
Albus frowned, "It wasn't I who gave her access to the essay."
Molly frowned as she thought about what the headmaster had just stated, "Harry, oh, the poor dear boy," she cried. "He was reaching out for help, yet all he found was her. Albus, now I really must insist that I read that essay."
Albus already began shaking his head, "Again, I cannot let you do that. Yes, perhaps the essay Harry wrote is having more of an impact than I thought when I assigned it and that Harry thought when he wrote it, but regardless, it is still Harry's essay. You informed me that the children are barely talking because of it; because your children want to read it and because Harry does not want them to. That leads me to believe that Harry doesn't want anyone else to read his essay. I have already failed that boy in many ways," Albus sadly admitted, "I refuse to add this to the list. If you want to read his essay, you will have to ask Harry and get it from him."
"No, Molly," Albus interrupted, standing up and preparing to leave, "That is my final answer. I will not help to make something happen that Harry does not want to happen."
"So, we finally learned what this 'assessment' from Dumbledore was about."
Ginny snorted, "If you had stayed at Hogwart's and taken you're NEWTS, you would've learned that a lot sooner."
"At more risk to our health,"
"And lives," George added with a grin. "We probably would've had four staff members trying to kill us, not just Umbridge."
"Four?" Ron repeated skeptically, "Like four professors would really try to kill a student."
"You're right," Fred said before adding with a grin, "Maybe five."
Ron snorted is disbelief, "Who?" he demanded to know.
"Umbridge, of course."
"Mustn't forget dear old Snape," George noted.
Ginny snickered, "That's only three."
"And Filch wasn't a professor!" Ron added gleefully.
The twins exchanged glances, "First, little brother, we said staff members, not professors, and second, little sister, we aren't done yet."
"Binns?" They offered, pausing to think for a bit.
Harry snorted, "He's not much of a threat, can't even remember anyone's name, much less hold a weapon to kill someone."
"True," The twins nodded in agreement, before continuing, "McGonagle loves us," Fred said, "So it wouldn't be her."
"True," George agreed solemnly. "Maybe it's only three out of those five then."
"Surely there's someone else," Fred spoke.
"Well," George hesitated a bit, looking at Harry, "Hagrid does try to feed us rock cakes every time we visited him."
"Hey! He does that to us too!" Ron exclaimed in alarm. "Do you really think he's trying to kill us?"
Fred and George laughed as Harry glared at his best mate and both Hermione and Ginny launched pillows in his direction.
"Oh my," George exclaimed in alarm.
"What?" Fred asked.
"McGonagle," George said softly. "She only loved us as long as we helped to win the Quidditch Cup for her office. With our ban last year, we weren't really much help."
"Oh merlin, you're right," Fred groaned. "Guess it is four out of those five after all."
"Knew we should've made a bet with Ron about that," George sighed sadly. "All those galleons, lost."
"Yeah, yeah," Ron grumbled, "Now why did you two come in here again?"
"To brag that they finally learned something," Gin answered sweetly. "You know, the assignment we were given over a month ago. The one that we did and turned in weeks ago."
Fred and George rolled their eyes, "Just be thankful that we weren't asked to do it."
"Isn't it obvious?" twin one asked.
"The last few years our Defense Professors have been worse than usual,"
"Except Lupin," one of the twins injected.
His brother continued, "There's always has to be an exception, after all, what kind of world would it be if everything was black and white. Always this and never that.
"Anyway, my point is that you guys haven't learned much about defense in defense."
"We have two more years of schooling on you, and those professors weren't as…what's the word I'm looking for?"
His twin shrugged, "Bad? Evil? Cursed? Cute?"
His twin shrugged again, "Not the one I would've chose, but to each his own."
"I meant, why would you offer that as an option?"
"Hey, I was running out of adjectives. Obviously I don't work well under pressure."
With a sigh and a shake of his head, his brother continued, "Fine, we'll go with bad, no evil, no cursed...ahh, better yet, dangerous. Hmm, I guess all of them apply, either way, our first defense professor at least tried to teach us."
"Hey, ours tried," Ron objected.
Fred just looked at him, "Quirrell only stuttered, by the time he got the spell out, the class was over, there wasn't time to actually perform any spells. Our second defense professor taught us defense related techniques. Lockhart only taught us about himself or grooming. As already mentioned, Lupin was the exception; Moody was paranoid, and spent more time on Unforgiveables, spells which are illegal for anyone to use, let alone underage wizards; and Umbridge, well, you get the idea," he finished with a shrug.
"Your point?" Ginny sighed.
"Just that our essays would probably be better and longer than yours."
Hermione frowned, "I don't think Professor Dumbledore cared about the length, after all, he didn't assign one or restrict it in anyway."
The twins shrugged, "Ours still would've been better."
"Oh yeah?" Ron retorted, "what would your better essay have said?"
"Glad you asked, brother of mine, glad you asked," George said as he and his twin sat down and got comfortable.
"Thanks Ron," Ginny snapped with a resigned sigh.
"First, we would have begun with how important the subject of defense is, especially due to recent events. We then would've talked about how each professor takes a different approach to the subject, as well as highlighting different aspects of it. For example, Lupin tended to focus more on dark creatures, while Moody focused on dark spells and curses. Then there is the fact that each of the professors had a different approach to the class. Some were more hands on, while others"
"A-Hem, Umbridge, A-hem," George supplied.
"Focused on theory. Regardless of how or what they taught, there was always something to learn from them," Fred continued.
"And of course," George stated, "We wouldn't forget to mention…"
Ron sat for half an hour listening as his brothers explained how they would've approached the assignment before finally commenting, "Bloody hell! I should've gone to you guys for help."
The twins just laughed in reply before waving and leaving the room.
"Good morning, Harry," Ginny said as he entered the kitchen for breakfast.
"Hey, Gin," he responded, looking around, "Where's Hermione?"
Ginny glared at him a moment, "Reading," she responded, before asking, "Where's Ron?"
Harry snorted, "Still sleeping," he replied as he sat down.
"Figured as much," Ginny said as she poured them both a glass of pumpkin juice. "So what do you have planned for today?"
Harry shrugged, "Not sure, perhaps play chess with Ron if today is a day that he talks to me. Not much to do here other than that, homework or reading."
"Maybe we can go sit outside and talk for a bit," she suggested.
"Maybe," Harry said, non-commitedly. "Um, what would you want to talk about?"
"Anything you want," she replied with a shrug. "School, family, favorite classes, Quidditch, favorite professors, hobbies, summer homework assignments, plans for the DA."
Harry sighed, "Ginny, I'm always willing to talk about Quidditch or flying, which I have to say is probably my only hobby. I'd rather not talk about the Dursley's or Sirius, so that leaves out family. School is not in session right now, so there's not much to talk about on that subject. Favorite class would be Defense my third year when it was taught by Moony, who was my favorite professor, any other year, my favorite class is Charms. I have no plans for the DA, I never had plans for the DA, as you know, it wasn't even my idea to start it. And finally, in case you haven't figured it out yet, I really don't want to talk about the homework assignment the headmaster gave us."
"Well then, we can just get to know each other better," Ginny commented with a suggestive smile after the shock of Harry's reply had passed. "It's not often I get to talk to you without another member of the Golden Trio around."
"Golden trio?" Harry repeated, "You know that you're referring to your brother and your best friend, don't you?"
"Yes," Ginny said.
"Okay," Harry said with a dismissive shrug, "Just seems like a strange thing for you to call them."
Ginny just shrugged in return, "So, do you want to talk or get to know each other better?"
"Sure, why not?" Harry said, "But I doubt they'll let us go outside."
"Well, then, maybe we can find someplace here to talk privately."
Harry frowned, "Why would we need to talk privately? The only other people who are here are Hermione, your mum, and your brother."
"You never know who might show up," Ginny replied, "This is Headquarters. Plus, we might want to talk about things without others overhearing or interfering."
Again, Harry frowned, "First, I doubt members of the order would be interested in our conversation, and second, well, Ron and Hermione pretty much know everything that I would talk about anyway."
"Hermione, maybe," Ginny commented angrily, "But not Ron."
"Huh?" Harry stated in confusion, "I share everything with them."
"Not everything," Ginny snapped, "And you definitely don't share it with me."
"Er, no," Harry said, "I'm allowed to have my privacy and secrets."
"You share things with Hermione," she replied sweetly.
"Well, yeah," Harry said, puzzled by her mood change, "But she's my best friend."
"I thought my brother was your best friend?"
"He is, but so is Hermione. He's my best mate, she's my best girl friend," Harry said with quietly, "You can never have too many friends or best friends."
"Well, maybe I want to be your girlfriend."
"You are one of my girl friends," Harry replied honestly. "After coming to the ministry with me, how could you think that I wouldn't consider you a friend?"
Ginny sighed before deciding that now wasn't the time to explain the difference between a girl friend and his girlfriend. "If I'm a friend, why won't you share your essay with me then?"
This time, Harry stood as he sighed, "Ginny, it's personal."
"It's a summer assignment, how personal could it be?" Ginny disagreed. "Besides, friends share personal information, that's what makes them friends."
"They don't share everything."
"Something this big they should."
"Even bigger things have been kept a secret," Harry replied with a snort as he thought about the prophecy that he still hadn't shared with anyone.
"All the more reason to share this one," Ginny retorted, "After all, you wouldn't want your friends to be left out of the loop too much, right? I mean, I know how much you hated that when others did it to you."
"When they did it to me," Harry began as he leaned over the table and looked her in the eyes, "it was about me, about my life. This assignment was also about my life. If I decide not to share it with anyone that is my prerogative."
"You shared it with Hermione," he was reminded.
"Fine," Harry said calmly, causing Ginny to smile in triumph and lean back victoriously in her chair, believing that he was finally going to share his essay with her, "If I choose not to share it with anyone else that is my prerogative."
As Ginny stared at him in disbelief, her temper temporarily leaving her speechless, Harry took advantage of the moment by quickly leaving the room.
"Harry? What has you so upset?"
Harry sighed in relief when he noticed his best girl friend standing in the doorway, "This stupid essay and the people who won't leave me alone about it," he replied, continuing to slam his books in his trunk.
"Ginny?" Hermione repeated in shock, "That is surprising. I thought…"
"What?" he repeated when Hermione remained silent.
Hermione shrugged, "I'm just surprised she risked angering you. I know that she was hoping to get closer to you this summer."
Harry snorted, "Closer? We're trapped in a house together. How much closer did she want to get?"
Hermione snorted as she replied, "She wants to be your girlfriend."
Harry frowned at her in bewilderment, "I already told her she was a girl friend," he replied, "Of course, that was before she wouldn't leave me alone about the essay. Merlin! I know that they are curious about it, but can't they just respect my privacy and accept no as my answer?"
Hermione sighed as she laid a hand on Harry's arm, "Not a girl friend," she said quietly, "but your girlfriend."
"Oh…oh!" he replied as Hermione's words truly registered. "But why? I mean…"
Hermione chuckled again, "She likes you, has forever,"
"Yeah, since before she even met me," Harry replied cynically.
"True," Hermione admitted, "But do you think that if you were like Malfoy she would still like you? She likes you even more since she met you. The boy who risked expulsion to keep a friend from getting in trouble; the boy who risked his life to save hers; the boy who kept his parent's friends from getting revenge and committing murder; the boy who played fair, even if it put him at a disadvantage; the boy-"
"I get it," Harry interrupted harshly, "You don't need to give me a recap of my life story, I lived it, remember?"
"Sorry," Harry replied in response to her warning tone. "I know you're only trying to help, but…well, part of me doesn't trust it, er, her feelings," he replied. "I mean, I really don't see her as anything more than Ron's little sister, a pseudo-sister of my own to tell you the truth. And even if I did," Harry calmly admitted, "After this summer, I would seriously rethink that. I mean, what kind of life or relationship would we have if every time I gave an answer she didn't like, she wouldn't give up until I change my mind? I've told her a million times that I don't want to share my essay with anyone else, but she won't stop, she acts like it's her right to know. Merlin, she'd be even worse if she was my girlfriend."
Hermione looked away, eyes watering slightly, "Well, you're the only one who can decide how you feel about her. As for her and Ron's obsession with the essay…" she paused, "Well, normally, I would try to help you, but since I read it, I don't think she'll respond well to me."
"No, probably not," Harry admitted with a chuckle, "and especially not right now, since I just walked out of the kitchen on her."
"Harry!" Hermione scolded before she too started laughing.
"Hey, Harry, Hermione, siblings," Fred greeted everyone as he entered the room.
"What are you guys doing here?" Ginny asked, "Shouldn't you be working on your shop?"
"We are," George answered. "We just came by to ask you guys about our newest Wheezes."
"We aren't going to test them for you," Ron stated.
"We wouldn't ask such a thing of you," Fred replied.
Harry snorted, "You don't ask, that's the problem. You just sneak them into our food or drink."
"Why, Harry, we would never do such a thing to people who mean so much to us."
"Yeah, right," Ginny snorted.
"Then what about them?" Ron skeptically asked.
"We just wanted your opinion on them. We weren't sure how well they would sell. We might find them funny, but other's might not."
"After all, there's not much we don't find funny," George admitted.
"Okay, what do you have in mind?" Ginny asked.
"Well, first, we have two-faced taffy."
"Same line as our two-tongue taffy," George injected.
Fred nodded, "Right. It does exactly what it says. You eat it and a second face pops up in the back of your head."
"Or on your forehead," George added. "We're having difficulty having it appear on the forehead, since the area is so small, most of the time it just looks like a mole or pimple, especially from far away."
Ron snickered as he imagined someone breaking out with faces on their forehead.
Fred smiled, "We are trying to get the face to talk as well. Imagine growing a second face and then having that face not just smiling brightly, but commenting on everything around you."
George hummed, "We created two types of two-faced taffies, one that made comments about how jealous he was, you know, commenting that you had all the good lines, as well as random comments about others, how they are more talented, better looking, things like that. That's our green-eyed taffy. The second one is our pearly smile taffy. That taffy basically smiles even brighter, with pearly white teeth showing and boasts about how much better he is than everyone else."
"Sounds like that second taffy might get you into a few duels if he doesn't keep his mouth shut," Ginny commented.
"That's part of the fun," Fred and George commented.
"It will be obvious that the second face is doing the talking, since the voice would be different and either way seeing a second face on someone would be hysterical, but the one on the back of the head would be easier to hide with a hat and where's the fun in that?"
"Another item we thought of was 'too hot to touch'. This is a cinnamon flavored candy. If you touch a person who has recently eaten this candy, well, as the name states, they're too hot to touch. Your skin will start to smolder and smoke where it touches them, it will feel hot, but no physical damage will take place."
"Harmless, really," George clarified, "We wouldn't want any potential repeat customers to burn up and disintegrate."
"Next on the list is Look-a-lick lollipop. It's a giant round lollipop, with different colored and flavored layers" Fred said, holding up the object. "One layer insults the next person you see after licking it."
"Nothing too bad," George added, "Just things you might hear from someone that is jealous."
Ron frowned, "You seem to have a lot of new wheezes that involve jealousy," he stated suspiciously.
Fred shrugged, "Once we got the potions and charms down for that emotion, it's easy to add it to any of our wheezes."
"Much easier and faster than trying to experiment and create a new combo for a different emotion. It took us months to get that one right."
"We are pretty close to success with a few others, though. Who knows, we might soon have two-faced taffy that spouts love poems to anyone who walks by."
"Oh," Ron said, appeased by his brothers' responses.
"Anyway, another layer of the lollipop changes their appearance."
"It doesn't actually change them," George clarified, "Just creates a glamour around their face."
"Their mouth is changed into a smile worthy of Witch Weekly's Annual Smile award. The next layer changes their image completely, well, it keeps their facial features, but changes their hair and their robes into something a popinjay like Lockhart might wear. The last setting is one where it temporarily freezes whoever looks the licker in the eyes."
"We wanted to add another Layer, where the lollipop hypnotizes you and makes you temporarily forget the last few hours, but we are having difficulty making it temporary," George sheepishly admitted, "Again, we don't want to hurt our customer base, and having them end up in St. Mungo's long-term ward wouldn't be good for business."
"Then we have 'Animal Magnetism'. Similar to the Canary cream, except that the animal isn't predetermined. Basically, when it is activated on someone they transform into the animal that is most like their personality at that time."
"Of course," Fred inserted, "The number of animals available isn't unlimited. We have restricted it to only a few, you know, the usual, dog, wolf, rat, ferret, snake, lion, badger."
"We're trying to get a raven in there as well, to represent all the houses, but we don't want someone to be flying when the prank ends."
"Yeah," Gred said, "Falling fifty feet from the air isn't fun, is it Harry?"
"Not to mention, the lack of repeat customers," Ron injected.
The twins glanced at Ron for a moment before each other.
"I think that's plenty for us to think about for now," Hermione interrupted harshly. "We'll let you know what we think of these."
"Oh, okay," Fred and George agreed, not wanting to push their luck, since Harry was just looking at them in horror and Hermione had a knowing look on her face, even as she glared at them. "Well, we'll just let you think about those then," they said before quickly leaving the room.
"How do they come up with that stuff?" Ron asked in awe.
Harry and Hermione just looked at him, "Seriously?" Hermione asked.
"Yeah," Ron said, "I never knew they had such active imaginations. Two-faces, burning when someone touches you, looking like Lockhart, being frozen in place, temporarily forgetting stuff, changing into an animal," Ron summarized incredulously. "Well, okay," he said after a pause, "Some of those are familiar,"
"Ya think?" Harry angrily asked.
"Yeah," Ron repeated, "I mean, the last one is basically like the animagus transformation," he informed his friends, who just groaned at his cluelessness.
"Don't they remind you of anything else?" Hermione queried.
Ron paused as he thought about it, "Um, no, not really. Should it?"
Harry just shook his head as he stood up to leave, "I'll be right back, I think I left something downstairs," he said, quickly leaving.
"Did you really leave something downstairs?" Hermione asked.
Harry shook his head, "No, I just had to leave."
"Understandable," Hermione commented. "You know those new pranks of theirs..." she began, falling silent since she wasn't sure how to finish that thought.
"Seem to be based on our first couple of years at Hogwarts?" Harry completed.
"Yes," Hermione nodded. "But how did they find out?"
"I haven't told them anything."
"Neither have I," Hermione snapped.
"That would leave Ron," Harry said, looking down the hallway towards the room he just left.
"But if he had told his brothers about our adventures, wouldn't the pranks sound familiar to him?"
"Not if they obliviated him after," Harry replied. "They are old enough now to do that."
"I don't think they would do that, not after hearing about what happened to Lockhart from him."
"Lockhart," Harry muttered, "What if they used that layer from the lollipop they created? You know, the one that is supposed to temporarily make someone forget? Maybe that's how they figured out that it wasn't temporary after all?"
"No, they wouldn't do that," Hermione said, sounding horrified at the thought. "Everything they ever tested on someone, other than themselves, they always had a way to reverse it. Mrs. Weasley would kill them if they didn't."
"Well, then, how do you explain how they know about what happened?"
Hermione shrugged as she thought about it. "Maybe," she said before pausing to think things out a bit more, "Maybe they used another of their inventions," she finally said, "Perhaps they overheard us when we talked about it before."
"Extendable ears?" Harry pondered out loud, realizing what she meant. "But I can't remember the last time we talked about all of that."
Hermione shrugged, "It could be that they heard us ages ago, but just came up with the pranks that relate to them now? After all, it would probably take awhile to get the charms and potions working correctly."
"Maybe," Harry stated, "But why would they ask our opinion? They never have before?"
Hermione's eyes narrowed, "You're right. They must be up to something. I'm going to keep an eye on them when they're around, just in case."
Harry nodded, thinking to himself that he'll do the same thing.
"We'll figure it out," Hermione stated firmly, as if talking to herself. "And when we do, I'll also ask them about the charm and potion combinations they mentioned."
"What?" Harry asked in confusion.
"Oh, well," she blushed, "It's just that those combinations are incredibly challenging to perfect and to create one from scratch…well," she paused and shrugged her shoulders. "The most amazing thing is that they only got three OWLS."
Harry snickered before quickly darting away to avoid the slap Hermione directed his way.
"Harry, dear," Molly addressed as she entered the parlor and saw a worried Harry sitting in the corner. "You can't be done with Breakfast already. You entered the kitchen right before I left and that was less than ten minutes ago."
"Er no, not hungry," Harry stated quietly, "lost my appetite."
"This is the second time this week that you skipped breakfast," Molly said as she approached him and silently took his temperature. "Well, you're not sick. Come into the kitchen and I'm sure I can change your lack of appetite. Come on now," she instructed as she started to walk away, with a sigh, Harry followed.
"Mum," Ginny began as her mother entered the kitchen, only to stop and glare at Harry when he entered behind her.
"Oh, just wanted to tell you that it was delicious as always," Ginny said as she stood up and left the room, glaring at Harry the entire time.
"That is so sweet of her," Molly gushed, "It's nice to know one of my children appreciate my cooking," she continued before turning to the table and frowning. "Honestly, how would she know it was delicious, she barely ate anything. Oh, I hope she's not on one of those new crazy diets, eating only green things one day, or things that start with 'P' the next.
"Sit, sit, Harry," Molly stated as she directed Harry to the table. "I'll have your appetite back in no time."
"You really don't have to," Harry began.
"Oh, hush you. I want to," Molly said as she began bustling around the kitchen. "I was so happy when Albus told me you were coming here early.
"I wish you didn't have to go there at all. I would've loved to have brought you back to the burrow straight from King's cross. Of course, it's not as secure as we would like," she paused for a moment, "And here…well, at the time no one knew what was going to happen to this old house. Luckily, Albus was able to determine that it was still safe and secure for you and Headquarters."
"Yeah," Harry said in agreement, after all, she had already told Harry all of this when he first arrived.
"Well, here you go," she said, placing a plate of warm food in front of Harry. "Go on, eat," she commanded playfully when Harry hesitated.
Harry smiled and nodded as he slowly picked up a fork. The taste and smell of the food soon brought his appetite back. "It's delicious," he said softly.
Molly smiled. "It's a shame Ginny rushed off so soon, then you would've had some company other than me while you ate."
Harry shrugged as he swallowed a mouthful of food. He didn't want Molly to know that Ginny probably didn't eat and left the kitchen because he entered. "I don't mind, I like you. Um, I mean," Harry blushed and stammered as he realized how that might have sounded. "I mean, I like talking with you, er, not that I don't enjoy talking to Ginny or any of your kids. I do…Ginny, Ron, the twins, an-"
Molly laughed, "It's okay, Harry. And I enjoy talking with you as well."
Harry nodded, relieved that he didn't have to clarify his statements since he just seemed to make things worse.
"You know," Molly said softly, "that you can talk to me about anything, right? I mean, I know your" she scrunched her nose, "Aunt doesn't like the magical world and of course, she might not know that much about it, but if you have any questions or if you're curious about something, or have any problems or just need some help or advice, even if you just need someone to sit and listen as you get things out, well," she said with a deep breath and a smile, "I just wanted to let you know that I am here for you as I would be for any of my children. That goes for Arthur as well," she added.
"Er, thanks," Harry said with a puzzled frown.
"Oh, yes," Molly continued, "If you have any questions about homework, school, or disagreements with friends, sometimes it helps just talking to someone."
"Right," Harry nodded as he continued to eat with Molly sitting across from him.
"So," Molly said after a long pause, "Anything you want to talk about?"
"Er, no, well, not really."
"It could be anything at all," she coaxed gently. "And don't worry, I won't share what we talk about, if we talk, with anyone unless I have your permission or think you are in danger."
"Right," Harry said with a frown. Why did this sound like one of those muggle addiction interventions he heard about from Aunt Petunia's talk shows?
After a few moments of uncomfortable silence and Mrs. Weasley staring at him, Harry finally relented. "Well," he hesitantly began, "There is one thing I want to talk about, I guess."
"Yes dear?" Molly eagerly asked. "Is it about homework or school?"
"Um, well, it's about the future, more specifically, career choices," Harry said to Molly's disappointment.
"Oh, of course, what is it you want to know, dear?"
Taking a deep breath, Harry started to talk about how he felt that being an auror was expected of 'The-Boy-Who-Lived', how he didn't really know about possible career choices in the Wizarding World.
"So do you guys plan on taking Defense next year?" Fred asked the trio.
"Of course," Hermione automatically replied, "Why wouldn't we?"
Ron snorted and muttered, "Like mum would let me drop that class, she won't even let me drop divination."
Fred shrugged and looked at a silent Harry, "Just thought that Harry might think differently. After all, he doesn't have the best record with those professors. I mean, it seems like most of the professors you guys have had seemed to be out to get him," Fred said with a shake of his head. "Neither Defense class nor it's professors seemed as dangerous or useless before you guys arrived at Hogwarts.
"Plus there's the fact that last year he taught us better than any of them could. So he proved that he doesn't need to attend a structured class. He has already proven that he has the ability to learn the material on his own.
I just thought that you guys might've realized what a waste of time it was, almost as bad as History with Binns. We all know that the majority of teachers these last five years have been a joke, so naturally their class is as well. If you guys are lucky then this year"
"What? We'll have a good teacher?" Ron snapped.
Fred stared at his brother a moment before shrugging, "I was going to say that if you're lucky Defense would be a class that you could either nap in or do assignments for your other classes."
"Oh," Ron said sheepishly, "Well," he blustered, "Not all the teachers have been a joke, we've had a few good ones and so we're probably due for another."
"Perhaps," Fred smiled, "Of course, the headmaster hasn't informed me or George if he'll take us up on our offer, and even if he doesn't well, if you learned something from a Death Eater, you could probably learn something from anyone, right?" he finished before leaving.
"Wait! What offer?" Ron called after his brother while Harry and Hermione exchanged telling glances.
"Wotcher, Harry, what's up?" Tonks asked as sat down beside him in the parlor.
"Molly said you wanted to talk with me."
"Um, no, not that I know of," a confused Harry responded.
Tonks frowned, "Are you sure? She made it sound quite important."
"Um," Harry shrugged as he thought for a moment, "Sorry, I really can't think of any reason why she said that to you."
"Now, don't be shy," Tonks teased, "You can talk to me about anything.
"C'mon, out with it," she continued when Harry remained silent.
"There's really not anything."
"I disagree," Tonks informed him. "It has to be something that Molly either doesn't know enough about or wouldn't feel comfortable talking with you about. Hmm," Tonks teased, "Perhaps something about romance and the fairer sex?"
"No!" Harry protested. "Really, I've never talked about anything like that with Mrs. Weasley," Harry stated firmly. "Nor anyone else," he muttered under his breath.
"Well, I guess I'll just have to ask Molly next time I see her what was so important. She knows I don't have that much free time since the ministry has all the aurors working double shifts."
"Oh!" Harry exclaimed, blushing. "That's what I wanted to talk to you about."
"You're job. I talked with Mrs. Weasley the other day about career choices in the Wizarding World. When I met with Professor McGonagle, I mentioned that I had thought about becoming an auror, but I didn't know much about them. Still don't actually," Harry admitted.
"Hence the reason why I am here," Tonks concluded. "And here I thought you might have a crush and wanted to ask me out," she stated with a laugh as Harry turned red.
"So, what do you want to know?"
"Everything, I guess," Harry shrugged. "As much as you can tell me. I really don't know much about aurors, just that they are described as bad wizard catchers."
"That makes us sound like dog catchers," Tonks laughed. "But we are involved in catching 'bad wizards. Of course, first comes training…"
"Maybe we should remind Professor Dumbledore of the offer regarding our services," Fred stated to his twin as they entered the drawing room.
"Yes, yes, it would be quite interesting," George agreed.
"What services?" Ron asked.
"I highly doubt that the Headmaster is in need of pranks," Hermione added dryly.
"No, no, I quite agree," Fred stated, nodding his head.
"Yes, indeed. Why he was in our store just the other day and bought a plethora of items," George informed them.
"Plethora?" Both Ron and Hermione asked simultaneously.
"It means a large variety," George explained to his younger brother, while Fred addressed Hermione. "He couldn't seem to decide on one thing, so he bought everything that caught his interest."
"No doubt due to our new line of lemon flavored wheezes," George loudly whispered to Harry, causing the teen to grin and say, "Maybe you should add a line of sock wheezes."
"But what we were actually referring to was our skills to teach Defense at Hogwarts next year."
"What skills?" Ron asked.
"You?" Ginny asked with a laugh.
"Better the devil you know…" George began. "At least with us he knows that the students would be safe. We wouldn't have any plans to kill someone."
"Unless killing with laughter counts," Fred injected with a frown.
"And we aren't Death Eaters or ministry flunkies with hidden agendas."
"Nor are we simpering idiots who might spend more time trying to make themselves look better than teach."
Harry and Hermione looked at each other before turning away, careful to avoid looking at the twins.
"Maybe not ministry flunkies," Ginny retorted, "But you didn't pass your NEWTS."
"Au Contraire, Little Sis," Fred announced, "We passed with flying rainbows."
"What? How? You left school before NEWT testing."
"Made an appointment at the ministry to be tested."
"You can do that?" Hermione asked.
"There are a few-"
"Hundred," Fred inserted,
"Restrictions," George admitted, "But it can be done."
"What else did you take? How were they? Wh-"
"Hermione, later," Harry interrupted, "I'm sure no one else wants to hear about that right now," he concluded with a look at her that had her eyes widen before she nodded her agreement.
"Flying rainbows?" she asked instead, causing Harry to groan.
Fred frowned and looked at George, "I thought that was a muggle expression? Wasn't that what Dad said?"
George also frowned, "He said it meant exceptionally well. Um, maybe it was levitating rainbow? Floating colors?"
"Flying colors," Harry supplied, "and it does mean exceptionally well. Anyway, congratulations on doing well."
"Ah, actually, we should probably be thanking you," the twins said in a rare moment of seriousness. "What you taught us last year helped a lot."
"Wait a minute," Hermione interrupted, "If you did so well because of a fifth year, how do you expect to teach said fifth year, who is now a sixth year, as well as his friends and the seventh years as well?"
Fred and George stopped a moment and turned to each other, a well rehearsed expression of surprise on their faces, "By golly she's right."
"Of course she's right; she is Hermione," the other stated.
"Hmm, new plan," Fred said tapping the side of his head with a finger. "I've got it!" he exclaimed. "Since we do so much better in other subjects, without the help of a lowly fifth year, perhaps we'll offer to take over one of those subjects-"
"OOH!" Ron interrupted, voice filled with excitement, "Potions! How did you guys do in potions? If you take over Potions, we can get rid of Snape."
"like Charms, and then Headmaster Dumbledore could move a highly qualified Dueling Champion like Flitwick to the open Defense slot," Fred concluded, ignoring Ron's outburst.
"That's brilliant!" Ron stated, "Though it doesn't get rid of Snape."
"We did excel on our potions NEWT as well, dear brother," George stated calmly to his twin.
"So we did," Fred nodded in agreement. "We could offer to take over that subject,"
"YES!" Ron shouted gleefully.
"Allowing the Headmaster to fulfill Professor Snape's dream of receiving his ideal job."
"NO!" Ron shouted. "You are suppose to get rid of him, not transfer him to Defense. That's one class that I actually like and do good in."
"Well," Hermione corrected absently, staring at the twins, "You do well in Defense."
"Yeah, I know, that's what I said," Ron stated, "but that will change if Snape teaches it. Harry, back me up here," Ron continued, looking towards his best mate for support and noticing that both he and Hermione were staring at his brothers.
"Of course, Dumbledore wouldn't be a slouch as a Defense Professor," Fred commented.
"True," George responded, "But somehow, I don't think we are qualified to become Headmaster just yet."
"No, no, I fully agree," Fred stated. "Perhaps we could volunteer to help him with various headmastery tasks so he could find time in his schedule to teach these young ones Defense."
"Brilliant idea," George commented, "Simply brilliant."
"Harry? Hermione?" Ron questioned looking at his two friends as they continued to just stared at the twins.
"See what you did?" Ron shouted at his brothers, "They're petrified at the thought of Snape teaching defense."
"Right," Fred and George nodded, "Well we'll just go now so that they can recover."
"We need to find Headmaster Dumbledore and discuss our new ideas with him," Fred commented as the two left.
"Don't you dare!" Ron threatened his brothers before turning to Harry and Hermione, who were now just staring at each other. "Harry? Hermione?"
"We suspected that they might have known, but now, we know they know."
"I mean, you can't possibly have any doubt that they know."
"So, what should we do?"
"What can we do?"
"And more importantly, how did they get a hold of my essay to read it?"
The two sat in silence for a bit as they thought about that last question.
"Perhaps Dumbledore shared the essay with order members?"
"Fred and George weren't part of the order until recently. Besides, if they read it because they were part of the order, so would have Mr. and Mrs. Weasley."
"So?" Harry asked.
"So?" Hermione repeated, "You can't expect Mrs. Weasley not to have commented about it to you or to not have treated you differently, could you?"
"Oh, yeah…I guess you're right about that," Harry said in agreement, imagining how Mrs. Weasley would have responded.
"So there's only one thing to do now," Harry announced.
"What?" Hermione asked warily.
"Talk to the twins about…NEWTS," Harry completed when Ron entered the room.
"They know we know."
"Why did we think this was a good idea?"
"I don't know."
"We really should just avoid them until they forget."
"Of course, I have never known Hermione to forget anything."
"We'll just have to think of a reason to avoid dropping by."
"School is starting soon."
"I know. But we finished, remember?"
"I meant as our excuse. After all, we are running a shop. No doubt back-to-school shoppers will hopefully deplete our stock. Naturally we will need to make sure that supply equals demand."
"Brilliant. Now if only we can keep them from coming to the alley to do their own back-to-school shopping."
"I know," George commented sadly.
Severus stared at Albus in shock, "Defense?" he repeated, not quite believing that the job was finally being offered to him.
"Of course, my dear boy, of course," the headmaster replied. "It will be difficult replacing you as Potions Professor, though. Finding someone with your level of knowledge and expertise is challenging. I did receive an interesting offer, with quite a few choices," he stated, eyes twinkling brightly.
Severus just continued to stare at the headmaster. Finally he could show those dunderheads what a real Defense Professor should be like. No doubt his students would have the highest NEWTS and OWLS in two decades.
"Yes," Albus continued, interrupting Severus's thoughts, "I think it is past time that the students have someone they know and can trust in such an important position."
"What?" Severus questioned Albus's words, reminding him of something he recently read.
"Potter!" Snape shouted. "You are offering me this position because of Potter."
"Now Severus, that's not true," Albus began, "Besides, does it really matter?"
"It matters to me," the potions master snapped. "I will not do it. Better that I never get that position than to have it due to a Potter!" he snarled. "Absolutely not. I refuse."
"Now, Severus, at least spend some time and think about this," Albus calmly advised. "In these trying times, isn't it best for the students to know the person who holds such a vaulted position? Someone with your expertise and backgrounds has much to offer all of our students."
Severus snorted at Albus's attempt at persuasion.
"All?" He repeated as another thought came to him. "I'm guessing that Potter's friends Longbottom and Weasley passed the OWLS to continue NEWT Defense."
Albus nodded merrily, "Indeed. The highest OWL scores in decades; higher than average NEWT scores as well."
"Another reason to decline your wonderful offer," Severus sneered, before storming out of the headmaster's office.
"How did you guys do it?" Harry demanded to know. Today was the first time the twins had visited headquarters since he and Hermione realized that they had somehow read Harry's essay. They had planned this moment since they realized that the twins were avoiding them.
As soon as the twins entered the house, the two students waited for the opportunity to corner the twins. They prevented Ron and Ginny from following by stating that they wanted to talk to the twins about NEWTS.
"NEWTS?" Fred questioned, "We told you, we simply put in a request to the ministry to take them."
"How did you find o-?" Harry began only to be interrupted.
"About our NEWT scores?" Fred finished innocently, "They send an owl just like they do with the OWLS."
"Not that," Harry snapped, "My essay."
"Not sure what you're talking about," George replied, not meeting their eyes.
"We know you read Harry's summer essay," Hermione said speaking for the first time since she and Harry entered the room. "What we don't know is how and where you got a copy," she clarified when one of the twins opened his mouth.
"And don't deny you read it," Harry commented, staring at the twins. "It's been pretty obvious that you have. Not only have the two of you stopped asking me about it, but every time you're here you always make some reference to what was in the essay."
"You're also very careful not to make those comments when an adult who has read the essay is present," Hermione shared her observation.
"Well?" Harry prodded when the twins didn't respond.
Still, the twins didn't give any response, but remained silent, not even meeting his eyes.
"Come on, Hermione," Harry finally said after several more minutes of the twins' silence. "Obviously, they don't care enough about me to even admit the truth, let alone explain how they got a hold of my essay. Never thought they were cowards," he said as he turned around and headed towards the door. As the two reached the doorway, Harry muttered, "Humph, and I thought they were my friends, one of the few people I could always count on, not just to tell me the truth but as someone who I can be real with , not TBWL as others expect."
The twins exchanged looks before breaking their silence and grabbing the door before it slammed shut as Harry and Hermione left, "Harry, wait," they said together, one of them continuing when the two students stilled.
"We did read your essay."
"Or at least, a rough draft of it," they admitted.
"And it was brilliant, if you want the truth. There is no way that it deserves a 'T'."
"It definitely wasn't your typical essay. I can understand everyone why is reacting the way they have."
While the twins were talking Harry was wondering how they got a hold of a copy of his essay. As soon as they stopped, he began to ask that question, "How did-"
"We come to that conclusion?" one of the twins injected, cutting Harry off. "Very easily actually. After all, we already knew most of the details."
This time it was Hermione who attempted to ask how they got the essay, "But how-"
Deliberately misunderstanding and again, not letting the question be completed, Fred replied, "Well, we were at school with you the last five years, and even though we haven't always paid attention in class, outside of it,"
"Especially if it had prank potential,"
"Is a very different story. If you want, we can tell you what we knew about your first five years at Hogwart's before we read the essay," Fred offered.
"Er, no, that's fine. I was there as well, I am aware of what the school 'knew'," Harry responded when Fred paused and both boys looked at him expectantly. "What I really want to know-"
"Yes, yes, we're getting to that. You want to know how we learned more than the average Hogwart's student about your adventures."
Harry and Hermione exchanged a look before Hermione sighed and nodded to her best friend. It was best that they let the twins explain what they wanted to before asking questions about how they obtained the essay.
"The main reason is the fact that your other best friend is our brother,"
"Who happens to talk in his sleep,"
"And he has been involved in your adventures. Ginny has been involved in many as well," he added as a side note.
"We had no idea about what you actually went through. Ron had made everything sound like a great and grand adventure, and was eagerly looking forward to the next one."
Harry snorted, according to Dumbledore, the grand adventure was death, then again, Harry thought sadly, too many of his adventures did involve death to some degree.
"The essay presented things from your perspective, and not that of a kid brother doing things his brothers never had."
"Or a hero rescuing the damsel he loves," George injected, batting his eyelashes at Harry.
"Or a headmaster using the situation to change the winner's of the House Cup."
"Honestly, our respect for you has more than doubled," Fred said seriously. "Most students have a difficult time just passing classes, getting use to a boarding school and dorm situation, but to do all that while fighting for your life each and every year," he paused as he shook his head in disbelief, "That's just amazing."
"If the Headmaster takes us up on our offer and we become the newest Defense Professors, rest assured the first thing we would do is to change that grade to an 'O'."
"Thanks," Harry said blushing, hoping the twins would now be open to questions, "But how did you manage to read it?"
The two brother's exchanged looks before one finally asked, "Would you believe that one of the professor's left it out?"
"No," Harry and Hermione spoke firmly and in unison, causing the twins to speak again before the two younger Gryffindors could continue.
"How about that we borrowed it from the professors when they weren't around?"
"No," Harry and Hermione both replied. When they both began to speak again, Hermione nodded for Harry to continue.
"One, I doubt any professor would be that careless, let alone Professor Snape or Dumbledore; Two, I'm sure you didn't have permission to read it, from them or me."
Hermione gave him a puzzled look, while the twins looked at each other before responding.
"One, your essay must be true, you really do respect old Snape if you're calling him Professor when neither he nor any other teacher is around.
"Two," his twin continued, "Who said anything about permission? What's the fun in that?"
"And," Hermione commented, glaring at the twins, "You said you read a rough draft of the essay, the professors had the final copy."
"That's right!" Harry said, turning so he could also glare at the twins.
"Yes, well," began George hesitantly, as he and his brother backed towards the door.
"Actually, we have a question or two for you before we answer your question," Fred stated.
"What are you doing?" George hissed quietly to his twin, "we need to escape as soon as we can."
"There are a few things I want to know, and after we tell them how we got the essay, we might not be alive to ask them," Fred said loudly so that Harry and Hermione could hear him. "I would hate to die without answers to those unasked questions."
Both Harry and Hermione frowned. Harry in confusion, trying to make sense of Fred's last statement; Hermione puzzled over why they might 'kill' the twins because of how they got the essay.
With a sigh, Harry agreed, "Fine, ask your questions, as long as you agree that you will not leave this room without answering ours."
After exchanging looks, the twins agreed.
"First question, how did you know that we read your essay?"
"Please" Hermione scoffed, "Good thing we didn't limit the number of questions you could ask if you are going to waste them by asking questions with obvious answers."
Harry snorted, "First you haven't bothered to ask me if you could read my essay in a while; second, well, you mentioned that you now knew the topic of the essay; and third, every conversation we've heard from you has mentioned at least one thing covered in my essay. And yes, while you might have known some of the information before, you didn't know the specifics, and most of your comments involved the specifics."
"Hmm," Fred hummed, "Was it the Look-a-lick lollipop or the two-faced taffy that gave us away?"
Hermione snorted as Harry answered, "Both. Since you never asked our opinions before, we were suspicious, but the clincher was when you were trying to come up with four professors that might try to kill you."
"Hey! It was staff members, not professors," George corrected. "Right, then. Umm, next question, Fred," he added awkwardly.
"Right. Why did Hermione…no, wait, we can't ask that question yet."
"Why not?" Hermione asked, curious about how she had been involved.
Fred shrugged, "I just can't yet. It's like telling the punch line before you tell the joke. But," he rushed to add when she huffed, "I'll right it down so that either I'll remember to ask it later, or so that you can read it in case we are too incapacitated to ask it."
Hermione glared at him before nodding and passing him a quill and parchment.
"Any other questions?" Harry asked, eager to finally get an answer to his question.
"Oh yes. A few minutes ago you mentioned not having permission to read your essay, and while you were right that we didn't, why was that an issue?"
"Other than the whole not respecting your wishes," George injected.
"Which we are sorry for," Fred apologized. "We honestly had no idea what your essay contained."
"Couldn't even imagine what it was that made everyone so crazy. Our curiosity and instinct for mischief overrode our common sense and respect for our friendship."
"Again, we apologize. We just figured that you might have included some of the crazy spell the fake-Moody taught."
Harry smiled, "Thanks for apologizing, it means a lot to me."
"No problem, now about that permission?"
"You still don't have it," Harry snorted.
"Fine," the twins agreed, "But why would we need it?"
"Oh, right," Harry blushed, the apology clearing the twin's latest question from his mind. "Well, Moody and Tonks saw my essay over the summer while I was working on it, Moody was upset that I didn't protect my privacy and placed a charm on my parchment. Basically, it would appear blank to anyone who did not have permission to read it."
Hermione turned from glaring at the twins to smiling at Harry, "Really? And it works? Do you know the charm he used? That would come in handy. Imagine if I had used that last year for the DA List. Umbridge wouldn't have found that list. Why could-"
"Hermione, stop, breathe," Harry teased. "And let me answer your questions before I forget them, any other questions can wait till after we deal with the twins. Now, I think this is in the order that you asked them: I would think it works, I can't imagine Mad-Eye's privacy spell not working. I have the charm written upstairs. I don't know it since I really haven't been able to use it myself, being summer hols and not being able to do magic. And I agree, it could be useful."
"That is ingenious," Fred and George stated. "We would like a copy of that spell as well, if you wouldn't mind."
Harry shrugged, "Sure, Moody didn't say anything about keeping it secret. Now any other questions?"
"Just one…what did you think about our newest Wheezes?"
Harry frowned again, "Um...were you two serious about them?"
"Would we take the time to come up with them if we weren't serious?"
Harry and Hermione looked at each other before both replied, "Yes."
"Especially if it involved a prank on one of your siblings, and this one involved two," Harry added.
"Fine, but would we use up one of our valuable questions right now asking you about them if we weren't serious about them?"
Again, Harry and Hermione answered in unison, "Yes."
"Partly because we didn't limit the number of questions you could ask, which in hindsight was our first mistake," Hermione clarified, "but also to delay answering Harry's question."
"Point," George admitted.
"But seriously, do you think they'll sell?" the twins asked.
"Honestly," Hermione stated with an exaggerated sigh.
"Yes, honestly. We want to know."
"They would probably sell very well if everyone knew the connection between the Wheezes and Harry's first few years at Hogwart's," Hermione stated.
Harry snickered, "Yeah, well, If Ron, who was involved in our adventures, didn't make the connection I don't know how anyone else will."
"Not to insult our brother," George began, "But most people are smarter than him."
Hermione snickered, but otherwise didn't comment.
"Now can we get to my question?" Harry asked, as Hermione moved to block the door.
"I…uh…" the twins stumbled when noticing that their exit was blocked. "Fine," they admitted, "ask your questions, we promised that we will answer them, and we will. Just promise us that there will be no killing or permanent scarring due to what we may reveal."
Hermione snorted, "Seriously, what do you guys think you did that was that bad?"
"Just ask your questions," the twins stated resignedly.
"You first," Harry offered to Hermione.
"How did you do on your NEWTS?"
"Hermione!" Harry shockingly hissed.
"What?" She asked defensively. "I want to know and it's not like they have admitted to anyone how they did. Merlin, they haven't even told their parents that they took the NEWTS."
"It's fine," Fred informed them. "As we previously state, we passed all of our NEWTS with flying colors," he said looking inquiringly at Harry to confirm if he used the correct phrase. When Harry nodded, George continued, "We took Defense Against the Dark Arts, Potions, Charms, Transfiguration, Astronomy and Muggle Studies."
"But you only got three OWLS, how could you take six NEWTS?" Hermione inquired.
"It's a requirement to pass the OWL to get into the NEWT class," Fred explained, "Not to take the NEWT test."
"Oh," Hermione said, staring down the twins.
"Um, well, we also took the OWLS we were missing," George explained, receiving a hit on the arm from his brother. "What? She's scary when she stares at you like that," he said, defending his actions.
With a sigh, Fred explained, "We only got three OWLS because we only showed up to take three OWLS, we petitioned the ministry to let us take the ones we never took. They didn't have a reason to say no, so we took them."
"And I assume you passed those with flying colors as well?" Hermione asked receiving a nod from the twins.
"Your turn," Hermione addressed Harry.
"My first question is if you guys really offered to teach Defense next year," Harry stated.
"We did," they confirmed. "Professor Dumbledore was most pleased with our offer, especially since we made it to keep the students safe from dangerous professors. He said he would keep it in mind if his first choice turned him down."
"He did admit that he was a bit concerned about the supposed curse on the position,"
"He really didn't want to get on the wrong side of mum," George confided. "That's when we gave him our secondary proposals of teaching another subject to free up somebody else or even assisting him with his headmastery tasks so that he could take the position."
"Of course," Fred frowned, "At that point, he realized that we had read your essay and he wanted to discuss that instead."
Harry snorted, "Let me guess, he wanted to discuss it over lemon drops?"
Fred and George laughed, but otherwise didn't comment.
"Um," Harry frowned before looking at Hermione, "Anything else you want to know about? This is a good opportunity to get answers. After all, if what they did was that bad, they might want to avoid us for a while."
Fred and George snickered, "At first we figured we would need to avoid you both, especially once you turned seventeen and were freely able to do magic."
"That was our plan, especially if you figured out how we got a copy of your essay."
"But then we decided that we didn't want to hide"
"or run and hide from you," Fred injected.
"Especially after the information of your essay really set in. We knew we majorly messed up, and were willing to admit to it."
"But you didn't!" Hermione objected.
"You're right. We didn't verbally admit it right out, but," Fred paused as George snorted, "Could our hints and conversations been any more obvious?"
"Oh," Hermione sheepishly muttered.
"You see, we wanted this out in the open,"
"Even if we knew you might kill or permanently disfigure us,"
"Which you promised not to do," George reminded them. "Yet, we couldn't just pull you aside and tell you."
"Because not only would that not be any fun, but also because Ron and Ginny would want to know what we were talking to you about."
George snorted, "If you think our curiosity is out of control, you should take a really hard look at Ron's and Ginny's, especially if it involves the two of you."
"So, we adapted our original plan, waiting for you to confront us."
"But then why did you avoid this place and us?" Hermione skeptically asked.
"Right, well, let's just say that our Gryffindor bravery disappeared when we left Hogwart's and Gryffindor house."
"Huh?" Harry asked.
"We once again became worried about how you and Hermione would react to what we did."
"Fine," Hermione said, accepting their answers, "One more question before you tell us how you got his essay. Why am I so involved in this?"
"Yes, well, that's actually related to the big question," Fred admitted.
"And?" Harry inquired, his eyes not leaving the two Weasley's.
"You see, we did borrow it," Fred said.
"From who?" Harry asked angrily.
"Whom," Hermione corrected.
The twins looked at each other before nodding and saying, "Hermione."
"What!" Harry and Hermione both exclaimed. Hermione withdrawing her wand and holding it on the two red-heads. "I did no-"
"Borrowed without permission," Fred clarified attempting to hide behind his brother.
"Only because forgiveness is easier to get than permission," George explained, switching places with his twin so he was hidden.
"You know, George," Fred stated, looking straight at the tip of Hermione's wand, "I think it's a really good thing we made them promise not to kill or permanently disfigure us."
"You know, Fred," George replied, looking at the tip of Harry's wand, "I rather think that this is a good time to remind them that they are both underage and cannot perform magic outside of Hogwart's."
"At least not without serious consequences," Fred agreed, "And truthfully, I do not feel that we are worth it."
Harry sighed as he lowered his wand and indicated for Hermione to do the same. "For the most part I agree. They apologized to me, and did so sincerely. They also led us to the conclusion that they read my essay, something that they easily could have hid from us. Of course, they still owe you an explanation and an apology."
"Willingly," the twins stated, before launching into said explanation and apology.
Once they finished, Hermione frowned, "Moody has it right, we really should protect things better. If the twins were able to get a copy, who knows who else could."
"Hey!" the twins protested.
"I didn't mean it like that," Hermione huffed, "But how many people come traipsing in and out of this house? How many have we not even met? How many might be…a bit shady?" she asked, thinking specifically of Dung.
"You're right," Harry and the twins admitted to Hermione's satisfaction.
"Now as to your punishment,"
"What? But we apologized"
"And you promised not to kill or permanently disfigure us."
"That leads a lot of options still available," Hermione smiled.
"But…but…You can't use magic outside of school!" Fred shouted triumphantly.
"You're right," Hermione admitted, "But you can."
"Part of your punishment is to learn the spell Moody gave to Harry. You will then cast that spell on anything Harry and I ask you to. You will also place additional protection charms on our trunks and other belongings."
"That's not too bad,"
"And we learn a new spell that has great prank potential," Fred and George admitted.
"And you will swear the following oath that you will not go into my or Harry's trunk without our permission," she said, holding the piece of parchment she had furiously been scribbling on.
With a nod, the twins took the parchment, nodded and recited the oath.
"It's not an unbreakable vow," she said with a nod of her head, "But it works," she completed before looking at Harry who also nodded.
"You know," Harry said, looking at the twins, "I could just tell Dobby what they did."
The twins frowned in confusion before looking at Harry inquiringly.
"Dobby almost killed me my second year when he tried to protect me," Harry said with a smirk, "Imagine what he would do when he hears that you two broke into Hermione's trunk to read an essay that I wrote…that you knew I didn't want you to read."
"Uh, no," the twins muttered, "We're good. We promised not to do anything like that again to you, as well as not to share what was in the essay with anyone else, especially our youngest siblings."
Harry nodded in satisfaction, "As long as you guys know that telling Dobby is an option," he smiled.
"We'll be good," they promised. "And as a show of our good faith, we won't even test any of our products on you or your friends."
Harry frowned, "I'll take that offer, but feel free to test some of the milder ones on your siblings, but not Hermione, Neville or Luna."
"Agreed," the twins grinned.
"What Hermione? Another punishment?"
"No, the question Fred wrote down."
"Oh, yes, well," Fred said, digging out the parchment and handing it to Hermione while asking his question.
"Why did you have so many copies of Harry's essay in your trunk?"
"Our original plan was to copy the essay, but when we opened your trunk, we saw so many we just grabbed one."
"But then, remembering whose trunk it was, we figured that you probably knew exactly how many you had, so we made another copy and replaced your copy."
Hermione, nodded, "I did know," she admitted.
She shrugged before replying, "I was so mad when I read the first line I almost tore up Harry's essay. After reading that first line, I knew it wouldn't be a typical essay. Of course, I realized that it would be hard to yell at him about said essay if I destroyed it and didn't have the evidence to back up my points, so I made a copy. I then decided that I should make a few copies, in case I couldn't prevent myself."
"Wait," Harry said before asking, "A few?"
"Only about two dozen," Hermione admitted, not looking at Harry.
"Um," The twins began worriedly, after exchanging glances, "There weren't that many in your trunk when we sto-, borrowed one."
Hermione blushed before quietly mumbling, "I know, my self-restraint wasn't that good, and I destroyed quite a few when I got upset."
Fred and George laughed, while Harry stared at her in shock.
"But..But…why didn't you get rid of them before now?" Harry finally asked.
Hermione snorted, "I wasn't about to throw them away at home. If my parents read them, I would be pulled out of Hogwart's before you could say 'Rotfang Conspiracy'. And I couldn't throw them away in a public bin. My word, if someone came across it, the statute of secrecy would be-"
"Gone," Fred and George concluded before Hermine could.
Hermione nodded, not the word she would have used, but it got the point across. "And I couldn't get rid of them here, not with so many people always around, and especially not with Ron and Ginny trying to read your essay. I figured I would wait until I got back to Hogwart's when I could magically destroy them."
"We'll tell you what," Fred offered, "As part of our punishment, we will magically destroy the essays for you."
"In front of witnesses," Harry replied, "It's not that I don't trust you," Harry stated, "it's just that I'm not taking any chances."
"Understood," the twins nodded in agreement.
"Now onto more important things,"
"Like what?" Hermione asked.
"Our new wheezes. Do you really think they wouldn't sell if they weren't connected to Harry? We spent a lot of time coming up with those combos."
Hermione rolled her eyes, "If you can rework them so that they aren't all imitating Lockhart, there is potential."
"We have potential!" The twins cheered.
"And this from the prefect who just last year was confiscating our wheezes."
Harry laughed as Hermione scowled and moved away from the door so they could leave.
"Wait! Wait," she cried as the twins exited the room, "I have a couple of questions about the combos you two created."
"Hermione, it'll keep," Harry addressed with a look at the twins, who nodded, "They will answer your questions, but we really should get back before Ron or Ginny comes looking for us."
"Fine, but it better be before school starts, I'm not till Christmas to get this information."
A/N Sorry it took so long...Hope you guys enjoy this.