"Ugh," groaned Fred, his eyes flickering open uncertainly. As his swimming vision finally settled down he realised that he was not lying in the middle of the Forbidden Forest looking up at the night sky. He was instead, lying down in a rather comfy bed looking up at some old wooden beams that were doing a very good job of holding the roof up.
He slowly moved his head to one side and saw a line of other beds next to him. His gaze fell on the cabinet beside the bed. Itcontained a number of brightly coloured cards. He reached a hand out and picked up the closest one to him. There was a picture of a cartoon boy with his head wrapped in a large bandage. The picture moved and gave Fred a reassuring smile.
"Ahh I see you are finally up."
Fred looked up to see the kind face of Professor Dumbledore looking down at him.
"I must admit when I found you," the headmaster carried on casually as he sat down in one of the seats next to the bed, "you and your brother didn't seem in the best of ways."
"When you…" Fred replied slowly as his brain tried to get up to speed on the situation, "that shadow I saw in the woods, that was you?"
"Yes Mr Weasley, it certainly was," Dumbledore looked over his glasses at Fred.
"But how did you know we were there?" Fred's brain gave his memory a bit of a kick, "of course… Filch."
"Mr Filch," Dumbledore corrected, picking up one of the 'Get Well' cards and reading it.
"So what did he tell you?" asked Fred trying to sound casual.
"Well at the time he just said that there were a couple of students out in the Forest," the card gave off a little scrapping sound as Dumbledore placed it back among its peers, "but after finding the two of you I thought that I needed a much more detailed discussion with our dear caretaker."
"Ahh," nodded Fred, wincing slightly at the pain in his neck, "so he told you…"
"Pretty much everything," Dumbledore finished with a slight grin.
"Right," said Fred slowly as he tried to quickly come up with an excuse, "you see, what happened…"
"Mr Filch told me how you and your brother went out with him into the Forest while you were serving your detention," the headmaster cut across Fred as though he hadn't heard him.
"We did? Oh I mean yes that's right we did."
"He said that you two somehow had become lost and that he had tried to find you again but wasn't successful."
"Oh well, you know what Mr Filch is like," agreed Fred enthusiastically, "always looking out for us students."
"Yes I suppose he is," nodded Dumbledore looking out of the window thoughtfully, "of course he did manage to find something else while he was searching for you."
"Yeah I know," replied Fred glumly before he could stop himself, "er… I mean did he?"
"You would be amazed," said Dumbledore leaning forward in his chair, "it seems that he found the hidden treasure of Fenter Prevend, all by himself."
"Really?" asked Fred hollowly, sinking back into his pillows.
"A very impressive find," admitted the headmaster, "he was so excited about the whole thing, he even managed to get himself in The Daily Prophet."
"Lucky him," mumbled Fred, silently cursing the caretaker, "so he got to keep it all did he?"
"Well it was offered to him but he decided that in the end he didn't want it."
"What?" Fred frowned as he looked up at the older wizard, "why would he do something like that? The treasure must have been worth loads."
"Ahh," Dumbledore gave a slight grin and patted Fred kindly on the shoulder, "you see Fenter was a very wealthy man. His success as a treasure hunter made him a great fortune; in fact he could probably afford anything he wanted."
"What and Filch didn't want a box full of gold or jewels?"
"Not all treasure glitters and trinkets don't necessarily make you happy. What one person considered to be their greatest prize, doesn't always have the same appeal to someone else."
"So what was Fenter's greatest treasure?"
"Fenter and I seem to think along the same lines," replied Dumbledore smiling. He handed Fred a rolled up Daily Profit, "I thought you might like to catch up on yesterday's events, seeing as you were otherwise engaged with being unconscious."
Fred took the battered paper and unfolded it across the covers of his bed. Slap bang in the middle of the page was a furious looking Mr Filch holding up what looked like a rather battered pair of old boots. Frowning in confusion Fred's eyes moved from the photo of Filch, who was now waving an angry fist out from the page, to the headline.
Hogwart's Caretaker Gets The Boot read the headline. Fred skimmed as fast as he could through the ensuing article to see if he could make sense of it all. Finally, when the penny dropped, he looked back up at the headmaster and laughed.
"A pair of boots?" asked Fred looking astounded, "his most prized possession was a pair of old boots?"
"Not just any old boots," corrected Dumbledore, "I believe they were hand crafted by some of the finest goblin cobblers at the time using the most comfortable dragon hide and stitched together using luxury spider web silk."
"Right." Fred said slowly as Dumbledore looked like he was about to become misty-eyed, "but basically still just boots."
"Ah," sighed Dumbledore patting Fred on the shoulder, "the youth of today. When you live as long as Fenter did, or indeed I have, you'll one day understand the importance of having comfortable feet. Well I'll take leave of you now, hopefully I'll be able to make some headway with Mr Filch."
"He's currently locked in his office and refusing to come out," Dumbledore explained standing up. "Ahh I see you brother and Mr Jordan are here to check up on you."
"They're probably here to steal my Sherbet Lemons," Fred waved a hand at the sweets that someone had left on the locker amongst the cards.
"Oh thank you, don't mind if I do," said Dumbledore taking one before he left.
"Alright bruv," beamed George bounding into the room with Lee. He nodded at Dumbledore as the headmaster passed them, before plonking himself down into the chair while Lee sat on the end of the bed.
"Alright," greeted Fred looking at the bandage wrapped around his brother's head, "I see you got a knock as well."
"Yeah," replied George rubbing his head with his hand, "though not as bad as you. I was turfed out of here yesterday."
"Yesterday?" frowned Fred, "how long have I been in here?"
"Eighteen months," said Lee quickly flashing his friend a grin.
"Please, only an idiot would fall for something like that," pointed out Fred, "so? How long?"
"Two days," answered George, "for a moment there I thought you were going to miss the end of year feast."
"Ah, so you were worried about me?"
"No," said Lee deflating his friend's ego somewhat, "it's just we would have had to pack your stuff up for you. I don't care how good a friend you are, I'm not touching your dirty socks."
"With friends like you, who needs enemies," mumbled Fred fluffing his pillow up. "Actually, speaking of Filch…"
"Oh you heard about that did you?" grinned George, picking up the discarded Daily Prophet.
"I can't believe we went through all that for a pair of manky old boots," Fred shook his head.
"This almost made it worth it though," George pointed at the photo of Filch on the front of the paper, "he's been sulking in his room since this was taken yesterday."
"What I don't get his why he lied for us," Fred frowned, "I mean, we were old of school bounds, after dark. All he had to do was drop us in it and we'd have been expelled."
"Yeah I was thinking about that too," admitted Lee, "it's not as if Filch cares what happens to you two, or any student for that matter."
"I came up with two theories," George said leaning back on the chair and resting his legs on his brother's bed, "one: Filch is completely misunderstood and underneath it all he is a decent person…"
"Yeah and pigs might fly," admitted Lee.
"Didn't Percy have to levitate a pig during his exam?" asked Fred.
"Oh yeah," replied Lee remembering with a smile, "all that panicked squealing coming from the Great Hall."
"Yep, and that was just Percy," nodded Fred, "sorry George, you were saying?"
"The only other choice is that he wanted to keep the treasure all to himself," continued George thoughtfully, "if he let people know that he had gone into the forest after us. Then people would have asked us why we had gone in there in the first place."
"And then we'd have said we were looking for the treasure," finished Fred taking a sip of some water by his bed, "and that would mean he would have had to share it with us."
"Exactly, his little story about us being in detention was…"
"Believable?" ventured Lee
"I was going to say it was to make sure we couldn't claim any of the treasure but yes it was believable too," conceded George, "of course it backfired on him."
"Yep," agreed Lee picking up the paper and giving it a wave.
"Well not only that, but he missed a chance to get us expelled," admitted George.
"I'm sure he'll have plenty of chances to make that happen in the next few years," Lee pointed out.
"Hang on," said Fred thoughtfully looking back at the article once again.
"What?" asked George giving Lee a questioning look, who responded in turn with a shrug.
"It says here that the shoes were Fenter Prevend's," Fred tapped the page with his finger.
"So…" Fred said slowly, "I have it in written down in black and white that the treasure was Fenter Prevend's."
"And you also agreed that the treasure was Prevend's?"
"Good," Fred slapped the paper down on the bed and grinned at his brother, just as Madam Pompfrey came around with a tray of bandages.
"I'm just going to change your dressings and you can be on your way," she said fussing around. She slapped George's outstretched feet off of the bed, "feet belong on the floor not on the sheets."
"Don't worry about him Madam Pompfrey, he was just leaving," advised Fred as she began to remove the bandage from his head.
"Yep," nodded Fred, making Pompfrey cluck disapprovingly before holding his head still with her spare hand, "you have to go and borrow something off of Charlie."
"I do? What?"
"His razor," grinned Fred, "you owe me one set of eyebrows."
That evening there was a loud bustle within the Great Hall as the students and staff settled down for the end of term feast. Lee Fred and George made their way through the throng, and sat down into their seats opposite Alicia and Angelina.
"Er… George?" asked Angelina without taking her eyes off of the Weasley twin.
"Where are your eyebrows?"
"Oh I have them," replied Fred fishing his hand into his pocket and pulling out two small clear vials. "See? This is the left one and this is the right one," he explained giving each vial a shake.
"Should we even bother asking why?" queried Alicia, raising her eyebrows in a way that George wished he could.
Over the course of the meal, the twins and Lee brought the two girls up to speed on everything they had been up to, from finding the compass, the bet involving eyebrows, right up to the night they found the treasure with Filch.
"And that is why I am now the proud owner of these," finished Fred leaning back on his chair and waving the vials once again.
"So let me get this straight," said Alicia firmly, just as the myriad of ice creams, cakes and other desserts suddenly appeared along the rows of tables, "you want us to believe that it was you that found Prevend's treasure and that you weren't actually in detention?"
"Yeah," agreed George. He pointed up to where his eyebrows should have been, "do you think I would have bet these on something stupid?"
"Last week you bet Lee that you could finish a bowl of soup using a fork before he could," Angelina said helping herself to some bread and butter pudding.
"I won didn't I?" replied George indignantly.
"Only because I gave up after half an hour," countered Lee.
"So you're saying you would have beaten me?"
"Definitely. I was winning at the time, but I was really hungry and I wanted to at least have something filling to eat before lunch was over."
"Right that's it. Some one find us two bowls of soup," stated George looking up and down the table whilst grasping a fork from in front of him.
"Don't be daft," said Fred, placing a steadying hand on his brother's shoulder, "there isn't any soup; we're having dessert."
"So you'll have to use bowls of custard instead," Fred lent over and picked up a large jug and placed it in front of his brother.
"God, you're idiots," sighed Alicia looking at the twins, "at least Lee isn't as bad as you two."
"Hey Angelina?" asked Lee pointing across the table, "can I borrow your fork?"
The competition between George and Lee, which drew the attention of the neighbouring tables, was declared a resounding draw. This was partly down to the fact that forks really aren't designed to pick up custard but it was mainly due to the fact that the cheering supporters caused McGonnagal to bear down on the two of them. The head of Gryffindor confiscated their forks and threatened to transfigure them into pigs if they continued to carry on in such a manner.
After the hall had settled back down into a low hum of conversation, Dumbledore stood up and shushed the remaining sounds into silence.
"We'll here we are again," he said loudly, his voice echoing around the large room, "another year gone, and hopefully our heads filled with a little bit more knowledge then when westarted. All that remains is to announce the final House Point totals for the House Cup."
"With four hundred and forty seven points… Gryffindor!"
The polite applause from each of the four tables petered out as people became distracted from the whoops and cheers coming from Fred and George who were busy high fiving each other and their bewildered neighbours sitting either side of them. Realising that something was wrong the twins' exuberance diminished as they looked around at the rest of the students who, either had expressions on confusion or were starting to laugh.
People stood up and craned their necks at the duo who were now having a hurried whispered conversation with Angelina.
"Sorry Professor," shouted Fred, leaning up from the exchange, "we thought you were starting with the winners."
"Quite all right Mr Weasley," replied Dumbledore as a wave of laugher rippled around the hall. "Now with four hundred and sixty two points, and third place Mr Weasley, is… Hufflepuff!"
More polite clapping echoed around the hall while Angelina and Alicia continued to mock the twins for their earlier misunderstanding.
"In second place with five hundred and seven points is…" Dumbledore left a long pause to build up a bit of expectation, "Ravenclaw!"
A huge cheer went up from the Slytherin table, whilst the Ravenclaw students along with those from the other two Houses gave a courteous, if slightly forced, applause. Snape could be seen leaning back in his chair along the teacher's table smirking smugly as he accepted congratulatory handshakes from the other House teachers.
"Well done once again Slytherin," called Dumbledore over the celebrations, "better luck next year to the rest of you. Finally I would just like to say a few words," the noise level once again reduced itself so everyone could hear, "to the first years I would like to say that I hope you have made some new friends and all had an interesting and exciting year. Although," and at this point he looked directly at the twins, "I'm sure some of you had a more eventful time then others."
"To the outgoing seventh years," each group of the eldest students from the tables gave a little cheer of acknowledgement, "I hope you'll look back on your time here with great fondness, and of course you will always be welcome back anytime you want to visit. Best of luck in your life outside of the school, I'm sure I will be bumping into some of you at some point."
"As for the rest of you," his gaze swept the room, "there is a nice long summer ahead of you. Plenty of time to forget everything you have learnt here this year. Enjoy your holidays and I'll be seeing you all in September."
The rest of the evening was spent saying goodbyes to friends, with lots of promises of writing letters and staying in touch over the holidays, followed by some last minute packing as drawers and cupboards were emptied of possession.
"Is this yours or mine?" Fred asked Lee holding up a rather mangled looking textbook.
"Let's see," Lee took the book and flicked through the first few pages, "it's yours. Remember you spilled some Exquilax Juice on the pages and you lost most of chapter three."
"Oh yeah," remembered Fred taking the book back, "that's right. I never did find out how the Troll Revolt ended. Wotcha George, what in Godric's name are those?"
George was standing at the door way of the dormitory holding onto a pair of very distressed looking boots, the shoe laces had long since snapped off and a battered hole had been ripped down the side of one of the pairs.
"These,"said George lifting the boots up, "are Fenter's."
"What?" exclaimed Fred looking at his brother disbelievingly, "did you just go and ask Filch for them?"
"Yep," grinned George, "although I only actually asked for the three fifths that were owed to us, but he threw both boots at me so I'm guessing he didn't want them. I'll sneak down to the kitchens later and get one of the House Elves to help me cut these into three parts.
"Er… you know what?" said Lee staring at the mangled footwear in his friend's hand, "you can keep my share."
"Yeah mine too," added Fred.
"Thanks," beamed George looking at the boots, "now when mum asks me why I have no eyebrows, I can pull the boots out and say 'because of these'."
"Yes, I'm sure she'll be convinced it was a good swap," replied Lee.
The next day passed by quickly, especially for the twins since they wanted to say goodbye to a whole host of people. They gave a cheery wave to the suit of Dwarven Armour outside the kitchens, which was quite difficult given the fact that they were laden down with a final supply of cakes and buns from the House Elves.
Stowing the food supplies in their bags they made the journey down to train station and settled into the long journey home. People were using the trip to try out as much magic as they could before they were officially not allowed to perform it again. Loud bangs could be heard up and down the corridors of the train as Filibuster Fireworks, Exploding Snap Cards and Whizbang Balloons were let off, played and inflated respectively. The twins even managed to make a little bit of money on the journey as they took a leaf out of the trolley lady's book and went between compartments selling the goodies they had been given by the House Elves.
"Ugh George, do you mind we are trying to eat?" complained Fred putting down a chocolate frog.
"Yeah," agreed Lee pinching his nose between his fingers, "at least open a window."
"Come on guys, they don't smell that bad," replied George looking down at his feet, which were currently wedged into Prevend's old boots, "besides who else do you know that owns real dragon hide boots?"
"No one," admitted Fred, "but then again I didnt know anyone who owned a pair of boots that could kill someone with their smell. Well until now anyway."
"They're really comfy," said George ignoring his brother as he gave an experimental bounce on the soles of the shoes, "well the left one is a bit bumpy at the back."
"He'd eat dung if it was free," Fred told Lee. They both looked at George who was busy trying to fix something on the heel of the boot.
"He'd eat dung for a bet," pointed out Lee.
"Hey, what's that?" asked George looking down at something that had dropped on the floor. He bent down and picked up what looked like an old scrap of parchment wrapped around something. He unrolled it and found that inside the worn paper was a very battered looking wooden bottle, he gave it a shake and could hear that there was still some liquid inside. He turned the bottle over so that the other two could read the words on the side of it - Inspiro.
"What's the parchment say?" asked Fred as his brother handed him the bottle to look at.
"Not sure," replied George examining it, "it looks like instruction on a potion, quite complicated, probably take months to make... what are you doing?"
Fred had popped open the bottle and was sniffing the contents. He held his finger over the end and up turned it, leaving a small amount of gooey yellow liquid on his skin.
"We'll have to work out what it is," admitted Lee, "I think my dad has some books on that kind of thing at home. You have to break down the ingredients until you can work out what it is made of, and then you know what the potion does."
"Or you can use a much more interesting approach," replied Fred licking his finger.
"God Fred, you'd eat anything," complained George grimacing, "what does it taste like?"
"Do you remember mum's home baked apple pies?" replied Fred thoughtfully.
"Oh yeah?" nodded George.
"Well do you remember when we tried to make them?"
"Oh yeah," George frowned as he remember the disastrous cooking experience, "that bad huh? Feel any different?"
"Not really," admitted Fred, smacking his lips.
"Wonder what it does," said Lee looking over the potion instructions.
"It's an Inspiration Potion, if you take it you get inspired," said Fred quickly then suddenly frowning, "how did I know that?"
"Here let me have a look at that," George took the bottle back off of his brother and took a small sip. His eyes seemed to glaze over slightly, "you knew what the potion was because you took some and became inspired."
"Ok," said Lee slowly, "that's a little weird."
"I bet this is how Prevend got so good at treasure hunting," admitted Fred pointing at the bottle, "if he got stuck, he'd just need to take a swig and become inspired."
"Yeah but we don't know if this works properly," replied Lee.
"You're right. Ok George, think of something you have been stuck trying to work out and then take some of the potion.
"I dunno," shrugged Fred, "I know, how about those biscuits that uncle Enoch use to make us but wouldn't tell us the recipe?"
"Oh yeah the ones that would turn you into a yellow bird for a bit," George nodded as he remembered.
"We worked out most of the potion. Mainly through eves-dropping on Enoch," Fred explained to Lee, "but ours would never work properly."
George took another sip of the potion and thought hard about the biscuits. His eyes glazed over again and he spoke quickly, "use the tail feathers from a canary and not the wing feathers, as they tend to be unstable for potions."
"Wicked, I guess our evening out in the forest wasn't totally wasted," grinned Fred. "Can you imagine what we can do if we use this potion?"
"What?" asked Lee excitedly
"If you're not sure maybe you need a bit of inspiration," said George holding out the bottle.
It was quite late, with the sun hung low and lazy in the sky, by the time the train pulled into King's Cross, and people began trying to drag their bags from the carriages.
"Ok guys," said Lee heaving a bag over his shoulder and grasping the handle of the trolley he had placed a large trunk on, "that's my parents over there. I'll send you guys an Owl over the summer."
"Definitely," agreed George slapping his friend on the back, "you'll have to come and stay with us over the holidays."
"Yeah," added Fred, "see you later."
Lee walked over to his family and became enveloped amongst the arms of his parents. He looked back towards his two friends who had been joined by the rest of their family and like him were having the life hugged out them by their parents. His dad took hold of the trolley and waited for the guard by the wall to give him a nodded and he pushed it through, while Lee and his mother waited for their turn.
Just as the two of them stepped through the gateway back out into the Muggle world, he heard a distinct shrieking female voice over the sound of the train station and all the people in it, which made him smile.
"GEORGE! WHAT IN MERLIN'S BEARD YOU DONE TO YOUR EYEBROWS?"