"Because it's the dumbest idea I've ever heard."
"It can't be the dumbest idea. Remember last week when Pansy decided she wanted to paint our toenails pink? Or the week before when Ginny decided your godfather's wardrobe needed more colour in it and changed everything in it to a permanent puce colour?"
"Alright so those were the dumbest ideas I've ever heard but your idea isn't much better."
"Hey, I resent that. Those were both wonderful ideas that had spectacular results." Pansy said with an affected sniff.
"Riiight… anyway, pleeeease can I do it?"
Draco sighed and looked at the pouting face of Harry Potter. The raven haired boy had perfected the "puppy eyed" look months ago and was now making full use of it on his friend. Behind him, Pansy was muttering about boys and their low levels of appreciation for a good idea while Ginny carefully added measured drops from a syringe into the triangular dish in front of them.
The dish itself held a stone tablet, about ten centimetres in diameter, which was covered in Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics. Harry had found it that summer when he was exploring tombs in Egypt with Remus Lupin. There was powerful magic on it and naturally Harry had found it necessary to conduct experiments on it when he returned. When Draco, Pansy, and Gin had come looking for him he had already submerged it in a diluted mix of ground scarab beetle and carbonated limestone and was just about to pour in a small vial of basilisk venom into the mix.
Currently Draco was preventing Harry from getting to the dish with one arm while holding the vial above him in the air with his other hand. Ginny was trying to neutralize Harry's creation by slowly adding phoenix tears to the mix to counteract the scarab beetles.
"Harry." Draco said patiently. "If we add the venom in now the whole thing will most likely explode taking all of us with it and, surprising as this may be, we actually enjoy living."
After his fifth year, Harry had decided to live the life Sirius would have wanted him to live. In other words, pranking, joking, breaking rules, chasing after girls, and generally being as irresponsible as possible. The fact that he had turned out to be gay put a slight dampener on things but it had yet to deter Harry from flirting with anything on two legs. Honestly, you would think that having a mad man out for your blood would teach a person to be cautious but no, not if you're Harry Potter, the only person to make stupidity synonymous with immortality.
As it was, Harry's romantic adventures were infamous throughout the Hogwarts community. It was universally confirmed that he'd first slept with Fred Weasley when he had visited Hogwarts for a month and a half in Harry's sixth year to market Weasley's Wizard Wheezes, followed by Seamus Finnegan a month later and some unfortunate third year Hufflepuffs had caught him in the act with Blaise Zabini earlier this year. He was rumored to have slept with many others but no one could confirm this and no other guys were talking. He had tried a steady relationship with Draco Malfoy in sixth year but the pair had agreed that they were much better off as friends with occasional benefits.
Harry had made peace with the Slytherins on the first day of sixth year. Draco had been sitting in a compartment on the Hogwarts train with Crabbe, Goyle, and Pansy when Harry had flung the door open with a flourish. He marched in, followed closely by a slightly bemused Ginny Weasley.
Stopping in front of Pansy, he had bowed deeply to her.
"Highness," He'd said with a childish grin, "My name is Harry Potter and I'm desolate to say that it is my unfortunate responsibility to create as much of a stir as is physically possible before the sun sets on the first day of our return to that striking building known as Hogwarts."
With this he had straitened momentarily before sitting himself down on the lap of a speechless Draco Malfoy. An embarrassed Ginny had taken a moment to explain Harry's attitude change before preparing to drag him out of the compartment.
Pansy had stopped her and asked her to take a seat and the two created a firm friendship. Ginny was still dating Dean and the two spent the trip alternating between rating all the male students at Hogwarts and laughing at the constant bickering going on between Harry and Draco who by this time had his lap back. The four had soon ditched Crabbe and Goyle and became fast friends. Harry no longer spoke to Ron or Hermione who had ostracized him for being gay and Ginny had been moved into the sixth year classes. Politics were never discussed between the four and the tried to stay out of the current war (though Harry had an obvious role to play). Unfortunately for the other Hogwarts residents, the four discovered exactly where their talents lay.
The students of Hogwarts lived in fear of attack, no house was safe, the teachers upped their patrols, Filch became slightly more psychotic, the ghosts looked on indifferently and Peeves was ecstatic for the pranking era began again. The four became as notorious as the marauders had been but, unlike the marauders, the never targeted individuals without due cause and their victims could all laugh it off afterwards.
To counteract the four, Dumbledore brought Remus Lupin in as DADA professor. The students were all pleased to have him back having realised that his lycanthropy didn't stop him from being the best DADA professor they'd ever had and Dumbledore figured that as an ex-marauder he would be able to spot potential pranks not to mention use his influence on Harry to calm him down and separate him from the Slytherins again to be back under Dumbledore's control.
Remus however, had other ideas. He informed Harry that he was proud of the boy's decisions and not to listen to his critics. He gave them pranking ideas from ones he, Padfoot, Wormtail and Prongs had played in their youth and provided them with the occasional alibi. In return, the four kept their pranks out of his classroom and away from his meals and helped him with marking or research occasionally.
Harry had bonded well with Remus and had been delighted to be invited on a project in Egypt during the holidays that the man was working on with Bill Weasley. The elder Weasley had been disappointed to hear of Ron's prejudices especially considering Fred's status but was glad to know that Gin wasn't influenced by them. She too came along and together, she and Harry had a great time. That was how Harry had come into possession of the stone tablet which lead to the current situation they were in.
Harry James Potter had, since birth, possessed an ability to create unbelievable situations in which everything that could go wrong, would. For examples, I give you, Draco sending a snake in their second year duel and revealing Harry as a parseltongue just when the Chamber of Secrets had been opened, happening to chase after Ron and Sirius and catch Wormtail on a full moon on the one night Remus forgets his potion, and my personal favourite, hiding right near Barty Crouch Jr at the Quidditch World Cup.
Thus when Draco, Pansy and Gin had arrived at this situation, they had instantly kicked into action.
"Pleeeease!" Harry said again "I already put roseleaf essence in with the venom to prevent heat and thus explosions so really there's no direct danger."
Here Ginny paused in her actions.
"Wow Harry you actually planned this out. I'm fairly impressed. This is a new milestone for you." She said.
Harry poked his tongue out before lifting his head loftily. "I'll have you know I always plan carefully. It's just that I usually don't stick to said plans," here he sighed. "Look, I've done my research and the tablet looks fairly similar to one mentioned in the journals of Cleopatra's personal wizard. He said he created it as a connection to deceased loved ones after most of Cleopatra's family were dead. Given, many died at her behest but that's beside the point! He wrote that you needed to add wyvern venom to the eternal hunger which I'm thinking would be scarab beetles, and since wyverns are extinct, the closest thing would be dragon or basilisk venom. We don't have any dragons here but we do have a dead basilisk."
Draco's eyes widened as he realised the possibilities of this. Unconsciously he had begun to lower his arm, bringing the venom within Harry's reach.
Pansy looked around at the others.
"We could try for him." She said. "He appears to have thought this through.
Ginny and Draco looked at each other, weighing up their options.
James Potter and Sirius Black were sitting at the Gryffindor table in the great hall in silent anticipation. Those sitting around them eased away cautiously recognizing the slightly evil glint in their eyes as the coming of a rather spectacular prank. Realising this, the other occupants within the hall began to take action.
Their friends Remus and Peter quickly thought back through the two boys actions of the day trying to figure out what they could have planned. The Head of Gryffindor house, Professor McGonagall rose from her place at the head table and made her way down the side of the hall to where the two boys were sitting while the other teachers discretely pulled out their wands and checked their food for additives.
Across at the Slytherin table Severus Snape (their usual target) began warily easing back from the table before him, preparing to run. Before any of these people could complete their actions however, a loud CRACK sounded throughout the hall almost like someone had apparated. Moments later, two boys and two girls appeared in mid air above the Ravenclaw table and fell crashing down, sending food, plates, and cutlery flying in all directions.
One of the girls, a blond, gave an audible sigh as she looked up at the charmed roof.
"'Can't we just try it?' he says. 'I just want to see what happens' he says. 'What could possibly go wrong?' he says. Honestly," Here she broke off her conversation with the ceiling and turned to a frightened third year. "Have you ever heard anything so ridiculous? And what's worse… we relented! We know what he's like and we relented! I think in many ways that makes us just as idiotic as he is."
The entire hall sat in stunned silence as the two boys groaned and rolled off opposite side of the table and onto the floor, knocking several petrified first years down with them. Across at the Gryffindor table, James and Sirius who were as shocked as everyone else looked at the scene before them and started laughing.
Snapping out of her daze, McGonagall glared at the two students she was now certain were responsible for the whole thing. Opening her mouth to berate them she was cut off before she could begin as one of the new arrivals bolted upright and glared at his companion on the other side of the table.
Pulling himself up with as much dignity as you can have when you've just landed in pumpkin juice and shepherds pie, the boy faced his companion angrily.
"Harry James Potter, you are SO DEAD WHEN I GET MY HANDS ON YOU!"