Joker Cards

A/N: In response to a fanfic challenge.
Requirements: 1. 1000 words, 2. English, 3. No original characters, 4. PG rated 5. Contains the following: a pineapple, mice, an umbrella, a tree branch, and water balloons.
TOTAL: 975 words (not including A/N).

"Okay, George. You ready?"

"I've been ready, you prat!"

"No need to start name-calling…"

"No need to ask stupid questions!"

"Who's asking stupid questions here, me or you?"

"You are!"

"Prove it!"

"Look, there he comes!"

"Who?" Fred whipped around, spotted their approaching target, hurled his ammunition, and…



"RUN!" George cried, darting from his cover among the dark trees of the forest. Scrambling through the trees, he accidentally snapped back a tree branch, hitting his twin in the face. He ran out into the open, pushing past a bewildered Snape, and practically flew towards the castle. Fred, regaining his senses seconds later, followed.

"How could you miss?!" George shouted as Fred caught up. "He was a ferret's length away from you!"

"Stop asking stupid questions!" Fred retorted.

"It's not stupid!"

"Oof!" Fred slammed into something and tumbled to the ground, just inches from the castle doors. "What the…" He looked up at the figure towering over him.

"Well, well… Can't say it's a pleasure to see you two back again," the man snarled.

"Can't say it's a pleasure to see your ugly face again, Filch!" George struggled against the grip Filch held on his arm while Fred decided to stay safely on the ground.

"What's in your pocket, boy?!" Filch asked suspiciously.

"Nothing!" George retorted. He yelped as Filch shoved his slimy hand down the young man's pocket, searching for something. He took his hand out and dropped several dripping water balloons on the ground at their feet (one bursting on Fred's face).

"Well?" Filch demanded. "I don't care if you're not students here anymore-NO WATER BALLOONS IN MY SCHOOL!"

"Technically," Fred sat up, wiping his dripping face with his sleeve. "We're not in the school yet." He gestured towards the doors that stood just behind the trio.

"But you were going there!" Filch accused.

"How do you know?" George asked incredulously. "In fact, dear Fred and I were planning on hopping over the barrier here…" He pointed at the stone bannister the separated the edge of the stairs from a steep drop to the ground. "We were going to hide out there while Snape blew off steam on a few first years…"

"All innocent fun, really," Fred jumped in.

Filch sniffed the air, his face scrunching up in disgust. "What's that smell?"

"Oh, that," Fred said. "That's…err…well, I'll be honest with you. We put rotting pieces of pineapple in the balloons and left them to soak for a few days, so when they burst, the smell would carry over."

Filch stared in shock at the identical boys. They smirked back.

"Rotting pineapple?" he asked flatly.

"Yes, sir."

"…in my school?"

"No, sir, we weren't going-"

"LIKE HELL YOU WEREN'T! I OUGHTTA KILL YOU!" Filch shook George by the elbow. George reared back and Fred's eyes sparked as he took out what was left of his stash…

"FIRE!" he screamed, chucking the balloons at Filch's face. George joined him, taking the balloons that hadn't burst on the ground and throwing them viciously at their old friend. They scuttled into the castle, leaving a soaking wet, rotting-pineapple-scented Argus Filch outside.

"Run!" George advised, and they took off again.

"It seems to me," Fred piped up, "that we've been doing an awful lot of running lately!"

"Out of shape, Fred?"

"No!" he gasped in reply. "I just hate running!"

"Would you like to take a break, then?"

Fred glanced over his shoulder at the great oak doors just as they slammed open-revealing a dripping, seething Filch.

"No!" he said, speeding up.

They climbed the grand staircase and lost view of the entrance hall. All they had to do was make it up to Dumbledore's office without getting delayed-

"Uh, oh…"

"What?" Fred inquired nervously. "What's 'uh, oh'?"

George lifted a finger, pointed straight ahead of them. Fred's gaze landed on two orange orbs, practically glowing in the shadows of the castle. He could recognize those eyes anywhere.

"Mrs. Norris!" he exclaimed. The cat meowed in response before pouncing on Fred, digging her claws into his face while he screeched and flailed helplessly. "GET 'ER OFF ME! GET 'ER OFF! GEEEOOORGE!"

"What do you want me to do?" George asked, standing by uselessly while the psychotic cat tore his brother's face to pieces.


"Right, you said that…" George muttered.

He whipped out his wand and tapped the floor twice. An army of mice appeared, scattering and skittering over the floor and across their feet. Mrs. Norris jumped from Fred's bloody face and joined the fleet of mice, turning her attention away from the twins.

"Time to run again?" George laughed, seeing Fred's face.

"Right!" Fred answered, sprinting up another flight of stairs. They decided it was safe to stop running only when they found their destination: the stone gargoyle that guarded the Headmaster's office. "Finally!" he wheezed.

"Cockroach Clusters!" George offered confidently. The gargoyle jumped out of the way, revealing a moving spiral staircase. As they ascended, they could hear the sound of chamber music. They exchanged baffled looks before knocking quickly and opening the door. What they saw surprised them.

Dumbledore was dancing. He was dressed in dark blue robes with yellow stars and orange moons. He moved gracefully, flowing to the music as expertly as a professional. But what really astounded them was his dance partner.

An umbrella.

The umbrella was charmed to move on its own, and enlarged so that it matched Dumbledore's height when it stood vertically. It twirled and twittered about in time with the music and Dumbledore's pace.

Fred and George shared looks before stepping quietly outside the room, shutting the door behind them and retreating down the stairs once more.

"We'll just come back later," George stated simply.

"Yes, he's busy now…" Fred whispered.

"Later sounds good."