"We're going to have to do something or we'll lose the lab and our mad scientist licenses!" said one white-frocked man to the other.
"What should we sell? I'm sure there isn't a big audience for defective hair growth serum," the second white-frocked man replied.
"We could get rid of all those lab rats; we end up testing everything on ourselves anyway," said the first white-frocked man.
"I guess. But who's in the market for 150 white mice?"
"I'm, uh, here about the, uh, rats? That you're selling?" a portly, twitching man said nervously. The two white-frocked men grinned.
"Of course," said the second white-frocked man. "Now, law requires that I inform you that these mice have been subjected to medical experiments and may be radioactive or dysfunctional." The man bobbed his balding head quickly to show he understood.
"Great," continued the other white-frocked man. "Now just sign this waiver releasing Acme Labs from all liability if the rats were to cause any sort of illness or injury due to radiation, rabies, et cetera..."
The short man barely glanced at the paper before scribbling something on it.
"Good doing business with you, Mister..." the second white-frocked man glanced at the document in his partner's hand,
"Yes, my Lord?"
"I thought I told you to kill them, Wormtail."
"I... I thought I shouldn't be-because it might've started an investigation; we might've been caught-"
"Yes, my Lord?"
"You gave them your real name."
"I... I mean, well, Sir-my Lord, the only people who know I'm alive are Black, Potter, and Lupin, and no one listens to them, so I thought-"
"If Potter knows, you can be sure the old fool does, too."
All Peter could do was mumble a deflated, "Sir."
"Well. Let's just hope that stupid old know-it-all doesn't think to look for clues in a Muggle science laboratory that exists on an entirely different plane of reality."
"I've just got word of Voldemort's most recent headquarters," Dumbledore said to the group gathered around the kitchen table at Grimmauld Place. A chorus of "How?"'s and "Where?"'s followed. "A good friend of mine informed me that a man named Peter Pettigrew purchased a large quantity of lab mice and had it shipped to a certain address. I had it checked out and it's the right place."
"Yes!" cried Harry. "I'm gonna kill that bastard so hard-" he cut short and coughed sheepishly. "I mean, uh... why lab mice?"
Hermione looked at him pityingly, as she would a small, cognitively deficient child. "Well, I'm sure testing new Dark spells on humans gets rather expensive, don't you?"
"We shall begin making the preparations immediately," stated Dumbledore.
"Um, Brain?" asked Pinky.
"What is it, Pinky?" answered Brain. "I'm trying to sleep."
"I think this place is magic!"
Brain sighed. "And why would you think a thing like that, Pinky?"
"'Cause, lookit, Brain! They've got magic wands and potions bubblin' away!" he cried excitedly.
"Really, Pinky?" Pinky nodded emphatically. "Pinky, come here. Closer. Closer."
"There is no such thing as magic, Pinky. It is simply a myth created by idle children and lonely adults."
"Well, then, Brain," Pinky replied, rubbing his cheek, "what do you call it when somebody points a shiny-sticky-thingy at somethin' and makes it fly through the air with the greatest of ease?"
"Sometimes I wonder, Pinky, if one of those experiments really killed you, and you're just a walking..." Brain's eyes bulged as he stood next to Pinky and witnessed what the less-intelligent rodent had been seeing all along. Tall men in black robes were, indeed, levitating and moving objects across the room. There were, indeed, cauldrons boiling with brightly colored liquids.
Brain turned away from the strange sight. "Come, Pinky, we must begin the preparations immediately."
"Narf! The preparations for what, Brain?"
Brain rolled his eyes. "Pinky, I know this may be a difficult concept for you, but try to think back. What have we been doing all our lives? What do we do almost every night?"
Hitting him again would have been too much effort.
"Hey, Brain!" Pinky shouted, waking Brain from his slumber. Again. Pinky had a knack for that sort of thing, it seemed.
"What is it, Pinky?
"We have a guest, Brain!"
"A guest, Pinky?"
"A guest, Brain!"
Brain rose from his bed and walked over to Pinky. There was a visitor. Brain made a mental note to not hit Pinky again for the rest of the day; he had been right two times in a row.
"Welcome, stranger, to our humble abode," Brain said to the round, brown rat. "May I be so bold as to inquire after your name?"
"I am called Wormtail," said Wormtail. "I have been watching you the last few days. You seem to be much more intelligent than the other specimens." Brain recognized Wormtail's voice, though it was usually stuttering so much as to make it hard to understand the words. He seemed much more calm outside the presence of his Master.
"Depends on which of us you were watching," Brain said with a sidelong glance at Pinky.
"My Master has commanded me to train you in the art of anti-animangi so as you, Brain, can serve him more ably."
"What 'bout me?" Pinky sniffed. "Don't I get to be trained to paint anti-flalimgangi too?"
"Pinky shall be your personal assistant. That is, if he can master the Art," replied the rat.
"His success is doubtful. But perhaps he will somehow kill himself in the process and I shall be rid of his stupidity," Brain said dryly.
Wormtail nodded. "That is possible."
"Then what are we waiting for? Narf!"
"Um, Sir?" Harry asked uncertainly.
"Yes, Harry? Do you not understand the Plan?" asked Dumbledore. "It is very cunning, and cunning plans are often confusing."
"No, I understand the Plan - Moody turns me into a vegetable and Tonks changes her appearance so as to look like Lucius Malfoy and smuggles me, disguised as the tomato, into the lair and offers my... my sweet, red juiciness to Voldemort, who, you have on good account, loves tomatoes. Tonks will then transform me back and thus I shall take Voldemort by surprise, giving me the edge I need to defeat him once and for all," Harry recited.
Dumbledore nodded encouragingly. "Excellent, so what was your question?"
Harry looked down at his toes and fidgeted. "You don't think you could come up with a cunning plan that's a bit less... stupid?"
"I'm sorry, Harry, I'm afraid I don't know what you mean."
"Look, I've been thinking... well, it doesn't say anywhere in the prophecy that I have to use the Killing curse specifically does it? I mean theoretically, I could just nab an AK-47 and blow him away, right? Theoretically, I mean."
Dumbledore looked thoughtful. "Yes, well, I suppose theoretically. Riddle has a new body and it is not yet an immortal one, that much is true, but I rather think we should stick to my plan. It's quite cunning, you know."
"Yeah-cunning-tomatoes-but um, just out of curiosity, where is his lair? Just out of, you know, the uh, the curiosity I mentioned earlier..."
"Oh, why, what a coincidence! I happen to have with me a copy of a very detailed map that shows one the exact route to Voldemort's headquarters. Assuming, of course, that one was to use Twelve Grimmauld Place as a starting point. Here, Harry, take it. I must have a hundred more in my office."
"Um, thanks," said Harry uncertainly, taking the map from Dumbledore's outstretched hand. He decided to push his luck. "Um, just out of, you know, the same... the same curiosity as before...you wouldn't happen to know of a gun shop, relatively close to here, that would sell a fully-automatic rifle to a minor and not require any kind of background check, or any kind of ID at all, and also not have a waiting period?"
"Oh, why, what a coincidence! I happen to have with me a copy of a very detailed map..."
"C'mon, Brain, it's not that hard, just let your inner human come out!"
Brain watched in annoyance (and envy) as Pinky transformed quickly between his normal self and a tall, gangly, cross-eyed human male.
"I don't think I have an "inner human", Pinky. I'm rat all the way through."
"Brain, you must be able to perform this task. The Dark Lord has plans for you, plans that will make you very powerful. A very powerful man," said Wormtail pointedly.
"Lookit!" cried Pinky.
"Hey-" Wormtail squeaked. "How'd you-give that back!"
Pinky, it seemed, had gotten hold of the fat man's wand, and what's more, it was working for him! If Brain would have all that... that magic at his disposal when he was a human...
Brain made a startled sound as he opened his eyes to find himself six feet taller than he used to be, but he quickly suppressed his surprise.
"Pinky, give me that wand..."
"Why did we tie up that man, Brain?"
"Hush, Pinky. We are nearing our destination," Brain said harshly, stopping in front of a set of ornate double-doors. "Now listen closely, here is the plan. The map Wormtail had in his pocket clearly states that this Dark Lord lies beyond this door. We shall take him by surprise and tie him up using the Magic, then force him to relinquish his power to me. I shall rule this strange world, Pinky, you can bet your bottom dollar," the man formerly known as Brain the Rat grinned evilly.
"Egad, Brain, that's a spiffy plan, that is. But oh, no, wait. There's one problem. I don't have a dollar."
"And I helped, didn't I, Brain?" said Pinky, sounding much like a small child who had just "helped" their mother bake cookies.
"If by "help", you mean "tripped over your own feet and knocked him to the ground", then yes, you helped a great deal."
"So we won, Brain? Did we finally win the world? Didwedidwedidwedid-"
"No, Pinky, not yet. This Master," he sneered at the man tied up in the corner, "must teach us all the magic he used to control his minions. Like that one that-"
At that time the door caused a slight distraction by flying open with a violent bang.
A loud sort of popping noise was heard and the man the mice had worked so hard to capture screamed once, jerked viciously, and was still.
"That's right, bitch," screamed the boy (who had been the source of it all). He then scampered back out the door, cackling.
Pinky and Brain stared for a while at the empty doorway.
Brain sighed. "Come, Pinky," he said, pulling from his pocket a piece of paper that read "Secret Death Eater Headquarters to Acme Labs" at the top. "We must return to the lab and prepare for tomorrow night."
"Why, Brain? What are we gonna do tomorrow night?"
"The same thing we do every night, Pinky. Try to take over the world!"