"Who else smells that?" Ron questioned as the GOLDEN TRIOTM strolled past the fourth floor boys toilets.
Cedric Diggory exited as they approached, looking uncomfortable—though that was probably due to the fact that Roger Davies, renowned homosexual offender of the school, was steering him (hand on arse) towards the Ravenclaw common room with a mischievous I'm-about-to-have-my-wicked-dirty-way-with-you glint in his eye. Ron shuddered; he'd been on the receiving end of that one for too long.
All because Percy was a—
But, it wasn't his place to say.
"Smells like…your bedroom, Ron," Hermione replied, taking another furtive sniff, then turning her face away, as if that would further prevent the putrid odour from penetrating her nostrils. It didn't.
"It does not!" Ron paused. "Not all the time, anyway."
"What about that time you left a dead gnome under the mattress?" Harry asked, recalling the unearthly stench that had not faded for a good four weeks post-removal. "And that time with the yoghurt…"
"That doesn't count," Ron snapped, glaring ahead as they finally seemed to walk into a clean patch of air, away from the pong-zone.
"What was the time with the yoghurt?" Hermione asked, looking to Harry for a good story they could bring up at dinner parties in years to come, triggering—hopefully—an drunken, but emotional, speech from Ron, probably about how nobody loved him.
"Well," Harry began, working up his story-telling voice (basically, a poor Hagrid imitation, with a lisp) to make himself seem more folksy. Sadly, it never achieved the homely, rustic melody he strived for, but no one told him that. You didn't mess with The Boy Who Lived; he was delicate. "See, it all started when—"
"You didn't!" exclaimed Fred Weasley's camp-but-lovable voice, carrying from the end of the corridor.
"Did," George boasted, holding up a slip of paper for all to see. Onlookers gasped with delight.
The GTTM quickened their collective pace, led by Ron, which was surprising (I mean, can you say "sidekick"?). Fred and George were well within the realms of 'earshot' by this time, and the group merged with the gaggle of onlookers as the twinley banter commenced.
"Right here, got it on paper!" George proclaimed, gesticulating wildly with the much-handled slip of parchment in his grasp.
"Read it out," someone urged. He was ignored. A Hufflepuff. Figures.
"Read it out," commanded Fred with a certain sense of grandeur not easily achievable for those with red hair; his brother complied.
George cleared this throat in a way which was not to be questioned, and the crowd fell silent, a few of the younger students literally (and silently) choking on their own excitement – they were thumped (SILENTLY) on the backs by their elders, coughing up chunks of excitement all over the 1970s carpeting of most Hogwarts corridors.
Harry elbowed his way to the front of the huddle, leaving silent pain and sorrow in his magnificent wake. Ron and Hermione also limped and fumbled through the onlookers.
"See, I was in Filch's office again," George began, a little sheepish. The Weasley twins and Filch had a dense and complex history stretching back (somehow) to long before either side had been mere twinkles in their respective milkman's eyes. The onlookers exchanged excited glances, like enthusiastic extras in a Broadway musical – the pansies. "You see," began George, "the old boy had caught me teaching wizard swears to the portrait of the baby in the second floor corridor."
"Brilliant!" Fred felt he'd been silent for too long – the balance of who-got-to-talk-more was hideously askew. "How far did you get?"
"I was up to 'muggle-fudging' and 'wand-wangler' – and we got through all the P-words." The younger students became giddy with the unbeatable excitement of Very Naughty Words. The four P's were completely banned at Hogwarts – Filch would have the hides of anyone caught uttering the deadly "pock", "panker", "puck" and "punt".
Fred let out a low whistle, and the balance was restored.
"But why?" another Hufflepuff – young, Hermione-ish, but without the undeniable sense of self-worth and penetrating odour of catnip – piped up.
"'Why?'" Fred and George repeated in unison, so completely that nobody actually realised, unless they watched both twins at once.
"Why do anything?" Fred continued, once again seizing the reins of the crowd's attention – he was insecure, really. "For shits and gargoyles."
It was then that George grabbed the plot roughly by the cloisters... and gently steered it back towards where it was originally intended. "So, I was in Flich's office, and he leaves me alone – classic mistake – and I thought I'd just help myself to a bit of reading matter on the desk. I mean, there was all the usual – Playwiz mags, diet books, untitled manuscript under the writer's name of 'J. K. Rowing' or something... and then this."
The crowd Ooh-d and Ahh-d like a pantomime audience. Hogwarts students rather famously had a flair for melodramatic reactions – a good 12% of the country's most successful thespians were secretly wizard-folk.
George brandished the slip of paper, announcing, "This, my friends, is an order form. But not just an order form. And order form for a rather... saucy calendar." The crowd tittered excitedly – Ron, whose famously weak bladder couldn't quite cope with the mounting anticipation, began to form an impressive wet patch in the region of Crotch.
George handed the scrap of parchment to Fred, who held it grandly at arm's length and began to read aloud: "Owl Order Form: Product #24601, 'Filchy Business': 15-Month Calendar – Starring Argus Filch, Hogwarts School's dirtiest little secret, in his nude-calendar debut." With every word, his eyes grew wider. The crowd was silent with gleeful disbelief.
Fred paused, and tears gathered in his eyes. "George, my boy," the two grabbed each other, as if holding the other up. "George... we've..." words failed him. "You've... I... Filch... nude..."
"I know." George's voice was no more than a fervent whisper. "I know."
For some reason, never to be fully explained, the crowd chose this moment to erupt into jubilant applause. Students were hugging, kissing, rolling about on the floor – Ron's bladder gave up the ghost and wet patches darkened the kitsch carpeting. Harry started a war chant, and before long, great throngs of students stormed the halls, crying "FILCHY BUSINESS!" with such earnest ferocity that many of the paintings abandoned their poses and joined in.
And the chapter was ended in the laziest way possible.
*Cue Celine Dion*