The Devious Plot of Fred and George Weasley Concerning the Unlikely Benefits of Polyjuice Potion
Summary: In Harry's fifth year at Hogwarts, two things overtook the school: Dolores Umbridge and PRICKS - The Polyjuice Romance Inspired Cupid Kissing Service. Both disturbed him greatly.
A/N: It's been over five years since I wrote anything for the HP fandom. Dipping my feet back in was a very interesting, enjoyable experience. I couldn't have done it without my beta, xsecretxkeeperx. Thank you to her and my pre-reader, Squalloogal.
This little ditty begins in the middle of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix as Harry, Hermione, and the Weasleys are leaving Number Twelve, Grimmauld Place (where they stayed over Christmas) to head back to Hogwarts.
It was a plan concocted under the most ludicrous and extraordinary of circumstances: Ron and Hermione were arguing. Though an event not particularly significant or surprising in itself, the subject of such a quarrel had drawn the attention of two very amused eavesdroppers.
"You have got to be kidding me!" Ron held out a signed photograph of Gilderoy Lockhart. He had found it stuffed between the pages of one of Hermione's books as they packed to leave Grimmauld Place. "You kept this? You actually kept this?"
Hermione snatched the photo away from him. "I don't see how it's any of your business, Ronald Weasley."
"He's mental! Completely loony! You saw what he was like at St. Mongo's. And before that, Lockhart was a giant fraud! What were you thinking?"
Hermione huffed. "Someone as obtuse as you could never understand the intricacies of the female brain. Why would I even bother to explain?"
Ron looked taken aback at the insult, again remembering Hermione's quip from before Christmas: "Just because you've got the emotional range of a teaspoon doesn't mean we all have."
"And further," Hermione said, feeling somewhat triumphant, "loony or not, Gilderoy Lockhart still has the most charming smile of any wizard I've ever met." She slammed the hood of her trunk and swept out of the bedroom, a smirk playing on her lips and her autographed photo in hand.
"Ouch!" said George. Both he and his twin stepped into view. "Lockhart is a witless mental patient with no memory, and Hermione still likes him more than you. It's got to hurt."
"I don't get it," said Ron. "It's madness."
George clapped his youngest brother on the shoulder in mock consolation. "Don't worry. There are always ways to work around these things. We'll even help you."
"For a small fee of course," chirped Fred.
"We can find you a set of Lockhart's old robes on the black market and you could dress up in them," said George.
"Roleplay. It's kinky — bound to win her heart," said Fred.
"We can conjure you up a teeth whitening potion to make your smile as charming as his," said George.
"Or better yet, mix up a batch of Polyjuice Potion, steal a lock of his hair, and you could become Lockhart for her."
"I'm not sure she'd go for that." George sighed. "Even with Ron's brain, he'd still only be a half-wit."
"Hey!" exclaimed Ron.
"Who cares?" asked Fred. "The last thing Hermione would want to do with Lockhart is talk to him. I'm sure there are more pleasant avenues she'd wish to explore with her little crush."
"This is true," said George. "Imagine the fortune we could make selling bits of Lockhart's hair to people like Hermione and Mum. An hour with the man of your dreams — it's every girl's fantasy!"
He had said this as a joke, truly he had, but the wistful look that overtook his twin's face betrayed that Fred had seen the genius of such an idea.
"It's impossible," George said slowly.
"It's absurd." Fred nodded. "And possibly dangerous."
"And more importantly," George said, looking mischievously at his brother. "It would be wrong," they finished in unison. The impish grins on each of their faces showed they didn't care. A comfortable silence settled over the room as Fred and George contemplated their new business venture, positive it would be a success.
"Hermione and I aren't like that," said Ron, oblivious to his brothers' unexpected spurt of inspiration.
Fred and George decided to start small with their new scheme. As Fred put it, "First Hogwarts, then world domination!"
Forgoing Gilderoy Lockhart at present, the plan was to experiment with their peers. After all, were teenage girls not just as susceptible to the whims of a charming classmate as a lady would be to a brooding celebrity? It was with this thought in mind that the Twins retreated to their top-secret headquarters, a dusty broom cabinet on the ground floor of the castle, to iron out the details.
"We'll have to be sneaky about it," Fred said. "People will be miffed if they find out we're impersonating them."
George nodded along until his brain registered what Fred was implying. "What do you mean we're impersonating them?" he asked. "All we're going to do is send our patrons a vial of Polyjuice Potion and the hair of their choosing."
"When we go global, that's probably how it will work, but there aren't enough couples at Hogwarts for that strategy to gain any kind of traction. We'll need to target single students for now and treat it more like a dating service than product distributing." Fred scratched the back of his head and examined his twin's look of distress. "It's not prostitution. I looked it up."
"Eh? Oh," George waved his hand dismissively, "it's not that. Just what do you suppose we do if Ron orders a date with Hermione? Or Lee orders that Hufflepuff girl he likes? I'm not kissing any blokes!"
"Good point," Fred said, now imagining with horrific detail having to kiss his brother. "We'll sell to girls only."
They called it the Polyjuice Romance Inspired Cupid Kissing Service, PRICKS for short, and planned to be up and running in little over a month — just enough time to brew a large batch of Polyjuice Potion, collect a wide array of hairs from their classmates (plus a few extras from the more attractive fellows), and start an advertising campaign. Whenever a girl between the ages of fourteen and eighteen entered a bathroom stall, an enchanted pamphlet would appear for her viewing. It read:
The Polyjuice Romance Inspired Cupid Kissing Service
Have that unattainable someone on the brain? Wish to recognize that long unfulfilled fantasy with your secret crush? Ready to feel the softness of his lips or the strength of his chest under your fingertips? Prepared to do something daring to make it happen?
Then you can't miss out on this magical opportunity!
PRICKS is an all-inclusive dating service, dedicated to helping you experience your wildest dreams (barring excessive snogging, groping, and below the waist action) with the Hogwarts' boy of your choice!
The Bronze Package: 15 Knuts for a delightful conversation with your crush.
The Silver Package: 5 Sickles for a romantic conversation, light touching, and innocent flirting.
The Gold Package: 2 Galleons for the full boyfriend treatment.
To complete order, write the name of the Hogwarts' student you wish to meet at a specified date, time, and place of private meeting on the back of this parchment. Payment will be expected upon arrival.
Disclaimer: Any resembled persons are simulated, brought to you by the power of Polyjuice Potion. Sessions last one hour, and one hour only. Further time can be purchased at a later date. Proprietors not responsible for emotional distress, such as: unrequited love, jealousy, elation, sexual frustration, or the enhanced romantic feelings toward object of client's desire. All rendezvous to be handled with the utmost discretion. We won't tell on you, if you don't tell on us.
It would disappear as soon as the girl exited the bathroom. Not a soul would know who was behind it, and no man would know it ever existed. The plan was flawless.
Requests came pouring in almost as soon as the advertising was distributed, and Fred and George were turning into at least fifteen different Hogwarts' males a week. It came as a surprise to the pair that Neville Longbottom had a generous fan base amongst Hufflepuff fourth years. Even more surprising was that Draco Malfoy was a bigger hit with Gryffindor ladies than with Slytherin. They chalked this up the whole "bad boy" fantasy, and while both twins played the role quite strappingly, Fred especially enjoyed his time as Draco.
"If you were smart, you'd stay away from me," he'd say, to which the girls would unswervingly answer that they were not smart, and that in their hearts they knew he wasn't dangerous. He was good, they'd tell him, and he would put on his best brooding expression and say in a low voice, "What if I'm not the hero? What if I'm the bad guy?" It was horrendously cheesy, and it was his absolute favorite.
The only downside to being such good actors and general smooth operators was the degree of passion some girls displayed upon meeting their crushes. Luna Lovegood had practically attacked her date, leaving George feeling somewhat violated. He hadn't needed even a drop of Polyjuice Potion to look like her intended... Fred. He grumbled about personal boundaries and Fred's sudden interest in test-taking all the way back to Gryffindor common room that night, and vowed to have some kind of plan, so he would never be in that position again.
From that point on, both Weasleys went to the meeting locations, one to attend the date and the other to act as guard, each taking a draft of Polyjuice to look like someone else and using code names should they need to speak with each other. If someone were to come along unexpectedly, the guard would send a warning signal to the date. Likewise, should a girl get too rowdy, the date would send a signal and the guard would find a way to distract her.
It was during a rather heated staring contest with Millicent Bulstrode that Fred weighed the pros and cons of calling for help. They were secluded in a private room at the back of Madam Puddlemore's teashop. Every few seconds, another shiny gold galleon would slide across the table, pushed by Millicent's grubby fingers. It seemed as a special Valentine's Day treat to herself, she wanted to get a peek inside Seamus Finnegan's pants.
Fred watched half-horrified, half-fascinated as the pile of gold continued to grow. To accept this form of payment would compromise the few morals he had, not to mention it would violate the basic rules of decency and brotherhood by which every man stood. But to deny it would be… ridiculous. Absolutely ridiculous. To hell with it! he decided. He didn't like Seamus that much anyway.
No sooner had Millicent left Madam Puddlemore's a very satisfied customer than George (disguised as Dean Thomas) knocked on the door, alerting Fred to his next client. The effects of the first dose of Polyjuice Potion had faded, and he took the next, becoming the single most sought after boy at Hogwarts… Harry Potter.
Feeling guilty about how often they summoned a strand of Harry's hair (they were making a small fortune), the Twins did at least stick to the "above the waist" rule. No exceptions. Not even when Millicent Bulstrode had offered up an exorbitant twenty galleons toward a Harry Potter strip tease (right after she'd seen Seamus, mind you) did they submit to her bribery.
"Marietta, you came," said Fred, sporting Harry's most dashing smile.
"You asked me to, didn't you?" she asked. "I couldn't stay away."
"You're the only person in the world who understands me. When I look into your eyes, it's like looking into the other half of my soul." Fred was sick of repeating that stupid line, but the girls positively swooned over it. Apparently they thought Harry was a tortured soul.
"I don't want to hurt Cho," Marietta said, but she stepped forward into his arms anyway.
"She'll never know," Fred assured her. He knew from their several previous encounters how much Marietta Edgecombe enjoyed the forbidden romance aspect of the relationship. She even went as far as treating the real Harry Potter with a practiced air of indifference, all the while harboring a huge crush on him. "I'm only with her because she needs me after what she went through last year. You know I'd rather be with you," he said with dramatic flair.
"Oh, Harry," she whimpered, before reaching up and pulling his face down to hers.
Fred sighed into the kiss, more out of relief that he wouldn't have to talk anymore than out of actual desire to kiss her. He was fairly certain that by this point he had made out with at least 65% of the Hogwarts' female population. In that 65% there were bound to be some toads (aka: Millicent Bulstrode). However, he always gave his all in every single kiss. These girls were paying good money.
It was unfortunate that they hadn't quite cleared the swing of the door, because it opened with enough force to knock both Marietta and Fred to the ground. Cho Chang stood in the doorway looking furious.
"Cho!" Marietta cried at the same time Fred loudly called, "Brass Nuts!"
At the sound of his codename, George appeared over Cho's shoulder. "What do we have here?" he asked smoothly. "A ménage à trois?"
"What we have here is my ex-best friend snogging my ex-boyfriend who supposedly left me to hang out with his best friend on Valentine's Day," Cho ranted.
"It's not what it looks like!" Marietta said. "It's not Harry. They're PRICKS!"
"Hey!" George said, affronted.
"PRICKS, Brass, not pricks," Fred said.
"You used that stupid, moronic service to get into my boyfriend's pants?" Cho screeched. "I haven't even gotten into my boyfriend's pants!"
"Technically, there's no below the belt action," Fred said.
Cho ignored him. "How could you? What kind of person are you?"
"I'm sorry!" Marietta sobbed.
With a parting, "I was stupid to ever trust you," Cho fled from the room, Marietta scrambling along after her.
George offered his hand to Fred and helped him dust off his robes.
"Thanks a lot for guarding the door, Brass Nuts," Fred said.
"Sorry, I was chatting up Elaina Rodgers."
"Didn't you go on a date with her last week?"
"Yeah, as Mark Davies. She was a good kisser."
"Good enough to leave your brother hanging?"
"I'll do better next time, Limp Noodle."
Simply put, Harry Potter was having the worst year of his life. Everything, from Dolores Umbridge taking over Hogwarts, to Occlumency lessons with Snape, to a lifelong ban on Quidditch, to his unstable relationship with Cho Chang, was bad.
To add to his stress, Harry was sure he was going crazy. He'd be walking down an empty hallway or eating in the Great Hall or doing homework in the Gryffindor common room, and without warning or explanation, some invisible force would tug at random parts of his head — like his hair was being pulled out. It was quickly becoming the bane of his existence.
Harry was also beginning to see and hear things that couldn't possibly be real. Just the other day, he could have sworn he'd overheard Fred Weasley enthusiastically tell his twin brother, "Haha! Here's a request for the Weasley Twins! Should we give Angelina a show?" But when Harry had turned around, there was no one in the corridor save him and the portraits.
Another time, Harry was running late getting to his History of Magic class, so he decided to take a shortcut he wasn't completely familiar with. When he walked in on two people having a very passionate snogging session, after turning inside the wrong room, he immediately apologized (without them taking much notice) and slammed the door, thanking whoever was listening that he hadn't seen much.
It was only afterwards that he realized the back of the boy's head had looked eerily similar to his own… who else in this school had hair like his? It was a disturbing, impossible thought, but he couldn't shake the feeling that he had walked in on his own make-out session.
In an effort to ease his mind, Harry attributed all of his problems to the existence of Umbridge. "What does it matter if I go to class?" he asked Hermione, trying to convince her he could use less of that particular professor. "We study everything we need to know in Dumbledore's Army."
"I'm not defending her or her worthless class, but you still have your future to think about and unexcused absences don't look good on a record."
"Oh, please! Who cares? I'm learning less from her than I did from Gilderoy Lockhart."
Hermione pursed her lips, as if holding in a retort. She glared at him for several moments, then her face softened into an inquisitive expression. "Harry, your hair…"
"It's messy, right? Well, sorry I don't upkeep it quite as well as Lockhart did," Harry teased. Ron had told him about the infamous Lockhart autograph.
"No, it's not that," Hermione said, unfazed, and brushed her fingers contemplatively through his dark strands. "It's just that it seems to be thinning out a little."
"Thinning out?" Harry scrunched his eyebrows as he also ran a hand through his hair. It did seem like there was less there than before. Was all the stress of Umbridge making him lose his hair precipitately?
"I have to go to the bathroom," he said, trying not to sound worried or vain. "I'll see you in Defense."
"Okay, but don't be late!"
Harry opened the door to the male lavatory. His jaw dropped and a large shiver ran down his spine. There stood the unlikeliest pair of people he'd ever expect to see together: Ron Weasley and Draco Malfoy. Neither was using the restroom. Draco was holding the waist of his slacks wide open, almost as if he was showing Ron his… private area. And worse, Ron seemed to be intently studying it.
"Merlin's Beard!" Harry uttered in horror. Both eyes shot over to him.
"Harry! Come look at this!" Draco exclaimed, pulling his slacks out further.
"Hell no!" Harry averted his eyes. "I don't want to look at that, and I'm sorry, but this isn't an appropriate place for you to be doing… whatever it is you're doing. And also, Ron, what the hell? Malfoy? You could do better than that, surely."
There was a pause after Harry finished his speech, wherein he tried to figure out if he should leave Ron to his privacy or try a couple counter-curses to snap him out of what was clearly a potent love potion.
As for Draco… well, he wasn't surprised.
His ponderings were interrupted by Draco and Ron's boisterous laughs. "Oh, you really are too much," Ron managed through loud chuckles. "You didn't really think," he stopped to catch his breath. "You didn't really think that me and—?" Unable to make out the rest of his sentence, he gestured between him and Draco (who, Harry noticed, still hadn't re-zipped his pants).
"That's the best I've heard in years!" Draco said. "I daresay we'll be telling this one for ages."
Harry was beginning to get irritated with these two. "Not that I mean to pry into the personal business of my best friend and my sworn enemy," he said through gritted teeth, "but perhaps an explanation is in order."
"Ah, yes. Of course! I am George Weasley," Ron said, taking a bow.
"And I am Fred." Draco followed suit. "Brought to you, of course, by the power of Polyjuice Potion."
Harry stared at them in disbelief. "Really? Polyjuice Potion? And what exactly would be the purpose of turning into Ron and Malfoy?"
"That, my dear boy, is a very complex and intricate story," Fred/Draco answered.
"I have time." Harry crossed his arms. He was determined not to leave until he got an explanation… and also made sure that they weren't really Ron and Draco.
Fred/Draco and George/Ron looked at each other for a moment, then nodded. "As you have been a very generous benefactor of our business ambitions, we've decided to let you in on our little secret," George/Ron said. "Be warned that if you should tell anyone of this, we will have to kill you."
Harry raised an eyebrow.
"Or perhaps take some less drastic measure of action," George/Ron amended.
Fred/Draco and George/Ron then launched into an explanation of PRICKS, telling Harry about their business plan, how successful it had been thus far, and how they intended to take it global.
"You expect me to believe that you've been using Polyjuice Potion to run an underground dating service at Hogwarts?" Harry asked.
"Did you not walk in on yourself and a certain young lady snogging a couple weeks ago?" George/Ron reminded him.
Harry pointed a reproachful finger at both of them and grasped at the back of his head. "You two!" he shouted. "You're the reason I've been going prematurely bald!"
"Guilty," the Twins said unapologetically.
"But if it's any consolation, we've made a small fortune," Fred/Draco said.
"I already gave you a small fortune!" Harry sniped.
"We didn't do anything too naughty with your body," George/Ron said as an after thought. "Above the waist action only."
Harry was fuming. He had known the Twins were out there, but the complete disregard for his privacy (and the other males at Hogwarts) was beyond anything imaginable. "Can't you see how wrong that is?"
"If it helps, you're quite the stud with the ladies," Draco/Fred said.
"Shut it," Harry snapped. "That still doesn't explain why I walked in on you," he nodded from George/Ron to Fred/Draco, "looking in his pants."
Equally mischievous grins lit up Draco and Ron's faces. "That's because you won't believe what we found in here," Draco/Fred said.
Despite an enormous effort on Fred and George's parts to convince Harry to let the matter of PRICKS rest without further action or consequences, Harry would not be persuaded. He was resolute in the ultimatum he offered them: Either they had to stop PRICKS altogether, and quickly, or he was going to tell McGonagall what had been going on right under her nose for the past couple of months.
They called him Hermione. He called them perverts.
The arguments about how hundreds of girls would be left heart-broken if they ended the service, and how Mrs. Weasley would be devastated if Fred and George got expelled because of Harry's tattling fell on deaf ears.
It was a question of common decency in Harry's opinion — a matter of principle — and he would not yield. After a couple of days, the Weasley twins knew it was a lost cause, and decided the easiest way out was to shut down the business.
It was with heavy hearts that George and Fred revised their underground bathroom flyers to say:
The Polyjuice Romance Inspired Cupid Kissing Service
Going Out of Business Sale
All Packages Half-Off
One Week Only
If you don't know what PRICKS is, don't bother.
Previous disclaimer still applies.
As mid-April approached, Harry knew exactly why the Twins were shooting daggers at him during his D.A. lessons and occasionally trying to trip him in the corridors. Not only had he forced them into shutting down their lucrative business, to ensure his complete silence on the matter, Harry had made Fred and George promise that if they ever did expand PRICKS outside of Hogwarts, they would never sell his hair no matter how famous he was. The Twins considered it blackmail. Harry considered it a highly logical and profitable move on his part.
Fred and George's wrath didn't bother him nearly as much as how restless the female population of the school was becoming. With PRICKS now disbanded, the girls seemed to be rather frustrated, er, sexually.
Girls Harry had never met approached him in the hallway, asking him questions about his relationship with Cho Chang. Half the girls in his D.A. class would volunteer to be his dueling partner even when he didn't need one. During one of his lessons, Marietta Edgecombe chewed through an entire sugar quill whilst staring at him with glassy eyes. It made him very uncomfortable.
"This week, start thinking about a happy memory," Harry said to his fellow students after a fairly distracting lesson. "Something very strong that possibly had a large, positive impact on your life. Next week, we'll take the theory behind the Patronus, and start putting it into practice. I'll see you then."
Harry busied himself with tidying up the mess, and the members of the D.A. gathered their belongings. Some of the female students came up to tell him that they had vastly enjoyed his lesson, to which Harry smiled falsely and nodded his head, surprised that he could be so annoyed by compliments. By the time he had finished shelving the books he'd used in the lesson, most of the class had cleared out. He was not happy to see that Marietta was one of the few who remained. She and Cho were having a quiet, but heated argument in the corner of the room.
Harry sighed, picked up his bag, and joined the two, intent on walking Cho out of the Room of Requirement, even if their relationship was on rocky ground. Cho noticed before her friend that Harry was approaching and turned towards him with a welcoming smile. "Hi, Harry."
"Hello, Cho. Marietta," he said with a nod, figuring it was important he be civil to his girlfriend's best friend.
"Hello, Harry," Marietta said in a breathless voice. She was staring at him again, all peculiarly wide-eyed. Harry shifted uncomfortably. "I'll be over there talking to Luna," she said. To Harry's relief she followed through with her statement.
"What's up with her?" Harry asked Cho, taking her hand.
"We're working through some stuff right now." Cho gripped his hand tightly, almost possessively. "She's a lovely person, but she's having some, er, relationship issues at the moment."
Harry was glad she didn't elaborate. He was already dealing with enough girl drama to last him a lifetime. As he and Cho exited the room, Harry could have sworn he heard Marietta whisper to him, "When I make my Patronus, I'll think of you."
His back stiffened at the words. "Please, don't," he muttered to himself.
Harry barely caught the look of pure devastation that fell over Marietta's face as they walked out the door.
The unthinkable had just happened. Harry stood stunned outside of Professor McGonagall's office, still not able to wrap his head around the events of the past hour.
"I need to explain something," said a small voice from next to him.
"Perhaps it would be best if we didn't talk," he said shortly. Whether she was Cho's best friend or not, Marietta Edgecombe had betrayed him and Dumbledore's Army that night. The only thing he wished to say to her was a two-word phrase that wasn't very polite.
Marietta seemed to heed his advice, hiking her robes back up over her ruined face for the hundredth time that night. Harry and Marietta had left Dumbledore's office in a fog. Literally. The dust had not yet settled from when the Headmaster had made his explosive exit from the building.
Under direct orders from the Minister of Magic, Professor McGonagall was supposed to lead Harry and Marietta back to their houses (or in Marietta's case, the hospital wing). But McGonagall had insisted she needed to take a couple minutes in her office for business (Harry assumed to alert the Order to the events of that night), before she could take either of the students to their destinations.
The upside to this was that Harry still had a couple more moments to collect his thoughts before he had to face his fellow Gryffindors. The downside was that he was now stuck outside McGonagall's office alone with Marietta.
"Please let me explain," Marietta whimpered again.
"I really don't care—"
"But you don't understand," she cut in desperately.
"I'm sure your mother is very pleased," Harry said bitterly.
"I didn't do it for my mother!" she shrieked hysterically. "I did it for you!"
"How does that even make sense?" Harry asked. "You don't know me!"
Marietta's lip trembled. "At one time, we had a daring, passionate love. I was your other half. No two souls were closer."
This girl is crazy! She is absolutely mental! Harry thought as he stared at her pimply face.
"And to have that all ripped away was just…" her voice trailed off. She began to sob.
"You used PRICKS, I take it?" Harry asked flatly.
Harry rolled his eyes and, deciding he couldn't wait any longer for McGonagall, headed back to his dorm-room alone. He had had enough of hysterical girl drama for one day and needed to have a little chat with Fred and George Weasley about the unintended consequences of Polyjuice Potion.
School was nothing short of torture now. Harry had been stripped of every last bit of joy it held for him. Dumbledore was gone. Umbridge was more than unbearable. Cho was no longer a part of his life. Dumbledore's Army was obsolete. The list could go on.
There were but two points to his life that made it a tinge easier: First, he no longer had to take Occlumency with Snape. Of course that had come at the expense of finding out his father had been a bully, so there wasn't much comfort in that. Second, Fred and George Weasley were endeavoring to redeem themselves by making sure Umbridge was as miserable as she made the students.
Well, not all students. The Slytherins couldn't be happier with their new headmistress. They walked around puffing out their chests so everyone could see their Inquisitorial Squad badges and took away house-points from Gryffindor students for no reason at all.
Watching Malfoy's cocky face was getting boring. The sight of Umbridge gloating around her castle was getting dull. The relentless nagging in the back of his mind that Snape had been right about his father was getting tiresome. Slowly, Harry was sinking further and further into melancholy. He needed something to wake him up — a way to fight it.
Harry was sitting with Ron and Hermione in the library (one of the few places students were still allowed), staring blankly at the book in front of him as he tried to study for the upcoming O.W.L.s. Instead of actually reading, he was contemplating the insignificance and triviality of his existence. 'What's the point anymore?' he pondered
"This book isn't getting me anywhere," he said abruptly. "I'm going to go get a new one."
He stood and walked over to the section devoted to magical beasts, searching especially for information on dragons in an attempt to reminisce on times when his life actually had meaning. He was interrupted, however, by the sound of Malfoy's voice in the next aisle over. "Ah, Crabbe, Goyle, look what we have here: a Gryffindor first year. My favorite kind of fresh meat."
The first year girl whimpered in fright. Just as Harry was about to come to her rescue, Fred and George stepped in. "Back off, Malfoy." Harry peeked through the shelves to see both twins with their wands pointed at the three Slytherins.
"You have no authority here, Weasley. We're on the Inquisitorial Squad." Malfoy pointed at his badge.
With a flick of Fred's wand, all three of the Slytherins' badges fell to the floor, clanking softly on the pliable carpet. "Are you now?"
George laughed at the expression on their faces. "And we're not afraid to curse your balls off as well. What little of them you have." Harry had to bite back a snort at Malfoy's livid look.
The Slytherins weighed their odds and Harry clutched his wand, ready to duel if they decided it was worth the fight. Fortunately, the bullies wished to keep all their appendages in tact and started backing away. "This isn't over," Malfoy sneered.
"You're bloody right it isn't," Fred said.
Once they were gone, George turned toward the first year girl, who had hid behind his robes during the exchange. "Go a couple aisles over and you'll see a girl with bushy hair. Her name is Hermione. She'll make sure you get back to the dormitory safely."
The girl nodded, muttered her profound thanks, and walked in the direction George had pointed.
"We've got to do something about those three," Fred said, "and soon — tomorrow night if possible. Something to knock them down a peg or ten before they try to attack another first year."
George nodded. "I've got just the idea."
He gave Fred a significant look and Fred laughed lowly. "Oh, Brass, that is wicked."
"We have enough left for the three of them. Which means we'll need a third person. What about Lee?"
"He's got detention tomorrow night with Snape. How about Ron?"
"That's a joke, right?"
Harry stepped out from behind the bookshelf. "What about me?"
"What about you?" Fred asked, eyeing Harry warily.
"I'll be your third," Harry said.
"Sorry, but we don't wish to put you in a position that would 'compromise your morals' or whatever rubbish you spewed when you shut down PRICKS."
"I want in," said Harry.
"I'm sorry, but this is not for the faint of heart. I'm afraid you're going to have to sit this one—"
"I. Want. In," Harry said, this time demanding. Even if he got expelled, at least he would be doing something with his life. He would stand for something once again.
George looked at Fred. "What do you say, Limp Noodle?"
Fred smiled. "I think Lightening Rod has found his balls."
Dolores Umbridge sat in Dumbledore's headmaster chair, lording over the Great Hall as if it were her throne. Her beady eyes would sweep from one end of the hall, where she'd scowl at the Gryffindors, then to the other, where she'd grin fondly at the Slytherins.
It made Harry sick.
His only consolation was that she wouldn't be looking at three of the Slytherins quite so warmly after he, Fred, and George completed what they had come to term "Operation Man Bits."
"Lightening Rod, are you sure you're up for this? There's no turning back after we cross the entrance to the Great Hall."
"I'm ready," Harry said.
"And Limp Noodle, have you taken care of the other three? It'd be a shame for them to disrupt us at the wrong moment."
"Yes, Brass Nuts. Everything is in order."
"Then lets do this, brothers."
Fred, George, and Harry crossed the threshold into the Great Hall. Harry took the lead, with Fred and George planking either side of him. It was an unspoken rule that you should never approach the Headmistress during dinner, so naturally that was where they were going.
"Professor," Harry said, taking a deep breath when he reached her, "I have something to show you."
"Really, now probably isn't the best time." Umbridge was clearly appalled he had approached her.
"But it's important," Harry insisted.
She leaned forward in her throne and whispered, "Is it about the Potter boy?"
Harry smiled roguishly. "No, ma'am. But you don't even have to get up to see it."
"Well, then, what is it?" she asked shortly.
Harry winked and let his school robe fall to the floor. Fred and George followed suit. There was a collective gasp from everyone in the Great Hall as the students realized what the three boys had just done.
Draco Malfoy, Vincent Crabbe, and Gregory Goyle were all standing stark naked in front of the entire Hogwarts' populace. The only exception to their nudeness was a thin necktie, colors of gold and red, loosely draped around each of their waists.
Harry briefly marveled at the staggered look on Umbridge's face. Eyes bulging, mouth wide open — she looked more like an amphibian than ever.
"Hello there, toad-face," Harry said.
There was another beat of shocked silence before Umbridge screamed, "Get them!"
Harry, George, and Fred took that as their cue to start running. As it was, they needn't have bothered. Not one person stood to help Umbridge catch the three boys now streaking around the dining hall nude. Quite the contrary; most were cheering.
Harry joyously ran down the aisle, deflecting any spells Umbridge cast and feeling bizarrely free. Fred and George waved their hands continuously in the air, rallying the crowd and lifting their spirits.
The cheers grew loudest as Harry ran down the side of Gryffindor table, procuring a Gryffindor flag and waving it mightily in the air. He laughed when he saw Ron attempting to cover Ginny's eyes as she said loudly, "But his thing is so small!"
Harry turned before exiting the hall. "Let it be known," he shouted, "that help will always be given at Hogwarts to those who ask for it."
"Even if some things can not be helped!" Fred added, pointing down to Draco's teeny weeny.
The crowd went wild, and with one last wag of Draco's less than superior private area in Umbridge's direction, Harry, George, and Fred ran out the hall.
He didn't know what the rest of this year held for him or if he would even make it out of Hogwarts alive, but Harry did know one thing: He would never regret being apart of the devious plot of Fred and George Weasley concerning the unlikely benefits of Polyjuice Potion.