Harry Potter and friends? Not mine. The concepts and catch-phrases from Phineas and Ferb? Not mine. Bilius and Herm? They're sort of mine, but I don't really want them. Free to a good home. Or a bad one; I'm not picky.

Bilius and Herm

"So, Herm, what should we do today? It's only eighteen more days until school starts and we have to make the most of each and every one."

Hermione Granger didn't say anything. She hated being called "Herm", but she was giving Ronald Bilius Weasley the silent treatment. Not that he noticed.

It was simultaneously infuriating and awe-inspiring. Ron was, frankly, lazy. Unmotivated. Idle, uninspired, and shiftless. But something she had said at the beginning of her stay with the Weasleys — "It's only thirty days until the end of summer. We have to make the most of them and not waste even a minute of our time." — had lit a fire under him and he'd been a ball of energy in the two weeks since. She never again wanted to see someone put so much effort and creativity into goofing off.

"All I can think of is to paint, but we just painted Malfoy Manor orange yesterday. Go Cannons!"

Hermione shuddered. It had been an interesting and educational challenge to do the deed — aside from getting through the manor's wards, there was the matter of inventing a new class of spell to make a large amount of paint rather than just a little splat — but by the end of the day, Ron's name wasn't the only thing that was bilious. It was almost worth her own nausea, though, to see Draco throw up on his mother, overcome by the visual assault.

Only "almost". She'd rather be spending some time with Harry on something more productive, but he was so exhausted all the time. It seemed he was always sleeping during the day, but he was still exhausted. Ginny had started calling him Harry the Octopus on the rare occasions that she was seen outside of her room. All Hermione and Ron could make of that was that Harry appeared utterly boneless when he was draped over the couch.


In another part of The Burrow, Harry was getting some rest while he could. His days were busy saving the world and his nights were busy paving the girl. He had to take every opportunity to catch a few Zs. He just knew he was going to be busy any minute now.

"Calling Harry the Octopus! Report to Headquarters, Harry the Octopus!"

Curse it! It was inevitable, but he had just gotten the couch's pillow fluffed the way he wanted it.

Harry slipped unseen to Mr Weasley's work shed, then disappeared through a secret door that no one had ever noticed despite the large "Secret Button" sign right over the button that opened the door. Appearing moments later at Headquarters in his hat disguise, Harry was briefed on the day's crisis.


"Ronald! It's time to de-gnome the garden! Hermione, you can make yourself useful, too, there's a good girl."

Hermione ground her teeth. She'd gotten a world record 27 OWLs, turning in almost-perfect exams in courses that Hogwarts didn't even offer, and Mrs Weasley thought she could be most useful doing manual chores. It was like the woman was a wicked step-mother, letting Ginny laze around, acting like she never got any sleep at night, while Hermione had to fritter away precious time that could be better used in studying.

And now she was supposed to go digging through the dirt instead of digging through her books? Oh, she'd de-gnome the garden, all right…

On the other hand, it gave her an idea for a productive, educational waste of time. Nudging Ron to follow, she headed toward the garden. They just missed seeing Harry when he left the house.


"Harry, Voldenschmirtz has started a new plot to take over the world with a mind-control device. It is imperative that you stop this fiendish plot before it gets off the ground."

Nodding his head, Harry the Octopus ran for the exit.


Near the Weasleys' garden, a strange contraption took shape under Hermione's engineering virtuosity and Ron's unlimited energy. Any magic user would be sure it was a golem raised from the earth and stone. Any steampunk aficionado would recognize it as a mechanical monstrosity designed by a mad genius.

"What'cha doin'?"

As she did every day, Lunabella had come over to check on them. Her crush on Ron was obvious to everyone except Ron himself.

"Oh, hi, Lunabella. Me and Herm are building a garden de-gnomer. We should be done in a couple more hours."

"How does it work?"

"Well, that grabber claw on the long arm goes through the garden and grabs a gnome. Then it stuffs it in this hatch. Then a lot of steam comes out and shoots the gnome out through the cannon barrel."

"Oh, Bilius! Did you think of it all by yourself? You're so amazing!" Lunabella fluttered her eyelashes at him.

"Nah, it's mostly Herm's idea."

"Where did you get the idea, Hermione?"

The brunette girl just shrugged and kept on working. She wasn't giving Lunabella the silent treatment, but Ron's repeated use of "Herm" had her irritated and she didn't feel like talking.

"Oh, Herm's not much for words. He's more of a man of action."

Hermione gnashed her teeth. Was Ron trying to make her stuff him into the cannon, or was it possible that he'd forgotten she was a girl?

Fortunately for Ron's continued well-being, an officious dolt wearing a Ministry lapel pin pretentioused his way over to them. "You children know you're not allowed to use magic over the summer, don't you?"

"We're not using magic," Ron assured him. "It's all one hundred percent muggle engineering."

"Aren't you a little young to be engineers?"

"Why yes. Yes, we are."

"Oh. Well, carry on, then." And the useless government official redundancied his way away.


Meanwhile, Harry had tracked down Voldenschmirtz's lair and infiltrated his way in.

Oh, no! He was too late. Voldenschmirtz was just floating up through a hatch in the roof. Under his balloon's gondola was a helmet-like device.

Harry wracked his brain for a way to stop the evil madman. Activating the miniature helicopter broom built into his hat, he took off in pursuit.


Near the garden, the contraption was almost done. Ron, under Hermione's guidance, had worked tirelessly to complete it before his mother's deadline for finishing the garden. Lunabella had helped, too, by distracting Candy-ass when he came out, looking for evidence of wrongdoing so he could get the younger two in trouble with Mrs Weasley.

"What are you doing, Candy-ass? Can I come with you? I drank a cup of Daddy's Irish Coffee and now I feel so full of energy but my thoughts are so freeeee! I'm having millions of great ideas and I have so many many questions and I can't wait to ask them all and do you think that the ministry's cauldron bottom inspectors train their fingers by feeling their own bottoms or do they trade off by feeling each others' bottoms or is there one calibrated bottom at the ministry building and wouldn't it be terrible to be her she would have to watch what she eats very carefully and I would never want to have to go through that because it's so hard to stay away from the sweets especially around the holidays. Where are you going?"

"Thanks, Lunabella."

"I'd do anything for you, Ronald Bilius."

"Um, right. That was all the distraction we needed to finish the de-gnomer. Are we ready to turn it on, Herm?"

Hermione didn't dignify that with an answer, but did hit the master switch. Before long, the grumble and hiss of the steam boiler was replaced by the clank of the robotic arm as it worked its way over the garden, and then by the fooomph of gnomes being launched into orbit, or at least into the next county.


Meanwhile, Harry's haticopter had overtaken Voldenschmirtz's balloon. Leaping aboard, Harry desperately searched for a way to foil the evil mastermind's evil plan.

"So, Harry the Octopus, we meet again. Behold my new evil scheme, the Braininator! It will allow my thoughts to control the minds of everyone with a weaker mind than my own. Mwa-ha-ha-ha-ha!"

Harry reached into his pocket and pulled out a slingshot. With one smooth motion he drew back a giant pin and launched it into Voldenschmirtz's balloon. With a loud and prolonged farting noise, the balloon went out of control and headed toward the ground.

"Curse you, Harry the Octopus!" Voldenschmirtz yelled as Harry escaped on his haticopter.


Down on the ground, Ron and Hermione's machine had almost finished de-gnoming the garden. Lunabella had had to leave and so Candy-ass had cautiously stuck his nose out a few minutes before, then run back into the house to get them in trouble. "Mu-u-u-u-um! Bilius and Herm have built a giant golem cannon and are shooting at the neighbors! Mu-u-u-u-um!"

Just as the last gnome was about to be launched into orbit, or at least into the next county, Voldenschmirtz's balloon crash-landed, dangling from the Burrow's wind vane. The mind-control device landed on the end of the cannon just as the gnome came out. Almost immediately, Ron's eyes went blank and then he started grubbing around in the garden.

Alas, the extra back-pressure was too much for the mechanical de-gnomer and the entire device exploded, with all of the pieces conveniently landing next to Mr Weasley's shed, right where they had come from.

Voldenschmirtz paused in his struggles to free himself to watch the pathetic sight of Ron being controlled by a garden gnome. "In retrospect, perhaps I should have made the helmet for a larger head."

Mrs Weasley came out at Candy-ass's insistence. "See, Mum, see? I told you!"

"Oh, good job, Ron and Hermione. I thought you were just playing around and not doing the chore I assigned. Come inside and you can have some fresh pie. Thank you, Percy, for telling me they were done."

Unnoticed in the noise and confusion, Harry slipped back into the house and onto the couch for a well-deserved nap. Ginny would be molesting him again tonight and expecting him to the same to her.