Harry Potter and the Joke that Killed: Chapter one

This is my version of book five, and even though JK Rowling owns all Harry Potter characters and ideas, (darnit!) this plot and some spells and magical procedures I've created on my own just from this dusty old brain here. Who would'a thunk it?!

So anyways, this is book five, so just keep in mind what happened in bks 1-4 and you'll understand everything all right. Unless of course you're utterly moronic, then nothing can help you. ;)

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Harry Potter was looking back on one of his most successful birthdays yet. He not only got presents from Ron, Hermione, Sirius and Hagrid as usual, but Fleur Delacour, Viktor Krum, and even Remus Lupin sent him gifts. And the Dursley's had given Harry his best birthday present they could: he was spending his summer at The Burrow.

It was an accident, really. Harry had found a package of Flossing Stringmints in his pocket one day, about a week after he arrived home on Privet Drive. Already lonesome for the magical world, Harry popped one in his mouth. Of course Uncle Vernon walked in on his savoring the minty taste, and fearing another beating for having the "M" word in the house, Harry quickly spat out the mint, still flossing away, and for lack of anything better to do he sat on it. That was mistake number one.

Mistake number two involved the fact that Flossing Stringmints aren't meant to be taken out mid-floss, and the little guy must've gotten a little peeved at being interrupted. The thing kept right on flossing, straight through the Dursley's new couch, through the floor, and was halfway through the water pipes before Harry could catch it. It wouldn't have taken nearly as long if Harry had his wand, but it was locked under the cupboard under the stairs like all of his Hogwarts things. And in a few short moments Harry joined them.

"INSOLENT BOY! YOU KNOW THE RULES, NO MAG -" Harry's uncle bellowed, but the shouting was cut off by the sound of the water pipe bursting. Harry couldn't believe his luck.

It took Harry six hours to stop the spewing pipe, patch the floor, and make arrangements to reupholster the sofa. But in the long run, it was worth it. "It's off to summer camp with you. You're too much trouble, brat. Don't know why we haven't done it before." Uncle Vernon said to Harry through his newspaper. Harry knew why they'd never done it before, though. That would make Harry happy, and the Dursley's despised doing anything that made him happy. But this time he'd made them just mad enough for them to forget that little detail.

Harry had one day to pack. With just two suitcases, he managed to cram all his Hogwarts supplies in there, along with a few pieces of clothing. If his plan worked, he'd never have to see Camp Beatum & Zreem.

Harry sent out his owl Hedwig as soon as he could, writing a letter to Ron explaining his sentence. He knew that Ron and the twins wouldn't be able to keep themselves from rescuing him, but he had to do it without the Dursley's knowing. "Hurry back, girl. This is very important." Harry told her, and she nodded before flying off into the sky.

The morning Harry left for camp, the whole house looked merrier than a bunch of cherubs. Uncle Vernon was whistling, Aunt Petunia was wearing extra make-up which made her look like a Picasso, and Dudley broke three of his new toys he'd gotten for his sixteenth birthday. It was an utterly joyous household, Harry included.

Camp Beatum & Zreem was located on the same miserable body of water Uncle Vernon had moved the family to in a desperate attempt to avoid the Postal Service (read book one if you still don't understand). It wasn't that far away, and after winding down a gloomy gravel road for a couple minutes a gray lodge popped up among the gray greenery.

Harry could see that there was a mysterious looking car parked in the parking lot. It was old and blue, but that wasn't the mysterious part. Every inch of the back fender was covered in bumper stickers. Slogans of "I Like Ike" and "Ask me about Mary Kay" overlapped each other. This was no muggle car.

"Nasty white trash filth." Uncle Vernon stated cheerily in the direction of the car. The Dursley's stopped in front of the lodge, Harry and his bags were thrown out, and then their car sped off again. Harry could just hear Uncle Vernon whistling madly above the roar of the motor.

Gathering up his things and dusting himself off, Harry approached the laughable attempt at a muggle car. "Ron, Fred, George? Mr. Weasley?" Harry asked the car. Immediately four flaming-red heads popped up in the windows.

"Harry!" Ron said, opening the back door and letting him in. "It's great to see you again."

"How are you doing, Harry?" Ron's dad asked from the driver's seat.

"Fine, thanks. Nice car you've got here, Mr. Weasley." Harry replied.

"Well, had to replace the old one sometime. Never know when you might need to go undercover in the muggle world." Mr. Weasley answered, patting the dashboard lovingly. Yeah, right. Harry knew the real reason he got another car. Arthur Weasley loved muggle artifacts, anything run by 'eckletricity,' as he called it. Non-magical things seemed quite magical to him.

"Wait till we get to the house. We've got something to show you." Fred whispered, and George nodded emphatically. Harry guessed it was something to do with Weasley's Wizard Wheezes.

The car ride was surprisingly short, and Harry figured Mr. Weasley had tweaked a few things around magically to make them go faster, or farther, or teleport or something. Harry wouldn't put it past him. In ten minutes they were parked in front of The Burrow, the delightfully run-down and ramshackle house that had rooms stacked haphazardly on top of one another.

"We're home!" Mr. Weasley announced proudly, and led everyone into the kitchen. Mrs. Weasley and Ginny were sitting at the table, along with -

"Hedwig!" Harry gasped, rushing over to her. It was all thanks to her that Harry wasn't being used as an oar to row a boat right now.

"Arrived at the crack of dawn this morning, hooted and made such a ruckus that woke the whole house up. Must've flown all night." Mrs. Weasley proclaimed. Harry pulled out a sack of Owl Treats from his suitcase and placed them all on the table before her. He couldn't be prouder, or more thankful, to her.

Ron helped Harry cart his things up the stairs, reporting the summer activities of his older brothers. "Charlie's off with his dragon's as usual; and Harry, Bill's gotten married! Real nasty surprise to Mum and Dad, let me tell you." Ron explained, whipping out a picture of the happy couple. Bill waved vigorously back at Harry, long red hair slicked back and a diamond stud in his ear. Arm in arm with Bill was a spunky-looking girl, a bit plump with short curly blonde hair and one of the broadest smiles Harry had ever seen. They both looked ecstatic.

"He met her when she opened a new account at Gringotts. Turns out her family's LOADED, and the account was so big they had to bring in an official to register it. So Bill walked in, their eyes met, and the rest is history. Or at least that's how he broke it to Mum and Dad." Ron explained. 'Good for him,' Harry thought. The Weasley's were so poor, they could certainly use some rich relatives.

"Her name's Courtney Crinkle, but Bill calls her Corky. Isn't that sickening?" Ron commented.

"Quite. What about Percy?" Harry asked.

"Oh, you don't even want to know. When Crouch was fired, Percy was bumped up to Assistant Magical Games and Sports Commissioner. He has no responsibilities whatsoever besides bringing the new commissioner Atrilla McBoisen her coffee." Ron didn't look disappointed in the least about his brother's change in profession.

"Harry! Harry, come here for a sec." George said, poking his head out the door when Harry and Ron passed by the twins' room.

"It's okay, I'll meet you upstairs in a second. I don't envy you Harry, they're probably going to use you to test one of their new concoctions." Ron said, and turned to walk up to his room.

"What is it?" Harry asked as he entered Fred and George's room.

"With the money you gave us, we opened a kiosk in Diagon Alley for the summer. Mum and Dad think we're just stocking shelves at Flourish and Blotts or something, but we're making a ton of money!" George described excitedly.

"The Canary Creams seem to be our most popular seller, but we're looking for a new gag. So far we've got your basic Ton-Tongue Toffees, Sneezer Suckers, Popping Pastries, and the Bellowing Bare-Claw." Fred told Harry.

"What's a 'Bellowing Bare-Claw?'" Harry inquired, having a feeling he didn't want to know.

"Oh, that was my invention," George said, beaming. "When you take a bite of the Bare-Claw, all of your clothes jump off your body and scream. Of course we sell two different versions, the Expose-all Bellowing Bare- Claw and the more PG-13 version. We've decided only to sell the latter at Hogwarts, so then there'll at least be knickers instead of the Full Monty."

"How considerate of you." Harry remarked. But judging by the state the room was in, Weasley's Wizard Wheezes seemed to be doing really well; there were order forms and boxes containing littering the floor.

Harry left the twins to their business and climbed the remaining flight to Ron's room. "Nice to see you featherless." He greeted.

"Ditto." Harry replied.

"So, how are you? Really, Harry, how're you taking, er, everything?" Ron asked. He looked uncomfortable mentioning the horrible clash with Voldemort that Harry had barely survived. Fragments of thought and memory flashed before Harry's eyes. Cedric Diggory lying dead, Wormtail cutting off his own hand. his mother and father floating as a mist from Voldemort's wand.

"Dandy." Harry replied to Ron's bright orange Chudley Cannon rug. That wasn't a very respectable answer to such a question, but the wounds were still raw.

"Heard from Sirius lately?" Ron asked, unfazed by Harry's answer.

"Yeah, he's been traveling everywhere since Dumbledore told him to go off and alert 'the old crowd.' Him and Lupin, along with a handful of others, are meeting with Dumbledore next month sometime." Harry recounted from Sirius's last letter, which he received the day he got back from Hogwarts. It was very brief, he'd written it on the road, and basically told Harry to stay out of trouble and write if his scar hurt again.

"Gosh, I just can't believe You-Know-Who's back. When he was in power fifteen years ago, Mum called it 'The Dark Days.' Do you think it'll be like that again?" Ron whispered. Harry tried to think out a literal answer, but it made his head hurt with impending doom.

"Well, Dumbledore's out there trying his best to make sure that doesn't happen. And we're in pretty good hands if he's in charge." Harry answered at length. Most people considered Albus Dumbledore to be the greatest wizard of all time, and there must be a reason he was the only person Voldemort feared. The question was, would even Dumbledore be able to defeat the Dark Lord this time?

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Chapter one was kind of a place-the-setting, preparation chapter, and I swear things're going to get REALLY super interesting next chapter, and the chapter after that, and the chapter after that. yeah, I'm planning on making this one L O N G story, so get ready for a lot of super interesting stuff.

Please review me, I dunno if this is an original storyline or if I should just quit now and go hide under a rock somewhere. I know there are forty thousand some-odd Harry Potter stories, and I would be honored to be in the top twenty thousand or so. ;)

Thanks bundles for reading my stuff. This story is really fun to write, so I think I'm up to punching out a chapter every day or two. That is, if people'll actually read it! So lemme know.

SaRaNiMaL HaloGal5@aol.com if you wanna email or IM me.