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HP stories following Canon after HBP >> Fred and George's Busy Day by Northumbrian

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Prologue: A Call to Arms

It was quarter to eleven in the evening when the twins arrived at The Leaky Cauldron. They were just in time for last orders; the bar would be closing in fifteen minutes. They found a small table, still covered in someone else’s empty glasses, sat and began arguing about whose round it was. Both young men noticed the skeletal witch with wild grey hair who had followed them into the pub. The witch ignored them and walked straight up to the bar.

‘That’s her,’ said George, nodding towards a buxom blonde girl, who was now serving the wild-haired witch; ‘the one whose teeth, lips, cheeks and eyes are competing to see which can be the biggest thing on her face.’ Fred grinned at his twin’s odd, but accurate, description.

‘She’s got a couple of bigger things, too; but perhaps you didn’t notice,’ his brother replied appreciatively. ‘But you’re wrong, it isn’t her; did losing a lug damage your eyes, too?’

‘It is,’ George confirmed, ‘She was fifteen when we left school remember, Fred. She’ll be seventeen now. She’s gown up.’

‘Nah …’ Fred continued to disagree, ‘that barmaid’s quite good looking, in a weird way. Hannah was little; blonde, plump, pigtails, Hufflepuff.’ He shrugged dismissively.

‘She is a blonde, and that hair is still long enough to be put into pigtails. Girls change shape as they get older, too,’ George pronounced. ‘Just look at Ginny, she’s got boys drooling over her wherever she goes. That is definitely Hannah Abbott. Look, she’s coming over here now. She knows us.’

‘Coincidence,’ Fred told his brother confidently, ‘she either fancies me, or she’s mistaken us for some other pair of red-haired twins, one of whom only has one ear. Hello gorgeous; you new here?’ he continued, as the barmaid began to clear the empty glasses from their table.

‘I’ve been here more almost a year,’ the girl told him, ‘I started in November last year. I’m Hannah; and I think that your faces ring a bell.’

Fred grinned, ‘Oh … ‘kay.’

‘Tea?’ George added immediately, ‘D’you serve tea?’

‘Go to the bar to order drinks, tea, butterbeer, firewhisky, whatever you want,’ Hannah said, ‘I’ve got work to do.’ She pulled four beer mats from her apron. After clearing and wiping down the table she placed them in front of the twins. One of them, they noticed, was slightly frayed in one corner. The barmaid moved on to the next table and began clearing it too.

‘Bloody hell,’ Fred muttered, ‘she has grown; upwards and outwards. Get the beers in, Georgie-boy.’

‘It’s your round.’

‘Who’s counting, we’re business partners, remember! Put it on your expenses.’

Grinning, George walked to the bar and ordered two butterbeers. When he returned with the foaming mugs there were only three beer mats on the table.

‘“Room six, first floor, five minutes,” the message was inside the beer mat,’ Fred murmured as George put the glasses on the table. ‘I’ve cast muffliato, so we can talk freely. Big Blondie also says that the skinny old crone at the bar, the one who followed us is a Death Eater; she’s called Gertrude Green. I was right, we are being watched.’

‘Time to try the sickening sherbert,’ George grinned, ‘and it’s my turn to stay dry.’

Fred immediately reached across the table and nudged his brother’s butterbeer with his elbow, tipping it onto Georges lap. ‘Is it, really? Well, hard luck, little brother,’ he grinned.

‘Sorry, mate,’ he continued loudly, ‘I’ll get you another one.’ He stood and walked to the bar, heading directly towards the skeletal woman.

‘Another one,’ George yelled angrily, ‘I want a firewhisky, and you’re paying my cleaning bill, these are new robes.’ While everyone in the bar stared at a furiously shouting George; Fred smoothly tipped a packet of sickening sherbert into the Death Eater’s butterbeer, which foamed momentarily, then returned to normal.

‘Sorry, George,’ said Fred, ‘I’ll get you a firewhisky.’ He ordered the drink from Tom and walked back to the table with it. George downed it in one.

The skeletal witch was watching them indirectly, using the mirror behind the bar. They watched and waited. She took a sip of her butterbeer, turned green and dashed towards the door marked “Toilets.”

‘Well, that was impressive,’ George said. Fred picked up his own, almost full, butterbeer glass and George’s empty firewhisky tumbler and strolled towards the bar. Switching his own glass for that left by the Death Eater he lifted her glass waved it and the tumbler at Tom, and told the landlord, ‘these are finished with.’ He then followed his twin towards the door marked “Rooms.”

‘Very fast acting, do you think we should try to build in a delay?’ Fred asked as they entered the corridor.

‘We’ll probably need several versions, fast and slow acting.’ George suggested following the sign pointing up a narrow flight of stairs to “Rooms 4-14.”

‘And extra-long-lasting, doubly painful; for Death Eaters,’ Fred mused.

They drew their wands and George knocked on the door of Room 6.

Alicia Spinnett opened the door, pointed her wand at them and asked, ‘which of you slept in the bed next to Lee?’

‘Me,’ said George.

‘Lugless,’ confirmed Fred, asking curiously, ‘have you been sneaking around the boy’s dorms, Alicia?’

‘Lee told me,’ she said shortly, motioning them inside.

They stepped into the room; it was large, and almost empty of furniture, containing only a double bed, a comfy chair, a small table and a wardrobe. Katie Bell and Hannah Abbott sat on the bed. They stood when the twins entered. Alicia closed the door then she, Katie and Hannah cast several spells in what was obviously a well rehearsed plan.

‘Thanks for coming, guys,’ Katie said, ‘we need your help.’

‘Are you safe here, Katie?’ said George; concerned, ‘they’re rounding up all of the Muggleborns.’

‘Polyjuice potion to get here, and more for when I leave,’ Katie told him. ‘We don’t have long. Tom will be locking up at half-past eleven. Welcome to Dumbledore’s Free Army, are you in, or do we have to obliviate you?’

‘Katie, lovely Katie,’ Fred began, ‘I’d do anything for you, you know that.’

‘Don’t start, Fred,’ Katie told him exasperatedly, ‘I’m still friends with Angelina.’

‘We’re starting a resistance movement, and you’re being watched by Death Eaters, we don’t have time for jokes,’ Alicia stressed, ‘are you in, or are you leaving?’

‘There is always time for jokes,’ Fred retorted.

‘We’re in,’ George added, ‘what do you need from us?’

‘We’re relocating Muggleborns,’ Katie said, ‘trying to save them from this new Muggleborn Registration Commission. I’m in hiding; you don’t need to know where. Justin Finch-Fletchley and his dad are helping us to relocate the Creeveys. They are going to work with us to relocate as many others as we can.

‘Fast work,’ Fred said, impressed.

‘Little Colin Creevey was tipped off about a week ago, he telephoned every Muggleborn he knew, he and his brother had the phone numbers of a few kids from school. Then he managed to use his galleon to send a message to the DA, so we found out.’ Katie informed them. ‘You haven’t checked your galleons recently, have you?’

Fred shook his head. ‘We hid them when the Death Eaters arrived at Bill’s wedding; they were crawling around the house looking for Harry so we thought it best to ditch ‘em.’

‘We’ll be able to retrieve them, though,’ George said.

‘Do you know where Harry is?’ Hannah asked.

George shook his head, ‘We haven’t seen him since his birthday, he took off. Dumbledore gave him something to do; that’s all he’s said.’

‘Not quite all,’ said Fred grimly, ‘the “Chosen One” rumours seem to be true. Either You-Know-Who dies, or Harry does. We don’t know what Harry’s doing, but we hope that it’s something to make sure that it isn’t him who dies.’

‘It could be both of them,’ George sounded concerned.

‘Are Hermione and Ron with him?’ Hannah asked.

‘Our brother has spattergroit,’ Fred said, ‘he’s in bed, seriously ill, you must have heard. Hermione is Muggleborn, she’s not stupid, she’s probably gone on the run.’

Hannah looked at him in disbelief and shook her head, ‘that’s the story, eh? I won’t ask.’

‘We don’t know where Hermione is, or her parents; we’ve looked,’ asserted Katie, ‘but, if you think she’s safe…’

‘She’s as safe as you are, Katie,’ George observed.

Katie nodded sadly, ‘When I got the message from Colin I checked, I got the same information from a different source. We’ve sent owls to all of the Muggleborns we know, but we haven’t been able to find Dean Thomas. If you hear anything about him, let us know, please.’ The twins nodded.

‘We can help, Katie,’ Fred told her, ‘we’re members of the Order of the Phoenix now. We joined the day after Bill’s wedding. There are about twenty people in the Order, but there are a lot of Aurors we can count on, too. When Thicknesse was installed as Minister he called an urgent meeting with all Aurors, only a few were stupid enough to go. Some were imperiused; if that failed, they were killed. Some of the Aurors who didn’t go to see Thicknesse were captured but there are about two dozen Aurors, including Kingsley, in hiding with their families. If you could find them safe houses, that would be brilliant. They’re living in tents and apparating from place to place to survive. Kingsley can contact them.’

‘Not many people call old Mouldy-wart by his real name,’ added George, ‘Kingsley did; it nearly got him killed. Use the name and the Death Eaters can find you. We don’t know how they’re doing it, yet, but pass it on. Don’t say the V-word.’

‘Thanks,’ the girls nodded gratefully.

‘We’ll need to get organised quickly,’ declared Alicia, ‘Lee and I are trying to set up a pirate wireless station, to tell everyone the truth. We need lots of stuff, here’s a list.’ She handed Fred a sheet of parchment.

‘We’re trying to hide people in the Muggle world,’ said Katie. ‘We’ve been using the Galleons to pass messages, but we’re not sure whether any of them have been handed over to the other side. Ask around, see what you can find out, and ask Ginny to check at Hogwarts, too.’

‘We can do that,’ promised Fred. ‘So what’s your involvement, beautiful young Hannah?’

‘I’m a barmaid, remember, I hear all sorts of interesting things. Including better lines than yours; every day,’ Hannah emphasised wryly.

‘Best give George a few tips then,’ chortled Fred.

‘I’m everyone’s contact;’ Hannah explained, ignoring Fred and watching George, ‘everyone talks to the barmaid, no one notices the barmaid.’

‘Oh, I reckon everyone will notice you,’ George told her. Hannah gave him a shy smile.

‘Scribble on a beermat, accidentally leave something at your table and the barmaid will tidy things up,’ she told them, ‘and she may even leave things behind, purely by accident. First contact will be the same as we arranged today, to make sure that no one is a polyjuiced fake. I’ll give a DA surname and you’ll give the correct forename in your reply.’

‘I’d like to see you slip the name Finch-Fletchley into a conversation.’ George grinned.

‘You managed Katie, easily,’ said Hannah. ‘I’d like some stuff from you, too, please. There are some Death Eaters and a lot of Ministry types who meet up here; I want to be able to eavesdrop on their conversations. The rumours are that the Ministry are organising something called “snatcher squads” to look for missing students, I’ve heard people in the bar calling them Mudblood-hunters. How many extendable ears can you spare?’

‘Tell me how many you want, and you’ll get them tomorrow,’ George said admiringly; Hannah smiled at him again.

‘I’d like some Peruvian Darkness powder, too,’ Hannah added.

‘Good idea,’ George grinned, ‘I’ll get you some; and some decoy detonators.’

‘Shouldn’t you be back at school?’ Fred asked Hannah, grumpily.

‘I’m not clever enough, I only got five OWL’s and I didn’t take my re-sits because the Death Eaters killed my Mum, almost a year ago,’ Hannah declared bitterly. ‘I’d be a seventh year retaking fifth year lessons. I’ve been working here for ten months, and Tom knows people in the Ministry, he persuaded them to make an exception for me. I can do more good here that I could at school.

‘Five Owl’s is better than we did,’ George smiled. He looked at her shrewdly ‘Exceeds Expectations in DADA would be one, of course.’

‘Of course,’ Hannah laughed.

‘Who’s paying for this lot?’ Fred interrupted, glaring at Hannah as he looked through Alicia’s list.

‘Do you want it to go through your books?’ Katie asked acidly.

‘Stock shrinkage,’ George smiled, ‘I’ll be writing to the minister to complain about the lawlessness of his new regime. Things are getting so bad that honest businessmen can’t make a decent living.’

Katie looked at her watch, ‘time to go,’ she announced, picking up a goblet and swallowing its contents, ‘Keep in touch, boys, get those DA galleons. We’ll need them.’ Alicia opened the door, and the twins left as Katies features began to shift and change.

‘This,’ George said happily, as they descended the stairs, ‘is going to be fun.’


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