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It was a hot summer’s day as Harry, Ron, and Hermione headed outside to share lunch with Ron’s older twin brothers, Fred and George. After nearly an entire summer spent at the Burrow, the five of them had run out of any remotely interesting conversation topics, but then Harry struck on one: how Fred and George had come to be on the Quidditch team.

“Oh, Charlie just handed it to us, he did,” Fred said arrogantly, reclining in his chair.

“Don’t be absurd, we worked hard for that,” George told him. “Why is it on your mind, Harry?”

“Oh, it’s just that I’ve been made Gryffindor Captain and I’ll have to run tryouts this year. I’m really dead set on getting out of it. We have no talent whatsoever.”

“You’re not going to cancel,” Ron decided. “It means too much to too many people.”

“That’s exactly why we disliked Quidditch at first—people were obsessed with it!” Fred told them.

“You disliked Quidditch?” Hermione asked skeptically.

The twins exchanged a twin glance and then looked back at the trio, who were all waiting anxiously for the story. “Oh, all right, I suppose it’ll be good for you anyway,” George relented.

“Where did it start? Oh, yes, in our second year, when our older brother Charlie was Captain, and we were so wrapped up in causing havoc that we had Dungbombs coming out of our ears…”

“It was a quiet morning…”

“Not really, actually.”

“Quiet, Fred!”

The Gryffindor Tower common room buzzed with excitement as the students all flooded in after dinner. All of them except for a few dejected first-years crowded around the bulletin board, clamoring to see what had been posted during their absence. A few more first-years left the queue, looking downcast. Finally, a redheaded boy, short and stocky with broad shoulders and a wide grin, conjured up something that resembled a soapbox and stood on it, calming the tittering crowd with a motion of his large, brown hands.

“He’s so handsome when he does that,” a freckly brunette girl whispered to her companion.

Across the room, near the edge of the crowd, another redhead heard the comment. “Thinks Charlie’s handsome, does she,” he said conversationally to whom at first glance was his clone.

“He does have some sort of appeal, I’ll give him that,” the other whispered.

“It’s the Quidditch thing.”

“Yeah, that’s it.”

“Quiet there, you two,” said the broad-chested boy, still grinning even when admonishing. “All right, I know you all are excited—”

“Completely gone to pieces, more like,” one of the twins whispered.

“—And I know this year’s team is going to be astounding, because three of us have already worked together for at least two years. As you know, last year there weren’t any openings, but this year we have four. Andrew Mabry, Charlotte Strickson, Ellis McDowell, and Cecilia Johnson all graduated last year, and so both Beater positions and two Chaser positions are open. As you can see from my bulletin, tryouts are on Friday. So everyone who’s interested, prepare yourselves, and good luck!”

The crowd broke into applause, all except for the two redheads on the edge. They watched as their older brother (second older; Bill had graduated a few years back) nodded congenially at all the applause and stepped off his soapbox, making it disappear with a wave of his slightly stubby wand. As he dissolved into the group, there was a wave of females all tripping over themselves to talk to him. Both of the redheaded twins raised their eyebrows simultaneously, causing them to disappear into their hairline.

“Well, what do you think?” asked Lee Jordan, the twins’ best friend.

One looked around at the other. “Think about what?” he asked Lee, mildly puzzled.

“Going out for the team! If you two went, there’d be no competition at all, Charlie’s your brother, he’d have to let you on—”

“He wouldn’t have to at all,” said the one who had until now been silent. “Especially since we’re not trying out.”

Lee looked slightly crestfallen: His eyebrows crinkled together and he frowned. “Why not? I mean, I know we’re second-years and all, but your family has that Quidditch talent thing going for you. You probably wouldn’t even have to try out.”

The twins both looked at each other and rolled their eyes, not even gracing Lee’s remark with an answer.

“Fred, George,” Lee said, catching both by the shoulder, “listen to me. You have a shot at this. Why pass it up?”

“I guess Quidditch isn’t…”

“…really our thing.”

“But thanks for thinking of us, Lee!”

“We’re going up to the dormitory.”

“See you tomorrow.”

Twelve-year-olds Fred and George Weasley hadn’t even considered trying out for the Quidditch team.

It wasn’t that the twins disliked Quidditch. Who could, living in a family with two Quidditch captains? Even their strict, uptight fourth-year brother Percy quite enjoyed the game as a spectator sport. And it wasn’t that either of them was horrible at playing, either; they each had their own brooms and had helped their elder siblings to practice a lot. The thought had just never seriously occurred to them. They were more of the creators of mischief, the assistants of ne’er-do-wells, the Robin Hoods of sanity. That might have been why, Thursday night, when half the House was out practicing on the Quidditch pitch, ready to have their one and only shot at being on the Gryffindor team, the twins were inside the castle, waiting for someone. Fred was holding a yellowing piece of parchment and George had stuffed in his robes a bag full to bursting with some unknown object.

“Lumos! Is he coming yet?” George hissed at his brother.

Fred looked around at his twin and grinned. Then, taking up a solemn composure, he took out his wand and tapped the yellowed parchment with the tip three times.

“I solemnly swear that I am up to no good.”

A single drop of green ink appeared where the tip had been as Fred pocketed his wand again. That drop spread out, first seemingly at random, and then into an intricate pattern. Soon the entire parchment was decorated and completely readable. Across the top, the words sprawled out in greeting:

Messrs. Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot, and Prongs
Purveyors of Aids to Magical Mischief-Makers
are proud to present

“Faithful as always,” George sighed contently. “Where’s Filch?”

Fred scanned the Marauder’s Map in search of the caretaker who had so many times foiled their pranks – and they had all been in good fun, too! (Most of them, anyway.) “He’s on his way down the corridor. See that light? He has a flashlight. Put your wand out, quick, before he sees you.”

“Nox,” George said, extinguishing the light at the tip of his wand. As soon as it was out, they could both see the bobbing illumination distantly down the hallway, and they could hear Filch’s raspy voice floating up the corridor toward them.

“I know Peeves is around here somewhere, Mrs. Norris, I know it…he’s probably got pockets full of Exploding Gumdrops and that sort of nasty thing…We must get Dumbledore to add those to the Forbidden Items list, mustn’t we, my sweet?”

“Ammunition at the ready,” Fred hissed.

“Ready,” George replied, opening his little black pouch.

“Ah, yes,” Filch continued, oblivious to the presence before him, “we’ll get him this time, Mrs. Norris, we’ll get him this time…Mrs. Norris? Why have you gone all stiff like that?”

“She’s sniffing the air,” Fred whispered. He could only tell by the light of Filch’s flashlight. “She’s got us.”



George grabbed a handful of the objects in the bag and hurled them down the corridor at Filch and his beloved Mrs. Norris. They heard a screech from the caretaker. “DUNGBOMBS!”

“Run!” George shouted, a wide grin etched upon his face.

They ran like mad, away from Filch’s heavy, blundering footfalls and Mrs. Norris’s light pitter-patters. “After them!” Filch cried, his breath coming uneasily now. There was a yowl from the cat. The twins grinned at each other, intoxicated by success, as George threw another handful of rancid Dungbombs. From the sounds coming from behind them, a few had landed squarely in Filch’s face.

“Agh!” he cried. “Over here! They’re over here! It’s the troublemakers! IT’S THE WEASLEY TWINS!”

Fred and George just laughed, but their mirth was cut short when something wrapped around George’s ankles. He fell hard, landing flat on his face with nothing to break the fall. The same happened to Fred, and as quickly as they had thought they would get away, there they were, lying side by side in the middle of the corridor with three faces staring down at them.

“Mrow,” said Mrs. Norris.

“Appreciate the help, I do,” Filch said breathlessly to the newcomer.

“Anytime,” Professor Severus Snape said calmly, pocketing his wand. “You two boys are in severe trouble.”

“We could have told us that,” Fred whispered to George. George didn’t quite hear it, however, because his brother’s face was still buried in the carpet.

“Silence. Argus, take these boys to Professor McGonagall’s office for their punishment. Be sure to tell her how they nearly got away with it. She might not realize how severe the consequences should be.”

Though both boys were staring at the carpet, they could tell that Snape was smiling his most wicked smile. “We’re in for it,” George whispered.

And in for it they were.

“What were you two boys thinking?” Professor McGonagall demanded of them. She was dressed in her tartan robe and matching slippers, a few wisps of her dark hair falling messily from her usually tight bun. She had been angry at Filch for waking her up in the middle of the night, from the yelling that had come from her office before they had entered. And now, after Filch had explained to her all the circumstances, she was in an uncharacteristic rage at them. It might have been explained, however, by the fact that it was nearly three in the morning. Filch had first locked them in his office for nearly five hours to finish his usual rounds.

“I’ll tell you what you were thinking,” she answered herself. “You weren’t thinking at all. Do you two realize what you’re doing before you do it?”

“No, ma’am,” they chorused as innocently as possible.

She eyed them with something close to madness in her eyes, making George shrink an inch down in his seat. “Don’t know how to figure your logic. None of your brothers ever—”

As if on cue, Charlie rushed in, clutching his chest and gasping for breath. “Professor… Snape came and informed me… of my brothers… what was it… they did this time?”

“Pelting Mr. Argus Filch with Dungbombs,” McGonagall answered in a hollow tone. “Again.”

“Fred, George…let’s be reasonable, now,” Charlie said, regaining his breath. “You just can’t keep doing this…think of what Mum would say!”

The twins looked at each other and rolled their eyes. They didn’t want to think about their mother at this point in time.

“I have no choice but detention. Again,” said McGonagall. “Tomorrow night. Is that clear? Tomorrow night, cleaning Professor Snape’s office. I will tell him to expect you.”

“Wait a second,” said Charlie. “Tomorrow night? Saturday night, since it is Friday morning at the present?”

“No, Mr. Weasley, tonight. Friday night.”

“But they can’t make it, then,” Charlie protested. His whole attitude had suddenly changed. “They can’t go to detention—they’re trying out for the Quidditch team.”

Fred winced. They hadn’t exactly told Charlie that they weren’t planning on attending his all-important Gryffindor Quidditch team tryouts, and they hadn’t been hoping to.

“No excuses, Mr. Weasley. Detention time is when I set it, not when it’s convenient for the Gryffindor Quidditch team,” McGonagall asserted. “Now go back to bed, please.”

“But Professor!”

“That’s quite enough, Mr. Weasley. Now to bed, all three of you. Charlie, if you wouldn’t mind escorting your younger brothers up to their dormitory.”

Charlie’s face tautened. “No, I wouldn’t mind, Professor,” he said, gritting his teeth. “Come on, Fred, George.”

The twins followed him out of the Deputy Headmistress’s office, each giving her a jovial wave before exiting. She just shook her head at them and shut the door after them.

“Now see what you’ve done,” Charlie told them as soon as they were out of earshot. “Now you won’t be able to try out for the Quidditch team. Imagine how proud Mum and Dad would be if you made it.”

“And how much everyone else would taunt us,” Fred muttered under his breath.

“What was that?” Charlie asked him.

“Everyone else would laugh at us or make those snide comments if we made the team, Charlie,” George told him flatly. “You’re the Captain, and you’re our older brother. Two plus two makes four. We’d be scorned right out of the Great Hall at breakfast if we got a right little waiver from our older brother. And they’d be mad at us for taking up two spots.”

“I thought you liked being laughed at,” Charlie said. “Or isn’t that why you pull so many pranks on everyone at every hour of the day—and night?”

“For one thing,” said Fred, “we pulled the Dungbombs on Filch before eleven; it’s his fault that we didn’t make it to McGonagall’s office until now.”

“For another,” George continued, “we like being the ones who started the laughing. As in, we’re laughing too.”

“So you see,” Fred said, picking up where his brother left off, “it makes no sense for us to be on your bloody Quidditch team. We have reputations to maintain.”

And they both puffed out their chests, looking as tall and manly as possible. This didn’t impress Charlie one bit.

“Reputations?” he said incredulously. “You two are twelve years old. You don’t have reputations.”

“Yes, we do,” George said proudly. “Everyone in school knows us as the ones whom Filch cannot beat!”

“Until tonight,” Charlie told them wearily. “Listen, you two, it’s late, and there’s nothing that can be done to get you out of detention with Snape, so let’s just all get to bed and hope tomorrow’s a better day. Or today, or whatever day it will be when we wake up. And I won’t mention it to Mum if you won’t tell her you’re not trying out. Here we are. Gubraithian fire.”

The Fat Lady looked annoyed with them for waking her up so early. “Fine, fine, see if I care!” she shrieked after them. “You little troublemakers!”

In the dark before they reached the stairs to the dormitory, Fred and George grinned identical grins at each other. For they were, undoubtedly, troublemakers. And they had no intention of missing the Quidditch tryouts.

“Shh! Keep your voice down!” George whispered at Fred. “Do you have the Map out? Is Snape or Filch or McGonagall or anyone coming?”

“Nope. The coast is clear.” The two of them scurried past the entrance to Dumbledore’s office and scampered through Hogwarts’s front doors out onto the grounds. They followed the commotions coming from the Quidditch pitch all the way around the school, where they found a group of scarlet-and-gold-clad hopefuls clamoring around their older brother and the rest of the current Quidditch team.

“Welcome, one and all, to the Gryffindor Quidditch team tryouts!” Charlie called. “Good luck to everyone of you. And now, let us begin!”

“Good, we’re right on time,” George said.

“First up, Cynthia Myrtle.”

A short, tubby third-year girl with short, boyish strawberry blonde hair stepped forward with her broom, a Cleansweep 01 that looked close to falling apart. There were only a few twigs left in the tail. The twins saw Charlie’s eyebrows rise slightly. The girl mounted the broom, only to fall off again.

“Next,” Charlie called out.

The line went on for ages, and no one with the least amount of actual talent did anything remarkable at all. Most of them had problems staying on their brooms, and the rest couldn’t fly and hold a Beater’s club at the same time, let alone hit any speeding Bludgers with it. Only two second-year girls, Angelina Johnson and Alicia Spinnet, showed any real knack for flying and passing the Quaffle to each other without getting their heads knocked off.

“Reckon it’s time for us to make our supreme entrance?”

The other nodded, and together they mounted their Cleansweep 4s, nodding at each other again and taking off with a rush of air. There were gasps from the gathered crowd as they whooshed over their heads.

“What are they doing here?” fourth-year Oliver Wood cried out in indignation.

“I can assure you, I have no idea—FRED! GEORGE! COME DOWN HERE THIS INSTANT!” Charlie bellowed up at them.

George extracted a leftover Dungbomb from his pocket and dropped it squarely on Oliver Wood’s head. He gave off a loud shriek and pointed up at the air, as if people couldn’t see where the attack had come from. “Get them down here now!”

At once, all the Quidditch hopefuls mounted their brooms and began the ascent against the Weasley twins. However, none of them had realized the one crucial fact: barely any of them could fly. Within seconds half the crowd was sprawled flat on their backs, moaning in pain. In another minute, Fred and George had led most of the rest in dizzy loops all over the sky. The only people left on their tails were Angelina and Alicia.

“These wenches are actually decent fliers,” Fred told George as he went into a spiral loop.

“Quite true,” George admitted, trying for a steep dive.

“Don’t—call—us—wenches—” Angelina said through gritted teeth, working hard to keep her broomstick under control. A foot away, Alicia was attempting to do the same thing. Fred just laughed at her and rocketed away, leaving the two twelve-year-old girls coughing in their dust.

“Bring out the Bludgers!” the twins heard Oliver Wood call hysterically.

George was just in time to see a Bludger speeding toward his face. He ducked and the Bludger narrowly grazed his left ear. “Look out!” he called to Fred, who had to ascend sharply to avoid a Bludger taking off his foot. “We’re under fire!”

“Never bring a knife to a gunfight,” Fred muttered to himself.

“What?” George yelled back.

“The clubs! Get the Beaters’ clubs!”

George nodded and swooped down, almost knocking Oliver Wood flat on his back. The boy shrieked and hid behind the other current member of the team, a seventh-year named William DeFoge, as George darted by and snatched up the Beaters’ clubs from out of Charlie’s hands.

“Whoa,” said Charlie in amazement. “How’d you do that?”

“Practice, older brother, practice,” George laughed back. “Fred, catch!”

A Beater’s club went sailing through the air toward Fred, but at the last moment, Angelina closed in and snatched it from the air, holding it above her head triumphantly. “Stop ruining tryouts,” she told them, clearly upset.

“We aren’t ruining them, Angelina,” George said appealingly.

“We’re attempting to liven them up. I mean, most of your competition is dead awful,” Fred added. “Watch out.”

All three ducked to avoid a zooming Bludger. George deftly knocked it away with the club he had nicked seconds before.

“You…two…are good enough…to be on the…team…” Alicia panted, finally catching up with them. “You could…be the…Beaters.”

“Nah,” said George. “Being serious takes all the fun out of life.”

“Who says you have to be serious? Watch out,” said Angelina, and they all ducked again. “You could go around smashing little flying black balls. If that’s serious, then I don’t know what’s not. Here, give it a go.”

She tossed the club into the air, and Fred caught it smoothly.

“You know, George…” he said thoughtfully.

“You’re saying we could be dedicated to something—”

“Just dedicated to smashing black balls!”

“And occasionally showing up for practice on time.”

“And apparently the ladies love it.”

Angelina and Alicia both blushed.

“What say you, Charlie?” the twins cried down to their brother, who still stood, awe-stricken, on the field, his jaw somewhere around his knees.

“That—that—was—amazing! I’ve never seen anything like it! TRYOUTS ARE OVER!” Charlie shouted.

Oliver Wood whimpered from behind DeFoge’s knees. It was going to be a long year.

On Saturday morning the results were in. Quite a few people left disappointed, but the rest stayed to congratulate Alicia and Angelina, two of the four who had made the team. Suddenly a large cloud of malodorous turquoise smoke exploded from the middle of the assembly, sending many people running for cover upstairs in their dormitories.

Charlie approached his grinning brothers. “Still setting off pranks, are we? Has Snape tracked you down yet?”

“Yeah,” said Fred, who sounded sheepish but still sported a wide grin, “he talked to McGonagall and she got to us before breakfast. But still, we made it to tryouts, didn’t we?”

“And besides,” George continued, “one detention won’t ruin our record, will it?”

Charlie laughed and clapped both of them on a shoulder. “So nothing’s changed, has it?”

Fred looked at George, and George looked at Fred. “Nope,” they said, “nothing’s changed.”

“So that’s how it all happened,” George said.

“Wow,” Ron gaped, “I never knew! How come you two or Charlie never told me?”

“I guess it didn’t really matter that much,” said Fred. “After all, really, nothing’s changed.”

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