A/N. This story was written for PureBlood Muggle's 48 hour fanfic challenge. She gave me a prompt which included Kingsley giving Harry a mission and I somehow had to incorporate Dudley into the story. And that's all I needed...to come up with something crazy. And I actually won! LOL. Hope you enjoy the story :D
Harry and Ron were lounging in Harry’s cubicle, playing a game of Gobstones when a memo zoomed in so fast, it almost flew up Harry’s nose.
“Ugh!” groaned Harry, straightening the memo. “It’s from Kingsley. I’ll be back in a few.”
He made his way to the end of the corridor where the office of the Head of the Department was situated. Kingsley beckoned him in and Harry sat down opposite him, feeling curious as to why he had been called. What was so important that couldn’t be held of until after lunch break?
“What is it?” he asked urgently. “Did Ginny send you a howler again?!”
Kingsley chuckled. “Thankfully, no. It’s probably likely that I’ll receive a howler from her if you’re late for her birthday party next week. No, I just wanted to have a little chat with the soon-to-be Head of Auror Department,” smiled Kingsley.
“No kidding,” grinned Harry, pretending to look surprised.
“Don’t tell me you didn’t already know that.”
“You got me.”
“So, when are you planning to retire?” Harry asked casually, before adding quickly. “Not that I want you out of here.”
“Next Thursday.” He paused to consult a few documents littering his desk. “I want you to solve a case before you take up the Head’s position.”
Harry remained silent. An image of himself and Ron stumbling blindly after a dark figure in a dark alley crossed his mind and he shook himself. “Er… not another wild goose chase, is it, Kingsley?” he asked cautiously.
“Not exactly,” replied Kingsley in an amused voice. “But it’s similar.”
Harry frowned. “What does that mean?”
“I mean, there’s a possibility you might find the goose in this case,” grinned Kingsley, flashing his pearly whites at a very confused Harry.
“O-kay,” Harry said slowly. “Care to elaborate a bit more?”
“I want you to take a week’s break,” the Head of Department declared simply.
“I want you to go to Hogwarts,” Kingsley continued as if Harry had not spoken at all.
“Why?” repeated Harry, stumped.
“In case you don’t know, Hogwarts hosted a Ball yesterday and-”
“Do not interrupt.”
“As I was saying, Hogwarts hosted a Ball for all fourth years and above. It was supposed to be a nice, romantic and peaceful ball… which, unfortunately, broke into chaos after…” Kingsley stopped, seeming unable to continue. Harry studied his oddly scrunched up face and wondered if Kingsley was actually trying to suppress his laughter.
“After what?” Harry asked eagerly.
“After someone spiked the pumpkin juice.”
Harry stared. Maybe he hadn’t heard him right. “What?”
“You heard me. Minerva told me what happened,” stated Kingsley, still looking highly amused. Harry’s reaction didn’t help matters. “Apparently, spiked juice tastes better than un-spiked juice.”
Harry snorted. “Who said that?”
“Lily?” Harry asked in astonishment. “What did she do?”
“Nothing… except profess her undying love for a certain Slytherin.”
Harry’s jaw dropped. “Who?” he stuttered. Please don’t let him be Malfoy. Please don’t let him be Malfoy.
“MERLIN!” Harry stood up and began to pace in his flustered state. “Tell me more. Who else was victim to the spiked pumpkin juice?”
Kingsley consulted a letter lying on his desk. Harry recognized Minerva McGonagall’s neat, cursive writing on it. “Rose Weasley, Fred Weasley, William Dursley, Hugo Weasley, Elizabeth Longbottom, Charity Egan and Albus Potter.” Harry stopped pacing to stare at Kingsley. “Of course, there were many others, but apparently, these kids really did it yesterday…or so Minerva told me.”
“What do you mean ‘did it’?” Harry asked, afraid to know the answer.
“It’s better if you don’t know the whole story. It might be funny, but it’s really useless…unless you’re interested in the latest gossip,” joked Kingsley, his dark eyes twinkling.
Harry frowned. “Alright, but what do you want me to do?”
“I want you to catch the culprit. Find out who spiked the pumpkin juice and ruined the Ball for everybody… well, at least for the Professors.”
“What!” exclaimed Harry, shaking his head promptly. “That’s not even Auror-worthy!”
“I’m well aware of that, thank you. But we must help Professor McGonagall find the culprit and deal appropriately with him or her,” stated Kingsley. “That’s why I need you to take a break from work and go stay at Hogwarts for a week. Besides, it’ll be a nice holiday for you before you take up Head responsibility.”
Harry shot him a nasty look.
“…and after Mr. Hugo Weasley’s highly educational speech about ‘how spinach soup is harmful for the testicles’, Miss Weasley, Miss Egan, Mr. Dursley and Mr. Potter performed quite a…revealing… act on the stage. This was followed by a wild - and entertaining for most, I’m sure - display of fireworks by Mr. Fred Weasley and his partner in crime, Miss Longbottom. The fireworks refused to fizz out for the entire night,” McGonagall added irritably before pausing to take a deep breath.
Harry raised his eyebrows. He could almost imagine the whole scene in his mind… somehow horribly exaggerated. “Why didn’t the Professors try to stop this nonsense?” he asked McGonagall.
“We couldn’t. We were under the spell, too. Besides, people were cheering and dancing madly…and it was impossible to do anything!” McGonagall stated helplessly. Harry wondered if she had actually enjoyed the show and was just pretending to be cross.
He narrowed his eyes at her. “Any idea who might have done this?”
McGonagall pursed her lips. “I think it might have been Fred Weasley,” she told Harry. “But I’m not pointing any fingers until we’re perfectly sure.”
Harry nodded understandingly. “Why do you think it was Fred who spiked the juice?” he asked curiously.
McGonagall raised her eyebrows pointedly and Harry understood.
Harry sat in his assigned quarters, thinking about what McGonagall had told him. By now, he was certain of the fact that it was someone outside the group of mentioned students that had spiked the pumpkin juice. It did not make any sense that anyone would want to make a fool of themselves in front of everybody. Especially not his kids, or Rose and Hugo, for that matter. Not even William, who could be a jerk sometimes.
McGonagall thought it was Fred. And had Fred not been involved in the craziness too, Harry would have agreed with McGonagall’s suspicions. After all, Fred was George’s son; and that explained a lot. Harry cracked a smile at that.
There was a knock on the door and he sat up straight, adjusted his robes and tried to look like an angry Auror. “Come in.”
A throng of uniformed students walked in, their faces red and expressions showing guilt. Harry recognized most of the faces. Two of them were of his own children. Albus stood in between Fred and a girl Harry had never met, while Lily, much to his chagrin, was standing close to Scorpius Malfoy. Were they holding hands?
“So,” he began, his tone conveying clear displeasure. “Anyone care to tell me what happened?”
He immediately realized that he had asked a wrong question, for everyone in the room had started speaking simultaneously. Harry held up his hands trying to put an end to the chaos and finally had to shout, “Stop!” before everyone stopped talking and watched him nervously.
“Professor McGonagall has told me what happened yesterday night. Now, I know how embarrassing it was for some of you,” he tried to sound sympathetic. “But the Professors think that it was one of you who spiked the pumpkin juice.” Harry looked pointedly at Fred, who gazed back at him unblinkingly, from the back of the group. Aside from Scorpius, Fred was the tallest of them all.
“So,” continued Harry calmly. “I ask the culprit to come forward and accept your mischief. I promise you won’t be handed to the Azkaban guards,” he joked, trying to lighten the tense atmosphere.
Nobody moved. Nobody spoke. Harry closed his eyes and sighed. “You’re going to make this hard for me, then?” he asked, beginning to get angry. Yet again, he was met with silence. “Very well. You all may leave now.” Everybody rushed to the door and Harry suddenly called out, “Rose, Albus, stay back.”
They stopped and turned to look at him imploringly. “What is it, Dad?” croaked Albus and then cleared his throat.
“I know there’s something you’re all hiding from me,” Harry said bluntly. “Now, are you two going to tell me the truth or not?”
“The truth?” Albus chuckled nervously. ‘Really, Dad. What makes you think we know anything?”
His own son was playing hard to get. Harry watched Rose shift from foot to foot and raised an eyebrow. “Rose?” he asked, smiling encouragingly at her.
“Wh-what?” she stammered, looking horrified.
“Is there anything you want to tell me, love?”
She shook her head jerkily and Harry scowled. “Come on, Rose, I didn’t expect this from you!” exclaimed Harry, disappointed. He was getting nowhere. “You’re Hermione’s girl! You gotta tell me the truth.”
“Dad,” Albus spoke up, firmly. “We told you, we don’t know anything. Just let us go, we have classes to attend.”
Feeling disheartened, Harry began to nod his head when he remembered something and asked quickly, “One more question – is Lily dating Scorpius Malfoy?”
Three days had passed since that day and Harry still hadn’t caught the naughty spiker. He had talked to almost all the students of Hogwarts, fourth years and above, and nobody – absolutely NOBODY! – had anything useful to tell him. It was very frustrating, but it was possible that they truly did not know anything but Harry couldn’t say that about his own children. Somehow, he knew that they knew something… that they were hiding the truth from him.
On the fourth day of his stay at Hogwarts, when Harry was on his way to dinner, he ran into Scorpius Malfoy. The Slytherin was hurrying out of a supposedly empty classroom and before Harry could say anything, he had disappeared around the corner. Weird, thought Harry, stepping forward to peek into the classroom. His eyes widened at the sight of Albus and Lily, furiously whispering to each other.
“…should stay away from Scorpius till Dad’s here, Lily,” Albus was saying.
Harry strained his ears to hear what Lily said next.
“Scorpius is your friend, too. Why are you punishing me? It’s not my fault Dad’s here!”
“Don’t look at me like that! It’s not my fault either.”
“Well, if it’s not your fault and it’s most definitely not my fault, then why are we having this conversation?” whispered Lily shrilly.
Harry heard Albus sigh in defeat. “Lily, Dad doesn’t know you’re with Scorpius. I lied to save your arse!”
“That’s impossible! Someone must’ve told him I snogged him senseless in my drunken state.”
“Will you just stay away from Scorpy for a while, please? Jeez, you can lock yourself in a broom cupboard and do whatever you want after Dad’s gone, alright!”
Harry rolled his eyes and decided it was time to make his presence known. He stepped inside the classroom. “What a brilliant plan, Albus!”
Both teenagers whipped around in alarm. “Dad!”
“It wasn’t at all uncomfortable to hear you say all that,” Harry continued, trying to compose himself. “Just for the time being, I’m going to forget that Lily is dating my enemy’s son.” Lily glared at him defiantly. At that moment, her resemblance to Ginny was uncanny. “…So that we can move to the other part of your conversation.”
“Dad!” Albus said in a fake cheery voice. “You surely don’t want to miss dinner.”
Harry help up his hand. Albus paused and stood still, his smile fading. “Enough is enough,” stated Harry sternly. “I want you two to tell me the truth. No excuses and,” he looked at Albus, “NO lies.”
“Did I mention no buts?”
Lily huffed and nudged Albus crossly. “Just tell him. I’m hungry.”
Harry narrowed his eyes at Lily. He’d deal with her later. “Who spiked the pumpkin juice?” he asked Albus.
Albus hesitated before replying, “Rose, William and Charity.”
“What!” Harry exclaimed in shock. “Rose? Our Rosie? Hermione’s daughter? She spiked the pumpkin juice? Along with William and Charity?” He could just imagine the shocked faces of Hermione and Dudley…
“Well yeah,” said Albus and added quickly, “But they didn’t want to. They…they were forced to do it.”
Harry sighed in relief. He didn’t have to tell Hermione that her daughter was the mysterious pumpkin juice spiker. “Who forced them to do it, then?” he asked curiously.
Albus didn’t answer. He appeared flustered. Harry watched him uncertainly. He was beginning to get an idea what the answer would be.
“Lily?” he prompted, looking at his 15-year-old daughter.
“Fine!” she snapped. “It was Albus and I. We forced them to spike the juice.”
Harry cringed. “You two?” His own kids! Oh, Ginny was going to murder them all. “But how could you?”
“I wasn’t in on this, Dad, trust me. I didn’t want to do it,” said Albus sincerely, almost pleadingly.
“Coward,” Lily whispered nastily.
Harry ignored her. He looked hard at his son; he looked so much like Harry. Albus had always been the good one, the sensitive one. Harry always believed him. And today was no exception.
“If you didn’t want to do it, then why did you, Al?” he asked gently. Lily rolled her eyes and muttered something about child favoritism.
Albus faltered and glanced uncertainly at his sister, who was scowling at him, daring him to reply. Harry forced Albus to look at him and demanded that he tell him the truth.
“Scorpius,” Albus muttered shortly and Harry let out an audible whoop.
“I knew it!” he roared. “Like father like son. Disgusting! I’ll need to have a talk with him, of course.”
He made his way out of the classroom, happy that he had finally solved the case. He vaguely heard Lily calling out, “But it was not even his fault!”
Minutes later, he was sitting in the Headmistress’s office, waiting for Scorpius to arrive. Harry had told McGonagall everything and then, she had sent for Scorpius. Harry was about to suggest that for punishment, Scorpius should be looked into the dungeons and his father should receive a howler (for good measure) when there was a knock on the door and Scorpius entered, looking worried.
Before McGonagall could say anything, Harry blurted out directly in clear Auror style, “Why did you force my children to force Rose and her friends to spike the pumpkin juice and, thus, ruin the Ball?”
Scorpius did not look shocked to hear that Harry already knew this much. Lily must have tipped him off. Harry frowned and tried to ignore the mental image of his daughter and this Slytherin git kissing.
“Well, firstly,” Scorpius spoke in his father’s drawling voice. “We didn’t ruin the Ball. It was quite fun. And secondly, I was forced to force Lily and Al to force Rose and her friends to spike the pumpkin juice.”
Harry exchanged a blank look with McGonagall. “Huh?” he said uncomprehendingly.
“I didn’t want to do it. But I had to. They told me they’d spill the beans to you and Mrs. Potter that Lily and I were dating. And we knew how you’d react, so Lily had to agree,” Scorpius told them. “We were already in so much trouble, we didn’t want more. Rose has always been very supportive of our relationship, so we asked her to spike the juice. Nobody would believe she did it. She’s such a goody-two-shoes! Later, she convinced Charity and William to help her because she couldn’t do it alone.”
Harry stared at him, open mouthed. One look at McGonagall told him that she was thinking the same thing. This situation was way more twisted than they thought.
“Mr. Malfoy,” began McGonagall after a minute of shocked silence. “Who’s this ‘they’ you mentioned? The ones who threatened to spill the beans to Mr. and Mrs. Potter?”
Scorpius promptly replied, “Fred Weasley and Lizzie Longbottom.”
“Hey, we didn’t spike the pumpkin juice!” declared Fred Weasley defiantly.
“You can’t punish us for something we didn’t do,” Elizabeth Longottom said, standing her ground beside her boyfriend.
They were all standing in the Headmistress’s office. The parents of all students involved were there, including Dudley Dursley, Harry’s cousin, and the atmosphere was tense. Harry shot a quick glance at George, who looked unnaturally calm, and Neville, who was glaring angrily at his daughter. “How could you do this, Lizzie? I’m a Professor here. What will people think of me?” he said furiously.
Lizzie looked guilty but refused to break eye contact. “It was all in good fun, Daddy,” she said quietly. “We all had fun, didn’t we, Fred?”
Fred nodded vigorously and Neville looked on the verge of tearing his hair out. Harry instantly cut in. “That’s not the point, Liz,” he said. “You know what you did was wrong.”
“How could we know? It wasn’t even our idea in the first place!” Fred blurted out.
There was silence in the office, which was only broken by George’s sudden bout of coughs.
“There’s more?” questioned McGonagall incredulously. She slumped down in her chair and closed her eyes in exasperation. “Oh Merlin! This is like a chain reaction.”
Harry scowled and scrutinized Fred and Lizzie, trying to discern if they were telling the truth and not sending them on a wild goose chase. Word spread like wildfire at Hogwarts and they must have known why they had been called. Or else, Scorpius must have tipped them off. They could very well lie and name false names and nobody would know the truth.
But as he watched them, Harry couldn’t help but feel that they were telling the truth. While Fred had a face made especially for a prankster like him, Elizabeth’s face was a mirror to her thoughts. And right now, she looked sincere enough for Harry to decide that they weren’t lying.
“So,” he said finally. “Whose idea was it, then?”
George stopped coughing as they all waited impatiently for the couple to reveal yet another part of the puzzle. Harry caught Fred and Lizzie exchange looks, and then they glanced silently behind Harry’s shoulder and nodded.
Simultaneously, they pointed behind Harry, and he spun around, coming face to face with a sheepish looking George Weasley. He shot them all a crooked grin.
“Well…” he began. “Surprise!”
Ron and Dudley looked amused, but McGonagall, Hermione and Neville were staring at George with such incredulity on their faces that Harry had to suppress a laugh. The other parents merely looked on with disbelief.
Harry couldn’t help but admire George a little. He wasn’t at Hogwarts anymore but had still found a way to prank people and annoy the Professors.
It seemed like McGonagall had finally found her tongue. “You forced your son to spike the pumpkin juice?” she asked.
George shook his head. “No. I just didn’t tell him it was a wrong thing to do,” he smirked. “You see, my Fred always does the right things…granted in a wrong way, but still, there’s no harm in making people laugh. Right, Neville? Didn’t you tell me our kids led a boring life compared to ours?”
“I didn’t mean it that way,” muttered Neville lamely. He looked uncomfortable and refused to look at McGonagall, who rolled her eyes to the ceiling. The entire situation suddenly seemed very funny to Harry and, without warning, he burst out laughing.
“I can’t believe this!” he managed between guffaws. “George. You are a genius git!”
George beamed. “Just don’t tell Angelina. I don’t want to sleep in the den again,” he joked as Ron came forward and slapped him on the shoulder.
“Hah, I’ve got the coolest Dad in the world!” Fred butt in, earning a withering look from the Headmistress.
“Mr. Weasley, I ask you assemble every student who was involved in this episode and bring them here right now,” she ordered.
“Why?” inquired Fred.
“NOW!” McGonagall barked and he left in a hurry.
“What are you going to do with them, Professor?” questioned Neville. “It wasn’t their fault.”
“Whatever the reason, if a student does something wrong, they get punished for it,” replied McGonagall sternly. “And I don’t want such a thing to happen again. George, I will Owl Angelina about this.”
“What? No!” exclaimed George horrified.
“One more night in the den won’t hurt you,” declared McGonagall. Harry thought he noticed a ghost of smile on her face before she turned away. He winked encouragingly at George before turning uncertainly to face Dudley, who hadn’t spoken a word since he had arrived.
“Sorry you had to witness this, Dud. Your first visit at Hogwarts turned out a disaster.”
Surprisingly, Dudley smiled. “On the contrary, I’m quite enjoying myself, thank you. I’m just glad I didn’t bring Lisa with me. She’s the short-tempered one,” he said and Harry couldn’t help but grin back.
Soon, the guilty party arrived and Headmistress McGonagall had one thing to tell them.
“Detention.” A pause. “For a month!”
“You’re grounded Elizabeth Alice Longbottom!” Hannah screamed from somewhere behind Harry, followed by similar cries from a few other parents.
Instantly, there were cries of outrage at this announcement and chaos ensued. In the middle of this chaos, George could be heard yelling, “It wasn’t even MY idea. Please don’t tell Angelina, Minnie.”
“Oh, really,” grinned Harry. “Whose idea was it, then, if not yours?”
At that moment, there was a mad rush and everybody pounced on poor George Weasley, who, yet again, would have to spend a night in the den.
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