April Fools Day was in a day's time, and Dad was going all weird again. Despite the fact that April Fools Day was his birthday, he always became very withdrawn when this time of the year came around, barely speaking to anyone and closing the joke shop. Mum had told me the reason for Dad's behaviour when I was three and it was a simple answer:
He had been Dad's twin brother. They had been extremely close, and did everything together. In their seventh year, they had left school and opened the joke shop which my family runs now. It was hugely successful-it still is-and everything was fine until the Battle of Hogwarts and Uncle Fred died. Dad was devastated; he barely ate for months, locking himself up and even shutting down the shop. Then Mum came along and helped Dad get through Uncle Fred's death and persuaded him to open the shop again. They got married and had my brother, naming him Fred after the first one who had died. Two years later, they had me and named me after...well, I'm not sure. Mum just liked the name Roxanne. Dad's stopped grieving as much and is more like his old self now, Mum says. But he still gets upset whenever it's Uncle Fred's birthday, and it's a sad occasion for the whole Weasley family too.
I can deal with the depressing atmosphere better than Fred can. He just has to find some humour in everything. While that's nice, it's not always appreciated if you leave trick wands that slap your face lying around when the family's grieving.
So whenever Dad's birthday comes and Dad's in his grieving state, Fred just mooches around the house and fidgets like made; you can tell that he can't wait until Dad's birthday passes. I'm not going to say I find the somber mood any less comfortable than he does. Whenever it's a Weasley/Potter's birthday, we always go to The Burrow for a big gathering. On April Fools Day, The Burrow is full of my many aunts and uncles alternating between comforting those crying (like Grandma) and wishing Dad a happy birthday in the most serious manner ever.
It makes me feel very uneasy. Whenever Dad's birthday comes, I try to help out at The Burrow as much as I can while maintaining a serious face, but to be honest, it's a bit hard to to be sad about the death of someone you never knew. But sometimes, I wish Uncle Fred hadn't gone and died, because then everyone would be happy and I wouldn't have to endure the annual grieving and weeping.
And there would be double the amount of cake- Grandma's a brilliant cook, even if she's always intent on stuffing us.
But obviously, I can't do anything about it so I just need to 'grin and bear it'. Minus the grin, in my circumstances. But whatever.
I try to still treat Dad's birthday like any other, so now I was making him a card and wrapping up his present in my bedroom, which was a box of Muggles' chocolates which he really liked. It didn't seem like much, but Dad didn't really appreciate presents like mugs or whatever, and things like Quidditch match tickets which he did appreciate he always buys himself.
The first time I had got Dad a present was when I was 6. I had bought him a box of chocolates like I had now. Mum had told me I shouldn't have because it was too simple and not 'heartfelt' enough. Worried, I had gone up to Dad and asked him if he minded I had only got him chocolate. He had laughed a little and reassured me that he didn't. So now, I always bought him a box of the same chocolates for his birthday. It's like our tradition.
I hadn't bothered wrapping up the chocolate since Dad would know what it was, instead sticking a pretty ribbon on it. I was almost finished with making the card and was just inking in a birthday message in my best cursive writing when I felt someone jump on me from behind.
I knew exactly who it was so didn't mind much; I was far too used to this sort of thing. At least, I didn't mind until I saw my lovely writing had smudged.
"Fred, you idiot! Look what your done!" I said angrily, turning around.
My thirteen year old brother shrugged. "Roxie, you know Dad doesn't give a shit about handwriting."
I felt indignant but didn't contradict him; what he'd said was far too true.
"Stop swearing," I chose to say instead. "Or Mum will kill you. And anyway, you haven't got Dad anything."
"I know I haven't." Fred grinned at me in a way I knew far too well. It was the grin he wore whenever he'd had another idea. His ideas were usually wickedly brilliant, but always seemed to be against the rules. Not that it bothered either of us that much. I seem more efficient and mature than Fred, which I am in a way, but I like tricks and pranking just as much as he does.
"So, what's your idea, then?" I asked, carefully finishing the message inside Dad's card.
"Make a cake," Fred told me excitedly. "It would cheer Dad up. He's been really depressed lately, and even Mum said she's getting a bit tired of having to bring up all his meals up to his study. I heard her."
"He has a right to be depressed," I told Fred. "We just need to leave him, he'll get better. Or if not, there must be some better way to cheer him up. Grandma's already making a cake and it'll be ginormous."
Fred frowned for a moment, but his face then lit up again as a solution struck him. "Tell her not to make it. Or if she's already made it, tell her to shrink it then everyone can finish both cakes. Come on, let's get cracking then."
"Wait, what? Now?"
"When else? We can't make it at The Burrow tomorrow. We need to make it now, while we still have time."
Slightly uncertainly, I followed him down to our kitchen. Neither of us had any experience at all in baking-or anything cooking related- and there were no recipe books in the house as far as I knew.
Fred seemed pretty confident, though. He whizzed around the kitchen, checking the cupboards for ingredients we'd need and dumping them unceremoniously on the counter. He must have been louder than I thought, because Mum appeared in the kitchen a few seconds later with a formidable expression on her face.
"What exactly do you two think you're going?" She asked, hands on her hips.
Fred glanced at me for help. I rolled my eyes; it was always me who had to do the explaining and make us look innocent (not that we could fool our own mother).
"We were just baking a cake, Mum," I said. "You know, to cheer Dad up with a surprise."
She gave a small smile, to my surprise. "Alright then. He needs a surprise at the moment. But just this once, okay?" I knew she was fearing we would blow up the kitchen, if not the whole house.
"Do you want me to help?" Mum asked. I opened my mouth to say yes, but Fred jumped in.
"No," he said firmly. "Dad would appreciate it more...if we did it on our own, I mean. We're doing it the Muggle way."
I gaped at him. He wanted us to make a cake the Muggle way?! That was impossible! The Muggle way didn't even work properly! And we would definitely need Mum's help since neither of us had ever done any cooking in our lives!
Mum didn't seem to notice me, and left the kitchen saying "I'll Floo to Molly's and tell her what you're doing so she doesn't make as much food."
"Don't look at me like that, Roxie," Fred said, after she had gone. "It'll be fun. We might even have a hidden talent for cooking. Go get some parchment and a quill and write down everything we do. If everyone likes our cake, we'll have the recipe."
I thought it was highly unlikely that anyone would like what we baked, but obediently fetched some parchment and a quill to write with anyway. Fred already had a mixing bowl out when I came back and was dumping a whole packet of flour in.
"Fred, that's way too much!" I said, sighing. "Ugh, this just is a bad idea. We don't even have a recipe. The cake will be horrible."
"Ah, don't be such a pessimist," Fred said, now cracking eggs. "We can make it up as we go along. Now write the ingredients down: 500 grams of flour and 5 eggs."
As I had predicted, we weren't brilliant cooks, but it was still quite fun to make the cake. Dad had shut himself in his room for the whole day so we didn't have to worry about him finding out about our surprise for him. I wrote down all the ingredients we used and our method, but I also did a bit of cooking. Partly because I wasn't about to let Fred make the whole cake by himself and miss the fun and partly because I needed to keep an eye on him anyway. He confused salt for sugar. That's how stupid he is. But by the time I had realised he had already mixed in about 3 tablespoons of it.
"Fred, we've got tons of stuff in our mixture already," I said, as he tried to add in some bicarbonate powder. "Don't add any more stuff. God knows what this must taste like."
"I'll try a bit," he offered. He dipped his finger right in the centre of the thing and popped it in his mouth before I could object.
I felt disgusted, but couldn't help but admire his nerve. To give a rough idea of what the cake mixture must have tasted like, it had lemon juice, sherbet powder, dragon liver and bat vomit. Don't ask me why, Fred had said bat vomit was really healthy for you. And that was amongst lots more weird stuff which had resulted in our mixture turning a nasty grey-blue.
I eyed Fred cautiously as he tasted our-probably horrid- cake mixture on his tongue, half expecting him to throw up.
"Well?" I demanded.
"Hmm....it needs some more flavour," he said. "We have the essential stuff-"
"Yes, cakes aren't cakes unless they have a bit of good old animal vomit, are they?" I said sarcastically.
"-but we need to add flavourings and some bits of...whatever." Fred ignored my comment. "Maybe some fruit or chocolate pieces."
"Chocolate cake! Yes!" Suddenly enthusiastic at the mention of chocolate, I grabbed some cocoa powder and shook in a quarter of the packet before scribbling down '100g cocoa powder' on the parchment which was now getting very full. Then I gave the mixture another good mix so it turned a nice coffee colour.
Meanwhile, Fred had found an old bar of chocolate and chopped it into little pieces.
"Here." He threw the chocolate chips in the bowl and mixed a little more.
"Should I add a little more powder?" I asked. The mixture didn't look like the colour of a chocolate cake, which should be dark brown.
"Nah. We'll find some more stuff. Oh look." He pulled a bottle of the shelf. "Let's put this in."
I looked at the label on the bottle. "'Calming Drought'," I read. "Why do we need to put that in?! We shouldn't be messing with potions- no one puts them in cakes!"
"Yeah, but if people burst into tears tomorrow, we can give them a piece of our cake!" Fred said.
He had a point, I suppose. Lots of people cried in our family on April Fools Day. Mum sometimes cried too; she had dated Uncle Fred for a little while.
"Fine," I said. "But just that, otherwise it might go wrong...Fred!"
He had found another bottle and tipped its contents into the bowl.
I snatched the bottle from him to see what it was. I saw that it was one of those beauty potions that Mum liked to give you nice clear skin.
I had to refrain from bursting out laughing. Putting beauty potions in cake was something Fred would think of doing, no matter how stupid he could be.
The cake's messed up enough already, and adding in potions won't make a difference, I told myself.
"Okay, let's put this in." I poured half a bottle of Felix Felicis Mum liked keeping on the shelf, my immature side now taking over me. "For good luck tomorrow." I grinned.
"And this." Fred poured a little Polyjuice Potion in.
We had lots of funny potions because Mum kept lots of potions and ingredients for them in the kitchen. She said it was soothing for her to brew potions when she had a headache, though personally, I didn't know why she didn't just drink those anti-headache potions she kept.
"Oh yeah, let's add in some anti-headache stuff." I took a bottle and tipped its contents into the bowl.
Fred and I both jumped as our cake mixture have a loud 'bang' and green smoke started coming out it.
"We blew it," I said. "This was all your fault."
"Oh, shut up," Fred said carelessly. "We can still bake it. Wait-" He shook some flour in to soak up all the liquid and mixed one more time. "Okay, we need to find a container to put this in, then we can put it in the oven."
There were no cake containers but I found some old cupcake containers under the sink, so we carefully divided the mixture into the containers, me being wary of the smoke still coming from the cake which was now orange.
"Why are we still bothering with this?" I grumbled.
"Relax, it'll be fine." Fred put the tray with our cupcakes on it in the oven. "Now write down on the instructions 'put cake in oven'."
"Fred, our cake's got smoke coming out of it! We'll poison everyone tomorrow!" I exaggerated, scribbling on the parchment.
"Fine, I'll taste it first, okay?" Fred said, rolling his eyes.
Because, I would be sad if Fred died but not as sad as I would be if, say, Grandpa died.
Now that the cake was done, Fred and I were free to do whatever until it had been baked. Well that's we thought until Mum entered the kitchen and ordered us to clean it.
Neither of us had realised just how dirty the kitchen now was. There was flour everywhere, spilt potion on the floor, egg shells lying on the table and everything we had used hadn't been put away yet. And we had used basically everything in the kitchen, something Mum wasn't happy about.
"Do you have any idea how expensive free-range eggs are?" she said furiously. "Not to mention all those potions ingredients from the apothecary's! Twelve sickles an ounce of dragon liver is now!"
"Sorry, Mum, you can starve us for a week if you like," Fred said cheekily as he mopped the floor.
"Don't joke about things like starving people. It's a serious matter!"
"Fred Weasley, don't you 'whatever' me!"
Cleaning up took ages, and by the time we had satisfied Mum with our tidying, the cupcakes were ready to come out of the oven.
"So much for free time," I muttered, bending down to take the cakes out. "Oh well, at least we can- FRED, YOU TOTAL ASSHOLE!!"
"Swearing's bad," Fred reminded me with a grin. "And what?"
"THE. OVEN. IS. NOT. TURNED. ON!" I screeched.
Sorry, but I have a right to scream like a banshee. We worked on the cakes for at least 2 hours, and even skipped lunch to make it, and now they've not been bloody baked.
"Jesus Christ, Roxie, calm down. We'll just bake it now."
"Leaving stuff in ovens is bad!" I said frantically. "Grandad told me!"
"You're seriously going to believe what Grandad says? He thinks telephones are called felly-tones!"
"Yes, but- oh no!" I wailed. "We didn't put bicarbonate powder in so the cakes won't rise anyway! This is such a disaster!"
Rolling his eyes at my dramatics, Fred took the cakes out of the oven to inspect them. I shut my eyes, not wanting to see the disastrous blobs that would be our cupcakes.
"Roxie, it looks like our cakes did fine on their own." I heard the delight in my brother's voice, and opened my eyes.
The cupcakes had risen and looked fluffy and delicious. No bicarbonate powder or ovens had been needed; they had done fine on their own, just like Fred had said.
I couldn't contain myself from shrieking in joy. We weren't such bad cooks after all! Yes, it would probably taste awful, but who cared? They looked nice!
"We need to ice them, Roxie." Fred held out a tube of icing, a wide smile on his face.
I stopped doing my happy dance around the kitchen and carefully iced the top of our cupcakes with no disasters. We then found some silver balls to sprinkle on and the end results weren't bad at all. They looked quite nice actually.
"No tasting," I told Fred firmly. "They're for tomorrow."
"We're having the cakes in two minutes!"
"I want one now!"
"Go away, Fred."
Fred stuck his tongue out at me. I stuck mine back.
"I'm going to eat one anyway," he tried reasoning.
"Exactly, so you can wait." I shielded our cupcakes which were waiting to be eaten on Grandma's kitchen table protectively.
"I'll be the food taster," Fred offered.
I glared at him. "Piss off."
"Roxie, we put so many potions in it, how do we know it won't go bad?"
"Fine." I tossed him a random cupcake, which Fred caught and took a bite out of. "But that's yours, you can't have any-"
I was interrupted by someone crying loudly. After wildly looking around, I realised with surprise that the person crying was Fred. His face was wet with tears that flowed out from his eyes like a river, and his body shook with uncontrollable sobs. I had never seen him cry like that before.
"Fred! What's wrong?" I asked, alarmed.
"I d-don't know!" he cried. "S-something in the c-c-cake! I j-just ate some and it made me c-cry!"
"That cake was supposed to calm you, not make you cry!" I said. "Can't you-can't you try to stop it?"
"N-no!" Fred sobbed. "I can't help it! What should I d-d-do?"
"Okay...I'll go get an adult, stay here!" I ran out of the kitchen, and got the first person I saw, who happened to be Dad with a moody look on his face. His expression was replaced with a look of concern as he saw me running up to him.
"Is something wrong?" he asked.
"Yes! Fred ate a bit of-" I stopped, suddenly remembering that Dad didn't know about the cupcakes and it would ruin his surprise if he did.
Deciding that this was quite urgent, I continued "Fred and I made you cupcakes as a surprise and Fred tasted a bit of them but they've made him cry and he can't stop!"
"Made him cry?" Dad frowned. "How?"
"Come on, I'll show you." I led him to the kitchen where Fred was still crying and was trying and failing to wipe his continuous tears off.
"I c-can't get it to s-s-stop!" he said, seeing us enter the kitchen.
"How did this happen?" Dad sounded concerned but I could see his mouth twitching.
"I-don't know..." I lied. I suppose if our cakes were giving off green and orange smoke we ought to have been worried. Well, at least they're edible.
"We put too many p-potions in the cake!" Fred said, ignoring my looks that told him not to tell Dad we had used up all the potion supplies. I decided I would let him go for that one, since he looked so pitiful while his tears were still flowing.
"Crying Cakes!" I suddenly burst out as an idea hit me like lightening.
Fred and Dad both stared at me, confused, which was not very encouraging.
"Cakes that make you cry! We can sell them in the Skiving Snackboxes!" I said excitedly. "And I've got the recipe for it!"
"Oh my God, that's a brilliant idea!" Dad looked more alive than I had seen him in days. His face had lifted and his eyes shone with excitement at the prospect of a new product for our joke shop.
I smiled at him happily. We'd invented something new all by ourselves! Without meaning to! And best of all, Dad looked much happier.
"We can start selling it in the shop now!" I said.
"Yeah, we j-just need to find an antid-dote."
A/N: Another one-shot! Hooray! It seems a bit long for one that's just about cooking, but hopefully it isn't too bad. Let me know what you think! Please review :3
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