Day number: 1 - early afternoon
Characters: Fred(100) and George(100)
Reply: any in area
"George? C'mon, five more minutes," groaned Fred, twisted into a mess amid a heap of blankets, sheets, and pillows.
"The store opens in five more minutes," George recited. They'd had the same conversation nearly every morning since they opened shop. "If you're not up by then, I'll send Verity after you."
"I'm up! I'm up!" Fred shoved his blankets aside, the cold of morning biting through his old, handmade pajamas.
As if on cue, there was a jingling of keys and bells down at the front entrance as Verity arrived. "Mr. Weasley and Mr. Weasley! Are you decent?" She bustled up the stairs to the small apartment above Weasley's Wizard Wheezes where the two young men stayed, never far from their work. Without ceremony, she tossed the Daily Prophet, The Quibbler, as well as the day's post on George's dresser as she entered.
"I'll have a fresh pot ready in ten sirs." In a flash she was out the door again.
"Anything good? Or just more junk?" Fred asked as he pulled on a casual shirt with WWW embroidered on the chest.
George picked up the mail with a shrug. "Junk, junk, a post from Mum," he began.
"I guess I'll be glad it isn't a howler. Last time we 'forgot' to write her back..." Fred trailed off, unaware of his brother's sudden change in demeanor, "When I'm old and deaf, I'll know who's to blame, eh George?"
Fred finished hopping into his trousers. Still no reply from his twin. "George?"
The color had all gone out of his brother's face. "Bloody hell George, what is it?"
George took a slow breath, "It's from Hogwarts."
As much as Fred hated to admit it, he'd inherited a bit of his mother's worrisome attitude. Especially with things... as they were these days. It only showed up now and again, but he did his best to push it far from his mind. He walked across the room and leaned on his brother's shoulder. Though he knew it was likely no laughing matter, he couldn't help but make light of it to hide his own nervousness. "What? Did ickle Ronniekins get himself expelled? Or is it just another order? The school year hasn't even started yet so don't tell me-"
"Fred," George interrupted, "This letter is from Dumbledore."
Fred stiffened, "But Dumbledore is..." He couldn't finish the sentence.
"Yeah," George returned.
Fred pulled the letter away, needing to see the abomination with his own eyes. Sure enough, the letter read:
"You are immediately needed at Hogwarts on a matter of the utmost importance. Do not delay.
--Signed, Albus Dumbledore"
"If that's supposed to be a joke, it's not very funny," Fred stated.
"That's his signature for sure though. I've seen it enough times on those reports that got sent home to Mum." George rubbed his chin thoughtfully.
"Well," Fred decided.
"If Dumbledore needs us badly enough that he'd come back from the grave," George added.
"Then I suppose the Weasley twins ought to make an appearance," Fred finished.
The shop was in good hands with Verity, so it didn't take long for the boys to prepare for the journey. They were in agreement to keep the whole thing under wraps, telling their assistant only that an unexpected family emergency had arisen and that they'd be happy to pay overtime.
The tossed on their Gryffindor scarves as an afterthought. While they'd left the school in open defiance, they still had their house pride to consider. George grabbed their brooms and handed one to Fred. If the weather was fair, they'd make it in a few hours.
Fog made travel difficult, but it was still early afternoon by the time they arrived. The grounds were quiet and empty as they passed through the gates.
"Inviting isn't it Fred?"
"Yeah," he replied softly. Something just wasn't right. Hogwarts wasn't exactly hopping during summer break, but there were still signs of life. It was all so... silent. "Someone must've told 'em we were comin'."
It was strange stepping through the gates and walking the path towards the castle.
The letter held firmly in her hand, she looked at it again. Her name glistening in a pool of light from her wand.
She pulled her cloak around her for warmth and almost wished she'd never answered the letter.
Ahead the castle seemed to reveal itself from nowhere it's Oak doors seemed massive and giant like.
quickening her pace she climbed the steps only to freeze at the top glancing around anxiously.
" Ms Weasley, might we have a word? I'm Mayhew Pickens with the Daily Prophet." A spotted youth beamed at her from behind thick glasses.
A note book and magicked quill at the ready. "This is your third game of this season." Ginny nodded.
The interview had lasted a lot longer than she had wanted and wave of relieve washed over her as she entered the locker room.
"no more interviews for another week" Ginny smiled as she peeled the sweaty quidditch robes off her body.
She reached for her clothes when a letter had fallen from inside the locker. It was addressed to her. "Maybe Harry sent me a letter"
Her husband liked doing things like this especially if he wasn't able to make a game because of work. Ginny opened the letter.
Her face had gone a white sheet making the freckles on her nose standout. It seemed as if someone had knocked a bludger into her, because all the air had gone from her lungs.The locker room seemed to fade to black nothingness.
She hadn't really thought about what she was doing until it had been too late and now here she stood face to face with Hogwarts once again.
George found himself irritated at the quiet. As much as it unnerved him, it was obnoxious as well. As though they were all waiting around for something to happen. There was nothing in sight, at least not through this fog and the ground was squishy beneath his feet. Fred didn't look any more pleased than he was. After recieving this morning's post, who could blame them?
As they approached the steps that led up to the entrance George had to squint to be sure it was a figure he saw and not just a trick of the fog.
George looked at his brother with a smirk. Apparently Fred had seen it too. He'd let out a yell and waved his arm over his head. He could've smacked his twin. Sure it was Hogwarts, but the track record for it being a safe haven had diminished quite a bit over the past few years. As it was, he settled for a sharp elbow to the ribs.
The figure didn't appear menacing at least and George was glad for another body to join in the strange nonesense. At least now it wouldn't feel as though someone were playing an elaborate prank on them.
"Lovely morning, no?" George offered. He couldn't make heads or tails of the person in the cloak, but from the slight curves in the fabric and the height, he supposed it was likely female.
Voices brought her out of her daydream. Turning to squint into the direction she thought the voices were coming from, Ginny smiled. Sure enough she could see a couple of figures headed straight for her.
It was comforting she thought,knowing she wouldn't have to endure this alone.
"Lovely morning, no?" said a male voice.
"Yes, quietly lovely." Said Ginny, who continued."If you like foggy,damp,creepy afternoons"
she gave a sigh then turned to face her companions.
The sight before her surprised her a great deal.
"George! Fred! what are you two doing here?" she looked from one twin to the other.
Disbelieving what she was seeing, Ginny, rubbed her eyes and took the both of them in. After all it had been a good year and a half since she'd seen them last.
With another glance at the both of them she then noticed the difference, they looked younger,a lot younger.
Fred watched George's grin widen as the female before them caught the sarcasm in his voice. Very original George Fred thought to himself. He'd been about to make introductions when the woman turned and called out their names. He froze for a moment, hoping they hadn't been remembered because of one of their many practical jokes. Some people well... they just didn't know how to take a joke. But there was a brightness to the voice that made him believe the woman was actually glad to see them.
The young woman was strikingly familiar, Fred realized as she seemed to be rubbing her eyes and looking at them with the same disbelief he was certain was on his face. He glanced at George, wondering if he'd come to the same conclusion.
Fred raised any eyebrow, "Ginny? Is that you? We could ask you the same question. And did you pinch one of our aging draughts? Don't tell me Harry's the type that fancies older women" He grinned cheekily and gave George a nudge. "Our Ginny, all grown up and seducing poor young wizards." He flicked away an imaginary tear.
George returned the nudge with a grin, but shook his head and gave her a friendly welcome, mussing her hair a bit. Resisting the urge to tease her further George lowered his voice a level as his face became more serious, "We received a rather interesting letter in the post this morning. Sound familiar? We were kind of hoping someone would know what was going on around here, but you look about as lost as we are." He offered her a warm smile.
Fred crossed his arms, feeling a bit distracted and worried now that George had pulled the humor from their conversation. It was alright for them to be here for what they'd assumed was something dangerous, but Ginny was just a little girl. Why would Dumbledore ask her to come as well? It didn't make sense.
Ginny laughed at her, dare she say younger brothers. " Oh, yes George,I'm such a pedophile, no I assure you I didn't take any aging potions or the sort." Ginny then began sizing them up and smiled mischievously. "But, I'm taller than the both of you and that's quite nice."
fixing her ruffled hair she looked at George who has that serious look to his Brown eyes.
"We received a rather interesting letter in the post this morning. Sound familiar? We were kind of hoping someone would know what was going on around here, but you look about as lost as we are."
"I got my letter right after Puddlemere won against the Tornadoes, 350 to 120"
Ginny smirked reliving the look on Cho Chang's face once again as she beat her into the ground. "The letter fell out of my locker, it looked serious and well I'm not one to just sit around and not take it seriously." A hardened blaze gave birth in her bright brown eyes and her jaw became uncanny to the twins. She watched Fred fold his arms and she knew he was thinking that she shouldn't be here and believe it or not she was still nothing but a child. She was hardly a child anymore, she'd been through so much in the past nine years of her life, it would be blasphemous to call her such a thing now.
"What do you think this is about?" she asked. Opening her letter again she studied the writing and the phrasing of each word and line carefully.
George gave her a look that was more than a little suspicious of her explanation, but as she continued he became more and more convinced that she was telling the truth.
"Ginny," Fred began, looking puzzled, "What are you talking about? Did you fall through some kinda er... time hole or something?" It certainly wasn't the most educated of guesses, but Fred had a difficult time thinking of any other way to explain it. If it wasn't a potion, what was it?
As if his brother's question wasn't enough George added, "Puddlemere hasn't won against the Tornadoes since Fred and I were still in diapers. And the quidditch season doesn't start again for another..."
"five or six weeks," Fred finished.
George knew better than to be annoyed at his brother for finishing his sentences, but that didn't keep him from frowning just a little.
"What do you think this is about?"
"Well that's the rub, isn't it?" Fred commented.
George nodded, thinking along much the same lines. He tried to wrap his mind around the idea that Ginny was in fact several years older and it wasn't just some spell or potion gone awry. He rubbed his nose and sniffed. He hoped this was someone's idea of a prank, but this was carrying it a little far.
Fred was impatient and kept fidgeting with his broom, "Well, I guess we should head in a see what ah... old Dumbledore is up to."
George reluctantly agreed, "Better than beating our heads against the wall trying to figure all of this out."
"A time hole? If you think I've been using a time turner to have a little fun, your mistaken."
"Puddlemere hasn't won against the Tornadoes since Fred and I were still in diapers. And the quidditch season doesn't start again for another..."
"five or six weeks," Fred finished.
It must have been her lack of sleep mixed with the bizarre situation because at Fred's last words stirred something inside her. It confirmed that something was indeed wrong.
"Well, I happen to be Captain and seeker and we've had nothing but success against them. Also it happens that we're in the middle of the season I haven't seen Harry in three weeks." Clenching her fist around her wand she tried to muster all her energy not to hex the both of them. "I'm getting letter's from a dead head master and I'm conversing with my older brothers who can't be more than nineteen."
Rubbing her hands over her face she apologized.
Ginny watched Fred who was looking quite impatient and kept fidgeting with his broom.
"Well, I guess we should head in a see what ah... old Dumbledore is up to."
George reluctantly agreed, "Better than beating our heads against the wall trying to figure all of this out."
Agreeing with them Ginny said, "Let's just go in it's getting colder by the minute."
Hermione stepped backward almost too late to avoid two Ravenclaw first-year girls who were running by as if chased by the devil himself. Unlikely help as they seemed, they were the first beings Hermione had seen since she'd woken up to an empty dorm room that morning. "Excuse me, but -" It was no good. They were past the range of her voice both physically and mentally, it seemed. WHAT was going on here? The castle was almost empty, the portraits still, the halls unusually cold, and she was starting to get fairly irritated.
Was this another Weasley prank? The twins had been in rare form all year.
As many of the halls as she could face, she examined, but by the time she'd made a circuit of the library and east corridors, she was begining to feel what could only be described as an ominous spirit. She needed air and it certainly wouldn't hurt to examine the grounds. There was a solution to this puzzle.
Arguing voices were heading her way and she moved a little quicker hoping to intercept them. "Thank goodness," she said making out faces at last. "I haven't spoken to a real human being since-" Her voice fell away and she stared. She knew she was being quite rude, but at the moment, she couldn't care. "What is going ON here?"
Before they could make it to the front door, yet another familiar face appeared. 'least this one didn't look a decade older than she should.
"Well if it isn't Hermione," Fred commented. If he was surprised by her outburst, it didn't show. He was a Weasley afterall. Noisy outburts were as common as breathing in that household. "Where's your other half?"
George carried much the same expression as his twins with regards to Miss Granger, "We haven't seen Ronniekins around here yet. I don't s'pose you know anything about time holes or..."
"or wait, don't tell us... you're actually the Hermione from a distant future where you kicked Voldy's sorry rear and then decided to take over the world yourself?" Fred interrupted with a look of exasperation.
"Fancy that, Hermione, Queen of the world," George said with a mock shudder. "Does that mean little Ronnie Weasley is our King?"
Fred laughed aloud, "Oh nice one George."
George grinned, "Why thank you Fred."
Their puns seemed to amuse only one another, but the twins were used to that. Hermione had never been one for their pranks. Fred coughed loudly to clear the air, "Right then... serious matter and all that. We just got finished telling Ginny here about these impossible letters we got. Sounds like everythings a little jumbled..."
(ooc: Hermione -1 sanity point)
Ginny could tell that the twins jokes were frazzleing Hermione. She gave them each deadly stares. "you two behave yourselves" she hissed waving a finger at both of them before taking Hermione off into an empty classroom to the left of the hall.
"Are you okay?" Ginny was becoming concerned for her friend who seem to be having a panic attack. "Fred and George are prats, don't let my little brother's get to you 'Mione." placing a comforting arm around her shoulder Ginny grinned at the aspect of now being quite older than the twins and would re-mined herself to take advantage of this new power. "we are going to figure this out, we can do this."
with one last comforting squeeze Ginny lead Hermione back out in to the hall.
George grinned as Fred gave the reply, "But we are behaving. Just offering a kindly greeting to our dear friend Hermione."
"Quite charming of us really," George added. Fred nodded in turn before they both let out a laugh.
In a flash Ginny managed to whisk the young girl away into a classroom, which only invoked more laughter from the twins. Their laughted died out fairly quickly though as they noticed their surroundings. Things were so quiet... George hated to use the word 'dead,' but that about summed it up.
The pair waited a moment, both looking around the large open hall. Something felt... not quite right about it all. George noticed Fred move to stand a little closer to him and was glad for the company, so he didn't mention it. He was a little relieved when Ginny dragged Hermione back out to join them.
"Alright, alright. We'll be good," George said with a half smile, crossing his fingers beneath his robe out of habit. Fred rolled his eyes.
"I dunno what Ginny filled you in on, but we're all a bit muddied up. I don't s'pose you've heard of any time er... warping... type spells?" George asked, well aware of how absurd he must sound.
Fred nodded slowly, "anything you'd care to share?"
It was not the first time that someone had said something about she and Ron. She usually ignored such things, but it was a little harder to shake off when it came from the twins in such a matter-of-fact way; not their usual style of needling at all. And they were older. And Ginny was a LOT older. It was horrible! How was it even possible that in any strange future she could end up WITH such an inconsiderate thick head? She was willing to admit that from time to time she'd entertained the idea, but after an incident or two of neglect or downright cruelty, she'd always gotten over it. It had seemed to Hermione that her crush on Ronald Weasley was something she'd outgrow once she had matured and had more experience with men. Actual men. It was made worse by the fact that the twins' explaination of the current situation had to do with 'distant futures' and that the evidence at hand seemed to support their theory. She could practically feel her hair frizzing.
Before she could snap or cry, Ginny whisked her into a classroom and told her that things were going to be alright. Hermione nodded and tried to return the hug. This wasn't the strangest thing that had ever hapened to her at Hogwarts and Ginny was right. They were going to figure this out.
Back out in the hall, she considered the question. "I haven't heard anything about time manipulation, but it's the obvious conclusion, isn't it? It's been like this since I got up this morning. It's cold and unnaturally still, and there's hardly a soul anywhere in the castle. I was on my way to examine the grounds, but since you've just come from there I'll assume it's the same. The only time spells I even know about are time turners, and they're all under lock and key at the ministry. I haven't even read about anything else that can effect the flow of time. It's not impossible to get one, but I don't see how they could be used for something like this."
"Oh obvious," Fred said emphatically as Hermione continued.
George rubbed his chin thoughtfully, "Yes, the grounds were pretty well..."
"Dead," Fred supplied with a slight shrug. Dead, much like the man who had sent them the letter. He made eye contact with George and assumed he was thinking much the same thing.
There was a moment of unsettling silence. Fred fidgeted with his broom, adjusting his grip on it and occasionally switching hands. If Hermione didn't know the answer, then it was probably far beyond their grasp.
"Well," George said at last, "It's not doing any of us much good to sit here and stew about it."
"Right," returned Fred, feeling a little better now that the awkward silence had passed, "should we try Dumbledore's office or... uh..." he trailed off, not really wanting to supply the other option. With any luck they'd run into someone who actually knew what they were doing at the school in the first place before they reached either location.
Sybill Patricia Trelawney. SPT, kids used to tease her by calling her SPiT. Sometimes SPoT. Some said she was SPoTty. She smiled a rueful smile. Oh, how she had seen their futures! Three of them dead before they were fifteen, another mad, yet two others seriously injured in attack from Death Eater in support of He Who Must Not Be Named. What revealing dreams she'd had during the night. Well, although it was early yet, a spot of sherry would be good. After all, it was unseasonably cold in her tower rooms, even with the fire in the grate glowing cheerfully. Bless the House Elves who always saw to it that the fire in her room was set properly with the right mixtures of herbs and oils to create the perfect environment to encourage the Third Eye to see more clearly, further into the future. Suddenly she decided she should go see Dumbledore.
She set her sherry glass down and turned around to pick up her shawl. But it was not where she had left it. How odd. Well, perhaps she had put it away. Ah, yes, there it was. Time to head down toward Dumdore's office. As she turned to go, she saw that the elves had already whisked away her empty sherry glass. Sweet Elves. And yet something seemed wrong, something she could not put her finger on it. Then suddenly, with all the weight of the responsibilities that come with the Third Eye, it struck her. Dumbledore was dead. Dead a year ago. His tomb stood by the lake he so loved. And yet she knew Dumbledore needed her.
She left her tower room, now in a hurry. She would go where her feelings led her, never mind the class that was to start in fifteen minutes. On her way to Dumbledore's ... no, McGonagall's office now. No, she had to follow her sense to go there. Suddenly, her shawl caught on a door handle, spinning her around sharply. SMACK! she hit the wall, the door clinging to her shawl wide open. There must have been a reason for that particular door to have a handle rather than a doorknob. Sybill decided to go in to investigate. The air was dusty and heavy. She really must speak to the House Elves about getting the room clean. In the corner was a desk with a single candle burning, a piece of parchment and an inkwell. The pen was sitting on top of the parchment. Sybill looked at the parchment and gasped. Dumbledore's handwriting. The ink was still slightly damp. It read: “You are immediately nee--” and ended there.
Her heart skipped a beat. He had left her a message and, no doubt, had bewitched the doorknob to become a handle and snag her shawl as she passed. And what could it mean other than that he needed her. She hurriedly left the room and turned in hall. Suddenly she thought maybe something was written on the other pieces of parchment. She turned and hurried back down the hallway. There was the door. And with a traditional doorknob. She was right. And, as she watched, the doorknob slowly faded and disappeared just as the outline of the door meshed into the surrounding wall. The door was gone. She really must discuss all of this with her ghost friend. After she finds Dumbledore. Her Third Eye says he is in Professor Snape's dungeon classroom and there she will go.
Passing as quickly as she could, Trelawney rounded a corner and, arms flailing, head spinning, found herself flat on the floor. She stared a 4 pairs of shoes near her nose and slowly raised her head to see the students standing there, shocked at her sudden appearance ... and stance ... or actually, lack thereof. Looking toward her feet, she saw a body, well, a student. Not really a body because he (or she, so hard to tell these days) lying passed out cold on the floor.
The Professor stood unsteadily but recovered quickly enough to say, "Oh, my Third Eye warned me of this poor soul who needed the attention of Madam Pomfrey. But I also knew you were unaware of him -- erm, her? -- lying here. My grand entrance was the only thing to get you to see. Youngsters so unaware, its a pity. Now, will you please take care of this poor child?" She hurried off toward her goal without so much as a glance back or any kind of acknowledgement that she even recognized any of them.