Title : The Cautionary Tale of Weasley’s Costume Hire Shop
Author : Booster
Rating : PG-13
Summary : There’s gonna be a secret costume party at Hogwarts. Good job the Weasley twins are doing costume hire now. After all, it’s not like anything’s going to go wrong, is it?
Disclaimer : Harry Potter and all related characters belong to JK Rowling.
Setting : Post OFTP, and set during Harry’s seventh year.
Distribution: Fire and Ice, Twisting the Hellmouth, FanFiction.Net; If anyone else wants it, just email and ask.
Feedback: Yes, please.
Special Thanks : Everyone at hourchallenges for the fun feedback.
The Cautionary Tale of Weasley’s Costume Hire Shop
Our story starts one fine day in mid May, in the renowned joke shop of Fred and George Weasley. Their current customers were none other than the famous Gryffindor Trio of Potter, Granger and yet another Weasley.
Their plan: A secret midnight ball slash masked costume party in the grounds of Hogwarts itself.
The problem: a severe lack of costumes. And masks.
The even bigger problem: Draco Malfoy, the Head Boy, had found out about the Gryffindor plans and was demanding that the Slytherin seventh years were also included. Otherwise, dreadful things were hinted at.
Harry almost growled at the situation they’d ended up in. It was still quite possible that nothing would happen, but it had been such a good plan to celebrate their last week before NEWTS started. Bloody Malfoy!
Ron Weasley managed to prise his attention far enough away from his girlfriend (the Head Girl Hermione Granger) to speak to his brothers. “The thing is, will you have enough costumes to fit not only the Gryffindors, but all the damn Slytherins as well?”
One of the twins smiled broadly, and patted the heap of boxes behind him happily. “Don’t fret, Ronniekins. We’ve got enough here to outfit the whole of Hogsmeade, let alone just your two little groups.”
Harry paused, and pushed his glasses higher up his nose. Luna had been trying to break him of that habit for a good six months now, but to no avail. Last night, she’d muttered something about investigating new uses for sticking spells until he’d distracted her with talk of the quodpot world championship. “The thing I’m more concerned about is whether he’s already dropped any hints to Snape.” Harry shuddered at the thought. “If Snape found us out in the grounds the night before the NEWTs…. God knows what he’d do.”
“Don’t worry, Harry,” said Fred (or was it George?), “All of our costumes have built in safeguards for these occasions.” He grinned. “It’s a slight adaptation of one of our old Hogwarts tricks.”
George (or was it Fred?) came over and pointed out a red colored tag tucked just inside one sleeve. “See that?” he smiled. “Just pull that, and one of our best ever spells will go into action. We used to use it all the time to dodge Filch in the grounds.” He sighed happily, “Good times.”
Hermione looked away from Ron for the first time. “Hmmm?” she murmured, “how does that work?”
Fred (for that was who Harry had decided to call by that name) rolled his eyes. Same old Hermione. Gamely, he continued “The spell’s an easy one, but only for outdoors. Set it off, and it’ll lay an illusion over you of either the nearest creature, or the nearest plant. That way, you just lie low until whoever it is has gone away.”
“Brilliant!” gasped Ron, jaw dropping open in that way that Hermione found so appealing.
Desperately trying to stop herself from ripping his clothes off him, Hermione gulped. “So, we just tell people to come in here, and you’re be able to rent them whatever they want?”
George (or whatever the other one was called) turned an innocent gaze towards them. “That’s right, and we’ll even do the Slytherins as well. Send ‘em all in!”
Harry gazed at the twins in slight suspicion. He’d expected a lot more argument from them before they’d agree to clothe the Slytherin seventh year as well. His train of thought was abruptly derailed by Ron and Hermione diving straight into the boxes stacked before them, and Ron pulling out a particularly flimsy dress that would just suit Luna down to the ground. Heck, if she wore that, they might not even get to the costume party.
One week later, it was night, and all the inhabitants of the seventh year studies were being very, very quiet in leaving the school buildings.
Alas, hopes of keeping the party secret from the houses of Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff had also proven to be in vain, and they too had been reluctantly added to the list. Fred and George Weasley, mind you, were certainly not displeased with the situation. In fact, with the slight alterations they’d made to the costumes they sold to the Slytherins who’d entered their shops, they were most happy indeed.
With there being so many different costumes, and everyone in masks, people who had worked with and toiled alongside others for the last seven years found it most difficult to tell who other people were. As the night grew darker around their secret little hideaway in the grounds of the Italian garden section, the level of the butterbeers dropped, and certain secret addictives were added to enhance the non-alcoholic punch that the house elves had been conned into making. Well, it was non-alcoholic to start with, certainly.
Afterwards, Harry thought it had been a wonder that they hadn’t been caught earlier. The noise level had been rising steady, as the punch was consumed and people split off into little clinging duos, alone in their own little spots in the flickering lamplight.
It was the silence that tipped Harry off that things were not good.
There, framed in the entrance way to the rest of the Hogwarts grounds, flanked by the tall hedges of the walls around them, stood Professor Snape. And he was not happy. At all.
Everybody froze, similar to deer in the headlights, knowing that something very bad was heading towards you at high velocity.
Someone dropped their glass, and the sound startled everyone into sudden movements and frantic panic. Lights were blown out, emergency tags were pulled, and people ran, desperate to get away. There was almost audible chaos, Harry thought, while being pulled away by Luna.
“Stop right where you are!” rang out across the area, and a large white flare shot up into the air, illuminating everyone perfectly. As Snape lowered his wand, Filch peered out from behind him, Mrs Norris in his arms and smiling in a most unpleasant way. Looking around the centre of the meeting place, Snape’s lip twisted in contempt. This simply was not to be borne!
Nervous laughter filled the air, as people looked around themselves, and for the first time saw just what had happened. Ron was muttering death threats to Fred and George for getting the spell slightly wrong. The emergency tag spell had worked, but not to the correct proportions. Each of them was now a proportionally correct animal or plant. Except for the Slytherins, who were actually worse off.
Snape pointed at the nearest person to him, who just happened to be a six foot tall mushroom. “You! Mushroom! Here!” He drew a deep breath, and carried on. “File out one at a time, and give Mr Filch your name and dormitory as you leave.” He glared at everyone, making it clear that disobedience would not be tolerated, and that he would somehow know if anyone lied.
He paused, and looked down at his feet, where the current non-human inhabitant of these gardens had parked itself, and grimaced some more. Whipping his wand up in a violent and particularly not happy way, he pointed it at the nearest students and started calling them one by one. “Badger! Badger! Mushroom! Mushroom!” His voice almost broke on the next call, as he reached the first Slytherin. “Snape! Snape! Badger! Badger! Badger!”
As everyone disconcertly trouped out, Ron angerously whispered to Harry, “I bet it was that bloody ferret boy Malfoy! Where the hell is he? Not here, I tell you!”
Harry’s brow wrinkled. He could have sworn he’d seen Malfoy over by the punch table just 10 minutes ago. Casting a glance back, he saw what appeared to be a pile of clothes on the ground beside it. Well, well… looked liked Malfoy was smarter than he looked – taking off all his clothes to avoid being spotted. Harry cheered up slightly at the thought of a naked Malfoy having to try and get back to the Slytherin dorms without being spotted.
The curtains hanging over the edge of the punch table stirred, and a familiar face peered out, trying not to be noticed. Harry’s jaw dropped in a very Ron like manner. What the hell was Ginny Weasley doing under there? And why did it look like she was naked too? Another hand pulled her back, and the arm attached to that hand was naked, too. And very familiar – Draco Malfoy’s.
Did that mean…? Surely not!
Did Ron know? One look at Ron’s fuming face beside him, and Harry quickly decided not to say anything. He was fairly sure that trying to kill a schoolmate (let alone a Head Boy) was still an expulsion offense. But Draco? And Ginny? Well, well….
Deep underneath the punch table, Ginny Weasley cursed a) her sneaking out to this party, b) Fred and George, c) Draco Malfoy having the same idea as her, and d) the fact that his naked body felt soooo good against her…
“So, Weasel,” his voice purred into her ear, “Wonder just what we can do to pass away the time?”