When the Weasley twins try to liven up Potions lessons, students start bringing umbrellas to class!
Fred Weasley groaned as he gathered up an armful of books. “I’d like to know who thought double Potions on a Friday afternoon was a good idea!”
His twin shook back long ginger hair and grinned. “Are you telling me you don’t enjoy being trapped in a dark, damp dungeon with Hogwarts’ resident Giant Bat?”
“Wouldn’t be so bad if we had it with Ravenclaw or Hufflepuff, but...” “... S-S-S-Slytherin! Enough to make you s-s-s-sick!” George finished. He felt in his pocket and pulled out a paper bag. “We could liven things up a bit,” he suggested.
Fred grabbed the bag, and emptied its contents on the desk in front of him. “Some wet-start fireworks, a couple of dungbombs, a whizzing worm, and a Storm-In-A-Teacup.”
“Problem is,“ George said, looking up, “he’d suspect us immediately and...”
“...besides, none of them are spectacular to make the punishment worthwhile.”
They finished gathering their belongings, and trudged down the winding staircase to the Potions dungeon. The door was open, and the sarcastic voice coming from within told them they were late. As they walked in, Professor Snape turned from the shrinking Gryffindor girl he had been interrogating as to the reason her homework wasn’t finished. His eyes narrowed.
“I see the Weasleys have condescended to honour us with their presence,” he drawled. “What a pity they forgot to wind their watches!” He strode to his desk. “This is the third time in a row you have been late for my class. Since the loss of house points does not appear to be enough incentive to good timekeeping, let us see whether detention will improve your punctuality.”
He picked up a quill and made a note on a sheet of parchment lying on his desk. “Report to Mr Filch at ten tomorrow morning. If I recall correctly, he is looking for someone to scrub the shower floors.”
As they took their seats at the back of the dungeon, George muttered, “I’m surprised Snape even knows what a shower is.” Fred suppressed a snort of laughter. “Probably thinks it’s some kind of medieval torture device.”
Snape looked up, hearing the murmur, but fortunately not the words. “Since you have already missed ten minutes of my lesson, you would do well to refrain from wasting further time with idle chit-chat. Ten points – each – from Gryffindor.”
The twins exchanged glances, and George patted his pocket meaningfully. Fred shrugged and shook his head. Not worth it this time, mate, his gesture said.
After finally escaping from Filch’s clutches the following day, Fred and George spent several hours going through their stock of jokes, but for once the selection didn’t seem to please them. By the end of the afternoon, they had two piles – “Too Obvious” and “Not Spectacular Enough”. They had reached the point of gazing silently at their hoard, expressions glum, when George suddenly sat up straight, staring at the “Not Spectacular” pile. He reached over and picked up a small bottle, made of blue glass, which appeared to contain a tiny animated powder puff. He turned it over in his hands, his face thoughtful.
“A Storm-In-A-Teacup?” Fred jeered. “Half the time no-one even notices when you use one. And can you see Snape with a teacup?” He punched his brother on the shoulder. “I think you inhaled too much disinfectant this morning.”
“I wasn’t thinking ‘teacup’.” George held the bottle up. “How big d’you reckon we could make this little storm grow?”
Fred grinned, catching on. “Dungeon-sized?”
They looked at each other, grinning, eyes sparkling with mischief.
The following Friday afternoon saw Fred and George arriving in the dungeon on time with the rest of their class. The lesson proceeded uneventfully for the first half hour. Then, seeing that Snape was on the far side of the dungeon, inspecting cauldrons, Fred got up and went to fetch some more powdered scorpion claw. He glanced in Snape’s direction. The Professor was peering disdainfully at the contents of a cauldron.
Quickly Fred opened his hand, which had been cupped around something small. He pointed his wand at the tiny wisp of what looked like smoke, and whispered, “Engorgio Maxima,” then blew gently on the smoke, sending it scooting into the air.
By the time Fred was back in his seat, the little wisp had drifted behind Snape’s desk, and was hidden in the gloom of the ceiling.
Snape walked briskly to the front of the classroom. “Since it appears that none of you bothered to review the order in which the ingredients should be added, let us start from the beginning.” He scowled at the class. “Who can tell me...?” A strand of Snape’s hair flicked across his face as if blown by a breeze. Brushing it out of his eyes, he glanced around, then went on. “As I was saying... can anyone explain why octopus venom is never added to a potion before the...”
This time he was interrupted by a low, ominous rumble behind him. Reaching for his wand, he turned in the direction of the noise. What appeared to be a dark grey cloud was billowing high up in a corner of the dungeon. It was expanding rapidly, spreading out across the ceiling, and as Snape watched incredulously, the first patter of water drops fell on his desk. He raised his wand. The rain had almost reached him by now.
“Meteolojinx Re-” Before he finished the charm, a vivid flash exploded inches from his face. “Everyone outside, now!” Snape shouted above a sudden roar of thunder. There was a stampede for the door. The cloud had spread halfway down the dungeon, tendrils of cloud curling down the walls.
In the hallway outside the dungeon, the students gathered nervously. Several of them were damp from the rain, and all were talking excitedly. George grinned at Fred and gave him a thumbs-up. From the dungeon, they heard Snape attempt to shout the weather-canceling spell again, but before he got the first word out, there was a crash of thunder, accompanied by another brilliant flash of lightning. There was a thud and a clatter, suggesting a body colliding with a table, and Snape swore eloquently enough to make a couple of the Gryffindor girls blush.
The rain was falling in torrents in the dungeon, rivulets of water running out into the hallway. The thunder was deafening and the lightning almost constant. More than one student was edging nervously along the hall, away from the classroom door. Gradually the noise and light began to abate, and they could hear Snape furiously repeating, “Meteolojinx Recanto!”
The rain eased to a drizzle, then finally stopped. Silence enveloped the dungeon. Then, they heard the sound of footsteps approaching through puddles. Professor Snape emerged from the dungeon. His greasy black hair hung in glistening rat-tails on either side of his face which was rigid with fury. Water dripped from the end of his hooked nose.
“If I ever find out who released that thunderstorm in my dungeon,” he grated, “I will personally see to it that they are expelled.” Something that sounded suspiciously like a snicker came from the back of the group, and Snape’s eyes darted in the direction of the sound. “Immediately!”
He strode off down the dimly-lit hallway, his robes flapping wetly, looking remarkably like a large, sodden bat.
Encouraged by their success, the twins spent the weekend experimenting with their stock of Storm-In-A-Teacup, appearing at intervals soaking wet, or shivering violently. The story of the thunderstorm had spread through the school, and even some of the professors had chuckled – though not when Snape was anywhere around, of course.
Having created their next variation of the spell, the big question on Fred and George’s minds, was timing.
“If we do it in the same lesson every time, Snape’s bound to figure out that it’s us.”
Fred nodded. “But the whole point is to liven up Fridays.”
“What if it’s already happened by the time we get there. Easiest thing in the world to...”
“...start it during break before class. This one needs a bit of time to get going anyway.”
Accordingly, on Friday the twins took care to be seen approaching the dungeon with the stragglers. As they ambled down the hallway, sharp footsteps sounded behind them, and the students flattened themselves against the walls as Snape strode by. Clearly, he was planning on making his usual dramatic entrance.
Across the hallway, Fred caught his twin’s eye and nodded.
“What is the meaning of this?” Snape was approaching the dungeon, and had found the entire class clustered in the hallway outside. “I expect you to be in your seats when I arrive, not wasting time in the hallway. “ He glanced over his shoulder at the nearest students, pulling the door open as he spoke, barely slowing his pace. “Ten points from every...”
As he walked through the doorway, there was a muffled thud, and a cloud of white whooshed back out of the dungeon. There was a moment of petrified silence, then the closest students peered hesitantly round the door.
Never had the dungeon looked so beautiful. Pristine white snow covered every horizontal surface, glittering in the light that filtered through the high, dusty windows. It lay thickly between the desks, at least a foot deep all over, and drifted in places to almost two feet, especially by the door.
Snape’s momentum had made it impossible for him to stop in time, and the drift had tripped him as soon as he entered the room. It was therefore fortunate that the snow was deep enough to provide cushioning; he had fallen flat on his face, arms outstretched in a futile attempt to grab anything that would break his fall. In ominous silence, he pushed with both arms, levering himself to his knees, then stood, and stepped backwards out of the dungeon.
He was plastered head to toe. There was only a light dusting on his back, but the snow clung thickly to his front. Slowly, he wiped the snow from his face. Not looking at anyone in particular, he said, “It appears that this lesson must be postponed.” His voice was soft, almost menacing. He turned and went back along the hallway, shedding little clouds of snow as he went.
A murmur ran through the students closest to the door, as they surveyed the sparkling dungeon. The one of them looked down at the impression left in the snow by Snape’s fall. “He made a snow-angel!” said one of the girls. There was a ripple of laughter.
Peering over their shoulders, Fred said, “Angel? Nah, That’s not an angel – that’s a snow-bat!”
The following Friday, the twins were torn with indecision. Yet another prank would be pushing their luck; but on the other hand, the latest incarnation of Storm-In-A-Teacup just begged to be demonstrated. After much discussion, they decided they were having too much fun to stop now. This time, however, a small diversion would be needed.
Snape, not unexpectedly, had realized that both the thunderstorm and the blizzard had occurred at about the same time each week. When the class arrived in the dungeon, he was standing at his desk, his eyes flitting from student to student. A crash at the back of the dungeon drew his gaze. Fred Weasley was clambering to his feet, dusting off his robes, as other students lunged for the cauldrons rolling across the stone floor.
“Fool!” Snape growled at him. He hadn’t moved from where he stood, but the disruption had distracted him just long enough for George to pass his hand over Snape’s own cauldron, already steaming slightly on its fire.
For perhaps five minutes, nothing happened. Snape was handing out precise amounts of crushed dragon scales, and his back was to his desk. The first faint hiss from the cauldron was noticed only by a handful of students in the front row. A minute or so later, another hiss, louder this time, was followed by a furious bubbling sound. Snape was halfway down the room by the time one of the front-row students finally worked up the courage to speak.
“The instructions are quite clearly written on the blackboard,” he snapped, not turning around.
“But Sir – I can’t see the blackboard any more!”
Snape whipped around. Dense fog had engulfed the front row and was drifting through the dungeon, its leading edge preceded by rolling mist that billowed in a deceptively lazy manner. Several people were making as if to leave, but Snape snarled, “Everyone will remain in their seats!” There were a few scattered coughs, but apart from the clinging dampness that settled everywhere it touched, the fog really wasn’t doing any harm, and the students resigned themselves to waiting it out.
Snape sent out a couple of dispersing charms, but they only thinned the fog slightly in their immediate vicinity. Obviously, he would have to find the source. “Lumos!” A powerful light glowed at the end of his wand, illuminating the fog for a couple of feet, enough that he was able to get to his desk without actually colliding with anything. Plunging into the densest patch of fog, he realized that it must be coming from his cauldron.
“Finite Incantatum!” he snapped. At once the hissing and bubbling stopped. Gradually, the fog began to thin, and eventually only light mist still lingered in the corners. So much time had elapsed that there would be no time to brew the potion planned for that lesson. Grimly he dictated an amount of homework that would have drawn groans from the class – had they dared to make such a noise in Snape’s presence. As they gathered their books and quills, Snape said,
“Before you dismiss...” When he had their attention, he continued, “It seems that someone in this class considers it – amusing – to disrupt my lessons.” His voice was barely above a whisper, but the underlying menace had every student riveted. “May I remind you that you are preparing to take your OWLS in a few months. Few of you are destined, in any case, to achieve the required standard to continue this subject at NEWT level, and there will be no allowances made for any student whose results are even lower, simply because one...” his eyes flickered almost imperceptibly in the direction of the twins, “... or perhaps two of you persist in their imbecilic attempts to prevent this class taking place.”
He cast a final glowering look around the dungeon. “Class dismissed.”
As the students clattered out of the dungeon, Snape picked up a small ladle, dipped up some of the liquid remaining in his cauldron, and poured it into a clear glass bottle. As the last of the class left the room, he was holding the bottle up to the light, staring intently at the contents.
“I’m telling you, he’s on to us!”
“Nah, he was just guessing.” George leaned back in his armchair, feet propped on a table. “We can’t stop now, not when we’ve finally got the next spell working.” He uncorked the bottle he was holding and shook the tiny cloud onto his palm. “Engorgio Aeolo Celera,” he said, pointing his wand. The cloud expanded and began to flit round the common room. Everywhere it passed, papers were blown to the floor, and people’s hair was whipped into their eyes. “Just what that dungeon needs, Fred. A nice breath of fresh air!”
The atmosphere was tense as the class assembled for the last lesson the following Friday. Students were wondering with pleasurable anticipation what the weather would be like in the dungeon this week. Snape was seated, fingers laced on the desk in front of him, watching as each student took their place.
It seemed that his black eyes followed the Weasleys with extra intensity, and under cover of spreading out his books, George muttered, “Might not get a chance today.” Fred grimaced, checking his pocket for the little bottle.
It looked as if George might be right. The lesson was three-quarters over, and Snape had remained at his desk, glaring, as the class worked. The twins were resigning themselves to waiting another week, when a muffled BANG set the glass jars on the shelves reverberating. A Slytherin close to the front staggered from his seat, robes smoking, as the contents of his cauldron fizzed over. There was a violent hiss-s-s-s as whatever the boy had mixed began to eat into the stone floor.
Snape erupted from his chair, pointing his wand and muttering a counter-spell even before he reached the culprit. The student’s robes stopped smoking instantly, but it took several seconds before the potion dissolving the floor was rendered harmless.
George looked at Fred, one eyebrow raised, and got an answering nod. They exchanged identical wicked grins, and settled back to watch the fun.
It became apparent very quickly that something wasn’t quite right.
The first desk their spell reached rocked violently, parchments whirling into the air. In rapid succession, the rest of the desks in the row shuddered. Books, quills and potion ingredients flew upwards, and a rushing noise drowned out the alarmed voices of the class. Spinning rapidly, the windstorm rushed across the room, scattering furniture, and when it reached the far wall, glass jars and bottles were hurled into the air. As they smashed against the walls and floor, shards of glass were picked up by the wind, transforming the swirling funnel into a lethal tornado.
Momentarily rigid with horror, the twins suddenly went into action. Leaving their seats, they began to herd their fellow students out of the room. As they stumbled to the door, they heard Snape shout above the din, and George looked back to see that the student whose cauldron had overflowed was frozen to the spot, as if hypnotized by the whirlwind that was racing towards him.
Snape seized the boy by the shoulders of his robe and dragged him down the aisle at the side of the classroom. A swarm of glass slivers spun in their direction, and with one hand Snape twisted the boy away from the razor-sharp shards, at the same time shouting, “Repello vitrum!”
The repelling spell was successful, and he pushed the boy through the door, before turning to face the screaming maelstrom bearing down on him. There was a muffled crack and the shriek of the wind ceased abruptly. All that was heard was the almost musical sound of broken glass rattling onto the stone floor.
A deathly hush descended. Snape emerged slowly, his face contorted with rage. Apparently a shard of glass had made it past the repelling spell; he raised his hand and wiped a thin trickle of blood from his temple. He glanced at the student he had shoved out of the dungeon. The boy was crouched against the wall, shaking, his eyes wide with shock. “Get him to the hospital wing!” Snape spat, and the two students closest to the boy began to pull him to his feet.
In the silence, Snape turned, his eyes raking the scared faces until he reached the pair he was looking for. He raised his wand and pointed it at the Weasleys. Some of the students gasped, thinking that Snape was about to hex the twins, but instead the wand tip flicked in the direction of the staircase. “Gentlemen...” Rarely had a courtesy title been spoken with more venom. “You will accompany me to the Headmaster’s office.”
Darkness was beginning to fall before the twins emerged from Professor Dumbledore’s office.
General opinion in the common room was that this time they had gone too far. Expulsion, surely, was inevitable. However, by the time they strolled in, the twins had regained their customary jauntiness. In reply to their fellow-Gryffindors' questions, all they would say was that they weren’t packing just yet, but it was probable that Gryffindor would finish the year with negative house points.
Next morning, as soon as breakfast was over, they exchanged resigned looks, and set off for the Potions dungeon. In addition to the loss of 300 house points each, they had been condemned to spend the weekend cleaning up the devastation they had caused. They were also to salvage as much as possible of the scattered ingredients, and label all the new jars required. This was all to be accomplished, naturally, without the use of magic.
Snape was already at his desk, writing, when they arrived, Barely acknowledging the twins’ existence, he indicated the waiting rows of new glass jars at the side of the room.
After several hours of groveling under desks, trying to pick up tiny fragments of potion ingredients from among the broken glass, Fred glanced in Snape’s direction. “I bet the evil git’s enjoying this!” he muttered. He gave up his attempt to pick up some miniscule dried minnows’ eyes. "How does he expect us to pick this tiny stuff up with our bare hands?”
“He expects you to do it without comment!”
The twins jumped slightly. “As it happens, “ Snape continued, in a soft, mocking tone, “I have a suggestion that may make your task.... easier.” He pointed at George and beckoned. As his twin went unwillingly towards Snape, Fred could see the malice glittering in the Professor’s eyes. When George reached him, Snape gestured towards a box on the desk, and said something a tone too low for Fred to make out the words. George took something from the box, then returned to where Fred waited.
“Here!” He thrust a tiny silver teaspoon into Fred’s hand. Crouching down, he began to scoop up the fish eyes with a similar utensil, muttering half to himself, “Use a spoon, he says. I ask you!”
After a few minutes, he paused again, and looked up at Fred, his eyes sparkling. “Locusts!” he said.
Fred met his gaze. “Nasty little beasties, they are...”
“...travel in swarms...”
“...eat everything in sight...”
They grinned at each other.
“How many d’you reckon it would take to fill a dungeon?”
EvilOrangeBunny 23:33, May 15, 2011 (UTC)