Bianca was itching to talk to someone. When she joined Fred and George in the common room the next morning, it had been nearly a day since she last spoke to them on the train. They all assumed things would get easier once Bianca got to know everyone a bit better, but currently, conversation was more than difficult.
The three had got up quite early so as they navigated themselves carefully through the castle there weren't many people around. When they found themselves on an empty corridor, Bianca sighed loudly.
"This is killing me!" she exclaimed.
"Come on," George said, "You've only been here a day!"
"Yeah," Fred said, "You'll get used to everyone. It might take a while but you'll get there."
"I haven't talked to either of you since we got here," Bianca sulked.
"Incorrect," Fred said, "I distinctly remember you saying 'this is killing me' not fifteen seconds ago."
"I missed not talking to you both last night."
"I wish we could say the same," Fred said, "It was nicely quiet without you nattering on in the background."
"Says the queen of shutting up," Fred said sarcastically.
"Hey," George said, "We've got another hour and a bit before lessons, want to do a little prank?"
Fred grinned, "It would be a shame to waste a perfectly good hour. Let's show these teachers what they're up against."
After quickly grabbing a slice of toast and collecting their timetables from the Great Hall, the three made their way back to the common room talking excitedly all the way. They thought it was quite the achievement that they only got lost three times on their small journey.
"So," Fred said, "We have just under an hour before our first lesson which is Transfiguration. I don't think that's too far away."
"Great," George said, "That's plenty of time."
They were huddled in a corner in the common room, far away from everyone else brainstorming ideas.
"Don't get caught," Bianca said quietly, "Not on your first day. Do something that can be set off far away from where you are."
"But we want to be able to see reactions," Fred said thoughtfully, "When do you think Charlie will notice he's wearing his old Prefect badge and his Quidditch Captain one is glued to the Fat Lady?"
Bianca burst out laughing, "You put Charlie's Quidditch badge on the painting? When?"
"Fred did it last night when Charlie walked him back to the common room. We nicked some of that Muggle stuff dad swears by- SuperGlue- and I used it."
"When did you switch the badges?"
"At dinner," George said, "I took his when I first came to the table and slipped it to Fred when we skipped back to the table."
"Then I told him it'd fallen off when we were on our way here last night. He was so distracted by his mates, he didn't notice I'd given him the wrong one."
"That was clever!" Bea said, "Charlie won't snitch, either."
"I hope not," George agreed, smirking, "He's usually a good sport."
"He'll be seeking for it for days when he notices it's gone," Fred said, catching on.
The three fell into fits of laughter at their own puns.
It was, in fact, three whole days before Charlie realised what the twins had done. Fred, George and Bianca were sitting in the common room with Lee, complaining that they'd been given homework already when Charlie came over to them.
"Ok, where is it?" he asked.
"Where's what?" George replied.
"I don't know what you mean," said Fred innocently.
"You know exactly what I mean," Charlie said with a chuckle, "Where's my badge?"
"It's in your hand," George sighed, "You're showing it to us."
"Not this one! My Quidditch Captain badge!"
"Charlie," Fred said, standing up and putting an arm around his brother's shoulders, "That clearly says 'Quidditch Captain'. Are you feeling alright, or do you need to borrow Percy's glasses."
"Don't be a prat, that says Prefect," Charlie replied, removing his brother's arm from his back, "I have to admit, it was smart, but where is it?"
Fred and George shared a bewildered glance, "Charlie, you surely can't blame us for you putting on the wrong badge!"
"Drop it, guys, I have try-outs next week, I need it."
"You probably left it at home!" George said, "Picked up the wrong one by mistake."
"Bianca will tell me where it is, won't you, Bea?"
"Bea, don't be a traitor," Fred said.
"How about this Charlie," George said, "I'll tell you that it's somewhere that you walk past at least every day."
The twins had checked the badge was still there every time they passed the portrait. They'd hidden it quite well so it was camouflaged against the paint, it was quite difficult for them to see themselves, and they knew where it was!
"Come on, Charlie, you're meant to be a seeker! Use those eagle eyes of yours."
"You're all idiots! And here was me thinking I was your favourite."
"Fat chance," Fred said, "Our only favourites are each other."
"Cute," Charlie mocked, "Now go get my badge or I'll set Percy on you."
"Ooh, I'm really scared now."
"You walked through where it is to get here."
Charlie scrunched his eyebrows in confusion as his brother continued, "Now if you'll excuse us, we have a foot and a half of charms homework to do."
"Pah, you, doing homework, good one."
"Hey! I'll have you know we're trying hard in lessons."
"Yeah," George backed his brother up, "We won't start the mayhem for at least another week."
"And besides, we're pranksters and jokers, not rebels. We need our education if we're going to get anywhere in life."
"Exactly, we might just make some lessons a little bit more interesting, that's all."
"I can't believe what I'm hearing!"
"Shut up, Charlie, you know us."
"Exactly, that's the problem."
"Of course, there are some lessons, we care less about," George said thoughtfully.
"History of Magic," Fred supplied.
"No, I like that one," Lee spoke up, "It's a good time for a nap."
"How about Astronomy, then?"
"Pointless," Lee agreed.
"Flying lessons are a bore too. We've been flying for years!"
"What about Herbology?" Charlie asked.
"Haven't had it yet," George answered, "First thing tomorrow."
"Right, well, seeing as you lot are about as helpful as a tea-cosy, I'm going to find my badge. See you later."
George looked after his brother squinting slightly, "I think tea-cosies are very helpful- no one likes cold tea."
"But we have magic, Georgie, there are spells to keep tea warm and heat it up."
The four spent the rest of the evening huddled in front of the fire and doing their homework and watching Charlie scouring the common room for his badge. It was the twins' strong belief that if you did your homework (only the ones you cared about, of course) straight away, you'd have more time for pranking later. Because while Fred and George were excellent jokers, they were also very clever, talented wizards and understood if they wanted to do well, as they did, they needed their education. With not even a week behind them, the boys already excelled in Charms, Transfiguration and, though not to the pleasure of Professor Snape, Potions. They'd completed all tasks in lessons to extremely high standards, and in Potions, no matter how hard he tried, Snape couldn't find even the slightest fault. Fred and George had produced a perfect potion in half the time it took everyone else. Professor Snape hadn't hesitated to tell them off for rushing into their work and taking off house points for carelessness, despite the twins' faultless potion. Snape had reminded them that it was possibly the easiest method in the world and stalked away. Fred and George decided that they didn't like Professor Snape.
Professor McGonagall found it amazing that they could mess around and not pay attention all lesson, yet still know the answer to every question she asked before they were dismissed and Professor Flitwick seemed to have taken a particular liking to the boys when they had successfully made his chalk float up and write 'Fred and George' on the blackboard on only their second attempt. Granted, they were meant to be levitating feathers, but it was impressive all the same.
The weeks at school whizzed by. Fred, George and Bianca, occasionally with the help of Lee, caused havoc in the corridors, but, with just over a week before the Christmas holidays, they still hadn't been caught. The teachers all knew who was causing the mayhem but with no proof, so couldn't give them detention. After three or four weeks, Bianca found herself being able to talk to Lee Angelina and Alicia, as well, and they all seemed overjoyed that she did so. She was still quiet and reserved around them, but wasn't so afraid to input to conversations. Fred, George, Bea and Lee were heading down to the Quidditch pitch to watch Charlie play in the first match of the year against Ravenclaw. He'd found his badge a few days after he confronted the twins and hadn't taken it off his jumper since.
They huddled in the stands to protect themselves against the light rain which was falling and watched as the teams filed out onto the pitch. Charlie shook hand with the Ravenclaw captain and the teams mounted their brooms.
It wasn't a particularly long game; both teams were eager to get back inside against the cold. Near the beginning of the match, a bludger hit the Gryffindor keeper, Oliver Wood, when their beaters hadn't got to him in time, meaning the hoops were left undefended. In the end, the teams drew level when Charlie caught the snitch, for Gryffindor. He'd seen that Ravenclaw were leading massively due to Gryffindor's lack of keeper, so decided to end the game quickly, before they were thrashed. He'd zoomed around the field, chasing after the snitch and had caught it not even thirty seconds after Ravenclaw scored the point that meant the game ended in a draw.
When the game ended, the Gryffindor team vanished to get changed and to go and check on their keeper who had been taken to the hospital wing with a few broken ribs. Lee also ran off to go and talk to some of the boys that he and the twins shared a room with, leaving Fred, George and Bianca to wander aimlessly around the school for a while. While the three had got the general gist of navigating the school, the castle was huge, and they'd made it their aim to learn as many as the castle's secrets as they could. So far, they'd found a handy passage which led from a corridor beside the Great Hall up to the common room, a classroom which seemed to have an infestation of angry looking imps and a corridor which led back to the start if the same corridor when you walked along it.
Just as they were walking past one portrait of a man who was mid-fight with a troll and were happily discussing the match, Bianca spotted a small crack in the wall behind a suit of armour. She carefully slid her hand into the crack and felt her fingers brush up against some sort of lever. Bea quickly retracted her hand and watched in amazement as the bricks slid back to reveal a small, empty room. Fred and George followed her as she stepped into the room, lighting her wand so she could see better. The space was about the same size as their bedroom at the Burrow, so it was quite compacted but George whistled in appreciation, "This could come in handy," he said, "No one would find us in here."
The three spent a few minutes inspecting every nook and crevice around them, just to be sure there weren't any secrets that they were missing. When they were satisfied that it was just a room, they headed back towards the exit. Bianca flicked the stone switch again and the wall once again collapsed in to reveal a corridor.
"Hang on," said Fred, "This isn't where we were before."
"This is on the other side of the school!" Bianca exclaimed.
"But we didn't go anywhere," said George, "That's awesome."
Just to be sure they weren't imagining anything, Bianca, George and Fred spent the next ten minutes or so entering the room, closing the door, reopening it to find that they'd switch between the two corridors over and over.
"Wicked," Fred said, "That could save some time and energy getting from Defence Against the Dark Arts to Transfiguration."
"Fred, this room can do more than that! We could have alibis on the other side of the school for every prank we do!" George said excitedly.
"Pranks, eh? So it is you three that have been causing mischief across the school?"
Bianca felt like her heart had dropped to her feet. She turned around to find herself face to face with the school caretaker, Mr Filch who was grinning in delight. Frankly, Bea wished he'd kept his mouth closed because smiling wasn't a good look for him.
"Oh we've been trying to catch you for so long, haven't we, Mrs Norris?" Filch sneered, looking down at his cat who was crawling around by his feet.
Bianca had to hold back fits of giggles- who named a cat Mrs Norris? By some miracle, she managed to keep a straight face as George quickly said, "You think we've been the ones 'causing mischief'? Look at us, we're only innocent first years, we still get lost going from lesson to lesson!"
Filch glared at them suspiciously, "What were you talking about them?"
"Oh, you thought we said prank?" Fred laughed, "We actually said 'shrank'! We were simply telling our lovely friend here how our grandmother shrank a foot over the summer when she put some powdered newt tails in her tea instead of sugar."
"What were you saying about alibis?" Filch demanded.
George laughed, "Again, you simply misheard. Really, we said 'apply' because grandma, bless her, has been applying all sorts of creams all over her body to try and get her height back."
"Well, either way, you should be in your common rooms. What are you doing wandering around the school at this time?"
"Well, the common room is a bit stuffy, see. Lots of people, very crowded indeed, we thought it would be nice to take a walk."
"Well it's nearly time you have to be back, so why don't you start making your way there? Quite a long way, isn't it?"
"Of course, sir," Fred and George bowed, "We'll just be on our way."
The three began to speed away, but they could hear Filch's footsteps following them the entire way.
"He's going to get us for being out after curfew," Fred whispered as they walked, "He wants us to get in trouble but can't prove the pranks were us."
Sure enough, when a clock struck nine o clock in the distance, a hoarse voice called them to stop. George rolled his eyes and turned, "Can we help you, sir?" he asked politely.
"You're out of bed after curfew. That's against the school rules, that is."
"Yes, but as you are fully aware, we are headed to the common room right now."
"Prove it," Filch smirked, he knew they couldn't get themselves out of this one, "Follow me, please."
They didn't have a choice, so they trudged back through the school after the caretaker, not really knowing what he was going to do about it. Eventually, they arrived at a small office that looked suspiciously like it had been converted from a broom cupboard.
"Now," Filch sneered, "I'll warn you now, students who misbehave are expelled and I know it's you three running about the school and mucking about, making more mess for me to clean up! You dropped that dungbomb outside my office this morning!"
"Prove it," Fred said confidently, but Filch never got the chance to, as the next second, a colourful blob had soared into the room and was shouting, "Students out of bed! Knocking over suits of armour on the third floor! It's terrible Filchy, you want to go and give them a good thrashing!"
Filch grumbled, told the three students that they could go and hurried out the room.
"Quick Filchy, they're getting away, the rascals!" the floating, human blob turned his back on Filch and smirked, "Ooohh, ickle naughty firsties, what have you three been up to?"
No one replied but the blob didn't care as he continued, "Did you know, some genius has been pulling pranks all over the school? They're nearly up to my standard, I must admit, just the other day they made a bucket full of bowtruckles topple onto Snively Snape's head! He still can't get some of them off!" the thing rolled about laughing in mid-air, "I'm dying to know who's behind it."
George smirked and glanced at his brother, finally figuring out who was hovering before them, "Actually, that was us," he said.
"No, ickle firsties pulling pranks like that? I don't believe it."
"It was," Fred said, feeling rather affronted, "We did all of it."
"The invisible smile in front of the Slytherin common room too?"
"All of it," Fred growled.
"Well then, my masters, I bow down to you. I am Peeves, the school's best and only poltergeist."
"Pleasure," George said, "Now if you'll excuse us, we have a common room to get back to."
"Hang on a second, Georgie," Fred said, pointing at one of the many drawers in the room, "Look at this! It says 'Confiscated and Highly Dangerous'."
"Have a look then," said George excitedly while his twin opened the drawer and removed a piece of parchment. "What is it?" George asked.
Fred unfolded the paper and looked at it, "It's blank." He sounded disappointed.
"Oh you'll want to take that with you," Peeves suggested wisely, "I'd have it myself but I don't need it anymore."
"But what is it?" George asked.
"I guess you'll have to figure it out."
And Peeves was gone.
A/N: Sorry if it feels like things are moving quite slowly, not much exciting ill happen until their third year when arr arrives at Hogwarts. I'm skipping through with background information so we can get to exciting stuff quicker! Hope you're enjoying it! :D