Nobody ever asked my birthday

Chapter 22

[Take pity, all ye readers, on your poor scribe, and use your powers of imagination to enter the Phantasmagoria that is the Weasley Twins on a Roll (or rampage, as Snape might term it)]

Harry Potter looked at the screen, as did nearly everyone in the audience (save Snape, and the Weasley twins, if for different reasons. Snape, because he was watching the audience's reactions, and the Weasley twins because they already knew everything, having been there).

The scene unfolded on the screen, a ramshackle village with alleys and cross streets - and probably a village Green, although that was hardly in evidence. The camera stood in the middle of High Street** and, adding to the oddity, there was a high hedge growing across the entire street. It was hardly something decent for stealth, that was for sure. Then again, the scene depicted was that of a deserted street - were they aping that the people had already been evacuated? It was unclear. Perhaps the Room didn't have enough resources to create an entire town and populate it with citizens.

"Oh my! That's a very great big hedge you've got there, isn't it, Professor Sprout!" One of the Weasley twins sprang to his feet to say.

"We rather thought that Shrinking Violet would make you rather cross with us!"

"Not to mention poor Violet!"

"Why, she might even turn purple!" With rage, one supposed... A few lips in the audience were twitching, but far more faces bore frowns. The elders in the gathering were not overly fond of the Twins in the first place - and their levity was falling like poorly cast stones, sinking lifelessly into the lake. The twins were not ones to shy away from such disapproval, however. One rather had the idea that they relished it.

Above, on the ledge of one of the shoppes, Professor McGonagall napped. Or at least so it appeared. None of her students were the least bit fooled - and few of the elders were either, after they saw her ear twitch.

"Leave nothing but footsteps, take nothing but candid photos!" one twin cried.

"And if you're wise - which we aren't - skip the footsteps as well!" One grinned at the other, and then they said, "Have you got it yet? How do you sneak past a cat?"

The silence in the room crackled with irritation, and yet they let it stretch out. On occasion, even a Gryffindor could match the Slytherin appetite for drama. Especially this lot.

"Why, with Catnap Dust, a light touch, and just a bit of a scamper!" And the film began to roll again (Harry wasn't quite sure how they were doing it, but the simple answer was that the Room was conforming to their expectations and desires). A cloth mouse (complete with stuffing and stiches), crawled across the ledge in front of the cat. For a moment or five, Minerva's eyes were fixed on the mouse, as it moved across. Checking to see if that's one of them, I bet. Minerva's eyes fell closed, though her tail was twitching irately.

Then there was a whumphy sound of cloth catching the wind, before cracking straight again - and a soft, glittery - was that lavender - powder settled on Minerva's fine feline pelt. Within a few moments, it was obvious that the Cat was Catching a Nap, if a rather involuntary one.

The film rolled on for about two minutes, and then the Weasley Twins paused it. "Did you catch us?" They accused the audience, hands on their hips. "I think you didn't." Harry quickly glanced around the room, and other than Snape, whose perpetual smugness was less aggravating than usual (as he wasn't holding anything over Harry's head this go round), nearly everyone looked confused.

Lupin spoke up finally, confidence in every solid word. "Half a minute ago or so. You may not have left any footsteps, but you did scuff the shingles."

"Right he is!" One twin called. "Little slow on the uptake, isn't he?" The other responded.

"Just waiting to hear if anyone else knew, before I volunteered."

**commercial shopping district, standard name. Like Market Street in America

[a/n: Please, please tell me how well I'm doing with the twins. I think I'm getting jocular and affable, but not terribly good at the jokes. Might fix them on revision. If'n you're getting bored, please let me know. The twins took over this part of the story, and they're rather loud and insistent. However, if I'm doing truly awful at it, I can always skip some of it, I suppose.

Yes, if you're wondering, writing the twins gives me hives, which is why this took so long to update. YOU try writing them! (and pass me some samples! I could use some help getting their fist)].