Acknowledgements: Inspired by Mdm Kelleypen and Mdm DuSult. And many thanks to DSDragon for beta'ing the story!
and George Weasley were a bit surprised that they had been cornered
into babysitting two young Muggles one wintry Saturday afternoon, but
the two chubby children had wandered out of the woods around the Burrow
and into the front yard at the right time—just as Mrs Weasley had put
out a batch of Christmas cookies biscuits to cool. Their mother had
taken a liking to the little tykes, inviting them into the house;
pulling out all sorts of sweets; and casting a stern look when George
referred to them as "butterballs".
The twins had known that a
Muggle family from Germany had just moved in from Germany down the road
from the Burrow, and they had also known that Mum wanted to send a
welcome basket for some time now. They had expected that their dad
would have jumped to jump at the chance to carry the basket down the
dirt track to the potato farm, because it was a golden opportunity for
him to visit Muggles.
Oddly, Dad didn't. It was odd because he
had been hurt in some strange work accident. Since both of their
parents were strangely mum about whatever it was that had made it
impossible for Dad to walk, Fred and George assumed it was some
hush-hush Ministry or Order of the Phoenix operation. So they asked no
Now, in the midst of all the spicy smells of
Christmas baking, they wished that they had asked a question or two, or
at least objected as Fred regarded a pile of Teutonic-themed mittens,
coats, scarves, and hats that lay in the corner. Mum had just bustled
out, looking for more pies, pastries, cakes, and sweets. George's eyes
turned from the glowing and crackling fire in the kitchen to stare at
the two children sitting in the chairs across from him in the Weasley
"Dis ist very gut!" The little blond boy smiled
through bits and pieces of the cake stuck to his chin. "More, please!"
He held out a plate, full of crumbs.
George looked at the
little boy, who looked to be no more than six, "That would be your
fifth piece, little man. Are you sure you want to have another?"
said Fred, glancing at his wristwatch. "It's almost six o'clock. Isn't
it time for your supper yet? We wouldn't want to spoil your appetite."
"Please, Herr Veeselys," said the boy. "I vant more." The plate was waved for emphasis. "Sehr gut! Ja!"
"It's not nice to whine. And aren't you full?" asked Fred.
The boy's chubby older sister, maybe seven or eight, mumbled around a mouth full of biscuits, "I am not full."
"Me, too!" said the boy. "Mutti said ve haf very healthy appetites."
apparently so." Fred frowned at the girl's fat, grubby hand reaching
for another cookie biscuit from the serving dish. He watched as George
sliced away another large piece of double-fudge chocolate dobash for
the little boy.
Molly Weasley bundled bustled in with a plate
of treacle tarts. She sang out, "Oh, there you are my little popkins!
Here are a few more treats—"
"Thanks, woman!" George reached out for the plate and received a sharp slap across the wrist.
"George Weasley! These are for the Grubers." She turned from him and glared at Fred. "Not for you lot!"
Fred muttered something unintelligible.
you go. These are for you two sweeties and your parents." Molly smiled
at the two little children, set down the plate, and left. "I'll be
right back, I have something I'd like for you to bring to take home to
your parents," she called out from the kitchen.
"I hope it ist more food," said the fat boy, his mouth working to inhale the chocolate cake.
little girl might have agreed, had her mouth not just been stuffed with
a large, sugary, cherry turnover. Instead, she could only nod
vigorously towards at her brother, causing her stomach to also jiggle
George shook his head. Muggles. He tried to
figure out where the chins of the two Gruber children ended and where
their necks began as they filled their mouths with treats, sweets,
pastries, cakes—everything that their doting mother could share with
the two who had won her over with their wonderment at the crazy angles
and curves of the Burrow.
"So, what do you think of our house?" asked Fred.
The boy stopped chewing long enough to say, "Es ist broken. Und dirty."
"Und it looks funny." The girl giggled. "It looks like it vill fall over und go...KABOOM." She and the boy both laughed.
"It's a special house," said George. "I like it."
"Vat is so special about it?" asked the girl, finally finished with the turnover and starting to work on a Christmas biscuit.
"It's—it's...well...we live here," said Fred.
"Dat ist it?" The boy stared at Fred, clearly very unimpressed.
was irritated and sat silently as the two ate. Then a grin crossed his
face. "Well, it's a very special house. Very special. It's a house
that's made of—" he spied the girl's biscuit, "—gingerbread." He winked
at Fred, who had looked up in puzzlement.
It took a half-moment for Fred to catch on to George's thought and then he, too, started to grin.
don't believe you," said the little girl. Her eyes flashed a challenge,
a challenge that she should have known better than to have made.
do believe, Fräuline. Here, taste," said George. He reached out to a
crack in the wall next to him and picked off a chunk of dirty, loose
plaster, and with a grandiose flourish, he held his hand out to the
little girl, and then the little boy. Each broke off a small piece from
the offered masonry and they tentatively nibbled at it. Fred stretched
and leaned back with his hands behind his head, smiling broadly.
"Gingerbread!" gasped the little girl, tasting the plaster before gobbling it up. She looked at the wall greedily.
the tips of his fingers to his head, Fred grinned at his brother with
devilment dancing in his eyes. George could see the point of Fred's
wand poking out a bit, the rest hidden inside of the sleeve. Winking,
Fred allowed the wand to slide back into his jumper as he stretched
The ghoul banged on the pipes overhead and the two children looked up, startled.
said Fred. "That's one of the rabbits that nibble on the ceiling every
night. We have to make a batch every evening to patch up the holes the
next morning or in a week's time the whole Burrow will fall over."
nodded. "You could say that you're literally eating us out of house and
home right now." He indicated the half-eaten gingerbread man in the
girl's hand. "Those were to be the patches we were going to put up in
the roof over Mum's side of the bed later today. If it snows..." he
trailed off. "If it snows…"
"...if it snows," Fred's voice
quivered, "then she'll be cold and wet and sick in the morning. She'll
catch her death." He sniffed loudly and shook his head. "D-Do you
really want that to happen? You can't let it happen. I love my Mummy!"
The little girl looked around uncertainly.
"But she vanted us to eat," said the little boy, very quietly.
yes, of course she does," said George. He put on a serious face, the
very paragon of wisdom, or so he thought. He nodded very solemnly.
The two children shrieked, put their arms over their heads, and dove from their chairs.
said to the children cowering under the table, "She wants to fatten you
up for the Christmas roast. Children taste better than duck."
was another shriek. George threw up his hands and looked at his
brother, wondering what Fred was thinking. Fred could only shrug back.
"Shhhh!" hissed Fred. "She'll hear you!"
The two children's eyes darted around the dining room, looking for ways to escape.
yeah. That's right," said Fred. "Be very quiet, because she's very good
at um . . .she's a . . .um . . ." He looked to his brother.
"A WITCH!" cried George in a flash of inspiration.
two children shrieked again and ran from the dining room, knocking over
a chair and bolting through the back door. Their footsteps could be
heard fading into the distance as they crunched through the snow.
George was laughing as he turned on his twin. He was barely able to say, "She's going to eat you?" He laughed even harder.
Better than telling them she's a witch!" said Fred, looking at his
brother dourly. "Whatever possessed you to tell them that?"
"Hey, when in doubt, tell the truth." George laughed even harder.
"But, the Ministry—"
George waved off his brother's concern. "Do we worry about Ministry rules?"
"Fair enough, I suppose—"
word, it certainly sounds like everybody is getting along. What's so
funny my little—" Molly bundled bustled back into the kitchen, holding
a bundle of knitting. "Where did the little ones go?" Her eyes found
the twins; she took in their guilty countenances, their slouching
figures. "Fred and George Weasley . . ." Even though her voice was
quiet, each word was very clear. Every syllable. Every letter. "Where
are Hansel and Gretel?"