Title: Superior Stock
Length: 363 words
Summary: A letter from the MLE arrives for the twins whilst they're having breakfast.
Author Note: Apparently this was originally written for kentish_queen on 13/02//08.
Fred watched the owl as it swooped through the window of the flat above WWW, dropped a rather official-looking letter on top of his toast, turned its beak up at a strip of bacon and flew out again.
"That is the MLE seal," George said as he sat down opposite his twin.
They both eyed the letter with all the trepidation given to smoking howlers from their mum.
"We haven't done anything though," said Fred, "right?"
"Unless you count the miniature punching telescope we slipped into Kingsley's bag at the last Order meeting," George said carefully.
"Or the Canary Creams we gave Dad to share out at the office," Fred added thoughtfully.
"The poster of the Weird Sisters in the nude that we stuck in the visitors' phone box entrance..."
"The joke cauldrons we switched with some of the ones Percy was testing..."
"The items of interest we've sent Perfect Percy in the post..."
"Setting up our own shop containing items of a dubious nature..."
Fred nodded decisively. "Absolutely nothing."
They stared at the envelope a little longer.
"Well, open it," George said eventually.
"It landed in your toast, oh brave Gryffindor brother of mine."
Fred stuck his tongue out at his twin, then quickly ripped open the envelope, unfolded the letter and placed it in the middle of the table so they could both read it at once.
"Are you reading what I'm reading?" Fred asked after a minute.
"That we have in actual fact done absolutely nothing?"
"That some git stole our identities to market his own second rate prank products."
"Ah, that bit." George looked up from the letter. "They say he's been caught, punished and released back into society."
Fred pushed his plate of toast to one side and leaned forward with his arms resting on the table. "What do you think about paying him a little visit?"
"Purely to educated him on what the original, superior stock provided by experienced pranksters actually looks like?" George asked, wearing a grin that any member of the Weasley family would be deeply suspicious of.
"Well we do have some additions to the Skiving Snackboxes that need testing."
Length: 146 words
Summary: Apparently around 17/02/08 sugar_fey gave me the prompt tempt not a desperate man from Romeo and Juliet.
Ron eyed the plate of biscuits. It was three whole hours until dinner and Mum wouldn't let him near the kitchen, even though he'd woken up late and missed lunch. (She would have let Harry, if he was here. She would have made him a late lunch all for himself.)
"I don't think he's hungry after all," said George.
"Little Ronikins must be sick," said Fred and he pulled the plate he'd been waving under Ron's nose back towards himself.
"No! No, wait."
He really was hungry and it wasn't like Fred and George had ever pranked food before. Well, they had, but it had been pranks along the lines of putting things in food, like worms and stuff, not pranking the actual food. It wasn't like the twins had been cooking up in their room or anything.
It was just one innocent looking custard cream.
Title: April Fools
Length: 315 words
Summary: On their eighth birthday Fred becomes George and George becomes Fred.
The first time they swap jumpers is on their eighth birthday.
Mum and Dad think they don’t listen to the lectures and the lessons, because they don’t finish the work or they make jokes about what they’ve been told, but with four ears between them they take everything in.
Dad always does the lessons on Muggles, after he’s come home from work. April Fool’s Day is a Muggle tradition when people make jokes in the morning and then tell people what they’ve done once it’s midday. All of them sit around the front room whilst he tells them about this other culture and that Fred and George were born on April the first, and everyone laughs.
It’s appropriate for them, and even more appropriate that they play a joke, so they swap jumpers; Fred becomes George and George becomes Fred.
And no one notices.
People had gotten them mixed up before, even Mum, but they didn’t realise how often it happened until they mixed things up further. They might look the same, but apparently no one but Fred knew that George always sat next to Ginny at meal times and no one but George knew that Fred always ate his eggs before his bacon. It came as a bit of a shock that the little things that made Fred Fred and George George weren’t noticed by anyone else.
First it was annoying, then they did what they always did and laughed it off. They made it into a joke, created Gred and Forge, deliberately dressed the same. They didn’t tell anyone that the wrong boy blew out the candles on the wrong cake and that little Ginny gave her paintings of your favourite things to the wrong brother, even though she got their individual favourites right.
Contrary to popular belief, although they deliberately confused people they never deliberately switched again.
(Although George wishes they had.)
Title: Exaggeration and Fabrication
Length: 328 words
Summary: Pre-War Stories Wash thinks about the stories of his war.
Wash doesn't have any war stories, or rather they're not what Zoe and Mal mean by war stories. Those two talk about heads being blown off, knives in the dark and mud baths in shallow trenches. Actual things that really happened.
Wash can't tell stories like that.
When he was a kid his mum would tell them all bedtime stories, about daring rescues by chivalrous princes and clever little princesses who found their own way out of trouble, but it was the stories about when she met their dad and life back when she was young that had young Hoban's mouth hanging open.
At flight school he spun tales of what they might do on a drunken night out or repeated stories he'd heard from retired pilots when he was trying (and failing) to cook fry-ups at a nearby eatery. The point of them was to take people's attention away from asking about his home life, which wasn't much but it was theirs, or to make them laugh, to make them like him.
During the war they became an escape. Shadowed shapes on the walls, dinosaurs and aliens in the night, keep them all laughing so it wasn’t as dark.
Wash can talk, has always been able to talk, and he can spin a yarn as good as the next flyboy, but that's exaggeration at best and complete fabrication at the other end of the scale. He never tells true stories.
He doesn't know how to.
Mal and Zoe talk about blown off heads, knives in the dark and mud baths in shallow trenches. Those are the stories of their war.
He tries not to hear them, tries to alter the endings to happiness, or sarcasm, or something they can laugh at.
Wash remembers how the dinosaurs defeated the aliens and conquered Earth-That-Was for themselves. Those were the stories of his war.
The dying and the dead aren't stories, they're a truth, and those he keeps to himself.