Fred Weasley watched the bustling activity in Diagon Alley and sighed contentedly. He loved this time of year. Not because of a holiday or the weather, though. Business was brisk. In fact, it was busier than ever. He took one last look at the groups of witches and wizards who were visiting neighbouring shops and stepped back through the doorway of Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes.
“Fred, stop lazing about and give me a hand with the owl post. We’ve got at least thirty new orders in this morning,” George called from the stock room.
“Thirty new orders? Those poor ickle Hogwarts students-“ Fred burst into laughter before he could finish. His twin brother quickly joined in.
“Brother dear, this is perhaps my favourite time of year. Now that we’re no longer subjected to the trials and tribulations of O.W.L.s and N.E.W.Ts, of course.” George turned to his twin and smiled as he placed several packets of what appeared to be old tea leaves into a small box.
“Very poetic and well said, brother. I never thought I would enjoy exams quite so much as I do now.” Fred picked up a stack of parchment that lay on the table and began reading from the order forms. “There’s quite an assortment of products being ordered. Perhaps we ought to think about expanding our line of magical study aids.”
“As long as we don’t spill the beans to ickle Ronnikins. He’d be sure to tell Hermione…” George’s voice trailed off as he heard the tinkling of the bell at the front of the store.
“What would he be sure to tell Hermione?” Fred raised an eyebrow as he noted that George had suddenly gone quite pale.
“Yes, George, what would he be sure to tell me?” Fred heard the very familiar female voice over his shoulder and struggled not to laugh at the look on his brother’s face.
“Hermione, dear, how absolutely spiffing to see you. What brings you into our humble establishment today?” George recovered his composure quickly as Fred doubled over in silent laughter.
“What are you to up to now? You’re not testing more of your products on Hogwarts students are you? I thought you’d put a stop to that when you left school,” Hermione chided both of the Weasley twins and gave them a very stern look.
“We’re doing no such thing, love. We’re merely serving a need for those poor, overworked and overtired students who are struggling with the difficulties of exam preparations. You of all people should be able to appreciate that. Even though you had the highest O.W.L. and N.E.W.T scores in Hogwarts history.” Fred put one arm around his sister-in-law’s shoulders and tried to steer her away from the box George had been filling.
Hermione blushed at Fred’s compliment, but stood her ground. She started to speak, but George cut her off before she could gather steam and start lecturing.
“You’re not a Prefect any more, Hermione, so save it for Ronnikins.” George grinned.