As he had everyday for the past 120 years or so, Professor Binns awoke from his habitual early-afternoon nap in front of the staffroom fire. As he had for the past 70 years or so, he floated drearily through the walls that separated the staffroom from his own History of Magic classroom. As he had for the past six years or so, he took roll for this particular class of Gryffindor students in his monotone voice.
“Her e,” said Lavender dully.
“Here,” said Seamus, who promptly lay his head down and fell asleep.
“Oh! here Professor.” Hermione started out of her distracted reverie; she looked irritated, but Binns didn’t even look up.
“He’s not here, Professor. He’s sick,” piped up Parvati, perked at the prospect of some gossip. “My boyfriend’s sister’s cousin met this guy in Hogsmeade whose older brother graduated last year and now works for this girl who’s dating this guy whose second cousin is a fifth year in Hufflepuff and she saw him pass out in the library.” She stopped for breath. “It’s supposed to be serious,” she added, barely containing her excitement.
Professor Binns stared at her, unaccustomed to this energy level. Hermione gritted her teeth. Everything was silent for a moment, then…
H arry Potter was scared out of his mind. His breathing was shallow, his heart was racing, is face was flushed and he felt rather nauseous.
But he was not in the Hospital Wing. He wasn’t even sick. And that was the problem.
“We are so going to get caught,” he moaned. He glared at the grinning red heads on either side of him, who sent him twin grins…but didn’t respond. “You do realize that in addition to risking EXPULSION,” he raised his eyebrows at them, “I’m number one on Voldemort’s hit list and that it’s a REALLY bad idea for me to be out in the open with absolutely NO protection???”
Fred looked at George, (or did George look at Fred?) and heaved a sigh. “You know, my dear brother, I believe our sister was right. He did need this break.” George (or, again, Fred) echoed the sigh. “To think our great benefactor would become so strung up he’d start sounding like Hermione, or worse, Perfect-Percy.” They clucked their tongues in unison. Harry’s face flushed. But the embarrassment didn’t last long.
“Wait!” Harry stared at the two of them. “This was Ginny’s idea?”
“Sure,” said one of the twins, “She called George and me last week, and said you’d been pretty…stressed. She asked us for help getting you a day off.” Filing away that this particular twin was Fred, Harry looked between the two of them. How had they snuck him, the most-heavily-guarded person in Britain, out of Hogwarts: the most secure environment in the Wizarding World?
“How did you sneak me, the most-heavily-guarded person in Britain, out of Hogwarts: the most secure environment in the Wizarding World?” he demanded with a great deal of exasperation.
Fred and George exchanged another woeful glance and then each placed a sympathetic hand on Harry’s shoulders.
“It’s a true shame, my dear brother,” George remarked to his twin, “that Harry Potter…the Harry Potter, glorious benefactor of Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes and the son of a Marauder…would ask such a question more as if he was irritated and scared than curious and excited.”
“Indeed,” commiserated Fred, “How the mighty have fallen. Still, we may be able to make a profit out of this.”
“How’s that, my esteemed colleague?”
“He is now so tight, if we shove a lump of coal up this new Harry’s arse, in two weeks we’ll have a diamond.”
Harry checked the impressive rant he was about to give them on safety and security measures. When had he become this jumpy? Between Dumbledore’s prophecy, Moody’s constant vigilance, and Hermione’s saving-people thing, he’d somehow become as nervous as Goyle during a pop-quiz. He thought of Ginny, and how he’d snapped at her after she asked how he was doing the other day…
“You say Ginny came up with this idea?”
“Now Harry,” started Fred.
“If you think that,” continued George.
“We’ll allow you-“
“To reprimand our sist-“
“I think we should spring her too,” Harry said with a grin, cutting them off, “She deserves a day off as well.”
Fred and George grinned back, and then slapped their hands together in a high-five. “You got it!” they said in unison.
“All right then,” nodded Harry. Then he paused. “I still want to know how you did it.”
-We now interrupt the main flow of this story for an educational presentation by Fred and George Weasley-
Hello, young pranksters and slackers of the world. I am Fred Weasley.
And I am George. Welcome to our Seminar on Skiving School.
Our Expose on the Evils of Education.
The secret to the Art of Avoiding Arithmancy.
The Truth to Tricking Teachers.
The…actually, I think we should quit with the alliterations now, don’t you think, Fred?
Now, as with all art forms, proper skiving depends on the ability to tailor your skiving to a specific situation…
In other words, your ability to improvise and to take into account all factors in the current situation.
Always, you must show enough symptoms to be allowed a sick day while not experiencing any that would hinder your ability to have fun on your day off.
If you’re a muggle, this requires a vast amount of acting skills and an unusually gullible pair of parents. We recommend faking a stomachache and clammy hands and insisting that you have to go to school in a very pathetic voice.
Luckily, magic users have many more resources for skiving. Including our patented skiving snackboxes…
Now only two galleons a variety pack!
Quite right. However, such methods are only useful in a boarding school if you merely wish to get out of class. Useless if you want to have a fun time in a big city away from teachers.
However, they are useful for temporarily immobilizing a reluctant truant. Simply place a delayed reaction charm on a fainting fancy…
...and have your charming sister dissolve it in the over-stressed boy’s tea in the morning.
Then to get him out of school it’s a simple manner of enchanting a Devious Doppelganger (New from WWW! Only twenty galleons!) to look like a certain black haired, green eyed individual…
…Place it on the setting “Deathly Ill”…
And using an invisibility cloak “borrowed” from a certain lad by your younger sister (Ah, she does us proud doesn’t she, Fred?)
(Most certainly, George)
…smuggle the real Harry Potter out of the building, leaving a very sick, very fake Harry in his place in the hospital wing.
Just think, George, if it weren’t for us Weasleys, he’d be sitting in History of Magic now.
Isn’t he supposed to have a quiz over Goblin Rebellions today?
Who cares? The goblins could kill each other all off tomorrow and I still wouldn’t have a Firebolt.
Too true, too true.
-Now, back to your regularly scheduled plotline-