A/N: So sorry about the long delay. I've taken to wearing my Gryffindor House robe when I'm working on this story. I don't know why, it just seems to keep me in the zone. xD

I think flying lessons actually took place before Halloween in the Philosophers Stone, because I remember Hermione not being friends with Harry and Ron yet at that point. So whoops. I hope we can just say that flying lessons started later for Fred and George's first year for no really good reason, haha.

I think this is actually a pretty long chapter compared to the rest.

Thanks for reading, and please leave a review on your way out!

Chapter 6 - Broomsticks and Fears

Anna knew it couldn't be Hagrid approaching them, the person wasn't nearly big enough. But with her luck, it might have been someone worse. It didn't sound like Snape though, and that in itself was a relief.

"D'you think he'll tell Mum?" one of the twins whispered to the other, who shuddered.

"If he does, she's worse than any of the monsters in that Forest."

As the figure drew nearer to them, the moonlight revealed it to be their Headboy older brother, Charlie, "Well? Where do you think you're going?"



Charlie sighed, "I knew it was no use hoping something like this wouldn't happen with you two so early. And you even went and dragged someone else along with you? What were you thinking? I honestly have no problem with a few pranks here and there, but the forest is dangerous!"

"Actually," Anna said in a small voice, her nerves getting the best of her, "I came along on my own."

He looked at her for a moment, and Anna got the idea that he didn't really believe her.

He shook his head, "Even if that is true, I know my brothers. You don't have to say anything for me to know this wasn't your idea."

"You're not going to turn us in are you?" the twins asked.

Charlie gave them a look, "Sorry, boys, I can't let something like this go, or you'll just do it again. I'll have to turn you all in to Mcgonagall."

Fred and George groaned loudly, "But who knows what she'll do to us!"

"You should have thought about that before pulling a stunt like this."

"Are you going to owl Mum, too?" one of the twins asked, eyes wide. Anna had to wonder what Mrs Weasley was like. She couldn't be anything like her own mother, when all of the sons she had met so far were all happy (excluding maybe Percy - who nagged at the twins constantly - but he didn't seem emotionally damaged or anything, either). Still, Anna noted for future reference that she must be scary in her own right.

"She'll drag us home for sure!"

"I won't send an owl to Mum, then," Charlie sighed, and their expressions brightened greatly, "Just this one time. I can't promise Mcgonagall won't say the same, and if Mum finds out I knew and didn't tell her, she'll have all our heads. Now come on, I'll lead you back to castle."

"Hold on," one of the twins said as they started to follow the other boy, "What were you doing at Hagrid's?"

"He asked me to do him a favor," Charlie replied, not elaborating further, "And I don't have to explain anything to you."

"I am very disappointed. In all of you!"

The wrath of Professor McGonagall was a fearsome one. Anna couldn't help but flinch at her tone.

"What in Merlin's name were you thinking?" McGonagall demanded, "Three first years alone in the forest? I assure you the monsters in that forest are more than even most of our seventh years can handle. You could have been killed! You're lucky your brother was there to stop you!"

"Are you going to expell us, Professor?" Anna managed to ask in a small voice, shrinking in her chair on the other side of McGonagall's desk.

The strict older woman calmed down slightly, but maintained her serious tone, "No, Miss Nymphea, I am not. However, let me be clear with you that this idea of yours was beyond unintelligent, and I suggest you all wisen up immediately. Sixty points will taken from Gryffindor for sheer stupidity, and the three of you will serve detention every Saturday for the next month. If this happens again, or if I find you all out past curfew for that matter, the punishment will be much greater. Now, off to bed, all of you."

As the next few days passed, it became clear that the rest of the Gryffindors weren't exactly pleased with the point deduction. Angelina and Alicia had interrogated Anna the day after their little escapade, surprised that Anna had actually let the twins rope her into it. They, like Charlie, didn't really believe that she had gone with them by her own choice.

Lee didn't care about the loss of points, as he had originally was going to go with them before Peeves started calling for Filch. Instead, he was more disappointed that they were caught before they got into the forest.

Believing that Ange and Alicia were still upset about the points, Anna had started to spend more time around the boys until the two girls brought it up with her in their dorm. They had actually gotten over it pretty quickly, and were more upset that Anna had thought they were ignoring her than anything else. They had actually gotten over it pretty quickly.

Brian, being in Ravenclaw, hadn't been upset about it at all. But that didn't stop him from giving her a lecture about how dangerous the forest was during Charms class. After that, he went back to normal, kindly helping her with any questions she had about their homework.

She even went with him to his Defense Against the Dark Arts study group in the library one night. She decided against going again, though, as the other students their were all Ravenclaws who treated her as if she was incompetent. She decided she would rather ask him for any help during their classes, as he was actually kind to her. Besides, Defense class was something she thought was better off being practiced rather than studied, as they hadn't really gone into creatures to watch over yet and were still learning simple protective spells.

Chrys had even cornered her after a Potions class to lecture her on how stupid she was to attempt going into the forest, and how spending time with the Weasleys only seemed to be impairing her judgment. Anna found out later that week that Chrys had written home about it, when she received a Howler from their mother.

As November continued to go by, Anna spent the first three detentions she had been serving with the twins studying them. She had still gotten absolutely nowhere in trying to tell them apart, but on the plus side, they seemed to be getting bored with the game of trying to confuse her.

Perhaps they realized she was just too stubborn to give up.

Or maybe on some level they wanted her to figure it out.

But she was still growing frustrated. They were so alike; completely the opposite of how she was with her own twin.

One of the twins stretched as they were finally released from their third detention, where Professor McGonagall had had them preparing her classroom for her first class on Monday. "I can't believe she's making us serve our next detention with that git."

He was referring to Filch. Anna nodded with a sigh, "You don't reckon he would be nice if we didn't cause any trouble for him?"

The twins laughed, "Filch? Nice?"

"No way. Everyone knows he hates students."

"But enough about that, we're going to Quidditch practice tomorrow."

"Want to come?"

Anna paused, narrowing her eyes, "But why? You're not on the team."

"We know that," one of them smirked, "But we're excited about the flying lessons starting Monday, so we wanted to go watch."

"You should come, too."

"O-oh," Anna tried to think of some excuse as to why she couldn't go, but came up with nothing, "Sure, why not?"

"S'going on?" Alicia asked groggily, making Anna freeze. She had been trying to get dressed and down to the common room without noise so she could avoid waking the other girls up.

"Morning," Anna whispered so she wouldn't wake Angelina, "Sorry, I was trying not to wake anyone."

"Why are you up so early?" Alicia asked, rubbing the sleep out of her eyes, "It's Sunday."

"Fred and George were going on about a Quidditch practice, they're dragging me with them to watch."

"Oh." The words sunk in for a moment, then Alicia's eyes widened and she sat up straighter. "Hold on, we'll come, too." Without hesitation, she grabbed her pillow and threw it at Angelina, "Oi, Ange! Wake up, we're going to Quidditch practice!"

Angelina sat bolt upright, holding the pillow thrown at her to her chest. She didn't look too pleased about the sudden wake-up call. "What?"

"Quidditch practice!"


The darker-skinned girl was halfway dressed when she abruptly stopped and turned to the two waiting girls, "Hold on, we're not even on the team!"

Anna and Alicia laughed, "We know that, silly! We're going to watch!"

The three boys were waiting in the common room for them when they were all finally ready. They didn't seem all that surprised that Alicia and Ange had come along, as the two girls had made it known they were planning on trying out for the house team the next year as well.

Anna remained mostly quiet as the others chatted happily about the sport on their way to the pitch. She would agree with their comments when prompted to, but other than that, she didn't really have anything to add to the conversation.

The team was already zooming around the pitch when they arrived, and Anna tried to avoid looking at them so high up. She thought that maybe when they were in the stands it would be easier for her to watch them soaring about.

It wasn't, really. Being high up in the stands only made her feel dizzy, and even though her feet were on solid ground, she felt like she was walking on air and she was going to fall any moment.

But she didn't want to say anything about it, since the others were having such a good time watching and talking about the sport. She successfully managed squash down all her feelings about being so high up until the subject of flying lessons was brought to attention.

Anna snapped back into reality at the mention of the class they would be starting that Monday. She'd been trying so hard to push it out of her mind, but she couldn't ignore it any more. She was going to humiliate herself in front of all her friends, she knew it.

She feigned excitement for the remainder of the conversation. She didn't really expect them to fall for it, but their own excitement for the class seemed to be enough of a distraction for them.

"That'll be us next year, George," Fred said excitedly as they left the Quidditch grounds, his brilliant blue eyes shining in excitement.

George nodded enthusiastically, "We'll make the best Beaters Hogwarts has ever seen!"

"Sure you will, and we'll make the best Chasers it's ever seen," Angelina told them, motioning between herself and Alicia. They had been talking nonstop in the girl's dorm about when they'd have the chance to try out for the House team next year.

Anna didn't quite have the heart to tell the four of them that the likelihood of all of them making it onto the team was pretty slim. She doubted the Team Captain would want a team made up mostly of second years.

Still, she wanted them to prove her wrong.

"So why were acting so strange at the practice today?" Alicia asked as they entered their dorm. Apparently, Anna hadn't been as unnoticeable as she first thought.

"Yeah," Angelina agreed, "Are you nervous about the flying lessons or something?"

Alicia smiled reassuringly, "Have you ever ridden a broom before? I'm sure you'll do fine. There'll be plenty of other first time fliers, so you don't have to worry about embarrassing yourself, if that's what's worrying you."

Anna shook her head as she sat on her bed, and began playing with the hem of her robe, "It's not that. I have flown a broom before. But my parents weren't around to supervise me, so I went higher than I should have, and fell. I think if I were a Muggle falling from that height I might have died instead of just getting a broken leg."

"So it's a fear of heights, then?" Angelina asked.

When Anna nodded, Alicia spoke up, "Couldn't you just tell Madam Hooch about it? She'd probably excuse you from the lessons if you did."

"Maybe..." Anna admitted, "But maybe I should try and get over it instead? Madam Hooch will be there, so..."

"Well, it's your choice," Angelina shrugged, "But no one would blame you if you decided not to."

The next day came much too quickly for Anna's taste. Even the classes leading up to the lunch break went by in a blur, and by the time they were finally making their way out to the Quidditch pitch.

Anna suddenly wished she'd skipped out on lunch, as she just knew she was going to lose it at some point during their lesson. She only wished she'd done so even more when she realized with horror that they were sharing the lesson with the Slytherins.

Before she really realised what was happening, Chrys had her by the forearm and was pulling her away from the rest of the class.

"Are you sure you don't want to opt out of this?" Chrys asked her in a whisper, "I doubt anyone would say anything if you did."

"It's a bit late for that now, isn't it?" Anna replied quietly, only mildly surprised Chrys was being civil. Underneath all the taunts and snide remarks she'd thrown around for the first three months of school, she was still an older sister.

"You'll only make a fool of yourself, Anna," Chrys pressed, "You don't have anything to prove by doing this. Is it really worth it?"

The answer was simple: No, it really wasn't worth it. But by Chrys believing that Anna would only make a fool of herself, she wanted to prove her wrong.

"Suit yourself," Chrys sighed as she turned to go back to her friends, "Don't say I didn't warn you."

Madam Hooch began the class, telling them to each take a spot beside a broom. Once they were all in place, she told them to hold their hands over their brooms and say 'Up'.

They did. For some students, like Angelina and the twins, their brooms zoomed straight into the outstretched hands at their first attempt, others took a bit longer.

Anna's broom, and the other hand, hardly ever moved at all, no matter how firmly she commanded it. Whenever it did move a little, it would only roll around on the ground uselessly.

Maybe it knew she wanted nothing to do with it.

Soon, all the other students had their brooms in hand, while Anna had barely managed to get hers to roll over. Some of the Slytherin girls Chrys had been hanging around were giggling at her, the boys pointing at her and no doubt making fun of her. Chrys herself looked almost pained by Anna's stubbornness.

Madam Hooch eventually told her to just pick it up, kindly adding that not all students had the ability to control their brooms that way, and that the ones that belonged to the school were all very old, which affected their ability to obey commands on occasion. Anna had the feeling she was only saying it to stop the Slytherins from making fun of her.

Fred, George, and Angelina all looked very annoyed at the Slytherins for their rude comments, while Lee and Alicia seemed mostly concerned. Anna wondered if Alicia and Ange had told the boys about her fear.

As Madam Hooch instructed them to get on their brooms and kick off from the ground, Anna knew she wouldn't be able to hold her lunch down any longer. As soon as her feet left the solid ground, she panicked.

She tried to hold it down, she really did, but she couldn't anymore. The pitch was mostly silent as she hopped off her broom and hurried to the sidelines, where she promptly lost her lunch.

The laughter started then, and Alicia and Ange were quickly by her side make sure she was okay, with the twins and Lee hovering awkwardly behind them.

"-can't even handle being a few feet in the air," the boy Anna recognized as Don was saying through his laughter, "Pathetic!"

Fred and George looked like they were going to say something, but they were beaten to the chase.

"Don," Chrys said firmly in boy's direction, with a glare and a shake of her head. He and the others stopped laughing immediately.

"Alright, dear," Madam Hooch said, leading Anna away from the others, "Flying's not for everyone, nothing to be ashamed of. Now, head off to the Hospital Wing for something to settle your stomach. Would you like someone to accompany you?"

"I can go with her," Lee said, surprising Anna a little. They'd never actually spent any time together on their own, so she didn't know why he would volunteer.

"Thank you, Mr Jordan," Madam Hooch said before telling him to come straight back when she made it there.

The walk was awkward at first. Neither of them were speaking, and Anna was really too embarrassed to say anything.

Eventually, Lee spoke up, "It's okay, you know. If you're scared of heights there's nothing you can really do about it."

Anna nodded, still not really saying anything.

"You weren't worried we were going to judge you for this, were you?" he asked. That had been something she was a little worried about. "That's mental. I'm awful on a broom, too. Besides, I'll need someone to keep me company on the stands once the rest of them are playing the games next year, yeah?"

Anna nodded, wiping tears from her eyes, "Thanks, Lee."

She was in the common room when the others finally returned. As soon as they spotted her, they made a beeline for her, all asking if she was okay and making sure to remind her that the Slytherins making fun of her were all gits and their opinions didn't matter.

She couldn't help but smile at their concern.

With friends like these, who needed flying anyway?

"Right then, we're splitting into two groups to get more done," Flich snarled at them, Anna suspected his reasoning was more so he wouldn't have to spend time with all three kids on their final detention. Everyone knew how he hated the students - most questioned why Dumbledore would keep someone so grouchy and eager to suggest torture as a punishment on staff.

Fred and George immediately grouped together, leaving Anna horrified at the concept of having to spend time alone with Filch. The caretaker narrowed his eyes at them.

"Oh, no you don't," he told them, giving them a wide smile. Anna noted how gross and rotted most of his teeth were, and resisted the small urge to vomit. "You think I'm stupid, do you? Think I'd leave the two of you alone? You!" He pointed at the twin on the left, who jumped slightly at Flich's tone. "With the girl."

He roughly handed Anna some rags, which she noticed already had some grime on them, and handed the twin a large pale filled with soapy water, spilling some of its contents in the process. It looked too heavy for him to carry alone.

"No magic," he snarled before giving another of his cringe-worthy grins, "I'll be leaving Mrs Norris with you. She'll be telling me if you slack off."

He left without another word, leaving the two of them alone in the dingy trophy room, dragging a sullen twin along with him.

Mrs Norris immediately began prowling around them, her large, yellow orbs staring at them. With how dimly lit the room was, the effect was rather creepy.

Anna sighed and set to work.

"So, which one are you, anyway?"

The twin looked at her with wide eyes, as if surprised she would actually come out and ask it. The surprise on his face melted into a mysterious smile before long, though, "You would believe me if I said I'm Fred?"

"Are you?"

He shrugged, still smiling.

Anna sighed and turned her attention back to the suit of armor she was polishing, "Don't you want to be told apart at all? Don't you think it would be nice if someone could see you as just you instead of always combining the two of you together?"

He looked thoughtfully at her for a moment, but said nothing.

"Or maybe you're both just scared of letting someone else know you enough to tell you apart. You've been best friends your entire life, so you think that maybe if you let others in, they might somehow break you apart. But just because you make other friends doesn't mean the two of you will stop being close. It doesn't always have to be like Chrys and me."

He narrowed his eyes, "That's pretty deep judgement on someone you hardly know."

"Isn't that my point? It's been almost three months, we've spent basically every day together, and I don't really know you at all. I want to get to know you both, but I can't really do that if I can't assign the right name to the right person. Besides, I'm a twin, too. Chrys and I used to be like that before coming here. We used to play those name games, it would drive our mother mental even though she knew which one of us was which anyway... But now that I've really seen how Chrys acts around others, I think that I might hate to be mistaken for her. I think that I'm happy to not be in the same house as her for that reason."

She was honestly surprised she was even talking about this to anyone, but if there was a person who might understand what she was feeling it would be another twin, even if he didn't share the same situation with his own brother.

He was quiet for a few moments, going back to work on an overly large trophy. Anna sighed. It seemed like he wasn't going to tell her.

"Fine then, I'm George."

And she believed him.

A smile broke across her face and she laughed, "Wow, I'm surprised that actually worked."

The look of shock reappeared on his face, "Wait, that was a trick?"

"Sort of," Anna giggled, "I was tired of not getting anywhere in telling you two apart. But I was telling the truth."

"Well, how do you know I wasn't lying?" George asked, "What if I really am Fred?"

"What if I don't believe you, George?" she teased, giggling again.

To her surprise, she saw that George appeared to be blushing, most likely from embarrassment. He tried to hide his face behind the trophy, and began to wipe the metal more furiously than before. It was quite possible she had struck a nerve.

Still, Anna couldn't help but smile at her small victory. With this, she could most likely make more progress in telling them apart. But once they were together again, Anna knew she would be back to square one. Maybe she should somehow get Fred on his own so she could focus more on how differently they acted while they were apart?

"Well, I think I feel sorry for Fred, then," she said, "At least all we have to deal with is Filch's annoying cat."

Mrs Norris let out a low hiss in response.

Two more hours passed, in which George had gotten over his embarrassment, and Anna had coaxed him into an easy conversation while they worked about what the rest of his family was like. She had only met Percy and Charlie, and the twins would sometimes bring up their other siblings and parents back home without ever really talking about them. She was curious, and maybe even a bit jealous when comparing what he said about the Weasleys to the dysfunction in her own family, about what they could be like to influence two people like Fred and George. Still, she looked forward to the chance to meet them one day.

Anna would ask George more questions whenever things grew quiet, and as he spoke she took note of how much calmer he was when he wasn't around Fred, though he still joked around a lot. She wondered if Fred was the same way without George around, and planned to find out one day. Perhaps learning their subtle differences when they were away from each other would be her key to telling them apart.

She spent the rest of their detention making mental notes of how George acted on his own as opposed to with Fred, and planned to write them down somewhere once she returned to her dormitory. It would be easier for her to avoid confusing certain details with how Fred acted on his own once she found out.

Filch eventually returned with a thoroughly miserable Fred at his heels, and led them all to his cramped office, complaining the whole while.

He was in the middle of filling out their detention slips for Professor McGonagall when they heard a loud crash outside, followed by loud cackling that could only have been Peeves. Filch ordered them to stay put before hurriedly following the sound of the poltergeist's mad laughter, shouting after him all the while.

"My arms feel like lead," Fred complained loudly once Filch was gone, "You're both lucky you didn't get that git! All he did was complain that I wasn't working hard enough and keep going on about how 'the old punishments' would have been better."

Anna felt a bit guilty that she and George had a more pleasant time of it, though she was sure her arms would be aching for a couple of days as well. She dropped the thought when something caught her eye.

An old, yellowing bit of parchment, sticking out of an overly full file folder marked 'Confiscated Goods, Possibly Dangerous' at an odd angle. She was almost tempted to grab it, if not for the 'Possibly Dangerous' wording on the folder.

Looking closely at the other contents though, she noticed simple prank toys and other such things students normally had, like Fanged Frisbees and old unused dung bombs, and decided it was just Filch not having a sense of humor. Curiosity got the better of her eventually, and she got out of her seat and went for it, feeling the twins' eyes on her the whole time.

She had to dust away a couple cobwebs to pull it out of the folder, and nearly decided to abandon it when she noticed a fairly large, hairy spider sitting on top of it (she was a girl, she was allowed to freak out a little). But with the twins watching her, she didn't want to potentially embarrass herself, so she flicked the arachnid away with her wand and quickly grabbed the parchment before it could reappear and retreated to her seat beside Fred.

"It's just an old bit of parchment," Fred said, unimpressed, when she returned to her seat with it, unfolding it in her lap.

George got up from his own seat on Fred's other side to get a better look, "Yeah," he agreed before pointing at it over Anna's shoulder, "But look at all the folds and extra parts to it, maybe it's hiding something."

Anna nodded and turned her attention to Fred, "Remember what Professor Flitwick said last week? About some sort of charm that conceals writing unless you know what incantation to use? I think he said some required passwords you can make up on your own, too."

Fred shrugged. Anna suspected his time with Filch had dulled his mischievous side a little for the night, he did seem grumpier than a few hours ago anyway, "I suppose. It is weird that Filch kept it this long."

She turned back to the parchment, "Should we nick it?"

They were quiet for a few moments, and when she looked up she saw that they looked mildly surprised (and amused) at her being the one to suggest it.

She flushed, "What? I'd like to figure it out."

"You're like that with a lot of things. It's hard not to notice," Fred smirked, "I think you just dislike not knowing."

"Like Percy," George added.

"But not a prat."

"Clearly. Prefect Percy would never steal from someone on staff, even if it's only Filch."

It would be stealing, wouldn't it? She looked back at the parchment. Maybe she should put it back? But she wanted to know. Besides, with all the cobwebs that were around it, she doubted he would notice it missing.

There was no time left to consider, though. She could hear footsteps and Filch complaining about Peeves getting away. She shoved the parchment into her cloak while the twins took their seats, all trying their best to look like they hadn't moved.

"We'll get him soon, my sweet," Filch was saying to Mrs Norris as he reentered the office, stopping short when he noticed the three of them trying to look as innocent as possible. He narrowed his eyes and scanned his office before deciding nothing seemed out of the ordinary, before telling them to leave so he could finish writing up their slips in peace.

They didn't argue, and eagerly left his presence.

Anna let out a breath she didn't realize she had been holding, probably from a combination of suspense and how dusty the office was.

"Let's see it," George said after they'd turned the corner and were sure they wouldn't be caught. Anna handed it over.

"What do you think it could be?" Fred asked excitedly, having gone back to normal the second they left Filch's office.

"It was confiscated from a student," Anna said, thinking of anything a student would need parchment that large for, "And I doubt it was for a class project."

"Maybe it has a bunch of really cool pranks?" George suggested, eyes sparkling.

"Hmm," Anna thought, "Maybe something like that, but it would have to be something that the student thought needed to be concealed. And I doubt there would be that many hidden folds and all for just a list of pranks. Maybe they were inventing something and didn't want anybody stealing their ideas?"

"That makes sense," Fred said, "I hope they were inventing tools for pranks. That would be wicked."

Anna rolled her eyes, they really did have one-track minds sometimes. "I'll ask Professor Flitwick about those concealing charms tomorrow in class. Maybe he has a few ideas for breaking them."

A/N: Please be considerate and leave a review! I like that people are adding this to their faves and all, but I love feedback even more. Whether I like it or not, I feel more motivated to continue when I know there are people liking the story. If not I tend to work more on my stories that people are reviewing, sorry. Thank you to the those that reviewed on the last chapter, I appreciate it.

I've also gone back and edited the prologue a little bit, as it hinted toward things that I either decided I didn't want to do, or planned to do differently, particularly with Anna and Chrys' father. I decided a while back it would be more interesting for him to have not been in Slytherin while he was in Hogwarts, though he's never actually told the girls what house he was in.

Next chapter: The Marauder's Map