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Return of the Aurors
Chapter 1: Who Needs Enemies?

By Anne B. Walsh

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Author Notes:

I disclaim most of the dialogue.   It belongs to George Lucas and his scriptwriters.

"Pleeeeease?"

Danger shook her head.   "Sixteen and a half is too old to be whining like that, and the answer is still no."

"But it’s not hurting anything!   It’s just for fun!   He really deserves it, and we’d only do it once."

"That’s what you say now.   What happens the next time someone plays a prank on you, and you want to get back at them?   Are you telling me this wouldn’t tempt you at all?"  

"Mothers," Draco muttered under his breath.  

"Besides, don’t you realize that you don’t really have to be having this conversation with me at all?"

"What?"

"We meant what we said over the summer, fox, after everything happened.   You’re in charge of your own decisions now.   You have to decide whether or not it would really be right for you to play a prank on Ron that he has no way of foreseeing, no way of stopping, and no way of returning in kind."

Draco winced.   "You fight dirty."  

"I tell the truth.   It’s much the same thing."   Danger stood up.   "On the other hand, if you could find a way around some of my objections, some way to make this more fair, let’s say I wouldn’t mind seeing it.   It’s up to you now."

Draco rolled his eyes at Danger’s back.   Up to me now.   What a great way to make me feel guilty.  

On the other hand, she is right.   It would be wrong for me to just yank Ron into something he’s got no way out of.   But if I give him the option, get in or stay out, and make it really tempting for him to get in...

He smiled slowly.   That ought to work.   Now I just have to get everybody else on board.  

Harry’s going to be the hardest to convince...

xXxXx

"No," said Harry flatly.   "I’m not doing it."

"Oh, come on.   Everyone else is."

"No."

"Not even for a chance to bang the twins’ heads together?"

"The twins?   How do they get into this?"

"They volunteered to be our bad guys.   Because they’re all supposed to look and act alike, remember?"

"You can’t tell the difference anyway, with all that stuff they wear."

"Yeah, but the twins want to be part of this.   And because they’re the bad guys, you get to knock them down a lot."

Harry hesitated.   Draco could sense he was wavering.   He decided to play his trump card.   "We figured out a bit with Ginny at the end you might like."

"Tell."

Draco leaned over and whispered into his brother’s ear.   After a few moments, Harry pulled away and stared.   "Ginny agreed to this?"

"Ginny thinks it’s a great idea.   Personally, I think she just wants to see Ron stuck up on the wall."

"But she agreed to this new part?"

"She thought of it."

"Hunh."   Harry thought it over.   "Well... all right.   As long as I get a different name."

Draco grinned.   "Knew I could count on you, Harry."

"When will it be?"

"Night after tomorrow.   So start practicing your roars."

Harry responded with a throaty groan.  

xXxXx

Remus stepped into the plushly-appointed movie theatre and looked around.   It was a small place, with seats for about twenty.   Three of them were currently occupied.  

"There you are," said Danger without turning around.   "Popcorn?"

"Yes, please."   Remus took a seat beside her and reached into the box she was holding.   "What’s this going to be?"

"It’s called Return of the Aurors.   Part revenge on Ron, part fun outing.   Harry thought it up, Draco and Neenie did the engineering, and everybody else pitched in."

"Light revenge," said Aletha from the row behind them. "They’re not all that mad, but they thought Ron deserved a little payback."

Remus shook his head.   "Why am I always the last to know about everything?"

"Because you’ve always got your head in some magical theory journal?" suggested Sirius as the lights began to dim.  

xXxXx

Ron set his magazine aside and flicked off his bedside lamp.  

I hate my life.   Nobody will look at me properly any more since I wrote that stupid story.   Everyone keeps snickering like I have dirt on my face, but no one will tell me what’s going on.   I keep checking everything for pranks, but nothing’s happened yet.

I hope they’re not going to do anything while I’m asleep...

A sudden blare of trumpets made him jump.   He was standing in the back of a small, dark room, with large gold letters scrolling across a screen in front of him.   They proclaimed:

SCAR WARS: Episode VI

Return of the Aurors

Ron stared as more text scrolled onto the screen, to the accompaniment of music he knew well.  

You, Ron Weasley, have been chosen to participate in this episode of Scar Wars.   If you choose to participate, you will take the part of Ron Solo.   You will remain in character throughout the episode.   Prompting will be provided if necessary.   Significant deviation will not be tolerated.   If you choose not to participate, you will never again have this opportunity.   Choose now.   Yes or no?

"Er, can I have a second to think about it?"

Very well.   The first portion doesn’t need you anyway.   Have a seat.

Ron dropped into a chair and began to watch.   The camera panned down to the surface of a desert planet, where two small metallic beings were walking and rolling along towards a large, imposing palace.  

"Of course I’m worried," said Neville’s voice from the taller, golden, walking robot. "And you should be, too. Luna Calrissian and poor Hairywolf never returned from this awful place."

Ron snickered.   I see they renamed my Wookiee.

The shorter, rolling robot, whose paint job was significantly darker than it was in the movies, whistled a tentative comment.

"Don’t be so sure. If I told you half the things I’ve heard about this Dursley the Hutt, you’d probably short-circuit."  

The two droids timidly approached the entrance to the palace.   "Emtoo, are you sure this is the right place?" N-3LO asked his companion. "I’d better knock, I suppose."   He tapped quietly on the door with his metal hand, then stepped away.   "There doesn’t seem to be anyone there. Let’s go back and tell Master Drake."

A small hatch opened in the middle of the door.   Out popped a spidery mechanical arm with a large electronic eyeball on the end.   "Tee chuta hhat yudd!" said a gravelly voice.

"Goodness gracious me!" exclaimed Threelo.   He pointed first to Emtoo, then to himself as he spoke.   "Emtoo Beetowha bo Enthreelowha ey toota odd mischka Dursley du Hutt."

The eye zipped back into the door with a deep, throaty laugh.   Emtoo beeped indignantly.

"I don’t think they’re going to let us in, Emtoo. We’d better go."   Threelo turned away from the door —

Just as a metallic screech revealed that it was beginning to open.

The droids stared into the endless black cavity beyond the door.   After a moment, M2-B2 whistled and started forward.

"Emtoo, wait," Threelo blithered, looking around.   "Oh, dear! Emtoo!"   He hurried after the other droid.   "Emtoo, I really don’t think we should rush into all this."

The door began to lower behind him.   Emtoo was already halfway down the corridor.   With a final despairing glance at the outside world, Threelo rushed off after his friend.   "Oh, Emtoo! Emtoo, wait for me!"

Two green, piglike Gamorrean guards, identical in every way, stepped out of the shadows.   One grunted a command, and Emtoo beeped nervously.

"Just you deliver Master Drake’s message and get us out of here," Threelo lectured.   "Oh, my!   Oh!"   He had just noticed the new silhouette bearing down on them.   "Oh no."

"Die wanna wanga," intoned the new arrival, an alien creature with two large tentacles where his hair should have been.   A subtitle flashed on the screen below him — Ory Goila, Twi’lek minion of Dursley the Hutt.

"Oh, my," said Threelo again. "Die wanna wauaga. We -- we bring a message to your master, Dursley the Hutt."

Emtoo beeped several times.

"And a gift," Threelo added, then did a double-take.   "Gift, what gift?"

Ory shook his head.   "Nee Dursley no badda. Me chaade su goodie."   He approached Emtoo with his hand out, but Emtoo scooted backwards several feet, squealing in protest.

"She says that our instructions are to give it only to Dursley himself," said Threelo faintly.   "I’m terribly sorry," he added quickly. "I’m afraid she’s ever so stubborn about these sort of things."

"Nudd chaa," said Ory finally, and waved the droids to follow him.

"Emtoo, I have a bad feeling about this," said Threelo as he followed the Twi’lek.

The scene changed to show Dursley’s throne room.   The repulsive overgrown slug reclined on his couch, a beautiful female Twi’lek chained to his side.   Her tentacles had a distinctly red look to them.   Ron frowned.   Is that...

Ginny looked out of the screen and winked at him.   "Bit part," she mouthed, then returned her attention to the throne room, where N-3LO and M2-B2 had just arrived with Ory Goila.  

"Good morning," said Threelo, bowing politely.

"Bo shuda!" bellowed Dursley, making everyone jump.

"The message, Emtoo, the message," Threelo hissed, nudging her with his foot.   Emtoo whistled derisively and projected a beam of light from her domed head, which grew into a ten-foot hologram of Drake Skywalker, dressed in his dark robe, his hands spread peacefully.

"Greetings, Exalted One," said the hologram.   "Allow me to introduce myself. I am Drake Skywalker, Auror Knight and friend to Captain Solo. I know that you are powerful, mighty Dursley, and that your anger with Solo must be equally powerful. I seek an audience with Your Greatness to bargain for Solo’s life."

The crowd of alien creatures in the throne room laughed unpleasantly.

"With your wisdom," the hologram continued, "I’m sure that we can work out an arrangement which will be mutually beneficial and enable us to avoid any unpleasant confrontation. As a token of my goodwill, I present to you a gift: these two droids."

Threelo jumped and stared at the hologram.   "What did he say?"

"Both are hardworking and will serve you well," Drake finished.

"This can’t be!" Threelo protested.   "Emtoo, you’re playing the wrong message."

Drake’s hologram disappeared as the crowd laughed again.   Ory leaned over Dursley and muttered in his ear.   Then the crowd quieted as Dursley began to speak in Huttese, his words translated by subtitles below his gross form.  

"There will be no bargain," the Hutt crime lord said.

"We’re doomed," Threelo predicted.

"I will not give up my favorite decoration. I like Captain Solo where he is." Dursley pointed. Threelo, Emtoo, and everyone in the throne room looked.   So did Ron.   Then he gulped.

The figure on the wall had his own face.  

"Emtoo, look!" cried Threelo.   "Captain Solo. And he’s still frozen in carbonite."   The droid’s eyes flickered out of the screen, towards Ron, as the scene changed.

Ron slumped in his chair as the droids trudged fearfully down a dark, slimy hall.   All right, I get it.   Everyone else is in, and having fun.   Why not me?

But he still wasn’t sure.

"Ah, good," said a raspy-voiced droid to Threelo.   "New acquisitions."

Ron stared at the droid.   Is it my imagination, or does that one sound a little like Percy?

"You are a protocol droid, are you not?" the other droid continued.

"I am En-Threelo, human-cy..."

"Yes or no will do," the other cut him off.

Definitely Percy.

"Oh," said Threelo, flustered.   "Well, yes."

"How many languages do you speak?"

Threelo preened.   "I am fluent in over six million forms of communication, and can readily..."

"Splendid!" the other droid cut in again.   "We have been without an interpreter since our master got angry with our last protocol droid and disintegrated him."

"Disintegrated?" said Threelo faintly.

"Guard!" the other droid called, ignoring this.   "This protocol droid might be useful. Fit him with a restraining bolt and take him back to His Excellency’s main audience chamber."

"Emtoo, don’t leave me!" Threelo called hysterically as a green Gamorrean shoved him out the door.

Emtoo wailed as the door closed, then turned and made a rude noise at the other droid.

"You’re a fiesty little one," the droid said to her, "but you’ll soon learn some respect.   I have need for you on the master’s Sail Barge. And I think you’ll fit in nicely."

The scene changed again, back to Dursley’s throne room.   Music filled the air as Ginna, the Twi’lek dancer, showed off her paces.  

Dursley laughed and pulled on the chain around the Twi’lek’s throat.   "Da eitha!" he roared at her, pulling her closer to him.

Ginna resisted, shaking her head and yanking on her chain.   "Na Chuba negatorie Na!" she cried out. "Na! Natoota..."

Twi’lek and Hutt fought an obscene tug-of-war for a few moments, but Dursley was stronger.   "Boscka!" he shouted, and pushed a button.   With a scream, Ginna fell through a trap door that opened below her feet.  

Dursley’s couch rolled forward, the obese Hutt laughing as roars and screams sounded from below.   The crowd in the throne room hurried to the grates in the floor to watch the fun.   Suddenly, from somewhere nearby, a gunshot rang out.

Ron sat up straighter.   Here we go.

Ory and the two Gamorreans hurried into the room, with Boushh the Ubese bounty hunter behind them.   Beside the small masked alien, on a leash, walked...

"Oh, no!   Hairywolf!" Threelo whispered to himself.

Boushh said something in his strange, electronically mangled voice.   "I have come for the bounty on this Wookiee," the subtitle translated.

"At last, we have the mighty Hairywolf," Dursley boomed in Huttese.   He let out a long, disgusting laugh and beckoned Threelo closer as Hairy gave a throaty whine.

"Oh, uh, yes, uh, I am here, Your Worshipfulness. Uh... yes!" babbled the nervous droid.   He listened to Dursley’s speech, then turned to Boushh.   "The illustrious Dursley bids you welcome and will gladly pay you the reward of twenty-five thousand."

Boushh spoke again, and Threelo turned to the Hutt.   "Fifty thousand," he said in a businesslike manner.   "No less."

Dursley roared and knocked Threelo flying.   Boushh fingered his gun as the droid struggled back to his feet, to the accompaniment of Dursley’s roars.   "But what, what did I say?" Threelo begged the Hutt.   Dursley snarled at him in Huttese, and the droid turned quickly back to Boushh.   "The mighty Dursley asks why he must pay fifty thousand."

Boushh said a few words and held up a silvery ball with two little red lights blinking on it.

Threelo recoiled in fear.   "Because he’s holding a thermal detonator!"

The crowd in the throne room gasped and ducked for cover.   Dursley stared at the bounty hunter for a moment, then began to laugh deep in his chest.   "This bounty hunter is my kind of scum," he rumbled in Huttese.   "Fearless and inventive."  

The Hutt kept talking, but the subtitles cut out.   It was up to Threelo to translate.   "Dursley offers the sum of thirty-five. And I do suggest you take it."

A very tense moment hung in the air.   Then Boushh lowered the silver ball.   "Zeebuss," he said.

"He agrees!" cried Threelo thankfully.  

The throne room erupted in cheers, and the music began again.   Hairywolf growled as Boushh handed his leash to a Gamorrean guard, and howled aloud as he passed a guard in a half-mask.   The guard lowered the mask to watch Hairy go by, revealing the features of one Luna Calrissian.

"That’s still the weirdest casting here," Ron said aloud as he watched Hairy fight the guards all the way into a small, slimy cell.   "Almost weirder than that one."

Hairy looked at the screen and roared. What are you complaining about? a subtitle printed. You wrote the damn thing.

Ron shut up as the scene cut back to Dursley’s throne room.   It was the dead of night.   A small figure slipped in through the door, knocking into the wind chimes and quickly silencing them with one hand.   It was Boushh, the bounty hunter.  

Silently, the Ubese crept over to the wall on which hung Captain Ron Solo, frozen in his carbonite tomb.

Gold letters flashed in the lower corner of the screen, drawing Ron’s eyes to them.   Last call, Weasley.   In or out?

"I’ve got a bad feeling about this," Ron muttered, then raised his voice.   "I’m in."

Gray mist emerged from the screen and swirled around him.   Ron felt himself lifted from the floor.   His clothes writhed around him, binding him tightly —

No, he was held in something far tighter and less forgiving than cloth —

His lips formed a word, almost without his conscious thought —

"Neenie."

He was falling, falling forward, into darkness.

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