by Kay of Kent

January 2014, Diagon Alley – The old alley was buzzing with news this week, when the rumour of Fred Weasley's return broke out. Many frequent customers flocked to Weasley's Wizarding Wheezes this week to see for themselves whether the rumour had any standing facts behind it. It was one of the busiest weeks Diagon Alley has ever seen apart from the beginning of the annual school shopping boom.

For those who are not familiar with Fred Weasley, he was a remarkable young man. Fred Weasley was a pureblood wizard, a son of Arthur Weasley and Molly Weasley, brother of Bill, Charlie, Percy, Ron and Ginny Weasley, and twin brother to George Weasley. Both he and his twin brother were popular students, known for their sense of humour, pranks, and were also Beaters for the Gryffindor Quidditch team. In their seventh year, they joined Dumbledore's Army. A brilliant prankster and inventor, Fred left Hogwarts shortly prior to graduation to become a successful entrepreneur, alongside his twin brother, George.

George Weasley and Ron Weasley are the current owners of Weasley's Wizarding Wheezes but it was Fred Weasley who helped found the joke shop when he was still at Hogwarts, together with his twin brother, George. The store had its humble beginnings inside the walls of the old castle, as an owlpost order service before the Weasley twins decided it was time to leave school and focus fully on expanding the store.

Weasley's Wizarding Wheezes became a success and did extremely well, even when the looming dangers of Lord Voldemort were just around the corner. In the summer of 1997, the Death Eaters seized control of the British Ministry of Magic. In the spring of 1998, it was discovered that the Weasleys had been helping the fugitive Harry Potter, and the family went into hiding. Although forced to close the shop in Diagon Alley, Fred and George continued to sell their products via mail order while at their Aunt Muriel's.

Fred was also a member of the Order of the Phoenix; he fought in the Battle of the Seven Potters in 1997 and was a commentator for Potterwatch during the height of the Second Wizarding War. In 1998, Fred participated in the Battle of Hogwarts, defending the castle's passageways with his twin. While fighting alongside his brother Percy, he was killed in an explosion. Fred was just twenty years old.

Now, Weasley's Wizarding Wheezes is under the capable hands of his twin, George, and their youngest brother, Ron. The joke shop is doing very well, with a steady stream of customers; adults and students alike. Whilst it would have been a wonderful reunion of the three brothers, unfortunately the rumour is just that, a rumour. Upon investigation, the Weasley brothers informed the Daily Prophet that the misunderstanding started when a Hogwarts student saw a ghost in the store.

"Yes, he came in to buy a Skiving Snackbox. At the time I was talking to a ghost, a friend you see, about the store. I do admit that the ghost might have looked like my late brother Fred from afar, but he wasn't Fred. Fred won't be returning. I'd like to think that his soul found peace, that he has no unfinished business left," George Weasley explained.

On the other hand, the Weasley brothers are quite happy with the rumour circulating about the ghost. According to Ron Weasley, the percentage of sales have risen a lot with the influx of customers coming to see the ghost of Fred Weasley, "Yeah, a lot of people came in to see if it was really Fred. When we told them it wasn't him, many were very disappointed but they did buy a thing or two from the store. Especially the things Fred designed from before. It has been good for business."

With or without Fred's apparition lingering around in Weasley's Wizarding Wheezes, it is a very good shop to find all your pranking needs. If you are ever in the vicinity of Diagon Alley, be sure to visit this unique shop located at No. 93.