This story contains minute spoilers for Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. The characters you know are property of J.K. Rowling and her publishing company. The individual Aurors mentioned within are my property, as they are my creation. The Killing Joke is property of Monty Python. No money has been made off of this story, which was written solely for entertainment purposes. Do not repost anywhere without the permission of the author!

This story is dedicated to Lissy, who has been such a huge help to me on other Harry Potter endeavors. Long live the Psychic Weasley Twins!

The Killing Joke
Kelly M. Grosskreutz

Lord Voldemort sat at his desk, plotting his evil schemes. First I'll finish off that Potter boy once and for all, he thought. Then I will squash those fools at Hogwarts, beginning with that troublemaker Dumblebore, and then I will rule the world! He began to laugh his cold, cruel, totally evil laugh, then stopped himself, realizing how cliched he sounded. I won't be like all the stereotypical evil tyrants when I get to be Supreme Evil Overlord, he reassured himself. No laughing evilly at evil thoughts, no explaining my evil schemes in full detail before I kill off those who wish to kill me, no more of that. When I'm in charge, it'll be different!

His dreams of world domination were interrupted, however, by a sound that sounded almost foreign to him, a sound he abhorred. It was also the last sound he'd ever expected to hear from his number one servant. Laughter. Not just chuckling or the evil laughter Voldemort had just been thinking about. This was laughter that came from deep down in the belly, the kind of laughter that came only from one who thought that something was so funny that the only thing one could do in response was to laugh.

Voldemort had heard this kind of laughter before, of course, but never from one of his followers. In his mind, that sort of thing was only good for those fools who dared oppose him. He'd never had to say anything to any of his people about it, however, since they were usually too afraid of him to find much of amusement, and the things they normally did find amusing weren't the sort of things that provoked this sort of reaction. But it appeared that he was going to have to have a little talk with Wormtail about this.

He strode into the common room in his most intimidating manner, but this did not seem to faze Wormtail in the least. Wormtail was leaning heavily on a table, clutching a sheet of parchment in his hand and laughing so hard that tears were streaming down his face. Angry that his entrance had not made an impression, Voldemort barked, "What is the meaning of this, Wormtail?"

Wormtail looked up at Voldemort, still laughing. "Oh, Master, you have to read this!" He could barely get the words out for all his laughter.

"Oh?" Voldemort asked in a voice so threateningly cold that normally Wormtail would've been on his knees, shaking in fear and begging for his life. But not today. "And, pray tell, what could be written on that parchment that is so amusing?"

"It's...a joke!" Wormtail forced out.

Voldemort's glare became even more menacing than before. "And where did you get this joke?"

Wormtail was on his knees now, but it wasn't because of fear. He no longer had the strength to hold his laughing body upright on the table. "Lucius Malfoy. Don't know...where he got it from. Think he got it...from Crabbe...not sure, though."

"Give me that note!" Voldemort snarled, tearing the piece of parchment from Wormtail's grasp. "Don't tell me that Malfoy acted like this when he read it."

Wormtail, laughing even harder than he had been before, if that was possible, collapsed on the floor, literally rolling with laughter.

Voldemort glanced down at the parchment, somewhat curious as to what could be funny enough to make Wormtail act in such an unbecoming manner. Enough to make him no longer fear my wrath flitted across his mind, but he squelched that thought before it could take bloom. He read the few words that were printed there, thought about it for a minute, then burst out laughing.

* * * *

"We've hit the jackpot," exclaimed Rendar, surveying Voldemort's stronghold.

"It would certainly appear that way," murmured Burke.

Rendar, Burke, and the other Aurors, following up a tip from a very unlikely source, had arrived at Voldemort's hideout moments before to find the Death Eaters all dead. If that wasn't strange enough, they all appeared to have died laughing.

"This is interesting," Cooper said, crouching down by Lucius Malfoy's body. "He's got something in his hand. Maybe this can tell us something.

Just as she reached out to take the sheet of paper out of Malfoy's hand, a voice called, "Whatever you do, don't touch it!"

Burke turned, annoyed. "I thought I told you to stay outside!"

"You did," returned Percy Weasley, unperturbed. "But I figured I'd better come in. Remember, I know those two better than you ever could, and they specifically told me not to let anyone read anything they sent."

Cooper looked closer at the paper in Lucius's hand, but was careful to avoid looking at the writing on it. "Looks like an envelope."

"An envelope." Burke threw Percy a scathing glance. "Are we to be afraid now of an envelope?"

"Coming from them?" Percy had a very serious look on his face. "Yes. You never know what they've done to it." He began to walk over to the body, then stopped and turned back to Burke. "Mind if I have a go at the envelope?"

Burke shrugged his massive shoulders. "By all means."

Percy crept up to the unmoving corpse, took out his wand, prodded the envelope, and quickly jumped back. Nothing happened. He crept back, even slower this time, and touched the envelope with a finger, jumping back even quicker than the first time. Still nothing. An Auror sniggered in the background, and Burke moaned, "Are you going to take all day, Weasley?"

Cooper had had enough. Ripping the envelope out of Malfoy's unfeeling grasp, she glanced at it. "It's addressed to Supreme Overlord Voldemort. Besides that, the only other thing on it is three golden W's."

"Weasley's Wizard Wheezes," Percy sighed. "I told you it was them."

Burke opened his mouth to say something, but just then Rendar, who'd wandered off in the course of the envelope investigation, called from the other room. "Guys! Come in here, quick! I think I found You Know Who!"

Everyone hurried to join Rendar. Two bodies lay in this room. One was of a short, fat man with the same expression as the other Death Eaters. The other was definitely Lord Voldemort. Unlike the others, though, his face had the creepiest expression Burke had ever seen on a corpse. It was a face torn between mirth and horror. He also had a piece of parchment cluctched in his hand, but it was obvious even from a distance that it was no envelope.

Percy had also noticed the parchment. "Don't touch that parchment!" he gasped, going white.

"Why not, Weasley? Is it going to get us like that nasty envelope did?" Rendar taunted.

Percy's face went as red as his hair, but before he could say or do anything, Burke intervened. "Something obviously killed all those Death Eaters, and was even able to take out Voldemort. From the looks of it, this is it. I wouldn't treat it so lightly if I were you."

Rendar gulped. "Uh, Weasley, maybe you should come take care of this."

Percy came over and kneeled next to Rendar, who was no longer looking even remotely in the direction of the parchment. Closing his eyes, he pulled the parchment out of Voldemort's fingers, folded it up, and slid it into the envelope addressed to Supreme Overlord Voldemort. Once that was done, he handed it to Burke, who took it reluctantly.

"Do you know what it is, Weasley?" Burke asked, trying to keep his voice steady.

"Of course I know what it is," Percy said self-righteously. "I heard them talking about making it. I never thought they were serious, though."

Burke cleared his throat. "Would you mind letting the rest of us in on it? Preferably sometime today?"

"Why, the funniest joke in the world, of course. The Killer Joke." Seeing the look of incomprehension on Burke's face, Percy continued on. "Fred and George got the idea one day of sending something in to You Know Who by owl that would finish him off. They kept going on about it, but no one would listen to them. I myself told them many times that it was simply impossible to locate You Know Who's secret hideout and that, even if they did, there's no way it would work. It didn't help that Ron, he's my youngest brother, kept insisting that it was possible to send an owl with a message to a person in hiding.

"I thought nothing more of it, even though they began to spend more time huddled in the corner of the living room, talking in low voices. I mean, they were always doing that, ever since they came up with the idea of starting Weasley's Wizard Wheezes. They kept going on about trying to create a joke so funny that anyone who read it would die laughing. I thought it was just another of their big ideas. I never thought they'd actually done it until they contacted me at work today and told me that they'd actually sent the joke to You Know Who, and how to find him."

Percy's voice, no longer scoffing, became serious. "That's when I thought I'd better get in contact with your department. Again, I never thought they'd actually done it, but I was afraid that they would get in deep trouble with Malfoy. I was afraid they'd finally gotten in over their head."

"Do you know if the joke is still dangerous?" Burke was not to be deterred from the business at hand.

"Well, to be perfectly safe, I would suggest getting into contact with either Fred or George, but, to the best of my knowledge, as long as no one ever opens that envelope and actually reads it, there should be no more problems with it," Percy replied, grimacing at having to admit that his troublesome brothers knew something that he didn't.

Burke took one last look at Voldemort's corpse, then raised his voice, addressing all the Aurors. "All right, go ahead and finish up here, and then I'll want all of your reports on my desk by tomorrow morning." As they left the room, the other Aurors could hear him say to Percy, "I think I'll put them in for the Order of Merlin. Think Fudge'll approve?"

Copyright November 30, 2000 by Kelly M. Grosskreutz.

Disclaimer: All content is made up, and no profit or lucre is expected, solicited, advocated or paid. This is all just for fun. Any comments, please e-mail the author or Wookiee Hut directly. Flames will be ignored. This story may not be posted anywhere without the author's knowledge, consent, and permission.