Chapter 6 : The Marauder's Map
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In the corridor on the way to Potions, Fred and George decided things were a bit too quiet for their taste. They told Lee and Belle to go on ahead of them; they'd never stand for their two best friends getting in trouble for something they, the twins, did.
"What've you got?" Fred asked, watching Lee and Belle walk away. George rummaged in his pockets and in his bag, then sighed.
"Nothing but ruddy Dungbombs. You?"
"Yeah, Dungbombs is all with me, too," Fred said.
"When's Bill and Charlie's next Hogsmeade trip?" George asked.
"Next weekend, I think," Fred said. George groaned.
"These'll never last!" he cried with exasperation. Fred shrugged.
"Well, let's make the best of what we've got." They were clearly not happy with having limited options, but that wasn't going to change their minds. This corridor needed a wake-up call.
"On three," said George. "One..."
"Two..." said Fred.
"THREE!" they cried together, then they threw down two Dungbombs, which exploded on the floor and their contents slopped all over everyone in the vicinity.
Unfortunately, the twins had forgotten to make sure that there were no adults in that vicinity - adults like Filch.
This wasn't their first go-round with Filch, and it certainly wasn't to be their last. Filch had been onto them ever since their stunt with the Sorting Hat, and probably would be for the rest of their Hogwarts lives. The twins waited gleefully for Filch's tirade, which they practically knew by heart now, but no tirade came. Instead he spat three menacing words at them.
"My. Office. Now." The twins led the way to Filch's small office; they'd spent nearly every day since arrival in here, and had had enough detentions for all the students in the school.
They sat down in their chairs while Filch stood behind his desk, and soon it was quite boring - they'd seen this scene far too many times before. But something had gone unseen by their keen eyes until this date, and the twins spotted it while ignoring Filch's tirade, which he was giving them now since he'd neglected to in the corridor.
What they saw was a drawer in a filing cabinet. And the label on this drawer captured the twins' attention like nothing else that day had.
The twins exchanged glowing looks while Filch went on about detention and disembowelment. George took a Dungbomb out of his pocket, holding it so that Filch couldn't see. Fred nodded.
"Are either of you even LISTENING to what I'm - "
George tossed the Dungbomb and it landed on Filch's desk, scattering the few papers that were on top of it and completely covering Filch, who had just changed into clean robes, with a whole new sheen of dung.
"Trust me, it smells better than whatever shampoo you're using," George assured him.
Filch gave George a murderous glare, then began screaming louder than ever. While Filch was concentrating on making sure George's eardrums ruptured, however, Fred slipped behind him to the file cabinet unnoticed. He quickly opened the drawer labeled Confiscated and Highly Dangerous and grabbed the first thing his fingers touched - a piece of parchment.
Fred took his seat again without Filch ever batting an eye. Finally, Filch calmed down enough to write out the twins' detention forms, but he was still so angry he assigned them detention on a day that had already passed. Rather than point this out to him, the twins left the office with a jaunty wave and headed for Potions.
"What'd you get?" George asked. Fred handed him the parchment. George turned it over in his hands. "Doesn't look all that extraordinary," he said finally.
"Yeah, I know, but c'mon George, it was labeled highly dangerous, it must do something. Don't worry, tonight in the common room we'll figure it out." This said, they walked through the door to Potions class to lose some points for Gryffindor.
Figuring out what was so dangerous about the parchment, however, was easier said than done.
They tried everything they could think of, different incantations and wand movements, but all the parchment ever did was insult them using the names Mr. Moony, Mr. Wormtail, Mr. Padfoot, and Mr. Prongs. The parchment constantly suggested that they keep their freckled faces out of other peoples' business, that they take their doubly ugly faces to someone who wanted them around, and that they douse the fire that was on their heads.
Many times their frustration nearly overtook them - on more than one occasion it took all of their willpower not to simply tear the parchment to shreds. Finally, however, the day came when their efforts paid off.
It was late at night in their dormitory, and the boys were once again prodding the paper and getting only insults in return.
"Please!" George begged. "We're not going to give you away! We want to cause trouble!"
"WE'RE UP TO NO GOOD!" Fred cried in frustration.
The parchment didn't respond right away. Finally, the words appeared, in what they now recognized as Mr. Prongs's handwriting.
Do you swear?
George growled viciously.
"YES!" he roared at the parchment. "I SOLEMNLY SWEAR THAT I AM UP TO NO GOOD!!!"
Ink blossomed on the parchment, and soon the twins were staring, wide-eyed and gaping, at an intricately drawn map.
Purveyors of Aids to Magical Mischief-Makers
are proud to present
THE MARAUDER'S MAP
The twins exchanged bewildered looks, then grins erupted simultaneously on their faces.
"George - this is - do you realize -? "
"Fred - can you believe -? Look at this!"
The map showed the twins Hogwarts and everyone in it, but that wasn't all. It showed them secret passageways. Seven of them. Two of these they'd already found, but to think that there were five more! For Fred and George Weasley, Christmas had come early.
"George, this is it, this is going to make us legends!" Fred nearly squealed with delight.
"Fred, look, we can sneak to Hogsmeade, we can do anything!" George was nearly dancing in his glee.
"And we won't get caught!" they said together, grinning so wide it was a wonder their skulls didn't split.
"Well, we might," said Fred.
"But not near as much," said George. "Oh, Fred, just think! Think what we can do with this map on our side!"
Fred raised the map to his lips and kissed it. "Thank you, Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot, and Prongs! Noble pranksters and merciless mischief-makers!"
"Kings of a realm in which we are as yet mere peasants!" George continued, bowing to the parchment.
"Wait," Fred said, stopping George's grovelling. "Wait, George, how do we wipe it? How do we make it go blank again, like it was before? If Filch found this, and it was still the map..." Both twins shuddered at the thought of someone so unworthy getting their hands on such a treasure.
George looked to the map, as though it would provide him with an answer and, strangely enough, it did.
Next to George's dot on the map, a tiny speech bubble appeared. Within it, it said these words: Mischief managed.
George smiled, tapped the map with his wand, and said, "Mischief managed!" The map went blank, and Fred's eyes grew wide, to George's supreme satisfaction.
"How'd you know you were supposed to do that?" he asked, bewildered. George drew himself up with a Percy-like air.
"Wild guess," he said, pretending to flick some dirt off his shoulder.
"Come off it, how'd you know?" George laughed, unable to keep his brother in the dark any longer.
"The map told me. A bubble came up next to my dot and said 'Mischief managed,' so I gave it a go and it worked." Fred shook his head in wonder.
"Remarkable. George, I'm telling you, this map's made our future at Hogwarts so much brighter." George nodded.
"Let's not tell Lee and Belle," he said. "This can just be for us; you and me." Fred nodded.
"Yeah, I agree. It can be our secret, no one else is allowed to know." Fred grinned. "Let's try it out tomorrow."
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