Chapter 10 : The Marauder's Map
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“That... is the most ridiculous... thing... I have ever... heard...” Sirius managed to say between spurts of laughter. They were the last ones in the Common Room, as everyone else had gone to bed. This had been the first time that Remus was able to tell his friends about the events of the last two days because he’d wanted to explain in private (mostly because he expected this exact reaction from them).
“Shut it, Padfoot,” Remus snapped. “Stop being a bloody git.”
“I’m sorry, mate,” Sirius sighed, finally finished with his fit. “But you’ve got to admit, that is pretty funny.”
“No, it really isn’t!” Remus sighed, sinking back in his armchair. “She’d better not expect me to go around breaking school rules with her now.”
“Yeah, wouldn’t want to ruin your goody-two-shoes record,” Sirius agreed in a mockingly serious tone.
“You’re lucky McGonagall didn’t catch you two kissing,” James piped up. “She’d have had a fit.”
“A downright coronary,” Sirius nodded. “Might have even expelled you.”
“I highly doubt it.”
“I don’t know, she does seem the type,” Peter said.
“Well, she didn’t catch us, and that’s what matters. You know, being my best friends and all, I thought you’d have a different reaction to all this. Maybe pity, or happiness for me...” Remus prompted, and Sirius got the hint. Unfortunately, he was Sirius, so his response was also not what Remus was looking for.
“Oh, how could we possibly be so rude!” he practically shouted, leaping up from his armchair. “We must celebrate with Remus on this glorious day!” He then grabbed Remus’ arm and pulled him out of his chair and towards the portrait hole, James and Peter following in their wake.
“Where the hell are we going?” Remus asked miserably, and Sirius only smirked. Eventually, after many close calls with teachers, they reached the picture of the bowl of fruit that hid the kitchen entrance. Sirius tickled the pear, and they walked inside to find many houselves scurrying about. At the sight of wizards, they immediately jumped to their service, offering them any food within a ten foot radius... which was a lot of food. “We’ll take a cake and some tea,” Sirius ordered, and the houselves scurried off to fulfill their request. Once they were served, the houselves went back to their normal duties, and the marauders sat down at a small table in one corner of the kitchen. “You know, that map’s sounding better and better, don’t you think?”
“What map?” Remus asked, and Sirius sighed dramatically.
“The map we were talking about yesterday? Before you were whisked away into dreamland with Bethany?”
“Oh, that one? Yeah, it sounds good enough,” Remus agreed passively.
“Good enough? Mate, where’s your sense of adventure gone?” Sirius asked.
“Well, maybe if I could actually get a decent night’s sleep for once, I might get it back.”
Ignoring this last comment, Sirius continued, “After you left, we decided to call it the ‘Marauder’s Map.’”
“Wow, very creative,” Remus said sarcastically, shoving a piece of cake into his mouth.
“Hey, you try and think of a better name!” James challenged. “Besides, it’s the content that’s valuable. We talked to Zonko, the owner of the joke shop in Hogsmeade, and he gave us a few spells that we could try on the map. He said if we used them right, we could actually see where everyone is at all times. He said it’d take some time, but he was really into the whole idea.”
“Well now he’ll probably try and make it,” Remus sighed.
“Nope. We made him do an unbreakable vow to swear that he wouldn’t steal the idea.”
“You what?” Remus sputtered, choking on the sip of tea that he’d taken. “How do you even know how to do one?”
“We may be pranksters, but we’re also pretty brilliant, Moony,” Sirius said. And it was true. Though many teachers found James and Sirius to be mischievous and a nuisance, they were also the best in their year... besides Lilly Evans, of course. Even Remus, who prided himself in doing well in school, was no match for those two. They were naturals.
“So we got started on the map last night,” James said, pulling a piece of parchment out of the pocket of his robes and unfolding it. It was blank.
“Yes, I can see that you’ve put a lot of work into this...” Remus said, playing along. In truth, however, he was confused as to what they’d actually accomplished.
He found out how much they’d really gotten done, however, when James tapped the parchment and said, “I solemnly swear that I am up to no good.” Ink suddenly materialized on the page, forming the words:
Messrs. Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot, and Prongs
Surveyors of Aids to Magical Mischief-Makers
are proud to present
The Marauder’s Map
“Wow...” Remus whispered. “That’s... Impressive.”
“And watch this,” Sirius said proudly, tapping the parchment and saying, “Mischief Managed.” The ink words slowly faded, so the parchment was once again blank.
“I admit, that’s bloody brilliant,” Remus said with a nod.
“We also charmed it to insult anyone who tries to read it that’s not supposed to!” Peter said excitedly. “Show him, Sirius!”
“Well, first let’s get Moony’s insult in here,” James quickly interrupted. “Remus, put your wand on the paper.”
“Okay...” Remus said as he hesitantly pulled out his wand and touched it to the map.
“Now, say, ‘I give you my wits,’” James instructed.
“I give you my wits.” The map suddenly glowed, and Remus felt a tingling throughout his whole body. He quickly jerked away, dropping his wand on the floor. “What in Merlin’s name just happened?” he shouted, and the houselves all looked at him.
“You’ll see,” Sirius said happily as he snatched the map off the table and tapped it with his wand as he said, “Tell me what you know.” Sirius quickly scanned over the parchment, chuckled, and then handed it over to Remus. “Read it,” he instructed, and Remus did so.
Ink had once again appeared on the map, but instead of the grand introduction, there, in his and his friends’ handwriting, were insults aimed at Sirius.
“Mr. Moony presents his complements to Mr. Sirius Black, but asks him to please keep his filthy hands off of this parchment, as they will leave fingerprints.”
“Mr. Prongs would like to add that Mr. Sirius Black needs to get a haircut, since he probably can’t even read what has just been written here due to his abnormally shaggy (and somewhat girly) bangs.”
“Mr. Padfoot disagrees with Mr. Moony and Mr. Prongs, and would like to offer his praise to the looks and cunning of Mr. Sirius Black.”
“Mr. Wormtail couldn’t disagree more with Mr. Padfoot, and wishes Mr. Sirius Black a good day... And a long look in the mirror at his pathetic reflection.”
“That’s horrible!” Remus snickered. “I like it.”
“Of course none of it’s true,” Sirius said, snatching the insults away from Remus. “Well, except for the part about my good looks and cunning.”
“Yeah, right,” James laughed, grabbing the map from Sirius and poking it, saying, “Tell me what you know.”
“Mr. Moony presents his complements to Mr. James Potter, but begs him to brush his hair more often so he looks less like he just rolled out of bed.”
“Mr. Prongs begs to differ with Mr. Moony, and believes that Mr. James Potter is quite the catch.”
“Mr. Padfoot disagrees with Mr. Prongs, and asks Mr. James Potter to get off of his high horse every once in a while, since he’s really not as good-looking as he may suspect.”
“Mr. Wormtail would like to conclude that Mr. James Potter is a glory-seeker, and needs to care less about his image.”
“Ouch,” James said jokingly, clutching his heart in mock agony. “I think I’m going to die from a broken heart.” He held the paper out to Peter. “Here, you try, Wormtail.”
“No, I don’t think I could take it,” Peter refused.
“All right then, how about you, Moony? Do you think your bad boy persona can protect you from the harsh words of this simple piece of parchment?” James asked grandly.
“I don’t see why not,” Remus said with a shrug, taking the paper. “Tell me what you know.”
“Mr. Moony offers his complements to Mr. Remus Lupin, but advises him not to get his hopes up on ever finding true love, as werewolves are generally lonely creatures.”
“Mr. Prongs agrees with Mr. Moony, and would like to add that werewolves are extremely dangerous to themselves and others.
“Mr. Padfoot is amazed that Mr. Remus Lupin even thinks he has a chance with women, as his boring personality is also a turn-off.”
“Mr. Wormtail bids Mr. Remus Lupin good day, and begs him to—”
Remus couldn’t take it anymore. He threw the parchment on the table and stood up, feeling tears welling in his eyes. Before last night he might have been able to deny some of these claims, but the scars now covering his chest proved that he was indeed a danger to both himself and others. He didn’t know what he’d been thinking, actually believing that he had a chance with Bethany.
“Remus, what’s wrong?” Sirius asked as James picked up the map and began to read the insults upon it.
“I have to go,” Remus said, his voice gruff.
“Remus, you know these insults aren’t true,” James said. “They’re supposed to be funny.”
“Yours might not have been true, but mine are,” Remus choked. “I’m an idiot. A bloody idiot.” And with that he ran out of the kitchens. He’d intended to run back to the dormitory, but he instead found himself outside, standing at the edge of the Black Lake in the freezing October weather.
“I hope you’re not contemplating jumping in, Remus,” a voice said from behind him, and he quickly spun around in shock. There stood Professor Dumbledore, his eyes twinkling in the starlight behind his half-moon spectacles. “You never know if you’ll come out again.”
“Maybe I don’t want to,” Remus sniffed. “Maybe it’s better for everyone if I just jump.”
“Now why would you say such a thing?” Dumbledore asked.
“Because... Because I’m dangerous. I’m a monster. There’s no reason for me to live.”
“Dangerous? My boy, you are the opposite of dangerous. You are a kind, gentle person who has been dealt a horrible fate and who, I think, has managed it extraordinarily,” Dumbledore soothed.
“I’m a werewolf. I am dangerous. Don’t lie to me,” Remus warned. He took a step back, so that his heel was hanging over the edge of the lake. “It will be better—safer—if I’m gone.”
“Better for who? Your mother? She’ll be heartbroken if anything happens to you. Your friends? They care about you so much. How would they deal with your death? I think that you are truly only thinking about yourself, and even then I think you are acting rashly.”
“They’ll all get over it. They’ll all move on,” Remus whispered, more to himself than to Dumbledore.
“How do you know? You are more important than you may think, Remus. Please, do not end your life so abruptly.”
“Why don’t you just stop me, then?” Remus asked.
“Because, though I believe that you are making the wrong decision, I still want it to be your choice,” Dumbledore said wisely. Remus hesitated. If he died, he’d be sure that he would never harm anybody. If he didn’t, there was a chance that he would never cause harm... but also a chance that he would. Could he risk that? Could he risk killing someone or, worse, forcing someone else to live the same hell he had to go through?
“Remus, what are you doing?” Sirius’ voice called from the darkness.
“They care about you,” Dumbledore said again, quietly so that only Remus could hear him. “Could you really put them through the pain of your death?”
“Who’s that with you?” James asked as he, Sirius, and Peter came into view. Once he recognized the figure as the headmaster, he stopped dead in his tracks.
“Oh, don’t mind me,” Dumbledore told him with a smile. “I’m just making sure young Mr. Lupin here doesn’t decide to take a midnight swim.”
“Midnight... Moony, what are you doing?” Sirius asked worriedly, eyeing Remus’ heel that was still hanging over the edge.
Remus stared at his friends, and suddenly his resolve began to fade. He couldn’t kill himself; not tonight, at least. With a defeated sigh, he pulled his foot away from the edge, and walked toward his friends.
“I was getting some air, and Professor Dumbledore was just making sure I was all right,” Remus lied, glancing back at Dumbledore, who gave him a wink.
“Well, are you all right?” James asked.
“Yeah, I’m fine now,” Remus assured them. And he was. This whole experience had only taught him that he was stronger than the monster inside of him.
“Well, if that’s so, I believe it’s time for us to be heading inside,” Dumbledore said, stepping forward. “My nose has become numb from the cold. A nice warm bed sounds very welcoming, don’t you think?”
They all agreed, and headed inside. His friends kept shooting him worried and confused looks, but Remus returned them with a nonchalant grin. He didn’t need his friends to be worrying about him. For now, he was fine.
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