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The Left-Behinds by TheGoldenKneazle
Chapter 12 : The Truth About the Treehouse
 
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Chapter 11: The Truth About the Treehouse

Day 98

Over the Whitsun half-term, our parents had decided to have our two Hogwarts-reduced families go away for a few days. Hugo and I were extremely excited about the whole thing, as we would get to Floo to Wales and camp in Snowdonia. Apparently, the tent we’d be bringing was actually from our parents’ time trekking around the UK evading Death Eaters while Mum was stuck leading the resistance at Hogwarts.

This didn’t give me much confidence that it would keep out the rain, but if it did, I’d called shotgun on using the blow-up double lilo bed as a raft for surfing the flood until Aunt Hermione sorted it out.

However, it had worked perfectly well as an oversized umbrella while we stayed there, and we ended up climbing several mountains in our five days there, as well as stopping at the Conwy Falls Café both there and back to see the famous waterfall, behind the lush café, where Merlin had the idea of performing magic without holding his wand. According to legend, he stood atop the waterfall for three days and three nights before he accidentally Apparated instead, splinching himself to the bottom of the waterfall, and then performing wandless magic to mend himself.

I wasn’t quite sure how much of that was utter rubbish and how much to be awed by, so I decided that it was all true and we should pretend to be Merlin for the rest of the holiday.

We mastered the Glydder Plateau on the first full day – Glydder Fach and Glydder Fow, that is, and the flat plain between the peaks – with the full Devil’s Kitchen the day after and lastly Snowdon, tallest mountain in Wales and England at 3,560 feet. We all had aching muscles each morning after, but despite all our aches worsening atop Snowdon, it was all alleviated by the fact that there was a café on top.

We didn’t even get the train back down, and Hugo and I planned the entire time when we’d go to Scotland to climb Glen Nevis and Ben Nevis.

By the time we got back home on the Friday, I could barely walk, but it was definitely worth it.

There was a noticeable change in the atmosphere at school when we returned. The first Monday back, the Year Six kids were told to go out to Coach Wood and help him teach the infants (reception to Year Two) about football and throwing games. It was always a tricky job to give us a balance of education and more fun jobs to do, like this one; playing with the little kids was like suddenly growing a small army of minions who'd either mutiny or unquestioningly follow you depending on how you treated them.

Being the oldest and freest was definitely the best role in the school. In the next weeks, we spent over half our time outside, either growing magical plants and vegetables, or playing game after game before flopping on the grass and having a teacher lead out the rest of the class to read us all The Adventures of Martin Miggs, the Mad Muggle. Usually Uncle Ron tried to pop in for the outside reading sessions as those had been his favourite books as a kid, but he had work to do still.

When Hugo and I arrived home, we tended to down glasses of lemonade or orange juice before leaving again to ask older residents of Godric's Hollow about our treehouse. The Finnigans didn't know anything about it, as we had subtly dropped hints about it and they'd not risen to the bait, so we thought they didn't have a clue about it. We'd only found it by fluke, after all, but it was largely because of this that I wanted to find out who'd really built it and lived in it.

Hence the bothering of Godric's Hollow OAPs. But there weren't even that many of them, so Hugo and I often ended up joining or creating impromptu Quidditch games on the green or in the Finnigans' yard. We played a lot of games around their farm when we were invited over, the best ones happening with their animals or hay bales. The expression 'needle in a haystack' took on an entirely new meaning when we tried to play searching games in them, and were by far the most frustrating.

While the days became hotter, Hugo and I slowly became stickier as our Mums insisted on smothering us in Factor 50+ for any non-rainy day, raving about UV rays and skin cancer (in Aunt Hermione's case), peeling skin and broom blisters (in Mum's case), and how annoying it was that the protective spells wore off in water. That last one wouldn’t have been such a problem if The Phoenix students weren’t so into chucking water at each other in hot weather. Uncle George was probably the original culprit behind the idea, but now, it was an accepted practice.

Two weeks before the end of term, the teachers give up on administering any form of last-minute education on us completely. Neville comes in to talk to us about starting Hogwarts, and the year threes and fours divide into two groups: the crying and the denying haters. The latter group begins to poke the criers who are either worried they’re not magical, or can’t wait that long, but then the entire Year Five class takes it upon themselves to be the hardy year who keep the others in line. They’re evidently looking forward to their freedom and being top of the school with free reign on the playground.

After that, we spend our penultimate week alternately sweating in a makeshift kitchen, learning how to chop peppers and cook soup, and sweating outside playing Quidditch or running around in the boiling sun which makes me glad for the Factor Fifty.

The weekend passes in a flash of mucking around and then suddenly, Hugo and I are being bundled into cars to collect our siblings from Kings’ Cross, and there’s a single week left of school life before I go to Hogwarts and leave primary school behind… forever.
 



Day 42

Unluckily for us, Hogwarts finished a week before The Phoenix because they had to return on September 1st and we would have gone back the first Monday after that. It meant we’d only get five weeks summer holiday, and though Hugo and I were moaning about it a bit, we didn’t really mind. It just meant we got more attention in a week we’d have otherwise got a bit hyper in, or slept through, as we were desperate for Hogwarts to begin but nobody could escape the start-of-summer narcolepsy.

The last week was basically a week of dossing, anyway. We had Sports Day on Monday, which would have annoyed me as it cut into Monday Quidditch lessons, but once all the different year group races before lunch were over, we had multiple Quidditch matches over after hot dogs and burgers. First different year groups combined for the fifteen-minute matches, then the teams began to get sillier; redheads vs. blondes, Finnigans vs. Hugo’s team (as a rematch from his birthday with more young Finnigans), and after an hour or so, the grown-ups began joining in.

Lavender Finnigan and Aunt Hermione stayed on the grass chatting while Seamus joined all his kids to make a full team, and Dad, Mum and Aunt Ginny joined Hugo and I with Violet Grey and her Mum for a team against them.

That was definitely the best match, even though James, Al and Rose joined Hugo and I with Lavendar and Hugo’s Mum in the next one. I was surprised that James and Albus had lasted this long without seizing a broom until Lavender told me they’d been asleep under a bush for hours. Typical. I knew they hadn’t really wanted to come – well, Albus had been willing enough once Dad had explained why they should – but James wouldn’t quit whining until I not-so-subtly reminded him that we could play Quidditch there.

Didn’t help much, but at least he was a bit quieter with it now. James always did need more of an incentive to agree to something, but was more likely to lighten a situation when the chips were down, probably due to the fact that he was so often dissatisfied with situations that he knew well how they could be brightened again.

When it was officially declared the end of the day, we were all invited to an after-school barbeque on the school grounds. Anyone with a child in the top half of the school agreed, and some of the dads (including Uncle Ron) joined in attempting to work the very muggle, industrial barbeque that Aunt Hermione had borrowed off her parents. The grown-ups were too puffed out to play more games in the smoke, but Reagan and I set up a nice game of Dementors (like Stuck in the Mud but with a different name and in fog or smoke) until we were rounded up and told to take a hotdog or burger, juice, and a kit-kat.

All the Year Six kids end up sitting in a circle – a rather small circle, since there’s not that many of us to begin with – and end up chatting about what we want to do over the next four days, and what’s been the best about school over the last seven years.

There’s plenty to reminisce about, but when it comes down to it, we decide on four things to do over the next four days – our last four days:
- start a whole-school pile-on
- start a whole-school water fight
- start a whole-school food fight
- present a nice assembly on Friday about our last seven years

For such a risky, amusing and hard-to-pull-off plan, it goes surprisingly well. On Tuesday, the Finnigans all start the pile-on simply by all running into the middle of the busy field at lunch time screaming “PILE ON!” Everybody knows protocol at this point, or they learn fast; Hugo and I round up some of the younger ones before diving in ourselves, and we estimate the entire school joined in before the teachers broke it up.

Wednesday is just as hot as all the days before – just as summer during school time always is – and it doesn’t take many water-bombs before the seven-year-olds find them all casually lying around and begin an ‘attack on the oldies’.

Thursday is trickier to manage, as not everyone would want to waste their lunch or even be eating it at the same time – but again, the Finnigans save the day. Reagan and Aoife persuade Lavender Finnigan to help them bake cakes for Reagan and Sean’s penultimate day at primary school, and when a suitably-sized swarm has built up around the expanded cake box, Hugo and I begin lobbing chunks of cake at people’s heads.

I think it was definitely one of the best ways we could have spent our second-to-last day, to be honest.
 



Day 38

On my last day, I went through my morning routine almost reverently. It felt like every little detail needed to be remembered, preserved in my memory forever before Hogwarts began and wiped out all my subconscious, absent-minded actions if I didn't deliberately record each one.

Collecting Hugo, we strolled to school in near-silence. It wasn't uncomfortable – just different to how we usually were. We each had presents for our various teachers in our rucksacks which had been forced upon us today; different pot plants, protected by various bubble charms, were stuffed in mine, and Hugo had shown me his impressive collection of Cushioned wine bottles he had stowed away in his rucksack. Even if nobody else bought the teachers thank-you presents, they'd be doing pretty well.

After a brief talk from Dominic Greengrass, we had until break to do some gardening, until lunch to practise our assembly one last time, then could present our production after lunch.

We weren't the most organised or prepared presenters, despite all the help from parents who weren't our own. But when the time came for all the school to file into the hall and sit down on the floor, it didn't seem to matter. We were going and we'd already made our bang; this was for our parents now.

We sang some songs in between reading poems and recounting stories of various problems we’d created or encountered over the years. Unsurprisingly, many of them were practical jokes gone wrong, or amusing tales from the Quidditch pitch.

By the end of the day, the younger ones were all simultaneously crying and fidgeting, because change was upsetting for smaller kids but they had also been sitting down for quite a long time in a stuffy hall. When we were let out, even I shed a couple of tears while us eleven-year-olds heading off to big, bad Hogwarts gathered in a huge group huddle and laughed and cried incoherently together before breaking off to fly crazily on the field.

When I say crazily, I mean crazily. Hugo whirled around and around in a corkscrew shooting upwards, so then I tried it heading sideways, so I was doing a sort of sloth grip roll on repeat. Hugo cut me off from smashing into a house just in time, and then all our class loop-de-looped. I didn’t know where these emotions were coming from, except for the fact that everything was suddenly ending and I wasn’t so sure I wanted it to any more.

It was so crazy, and stupid, but I just pushed the stupid waves of idiotic feelings to the back of my mind until I could process it more easily. We were all landing haphazardly and being scooped away by our parents, being told off only half-seriously as we waved goodbye and I began to cry again, thinking of all my teachers and the kids I was leaving behind.

Mum and Dad hugged me and supported me home, and I couldn’t help but wish I was stronger. This was what I had wanted so desperately, after all, and I told them so.

“Yes, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be sad about leaving The Phoenix behind either,” Mum reasoned. “Albus and James cried too, they just tried to hide it.”

“Everything’s changing, sweetie,” Dad smiled, smushing my face on his shoulder. “Don’t worry about the craziness of it all. You’re going to love it all.”

For half an hour, I perched on a stool in the kitchen as Mum and Dad talked about subjects not directly related to me or my brothers (who were off in London but had to return here by 4’o’clock or they’d face multiple punishments). It was nice and cool, and so was the lemonade with ice, but by the time Mum was beginning to raise the subject of getting out to the annual family barbeque being held at Hugo’s, I was ready to pep up again.

There was one more thing we needed to do before this term and this school year were finished.

We walked over to their house and were immediately ambushed by Uncle Percy and Aunt Audrey. As Dad pointed out, they were just trying to be nice by inquiring as to how my last day was and if it felt weird to be gone from primary school now, but only Mum’s fingers digging into my shoulder kept me from being less than polite.

When we did make it into the house, all my cousins were running around, including my two brothers. Some of them were locked in rooms, but it didn’t take me long to find Hugo and prepare to take off to the treehouse. We’d promised to be back for dinner, and I let him steal a handful of crisps and salted peanuts before legging it.

Over the fence, through the field, into the wood, and up the ladder; we were soon sprawled on the floor of our house, trying to get our breath back before sitting up almost reverently.

“It’s time to pull out… the Grand Plan,” I declared solemnly. Hugo nodded just as seriously, and twisted round behind him to carefully unpin the Plan we’d so carefully and happily written up almost a year ago now. The notice board it had sat upon for so long had changed a lot in its time, and was now filled with lists of Wheezes orders and detailing Finnigan games, Easter Egg Hunt potential bargains and Hallowe’en costume plans. Our whole year was pinned up on that board.

I shook my head as Hugo smoothed it out on the floor between us, peering in at what we’d written.

Quidditch!
Pets (owls, Bertie, Ned and her family)
Supplies
Home Plans (whose treehouse is this?)


“I think we can tick off Quidditch,” I smiled, “since with all the dossing this last half-term, we’re pretty well-prepared.”

“We’ve sort of worked out what to do about pets, too,” Hugo said while carefully drawing a navy line through the rainbow letters. “I mean, we’re just borrowing other people’s owls, your Bertie ran off Hallowe’en to live with Violet and since she’s happier there...”

“And we’re bringing some of Ned’s kittens with us as pets, now they’re allowed, with Aiofe and the little Finnigans taking care of the rest,” I finished. “You know I didn’t mind about Bertie. He’s happier with Violet, she dotes on him, and we have all the kneazles who don’t bother me in the middle of the night by attempting to lick my ear.”

“I’m pretty sure we’ve cleaned out most of Uncle George’s stock in the last year,” Hugo smirked, and I followed his gaze to the corner of the treehouse where we had stored all our Wheezes’ goods. It had been covered with a lid at one time, but by now we’d stocked up far too many for the small compartment and they had spilled out into a pile on the floor.

I nodded in agreement. “There’s just one thing left uncovered… the owners of our treehouse.” I patted it fondly, and Hugo stayed silent. We’d asked anyone who we thought might have an idea, but at this point, we had about as many clues as they did (none). It was very vexing.

"Is there really no-one left we can ask?" Hugo burst out. "I want to know who made this!"

"Maybe we need to stop asking around -”

"No, I want to know!"

“- because we haven't actually checked in here yet!" I glared at Hugo for assuming I didn't care. He sheepishly smiled.

"But we know all about this treehouse, we've been in here a hundred million times. How could there be something we didn't notice?"

"Maybe they concealed it by magic," I wondered, "or wrote their initials under a hidden panel. Hey, if we wanted to leave our initials somewhere, where would we put them?"

Hugo thought for a moment before shrugging. "On the reverse on one of the compartment lids? Maybe behind a panel, though since there aren’t actually any faulty ones, we'd have to pull the house apart a bit. Or by the window with the best view."

"You want to try the lids? I'll take the windows."

"Um, okay." We both began to squint at the grains on the wood, but as nothing revealed itself, I became more desperate.

"Hughie, what are we going to do? Where ARE these initials which we don't even know they left behind?"

Hugo sat up from his previous arms-down-the-compartments position and frowned at me. "Lils, they went to such huge lengths to keep this place secretive and in prime position. There's no way they didn't leave their mark behind."

"Okay, but what if we need magic to reveal it? What if - Hugo?"

His face had gone very blank for a moment, and then he grinned very widely. "Reveal? Oh yes." At my bewildered expression, he explained, "Mum has this old Revealer, it looks like a mouldy red rubber, but if you rub across where magic is, it reveals whatever has been magically hidden."

"I can see exactly one problem with that. We don't know where this writing has been magically written."

"We could... er... ask your wand? I mean, that Point Me spell is just talking to your wand!" I paused to consider this. Hugo was right, of course; it was the one spell we knew, as Dad had taught it to us so we didn't feel like duffers with sticks they couldn't use. "Do you have it on you?"

"Well, yeah."

"Ask it!"

"Well, tell me what to ask," I retorted, annoyed, and pulling out my lovely golden wand.

"Ask 'show strongest magic' or something."

"Alright." I took a deep breath and glanced down at my wand for a second. It seemed poised for action, ready to obey my command. Maybe it knew already. "So. Please - point to strongest magic close by?" I gave a triumphant smile to Hugo as I phrased it better, but he wasn't looking at me, but my wand. I felt it twirl on the palm of my hand and tried not to squeak as the unexpected movement took me by surprise.

Following along the line of where my wand was now pointing, it was easy to see that it was pointing to... our pin board.

"Is it on the wall behind the pin board?" Hugo asked in hushed tones, and I nodded.

"Must be." We looked at each other. "Do you want to do the run?"

"Nah, you go, you're more likely to be able to get it off Mum," Hugo said decidedly. I shrugged, already backing out of the treehouse.

"Okay, I'll grab the spare broom instead, make it a bit faster."

I just caught Hugo's snort of "a very, very tiny bit" before I jumped the rest of the way down and headed to the tree which was once the Finnigans' storage hollow. We kept my old, rubbishy, pre-Christmas broomstick there for emergency flights, and whatever Hugo said, it was faster than me running and getting puffed out.

It didn't take long for me to zoom to Hugo's house on the broom, feet skimming the crops while I was bent as low as possible over the broom for maximum speed. Hopefully Aunt Hermione wouldn't be too hard to find, and would be somewhere I didn't have to embarrass myself, as we were strictly meant to be at this garden party which was really for us. Maybe she'd be nice and understanding about me begging her for a mysterious use of her Hogwarts relic?

I zoomed over their roof and landed in the front garden before running indoors, hoping none of my relatives had seen me, thought that was pretty unlikely with Aunt Audrey on the prowl.

It didn't take more than a few seconds to locate Aunt Hermione telling Rose and Albus off in the kitchen. It looked like they'd been caught trying to stick their fingers in the trifle, but when she was done, I quickly begged her for a super-speedy borrow of her Revealer. She didn't mind at all, though I think this was largely because she was still occupied with neatening up said trifle, and quickly Summoned it for me.

“Hope you find something interesting,” she called after me as I legged it back out front and swung my leg over the broom again, this time with the rubber Revealer trapped between my palm and the broom handle. I kicked off hard, almost hitting the lamp-post on the opposite side of the street before I could swerve around, and caught Aunt Hermione shaking her head at me. I waved back and shot off as fast as I could, glad my little old broom had a break between the two flights. There was less of a likelihood of being chucked off now.

Coming up to our wood was a little hairy, although the broom wasn't very fast at this point so I probably didn't need to be worried. The trees just went past quite quickly, and I almost crash-landed in the treehouse. Hugo's face was priceless when I did make it in safely, though, and he fervently made me promise to navigate a bit slower next time.

After that, Hugo snatched the Revealer off me and began to rub the wood planks to the left of our pin board, leaving me to put away my broomstick and sit down to spot anything he uncovered. Slowly moving towards the board, Hugo methodically rubbed up and down, his strokes increasing in intensity as he became more frustrated. The tense silence between us grew until suddenly -

"LOOK!" I shouted, springing to my feet and almost hitting my head. "A line!"

Quite a thick one, too; it looked like the beginning of a larger letter, going horizontal, and about as thick and long as my little finger. Hugo's eyes widened and he began to scrub along the line so it was revealed, and then followed a line which had been partially revealed midway through it. Along and down, around a curve, the letter ended up looking distinctly like a J.

"J!" I screeched, and Hugo and I had a mini celebration for a moment before he got scrubbing all around it. Slowly, another vertical line revealed itself, and then some more branched off behind the pin board.

"Well, it's either a P or an R," I offered, but Hugo frowned.

"We need to get rid of the pin board - not forever!" He added hurriedly, seeing my outraged expression. "Just detach it so we can get to the writing underneath."

"How do you propose to remove it?" I asked crossly.

"The same way we put it up: with a screwdriver." I was unconvinced until Hugo pointed out it was still with us in the emergency toolbox from where we'd 'borrowed' it from his grandparents in the first place, and so neither of us had to go out on the broom again. Then I had to attempt to find it amongst our over-stuffed supply compartments, which took quite a while, as Hugo rubbed over the wall on the other side of the board, revealing a few more lines emerging from beneath it and a B.

"J something something B," he read as I pulled out the tool I'd located and waved it in the air, almost hitting him in the head (not that he noticed, fortunately). "Maybe they were a posho, with all those initials."

"Maybe there's more than one person's initials," I mused. "You want to do the honours?"

"No thanks, my arms are getting enough of a workout."

I stuck my tongue out at him but set to work anyway. "Weakling."

It took a very short amount of time to unscrew each screw, but it felt like a lifetime. The moment I lifted it off the wall, Hugo darted in and began to frantically scrub at the planks.

"JP & SB," I read. "Why do those initials seem familiar?"

Hugo shrugged. "I bet there's more above or below, though. These are huge letters, they'd not want to leave just their names behind!"

He went to work, and I pulled out some packets of crisps from a compartment to munch while I waited. The endless tension was tiring. We soon discovered that JP and SB had indeed left behind more words above their initials: it now read "The treehouse of JP and SB," but when Hugo declared we'd discovered the truth once and for all, I lunged for the (significantly shrunk) red Revealer and began to scrub at the wood beneath the initials. If they were all there was, that was fine, but for some reason, I got the feeling we were on the very verge of discovering something big. Bigger. I don't know, I just lunged and went for it.

Ignoring Hugo's annoyed complaints behind me, my suspicions were quickly confirmed as more words appeared in brackets beneath the initials. Or rather, two words. And when I finally sat back on my heels, it all suddenly made sense. The two words were ones we were rather familiar with, you see.

The treehouse of JP & SB (Prongs & Padfoot)

Neither of us knew what to say, so we sat speechless for a few moments, jaws hanging wide open. Good thing no flies came along, or we'd have been swallowing them like something a lot nicer and tastier.

Eventually, Hugo managed to choke out, "how?"

"I don't know." Oh yes, like that wasn't obvious already. "Maybe my Grandad lived in Godric's Hollow when he was young?"

"Your great-grandparents were killed before he married your Grandma," Hugo pointed out. I was momentarily pleased at what brilliant students we were before remembering I needed to think about this properly.

"Right, so they could have come to live in his childhood home?"

"Yeah. And them Dad was born and returned here a while later..."

"And Sirius lived with James Potter for a while! So they could have made this into a hideout. Or for your Dad."

"What are we going to do about, y'know - telling the grown-ups?" I asked tentatively. Hugo chewed on his bottom lip.

“Well… it’s our special place, and I think the other two have either forgotten about it or feel that they’re too mature for it now.” We pulled some disgusted faces together.

“But, Dad barely knows his own parents and their families. All he’s got is Uncle Dudley and Great-Aunt Petunia and a couple of other muggles by marriage. And they’re not as good as the magical relatives because they treated him so horribly for so long.”

We sat in silence again. It seemed to be becoming a regular thing of today, although being faced with strange and horrible decisions and/or feelings had also quickly become too usual.

“I feel like we need to at least tell him,” I felt compelled to say at last. “It just feels deceitful, otherwise, and unfair.”

Hugo nodded. “I think you’re right, but when should we tell him we’ve been playing in his Dad’s old secret treehouse for two years without knowing?”

“No time like the present, eh?”

And that was how we found ourselves tripping through Hugo’s garden, scattering surprised relatives, and shouting for Dad to come. He shot out of the house at a terrific pace, but once we managed to get out that no, we weren’t harmed or seriously maimed, and no, Death Eaters had not materialised from thin air and captured anyone, it was just that we had something really really important to show him that was in our wood.

There was more than a little of a panicked air as we vaulted the fence and had to wait for Dad to come too. He climbed over all methodically, but it was too slow and careful for Hugo and I; he was sprinting on the spot, I was jigging up and down and jumping as high as I could.

Dad was evidently feeling the pressure, because he took off at a decent running pace with us without question. He also didn’t question the Rite of Entry, or how we knew the exact best places to step for maximum speed through the trees before we arrived at the base of our tree.

Hugo was just reaching for the planks on the side of the tree when I grabbed his arm to halt our progress. He seemed to understand my thinking and came to stand by me, facing Dad. “Uncle Harry, we should probably explain a little.”

“That might be a good idea,” Dad agreed.

“Well, the long and short of it is, that in our treehouse…” I couldn’t remember how much Dad knew, but he could probably deal with the gaps, “… we think it might have been built by James Potter and Sirius Black.”

Dad’s jaw dropped, then he seemed to regain control of his joints and closed it, gazing up to the entirely obscured treehouse. “Are – are you sure?” he asked tersely.

“Yeah. Come on up, we’ll show you.” I demonstrated how to swing up to the firs branch and use the rope to help you up the rest of the way, whilst Hugo flattened himself against the trunk and hauled himself up by the planks. My arms and toes were aching by the time we all squeezed in, and I decided never to go up and down this many times without a broom for a while. My muscles were going to be aching for days.

Dad ended up in the middle of us, his back against the wall while Hugo and I attempted to squeeze into the corners without falling out of the window or door. He drank it in quite serenely for a few moments, before asking, “Have you ever found any relics, or alternate proof, in here?”

Hugo and I exchanged a glance. “Not that we can think of,” I said.

“Though there are some rather snazzy secret compartments,” Hugo added, “and even the location is completely perfect.”

Dad didn’t say anything, just stared for a while, before leaning over to slowly trace the outline of JP& SB with his finger. “Thank you – for showing me, and this, and just…” Dad trailed off, and I wrapped my arms around him in a giant hug.

There wasn’t much more to say, really, that wasn’t in that hug. All I could feel was happy that we knew who had created our perfect treehouse, and how exciting it was that it was actually my grandfather. We had, almost accidentally, completed everything on our Grand Plan, and finished primary school forever.

This was it, then. Hugo and I had finished everything we needed to before Hogwarts.

We were ready at last for the greatest adventure of our lives.

 




A/N: I CANNOT BELIEVE THIS IS THE PENULTIMATE CHAPTER. Everything feels weird, and I really don’t want to say goodbye to The Left-Behinds! But there’s just the epilogue to go now.

So bittersweet, gah! Did you guess the owners of the treehouse? & The Adventures of Martin Miggs, the Mad Muggle is a detail from canon!
~TGK



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