In which a map is passed on, and passed on, and passed on.
Falling Into the Wrong Hands
"Gid? Are you still up there?"
Gideon Prewett ignored the shouts of his twin as he tore off another strip of the grey adhesive. Muggles made the best stuff; Sticking Charms would fade after a few months of neglect and Eversticking Charms were permanent, with nothing in between. The Muggle stuff, on the other hand, would stick there until somebody gave it a good yank, the perfect mix of permanence and impermanence. Although Gideon had no idea what that had to do with ducks.
"Gideon!" Fabian came slamming in the dormitory door, his shout echoing too loudly in the recently emptied room, bare walls and desks where there should've been Quidditch posters and books and…Gideon shut down his nostalgia as Fabian continued shouting. Fabian stomped over to where his brother was laying on his stomach at the end of his bed, fooling with some Muggle thing and a board. "Honestly, man, we're going to be late to our own Leaving Feast! What're you doing?"
"Nearwy fwinished," Gideon answered, reply hampered by the roll of tape in his mouth as he completed a configuration of tape that would secure a folded parchment without damaging it. He spat the tape out, ignoring it as it rolled under his bed. "Be a love, hand me the parchment, would you?"
"What are you…" Fabian knelt down next to Gideon, eyes falling on a familiar rectangle of folded parchment, "the map? What're we doing with the map then?"
"Shame to waste all that hard work." Gideon fiddled unnecessarily with the tape. "So I thought we might leave it here for the next Hogwarts troublemaker, yeah?"
Fabian was silent for a long moment, and Gideon began to regret not asking his twin's opinion before doing something so silly as leaving behind the map they'd spent five of the last seven years working on, even if there was really no use for it outside Hogwarts. Looking up finally to say that they should just forget it, Gideon found Fabian rifling through his pockets.
"Need a quill, have you got one?" Fabian looked at Gideon expectantly, and Gideon reached into his school bag, laying forgotten off to the side, and handed a quill and ink over. Setting the ink on the floor, Fabian uncapped it and dipped the quill in, murmuring, "can't leaving this thing lying about without a proper title."
He unfolded the parchment and smoothed it flat with one hand before penning a neat "A Map for the Hogwarts Marauder" across the top. Below it, in smaller script, he wrote "drawn by Mysterious and Handsome Benefactors".
After blowing on the ink to dry it, Fabian folded the parchment and handed it back, and Gideon reached over to take the quill as well. He wrote his own message on the outside and held it up for Fabian's approval.
"Just so the right sort gets it," he clarified, and Fabian nodded, grinning.
"Good old Uncle Bilius would be proud."
Encouraged by his twin, Gideon slid the parchment into the tape he had double-sided so it wouldn't stick to the parchment, then taped the whole thing firmly to the board. Ignoring Fabian's questioning glance, Gideon flipped the board over and fitted it neatly against the bottom of the footboard of his bed. The back was identical to the stain and finish of the bed, the only indication that it wasn't a continuous piece of wood was a hairline crack one would have to be crawling on the floor to notice.
"Brilliant!" Fabian complimented. "Where'd you get this?"
"Chipped a bit off Arthur's," Gideon grunted, "S'why the prat's been complaining that his bed's uneven. Reach into the pocket of my bag, can't you, there's some nails and a hammer, need you to bang the thing in place before my arms give out."
Ten minutes later, they were standing, dusting off their hands, and admiring their handwork.
"Can't even tell the difference," Gideon said smugly. "Take quite a bit of roughhousing to knock that off."
"Exactly," Fabian nodded. "Now let's go already, there's a feast waiting!"
As Fabian dragged him out the door by the arm, Gideon paused in the doorway to have one last look at the room they'd spent eighty percent of the last seven years in.
"Good luck," he whispered to his bed before his twin yanked him out.
BANG. BANG. BANG. BA—
"KNOCK IT OFF!" Sirius Black roared. He did not, however, move his arm from where it was laying across his eyes to see who was making the noise, because he did not care, and because the doings of Gryffindors, however irritating, were beneath his notice.
"Fuck off, Black."
Sirius moved his arm just enough to find out who had the gall to use his surname as a swear, even though he was already sure it was that fuckwit Potter. Sure enough, it was him, glaring at Sirius from across the room, looking as though someone had blown up his hair. Badly. Sirius sat up just enough to eye him coldly.
"Did you say something to me, Gryffindor?" he inquired, making it very clear who the inferior specimen was here. The little pudgy twit began banging his trunk against the end of his bed again.
"Of course I did!" Potter snapped, having to shout to be heard over the din of the banging. "Are you deaf as well as inbred?"
"Listen, here—" BANG "—you idiot—" BANG "—I don't—" BANG "—have to take—" BANG "—STOP THAT RIGHT NOW!"
"Sorry," the pudgy twit was wibbling like a little girl, but at least he dropped the trunk. "It won't slid under my bed!"
"Could you be any more useless!" Sirius shouted at him. "Even the other Gryffindors managed that much!"
"It won't go!" the twit insisted.
"All the beds are IDENTICAL!"
"I'll help." A fourth boy who Sirius hadn't even noticed slid off his bed and went over to the wibbling twit, leaving Sirius to exchange insults freely with Potter.
"Apparently it takes at least two Gryffindors to work a trunk," Sirius sneered. He glanced over at where the two boys combined weren't having much more luck. "If not more."
"You're in Gryffindor as well," the pudgy one remarked, straightening up to give Sirius a look that was obviously meant to be threatening. "The Hat said so."
Before Sirius could dignify that with a response, the fourth boy gave the trunk a desperate shove, and the bottom of the footboard snapped right off with an echoing crack.
"Good lord," Sirius sneered. "I thought the bed wouldn't break until you were actually on it."
"Shut it, you!" Potter stepped in between Sirius and the others, blocking his view of the others examining the damage forlornly. "Pettigrew's worth more than your entire family! Not like that says a lot about Pettigrew, but still…"
With an exclamation of rage, Sirius reached out and seized the front of Potter's shirt in both hands, intending to shake him until his hair looked good.
"Hey," the fourth boy said, "there's something taped on the back of here. Looks like parchment…yeah, there's something written on it."
Potter planted his feet on the carpet and, seizing a chunk of Sirius' hair that had slipped over his shoulder, gave it a yank that would have brought tears to his eyes if the Heir of Black were allowed to cry. Dimly, Sirius heard the boy keep yammering on about his twiddling parchment.
"Says we have to solemnly swear that we're up to no good if we're to use it, whatever it is."
"It's a map," Pudgy announced. "James, come see."
"Cork it, Pettigirl!" Sirius snapped, dodging a kick from Potter, but taking the second one square in the shin. "We're busy!"
"That's Pettigrew," Pudgy shot back as Potter gave Sirius a shove that made him take a step back and grunt as he came down on the injured leg.
"Go back to sulking," Potter ordered, stepping nimbly out of range as Sirius took another wild swing at him. "It was pathetic, but at least it was quiet."
Sirius would have throttled Potter right then and there if he hadn't already slipped away and was now kneeling down next to the other boys. Tossing his hair back as if to shake off the entire encounter, Sirius stormed back to his bed and flopped down on it.
"It's Hogwarts," one of the losers said. "It's even got a secret passage marked on it!"
"Two," someone else answered. They whispered excitedly back and forth for several minutes, Sirius tuning all of it out.
"Oi, Sirius." It startled Sirius so much to hear his real name come out of somebody's mouth rather than 'Black' or 'that Black' that Sirius actually looked before he could stop himself. The fourth boy, whose expression was hard to read because his brown hair was falling in his eyes, was holding up a parchment, ignoring Potter's glare of disapproval. "You can have a look if you like."
"Thanks no," Sirius grunted after a moment. "I haven't any use for your silly Hogwarts passages, because as soon as my father hears about this he'll have me transferred to Durmstrang where I'll be Sorted properly instead of being tossed in with you lot by some headwear that looks like Merlin himself used it for a spittoon."
The boy shrugged, Potter glared, Pudgy wibbled, Sirius yanked his hangings shut, and that was the end of the conversation for the night.
"Hey!" Bill put his hands on his hips and glared at his brothers.
Both were perched backwards on kitchen chairs and poking at some parchment on the table with their wands. And they had on the ratty F and G shirts they'd dug up in the attic again, which explained why his mum had been a bit sniffly when Bill passed her in the hall.
"Where's my enthusiastic greeting? Where's my 'you're our favorite brother, Bill' and my 'we've missed you so, Bill' and my 'tell us all about your trip in excruciating details and show us slides, Bill'?"
" 'Lo, Bill," Fred grunted without looking up from the grubby parchment his wand was resting on. George, who was staring at it glumly, heaved a sigh.
"Don't I even get a 'where's my present, Bill' ?" Bill pleaded.
"We've already been through your luggage," George reported half-heartedly.
"All right," Bill gave in, "just tell me what it is you've got."
"That's just it!" Fred thwapped his wand down on the parchment as though punishing it. "We don't know! It acts like an insulting parchment, but it has to be more than that!"
"Why has it got to be more than that?" Bill asked gamely, crossing his arms and leaning against the counter.
"Because," George eyed him with deep authority, "nobody would bother to enchant a little insulting parchment to recognize whoever's holding it by name and taunt them with their deepest secrets."
"Yeah, watch." Fred, wand still resting on the parchment, said 'Oi, parchment,' and words began to ink themselves into existence on the page.
Mssr. Padfoot thinks the young Weasley ought to stop poking his wand at things for no good reason. Perhaps he could amuse himself by putting more chartreuse dye in his little brother's shampoo, as he did yesterday morning.
"Fred," George sounded wounded, "without me?" Bill snorted at Fred's idea of a deep, dark secret.
"Where did you even get this?" he asked.
"Filch's office," Fred twiddled his wand between his fingers thoughtfully. "George distracted him while I rifled his files. We've been looking for Uncle Fabian and Uncle Gideon's files, been doing it systematically all term."
"Thought we had it this time too," George added, "the biggest file you ever saw, but it wasn't old enough to be theirs, and anyway this was in it."
"We tried to poke around in the enchantments on it," Fred added, laying his wand back down to prod at the parchment, "but they're amazing! They're packed in so dense you can't get your wand tip in between!"
"Wait a moment, you've been getting yourselves dragged to Filch's office on purpose?" Bill demanded, laughing. "I solemnly swear, you two are always up to no good!"
"Don't you quote Uncle Fabian to us," George groused. "Just because…"
"Look!" Fred interrupted, waving his free hand frantically, eyes the size of bludgers. George obediently crowded in close, giving a startled gasp. Bill leaned in, trying to see over their shoulders what they were staring at. As he attempted to jostle the twins out of the way, all he could see was squiggles of ink racing around on the parchment.
"Bill," Fred breathed, "you're brilliant."
"Your our favorite brother ever," George added fervently.
"But now we have to go!" Fred said abruptly, folding up the parchment deftly.
"Mischief to manage, you know!" George nodded, slipping out of his chair.
And then they were gone, zipping out of the kitchen so fast that the tablecloth was waving violently in their wake.
"How do you like that?" Bill grumbled to himself. "Welcome home to me indeed."